Provost's Perspective

Get the latest updates on campus activities and initiatives from the Provost through the quarterly Provost's Perspective.

  • Provost's Perspective: November 6, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying healthy. I wanted to check in and provide some information and updates.

    A tour of classes 

    I have decided to award myself a certificate in general studies. Since we returned to limited in-person instruction in the second half of the summer term, I have had the opportunity to sit in on 40 classes taught by 40 members of our faculty. The classes have spanned a wide range of disciplines (Math, Biology, Health Science, Communication Studies, Journalism, Philosophy, Psychology Chemistry, Ceramics, Core Humanities, Statistics, Basque Studies, Physics, Social Work, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Mining Engineering, Music, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, and Chemical Engineering) and the levels have ranged from 100 through 700. While I have always believed that our faculty are deeply committed to excellence in teaching, it has been gratifying to confirm that assumption firsthand. I have been also struck by the broad range of teaching styles that our faculty employ, each effective in their own way. I saw some impressive use of Zoom technology and saw both its advantages and its weaknesses. I was pleased to see both faculty and students – without exception – wearing face coverings and observing social distancing in the classroom. I observed active participation in classroom discussions from both students in the classroom and on Zoom. I also observed a phenomenon that I had not anticipated. Given the choice, in most cases, students in HyFlex classes overwhelmingly and occasionally exclusively are choosing to participate remotely. That said, students who choose to attend class in person are very grateful for the opportunity to do so.  

    I also observed and have heard through a variety of channels that students are struggling with their mental health. The isolation and lack of social interaction is hard on students. I have heard from several faculty that they are taking proactive steps in class to acknowledge the difficulties that students are facing on a personal level. I urge you to take a moment of your class to allow students to share how they are feeling and offer support. Encourage them to turn on their computer cameras and be “present,” although understand that their personal circumstances may not be conducive to doing so and therefore, they should not be required to do so. Also ask them to contact you during office hours. Also, please remind them periodically that services are available through the Counseling Center. Please be advised that Dave Shintani is organizing a workshop for faculty to provide guidance on how they can support and assist students who are struggling with mental health issues and you will be hearing more about that very soon.

    Equally important are mental health resources for faculty and staff. You can learn more about those resources through the Employee Assistance Program

    Strategic planning

    Over the coming months, we will be engaging in a campus-wide exercise to renew our Strategic Plan.  I am pleased to announce that Dr. Fran Ryan, Associate Dean in the College of Business, has agreed to facilitate the process. We have met with President Sandoval to get his input and discuss the process. On Monday, November 9, the Senior Leadership Council will meet to discuss and recommend high-level goals for the next 5-7 years. On November 24, from 10 a.m.-noon, we will hold a Strategic Plan Kickoff Event. Approximately 100 faculty will be invited to participate in the event. Those individuals are being identified by their respective deans and vice presidents and the number from each unit will be proportional to its size. We are asking ASUN and GSA to identify student representatives and will also include community stakeholders. Although we will have identified invitees to participate in the kickoff event, it will be open to the entire campus community.


    I want you to know that there will be NevadaFIT for all incoming freshmen in the Fall of 2021. Felicia DeWald and program coordinators are well along in their planning for a version of NevadaFIT that would provide social distancing if we are still struggling with the pandemic.

    Mode of instruction

    As we have announced, all classes will be online during Wintermester and we are planning to continue with the current mode of instruction for spring 2021. We have received a few inquiries about what our mode of instruction will be for summer and fall. As always, our goal is to maximize in-person instruction while also responsibly providing alternatives for the highest-quality educational experience. We have not made specific plans for next summer and fall but will turn our attention to those decisions when we return in January and have a better assessment of where things stand with the pandemic.

    ACUE microcredential

    The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) program continues to evolve.  Last fall, they launched a parallel course that is exclusively for online teaching. We have a cohort of 25 faculty participating in this course. ACUE is now also offering “Microcredential Courses,” which consists of approximately one-fourth of the full course. In the spring semester, we will be offering an opportunity for faculty to participate in one of these microcredentials: “Creating and Inclusive and Supportive Online Learning Environment.” Topics covered in this course will include (1) Welcoming Students to Online Learning, (2) Promoting civil learning environments, (3) Engaging underprepared students in online learning, (4) Helping students persist in online learning, (5) Embracing diversity online learning, (6) Checking for student understanding in online learning, and (7) Providing useful feedback for online learning. The course will begin early in the semester and will be completed in six weeks. We are hoping for a cohort of 30 faculty participants but will do our best to accommodate more if there is interest. My office will cover the full cost of the course. If you are interested in participating in this course, please get approval from your chair or dean then contact Alissa Mortensen directly ( by November 20.

