Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

November 18, 2021

To: UNCG Faculty

From: Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

RE: Campus Update

Fall 2021 Semester

  • Please do not cancel classes after the Thanksgiving break to ensure you provide students with the required contact hours. It’s important that we maintain our contact hour requirement for SACSCOC accreditation and student academic success.
  • Fall 2021 Grades: Grades are due by 5:00 pm on Dec. 13th for courses offered in the standard, 15-week term. Part of Term ‘B’ course grades are due by 5:00 on Dec. 9.
  • Face Coverings: On Monday, Nov. 15, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to lift the county’s indoor mask mandate. UNCG will continue to require face coverings be worn indoors, and outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Please continue to help protect our campus community in these final weeks of the fall semester by wearing a face covering. The University made this decision for several reasons including, but not limited to:
  • CDC guidelines for colleges and universities differ from the general public guidelines and we seek to Shield Our Spartans and keep our community healthy and safe;
  • Face coverings remain an effective tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19; and
  • Instructors who agreed to teach face-to-face classes, and students who registered to take these classes, did so with the understanding that policies regarding face coverings would be in effect for the semester.

Spring 2022 Semester

UNCG will continue to require face coverings in instructional settings for the Spring 2022 semester, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice. We will be reviewing campus-wide face covering requirements for other indoor settings and outdoors, and will communicate University expectations in early January. Please know we will continue to monitor vaccination rates in the community and COVID-19 positivity rates, and may adjust this requirement if conditions allow.

We will provide an updated syllabus statement that we ask you to include in your spring 2022 syllabi. That statement will be distributed and posted before the end of the fall semester.

Please plan to provide your courses in the spring as currently scheduled (face to face or online). If you need to change your course delivery method after the start of the spring semester, please first confer with your head, chair, or director and then your dean for approval, and then submit the change of course delivery to the Registrar’s office. Updating the Registrar’s office is important for multiple reasons. For example, course delivery will determine whether unvaccinated students are fully online and whether they need to test regularly for COVID-19. We also must document delivery methods for SACSCOC accreditation and for reporting to the UNC System.

Please keep the following in mind as you plan:

  • ‘Face-to-face’ means that all scheduled instruction in the course is delivered in person.
  • ‘Online’ and ‘Remote’ mean the course content is delivered completely in a web-based format, either synchronously or asynchronously.

Faculty who teach face-to-face courses should determine whether to make  occasional accommodations for students who need to temporarily engage with the class in an online format.

Summer 2022

In recent years, summer sessions have been run through UNCG Online, but we are now managing summer sessions in much the same way as we handle fall and spring terms. This should allow flexibility in planning, as well as budget clarity. We are anticipating higher enrollment than in recent past summers owing to the 30 Hour Challenge, through which students opt-in to complete 30 hours this academic year, including summer. The Division of Student Success and advising units in the colleges and schools will conduct outreach to Challenge students in January and February to assist them in choosing appropriate summer courses.

In the meantime, Dean Andrew Hamilton is working with deans, associate deans, heads, chairs, and directors to make sure our summer course inventory maximizes student degree progress while not replacing Fall and Spring enrollments next year. The current draft schedule consists of 821 sections, of which 511 will be taught online. Of these, 311 are undergraduate courses. It is likely that we will add seats and sections as demand becomes clearer over the coming months.

International Travel Approval

All University-affiliated international travel must be approved by the International Travel Committee in accordance with the UNCG International Travel Policy. As of September 15, 2021, any faculty, staff, or students who will travel internationally for work or academic-related purposes, must provide proof of vaccination status.

