As we wrap up another successful Fall semester, it is a time to look back at what we have accomplished. It is also a time of year for celebrations, and we have many reasons to celebrate–from the successes of our athletic teams and academic teams in various competitions to the scholarly and creative achievements of our faculty and staff. Here are a few projects underway that teams are working on around campus (for details, see our Academic Affairs Initiatives website):
o Strategic Plan – The Strategic Planning Committee has been working hard on completing the goals and objectives, based on campus and community feedback. Thanks to all who provided input! They are now connecting these goals and objectives to actions that we can take to reach the goals and indicators to measure our successes. We plan to have a final draft of the plan back out to campus and community for feedback early during the Spring 2017 semester. We look forward to your continued involvement in the planning process.
o Re-imagining the First Year (RFY) Project - The RFY Leadership Team has been busy building task forces for their projects to engage more faculty and staff across campus in planning project goals. The projects include: implementing a campus-wide early alert system for student advising, implementing a degree audit with analytics to help students and advisors monitor degree progress, identifying courses with higher student failure rates for potential revision, implementing workshops to help faculty collaborate when they are teaching first-year courses, and implementing a “culture of mentoring” across campus through multiple methods and activities. They are planning for another open campus forum on the project early in the Spring 2017 semester, so look for more information in your inbox, campus news or the website for details.
o Academic Innovation Project - The Academic Innovation Project is underway and is planning a one-day workshop on January 20th for those interested in collaborating with other faculty, academic staff, administration, and students interested in developing ideas that will advance student learning in new, creative and innovative ways.
o Taking a Bigger LEAP – Two types of LEAP workshops are being offered in January and May. One workshop will meet January 3-4 and again May 22-23 to support teams that are forming from all around campus to create ways to use the LEAP framework to improve teaching, learning, and student success. The other workshop will meet January 10 and May 24 to support teams forming in the academic colleges, the Academic Advising & Exploration Center, and in Multicultural Affairs and Student Success as they work to improve academic advising in their areas.
Don’t forget to sign up to participate in Assessment Day, on Wednesday, February 22! This is a time to present, share, and converse about assessment and student learning with colleagues from across campus.
I want to also thank all of you who attended the Forum we sponsored on “Academic Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Classroom Climate.” Recent weeks have been stressful for many on campus, and we wanted to provide a venue for faculty and staff to learn more about the issues featured in the forum. The Friday afternoon session was a jam-packed hour and a half of information sharing and discussion. We plan to repeat this forum on January 18, from 4-6 pm in UC275 and also offer additional programs based on feedback from attendees. As a reminder, here are resources available to students, staff and faculty regarding the work of our Campus Culture Working Group and links to reporting incidents of hate, bias, hazing, discrimination, harassment, or grievances:
Please join me for an informal Meet and Greet to celebrate the end of the semester on Thursday, December 15 in the University Center, 259 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. This is my way to say thanks to all of you for the work you do to contribute to our mission of serving students and our community. It is also a time to enjoy refreshments and meet together with colleagues–faculty, staff and students–to catch up with those you already know and to meet new colleagues at this festive time of year.
In the meantime, I wish you all the best for this Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!
Susan Elrod, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs