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Teaching Fellows selected for inaugural class

Four faculty groups will embark on Teaching Fellowships after landing grants from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation.

The Teaching Fellows grants are designed to create models for teaching innovation and excellence among WSU’s faculty, and advance the Transformative Student Experience outlined in Theme 2 of the Strategic Plan.

The grant funding is aimed at fostering interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities to enhance student learning, creating a community of faculty members who collaborate to advance their own teaching and mentor colleagues exploring new pedagogies, and building up leaders who work together and with other stakeholders to guide the development of new learning spaces across the University.

The University Distinguished Teaching Fellows for 2017-18 are:

  • Erica Offerdahl, Associate Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences, Focus: Developing students’ argumentation and critical thinking skills;
  • Roots Faculty – Katie Fry, Clinical Assistant Faculty, History; Jesse Sponholz, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Roots Contemporary Issues Program; Clif Stratton, Clinical Assistant Faculty, History and Assistant Director of the Roots Contemporary Issues Program, Focus: Collaborative inquiry-based student learning;
  • Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Clinical Professor, School of the Environment and School of Biological Sciences (Vancouver), Focus: Engaging undergraduate students in discovery research in their lower division science courses; and
  • Jeff Sanders, Associate Professor of History, Focus: Digital research, teaching and outreach

WSU lands $2.6M grant to fund college bridge program

Washington State University is set to launch Cougs Rise, a unique high school-to-college bridge program, thanks to two grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Cougs Rise is the latest Student Success Initiative out of the Office of the Provost. The grants, totaling $2.6 over five years, will fund the program, which is designed for incoming first-year students who are low-income and/or first-generation. Cougs Rise will serve at least 120 students each year and will build on existing partnerships with five high schools in Washington: Bremerton, Hudson’s Bay (Vancouver), Rogers (Spokane), University (Spokane Valley), and Wenatchee.

Cougs Rise will begin with outreach in the high schools to assist students in college preparation and prepare them for the transition to college. About 80 students will participate in the summer program, which will help them build a network of resources, develop a sense of belonging, engage in academic coursework, and take part in other high-impact practices that support long-term success.

“The jump from high school to college can be daunting, particularly for first-generation students,” says Michael Highfill, Director of Student Success Initiatives, who authored the grant proposal. “Cougs Rise will offer these students a head start in college by giving them tools to succeed, and also preparing them for the academic and personal challenges they could face in college.”

Searches for a director and additional staff will begin this summer with a project start date set for Sept. 1, 2017.

For more information on Cougs Rise, please contact Highfill at michael.highfill@wsu.edu.

 

Student Success Seed Grant to fund service-learning project

WSU faculty members are teaming up with the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) to promote first-year student success through service learning.

A Student Success Seed Grant from the Office of the Provost and Division of Student Affairs will fund the project, which focuses on engaging students through service learning – a high impact practice linked directly to student success.

The project’s initial stage will utilize an experimental design to provide local evidence of the efficacy of service learning as a student success and retention strategy. The experiment will offer comparisons on civic engagement outcomes, performance in the students’ biology course, and retention to sophomore year. The second year of the project will entail tests on whether different kinds of post-project reflection impact objective measures of student success.

The project is designed to impact the most vulnerable student groups for retention while providing the transformative experience articulated in the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan and the Drive to 25.

The grant proposal was selected due to its direct purpose of improving student persistence and completion outcomes at WSU, specifically addressing challenges for students who are at risk for not completing an undergraduate degree. The proposal displayed strong partnership and a plan for developing and scaling the project through external funding after the seed grant stage.

The Student Success Seed Grant proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of staff and faculty, as well as by the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost.

Paul Verrell, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, is the principle investigator on the grant proposal. He is partnering with Melanie Brown, director of the CCE, and Lisa Carloye, clinical assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences.

The award of $24,250 will be used over 18 months and have a start date of July 1, 2017.

For further information about the 2017 Student Success Seed Grants, visit provost.wsu.edu/student-success-seed-grants.

