Office of the Provost

Recommendations from
 - Being a Faculty Member in the 21st Century Committee
      and
 - Provost’s Task Teams on Engaged Learning and Digital Instruction

NEXT STEPS, September 2014 - in BLACK text below
STATUS as of FALL 2015 - in RED text below

The material below includes recommendations from these two faculty committees that will be addressed in the coming year, and the status of many of these recommendations as of Fall 2015. The committee reports contain additional recommendations that in many cases are also compelling, but that require more time or study to implement.

Research and Scholarship

The following will be addressed in the coming year:

  • Explore and develop mechanisms for additional seed funding for research.  [UM Office of Research (UMOR)]

    In addition to UMOR supported research, scholarship and creative activities (research.umich.edu/faculty-grants-awardsresearch.umich.edu/faculty-grants-awards), there are a variety of newer funding mechanisms tied to different focus areas. Examples include the Humanities Collaboratory, the Data Science Initiative, MCubed 2.0, the Third Century Initiative, and Digital Education and Innovation Laboratory grants.
  • Partner with the Office of University Development to make seed funding a priority in philanthropic/development initiatives. [UMOR]

    UMOR has partnered with OUD in hiring a development person to raise money to support interdisciplinary research.
  • Create a single site with information about research facilities across campus and develop guidelines for sharing research facilities. [UMOR]

    Data has been collected and the UMOR facilities website is being updated (research.umich.edu/facilities).

Teaching and Learning

Several recommendations in the Teaching and Learning area pertain to activities and/or facilities that already exist. We will identify shortcomings and will ensure greater awareness of the existing resources:

  • Provide additional support commensurate with the number of special needs students. [Provost and Deans]
  • The LSA Testing Accommodation Center (TAC) provides reasonable testing accommodations to students with verified disabilities who are enrolled in LSA courses. In addition, a number of UM offices including Services for Students with Disabilities and the James Edward Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site in the Shapiro Library also support special needs students.
  • Develop and encourage the use of a system where the instructor gets feedback regularly, not just at the end of the semester. [Provost and Deans]
  • The existing course feedback system can provide mid-term feedback, and is used this way, for example in the College of Engineering. The Registrar’s Office can provide additional support for units that wish to use this service.  CRLT can also provide extensive mid-term feedback to individual instructors. In addition, the Learning Analytics Task Force is developing ways of providing continuous feedback in both directions – to students and to faculty.

    In the next few years as ctools is replaced by new tools, we expect to re-examine the design and implementation of the course evaluation system.

    In addition, ART 2.0 (digitaleducation.umich.edu/dei/academic-reporting-tools/) is a data visualization tool that will assist decision makers in accessing and analyzing U-M course and academic program data in order to help administration, faculty and students make more informed decisions.
  • Ensure that information about existing resources, programs, and efforts in engaged learning and digital instruction across campus are clearly and easily available to all faculty and staff. [Provost]
  • The office of Digital Education and Innovation (DEI) has a new website, (digitaleducation.umich.edu) that provides information about resources for digital instruction, including information about the Digital Education and Innovation Lab (DEIL). The Third Century Initiative website (thirdcentury.umich.edu) provides information on ongoing Transforming Learning for a Third Century projects.

    The merger of MJoin and M-Compass is completed, providing students with a single site in which they can search for and apply to engaged learning programs (mcompass.umich.edu). (Note that many engaged learning programs at the U-M still do not use this site, either because they have their own publicity mechanisms or do not have an application process.) The system also supports all student travel registration for UM AA, Flint and Dearborn. In addition, we continue to work with CRLT and others to ensure at least one engaged learning program each term.

To be addressed in the coming year:

  • Review and enhance the training programs provided by CRLT, ensuring that they provide training for faculty in new technologies and pedagogies. [Provost]

    The new CRLT Director has now been hired and is working with both the Vice Provost for Global and Engaged Education and the Vice Provost for Digital Education and Innovation on this issue.
  • Create a professional development program designed to enhance the teaching skills of all faculty, including how to effectively supervise a diverse classroom. [Provost]

    A task force including experts from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), the Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR), and the School of Education (SOE) met from January to August 2015 to identify programs at UM that incorporate inclusive teaching practices and to think of ways that such a program could provide professional development for all faculty at UM. Currently, a pilot program is being run with the LSA Teaching Academy that includes new faculty in LSA and started this past August and will go through April 2016. Faculty focus groups are being conducted by CRLT to gather input from faculty at all levels and with a variety of experiences in the classroom. In addition, each school and college has appointed a liaison to the task force to provide input on the development and implementation of a program that will meet the needs of each unit’s faculty.

Recruitment of Graduate Students

As above, we will work towards greater dissemination of and/or identification of shortcomings in the existing resources:

Administrative Load for Faculty

Again, where recommendations in this area refer to resources that already exist, we will work towards greater dissemination and/or identification of shortcomings in the existing resources.

The following will be addressed in the coming year:

  • The university's Procurement Services Department is bringing the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program to campus this fall for a special enrollment event.
  • Ensure that IT decision-making bodies have strong representation from end users. [Information and Technology Services (ITS)]
  • In addition to the University-wide IT Council, standing committees and user groups that provide input for IT, a steering committee is guiding the transition of MiWorkspace to academic units for the coming year.

