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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Career Readiness Initiative rollout

You’ll be hearing more about the Career Readiness Initiative from our Office of Undergraduate Education in the near future. CRI is the latest version of something we discussed as “career bundles” earlier on. CRI engages students in a four-year conversation about career readiness. It is framed around core career capabilities or competencies most commonly sought by private, public, and nonprofit employers: Analytical & Critical Thinking; Applied Problem Solving; Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making; Innovation & Creativity; Oral & Written Communication; Teamwork & Leadership; Engaging Diversity; Active Citizenship & Community Engagement; Digital Literacy; and Career Management.

CRI enables students to relate competencies to their interests and goals; reflect, assess and build their own competencies through curricular and co-curricular activities; and articulate their capabilities and translate them to an employer's context. One of the virtues of CRI is that it puts students in a position

Associate Deans for Arts & Humanities and Undergraduate Education searches

We are beginning searches for the position of Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. Ana Paula Ferreira has served with tremendous dedication, determination, and thoughtfulness as Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities the past two years, helping to organize fruitful conversations and action within the corridor and across the college, and served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the previous year. Gary Oehlert has served the past two and a half years as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and in previous years as the Associate Dean for Planning and the Associate Dean for Faculty. He has done a wonderful job implementing the reorganization of the Office of Undergraduate Education to better integrate the academic and student services functions of the office, and has been a leader in our career readiness transformation.

I will be appointing search committees shortly and you will receive email from me when the committees have been assembled. In the meantime, you can view the position descriptions on our intranet. These are crucially important leadership positions for the College. I urge faculty to consider applying or to nominate colleagues you believe would be strong candidates for these positions.

Calculator of gender bias in recommendation letters

Do your letters of recommendation show signs of gender bias? Some research suggests that the characteristics and qualities of candidates that are emphasized may vary across letters written for men and those written for women. Give this calculator a spin to see how your letters fare. Compare your letters written for men to those written for women. Is the ratio of male-associated words to female-associated words, as defined by the tool, about the same across the letters? The calculator doesn’t pretend to be a perfect tool, but it can help you be more self-aware of subtle or not-so-subtle differences in your letters. If you are assuming you have no need to check your letters, why not check and confirm your assumption?

Summer tuition sharing initiative results

The College introduced a Summer Session Tuition Sharing Initiative in the summer of 2016. The initiative offered the opportunity for departments to share incremental summer tuition growth with the College. Enhanced summer enrollments benefits students by keeping them on track for graduation or allowing time to explore new areas of interest.  Departments benefit by receiving discretionary income that can be directed to key priorities. For summer 2016, the following departments exceeded their summer baseline and will be recipients of tuition revenue sharing: Asian Languages and Literatures; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; German, Scandinavian, and Dutch; History; Philosophy; Psychology; and Theatre Arts and Dance. Going forward I hope we will add more departments to this list.

Success in summer involves course offerings that interest students, advertising, and recognizing student needs. Regarding the latter, online options are critically important. Students who are not in the Twin Cities during the summer, or who are involved with jobs or internships or other responsibilities, benefit from the flexibility of online instruction. Students have a number of online options at other universities such as Arizona State and Penn State among many others, but I suspect they’d prefer to take course right here at their home institution if they could. Our summer credit hours have been declining for a decade or so now, and the overall credit hour total this summer dropped yet again. Summer revenue is important for the college budget and my hope is we are able to provide departments with more ability to invest in their key priorities.

CLA presence in funded Grand Challenges Research projects

Last week you heard from Provost Hanson about the results of the first round of funding for Grand Challenges research projects. In our CLA Roadmap, we committed ourselves to CLA being an active participant and leader in the Grand Challenges efforts. All along the way, CLA faculty have participated at a high level. Of the collaborative work group projects funded (these were submissions by the work groups established around each GC), CLA had 10 faculty involved. Highest was CFANS at 15. The next in line after CLA was CSE at 7. For the exploratory research projects funded (these were submissions by groups of faculty), CLA had 24 faculty involved. Highest was the Medical School at 27. Next in line after CLA was

Monday, October 3, 2016

CLA wishes from the Administrative Insights Meeting

At the Administrative Insights Meeting (AIM) in April, I received a nice surprise in the form of a stack of small envelopes. Each contained up to three wishes for CLA, written by the staff from across the college units and college offices attending the AIM. Here is the compiled list. Improved communication between offices, opportunities for training and professional development, and greater recognition and chances to come together as a community were among the issues cited. The list provides a great way to identify and highlight some areas for action in CLA both at the unit and college level. Take a look at the list to get a sense of what is on the mind of our staff. Let me know what stands out for you at cladean@umn.edu.

Accountability in positions so things get done
Actual promotional ladder in new positions through job family study instead of terminal positions
Additional staff/office space
Alignment of administrative processes & procedures across admin offices (HR, Dean, Fiscal)
All would assume good intentions
Be open to new ideas, new information when changes occur
Be patient as staff get grounding in new position
Better collaboration between employee groups, especially instructional
Better communication between CLA Admin and units
Better communication that help processes across offices
Better interpersonal skills among staff and department administrators
Better on-boarding and continuing "get to know cla" for new employees
Better streamlined processes and open channels of communication
Better workspace/environment (climate control, etc)