G. Standard 6. Continuous improvement
Unit governance has not changed significantly. We elevated the Partnerships and Placements Director to the Assistant Dean Level, adjusted some committees, and briefly lost and then returned the position of the Director for Graduate programs. The budgetary resources remain stable, thanks to the generous support of the people of Rhode Island. Unlike in other states, we have not seen the move towards formula funding. And although periodic budget contractions can be expected, RIC has not experienced catastrophic budget reductions. The unit's share of resources also remains stable.
Despite strengths fiscal environment, RIC has undertaken significant campus renovations efforts. The Adams Library and the Information Technology areas underwent tremendous changes since the last report.
Plans for the future
We plan to strengthen our partners' and clinical faculty involvement. We expect our adjunct faculty to be more involved in the unit affairs; the new adjunct faculty union and the new contract should help institutionalize that. We seek to reinvent the School Advisory board to give practitioners a more direct and more frequent voice in providing feedback on our programs, their quality, and structure. The Dean's office strives to become more transparent, and will experiment with 360 evaluations. See, for example, a pilot feedback to the dean.
In addition to maintaining the stability of the existing budget and supplementary funds, the unit is planning to expand its budget through off-campus activities. In 2010/11, the College leadership agreed to pilot a revenue-sharing policy to provide incentives from off-campus programs. We will make our course offerings more flexible and convenient, while maintaining their quality, and expand our operations off-campus and online.
Resources, including technology
The College identifies immediate goals for information infrastructure:
- Further improve climate control and redundancy in the data center
- Provide redundant pathways off-campus for voice and data
- Integrate EMS with the Siemen's HVAC control systems
- Develop practices and training for college's emergency communications systems
- Version upgrades in enterprise systems (e.g., 9.1 Blackboard this summer, Exchange 2010 this fall/winter, PeopleSoft Financial 9.1 spring 2011)
- Pilot and possibly deploy virtual desktop technology
- Version upgrades in desktop applications (e.g., Office 2010 this spring and summer)
- Migrate to web content management system in 2011/12
- Implement PeopleSoft Portal and develop intranet capabilities in 2012
- Extend wireless access to the few remaining areas on campus not covered
- Extend e-classroom capabilities to the remaining venues not covered
- Expansion of SharePoint as a collaborative tool across campus
The Unit's priorities largely overlap with these. In addition, we plan to complete full implementation of the Chalk and Wire electronic portfolio and assessment system. A revision of our web sites is a constant priority. The unit just started to study the web site use systematically; and there is clearly room for improvement. We also plan to complete the full transition to on-line processes for School admission, student teaching applications, and other routine student support operations. As the technology changes, we are concerned with having sufficient resources to provide faculty members with the latest hardware and software to remain competitive and maintain quality programs.