October 11, 2018
Halfway There
Dear Colleagues,
As we approach the midway point in the semester, I am happy to reflect on the two months since the beginning of the semester. I am pleased to report that all of our faculty governance committees have met, including three ad hoc committees: Committee on Merit Review, Committee on Course Evaluations, and Committee on Sabbatical Fellowship.
 
At the State of the School address in August, I called upon the community to help address these three major areas of how we support and reward faculty. As it pertains to Merit Review, the Great Colleges to Work for Survey 2018 reports a dip , to 42% of the community responding, “Our review process accurately measures my job performance.” This drop points to the problem that we are trying to address in A&S through the Merit Review Committee. Course evaluations are, of course, an aspect of this review process. Recent scholarship calls our attention to bias in student evaluation of their professors, and our response to this knowledge should be—and is—a heightened vigilance and query regarding how to mitigate the potential harm of our review instrument. The Committee on Course Evaluation will review our instrument and seek to improve how we gather feedback from students on our teaching. The third ad hoc committee will, in the first instance, vet our Sabbatical Fellow pilot, but in the long term, we also have work to do to clarify and simplify our sabbatical support within A&S. These committees are off to a strong start in their work and will report back to you throughout the academic year.
 
In August, I also called upon departments and interdisciplinary programs to craft five potential responses to Concept 30 . While we will not pursue all of these proposed initiatives as a School, we might hear resonances between and among our local (departmental and program-based) activities, once we compare notes. What the goals of Community, Curriculum, Creativity, and Conscience mean to our particular academic programs and students is a question we must ask, if we are to truly live into our strategic plan. Departments and programs will submit their ideas by December, alongside finalized Career Profiles that recognize equity and inclusion (such as inclusive pedagogy), emphasize multiple ways to assess teaching, and that recognize innovation and experimentation in research (such as public scholarship).
 
Fall Break gives us a breather from these activities and our normal, everyday work of educating our students, artistic production and scholarship, and engaging in community. We have had quite an eventful time together, not only pursuing our scheduled plans, but also improvising when unexpected storms throw us off course. So, enjoy the breather, whether an opportunity to catch up on grading or to sip your morning coffee or tea a bit more slowly. Let’s look forward to what comes next.

Thank you,
Patrice

Patrice Rankine, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Arts & Sciences
Mark Your Calendars

October 17, 3:30-5 p.m.

October 18, 4-5 p.m.
THC 305
Faculty Meeting


October 22, 2-7:15 p.m.
Wyatt Tee Walker Symposium
THC, Alice Haynes Room


October 29

November 5
Merit Reviews Due
(for pre-tenure faculty and those opting in to a review)

November 7, 8:30 a.m.
Administrative Coordinator Breakfast
Glass Dining Room, Heilman Dining Center

November 7, 8:30 a.m.

November 9

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A&S Assistant Dean in The Collegian

The Collegian recently interviewed Dr. Carthene Bazemore-Walker, our new assistant dean for diversity, inclusivity, and thriving, and highlighted A&S efforts to build an inclusive community.

Recent Faculty Highlights
Computer science professor Sara Krehbiel has received a Mozilla Research Grant for her project focused on developing new tools for protecting private data.
Psychology professor Kelly Lambert authored  Well-Grounded: The Neurobiology of Rational Decisions .
A&S NEXT: January 25-26, 2019
Student registration is now open for A&S NEXT, the career development program designed specifically for A&S students in partnership with Alumni & Career Services.

We appreciate you spreading the word to students you teach and advise, and encouraging them to attend our information session on November 7. More details are available  on our website .

A&S NEXT student participants will gain hands-on experience exploring and solving real-world problems, such as inequalities in our healthcare and justice systems, alongside alums and faculty who work to solve these problems in their own careers every day.
Feature Stories
Warrior Care
Committed to serving the country after the 9/11 attacks, Maj. Max Sirkin, '08, has developed a life-saving invention for the military.

A Hometown Gift
Mike Kitimet, '19, wanted to empower the next generation of students in his Kenyan hometown. So he led an effort to build them a library.


School of Arts & Sciences | University of Richmond 
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