March 28, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you have good spring and are prepared for the final stretch of the academic year.  And what lovely weather we have to welcome us back to campus!

There are, or course, many things happening on campus as we enter the home stretch of the spring semester.  Below I summarize a few of them.

Sabbaticals.  If you are eligible for a sabbatical in the 2017-18 academic year, I encourage you to attend a workshop that will be held on April 8 from 1-2 pm in DMSC 103.  Vice Provost Stacy Burton will lead a discussion and answer questions regarding how to prepare a successful application.  We are updating the institutional sabbatical guidelines, and I have prepared a new document that summarizes "do's and don'ts" that I hope will be helpful in preparing your application.  

Mentoring workshop.  On April 29 from 1-4 pm, the provost's office will host a workshop on best practices in faculty mentoring.  "Re-Thinking Mentoring: Building Communities of Inclusion, Support & Accountability"[dl.dropboxusercontent.com] will be led by Prof. Mindi Thompson from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is offered through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity[facultydiversity.org].  Such a workshop was suggested at one of the Campus Conversations last year.  The workshop will focus on providing fresh perspectives to deans, directors, and department chairs on best practices in mentoring tenure-stream faculty. However, I also strongly encourage participation by academic faculty, particularly those who are on the tenure stream. If you plan to participate, please register here[facultydiversity.site-ym.com] by April 8.

Organizational Resilience.  I am pleased to announce that Ms. Amanda Windes will be joining the provost's office as of May 1.  She will hold the title of "Organizational Resilience Manager", which is a new position for UNR.  The funding that supports this position comes from a line that previously resided in Police Services.  The position was transferred to the provost's office after extensive discussion with campus leadership, including Police Services, regarding the need for an ongoing comprehensive planning effort to assure that the broad and diverse programs and services across campus are optimally coordinated to respond to potential disruptive influences to the university.  Such disruptions might come from natural disasters such as a flood or earthquake, a disease epidemic, cyber-security attacks, or physical attacks (e.g., terrorists or individual shooters).  Amanda will be responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive institution plan for resiliency and will work with campus organizations as well as local and regional agencies to assure optimal coordination and leveraging of resources.  

Spouse/Partner Hires.  You may recall that out of the 61 new faculty lines that were allocated for searches this year (anticipated Fall 16 start dates), four lines were held back to accommodate spouse/partner hires associated with new hires and/or current junior faculty.  The hiring season is still incomplete, but I'm pleased to share that the availability of these positions has been very impactful.  By elevating the dialogue regarding UNR's interest in accommodating spouses and partners, thus far this year we have successfully recruited eight spouse/partner couples and a few negotiations are still pending.  We have been able to recruit positions beyond the four lines allocated because deans and department chairs have been open to using positions associated with regular searches.  Several of the spouse/partner hires have been across departmental and college lines, and I have been very pleased by the cooperation among chairs and deans.  

Faculty and Staff RFPs.  We expect to search for 28 new tenure-track and 7 new full-time lecturer positions, as well as 7 new staff positions, during FY17.  Most (21) of the tenure-track positions have been committed to cluster initiatives from last year.  As noted above, the lines held for spouse/partner accommodations have been very impactful, and we will again hold four lines for this purpose.  We will also be holding four lines for "impact" hires that uniquely enhance the diversity of our faculty in a meaningful way.  Three of the lecturer lines have been allocated to President Johnson's Composition and Communication in the Disciplines initiative.  The net result is that our competitive allocation will be limited to four lecturer positions.  As has been the case for past few years, proposals for these positions will be reviewed by a committee consisting of faculty, students (graduate and undergraduate), and my leadership team.  We expect to announce the position assignments before the end of the spring semester.  

IT Activities.  IT has been busy upgrading both the wired and wireless network across the campus as well as working on multiple other information technology projects.  These include replacing the old Citrix remote service, updating WolfCloud for virtual server hosting, and updating infrastructure for departments to offer an online marketplace.  Chief Information and Officer and Vice Provost for Information Technology Steve Smith is working on a solution that will allow faculty to submit grades for an entire class.  Information on these and other current projects can be found under the News link on the central IT webpages at www.unr.edu/it.  

Faculty Social.  We have two more Academic Faculty Socials scheduled for the spring semester.  One will be this Friday, April 1 (no fooling!) and the other will be on Friday, April 29.  Both begin at 4 p.m. in the Knowledge Center Leonard Room on the 4th floor.  Bring a friend!

Regards,

Kevin C.