December 2015

Provost Report for the Month of December 2015
Julie Bernier, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Revised Registration Priority Scheduling

Effective with the next registration period, the priority registration categories and order of registration have been changed.  Most importantly, students with Senior status will have first priority in scheduling before any other category.  It is important that our Seniors have access to the courses they need to graduate.   The new order is listed below.  Scholarships have been removed as a category receiving priority registration.

Registration process will follow the order listed below:

  • Fifth Year Seniors
  • Seniors
  • PASS (Plymouth Academic Support Services) eligible students
  • President’s and Dean’s List students based on most recent prior semester grades
  • Honors Program participating students
  • Athletes (as identified by the Athletics Department)
  • Juniors
  • Sophomores
  • First Year Students
  • Continuing Education registration begins
URSA and Strategic Clusters Update and Timeline

The Credit Generating and Non Credit Generating teams are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Both groups report that they are on track to complete their work by the December 23rd deadline. We owe a great deal of thanks to these individuals who have given up an extraordinary amount of time to perform this important university service.  When you see them please be sure to say thanks.

CG URSA Evaluator Team Members

Pat Cantor
Linda Carrier
Jeremiah Duncan
Eric Hoffman, Chair
Cathie LeBlanc
Maria Sanders
Hilary Swank
Christie Sweeney
Ted Wisniewski
Roxana Wright

NCG URSA Evaluator Team Members

Betsy Ayotte
Alan Baker
Joe Boyer
JoAnn Guilmet
Heather Huckins
Anne Jung-Mathews
Deb Mardin
Christine Rosset
Janette Wiggett, Chair
Marsi Wisniewski

In their most recent report, the CG evaluation team encouraged everyone to “…read the reports. In particular, those in leadership positions at all levels of the University would gain valuable insights to inform decision-making of all kinds. There is no reason to wait until our report comes out to take advantage of the time spent on these reports.”  I’d like to emphasize this as well.  We will have much work to do once the final evaluation team reports are out and it will require people at all levels of the University to be involved.  Please do take time to read the URSA reports and begin to think about changes in your areas.

Below is the timeline for the URSA process and the Strategic Cluster development for the rest of this academic year.

URSA Timeline

Dec. 23  –    final evaluation reports submitted by NCG and CG Evaluation teams

Jan. 4 –        final evaluation reports published for campus review

Jan./Feb. –  Cabinet, Deans, and Divisional leaders will meet with Directors, Chairs, faculty and staff in departments and ask department members to develop recommendations

Mar./May – begin implementation of recommended changes (connected to Cluster development)


Strategic Cluster Development Timeline

Dec. 14-16 – themed cluster conversations

Jan. 12-14 – themed cluster conversations

Jan./Feb. – continued conversations-          generate open lab ideas

Feb. – call for open lab project proposals
-develop open lab projects
-develop/determine theme titles

Mar. – open lab funding decisions made

Mar./ May – plan for implementation of open lab projects


Based on a series of conversations and a faculty survey about Strategic Clusters, we have identified six cluster-themes.  These are works in progress and are not the final themes or titles – they simply represent the most recent current thinking.

Strategic Clusters


Vision for Strategic Clusters
Transformative ‘Wholistic’ Learning Communities

All Strategic Clusters share the following values

  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • 21st Century skill development
  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Interdisciplinary scholarship
  • Ethical Decision-making
  • Leadership and Engaged Citizenship: local, regional, national, and global

From the series of conversations, 6 clusters became 8 and then back down to 6.  Ideas are beginning to come together for each theme and are displayed below.  Again, please keep in mind that these are works in progress and will continue to evolve in the coming months.


To help lead the development of the Strategic Clusters, we have identified three committees.  Thanks to everyone who showed interest in serving.  We hope those not named to a specific committee will participate in the upcoming conversations and in the development of open lab projects.  The Steering Committee began meeting last week and will meet weekly on Tuesday mornings.  The Communications Committee will begin development of a website and will assist with keeping the campus informed of progress.  The partnership group will begin plans to expand the number and scope of partners that will play key roles in the Strategic Clusters and open lab activities.

Steering Committee
Paul Mroczka
Ross Humer
Joe Boyer
Sean Collins
Abby Shepard (student)
Amelia Rowland (student)
Thad Guldbrandsen
Lisa Herder
Julie Bernier
Robyn Parker
Cynthia Vascak
Gail Mears
Jim Hundrieser 
Robyn Parker
Heidi Pettigrew
Karolyn Kinane
Morgan Stepp
Tara DiSalvo
Kara Barker
Beth Beaulieu
Anne Jung Matthews
Partnership Development Committee
Thad Guldbrandsen
Rodney Ekstrom
Brian Eisenhauer
June Hammond Rowan
Adam Keul
Ben Amsden
Cynthia Waltman
Diane Jeffrey

We’ve asked CETL to organize the next series of conversations by theme.  At these sessions we welcome ALL faculty and staff participation.  Come join the conversation.  We’re offering sessions in December and January to accommodate as many people’s schedules as possible. You’re welcome to attend any and all conversations that interest you.

Locations TBD

Education, Democracy, & Social Change and Digital Arts & Technology

Monday, December 14, 4-6 p.m. and Tuesday, January 12, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Health & Human Enrichment and Justice & Security

Tuesday, December 15, 4-6 p.m. and Wednesday January 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Future Environments and Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, December 16, 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, January 14, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Please RSVP to 

For December gatherings, please RSVP by 9 a.m. Monday, December 7.

For January gatherings, please RSVP by 9 a.m. Monday, January 4.