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Provost’s Update

January 2013 Provost's Update

Colleagues,

If you happened to see the Sunday issue of the Democrat and Chronicle, or listened to WXXI radio, or watched the local TV news broadcasts, you probably heard about the race exhibit, which opened at the Rochester Museum and Science Center this past Saturday. Entitled RACE: Are We So Different?, this traveling exhibit tells the stories of race from biological, cultural, and historical points of view. Rochester is fortunate to host this exhibit and I commend professor Robert Ulin for his contribution in bringing it here. While anthropology department chair at Western Michigan University, Robert was a driving force in bringing the exhibit to Kalamazoo and saw the positive effect the exhibit had on that community. When Robert arrived at RIT in 2008, he brought the same commitment to seeing the exhibit come to Rochester. Both he and Kevin McDonald, vice president for diversity and inclusion, participated in a compelling presentation made to the Rochester Area Community Foundation, which is a lead supporter of the exhibit.

Here’s my January update.

Jeremy Haefner
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Key Focus Area: New Student Information System

During visits to the colleges, I heard many concerns regarding the navigation process for accessing student information. As a result, I requested and recently had the opportunity to go through the SIS...

During visits to the colleges, I heard many concerns regarding the navigation process for accessing student information. As a result, I requested and recently had the opportunity to go through the SIS and explore some of the new centers and features available for faculty and staff. Having experienced it first-hand, I understand the challenges you are experiencing with the system and moving forward, have two thoughts for consideration:

  • More training can address some of the navigation issues we are encountering, and we will do everything possible to make sure faculty, staff and administrators have access to training required to take advantage of all the features available within the SIS.
  • Opportunities exist for further customization of the software; this is an excellent topic for discussion with the SIS Lead from your college or academic unit. The SIS Lead group was created, with input from the Deans’ Delegates for Advising, with the intention of establishing a working group of individuals from each college that receive more in-depth training in the new SIS.  In the past, every unit had their go-to system “experts” in their offices that they could turn to for help when they were stuck.  Creating this group was an effort to partner with the colleges to begin to rebuild confidences and put some “experts” back in the colleges. For your reference, here is the list of SIS Leads:
    • NTID – Amy Stornello
    • CIAS – Lauren Cardella and Kris DePalma
    • GCCIS – Brenda Schlageter
    • COS – Mike Cross
    • CHST – Gary Cole
    • KGCOE – Fredda Bishop
    • SCB – Linda Chamot and Lisa Boice
    • COLA – Rachel Scott and John Smithgall
    • CAST – Amy Sickles
    • Multidisciplinary Studies – Megan Walbaum
    • University Studies – Dewey Lawrence
    • Institute Advising – Matt DeMayo
    • Global Campus’ – Mery Palarea
    • Student Affairs – Kerry Hughes and Nicole Boulais
    • Project Management – Marla Roberts

I am confident that together, with time and training, we can iron out any challenges and that long-term, the system will be a substantial benefit to RIT students, faculty and staff.

Academic Excellence: An Update from the Eugene H. Fram chair in Applied Critical Thinking

The Faculty Advisory Group for the Eugene H. Fram chair in Applied Critical Thinking will resume meeting this month.  One of their key tasks will be to consider the current working definition of ACT...

The Faculty Advisory Group for the Eugene H. Fram chair in Applied Critical Thinking will resume meeting this month.  One of their key tasks will be to consider the current working definition of ACT in our RIT mission statement which states ACT is “learning to think in a disciplined and evaluative manner, to analyze and interpret the processes by which various claims are made and reliable conclusions are reached.” Definitions of ACT are remarkably varied, and there is very little nationwide consensus.  The group has been reading Stephen D. Brookfield’s Teaching for Critical Thinking (2012) as they reflect upon our guiding principles and future goals for this significant new initiative.

Student Success: Plus/Minus Grading Update

I will be meeting with the Plus/Minus Grading Committee this month to discuss the results of three studies agreed-upon by the committee...