    Graduate Requirements

    The Graduate Council is planning to vote at the end of November on an extensive set of changes to master’s and doctoral credit requirements in an effort to make graduate degrees more flexible, stackable and attractive to graduate students. Contact your graduate program director, department chair or Graduate Dean David Zeh ( for details.  

    Spring faculty reporting date

    Faculty are required to report for the spring 2021 semester on Wednesday, January 20.

    University-wide meeting

    Lastly, please consider attending a virtual meeting for all University employees scheduled for Wednesday, November 18. More details to come.

    Best wishes for a healthy and productive remainder of the semester.


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Perspective: August 18, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    Welcome to the Fall 2020 semester. Although it was a summer like no other, I hope that you were able to find opportunities to relax and enjoy time with your family and loved ones. The Fall 2020 semester will also be unlike any that we have experienced.  It will require flexibility, creativity, and patience from all of us. Please note that a variety of resources associated with the challenges of teaching during the pandemic are available to you on the University website and I encourage you to explore the site and visit it often for updates. The letter below is our “standard” welcome-back letter with reminders and information.   Fall 2020 is the fourth anniversary of our new Core Curriculum. The Core is our commitment to the quality of a Nevada degree, and it is a signature of the University of Nevada, Reno graduate. Please take a few minutes to review the Core Objectives.  Please also review our mission and consider how it is addressed by your plans for learning, discovery, and engagement this semester:   

    University of Nevada, Reno's Vision and Mission

    As you prepare for the start of classes, I ask that you review the following relevant information, requirements, and recommendations.  Syllabi: An up-to-date course syllabus must be prepared for each course. Syllabi must be distributed and reviewed with students by the end of the first week of class. The syllabus is your first opportunity to describe the role and responsibilities that students have in your course and it should actively support their learning and success. Faculty members are encouraged to discuss their course syllabi and especially the required student learning outcomes ( SLOs) with faculty colleagues and their department chair or director. Accreditation requirements specify that each course syllabus includes the SLOs approved by your department and the University Courses and Curricula Committee. The designated SLOs for each course are given in its course description in the University Catalog.  The University’s syllabus requirements and recommendations are provided here:

    Syllabus Requirements and Recommendations

    Please reference this site since it contains the most recently updated guidance regarding COVID-specific issues such as face coverings and social distancing. 

    • Student Absences: University policies regarding absence from class are provided in UAM 3,020. The Student Health Center policy on medical excuses is located here: Medical Excuse Policy
    • WebCampus: All instructors are encouraged to make full use of WebCampus (Canvas) in their course delivery. This is especially critical given that 95% of our classes will be delivered entirely online or in hybrid modality with remote participation. 
    • Advisor WebCampus Access: Please remember that advisors are being granted “observer-only” access in WebCampus to view posted exam and assignment grades for specific at-risk students enrolled in your course(s), including students on academic probation, athletes, and special student populations. Your cooperation with this effort is appreciated. With this type of access advisors will be able to view, but not modify, WebCampus pages of only their specific advisees.  As a result, you may see the names of one or more advisors added to your WebCampus course roster. The rationale for this initiative is to allow advisors to monitor the progress of specific at-risk students and provide support as needed. 

    Academic Integrity

    Grading, grade appeals, and academic dishonesty grade sanctions are academic matters. If you have questions about processes associated with academic integrity, please direct your questions to your department chair. Appeals of charges of academic dishonesty and tracking of those charges are handled by the Office of Student Conduct. Read more on the University's Academic Standards Policy

    Office of Student Conduct Information for Faculty

    Distressed, Distressing, and/or Disruptive Students: The Student Intervention Team (SIT) can aid students who need special assistance and attention. The SIT also can provide support and assistance to you if you encounter disruptive students.

    Academic Calendar and Final Class Meeting Week

    Final class-meeting week begins Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, and ends Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. All classes are required to meet during the final week at the appropriate times and dates indicated in the Final Week Class Schedule.

    Fall 2020 Final Week Class Schedule: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, is this semester’s designated prep day. Please remember that the intent of prep day is to allow students a day of preparation for final exams. Therefore, do not schedule exams or any required classes or activities on that day. Conducting optional activities like review sessions or specifying prep day as a due date for papers and projects are allowed activities. 

    Student Academic Records: Please remember that student academic records are confidential. We recommend that faculty and instructors do not place student records of any kind on portable electronic devices, which are easily lost. 

