October 20, 2015


The Provost Message Header


Provost Lynn Mahoney

With all the exciting things going on in our colleges and units and given the changes and improvements we are engaged in as part of conversion and enrollment growth, the time is ripe for creating an avenue for regular communications within the Division of Academic Affairs. The Provost's Message provides an opportunity for all of us to share critical or exciting news and information––I hope that you will take advantage of it to showcase some of your highlights as we use it to ensure that we regularly communicate with all of you.

With the dust settling on the opening of our last fall quarter, I want to thank all who worked so hard to make certain that our new and continuing students had access to courses and were able to register for a full schedule. I know that this took considerable effort to schedule the courses, hire and train new faculty, and find appropriate rooms. Our enrollment data demonstrate that you did a marvelous job with class scheduling. As President Covino discussed recently with the Academic Senate and with Department Chairs, the university is hard at work making sure that other issues related to enrollment growth, particularly parking, are addressed as well.

As universities across the country struggle to attract students and face dwindling resources as enrollments decline, Cal State LA is very lucky to increasingly be seen as a destination campus––we are no longer that hidden jewel of the CSU. Our number of new students has grown, our graduation rates continue to improve and even the numbers of prospective students and parents touring campus have increased. I am deeply grateful for all that you do every day to make Cal State LA a great university.

Looking Ahead - Summer Planning

Vice Provost Amy Bippus

As you may know, Summer 2016 will be abbreviated to a six week term as we transition from the June ending of the quarter system and the August beginning of the semester system. So many important activities occur on this campus in summer––new student orientation sessions, Summer Bridge, Early Start, special community outreach programs––in addition to our regular schedule of classes for continuing students. All of this is going to make for a very vibrant campus scene this summer.

Given the condensed schedule in Summer 2016, we are focusing on making the most efficient use of our classrooms to accommodate all of these classes and activities. In some cases, we are asking programs to alter their typical meeting patterns to make maximum use of our classrooms throughout the day and throughout the week (and especially Fridays). In scheduling courses, we will need to prioritize those that our seniors need in order to graduate ahead of the conversion to semesters. We encourage departments to explore online and hybrid course formats, where pedagogically appropriate, as these innovative and popular formats have a fringe benefit of using less classroom time. Faculty members may consider participating in CETL's Hybrid Course Design Program with an eye toward their summer 2016 courses. 

I will keep you posted about further Summer 2016 planning issues in this and other venues. As always, I appreciate the collaborative spirit of the campus community during this exciting time of growth and transition.

Spotlight on Faculty

Congratulations to our faculty who were awarded, either directly or in collaboration, First in the World (FITW) grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

STEM Education Consortium
James Rudd
Award Amount: $2,800,000

The STEM Education Consortium project will establish a multi-institutional, regional STEM Education Consortium that partners two-year and four-year institutions (Cal State LA, Pasadena City College, and West Los Angeles College) with the goal of increasing retention rates and graduation rates in STEM fields to increase the STEM workforce. The project targets the underserved student populations, particularly underrepresented minorities, served by the Consortium insitutions. The Consortium will improve student outcomes through the development and implementation of assessments of learning that are aligned across Consortium institutions. Anticipated project results include: redesigned first-year science courses with matching assessments; aligned assessments across Consortium institutions; articulation and active enrollment for interdisciplinary degree and certificate, increase in enrollment of underrepresented minorities in STEM courses; and increase in STEM retention and graduation rates for underrepresented minorities.

Promoting Active Learning Strategies Through the Flipped Class Model in STEM courses at San José State University, California State University-Los Angeles, and Cal Poly Pomona
PI: Jane Dong
Award (Cal State LA subcontract) Ammount: $650,000

This project is a San José State Univeristy (SJSU) led collaborative effort of three CSU institutions including Cal State LA and Cal Poly Pomona. The campuses will focus on increasing student learning, academic success, and retention in critical freshman and sophomore-level STEM classes including Pre-calculus, Calculus, Discrete Math, General Physics, Introduction to Programming, and Statistics. A goal of this project is to implement an active learning strategy, the flipped classroom model, across the STEM disciplines at all three CSUs. Based on extensive cross-field research, this proposal builds upon proven models for increasing student engagement and participation in STEM courses and assesses the effectiveness of these strategies for URM students at three CSU campuses. The expansion and testing of the flipped classroom model will allow these campuses to collect robust data on the effectiveness of this pedagogy with students in general and with students from diverse URM groups. A second goal of this project investigates the use of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) to build a culture of change. All three CSUs will acquire baseline data on the percentage of STEM faculty using active learning strategies, allowing them to assess the impact of the FLCs on changing the campus culture of teaching. The results obtained will provide a model to other institutions in bringing about change on their campuses.


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