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Provost’s Update

March 2013 Provost's Update

Colleagues,

crocusAs we move into the latter half of the final spring quarter at RIT, I can’t help but parallel the start of spring with the emergence of a truly exciting time of transformation for RIT. Signs of the changing higher education landscape are peeking through at the Innovative Learning Institute. If you haven’t already, please check out their website and see how they are making the classroom -and learning- more exciting and engaging for both teachers and students. Spring is a time of new beginnings and brings assurance that projects we started will continue with renewed energy. This Update is largely about innovation and academic quality, two things at which RIT excels and rises above the competition. Whether through the PLIG grants or the exciting work being done in access technologies, our faculty and staff continue to protect and promote the uniqueness of experiential learning at RIT. This is an exciting time not just for our graduating class, but for the entire campus as we go through fundamental shifts in thinking, learning and teaching. I applaud your efforts and appreciate your commitment to academic excellence.

Jeremy Haefner, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Student Success: Plus-Minus Grading Implementation Postponed Until Fall 2014

Minus Grading Implementation Postponed Until Fall 2014

You may recall my message earlier this month regarding the implementation of Plus-Minus Grading. The results of the recent three-part study completed by the Plus-Minus Grading taskforce were presented at the March 7 Academic Senate meeting.

Minus Grading Implementation Postponed Until Fall 2014

You may recall my message earlier this month regarding the implementation of Plus-Minus Grading. The results of the recent three-part study completed by the Plus-Minus Grading taskforce were presented at the March 7 Academic Senate meeting.

While the taskforce’s findings do not provide any reason to deviate from implementing the refined grading system, there is still more work to be done to assure that there are adequate policies in place relating to student grades and/or GPA. To assure consistency and uniform implementation, conversations need to take place at the college, program and department levels regarding multiple section courses, course sequences, and prerequisites, as well as scholarship, athletic and employment requirements.

As a result, RIT will postpone the start date of the refined grading system to the fall of 2014. Despite this delay, RIT is fully committed to implementing the refined grading system which places us more in-line with our peer institutions and provides a more accurate assessment of student learning. 

Faculty and Staff Success: B2 Approved by Academic Senate

I am delighted to share that Policy B2.0, Charter for Academic Governance, was approved at the March 21 Academic Senate meeting.

I am delighted to share that Policy B2.0, Charter for Academic Governance, was approved at the March 21 Academic Senate meeting.  I truly hope that you will take the time to become informed and voice your opinion by voting. Currently voting members include those tenured and tenure-track members of the university who:

  • hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor or instructor;
  • serve full-time in their appointments at RIT; and
  • devote at least half-time to teaching, research, academic administration, or other academically-related duties.

Voting will be available via Clipboard; more details will be released shortly via a communication from Paul Tymann, chair of Academic Senate, to voting faculty. A two-thirds majority of votes is required in order to approve the change to the by-laws.

As you know, the charter is the cornerstone of shared governance and one cannot underestimate its significance. I hope you will take advantage of the critical role you play in this process.

To review the current Policy B2.0, please visit 
http://www.rit.edu/~w-policy/sectionB/B2.html

Academic Excellence: Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness

The Academic Affairs Committee of Academic Senate has presented the results of the pilot studies of online student rating system to measure teaching effectiveness.

The Academic Affairs Committee of Academic Senate has presented the results of the pilot studies of online student rating system to measure teaching effectiveness. At the March 21 Academic Senate meeting, the committee formally recommended the use of SmartEvals software, which received excellent reviews from students and professors alike. There are many new features including –but not limited to—customized questions, the ability to gather input mid-semester, and access from mobile devices. More information is available at the SmartEvals website. Please look for a comprehensive message from my office later in April.  

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

Chip Sheffield, the Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking (ACT), led a “Lunch and Learn” workshop on ACT for full-time faculty on March 22. 

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

Chip Sheffield, the Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking (ACT), led a “Lunch and Learn” workshop on ACT for full-time faculty on March 22.  The response from faculty was enthusiastic and all seats were quickly reserved.  He plans to repeat the workshop in the near future, so keep an eye out for the upcoming announcement. If you were on the wait list or have an interest in attending, please email him at cbsfaa@rit.edu . Dr. Sheffield is pleased to announce that noted NYU sociologist Richard Arum, co-author of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, will speak on critical thinking at RIT on September 26.

 

Academic Excellence: Academic Quality/AGB project

I’m proud to share that RIT is among a small group of universities partnering with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the Teagle Foundation, to improve board oversight of student learning.