    Experiential Learning: The University strongly encourages community-based experiential learning through internships and service-learning courses. These activities directly support the engagement component of the University’s mission and, potentially, Core Objective 14. Faculty teaching such courses must register with the Career Studio (internships) or the Office of Service-Learning & Civic Engagement (service-learning), which track these activities and can supply the required forms for student waivers and community partnership agreements. 

    Campuswide Accessibility Reminder

    Per policy, all web content and instructional materials available on the web must be accessible. See section 2.2 of the procedures for a complete Timeline of Conformance of Online Content and Functionality. WebCampus use is strongly encouraged to help ensure functionality, as there is software in place to help ensure accessibility.

    Please be aware of the University’s policy and procedures regarding accessibility of instructional materials, which are designed to ensure that University programs, services, instructional content, materials, websites, web-based applications, and social media are accessible to all. This applies to all equipment and technology, including websites, PDFs, software, and instructional content.

    Every division and college is responsible for monitoring, maintaining, and resolving accessibility issues.

    All faculty and staff who handle content on the web, instructional or otherwise, are required to attend Basic Web Accessibility training annually.

    For instructional content: The Instructional Design Team (IDT) of  Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) is ready to help Academic faculty make their instructional materials accessible. Captions can be requested for instructional videos by emailing  captions@unr.eduTraining opportunities are available to anyone responsible for developing, loading, maintaining, or auditing web content and functionality. The Instructional Design staff are prepared to assist in your efforts.

    For all other web content and functionality: All faculty, department, and administrative-unit website(s) content and functionality must be in compliance with the Accessibility Policy. New content must be in compliance at the time it is published.

    Web Accessibility Liaisons have been identified for every division and college at the University to assist in this effort. More information and a list of Liaisons can be found on the Accessibility website. If you have questions about non-instructional content and functionality, contact your Web Accessibility Liaison or email Best wishes for a rewarding, productive, unique, and memorable semester!


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Perspective: July 23, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope that this most unusual and unprecedented summer is going well for you and your loved ones. Given the fluidity of our situation, I wanted to check in with you to provide some information and updates.

    As you saw in President’s Johnson’s recent message, NSHE has reviewed and we have finalized our plans for the fall semester. From an instructional perspective, we must be prepared for a range of scenarios. We are operating under Phase 2 restrictions, which currently limit gatherings to 25 in Washoe County while maintaining social distancing of 6 ft. In practical terms, this means that we can only have a maximum of 13% room capacity in classrooms with fixed seating and a maximum of 33% capacity in rooms with movable seats. 

    These Phase 2 restrictions are being applied to in-person classes being taught in the second half of summer. We are currently teaching approximately 160 classes, 46 of which are purely online, and the rest are being delivered entirely in person or using a combination of in-person and “Zoom” participation. I have visited several classes in which faculty are “Zooming” their lectures and I must say that I have been impressed by how well and creatively faculty are using Zoom and how engaged students are both remotely and in person. In all the classes I visited, students and faculty were wearing face coverings and observing appropriate social distancing. Blue paw-print stickers are placed on desks and stations where students sit. All classrooms have hand-sanitizer dispensers and sanitation wipes for disinfecting personal space. Several faculty have volunteered to allow other faculty to sit in on their class to see how the Zoom world looks and works; their names and contact information is provided to you here.

    Teaching & Learning Technologies’ Instruction Design Team (IDT) has developed an asynchronous training/resource course for faculty to help them prepare for alternative delivery modes. The Preparing for Fall 2020 training course has resources for transitioning to online and mixed-modality/HyFlex delivery. The course is replete with course-design strategies and resources for how to get the most from using Zoom, WebCampus, and other tools in your Fall instruction. All academic faculty and instructors have been automatically enrolled in the course and it will appear in your WebCampus course list. Additional teaching resources can be found on the TLT website.

    Also, be advised that Justin Kavanagh, coordinator of the University Testing Center, is working on expanding the Testing Center to a second site in the Continuing Education Building. With more space and increased testing hours, we hope to accommodate about 4,500 computerized exams per week. I encourage you to contact Justin early at to be sure that he can accommodate your needs.

    Safety is and always will be a top priority. As you return to campus, please be mindful that face coverings are required in all areas on campus – including outside – except when an individual is alone in a private office. This also includes use of face coverings by faculty, staff, and students in any type of in-person classroom instruction or research activity at any University office, property, field work site, or sponsored event. A face covering is defined as fully covering the nose and mouth, such as a face mask, surgical mask, towel, scarf, or bandana. Any other type of face covering, including a face shield, requires an accommodation request. Requests for accommodations can be made via the  ADA website for employees. If a reasonable ADA accommodation is not possible, you may apply for Alternative Work Arrangements or Leave through the FFCRA. To date, approximately 350 of our 5,300+ employees have requested an exemption through this process. About half of those applications have completed the review process and the others are currently under review. Thus far, only three applications have been denied.

