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Office of the Provost News and Announcements

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

Recruiting the next class of Cougs

Alive! participants walk past the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center during a walking tour Tuesday, June 6 in Pullman.

Our next class of Cougars is nearly formed after well over a year of recruiting, communicating, preparing, confirming, and orienting by dedicated WSU staff and faculty.

We expect to welcome around 4,000 freshman students in the fall at the WSU Pullman campus, and we’re very excited about their futures. WSU is bringing in well-prepared students who have a very good chance of succeeding at WSU and moving on to rewarding careers. The incoming freshman class is expected to have an average high school grade point average over 3.4, continuing an upward trajectory over the past four years.

Faculty play crucial roles, both directly and indirectly, in the recruitment process. Eric Godfrey, Executive Director of Enrollment Management Programs, says the Future Cougars of Distinction event on campus earlier this year was just one example of faculty’s immense influence on prospective students. More than 70 percent of the 300 students who attended the Future Cougars of Distinction event committed to WSU.

“Faculty are very involved in recruiting, and I think they’re optimistic that the students coming in appear to be serious and well prepared,” says Eric Godfrey, Executive Director of Enrollment Management Programs. “The Future Cougars of Distinction event was a powerful testimony for faculty involvement.”

Last fall, WSU enrolled more than 30,000 students system-wide. Exact numbers will be available in September, but enrollment is expected to remain relatively level as students continue to seek WSU for its academic excellence, rich college atmosphere and excellent tradition.

“In our communication with students we are talking about the value proposition of WSU and the qualities that make WSU unique,” Godfrey says. “We’ve worked really hard to bolster the institution’s academic reputation and celebrate where WSU is in the marketplace. Our guiding principle in recruiting is to identify students for whom WSU would be a good fit, who would have a high likelihood of success here.”

Godfrey says historical trends and statistical analysis help his team to key in on recruiting students who profile similar to students who’ve been successful at WSU in the past. The approach is helping to increase demand, and ultimately will result in a greater number of students graduating from WSU.

The state and the nation will ultimately benefit, as WSU serves its land-grant mission of producing highly qualified and engaged citizens for the workforce. We educate a high number of first-generation students (36 percent of last year’s freshman class) and the diversity of our student population continues to outpace the state’s general population by a wide margin.

The exact numbers will not be available until September, but we look forward to welcoming around 4,000 freshman students to the Pullman campus this fall.

We appreciate all of our faculty and staff for playing important roles in grooming the next generation of Cougs!

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.

Provost’s office welcomes Ward, bids farewell to McSweeney

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President is pleased to introduce Dr. Kelly Ward as the University’s Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Recognition, while also thanking Dr. Fran McSweeney for her many years of outstanding service in the Provost’s Office.

In her new role, Ward will advise the Provost, Deans, and Department Chairs on policy and procedural matters related to faculty, and on personnel issues related to individual faculty members as they arise. She will assist with planning matters related to the faculty and advise the Provost on promotion and tenure decisions, annual reviews, third-year reviews, and professional leave decisions. Ward will sponsor and direct training and development activities for Department Chairs and Directors, create and manage a Dean onboarding program, direct New Faculty Orientation, direct activities that foster the professional development of faculty, and manage faculty awards and recognition programs. In addition, she will advise the Provost regarding faculty diversity and work-life initiatives. Ward will act as a liaison between the Provost and groups involved in faculty governance, and act on other matters at the discretion of the faculty.

Ward joins the Office of the Provost after serving as a Professor of Higher Education, and Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership, Sport Studies and Educational/Counseling Psychology at WSU. Ward’s research examines different aspects of faculty careers and the academic labor market, including intersections of work and family for faculty, campus and community engagement, and leadership development.

McSweeney served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs for the past 14 years and was an exemplary faculty member for 43 years.  She joined Washington State University in 1974 and is known for her fundamental work on behavior and reinforcement. Throughout her career, McSweeney has been recognized for her outstanding scholarship. Her research has been supported by grants from many agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Psychonomic Society, and the Association for Behavior Analysis, three major professional groups in psychology. She was recognized for her research and teaching accomplishments by being selected as the recipient of the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award, the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts; the Eminent Faculty Award; and the V. Lane Rawlins Distinguished Lifetime Service Award in 2016.  McSweeney is a Regents Professor, former Chair of the WSU Faculty Senate, and the former WSU Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of Psychology.

