Technology is ubiquitous in our learning and work environment. It is good to take a pause and assess how our students access and use technology to enhance their learning experience. Our Chief Information Officer, Kirk Kelly, recently shared with the President’s Executive Committee and the Academic Leadership Team survey results of PSU student technology use.
In this guest blog, Kirk shares the results in order for us to be responsive and better understand student behavior and needs.
In September 2015, PSU launched an Advising Redesign Project with goals to build campus-wide involvement and support to assess how we advise students. The Academic and Advising Redesign workgroup presented their final report and recommendations on the next steps for advising at a campus-wide open forum in November 2016.
In this Vlog (video blog) below, you will hear more about the project from one of our advisors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Martha Dyson, and Sukhwant Jhaj, our Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success.
Our multilingual faculty has shared with me the unique challenges they face in their scholarly writing. Their desire for professional development opportunities that enrich their research efforts are explicit goals in PSU’s Strategic Plan: Goal 2, 1.3, “Make professional development for all faculty a personal and institutional priority”, and 3.2, “Create opportunities for faculty and graduate students to develop and enrich their research efforts.”
While we have had a very successful Jumpstart Academic Writing Program in the Office of Academic Innovation, application of our equity lens for Goal 2 of our Strategic Plan calls for “committing internal resources to support academic, research and creative activities that diversify our scholarly portfolio and the knowledge we generate on campus.” It is with this in mind that I charged an ad hoc committee to investigate the different approaches we could take to provide international faculty writing support.
Goal #1 of PSU’s Strategic Plan is to Elevate Student Success. The first initiative is to put students first by reducing the cost of completing a PSU degree.
I blogged two years ago about how the cost of course materials impact the cost of a degree. At that time, the College Board estimated the 2013-14 cost for textbooks and supplies for the average undergraduate to be $1,207. That cost increased to $1,298 for FY 2015-16. In some cases, the cost of course materials exceeds a course’s tuition.
Student advising is one of a number of factors that impact student success. PSU faculty and professional advisors use different advising models depending on the school/college/department. Several years ago, PSU added a number of professional advisors and saw an increase in the retention of full-time freshmen. Our retention rate, however, declined the past three years. It is time for us to reassess our advising model in response to the changing demands on students, and implement what we have learned from new, national, high-impact practices.
Over the next 18 months, PSU will be engaged in projects that increase advising capacity, revitalize advising systems and improve the visibility of student support services. I asked Sukhwant Jhaj, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success, to describe some of the advising redesign work underway.
In late January, I held an annual brown bag lunch for second and third year, full-time faculty to learn about their experiences at PSU. We followed up with a survey for those unable to attend.
The Office of Academic Affairs has sponsored a Winter Symposium for over 15 years. The symposium was an initiative by former Provost Michael Reardon as a way to bring faculty together to learn, discuss, reflect and take action of important issues that shape our curriculum.
This year’s symposium, “What does it mean to be educated in the 21st century,” will have us explore this topic through multiple lenses. View the video below to hear more about what Professors Gina Greco and Maurice Hamington have to say about the upcoming Winter Symposium 2016.