    The MiWorkspace Steering Committee has faculty representation. The Committee meets monthly to provide guidance to the MiWorkspace implementation in academic units.
  • Coordinate with other universities to begin a dialogue with federal funding institutions to streamline paperwork. [UMOR]
  • The American Association of Universities (AAU) is working on this, and UM has provided input to their work. The Vice President for Research’s Research Policy Committee will review faculty ‘burdens’ in the coming year.
  • Improve the procurement process, making it easier for faculty and staff. [CFO]
  • Procurement is monitoring customer satisfaction with outreach and surveys and is making changes in response to the feedback.  One of the significant changes will be in the re-design of the Procurement website. Also, several other improvements are being explored, including the dollar amount over which a purchase needs to go out for bid and the computer purchasing process.

    Procurement established a customer outreach process to capture feedback and provide user education on a regular basis. This included creating an advisory group, quick targeted surveys and regular meetings with units.

    Procurement Services also has a couple of Lean projects to improve processes. The RFP Lean assessment is going through the UMHS Lean training program for rigorous review to make the process more efficient and transparent to units.

    The Procurement Website has been redesigned and rolled out. It is now visible from Wolverine Access and was designed for easier navigation, enhanced searching and has more relevant content. The goal was to make purchasing easier and faster. Feedback has been very positive.

    Amendments have been made to some purchasing guidelines, including raising the bid limit. A new SPG was posted early this year accompanied by communications explaining all of the changes.

    Any school that has requested exceptions from the executive officer directives on computer purchase guidelines have had the exceptions granted.

    VPGEE staff have worked with procurement and OGC to simplify the processes for approval and payment of invoices related to educational services contracted from foreign partners. We are now working with procurement on creating preferred vendor contracts with the U-M’s key third-party providers of education abroad opportunities.
  • Make sure that all faculty have a support person to reconcile Concur. [CFO]
  • Plansare underway to ensure that all faculty have access to a delegate who can process their expense reporting through Concur, either in their home unit or at the Shared Services Center. In addition, we will adopt a significantly more user-friendly web interface for Concur. The interface will be tested this fall and should be online early in 2015. Finally, the Shared Services Center plans to provide a new service to make expense report processing easier. Faculty and staff will be able to send the SSC their travel information and expense receipts (both travel and non-travel related) for the SSC to create expense reports. This can be accomplished either electronically (e.g., snapping a picture of a receipt with a smartphone and emailing) or physically (e.g., dropping a receipt in a pre-addressed envelope). A pilot group will test this service in October, and an expansion to the rest of the campus is expected in the winter.

    While many faculty and staff prefer to create their own expense reports, Procurement continues to work to make this process more user- friendly. To this end, several new features were implemented this year. A new user interface was rolled out organizing the pages in a more intuitive fashion.

    In April, the mobile app was released. Now, U-M faculty and staff can book air, hotel, car and rail with their phones. The mobile app also allows one to view their itineraries and check trip statuses. One can also create expense lines or reports, update existing reports and upload and manage receipts. “Trip-It Pro” was also rolled out in April. This is an app designed to assist the traveler while traveling. The app allows the traveler to receive real time alerts for flight delays, cancellations and gate changes. It also gives the traveler the ability to find alternate flights with open seats.

    Procurement Services found that infrequent travelers struggled with expense reporting, even with knowing what information they should send their delegate. For this reason, traveler resources were developed following the traveler life cycle. These resources, found on the Concur page and on Procurement’s website are in multiple formats – detailed written instructions, FAQs and videos demonstrating how to fill in electronic forms. They are categorized by travel phase – i.e. Planning your travel, Before you go, While you are traveling, and Upon your return. Feedback has been positive but Procurement continues to work on enhancements.

  • Allow faculty to opt in to obtain administrator access to their computers, to enable those with adequate skill to perform tasks like updating a program or adding a printer directly. [ITS]
  • This capability is available as part of MiWorkpace, except in cases in which units limit such access because of regulatory compliance regarding sensitive data or other security concerns.
  • Ensure that there is local IT support, which is perceived to be more efficient and effective. [ITS]
  • When MiWorkspace is implemented for end user computing in academic units, some local IT support will remain in the units. The local support will have access to better tools, new technologies, and cross-trained individuals to provide longer hours of service and a higher level of support. Other new services, such as support for personally managed or owned devices, loaner devices for international travel, and the ability to print from any device to any printer anywhere on campus also will be added to the new services supported by the local IT team.

  • Consider the impact of the new SPG that involves minors, to make sure it doesn’t decrease valuable outreach activities. [Provost, General Counsel, and CFO]
  • Full impact on faculty and outreach efforts will be assessed after classes begin in September; an oversight committee will be established by September 30, 2014; a follow-up survey will be done June 1, 2015. Once we have more data on the operational impact of the policy, we will consider a Policy review.

Other

  • Inform faculty on how the budget works.
  • The Vice Provost for Academic and Budgetary Affairs is producing a video about the UM budget.

    The video can now be found here: obp.umich.edu/root/budget/