The Provost's Message - April 12, 2017

The Provost's Message

April 12, 2017
Provost Lynn Mahoney

The last few weeks of our first year back on semesters is at hand. I want to take the opportunity to thank each one of you again for the years of work that made this year and the transition go as smoothly as it did. I know that the work is ongoing as faculty members continue to revise existing or develop new courses, as staff revise processes and meet new deadlines, and as all work together to help our students master a new pace for studies and exams. While most are happy that the term will end in mid-May, many of us are also struggling to meet the usual happy-but-busy demands of the end-of-term as we gather to celebrate student achievement at dozens of events across campus. Your work makes this achievement possible. As always, thank you!

A University’s success rests on participation in shared governance. To that end, I encourage all to participate as possible in some upcoming events. We will conclude three important Academic Affairs leadership searches this spring. As time allows, please try to attend the open forums with the candidates. The first open forum is for the Dean of the College of Business and Economics and it’s scheduled for Monday, April 24 from 3-4 in the U-SU Theatre. Details and a feedback form for comments can be found on the Leadership Searches website. The website will be updated with finalists’ names as they become available.

We are also hosting a Strategic Planning Open Forum on May 4, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., in the Golden Eagle Ballroom (GEB 2), to share the work of the Graduation 2025 and An Inclusive Campus consultative groups. You are all invited to participate and your feedback will help guide the work of the consultative groups next year. RSVP now to participate or contact Adriana Leyva ( for more information.

Space Needs Assessment Update

Within Academic Affairs, we want to ensure that we are using our limited resources as effectively as possible to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. In particular, we need to examine office and research spaces to ensure that current allocations are commensurate with current needs. Last summer, we announced that Academic Affairs was working with Rickes Associates, a higher education space planning and programming firm, to conduct a comprehensive space needs assessment. Our goal is to identify how Academic Affairs space is currently being used and determine where changes could possibly be made to better fit the evolving needs of our units. This process involves identifying underused or inappropriately used spaces, areas of fragmentation that would benefit from co-location and/or reorganization, and areas in which redesign and renovation may lead to improved utilization.

The first step in the Space Needs Assessment project took place in fall 2016. Rickes Associates visited the campus and conducted interviews with stakeholders in each college and unit. Academic Affairs also collected information from colleges and other units to determine how they were using the space assigned to them. When we began the second step and compared the firm’s information to the usage data we received from the campus’ Facilities Office, we found large discrepancies. Given that we will be using the data from this assessment to guide space decisions going forward, we felt it was critical to ensure the accuracy of the data in our final report.

Before we can proceed with step three, we need to take a step back and make sure we have an accurate inventory of the space and the use of it. To accomplish that we created a team consisting of Amy Bippus, Vice Provost for Planning and Budget, Parviz Partow, Director of Academic Facilities and Planning, Joni Shimotsu, Space Resource Manager in Facilities, and the Associate Dean and Resource Manager from each college. These teams are conducting room by room walkthroughs to verify the allocation and usage of Academic Affairs spaces.

Since we are determined to have a working document with accurate data, this process has unfortunately extended the timeline of the overall project. We began these walkthroughs in late March and anticipate having these collated and the data compiled by the end of May, with a final report by early fall term. To ensure that this process is as transparent and consultative as possible, the report and supporting data will be available for you to review.

Updates will be posted on the Space Needs Assessment website.


Academic Calendar Changes 2017-18

Over the course of this new semester-based academic year, we became aware of a number of challenges created by the Academic Calendar. Specially, the Monday of Final Week as an instructional day created confusion for faculty and students, and provided too few days for scheduling Final Exams. In addition, fall terms have multiple holidays which reduce the instructional days for courses on affected schedule patterns. An ad hoc group consisting of members of Academic Senate Executive, Associate Deans, and the Office of Planning and Budget, was convened to revise the calendar. The revisions were approved by the Academic Senate Executive Board, Associate Deans and Deans, Vice Presidents of all divisions on campus, and President Covino.

As Academic Calendars must be in place a year in advance, the revised Academic Calendar cannot go into effect until AY 2018-19. Therefore, fall 2017 will remain unchanged; we will work with College leadership to ensure faculty and students are aware of the final week structure and expectations. However, we were able to make some small changes to Spring 2018 - most significantly, we will have a full week of Final Exams.

The approved 2017-2018 Academic Calendar is posted on the Office of Planning and Budget website; proposed calendars for future years are subject to annual approval by the Chancellor’s Office.

Writing Across Curriculum (WAC) Announcements

Teaching Writing in Digital Environments
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
3:00-4:20 pm
King Hall D4050

If you are looking for ways to effectively employ digital technology in the writing classroom, then this workshop is for you! During the workshop, participants will explore ways to use Moodle to enhance writing instruction, learn how Slack can enhance the writing classroom, and discover methods for using word processing software and wikis as collaborative writing tools.

Register for the Teaching Writing in Digital Environments workshop

Writing-Intensive Course Development Workshop + The Campus Writing Conversation
Thursday, April 27, 2017
1:00-5:00 pm
Location: E&T A429, E&T A406

What we have in store is an afternoon packed with positive writing energy!
Participants can spend the first part of the workshop in conversation with Andrea A. Lunsford as part of a special focus group, The Campus Writing Conversation, during which we will discuss the status of writing on campus and propose ways to build effective and sustainable writing support for our students.
The second part of the workshop features keynote speaker: Andrea A. Lunsford, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor of English Emerita, Claude and Louise Rosenberg Jr. Fellow, and former Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University. Lunsford is the author of our campus writing handbook, The Everyday Writer, and will discuss methods for using the textbook in writing courses. Her presentation will begin at 3:00 p.m., and it is open to the public. Seating is limited.
The third part of the workshop will be held in E&T A406, and participants will learn about developing GE-certified writing-intensive (wi) courses. Participants will learn about the wi student learning outcomes, writing assignment pacing, and evaluation and assessment strategies for wi courses.
Register for the Writing Intensive Course Development+ workshop

Upcoming Events

Presidential Power in an Age of Uncertainty: A Conversation with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Strategic Planning Open Forum
Thursday, May 4, 2017
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Golden Eagle Ballroom 2

Contact the Office of the Provost with your comments and submissions.