Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
April 18, 1996

Task forces to study undergrad education

by Linda Charles
As part of the university's recruitment and retention efforts, six task forces will study ways to improve the undergraduate educational experience.

Starting this semester and continuing into fall, the task forces will seek ways to smooth students' entry into the university, study creative approaches to teaching and learning and tackle a number of other issues with an eye to strengthening undergraduate education.

The task forces were created by the Provost's Office in cooperation with the Faculty Senate, said associate provost Ed Lewis, whose position was redefined last fall so he could focus on undergraduate education.

In January, faculty senators met in caucuses to brainstorm about ways to improve the undergraduate educational experience. Many of those ideas have been incorporated into the task forces' charges, Lewis said.

The task forces are expected to make recommendations to the provost by the end of next fall semester, he added.

The task force chairs have been appointed, and other members, including students, faculty and staff, will be appointed soon. Lewis said he would like task forces to be small groups of 10 to 12 people. However, the task force members may decide to appoint subcommittees that could involve others in the campus community.

"It's my hope that a large number of the university community becomes involved in this project," he said.

Those who are interested in serving on a task force or nominating someone should contact either the task force chair or Lewis.

Following is a summary of the task forces.

Facilitating Entry to ISU, chaired by Eric Hoiberg, associate dean of agriculture and chair of the Orientation Committee. The task force will seek ways to make it easier for students to enter Iowa State and succeed in their first year. The group will consider ways to provide early feedback on freshman performances, facilitate the transfer of credits and group students with similar interests in orientation, housing and classes.

Advising and Mentoring Students, chaired by Dick Seagrave, distinguished professor in chemical engineering and former chair of the university Honors Program Committee. The task force will study training of advisers, innovative approaches to advising and opportunities for more out-of- class interactions between faculty and students.

Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning, chaired by Ron Peters, professor of psychology and Faculty Senate president. Areas of study will include incorporating real- world experiences into student learning, enhancing success in critical first-year courses and working with unmotivated students.

Curriculum Innovations, chaired by Ken Kruempel, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Council. Areas of focus will include new degree programs to meet student interest and needs, combining some bachelor's and master's programs, and adding foreign language offerings.

Special Student Populations, co-chaired by Dan Robinson, professor of professional studies in education, and Kathleen MacKay, dean of students. The task force will consider the needs of minority, international and adult students, as well as those who commute or have significant work commitments.

Faculty Reward Structure, co-chaired by Suzanne Hendrich, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, and Terry King, chair of chemical engineering. The task force will examine the faculty reward system to see how it can be modified to encourage faculty interaction with students. Areas of study will include rewarding faculty for making a commitment to teaching and advising and for efforts that promote student learning outside the classroom.

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