Enrollment

To assist departments and programs with understanding and acting upon recruitment opportunities, the Division of Enrollment Management will be providing a digital packet of information unique to each department and program. The packet will include data on top feeder community colleges and counties that drive departmental enrollment to assist in identifying target partners and recruitment priorities. In addition, Enrollment Management is looking to work with departments to create newsletters that highlight their departmental successes, faculty stories, research wins, and more. Strong recruitment means making a prospective student feel special and wanted, and Enrollment Management will work to send each admitted student a personalized letter from the dean of their respective unit to welcome and inspire them. Finally, departments and programs will receive a faculty-specific annual calendar of events as well as information on the seasons of recruitment, helping departments understand how best to focus efforts during phases of the recruitment cycle and help plan engagement opportunities. By compiling a breadth of information, content, and planning materials for each department, Enrollment Management seeks to foster a new era of collaboration and data-sharing to help departments serve as active, informed partners in their own enrollment growth.

Integration of the Institutional Research Office and the Information Technology Services

In mid-October, we integrated the Institutional Research Office and the Information Technology Services (ITS) Data Strategy, Reporting and Visualization group to create a single unified team of data professionals who will provide a coordinated approach to institutional data management, availability, and usage. This joint team reports to ITS. Coming together as one team creates expanded capabilities that will allow us to deliver high quality data to our campus quickly. The merger has already yielded impressive results by enabling us to move critical data initiatives forward with unprecedented speed. We are excited about the opportunities this partnership creates.

Ombuds Search

One of my first decisions at UNCG was to support the request to recruit and fill an ombuds position. My decision was based on the demand and thoughtfulness of your previous work. Thank you for your engagement in bringing this important position into reality as a resource for our campus community. I convened a small committee consisting of Lisa Pluff from the Staff Senate, Laurie Kennedy-Malone from the Faculty Senate, Senior Vice Provost Alan Boyette, and myself to review initial proposals for the ombuds position. Upon our review, we decided we needed stronger proposals and launched a second request that has been posted to the NC Interactive Purchasing System. If you know someone who is well-suited for this position, please feel free to send this link to them. Applications are due January 5, 2022.

Our Integrated Approach to Student Success

UNCG is committed to an integrated, institution-wide approach to improve our students’ retention and academic success. Student success activities are integrated, data-informed, and include a campus-wide set of efforts involving students, faculty, and staff. Below are some of the actions underway:

The Spartan 30-Hour Challenge: For most students, completing 30 hours each year leads to higher grades, better persistence, higher probability of graduation, and decreased time to degree completion. The 30-hour challenge provides incentives for students to complete 30 hours on an opt-in basis. For a short informative video on the 30-hour challenge, see:  https://youtu.be/YyAzY3XXmtE

Extended and Enhanced New Student Orientation: Our new students have let us know that spending roughly the last 18 months in an online environment has created challenges in terms of their transition to UNCG and preparedness for the academic demands of college.  To assist them, the Division of Student Success is offering an orientation program that lasts all year, and includes events and services that connect students to campus, develop personal and academic support systems, and introduce them to campus resources. The team is also offering programming for returning sophomores, who largely did not have the benefit of engaging in campus life in the 2020-2021 academic year. (This work is being partially funded with institutional HEERF III dollars.)

Starfish Early Reporting, Data Collection, and Advising: We have asked instructors of undergraduate courses to complete Academic Status Reports (ASRs) for their students. Raising flags and making referrals helps coordinate early interventions (ASRs 1 and 2), creates a large, detailed, and actionable pool of data about the challenges students face, and gives advisors information relevant for enrollment in subsequent terms (ASR 3).  Starfish use has increased substantially this term, pointing many more students to the academic and psycho-social support they need to succeed in class, and creating a more nuanced data picture of when students struggle, in which courses or programs, and why. This information will direct our investments in the coming months as we work to improve metrics like course-level performance, annual retention, and graduation rates.

A team from ITS and the Division of Student Success has been busy behind the scenes all semester working to integrate Starfish with Canvas, so the process of raising flags and referrals is much more streamlined for faculty. That project is currently in beta testing. We anticipate a full implementation early in the spring semester — likely before the first Academic Status Report.

Direct Academic Support: The Academic Achievement Center has expanded its tutoring, supplemental instruction, and academic skills training operations in an effort to serve more students and be more responsive to Starfish referrals. The three Multiliteracy Centers are also delivering enhanced support for students as they develop skills in writing, speaking, and digital content creation.

