Undergraduate Studies Annual Report
Significant Activities in the Unit during 2008-2009
Established UNF Reads common reading program for entering freshman and UNF community
Established working American Democracy Project Steering Committee
American Democracy Project sponsored wide range of events and activities in support of the ADP mission
Interim OFE Director converted to permanent director and OFE effectively integrated with larger UNF initiatives
Successful recruitment of new Honors director and plan for restructuring Honors and improving recruitment and retention
Collective deliberation through the Undergraduate Studies Council yielding substantive policy recommendations for improving undergraduate experience
Developed pilot Freshman Learning Community model that is scalable and potentially sustainable
Developed plan to create Transfer Student Advisory Committee to focus on needs of transfer students, propose implementation of best practices, and support the work of the Transfer Articulation Coordinator in Enrollment Services
Completed fourth year of TLO competition and awards
Exemplary performance by Coordinator of Undergraduate Initiatives who is responsible for managing the TLO and ADP initiatives
Collaborative arrangements and relationships with other units/programs on campus
Undergraduate Studies Council support and commitment to the Undergraduate Studies mission
Unable to effectively sustain successful programs such as FIGs and Faculty Orientation Advising
Unable to effectively generate sufficient input from undergraduate students through different efforts
Unable to effectively gain dedicated positions in support of undergraduate initiatives (e.g. first-year program director)
Unable to make significant modifications to university-wide academic advising structure
Goal #1 in strategic plan and the associated performance measures will necessitate investment in undergraduate studies initiatives
Request to develop plan for improving retention and graduation rates
Inconsistent institutional commitment to undergraduate experience enhancements and improvements
Competing demands for scare resources and priorities
Center for Instruction and Research Technology Annual Report
Significant Achievements within the Division, 2008-09
CIRT continues to experience growth in activity and faculty interactions. We provided more than 30 faculty events during the past year on a variety of topics, some in collaboration with other departments. We also provided extensive specialized workshops and consultation to several departments who were developing and expanding online coursework. CIRT led efforts on campus to evaluate and select a collaborative tool to support the growth of online learning. Staff members continue to present at national and local conferences and publish cooperatively with faculty. The addition of a graphic designer to our staff from the reorganization of the Fine Arts Center has eased workload and added new capabilities.
Strong relationship with ITS in governance and strategic planning for the Blackboard Learning system.
Excellent reputation among faculty for customer service.
Extensive website with a broad range of resources for faculty.
Knowledgeable staff who are current with cutting edge tools and trends in instructional technology.
Well-funded in terms of capability available in center and equipment available for faculty checkout.
Insufficient access and skillset to support development requested for some faculty projects, particularly in the area of research.
Activity and staff have outgrown space.
Growth of online learning programs on campus brings opportunity to secure additional staff and resources to support this growth.
There still exists opportunity to improve internal processes/systems to reduce menial tasks by staff and free up more time for faculty consultation and projects.
Current budget climate, coupled with increased use of online tools and demand for services, may threaten ability to sustain high level of faculty support.
Office of Faculty Enhancement
The Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE) provided 23 faculty events and small group meetings over the past year. These events in addition to individual consultation accounted for approximately 400 faculty contact hours. These events and small group meetings addressed faculty needs (expressed in faculty surveys) and institutional initiatives. Improvements to the OFE website allow faculty to search Library holdings and access resources relevant to institutional goals. The website seems to be useful to many people, as 30% of visitors return regularly. The OFE continues to maintain positive cooperative relationships with supporting centers across campus, such as the Center for Instructional and Research Technology (CIRT) and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). Over the past year, the OFE has supported the assessment of student learning and program development by providing support for faculty- and program-led research projects into the scholarship of teaching and learning. The OFE has supported faculty development and advancement through workshops and panels on promotion and tenure, grant writing, and academic writing circles.
Faculty members seem to be participating more in initiatives and programs offered by the OFE. Their satisfaction with these programs remains relatively high. The OFE has been able to maintain access to some resources and increase access to others through online web pages and databases. The OFE has been able to increase its connection with various campus stakeholders and centers to provide valuable integration of faculty interests with initiatives connected to student learning, educational technology, scholarship, and funding. Faculty members seem to rely on the OFE to address their development and information needs and to access campus resources efficiently.
Previous strategic plans for the OFE included the goal of recruiting an Assistant Director of the Office of Faculty Enhancement, likely to offset some of the workload of the Director and to provide a more nuanced and balanced approach to faculty development. Increasing the staff in the OFE would enhance the development opportunities for faculty development; however, the current budget realities and other institutional priorities likely will postpone the appointment of such a position. Although the OFE has been able to implement a number of initiatives to support faculty development, the maintenance and sustainability of these initiatives are dependent on the availability of personnel and resources.
As faculty members are connecting more and more with the OFE, opportunities for collaboration increase. If the OFE can facilitate these collaborative efforts and provide both the support and recognition of these faculty efforts, these initiatives will be sustained and ultimately provide value for the growing number of new and advancing faculty members. The best opportunities for growth and improvement of services are those that have institutional support (e.g., Transformational Learning Opportunity Grants, Community-Based Learning) or are connected with the institution’s strategic plan (e.g., Diversity, Engaged Learning). The OFE will need to find ways for faculty to connect meaningfully with these initiatives while at the same time recognizing and supporting the broader needs of faculty to develop within their careers and disciplines.
The value of the OFE workshops and programs need to be clearly recognizable, communicated, and valid relative to faculty demands and career paths. For example, if faculty members recognize that using engaging teaching practices can facilitate learning, they may be motivated to pursue these practices, document their impact, and disseminate their experiences among their fellow faculty members and colleagues outside of the university. These activities speak to excellence in teaching that can be provided as evidence in promotion and tenure processes and can lead to recognition of the faculty member’s work nationally and internationally. Because these initiatives are long-term, it can be difficult for faculty to see the connection between their work currently and the rewards that will come later. Programs and initiatives that help make the connection between faculty efforts and future success will prompt faculty to make the initial investments necessary to ultimately improve student learning and advance their career.