McSweeney’s last day in the Provost’s Office will be on May 12.  Please join the Office of the Provost in wishing her all the best in retirement.

Student success project takes flight

The University took action last year to launch several projects that support priorities articulated in the Strategic Plan, and reinforced by the Drive to 25. The resulting Grand Challenge research projects and Student Success project are underway, and already impacting their respective areas. Updates on the Grand Challenge research projects are forthcoming in the coming months.

The Transformative Change Initiative is making progress in developing infrastructures to best support students at WSU. In its pilot this spring, TCI reached more than 9,000 undergraduate students through more than 30 faculty members.

The TCI is a three-pronged initiative:

The Parent Student Handbook Intervention is underway, and receives additional support from a related research grant from the National Institute of Health. The team is crafting methodology, measures and analyses to revise the parent-student handbook. The handbook will support student success by providing parents and their WSU-bound children with interactive exercises, tools, and strategies for identifying core values, developing a sense of purpose, and engaging in values-based decision-making. Focus groups with parents and students are being conducted to gather feedback on revisions, and a sub-set of WSU-bound students will receive the revised parent-student handbook in fall of 2017.

As part of the Early Experience Intervention, TCI is advancing the first and second year undergraduate curriculum through the implementation of strategies known to improve academic persistence and success. A faculty development team and curriculum development teams are working with a cohort of faculty “innovators” across diverse disciplines in a series of training opportunities. Through the LIFT (Learn, Inspire, Foster, Transform) Program, faculty translate their instructional goals into pedagogical, behavioral, and curriculum changes known to increase student success and engagement. The program is centered around a four-part face-to-face workshop series on connection and belonging, values-based decision-making, mindfulness and self-compassion, and resiliency and growth mindset. The workshops are complemented by an online Blackboard course space where faculty engage in assessment questions and discussions regarding classroom implementation. Additional workshops on active learning and inquiry-based instruction are offered by the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation. The curriculum team is creating online teaching modules scheduled for implementation in fall of 2017. The leadership team is also recruiting the first class of “Emerging Scholar Ambassadors,” who will serve as peer mentors and help students connect with experiential learning opportunities such as research, outreach, global education, creative activities, internships and intellectual competitions.

The research and assessment component of the TCI involves overseeing the design and execution of strategies to evaluate each component of the initiative as well as collecting preliminary data to pursue additional external funding opportunities. Literature reviews on both resiliency and pedagogical interventions helped form the framework for program implementation, and the protocol for assessing faculty development.

Three faculty searches associated with the initiative are ongoing, and a new faculty member in the College of Education will lead evaluation and research on the project at the institutional level. Additional capacity in the Office of Institutional Research will be added to assist with data tracking and analysis of TCI outcomes.

For more information on each component of the TCI, contact Laura Hill (Parent-Student Handbook intervention) at laurahill@wsu.edu, Denise Yost (faculty development) yost@wsu.edu, or Sam Swindell (curriculum development) at sswindell@wsu.edu.

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.

Grad Cougs get a leg up through PDI

Isaiah Hankel, “The Cheeky Scientist,” guides WSU graduate students through a workshop earlier this year. The workshop was a part of WSU’s innovative Professional Development Initiative.

Life as a graduate student can be singularly focused on developing specialized expertise. A new program is helping broaden perspectives for Cougar grad students often while providing useful resources for faculty as well.

Washington State University’s Professional Development Initiative brings the long view into sight with skill development, advice, and anecdotes on life after grad school.

“We want our students to be better students, but we also want them to be looking at their futures as well,” says Lisa Gloss, associate dean in the Graduate School. “How they succeed after grad school is a direct reflection on WSU.”

An ongoing series of workshops addresses a wide variety of topics, from working in academics, to balancing career and family life, to taxes. The series addresses traditional professional development, fused with personal development and skill development.

The Professional Development Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Graduate School, the Graduate Professional Student Association, and WSU’s academic colleges. By combining resources and perspectives, the program is relevant for students across disciplines and timelines.