The Business of Being a Student: A campus-wide team continues to make student-facing processes like applying, registering, and receiving financial aid simple and seamless. One outcome of this work is Spartan Central, a single website that houses everything undergraduate students need to know about tuition, billing, financial aid, transfer credit, course registration, and graduation.

Data Dashboards: A team from Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, and ITS have developed dashboards that put important student success data in the hands of school, college, department, and program leaders. These dashboards provide timely information about enrollment patterns, semester credit hour production, seat availability, and grade distributions to deans, heads, chairs, and directors, who can then detect trends, direct resources, plan interventions, and improve outcomes.

Successful Course Completion Initiative: Using information from the Data Dashboards, deans, heads, chairs, and directors are working with the Division of Student Success and the University Teaching and Learning Center to identify gateway courses with low rates of successful completion, diagnose root causes, and work toward improving student performance in those courses. Higher rates of successful gateway course completion are a priority because they point toward higher student retention.

Examination of Undergraduate Academic Policies: The Academic Policies and Regulations Committee of the Faculty Senate is considering new policies and policy changes that will address several challenges students face as they work to make degree progress, encourage or require behaviors consistent with successful completion, and guide students toward better academic outcomes.

Transfer Advisory Council: A 16-member group of faculty, staff, and administrators has been charged with the task of improving the transfer student experience, making UNCG a more transfer-friendly institution, and ensuring ease of access to UNCG for transfer students. The Transfer Advisory Council is working toward more and better data sharing and analysis, improved relationships with partner institutions, and higher rates of retention and graduation for transfer students.

Expansion of Mental Health Support Services

Focused on fostering a culture of care, UNCG offers suicide prevention and mental health/substance use trainings. The first is UNCG Cares: Question Persuade Refer (QPR), a Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training focused on how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to Question, Persuade, and Refer someone to help. QPR is 1.5-hour training and is tailored to UNCG, offering UNCG specific resources. For further information on QPR and to schedule a training, visit the Question Persuade Refer (QPR) website or contact Jamie Stephens at jlsteph2@uncg.edu. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training scaffolds learning from UNCG CARES: QPR suicide prevention course and builds comprehensive skills and abilities to identify, understand and respond to mental health and substance-use concerns. MHFA teaches participants an action plan that can be used in a variety of situations with students varying from panic attacks to nonsuicidal self-injury and alcohol or drug use. MHFA is focused on giving faculty and staff the knowledge and skills to respond to students in an informed, effective, competent, and confident manner. MHFA is an 8-hour training that is typically segmented into two or three sessions, and, like QPR, is provided by UNCG community members and tailored to UNCG procedures and resources. For more information or to schedule a MHFA training, contact Jennifer Whitney at jmwhitne@uncg.edu In addition to the websites and contact persons noted here, additional resources and information, as well as a comprehensive list of trainings designed to create and support a Culture of Care can be found on the DSA at the Culture of Care website.

Provost Fellow for Student Success

Regina McCoy, Provost Fellow for Student Success, has expanded her calendar with meetings, conversations, and coffee-chats with faculty, students, and administrators to share their sagacious perspectives, needs, and concerns. Her notes from these thoughtful discussions are filled pages of mental maps of our interconnected services, with side margins cataloging questions that will guide the initiatives we will develop this spring. Our students tell her they are hurting and worried about the future post-pandemic world and struggling to stay focused. Our data tells us when students report feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, this can potentially lead to disengagement and academic and personal distress. As presented in the October Senate Faculty Forum, our campus has a comprehensive network of services for student retention, engagement, and academic outreach. To make our services most effective, we need to ask and answer questions such as the following: Do we have a marketing problem where students and faculty aren’t aware of our existing efforts? Are there service gaps or blind spots we need to address? How do we increase our students’ sense of purpose and belongingness? What do students need to feel engaged and what are the faculty-supported roles in these efforts? How do we sustain students through moments of transition or milestones? What opportunities for equitable community-building are we missing? How do faculty see themselves engaged in the solutions for student retention, especially given the increased faculty workloads and personal concerns for health and balance?

