Fall, 2013 – August Convocation

Welcome back to all returning graduate faculty!  On Wednesday, Dr. Hammond will officially open the new year.  I hope your summer was restful and productive and that you are looking forward to the opportunities of the coming new year.  My staff in the Graduate School remained busy supporting the summer session, but we had time to reflect upon the coming year and design some new objectives to better serve our stakeholders.  This post will give a brief overview of things we plan to concentrate on in the coming months.  I’ll divide it into three areas – Graduate School, Scholarship and Sponsored Projects, and Internationalization:

Graduate School

Applications continue to arrive daily for the 21 degree programs we support.  This summer we enrolled about 200 more graduate students than we did last summer and enrollment figures for Fall, 2013 are encouraging.  I continue to believe that programs attract students at the graduate level.  At this point in time, enrollments in professional graduate programs are soaring while enrollments in research-based programs remain stable or, in some disciplines, are declining.   The second point about recruiting graduate students at FHSU is how important the dedication of a core graduate faculty member leader is to the success of the program.  Programs that succeed are often identified with a particular faculty member.  Keep up the great work!

There are several new concentrations that will be launching this Fall.  Critical faculty leaders are identified in parentheses.  The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program will launch four new concentrations: political management (Rackaway), social entrepreneurship (Campbell), Instructional Design (Becking), and Chemistry (Wiese).   The Master of Science in Geosciences will launch four new concentrations: Petroleum Entrepreneurship (Ali), GIS Applications for Business (Heinrichs), Small Museum Entrepreneurship (Barrick), and Remote Sensing Technologist (Heinrichs).  The Master of Science in Education program will begin offering a concentration in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Dalat-Ward) and Higher Education Student Affairs (Barrett). Finally, the Master of Fine Arts program will begin offering a new concentration in Intermedia.  More ideas are being worked through with various departments across the university to design concentrations to meet the needs of students in our region.  Thanks to all these leaders and their department chairs and deans for recognizing the needs of our students and being supportive.  You make Fort Hays State University a great place to work.

Scholarship and Sponsored Projects

We are pleased to welcome Anna Towns as Leslie Paige’s new assistant for the Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects (OSSP) this year as we continue to provide support for sponsored projects, IRB, IACUC, and the Undergraduate Research Experience (URE).  We had an excellent year last year in external funding and the annual report should be ready in the coming weeks.  The IRB continued to provide excellent service to the university community and we successfully launched an IACUC committee to review protocols involving animal use.  This summer Dr. Kobayashi began the process of inspecting our facilities and did excellent work on our required contingency plan.  Undergraduate research surged again last year as new faculty members began worked on projects with undergraduates eager to learn more about their disciplines through research and creative activities.  Last year we organized the first annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in conjunction with the other Kansas public universities.  We will continue to participate in that opportunity for our students in the coming year.  Dr. Jerry Spotswood, Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, performed excellent work in laying the groundwork for and publishing the first issue of the Journal of Academic Leadership in Student Research.  One new idea that the Scholarship Environment Committee is discussing with the Provost is the concept of a reassigned time “bank” for faculty members who mentor undergraduate students over several semesters.  Look for that possible opportunity in the coming months.

Internationalization

Last year, the Internationalization Team examined our current campus internationalization progress according to a national survey produced by the American Council on Education.  Our results indicate we are doing quite well in comparison to similar state comprehensive institutions of our size.  Some opportunities for improvement were discussed and the concept of a Provost’s annual faculty/staff internationalization award emerged.  The first award will be presented at this year’s Convocation.  I am also excited to partner with Forsyth Library in the creation of a new Center for Language, Literacy, Culture, and Writing on the first floor of the library this fall.  Over the coming weeks, you will see more publicity on this initiative.  We hope that this center will emerge as an essential student resource for supporting all of our students.  Thanks to the following collaborative efforts of the following departments and units, this effort will be an exciting addition to our campus internationalization efforts: Forsyth Library, Graduate School, Department of English, Department of Modern Languages, ESL program, and the Office of International Student Services.

September is the time to plan faculty-led study abroad experiences.  If you are interested, please contact me so that I can help.  The university has developed a Faculty-Led Short-Term Study Abroad Guidebook that can help you design your experience.  Several departments offered summer experiences for their students in the past year including Modern Languages, Nursing, Center for Civic Leadership, Geosciences, and the Math and Science Institute.  The university will hold its annual Study Abroad Fair in the Union on September 25 from 11am-1pm, so that is an excellent time to market your programs and recruit students.

Advisors – don’t forget about the university minors and certificates with international themes as you discuss opportunities with your students in your classes.  You have direct contact with our students, so your importance in promoting internationalization of the campus and curriculum is critical.

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