Department Heads Meeting -- May 8, 2007

Department Heads Meeting
May 8, 2007

Dean Weidemann's Notes

National Survey of Student Engagement

The university has participated in a national survey of student satisfaction for the past two years. In general the campus is comparable to the other institutions in most measures. Our college scored higher than other colleges in several areas related to educational enrichment, relations with faculty and administration, advising satisfaction and overall student satisfaction.

Student advisory board

The dean met with the student advisory board several times during the spring term. They provided good input on a range of issues including retention, diversity, career preparation, freshman orientation and other issues.

Academic Analytics

Academic Analytics has developed a new ranking system for PhD programs based on publications, grants, and honors and awards applied to individual faculty members. The metrics are weighted differently depending on the discipline. A comparison of the metrics for our programs show that there are some problems with verification and where the data is obtained from public sources. A comparison over two years show that unit rankings can vary considerably from year to year.

NCA accreditation

The university overall got a very good evaluation form the team. Some follow up will be needed on assessments as expected. With federal pressure to increase accountability, assessments will continue to become increasingly important.

Faculty senate report

The report of the financial advisory committee of the faculty senate regarding salaries and budget allocations has resulted in some controversy. In general our college has been treated fairly in the budgeting process.

College budget

I have not yet received our budget allocation from campus. In our presentation to campus administration priorities were placed on cleaning up budget issues between the college and station, addressing our growth needs and increasing TA support.


As many as 270 students may walk on Saturday making this the largest graduating class by far.

Academic convocation

Units are urged to submit proposals for student projects to be highlighted during the fall convocation. Deadline for submission is June 1.

Freshman orientation

The college needs to reconsider our level of emphasis on freshman orientation. As a starting point we will review student evaluations and course content for a broader discussion in the fall.

Dr. Graham's Notes

Rotation of Courses

No one has responded to the request for courses, so D. Graham will be developing a course rotation and sending back to the departments for review. Unless there is a justified reason to move a course, then the schedule will stand as distributed.

Distance Education Course Camp

The distance education course camp request for proposals (RFP) will be distributed soon. The urgency for development is that the USDA grant to develop a common exchange of courses has been approved and to be a equal participant in this grant, the college should have an inventory of courses. In Arkansas, the MS-AFLS courses have been lacking for some years, so these should be developed and will receive first priority.

Curriculum Task Force

Curriculum Task Force will be created to study the initiative areas or focus areas for a State Summit for Teaching and Learning. Core learning outcomes, such as critical thinking, will be studied in the curriculum. A small group of 5-7 faculty members will be asked to participate in this task force to outline the issues and develop the agenda.

Assessment Follow up

The assessment committee was asked to complete two major actions before October 1: review and clarify the assessment plan, and map each course in the departmental course inventory to the learning outcomes.


A few changes will be evident this summer for orientation sessions. As an effort to collect data for retention, we will administer the College Student Inventory (CSI) which takes approximately 30 minutes. One key component of this survey is the student's drop-out proneness. Students with high scores on drop out proneness will become the target group for the academic enhancement workshops. While students are taking the CSI on-line survey, we will have a parent's session to address questions and concerns. There will be more emphasis on the parent's role at the campus and college level.

Library Access

Library Access for extension and station personnel (off-campus). All legal access to UA software, whether it is UAConnect or library, is controlled by employees paid in the BASIS system. Each semester Graham has to write an email to add individuals who are not paid through the UAF payroll system to be manually added to the system. Now we are seeing a growing need to add off-campus personnel for another reason—library access. It is much harder to determine who would use or need this library access, so I am asking each department head to compile a list of all off-campus extension specialists and research station personnel that are affiliated with your department who wish or need library access. It is preferred to have individuals on the list who may never access the list, rather than making it too restrictive and thus have to change the list semester to semester. Of course, as people leave or are hired, we can edit the list. Send D. Graham the list in two- three weeks.

Computer Labs

There is quite an email exchange at present among the faculty who teaches in the labs or sends students to the computer labs. All instructors who use the labs have been asked for input. I will be meeting with Brenda Wideman to discuss all of the issues that have surfaced and try to make some decisions regarding our future of the annex, software sharing, licensing fees, printers, etc. One campus topic is having a limit on number of copies printed in the labs. If you have heard faculty concerns or wish to encourage faculty to provide comments, let D. Graham know.


Secretaries cannot or should not enter grades for faculty. The email instructions, the passwords, the grades all belong to the faculty.

The annual report is due in July. Please follow the guidelines distributed a few months ago.