As I wrap up my first semester as provost at American University, I am pleased to officially introduce this newsletter for faculty. Overture is named after the orchestral piece that provides a preview of the longer opera, musical, ballet, or other composition to follow. Rather than notifying you about things that have been accomplished, our intent here is to let you know what is coming up and to invite you to participate in and/or share your insights on the upcoming projects on our collective agenda. We hope that this will not only keep the faculty more informed about the work of the Faculty Senate and the Office of the Provost, but also get more of your ideas, input, and feedback into the mix.
I hope that you find this first edition helpful. Please send your thoughts on any topics that might be included in the future to my special assistant, Sara Biggs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You have all our best wishes as we finish up the semester, celebrate graduation, and launch into a restful and productive summer!
Faculty Senate Agenda for AY 2019-2020
The Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee has set ambitious goals for the coming academic year. The group will continue to address the revision of SET questions, the completion of the Academic Integrity Code review, and the implementation of the new AU Core. New topics will include a review of the Faculty Manual with respect to facilitating interdisciplinary activity and appointments, an examination and streamlining of the processes related to curricular approval via Curriculog, an assessment of the Freedom of Expression Statement, and an enhanced role for faculty in the University Faculty Awards selection process. Faculty Senate agendas are distributed each month and meetings are open to the AU community, but you can also reach out to the incoming chair, Karen Baehler, at email@example.com, or contact Lura Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Chief Digital Learning Officer Search
As outlined in the strategic plan, AU will be hiring a Chief Digital Learning Officer (CDLO) to support the development and implementation of a new digital education strategy. The individual hired will report to me and collaborate closely with the Office of Information Technology, University Communications and Marketing, deans, faculty, and other campus stakeholders. Should you have feedback to offer related to this hiring process or have interest in serving on the search committee, please contact Seth Grossman at email@example.com.
Summer Task Force
Jessica Waters is leading a Summer Task Force including team members from Academic Affairs and the Office of Finance and Treasurer that will be looking into opportunities to increase enrollment and tuition revenue during the summer. The group plans to consider financial issues (e.g., could discounting lead to maximizing revenue?), administrative and resource issues (e.g., facilities availability, policy barriers), and intended/unintended consequences (e.g., impact on academic year and online enrollments, time to degree). Should you have input to contribute, please contact Jessica Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AUx1 Working Group
We’ve convened an AUx1 faculty/staff working group charged with reviewing the current AUx1 curriculum and recommending revisions to the course content, structure, assignments, and modes of delivery. In addition to reviewing assessment and feedback collected during the fall semester, the group will be holding listening sessions with AUx1 instructors and students, and welcomes feedback from all faculty. Likewise, the AUx2 Council (established during summer 2018) is focused on the first full rollout of AUx2 and anticipates undertaking additional curricular revisions over the summer. Please send your comments along to Jessica Waters at email@example.com.
Retention Task Force
As many of you are already aware, Fanta Aw and I have formed a Retention Task Force to explore why students leave AU and how we could improve our undergraduate retention rate. Membership includes individuals from the Office of Campus Life, Academic Affairs, Enrollment and Financial Aid, and the Office of Information Technology, and we have divided into two subgroups. One group is examining characteristics of students who leave to consider broad interventions that could make a difference, and the second is looking at individual students’ cases to identify the set of complex and often interrelated factors that produced their exit and—if appropriate—implement strategies to bring them back after a semester or two away. Fanta and I, along with Mary Clark, have visited many departments to gather your input on this issue, but please send any additional comments or observations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Development Workshops on Engaging International Students
The presence of a robust international student population is central to American University’s campus vision. I’m pleased to announce that the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning will offer opportunities for faculty to learn about and acquire skills on how to best support international students in the classroom. In particular, CTRL’s August Workshops will include a session for faculty teaching Complex Problems courses that enroll students with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Additionally, the first Noontime Conversation of the fall semester (date to be determined), will be devoted to engaging international students across disciplines. More events will be added to the calendar throughout the year, and if you have a specific idea for an event or topic you’d like to see addressed, please send them to email@example.com.