Seed Grant workshops this week

The Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Affairs are welcoming proposals from all faculty and staff for the 2017 Student Success Seed Grant Program.

Leading up to the April 14 proposal deadline, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Affairs will host two technical workshops for those interested in submitting proposals. The workshops will be held March 30 at 10 a.m. and March 31 at 3 p.m., in CUE 518. Please contact Angela Merrill to RSVP for either workshop.

The Seed Grant program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions that address widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not completing an undergraduate degree. A specific focus of the program is to improve student persistence and completion outcomes at Washington State University. Successful proposals for Student Success Seed Grants will demonstrate a clear plan for securing subsequent major external funding to continue, expand, and advance interventions.

Achieving our student success goals requires a continuous commitment to innovation and excellence, an intentional effort to align interventions with institutional strategy, and a shared vision enabling collaboration across our institution. To help facilitate this, accrued funding from the 2016 reallocation is being extended in order to invite new applications for the Student Success Seed Grant Program.

Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator eligibility is consistent with University policy developed by the Office of Research. Because many external submissions require PIs and teams with expertise in research, evaluation, theory, and practice, the strength of the personnel and collaboration involved will be considered when funding proposals. In addition, Seed Grant proposals are required to incorporate partnerships with either the Office of Undergraduate Education or Division of Student Affairs.

Student Success Seed Grants have a project period of 18 months and include a development stage and a scale-up stage. Award maximum is $25,000 for the total project period. Proposals are due April 14, 2017.

For more information, please visit provost.wsu.edu/student-success-seed-grants. Please questions to StudSuccSeedGrant@wsu.edu.

Student Success Seed Grant Program proposals welcomed

The Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Affairs are pleased to welcome proposals for the 2017 Student Success Seed Grant Program.

All faculty and staff are eligible to submit proposals for the program, which is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions that address widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not completing an undergraduate degree. A specific focus of the program is to improve student persistence and completion outcomes at Washington State University. Successful proposals for Student Success Seed Grants will demonstrate a clear plan for securing subsequent major external funding to continue, expand, and advance interventions.

Achieving our student success goals requires a continuous commitment to innovation and excellence, an intentional effort to align interventions with institutional strategy, and a shared vision enabling collaboration across our institution. To help facilitate this, accrued funding from the 2016 reallocation is being extended in order to invite new applications for the Student Success Seed Grant Program.

Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator eligibility is consistent with University policy developed by the Office of Research. Because many external submissions require PIs and teams with expertise in research, evaluation, theory, and practice, the strength of the personnel and collaboration involved will be considered when funding proposals. In addition, Seed Grant proposals are required to incorporate partnerships with either the Office of Undergraduate Education or Division of Student Affairs.

Leading up to the proposal deadline, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Affairs will host two technical workshops for those interested in submitting proposals. The workshops will be held March 30 at 10 a.m. and March 31 at 3 p.m., in CUE 518. Please contact Angela Merrill to RSVP for either workshop.

Student Success Seed Grants have a project period of 18 months and include a development stage and a scale-up stage. Award maximum is $25,000 for the total project period. Proposals are due April 14, 2017.

For more information, please visit provost.wsu.edu/student-success-seed-grants. Please questions to StudSuccSeedGrant@wsu.edu.

Teaching Innovation Forum coming up

Sola Adesope will be one of the featured presenters at the Teaching Innovation Forum on Feb. 20.

If you’re an instructor looking for ways to engage with the University’s Drive to 25 and the Strategic Plan, next week’s Teaching Innovation Forum is a great place to start.

Teaching is central to our mission as a University. It’s a challenging job, but an incredibly rewarding one when we’re able to connect with students and see the transformative experience before our eyes.

We know that an engaging teacher can bring subjects to life for students. Most of us involved in higher education had at least one, and usually multiple instructors who served as inspiration for our career paths.

Our 2015 National Survey of Student Engagement data shows that WSU scores well compared with our peers when it comes to student-faculty interactions. It’s a sign that our dedicated faculty are motivating our students, and providing a stimulating teaching experience.

