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Provost’s Update

October 2013 Provost's Update

Colleagues,

The last few weeks have provided an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come with our global campuses and more broadly, with our aspirations to internationalize our educational experience.   In Zagreb, Croatia we dedicated a new educational space to serve the growing number of students enrolling in international business and information technology at our RIT/ACMT campus.  Back in New York, our campus served as host for more than 20 visiting faculty from Malmӧ University (Sweden) for our first joint symposium on urban sustainability and the transformation of post-industrial cities. The following week we hosted 14 senior administrators from Kanazawa Institute of Technology (Japan) to celebrate 20 years of partnership. Meanwhile, deeper exchange partnerships are being forged with universities in China, Peru, and Africa. It is increasingly apparent that our commitment to internationalizing our university is not just word play but rather is manifest in our experiential nature.

Here is my October update. 

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

COACHE Faculty Survey

As you may know, we are making sharing the results of the COACHE survey a key focus area as we celebrate our strengths and make improvements to areas of concern. 

As you may know, we are making sharing the results of the COACHE survey a key focus area as we celebrate our strengths and make improvements to areas of concern. Together with the COACHE Taskforce, we are making presentations to the campus; we have completed these interactive discussions with deans, chairs and directors, associate deans, and the Academic Senate. A campus-wide discussion on the COACHE results will be available in a town-hall meeting, which is directed to full-time faculty. The town hall meeting is scheduled for Friday, October 18 at 9 a.m. in the NTID Student Development Center. You can see past presentations on this topic on my website, www.rit.edu/provost under the “All Communications” tab. 

Engagement and Climate Survey

Back in 2012, in addition to the COACHE survey, the campus administered two other important surveys to faculty and staff. One was the Engagement survey, which captured how faculty and staff felt about their jobs and their work environment. 

Back in 2012, in addition to the COACHE survey, the campus administered two other important surveys to faculty and staff. One was the Engagement survey, which captured how faculty and staff felt about their jobs and their work environment. The other was the Climate survey, which measured how faculty and staff felt the campus was doing to embrace our diversity and inclusive excellence values. Thanks to the work of the staff from Human Resources the data has been compiled and the results are available in a presentation posted to my website. Overall, I am pleased to report that in the key measures, the surveys show improvement and we compare well with our peers. 

Reviewing the Faculty Hiring Process

Hiring and retaining an excellent and diverse faculty is a top priority for RIT. A diverse and highly skilled faculty is essential to achieving the university’s mission of advancing scholarship and providing an exceptional educational experience for its students. 

Hiring and retaining an excellent and diverse faculty is a top priority for RIT. A diverse and highly skilled faculty is essential to achieving the university’s mission of advancing scholarship and providing an exceptional educational experience for its students. Over the years, RIT has hired many truly dedicated and distinguished faculty members and has made substantial progress towards our goal of diversifying the faculty. The university has changed substantially over the years, and the time is right to evaluate our hiring processes and see if any changes are warranted. Dean Harvey Palmer from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and Associate Dean Twyla Cummings from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences are co-chairing a taskforce that will (1) conduct an objective assessment of RIT’s current faculty search and hiring processes and strategies, including establishing a measurement of success in both areas (i.e., hiring and retention) that accounts for both process outcomes and efficiencies; and (2) benchmark best practices at other universities in order to inform process improvements at RIT.  Ultimately, the task force is expected to articulate approaches to improve our existing practices in order to help RIT achieve a high-quality, diverse faculty body. You can find the charge of the taskforce online. 

Department visits

Back in August, I announced that I am making visits to the academic departments across the campus and I am so pleased to have these conversations. I have completed meetings with the department faculty as well as the staff in the College of Science. During these meetings, any topic is ‘fair game’ and often the discussion focuses on issues of space, workload, and the semester change. I look forward to visiting to as many departments as possible this academic year. 

Back in August, I announced that I am making visits to the academic departments across the campus and I am so pleased to have these conversations. I have completed meetings with the department faculty as well as the staff in the College of Science. During these meetings, any topic is ‘fair game’ and often the discussion focuses on issues of space, workload, and the semester change. I look forward to visiting to as many departments as possible this academic year. 

