Monday, December 10, 2012

Coffee week of 12/10/12

This week I'll be in Griggs during the faculty hours from 8-9am on Wednesday (12/12/12).  I hope your last week of classes is going well.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coffee, week of 12/1/12

Sorry that I missed last week!  I'll be in the seating area on the main floor of Swenson Science Building at 11am Friday.  Anyone is welcome to join me for discussion.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Online Delivery: Community of Practice

Online delivery at UMD is a strategic asset that we'd like to further develop for those that are interested.  Increasing faculty are using online as an alternative course delivery model.  To support online delivery, and in concert with an external assessment of UMD's online readiness, we have included this effort as part of the position for the Associate Vice Chancellor For Outreach and Online Delivery.  Kim Riordan, a faculty member in the education department, was appointed as the interim AVC earlier this year.  Her responsibilities include support of the development of further online delivery (particularly programs that are wholly or primarily online) and to develop a comprehensive plan for online delivery at UMD.  She has been working with people across UMD to lay the foundation for moving forward.

Tuesday, November 20th marks the start of UMD's Online Delivery Community of Practice meetings.  This group of faculty and staff involved in online teaching will learn from one another as they explore together "what does good online education look like at UMD?"  If you are interested, or would like further information, please contact Kim Riordan via email ( or phone (726-7251).

Coffee week of 11/12/12

I'll be in the LSBE lobby area from 8:30-9:30am on Friday (11/16/12).  Anyone is welcome to join me for discussion.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Update: Faculty Discussion Group

I've updated the list of dates that Griggs is open for faculty -- I had missed a page of dates when I first listed them on the blog (see 10/18 post). 

My coffee hours are separate from these Griggs dates, so I typically will not be at Griggs during the faculty time.  This is a chance for faculty to get together and discuss items with each other.  I'm happy to attend from time to time if a group has something on their minds they'd like to discuss with me.  Just let me know and I'll work it into my calendar.

Please spread the word about Griggs being open.

Coffee week of 11/5/12

This week I'll start changing my location across campus more.  This Friday (11/9) I'll be at the Sports and Health Center building in the seating area overlooking the ice from 9-10am.  Please join me for discussion.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coffee week of 10/22/12

I had scheduled my coffee hour this week Wednesday from 9-10am.  That happens to coincide with the first day of the Griggs open discussion hours, so I'll be in Griggs this week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Calendar: May term

Thank you to all who have commented on the calendar change.  One comment I've seen several times talks about a concern of having to offer May term courses over 4 weeks that fit a 3 week schedule.  You may offer various lengths of courses during the May term as appropriate to the credits of the course and the format.  We currently have 2 week courses (2 credits) offered in the 3 week session.  A 3 credit course could continue to be offered in a 3 week period even with the proposed calendar change.  The change would just open up the option of 4 weeks to accommodate some of the higher credit courses.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Faculty Discussion Group

We have reserved Griggs Center once a week for the rest of the semester as a location for faculty to come to socialize and discuss topics of interest.  Feel free to bring along your coffee or breakfast.  The dates are listed below, so mark your calendars.  The first one is next week.

Wednesday, October 24, 8-10am
Wednesday, October 31, 8-10am
Tuesday, November 6, 8-10am
Tuesday, November 13, 8-10am
Tuesday, November 20, 8-10am
Wednesday, November 21, 8-10am
Tuesday, November 27, 8-10am
Wednesday, November 28, 8-10am
Tuesday, December 4, 8-10am
Wednesday, December 5, 8-10am
Tuesday, December 11, 8-10 am
Wednesday, December 12, 8-10am

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coffee week of 10/15/12

This week I'll be in Kirby in the Food Court from 9-9:50am on Friday, 10/19/12.  I hope some of you can join me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

coffee week of 10/8/12

I'll be in Solon Campus Center on Tuesday, October 9th from 1pm to 1:50pm.  Any faculty member, staff members, or students are welcome to join me for discussion. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coffee week of 10/4/12

I'll be in the Kirby food court area from 10-10:50 am on Thursday, October 4, 2012.  Feel free to join me!

Calendar changes

Changes to UMD’s Academic Calendar

As many of you know there have been numerous conversations over the past year regarding changing UMD’s academic calendar. Based on feedback from governance groups and a markedly positive response to the campus-wide survey sent last spring, revised calendars for 2014-15 and 2015-16 have been drafted to reflect the following changes:

  • Moving ahead the start and end date of fall semester by approximately one week

  • Moving ahead the start and end date of spring semester by approximately one week

  • Extending May term from a three-week session to a four-week session

These draft academic calendars are currently under review by deans and directors, and will be sent to the wider campus community for review later this fall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why change? What’s wrong with the calendar the way that it is?