Faculty are encouraged to pursue lifelong learning, not only in their fields of expertise, but also in the field of teaching. The Teaching Innovation Forum is a great way to explore new teaching techniques, hone and refresh your skills, and share ideas with colleagues.

The Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation will host the Teaching Forum on February 20 in CUE 518 and 512. It will run from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and includes a networking lunch, courtesy of AOI.

The days’ topics are varied, but instructors will find them practical and informative. WSU faculty will present on: “Teaching International Students,” “Backward Redesign of Courses,” “How to Engage Students Using the Experiential Learning Model,” and, “Teaching and Learning with Concept Maps.”

Please RSVP for the Teaching Innovation Forum before Friday, Feb. 17.

If you have comments or questions about this post, or any other matter concerning the Office of the Provost, please email to provosts.office@wsu.edu.

Freshman retention numbers improving

Washington State University retained 78.9 percent of freshmen students system-wide from 2015 to 2016, an improvement of one percent from the previous year.

We are happy to see improvement in this area and dedicated to making sure every student admitted to WSU is afforded every opportunity to earn a degree. Thank you to the faculty, staff and other WSU community members who have worked to effect the changes that have increased our students’ success rates.

On the WSU Pullman campus, 3,354 students from the 2015 entering class of 4,220 returned to WSU for the fall semester. This reflects an improvement of 1.2 percent over 2014, to 79.5 percent. Retention rates also improved on almost all of WSU’s non-Pullman campuses, where the smaller numbers overall can create larger fluctuations that make year-to-year figures more difficult to interpret. We saw improvements across nearly all student groups, including first-generation, under-represented groups, and honors students.

The system-wide engagement of our faculty, and staff and administrators has been key to increased student success. Their focus on engaging students early in their academic journeys and finding ways to connect them with valuable resources on our campuses has enabled students to more proactively anticipate and meet their needs.

We are investing in technology to improve communication with students, and to provide the right resources at the right times. We’re also expanding mentor programs and undergraduate research programs proven to increase students’ chances of earning degrees at WSU. Faculty are exploring ways to use open-education and lower-cost course materials, with support from Provost seed grants, the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation, and the OpenStax project. Please continue to do all you can to help with these efforts and to ensure that more students find success at Washington State University. You can find more information at teach.wsu.edu/oer.

With your help we will provide a “top-25” instructional experience for our students. We’re committed to giving all Cougars every opportunity to reach their academic goals.

If you have questions, comments, or feedback on this post, or other matters concerning the Office of the Provost, please email them to provost.social@wsu.edu.

 

Enrollment eclipses 30,000 with a strong class of new Cougars

I am pleased to provide a report on student enrollment for fall semester, 2016. The tenth day of classes marks our official student census date, and hence, our official student counts have been finalized. Total enrollment across the WSU system eclipsed the 30,000 student mark for the first time in the history of our University and totaled 30,142, a 1.5 percent increase from 2015. In Pullman, total fall semester enrollment is 20,193 (17,527 undergraduate, 2,209 graduate, and 457 professional).

This fall, we nearly hit our Pullman new freshmen target of 4,000 spot on with an enrollment of 3,991. This number is intentionally lower than 2015, when we saw a greater number of admitted students enroll, resulting in 4,220 new freshmen. New transfer students increased about 2 percent to a total of 1,171.

More important than the absolute numbers is the composition of our new cohort of students. As you may know, Enrollment Management (including recruiting, admissions, student financial services, and new student programs) moved under the Provost’s Office in summer 2014. Since that time, we have focused on maintaining an enrollment target of 4,000 new freshmen in Pullman, while maintaining diversity, ensuring access for first-generation students, and increasing the academic preparedness of our students. It is important to note that it is not our intention to be exclusive. WSU has embraced a high-access mission, consistent with its land-grant ideals. The current freshman class includes 36 percent first-generation college students and 35 percent minority students. Incoming transfer students are comprised of 41 and 31 percent of first-generation and minority students, respectively.

