May 12, 2017

Dear NGS Faculty:
 
It's early May and here on Cape Cod; it's beginning to get warmer and soon we will be welcoming tourists and others to our amazing ocean front community. I have put my curling broom away till the fall and am playing golf and plan on getting back to tennis. I hope you have found a physical activity that you enjoy, too. I also track my steps and workouts and recently replaced my Jawbone Up (like a Fit Bit) with my new Apple watch! What fun it is to track the data and have my apps pulled up on my wrist.
 
I first want to thank you for teaching and working with our NGS students. Whenever people ask me about our programs, I continue to boast about the faculty. Your dedication and attention to the curriculum and your delivery of the content is outstanding. On many of the End of Course Evaluations (EOCE), students write that they liked that their faculty member shared real examples of QSM application and that they learned a great deal because of the instructor. Please note that Academic Affairs and Program Chairs read every ECOC. I forward the completed, anonymous evaluations to each faculty member. We appreciate that you also remind your students to complete the EOCE.  Reflecting on student comments, as well as those that are provided by the Program Chair and me will assist you in continuous improvement of your teaching practices. This process of analyzing your teaching and using data to improve will also assist in better student outcomes; sound reflective teaching practices are the foundation to excellent teaching and learning.
 
Secondly, I could not do my job without the support of our Program Chairs and their leadership. Dr. Patricia Murrin (BSc), Professor Jack Kovalcik (MS), and Dr. David Braga (DBA) have always worked above the call of duty. They also collaborate with our Curriculum Development Committee (CDC) members to revise courses and assess sequencing of courses. We all appreciate your continued feedback on how we can improve our students' learning experiences and encourage you to contact us anytime if you have suggestions, however minor, that will enhance our courses and programs.
 
Thirdly, Elaine Moore, our Director of Information technology, has a reminder on converting and sending recordings of your class meetings:
  1. Convert them to MP4 format.  This is on the screen where it asks you to convert the video.
  2. If you upload to the FTP site, send your note that you have uploaded to tdrop@ngs.edu. Or  if you use DropBox.com, share your recording with tdrop@ngs.edu.
 
A fourth topic- faculty have asked me about the resource, iThenticate , that we use to check written paper content for plagiarism. Below is some important information from my October 2016 faculty letter  about plagiarism:
 
            "26.1    Plagiarism
Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students must affirm commitment to the NGS Academic Honor Pledge when applying for admission acceptance.  The Academic Honor Pledge is part of the Application process. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions, which may be imposed through the regular institutional procedures as a result of academic misconduct, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or a zero for the exercise or examination.  In any case, the student must re-do the assignment.  Blatant plagiarism of a presentation or a paper that would be a substantial part of a student's grade for the course may lead to a grade of "F" for the course and can lead to expulsion from the program.
If the student believes that he or she has been erroneously accused of academic misconduct, and if his or her final grade has been lowered as a result, the student may initiate a written appeal directly with the Dean of Academic Affairs." (Taken from the Catalog and Student Handbook, 2017-2018)
 
This letter also serves as a reminder from Academic Affairs that active faculty teaching an NGS course, and not students, have access to an online software called iThenticate that assists with detecting plagiarism issues. iThenticate is a plagiarism checking program that NGS has contracted for use by NGS faculty.  This program is an easy to use system that allows faculty to compare student writings/papers to a database of 115,000 journals, 105+million newspapers, magazines and books, over 500,000 dissertations, and web content.  After uploading a paper, faculty are able to view side by side the written excerpts where matches or similarities are found in the database of previously published literature. You can visit the iThenticate website for further explanation of the system, including a three minute demo and other descriptive information.
 
Action Items to use the software:
In order to use the program, please send an email to NGS Librarian, Cecilia Mullen, at cmullen@ngs.edu, and she will enroll you in our roster of users.  Just provide her with your name and NGS email address.
 
Action items if a faculty suspects academic misconduct:
If a faculty member suspects plagiarism, they must act promptly and contact the Program Chair and the Dean of Academic Affairs to assist with defining the misconduct. Appropriate action from administration will be defined and is dependent on each situation; however, the 26.1 Plagiarism Policy will be followed. An NGS student has the right to follow the steps for an appeal, as set forth in the Catalog and Student Handbook, Section 27.
 
We address academic conduct in many ways, including our Orientations and the Catalog and Student Handbook. We also require students to sign an NGS Learning Agreement prior to their first course. Students attest that they have read and will abide by the policies in the Handbook, and this includes academic conduct. Students are also required to electronically sign this same agreement at the beginning of each course. These measures assist us in assuring our students know and understand that they need to use their own work and use proper citations. We need your help throughout their studies to remind students about scholarly conduct and following required policies.
 
This is also a good time to remind faculty about completing the required Course Handoff Form, using their NGS email account to communicate, and being cognizant of faculty contract and program timeline details and deadlines. Refer back to the February Faculty Letter for a reminder of all this essential information and a summary of updates about policies from Academic Affairs. Thank you for working with Greg on your contract requests ( facultycontrats@ngs.edu ) and for adhering to end-of-course dates with grading policies.
 
A special reminder to our DBA faculty who serve as DBA Chairs and committee members in addition to teaching courses- thank you for submitting the required proposal and final dissertation rubrics in a timely fashion (2 weeks). Please be sure to communicate with us if you are having any issues with the timeline as our DBA students are eager to move forward with their research and rightly deserve our attention to our due dates for dissertation reviews.
 
We have Orientation for our BSc and MS May cohorts next week and of course, I always enjoy attending the last class with the BBPs and MBPs. There are also several DBA students ready for proposal and final hearings in the near future; we are pleased to recognize the hard work of these doctoral students and their committees. In a future letter I will share some of the research of our DBA students.
 
Finally, our NGS graduation is being held in Arlington, Virginia June 17th, and we are delighted that so many students will be participating in this celebration of their academic achievement. Thank you to our local faculty and alumni that will also be there with us.  Please continue to reach out to me and all of us here at NGS by email, phone, virtually, and face-to-face. I enjoy hearing from you and I am eager to support you with your teaching.
 
Best to all of you and until next month-teach on!
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Eileen C. Sullivan, Ed.D.
Dean, Academic Affairs & Student Services
The National Graduate School of Quality Management
186 Jones Road  |  Falmouth, MA 02540
800.838.2580 ext. 121

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