Provost’s Communique: Monthly Update from Provost Battles

Dear Colleagues,

I’m delighted to welcome you to the 2014-15 academic year!  The campus is abuzz with new arrivals – among them, students, faculty, and staff – and all of the excitement that a new year brings.  And UNCW is off to a tremendous start; in the past month we have greeted Chancellor William (“Bill”) Sederburg, seen strong enrollments of high-quality students, facilitated the success of our incoming faculty cohort through an excellent New Faculty Orientation, and participated in an inspirational convocation featuring our own Candace Thompson of the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education. 

I’m also pleased to announce a feature you will be seeing from Academic Affairs this year, the Provost’s Communique.  With the aim of facilitating communication and keeping the campus community apprised of the many wonderful things going on within the Academic Affairs Division, these communiques will appear in the first SWOOP of each month. 

This promises to be a busy year for Academic Affairs, with a number of important initiatives and activities on our docket.  Among them is the Faculty Roles, Responsibilities and Rewards (FR3) Initiative, continuing work that was launched last fall.  The FR3 Task Force, a representative committee co-chaired by CHHS Associate Dean Kathy Browder and Psychology Professor Mark Galizio, is examining our current systems of faculty effort assignment, evaluation, and rewards with the aim of recommending a model that will ensure alignment among these systems and foster faculty achievement.  As indicated in the task force’s charge, “such a model should be consistent with and reflect our institutional mission, priorities and productivity needs, as well as the emerging UNCW and extant UNC strategic plans.”  The recommended model must be in keeping with our traditional values, but also with our fiscal constraints.  To inform its work, the FR3 Task Force expects to engage in data-collection among UNCW faculty, and I encourage your participation when provided that opportunity.

Another important activity continuing from last year focuses on our students:  the Undergraduate Student Success (USS) Initiative.  This work seeks to build on our strengths in this area, in order to enhance student retention, graduation, and overall achievement.  The USS Task Force’s work has included a review and summary of current campus practices and/or characteristics associated with student support and achievement, whether at the institutional, division, or unit level, with the goal to identify:  1) those that are major impediments to undergraduate student success, and 2) those that are highly effective in supporting undergraduate student success.  The recently submitted report, now under review, recommends specific action-steps that will enhance our record of undergraduate student success.  We look forward to moving from the assessment to implementation stage this year.  I appreciate the cross-divisional task force’s solid work under the leadership of co-chairs Terry Curran, Associate Provost for Enrollment Management, and Martin Posey, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

A new endeavor for the 2014-15 academic year will focus on Post-Tenure Review, in response to the June 20, 2014 revision of the UNC System’s policies on Performance Review of Tenured Faculty (UNC Policy 400.3.3).  With those changes, our institutional policies on post-tenure review are no longer consistent with those of the system.  Developed in consultation with Faculty Senate President Gabriel Lugo, a representative ad hoc Committee on Post-Tenure Review has been constituted that will play a key role in guiding the revision of UNCW’s policies.  Specifically, the task force’s charge includes:  1) analyzing and reporting the elements of the UNCW post-tenure review policy that are inconsistent with revised UNC policy 400.3.3 and 2) developing and recommending for campus adoption a revised Post-tenure Review Policy.  As stated in the task force’s charge, “the desired outcome is a robust post-tenure review policy that is consistent with UNCW’s mission and supports and encourages excellence among our faculty, in alignment with the system’s expectations.”  Following completion of the task force’s work, the proposed policy will be forwarded to the Faculty Senate for its consideration and action, en route to additional levels of review and approval (Provost, Chancellor, UNCW Board of Trustees and UNC General Administration).  The campus’ deadline for submission of our proposed policy to UNC General Administration is May 2015.

The ad hoc Committee on Post-Tenure Review will be co-chaired by Charlie Hardy (Dean, College of Health and Human Services) and James Hunt (Faculty, Cameron School of Business), and will also include Dave Glew (Department Chair, Cameron School of Business), Tracey Hargrove (Faculty, Watson College of Education), Patricia Kelley (Faculty, College of Arts and Sciences), Donyell Roseboro (Department Chair, Watson College of Education), Paul Townend (Department Chair, College of Arts and Sciences), Aswani Volety (Dean, College of Arts and Sciences), and Reggie York (Faculty, College of Health and Human Services).  I am deeply appreciative of these individuals’ willingness to undertake this important endeavor, which extends the campus’ ongoing work to refine its policies and procedures on Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion.  I encourage you to be attentive to those discussions, which are underway at Faculty Senate.

Also on the docket for Academic Affairs this year will be leadership searches within our division.  Among them, we expect to initiate searches for the Dean of the Cameron School of Business, a position most recently held by Larry Clark, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for External Programs, most recently held by Johnson Akinleye.  It is also timely to note the September 2 arrival of our new Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Resource Management, David (“Dave”) Ulaszek.  Dave was recruited for the position formerly held by Jessie Sova, and we are delighted that he will be part of the UNCW community.  As well, I hope that you have had the opportunity to welcome our new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the aforementioned Aswani Volety, who started his UNCW tenure in July 2014.

As you can see, 2014-15 will be a busy time for our division.  As a helpful resource, Academic Affairs has developed a website that contains information about the division’s major initiatives (http://uncw.edu/aa/initiatives.html).  I invite you to check that site regularly and to watch for future Provost Communiques to stay abreast of our progress on these endeavors.  If you have contributions or concerns about these initiatives, I encourage you to contact the initiative leaders or committee members identified above and to engage in those on which your participation is solicited. 

I offer my best wishes to you for a successful 2014-15 academic year and thank you for your contributions to making UNCW the very special place that it is.  Please feel free to reach out to me or my Academic Affairs colleagues if you have recommendations for ways to enhance our division or university.  And as always…Go Seahawks!

Best,

Denise A. Battles, Provost