We have made significant progress on ensuring our students arrive prepared to succeed. The average high school GPA (HSGPA) of the incoming class has increased over each of the last three years, with this year’s class having an average HSGPA of 3.4. In addition, over 86 percent of the class has a HSGPA of 3.0 or greater. For the first time in many years, the Pullman campus had a waiting list of nearly 500 students. Enrollment demand was so high that we were able to meet our target without dipping into this list, all of whom would have been admitted based upon criteria used two years ago.

We are proud to welcome a diverse cohort of students ready to navigate the rigors of academic life at a comprehensive public research institution. I am happy to inform you that we have done good work increasing the number of high-achieving students in our incoming classes. For example, the number of students falling in the Q-value (a combination of HSGPA and SAT score) of 2,800 or higher (our definition of a “very high achieving” student), has increased over 40 percent in the last two years.

Our attention to high school GPA has resulted from analyses of student performance over the past 10 years. We have found that HSGPA is one of the best predictors of student success, and a significant percentage of admitted students falling into the lower HSGPA ranges have not been continuing into year two. It is important to keep in mind that other variables also play key roles, such as unmet financial need, health and family issues, and engagement with faculty and community. Your dedicated instruction and mentoring are especially vital to our students’ success.

In two short years, we have made major progress in changing the outcomes of our recruiting and enrollment activities. This improvement has been achieved through a team effort, obviously involving the great work of our Enrollment Management team, but also faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members, and administrators pitching in to help recruit future Cougars and mentor them after they enroll. We will need to continue this effort to further advance our enrollment efforts and ensure that entering students successfully become Cougar alumni. Thank you for your contributions.

Text message policy now in place

The Office of the Provost has established a text messaging policy regarding communication with WSU students. WSU entities can text message students, with Provost approval, about matters relating to health and safety, academic success, and items that are critical to WSU’s mission.

The policy is designed to respect and maintain students’ right to privacy, while maximizing efficiency and effectiveness in communicating with students about important matters. Students may opt out of all text messaging at registration, starting with Spring 2017 registration, and all text messages from WSU entities will include simple opt-out instructions.

Student phone numbers are not shared with any WSU entity without approval from the Office of the Provost, and WSU business-related text messages are considered public records. The sender is responsible for retention of text messages sent to multiple recipients.

WSU units seeking to communicate with students via text message must submit the Text Messaging Approval Form. The Text Message Policy website has further information, best practices for using text messages, and examples of information needed for the approval form.

Former top military advisor: Strategic atrophy plagues U.S.

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By Linda Weiford, WSU News

Retired four-star general James Mattis, who once led the United States’ most high-profile military command, addressed a large audience at Washington State University on Tuesday with a word of warning: Turmoil in the Middle East is getting worse and it won’t improve soon.

As a Marine Corps combat veteran in charge of U.S. Central Command 2010-13, Mattis oversaw military operations in areas that included the hot spots of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

At the Provost’s Invited Address, sponsored by WSU’s Office of the Provost, he said the White House must take a “strategic, historically sound approach,” in supporting peace and prosperity in the Middle East. “The strategy-free stance is not working,” he told the crowd, and the solution is about more than fighting battles.

The next president should focus on keeping America safe by implementing a strategy that includes strengthening and broadening our foreign allies, said Mattis. He cited the crucial role of the United Nations and NATO countries in upholding international norms to oppose extremists who support terrorism.

“’There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them,” he said, quoting Britain’s wartime prime minister Winston Churchill. “The problems emanating from the Middle East can’t be contained in the Middle East,” he said, emphasizing the importance of “finding counties abroad who will stand up with us.”

Building allies will demonstrate a mission of common interest to terrorists and also project strength – and a degree of humility – he said.

“We need those outside relationships. We need to stay engaged in the world and resist isolationism,” he said.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Mattis was born in Pullman and graduated from Central Washington State University in 1972. Nicknamed the “warrior monk” for his legendary part- soldier and part-scholar ethos, he recently declined bids to run as a third party presidential candidate.

Washington State University