Provost Annual Report

Annual report of the provost
Academic Year 2015-2016

 I am pleased to provide this annual report that highlights the work of the academic division in 2015-16.  In May, 2016, Stonehill graduated its largest class in the history of the College: 632 students were awarded 655 degrees (388 Bachelor of Arts; 114 Bachelor of Science; 153 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration).  While this was quite an accomplishment, this report will highlight other key accomplishments over the past year as we worked to achieve strategic objectives.  I encourage readers seeking more detailed information about this report to contact my office or the appropriate academic support office. 

Joe Favazza
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

Strategic Initiatives

Academic Restructuring

At their meeting in May, the Board of Trustees endorsed the proposal to restructure the academic program into two schools: a School of Arts & Sciences and a School of Business.  This change will advance four strategic objectives: 

  • Strengthen institutional and programmatic identity and visibility
  • Bring Stonehill’s academic structure more in line with peer and aspirant institutions
  • Build infrastructure for future enrollment growth
  • Increase opportunities for fundraising.

To effect this restructuring, the Provost/VPAA, in collaboration with the President and the Faculty Senate, has appointed the Academic Restructuring Transition Team (ARTT).  The ARTT includes faculty representatives from each school, the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association as well as representatives from the Academic Leadership Team and other key offices.  The charge of the ARTT is to give careful attention to matters impacted by this restructuring to ensure that operations and services are not disrupted.  The ARTT will submit their recommendations for approval to the Provost/VPAA by Friday, November 18, 2016.  The new schools will be established July 1, 2017. 

 

New Academic Programs

Through the collaborative work of many faculty and the Faculty Senate, several new academic programs were approved this year: new majors in Earth and Planetary Sciences and in Health Sciences as well as new minors in Music Technology, Arabic and Chinese.  A number of existing majors and minors were revised to reflect emerging knowledge and trends across the disciplines. 

Beyond new undergraduate programs, the Board approved the proposal to develop new professional master’s programs over the next 3-5 years.  These programs will assist us as we strive to stabilize and grow our enrollment, strengthen academic reputation and diversify revenue.  The first master’s program being developed is Integrated Marketing Communication which we hope to launch in fall, 2017.  During the fall semester, we will submit a substantive change proposal to NEASC for approval.  We are in conversation with other departments and programs about other graduate programs that we will initiate in future years.

 

The Collaboratory for Innovative Design

Based on the recommendations of the Digital Teaching and Scholarship Lab Task Force and through many conversations with faculty as well as staff from the MacPháidín Library and Information Technology, we established the Collaboratory for Innovative Design, which will support faculty to integrate new pedagogies as they design engaging learning experiences for students. The Collaboratory will provide space, resources, and opportunities for collaboration while offering needed centralized coordination.  Cheryl McGrath, Library Director, will direct the work of the Collaboratory team, which will include the Director of Educational Technology and User Support (Scott Hamlin), the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (Phyllis Thompson), the Director of the Moreau Honors Program (Allyson Sheckler), the Director of the Integrating Democratic Education at Stonehill (IDEAS) Program (Sarah Gracombe), and the Director of the newly established Digital Innovation Lab (Scott Cohen).  The lab will both nurture and expand digital teaching, learning and scholarship at the College by working directly with faculty and students on course design and creative projects.  It will give special attention to building a robust online academic presence and student-centered digital pedagogy through blended, “flipped,” and face-to-face courses.

 

Think. Act. Lead.

The Think. Act. Lead. Initiative was launched as an integrative and collaborative program and philosophy for working with students.  The program is focused on the holistic (i.e., academic, professional, personal, and spiritual) development of each student and on creating a culture that promotes ongoing purposeful planning, intentional engagement, and thoughtful reflection upon all experiences.  Funded in part through a two-year, $233,800 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, the program achieved some notable accomplishments in its first year. 