    Colleges, schools, and departments are currently engaged with the important exercise of finalizing plans for the modality of instruction for fall classes. Our general guidelines are that in Phase 3, classes with enrollments of more than 200 would be taught online while other classes would be taught in some sort of “HyFlex” or mixed modality, and in Phase 2, classes with enrollments of 35 or more would be taught entirely online. With helpful recommendations from the Faculty Senate, the Nevada Faculty Alliance, the University Recovery Working Group, and deans, we arrived at these guidelines. Our overall goal under any circumstance is to maximize the opportunity for safe, in-person instruction while also maximizing opportunities for remote participation by students who need it. While we are providing a general framework for how to manage a “HyFlex”/mixed-modality class, we understand that best practices in pedagogy can vary significantly among disciplines, and thus we are asking department chairs and deans to work with faculty to determine the details of how classes will be delivered.

    I am confident that as we work through this together, and we will emerge as a stronger, more unified University community.  

    Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable remainder of the summer.


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • From the Provost: June 4, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    I understand that you are eager for clarity in what lies ahead for our University, particularly as it relates to our mode of instruction. In my recent Provost’s Perspective, I described a scenario for the fall semester in which classes with enrollments of greater than 100 would be taught entirely online while other lecture classes would be taught in a “HyFlex” or “Mixed Delivery” mode, where half of the enrolled students would participate in person on one day while the other half participated via Zoom. The two student groups would alternate attending lecture in person. These guidelines were designed under the assumption that we would be operating under “Phase 2” guidelines, which limit public gatherings to 50 and require a minimum of six feet of distancing between individuals. Additional information that we have now, combined with a set of recommendations from the academic subgroup of the Recovery Working Group, compel us to modify our instructional plans. I note that the Issues Management Team and I endorse the recommendations presented by the academic RWG subcommittee, which I will describe briefly below. An article in Inside Higher Ed provides a reasonably good description of HyFlex delivery, though it focuses more on its usefulness in providing an opportunity for students to participate remotely as opposed to the alternate participation of students in the classroom.

    Given the uncertainty of where things will stand, as we move into the fall semester, it is clear that we need to be prepared to respond to three major scenarios. Each of these scenarios will be guided by the social distancing and safety guidelines established by the State of Nevada and NSHE with significant input from medical, health and safety professionals. 

    The most extreme model is Phase 1, from which we are currently transitioning. This could be invoked again if there is another significant outbreak of the virus.  Should this occur, we would return to delivering all of our instruction remotely and working from home.

    We are now transitioning to Governor Sisolak’s Phase 2 of recovery, which requires face coverings and other safety precautions, including gatherings of no more than 50 people and a minimum of six-foot distancing. As noted above, the approach that I recently described was designed to meet the Phase 2 guidelines. After careful review of classroom geometry, we now realize that we can’t achieve six-foot distancing with half of the students attending lectures for classes with enrollments of 100 or less. Classrooms with moveable desks provide the optimal flexibility, but even they can only accommodate 33% or less of classroom capacity while providing appropriate distancing. Classrooms with fixed seating allow for only 11-13% of total capacity. I am providing a couple of examples of challenges here with 6-ft distancing in classrooms. Faced with this reality, we would need to teach all fall classes with enrollments of 35 or more students in a purely online mode in order to provide the spacing needed to allow for a HyFlex classroom for the remaining classrooms with enrollments of 34 or less. Using the cutoff of 35 students would mean that approximately 1,100 of our lecture classes would be delivered purely online, while just under 3,000 classes would be taught on campus in the HyFlex mode described above. Laboratory and studio classes would need to be significantly restructured. We will make plans for this contingency, but it clearly would be a challenge to implement.

    However, it is our understanding that it is likely that we will be in Phase 3 before the beginning of the fall semester, possibly as soon as July 1. While the State of Nevada has not released guidelines for Phase 3, the White House/CDC guidelines for Phase 3 are that spatial distancing would be significantly relaxed and there would be no restrictions on the size of gatherings. Responsible distancing and safety measures would be encouraged. Final planning for Phase 3 can’t be completed until we have specific guidelines, but it is reasonable to anticipate that many more students could be in classrooms. The academic RWG recommends that we would limit the number of students to no more than 50% of the classroom capacity.  Students would occupy every other seat. As described above, half of the students would attend lecture and half would participate via Zoom on any given day. Laboratory classes would be taught as normal. Students and faculty would wear a face covering while in the classroom or lab and would be expected to sanitize their seat/lectern/workstation at the beginning and end of each lecture or lab. Again, we won’t be able to finalize these plans until we have specific guidelines from the Governor and NSHE.

