Priorities:University of Richmond Student Priorities

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University of Richmond -Strategic Priorities

From our Landscape canvas there are three main problems/issues that we identified as lacking in our campus I&E ecosystem:

  1. Faculty and I&E:  Some professors employ new creative teaching methods and mechanisms in class whilst others don’t. Some professors cross-collaborate with other departments and schools on campus, whilst others don’t/can’t. Faculty is too ‘busy’ or not all of them incorporate I&E elements/existing I&E resources on campus in their courses.
  2. Lack of coherence and access: There’s a lot of ground level I&E going on campus but it’s pretty spread out (different departments have different stuff but with no central coherence and purpose). Likewise, access to many I&E resources on campus is limited.
  3. The Student Academic Experience & IE: While our Career Services office is one of the top in the country when it comes to job placements and grad schools, there is a skewed data and patterns on which majors most get placed and have better job opportunities. Also, although humanity should be a large part of the school academy, there are few opportunities for students.

For each of the problems above, we initially brainstormed a bunch of ideas and then in pairs, we chose the problem that we were most passionate to solve. Once the pairs were decided, we worked on our own prototypes, got feedback on them and the following strategic priorities were the final result:

Problem 1: Faculty and I&E

Project 1: Increasing cross-collaboration between faculty from different departments and schools

Led by Sandeep Kumar

Description/goals: Working with the Faculty Hub to create an environment of “learning and sharing” amongst the faculty where the professors who are already incorporating existing I&E resources on campus (like speaker series, lectures and trips) into their courses, share how they do it and how other faculty can do so. Along with this, fostering better interdepartmental communication and expanding the already existing “meet and greets”

How to do this/key tactics: Regular meetups with the faculty hub; talking to professors who are more I&E oriented (as per our canvas research) and working with their schedules to hold monthly I&E workshops for each department and keeping it open to all faculty. Also, working with the CCE who organizes campus wide faculty meet-ups to help expand what happens there and see if they need any help.

Project 2: Helping faculty incorporate design thinking and I&E into their courses

Led by Seema Ahmed

Description: Annual I&E retreat -A yearly, two day retreat comprised of workshops on more modern teaching methods, led by both the fellows, the CIE committee on campus and some faculty.

Resources Needed/Tactics:

In order to actually develop this idea, we need faculty and administration funding and support in helping find accomodations, food, and other essential logistical aspects. Additionally we would need to hold a search to find good speakers and events to hold during the retreat in order to make the greatest impact with the time allotted. The project name is “The Retreat” and will also require various modern electronics to use in projects and presentations so that faulty begins to use more updated methods of teaching. 

Problem 2: Lack of coherence and access

Project 1: Increase the accessibility of Technology Learning Center(TLC)

Led by Xiaodi Hu (Sara)

Description/goals: A workshop model targeting specific students groups and organizations who might most need the TLC but can’t access it/have never really thought about using it; going to different classrooms/working with professors to show them how TLC can help them advance what they teach/perhaps better teach it, in more creative ways! 

How to do this/key tactics: 

  1. The workshops for students should a general introduction of different equipment and software, so students know what they can achieve with the help of TLC. (work with TLC to design these workshops and see if they need help; survey students and ask them what they need)
  2. It is preferred to have those workshops at the beginning but not the first week of the semester. (timing decisions)
  3. We can start with advertising it to members of related clubs (e.g. photography). (which groups to target)
  4. Put both short videos for specific problems as well as long online courses on the website and let student choose.
  5. Promote the usage of 3D-Printing, VR, etc among faculty members.

Project 2: Work on better advertising campus I&E resources (specifically the TLC and other technological resources)

Led by Will Walker

Sub Goals/objectives:

  1. Make more meaningful connections and engage the campus community with an emphasis on student organizations
  2. Develop effective communication strategy that is more connective, interactive, and engaging.
  3. Provide more direct explanation of resources and services available to students
  4. Ensure that departments aren’t siloed; more interdepartmental and interdisciplinary initiatives on campus.

How to do this/key tactics:

Work on a comprehensive scheduling system with the TLC that allows students, faculty, and staff to engage resources and services year round. Encourage TLC to conduct more demonstrations on campus in popular locations and host bi-montly open-houses. Facilitate conversations around moving TLC to a more central/easily accessible location (which is already in progress!). Use their help to update/create an I&E website that highlight I&E related offerings, programs, and resources on campus

Problem 3: Student Academic Experience & IE

Project 1: Inculcating soft skills in students

Led by Kartikey Sharma

Exposed students to skills and concepts they’ll use regularly in their professional life beyond the domain-specific skills they gain through their major related classes. Such a curriculum will include skills and projects such as networking, design thinking, cognitive bias awareness, guided mastery against fear of failure/negative feedback etc. In this way, they would be exposed to skills which are used regardless of occupation in professional life, as well as be better equipped and for innovative pursuits.

How to do this/key tactics: 

  1. Integrating these skills into the curriculum of courses already required for graduation such as First Year Seminars, or Wellness Courses.
  2. Triaging the skills which are most effectively teachable in a classroom setting based on discussion with faculty etc/
  3. Focusing on guided mastery and overcoming fear of failure and negative feedback, and communication techniques.
  4. Integrating an incentivization scheme parallel to these classes to provide students both the willingness and ability to pursue innovative project/gain practical abilities for their professional life in the real world. 

Project 2: Thriving Humanities--Student speaker series and other related events/programs

Led by Bingjie Liu

Thriving Humanities project aims to Identify and create more opportunities for students with or considering humanity majors. Humanity majors include Art and Art History, Classical Studies, EnglishHistory, Latin American, Latino and Iberian Studies, Modern Literatures and Cultures, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Rhetoric and Communication Studies, Religious Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, Theater and Dance and many interdisciplinary programs.

Why Thriving Humanities project?

The only humanity programs/student organization related to humanity are Humanity Fellowship Program and Renaissance Society. We have resources that support humanity: Modlin Center, Gallery, Career Service, First Year Seminar and Student Orientations. However, these resources do not connect with each other and they do not communicate well with each other. 

From the above description of the current situation for humanity majors on campus, there are limited resources and programs available on campus. From our interviews with first and second-year students, they are also hesitate to choose humanity majors 

How to do this/key tactics: 

  1. The major part of the project would be the Student Speaker Series. There are two parts of the series. First, upperclassman can share their experience of how they end up with humanity majors with underclassman who are interested in humanity majors. Second, Career Service can help upperclassman with humanity majors connect alumni who graduate with humanity majors by inviting these alumni to campus and they can share experience of how they end up with their jobs.
  2. The second part is the Humanity Week/Campaign where more connections across humanity departments could be enhanced. Art gallery can cooperate with Modlin Center to hold events related to art history and archaeology. Event like One book One Richmond could work with many humanity departments. In addition, departments could elect their own top 3 books, art work or music that fall under their categories, and they would share with all the students on campus.

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2019 UIF Team Members