  • Working with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, an initial risk profile based on pre-enrollment data is created for each first-year student. This profile allows the Office of Academic Services & Advising to customize how students will be supported through advising in their first year with a goal of increasing first- to second-year retention. 
  • Information about Think. Act. Lead. was incorporated into all sections of the First-Year Experience course in fall 2015.
  • A Banner XE student profile page was developed and launched so that advisors and mentors can find information about students in one easy to access location.

 

In the coming year, Think. Act. Lead. will work closely with IT to test and launch an alert/comment system for faculty, advisors and mentors.  This will assist with responding quickly, effectively, and whenever possible, proactively rather than reactively to students at risk.  In collaboration with the Registrar’s Office, the DegreeWorks Student Educational Planner and the College Scheduler software will be implemented, which will streamline the registration process for students.  Finally, Think. Act. Lead. will continue to develop a mentorship program for students in the Moreau Honors Program. 

 

Student Outcomes

We made progress in two areas related to student outcomes.  In the area of academic standing, we saw significant reductions in the number of students placed on academic probation, given suspended separation and suspended from the College.  These reductions were seen across all years but are most significant for first-year students.

 

Probation & Separation (All students)

                                                                                                                                Difference AY15-16 vs. AY14-15

Probation                                                                                                            -31% (n = -42)

Suspended Separation                                                                                  -56% (n = -5)

Separation                                                                                                          -13% (n = -3)

 

Probation & Separation (First year students only)

                                                                                                                Difference AY15-16 vs. AY14-15

Probation                                                                                                            -56% (n = -45)

Suspended Separation                                                                                  -88% (n = -7)

Separation                                                                                                          -25% (n = -2)

 

Tracking outcomes of seniors at graduation, we saw an increase in the percentage of 2016 graduates who reported having full-time employment, being admitted to graduate school, or being accepted to a year of service program.  The knowledge rate indicates how many of the graduates responded to the request for information. 

 

Class of 2016 (knowledge rate n=653)

 

Working (includes military)

44%

Graduate School

15.6%

Volunteer

3.5%

TOTAL OUTCOMES

63%

 

In comparison, we reported to the Board last fall that the outcome percentage for the Class of 2015 at Graduation was 59%. The full breakdown that was reported is below.

 

Class of 2015 (knowledge rate n=459)

Working (includes military)

42%

Graduate School

13%

Volunteer

4%

TOTAL OUTCOMES

59%

 

We have seen an increase of four percentage points in outcome rates while servicing Stonehill’s largest graduation class.  That equates to an additional 142 seniors with an outcome at graduation.  It was a great year!

 

Diversifying the Faculty

Faculty Searches

  • We conducted seven tenure-track faculty searches this year and five new full-time faculty members were successfully hired.
  • Twenty final candidates were interviewed for seven positions. Of these twenty candidates:
    • Nineteen were women;
    • Two were from an underrepresented ethnic or racial group in the U.S.;
    • Seven were in fields in which women are traditionally underrepresented;
    • Five were from countries outside of the U.S.
  • One hire is from an underrepresented ethnic and racial group in the U.S. (African American, Asian American, Latino/as, and Native American) and is a woman in a field in which women are traditionally underrepresented.
  • One hire is a woman in a field in which women are traditionally underrepresented.

 

Faculty Hiring Guide

The Faculty Hiring Guide was submitted to the Faculty Senate for review during the spring.  The Senate has worked closely with the Provost’s Office and the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Diversity to clarify and strengthen the language of the guide.  A final draft is being revised this summer and final approval is likely this fall.  Our office has already begun to implement parts of the guide, including appointing Diversity Advocates for all new search committees and scheduling a workshop on implicit bias for members of all faculty search committees. 

Summer @ Stonehill

We launched our first college-sponsored summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors.  This was a three-week program where students took a Stonehill course and earned three college credits.  While most students lived on campus, some students commuted.  The program included activities and field trips, meals, and scheduled time for study.  Two courses were offered to students:  Introduction to Drawing and General Psychology.  We were pleased to enroll 17 students in this first year and look forward to growing the program next summer. 