    I understand that this uncertainty is frustrating for everyone.  We will do our best to get information to you ASAP.

    Updates on Academic Faculty Resources


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Perspective: May 18, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    We are in the process of wrapping up what is surely the most challenging and surreal semester of our professional lives. I want to express my appreciation for the extraordinary ways that you have stepped up to keep our University “open.”

    I’m pleased to report that overall enrollment for summer term is up by 14%, relative to 2019. This is entirely due to increased enrollment in the first half of summer, where all of our classes are being delivered online. We are learning inadvertently that the availability of online classes is very attractive for students who would otherwise be home for the summer in Elko, Las Vegas, Sacramento, etc.

    I’m sure that you have many questions about what our operations will look like in the second half of summer term and into the fall. We plan to return to in-person instruction with significant modifications for the second summer term, which begins July 13. Two classes with enrollments over 100 (Chemistry II and Physics II) will be delivered entirely online. Chemistry laboratory classes will be taught in person, but with reduced density. We are able to accomplish this because the relatively small number of lab sections being offered allows us to spread out instruction in chemistry labs into otherwise unused teaching labs. Physics will use a combination of in-person labs and online simulations to reduce density in the laboratory rooms. All other lecture classes will be taught in person, but in larger classrooms that allow for appropriate social distancing. In addition, Ed Huffman and his amazing TLT team have begun the process of outfitting the 65 classrooms used for the summer term to allow lectures to be “Zoomed” while delivering in-person lectures. We are doing this because we have learned, as noted above, that many students are interested in taking summer-term classes, but are unable to do so because they are not able to return to Reno for the summer. Accordingly, we will be asking faculty who teach classes in the second half of summer term to allow additional students to enroll and participate remotely.

    The fall semester will be our big challenge, but plans are being developed. As you may know, a Recovery Working Group (RWG) has been established to research and provide recommendations on how we will transition back to on-campus operations, including teaching. You will be hearing more about our plans in the near future.  A subgroup of the RWG is working on recommendations regarding returning to in-person instruction. We are still working on several details, but here is a brief description of what we are planning: Lecture classes with enrollments over 100 will be delivered entirely online. We have 163 classes scheduled that have enrollment caps of over 100, of which only 67 have current enrollments of over 100 students. Classes with over 100 students represent approximately 20% of our total fall enrollment in lecture classes. We plan to teach all other lecture classes using a version of the “ HyFlex” (Hybrid + Flexibility) approach. Under this model, students will be divided into two groups, with half attending in-person on alternate class days, while the other half participates remotely via Zoom. An additional advantage of this approach is that it will facilitate a relatively seamless transition to completely online delivery should it become necessary again. 

    We realize that many faculty had little to no training in remote synchronous or asynchronous online education.  With the assistance of TLT, we will be offering a series of one-week classes on best practices in online education. We particularly encourage faculty who will be delivering their classes completely online to take this course. My office is offering a modest stipend of $250 for faculty who complete the training. Priority will be given to faculty who will be teaching the large-enrollment classes noted above. You can request to sign up for the course online. TLT will also be offering an asynchronous class on online pedagogy through Canvas that can be completed in approximately one day. Educause has some good resources that you may find useful, including a brief video that offers eight tips for effective online teaching. Finally, the University is a member of Quality Matters, which offers a course on online pedagogy (there is a charge for this course).

    As we transition back to on-campus business and teaching, we are aware that some faculty, staff, and students will have underlying conditions or extenuating personal circumstances that make it particularly unsafe or difficult for them to teach, attend class or work on campus. While we are committed to responsibly returning to on-campus instruction and administrative functions, we are developing procedures for requesting permission to continue working from home, including teaching remotely. A form for requesting such accommodation is being developed and we will be made available soon.

    A couple of weeks ago, we circulated a survey that we sent to undergrads, grad students, academic faculty, and administrative faculty and staff. The response rate was very strong and I was pleased to see the large number of written comments. We are currently reviewing and summarizing the responses, and are sending college- and school-specific responses to the deans for their review. The survey responses will help us better understand and address the challenges our community faced (e.g., limited WiFi availability, working at home with children, challenges with testing).

    One issue that resonated clearly from the survey was that the lack of access to childcare has been a significant challenge for many of you. I’m pleased to announce that the Child & Family Research Center (CFRC) plans to reopen on June 1. For those of you with children who attend the CFRC, I encourage you to reach out to CFRC Director Sherry Waugh for further details. 

    We have faced and embraced challenges that seemed unimaginable a few months ago. More challenges are ahead, including the need for significant modifications in how we teach and conduct our business. Substantial reductions in state funding are a virtual certainty. As difficult as our circumstances might appear to be, we are fortunate to have rewarding jobs at a wonderful institution that continues to fulfill its mission of learning, discovery, and engagement. A recent article in Inside Higher Ed sums up our situation well. The future of our students and our institution will be directly linked to the positive resolve with which we embrace this challenge. I urge you to contact new and returning undergraduate and graduate students to encourage them to continue their education at our University. For those of you who teach, I urge you to embrace the challenge of new modes of instruction whether it be fully or partially online.  

    Looking forward, there is simply no question in my mind that higher education in the U.S. will be irrevocably altered as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only time will tell precisely what the new reality for higher education will be, but I’m certain that we will be teaching in different ways and that we will have a much better understanding of the rich diversity of how students learn. We will think differently about how we design and make use of our teaching and workspaces.  The position and strength of our University in this new landscape of higher education will depend greatly on how we respond to and embrace the challenges and opportunities that face us now. I am grateful for all you have done and all you will do to assure that the University remains strong and vibrant now and into a bright future.

    Have a great summer and be well.


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Message to Faculty and Staff: March 25, 2020

    Dear Colleague:

    The University’s delivery of online instruction and many of its essential services remotely began in earnest on Monday. This has required a great deal of effort and in some instances has led to further questions as we navigate together an unprecedented time in our history. To help you stay informed of the latest developments this week, here are some important updates:

    Town Hall meeting

    A COVID-19 Online Town Hall Meeting, held through Zoom, will be held at 3 p.m., Friday, March 27. The Town Hall will take questions submitted from the campus community and will also feature updates from President Marc Johnson, Student Health Center Director Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, myself, and others. There is a 500-person limit to participate. Information about how to access the Town Hall will be made available tomorrow in a separate communication.


    No in-person commencement ceremonies will be held in May. Our regularly scheduled commencements for Spring 2020 will occur in a virtual fashion. Options for graduates to attend later ceremonies, such as the Winter 2020 Commencement or Spring 2021 Commencement ceremonies in person, will be considered.

    Building access

    The University continues to limit building access during alternative operations. There is no access by the general public, other than at certain University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine public health patient locations. Access to buildings on campus is available to faculty, staff and students who have their own building keys or keycards and who are attending to critical functions of the University. However, we strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to remain home until further notice. Contractors who are attending to critical infrastructure needs are also allowed.

    Course modality

    All for-credit courses will be delivered remotely for the remainder of the semester regardless of campus alternative operations. If Governor Steve Sisolak lifts the Stay Home For Nevada order on April 16, the University will maintain remote delivery of courses for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. No decisions have been made regarding instructional modality for Summer or Fall.

    Remote work for employees

    Although courses will be delivered remotely for the remainder of the year, this does not preclude the campus from opening for employees at the end of Gov. Sisolak’s directive of April 16. The University will make an assessment about returning employees to campus or other University locations at that time.

    Teaching & Learning Technologies

    As a reminder TLT continues to update and compile additional resources for transitioning to remote instruction, including instructional preparedness and FAQs. They have made use of every available resource we have on campus and continue to monitor numerous national organizations for best practices regarding quickly converting courses to online delivery, including three more “Online Delivery Q&A with IDT,” sessions this week, 10 a.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday, “WebCampus Q&A” 11 a.m. Thursday, and live “Zoom Training Sessions,” to complement the wealth of written materials found on their webpage, 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday of next week (March 31 and April 1).

    Course evaluations

    Student evaluations of teaching for the Spring 2020 semester will continue. We believe that student voices need to be heard, and that student feedback will be critical to our understanding of this unique, and hopefully once in a life-time, semester. However, potential negative reviews for courses will not be held against faculty in any review, or promotion and tenure decisions. We will ask faculty to reflect constructively on student comments, the course’s conversion to remote delivery, and instructional responsibilities.

    Promotion and tenure clock extensions

    The Nevada System of Higher Education has indicated that tenure-track faculty may request a one-year tenure clock extension as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no faculty member is required to request an extension. The pandemic will be considered an extenuating circumstance.

