I hope you’ve had a restful and reinvigorating summer. Students are flooding back to our campuses and their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. The fall semester is nearly upon us, and there is no more engaging time of year for those of us involved in higher education. We are pleased to have President Schulz with us as we begin a new academic year, and are excited about the direction we’re headed under his guidance.
The Office of the Provost is committed to supporting faculty, who are the primary contributors to providing students the transformative experience that reflects our land grant mission. If you did not see WSU’s recent ranking by Money Magazine as the top public institution in the United States in terms of “adding value” for students, please read the story. It’s a great testament to the exceptional work by our faculty and staff. It’s also encouraging to know that our dedication makes a profound difference in the lives of our students.
The Office of the Provost will be holding several events throughout the semester designed to engage and recognize faculty. We want to do a better job recognizing the achievements of our faculty in all areas. We’ll continue honoring “Featured Faculty” at football and basketball games throughout the year and holding several other events to engage with faculty. Two of the first of these events will be the Faculty Crimson Club at Martin Stadium on August 24 and a reception for Faculty Senate members with the Board of Regents on September 15. President Schulz and I will also being holding town hall meetings with each college’s faculty through September and October.
There are some important news items that faculty should make note of before the semester gets underway:
- Hundreds of WSU staff members have completed Crimson Spirit Customer Service training since the program was introduced earlier this summer. The training provides great reminders about how we can continue to make the Cougar experience special for students, campus visitors, and each other. I would encourage everyone to attend this training, live or online, and recognize outstanding colleagues by nominating them for a Crimson Spirit Award.
- Our students have asked us to explore ways to reduce classroom materials costs, and we’re taking action. WSU was recently accepted into both the OpenStax project, and the Open Textbook Network. There is a team in place to work with faculty to develop their own OERs, or use existing OERs in their classes. Learn more at wsu.edu/oer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Within the next week, every WSU faculty member should receive a “toolkit” to promote use of The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades. Please use these slides and talking points with your students as you see fit. Every new student for the past three years has received a copy of the book, and we believe the tips and tools in The A Game can improve their rates of academic success. If you have questions regarding The A Game, please email to email@example.com.
- Instructor’s photos now appear in myWSU’s class lists, by default. Instructors may opt to restrict their photo from displaying using the Self Service menu, navigating to Campus Personal Information, then to the Instructor Contact Restriction page and checking the box to restrict the photo. For technical assistance, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The majority of our students rely on financial aid, which means they must fill out the FAFSA. The new, earlier deadline for the FAFSA is Nov. 30. Please help us get this message out to students, especially when the FAFSA becomes available on Oct. 1.
Thank you for making WSU a transformative place for students. Please reach out to us with your questions and comments at email@example.com.