January 5, 2011
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a good holiday break. It’s good to be back, and I want to share some information as we get ready for what will be a busy spring semester.
I have enjoyed my first two months as interim chancellor. Thank you for your many expressions of support and encouragement. I feel energized and inspired by all the great work that is happening at UIS.
The search process for the new chancellor is under way. Over the next several months, I expect that the search committee will keep us informed of its progress. We all hope for a very successful outcome.
We welcome Dr. Lynn Pardie as our Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. An announcement of this appointment was made last year. She started January 1 and has moved into my old office on the fifth floor of the PAC. (My position as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs ended at the end of 2010.) I know that she will do a great job working with the deans, faculty and staff in Academic Affairs, to continue the progress that we have been making in recent years.
I also want to welcome Dr. Beverly Bunch in her new role as faculty associate in the Chancellor’s Office. In naming her to this position, I am re-instituting the practice of giving a faculty member exposure to the administrative issues that arise in the chancellor’s area. Dr. Bunch will be a valuable adviser to me and serve on the Chancellor’s Cabinet, while she continues her role as associate professor of public administration. Among other duties, Dr. Bunch will handle constituent matters that come to the attention of my office. I have also named her as the chancellor’s representative to the Academic Professional Advisory Committee and to the Civil Service Advisory Council. In terms of faculty issues, the VCAA and I will continue to rely on input from Dr. Tih-Fen Ting, Chair of the Campus Senate.
Progress on four initiatives
When I became interim chancellor, I announced that I wanted to pay particular attention to four areas. Today, I want to provide a brief progress report on each area.
In the fall, some UIS administrators had good recruiting trips to China, Vietnam and Mongolia. All of the trips are likely to bear some fruit with the addition of more students from those countries in the years to come. Our plan to proactively recruit international students is going well.
Also in the fall, 30 faculty and staff attended a retreat to make plans for expansion of international programming. Ideas that emerged from that retreat can be found at www.uis.edu/academicaffairs/resources/ and are being pursued by the International Programming Coordinating Task Force, chaired by Vice Chancellors Pardie and Barnett.
2. Community college outreach
UIS has a 40-year history of providing a welcoming learning environment for community college transfer students. Our biggest feeder school is Lincoln Land, and I am pleased with the many ways that we collaborate with our neighbor. One of my most gratifying professional relationships is with LLCC’s President Charlotte Warren, with whom I serve on several community boards.
Last fall, a delegation of our faculty and administrators went to the College of DuPage, one of the largest community colleges in the nation. The conversations were fruitful; our plan is to recruit more transfer students from the College of DuPage into our online and on-campus programs. Under Dean Ron McNeil’s leadership, we continue to promote our relationship with Illinois Central College in Peoria, and under Ray Schroeder’s leadership, the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service is providing faculty development activities to community college faculty from across the state. Also, Tim Barnett and I traveled to Springfield, Mo., to sign new transfer agreement with Ozarks Technical Community College. The agreement is designed to provide a seamless transfer for qualified OTC students into online programs at UIS.
3. Community Engagement
UIS, historically, has considered community engagement vital to our mission. As a 33-year resident of Springfield, I feel very strongly about UIS' ties to the community. This fall, I met with a group of faculty and administrators who interact with nonprofit groups. I asked them to use a mind-mapping process to conceptualize the varied facets of our engagement with the community and to consider ways that UIS units might collaborate to enhance our contributions to regional nonprofits, as well as to provide new learning opportunities to our students in those settings. They had a good session, but it’s only the beginning. As I review the mind-mapping report, I see a need for UIS to present a more coherent face to the community with regard to our relationships not only with nonprofits, but also with governmental units. I also see a great benefit to UIS of having the Chancellor’s Office take a leading role in this. During the spring semester, my office will participate in conversations and consultation with many campus units and leaders as we explore the next steps regarding community engagement.
4. Instructional Resource Management
All of the deans are using the guiding principles articulated in the Instructional Resource Management document (pdf). This means that the deans, in consultation with college executive committees, are looking at metrics such as utilization of available section seats, median departmental seatcounts, and tuition generated per dollar of departmental faculty salaries in making decisions about staffing, scheduling, and course caps. I cannot understate the importance of maximizing the effective use of instructional resources for the future well-being of UIS. Implementing the recommendations of the Instructional Resource Management Task Force constitutes an important component of this campus’ response to President Hogan’s Administrative Review and Restructuring initiative. I am pleased that this important work is progressing.
Again, welcome back. I hope that by this summer we can look back and see even more progress in these four areas, and I wish you all the best for a happy and fruitful new year.