Service to the university (narrative)

Instructional Technology Advisory Group (ITAG)

During academic year 2008-09, I was honored to be invited by Jeff Nugent from the Center for Teaching Excellence to join the instructional technology advisory group (ITAG).  ITAG is a University committee tasked with addressing issues related to faculty use of instructional technology, and providing related recommendations to the Vice Provost for Instruction, Dr. Joe Marolla.  In his invitation, Jeff wrote: “Given your work in educational leadership and instructional technology I think you are an ideal candidate for the work of this group, and believe that your contributions would serve to strengthen what the group as a whole might achieve.”  Initially, I was one of only four tenure-eligible faculty on this advisory group.

This working group has met regularly for the last four years.  In the first year, we developed a vision statement that was shared with the then incoming President of VCU, Dr. Michael Rao. In subsequent years, we have tackled various issues ranging from online learning to ebooks. Each year, we produce a final report with a set of recommendations to Dr. Marolla. In academic year 2011-12, three subcommittees were formed to explore issues such as ebooks, innovations in teaching and learning, and learning spaces. I led the learning spaces subcommittee. As an outgrowth of that subcommittee, a faculty learning community on Modern Learning Spaces has been convened for academic year 2012-13. I will co-facilitate that FLC, and Dr. Marolla has directly indicated a desire to learn and work with the FLC as he seeks counsel on developing modern learning spaces for the university.

University Graduate Council (UGC)

I served as the School of Education representative to the University Graduate Council (UGC) for two years, from 2008-2010.  This was a valuable experience as I was able to meet professors from other schools and campuses within VCU.  The UGC met as a whole a few times during the year and I chose to be a part of the Policy and Procedures Subcommittee.  As a member of the Policy and Procedures Subcommittee, I was able to lend my voice to a number of important issues ranging from electronic theses and dissertations to honors code issues.  In the second year of my service, the subcommittee conducted a thorough review of the graduate bulletin to make clarifications and to look for inconsistencies.

Online Learning Advisory Board

Beginning in the Summer of 2011, I agreed to serve on a new online learning advisory board; we are advisory to Dr. Joe Marolla, Vice Provost for Instruction. This group met monthly with Dr. Marolla during academic year 2011-12. We addressed some very important issues related to online learning, ranging from accreditation to pedagogical issues. The most recent issue addressed was verifying work and assessment results for an online course. This is both a pedagogical issue as well as a facilities issue as some online courses require students to show up to a physical space to take an exam.

The Center for Teaching Excellence – Online Course Development Initiative (OCDI)

In the Summer of 2010, I was a member of the first cohort of VCU faculty to participate in the Online Course Development Initiative (OCDI) run by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). Subsequently, I was selected as one of only two faculty mentors for the 2011-12 cohort of VCU faculty who participated in the institute during AY 2011-12. I attended the Institute during the Summer of 2011, and served as a mentor to other faculty members throughout the 2011-12 academic year. Mentoring included being an active participant and facilitator of the online course the cohort members took, attending monthly meetings of the cohort, and being available for consultation to other faculty members.

Research Computing Work Group

In the middle of the Spring 2010 semester, I agreed to serve on a VCU committee, The Research Computing Work Group. Advisory to Dr. Frank Macrina, this group was charged with:

  • assessing technology needs of faculty researchers
  • identifying common requirements that could be shared across individual researchers, departments, schools, or the University
  • evaluating where and how well these services are currently being provided
  • recommending opportunities for improvement

This group met during the late Spring and early Summer of 2010 and evaluated general technology needs including but not limited to consulting on technical components of grants and research projects,  server acquisition and support, database development and support, application development and support, software needs and consulting (such as survey or statistical software), and high performance or high bandwidth networking.  Ultimately, the group reported its finding and recommendations to Dr. Macrina on September 10, 2010.

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August 19th, 2012 by Jon Becker