Fellow McCoy’s initiatives will focus on bolstering systemic support and inclusive resources on the mental health challenges currently facing our students and providing guidance on how faculty can take steps to support their mental wellness. She needs more input from you—what would you like to see the university do to improve student success? What is missing from the narrative that could inform our strategies? Please reach out to her anytime at rlmccoy@uncg.edu if you have questions or ideas you believe would help strengthen our community of care for our current and future Spartans.

Provost Fellow for Faculty Development

Tracy Nichols, Provost Fellow for Faculty Development, is working at the intersection of two critical areas: faculty development and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Her priority is to facilitate ways of supporting and rewarding the EDI-focused work of our faculty. The need to “formalize incentives and accountability measures for EDI work” is one of the recommendations made by the UNC System’s Racial Equity Report. This work often remains invisible and when it is not built into our reward systems (such as annual and promotion review), faculty must engage in the work in addition to the traditionally recognized activities needed for advancement. This creates an inequitable double burden.

There are multiple individual and collective efforts currently underway at UNCG to support and reward EDI-focused work. Therefore, her first task has been to develop a deeper understanding of the work being done at the different levels (department, school/college, university, and system) to help synthesize the work going forward. Towards this effort she has been reading reports, analyzing data, attending faculty senate committee meetings, and talking to key stakeholders. UNCG has done similar work to incorporate and reward Community Engaged Scholarship (CES) and we continue to push the envelope in supporting CES. She has been engaging in dialogue about these processes to understand what has worked and what still needs to be done. However, understanding what is being developed here at UNCG is not enough. We also need to understand and glean ideas from other institutions that are leading in this area. She has also been identifying those institutions and collecting and collating current best practices for us to consider. Immersing herself in this work has been enlightening and she will continue on this path throughout her fellowship.

Fellow Nichols is working closely with the EDI subcommittee of the Faculty Senate, along with the Faculty Senate Executive committee to develop a plan for moving forward with this initiative. As we continue to do this work, it will be important to keep a broad understanding of what support entails.  A narrow strategy focused on promotion and tenure review alone will not create the change that is needed. Instead, we must understand that faculty development and support for EDI work starts from the hiring agreement and intersects with mentoring, work plans, annual review processes, and opportunities for leadership and professional development. Policies and procedures are critical starting points for these efforts, but they cannot affect change unless we also provide support at these other levels. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are excited and committed to helping us move forward. We hope you will join us.

SACSCOC Reaffirmation

The University has started its next SACSCOC reaffirmation process, which allows us to demonstrate to our accrediting agency that we meet all of the standards expected of a quality higher education institution and remain accredited. We’ve identified experts to lead the drafting of responses and collecting of evidence, and they are working with colleagues across campus in this important endeavor.  If they ask you for help, please help them out!  In the end, we will provide a comprehensive report that reflects the impressive work you and others do to support our students, faculty, and staff. We look forward to UNCG’s successful reaffirmation in 2024.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. I wish you a wonderful and well deserved Thanksgiving break. I am grateful for you every day and will continue to work to ensure we live up to our mission and create a work and learning culture that is inclusive and supportive.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

November 9, 2021

 

To:       UNCG Faculty & Staff

From:  Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

RE: Professional Track Faculty

In response to Faculty Senate RESOLUTION #FS04142021.6: To Unify Rank/Title Definitions and Promotion Criteria of Non-Tenure Track Faculty, the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Senate Committee, I am pleased to announce that all faculty currently in the umbrella term of “Non-Tenure Track Faculty” are now to be termed “Professional Track Faculty,” thus defining a large percentage of the UNCG faculty by what they are, rather than by what they are not.

This decision is central to the equitable treatment of all UNCG faculty and to the continued success of the University. This is but one answer to our Call to Action to be a university where equity, diversity, and inclusion are not only what we say but what we do, and more, who we are.

