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Kevin Carman, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President

kcarman_200x300.jpgKevin Carman serves as Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Wyoming. In this capacity, he is the chief academic officer and has oversight of all undergraduate and graduate academic programs. He is a Professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology. Prior to his UW appointment, Carman was the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Nevada, Reno and Professor of Biology from 2013-2020 where he oversaw UNR's nine colleges and schools, the Graduate School, the Division of Extended Studies, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the University of Nevada Press, and the Office of Information Technology. During his tenure at UNR, the university was recognized as an R1 research university, the highest classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and as a Carnegie Engaged University. He championed a freshman academic-orientation program – NevadaFIT – that received recognitions from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) for its positive impact on retention and graduation rates. Carman served on the Nevada Statewide Medical Committee, charged with overseeing the transition to two medical schools in Nevada. He served on the "What's Next Nevada" advisory board, which was charged with identifying and promoting best practices in K-12 education in Nevada. He served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Chief Academic Officers. Prior to his UNR appointment Carman was at Louisiana State University for 24 years where he was a professor of Biological Sciences and Dean of the College of Science for nine years. Carman’s research expertise is in marine and freshwater benthic food webs and the ecotoxicology of contaminants. He received approximately $10M in research funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Institutes of Health. Carman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Straight from the Provost


2022

Dear Colleagues, 

I’d like to recognize an ongoing project and send a special thank you to a team on campus that you don’t hear of often. Our colleagues in Institutional Marketing have always had a big lift in managing content on our website, but in recent months, much headway has been made. 

One website improvement that has recently been completed is Program Finder, a powerful recruiting tool students can use to research a major, program or course in a user-friendly manner. Institutional Marketing and the Office of the Registrar partnered closely to sync Program Finder with our current academic catalog, creating a real-time experience for prospective students researching UW. This project is one of a series of efforts underway to improve our website as the university’s primary marketing platform, including movement to a new Content Management System during the 2022-23 academic year. More information is forthcoming, and I’d like to offer sincere thanks to Mindy Peep, Michelle Eberle, Shelbey Prusia, Chad Baldwin, and everyone else involved in the effort.

A critical search for the university is underway with on-campus interviews for a new Associate Vice President for Human Resources. The search committee has brought in three outstanding candidates, and beginning this week, they will be providing  public presentations.  I encourage you to take part in the process, and provide your feedback through this link.  
 
Next week, I look forward to seeing an initial draft of the University’s next strategic plan. The Strategic Planning Council has been working hard to synthesize all of the feedback you’ve provided, and we intend to release the initial draft this month.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities in the coming months to provide feedback to the Council on the initial draft.

Several UW administrators met with the Joint Education and Joint Appropriation Committees in Casper last week.  We were asked to provide updates on various initiatives, including WIP, the School of Computing, the UW reorganization, and the Trustees Education Initiative.  As mentioned in last week’s letter, we were also asked by the JAC to provide a report that describes our general education program, which we refer to as the University Studies Program (USP).  While the conversation was challenging at times, it was a good opportunity to learn more about the concerns of some legislators and for us to provide them with basic information on how our degree programs are structured and why the USP is an essential component of our degree programs.  I appreciated Chair Perkins’ comments regarding the importance of engaging in dialogue where opposing points of view are heard and respected.

It was a beautiful evening on June 6 at Washington Park, where the International Student and Scholars team hosted their annual BBQ for international students.  I had the honor of being the grill master!  The turnout was tremendous, and the ISS team had to make an emergency run to Ridley’s for additional burgers and hotdogs.  I managed to not start any major fires and, as far as I know, there were no reports of food poisoning.  It was wonderful to see and hear people from all over the world laugh, play games, break bread, and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.  It was a reminder of what is possible when we embrace our common humanity.

Sincerely, 

 

Dear Colleagues, 

We are slowly welcoming in summer and a new month. I'll keep updates brief this week so you can head back outside. 

I'm pleased to report the ad hoc committee that will be working to consider modifications to our T&P policies will be chaired by Doug Russell. The group is coordinating meeting times throughout the summer and starting to dig into the work. This won't be a quick process, and I look forward to seeing some recommendations by early spring 2023. You can read more about the charge and see the members here.

As an additional update on the UW Reorganization plan, the departments of Geology and Geophysics, Physics and Astronomy, and Chemistry have made the decision to begin their transition to CEAS a year ahead of the July 1, 2023 deadline. As a reminder, the departments of Botany, Zoology and Physiology, and LIFE programs have also made the decision to transition to CANR ahead of schedule. Several processes will be shifted, like reappointment, tenure, and promotion review, annual reviews, and sabbatical reviews to the new college, but staff support for these departments will continue to be provided by the College of Arts & Sciences until the university staffing and compensation analysis has been completed and a new staffing structure has been determined.  

As a personnel update, I'd like to welcome our new Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Dr. Parag Chitnis to campus. He hit the ground running this week, and I'm looking forward to working with him. Additionally, Dr. Bryan Shader has accepted the position as Interim Department Head of the new Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. Bryan has taken on many projects this year for UW, and we appreciate his leadership in this role. 

Finally, colleagues, it is June, which means we celebrate diversity during Pride Month. I'm incredibly proud to see all the events hosted on campus this month to raise awareness and increase support for our LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff, and community members. I encourage you to join any of the events hosted by UW's Multicultural Affairs and Laramie Pridefest, which you can check out here.  

Extending gratitude to all of you as we head into a weekend.

Sincerely, 
 


Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,

 
As we look towards a summer pace of work and life, I will continue with these weekly updates when needed to keep communication and information flowing. I hope you are out enjoying some sun today. Here are a few tidbits of news from me:

 
For our colleagues in the advising centers, I'm pleased to report the appointment of Richard Miller as Director of ACES. Richard has served as interim for this past year with the retirement of former director, Jo Chytka. Richard has broad support from colleagues across campus, and I thank him for continuing the good work.

 
We have so many exceptional faculty at UW and I hope some of you are considering applying to the new Presidential Fellows Program. This position offers a great opportunity to lead as we implement the reorganization, new initiatives, and goals. The deadline to apply is June 1, and I look forward to working with the successful applicant.

 
On Feb 1, 2022, I established an ad hoc committee to examine and make recommendations on how we can make better use of the summer term and J-terms. I asked the committee to address questions about the scheduling of courses and their alignment with student progress toward completion, the current organizational structure of the sessions, financial incentives, marketing, etc. The committee, with representation from multiple units on campus, has collected data on past course offerings, surveyed departments on success and challenges, and is surveying students on how UW can better serve their summer and J-term course needs. The committee will share their findings with Dean, Directors, Associate Deans, and Department Heads later in the summer. Based on what I have learned, I see significant opportunities to better serve our students while also generating additional revenue to support our mission. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with the committee by contacting Vice Provost Steve Barrett at steveb@uwyo.edu.

 
I'd like to provide an update on the UW Reorganization plan. The Botany, Zoology & Physiology, and LIFE programs have requested to begin their transition to CANR a year ahead of the July 1, 2023 deadline. My team in Academic Affairs has studied the request and determined that it is feasible to begin a transition by shifting a number of processes like reappointment, tenure, and promotion review, annual reviews, and sabbatical reviews to the new college. Vice Provost Steve Barrett is working with advising managers and associate deans to develop a plan to support students as they transition to their new colleges. Vice Provost Jim Ahern will be working with the departments and college to ensure that current GTA allocations will be preserved. Staff support for these departments will continue to be provided by the College of Arts & Sciences until the university staffing and compensation analysis has been completed and a new staffing structure has been determined. Similarly, department/program budgets will be managed by the College of Arts & Sciences during this transition. I have also offered this soft transition plan to our physical science departments, and they are discussing the option. Even with this transition plan, there are still a lot details to work though – especially with regard to financial operations - and we will be working closely with deans and department heads to make this transition as smooth as possible.

 
As previously communicated in April, the footnote to SF0001 regarding our general education studies program stated: “Not later than June 1, 2022, the University of Wyoming shall report to the joint appropriations committee and the joint education interim committee on the general education requirements or other requirements for students seeking non-liberal arts degrees to take university studies courses or other general education courses outside of the students’ majors. This report shall include all regulation and policy incentives and disincentives to students used by the university to take extra-major courses, including any impact on student registration and the effects these requirements, policies, and other university actions have on student choice and the cost of education to students.” We have provided this report to the JAC/JEC and look forward to the opportunity to engage with the legislature next week in Casper regarding the structure and value of our general education (USP) requirements for all undergraduate majors. If you would like to see the report, please look at the submitted committee materials here.

 
Just a reminder that our new Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Dr. Parag Chitnis, will start next Tuesday. Let's all welcome him to our great campus!

 
Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu


Dear Colleagues,

 
It has certainly been a whirlwind weekend and into this week, and I'm very glad to have some sunshine during my walks around campus. But don’t put your parkas away yet. Here's a few updates for you:

 
If you did not attend or tune in to the Board of Trustees meeting last week, there was some great news that came out of the business meeting on Thursday. As you likely know, UW has been provided allocations from the state for some much-needed salary increases. Although our allocation plan places emphasis on addressing those valued employees at the lower end of the pay scale, it is just a start. During the Thursday meeting, we had over a dozen staff from one of our custodial units provide public comment on the issues they face with such low salaries. I commend these individuals for showing up as an individual and collective voices to advocate for themselves and their colleagues. I was impressed with their professionalism and heartfelt comments. Our Trustees heard the call for support and provided additional financial support for our colleagues. You can read more about that here and I would encourage you to thank these members of our community for their work the next time you see them around campus.

 
As previously communicated, I have finalized an ad hoc committee to consider modifications to our T&P policies and procedures. The committee met yesterday, and we had a great initial discussion. The committee members and charge letter can be found on our website here  and I’d like to recognize these folks who have volunteered their time to contribute to this work:
 

Barbara Rasco, Agriculture and Natural Sciences

Andrew Kniss, Agriculture and Natural Sciences

Teena Gabrielson, Arts and Sciences

Doug Russell, Arts and Sciences

Mark Clementz, Arts and Sciences

Ronn Smith, Business

Scott Thomas, Education

Dave Bagley, Engineering and Applied Sciences

John Koprowski, Haub School

Tristan Wallhead, Health Sciences

Klint Alexander, Law

Cass Kvenild, Libraries

Mike Borowczek, Faculty Senate representative 

Thomas Grant, Faculty Senate representative

Tami Benham Deal, Academic Affairs

Aneesa McDonald, Academic Affairs

 
As I am sure you are aware, there has been much discussion over the past few days regarding how human sex is determined and what it means. Sex determination in animals, including humans is a highly complex process that is influenced by genes, hormones, and environmental factors that can result in outcomes that span the spectrum between what we traditionally think of as male and female. As Provost, I support and celebrate that spectrum. I am personally appalled by the hurtful comments made during the last commencement ceremony on Saturday and the deep pain that they must have caused for our non-binary and trans community. I am also pleased by how our campus community has come together over this issue. Our statements of solidarity with non-binary and trans folks have also attracted many emails and phone calls from individuals from Wyoming and across the nation who are incredulous that UW would support the notion that sex is not binary. It is not, and that is a scientific truth. If you are interested in learning more about how sex is determined in humans you might find this Scientific American article that President Seidel shared with me https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/informative.
 

Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

 
This truly is one of my favorite weeks on campus, as we honor the journey that our students have successfully navigated and the “commencement” of the next chapter of their lives. It is also a time when we pause to recognize the excellence of our faculty.

 
On Thursday, I had the honor of attending the 2022 President’s Commencement Dinner. Over 170 members and friends of UW gathered to recognize student awardees, an honorary degree recipient, and many faculty awardees. You have seen a few campus announcements, and more will come soon, but today I would like to recognize all of them here:

 
Laramigo Award: Matthew Gray

Ellbogen Lifetime Award: Eric Moorhouse

Ellbogen Classroom Teaching Award: Marci Smith, Man-Chung Yeung, Jianting Zhu

Hollon Award: Justin Piccorelli

Humphrey Award: Ken Gerow

UW Foundation Stewardship Award: Chip Kobulnicky

 
The Presidential Scholarly Achievement Awards for tenured faculty at associate or full professor ranks who have demonstrated significant achievement in scholarship in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences are:

 
Susan Aronstein

Ben Markley

Conxita Domenech

Robert Kelly

Rachel Sailor

 
The Presidential Scholarly Achievement Awards for promising early-career faculty:

 

Michael Taylor

Chelsea Escalante

Whit Stewart

Patrick Witz

Ali Bicer

Corrine Knapp

Kelly Simonton

Morteza Dejam

Lauren McLane

 
UW’s Laramie campus Spring Commencement is tomorrow, May 13th. In three ceremonies, we will graduate over 1300 students. UW Casper will recognize its 81 graduates on Sunday, May 14. These future alumni have succeeded in some of the most challenging times in education to complete their degrees. I applaud every student who graduates on Saturday and Sunday and wish them all the best. During the Laramie campus commencement ceremony, I have the honor of recognizing our Honorary Marshals. The daily contributions of these campus leaders inspires all of us to move this institution toward greater excellence. They’ve devoted their professional lives and extraordinary talents to the advancement of their disciplines and to their students’ intellectual growth, and I'm honored to introduce them here: Daniel Rule, Mark Person, Mark T. Bittner, Tamsen Emerson Hert, Jim King, Dennis Coon, and Peter Stahl. My sincere thanks and congratulations to these great colleagues.

 
I want to thank everyone across the university community for bringing your voices to the Strategic Planning Team’s Idea Labs and Unit Dialogues this semester. As you know, Vice Provost Anne Alexander and Vice President Kim Chestnut worked with a Strategic Planning Team (SPT) of students, staff, and faculty to create this plan from the ground up. The big three themes they have identified as focal points for UW include people, processes, and culture. The Strategic Planning Council (a subset of the SPT) aims to release a very preliminary first draft of the plan in early June. You’ll have a chance to offer them feedback then if you want, and the Strategic Planning Council will also work over the summer to get feedback from stakeholders across the state. They’ll focus on getting another round of feedback from you and the rest of the university community in the fall. VPs Alexander and Chestnut figure this will include circulating their draft strategic plan and town halls, at a minimum. If you want to connect about any of this, please reach out to any rep on the Strategic Planning Council. And, a big shout out you all and to the Strategic Planning Team – thank you all for doing this important and extremely hard work this semester! 

 
As you might have learned in the campus announcement, the search for the next deans for the College of Business and the College of Health Sciences has been concluded with Board of Trustees approval. I’d like to welcome Dr. Jacob Warren as the next CHS Dean, and Dr. Scott Beaulier, as our new COB dean. I’m thrilled these outstanding administrators have joined our team, and I look forward to working with them. Please join me in welcoming them to campus this summer.

 
I would also like to thank David Jones for his sage leadership of CHS over the past several years and wish him well as he transitions into retirement. Thanks also to Rob Godby for providing excellent leadership to the College of Business as Interim Dean over the past year.

 
I’m very pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a School of Graduate Education. This is an important milestone in our aspirations to move toward our goal of promoting research and scholarly activity. I would like to express my appreciation to Vice Provost Jim Ahern for his excellent leadership in navigating the approval process over the past year. The launch of the School of Graduate Education will officially happen on September 1 and will coincide with the opening of its new home in Knight Hall.

 
While we will keep up with our communications, I recognize that, with the end of the spring semester, most of our faculty and students will transition into summer shortly after commencement. For many, the next few months are a wonderful opportunity to focus on scholarly pursuits, recharge personal batteries, and prepare to engage with another installment of an academic year. 


Enjoy!
 


Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

 
I'd like to take the opportunity this week to offer my thanks to our three Senate leads as their terms come to an end, and welcome in new leadership.

 
ASUW President Hunter Swilling and Vice President Colter Anderson have epitomized the best of UW’s students. Their leadership, collaboration, professionalism, and thoughtful approaches to tough issues have been unwavering during their tenure. I have enjoyed meeting with them over the year, and always appreciate their honesty and heartfelt advocacy for the student body and for what is best for UW. I know they have bright futures and wish them the best. Faculty Senate Chair, Dr. Adrienne Freng, and Chair-Elect, Dr. Renee Laegreid, have always brought strong faculty voices to the table. I thank them for their leadership and devotion to shared governance in difficult times, and for respectfully challenging opinions and processes. Staff Senate President Chris Maki and Vice President Brianna Casey are always willing to go the extra mile to make this campus a better place for our staff. I admire their advocacy for and dedication to our staff while also being invested in moving UW toward greater horizons. I thank them for always being collegial leaders. I look forward to the incoming chairs and presidents and hope to continue the good work.

 
On Wednesday of this week, we were honored to hear about the career of professor emeritus Dr. Jayne Jenkins, as the 2022 Buchanan Lecturer. Jayne offered life lessons, and future thoughts, sprinkled with humor and heartfelt stories. If you missed the lecture, you can view it on WyoCast here. I also enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and visit with President Buchanan, who remains highly invested in UW.

 
Next week will be fully occupied with Board of Trustees meetings, including Budget Committee meetings.

 
It really is the most wonderful time of the year as we welcome finals week and Commencement. Hundreds of newly-minted UW alumni will cross the stage on Saturday, May 14. They could not have gotten to this point in their lives without the support of our faculty and staff. We’ll also get to witness dozens of ROTC cadets, both Army and Air Force, be sworn in as Second Lieutenants. I hope that, amidst the flurry of grading and final projects, you are able to take in the wonderful activities surrounding our students’ culminating success, graduation!

 
This time of year is also when we celebrate more broadly the accomplishments of our community. It has been an absolute pleasure for me to personally congratulate Ellbogen Teaching Award recipients Marci Smith (Kinesiology & Health), Jianting Zhu (Civil and Architectural Engineering), and Man-Chung Yeung (Math and Stats), UW Foundation Stewardship Award recipient Chip Kobulnicky (Physics & Astronomy); Humphrey Award recipient Ken Gerow (Math and Statistics); and inaugural Laramigo Award recipient Matt Gray (Psychology). Last Sunday I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural induction ceremony for the Tri-Alpha Honors Society, which recognizes high-achieving first-generation students. And last Sunday night I had the honor of recognizing the outstanding male and female student-athletes in the “Wespys” ceremonies (a raucous event!).

 
I have it on good authority that spring is only a few weeks away. My tomatoes are waiting impatiently under grow lights in the basement!

 
Regards,
 

Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,


Another week has flown by, and it’s been a good challenge keeping up with all that’s happening.
 

This week and into next, I’m working on wrapping up the search for the next College of Business Dean. I had a final meeting with the committee last week, and they have provided great feedback on our candidates. I’d like to thank the committee for their hard work and dedication in this search. Special thanks to Cam Wright for chairing the committee. I’m confident we will have an excellent dean.
 

These last few weeks of the semester our focus turns to well-deserved recognitions of our faculty and students. I’ve had the opportunity to share good news with some of the recipients of our annual faculty awards. A press release announcing all the faculty awardees will be out in a couple of weeks after we’ve had a chance to congratulate them in person at department meetings. These are some of our best colleagues, and it’s wonderful to honor them.
 

In the spirit of recognition, I hope you all saw the press release on the new Presidential Scholarly Achievement Awards. This is an excellent opportunity for our colleges to acknowledge their own faculty, and I look forward to seeing who our deans recognize.
 

Another avenue of recognition is through our reappointment, tenure, and promotion process. As previously communicated, I’ll be finalizing an ad hoc committee to consider modifications to our T&P policies and procedures. I hope to get that group together in the coming week to start making recommendations that we can tackle now, and then expand the group to focus on bigger picture topics and best practices we can consider at UW.
 

As the Colleges of A&S, Engineering & Applied Sciences, and Agriculture & Natural Resources are deliberating the renaming of their new colleges as part of the reorganization, I’d like to inform the campus community of another project we are launching to assist in our reorganization process. Early next week, an RFP will be released to search for a consultant that will spearhead an institution-wide staff classification and compensation study and implementation plan. Our goal is to complete the study by the end of summer, with finalization of staffing for new colleges by FY24 budget deadline of April 15, 2023. We've heard from many of you during strategic planning that there is a real need to take a 360-degree look at our staffing structure and compensation, including the correct alignment of job descriptions and duties. This is an opportunity for UW to do just that.
 

I’d like to give a special shout-out to UW Art Museum Director, Nicole Crawford, and Vice Provost for Global Engagement, Isa Helfogtt, for their inspirational act of collaboration. On Tuesday, they hosted two Tibetan leaders who showcased the redevelopment of the Tibet Museum, an institution in India run by the Central Tibetan Administration. It is my understanding that Isa and Nicole were instrumental in supporting and guiding this process, and it's great to see effective international collaborations from UW colleagues. I’m confident this kind of impact happens more than I know, and I’d like to learn more from faculty who engage on the international landscape.
 

Susan and I had the chance to take a “quick” road trip to Worland earlier this week, which allowed us to see more of our beautiful state and make some new friends. The Wind River Canyon was breathtakingly beautiful, and we got a drive-by glimpse of the travertine deposits at the hot springs in Thermopolis. In Worland, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with former Trustee Dave Bostrom and his wife Marilyn on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning we spent a couple of hours visiting with Rep. Mike Greear and his team at the Wyoming Sugar Company, including a detailed tour of the 100+ year-old sugar-beet-processing facility. We then headed over to the Washakie Museum where we had lunch with members of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs. I had the opportunity to give a presentation on Saddle Up and answer questions regarding the current status of UW. We then headed over to the Washakie County Extension office where we had an opportunity to visit with Amber Armajo, Carrie Abbe, Angela Michel, and Caitlin Youngquist. It is clear that they take great pride in the work that they do with and for the citizens of Worland and Washakie County. We took the long way home by traversing the beautiful Big Horn Mountains before heading south towards Casper.
 

Take a breath. We are closing in on the end of the semester and the flurry of joyful activities that go with it. Hope everyone has a relaxing weekend ahead.
 

Regards,
 

Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,

I'd like to focus this week's communication on engagement. I know it is an incredibly busy time of year but taking part in important events  and discussions on campus is critical right now.

