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The Weekly Blab 1.5

The Weekly Blab

Vol. 1, Number 5—September 15, 2006

 

“Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.”

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Here we go with the fifth issue of the Weekly Blab. Please—share your thoughts!  Bear in mind that some of the items that may appear here may later disappear without a trace upon further consideration, due to their preliminary nature!

 

First off, some follow-ups on previous items:

 

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ITEM:  Enrollment.  The enrollment is currently 4220.  If you’re wondering where are these additional students coming from, I hear that there are some students attending class until they can afford to pay, and then coming in to register.  If there are students attending your class who don’t appear on your roster, you should send them to see the Registrar immediately.

 

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ITEM:  T1, T2, T3 Status.  The open forum on faculty workload and T1, T2, T3 status was held on Thursday, September 14 at 1-3 PM, and the attendance was pretty large—it looked to me like there were more than 50 different people there (maybe more when you take into account people coming and going), the most I’ve seen at an open forum.

 

I got some feedback that some faculty were worried that we were about to adopt a proposal which would make T1 faculty have to apply for T1 status every year.  This idea was in one of the draft proposals that the Deans and Chairs discussed, but as stated several times, the draft was created to provoke discussion.  No proposal of any kind will be adopted without going through the faculty senate and then faculty meeting.  

 

Anyway, I don’t know if Joel is going to provide minutes of the open forum, but here are the main points as I remember them:

 

  • There seemed to be consensus on better defining the “normal expectation” in terms of scholarship for T2 faculty, and the “heightened expectation” for scholarship for T1 faculty.
  • Many (if not all) T1 faculty don’t look at their three course per term load as a “course reduction”—they look at it as part of the conditions upon which they initially accepted their positions.
  • There was some concern that we would move too far in becoming a research university.  Some faculty specifically accepted their positions based on the fact that we aren’t one.
  • Most seemed to agree that there should be some way for T2 faculty to get a course release based on strong scholarship.
  • Most seemed to agree that there should be some mechanism for determining that T1 faculty were operating at the heightened expectation for scholarship. 
  • Several people brought up that it seemed wrong that a T1 faculty member could elect no to choose “Scholarly Work” as one of the areas for review for promotion/post-tenure review/tenure.
  • More support needs to be given for faculty travel.  The old “tuition differential” pot to help cover travel for graduate faculty needs to be revived in some form.
  • Some felt that T3 status for Assistant/Associate/Full professors was inappropriate.  Others disagreed with this point.

The next step will be to call together a committee (either the GPC subcommittee supplemented with additional non-graduate faculty, or an ad-hoc committee with some GPC subcommittee representation) to prepare a new draft policy for further consideration.  Stay tuned for more details.

 

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ITEM:  GoalQuest.  The demo and discussion on Goalquest and how we might use it was held on Friday, September 15 at 1 PM.  Jim Cooper showed the preliminary SPSU site, and stated it would be going live in a few weeks.  The site contained several articles of the type previously described, as well as some initial student blogs (called UBlog, some faculty, students and staff have been asked to write them) and a sample MySpace area (called USpace). Additional sections related to what there is to do on campus and in the area; and the “My Personal Guide to SPSU” section will be added later (see last week’s BLAB for a copy of the template for this section).  The prevailing view among attendees (there were about 35, about 25 of which were faculty) was that the GoalQuest site looked good.  It was also suggested that a section linking students to WebCT-Vista be present.

 

A discussion then took place about the “My Personal Guide” area.  The following were the major points:

  • An online template (like the MySpace template) should be set up so that faculty advisors and chairs can generate their page of content easily
  • The content of the advising part should be up to the departments, and should not discourage students in any way from face-to-face meetings with faculty and advisors.  In fact, it should encourage such meetings.
  • This was a good way for students to interact electronically, which would lead to a better integration on campus and better retention.
  • This could be helpful for advising, which would lead to more engaged students, who would do better in class.
  • Department chairs would be able to contact their majors (but not other department’s majors) and advisors their advisees by uploading messages to them.  This would result in stronger communication.

At the end of the meeting, I asked if those present supported the idea of going forward with a “My Personal Guide” area, or if it seemed to be too much work for any benefits.  All agreed we should go forward with this.  I will therefore ask the GoalQuest people to create the online advisor/chair templates, and I’ll send out an email asking all chairs and advisors to prepare the necessary content.

 

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ITEM:  Restructuring of the Schools.  As indicated in last week’s BLAB, I met with the Department Chairs on Friday morning at 10 AM about the school restructure issue. Ronny Richardson will chair the Chairs (that doesn’t sound right!) in this effort.  A number of scenarios were briefly discussed by various Chairs at the meeting, including (and these are just possibilities, folks) Business being its own school; arranging into Colleges which may have more than one school in them; having all Engineering/ET departments together in one school; splitting CSE (CS with sciences, IT with Business, SWE with Engineering); and leaving everything the way it is now.  I encourage faculty to let their Chairs know their thoughts.   To further encourage input, Joel has put a discussion of possible restructure on the agenda of the next faculty meeting.

 

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New Items:

ITEM:  Master Planning.  The Master Planning extended group met last Thursday, with Mel Lockhart (Paulien Associates) presenting a preliminary look at the data and what it might mean in terms of growth needs.  She went through a discussion of the factors involved in calculating space needs, as well as how SPSU compared with other institutions she had worked with in terms of the initial space/utilization/etc. data she had accumulated thus far.  She ended with a graphic showing what SPSU’s enrollment would be if we grew at a rate equal to the average growth over the last 5 years (which would take us to 5500 students in 10 years); at a rate equal to last year’s growth (which would take us to 11,500 students in 10 years!) and for five scenarios that I calculated for her, based on input from various sources (Scenario 1:  3% growth, no major changes.  Scenario 2:  Add Mechatronics next year, and additional engineering majors 1, 3 and 5 years after that.  Scenario 3:  Add Psychology next year, Education the next, and another LA major 2 years later.  Scenario 4:  Articulate strongly with DTAE colleges, leading to strong transfer enrollment growth from them.  Scenario 5:  Scenarios 2, 3 and 4 happen together.)  If anyone wants to see the scenarios, I will post them.  In any event, the scenarios result in student numbers between 6500 and 8500 in 10 years.  Mel will therefore calculate space needs based on (if I remember this right) 5500, 6500, 7500 and 8500 student scenarios.  Mel and Joel will find a time so that she can make a presentation to the faculty of her preliminary findings, so that the faculty can provide a “reality check”.

 

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ITEM:  Congratulations Time.

 

  • Congratulations to the English, Technical Communication and Media Arts Department (especially Carol Barnum and the TCOM advisory board) on their wonderful roast/fundraising dinner honoring Ken Rainey.  Lots of former graduates were in attendance, as well as current (and former) faculty.  The dinner was in the style of an Oktoberfest, and there were several moving (and funny) tributes to Ken, as well as a silent auction and raffle.

 

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OK—That’s it for now.  Let me know your thoughts.  Also, let me know if there’s any topic you’d like me to address, and I’ll try to do it.

 

Advance Notice:  There will be no Weekly Blab for September 30, as I will be in China that week.  I’ll include anything interesting that happens there in the subsequent issue.

 

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REMINDER—Mid-Term Grades are due on October 3.  Remember—you only have to enter S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory)—no letter grades are needed.  Mid-term grades need be entered for undergraduate courses only.  We will send out information on how to enter mid-term grades in the next few days.  Please remind part-time faculty of this.

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