I will be meeting with the Plus/Minus Grading Committee this month to discuss the results of three studies agreed-upon by the committee: 1) Model-based simulation, 2) History-based grading, and 3) dual-system grading.  All three studies were led by members of the committee and are complete.  I’d like to thank professor Michael Long for taking the lead on the model-based simulation; professor Sandra Connelly, who organized and led the data collection stage of the history-based and dual-system grading studies; and professor Joseph Voelkel for analyzing the collected data. Over 60 instructors participated in this project.  The committee, chaired by Fernando Naveda, will discuss the results of three studies and will assess any impact on student GPA related to the refined grading system. The results of the committee’s discussion will be shared with the Academic Senate and Student Government.

I would like to thank the faculty that participated in this important study on the refined grading system; I know many of you are putting in extra time to prepare for the calendar conversion and appreciate your extra efforts on this important project.

Faculty and Staff Success: Faculty Associate for AALANA Faculty Announcement

An associate professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, has been selected as the Faculty Associate for AALANA Faculty...

Marcos Esterman, associate professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, has been selected as the Faculty Associate for AALANA (African American, Latino American, and Native American) Faculty. He is an executive board member of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) and serves on the AALANA Faculty Advisory Council. Marcos is faculty co-advisor for the RIT chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He serves on the Faculty Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee (FURAC) where he assists in guiding and developing the graduate school preparation component of the McNair Scholars program. Marcos started at RIT in 2004. He received his Ph.D. at Stanford University, and his MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.

The purpose of the Faculty Associates Program is to enable faculty members to focus their attention and talents on areas of priority for the Institute and Academic Affairs while providing leadership and support to their colleagues. This position will assist in the creation and implementation of a mentoring program for faculty; provide guidance on navigating the promotion and/or tenure process, and other duties in support of the success of faculty members. The program will first be piloted with a focus on RIT's female and AALANA faculty. Additional information on Marcos can be found at: http://www.cis.rit.edu/user/20

Faculty and Staff Success: AALANA Faculty Advisory Council Chair Announcement

NTID associate professor selected as chair of AALANA Faculty Advisory Council...

Charlotte Thoms has been selected as the chair of the AALANA Faculty Advisory Council. She is an associate professor in NTID’s Business Studies Department. Charlotte has her Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Rochester and her Master’s degrees from University of Rochester and RIT. At RIT, Charlotte has been a recipient of the Provost Productivity Grant; the Isaac L. Jordan Pluralism Award; the Institute Effective Teaching Committee Award, and a finalist for Eisenhart Outstanding Teacher Award. She serves on the Institute Academic Senate, Institute Review Board, NTID Faculty Congress, Promotion Committee, and Business Studies Advisory Committee at RIT. Information on Charlotte can be found at: http://www.ntid.rit.edu/people/bios/charlotte-thoms  

These positions began January 2nd. Please join me in welcoming Marcos and Charlotte to their new roles.

Faculty and Staff Success: Important Course Redesign Information for Faculty

As we get closer to our first semester, faculty may be looking for the best way to take the first steps in (re)designing the courses that they will deliver next fall...

As we get closer to our first semester, faculty may be looking for the best way to take the first steps in (re)designing the courses that they will deliver next fall. To assist these faculty members, I am pleased that the instructional designers from the Teaching & Learning Services (TLS) are offering to establish "faculty support" locations in your college during the winter and spring quarters.

While in your college, the instructional design team will be available to consult with faculty on course conversion activities such as structuring courses for semesters, implementing active learning strategies, and pacing activities and assessments over 15 weeks. They can also walk through the syllabus templates and other tools on their website that faculty can use to plan, design, and develop courses. And, they can explain the processes for re-editing online course media.

If you would like to find out more about the calendar conversion support available from the Teaching & Learning Services, an instructional designer can also come to a department meeting to share a 15- or 30-minute presentation on best practices for course (re)design for calendar conversion. Contact TLS at tlsconversion@rit.edu to request a presentation for faculty in your college.

I strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to help you in your course (re)design efforts.