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Provost’s Update

November 2013 Provost's Update

Colleagues,

I hope that the Thanksgiving holiday provided you with time for family gatherings, rest and relaxation.  I am sure that the return from the holiday has seemed different for many of you because rather than starting a new quarter, you are in the final throes of the fall semester.  With only two more weeks of classes and one week of finals, we will be at the end of the semester in a blink of an eye. I wish you well in these final weeks.  

In my November (yes, I know it is December) update, you will read about a lot of activity that falls under the priority of faculty success. Much of this activity is due to the hard work of the ADVANCE team members led by Dr. Margaret Bailey. There is information about an upcoming grant program to help faculty develop their leadership and career aspirations, the appointment of Laurie Clayton as the ADVANCE program director, and more about our ongoing efforts to use the COACHE survey to improve our environment for faculty and staff. Because ADVANCE will continue to bring forward new programs that will bring positive change throughout the next five years, I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Margaret as a Senior Faculty Associate for ADVANCE. In this role, she will report to me, making ADVANCE an appropriate high priority for the campus and our work in Academic Affairs. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Bailey on her new appointment. 

Jeremy Haefner, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Rochester Institute of Technology

NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT Program Update

The ADVANCE Connect@RIT project and Faculty Career Development Services in the Wallace Center are pleased to offer a new grant program to support leadership and career development for tenured and tenure-track faculty at RIT.

The ADVANCE Connect@RIT project and Faculty Career Development Services in the Wallace Center are pleased to offer a new grant program to support leadership and career development for tenured and tenure-track faculty at RIT. The Connect Grants Program includes two distinct funding tracks:  a faculty Connect Grant available to individual, tenured and tenure-track faculty (both male and female) and a department-level Connect Grant.  For both tracks, successful grant proposals will support one or more of the Connect@RIT project goals.  Faculty Connect Grants are designed to broaden faculty opportunities and enhance plans of work associated with tenure and promotion preparation and overall career advancement.  Department Connect Grants support creative department-level or group-led efforts to guide and manage faculty through various career stages, as well as project-oriented work to facilitate institutional transformation.  A call for proposals will be issued December 4, with a submission deadline of Friday, January 10, 2014.  Grant awards will be announced in late January.

Laurie Clayton Named Program Director

Dr. Laurie A. Clayton has been appointed program director for the NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT Program.

Dr. Laurie A. Clayton has been appointed program director for the NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT Program. She previously held positions within the Division for Diversity and Inclusion as director for diversity assessment and research management and the Academic Affairs Division as senior assessment associate in the Office of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment.  She also served as the internal evaluator for the ADVANCE Program and RIT’s McNair Scholars Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.  Laurie received her Ed.D. from the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester and is a member of the American Evaluation Association. Please join me in welcoming Laurie to her new role.

2012 COACHE Faculty Survey Results Shared at College Level

The COACHE taskforce continues to disseminate the 2012 COACHE Faculty Survey results through presentations at each of the colleges of RIT. 

The COACHE taskforce continues to disseminate the 2012 COACHE Faculty Survey results through presentations at each of the colleges of RIT.  Members of the college dissemination team include taskforce co-chairs Lynn Wild and Maureen Valentine, Senior Faculty Associate for ADVANCE Margaret Bailey and Program Director Laurie Clayton.  To date, presentations have been completed in the College of Liberal Arts, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and the College of Applied Science and Technology. Most remaining colleges are scheduled during December.  Consultants from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at Harvard will be on-campus for a series of meetings on January 6, 2014, and will participate in an open forum during intersession on January 7to discuss RIT results and answer faculty questions.   

Faculty Mentoring Report Available

Faculty Career and Development Services (FCDS) recently released the report, “Current Practices in Faculty Mentoring at RIT: A Summary of 2013 Questionnaire Results” which is available for review on my website under Priorities: Faculty and Staff Success.

Faculty Career and Development Services (FCDS) recently released the report, “Current Practices in Faculty Mentoring at RIT: A Summary of 2013 Questionnaire Results” which is available for review on my website under Priorities: Faculty and Staff Success. The goal of the survey, completed in October, was to gather information from deans regarding college-level mentoring practices, program structures, criteria and guidelines for faculty of all ranks in an attempt to develop an accurate picture of mentoring practices at RIT.  Colleges are continuing to make good progress establishing and growing their mentoring programs; academic leaders will find the executive summary of the report useful as it contains a list of mentoring resources and materials available through FCDS, as well as NSF ADVANCE research.

WISELI Conference: Refining the Faculty Search Process

The Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has developed and implemented a workshop that provides search committees with the latest tips and advice for running an efficient and effective search, recruiting diverse applicants, and conducting fair, thorough reviews of candidates.

The Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has developed and implemented a workshop that provides search committees with the latest tips and advice for running an efficient and effective search, recruiting diverse applicants, and conducting fair, thorough reviews of candidates. We have invited WISELI to offer their unique training at an on-campus workshop for selected members of the RIT community on December 19. We will also consult with WISELI about how to effectively implement and facilitate similar workshops on campus in the future.

