What is Academic Innovation?
Educators are natural innovators. The tradition of innovation at UW-Whitewater goes back to the days of the little red schoolhouses that sought to engage students effectively and efficiently. Academic Innovation today coordinates a culture of strategic and planned change at University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. We seek to encourage data driven experimentation, more comprehensive approaches, free and creative discourse, with focus on learning outcomes for student success.
Academic Innovation works at the confluence of multiple elements of the student success eco-system. This includes curricular redesign, more efficient pathways to graduation, increasing use of analytics and other evidence-based teaching, utilizing new technologies that enable better communication, integration of academic planning, design thinking, transformational teaching, and integrative learning, and the overall goal of increasing student success in the coming years. This facilitation is informed by the values and inherent principles of America’s Promise, the Wisconsin Idea, and the UWW Strategic and Academic Plans. This means Academic Innovation builds bridges for the purpose of transformative learning by:
Academic Innovation is currently working to implement an annual cycle time. Academic Innovation is to be laid-out so that someone with an innovative idea in the fall can start discussing it for development in September. Academic Innovation will partner with innovative faculty and staff to write a comprehensive proposal for pilot development.
So please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or I will see you at one of our discussions.
David Reinhart, Ph.D.
Contributing Student Engagement and Persistence
This fall let’s pool our ideas and discuss already proven pedagogies and specific assignments that engage students as valued learners and that build an environment where we all try “hard things” and support a learning mindset - whether in your courses or programs. This semester we are looking forward to discussions with David Yeager on Aug 29, on creating student persistence and grit. As well as book groups on student learning, including “Teach Students How to Learn” by Saundra McGuire, who will be visiting our campus spring semester. All of this comes back to student retention and their timely path to graduation.
Our First Cohort of Summer Innovation Teams
Each summer we plan to facilitate innovation teams. Our first cohort was this summer; supporting STEM Transformation, Visiting Artist Curricular Planning, Gen Ed Core 2.0, and the Pathways and Bridge Programs for Increased Retention and Time to Graduation.
Resources and planning support enabled each team to meet and plan together and then also later as a collected group of 18 faculty and staff on July 26. We met to share respective issues and plans, to find synergies and give constructive feedback for continuing implementations.
The 26th was an enjoyable day of discussion and planning for Academic Innovation. Hearing presentations from Meg Waraczynski, Deborah Wilk, Susan Messer, Renee Melton, Liz Hachten, Jane Gottlick, Jeff Zimmerman, Karl Brown, Barbara Bren, Whitney Supianoski, Kristine Yesbeck, Carolyn Morgan, Tara Schmidt, and hearing feedback from Dave Munro, Nicole Weber, Barbara Beaver, and Paul Waelchli.