Of note, Tuesday night kicked off the annual Shepard Symposium, and it will continue through Saturday, April 23. I'm impressed with the breadth of events and conversations taking place. On Friday, April 22, 12-4 pm in the UW Union and via ZOOM, the student-led Sustainability Coalition is hosting the Laramie Community Climate Summit, which will feature regional and local speakers. The discussion will focus on recommendations for emissions reductions from Laramie’s joint community-university climate task force, which  includes representatives from Albany County, the City of Laramie, the University of Wyoming, and the broader community. It’s wonderful to see collaboration with our Laramie community, and I personally thank everyone involved. You can still register for the remaining events here.

The efforts in the search for the next Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are well underway. We continue to encourage you to take part in the process by suggesting nominations of individuals who might be appropriate for the opportunity during the recruiting process. You may provide their information here. The search committee would welcome your feedback regarding the qualifications and characteristics of the next Vice President. Please submit your comments here, as this information will be valuable to the search committee during the evaluation and assessment of candidates, which we expect to begin early in the Fall 2022 semester. I’d also like to congratulate Vice President Kim Chestnut, who has agreed to take on an additional role as interim VP for DEI. I know she will provide incredible leadership and care during this process.

Last week, I sent a note to Deans indicating we are moving forward with implementation of the approved restructuring plan for the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Engineering & Applied Sciences. The first step is to finalize the names of the three new colleges. Deans Okpodu, Rasco, and Wright will be following their college by-laws and other college policies for guidance on how this decision will be made and to ensure that the principles of shared governance have been honored. I have strongly recommended that colleges engage faculty, staff, and students in this discussion and provide them with opportunities to have a voice and provide feedback. Deadline for submitting the names of the new colleges is June 30, 2022. This time frame allows for feedback and it provides our Enrollment Management team with the time they need to ensure that all student-experience elements are built and live in time for Fall 2023 registration and to begin marketing efforts for new and transferring students. I encourage our campus community to look to the future of UW in this transformative time.

Finally, I want to thank Jean Garrison for leading the process of preparing our application to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to be recognized as a Carnegie Community Engaged University. It will be submitted in early 2023. If you would like to be actively involved with this process, please feel free to contact Jean or me.

As always, thank you for all you do.

Regards,


Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,
 

Last weekend, I had the honor of attending the 2022 Benefit Gala for the UW Art Museum. It was an impressive occasion, and the venue was filled with hundreds of supporters who also have a deep appreciation of the arts and the incredible work of the UW Art Museum. I extend my gratitude to Nicole Crawford and the UW Art Museum Board for all the work and energy resulting in a successful fundraising event and a joyful evening.
 

We continue to host finalists for the College of Business Dean search this week. If you have had the opportunity to engage with our candidates or watch their campus presentations, please provide feedback here.
 

As previously reported, my office established a working group, under the direction of Vice Provost Steve Barrett and Registrar Kwanna King, that has prepared a draft of the next 4-year academic calendar for AY23/24 to AY26/27. This draft was previously presented to the Board of Trustees’ Academic and Student Affairs committee, and a final version will be voted on by the Board in May. If you haven’t already done so, please provide feedback here.
 

Looking ahead, I’m pleased to see our College of Arts and Sciences hosting an I.D.E.A.S. symposium next Monday. There’s a notable slate of keynote speakers addressing critical topics including community and global engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and digital humanities. There will be panels and a roundtable lunch discussion, and I encourage you to explore your own ideas at this symposium. You can still register for this event here.
 

As you are probably aware, in the recent legislative session a footnote to SF0001 was approved, which states: “Not later than June 1, 2022, the University of Wyoming shall report to the joint appropriations committee and the joint education interim committee on the general education requirements or other requirements for students seeking non-liberal arts degrees to take university studies courses or other general education courses outside of the students’ majors. This report shall include all regulation and policy incentives and disincentives to students used by the university to take extra-major courses, including any impact on student registration and the effects these requirements, policies, and other university actions have on student choice and the cost of education to students.” We are working on this report and appreciate the opportunity to engage with the JAC and JEC regarding the structure and value of our general education (USP) requirements for all undergraduate majors. We will share the report with the UW community when it is submitted to the legislature.
 

Next Monday I will spend the morning honoring and showing appreciation to our UW staff. UW Staff Recognition Day is from 8-10 am at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, and I am looking forward to meeting more of our amazing colleagues. I intentionally send this weekly newsletter to all UW employees, so that our staff feels included and valued because they do and offer so much every day. With that, I extend my deepest gratitude to our staff community, thank you!
 

Regards,

 
 
Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,
 

I hope you have seen the recent campus release announcing the finalists in the College of Business Dean search. Our first candidate is on campus today, and I encourage you to engage with our candidates if you are able, watch their campus presentations, and provide feedback on this important hire. Special thanks to the search committee, and chair Cam Wright for bringing five diversely outstanding candidates to campus.
 

I'm sure that by now, everyone has heard that we are in the process of developing a new strategic plan for UW. The robust team of faculty, staff, and students has wrapped up the first round of over 100-unit dialogues. If you have not heard about these dialogue sessions, I encourage you to reach out to your unit supervisor, as these are meant to be all-inclusive and everyone's voice deserves to be heard. The next round of sessions will be coming up soon.
 

This coming Friday I have the honor of addressing over 175 admitted students and over 286 of their family members at one of our Admitted Student Days. This is one of many that UW is hosting, and it is such a joy to see the excitement of incoming students. I'm grateful for the opportunity to attend these welcome events and want to thank Shelley Dodd and her team in Admissions for the effort they put into recruiting.
 

Speaking of students, I was pleased to see a campaign launched this week to support food security on campus. The "Every Poke Nourished" campaign started on Monday, will last a week, and is a great example of how we can continue to build a supportive and welcoming community that is dedicated to student success at so many levels. I look forward to seeing the UW Food Security Taskforce meet their $10k goal and putting those resources to good work.
 

Over the past several days I have been reviewing packages for faculty who are being considered for tenure and promotion this year. It has been a truly inspirational exercise to see the exceptional scholarly accomplishments, commitment to quality instruction, and meaningful engagement with communities by our faculty. As I mentioned last week, I’ll be assembling a committee to consider modifications to our T&P policies and procedures, but it is wonderful to know that the faculty who are navigating this process are first rate.
 

I'd like to take a moment to address the recent vandalism that occurred around the Aven Nelson Building. It is difficult to see hateful words and damage to our campus, with the understanding that this type of intolerable behavior affects our colleagues as they walk into work every day. I want you to know that I have personally been in touch with our UW Police Department, and they are working on this, and I hope that brings some relief to our colleagues.
 

In closing, don't lose your hats in all this wind, and have a great weekend.
 

Regards,

 

Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,
 

A critical search for UW ended last week, with the appointment of Dr. Parag Chitnis as the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Parag’s extensive administrative and research experience will be a great asset to our university, and I especially look forward to working with him and welcoming him to campus on May 31st. I would also like to thank Diana Hulme for her extraordinary service as Interim VP during this transitional period.

 
This week, I’m working on wrapping up the search for the next College of Health Sciences Dean. I had a final meeting with the committee yesterday, and they have provided great feedback on our candidates. I’d like to thank the committee for their hard work, dedication, and professionalism in this search. The search for the Dean of the College of Business continues, and I plan to announce finalists soon with campus visits to start late next week.

 
Today you will receive a reminder to participate in the FSSE (Faculty Survey of Student Engagement) Survey. Please be on the lookout for the Qualtrics survey link from FSSE. Your participation in this survey will be used to support the work of student learning at UW. We look forward to including your voice in this process and greatly appreciate your time. This year the two topical modules we have selected speak directly to work happening at UW: Transferable Skills, Career, and Workforce Development, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Thank you for being part of this important process.

 
The UW committee charged with updating the university’s approach to general education is in its first major feedback-gathering phase. Throughout April, the Next Generation General Education (NGGE) Committee is seeking input from stakeholders both on and off-campus. Please visit the Next Generation General Education website and click on the link to the online form to submit your feedback. Comments are being accepted through April 29. While on the website, check out the other information, including a list of committee members, current activities, and archival documents. The website will be used by the Next Generation General Education Committee to receive feedback from you throughout the redesign process. A big thanks to the committee, and the co-chairs, Susan Aronstein, Rick Fisher, and Jacquelyn Bridgman for leading this important effort.

 
The Math/Stats department is looking into the possibility of replacing remedial math courses with a co-requisite model. Remedial math courses slow student progress and often carry a stigma. The co-requisite model for math courses has been run successfully at many of our peer institutions for some time and has been endorsed nationally by Complete College America. This endeavor has my full support, and I thank Department Head Jason Williford for his work on exploring this approach. Stay tuned for more information.

 
A couple of weeks ago I put out a request to department heads/chairs, associate deans, and deans and directors seeking to identify individuals who would be interested in participating in an ad hoc committee to review policies and procedures related to tenure and promotion. I’m pleased that over 30 individuals expressed interest in this topic. We will work from that pool to identify a committee of manageable size and include representation from the Faculty Senate. I look forward to engaging in this important dialogue.

 
I see that the sun keeps pushing through the chill and snowflakes, and I look forward to warmer days on campus. Hope everyone has a relaxing weekend ahead.

 
Regards,
 
 
Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

If you missed it in the Big Picture last week, please take time to read the recent publication from Academic Affairs titled “Innovations”. In this issue, we highlight the incredible work of research and entrepreneurial activity by our faculty, students, and staff at UW. I was so impressed to learn about the work of these talented colleagues. Well done!


This week, two finalists for the College of Health Sciences Dean search visited UW for their campus interviews. We welcomed Dr. Marketa Marvanova, Dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at University of Montana, and Jacob Warren, Director for the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities at Mercer University School of Medicine. These visits included public presentations, and I hope many folks were available to attend or watch on WyoCast. If you had the opportunity to interact with our candidates, or watch their presentations, I encourage you to provide feedback with our survey (link here), which will be open until this coming Sunday at 11:59 pm. I will meet with the search committee next week to hear their assessment and hope to make an offer soon.


The search committee for the Dean of the College of Business interviewed 10 semi-finalist candidates this past Monday and Tuesday. I am briefly meeting with all of them individually via Zoom on Friday, after which I will consult with the search committee and select finalists to bring to campus in April.
 

The Board of Trustees met this week with a packed agenda, and I wanted to share some updates:

•   President Seidel presented on UW’s COVID-19 status and the omicron variant. I continue to encourage you to make informed decisions for your personal health and note that nothing has changed in our current policy.
 

•   We are looking to the future of fundraising, as President Seidel and Vice President Ben Blalock presented a proposed list of fundraising priorities for UW. Our goal is to support and recognize faculty excellence, leverage ongoing initiatives (e.g., the Science Initiative, Tier 1 Engineering, Trustees Education Initiative, and AMK Ranch), enhance student success (e.g., Saddle Up and Cowboy Coaches), generate more endowed faculty positions to retain and recruit outstanding faculty, and leverage new programs such as the Wyoming Innovation Partnership, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the School of Computing to name a few. You can read more about the initiatives in the materials from the meeting found here.
 

•   My office established a working group, under the direction of Vice Provost Steve Barrett and Registrar Kwanna King, that has prepared the draft of the next 4-year academic calendars for AY23/24 to AY26/27. This draft was presented to the Academic and Student Affairs committee this week, and a final version will be voted on in May. If you haven’t already done so, please provide feedback here.
 

•   Along with our Trustees, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Science Initiative building this morning. It was great to see such progress on this visionary facility, and I look forward to our future in research and collaboration in this space.
 

•   Finally, as a first step toward reviewing policies and procedures that support our mission, I am assembling an ad hoc committee to review those associated with RTP. I issued a broad request for interest to department heads/chairs, associate deans, and deans and will be seeking representation from the Faculty Senate.
 

We started this week with heavy hearts, from news that we lost an incredible colleague in a tragic accident, Dr. Jay Norton. I didn’t have the honor of knowing Jay but have heard from many about the incredible person and colleague he was. I send my heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends and know that his impact on our community and campus will live on.

 

Wishing you all a peaceful weekend. Enjoy the warm weather!
 
 

Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,
 

To keep our communications coming, but in full recognition that many are out enjoying spring break this week, I will keep this week’s message very brief.
 

As I mentioned last week, finalists for the College of Health Sciences Dean search will be visiting beginning next week. One more finalist has withdrawn from consideration, but we have two strong candidates coming to campus. The candidates are Marketa Marvanova, Dean of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at University of Montana; and Jacob Warren, Director for the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities at Mercer University School of Medicine. These visits will include public presentations in which the campus community can participate in-person or virtually. Be looking for a campus announcement soon that will have more details on the presentations and feedback surveys.
 

The search committee for the Dean of the College of Business will interview 11 semi-finalist candidates next Monday and Tuesday. I will also take time to meet with these candidates, prior to receiving recommendations from the committee on finalists to bring to campus. I will keep you informed on this search as it continues to progress.
 

The Board of Trustees will be meeting in-person next week and there is a lot on the agenda, see links to materials here. I encourage everyone to tune in to the committee meetings and full board sessions but will also provide some highlights in my message next week.
 

We are heading into a heavy event season, with commencement, programming, and lots of recognition ceremonies. I’m looking forward to attending those I can, and glad we are making the time and effort to be together in celebration of the great accomplishments of many.
 

Thanks again for all you do!

Regards, 


Kevin C. 
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone has stayed safe and warm this week. Although spring break is just around the corner it seems like there is always an abundance of work and events, with no shortage of updates to share.

Strategic Planning efforts are in full swing, and we are thrilled with the participation so far. Two “Idea Labs” have been held to date – the first on the Future of Online and Residential Learning at UW, and yesterday’s on Becoming a Carnegie Engaged University – and featured excellent cross-unit discussions on mission-centered topics. Upcoming Idea Lab topics are here, and more sessions are being added as we speak, so stay tuned for more. Two units, Information Technology and Communication and Journalism, held their first unit dialogue sessions this week, and we appreciate their candor and thoughtfulness in those sessions. Thanks also go to our Strategic Planning Team members, Sue Koller, Warren Crawford, Valorie Lymon, Ivan Sapien, Chris Maki, and Sreejan Nair, who facilitated these first unit dialogues.

As I mentioned last week, finalists for the College of Health Sciences Dean search will be visiting campus soon. One finalist has withdrawn from consideration, but we have three strong candidates coming to campus beginning the week of March 21st and look forward to their visits. Further information on the finalists has been sent out today in a separate message. The search committee will welcome input on the candidates and will distribute a survey link and visit dates to campus next week.

The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the launch of the FSSE (Faculty Survey of Student Engagement) on March 22nd. Faculty, instructors, and graduate teaching assistants who teach at least one undergraduate course during AY 21/22 will receive an invitation to participate in the survey via email from FSSE Survey, Qualtrics (noreply@qualtrics-survey.com). UW has been participating in FSSE for many years and we are pleased to continue our participation to better understand how UW can support the important work of student learning. We invite you to access data from previous years on our Assessment for Student Learning website.

I have been deeply disturbed by the legislation proposed by the Wyoming Senate that would prohibit the teaching of gender studies at UW. While I respect the right and responsibility of the Wyoming legislature to govern, I unambiguously object to legislation that attempts to prescribe what and how we teach. There are real and significant potential consequences for such legislative interference in our curriculum. Indeed, I attended the American Council on Education (ACE) meeting in San Diego a few days ago and heard from many incredulous colleagues across the nation on this matter. Many of our colleagues across campus have personally reached out to me with concerns. I strongly encourage you and them to engage as citizens of the state and express those concerns with a reminder about UW Regulation 12-4 and using your personal email to contact legislators. You can be sure that we have vigorously opposed any legislation that would propose to control what we teach or that marginalizes any members of our university community.

I’m in Las Vegas at the Mountain West Championships. Although our Cowgirls made an early exit from the tournament, I congratulate them on a successful season. I look forward to joining President Seidel and a raucous group of Wyoming fans this afternoon as the Cowboys take on UNLV…go Pokes!

If you are heading out on spring break, enjoy it! If you are on campus next week, I hope to see you around.
 

Regards, 
 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,

I hope you have enjoyed the spring-like weather this week and are braced for another round of snow that is coming! Let's dive in with some updates I'd like to share.

This week, UW was proud to host a ceremony launching the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (WORTH) Initiative on Wednesday, March 2nd at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. This unique initiative will provide real-world experiences for students, courses and certificates, training, and outreach services. The WORTH initiative will serve as a hub for our state's tourism, hospitality, and recreation industry. You can read more about the opening here.

The Division of Student Affairs has issued a call for nominations for the Tobin Memorial and Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Outstanding Undergraduate Awards. Please consider nominating graduating or recently graduated students for these prestigious awards. All nominations must include a letter that describes why the student is being nominated and how the student meets the award criteria. Awards criteria include academic excellence and achievement, contributions and service to the University of Wyoming, active participation, and leadership in co-curricular activities, demonstrated good character and citizenship, and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Fall 2021, Spring 2022, or Summer 2022. Nominations are due by 11:59 pm on Thursday, March 10, 2022, and should be sent to Student Affairs at studentaffairs@uwyo.edu.

With the naming of Dr. Gabrielle Allen as Director, we are entering the start-up period for the School of Computing. During this early phase, the school will be organizationally housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Under Dr. Allen’s leadership, the SoC will focus on hiring faculty, prioritizing and offering courses and certificate programs, and working with other UW units and Wyoming community colleges to develop a sequence of first-year and sophomore-level courses for students interested in majoring in computing-related programs. The SoC will partner with interested UW departments to create minors in computing. Please watch for announcements about ways you can participate in this transformative new academic unit.

Next week UW is launching NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) among our first-year and senior students. We last administered NSSE in Spring 2020 before UW entered the world of pandemic restrictions. Back then, 78% of responding first-year students and 80% of responding seniors reported feeling challenged to do their best work in their courses. It is time to check in on how things are going. This survey will give us data on how our students are feeling about a wide range of their UW experiences including specific aspects of the classroom experience, extracurricular plans, UW support services, interactions with their peers, faculty, and staff, and how they are spending their time. All first-year and senior students will receive the first email invite on Wednesday, March 9 from nsse@nssesurvey.org. Thank you for your help in our efforts to obtain a high response rate and collect useful and interesting data by encouraging students to participate.

Nine semifinalists for the College of Health Sciences Dean search were interviewed last week. From this impressive group, four finalists have agreed to join us for campus interviews. Details will be forthcoming soon.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is beyond reprehensible, and the human tragedy is gut-wrenching. Anastasiia Pereverten is an undergraduate Ukrainian student who is at UW for a study-abroad experience this spring. She is a remarkable young woman and is deeply impacted by the evolving tragedy. In case you missed it, the Boomerang did a top-fold story on her on March 2. We also have Russian students studying at UW that are impacted by financial sanctions and who I’m sure have their own personal perspectives on what is happening. We live in a troubled and endlessly complex world. I urge you to actively look for opportunities to support students, faculty, and staff who need it more than ever. We have many resources and support systems in place for those who need it, so please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Regards,



Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu
Dear Colleagues,

I hope all of you have survived our first artic blast of the year and are taking preventive measures to stay warm and safe. I tested positive for COVID last Saturday and have been working from home this week. Thankfully, my Pfizer vaccine + boost allowed me to experience only mild symptoms and I’m looking forward to getting back to Old Main next week. My home wifi has been a bit frustrating as I have tried to stay up with Zoom meetings and our dogs have inserted themselves in meetings several times. It is a reminder of the challenges that many of you faced and continue to face as you navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

I am pleased to report that the searches for the next Deans of the College of Health Sciences and the College of Business are continuing to make good progress. The search committee for the College of Health Sciences Dean, chaired by Dean of UW Libraries Ivan Gaetz, and I are hosting Zoom interviews with nine semifinalists this week. By mid-March, finalists should be arriving on campus for the final stage of the search. Be looking for an announcement for ways you can meet and provide feedback on the candidates.

The search committee for a new Dean of the College of Business, chaired by Acting Dean of the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences Cam Wright, and with support from Parker Executive Search firm, is in the advanced stages of advertising and soliciting applications. If you are aware of outstanding professionals and leaders in the field, I strongly encourage you to recommend and nominate potential candidates before March 4 at this link. We expect to identify and interview semi-finalists in March and interview finalists in April.

Our goal is to have our new deans in place by the beginning of the new academic year.

I am especially pleased to announce that Vice President of Student Affairs Kim Chestnut will be chairing the search for the University’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A big thank you to the following individuals for agreeing to serve on this important committee.

Committee members include:

  • Jose Ivan Sapien, ASUW
  • Cliff Marks, Faculty Senate
  • Aleah Biertzer, Staff Senate
  • Melvin Arthur, Kinesiology & Health
  • Teyon Ware, Athletics
  • Becky Garcia, Internal Audit
  • Jill Johnson, Global Engagement
  • Jacquelyn Bridgeman, School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice
  • Reinette Tendor, NAERCC, CSIL
  • Mindy Peep, Marketing/Communications
  • Paula Martin, UW Libraries
  • Julio Brionez, Counseling Center
  • Melanie Vigil, Multicultural Affairs
  • John Griffin, External Member
  • Arielle Zibrak, UW Search Equity Advisor


The committee met early this week and will be working with Parker Executive Search firm to move forward in recruiting outstanding candidates for this position.

As for the Vice President of Research and Economic Development Search, President Seidel has invited two of the finalists back to UW for a second visit. I expect that the search will be completed in the next week or two.

Congratulations to Eric Nigh, Director of Arabic and Middle East Studies Program, Shawn Bunning, Assistant Director for Research and Development/Global Engagement Office, and their team on a successful implementation of Project GO - a $460,000 grant from the Department of Defense designed to strengthen the language capabilities and cultural awareness of up-and-coming members of the US Military. The program provides scholarship support, including preparatory Arabic course and orientation followed by a 10-week study abroad experience in the kingdom of Jordan. Thanks to their hard work, the university has been successful in recruiting ~30 ROTC candidates from over 20 institutions of higher learning hosting ROTC programs Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, California, Texas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Washington, and Montana to participate in this program.

In closing, I encourage you to take this time of year through the annual review process to celebrate our successes, reflect on ways to improve, and set ambitious and achievable goals for 2022!



Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

I’ve spent a lot of time this week talking with many of you in faculty meetings, deans’ meetings, and conversations with department heads. These meetings are always informative, and I appreciate your candor and willingness to discuss difficult issues. I’d like to take the opportunity to clear up a few things and offer support where I can.

First, I have heard concerns, particularly from assistant professors, that UW does not value tenure. As someone who worked hard to navigate the tenure ladder, I can state with absolute certainty that I deeply value tenure and will vigorously support and defend it at UW. President Seidel and I have discussed this matter and we are in complete agreement. Any misunderstanding about our commitment to tenure is of deep concern to us. You will be hearing more about this from President Seidel and me in the near future.

Second, some of the feedback I have received suggests that there may be confusion about how our restructuring plan relates to the strategic planning initiative that is currently underway. Soon after our UW Restructuring Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees last November, we launched into our Strategic Planning process. The UW Restructuring Plan was developed in recognition that UW cannot continue to implement budget reductions while maintaining the status quo in our organization, degree offerings, and course delivery. The plan is intended to improve efficiencies and functions of the university. Implementation of the plan is in its early stages and will continue through at least July 1, 2023.

Strategic planning, on the other hand, is about planning for the future of UW by identifying our aspirational goals and priorities and identifying a path through which they can be realized. We will also identify institutional policies and procedures that need to be revised in order to achieve our objectives and improve our working environment. Under Vice Provost Alexander’s leadership, 65 faculty, staff, and students are organizing numerous opportunities for the University community and external stakeholders to provide input that will be essential to the development of a robust strategic plan that will guide us into the future. When the plan is drafted, there will be numerous opportunities for the UW community and external community to provide feedback on it before it is finalized. The plan will be concise and dynamic and will include metrics for measuring our progress. The strategic planning team is relying on your engagement with this process for the plan to be truly ours, and ultimately successful. Stay tuned for more information about how you can provide feedback.

As I mentioned above, we are in the early stages of implementing the UW Restructuring Plan. Some changes in organizational structures will occur on July 1, 2022, including: (1) relocation of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics to the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, (2) consolidation of the Departments of Electrical & Chemical Engineering and Computer Science, (3) move of the Early Care & Education Center to the College of Education, and (4) movement of the American Studies Program to the School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice.

I have decided to retain the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences in its current form and have established a working group to make a recommendation on whether it should move to the College of Education or remain in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This working group is chaired by Jeff Hamerlinck and consists of faculty from FCS and Education, as well as a Faculty Senate representative. This is not an official “2-13” committee but will serve in a similar manner. I’ve asked the committee to allow students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders the opportunity to express their thoughts and expect a report from the committee in April. If a decision is made to move FCS to Education, that process would be completed as of July 1, 2023.

Physics & Astronomy is continuing to work with Atmospheric Science to consolidate their departments and move to CEAS effective July 1, 2023.

Botany, Zoology & Physiology, and the Life Sciences Program have expressed an interest in initiating their transition to CANR beginning July 1, 2022. We are exploring possibilities, but it is certain that the transition would not be completed until July 1, 2023.

In the upcoming months, my office will be working with Departments, Colleges, Enrollment Management, Financial Affairs, and HR to examine ways to phase in the reorganization and to finalize the details for full implementation. We will keep you informed about significant developments along the way.

If you watched the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday you heard President Seidel recommend changes to the mask policy, including temporarily retaining the requirement for masks to be worn in classrooms where social distancing is not possible. By a narrow margin, the Board decided to lift the mask requirement for classrooms effective this coming Monday, February 21, 2022. You can read about the new policy here, but in sum, masks are still required in campus offices when requested by the office occupant or visitor, employees in medically related units, and on UW Transit Service buses, in accordance with federal rules. My office was immediately contacted by faculty and academic administrators who have concerns about this change, and I understand and empathize with you. In an effort to help you better understand the implications of this revised policy, my office has prepared a guidance document you can find here. I encourage you to continue to be excellent role models for our students by communicating the policy change to your students and supporting a positive and inclusive learning environment. If you have questions not addressed in the guidelines, please send me an email at provost@uwyo.edu or contact one of our Vice Provosts. We stand ready to help you in whatever way we can.

I will provide status reports on the VPRED, VPDEI, and two dean searches next week.

This is a lot to process today, but please know that we are listening and are working hard to support all of you. I thank you for your continued dedication to UW.

Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, I have had the opportunity to meet so many more of our amazing colleagues, and I’d like to begin this week's message by bringing attention to a few of them.

Dr. Margaret Wilson, Department Chair for Theatre and Dance, was selected as a recipient of the Governor's Arts Award for 2020. Due to COVID, awardees were not celebrated last year but were acknowledged this past weekend at the awards dinner and ceremony in Cheyenne. This is an incredible honor to be recognized for excellence and outstanding service in the arts, and Dr. Wilson certainly deserves this award. There was a full house in Cheyenne and Susan and I were honored to join the celebration of Margaret’s accomplishments.

Susan and I also spent a fun last Saturday evening attending the "Pie-in-the-Sky" Dessert auction benefiting Laramie Reproductive Health. The cupcakes I won in the auction from our local Sugar Mouse Cupcake House were well worth it, but I spent the evening amazed at how our campus community showed up for this special event. Our own Anne Alexander, Chris Rothfuss, and Bryan Berryhill put their best face forward to raise the most money during the benefit. You might ask a couple of them how good that pie in the face was! I was also impressed with the talent of local musician and UW professor Jason Shogren, and Dean Peter Parolin who was a skilled and energetic auctioneer. I personally want to thank these folks and others who showed up in support and helped raise over $13k for the good work being done at Laramie Reproductive Health.

After seeing so much community commitment this past week, it seems appropriate to mention our newest award at UW, the "Laramigo" award for Community Engagement. Created by anonymous donors, the award recognizes UW staff or faculty members for their exemplary work both at UW and in service to the Laramie community. My office sent out an announcement on January 28th, so please check with your department head or dean if you are interested in nominating a colleague.

On January 22nd, I sent a note to all faculty for a call for nominations/applications for Director/Co-Directors for the School of Computing. I'm happy to report that we have 8 colleagues interested in the position. Dean Cam Wright and I will be meeting to review applications this week, and we hope to have an announcement out to campus in a week or so. Additionally, the latest update on our search for a College of Health Sciences Dean has attracted at least 45 applicants so far. The search committee meets on February 14th to identify semi-finalists.

As we launch into our strategic planning process and look towards the future of UW, I'd also like to let the campus know that our Next Generation General Education committee is already making progress. As it moves forward with its work of revamping and reimagining general education at UW, it seeks to work in dialogue and partnership with UW's many stakeholders. Accordingly, the first stage of the committee's work will be robust information and input gathering this spring from all of UW's constituencies. I recently met with the committee and reiterated the committee's charge, and I'm eager to see the progress. I would encourage the campus community to take part in the information gathering and input opportunities that will be available later this spring and throughout the process. A huge thank you to co-chairs Jacquelyn Bridgman and Susan Aronstein for leading this effort, and to all the committee members devoting time and energy.

As we head into Super Bowl weekend, let's cheer on a couple of our own student athletes. Former Cowboy linebacker Logan Wilson, a Casper native plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. A senior at Wyoming, he earned First Team All-America honors from Pro Football Focus, Second Team All-American from USA Today and Third Team All-American from Associated Press. Former Cowboy cornerback Tyler Hall is on the practice squad for the Los Angeles Rams. Hall was a three-Time Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference selection as a defensive back and kick return specialist at Wyoming. Best of luck to these two outstanding athletes, and I hope everyone enjoys the weekend!

Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

We just closed out the first month of the new year, and Punksatawney Phil says six more weeks of winter! Phil obviously doesn’t live in Wyoming.

The four finalists in the search for our Vice President for Research and Economic Development wrap up their campus visits next week. I hope you have had a chance to engage with them or watch their campus presentations. Information on the campus presentations can be found here, and we will be soliciting feedback until Wednesday, February 9th at 12pm.

We are pleased to announce that the searches for the next Deans of the College of Health Sciences and the College of Business have moved forward to the phase of soliciting nominations and attracting interested candidates. Two excellent search committees have been assembled, the CHS search chaired by Dean of UW Libraries Ivan Gaetz and the COB search chaired by Dean of Engineering and Applied Science Cameron Wright. We have engaged Summit Solutions and Parker Executive Search, respectively, to assist us in our recruiting efforts. The recruitment process is underway with plans for conducting finalist interviews in March and April 2022. Advertisements have been placed in major venues, but the campus community can help us reach a wider pool of applicants. We strongly encourage you to take part in the search process by suggesting nominations of individuals who might be appropriate for these opportunities. Please use the links below for more information on applications, or to submit nominations:

Dean, College of Health Sciences
Dean, College of Business

On January 22nd, I sent a note to all faculty calling for nominations/applications for Director/Co-Directors for the School of Computing (SoC). The long-term vision of the SoC is to be inclusive of all disciplines. It will include faculty with joint appointments from across the institution and will develop multiple-pathway degree programs at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The SoC will leverage partnerships with corporations and state and federal agencies, will work with departments to develop computing minors within a broad range of disciplines and help develop a “Digital for All” component in the new USP. The SoC will be “incubated” in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, with a goal of being an independent school with a dean in the timeframe of approximately five years. I’m pleased that several UW faculty have expressed interest in this novel leadership opportunity and I look forward to reviewing applications with Dean Cam Wright.

In the effort to grow our research enterprise and attain Carnegie R1 status, I’m reviewing our internal processes to ensure the research work already being done by faculty is accounted for appropriately. For example, we recently confirmed that UW doesn’t report institutional (block grant) funds used for faculty salaries that are designated for research in the NSF HERD survey used for R1 classification. I am currently working with our colleagues in the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Office of Sponsored Programs, and HR to refine our process.

I’ve also been working with our Deans to address the concern of accumulated earnings in endowment accounts. These excess earnings are classified into two categories, those with an earnings balance in excess of two times the annual earnings distribution (“2x”) and those in excess of four times the annual earnings distribution (“4x”). My charge to Deans was to use earnings to assure that no accounts were classified as 4x by the end of FY 22, and to make substantial progress toward eliminating earnings accounts classified as 2x. I’m glad to report that our college leadership teams are working hard to maximize these endowed funds for the benefit of our students and faculty.

Sincerely,


Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

Our second week into the semester and there is no shortage of excitement and events on campus.

I had the incredible honor of celebrating our Top Professors at the 42nd Annual Cap and Gown Chapter of MortarBoard “Top Prof” celebration. 24 of our students honored distinguished faculty members for their significant contributions to our university, and the inspiration they gift in educating our students. I’d like to take the opportunity to recognize them here as well, and thank them for the dedication to students:

Mark Person, Modern & Classical Languages
Dan McCoy, Haub School
Kassandra Willingham, Molecular Biology
Chris Rothfuss, Honors College
Nicole Choi, Accounting & Finance
Mark Ritchie, Visual & Literary Arts
Amy Spiker, School of Teacher Education
Molly Burchett, Management & Marketing
Corey Billington, Management & Marketing
Evan Johnson, Kinesiology & Health
Karen Wawrousek, Chemical Engineering
Marsha Knight, Theatre & Dance
Kimberly Schweitzer, Criminal Justice & Sociology
Derek Smith, Kinesiology & Health
Kerry Sondgeroth, Veterinary Sciences
Erica Belmont, Mechanical Engineering
Catherine Hartmann, Philosophy & Religious Studies
Joe Carver, Music
Matthew Henry, Honors College
Bridget Decker, Molecular Biology
Ginka Kubelka, Chemistry
Gretchen Sewczak-Claude, Kinesiology & Health
Nicholas Prince, Management & Marketing
Jill Keith, Family & Consumer Sciences

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have invited four candidates to campus in the search for our Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The finalists are Danny Dale, associate dean in arts and sciences at UW; Jayne Billmayer Morrow, assistant vice president for research and economic development at Montana State University; Parag Chitnis, associate director for programs at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at USDA; and Beth Plale, executive director for the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. Information on the campus presentations can be found here. I encourage you to be involved in this process, and we would like to gather your feedback on each candidate with this survey.

In another exciting announcement, we are very fortunate to have great partners in our UW Foundation, who are looking for nominations for the UW Foundation Stewardship Award. The Stewardship Award will recognize the leadership of a University of Wyoming faculty member who has excelled in relationship-building and stewardship of alumni and/or donors as evidenced through receipt of private gifts, engagement of former students in the activities of UW and/or the commitment to strong external relationships for the betterment of the University of Wyoming. The award will be announced in the spring at the President’s commencement dinner. The financial award will go to support the faculty member, as well as the faculty member’s college/department and another worthy unit on campus. The faculty member will receive $5,000, the college or department $2,500, and the recipient can direct another $2,500 toward a university unit or club. The award is designed to bring about a greater knowledge and awareness of effective stewardship practices and relationship-building opportunities and to give special recognition to those faculty members who make outstanding contributions to the culture of philanthropy at UW. Please consider working with your department head or dean and nominating your colleagues here. Nominations will be accepted until March 15th, 2022.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many great things happening all over campus, with much to be proud of. Take care and enjoy the rest of your week!

Sincerely,

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

 

Dear Colleagues,

Beginning this month, UW is launching our new student-success management platform, Navigate. Navigate will now be available to continuing students and our “Phase I” users, which includes ACES, each of our college Academic Advising teams, Disability Support Services, Cowboy Coaches, Student Financial Services, and Scholarships and Financial Aid. Navigate will improve the student experience and ultimately lead to increased retention, persistence, and completion rates. Without your support, we cannot do this!

As an institution, we’ve recognized the need to improve our ability to 1) effectively communicate with our students; 2) efficiently notify our students of important tasks (e.g., holds, etc.) and requirements (e.g., missing documents); 3) empower our students to take responsibility for their educational experience; 4) efficiently track, annotate, and report student progress at early points and throughout the semester; and 5) efficiently refer students to various offices for special assistance (e.g., DSS, financial aid, etc.). Navigate will provide us with a system to manage these efforts. Navigate also provides powerful analytics that allow us to identify students who are at risk of not being successful in their major – based on several years of data of historical performance by UW students – and connect them with the resources and advising that they need to get back on track.

This system has been tailored to uniquely support UW students and therefore, will be the primary means for our Phase I users to communicate with students:
  • Navigate Student is a mobile app designed to help students effectively navigate UW. How do students communicate? Their phone, of course! Simple tasks such as checking their schedules, knowing their primary advisor, scheduling an appointment for advising, identifying class locations, knowing an offices’ hours of operation, etc. will now be at their fingertips. How about knowing add/drop dates, the mid-term schedule, or even when to return to campus? It’s all there! Students will be able to receive push notifications on their phones and get the information they need to be a successful student
  • Navigate Staff will transform the way professional advisors and other Phase I users communicate with UW students. They will now be able to access student information easily and instantly. Imagine being able to view an advisee’s major, sequence of courses, performance in critical courses, number of DFW’s, campus involvement, academic status, and so much more—on one page, in an instant. Imagine the ability to refer a student with financial concerns to billing and financial-aid resources, a failing student to a professional advisor, a struggling student to a caring peer mentor. Faculty will also be able to schedule appointments with students around their office hours. Imagine being able to send a group message to all the majors in your program with a specific GPA or within a certain number of earned credit hours for a scholarship, fellowship, or internship opportunity—instantly! Imagine the basics, being able to know who your advisees are, instantly and track them! I could go on and on, but you get the point.

A soft launch of Navigate Staff and Navigate Student rolled out this week for continuing students and Phase I users. We’ll expand users over the semester, and first-time students will be asked to download, and use Navigate during their onboarding experiences over the summer, including at Saddle Up, our new first-time student program. Professional advisors are training to use Navigate Staff this Spring and all faculty will have access to training as well.

We look forward to transforming the student experience through these personalized and interactive tools and appreciate your support. Please remember, none of this would be possible without your support.

Regards,



Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the new year and start of spring semester! I hope all of you were able to find some time for rest and feel renewed and excited to welcome our students back to campus next Tuesday. Let’s start with some updates that will be helpful as we head back into the office and classrooms.

In efforts to keep our campus healthy, the Board of Trustees voted in December to continue the mask mandate for now and will review again during the February meeting. My office has also prepared helpful guidance documents for your syllabi and course modality, which can be found on our webpage. If you need to get brushed up on the COVID plan for the semester, you can find it here. I’d like to remind all faculty at this time of UW Regulation 2-100 on class management, and the expectation that you will submit a waiver and justification to your Department Head and Dean for classes that do not meet the University’s enrollment targets. Class size requirements outlined in the regulation were temporarily suspended during the height of the pandemic but are back in place for Spring semester. Also of note, our subscription to the online app CircleIn has ended and been removed from WyoWeb.

It's been a busy week as I engaged in candidate interviews for the position of Vice President for Research and Economic Development. I’m very excited about the finalists that we have identified and look forward to sharing their credentials soon. Our intention is to host candidates on campus beginning the last week of January, so please watch for news on those and engage where you can. I’d also like to thank our search committee, whose dedication to the process has been incredible. Our dean searches are also progressing, and I expect that we will be interviewing finalists in March and April. We are also in the process of launching the search for the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Elevating this position to the vice presidential level demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our inclusive excellence initiatives and ongoing efforts to make UW a more diverse and welcoming community. Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut will be chairing the search committee and we are in the process of forming a committee, which we expect to announce next week. If you have suggestions on committee member nominations, please send them to provost@uwyo.edu.

I look forward to continuing my campus tour and meeting department heads, departments, and units, and hosting my next brown bag lunch with assistant professors. I have appreciated the professionalism and candor of our discussions and I am deeply impressed by the commitment to the mission of UW that I have consistently observed.

In case you missed the press release, our own Economics Ph.D. program ranks among the top 1% among all universities globally, and first in the Mountain West! This is an outstanding accomplishment and is illustrative of the dedication and brilliance of UW faculty and students. Kudos to Program Director Todd Cherry, Department Head Dave Aadland, and their colleagues in the Department of Economics!

We have an exciting year ahead of us, with many opportunities to be the best for our students and colleagues. I look forward to engaging with you and helping in any way I can. Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Kevin C.

provost@uwyo.edu

2021

Dear Colleagues,

I have met with at least 14 department heads, the Law School, Haub School, UW Libraries, and Office of the Registrar on my campus tour in the past couple of weeks. I'm enjoying the conversations and learning about the aspirations and challenges in each unit. Today I host the first brown bag session with ten assistant professors, all from different programs on campus. I've appreciated every conversation, even the difficult ones, and want to thank everyone for their time and thoughtful input.

If you were listening to the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, you heard them engage in a discussion about the mask policy for Spring 2022. After a lively discussion, the Board voted to continue the mask mandate and will review it again in February, which will give them time to review data from the required all-campus surveillance testing in January and additional information/data associated with the Omicron variant. The Board also approved the proposed COVID plan for the spring semester. If you haven’t seen the Spring 2022 plan, you can find the redlined version here.

In October, I communicated to deans my intent to allocate funds to begin making critical hires for FY23. Earlier this week, I provided them with a list of approved positions and authorized them to begin searches effective immediately. For transparency to our campus community, approved appointments through our CPM process are:

 

College of Ag

Extension-Full Prof or Senior AP Associate Director UWE

ANSC-Asst Prof., Livestock Systems, Precision Livestock Management, RMAL

PLSC/UWE-Asst or Assoc Prof.

ANSC-Asst Lecturer, Livestock/Livestock Judging Coach

 

College of Ag in collaboration with A&S

LIFE-Lecturer/Lab Coordinator, Asst/Assoc

LIFE-Lecturer

BOT-Asst Prof, Forest Ecol/Mgmt

 

College of A&S

Mathematics and Statistics- Visiting Assistant Professor

School of Culture, Gender & Social Justice- Program Director/Associate Professor

Theater and Dance- Assistant Paqrofessor

Criminal Justice and Sociology- Assistant Professor

Anthropology- Assistant Professor

 

College of Business

Accounting/Finance-Accounting, Asst Professor

 

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Civil & Architectural Eng & Constr Mngmt-Assistant Lecturer/Assistant Instr Prof

Civil & Architectural Eng & Constr Mngmt-Assistant Lecturer/Assistant Instr Prof

*There will also be one hire in Electrical & Computing Engineering and one in Computer Science associated with the new School of Computing

 

College of Education

Counseling, Leadership, Advocacy, and Design-Assistant/Associate Professor

 

College of Health Sciences

Communication Disorders-Assistant Professor

School of Pharmacy-Assistant Professor

 
Haub School

ENR-Associate Professor



Also note that the Department of Mathematics and Statistics faculty recently voted to request that they be moved to the College of Engineering and Applied Science effective July 1, 2022. President Seidel and I support this request and we will be preparing for that move over the coming months.

Before we all head out for some holiday relaxation, travel, and fun, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you. I know the year hasn't been easy, but I continue to be impressed by the commitment and passion of everyone I meet. I appreciate you and look forward to working with you in the new year.

Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.

provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

We are in the final stretch before a much-deserved break. There’s a lot to cover this week, so let’s dive in.

I have enjoyed meeting many colleagues on my campus tour and look forward to hosting the first brown bag session with 10 assistant professors next week. I’ve also enjoyed attending holiday gatherings with students, staff, and faculty. It’s been wonderful to see so many of you.

We appreciate everyone who has attended the informal coffee conversations with Vice Provost Anne Alexander. Dr. Alexander has kept me informed and we are committed to continuing the dialogue in this process. There is one final opportunity to share your initial thoughts, so please join Dr. Alexander on Wednesday, December 15, 8:30 AM in the Rendezvous meeting room.

The deadline for strategic planning team nominations is December 15th. You can either nominate a colleague or yourself by submitting nominees here. We will consult with our shared-governance bodies and leadership of the colleges and other units to finalize the team. Work will begin in earnest the last week of January 2022 and will wrap up in October 2022. It is expected that team members, depending on their role, will need to devote at least 3 hours per week to the strategic planning project.

