Academic innovations shared at campus forum

Leaders of five Academic Innovations task forces made rapid-fire presentations to the campus community during a Feb. 3 forum.

Provost Peg Bacon provided introductions and context for presentations from five task forces working under the banner of Academic Innovations, one of five areas of strategic plan updates. Bacon oversees Academic Innovations. Other campus leaders guide Efficiency/Effectiveness, Innovation/Partnerships, Enterprise/Business, and Strategic Enrollment Management.

Susan Taylor, professor, English, and Steven Tragesser, assistant professor, Engineering, co-chairs of a General Education task force reported that early activities included examining general education standards, peer institution practices, assessment and getting faculty input. The next steps planned involve a faculty survey, a draft for new goals, feedback on the draft, and a faculty vote finalizing changes.

R. “Dan” Dandapani, dean, Engineering and Applied Science, reviewed activities of an Articulation and High School Concurrent Enrollment task force. He described many of the practices for bringing transfer students to UCCS, including “60 + 60” and “Best Choices” guides, and possible improvements that can simplify processes for transfer students. He said more communication with transfer students could be keys to recruitment and suggested improving contacts with high school students under the CU Succeed program as well as more online course opportunities, mentoring, and new approaches to marketing.

Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business, and Nancy Smith, dean, Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, presented results from an Online Programs task force. They emphasized making online programs responsive to student needs and increasing program standards with urgency. Reddy and Smith said online education represents a cultural shift and UCCS must support numerous, wide-ranging aspects and uses of online opportunities to remain competitive.

La Vonne Neal, dean, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Terry Schwartz, associate dean, School of Public Affairs, provided an overview of actions from the Course Scheduling Alternatives task force. More students, and a campus that has physically expanded, are challenges to current scheduling practices. To meet student needs and use campus buildings, classrooms and resources effectively, the task force has gathered data that considers disability services, population, geography and traffic. Continuing efforts will involve identifying key findings and proposing possible solutions.

Teri Switzer, dean, Kraemer Family Library, and Kathy Andrus, director, Teaching and Learning Center, talked about the work of a High Impact Practices task force. UCCS offers some unique opportunities include first-year seminars, collaborative projects, undergraduate research and internships. The High Impact Practices task force is in the process of examining what is offered to determine what changes and improvements might be included, expecting a solution by semester’s end.

Bacon praised the task force representatives for working within time constraints and for their committees’ overall efforts. Questions focused on issues affecting transfer students and the implementation of a transfer student seminar to ease transfer student transition.

To see a PDF version of the presentation, visit

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