The importance of an effective, thorough search process when recruiting new faculty cannot be overstated. The search process plays a critical role in shaping our faculty and staff for years to come and provides the best opportunity for diversifying our workforce. It is important that we implement effective and efficient recruiting practices while emphasizing excellence and diversity in our hiring practices.  You may recall that I recently chartered a Faculty Search Selection Process Review (FSSPR) taskforce that will be looking at alternative processes that could ultimately be considered for adoption at RIT. The taskforce is co-chaired by Harvey Palmer, dean of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and Twyla Cummings, associate dean of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

I thank the FSSPR taskforce and the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention for their efforts to improve our faculty search process and look forward to future reports and events.

SmartEvals Completion Rates Continue to Rise

SmartEvals opened for students on Monday, November 18.  On that day, the system registered a total of 3,332 logins.  Of those, 2,990 were students; the remaining logins were faculty, department heads and deans.

SmartEvals opened for students on Monday, November 18.  On that day, the system registered a total of 3,332 logins.  Of those, 2,990 were students; the remaining logins were faculty, department heads and deans. During the first week of the Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness (SRATE) survey process, SmartEvals registered 7,050 logins.  By the following Monday, November 25, a total of 23,312 (31%) out of 74,917 SRATE surveys had been completed.  Completion rates per college are all in the double digits with NTID and Saunders College of Business leading with 44% and 35% of their surveys completed, respectively.  Preliminary statistics show that survey completion rates increase on the days when students receive one of the automated SmartEvals e-mails.  Completion rates are even higher when students receive an e-mail from their teachers. Faculty are encouraged to use the SmartEvals e-mail feature to send personalized emails encouraging their students to complete their surveys.

Innovative Learning Institute: New Online Certificate Programs in Development

The Innovative Learning Institute (ILI) and RIT Online have been working with several RIT departments to develop new, advanced online certificates and are hoping to launch 3-5 new certificate programs for fall of 2014. 

The Innovative Learning Institute (ILI) and RIT Online have been working with several RIT departments to develop new, advanced online certificates and are hoping to launch 3-5 new certificate programs for fall of 2014. Currently, baseline data is being gathered so that the impact of the new online offerings can be accurately measured.

RIT Online is in the process of building a virtual campus that will create an immersive experience to parallel the RIT campus experience. It will feature links to online resources across campus as well as information based on the students’ classes. Faculty and staff are also building a strong social media presence for online students to connect with one another outside of the classroom.  The ILI has been working closely with the Division of Enrollment Management and Career Services to build marketing plans for new and existing online offerings.

Keep an eye out for a new ILI website coming soon; the new site will feature a bi-weekly poll and video newsletters from Neil Hair, interim executive director of the ILI. The new website aims to engage the RIT community and solicit ideas on future endeavors within the ILI.

The Center for Multidisciplinary Studies (CMS) has launched an online tutorial and app for students seeking Credit for Experience. This app allows the student to upload their real-world experience to be considered for credit by the CMS team of advisors. More information can be found on their website.

Graduate Education at RIT: Vision 2020

The strategic planning process for graduate education at RIT began in 2012 as a collaborative effort between the Office of Graduate Studies, Deans Council, and the Board of Trustees’ subcommittee on Graduate Education and Research, who crafted the guiding principles for a strategic plan taskforce.

The strategic planning process for graduate education at RIT began in 2012 as a collaborative effort between the Office of Graduate Studies, Deans Council, and the Board of Trustees’ subcommittee on Graduate Education and Research, who crafted the guiding principles for a strategic plan taskforce. The taskforce charge can be found on Priorities: Academic Excellence section of my website.

The taskforce is co-chaired by Hector Flores, dean of the Office of Graduate Studies, and Agamemnon Crassidis, chair of the Graduate Council, and includes representatives from each college, the Ph.D. programs, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Division for Enrollment Management and Career Services and the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies.

The taskforce engaged in an extensive campus-wide outreach effort to gather information and feedback on RIT’s graduate programs. The initial analysis indicates a sense of pride and accomplishment in graduate programs campus wide, and a positive outlook on which to establish further excellence and recognition.

Overall, the satisfaction level was high, suggesting a good foundation on which to build the future graduate experience.  Responses to a survey of graduate program directors and students also suggested that improvement is needed in three areas: graduate advising (faculty and professional staff), professional and career development, and graduate climate.  College- and program-level responses have been shared with the dean of each college.

After meeting almost weekly for two academic quarters, the taskforce presented the strategic plan to the Board of Trustees subcommittee on Research and Graduate Education in July 2013, and the plan was endorsed by the full board at the November meeting. The strategic plan went before Academic Senate this fall and a formal message from the Office of Graduate Studies will be forthcoming. I applaud the accomplishments of the taskforce and appreciate those who assisted in the planning process.