Our leadership searches are progressing. The search committee for the VP for Research and Economic Development will begin reviewing applications next week, with the first interviews in January. The search committees for the next Deans for the College of Health Sciences and the College of Business are reviewing position descriptions and working with the search firms to launch the application process prior to break.

The UW Board of Trustees will have a call next Wednesday, December 15th with public session beginning around 8:30am. President Seidel will be presenting the spring campus COVID response plan, and the board will vote on the mask mandate. I encourage everyone to tune in, so you know what to expect after break.

Finally, I’m thrilled to be participating in my first UW commencement this Saturday, December 11 at 9:00am in the Arena Auditorium. I had the great pleasure of selecting our Honorary Marshals, Dr. Cathy Connolly, Dr. Malcolm Holmes, and Dr. Peter Thorsness. These faculty have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the university and our students, and I’m honored to recognize them this fall. My congratulations to our honorary marshals.

With more holiday celebrations over the weekend and next week, I’m hopeful to see more of you. Take care this weekend.

Sincerely,


Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable break with family and friends. It's back to work this week, and we have a short, but busy month ahead.

December marks my sixth month as Provost. While most of my time has been spent on the 2-13 and UW Restructuring Plan, I'm looking forward to getting out on campus and meeting more of you. My office has been busy scheduling a campus listening tour, through which I am meeting with departments/units and department heads. I will also be having a monthly brown bag with assistant professors. I'm eager to hear about the work you all do, and the aspirations and challenges across campus. Please look out for invitations to these sessions from my Chief of Staff, Mandy Gifford.

This week, we launched our UW Strategic Planning process with the informal coffee conversations with Vice Provost Anne Alexander. If you missed the first session on Wednesday, there are still opportunities for you to attend one:

  • Tuesday, December 7 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for staff

  • Wednesday, December 8 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for faculty

  • Wednesday, December 15 8:30-9:45 AM – all constituents welcome

We are still accepting nominations for those interested in helping to steer the process. Nominations can be shared here and should be submitted by December 15. We will consult with our shared-governance bodies and leadership of the colleges and other units to select the team. Work will begin in earnest the last week of January 2022 and will wrap up in October 2022. It is expected that team members, depending on their role, will need to devote at least 3 hours per week to the strategic planning project.

As we go into the season of holiday celebrations and eggnog, I hope to see you out and about. Have a great rest of the week.

Sincerely,

Kevin C.

provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

Just a few brief notes before everyone heads off to enjoy the holiday break.

Starting next week, we will launch our UW Strategic Planning process. If you are interested in participating, we are looking for champions of UW who are invested in our values, mission, and long-term success. If you think you or someone you know fits that bill, please nominate them or yourself at this link to be part of the team that will work on this important undertaking. Our guiding principles for this work will be that the process and outcomes will be transparent, give all stakeholders a voice in our future, will work to align priorities across our institution, and will embed accountability for change in our systems and processes needed to move forward. Nominations should be submitted by December 15. We will consult with our shared-governance bodies and leadership of the colleges and other units to finalize the team. Work will begin in earnest the last week of January 2022 and will wrap up in October 2022. It is expected that team members, depending on their role, will need to devote approximately 3 hours per week to the strategic planning project.

Additionally, Vice Provost Anne Alexander is holding some informal coffee conversations to begin the strategic planning process. These sessions will be held in the meeting room in Rendezvous on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, December 1, 8:30-9:45 AM – all constituents welcome

  • Friday, December 3, 10:15-11:30 AM – focused session for students

  • Thursday, December 7, 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for staff

  • Wednesday, December 8, 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for faculty

  • Wednesday, December 15, 8:30-9:45 AM – all constituents welcome

I want to extend my personal thanks to each one of you. I am grateful for the commitment and passion you bring to UW and our university is better because of you. I hope you can spend time with family and friends and enjoy some relaxation over the long weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

If you missed the Board of Trustees meeting this week, you can review the report here, and recordings of meetings can be found here. Today I’ll present to the Board my 2-13 recommendations to President Seidel, which can be found here. In that report, I stress the importance of our upcoming Strategic Planning process. Starting the week after Thanksgiving, Vice Provost Anne Alexander will be leading several informal coffee conversations to begin our kick-off for strategic planning. These sessions will be held in the meeting room in Rendezvous on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, December 1, 8:30-9:45 AM – all constituents welcome

  • Friday, December 3, 10:15-11:30 AM – focused session for students

  • Thursday, December 7, 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for staff

  • Wednesday, December 8, 8:30-9:45 AM – focused session for faculty

  • Wednesday, December 15, 8:30-9:45 AM – all constituents welcome

In our planning process, I would like us to take an “appreciative inquiry” approach – a strengths-based approach to planning that focuses on our current sources of excellence. We offer the following questions to get the discussion started:

- What’s working well at UW? Tell me about a time you were proudest of UW or of your department.

- When we’re at our best, what does that look like?

- What does your program do better than others like it?

- What do we do that’s unique and makes us different from other universities?

- What systems/infrastructure is around you every day that helps you get things done?

- What internal processes are done well? What can we learn from those to help us improve those that aren’t?

Next week, we’ll also invite nominations and self-nominations for volunteers to join the strategic planning effort. Look for a note about that in the coming days.

If you are travelling next week, I wish you safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Kevin C.

provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

It's been another busy week, but I'm thankful to be here and working with all of you. Here's what's been happening in the world of Academic Affairs.

If you missed the Campus Conversation last Friday that I co-hosted with President Seidel, you can watch it here. While there was a brief high-level overview of the UW Restructuring Plan, most of the time was spent on good dialogue with many of your colleagues. I appreciate everyone that joined the discussion and would like to take a moment to acknowledge our incredible faculty that have showed up in various times during this process. Whether you are tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure track faculty, please know that you are valued and heard. Over the next year I plan to engage in robust discussions that allow us to carefully consider optimal alignments while minimizing unintended negative consequences of restructuring. I hope through your participation in these discussions you will see the vision and determination we have to create a stable, sustainable and outstanding university. Please take another look at my final recommendations to President Seidel on the Academic Affairs website, and provide your thoughts on our new survey.

A few weeks ago, I communicated with Deans my intent to reallocate funds as available to begin a hiring process for FY23. Although the current budget situation will have an impact on the number of positions available for next academic year, our goal is to continue to recruit new faculty to join UW. My goal is to inform Deans which searches they will be able to initiate by the end of the calendar year.

It is also time for faculty to submit proposals for AY 22-23 sabbatical and professional development leaves. All proposals are due to Academic Affairs by 5pm on November 29th. My office will notify faculty of decisions by January 7th. Faculty who have been granted a year-long sabbatical are encouraged to apply for the Flittie Sabbatical Augmentation, with a deadline of January 21st for these materials. Please check in with your dean/director for more information on sabbaticals.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Dean Cameron Wright and the College of Engineering leadership, faculty, staff, and students for a successful ABET accreditation visit earlier this week. ABET is the accrediting body for engineering programs worldwide. While accreditation decisions won’t be final until the ABET board meets in July, we were encouraged by the very positive comments by the review team, as well as their constructive recommendations for improvements.

A two-person team from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design visited UW in September and reviewed our facilities and degree programs in Art and Design, Merchandising, and Textiles. The reviewers had several constructive recommendations for improvement and noted critical areas where additional faculty are needed. They were extremely complimentary of the UW facilities, including the Visual and Literary Arts building, the Coe Library, the Art Museum, and the American Heritage Center. They noted that we have excellent, collegial, and caring faculty. Kudos to Doug Russell, Chrissy Wade, and their faculty, staff, and students for promoting our excellent programs and facilities.

As a reminder, our Board of Trustees will be meeting in Laramie next week, November 17-19th. Importantly, they will review and provide formal guidance on our 2-13 recommendations for reorganizations. A highlight of the week will be spending time honoring our Trustee Scholars. I look forward to meeting some of the best and brightest Wyoming students. With that, I wish you the best going into the weekend.

Sincerely,

 

Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu








Dear Colleagues,

There is a lot to cover this week, so let’s dive in.

Yesterday, I submitted my final recommendations to President Seidel on the current 2-13 process and UW Restructuring Plan. While proceeding with many features of our revised plan as presented to the Trustees in October, including the restructuring of colleges, I am recommending additional time for further consideration and implementation of college reorganizations. The final recommendations will be released to campus by the end of the day tomorrow (Friday) when they are posted to the Board of Trustees website. They will also be available on the Academic Affairs website. I would like the campus community and external stakeholders to know that I appreciate your engagement and input and your voices continue to shape our plans as we move forward. I trust that you will continue to be engaged in the important dialogue over the coming year that will chart a course for the future of UW.

Additionally, I will be hosting an informal Campus Conversation tomorrow, Friday, November 5th at 12:00pm. During this time, I will provide a high-level overview of my recommendations, with most of the time dedicated to hearing your thoughts and answering questions you may have on the 2-13 process. Please join using the ZOOM ID 962 3134 9652. As always, 2-13 documents can be found on the Academic Affairs website, that now includes a summary of the most recent survey, as well as data from the two 2-13 surveys.

Last week I mentioned there would be an update on our current Dean searches. I am pleased to announce the search committees for the Deans of the College of Business (Chaired by Dean Cam Wright) and College of Health Sciences (Chaired by Dean Ivan Gaetz):

College of Business
CeeJay Berg
Ben Cook
Chase Thiel
Kat Vick
Kristine Fink
Matt Coulter
Nicole Choi
Todd Cherry
Tori Campbell
Josh Dorrell

College of Health Sciences
Sreejayan Nair
Nicole Eisenmann
Breanna Krueger
Qin Zhu
Greta Maxfield
David Brown
Evan Norby
Natalia Brown
Eric Moody
Jeff Klaus

New to our searches are UW Search Equity Advisors. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion launched this important program last year that pairs search committees with a neutral process advisor external to the unit to offer best practices for promoting diversity, identifying implicit bias, and ensuring an equitable search process. I’d like to thank Christi Carter and Teena Gabrielson for their determination and hard work in standing up this program, and our Search Equity Advisors for the dean searches, Arielle Zibrak and Chian Jones Ritten. I also thank John Ritten, who will be serving as the SEA for the Vice President for Research & Economic Development search.

We have engaged Summit Search Solutions to assist us in our recruiting efforts for the College of Health Sciences search and have yet to confirm a firm for the College of Business search. These searches are still in the early stages, but we expect to interview semifinalists in spring, with our incoming Deans on campus by July 2022. I would like to thank the members of these search committees for their time and dedication and will keep our campus community updated as the process continues.

Last week I noted that I would provide an update to clarify some confusion regarding the question of whether retirement benefits would be negatively impacted by the proposed budget reductions. The short answer is that retirement benefits will not change and will not be impacted by the budget reductions.

The voices of students have been prominent and important as we have navigated the 2-13 process. I’m particularly grateful for the engagement from ASUW, particularly ASWU President Hunter Swilling and Vice President Colter Anderson. Through this dialogue we have learned that many students are not aware of the major changes being considered for UW. As steps toward addressing that shortfall, I’m happy to report that we launched an Instagram story 2-13 Q&A last week. We will continue to explore new ways to engage, inform, and hear the collective voice of UW students.

Especially this week, I offer sincere gratitude to our campus community and am proud to be a UW Cowboy. In that same spirit, let’s wish our Cowboy Football team the best of luck at our Border War game this weekend.

Go Pokes!


Kevin C.
provost@uwyo.edu

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that UW has launched the search for the next Vice President for Research and Economic Development. We have engaged Parker Executive Search to assist us in our recruiting efforts. The recruitment process is underway, and several candidates have expressed interest in the position. We expect to interview semifinalists in early January and interview finalists in late January or early February 2022. The search committee is:

  • Naomi Ward, Botany

  • Lars Kotthoff, Computer Science

  • Holly Krutka, School of Energy Resources

  • Rashmi Thapa, Graduate Student

  • John Hoberg, Chemistry

  • Diana Hulme, Research and Economic Development

  • Christine Porter, Kinesiology and Health

  • Scott Seville, Zoology & Physiology

  • Hunter Swilling, ASUW

  • Rob Godby, Business

  • Tom Peterson, Engineering Advisor to President Seidel

  • Marsha Knight, Theatre and Dance

  • Gabrielle Allen, Research and Economic Development

  • Joe Holbrook, Haub School

  • Leslie Rush, Education

  • John Ritten, Agriculture and Applied Economics

  • Mohammad Piri, Petroleum Engineering

  • Todd Cherry, Economics

I would like to thank the members of this search committee for their dedication and for stepping up to the opportunity of filling this critical position. I encourage all of you to take part in the process by suggesting nominations of individuals who might be appropriate for the opportunity. You may provide their information using this link.

Additionally, we are launching searches for the Deans of the College of Business, and the College of Health Sciences. Dean Cam Wright is chairing the Business search and Dean Ivan Gaetz is chairing the Health Sciences search. I will provide more details on these searches next week.

Finally, there has been some discussion on campus that our plans for budget reductions might include reductions of retirement benefits for UW employees. We are gathering information on this topic and will provide an update next week.

As always, If you have any questions, please reach out to me at provost@uwyo.edu.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin C.

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you have reached out with questions regarding the UW 2-13 process, reorganization proposals, and budget-reduction plans. I understand there may be confusion with so many communications and changes at our university. To keep you informed with factual and up-to-date information, I offer some pithy answers to questions we have been receiving:

Q: The original reorganization proposal suggested that 65-70 people might lose their job. Is that number still accurate?

A: No. We expect the number of people that could lose their job to be much less than originally projected. We won’t know the actual number until we have completed budget reviews with deans and administrative units at the end of October.

Q: How will the $13.6M in budget reductions be made? How much of that will come from the proposed reconsolidations?

A: $5.34M of the proposed budget reductions would come from Academic Programs. The amount of savings that will come from reorganizations is in the process of being quantified, but they will be small, probably on the order of 5% of the $5.34M. 3% reductions to administrative programs will account for ~$2.6M, consolidation of auxiliaries ~$2.2M, increased parking fees ~$500k, possible changes to retirement policies ~$1.5M, and increased efficiencies in instructional delivery ~$750k. You will note that this number don’t quite add up to $13.6M, so we still have some work to do.

Q: Where are we in the 2-13 program-review process?

A: Based on feedback received from the 2-13 committees on Oct. 1, as well as comments from internal and external stakeholders, a revision to the reorganization plan was submitted to President Seidel on Oct. 13. We are now collecting feedback on the revised plan and will submit our final plan to the Board of Trustees ~Nov. 1. The proposal will be available for public comment until the Board takes action on Nov. 19.

Q: What are the degree programs being recommended for discontinuance?

A: The following programs are recommended for discontinuance, however, the final decision has not been made:

  • M.A, Sociology

  • M.A., Philosophy

  • M.B.A., Finance

  • M.B.A., Energy

  • Ph.D., Statistics

Q: Will the reorganization plans take effect immediately after the Board of Trustees takes action on Nov. 19?

A: No. After Nov. 19, we will initiate a process for implementing the changes, most of which would become effective on July 1, 2022. For some reorganizations, such as the consolidation of life-sciences programs in the new College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we may need an additional year to complete the organizational details.

Q: When will the budget reductions be implemented?

A: The budget reductions well become effective for FY 2023, that is, beginning July 1, 2022.

Q: Will there be additional 2-13 reviews?

A: Yes. We are now forming 2-13 committees to evaluate (1) specific degree eliminations in the College of Education and (2) reorganization of degrees other than Nutrition currently residing in Family and Consumer Sciences, specifically Human Development & Family Studies and Design, Merchandising, & Textiles. The new 2-13 notices can be viewed here. It is possible that additional 2-13 committees will be needed depending upon final recommendations from deans as they implement their budget reductions.

Q: You stated that you received 715 responses to the web-based survey portal through Oct. 1. A recent email that circulated on the faculty list-serve suggested that only 534 comments associated with responses were released. What happened to the other responses?

A: Not all responses included written comments. Many included only a multiple-choice response regarding overall support for proposed reorganizations or degree-program eliminations. N.B., A new online survey is now capturing feedback on the updated plan. This survey will stay open until October 27, 2021.

As always, I'm incredibly grateful and inspired by the commitment and passion of our campus community, alumni, and statewide stakeholders. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at provost@uwyo.edu.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin C.

Moving Toward UW's Next Horizons

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to another academic year. It feels wonderful to be here, experience the vibrancy of campus, see cars lined up to move into residence halls, and vehicles on Grand Avenue. This year is quite different from last year but far from what we have become accustomed to prior to the pandemic. While we face many ongoing challenges related to the pandemic and budget shortfalls, we have heard from faculty and students about their excitement to be back on campus and in the physical classroom and simply enjoy one another’s company. We are personally relieved and thrilled to see the campus come to life with bicycles, skateboards and animated groups of bright young faces interacting as they move across campus.  And we’re enjoying the opportunity to meet faculty and staff in person and to become familiar with the extraordinary facilities and resources on campus and around the state of Wyoming. The commitment of UW faculty and staff to this institution and the state of Wyoming is clear and palpable, and that makes us optimistic about the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on campus. We are very grateful to UW faculty for allowing the campus to return to in-person instruction and particularly appreciate faculty who have gently but clearly reminded students to wear face coverings in class. While we’re aware of one incident in which a student refused to wear a mask (the student was asked to leave class and complied), our personal observations, as well as comments from faculty, suggest that students are doing a good job of complying with the mask mandate. It is encouraging that 88% of UW employees and 66% of students report being vaccinated, but we need to do everything possible to increase those numbers, especially for students. David Jones has led a committee to develop recommendations for the university. Those recommendations will be shared in the next few days, but the overarching message is that we must continue to incentivize and encourage all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated. 

We are facing ongoing challenges with budget cuts, and we fully appreciate the anxieties associated with them. We are proposing organizational changes that challenge us to think differently. We are understandably hearing a broad range of perspectives on the proposed organizational changes from students, faculty, staff, alumni and various external stakeholders. While there is often disagreement on various details of the proposed reorganizations, there is a strong sentiment of understanding and support that we can’t continue to simply absorb budget reductions and do “the same old thing.” Indeed, the proposed changes, informed by months of faculty, student and staff working groups, consultations with stakeholders across the state, and by national trends in higher education and pending changes in funding agencies, go beyond merely dealing with budget cuts. They are aimed at laying a foundation for making UW more competitive for students, more competitive for bringing in new revenue streams from funding agencies, and more impactful on our state’s future workforce and economy. We hope that you will engage with the review process that is currently underway and encourage you to submit comments and review materials that are available on the Academic Affairs website. We welcome your ideas on how UW might do things differently, either from our current operations and organization or from our proposed plans. Please consider also how your proposals might generate new revenue sources, perhaps from growth in enrollments including enhanced retention. We also welcome thoughts on how UW can generate support from outside sources, help better prepare our students for their future, or make us more competitive in various dimensions compared to our peers.

With challenges come opportunities. UW has one of the lowest student:faculty ratios among public universities in the nation, which allows us to have smaller classes and more meaningful interactions with students. However, half of UW’s classes have enrollments of 12 or fewer students. While we value our close interactions, we simply can’t afford to teach so many classes with low enrollments. Further, very small classes may lack a critical mass for dynamic discussions that include diverse perspectives among students. This issue is closely aligned with the university’s challenge of equitable teaching assignments. If we are more strategic about course offerings, we can better serve our students while also allowing for more equitable teaching assignments for faculty. Accordingly, we will be asking deans to work with department heads and faculty to examine course offerings to make more effective use of our teaching capacity.

As we navigate our immediate challenges, we are collectively positioning the university for an exciting future. The proposed School of Computing will provide a university-wide platform for transforming computational research and education across all disciplines and should generate much stronger funding streams from research agencies and corporate partnerships. We will be strategically pursuing recognition as an R1 and Community Engaged university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Our proposed changes are directly aimed at providing a stronger foundation for further building the university in the future, so we are better positioned to achieve such goals. Programs such as the Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP), the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality (WORTH) programs, and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) will leverage UW’s expertise to promote economic growth and diversification throughout the state. And we are redoubling our commitment to student success through new initiatives such as the freshman boot camp (Saddle Up), renewed commitment to excellence in advising (including the data-driven Navigate advising platform), Cowboy Coaches, expansion of Living-Learning Communities and (re-) establishment of a Graduate School. 

All these elements will inform a new strategic plan and University Study Plan (USP) that will guide us toward UW’s next horizons. We look forward to working with you on these initiatives, and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for all that you do to make UW a great university.

Best wishes for a great semester…and Go Pokes!

Ed Seidel, President

Kevin Carman, Provost & Executive Vice President

To the UW community:

As outlined in today’s announcement, the proposed reductions and reconfigurations being presented to the UW Board of Trustees this week are immense and multifaceted. We expect that it will take some time to fully understand the details of the course we are charting for the future of the University of Wyoming. We also understand that there likely will be many questions for which you’re unable to find immediate answers.

While you familiarize yourself with the details and formulate your questions, we ask that you keep in mind the overriding causes and objectives involved in what we have proposed.

First, the reductions in state funding to operate the university in recent years -- amounting to $93 million per biennium, or 25 percent -- necessitate significant changes. There is simply no way to continue without reducing academic programs and restructuring to find new synergies and efficiencies.

Additionally, the changing economy and higher education landscape demand that we launch some new initiatives to better fulfill our land-grant mission for Wyoming. We must do some things differently to prepare our students for successful careers and lives; serve the state’s communities and industries; drive economic and social progress; and produce research to tackle the grand challenges facing the state and world.

Finally, we must position the university to become more competitive for students; for top-flight faculty and staff members; and for federal, state and private research support. The world is changing, becoming more digital and complex by the moment, and we’ll be left behind if we don’t act now.

Unfortunately, this means that some good people who have worked hard for this university will lose their jobs. As indicated in today’s communication and in materials prepared for the board, as many as 75 academic positions, including 10 department heads, could be eliminated if the Board of Trustees ultimately approves what has been proposed. This is a painful situation. The knowledge that universities across the nation are having to take similar actions doesn’t make this more palatable or easy to undertake. We have reached the unfortunate point at which it is necessary.