NSFADVANCE Connect@RIT

The NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT project team’s social science researchers are analyzing results of focus groups conducted in the spring of 2013 on faculty who self-identified as women of color (WoC) and deaf or hard-of-hearing (D/HH). 

The NSF ADVANCE Connect@RIT project team’s social science researchers are analyzing results of focus groups conducted in the spring of 2013 on faculty who self-identified as women of color (WoC) and deaf or hard-of-hearing (D/HH).  Based on their findings, a new collection of workshops, the Connectivity Series, has been launched for women faculty within these two sub-populations to meet the needs identified in the focus groups.

In November, the ADVANCE Connect grants program will launch for faculty and department heads.  The program will seek proposals for activities and initiatives which are aligned with the ADVANCE grant goals.  

SmartEvals Update

With support from ITS's Data Management Group, and the Registrar's office, the Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness (SRATE) office has been implementing this fall's SRATE surveys on the SmartEvals system. 

With support from ITS's Data Management Group, and the Registrar's office, the Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness (SRATE) office has been implementing this fall's SRATE surveys on the SmartEvals system.  The colleges were invited to provide college-specific questions to be added to the ten university-wide questions that will be included in every SRATE survey.  Those colleges that chose to add their questions to SRATE surveys have been set up and the period to add college-specific questions has concluded. Faculty were also invited to add their own questions to SRATE surveys.  In the past month, 374 faculty and administrators have logged in to the SmartEvals system.

In partnership with the colleges and the Division of Student Affairs, we scheduled 32 SmartEvals training sessions that were attended by 34% of RIT faculty, including adjunct faculty.  One of these sessions was recorded and will be made available on the SmartEvals section of my website within the next couple of weeks.

January Intersession

Our first intersession is shaping up to be an exciting time on campus, with many opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Our first intersession is shaping up to be an exciting time on campus, with many opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

  • TigerTerm courses
    I am happy to share our first ever selection of January TigerTerm courses.  The College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science will be offering four courses each.  Liberal Arts will be offering courses on public speaking, criminal justice, writing, and principles of microeconomics.  Science will be offering a calculus A-to-II bridge course, introduction to statistics I, design of scientific experiments and clean energy.  The Academic Support Center will be offering a free critical math skills course.  Due to the intensive nature of three and five-week courses, learning may be organized differently from semester courses. In addition to lecturing, intensive courses may include class discussions, instructional scaffolding, short presentations, frequent in-class and out-of-class team activities, team-writing, and other strategies designed to take advantage of the focused and intense learning environment allowed by this type of course.

 

  • Faculty Getaway: Destination Intersession January 6-24, 2014 : Faculty Career Development Services (FCDS) in the Wallace Center has partnered with departments across RIT to host nearly two dozen sessions, presentations, and workshops that will help faculty build skills for the spring semester. A wide variety of professional development activities will be available on topics including: using e-books in for classes, open-access publishing, teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing students, project-based learning, and academic technologies.  More information about Destination Intersession is available here, and online registration is now open. I hope you are able to participate in one or more sessions of what will be an engaging opportunity to connect with peers and develop skills to use in the classroom and beyond.

 

  • Faculty Showcase: An innovative segment of Destination Intersession will be our first “RIT's Got Talent” Faculty Showcase. Share your passion, interests or hobbies in a short (15 minute), carefully-prepared talk, demonstration, or performance. I encourage you to consider submitting a proposal to present at the showcase, which will be held January 8. Details are available here.

 

  • Save the Date: a directors and chairs meeting will be held Monday, January 6 in the University Gallery. This will include my report out on COACHE progress so far, task force accomplishments and implementation plans for spring semester.
NSF Day in Rochester – November 8

RIT, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the University of Rochester will be holding a one-day workshop on Friday, November 8, 2013. The workshop will provide an overview of the foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget. 

RIT, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the University of Rochester will be holding a one-day workshop on Friday, November 8, 2013. The workshop will provide an overview of the foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget.  It will cover the NSF proposal and merit review process and NSF programs that cut across disciplines.  Additionally, representatives from the seven NSF directorates and the Office of International and Integrative Activities will make presentations on their programs and will also be available informally and in breakout sessions for discussions of potential research proposals.

The workshop will be held at the RIT Inn and Conference Center, and registration is available on the NSF website.  Registrations are due by Friday, November 1.