Academic Affairs

Text: Provost's Perspectives, An Update from Provost Sheerer


October 14, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your feedback to the first editions of Provost’s Perspectives, my monthly newsletter to the university community. Please keep your feedback coming since one of my goals is to improve communication between Alderman and faculty and staff on our campus.

Support for Faculty Research

As I meet with various groups and individuals across campus, I am often asked how the Chancellor and I are being supportive of research on our campus.  So, I decided to devote the first part of this newsletter to that topic.

Below, I have noted several different ways, from my perspective, that we are supporting the advancement of research:

  • As part of the allocation of enrollment growth monies, we have committed dollars and positions to both the graduate office and SPARC. We have added resources for graduate assistantships, and we have supported additional positions in both offices. The SPARC position should help in supporting faculty who are submitting grants, and the graduate position should assist Dean Vetter in carrying out his many responsibilities.
  • Dean Vetter and his staff have delivered a “Boot Camp” for encouraging and supporting faculty who are interested in writing and submitting grants. The recent camp occurred just a week ago.
  • We are making an attempt to market more broadly the success of our researchers through OUR, at Board of Trustees meetings, and in many different publications, including the recent research magazine.
  • We have moved positions from trust funds back to general allocation so that the trust dollars are released and indirect income from grants can more readily come to departments and individual researchers.
  • I am working closely with the deans to allow for additional faculty research reassignments in the colleges so that faculty can have a semester to better focus on their research and produce intended outcomes.
  • We have moved most of the faculty positions out to the deans so that lapsed salary money in these positions can be used immediately to fund pilot research projects while searches are being conducted to fill the positions permanently.

 IDEA and Digital Measures

Other topics being presented to me on a rather regular basis are in relation to IDEA and Digital Measures. IDEA is the vehicle for getting student input on the teaching effectiveness of faculty. Digital Measures is the repository for faculty to document their scholarly work.

Both processes need a lot of improvement. At my recent direct reports’ meeting, we discussed, at length, the problems and possible solutions to improve both of these arenas.

At present, Zach Morgan in Institutional Planning, Analytics, and Effectiveness (IPAE) is the point person. Zach will be working closely with the providers and people across campus to improve both IDEA and Digital Measures. 

Please know we recognize the problems that exist and are trying hard to address them.

ADA Compliance

In the last newsletter, I included an announcement about the need to bring all of our online courses into compliance with ADA. Please know that this process is not intended, in any way shape or form, to be punitive. The E-Learning team will simply work with faculty to make sure that the courses are aligned with the law.

This process will take some time because captioning courses, etc. is costly in terms of both time and money, and there are many courses needing an upgrade in this regard.

We ask for your patience and support as we undertake this task.

Thank You!

Thanks to all the faculty and administrators for participating in the academic event in Burney as part of Open House on Saturday, Oct. 1. Feedback was very positive and the Chancellor and I were impressed with the involvement of so many across our campus.

Interim Associate Provost for IPAE

We welcome aboard Dr. Andy Mauk who will assume this position as of Oct. 15, 2016. Andy has a background in institutional research from Florida State and brings excellent skills to this position.

Thank you again for your feedback on Provost's Perspectives.


Marilyn Sheerer signature

Marilyn Sheerer
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs