What People are Saying About Provost’s Challenge

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The SMSU Ballroom was buzzing with excitement on May 19. Hundreds came to celebrate the completion of the Provost’s Challenge projects.

The Provost’s Challenge launched in the Fall 2012 with ideas generated by faculty and staff. The Challenge provided the infrastructure and funds to innovate and implement technological solutions to change curriculum and student processes. Their collective impact on the student experience is greater than the sum of the parts and reflect PSU’s ability to engage in transformational change.

The room was set up to showcase each of the impressive 24 projects. Project leads and team members were available to provide information and respond to questions. PSU student jazz trio, Pete LaMalfa, Cary Miga, and John Lakey, provided great background music.

Terra DeHart, a Graphic Design student at PSU, caricatured the event and commented, “It’s really cool. I didn’t expect it to be so busy; everyone has been really nice.”

PC_GraphicRecording_1050I was pleased to see faculty and staff from all schools/colleges and the Library; the deans; administrators and staff from Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, President’s Office, and Research and Strategic Partnerships; PSU Foundation employees; Board of Trustees Sho Dozono, Carolina Gonzalez-Prats, Maude Hines, Tom Imeson; Athletic Director Mark Rountree; and Alumni Association Director Tom Bull.

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What was it like for those who made it all happen?

Andreea Nica, a Sociology doctoral student working in the Provost’s Office, interviewed some project members and guests. What struck me about their comments was the frequent mention of collaborating with colleagues.

Annabelle Dolidon, Associate Professor of French, World Languages and Literatures, was a collaborator on Project #92 – Giving Credit Where Credit is Due. She worked on the project for two years and described it as “a long and wonderful process” that will serve our students by creating a mechanism and a path for recognition of already gained knowledge. “It’s been a great process and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people; it’s [Project #92] interdisciplinary and these are people I would not have met otherwise from other departments.”

Kirk Kelly, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer for OIT, became involved in PC_1the Provost’s Challenge in January 2013 when the 160 proposed project presentations were made. He was proud that “OIT was involved to help make things happen on the backend and be supporters for the awardees of the Provost’s Challenge projects.”

Kelly further comments, “There has been a lot of engagement at multiple levels.”

Project Lead Martha Dyson, Academic Adviser in College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, shared thoughts on Project #88–Faculty Advising Initiative. “It was great to provide tools to faculty who had asked for resources to better do their jobs as advisors and to pull those all together in one resource on the website that we created.”

Dyson elaborates, “One of the things I really loved about the Provost’s Challenge projects was that we got to work with different people in different parts of the university. I learned what other people did and how what we did impacted what they did, how what they did impacted what students did. It really taught me how we can work together to better serve students.”

Project Lead Yves Labissiere, Interim Director, University Studies said of Project #169 – Making Learning Visible: An Eportfolio Initiative to Transform Learning and Assessment at PSU, “What’s most exciting to me about the project is being able to collaborate with colleagues from all over campus to collectively decide on a platform for supporting ePortfolios on campus…I think that this project engaged an entire campus community to answer fundamental questions about teaching, learning and assessment.”

Project #63 – University Studies Online General Education Pathways
Project Lead Rowanna Carpenter, Director of Assessment and Upper Division Clusters, University Studies, summed up her experience, “For me it was a chance to bring together faculty from across, I think we have eight different departments, talking about general education. We don’t get that opportunity very often and I think that means stronger courses for students for a more coherent general education experience.”

I also want to give a big thank you to the event manager, Brandi Bush Bergkvist, and the event project team:

Reagan Vincennes
Patrice Morris Hudson
Lisa Molinelli
Janelle Voegele
Izabella Warner
Laura Ehrlich
Mariana Sagalovsky
Kale Brewer

In case you missed the event, here are a few important highlights.

We learned a lot from the Provost’s Challenge that will help us as we move forward with other reTHINK PSU initiatives. We do not underestimate the significance of this work and the improvement for the student experience. We are very proud of everyone who worked on and supported the projects.


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