Time is flying by. It’s hard to realize that we are roughly halfway through my first fall semester, and I am rapidly approaching my first Brockport winter. I’ve learned a lot in this brief time, but I know I have a lot more to learn. For those of you with whom I’ve already met, thank you for providing excellent insight into the College. And for those of you still on the calendar for later in the semester, I am looking forward to gaining from your knowledge and experience.
There are a number of things going on that I wanted to share with you, so I’m going to break tradition (if you can call two months a tradition) to send this update now, rather than waiting until the beginning of the month.
For those of you who have not already heard, Taneika Thompson is leaving us at the end of the month to lead the Institutional Research activity at Howard University. I am sad to see her go, as I’ve enjoyed working with her over these past four months, but this is a great opportunity for her both personally and professionally. She brought great insight into the use of data, and we will miss her efforts in our institutional research team. Tyler Moesle, Associate Director for Institutional Research, will serve as temporary lead for the team while we complete an internal search for a new Interim Director. I am hoping to conduct a full search for a permanent Director of Institutional Research during the spring semester. We are currently also searching for a research associate in IR, as we work to bring that office back up to full staff.
Spring 2023 Commencement
I also want to announce a small change in our commencement schedule for spring 2023. With our declining enrollments, we can now accommodate all our graduates in two ceremonies. We will separate into groups by school, with Education, Health and Human Services in the morning and Business and Arts and Sciences in the afternoon. Graduate students will be hooded and undergraduate students recognized during the appropriate ceremony. Details are still being worked through, but we hope that you will put Friday, May 12th on your calendar and attend to support our graduates during commencement.
Several of you have asked about converting lecturers to instructor or assistant professor positions, as approved by Cabinet last May and announced by Interim Provost Delene. We have not forgotten about this effort and are currently looking to develop a process that is fair to all faculty. The Deans have begun reviewing the original proposal to determine action steps that will be required, both in departments and our administrative structure. I am hoping to be able to announce the process and timeline before the end of the fall semester.
Bookstore and Course Materials
In response to the challenges we had with the availability of course materials this semester, I met with Amanda Konopa and Dana Weiss from BASC. We had a great discussion, agreeing that we would work closely together to ensure good communications with faculty and staff so that you are aware, in a timely manner, of any difficulties in fulfilling requests. Some of the challenges reside at the publisher, so while we can’t guarantee materials will be provided as requested, we can certainly make faculty aware and offer other options. Also, to ensure the best options are available to students (including used books and rentals), please submit your book requests for winter and spring now. These were actually due on October 15th. If you won’t be using a text, please let them know at the bookstore so we can stop harassing you for a book request. Incidentally, section 133 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires us to make the most affordable course material options available to students. The more lead time you can provide to the bookstore, the better we can serve our students. If you have any questions, you can contact Textbook Manager Greg Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org Store Manager Teri Campbell at email@example.com.
Transition to Brightspace
Finally, I want to remind you that Blackboard is going away before the end of the semester. We have now received official word that access will be discontinued at 5 pm on December 21st. That’s two days before the end of the fall semester. It would be extremely helpful for you to enter grades prior to us losing access to Blackboard. Our IT staff will archive all Blackboard content except for student data since there is no way to import student work into Brightspace, thus archiving serves no useful purpose. However, we will be able to import course content into Brightspace on an as-needed basis. It would be beneficial for Blackboard instructors to export and preserve their online gradebook so that we have the required information should a grade dispute arise.
And more …
In addition to these items, we have engaged the Strategic Plan Assessment Team to develop and evaluate key performance indicators against which we will measure progress in the College Strategic plan. One of our immediate goals is to streamline reporting so that the information you share can be used for multiple measures. We have also engaged a faculty-centric committee to continue development of the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan, helping us to build a holistic vision for Academic Affairs at SUNY Brockport. And the general education proposal continues to make its way through College Senate. As you can see, there continues to be a lot going on within the Division.
I hope that you are able to utilize mid-semester break and enjoy the beautiful fall colors and festivities.