“A number of our presenters tell us they wish they had this type of program as a graduate student,” says Davi Kallman, a graduate assistant in the Graduate School. “A lot of universities don’t have this.  We’re tapping into the strengths of individual departments, and by combining resources, we’re able to augment and enhance what departments are doing and fit them under our core components.”

Those core components – Academic and Career Development, Communication and Collaboration, Leadership and Professionalism, and Personal Wellbeing – were informed by student and faculty input. The events in the PDI lineup are sometimes specific to a particular field, but most can be applied universally.

Shantel Martinez, GPSA’s director of professional development says with the number of events on the calendar, it’s easy for students to find something that interests them.

“This year we have about 32 events,” Martinez says. “We used to have a leadership class during the spring, but we’d only reach 10 to 20 students per year. So far this year, our lowest attendance was 18, and sometimes we’ve had more than 100.”

Among the most popular events have been the “Industry Job Series,” by Dr. Isaiah Henkel (The Cheeky Scientist), and the “Versatile PhD,” series with Dr. Paula Chambers. On March 28, President Kirk Schulz and Professor Noel Schulz are presenting on, “Family, Career, and Fun – Lessons Learned as a Dual Career Couple.” On April 14-16, all students, faculty, and staff are invited to PDI’s workshop on, “Liberating Structures: Practical Ways to Invite Freedom and Responsibility in the Classroom, Boardroom, and Laboratory,” with special guest Fisher Qua.

Overall attendance for the year is closing in on 1,000, and nearly one in 10 grad students has attended a PDI event already. Grad students are able to livestream events, and the group is working to develop a video archive for those who cannot attend the live events.

The group is keeping close tabs on the results of the events. The Professional Development Advisory Council, to which the college deans appoint representatives, was formed to help assess the outcomes, and find ways to improve. The PDI syncs smoothly with the Strategic Plan’s “Transformative Student Experience,” and “Institutional Effectiveness,” themes.

For more information on the Professional Development Initiative, and to learn how you can get involved, visit gradschool.wsu.edu/pdi.

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.

In appreciation of our faculty

Provost Dan Bernardo presented Featured Faculty members, including Nathalie Wall, left, and Dustin McLarty, right, at Cougar basketball games throughout the season. The Provost is also hosting the Faculty Crimson Club, middle, each month throughout the spring semester.

WSU has a tremendous faculty, dedicated to making our university the best that it can be. This is a fact that we should not take for granted. President Schulz has frequently noted this quality when he talks about WSU’s “can-do” spirit, and our nimbleness in embracing challenging projects such as the launch of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and the INTO partnership.

Over the past couple of years, we have augmented our efforts to recognize the outstanding work and accomplishments of our faculty with new awards and recognition events.

One of the new recognitions is the Featured Faculty member at Cougar football and basketball games. Sunday night, during the final home basketball game – a win against the rival Dawgs – we honored our final Featured Faculty member for the year, Dr. Dustin McLarty, an assistant professor in the School of Materials and Mechanical Engineering. The week before, we recognized Dr. Nathalie Wall, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, who attended her first sporting event during her career at WSU. You can see a full summary of all of those recognized through the Featured Faculty Member program at faculty.wsu.edu.

A popular event we have added on the Pullman campus is the Faculty Crimson Club, held once a month. This event, held in the Club Level of Martin Stadium, provides a venue for faculty to meet in a casual, social environment and get to know one another. Attendance has continued to grow, and I would encourage everyone to give it a try; I think you will find it a fun and worthwhile time. We have heard from some faculty who work at campuses other than Pullman that they would like to see a similar event on their campus. We will be working with the chancellors to bring the Crimson Club to these campuses sometime in the coming months.

Of course, the signature event to honor and recognize our faculty’s accomplishments is Academic Showcase, which takes place the week of March 27-31, concluding with the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on Friday night. If you have not taken in some of the Showcase events, I would encourage you to do so. The events are always inspiring and make one proud to be a Coug. The full calendar can be found at showcase.wsu.edu/schedule/.

I understand that the most important way we can show appreciation to our faculty is to provide them a quality environment in which they can pursue their scholarship and help educate the next generation of leaders. We will always strive to do better in achieving this objective, but sometimes the little things, like those mentioned above, are also important in making sure that our faculty feel appreciated for the great job they do.

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