The current calendar uses Labor Day as a starting parameter. Under this configuration finals have frequently needed to be scheduled across two weeks and on Saturdays, with no study day between the end of classes and the start of finals. When Labor Day happens to fall later in September we have had final exams scheduled as late as December 23. Faculty members have voiced concern that this degrades the integrity of the final exam. Students have found it to be extremely problematic to have a final exam immediately after the last day of class with no time in between for studying. Moving the calendar away from the arbitrary Labor Day start date solves both these issues.

What about having a fall break?

Although survey data indicated support for a fall break it would also mean moving the start of fall semester back even further in to August, as fall term is already at the minimum of 70 instructional days. We could still entertain this option if there is strong feedback in support of it.

Will moving ahead the start of spring semester have a negative effect on J-term courses?

Yes, however, while these courses are important, UMD’s J-term offerings are quite limited. The number of courses offered on campus during J-term over the past five years has ranged between two and five, with an addition three to six study abroad courses offered. The total average number of students enrolled in J-term is about 150. Any potential change to J-term would affect a very small number of courses and students.  Courses now offered in J term could instead be offered in May term or look at other options.

We’ve always had a 3-week May session. Why change?

The current 3-week May session is very popular but offerings are extremely limited by the amount of available contact time. Extending May term from three weeks to four weeks will likely result in additional courses, additional enrollment, increased graduation and retention for students, and provide additional time for enhanced teaching and learning.

 Won’t it be a problem for our calendars to be out of sync with the Twin Cities campus?

Morris and Crookston both start fall semester the week before Labor Day and spring semester the week before Martin Luther King Day. In addition the majority of MNSCU schools also have an earlier start and end date.

When would this go into effect?

If we maintain our current academic calendar parameters (starting after Labor Day) in 2015 we again face the issue of final exams going right up through December 23rd with no study day in between for students. Although 2015 is the most problematic year it would be possible to implement this change as early as fall 2014.

No coffee week of 9/14/12

I'm out of town most of this week, so won't be able to meet for coffee.  I'll be back next week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coffee (week of 9/17/12)

I'll be Solon Campus Center (the wedge) 8-9am on Thursday this week (9/20) if anyone would like to join me for discussion.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Continuing Education

We are updating the mission and vision for Continuing Education that includes a move of credit courses out of CE into the Colleges starting the summer of 2013.  CE will focus on non-credit offerings that meet a mission of outreach and extension activities.  They will focus on our community partnerships and community non-credit educational opportunities.  The Colleges will house the credit courses at UMD year round.  Deans and Department Heads have been sent information about summer 2013, so if you haven't seen that and are interested, talk with your Department Head.  If you have traditionally offered a credit course through CE in the summer, you'll want to work with your College to move that course to the summer credit course request.  One half of the income generated from summer courses goes to the Colleges, so this is a chance to increase revenue in your College.

Starting with Academic Year 2013-2014, all credit courses in CE will also move to the Colleges.  These courses will become part of the Department's standard offerings if applicable.  The money that has gone toward paying for instruction of these courses in CE will go to support the instruction of the courses in the Colleges (through course access funding or potential future tenure/tenure-track positions).  We're working on the logistics of this switch with the Deans and discussions will continue through the next month or two.




Coffee (week of 9/10/12)

This week I'll be in Kirby in the food court on Monday (9/10/12) from 11am-noon in the area across from the salad bar.  Feel free to come by and join me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

EVCAA coffee (week of 9/4/12)

Each week I'm setting aside an hour to have a chance to make sure I get out of Darland and have a chance to talk with faculty, staff, and students.  I'll post when and where at the beginning of each week.   This week I'll be in the Kirby dining area (across from the new salad bar) from 9-10 am on Wednesday.  I hope some of you can join me!

A new academic year

Welcome to the new academic year!  The spring and summer went by quickly and I'm looking forward to my first full academic year as EVCAA.  We started discussions of many topics during the spring that we'll be picking back up this fall along with several new ones.  I'll try to post on a more regular basis now.  I apologize to those of you that were looking at the blog over the summer -- I was having spam problems on the site, but with the addition of an extra security level that seems to be fine.  If you want to avoid the extra level of screening each time you post you may want to "join" my blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We recently had a forum discussing governance at UMD.  The governance forum notes are provided as a summary of the brainstorming from that session.  These include ideas on structure as well as areas that could be considered under governance.

