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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Annual Reviews

Long time, no blog posts. First of all, let me apologize for the snow this week. The family minivan has an appointment to get the winter tires removed and the summer tires installed, and the gods of irony will get their due.

I will miss many things about being an associate dean, but doing annual performance reviews is not one of them. Doing reviews isn’t really a good enough excuse to explain why I haven’t written anything in three weeks, but that’s what I’m going with. Other reasons such as “my wife had me sofa shopping all weekend” have been rejected as ill advised, because, really, it was only one afternoon. Painting the bedroom took some time, but it was the blasted carpet runner on the stairs that took an entire weekend. Take my word for it, think twice before putting miter joints into carpet.

In addition to doing reviews, I also get reviewed, and part of that review is the annual activity report. My activity report includes not only what I did personally, but what UGE as a unit was able to accomplish. Much of what we do is the day to day practice of advising, counseling, or providing other services to students or units in CLA. We do a lot of this, and we do it well. But the more exciting parts of the activity report are the new things we are doing or changes we are making to existing things. Given how much of our time we spend on our quotidian tasks, it’s really amazing to see all of the new things that we have done in 2016 (and the first bits of 2017). When did we ever find the time?

So, Gary, what does this rundown of new things look like? I’m glad you asked.

Of course, Career Readiness is a big part of our effort in 2016. We:
  • Hired a career readiness coordinator.
  • Developed the ten core career competencies.
  • Created the first CLA Career Readiness Guidebook.
  • Created the RATE tool.
  • Created the Administrative tool.
  • Conceived Readiness grants and Career Readiness Fellows.
  • Designed new and modified existing career courses to fit a Readiness framework.
  • Modified CLA 1002 to emphasize Career Readiness.
  • Proposed a Career Readiness certificate.
  • Rolled out the SuperStrong for all CLA students and built it into CLA 1002.
  • Trained advisors and career counselors on the SuperStrong.
  • Developed communication plans and collateral.

We had a big push to better serve transfer students. We:
  • Established the transfer advising team.
  • Created and piloted the Transfer Semester Experience course.
  • Connected with students in area community colleges.
  • Applied for (and received) a grant to serve international transfer students.

There were a few changes in academic advising that advisors might have noticed. We:
  • Hired a new director of advising and student support services.
  • Created a new salary structure that promoted equity and retention.
  • Increased the number of academic advisors so we are now in the recommended range for the student to advisor ratio.

We had some progress supporting our diverse students. We:
  • Hired Alex Hines to be our next director of diversity, equity, and access.
  • Increased the number of advisors in MLK and PES.
  • Became the sponsor for the new multicultural and first generation student group.
  • Developed with HECUA an MLK in-town service learning opportunity.
  • Ran a recruiting showcase on Saturday, which is more accessible for low-income students.

Our analytics work progressed; we:
  • Continued to develop CLARA, which was much sought after by other colleges.
  • Expanded and developed the APLUS link to learning management systems.
  • Analyzed yield and graduation for new CLA freshmen.
  • Evolved toward a Decision Support Services framework for CLA.

Curriculum work never stops; we:
  • Supported the creation of the new college guidelines for the capstone (aka senior project).
  • Expanded our support for learning abroad in the college.
  • Partnered with the Medical School to create the BA/MD program.
  • Made significant modifications to the PCAS entries for every major.
  • Worked with LATIS to develop an online instructional strategy.
  • Served as intermediaries between CLA departments and the latest impulse of central.

Communication builds engagement. We:
  • Created a monthly newsletter: HUGE News.
  • Started a blog (are all blogs self-referential?).
  • Created associate dean open office hours.
  • Launched the UGE pages on the new CLA Neighborhood intranet.
  • Revamped our social media channels, including the Facebook and Twitter pages.

Career services had another good year. We:
  • Were in the New York Times and US News (ask Paul for his autograph).
  • Had record attendance (students and employers) at the job and internship fair.
  • Participated fully in the Career Readiness process.
  • Created the career fields and corresponding communications.
  • Hosted a record number of employer events.

Application development had some notable highlights. We:
  • Completed the system-wide roll out of APLUS.
  • Integrated the PeopleSoft shopping cart into Schedule Builder.
  • Created system-wide class search and integrated it into Schedule Builder.
  • Rebooted the scholarship database and application system.

Speaking of scholarships, we:
  • Awarded a record number of scholarships and a record amount of funding (that’s actually quite easy … the trick is to award them to the right students on time and on budget!).
  • Awarded our inaugural Mulhollem-Cravens internship leadership cohort.
  • Passed an audit (FYI, auditors love paperwork).

We handle student issues for the college. We:
  • Did a lot, but I can’t tell you anything about it.

We have a lot of human resource work in our group of approximately 115 full-time staff and 250 students. We:
  • Hired 30 full-time staff in 2016, including the advising mega-search.
  • Handled a random H1B visa audit (FYI, federal auditors really love paperwork).
  • Established more uniform (and policy compliant) procedures for hiring students.
  • Dealt with a lot of other stuff we can’t talk about, but each one was an adventure.

I’m sure there are many other things not on that list (I just thought of one – revised communication for alternate choice admitted students), so please don’t think that I believe that this is an exhaustive list of the new, improved, interesting things that we did (the list is exhausting, but not exhaustive).

UGE folks, give yourselves a round of applause. You do great work!