In support of this important shift in title, I am asking all members of the university community to immediately begin use of this title and begin to update webpages, paperwork, forms, etc. to reflect this change. The Provost Office has already begun this work on central administration documents.

Professional Track Faculty is our new umbrella term, colleges/schools may continue to use additional titles as codified in the Policy on Faculty Rank/Title Definitions.

November 2, 2021

To: UNCG Faculty

From:  Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Sarah Daynes, Chair, Faculty Senate

RE: Invitation to November 15th One UNCG Faculty Gathering

The Office of the Provost and Faculty Senate invite you to join us for a special faculty gathering on Monday, November 15th from 4:00-6:00 pm. The gathering is the first in a series of events designed to deepen our connections, share what it means to be part of the UNCG faculty community, and celebrate all the ways we continue to support each other. Recognizing that we are living through stressful times and facing significant challenges, we understand the need to come together, across disciplines, units, and ranks, to share what is important to us and to envision our future together. We have designed this series, One UNCG, to dialogue with one another over such questions as a community.

We are starting the One UNCG series with the theme of Welcome for our November 15th event. Feeling welcomed and welcoming others into a community is central in creating a sense of belonging. We ask you to consider bringing a story of welcome, perhaps to share. The story could be about a time you felt welcomed into a community, or realized you had found a community to which you could belong. The story can be about UNCG, or it can come from any time in your life and/or another community to which you belong. At the event we will share these stories informally, in conversation, with one another. You will have a chance to meet others and begin learning our stories. We may even learn something new about someone we already know. We will leave with a greater understanding of what it means to be welcomed and with ideas for how to be more welcoming to all at UNCG.

The first event of the One UNCG series will take place outdoors on campus.  We require an RSVP and will limit this event to the first 100 respondents.  Please RSVP here and Jenny Johnson will send you location information in advance of the event.

We will enjoy live music, beverages, and light refreshments. We have invited special hosts to help facilitate conversations, make introductions, promote story-sharing, and to ensure your plate and glass are always full. COVID-19 safety cautions will be in effect. The event will be outdoors so please dress warmly (in the case of inclement weather, the event will be cancelled and rescheduled). We hope you will join us. If you are unable to make it, we invite you to join us at one of the next events that will take place in the spring semester.

UNCG received The INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recognizing colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. The 2021 HEED Award recipients were announced in the November 2021 issue.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

October 12, 2021

 

TO: UNCG Faculty & Staff

From:  Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

RE: Updates on UNCG Organization and Leadership

I wanted to share news about recent changes at UNCG. The first is an integration of the Institutional Research Office and the Information Technology Services (ITS) Data Strategy, Reporting, and Visualization group to create a single unified team of data professionals who will provide a coordinated approach to institutional data management, availability and usage. This joint team will report to ITS effective immediately. Requests for data support, including those previously forwarded to Institutional Research, should be directed to Lee Norris, Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative Systems, at clnorris@uncg.edu.

The second is a change in leadership in The Graduate School. Dr. Kelly Burke has decided to step down as Dean of The Graduate School and Vice Provost effective immediately in an interest to return to her faculty role and to fully re-engage in her creative activities. I appreciate Dr. Burke’s leadership and support of graduate education.  Dr. Greg Bell, who has served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School, has been appointed as Interim Dean of The Graduate School effective today. The Dean position, which was 50% of the Dean of The Graduate School and Vice Provost position, will be advanced to a full-time position to ensure we continue to support graduate students and programs. However, as part of my budget reduction, the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies position will not be filled at this time. In addition, as part of my budget reduction, the other 50% of the position, Vice Provost, will not be filled.

Graduate education is important to UNCG, and I’m pleased that Interim Dean Bell will bring experience and leadership to further enhance graduate student success and enrollment efforts. 

October 7, 2021

 

To:  UNCG Faculty

Re: Leadership Development Program for Scholars of Color

Nationally, scholars of color hold fewer leadership positions in academia compared to their counterparts; these patterns require new and intentional efforts to provide leadership development opportunities, support, and networking that will translate into increased representation and inclusion of faculty of color in formal leadership roles within the academy.

In partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), UNCG is offering a custom leadership program that will build the skills and connections for scholars of color that will support their success in future leadership positions throughout their careers. CCL is an internationally renowned expert in leadership training, and they are excited to bring this custom program to our campus for the second year in a row.

This program is supported by the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost. It is a high-level executive leadership institute experience that is being offered at no cost to participants.

This year’s program is being offered in-person, during winter intersession:

  • Thursday, January 6, 2022, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (CCL headquarters in Greensboro)
  • Friday, January 7, 2022, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (CCL headquarters in Greensboro)
  • (a third date for a half-day virtual program will be determined by the facilitator)

To participate, CCL requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test; and you must be available to attend all three sessions.

Through this two-day, intensive session, combined with a virtual follow-up session, executive coaching, and personalized assessment, this program will give you the time to consider your own leadership strengths and areas of need, and to network with other talented faculty at UNCG.

We are inviting mid-career faculty, tenured and fixed-term, to apply. This program is being offered at no charge to participants.

To nominate a faculty member or to self-nominate, please complete this short application form by October 25 at 5:00 pm.

If you have questions, please contact Andrea Hunter, Chancellor’s Campus Climate Fellow (aghunter@uncg.edu) and Waiyi Tse, Chief of Staff (waiyi.tse@uncg.edu).

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

October 6, 2021

To: UNCG Faculty and Staff

From: Debbie Storrs, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

RE: SACSCOC Reaffirmation 2024

UNC Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Accreditation indicates to internal and external stakeholders that our educational offerings and administrative processes and practices are rigorous, of high quality, and meet the standards set by us and other college and university peers. Successful accreditation allows students to apply for federal financial aid and ensures our eligibility for federal grants and contracts. In short, accreditation is important to all of us.

Beginning this fall, we will start the decennial process to achieve reaffirmation of UNCG’s accreditation.  The reaffirmation process involves the successful completion of three significant steps,  each requiring teams of people and considerable planning: preparing the Compliance Certification, developing a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), and hosting a campus visit.  I invite your participation throughout the reaffirmation process, including the development of UNCG’s next QEP.

A UNCG team of subject matter experts will be identified to lead the drafting of our Compliance Certification, which provides evidence of UNCG’s compliance with all seventy-three of the SACSCOC accreditation principles. The report, to be submitted in fall 2023, will  address almost all areas of the institution.  When the team reaches out to you, please assist with your insights and support. Once established, the list of UNCG subject matter experts will be posted.

While subject matter experts draft the report, UNCG will also develop a QEP that focuses on a particular academic or student success initiative.  Many of you likely remember the impactful Global Engagement QEP we introduced with our last reaffirmation. A QEP team is being identified to lead the effort to solicit and recommend a new QEP topic.  Once established, team members will be introduced and distribute  information to the University community on how one may submit a proposal for consideration as UNCG’s QEP.  This is another great opportunity for UNCG to highlight our commitment to student success, regardless of the topic we select.

Both of those activities culminate with an on-site visit by a committee of SASCOC reviewers in spring of 2024. We look forward to hosting that group of professionals and showing off our beautiful campus and the outstanding work we do. In December of 2024, UNCG should learn the outcome of our reaffirmation efforts.

The Leadership Team composed of Provost Debbie Storrs, Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration Bob Shea, Faculty Senate Chair Sarah Daynes, and SACSCOC Institutional Liaison Jodi Pettazzoni will send out periodic updates about UNCG’s progress toward reaffirmation.  If you have any questions about UNCG’s accreditation or the reaffirmation process, please contact Jodi Pettazzoni, UNCG’s institutional liaison to SACSCOC (jepettaz@uncg.edu). Again, I encourage you to participate and thank you in advance for helping when you can in each step of the process.

Light the Way graphic

This is the biggest fundraising announcement in the history of our university.

