Hello CSSC Community. I am hoping through this post to bring everyone up to date on the progress we are making together in the implementation of the Provost’s Resource Realignment Recommendations. There are some general, UALR recommendations in which we are directly involved. And there are recommendations specific to our college. If this update sparks ideas or questions for you, please let me know. I sincerely appreciate any and every one who is working to create a strong college and sustainable programs in our departments and schools. Lisa
- Lecturer budget reduction 46% across UALR, increase caps, and schedule based on student need (and use dashboards to improve)
Our lecturer budget was permanently reduced by 34.9% effective FY 16. We began preparing for this immediately in Summer, 2014 and collaborated with all departments to bring our allocations in line with our inevitable reduction (based on enrollment trends). We continue to partner with Chairs and Directors to balance student need with budget realities. We have made these changes without significant negative impact on our SSCH generation. We implemented student-driven course scheduling. We are challenged to work as a college community to find ways to increase our student to full-time faculty ratios, increase caps where possible, and use eLearning funds strategically.
- Streamline and integrate course offerings within and among colleges
We are working within the college on two fronts: a) the coordination of core course offerings across days and times to maximize enrollment and reduce duplication within a core focus area; and b) exploration of opportunities to offer student majors flexibility in their required undergraduate statistics course by coordinating across departments. We will also have representation on two university committees forming: the first to examine streamlining of courses with the law school; and the second to examine methods and statistics offerings across campus.
- Consolidate student service resources at college level and explore collaboration across colleges
We are focused on the consolidation of student serving resources at the college level. We were granted two unfunded student-serving positions in CSSC last fiscal year. We are hopeful that permanent funding for these positions is forthcoming this fiscal year. We are also developing a student peer mentor program for drop-in students in the Link. Our student service efforts are focused on our greatest needs: a) increasing the number of students in our academic programs; b) supporting academic advisors in our departments; and c) retaining our students.
- Expand online and hybrid programs/courses
We have been working for just over a year to increase online course offerings across our departments in order to increase flexibility in academic scheduling and toward degree completion. Our online course offerings continue to grow. The Rhetoric and Writing Department is active in moving undergraduate and graduate degrees to full availability online (pending approvals). Other departments will submit Letters of Notification this year to offer academic programs online.
- Combine and share teaching labs
It is clear that the creation of the new college and the division of instructional labs created an opportunity for us to streamline, combine, and more fully support the number of instructional labs we need. We now have full information about our facilities, capabilities, and needs. We are taking one small teaching lab offline this spring (SH 403) by moving courses to RH 410. The Psychology Department faculty opened their statistics tutoring lab to all CSSC majors. We upgraded teaching labs in the School of Mass Communication and Rhetoric and Writing. We will continue to explore opportunities to share space and increase efficiency.
- Expand collaborations with 2 year institutions
The Bachelor of Applied Science moved to CSSC effective Fall, 2015. It is primarily a degree completion program for students graduating with an AS degree. We are growing our BAS 2+2 partnerships across the state and are working with Lisa Davis on conversations with four institutions this month and next. We will be convening a faculty committee to explore further integration of our CSSC major curricula with the BAS. We continue to offer courses at UALR Benton and are exploring offerings at UALR Texarkana. We will begin the process of meeting with counterparts in our feeder institutions on strategies to assist their students to best prepare for their desired major at UALR. We will also discuss 2+2+2 agreements with our programs with both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- Create advisory board for each unit
Annie Wright is assisting our Chairs/Directors to reinvigorate the advisory committees already in existence for a few of our programs. Other departments are discussing the formation of an advisory committee. We are forming the Dean’s Community Advisory Committee this year (spring). Toward this end I have been visiting with alumni, donors, and other friends of the college.
- Increase noncredit course offerings
A group of our staff and faculty is working to coordinate a collaborative proposal with interested parties across UALR for non-credit bearing workforce development program funding through the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
- Encourage academic administrators to teach
I am a contributing co-instructor in our FYE course as part of our CSSC Interdisciplinary Experiential Cohort (IEC) this semester. I am grateful for all interactions with our students and we are slowly forming the structure of a student ambassador program for the college.
- Create new school and rethink the MPA
The planning for the new school and the reimagining of our public service unit(s) is underway. Joe Giammo is leading two planning committees (governance and curriculum; operations and structure) and Sarah Beth Estes is leading the planning committee for public service. The involved primary units have also begun the process of holding informal and formal meetings together. Under the leadership of Jerry Stevenson, the Masters in Public Administration was recently re-accredited and is experiencing an uptick in enrollment. It is clear that one of our greatest strengths and most exciting functions of the new school is preparation of students interested in public service or non-profit sector leadership.
- Re-imagine School of Mass Communication and opportunities for collaboration across communication
The School of Mass Communication completed a successful Academic Program Review process last year. The faculty members within the School are working to implement the recommendations that emerged from the report. The undergraduate program is experiencing a growth trend and the department is recruiting a new faculty member in multi/new media. The department is implementing strategies for reinvigorating the graduate program. In the spring I will meet with the three chairs/directors or their designees in our communication programs to discuss increased opportunities for collaboration.
- Strengthen Criminal Justice undergraduate program
The Criminal Justice Department Faculty held a retreat early in fall to discuss department mission as an important first step in strengthening the undergraduate major. Curricular review is following work on mission and desired learning outcomes. I am meeting with those coordinating the undergraduate program to discuss ways the Dean’s office may be of further support in recruitment of majors. Julien Mirivel, Interim Chair is working in partnership with the Link staff and the Dean’s office to develop and implement a student major retention and success strategy.
- Explore integration of University Writing Center and Communication Skill Center
I am coordinating with a committee of faculty and student interns on analysis of the possibilities for collaboration and/or integration of service delivery across these two centers. Committee members are visiting each other’s centers, examining collaborative models at other institutions, and exploring important synergies and differences. I will send a summary report with recommendations to the Provost at the close of this semester.
- Reduce CSSC permanent budget by $175,000
The budget reduction for CSSC was tied to the reorganization of IOG and the creation of the new school. Working with Christy Drale, we have accounted for $140,900 of the required reduction by not filling vacant positions within IOG.