Provost Update (Oct. 6, 2017)

10/08/2017

As a follow up to a suggestion by the University Council Communication Committee, here is another update so that all faculty, chairs/directors and deans have the same information on matters of importance to our academic mission. If anyone has other areas that might be addressed in future communications, please email them to provost@uakron.edu for consideration. View previous Provost Updates here.

Office of Academic Affairs Reports to the Board of Trustees (BOT)

Here are the reports we will present to the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee of the Board on October 11, 2017. Note that we continue to take an increasingly inclusive approach with the Research and Student Success reports, and that Enrollment Management is now considered part of the Office of Academic Affairs. It is important that the academic units take ownership and responsibility for helping us recruit and retain students who can and will be successful in our degree programs. You will be hearing more about this new approach throughout the academic year.

Rule Changes

In certain cases, rule changes that affect academic units come forward to the BOT Rules Committee, and the Provost is called on for input before decisions are made. The Rules Committee will be asked to consider revisions to the following rules at its meeting on October 11, 2017:

Program Review

As you know, Academic Program Review is a high priority this year, and the role of faculty in the process is critical. This is an opportunity to educate the campus about the strengths of your programs and opportunities for the future. Please take the allotted two months to conduct a critical self-assessment of your programs and where they could be, given our limited resources. As an aside, the ITL -- now active again based on the initiative of some of our faculty and support from the administration -- held training sessions about Program Review earlier this term. 

Williams Honors College

If you haven’t already heard, significant changes are occurring in the Williams Honors College to make it a richer and more challenging environment for our students. Please step up and support our best and brightest students. We need full-time faculty to teach Honors Colloquia, and also to offer Honors sections of regular courses in your departments/schools.

NSF/NIH Proposal Writing Seminar

If you are interested in sharpening your proposal-writing skills, please let your dean know you wish to attend a Dec. 1 seminar on the subject. We are doing what we can to support faculty in proposal writing, so please take advantage of this opportunity.

TARP

We have already seen the positive ramifications of this program, with several of our faculty colleagues back with us after a brief hiatus to continue their good work for the University. Although not very many faculty opted for TARP yet, we see this as a great mechanism to ensure succession planning and to maintain institutional knowledge. We anticipate that TARP will be an ongoing option for those considering retirement.

Changes in Admissions

Now that undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid are aligned with the Office of Academic Affairs, some changes will be forthcoming. First of all, President Wilson led a modification of our out-of-state (domestic and international) tuition-and-fee structure to make UA more competitive and to eliminate multiple scholarships. This has been implemented – out-of-state domestic tuition and fees are $15,500 (down from $19,000+), and the same holds for international undergraduate students, with the addition of a $500 international processing fee. In addition, we have new scholarships for transfer students, those who attended UA and "stopped-out," and for adult students (see the President’s memo from Oct. 5, 2017). These scholarships follow the Akron Guarantee Scholarship model for new freshmen, with the goal of improving retention and graduation rates. Most notably, firm deadlines for admission have been set, and shall be followed. Finally, we have updated the freshman admissions process to align with the undergraduate admissions Board rule, and this too shall be followed.

Full-Time Faculty Laptop Refresh Program

Please see the most up-to-date information on the laptop refresh program here. Many thanks to the faculty and staff who helped to organize and implement this much-needed upgrade.