 

Faculty Achievement

I commend the work of the Faculty Senate and especially the leadership of Profs. Marilena Hall and George Piggford, C.S.C.  They have worked closely with Fr. John and me on a number of curricular and policy issues this year.  The work of faculty governance is not easy and would be impossible without the effective work of faculty committees:  Governance, Professional Development, Standards and Standing, Curriculum, and Faculty Compensation.  Of special note is the work of the Rank and Tenure Committee, which has the difficult task of reviewing the teaching, scholarship, and service of colleagues.  This year we celebrate the following faculty who were tenured, promoted, and given emeritus status:

Tenured and Promoted to the Rank of Associate Professor:

  • Jegoo Lee, Business Administration
  • Constantinos (Dinos) Mekios, Philosophy
  • Laura Scales, English
  • Bettina Scholz, Political Science
  • Stephen Wilbricht, C.S.C., Religious Studies

Promoted to the Rank of Associate Professor:

  •  Michael Mullen, Business Administration

Promoted to the Rank of Professor:

  •  Christian Martin, Foreign Languages (French)
  •   Erin O’Hea, Psychology

Our faculty are actively engaged in scholarly contributions to their discipline.  To support these efforts and through the work of the Professional Development Committee, ten faculty were approved for a sabbatical during the coming year and another sixteen faculty were awarded Professional Development or Seminar grants to support their research and professional growth. 

Finally, we recognize Prof. Bronwyn “Heather” Bleakley, Associate Professor of Biology, winner of the Louise F. Hegarty Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

 

Student Academic Achievement

  • Nationally prestigious awards: Some of our very best former and present students submitted 26 applications for nationally prestigious awards of which 10 were selected as semi-finalists and nine were designated as award recipients.
    • Critical Language Scholarship – Evan Wolstencroft '16
    • Fulbright Wales Summer Institute – Erica Cordatos '19
    • Gilman Scholarship, Argentina/Chile – Ysabel Cueva ‘17
    • Gilman Scholarship, Spain – Brankely Garcia ‘17
    • Gilman Scholarship, South Africa – Jessica Majano-Guevara ’17 & Eva Weinstein ’17
    • Global Health Corps Fellowship – Anna Tallmadge ‘15
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship – Emily Van Auken ‘18
    • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship – Nicole Sjoblom ‘13
    • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention – Michael Smith ‘16
  • Student Travel and Student Research & Creative Project Grants: Funded through the Office of Academic Achievement, 58 students were awarded $9,907 in Travel Grants to present at national and regional conferences and 37 students were awarded $15,738 in Research & Creative Project Grants to pursue research during the year with a faculty mentor.
  • Student Opportunity Awards: The Office of Advancement created a Student Opportunity Awards fund to help hard-working, deserving student by defraying the costs of academically-related expenses beyond tuition.  This year 65 students received $14,650 to support their participation in internships, study abroad, conference attendance and participation, travel LCs and HOPE trips.
  • Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program:  In its 21st summer, 50 students (from 69 total applications) conducted research with 25 faculty.  In addition six students and one additional faculty member conducted summer research through an affiliated program (CAREER, Noyce, SEED)

Staff Transitions

The success of the academic mission depends on having a talented and committed faculty and staff.  Stonehill attracted a strong group of new faculty and staff this year. 

