Deans Report | March 7, 2018

Cluster Project Funding Process

The cluster project process continues through Cluster Connect. Faculty seeking funding for cluster projects will notice that the process is similar to the previous offline process, but now exists on a rolling basis through Cluster Connect. Documents and resources for project planning can be found on the cluster’s website here; a budget planning spreadsheet and offline project planning document are available to support project creation. More than 150 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners have logged into Cluster Connect. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to login here and create a robust profile.

Each cluster will have an embedded Cluster Connect moderator, which is best suited for cluster staff. A training session will be shared shortly with more detail on the functional capabilities of moderators. They will have insight into flagged activity, sharing popular content, and identifying content suited for Cluster Connect that is relevant to students. This is an opportunity to engage cluster staff in development of the cluster online and coordination of cluster information.

Ideas for high-impact learning and projects with partners continue to emerge in Cluster Connect. Faculty and staff interested in generating or carrying forward projects are encouraged to explore ideas. As partners approach PSU with new opportunities, they will be added to Cluster Connect seeking interested participants. Recent ideas include:

  • Experiencing the Global Village: A day when the whole community comes together to appreciate, learn, embrace and enjoy a day full of new experiences that share “tastes” of cultures from around the world. We expect the day to include food, dance, music, visual art, and more. Learn more here.
  • Grain of Sand: Track the history of our area through imaging grains of sand. Inspired by We would gather samples of sand on and around the Pemigewasset, take 3D microscopic images of the samples, and analyze the geological make up. Learn more here.
  • Sublime Brewing / Last Chair Restaurant: Sublime Brewing (Last Chair Restaurant) is interested in partnerships, especially with students. There are many opportunities, ranging from brewing chemistry, to marketing and promotion, systems design, and hospitality. Learn more here.
  • Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989-Today: Students will explore the intersection of art and technology through a field trip to the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s exhibition “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today” and a campus visit by Assistant Curator and PSU Alum Jeff De Blois. Learn more here.

Fall 2018 Scheduling Model Summary

For the fall semester, a new block scheduling model has been developed. This optimizes a 5-day schedule and builds consistency for most classes to begin at the top of the hour. Options exist for 3-credit courses to be delivered in a variety of ways including 50-minute blocks on M/W/F, 75-minute blocks 2-days per week (M/W, W/F, T/R, M/F), and 100-minute blocks. To efficiently maximize space utilization and much needed flexibility for scheduling, we offer the following requirements for 50, 75, and 100 minute classes: 50-minute classes must begin at the top of the hour; 75-minute classes may only begin at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.; and 100-minute classes start every two hours at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Programs can schedule evening and weekend classes, which is the model common to many graduate programs. We recognize that certain programs need to schedule classes for longer periods of time to accommodate labs, studios, and classes meeting only once per week, for example. Any new model will present challenges and we will work with faculty to address them.

The Registrar’s Office has extended the scheduling deadline to March 16 with advising week starting April 2. At the end of February, two Scheduling Support Sessions were held to answer questions and aid in scheduling courses assisted by the Registrar’s Office staff. While creating schedules, it’s encouraged that Chairs have conversations with faculty about any courses that need to be coordinated across programs to avoid potential conflicts.

Graduate Assistantships

For AY19, graduate assistantship allocation for departments/clusters will remain consistent with the allocation for this academic year. There will be no formal request or proposal process. The student application can be found here on the Academic Affairs website. The deadline for students to apply for graduate assistantship openings is April 1st. Kristen Hersom will provide a template for the Graduate Assistant contract to Chairs, supervisors and administrative assistants. Contracts and hiring paperwork will then be finalized from your departments. If GA positions will not be replaced, please inform Academic Affairs. For general awareness, full-time Graduate Assistants cannot work more than 20 hours per week and cannot exceed 10 hours per week working outside of their assistantship. Please contact Kristen Hersom with any questions.

EAB Academic Performance Solutions (APS)

We currently utilize a technology solution from EAB, Student Success Collaborative, which is an advising tool to help students persist, graduate, and succeed. Recently, we’ve also implemented an EAB program administration tool, Academic Performance Solutions (APS), which provides performance and cost data and peer benchmarks designed to help us make informed decisions regarding academic resources, improve efficiencies and grow academic program revenue. Current plans are for faculty and staff training in the summer; more information will be forthcoming.

Visiting Scholar

We are pleased to welcome Professor Yurong Zhang as a Visiting Scholar. At the invitation of Dean Parker, Dr. Zhang arrived on campus in late February and will be with us through January 2019. Professor Zhang is currently an Associate Professor in the College of Art & Engineering at Xi’an Polytechnic University (XPU, China). Her academic areas include media marketing, broadcasting management, and advertising. Prior to her current position, she worked for Shaanxi Provincial Broadcasting Company for over two decades and held the title of Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief. Dr. Zhang is available to guest in related courses and to work with faculty and students. Please contact her directly to coordinate a meeting ( We look forward to working with Dr. Zhang in the coming months.


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