FALL 2016 ACADEMIC AFFAIRS NEWS
September 14, 2016
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Welcome to the fall semester! I hope the semester is off to a great start for all of you. Fall is always an exciting time of year with new students and new faculty and staff bringing new energy, perspectives and expertise to our community. The goal of this newsletter is to provide the campus with periodic updates with news from the Division of Academic Affairs.
Besides all the new faculty and staff we have on campus this year, I would like to welcome Paul Waelchli who joined UW-Whitewater as the new library director on Aug. 1 and thank Seth Meisel for serving as interim dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education while John Stone is on leave at UW-Extension.
We are in the midst of completing a new campus Strategic Plan as well as a more focused academic plan. As you heard at the Chancellor's State of the University address, the Strategic Planning Committee and others have developed draft goals and objectives that define the university's priorities for the coming years. We will be seeking additional feedback from the campus soon with the goal of completing the plan by end of this semester. Dean David Travis of the College of Letters and Sciences and Jeff Herriot from the College of Arts and Communication, Department of Music and coordinator of the Media Arts and Game Development program are co-chairing our effort to finalize a new Academic Plan that will provide departments, colleges and programs the opportunity to consider what programs we want to establish to set the course of this university for the future.
One of my top priorities this year is to provide enhanced support for faculty and staff. There are several ways we are accomplishing this priority. First, I am pleased to announce a commitment of $100,000 to launch new programs to support faculty research, scholarship and creative activities. Look for announcements soon regarding these programs. I am also pleased to support the increases in professional development funds - $2,000 for faculty, $1,000 for academic staff and $500 for university staff. We thank the chancellor for her support of this increase and look forward to all the good work you will be able to do with the funding! We are also exploring how we might modify compensation for chairs to better reflect department size and associated workload with a small task force of department chairs and deans. And, working with Human Resources and Diversity and a group of faculty, chairs and deans, we will be recommending ways to modify our search and screen processes to improve the recruitment of faculty of color. This is just the first step we will take to improving the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color on campus. Departments and colleges are also launching 12 searches for new tenure-track faculty members.
I am also pleased to support a new Academic Innovation Project. This project, spearheaded by a task force of faculty and staff that was established last year, will help us think more creatively about new programs and ways we can leverage existing programs in the colleges or elsewhere; like our prior learning assessment, dual credit program, Associate of Arts degree, online opportunities, community partnerships to create new programs and pedagogies. An internal coordinator position is open for applications due Sept. 19. This project complements our continuing LEAP efforts and work in the Re-imagining the First Year (RFY) project to improve student learning and success. We also have an opportunity for a faculty member to get more involved in leading LEAP and other Provost Office initiatives as Special Assistant to the Provost. Applications are due Sept 29.
Woven throughout all these activities will be my continued commitment to shared governance - I look forward to working with governance groups - Faculty Senate, Academic Staff Assembly, University Staff Council, Student Government - on matters of importance to them, their constituents, and the university. Additionally, I want to reiterate my commitment to shared governance, academic freedom and tenure. These are central pillars to academia and they are alive and well here at UW-Whitewater.
I would like to close by thanking everyone for the warm welcome to campus since my arrival on April 15. I have been enjoying my time here and look forward to getting to know more of you this year. I will be continuing the tradition of Provost's Office Hours, which start in October and will be hosting other events to continue to get to know the campus community. Keep your eye on the UW-Whitewater This Week and the Academic Affairs News website for details. You can also follow me on Twitter @UWWProvost.
Have a great semester!
Susan Elrod, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs