Undergraduate Academic Affairs

November 20, 2009

Message from Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor, Nov 2009

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Dear UAA Colleagues,

President Emmert and Provost Wise have asked the University to envision and academic plan for the next two decades. The initiative, named 2 Years to 2 Decades, is underway and some reformations in Undergraduate Academic Affairs are worth mentioning.

Janice DeCosmo and Debbie Wiegand are stewarding a conversation with colleagues in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and Student Life about creating a holistic approach to serving students. We are significantly closer to our vision of expanding and deepening engagement for students across these administrative divisions. This allows us to ask some important questions including:

  • How do we best advise students?
  • How do we expand opportunities to premier learning experiences?
  • How do we create communities of engagement and learning?
  • What is our response to teaching and helping all students have a sense of vocation? By vocation I mean the ability to pursue their calling.

Related to this work, academic advisers on campus are “transforming” the way academic advising happens at the University of Washington. There is no better time for this as we begin to create a vision for growing the freshman class over the next few years.

A third transformation may well be catalyzed by the Report on Teaching and Learning. Betsy Wilson, Jerry Baldasty, and I called some of our most talented educators on campus to help envision how we can create a collaborative and visionary teaching and learning center. Lisa Coutu led the committee and a leadership meeting will happen soon to go over the details of the committee’s work.

Finally, a theme that should define our moment in this economic downturn is a call to service. Two weeks ago I was honored to address over 1,000 Americorps members. President Obama would like the country’s Americorps membership to increase from 75,000 members to 250,000 members over time.

The UW has deeply-embedded roots in service. These roots and this moment in history peak in our service learning courses. This fall quarter, the Carlson Center is reporting more students participating in service learning than any other quarter. Typically, the average number of students involved in service learning is about 400 per quarter. Only one time have we broken the 500 student mark. This quarter, 648 students are involved in service learning.

Additionally, JumpStart surpassed its goal of 90 Corps Members and recruited a record 110 Corps Members to help preschool age students prepare for kindergarten. And, the Pipeline Project has seen record numbers of student involvement with 278 UW students working with 4,800 K-12 students across the city.

The 100 part-time Americorps slots the Carlson Center works to fill are all filled. This work usually takes until March or April.

If our students are an accurate gauge of our time, civic consciousness may in fact guide the work of the University and guide the work of our community in the next two decades.

Ed Taylor's Signature
Ed Taylor
Vice Provost & Dean