On October 4, 2021, UNCG launches Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement.

This comprehensive campaign seeks to raise $200 million to strengthen three key areas: access, excellence, and impact.

“For 130 years, UNCG has been teaching students to look forward, innovate, and break down society’s barriers – big and small,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “To continue on this path we need to be bold, imaginative, and courageous. Our pursuit to transform students, knowledge, and the region is relentless. This campaign will light the way forward.”

Read more at LightTheWay.uncg.edu

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

October 4, 2021

To: UNCG Faculty

From: Provost Debbie Storrs

RE: Call for Provost Fellow for Special Projects

As you are aware, 2019-2022 Provost Fellow Steve Haines has led special projects for the Provost’s office including the curating and facilitating programming on the theme, “She Can, We Can.” As Professor  Haines’s term nears completion, the Provost’s office seeks a new Provost Fellow for Special Projects. This Fellow will focus efforts on organizing and curating a collaborative 2023-24 university-wide theme centered around health & wellness, attend to issues pertinent to the health and wellbeing of our faculty, and contribute to smaller special projects. The Fellow will report to the Provost, and work closely with the Provost’s office and faculty across campus.

Below is more information about the provost fellowship in general, and the specific goals of the Provost Fellow for Special Projects.

A Provost Fellow is a faculty member of any rank or status interested in administrative leadership, who will partner with the Provost and other administrative leaders to develop and implement actions tied to the university theme. The fellowship will provide the Provost Fellow with opportunities to lead, and their work will integrate faculty perspectives with an overall institutional perspective purposed to strengthen the faculty, staff, and student experience and UNCG as an institution.

Terms of appointment:

  • Fellows will continue to engage in departmental activities, but will be provided up to 50% release time from research, teaching, and/or service responsibilities, as agreed upon by the Fellow, Dean, and Provost.
  • Fellows will receive professional development funds to attend a professional development conference/activity approved by the Provost.
  • Fellows whose work continues through the summer will receive one month of summer salary.
  • The fellowships are flexible in terms of timing and length of service and will be negotiated with the Fellow, Dean, and Provost to begin Spring, Summer, or Fall 2022, through May 2024.
  • Fellows will not be permitted to teach course overloads during the fellowship period.
  • If the Fellow is released from teaching, funds will be provided to the Fellow’s home department for course replacement at the unit’s standard per-course rate.

Provost Fellow for Special Projects

The Provost Fellow will serve as curator of the collaborative 2023-24 university-wide theme, which is centered around health & wellness. Working in consultation with the Provost, the Fellow will be responsible for:

  • establishing a diverse and inclusive process to identify the university themed title, logo, ideas and buy-in, and vet faculty and staff proposals and events
  • creating an exciting, diverse and inclusive yearlong theme by initiating interest, inclusion, and cross disciplinary lectures, conferences, performances and events from a diverse group of disciplines on campus
  • Managing the budget to promote the initiative to internal and external stakeholders and media.
  • Supervising a part-time employee or work study student who can assist with website updates, draft communications, etc.
  • Communicating with external partners for community events as appropriate.
  • Collaborating with Strategic Communications to promote events.
  • Leading minor special projects of mutual interest to the fellow and provost and in alignment with university priorities.

Application Process: Prospective fellows should discuss their intent to submit their application with their department/program/school head, chair, or director as well as with their dean; submissions should include a letter of interest (no more than two pages) and a current CV. Please submit these materials to Jenny Johnson at jennyjojohnson@uncg.edu by Thursday, October 28, 2021.

Review Process: The Provost, in partnership with senior administrative leadership, will evaluate all applications and decisions will be finalized by the end of November 2021.

