An important message from Provost Paul:

Effective April 1, 2014, Learning Technologies will report to Susan Ryan, Betty Drees Johnson Dean of the duPont-Ball Library and Digital Learning Resources. Learning Technologies will continue to be led by Shelley Gross-Gray, Lead Instructional Designer and Director of Learning Technologies. Ben Brown and Terry Grieb will continue in their respective roles as Instructional Designer and Assistant Director of the Office of Learning Technologies. Please join me in thanking Emily Richardson, associate vice president for Boundless Learning, for her leadership in redesigning this area.

Learning Technologies supports the University’s educational mission by providing leadership and innovative strategies in the use of technology to deepen and enhance learning. The Office was redesigned in 2012 to move the University forward in accomplishing several of our key strategic objectives: provide an education suitable for diverse 21st century learners; leverage technology-enhanced learning and communications; provide curricular and co-curricular programs to attract / retain students; and increase financial health and sustainability. We are fortunate to have a donation to the University that will support the further development of our learning technologies infrastructure, with the dual purpose of supporting the continued pedagogical innovations in our core academic programs, as well as stimulating and supporting the development of new programs that can create additional revenue streams for the University.

Learning Technologies staff share expertise across all Colleges and Schools, working with faculty University-wide to enhance student learning and realize the most effective and efficient ways to build Stetson’s learning technologies capacity. Our on-line summer school offerings, for instance, are important vehicles for keeping our students engaged with the University from one academic year to the next. Library faculty member Rosie Flowers is working collaboratively with Learning Technologies to study and strengthen the important undergraduate learning outcome of information literacy. Learning Technologies will continue this work with the leadership of Dean Ryan, and in close collaboration with all of the academic deans.

Advancement in learning technologies is also a mechanism for the University to increase its financial health and sustainability by creating online and/or hybrid programs that are attractive to new populations, thereby extending Stetson’s recognition and reach. These new revenue streams fuel continued focused strategic investments in advancing our core mission.

Though the options for new online/hybrid programs are many, ALL will be driven by the University mission, ALL will be taught with Stetson’s character of learning (i.e., emphasizing rigor, relationship, and responsibility), and ALL must be consistent with and strengthen Stetson’s brand and reputation. It is expected that most will be post-baccalaureate programs, both degree-granting academic programs and credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing executive and/or professional education opportunities. ALL academic-credit-bearing programs will be reviewed, recommended, and approved as per the University’s curriculum review policy.

The life cycle of such programs may vary, with some offered once or a handful of times, some offered over a year or two, and some that are offered for a number of years. A comprehensive model and plan will be defined for each that sets targets for determining program success, as well as mechanisms for discontinuing programs either if they do not meet expected targets or they reach the end of their lifespan. I expect that proposals will include an appropriate plan for faculty resources needed for offering programs that meet Stetson’s high standards for quality (which includes respecting the integrity of the faculty role and workload). Promising program opportunities may also require bringing in expert faculty for program development.

There are currently several groups of faculty and academic leaders across the University working on proposals for such post-baccalaureate programs. If you have a program idea that you think may be promising (whether you want to help develop that program or not), please talk with an academic Dean.

Beth Paul

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs