SALutations! Newsletter Archives
October 12, 2017
—Ernest L. Boyer
President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1979-1995)
Teaching and Research
We are approaching the 20-year anniversary of the Boyer Commission Report that sparked significant controversy in higher education. A number of high-profile faculty refused to endorse the report, and the president of the American Association of Universities was highly critical of its recommendations. The reflections of the surviving commission members are quite interesting, revealing how much undergraduate education has changed at research institutions over the past two decades.
What was so controversial about the Boyer Commission Report? It called for the “radical reconstruction of undergraduate education at research universities in the United States.” The report contained essentially a student bill-of-rights, and urged research institutions to embrace their distinctive missions by making research an integral part of the baccalaureate experience by creating a new kind of undergraduate experience only available at research institutions. Specific recommendations included making research-based learning the standard, and constructing an inquiry-based freshman year, along with a number of other ideas that are now routinely practiced on our campus.
Today, the Office of Undergraduate Research at UK provides a wide variety of programs and activities in support of research-based learning across the disciplines. I encourage you to make your students aware of the grants and scholarships available to them, and faculty, please consider providing mentorship to undergraduate students as a part of your research agendas.
Regarding an inquiry-based freshman year, in my last brief, I mentioned the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. John N. Gardner served as the first director of that center, and he subsequently founded the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The Division of Student and Academic Life has engaged with the Gardner Institute, and will implement their Foundations of Excellence self-study improvement process over the next year. Grace Hahn will serve as the project director for this effort. Many of you have already offered to participate. We will make sure to include you as committees are organized over the next few months.
Curricular, Co-curricular, Extra-Curricular
What do these terms actually mean? Curriculum is a Latin word that means “the course of a race,” derived from currere, meaning “to run.” Today we use this term to refer to the specific set of degree requirements a student must complete to receive a degree. I’m sure our students sometimes feel the original definition is more appropriate. In my view, co-curricular activities must be an extension of the learning experiences associated with degree requirements. In other words, to be so-named, a co-curricular activity must be directly tied to the learning outcomes associated with a curriculum. Examples include undergraduate research opportunities, service learning, and internships. Extra-curricular activities, on the other hand, are activities that contribute to the development of the whole student, but are not directly tied to a given program’s learning outcomes. Examples include athletics, honor societies, and fraternity/sorority life. I welcome your feedback and am interested to hear if you agree with my interpretation of these words. As always you can email me directly at email@example.com.
Companies in Silicon Valley are employing design-thinking methodologies to spur the creativity necessary to generate innovative products. At Stanford University, the d.school was built around the notion that people can use design to develop their creative potential. Design thinking is human-centered approach to problem solving that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for success necessary to generate innovative solutions.
Design Thinking & Our New Student Center
We are taking a design thinking approach to facilitate the creation of co-curricular activities in UK’s new student center. We are actively seeking participation from those who have responsibilities within UK’s academic programs, and have set aside $200,000 to support their work. An information session on October 26 will include an introduction by Professor John Nash, director of UK’s Laboratory on Design Thinking in Education ( dLab ), to the design thinking methodology that will be used . In order to better understand the capabilities of the new student center, we have set up opportunities to tour the construction site on October 16 and October 24. Use this form to sign up and reserve your place on the tour, and the first design-thinking meeting.
Feel free to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life
September 20, 2017
Merriam-Webster. Salutary [săl′yə-tĕr′ē]. Promoting or intended to promote an improvement or beneficial effect.
Salutary neglect was a term used in the 17th and 18th centuries by the British to refer to their policies of ignoring strict enforcement of parliamentary laws that were created to exert control over the American colonies. The end of salutary neglect was a major impetus for the American Revolutionary War.
In higher education, the first-year student experience was historically characterized as one of salutary or benign neglect—the programming received by incoming students was thought to be helpful, but not much effort went into coordinating the overall experience or assessing its effectiveness. Salutary neglect of the first-year experience is no longer practiced at many colleges, serving to instigate an American student success revolution; however, one characterized more by cooperation than conflict. The roots of this revolution can be traced back to the 1970s, a time period of unrest and protest on college campuses around the country. At the University of South Carolina, President Thomas Jones sought to counter the divisions created by this turmoil through the creation of a new course designed to bond students to the institution and transform undergraduate teaching. A more intentional approach to the first-year college experience grew out of this vision, and today the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition continues to operate at the University of South Carolina.
A tremendous amount of work has gone into creating a more intentional first-year experience at UK, and the success of this effort speaks for itself. We are on track to report record retention and graduation rates this year. Complacency, however, does not align with UK’s aspirational student success goals . There is more work to be done. The Student and Academic Life Division will be launching an effort to re-examine and further improve the first-year experience at UK. This work will incorporate the outstanding efforts that are already taking place in this area, while working to better coordinate them across campus. It is important to recognize that the first-year experience involves everyone at UK—anyone who interacts with first-year students, in any way, plays a role in their success. Thus, we will work to include faculty, staff and students from across campus in this endeavor. If you would like to be a part of this campuswide effort, contact us at email@example.com, and please feel free to offer suggestions, resources and comments.
One of the most gratifying experiences for a faculty or staff member occurs when we are reminded that we made a difference in a student’s life. This sense of gratification is most tangible when a student reconnects after many years—to thank you for a class you taught, the mentorship you provided, or the kindness you showed. Sometimes your influence can profoundly change the course of a student’s life.
John Thomas Scopes was a student at UK during the 1920’s, providing him firsthand exposure to the efforts at UK (led by Professors William Funkhouser, Arthur Miller and Glanville Terrell, as well as President McVey) to preserve the right to teach evolution discussed in my last brief (link to last brief). Following graduation, while Scopes was working as a substitute teacher in Tennessee, he volunteered to be prosecuted under an anti-evolution law that was established there, leading to the eponymous “Scopes Monkey Trial.” In Defending Darwin, current UK Biology Professor James J. Krupa cites a stirring homage to Professor Funkhouser taken from Scope’s memoir:
“Teachers rather than subject matter also rekindled my interest in science. I saw Dr. Funkhouser … was a man without airs, who could have passed for a grocer or some other businessman, but he taught zoology so flawlessly that there was no need to cram for the final examination; at the end of the term there was a thorough, fundamental grasp of the subject in bold relief in the student’s mind, where Funkhouser had left it.”
The Funkhouser Building is situated across from McVey Hall and houses UK’s Undergraduate Admission, Registrar, Financial Aid and Student Billing Offices.
Earlier this month the Trump Administration announced it will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows those who entered the United States as minors to receive deferred action from deportation, along with eligibility to work. Congress was asked to develop a legislative solution before DACA is set to expire in six months. Please read President Capilouto’s message reaffirming The University of Kentucky’s commitment to and continued solidarity with our “DACA students” and their families during this time of uncertainty. In addition, the Dean of Students Office has created a central repository of resources available to those who might be impacted by these events.
If you know of any UK students whose lives have been significantly impacted by the multitude of hurricanes this year, please make them aware of the Emergency Assistance and Relief Fund that has been established to assist students facing financial emergencies. Please direct these students to the MoneyCATS team.
Feel free to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life
August 30, 2017
Merriam-Webster. Salutation [sal-yuh-tey-shuh n]. An expression of greeting, goodwill or courtesy.
Welcome to the first edition of SALutations, a bi-weekly brief from the Division of Student and Academic Life (SAL) at the University of Kentucky. As a part of the university’s commitment to openness and transparency, I will use these briefs to keep the university community informed about the work of SAL, and to solicit feedback regarding matters of student life and academic success.
On August 1, 2017, I began serving as the Associate Provost for SAL, reporting to Provost Tim Tracy. I came to UK from the University of New Mexico, where I spent 27 years on the faculty, moving from assistant to full professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. My last administrative appointment at UNM was as the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. In this role I was responsible for leading and supporting strategic priorities related to teaching and learning, including a wide variety of student success initiatives.
Why did I come here & what does SAL do?
A key objective in UK’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan is undergraduate student success, as measured by lofty retention and graduation rate goals. These goals also include a commitment to significantly narrow the graduation gap between the student population as a whole and select groups, including under-represented minorities, students who are the first in their family to attend college, and students who have significant financial needs. In order to reach these goals a number of strategic initiatives were articulated. UK leadership felt that in order to most effectively address these initiatives, a reorganization of the student-focused groups within the Provost Office was required ( see Transforming Academic Excellence). Provost Tracy described the need for the reorganization as follows, “today, we have too many islands of effort, where instead we need a seamless and integrated organizational structure among all our units in support of students and their success.” The full Herald-Leader story is here . The reason I chose to come to UK is simple, I believe in the student success vision that has been articulated, I recognized that the resources necessary to achieve it back the vision, and I was challenged by the bold goals that were set. Attainment of these goals will place UK among the top public universities in the United States.
In future briefs I will describe in more detail each of the units that comprise SAL, as well as the philosophies that guide our work.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. While reading a wonderful book about the history of Lexington, Lexington: Queen of the Bluegrass , by our very own Randolph Hollingsworth, I was intrigued to learn a few interesting facts about the name of the building I’m housed in, McVey Hall. Frank L. McVey was the third president of the University of Kentucky, serving this institution for 23 years, from 1917-1940. In 1921, a movement led by William Jennings Bryan attempted to pass a law making it illegal to teach evolution in Kentucky universities. President McVey put his job on the line by weighing in on the subject. His efforts contributed to the defeat of the anti-evolution bill by a 42-41 vote in the state legislature. Prof. Arthur Miller from the UK Department of Geology submitted an account of the proceedings that appeared in Vol. 55, Issue 1421 of Science on March 24, 1922. Contentious politics and razor-thin voting margins are not unique to our time.
Early feedback is critical for students’ academic success, particularly first-year students. For students who miss a number of classes or have poor performance on a test or quiz, the submission of an alert is a critical part of that feedback. The new alert management system, ACT, allows UK to align students with academic resources, track interventions, and partner with offices across campus. Learn more.
Hurricane Harvey. If you or your family have been impacted by this catastrophe, please visit this link for a list of the UK and non-UK resources available to you.
Thank you! The UK community has been incredible in welcoming my wife, Jeri, and me to Lexington. The warm and generous Wildcat welcome we have received makes it clear that UK is a very special place. We look forward to growing friendships and a life in Lexington. I welcome any feedback you’d like to provide. My hope is that every complaint is accompanied by proposed solutions, and that we also remember to celebrate our successes. Please feel free to send your comments to email@example.com.
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life