To provide a bit of background on that discussion I wanted to give some details about our current governance system.  We have a Campus Assembly, an Executive Committee (ECCA), and then 5 standing committees: Educational Policy Committee (EPC), Student Affairs Committee, Campus Budget Committee, Campus Physical Facilities Committee, and the Campus Athletic Committee.  ECCA is responsible for oversight of the Campus Assembly and all of the standing committees move items for vote up to the Campus Assembly.

The current Constitution outlines the role of the Campus Assembly.  The following sentence from the Constitution summarizes the role of the governance system (with the Campus Assembly at the head): "The assembly shall have the authority and responsibility to make recommendations to the chancellor on educational matters concerning the Duluth campus."

ECCA has proposed revisions to the Constitution and the revised document is now out for written ballot with the Campus Assembly.  An updated version of the By Laws were passed yesterday at Campus Assembly.  The Bylaws include the details on the membership and election of the standing committees.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

FAQ on the AWM: How can this possibly work?

How can this possibly work?

It works in one form right now -- you just have to write it down.  A good exercise would be to have everyone on a tenure/tenure track line or term line in your department write down what percentage of their time they spend on teaching, research, and service.  Look to your 7.12 statement to find out what is encompassed in each category.  For instance, teaching may include advising, assessment of student learning outcomes, class prep, and grading (and may vary depending on the size of the class, TA assistance, lab or studio sections, etc). This becomes the baseline for your department and should cover everything the department is doing now.

From there, the Department Head can work with the faculty to decide different distributions if desired.  The most simplistic way to think of this is by trading the red teaching blocks I have on the draft AWM.  In reality, you can compress or expand the total number of teaching blocks for the department by understanding that the blocks don't represent only credits or in-class contact hours, but rather all that is encompassed in your 7.12 section on teaching.  The same course taught by someone for the first time (or in a new delivery method) will take a different amount of time than it would for someone who has taught the same course many times. The flexibility could extend beyond course related activities into areas such as advising (IF your college and dept is comfortable with doing so).  Some faculty members who are excellent advisers and enjoy it could take more advisees and this would be represented in their AWM.

Once the teaching responsibilities are covered, then service needs and research should be incorporated as appropriate for the individual.  If the department has a very large service commitment at the University level or is producing a large amount of research, there are opportunities for the Department Heads to request additional course access from the Deans (who in turn ask the EVCAA).  From the economic side, if a large amount of sustainable funded research is being generated in the department, there is an ICR return that can potentially go to fund additional faculty lines from the EVCAA.  This is the same concept as the "course buyout model" used at some of the large research universities that enables very research active faculty to have smaller teaching loads.  At those universities, this may be taken to the extreme with the faculty member doing very little teaching.  At UMD, our faculty would still have a strong focus on teaching, so the teaching blocks should not disappear for even the most active researchers.

It's important to understand that the AWM can provide flexibility, but there are constraints.  For instance, all of the faculty in a department could not decide that they want minimum teaching and service and have the majority of their blocks in research.  The department as a whole must still meet the educational demands.  There is potential in the future for departments (and even colleges) to move out of their strict silos to meet the overall education demands in the same way (making cross listing of courses and other interdisciplinary ideas potentially easier to handle).


Adaptable Workload Model

Faculty members may have heard some discussions this past week about an Adaptable Work Load (AWM) model.  I prepared a draft for discussion (AWM).  At this point, I'm just putting out the draft as a way to get us thinking about ways to represent more accurately what you do in something other than a "one size fits all" percentage.  This AWM can be very flexible or can just be used to represent your current college practice.  Breakdowns such as 60-30-10% (teaching-research-service) are good representations for some people, but as we move toward more diverse activities (increasing research or service commitments) or consider the variance in activities for people at different points in their career, a single percentage breakdown becomes less applicable.

The idea is to represent what you are currently doing, not to automatically change everyone's workload.  It is a benefit to you to have your Department Head and Dean on the same page with you on your expectations, and then to have your merit based on meeting those expectations.

I've started to get some feedback from people this week and quite a few questions.  My next posts will summarize the FAQ (frequently asked questions) I've heard so far and I can add to the list as I get more.  Hopefully this will help your discussions.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Welcome to the EVCAA blog!  Take a quick look at the About this page link to get a feel for what you'll find here.