    • Tenure application due Fall 2020. For faculty scheduled to go up for tenure in Fall 2020 who wish to request an extension, please inform your Chair and Dean ASAP. Your formal extension request must be processed through your Chair and Dean and submitted to the Provost Office by April 30, 2020.
    • Tenure application due Fall 2021 or beyond. For faculty scheduled to go up for tenure in Fall 2021 or beyond, your formal extension request must be processed through your Chair and Dean and submitted to the Provost Office by April 1, 2021.

    Course grades and withdrawal deadline

    Faculty and instructors will submit grades online as always. We anticipate that we will provide students an opportunity to request changing their final grade to an “S” (Satisfactory) if they earn a D or better. As there are many potential implications associated with changing from a letter grade to an “S”, we will require students to consult with an academic adviser before making a request for an “S”. For graduate students, a B- or better is required for an “S”; C+ or lower is considered a “U.”

    Other accommodations to minimize risk for academic work such as suspending probation/dismissal processes and extending the date to drop with a “W” (Withdrawal) are in place. The “W” date for the semester is now April 10.

    Please remember that Proctorio, our remote proctoring service, charges the University by the number of exams proctored. We ask that you restrict your use of the service to high-stakes midterms and finals.

    Summer School

    Summer School will keep its current schedule. If the COVID-19 outbreak requires it, we will continue to use remote/online teaching modalities.

    Extended use of Start-up Funds

    All start-up packages ending on June 30, 2020 are now extended to September 30, 2020 due to COVID-19. We will continue to evaluate this date. For longer periods of time for reasons other than COVID-19 delays, please follow the normal procedure for requesting start-up package extensions.


    A sabbatical is an exciting and potentially transformative experience for faculty and we know that some sabbaticals have been disrupted. While no decisions have been made on current or future sabbatical disruptions we will work closely with the Faculty Senate and Deans to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on sabbaticals. The April 10, 2020 sabbatical application workshop will continue (by Zoom) and at this time applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are still due to the Provost Office by September 18, 2020.

    In closing, we are experiencing these events in real-time. I wish to encourage you all to visit for University and coronavirus information and updates. We realize that you have received many campus communications in recent days. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the University has been thoroughly updating the website and coronavirus FAQ with the most current information. Please use these resources as we move through the remainder of the spring semester. Thank you for all that you are doing.


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Perspective: February 5, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    I trust that you are settling into the rhythms of a new semester. As always, there is much going on. Below please find a few particularly significant informational items.

    Carnegie Engaged University

    I’m sure that you have heard by now, but good news is worth repeating. We were pleased to announce on Jan. 31 that the University of Nevada, Reno has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “Carnegie Engaged” university. Russell Stone, Brenda Freeman, Fred Holman, and Jane Tors played important roles in preparing the 80-page application to the Carnegie Foundation for this recognition. The University was among 109 campuses nationwide that submitted applications to be recognized as Engaged institutions for the first time, and we were pleased to be among the 44 whose applications were successful. This designation, along with the R1 research and US News & World Tier 1 classification, is further evidence of the evolution of our university. We have much to be proud of and even greater horizons ahead.

    Fred Holman is retiring

    Fred Holman, Vice Provost, Extended Studies and Community Engagement, recently informed me that he plans to retire at the end of this semester. Fred has provided excellent leadership for Extended Studies for the past 16 years and he will certainly be missed. He has been a tireless advocate for online education and community engagement. I consider him to be a personal friend and mentor. We will be hosting a send-off event for Fred and his wife Mary later this semester and will share particulars when we have them.

    Teaching excellence

    As I mentioned in my last letter to you, we are assembling a group of faculty who have taken the ACUE course and/or received teaching awards to explore how we can support and enhance excellence in teaching at the University. We had a great kick-off meeting on Dec. 19 that included over 20 faculty from across the University. Many excellent ideas were discussed. The group will be meeting for a second time on Feb. 14 and I am very pleased that Dr. Sarah Cummings has agreed to take a leadership role in working with the group to identify and prioritize initiatives to promote. Stay tuned for good things to come.

    Online education

    After 35 years of service to the University of Nevada, Reno, Kerri Garcia, Executive Director of 365 Learning, will be retiring in April of this year. We owe Kerri a tremendous debt of gratitude for her remarkable leadership in the educational classes and programs offered through 365 Learning. With this transition, we will be implementing some organizational changes in 365 Learning. In particular, Online Learning will be moved into the Provost’s Office, and a national search will be conducted for a Director of Online Learning. We will be looking for an individual to provide oversight and leadership for our online courses and degree programs throughout the university. In particular, we will be seeking an individual who has experience with launching undergraduate online degree programs.