I’m proud to share that RIT is among a small group of universities partnering with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the Teagle Foundation, to improve board oversight of student learning. RIT will collaborate with institutions including Virginia Tech and Valparaiso University to establish metrics and governance practices that clarify and streamline the oversight process.

AGB will aggregate the data collected and recommend practices, metrics and dashboards that can improve board engagement within a broad spectrum of institutions facing these issues.

AGB will highlight successful case studies and metrics in AGB publications and via its website, and spotlight exemplary practices and outcomes at an upcoming national governance conference. In the coming months a webpage with additional resources on the topic of academic quality will be added my website as part of the Education Core Committee website.

I invite you to attend the upcoming 5/1 Provost’s Town Hall, 1-4pm in the University Gallery, where this topic will be discussed. I will be joined by Chris Licata, associate provost for academic affairs, Anne Wahl, director of student learning outcomes and assessment, and Charlie Brown, a member of the RIT Board of Trustees.

Academic Excellence: Registration Now Open for TigerTerm(SM) Intensive Course Design events

An exciting component of our semester calendar is the three-week January intersession.  Many questions are being asked around campus about the kinds of courses that could run during intersession, and effective intensive course strategies.

 

An exciting component of our semester calendar is the three-week January intersession.  Many questions are being asked around campus about the kinds of courses that could run during intersession, and effective intensive course strategies.

To help our faculty and academic leadership answer these and other questions, three intensive course design events have been organized for April 18-19 with Dr. Jeffrey Noblett, associate dean of the faculty at Colorado College. For more workshop descriptions and registration, click on the links below.

Designing an Intensive Course Series, Part 1: Plenary and Q & A Session
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
2210/2220 Louise Slaughter Hall (CIMS)

Designing an Intensive Course Series, Part 2: Workshop
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
2230 Louise Slaughter Hall (CIMS)

Designing an Intensive Course Series, Part 3: Travel Study Courses
Friday, April 19, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
2230 Louise Slaughter Hall (CIMS)

Seats are limited to 25 participants for Part 2 and Part 3. Registration closes April 15. 

Research & Innovation: Effective Access Technology

The Center for Access Technology at NTID was created in 2006 to address the challenges of adapting new technologies for use in a university setting. Since then, momentum has grown around this major initiative, serving as a catalyst to bring together people in research and scholarship to support all RIT students.

The Center for Access Technology at NTID was created in 2006 to address the challenges of adapting new technologies for use in a university setting. Since then, momentum has grown around this major initiative, serving as a catalyst to bring together people in research and scholarship to support all RIT students. In December, $100,000 in seed funding was awarded to 15 faculty and students working to address issues in accessibility. In partnership with the Al Sigl Society, the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and the Division of Research, our students and faculty are using both creative and methodical approaches to find solutions to pressing accessibility issues. These projects—from a “Smart Cane” prototype for the blind and visually impaired, to innovative new technologies for captioning multimedia presentations—will transform lives and improve the quality of education received by all RIT students. I’m pleased that RIT, already known for ingenuity and innovation, is proving to be a community leader in this arena. Opportunities are emerging quickly in this industry, and I look forward to growth in this area as we strive to become a future Center of Excellence in Effective Access Technology. (photo credit: A. Sue Weisler)

Research & Innovation: PLIG Grants Awarded

I’m pleased to share that 15 faculty have been awarded Provost’s Learning Innovation Grants. The PLIG program awarded 11 exploration grants (seed funds for faculty to investigate an innovative mode or model of teaching and learning) and 4 focus grants (funds for faculty to develop or apply an innovative mode or model of teaching and learning that directly supports an RIT priority).

I’m pleased to share that 15 faculty have been awarded Provost’s Learning Innovation Grants. The PLIG program awarded 11 exploration grants (seed funds for faculty to investigate an innovative mode or model of teaching and learning) and 4 focus grants (funds for faculty to develop or apply an innovative mode or model of teaching and learning that directly supports an RIT priority). An overwhelming majority of projects will further explore the flipped classroom model. A flipped classroom is one in which students view related online content before the scheduled class meeting and classroom time is used for discussion, problem solving, and other activities that allow for increased engagement and can lead to reduced drop/fail/withdraw rates.

To review the awards and see project overviews, please visit: http://wallacecenter.rit.edu/tls/2013-provost%E2%80%99s-learning-innovation-grant-recipients