New Full-Time Continuing Faculty

  • Guiru (Ruby) Gu, Assistant Professor, Physics
  • Kate Marin, Assistant Professor, Education
  • Jane Lee, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
  • Edie Plada, Lab Instructor and Coordinator, Biology
  • Ana Popa, Fellow, Music/Visual and Performing Arts
  • Mona Rowan, Instructor, Foreign Languages
  • Russell Wolff, Fellow, Criminology

New Staff in the Academic Division

  • Shannon Balliro, Assistant Director of Academic Services and Advising
  • Linnea Carlson, Community-Based Learning Fellow
  • Phylicia Lee, Administrative Assistant, Dean of the Faculty/Academic Affairs
  • Everton Pacheco, Instrument and Laboratory Support Manager, Chemistry
  • Elizabeth Saquet, Administrative Assistant, Career Development Center
  • Phyllis Thompson, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

 

New Roles Taken by Existing Faculty and Staff

  • Eileen Bellemore, Director of Academic Services and Advising and Director of the Office of Accessibility Resources
  • Zach Brown, Assistant Director of Academic Services and Advising
  • Christina Burney, Director of Career Services
  • Scott Cohen, Director of the Digital Innovation Lab
  • Denise Geggatt, Counselor, Office of Career Services
  • Jennifer Jackson, Interim Director of the International Programs
  • Lisa Tressel, Assistant Registrar

 

Transitions

Five faculty and two staff members from the Academic Division retired after long and distinguished service to the College

  • Thomas Clarke, History and Religious Studies
  • André Goddu, Physics
  • John Lanci, Religious Studies
  • Patricia Sankus, Theatre/Visual and Performing Arts
  • Maura Tyrrell, Biology
  • Alice Cronin, Office of International Programs
  • Nancy Krushas, Office of the Registrar
  • Shelley Leahy, Academic Services and Advising

 

Academic Affairs Offices

I conclude this report by highlighting key achievements of the academic support offices. While it is an impressive list, my challenge was to choose just one accomplishment among many on which to report. 

Academic Achievement:  Led the College in establishing 16 affiliation agreements with other colleges and universities to create pathways for graduate study for our students including the Bryant University, Loyola University Maryland, New England College of Optometry, Syracuse University, and the University of Rochester.

Academic Assessment: Orchestrated six successful academic program reviews conducted by external department chairs from the following institutions:

  • Foreign Languages (Fairfield University & Holy Cross College)
  • Neuroscience (Mount Holyoke College & Smith College)
  • Physics (Middlebury College)
  • Psychology (Boston College & Colby College)
  • Religious Studies (Boston College & Episcopal Divinity School)
  • Sociology & Criminology (Butler University & Villanova University)

 

Academic Development: Assisted new faculty to seek grant support with notable grant awards to:

  • Guiru (Ruby) Gu, assistant professor of physics, Office of Naval Research, material transfer agreement;
  • Megan Mitchell, assistant professor of philosophy, American Philosophical Association, Workshop on Race and Racism, $1,000;
  • Daniel Rogers, assistant professor of chemistry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant Omnibus, $104,346.

 

Academic Services and Advising: Collaborated with the Think. Act. Lead. steering committee and Information Technology to develop and implement an advisee tracking and note taking system; collaborated with the Dean of Academic Achievement and the Registrar in the development, submission and approval of policies intended to provide more intentional support for students on academic probation or potentially facing separation from the College; piloted implementation of deliberate advisor assignments and secondary advisor assignments based on assessment of academic risk factors for the class of 2019.

Accessibility Resources: Collaborated with Dining Services to offer a dedicated area or “pantry” in the Dining Commons where students with Celiac and food allergies can prepare meals and select gluten and peanut/tree nut free options with precautions to reduce cross-contamination; collaborated with the Mission Office to improve the physical accessibility of The Farm, which serves as a virtual classroom to our students, faculty and community partners, through the creation of ADA compliant parking, pathways, seating and gardening activities.

Archives: Continued to offer internship opportunities.  Ten students worked as interns during the fall and spring semesters and one student, Nate Samoriski ‘17, returned for a second internship and worked this summer at Sturbridge Village both in their archives and as a costumed interpreter.   

Career Services: Transitioned to a new Career Management System, Handshake, utilized by 70% of the student population since its launch in January. Also during that time, employers from a wide variety of industries posted over 1,500 jobs and 800 internships. Total appointments in the office were up 14% over last year.

Center for Teaching and Learning: Faculty Fellows maintained important functions of the CTL for the year:

  • Fellow for Digital Technology- Professor Scott Cohen worked with faculty on digital projects including teaching and learning with iPads.
  • Fellow for Teaching and Learning Strategies- Professor Helga Duncan worked with faculty to develop their individual teaching and learning initiatives.
  • Fellow for Instructional Development Grants- Professor Amy Houston oversaw grant applications and funding offered through the CTL in collaboration with the CTL Advisory Board.
  • Fellow for New Faculty Mentoring- Professor Jane Nash worked with the New Faculty and developed the programing for New Faculty Orientation and seminar series for the year.
  • Fellow for Inclusive Online Education- Professor Chris Poirier led the pilot online summer course development and co-led with Trish McPherson, Library, and Jan Harrison, Information Technology, the Inclusive Pedagogy seminar for faculty teaching online courses.

 

In addition, a faculty committee led by Librarian Liz Chase organized Academic Development Day and Week, Professor Bettina Scholz led Teaching Roundtables and Professor George Piggford, C.S.C., led the reading group on contemplative pedagogy.

 

Center for Writing and Academic Achievement:  Saw exponential growth in tutoring services, which have increased 40% since last year, from 2541 to 3563 visits.  Use of the CWAA by first year students increased by 26% (68 students) over 2015 and first year students completed 62% more visits (851). 

Approximately 30% of the College’s student population (725 students) utilized CWAA peer tutoring services this year; this reflects a 25% increase in individual students (145) over 2015. 

Community-based Learning: Led the successful grant application to secure an MACC AmeriCorps* VISTA position to support the Downtown Center for Community Engagement.  

The Cornerstone Program of General Education:  Took positive steps toward developing a comprehensive plan for ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes.  In spring 2016, administered the CLA+, using the instrument to gauge our effectiveness in teaching writing and critical thinking. In June 2016, Assistant Dean of General Education and Writing Program Director Todd Gernes led a cross-divisional team of faculty and staff at the 2016 AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education Assessment in Boston.  The team worked on an action plan for the liberal arts at Stonehill featuring an updated assessment plan for general education that links assessment, innovation, and long-range planning to a comprehensive digital strategy.

 

International Programs:  Increased the diversity of students studying/interning abroad and where they are going by:

  • Increased outreach to STEM majors – developed a comprehensive resource that was shared with students and faculty (19% of students abroad in 2015-2016 were STEM majors)
  • Student athlete participation in semester study abroad programs increased by 50%
  • Identified additional program offering for Healthcare Administration majors in Athens, Greece and added this to our approved list
  • Increased social media outreach to students through new Instagram account
  • Doubled number of students studying in Latin American countries (new locations in Panama, Peru, and Ecuador)

 

MacPháidín LibraryAt the request of the Dean of Faculty, managed the use of coursepacks at the start of each semester, reviewed each for copyright compliance, worked with faculty to address problems and signed off on coursepacks prior to printing.  Continued to implement Demand Driven Acquisitions (DDA) as a joint project with Systems and Technical Services.   Began opt-in program for gathering student data when interacting with a librarian to analyze impact over time.  

Martin Institute for Law and Society: Assisted with the creation of a new Health Sciences major and initial conversations on Master’s Degree in Integrative Marketing Communication; staffed the Center for Nonprofit Management with a new Director and development of DFLI as a three credit course to begin in Fall 2016; and provided support to the new LION (Learning Inside Out Network) program that includes internships in Armenia and Serbia and participation in an  international conference in Yerevan.

Moreau Honors Program:  A group of 35 sophomore and junior Honors students are piloting the Moreau Honors Mentorship Program by serving as individual mentors of the 51 first-year honors students.

Registrar:  Implemented the new Student Clearinghouse online transcript request and electronic transcript processes this summer; completed the 2nd year of the online summer course pilot which increased from five courses offered in Summer 2015 (53 students) to nine courses in Summer 2016 (62 students).