February 27, 2013

U of L faculty plans for Student Success Summit

By Wesley Kerrick–

An online transfer fair and a summit for faculty are on the agenda as the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education works toward a better educated commonwealth.

Next Wednesday, students at Kentucky’s high schools and community colleges will have the opportunity to chat with representatives of four-year institutions, including U of L.

On April 15-16th, the council will host its second annual Student Success Summit at the Louisville Marriott East.

The online event, called “Transfer Madness,” will last from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and provide videos and podcasts to prospective students. A statement released by the council said this will be Kentucky’s first state-wide transfer fair to be held entirely online.

“We’re ramped up for that,” said Dale Billingsley, U of L’s vice provost for undergraduate affairs. He said the call center at U of L’s admissions office will have extra service during Transfer Madness. “This is just a risk-free environment for finding out information.”

At the summit in April, experts will discuss ways to create a college environment that helps students do well. In a Feb. 12th email to Provost Shirley Willihnganz, the council invited U of L’s faculty, staff, and administrators to the event.

Billingsley said his office is just starting to recruit faculty. “It’s rare for the university faculties to be able to hear experts of national standing,” he said. Additionally, the summit will give them the opportunity to meet with fellow educators from across the state. “It’s a very difficult process to get all those people together,” he said.

Earlier this month, the council re-elected Chair Pam Miller and Vice Chair Dan Flanagan, giving them each another year to give oversight to the council.

“I have known Pam and Dan for a long time,” President James Ramsey wrote in an email to the Cardinal. “They are both outstanding people and we look forward to working with both of them in advocating for the needs of higher education in our Commonwealth.”

Billingsley said last year, about 30 people represented U of L at the summit, accounting for a mere 1.3 percent of the University’s 2,300 faculty members. He had no way to predict how many will attend this year. Since April 15-16th falls just before the end of the semester, many faculty members will be too busy to attend. Additionally, he said, many of U of L’s faculty primarily do research or work with graduate students, so the summit material is not relevant to them.

In emails to the Cardinal, Charles Moyer, dean of the College of Business, and Susan Duncan, interim dean of the Brandeis School of Law, wrote on Feb. 20th that they were not aware of any faculty planning to attend. “But as we get closer to it,” Moyer wrote, “that may change.”

The keynote speaker will be Vincent Tinto, Ph.D., a Syracuse University professor who has researched and written extensively on making sure students’ college experiences are successful. Syracuse’s website states that Tinto focuses specifically on low-income, underrepresented, and under-prepared students.

Other speakers include Joe Cuseo, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Psychology at Marymount College; and Jeff Selingo, editor-at-large of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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