Update on Faculty Engagement and Academic Development at the Global Sites (6/11/15 Memo)

TO: Faculty Colleagues

FROM: Professor Linda G. Mills, Vice Chancellor, Global Programs and University Life
          Matthew S. Santirocco, Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs

RE: Update on faculty engagement and academic development at the global sites

DATE: 06/11/2015

 

OVERVIEW AND THANKS

With the 2014-15 academic year now behind us, we wanted to update you on developments related to the global sites at NYU. It has been a very busy and productive year working closely with over 200 faculty, deans, site directors, and other key school partners to support the important work of furthering curricular development for the students who study away in NYU's global network. Our thanks to the faculty committees with whom we also work closely, including the Faculty Committee on the Global Network and the Faculty Senator's Council Global Network University Committee, as well as the Student Senators' Council, with whom we meet regularly. It is clear that through these important partnerships, we have continued to advance faculty oversight of the global sites and, as a result, have significantly enhanced our students' study away experiences.

 

AY 2014-15 PROGRESS


Site-Specific Advisory Committees
Approximately 140 faculty now sit on Site-Specific Advisory Committees (SSACs), which are established for all 11 global sites. Each committee has named a faculty chair (or co-chairs) who partners with Global Programs staff and the site director to develop meeting agendas, and who identifies and requests meeting material, and leads the committee discussions. Meetings this year covered a wide range of topics including academics (development of curricular offerings, cross-listing courses, and enrollments), advising, technology-enhanced teaching, and site identities. New and existing pathways — whereby students can continue to make academic progress in their majors or minors while visiting a global site — have also been a key development this year (see "Academic Development at the Sites"). In addition, many committees discussed building effective communication strategies for students and advisors around these pathways, including print and digital materials and information events. The committees' outstanding input and clear direction on this cross-departmental and cross-school initiative has been inspiring and groundbreaking — we have often heard committee members comment on how unusual (and fun!) it is to be working so closely with colleagues from other schools and departments on shared curricular matters at the global sites.

Academic Development at the Sites
Due to the rigorous curriculum reviews and the evaluations of global course offerings completed these past two years, we have made tremendous progress in developing academic pathways at the global sites. Since 2012, there have been 57 new or improved programs involving 33 departments and schools. Notable changes have occurred in the sciences in London, Sydney, and Tel Aviv; in the arts in Berlin, Prague, and Paris; in the humanities in Paris, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, and Madrid; and in the social sciences in Buenos Aires and Washington, DC. We are currently working to develop and/or improve 37 additional programs in collaboration with more than 30 departments and schools. The commitment exhibited by faculty and staff in improving the quality and relevance of the academic offerings has been impressive. We look forward to continuing this work and to strengthening each site’s academic identity through these departmental and school-driven initiatives.

Partnerships and Affiliations
As of May 6, 2015, 112 partnerships and 119 affiliations have been established by schools, departments, and programs across the 11 global sites. You can review the current list, and if you believe your school or department should be included as a partner or affiliate, or you wish to explore the possibility of forming one of these relationships with a global site, please contact us by emailing global.feedback@nyu.edu.

Ongoing Faculty Engagement at the Global Sites
In response to the Faculty Committee on NYU's Global Network spring 2014 report, we reviewed the existing opportunities for New York faculty engagement and continued our discussions with the relevant faculty committees, aiming to create more ways for faculty to actively participate in our global sites.

In fall 2014, the Office of Global Programs, with the support of the Provost's Office, launched a new program, enabling faculty to make short-term visits to all global sites for purposes of programmatic and curricular development. (Note: Abu Dhabi and Shanghai are not included in this travel program since they have other mechanisms for faculty visits.) We have received positive feedback on the short-term visit program thus far, and faculty have found these trips useful as they explore ways to develop and/or enhance their department's or school's local connections, curricular offerings, or academic pathways at a global site. You can find the application for these trips here.

As a reminder, the Global Research Initiative provides funding for faculty and graduate students to conduct research and scholarly activities at eight global sites. In addition, the Global Faculty Fund (GFF) enables local faculty from our global sites to travel to New York to collaborate with faculty here on projects.

Please also see below, under "Looking Ahead," for information on an exciting new pilot opportunity for semester-long teaching appointments at the global sites.

Writing Support for Students
The site directors and faculty on the SSACs identified a need for writing support for students when they study away. To this end, a working group of writing experts from around the University has convened to implement additional means of providing this support. The group has already created a number of potential models for a pilot to be run next year. These include creating a website with writing resources for students, expanding the faculty-led writing workshops and consultations that are already being held in Sydney and Berlin to several additional sites, and using a scheduling platform to set up online appointments between students at the sites and writing consultants (peer or professional) based in New York. The group will also explore the possibility of expanding this last model in January 2016, by identifying writing consultants in other locations, who can provide support across time zones.

The Global Study Planner
NYU has been engaged in a University-wide project to develop an Academic Planner that helps students to map out their course of study throughout their time at NYU. Responding to feedback from faculty on the site-specific committees to introduce a planner more quickly for the global sites, a parallel widget, the "Global Study Planner," has been created. The planner allows students to explore the various academic pathways and courses offered at the global sites based on their disciplinary and language preferences. This tool is intended for current and prospective students exploring their study away options, and to help both students and advisors understand the many new academic pathway options available at the global sites. You can view the planner here and if you have any feedback, please email global.feedback@nyu.edu.

Site Evaluations
Last spring we decided to revise the student evaluation process to ensure that these surveys more fully incorporated faculty and departmental input. This led to the establishment of a working group that included faculty and site directors, which took on the responsibility of creating a new global site survey. The group borrowed from past surveys, and used research on global learning assessment to guide the proposed changes. The new survey is shorter, focusing less on more subjective measures like "satisfaction" and more on measurable outcomes. It also includes sections on academics, cultural immersion, student services, advising, residential life, and health and wellness. The survey was piloted in London and among New York students who were studying away in Abu Dhabi last December. All sites received the new survey at the end of the spring semester.

This committee will also provide guidance on a larger research project, currently under discussion, on global learning outcomes and the overall impact of study away on a student's liberal arts education.
 

LOOKING AHEAD

Study Away Advising Fairs for Freshmen and Sophomores
Drawing on suggestions from faculty serving on the site-specific committees, the Office of Global Programs will host two study away information and advising fairs; one in fall 2015 for sophomores and one in spring 2016 for first-year students. These fairs will bring together students, advisors, faculty, and the Office of Global Programs to create a forum to discuss all that the study away experience entails and can offer. Stay tuned for more information on these upcoming events.

Competitive Semester-Long Teaching Opportunities at the Global Sites Pilot Program
We are excited to announce that in fall 2016 and again in spring 2017, we will pilot a new program that gives one faculty member the opportunity to teach at a global site for a semester. (Two appointments total for AY 2016-17.) The program is open to any faculty member who receives permission from his or her department chair and dean. We will be working over the summer to develop an application process and criteria for these competitive teaching opportunities, which, per our discussion with NYU's Faculty Committee on the Global Network earlier this year, will have a broader focus on connecting departments and schools to the global sites by developing programmatic initiatives. A faculty committee, together with input from the global sites and Office of Global Programs, will select the faculty members who will be given this unique opportunity.

Portal and Cross-Site Committees
In addition to the SSACs, portal and cross-site committees have been convened and are exploring a range of topics, including the relevant curricular offerings to New York students who study in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Moreover, this past academic year, faculty involved in the visual and performing arts across the global network as well as the European site directors convened to discuss subject-specific opportunities and challenges. These groups have already started to think across sites, creating curricular and operational synergies and promoting cross-school and departmental dialogue. In fall 2015, we plan to convene a meeting to discuss the sciences. We welcome any ideas you may have for future cross-site conversations and ask that you send suggestions to global.feedback@nyu.edu.

Videoconferencing Rooms
This summer, Prague will join the list of sites equipped with videoconference-enabled classrooms (that list currently includes Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Paris, Washington, DC, New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai). We are working with IT to develop the necessary support for these classrooms, ensuring that they are operating as expected and can be used effectively to enhance both teaching and collaboration between sites and campuses.

The Inaugural NYU Shanghai Class Studies Away
This fall, please join us in providing a warm welcome to our NYU Shanghai students, who for the first time will be studying away in Abu Dhabi, New York, and our global sites — a key moment both for them and all of us.
 

CONCLUSION

The progress made this past year both in enhancing the global curriculum and in developing the academic identity of the global sites has already produced tangible benefits for our students. In addition, we continue to work with faculty to identify and create new opportunities for them to experience the global sites and all that they have to offer. This progress is directly linked to the time and commitment of the now hundreds of faculty engaged in developing new academic programs and in thinking with us about the advantages the global sites can offer in terms of research as well as connectivity to colleagues around the world. For further information about what the GNU has to offer you, as a faculty member, please visit our Faculty in the Global Network page.

We look forward to the upcoming year and the work we have ahead of us as we focus on continuing our effort to build our curriculum at the global sites, advise students, develop summer programs, gather faculty into cross-site working groups, and more. If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you would like to become more involved in our global sites, please email us at global.feedback@nyu.edu.