    Farewell to Digital Measures

    We are continually striving to provide improved support for our faculty. Feedback from faculty in 2018 identified our current practices for faculty annual evaluation and Promotion and Tenure as laborious and consuming time and attention that could otherwise be spent on scholarly activities. In considering software for addressing these concerns, we prioritized ease of user experience, data migration and integration, interface with external scholarly databases and assistance with accreditation. To that end, we have engaged with Interfolio, a leading academic faculty management software and higher education technology firm, to improve our processes and workflow. Faculty180 will replace Digital Measures for academic faculty and support the integration of administrative faculty annual evaluation within a single system of record, while the component for Review, Promotion and Tenure (RPT) will allow us to standardize the P&T workflow. In calendar year 2020, we will focus on historical Digital Measures data migration and software integration (e.g. PeopleSoft, Workday and CollegeNet, which is used for course evaluations), and College of Business, School of Medicine and Cooperative Extensions will pilot Interfolio. Full campuswide implementation is scheduled for calendar year 2021.

    Academic Faculty Mentoring

    In the fall, Assistant and Associate Professors on campus were sent a survey asking for their feedback on mentoring. Of the 303 individuals sent the survey, 101 responded. Of those who responded, 44.6% indicated they were being mentored, and of those being mentored 84.4% indicated that it was beneficial at some level. The vast majority of respondents were at the Assistant Professor level. Awareness of access to tools available through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) was addressed in the survey. While many respondents expressed awareness of NCFDD resources made available through the University, few indicated that they had utilized them. Responses were broken out by unit/school/college and shared with the respective dean, with respondent identifying information removed. We intend to use the information collected in this survey to better mentoring effort and access to development resources for faculty.

    New departments

    I’m pleased to announce the birth of four new academic departments. First, after several years as a well-respected Program at the interface of several academic departments, the Gender Race and Identity Program is now an academic department within the College of Liberal Arts. GRI will continue to work closely with other University units on interdisciplinary scholarly and educational programs activities related to identity, culture, race, gender, and sexuality. Also, the College of Business Department of Managerial Sciences is dividing into three departments, Finance, Management, and Marketing. The umbrella Department of Managerial Sciences was created the same year as the College of Business, 1956, and along with the College, has experienced significant growth over the past several years. Our students and faculty will be better served by clearly delineating these three important disciplines. These changes will go into effect July 1, 2020.

    Best wishes for a productive and rewarding semester. The tulips will be blooming before you know it!


    Kevin Carman
    Executive Vice President & Provost

  • Provost's Perspective: December 18, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    Welcome to the end of another semester! Here are a few updates on what we’ve been up to over the last few weeks.

    Teaching Excellence

    I am consistently impressed by the commitment of our faculty to quality instruction. When we employ best practices in teaching, our students learn more and better and ultimately they are more successful. We are now in our fourth year of offering the ACUE course for tenure-track and instructional faculty, as well as a select group of graduate students. I recently sent a note of appreciation to faculty who are participating in this year’s cohort and was very pleased with the overwhelmingly positive comments I received back regarding their experience with the class. I have heard from several faculty about an interest in more formally promoting a culture of excellence in teaching. Accordingly, I asked a group of ACUE alumni, faculty who have received teaching awards, and representatives from TLT to come together to explore how we can leverage our existing resources and expertise to promote and support excellence in teaching. The response has been uniformly positive. We have our inaugural meeting on Thursday, and I am excited by what is to come … stay tuned!

    Promotion and Tenure

    ‘Tis the season for review of promotion and tenure packages. As we have grown as a university, the number of P&T cases has increased significantly. This year, we received 67 packages, which included 13 for promotion to full professor, 41 for tenure and promotion to associate professor, 11 for promotion of instructional faculty, and two tenure-only cases. This compares to a total of 25 P&T cases in the Fall of 2015. The volume of P&T cases has strained the capacity of the University P&T committee. Accordingly, following a recommendation from the Faculty Senate, we implemented for the first time this year a separate committee for non-tenure-track instructional faculty. The committee reviewed the 11 cases and forwarded their recommendations to me. We received some very constructive comments from the committee on how we can improve the review process and further promote professional development among our instructional faculty. In response to this feedback, we will be developing institutional guidelines for instructional faculty.

    Sabbaticals and Professional Development Leaves

    We awarded 27 sabbatical and professional leaves for the 2020-21 academic year. Reviewing these proposals is always a great opportunity to get a good sampling of the breadth, depth, and quality of the scholarly pursuits of our extraordinary faculty. During their leaves, faculty typically visit colleagues, facilities, archives, and research sites that span the nation and the world. