Update from the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs February 2010
The major responsibilities of my office are in areas of academic and capital planning, academic program review, partnered research, institutional collaborations, and oversight of externally facing programs (International Programs, the European Honors Program, and the Office of Public Engagement). Following are some of the major highlights of current work in these areas.
Academic and Capital Planning
A significant part of the work of my office this year has centered on support for the Ad Hoc Budget Committee and the Strategic Planning Process. The Ad Hoc Budget Committee worked during the summer and fall to research and develop a number of proposals for addressing ongoing financial issues from the perspective of academic programs and organization. Their final report was completed in December, and has been integrated into the planning and discussions of the Core Group for Strategic Planning, which I co-chair along with the Provost and the Dean of Liberal Arts.
With the support of the Department Heads, the Deans, and the numerous staff involved in assessing the needs and developing the capital requests for Academic Affairs, we have completed the academic capital planning process for FY2011 and submitted a budget to be included in the College’s budget proposal to the Board of Trustees at the end of February. Significant projects in this year’s capital requests include funds to renovate the BEB106 Auditorium, a series of upgrades to ISB, preparations for moving Student Affairs into Carr House, and a series of moves on the first and second floors of College Building to create a core of faculty and academic support offices on South Main Street.
Over the past two years we have worked to build greater coordination between Academic Affairs, Institutional Engagement, and Media + Partners in support of grantsmaking and partnered research.
The Partnered Research Working Group (PRWG) meets regularly to discuss studio-based research projects and other opportunities for external funding of partnered research. This group also serves as a forum for developing expertise, policy, and operations that support a wide variety of projects.
This fall RISD faculty members Susan Doyle-Shedd, Khipra Nichols, and Lalya Gaye collaborated on a partnered studio with Hasbro that explored modes of play, games, and gaming. Their work included site specific explorations, play dates, and game development informed by the popular “Cranium” game. This project was written up on Our.RISD and in the Providence Business Journal, and represents a further extension of the already strong partnership between Hasbro and RISD.
This fall RISD also hosted a symposium that brought together members of the RISD faculty with climate and life sciences researchers from across Rhode Island as part of our participation in the RI EPSCoR consortium. EPSCoR (the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is an National Science Foundation program to help states build research capacity in particular areas of scientific research. RISD is currently working in partnership with URI, Brown, and other Rhode Island higher education institutions on a major initiative in this area. If funded, this initiative will bring together artists, designers, climate and life sciences researchers, and other faculty working on climate change research and public communication projects over a period of five years. A follow-up event is currently being planned for the spring.
The Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program is in the process of admitting the third class of students to the program. In year one we admitted 13 students, last year we admitted 14, and our target for this year is again 14. Applications to the program have exceeded 500 in all three years. As the program has developed and matured, we have learned a lot about what is involved in working with another institution to support a common group of students, and we have sought to incorporate the experience of students who are in the program into our planning and policy discussions. The central governance body for the program is the Brown/RISD Dual Degree Oversight Committee which includes faculty and administrative representatives from both institutions. This year, Sandy Gourlay (English) and Nick Jainschigg (Illustration) are serving as the faculty representatives from RISD to this Committee.
OIP, OPE and EHP
In addition to having a “P” as part of their acronym, the Offices of International Programs, Public Engagement, and the European Honors Program share a commitment to the extension of academic programs to local and global engagement of student educational experience. This January, OIP supported 10 Wintersession travel courses to countries and regions around the world, including Ghana, India, Mexico, Italy, and France. OIP and OPE are also collaborating with the Office of Multicultural Affairs on a joint thematic initiative entitled “The Year of Providence,” which explores the cultural, historical, and geographical meaning of “Providence” across a number of different events, classes, and activities. The European Honors Program is currently in the second year of the new “extended semester” program structure. Chief Critics for this year are Peter Taguiri and Holly Hughes. Holly is currently in Rome, and has sent along a brief report from the field for her colleagues in Providence.