Convocation 2016 Highlights and Looking Ahead

convocation166It is a tradition to start the new academic year with our Faculty and Staff Convocation (video). Faculty Senate Presiding Officer, Professor Brad Hansen, kicked off the September 21 event with a welcome speech.

He recognized the contributions of Professors Gina Greco and Bob Liebman, our most recent past presiding officers, Faculty Secretary Richard Beyler, and the approximately 60 Faculty Senators. He spoke of the recently formed task force to examine the feasibility of teaching intensive faculty ranks, the implementation of Post-Tenure Review, the newly formed Academic Quality Committee, and an adhoc committee on Liberal Education.

Professor Hansen let the audience know that the Senate will engage in work related to the Strategic Plan and that they look forward to working more closely with our Board of Trustees.

Recognition of fconvocation164aculty and staff
Convocation is a time we recognize new faculty and staff, faculty receiving promotion and tenure, and excellence award recipients. A preview of PSU’s new video, Do Something Great, reflected the attitudes embodied by our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

convocation161Convocation address
President Wiewel delivered the Convocation address. Highlights included:

  • Partnerships with organizations in the Portland region that allow us to create tremendous opportunities for internships and connections for our students and research partnerships with our faculty.
  • Data from a LinkedIn analysis done by our PSU Foundation Board Member, Mark Rosenbaum, shows that 1488 PSU alumni work at Intel (more than OSU and UO combined), 916 at Nike, and 906 at OHSU (at both places more than either OSU or UO). The same holds true at City of Portland, Legacy, PGE, NW Natural, TriMet, Columbia, MODA, Precision Castparts, State of Oregon, Tektronix and Standard Insurance.
  • Ten new buildings either finished, under construction or well into the planning stage that have changed the physical landscape of PSU: Finished: Shattuck Hall; Lincoln Hall; Academic and Student Rec Center; Science Research and Teaching Center; University Pointe Residence Hall; Collaborative Life Sciences Building. Under construction: SBA; Stott Center/Viking Pavilion Coming up: Neuberger Hall; GSE building
  • How we have made our commitment to diversity and equity the center of who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
  • Enrollment in the Honors College topping 800 students.

convocation163Challenges
President Wiewel spoke about our new five-year strategic plan that reaffirms “Let Knowledge Serve the City”, but also lays out new challenges:

  • Student retention
  • Research funding
  • Changes needed to create culturally relevant course content and acknowledging differentiated teaching to distinguish learning styles in the classroom.
  • New forms of credentialing
  • Changes in power dynamics
  • Funding
  • Need to increase philanthropy
  • Free speech
  • Finding a new president

President Wiewel’s focus in his last year will be on the implementation of the Strategic Plan, Funding (Coalition for College Affordability, the legislative session, our Comprehensive Campaign) and the leadership transition.

I am not sure exactly how many were able to stay for the reception, connect with colleagues, and celebrate the start of a new academic year, but we did serve 235 glasses of wine, 38 beers and 26 waters/sodas!

convocation162New Faculty Orientations
New faculty orientations were held last week for full-time and part-time faculty.  It is a time for us to let faculty know how appreciative we are they are here, how hard we know they work, and to make sure they know we are very committed to their success. New full-time faculty had the opportunity to learn about resources and attend a resource fair.

Over 50 PSU employees and students were on hand to provide information. A huge thanks to the Office of Academic Innovation, Research and Strategic Partnerships, University Library, AAUP, Faculty Senate, ASPSU, Disability Resource Center and Testing Center, Human Resources, Global Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Graduate Studies, International Affairs, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Office of Information Technology, PSU Foundation and Athletics.

As we start this new academic year, it is important for us to remember that everyone who works at PSU is here because of our commitment to our students. Enjoy this first week of classes.

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