In the coming days, we will detail our proposals to the Board of Trustees, including the depth of program reviews undertaken and extensive data used to create the plan. The board’s approval is necessary to move forward with our plans, and legislators and others are certain to weigh in as well. We encourage you to watch our presentation to the board at its meeting in Torrington tomorrow afternoon via livestream or recording at https://wyolinks.uwyo.edu/trusteesjuly.

Our intention is to begin the process for academic reorganizations, consolidations and discontinuations under UW Regulation 2-13 next week. This will begin a process that includes the opportunity to provide input and possible revisions before the board officially reviews and approves, disapproves or modifies the proposals in November.

Other, non-academic reductions are part of our plan as well, and we expect to ask the board to act on those proposals in upcoming meetings. If they’re approved, all of our faculty and staff members will feel at least some impact from what is proposed.

Knowing that the initiation of this process will trigger a host of questions and concerns, we plan to conduct a town-hall meeting to discuss our proposals. The academic program changes, in particular, will require significant work by the Office of Academic Affairs, deans, department leaders and others. Many details will need to be navigated and finalized between now and November, as well as after expected board action in November.

None of this is easy. These are some of the toughest times in the university’s modern history. We would simply ask everyone to remember that we are all in this together; we’re working for the good and survival of UW; and the more creative and collegial we are, the more likely we will be healthy and strong on the other side of this challenge.

We remain resolute in our view that great days are ahead for our university. The people of Wyoming have resilience, grit and determination. These characteristics have helped us navigate a pandemic, and they will carry us through our financial challenges and restructuring opportunities as well. We will emerge stronger -- and poised to move toward our goal of being a vibrant, visionary research university with outstanding educational programs and an enduring commitment to serve the citizens of Wyoming.

Sincerely,

Ed Seidel, President

Kevin Carman, Provost and Executive Vice President
Dear Colleagues,

It is my honor and pleasure to write you on my first full day as Provost and Senior Vice President. I still have some unpacking to do in Old Main. Susan and I are getting settled into our new home but still have many boxes staring back at us. We have enjoyed being in Laramie and on campus the past couple of weeks. I am slowly getting familiarized with campus (including a tour of the amazing new Science Initiative Building!) and meeting the wonderful people who work and learn here.

I hope you are having a relaxing and productive summer. I know that we are all glad to be returning to life and work that more closely resembles pre-pandemic conditions. I am enjoying shaking hands again and even an occasional hug!

As a first order of business, I would like to thank Dr. Anne Alexander for her gracious and extraordinarily helpful support as I have transitioned into my new role. I’m pleased to announce that Anne will be staying with the Academic Affairs team for the next two years as Vice Provost for Strategic Planning and Initiatives. In this role she will lead the update and implementation of the UW strategic plan, which will include a plan for implementing the four pillars identified by President Seidel. The updated plan will lay the groundwork for achieving ambitious goals for UW, including a new School of Computing and recognition as a Carnegie R1 research university. We will also initiate plans to apply for and be recognized as a Carnegie Engaged university.

Anne will also lead the launch of two major initiatives related to our renewed commitment to student success. The first is the implementation of the Navigate advising platform, which is used by over 400 universities nationwide. It provides sophisticated and nuanced use of institutional data to maximize student progression toward their degrees. The second initiative is the launching of a UW version of academic “boot camps” for incoming students that are similar to those implemented at my previous institution (NevadaFIT).

As you all know, we face challenges with implementing budget reductions in the near term. While the reductions will certainly be painful, we are committed to positioning the University for a bright future.

I begin my appointment knowing that I have much to learn about UW traditions, culture, strengths and opportunities. Next fall I look forward to going on a “listening tour” and visiting as many departments and programs as will have me. I’m also eager to engage in regular and meaningful interactions with the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate and ASUW leadership. In the meantime, I hope to meet as many of you as possible over the summer.

Sincerely,

Kevin Carman, Provost and Senior Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

As we close the weird and wacky academic year that was 2020-21, I know many of you are wondering how strategic portfolio review will roll out in the coming weeks and months.  The strategic portfolio review (SPR) committee completed its work and sent it to me on April 28.  The bulk of their report - the portion focusing on methodology - is posted here

So, what happens next with this? Here are some FAQ’s.

Q) What criteria will you be using to formulate recommendations?

A) Using the SPR report as a baseline to start, I’ll be looking, with the President and incoming Provost, at a number of factors, including margin contributions (fancy economist-speak for “how much do you generate in revenue from tuition vs. your instructional costs?).  I’ll also look at scholarly productivity and reputation; donor, alumni, and other external support; and contribution to the future of Wyoming’s workforce and economy. I'll weigh student numbers, and I’ll also weigh programs’ ability to serve both undergraduate and graduate education missions

 

Q) Will the final recommendations be fully aligned with the SPR report?  

A) Probably not.  But their work will give us our starting point.

 

Q) When will we know what programs are up for further review?

A) You’ll hear no later than the week of June 21. There will be a report released specific to each program that will be undergoing review that week.  The campus and our stakeholders will be notified after faculty, students, and staff of any directly impacted program.

 

Q) When will reviews officially start?  

A) They’ll begin on July 19.  According to UW Regulation 2-13, within 120 days of a review going official, a recommendation has to be put in front of the Board of Trustees for a vote.  That puts the vote at the November 17-19, 2021 Board meeting.  Starting the process in mid-July will mean you have an opportunity - whether you’re directly impacted by the recommendations or not - to provide feedback to us when we return in the fall.  Comments and feedback will close by Oct. 15, 2021.  By the way, if we started these reviews this month, the process would unfold over the summer.  This July 19 date was picked so you will have every opportunity to engage in this process.

 

If you’d like to take a look at the interim Pillar Team reports, as well as watch or download a presentation given by Pres. Seidel on them on Thursday to the UW Board of Trustees, click through to this site.  Read at your leisure, come back with notes in the fall, and help us dig into them further.  They will help us with jumpstarting strategic planning.

On the COVID front, here’s a gentle reminder that if you will be working off site this summer, or you’re an AY employee, you should put yourself on the testing exemption list so you won’t get nasty-grams from me when you miss your surveillance test!  Surveillance testing will continue through the month of June, and both it and the COVID Pass sunset on July 1, 2021.  

And now, my friends, we come to the end of the semester, and transition to a new Provost.  Dr. Kevin Carman will begin officially as UW’s next Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs on June 7, 2021. He is going to be an incredible leader for UW.  Welcome him warmly. Help him, and show him the same kindness and grace you have shown me. 

Before I go, I take one last provostial liberty.  Allow me to gush a little.

You have been heroes this year.  It’s been the most difficult year of most of our lives, with much volatility and uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. We built the plane in the air without blueprints, with very little material, and with multiple changing destinations. It’s not been easy, perfect, simple, or linear. We’ve made mistakes. But what you’ve accomplished - what we’ve accomplished together - is something to be incredibly proud of.  I’m convinced UW has the most talented, loyal, hard-working, honest, and kind faculty members of any university out there. You put your students and our community above yourselves all year long.  So, as we enter summer, be good to yourselves. Unplug and enjoy the beauty of the Wyoming summer.  Read a good (or a terrible!) book. Watch the sun rise. Play with your kids or your dogs or your grandkids all day, so hard that you’re all happy-exhausted by the time the sun sets.  Run headlong and happily into your summer writing or field projects.  Whatever you do, come back rejuvenated and refreshed in the Fall.  I can’t wait to see you IRL again, soon!

Via con dios, amigas y amigos,

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

Our last bi-weekly faculty community check-in of the semester will be from 12-1pm today. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

Please join at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Recently we have heard stories from some of you about your students being eager to get vaccinated but unsure (or unaware) of how to get it done.  There were great suggestions on the faculty list-serve this past week about ways to inform students about how to get vaccinated without pressuring them to do so. Our final touch point with many of our students will be next week during finals week.  It’s probably too late to include a question on your final exam about how to get vaccinated, but there are other ways to help your students navigate the vaccination path.

If you will be meeting your students next week in person or virtually, I encourage you to take a few minutes in class to inform them on how to get vaccinated.  If your last contact with them is asynchronous and/or through WyoCourses, you could consider including a final email or announcement in your course shell. 

You could include the link to the UW COVID-19 vaccination website (https://www.uwyo.edu/alerts/campus-return/vaccination/index.html).

You might also include the following top 10 Things to Know about Getting the COVID-19 Vaccination.

  1. Vaccines are now available to anyone over age 18.  (Pfizer is available to anyone over 16.)

  2. There will be a walk-in clinic at the Old National Guard (located at the corner of 30th Street and East Armory Rd, across from Jacoby Golf Course) on Wednesday, May 5th from 9am-5pm. 

  3. You DO NOT need an appointment.  Just show up with your ID and a copy of your insurance card, if you have insurance.  DON’T WORRY if you don’t have insurance! The vaccine will not cost you anything!

  4. You can also make an appointment to get vaccinated at many locations in Laramie.  You can call any of the numbers below, or schedule an appointment online at Pole Mountain’s, Walgreen’s or Walmart’s websites. 

    1. Pole Mountain Pharmacy: 307-460-4080

    2. Walgreen’s Pharmacy: 307-745-1557

    3. Walmart Pharmacy: 307-745-6112

    4. Albany Community Health Clinic: 307-766-3313

    5. Ivinson Medical Group: 307-755-4540

    6. Family Physicians of Laramie: 307-742-3242

    7. Laramie Pediatrics: 307-745-3704

    8. Stitches Acute Care: 307-721-1794

  1. If you want a particular type of vaccine (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson), call ahead.  Not all of these locations will have the same type.

  2. If you are leaving Laramie at the end of the semester and won’t be able to come back here when your 2nd dose is due, you will need to schedule your 2nd vaccine in your new summer location. Make sure to let them know you need your 2nd dose when you schedule.

  3. Keep your vaccine card that you will get at the time of your first shot and take it with you when you get your 2nd shot.  Your card will show the type of vaccine you received, which is important since both doses must be the same type. (If you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are done after your first shot.)

  4. It takes at least 2 weeks after you receive your final dose until you have the maximum amount of protection from the vaccine.

  5. Make sure you upload a copy of your vaccine card to the UW Student Health Service Patient Portal (found here:http://patientportal.uwyo.edu), by logging in with your UW ID and password, go to the “Immunizations” tab, scroll down to the “Recommended” vaccines, and enter the dates of your doses in the section that corresponds with the type of vaccine you received. You can also upload a photo of your vaccine card using the “upload” tab at the top of the screen.

  6. Have a great and safe summer!!

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues: 

University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel invites you to the annual spring faculty meeting Thursday, May 6, from 12:30-1:20 p.m. in virtual format. We are only distributing the ZOOM link via this email to verified faculty email addresses, and ask that you not share/forward to keep the link secure. 

The meeting is available via ZOOM for all those wishing to actively participate:

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/92057445698

Dial by your location: 1-669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 920 5744 5698

If you only wish to stream the meeting you can do so via WyoCast at https://wyocast.uwyo.edu/WyoCast/Play/649e7aca9338462db0c5d11c89fcd92b1d or YouTube at https://youtu.be/cTAqEOEc5S8.

President Seidel will provide an overview of accomplishments from the first year of his presidency and priorities moving forward, including updates by some members of his cabinet. A question-and-answer session will follow.

For questions and additional information, call the Office of the President, 766-4121.

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

Our bi-weekly faculty community check-in will be from 12-1pm today. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

Please join at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the weekend of spring break and Easter, I have a few updates for you on the budget, vaccinations, and - for a little fun - a plug for The Lodge!

On the budget front, I have some relatively upbeat news. I’d told you earlier this week that our expected “Step 3” reduction in state funding was around $10 million.  This week, the Wyoming Legislature reduced our budget for the upcoming fiscal year by around $1.1 million, rather than the expected larger amount.  This is a one-year, one-time abeyance in our expected reduction. However, by next July 1, 2022, we will be expected to further reduce our budget by $8 million.  So, this is a “good news, but…” situation. We must continue to explore ways to reduce our spending and enhance our revenues. It’s expected that the legislature will have a special session this summer to discuss the distribution of funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Our VP of Government Affairs, Bill Mai, will keep us posted on those conversations.

As you may have seen earlier today, Friday April 2, HR provided some guidance for conversations and the work environment as more members of our community are vaccinated. You might be wondering how this crosswalks with our discussions with students, especially those of you planning field courses. Here are some quick FAQ’s for you:

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required for students or employees?

A: It is not required at this time, but is strongly recommended.  The vaccine is still emergency authorized, and there are still access issues we need to be mindful of.  We are asking employees and students to self-report if they have received it (employees through HCM, students through student health portal), as this will help us track numbers and determine vaccine uptake.

 

Q:  Can faculty ask their students if they’ve been vaccinated?

A: NO - vaccination information is considered medical information and is protected. But you may ask if they are willing to disclose whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.

 

Q: Can students (or employees) voluntarily tell their professors/supervisors they have received the COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Yes, but it must be voluntary. It’s important to recognize the power dynamic between faculty and students, as well as supervisors and employees.

 

Meanwhile, as we see our friends’ and families’ smiling faces on social media in selfies holding up their vaccination cards and see the joy as people emerge from their vaccination appointments, I also want to thank, with all my heart, the UW vaccination team including Kem Krueger, David Jones, and Brant Schumaker, along with the Vaccine Team and their multitude of campus volunteers who help set up appointments, guide foot traffic, check people in, and (carefully) elbow-bump people as they bounce out of the Armory. Thanks also to Will Laegreid and his entire team for the incredible work all year with our COVID testing. Thanks to you, UW has weathered this incredibly challenging time.

While we wait for our vaccines to kick in, I also want to highlight the efforts of Student Affairs (all year, all heroes) in their latest effort.  If you’re wondering what the gigantic white tent structure on Fraternity Mall is, it’s The Lodge! To give our students and campus community a cool, new venue to hang out or study, The Lodge, in the

field between sorority and fraternity row, will be open until April 9th. It’s free to students, faculty, and staff to go inside, and there are a variety of places to relax, games and activities to partake in, and even daily competitions to win prizes.   The Lodge is 100% free for students and the campus community members to use. In compliance with COVID guidelines, they are currently accommodating up to 100 people inside The Lodge – and as always, please make sure you fill out your daily COVID Pass and mask up. Both are required upon entry!

Clear skies, smooth seas, and happy Spring Break, friends!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

There’s a lot going on. You’re hungry for information, but you also suffer from information overload and exhaustion. This email covers a lot, so read as much of this as you’re interested in - but also know that I understand how hard it is for you to just keep your head above water. I remain indebted to you for everything you’ve done this year.  The world needs more of you. 

 

What’s the Budget Situation? 

As you all probably know, we’ve been navigating through a significant budget reduction that was implemented in July of 2020. That budget reduction, known in state budget circles as “Step 2,” reduced our UW state aid monies (block grant) by 11.8%, some of which was shored up one time with reserves and CARES funding. In effect, this means we’ve lost around $52 million for this biennium in operating budget (including state funding cuts to things besides the block grant)  and nearly $12 million in major maintenance funding. In the process so far, we used the levers we could pull - elimination of 45 vacant faculty positions (about 4% of our faculty positions), 23 administrative positions, 12 staff positions, and slashing spending generally where we could. These positions and use of one-time funds got us through this year, fiscal year 2021. All told, in the last 10 years, UW has lost about ⅓ of its state funding, inflation-adjusted, and over the past 5 years, about 25% of its state funding.  

And yes, the state will likely cut our budget for fiscal year 2022. The best guess of trustworthy sources is that we need to prepare for another $10 million in cuts to the block grant, in addition to cuts to the other state sources of revenue at UW. We have already identified some one-time methods of dealing with these cuts. 

But - but…. This is not a situation we can wait out.  We can’t kick the problem down the road any longer. This is a chronic problem - we can’t expect those state revenues to come back.  This time *is* different.  We can continue to simply respond by eliminating positions as they come open, randomly. This is how we’ve responded to previous cuts, primarily.  This is also why you feel terrible. There’s fewer of us doing the same amount of work. Something’s got to give. This is why we’re doing strategic scenario planning right now.  

 

Tell me more about this Strategic Scenario Planning. 

Over the past 6 weeks, over 100 members of the UW community have been working on our strategic scenario planning exercise, which is aimed at laying the groundwork for starting a new strategic plan in the next year and responding to our revenue constraints. Hundreds of you have given us feedback along the way. Here’s a quick status update on next steps.   

The core SSP team has just finished conducting over 15 hours of listening sessions with students, parents, alumni, staff, and faculty and WYSAC is synthesizing the data from these sessions. The core team will begin drafting the scenario plan report which pulls together threads and crosscuts we’ve heard. The team will get a report out to campus for discussion and this will get us teed up to start a planning process more fully in the next academic year. The SSP is intended to point us in the right direction, but we have a lot more work to do together to build our plan for the next 5 or more years. 

The Strategic Portfolio Review committee has been meeting intensively for over a month now, and they are beginning their analysis of the entire academic portfolio.  This large endeavor was made in response to budgetary considerations as well as the need for the university to adapt to and help with the state’s economic circumstances and future. Following an initial review of select programs earlier this semester, I charged a committee of faculty, administrators and students to review all academic and non-academic units within the Division of Academic Affairs. For info on their charge and membership, check out this page.  

Draft reports from four Pillar group starting to analyze what it means for us, for UW, to be more entrepreneurial, more inclusive, more interdisciplinary, and more digital, were turned in to me and the President on March 22. These reports will provide the baseline thinking for us to dig into timelines, other sources of funding, and explore big ideas. The final reports will be in on April 30, and will lay the groundwork for strategic planning. We want the faculty to really dig into these reports, think what they mean and how they resonate, and come back to the Fall ready to explore them together as a campus.   

You can always check out news and updates at our SSP teams news site. And if you would like to complete our survey on the future of UW, it’ll remain open until April 2. 

I can’t thank everyone who’s serving on these various groups enough. You have invested your time and energy in a year when you have very little of either to spare.  Thank you! 

 

Wait, aren't we still in a pandemic? 

Yes. We’re in a much brighter spot than before - vaccines are available to all UW employees because we fall in the 1c3 category of priority vaccinations, and 1c3 is NOW. Get poked, Pokes!! The more of us, and the more of our students, getting those shots, the more likely it is we’ll get to a more “normal” cadence of life. 

Yet, we cannot let our guard down. Between newly-emerging variants and the fact we’re all just really tired of this pandemic, I have it on good authority from the epidemiologists and public health experts on campus that this is the most dangerous part of a public health crisis. We let our guards down at our own peril. So keep washing those hands, wearing those masks, and elbow-bumping your friends. For those of you teaching post-spring break f2f, I have some KN-95 masks for you - your deans are getting me stats on who needs them as we speak.   

You’ve really delivered on offering courses in person next Fall. Our preliminary numbers show that our in-person course numbers are back to where they were before the pandemic. THANK YOU!   

That’s more than enough for one note. But there’s so much going on - and I did not hit all of it. For now, please know I’ll keep you updated as often as I can on how all of these things are unfolding. 

 

Better days are coming,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear UW faculty and instructors,

Important news! On Friday, UW announced its plan to allow in-person classes to continue after spring break. Requirements for the wearing of masks, social distancing and COVID-19 testing will continue.

As we anticipate students, parents, and guardians' questions regarding the changes, we ask that you please refer them to UW Spring Semester — Student FAQS page. Students will continue to receive communication encouraging them to reach out directly to their instructors for details about their course’s modality post spring break. As such, we have one request for EACH faculty member and instructor:

  • We would like you to send a message proactively to each of your students to let them know what the modality option(s) will be for each course after spring break.

Faculty members were given the opportunity to continue in-person instruction through semester’s end. In all cases, faculty members will be required to accommodate students opting to attend virtually, even if the instructors have chosen to continue with or shift to face-to-face instruction.

We thank you for your cooperation and support of this opportunity.

Anne and the AA team

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

In order to make sure you feel informed and supported, I will continue holding regular bi-weekly faculty community check-ins that all faculty are invited to attend. I have now held two of these and will continue to do so through the rest of the semester. 

We will start these on Friday, March 26th, and they will be from 12-1pm and every other Friday thereafter. The last one this semester will be Friday, May 14th. Sometimes these sessions will have a specific topic, and sometimes they will be wide-open to address your interests. Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect, listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

There’s a standing invitation to join. Please do at ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784.

As we move through the semester, I will continue examining ways we can support faculty. If you have suggestions, I am all ears.

 

As always, we are here to support you and remain grateful for the heavy lift you are making,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

 

It has been a solemn week here at UW. This past weekend, we lost one of our students, Ashton Singer. We were all deeply saddened to hear this, and our community has pulled together to offer support to Ashton’s friends and family. If you, or any of your students need support, please contact the University Counseling Center at 307-766-2187, and employees may seek assistance through our Employee Assistance Program. Our heart goes out to Ashton’s family and friends. I urge you to reach out to your students, regardless of your class modality, and let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone. Host an open office hour for them. Give them a space to connect, with you and with each other. The isolation they may be feeling right now is acute and painful. If you can, give them some human connection, even if it is on Zoom. 

Our heartache continues as we near the end of the week. As you may have read yesterday in the attached announcement, members of our UW community were subjected to a vicious, intolerable, and revolting virtual attack as they came together to celebrate Black History Month with a ZOOM discussion. My executive team and staff in Academic Affairs join our President, Vice Presidents, Board of Trustees, Deans​, and Directors in condemning the behavior of those perpetrating the virtual assault. Leaders across UW have an unbreakable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and this type of behavior has no place at our university.  

We will continue our support for upcoming activities ​during Black History Month, focus on the education ​and accountability of our own campus community, and advance UW in being a more inclusive and welcoming place for ALL. In an effort to achieve these goals:

 

  • I will host a community check-in this coming Friday at 10:30am. Come as you are; to talk, to listen, or to just ​stand in solidarity. (ZOOM link here). I will be joined by professional UW counselor, Dr. Julio Brionez.  Dr. Emily Monago from the UW Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will join us briefly as well.

  • We are dedicated to ensuring that, as our state’s only four-year public university, we reflect and welcome the diversity of society in our faculty and programs. To that end, I will continue to expect and demand that every search on the academic side, from staff to professors to administrators, actively recruit diverse candidates. In addition, we will work with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to implement our new pilot Search Equity Advisors program to ensure that we not only advertise and recruit from diverse networks, but ensure that our hiring and onboarding is inclusive. 

  • Since early October a dedicated team of faculty, staff, and students have begun the challenging work of defining our Next Generation University Studies Program. The spirit of our general education program is that we believe every graduate of the University of Wyoming should have mastered a set of general and high-level essential skills, techniques, and habits of the mind, no matter their major. The committee is committed to exploring and understanding the diversity of student populations that UW serves, and the variations in scaffolding these populations may need. This team will be listening to you and your feedback is needed on priorities for infusing inclusion, equity, and diversity into our USP program.

  • Please do not ever hesitate to contact me directly if you need an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. We are a community of learning, discovery, and creation. You all belong here.

Through these times, I urge us to come together. Support each other in times of grief, and stand strong in the face of aversion. My team and I stand with you.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

 

Join me soon! I am hosting a virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session at 12:00pm today (details at the bottom), so let’s check in and catch up. 

Please drop in and out as you are able. 

 

Looking forward to connecting,  

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session with Provost Alexander

UW Faculty: Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect,

listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

February 5, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

All UW Faculty are invited to "drop in" to the ZOOM session

ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784

Dear Colleagues,

 

It’s time to connect! I am hosting a virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session this coming Friday at 12:00pm (details at the bottom), so let’s check in and catch up. 

 

Please drop in and out as you are able. 

 

Looking forward to connecting, 

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Virtual Brown Bag/Chat Session with Provost Alexander

UW Faculty: Let's have an informal ZOOM session where we can connect,

listen to each other, answer questions and exchange ideas!

February 5, 2021 | 12:00-1:00pm

All UW Faculty are invited to "drop in" to the ZOOM session

ZOOM ID: 994 4014 8784

Dear Colleagues,

 

Classes officially started yesterday, and some of you may be back in the saddle. 

If you’ve made it through your inbox backlog, you’ll know that the university is now sending “The Big Picture”, an email sent to all employees at least weekly. The Big Picture contains campus-wide information, much of which will be relevant to you. I will continue sending my Friday emails with faculty-specific info as well. Quick links to support and key resources are listed beneath my signature.

The big items this week are: mental health/wellness resources, vaccination info, campus operations to combat airborne COVID, a new studying/community building app for students, and answers to testing/compliance questions that impact face-to-face instructors.

Mental health/wellness resources

We’re still in it for the long-haul with this pandemic, please tap into campus services to get support if you need it. The UW Employee Assistance Program outlines support for employees. Students also have access to the University Counseling Center and Wellness Center.

UW vaccinations

Current info is available here, and we will stay in contact about vaccination access. 

Campus operations to combat airborne COVID.

See this document for details on what UW Operations is doing to combat COVID on campus this spring.

CircleIn: New app for community building/studying for students.

Please encourage your students to use CircleIn, which is totally hands-off for faculty. Students can hop on a video call with classmates, create study groups, share helpful content, and earn points and rewards for helping and collaborating with classmates. Students can Download the App or visit the App’s Desktop Version. They simply search University of Wyoming, enter their school log-in credentials, and select “Authorize” to get started. Visit the Student Informational Website for more info.

Testing/compliance topics for face-to-face instructors.

Here are answers to several questions face-to-face instructors have asked us. 

  • Do I need to be testing through UW’s program? If you’re not teaching f2f, make sure you are flagged correctly in HCM and thus exempted from on-campus testing requirements. If you are not exempted through HCM, you will need to test according to the university’s policy and testing calendar.

  • When will we know if students are compliant for testing? According to the Spring Plan, students will have a “limited contact” period from January 25th to January 31st; limited contact does mean that students will be allowed to attend class. Students will receive a notification prior to the start of classes to schedule their two mandatory tests the first week of classes. Compliance will be run that week, but faculty will not know a student is non-compliant until the week of February 1.

  • If a student is indicated as not COVID-testing compliant on a class roster, what are the restrictions on that student? A UW student who is identified as non-compliant may not enter campus for class or other activities until the student takes the COVID-19 test. Students are able to attend classes and access campus resources virtually.  When a student is cleared, this will be reflected on WyoRecords and students will have their COVID Pass cleared.  After three instances of non-compliance a student will be restricted from campus for the remainder of the semester. For more guidance, see the Syllabus Guidelines developed last fall.

  • What info do instructors receive about student COVID testing compliance? What is it the student's responsibility to report to their instructor/ vs. what things does UW report to instructors? (For example, those that need to isolate for confirmatory tests, and those who may be quarantining from an exposure or may be sick themselves). As we did last semester, WyoRecords will be updated to reflect the most current and accurate information we have on whether a student is compliant or not.  Weekly compliance will be updated on Friday afternoons.  As exemptions are processed and students become compliant throughout the week, IT will update WyoRecords to reflect this. WyoRecords does not report positives, quarantines, or isolations. It is the responsibility of the student to reach out to their faculty in these situations. For more guidance, see the Syllabus Guidelines developed last fall.

Looking ahead,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

 

Quick Links

Help

Teaching support | Anonymous Feedback Form | AY 20/21 Tip Sheet

Policies

Covid policies | Syllabus & Field Course info | Travel policies | ADA compliance resources & expectations 

Covid-specific

Spring 2021 campus plan | UW vaccine info

Welcome to 2021, everyone!  

 

I hope that you have all been enjoying a peaceful, restful winter break these past few weeks.  As promised in my last 2020 message, I wanted to highlight the Spring 2021 temporary policies available to you on the Academic Affairs website at: 

https://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/announcements/temp-policies.html

These policies include field trip and field course guidelines, syllabus posting recommendations, exceptions to course enrollment minima, and the exception request process for having your course continuing to meet in person after spring break.

ECTL and Academic Affairs will also be hosting sessions this month to help you get ready for the Spring 2021 semester, including highlighting some research and innovative resources we have on campus to promote student engagement with your material, you, and fellow students. You can see a draft of the schedule below, and more to come:

Schedule of events

Workshop

Date/Time

Zoom

DTL Course Opening Session

1/6, 8:30-10 AM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

Padlet

Tuesday, 1/19, 11-12am

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376

Rapid Course Design

Monday 1/11, 1-3 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575


Vidgrid

Monday, 1/11, 2-3pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376


Perusall

Thursday, 1/14, 2pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991


Engaging Discussions - synchronous

Wednesday, 1/13, 1-2:30 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

Engaging Discussions - asynchronous

Tuesday 1/12: 11-noon

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/2168180890


Zoom

Tuesday, 1/19, 3-4 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575


Gradebook/

Speedgrader

Tuesday 1/19, 11-noon

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/2168180890

Labster - How to use and integrate into your course

Thursday 1/14 - 10-11am

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/9752776376

Quizzes in WyoCourses

Wednesday, 1/13, 4-5 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/97662064575

Managing your Online Course

Tuesday, 1/19, 2pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991

Google Docs

Wednesday, 1/13, 3 pm

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/4179437991

DTL Course Closing Session

January 20, 1-2:30 PM

https://uwyo.zoom.us/j/94730860722

As we head into the spring, we can, of course, expect Wyoming to bring us spring snowstorms and mighty winds.  We also can expect that the pandemic will remain a major factor in our operations. But we also see the light returning, the days lengthening, and a quickening of our souls as the new year brings new hope.  Hold on to that hope. 

I continue to say it, because I believe it – better days are ahead, Pokes. Here is a video to thank you for your unbending dedication to UW.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

2020

Dear Colleagues,

 

Welcome to the end of finals week! 

I know we all have much grading yet to do, but let me say again how very, very proud I am to work with you. 

A colleague asked the other day in a meeting - how do we define success in these COVID times? That is the question of our time, complex and complicated, and will mean 3 different things to 2 different people. To me, success this semester has meant that you guided your students through content and materials and through an unprecedented time that is psychologically and sociologically difficult, exhausting, and seemingly-never ending. You commiserated with your colleagues and hacked your way through, no doubt missing opportunities but also building extraordinary memories. 

It does not mean we were perfect. I don’t think there is any “perfect” right now. Historians will tell us later what went right and went wrong. But we tried everything we could and gave our best. Right now, that is success.

Some of you may have questions about the Spring 2021 plan. 

The UW Board of Trustees has heard and discussed President Seidel’s plan this week, and they are set to vote on the final plan on Wednesday, December 16. We will have as much as possible ready to share with you after that. You can anticipate syllabus posting guidelines, exception request processes pertaining to project-based/activity-based courses and research, and other policies to give you all the tools you need to prepare for the Spring. We will post details here on the Academic Affairs website, and we will email you on January 6, 2021 with a link to that information.

Now friends, we can’t expect that when the calendar clicks over to Jan. 1, 2021, our lives will magically change. Calendars don’t change our lives. Only we can do that. Just remember -  take time to keep yourself balanced and healthy. And then, together, we’ll put one foot in front of the other. Breathe. We made it another minute.

In January, we will host support sessions for you.

After the winter break, Academic Affairs invites you to join your colleagues for weekly listen-learn-share sessions on some lessons-learned from Fall 2020. Our themes for these events are still being solidified. If there’s a topic you think would be interesting and useful for others, please feel free to propose it!

Meanwhile, we know we will cover:

Toolkit for Student Engagement:

What have we learned from our peers, ourselves, and our mentors about ways our students can be better engaged in this time of distancing and stay-at-home? (Discussion co-hosted with the ECTL)

Exam Integrity Solutions:

What solutions, beyond using HonorLock and Respondus, have you found that boost deeper learning on exams when we’re restricted to online environments?

The First Day:

We’ll share some ideas on content that’s being built right now to help your students better navigate Canvas and their online environment. Our thanks to Faculty Senate for this idea!

Computer skills are surfacing as a key factor in student success. If you know of students that need assistance with basic computer and technology skills, Alec Muthig from UW IT suggests the following options:  

GCFLearnFree

  • Offers quick, easy-to-navigate tutorials on Windows, Mac, Microsoft Office, email, and more. Alec frequently recommends this site as a great place to sharpen essential technology skills.

LinkedIn Learning

  • Offers more extensive training for UW employees and students. More information on how to access this platform can be found here.  On LinkedIn Learning, full courses such as Windows 10: Organizing Files and Folders or Computer Literacy for Mac are available but can be lengthy. (The courses mentioned are each about two hours long.) 

Though our winter holiday will be, likely, different and complicated – just like all of life right now – I wish you peace, joy, light, and love in the days ahead. You are extraordinary people, and it’s my honor to work with you. Happy holidays (and take a break!).

Until 2021,

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues, 

You have a lot on your plate right now. And one of those things is how to keep students engaged at the end of the semester. 

You and your students may now be relying more on video than earlier in the semester. This past week, the ECTL and UW IT shared a few resources that may be helpful. In case you missed them, we're highlighting them here.

  1. IT has a variety of multimedia recording equipment available for students to check out. The equipment varies from standard camcorders to GoPro Action cameras to DSL cameras. In addition to recording equipment, we also have accessories such as tripods, microphones, and camera mounts. Students can check out the equipment from the IT Walk-in Service center located on the first floor of the ITC.  Additional information and a list of available equipment can be found at: http://microlab.uwyo.edu/services/mme.asp.

  2. 20-Minute Resource: Build Engagement in Online Classes through Student-Created Videos. By incorporating student videos into online classes, students can feel connected to their classmates and more engaged with course content. Online instructors may encounter some challenges when incorporating student videos initially. This program provides practical ways to avoid them. Access: http://mondaymorningmentors.com/. Password: videos321

  3. VidGrid and FlipGrid are readily accessible video platforms which can be integrated into classes. VidGrid is built into WyoCourses, and FlipGrid is free online and very user-friendly.

We hope these tools will come in handy these coming weeks.

Again, my deepest gratitude to you for all you do.

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

I write today with deep gratitude for you. For the work you have done, and the work you have likely set aside, this semester. For the extra time you have spent, and the time that you re-allocated, and the time -- no doubt -- that you have delayed using for hiking, biking, fishing, napping, binge watching, or in other ways taking a break. I hope you get that time back very soon. I am also grateful for the extraordinary effort you have made to support our students and staff this semester.

I am also grateful for the caution you have applied to reduce exposure and transmission on campus and in our community. We are seeing record case numbers, but we know you have done your best. Thank you. We couldn’t do this without you.

As we go fully into Phase 4, there are a few things you may want to be aware of:

  1. Testing in Phase 4/Winter Break will be through our Surveillance program: Testing will NOT be conducted next week (November 23-27), but will resume the following week (November 30) for those employees who are identified to be on campus and are not able to socially distance, and for students who opt in. You can opt in by following these steps.

  2. Spring Return planning: Spring semester begins on January 25, with Residence Hall move-in still scheduled for January 22. There will be surveillance testing required for students and all other UW employees as we return to campus, and details of this will be coming soon. We will not do pre-return testing (like in August), because we will have rapid testing scaled up by the start of next semester.

  3. A spring plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees by the President in December. We are currently scenario planning for the Spring return, so if anything changes (from point 2 above), we will keep you up to date.

Again, thank you. May you find peace and rest in the coming days.

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

As you have transitioned to an early Phase IV (fully remote instruction) this week, please be aware of the following:

  1. All Campus Buildings will be open during Normal Business hours except as noted below:

    1. The Library Hours are set by the Library staff and are posted on their website (http://www.uwyo.edu/libraries/).

    2. The Classroom Building and ENZI Building will be locked with limited access (card access).   If you need access to the Classroom Building or ENZI Building to provide online instruction and do not have card access, you should call UWPD to assist.  If one of the officers is available, he or she can meet you there to assist with accessing the building.  (It might be wise to call ahead.)

    3. The College of Business will be locked, but available with those who have card swipe access. If additional instructors need access, please contact business@uwyo.edu

    4. Visual Arts building is open but will not provide access to studios or classrooms, these rooms will be locked. 

  2. All Campus Buildings will be locked with limited access during Winter Closure (December 24th thru Jan 3rd).

 

Take care and stay warm!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

For the past several months, you have, like the Mandalorian, watched over and cared for our student population.  While they are not as young as “The Child/Baby Yoda,” they too are vulnerable, yet mighty.  Together, you have had many adventures - and you’ve helped them make it through some extremely tough spots.  

You’ve done this while caring for your families, keeping yourselves as safe and healthy as possible, AND doing your creative activity and research, service, and extension.  

Now the in-person part of your adventure is coming to an end.  It’s a testament to your hard work and dedication that we’ve been able to deliver seven weeks (or nine weeks, if you’re an FYS instructor!) of face-to-face experiences for our students.  That’s pretty amazing and worthy of commendation. Again, thank you.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we shift to online environments next week.

  1. The post-face-to-face world for your students: For all of our students, and especially your first-year students, they are completing a semester of college unlike any generation before.  In many cases they will soon be moving back home – and they may feel as if they have to backslide in their pre-college, high school life.  They may have to compete for WIFI bandwidth with their family, and their space will be completely different. UW IT is available to support students trouble-shooting tech and hardware issues. As in the spring, UW IT can also provide laptops and other equipment for students to checkout through the end of the semester. In any case, give students some grace as they navigate and negotiate their needs in their new home life. Please note: for students who need to remain on campus until winter closure, most buildings and facilities, including Coe Library and computer labs, will remain open through the end of the semester as originally planned. 

  2. Testing before departure: Please remind your students to complete their COVID test this week, so that they can have a clear NEGATIVE before travelling home.  We do not want to be a source of super-spread. 

  3. Flexibility is key: We understand that our abbreviation of the in-person semester has likely shifted your syllabus again.  Take a look through and see what in-person pieces can be moved to online environments.  Give yourself and your students the grace you gave this spring. Consider: what is essential for the rest of the semester? Is there anything you can simplify, adapt, or make optional? Also, note that students are not required to leave this weekend; we are giving them the option to leave. If a student can work independently in a space (no groups) to complete an assignment before going home, give them the flexibility to do so. If a student needs an extra day to get back online, let them have an extension.  And, as a reminder - do not change your class time.  Finally, do not change your final exam time if you’re administering it synchronously - those times are carefully orchestrated by the Office of the Registrar to minimize time conflicts.

  4. Students should continue testing while at home, if possible.  Wyoming offers free at-home COVID-19 testing using VAULT Health, the same company the UW has partnered with to support our fall testing program.  Students living in Wyoming are encouraged to order their free at-home test; tests are available weekly.  More information can be found here. Testing will continue next week as scheduled for those students who must remain on campus. Students and UW employees can opt-in here (the opt-in options are near the bottom of the page).

  5. Spring Return planning:  Spring semester begins on January 25, with Residence Hall move-in still scheduled for January 22.  We are currently scenario planning for the Spring return. At this time, we do not plan to require pre-return negative results from Vault.  There will be surveillance testing required for students and all other UW employees as we return to campus, and details of this will be coming soon. 

 

Take care and stay warm!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Soon, or already, you will have a message from your dean or department head providing details on a campus-wide Thanksgiving Break intervention. This intervention provides students the opportunity to safely return home for the holiday, and will include moving to fully online instruction starting this Monday, November 16th.

Please keep an eye out for that message, and/or preview what I sent earlier to our Associate Deans and Department Heads in the attached. And, if you’re a supervisor, department head, etc., please consider adapting the message and passing it on to anyone you think will need this information moving forward.

Thank you again for everything you have done to make this semester a success. We want everyone to have the safest and healthiest holiday possible. If we all do our part, we can stay safe and protect those we care about from COVID-19. 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues,

Soon, or already, you will have a message from your dean providing details on Phase 4, Thanksgiving and winter breaks, testing plans in those periods, and more. This message also contains our projections for how the spring semester is likely shaping up - more or less like Fall 2020. 

Please keep an eye out for that message, and/or have a look at it here. And, if you’re a supervisor, department head, etc., please consider adapting the message and passing it on to anyone you think will need this information moving forward.

Here’s wishing you all a moment of calm this weekend!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues, 

Today is election day, and I want to thank Dr. Monago and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for this fantastic resource: Civic Engagement Resources: Before, During, and After the 2020 National Election. You may find it useful inside and beyond your classrooms.

I’m also writing to clarify a few things: 

  1. Supporting custodial staff, 

  2. When Phase 4 (all online) starts, 

  3. Who to coordinate with if you move your course online before Phase 4, 

  4. COVID-19 testing clarifications - who is in the pool, when that is decided weekly, etc.,

  5. Budget reduction process, and

  6. Spring semester calendar

 

  1. Supporting custodial staff

During the time between classes, please give the operations staff the time to do their tasks

As a friendly reminder, we moved to a modified schedule in Fall 2020 to allow our operations team to clean between class meetings. The cleaning is required to achieve CDC and OSHA recommendations regarding cleaning and sanitizing. Most importantly, the cleaning helps to minimize the coronavirus threat.

Additionally, if your class has been moved to online due to COVID precautions/procedures, please let your unit custodial staff know so they can adjust as necessary. Otherwise, we are wasting their time and cleaning resources by having them clean a room that isn’t in use.

  1. When Phase 4 (all online) starts

Phase 4 runs from November 23-December 11. We ask all students and instructors to prepare in advance for in-person coursework to end on or by November 20. Please prep your students to take along course materials, etc., which they may need to work off-campus. More details are available in this UW communication (October 26).

  1. Who to coordinate with if you move your course online before Phase 4

You must discuss moving your course modality with your department head and dean, and they must agree that it’s in your students’ and your best interest.  Make sure it does not put any of your students in a tough spot with respect to in-person residency requirements, and do NOT move the time of your course. If all of these things are attended to, please let Lynn Wheat (lwheat@uwyo.edu) in the Office of the Registrar know that your course is shifting modality and the effective date.

  1. COVID-19 testing clarifications

  • Wastewater testing: You may have heard that UW will start testing campus wastewater for COVID-19. More information is available in this UW communication (October 26).

  • Campus testing pool: HR recently sent out an update to supervisors about COVID-19 testing classifications for working on/off campus. They also clarified when and how the testing pool is decided for each subsequent week during Phase 3. Details are available in our Tip Sheet here.

  • Phase 4 testing: In Phase 4, testing will return to a surveillance protocol (random sampling) like we used in Phase 1. Those who were in the testing pool in Phase 1 will be in the pool for Phase 4, which will run until school starts again on January 25, 2020. If you were not in the Phase 1 pool, but want to be in the Phase 4 pool, you can opt in by following these steps.

  1. The budget reduction process

We need and want your feedback on the budget reduction process. You can submit anonymous feedback here

As you know, in response to a 10 percent cut in state funding that resulted in an immediate reduced distribution from the state earlier this year, the University of Wyoming’s administration has identified a plan to address a $42.3 million budget reduction in the current biennium to present to the UW Board of Trustees during their meeting November 11-13. The plan is due to the Board of Trustees on November 1. More details are available in this UW communication (October 27).

  1. Spring semester calendar

The complete, updated calendar is available here, and an October 23 UW communication provides details. The short story is that we start a week later (January 25), do not have a spring break, and get an extra holiday (February 15).

 

If you have any other questions, please send them our way! We will get answers to you asap.

 

As always, thank you for all you do!

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear Colleagues: 

The Office of Academic Affairs and the COVID Hub have been receiving questions about student attendance policy and expectations for making up assignments and tests when students are unable to attend class – either in-person or virtually.

On September 7, 2020, the Office of Academic Affairs provided guidance on student attendance policy and impacts of COVID-19. (See excerpt below. For full guidance document, go to: www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/announcements/temp-policies.html)

Coronavirus Pandemic Addendum to Attendance Policy: During the fall of 2020 and for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, the attendance policy applies as noted below:

  • Self-Quarantine and Isolation: Any student notified that they have tested positive for covid-19 or that they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for covid-19 may need to isolate for up to two weeks at a time.

  • Students will not be penalized for having to self-quarantine for exposure to a known positive. Students who test positive will be told to isolate and should continue to complete course work online for the duration of their isolation as they are able.