Memo Banner "Message from Provost Storrs"

September 27, 2021

 

MEMORANDUM

To:    UNCG Faculty

From:  Debbie Storrs, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Sarah Daynes, Faculty Senate Chair
Regina McCoy, Provost Fellow for Student Success

Re:      Starfish Midterm Communication to Faculty

Dear faculty,

Faculty are critical to student retention and success. We recognize the work you do every day in classrooms, labs, studios, and office hours to support students’ academic journeys. We are now at a critical juncture in the fall semester and ask for your engagement in using Starfish, a retention software platform, to communicate to undergraduate students about their course progress.  Starfish is not the only action or communication we are engaged in with students, but it is the best tool we currently have for communicating with students about course progress, identifying students who need interventive support, and creating an empirically informed picture of the student success environment at the course level.

As we complete week six of the semester, we ask that you give special attention this term to raise Starfish flags which communicate to the student about their academic performance. Many students need this nudge—or even a push—as they enter the second half of the semester. A strong signal from you now can make all the difference in how students approach their remaining coursework, as well as trigger interventions from student-support professionals on campus for students who need extra help. These just-in-time interventions can make all the difference for many students and can help retain students.  Academic support staff will respond to students with multiple flags and will only contact you if additional faculty information or support is needed.

The last day to withdraw from the fall semester without a WF grade (which counts as an F in GPA calculations) is October 8th. Students who are currently struggling need detailed feedback from you so they can make an informed decision to withdraw or stay in your course(s) and seek out additional academic support. While we know that you can communicate this information to them directly, raising flags and communicating through Starfish as well creates a record that better helps us understand school, college, and institutional patterns of W and WF grades.

Here are specific requests:

  • Before October 4th, please complete the 7th week Academic Status Report in Starfish for all students in your undergraduate courses. If you are constrained on time, please focus on raising flags for students who have not attended regularly, have performed at a D or F level in assignments, or have disclosed mental health struggles or other personal concerns that are impacting their academic progress.
  • When you raise a flag, a comment box will give you an opportunity to provide more information about why the flag is being raised. Please do not duplicate the wording from the Starfish flag in the comment box. Instead, provide a brief but specific comment on what the issue is and what their options are. For example, if you raise a flag because the student is performing at a D or F level because they failed to turn in an assignment your comment can explain whether the student can turn it in late, what the penalty (if any) will be, and how turning in the assignment could improve the student’s grade.
  • There are other kinds of flags you can raise in Starfish including Personal Concern, Disruptive Behavior Concern, or Academic Integrity Concern flags. These flags will not be seen by your students. Instead, they will be read by staff in the Dean of Students Office and/or the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Specific comments will therefore be required for any of these items raised, so these offices can respond appropriately. Please take the time to raise these flags as these are often the students who need support.
  • Raise a referral to directly connect students and academic support staff when there is a specific service your students should use to address the academic flags you have raised. Referral options include tutoring and academic skill development in the Academic Achievement Center, the Writing and Speaking Centers, and the Math Help Center.
  • If you have time, you can also give students Kudos in Starfish to recognize excellent work.

What happens after you complete your Starfish updates?  Any academic flags, kudos, or referrals you issue will be instantly emailed to the student, along with your comments (except, as noted above, for personal concern, disruptive behavior, or academic integrity flags).  This information is also seen by their academic advisors and academic support staff, who are mobiling to engage in additional outreach to students with multiple raised flags. Last year, over 87% of student respondents took action to improve their academic situation after receiving a Starfish flag. Most students went back to their instructors, sought help from campus resources, or spoke with their advisors for guidance.

To get access to your Starfish Academic Status Reports, log in to Starfish at starfish.uncg.edu and then click on “Outstanding Academic Status Reports” at the top of your home page. If you teach multiple undergraduate courses, you will have a separate report for each course, just use the drop-down menu to view all reports. (Note: Starfish works best with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.)

You can find more information on how these reports work by taking a look at this handy quick guide. If you would like assistance with completing the Academic Status Report, we encourage you to reach out to Devonne Gaddy in the Students First Office at starfish@uncg.edu.

Thank you for  taking this important step in helping students understand their performance so far in the term, as well as what they can do to finish strong.

With best wishes,

Debbie Storrs, Provost
Sarah Daynes, Faculty Senate Chair
Regina McCoy, Provost Fellow for Student Success