  • Illness: Under no circumstances are students to attend in-person classes if they are experiencing any symptoms of covid-19. Illnesses are covered under the Authorized Absence program managed within the Dean of Students Office.

Some of the questions we are receiving relate to the COVID testing non-compliance intervention that impacted in-person class attendance this week. We recognize this intervention was disruptive, particularly in classes where students must complete in-class assignments and tests. And, we also understand the challenges of rescheduling assignments and tests during a time when in-person opportunities are limited due to social distancing requirements. 

Guidance: Course absence policy should apply to all students who failed to complete the required testing last week.  However, special arrangements to make up assignments or tests should be made for students who requested an exception to testing prior to last week and were still in the queue for approval.  Students who have submitted an appeal for review may not return to class until they have a communication from the Dean of Students Office that the student is cleared to return to class.  Otherwise, the student will be out for the week and encouraged to only come to campus to participate in bridge testing.

We also received questions about making up assignments and tests when students are in quarantine or isolation.

Guidance: If students are absent because they are in quarantine or isolation, faculty should make every effort to accommodate the students by providing virtual opportunities. If virtual opportunities are not possible, rescheduling or modifying assignments and tests is expected. 

In addition to these questions, the Office of Academic Affairs has heard numerous accounts of how faculty are going above and beyond the call to help their students be successful.  Thank you for your patience and flexibility during these difficult times.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

I hope everyone has had a safe return to campus and classes this week! As more students and faculty were making their way around campus, it has become even more imperative that we follow the new guidelines in place, for everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

We know you want to talk with your students and answer their questions at the end of class.  I’m asking you to take those conversations outside the classroom when your class time is complete out of consideration for our custodians.  As you know, our Operations staff is doing an incredible job of carrying out additional cleaning between courses, and if we impede them, we’re putting the next class to use the room at risk.  Please gently guide your students to a different location – an atrium, the lobby – for after-class questions, and let them know at the beginning of class that you’ll answer their questions there.

Secondly, I need your help in keeping your classrooms public-health oriented and safe. Classrooms have been carefully laid out to allow for 6’ distancing between students. There is also a 10’ distance from the front wall of the classroom to the first row of students. This is your space.  Please help us enforce the seating guidelines in your classroom. Don’t move tables and chairs. We have sleeves on the seats in the auditoria that say “Please sit here” to identify where students can sit. Tables are strategically 6’ distanced from each other, and are marked with green “go” tape.  If we can’t adhere to these rules, we may have to decrease the capacity of the classrooms to make sure that students can maintain the proper social distancing.  

 

See below for a visual:

c19_classroom_spacing.jpg 

Staying healthy together

  • Being able to continue with Phase 3 requires everyone following all health and safetyguidelines at all times with no exceptions. 

  • Only by remaining vigilant and following the UW safety guidance do we have a chance of operating successfully on campus.

  • Please continue to use COVID Pass daily to assess your symptoms before coming to campus. If you feel sick, or fail COVID pass, please do not come to campus.

Thank you for all you do. Here’s wishing you a great rest of the week!

 

-Anne  

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

We are looking forward to Phase 3 beginning on Monday, September 28. Today, I write with a couple of clarifications and some resources for folks who may be teaching students in a classroom and virtually at the same time.

 Phase 3 clarifications

There have been a lot of good questions about Phase 3, and many of you have focused on testing. Here are a few direct clarifications:

  1.  Testing - 

    1. The bridge testing program through Vault Health will continue until mid-October (~6,000 tests administered weekly). All UW undergraduate students who have been identified as attending a course with face-to-face instruction are being asked to submit a weekly sample during the next three weeks. This will be increased to twice weekly when our surveillance program begins. 

    2. In mid-October, students in Albany County, and employees who are on campus and not able to maintain physical distancing, will be required to be tested at least once per week. Other employees will be able to opt in to the surveillance testing. Those saliva tests will be processed at UW’s Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, allowing for faster results.

    3. Additional details are available in this UW press release.

  2. Rationale for continuing to Phase 3 - UW is in a much stronger position in our current phased approach than most other universities which have attempted to reopen.  We have access to sufficient numbers of Vault tests for us to sample a considerable proportion. The logistics for scaling up the bridge testing as we await supply chain resolution are already set.  President Seide’s epidemiological and advisory teams meet twice each day, and on the weekends as needed, to review the indicators and thresholds for targeted actions.  UW will remain vigilant and keep your health as its lodestar as he makes decisions around what actions to take each week, each day, and each hour.

  3. Positive notifications process - approved 9/24, this process will be followed for any UW affiliated people who test positive, either through UW-administered testing or external testing labs.

  4. What to do if someone doesn’t wear a mask (over their mouth and nose) or otherwise follow Phase 3 policies? See this brief document for guidance.

  5. How to work with graduate students (TAs, RAs, etc.) who have concerns about f2f teaching? See this brief document for guidance.

 

Teaching resources for hybrid classes (face-to-face & virtual)

I anticipate that you will have students who cannot come to class in-person, even during Phase 3. Here are a few resources to help you juggle students in both settings simultaneously.

  • Advice from a few First Year Seminar instructors already teaching F2F in Phase 2 

1) At some point in the next eight weeks, you will probably have some students in quarantine, so be prepared to handle that situation and offer the material to them. See the resources below for advice.

2) Make sure you get there early to simultaneously record and give lectures, as it takes a while to set up.

3) If your classroom doesn’t fit everyone, plan ahead for Monday: How you will rotate the students and let the students know beforehand so they know when to come, etc.?

  • How Do I Convert a F2F Course to a Hybrid Course? - This 20-minute video is part of the ECTL’s university-wide subscription to Magna. For Magna access info, click here.

  • Capturing a Zoom Lecture with VidGrid - This 4-minute video resource is among many resources provided by the ECTL here.

  • More 20-minute online teaching resources - This search link directs you to numerous Magna videos on aspects of online teaching from discussion boards and creating community online to engaging lecture strategies. For Magna access info, click here.

 

As always, thank you for what you do! Here’s wishing you a smooth transition back to campus on Monday.

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

If you were teaching in-person this past week, my gratitude and high fives to you! I was in the classroom with my first year seminar class myself, and it was both exhilarating to be with them and somewhat sobering. This is not the new normal; it is still our best effort in a challenging time. Thank you.

For all of us, here is a round up of campus resources to support your teaching (online and in-person) at several levels. Please tap into these resources as much as your bandwidth allows. 

Triage and One-Off Options: The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning (ECTL) offers drop-in hours. They also offer weekly webinars on a wide range of topics. These are announced on Mondays through targeted announcements and the faculty listserv.

On-Demand Resources: The ECTL offers 20-minute webinars and other on-demand support through a campus subscription to Magna, a top-notch educational resource. They also host an online teaching resources webpage loaded with helpful materials on Zoom, Canvas, Honorlock, VidGrid, and more.

 Full-Scale Support: 

  • The ECTL is offering another two rounds of their course on Digital Teaching and Learning. The October 26-November 20 session is still open for application until Wednesday October 21. 

  • The ECTL also offers consulting and course observations.

  • Any of the ECTL’s trainings, along with external trainings, can count toward their Certification in Teaching and Learning. Details here.

  • Thanks to the CARES Act, Academic Affairs was able to offer $4.1 million in instructional design support from two external companies. Deans and other representatives from all major units, along with the ECTL, were involved in identifying programs and individual courses that would most benefit from this support. That support has now been allocated and relevant faculty will begin working with their dedicated instructional design consultants.

Clear skies and hope you all have had a good weekend,

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Dear colleagues,

I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy the return of warm weather! If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to connecting with students more directly as we move into Phase 2.

Good news - the pause is definitely ending today. After reviewing the latest data, we plan to lift the pause and enter Phase 2 operations on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. 

To help students better understand expectations, we recommend using this template to notify your students how to attend your class after the pause is lifted.

If you’re not slated to be on campus during Phase 2, scroll to the bottom for quick links about other topics that may be helpful. And, please continue filling out the COVID Pass each day.

Otherwise, today, I write to you with a brief clarification of how in-person classrooms are set up. 

Classrooms have been laid out to allow for 6’ distancing between students. There is also a 10’ distance from the front wall of the classroom to the first row of students. Podiums, when possible have been adjusted to be 3’ from the front wall. This space is the safe space for the instructor or faculty to teach, while maintaining 6’ distancing from the students. Area in front of the podium and to the front row should be avoided for use. See below for a visual provided by Jennifer Coast, Deputy Director of Safety and Facilities Engineering with UW Operations.

c19_classroom_teaching_space.jpg

If you have any questions, Jennifer and her team can be reached here: uwyo.edu/uwops/ or 307-766-2537 (anytime number).

Staying healthy together

  • Being able to continue with Phase 2 requires everyone following all health and safety guidelines at all times with no exceptions. 

  • Only by remaining vigilant and following the UW safety guidance do we have a chance of operating successfully on campus.

  • Please continue to use COVID Pass daily to assess your symptoms before coming to campus. If you feel sick, or fail COVID pass, please do not come to campus.

Thank you for all you do. Here’s wishing you a great Tuesday tomorrow, whether you’re teaching in person or online!

 

 -Anne  

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

As you no doubt have heard, UW entered into a 5-business-day pause this morning.  These days will give President Seidel some time to find out whether this is a small brushfire (a small outbreak of symptomatic cases that we can contain) or a large wildfire (an outbreak we need to take more long-term action on).  Normal is such a strange word right now, but know that we’ll get back to something resembling it when the pandemic is over.  For now, we need to let public health and science dictate our course of action  Your leadership is critical – your good humor is critical – your untiring efforts are so appreciated.

Let’s be role models.  Do not come in unless you need to grab something quickly.  If you’re a bench scientist, work on a grant proposal or writing up your results this week.  Don’t congregate in public places.  Have a Zoom happy hour. If you’re not sure about whether you should be on campus or not, see the image below.

 c19_campus_pause_flow.jpg

And, stay positive. Multiple changes and responses are necessary and are being done in our faculty, staff, and student’s best interest. For more information on the Pause, see this link or this quick video I made to outline what the Pause is and how it works.

Please keep filling out the Covid Pass every day (even if you’re not on campus). Follow this link for an update on testing around campus.

Need help?

Please contact us for any support you may need. See below this email for quick links that may help, too. 

 

How you can help

Ensuring all personnel are aware of the “pause” is critical. We need your help communicating to your teams if you are a supervisor, whether that’s a supervisor of a lab, a team of GA’s, work-studies, or a whole department. To help you get the word out quickly, we have created this template for you to customize and send out. It includes a reminder that the Bridge Testing program will continue, and we should all continue to complete the COVID pass. Please update and distribute this message immediately, if you have not already done so.

We understand that this situation will cause uncertainty and difficulty as you shift to a virtual work environment. We are committed to providing updates as quickly as possible. We will also provide further guidance as it becomes available.

As always, reach out for help if you need it!

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

This week’s check-in includes some graphics. They should help you and students understand:

  • What a campus pause is and why we might need one this fall (link); 

  • Who should come to campus during a pause (link). Short story: almost no one

 c19_campus_pause.jpg

c19_campus_pause_flow.jpg

 

Please keep filling out the Covid Pass every day (even if you’re not on campus). Follow this link for an update on testing around campus.

This week and onward, you can find a set of quick links in the footer of these weekly updates. The links direct you to essential policies and resources.

As always, reach out for help if you need it!

 

Anne

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

We’ve reached the end of week one, and the midpoint of phase one, of Fall 2020! CONGRATULATIONS! 

See below for a few check-ins and points of clarification as you end the week.

  • Update on the rollout of testing around campus: If you are in the Phase 1 cohort of our bridge testing, you may have already been notified of (or will be soon) that it’s time to schedule your appointment. When you receive that email, please login using your UW credentials to the scheduling tool.  Follow the simple directions on the form and then follow through and keep your appointment.  Please know how critical it is to follow through on this – this is how we will keep our campus safe.  If you don’t follow through, you’ll be getting a call from me.  FWIW, my first testing appointment in the Gardens is scheduled for next Tuesday.  

  • COVID Pass reminder:  Just a friendly reminder that, if you are coming to campus you should fill out your COVID Pass each day.  It takes very little time, and even if you aren’t coming to campus, it’s good to do it to get into the routine.

  • Reach out for help if you need it:  I have reached the COVID cliff.  I reach it every day.  I know you do too. If you need help, the following may be for you:

    • Counseling (mental health, legal, financial): UW offers an Employee Assistance Program that provides benefited employees and their household members with professional counseling, as well as legal and financial assistance. UW partners with MINES and Associates to provide services at no cost to UW employees. Access any of the services by visiting the MINES and Associates website or by calling 1-800-873-7138.

    • ADA compliance for your course delivery: ADA expectations are applicable online and in-person, so please attend to these considerations in all content delivery modes. The Disability Student Services (DSS) office is our go-to. See the attached document (or this link) for details about DSS, support for making course materials accessible, and where to refer students.

    • Ongoing pedagogical help:

      • We have in-house and external consultants available to help you this semester. If you’d like support overhauling a course or program to be online, contact Jayne Pearce (jpearce@uwyo.edu).

      • For individual courses, the UW ECTL continues to offer amazing assistance, long and short term, for you as you adjust to these new times.  They are an asset, and they will help you.  Just reach out and ask: www.uwyo.edu/ctl.

  • Course times/dates:  Another friendly reminder – when you change your course times without consulting the Office of the Registrar, you are likely creating significant course time conflicts for your students, thus creating more stress than they need and problems they didn’t ask for.  Don’t do it.  Please.

  • Summary of enrollment:  We have good news on enrollment numbers.  We are currently at 98% of our enrollment numbers from last year, and as of Day 3 (Wednesday) we had 11,903 students enrolled!  The generous funding from the CARES Act no doubt had a lot to do with that; many of you reading this also worked tirelessly to call and email and text students to urge them to come back or come to UW.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I’m also linking to a quick tip sheet to help you locate some important policies and recommendations from both the COVID teams and Academic Affairs.  I hope it’s helpful to you. 

Most importantly, THANK YOU for all you are doing, and will continue to do.  The world needs more people like you.  Happy Friday, 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

Colleagues and friends,

 

Today, we mark the beginning of an academic year unlike any other.  As we begin Phase 1 of UW’s phased reopening plan, the vast majority of us are teaching online and by Zoom from today through September 4.  Our students are likely still at their homes, with their families, spread nation- and worldwide.  The first thing you’ll do in the morning, after waking up and greeting the day, is take your temperature and self-assess your wellness on COVID Pass. The few of us on campus are isolated in our offices, or wearing masks and standing 6 feet away from those we meet and greet.  If we are physically on campus during Phase I, we will respond to random sampling COVID-19 test calls from our epidemiological and public health colleagues.

But some things won’t change.  Our students will learn and grown, and feel those first day jitters as they embark on their new courses, no matter where they are.  We’ll review syllabi, check in with each other and our students, and embrace the new year with gusto.  The joy of learning, discovery, and innovation will still be felt by all of us.

During this once-in-a-generation event, you have risen to the challenges you’ve faced.  You’ve adjusted plans for your courses with professionalism. You’ve wrestled with these changes and tried new things, and because of your efforts our students will receive a high quality education. I’m confident that, when history looks back at how UW handled this incredible event, it will judge that you did an outstanding job.

I miss our students.  I miss you.  But I know that our revised plan is the best possible way to get us to and through a safe and successful semester.  I also know that new data and information will rapidly emerge in the coming weeks, and we’ll need to continue to be flexible and patient and adjust to what the science tells us.  I thank you for all your hard work these past months, and for your patience and professionalism as we make our way through this very different start to an academic year.

Academic Affairs be putting out several more communications and opportunities for dialogue in the next days and weeks.  You can also stay up to date with temporary policies for everything from syllabi to student attendance to field course policies by going to the Academic Affairs COVID-19 site. Meanwhile, happy AY 2020-21 to you all.  May we see the end of the pandemic soon, with your help.

 

Anne

 

Dr. Anne M. Alexander
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Wyoming

2019-2016

Dear Faculty and Academic Staff:

This message is intended to provide guidelines for conducting searches for faculty and staff in academic units, and academic administrative in the Division of Academic Affairs. (Note: Decisions for searching for non-academic positions will be made by the appropriate vice president.)

Requisitions and early-stage search efforts: Please proceed as normal with requisitions and early-stage search efforts, including advertising. 

Preliminary stages and semifinalists: If you have just started your search or have already started screening finalists, it’s likely you’ve done so by Zoom or other tele-conferencing options. Please proceed as normal with your screening by tele-conferencing. 

Finalists for faculty, department head/chair and staff searches positions: Searches may proceed using Zoom or other teleconferencing options unless the dean, department head or faculty have significant concerns about conducting the interview this way.  

If you are in the midst of interviewing finalists and some, but not all, of your candidates have completed their on-campus interview, you may proceed with interviewing any remaining semifinalists by Zoom or other teleconferencing options. It is important that you are transparent with the candidates and inform them of the change in interview method.

If it is deemed critical for an on-campus interview so that the university and finalist candidates have the opportunity to visit and interact with our campus, community and state, this final phase of the search may be postponed until after the spring semester concludes. Search committee chairs should communicate with finalists in such searches to let them know that the process is delayed, and they will be invited to campus when current efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are no longer needed.

College dean searches: Search committees for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the dean of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources will continue to review applications and conduct preliminary interviews through Zoom or other teleconferencing options, with the assistance of Summit Search Solutions and in consultation with President-Designate Seidel. On-campus interviews with the finalists will be postponed temporarily until current efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are no longer needed. The dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science search has been postponed until further notice.

Before proceeding with ongoing faculty and academic administrative searches, please consult the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for additional guidance. All other questions should be directed to your HR recruiter/employment partner.

 

Kate Miller, Provost

As we make this adjustment to an online and distance environment for the Spring 2020, I wanted to underscore some ideas and resources for you and your students. 

Asynchronous delivery and a little compassion. ECTL’s Instructional Design Team has a wealth of resources posted to help you make this shift.  I’d like to highlight this one, Teaching with Compassion and Focus Amidst Disruption, which is a compendium of ideas from the University of Vermont.  I also found this piece on how to think through designing asynchronous course delivery very useful.  Asynchronous delivery will help students (and you) when data bandwidth is overburdened or when many time zones are between you and your students, so this is especially important for international students who may have gone home and students in rural areas. If you want to record a demonstration, lab technique, or lecture, at this time you can use campus facilities and technology, to do so.

Redesigning Exams. Exams can pose a particular challenge in a situation where everyone is on their own. Using HonorLock and Respondus will be useful, but there is no perfect solution.  In order to minimize incidents of academic integrity violations for online exams while still ensuring they accurately reflect student learning, consider the following principles in creating and modifying exams:

  • Allowing exams to be open-book/source: Try a new approach: let your students use research resources when taking an exam. Design questions that probe deeper levels of knowledge and understanding, enabling students to apply, assess, and evaluate concepts and facts in meaningful ways. Have students to share and cite where they get information from and what resources they use.

  • Encourage students to collaborate/share questions and ideas: Students will likely work together when they are stuck or confused. You can encourage working in small teams and ask them to include who they work with and in what ways.

  • Focus on solving problems while showing work and explanations: In many cases, students may get the same answer, but showing their work reveals meaningful differences in understanding. Sometimes there may only be a few ways to show work, so you may ask for brief prose explanations, or have students record a video of them talking through the process to solve a question.

  • Use student-generated questions with explanations: Instead of trying to ensure everyone answers your limited number of questions on their own, ask every student to create their own question with an explanation of how it would assess a certain topic or skill in a meaningful way. You can also assign students to answer each other's questions and state whether those questions actually do assess these skills in appropriate ways.

  • Ensure clarity in questions and prompts: Especially if your test is timed, your students may not have a chance to ask a question and get a response. It is vital that questions and prompts are clear to novices so your assessment measures what you want it to. Even if not timed, you do not want to be spending your limited time answering clarifying questions.

  • Consider question formats leading to essays, videos, pictures, and other personal responses: If your class lends itself to it, having students express their learning through essays, videos, pictures, or other personalized forms of writing/speaking/communicating means that everyone needs to create their own. You can also have students post their responses for each other and assess each other's work through peer grading. Rubrics can help guide students as they develop such work, give each other feedback, and, of course, allow your teaching assistants and you a consistent method of assessment.

  • Respect your own time: Most of these ideas take time to grade. Try to determine what is feasible in your situation, and use feedback-based or hand-grading intensive assessments sparingly.. Many times feedback can be created for the whole group based on common challenges or problems, as opposed to individual responses.

Resources for students to help them succeed in this environment. As you are adjusting to this change, so are your students.  For some, it may be the first time they’ve had a fully-online educational experience, so providing them with some structure and compassion will be key to helping them manage through this time.  Some great resources include this short post and this set of principles to help them get structure back into their lives. I encourage you to reach out as soon as you can to your students to help them – and you – in redesigning your course to achieve your learning objectives and help them succeed.

What if my students don’t want to finish my course this way? If a student asks for an incomplete, you and they should make an explicit agreement about what still needs to be completed, by when. You will enter the grade of incomplete at final grade submission time, and you and the student will have 120 days from the date of assignment to complete the work and evaluate it. If this deadline needs to be extended by mutual agreement between you and the student, it can be done so easily. The incomplete grade will not affect their full-time status.

If a student seeks to drop your course, please work with Scholarships and Financial Aid to help the student understand the financial aid implications if it impacts their full-time status.  International students should consult with the International Students and Scholars office prior to dropping a class, as that may affect their immigration status.

Our faculty are used to balancing an enormous number of things. Now, we are asking you to take a leap into online and distance modalities in a short period of time in the interest of our community’s public health.  We understand that it isn’t going to be perfect, and that is ok.  You are the touchstone to normalcy and a little bit of structure that our students need.  Thank you for all your creative and good thinking as we work through this situation together.

 

Kate Miller, Provost

Dear Faculty:

This morning, the President presented the university’s plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the UW Board of Trustees. The plans include moving all instruction to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester. Spring break is extended one week for students, so that faculty can use that time to prepare for online delivery.

Those following breaking news undoubtedly realize that many universities are responding to the pandemic in this way.

The remainder of this message contains important information regarding UW’s transition to online instruction, as well as resources available for support of faculty in this process. 

 

Logistical Details – First Steps

  1. Faculty members should send email to students enrolled in their courses as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting time of your first class session after the extended spring break, with plans for course continuation and access to WyoCourses. If a faculty member does not have complete plans ready at that time, the message should let students know when they can expect further details.

  2. Spring break was extended by one week to allow faculty members to transition to alternative delivery modes as soon as possible. 

  3. No distance classes should be reconvened until March 30, 2020.

 

Key Guidelines for Online Delivery

  1. Students’ progress toward graduation should not be impacted by the change in instructional delivery mode. We recognize that some hands-on laboratory or performance courses might be difficult to conduct remotely. For those courses, we urge faculty to think creatively and consult colleagues to discuss ways to fulfill learning outcomes using alternative delivery methods.

  2. Courses must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Student information, including grades, may not be shared via email. It is recommended that students use their university credentials to access course materials and instruction through WyoCourses.

  3. If you have students requiring disability accommodations, please work with UDSS (www.uwyo.edu/udss/) to ensure accessibility of your course.

  4. Students may NOT be asked to pay for additional fees related to course delivery. This includes proctoring service fees. You can use the LockDown Browser quicklink within your WyoCourses shell to deploy the application, Respondus, and lock down access to web browsers during your exam. Honorlock, a proctoring application, is also readily available now in all WyoCourses shells; simply move it into the active menu and integrate it with your exams. An onboarding document is forthcoming -- meanwhile, you can contact Jeff Miller at jmiller@uwyo.edu or 307-766- 3726.

  5. As you redesign your courses, we strongly recommend that you focus on the learning outcomes of your class, and that you consider using an asynchronous instructional approach. Please recognize that your students are coming to terms with as much uncertainty and change as you are right now. So an expectation that you will conduct and students will attend synchronous class sessions may be unrealistic. In addition, some students have technology and other limitations. We are working to get guidance to faculty on these situations as soon as possible.

  6. Faculty can use synchronous course sessions (via Zoom) when necessary. Our recommendation is that faculty use this mode primarily for interactive discussions, during your regularly scheduled class times or office hours. Please be mindful of how teaching assistants (TA) are incorporated in the alternative delivery plan. Current guidelines and restrictions on TA time and workload should be maintained.

  7. Please try to use the lowest-bandwidth option that meets your instructional needs. For example, use Zoom only for interactive discussions. Do not use Zoom for classes of greater than 150 students. Use video, audio or text options for lecture delivery whenever possible.  

  8. If faculty already have online section(s), you may want to consider consolidating face-to-face sections of the same course into other sections now being delivered online. 

 

Support Resources

  1. Academic Affairs has published a website and Action Plan that provide additional guidelines. 

  2. Our instructional design and faculty development groups in the ECTL continue to provide consultations, web trainings and sharing national best practices on teaching online.

  3. Please visit www.uwyo.edu/workteachremote to learn more about how to do your work and teaching remotely in response to this disruption.

  4. Some departments, schools and colleges have additional resources and support for their faculty. Please look for additional emails from your department, school or college.

  5. The University has created a website that provides resources, communication, and FAQs about COVID-19.

 

The Academic Affairs team and I very much appreciate your efforts to ensure instruction continues for our students. We also appreciate your flexibility and understanding with students who will be rapidly adapting to new instructional circumstances.

This is a singular time for our institution and our world. I thank each of you for your leadership, your creative approaches and your dedication to our students and our missions.

Be well,

Kate Miller, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

When I sent my first message of the semester in September, campus was whirring back to life after the long summer break. In these seemingly shorter days before winter break, we can all see things winding down again. Students and faculty are taking and grading finals, and staff prepare to suspend most operations for the holidays. I hope that you have plans for a restful winter break and take the opportunity to recharge for the spring. I also thank those of you who will remain in Laramie to keep our campus safe and secure over the break.

This has been an eventful and productive fall semester. The most significant highlight is the University’s successful site visit with the Higher Learning Commission as we pursue reaccreditation. We are currently reviewing the site visit team’s draft report and expect the full report later this month. The draft report from the site visit team is very positive, and I want to thank every one of you for the roles you have played in ensuring the University of Wyoming works to realize its mission for our students, community and state every day. This outcome is the direct result of your hard work and commitment.

In collaboration and consultation with colleagues in the Faculty Senate and others, we worked with the Board of Trustees to pass two new regulations: 2-16: Sabbatical and Professional Development Leave and 2-9: Workload Policy. Regulations 2-2: Academic Personnel Dispute Resolution and UW 2-15: Academic Freedom are currently under review by board committees and expected to be reviewed by the full board in January and March, respectively. Additional UW Regulations and SAPPs are currently moving through the review process with Faculty Senate, committees and the administration and will be advanced in the coming months.

The Board of Trustees also approved new academic programs in American Sign Language and Computer Science Education, and notices of intent were presented for programs in Neuroscience and Early Childhood Education. An International Advisory Council that I appointed in the spring, which is co-chaired by AVP Anthony Ogden and Dean David Sprott, has been working to develop a new strategic framework for prioritizing UW’s global engagement investments, examining the intersection of UW and Wyoming interests by world region, themes of interaction, and current or prospective partners across the globe.

The spring semester is already shaping up to be as momentous as the fall. I wanted to take a moment to share some news with you as we look ahead to the semester to come.

 

Next Gen University Studies Program

I am excited to begin a discussion about the next generation of general education for UW students in the spring. Our current University Studies Program (USP) 2015 general education program had its beginnings in a similar exercise that began in 2011. Given accelerating disruption in workplaces and society, it’s time to think again about the way we prepare all UW students for full participation as citizens in an increasingly complex world. You will begin to see information from our office in the coming months about beginning this conversation.

 

WyoVita

WyoVita is the second module in a suite of online platforms that help faculty, academic units, colleges and the university maximize the quality and accessibility of faculty data, while eliminating outdated redundancies. The first module, WyoFolio, was launched last year. This new module allows faculty to create and customize their CVs and biosketches for a variety of purposes without having to enter data multiple times in multiple platforms. WyoVita has flexible and time-saving tools that can be used for data input and data output, such as integrating citation data and other analytics from bibliographic databases and reference management software and transferring data from other software applications (e.g., course evaluation systems and grant databases).

WyoVita will launch by the end of December. Since WyoVita and WyoFolio are part of the same online platform, CVs and other reports required for reappointment, tenure and promotion reviews, sabbatical reviews, and annual reviews can be generated directly from WyoVita and transferred to WyoFolio. And, the platform will be utilized to conduct annual reviews for calendar year 2019, which will begin February 1, 2020. Each faculty member will be asked to verify and update information for calendar year 2019 no later than January 31, 2020. Virtual training sessions will be available in the Employee Learn Center starting January 2, 2020. There will also be in-person and zoom training sessions open to all faculty and staff in Health Sciences 205. Dates, times and additional details will be provided in a forthcoming email.

 

Interviewing the Next Class of Trustee Scholars

Shortly after the spring semester begins, we will welcome more than 100 of Wyoming’s best and brightest students to campus to participate in the selection process for Trustees’ Scholars Awards. The Trustees’ Scholars Award is the top academic award and recognition given by the University of Wyoming. This fall, students selected earned an average high school GPA of 3.92 and an average ACT score of 32.

We are seeking faculty members to participate in interviews to select the next class of Trustees’ Scholars. Interviews will take place on Friday, January 31, and Friday, February 7, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Faculty members who are interested in participating can sign up for timeslots by going to: survey.uwyo.edu/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=76LHml41H. Questions can be directed to Shelley Dodd, Director of Admissions, at shelley@uwyo.edu or 6-4273.

 

Statewide Common Course Numbering Work Continues

Work will continue on common course numbering. As part of the statewide initiative to enhance Wyoming’s educational attainment, a working group from the state’s higher education institutions has been collaborating on a common course numbering project. The goal is to harmonize course numbering protocols between UW and the seven community colleges, and to make certain that transferrable courses are easier to transcript across the state. Since mid-November, a group of UW faculty and staff, along with a statewide group with representation from each community college, has validated nearly half of the courses that are most commonly taught, have well-articulated learning outcomes, and are transferred frequently. Both the University Course Committee and USP Committee chairs are facilitating this process, along with AVP Alexander and Registrar King, and they’ve been consulting with the affected departmental faculty at each turn. Our goal is to have around 65% of all courses completed for the fall 2020 catalog, and the balance done in time for the fall 2021 catalog.

 

Graduate Teaching Assistant Allocations

Over the course of the current academic year, the Office of Graduate Education and the Graduate Council are reviewing the allocations of Graduate Teaching Assistantship funding to colleges and departments. The end goal of this process is to develop transparent criteria for making GTA allocations in the future. During the spring semester, both Graduate Council and the Office of Graduate Education will be seeking input from faculty, students, staff and administrators. AVP Ahern will meet with department heads at their February workshop, and additional opportunities for input will be announced once scheduled.

 

Transitions in Academic Affairs Leadership

Before I close this message, I also want to acknowledge two transitions in the leadership of the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Anne Alexander has announced that she will step down from her role as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in May 2020 after five years leading one of the largest units of the Division of Academic Affairs. Over the last several months, she also led efforts to secure the reaccreditation of the University of Wyoming with the Higher Learning Commission. Anne will join the College of Business as Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Business and Economic Analysis.

Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives Dr. Dan Maxey has accepted an appointment as Chief of Staff at the University of Northern Colorado and will begin his new role in the new year. Among the many tasks he was responsible for, Dan has been helping me to develop a plan to grow our capacity to service distance education and offer additional online programs. We will launch a search for a new director to carry those plans forward in the spring.

Anne and Dan have brought so much energy and enthusiasm to their work with the Division of Academic Affairs, and they have provided exemplary leadership to the University community. Please join me in thanking them both for their service and congratulating them on their new assignments.

In closing, thank you all for your contributions you make to our university -- your ideas, your effort, your energy and your commitment to our students, university and state. Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, I hope that you find time to reflect on all the good works we do every day -- to provide accessible and affordable higher education of the highest quality; carry out rigorous scholarship that we share with the world and seek to apply toward its improvement; promote economic and community development; and in service as responsible stewards of our cultural, historical and natural resources. And, I hope that with the dawn of a new year, you will come back reinvigorated and refreshed, with your sights set on all that we will accomplish in the spring semester.

 

Happy Holidays! And, GO POKES!

 

Kate C. Miller, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Good afternoon, colleagues: 

Since we began the fall semester, the campus has been abuzz with activity. It is hard to believe, but we are well into October—nearly six weeks into the term—and experiencing the season’s first snowfall today. On Monday afternoon, I provided reports to the Faculty Senate on two key initiatives in Academic Affairs related to educational access, attainment, and affordability: Graduate Wyoming, a new effort to enhance ease of transfer into the University, and the status of Distance Education at UW. In the same spirit as last month’s message, I wanted to share additional information with faculty and staff colleagues so you are apprised of current developments in Academic Affairs in service of our common mission. 

I hope that your fall semester has been productive and enjoyable so far. I welcome your feedback on the efforts outlined below and look forward to sharing further developments as they emerge. 

Go Pokes!
Dr. Kate Miller
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 

 

Graduate Wyoming

Graduate Wyoming is a new umbrella initiative developed in partnership with the state’s community colleges to expand support for transfer students. In recent years, UW has worked with the community colleges to establish program-specific 2+2 plans to facilitate the transfer of students with an earned associate’s degree. These have been an important tool and will continue to be administered, but do not meet the needs of a significant number of students who wish to transfer to continue their education at the University. To ensure that we serve those students who are not supported by 2+2 plans, Graduate Wyoming is developing additional tools and services to meet the needs of all prospective transfer students. These include: 

  • Transfer Planning Guides, or TPGs, will offer side-by-side guides for course articulation for students at the community colleges who plan to transfer to UW. This information will help prospective transfer students to “self-select” into courses with an upfront understanding of how their coursework will transfer to the University of Wyoming, allowing them to identify the courses that will be most beneficial to their progress toward completion of a bachelor’s degree. Many of us have encountered students who arrive on our campus frustrated that UW “didn’t accept” a significant share of their transfer credits. Often, these students have simply taken courses that don’t articulate to satisfy course requirements or just aren’t necessary for degree completion. The new TPGs are designed specifically to support students who are not eligible for 2+2 plans, who comprise 40% of UW’s transfer student population. These resources will ensure that transfer students can efficiently move through the community colleges and University toward a UW degree.

  • Reverse Transfer, the process of awarding associates degrees to students who transfer to UW in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree before they have completed requirements for an associate’s degree at the community college, will be elevated. We are developing an MOU to formalize a robust and collaborative approach so that once students have completed the remaining requirements at UW toward an associate’s degree from a community college, they will be eligible to receive the appropriate credential. This means they will have a valuable associate’s degree in hand even while they continue work toward their next milestone—a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming.

  • Peer Mentoring to connect incoming transfer students to current UW students, who will place outbound calls to welcome them to the University, host them for a luncheon during Cowboy Connect, and serve as contacts when transfer students visit Laramie and get started as bachelor’s degree-seeking students.

  • A State-Wide Transfer Advising Group serving as a professional network to connect advisors from UW and all of Wyoming’s community colleges. The advising group will include a listserv facilitating communication about issues affecting transfer students.

I want to stress that as these new efforts launch, our 2+2 plans will not go away. In fact, we are streamlining the manner by which these plans are reviewed, amended, and developed as we proceed. Through the efforts above and others to be developed collaboratively with the community colleges, we will better serve all prospective transfer students—and better position them for success in attaining a bachelor’s degree from UW. I want to thank the representatives from UW and the community colleges who convened on our campus last week for the annual Wyoming Articulation Summit. By continuing to work in partnership, our institutions are expanding access to higher education for Wyomingites, facilitating the attainment of our state’s educational attainment goals, and preparing the workforce necessary to grow and diversify Wyoming’s economy and communities. 

Online Distance Education

I also gave the Faculty Senate an update on the status of online Distance Education at the University of Wyoming. Even though we sunsetted the Outreach School three years ago, today UW offers 40 unique credentials—undergraduate completion degrees, graduate degrees, and certificates—through online modalities, and has several more lined up for launch in the coming semesters. This is on par with or exceeds the offerings of our close peers. And, thanks to the contributions of hundreds of UW instructors, we offer more than a thousand courses online—around 1,200-1,300—annually. As a result, approximately 14.6% of UW’s students this fall are able to complete their coursework via distance education. 

While we are doing exceptionally well in this area, our mission as Wyoming’s four-year, research, and land-grant university, as well as the educational attainment goals of the state  call on us to expand our efforts to serve Wyoming’s place-bound students, adult learners, and others whose life circumstances do not allow them to come to study on campus in Laramie or Casper. It is important that we continue to develop and launch new online degree programs that meet students where they are regardless of their geographic location or stage of life, help those students to advance personally and professionally, and contribute to the state’s needs for a citizenry and workforce prepared to meet the demands of Wyoming’s future. 

To this end, Academic Affairs and Distance Education have invested in a number of tools and programs that expand our capacity to provide services such as 24/7 online tutoring, assessment of online course quality and student learning outcome development, and reliable online exam proctoring. These tools will also aid us in in our efforts to continually assess and improve upon the quality of the educational experience students receive in our online courses and programs. 

To further incentivize the development of additional online courses and programs, beginning this fiscal year, the share of tuition revenue generated from online enrollments provided to the colleges has increased from 50% to 70%. These funds will a) help the colleges and departments to hire instructors and teaching assistants to support growing enrollments in online courses and b) provide funding for colleges to invest in the development of new online courses and programs to ensure we can serve the needs of our students well and address the attainment priorities of our state. We look forward to continuing our work with partners in the colleges and departments to expand our online course and programmatic offerings to best serve the needs of our students and the state.  In the last academic year and at UW’s request, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) conducted a strategic consultation review of graduate education at the university, including the administration of graduate education, graduate enrollment management, and the assessment of graduate student learning outcomes. In its report, CGS made a number of recommendations that Associate Vice Provost Jim Ahern and his team are in the process of reviewing and implementing. In addition to working to rebuild and better support graduate education at UW, the Office of Graduate Education is also leading an effort to review how allocations of state-funded graduate assistantships are made in order to make sure that allocations align well with Academic Affairs’ strategic plan. As plans are developed over the coming months, members of the faculty and the Faculty Senate will have opportunities to discuss these issues and contribute input.

 

Dr. Kate Miller

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

With the whirlwind of the first days of the fall semester behind us, I wanted to take a moment to welcome you all—new and returning faculty and staff—as we begin a new academic year. Wherever your summer journeys took you, I hope you found the right balance of restfulness and productivity, and feel recharged and invigorated, as I do, for the year ahead. This is an exciting time in the academic year, when we reconvene to pursue our common mission. I appreciate the energy and commitment that each of you brings to your work for our students, our university, and the state.

The 2019-2020 academic year will be a time of transition for the University of Wyoming, but also a period of continued progress. Acting President Theobald has established his priorities for the University and the expectation stands that we will press ahead on key efforts that will advance the University’s mission and strategic plan, and continue to build upon our strength as the state’s flagship and land-grant university. These priorities include ensuring affordability and excellence in student preparation, an expansion of our physical and digital presence throughout the state through our academic programs, and fostering excellence among our faculty through recruitment and retention efforts, as well as facilitating their pursuits in research and creative endeavors, teaching, and service.

Yesterday afternoon, I provided the Faculty Senate with a report on several initiatives that are underway within the Office of Academic Affairs aligned to these priorities that will significantly shape our activity in the coming months. These include the University’s HLC reaccreditation, an expansion of Distance Education offerings, the expansion of WyoFolio and launch of WyoVita, a new Graduate Wyoming initiative supporting transfers to UW, a revised approach to delivering financial aid, and changes in Graduate Education. I wanted to be sure that these efforts were communicated to those of you who were unable to attend yesterday’s meeting. In each instance, we plan to share additional information and engage our partners across campus as these initiatives advance and plans are developed or implemented.

This is just a sampling of the many exciting efforts underway as we begin this new academic year. I look forward to the opportunity to reconnect with each of you—or perhaps connect for the first time—and discuss these efforts with you at upcoming meetings, events, or as our paths cross on campus.

Go Pokes!

Dr. Kate Miller

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Aiming to improve student enrollment, retention and completion, the University of Wyoming is moving forward with a reorganization that will bring campus units focused on student services together with the university’s academic functions.

Additionally, in an effort to expand its off-campus offerings, units of UW’s Outreach School will be assimilated into a new structure within the Office of Academic Affairs.

“The new structure will not only retain, but in many cases greatly enhance, existing functions at the university, including those currently residing in the Office of Student Affairs and the Outreach School,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller. “From my perspective, perhaps the most exciting aspect of this change is the way it will foster expansion of the mission of our Outreach School, including distance education programming and community college partnerships.”

The plan, outlined in a message from the provost to the UW community today (Thursday), has an overall objective of fostering academic excellence and careful stewardship of public funds. The administration’s timeline calls for examination of the restructuring, including feedback from university stakeholders, between now and March, with implementation taking place from March to the start of the new fiscal year July 1, 2017.

The restructuring will bring together functions focused on students -- from recruitment and enrollment to graduation and job placement -- under the provost and Office of Academic Affairs.

Functions that directly involve enrollment management -- including Admissions and Recruiting, Registration and Records, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Summer School, and Summer Outreach Programs -- will report directly to the provost through a new associate vice president. A number of these units currently reside in both the Office of Student Affairs and the Outreach School.

Student retention efforts including STEP, Student Educational Opportunity, and the Center for Advising and Career Services -- which currently reside in both the offices of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs -- will be brought under one umbrella under an associate vice president for academics.

“These moves are designed to provide focused, intentional infrastructure that more effectively promotes success for all student populations,” Miller says. “Simultaneously, the Center for Advising and Career Services is undergoing a redesign to work with colleges to coordinate and train all student academic advisers in better working with first-year, transfer and continuing students; provide a more immersive approach to career development; and shepherd exploratory studies majors.”

The associate dean overseeing UW’s branch campus in Casper and the regional centers, who currently reports to the Outreach School, will report directly to the provost.

“This will boost our efforts to provide a seamless transition across higher education in Wyoming and reinforce our ability to both work with Wyoming transfer students and to provide more educational opportunities to students who choose to pursue their education outside of Laramie via UW distance courses online and other technological delivery methods,” Miller says. “We will examine the possible addition of new degree programs, certificates, endorsements and not-for-credit opportunities that enhance workforce development and reach new populations of traditional and nontraditional students.”

Existing units and programs in Student Affairs and the Outreach School that have an international focus, including the English Language Center, International Programs, and International Students and Scholars, will be brought together under one executive director who will report to the provost.

“This will strengthen our ability to provide students, faculty, staff and extended UW community members access to transformative international opportunities -- and help them share and build the knowledge and skills needed to lead and excel in a globally interconnected world,” Miller says.

With respect to graduate education, Interim Associate Vice President Ann Hild will soon assemble a task force that will conceptualize a newly designed Graduate School. This task force will be composed of university leaders who are committed to research and graduate education and have insights into the types of support needed for graduate student success.

The objectives of the reorganization include:

-- More directly tying student recruitment, retention, learning and success to the work of faculty and academic administration, and significantly increasing enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

-- Ensuring that the university fully embraces the 21st century instructional environment including online, hybrid, distance and outreach teaching approaches, along with strong partnerships with community colleges.

-- Expanding opportunities for transformative learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom including internships, research and international experiences.

-- Strengthening support for research and economic development by promoting new degree offerings and graduate and undergraduate student experiences that align with state, national and international demand for research of societal importance and graduates who are well prepared to enter the workforce.

-- Improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations to include achievement of budget reduction targets for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

-- Encouraging innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to funding the university’s mission.

“We expect that this reorganization will lead to an overall reduction in cost, and, importantly, we expect that UW students will retain, persist and graduate at higher rates, and our faculty will be better supported in their instructional and research activities,” Miller says. “Most employees will retain their jobs; we will rely on their expertise as we move forward.”

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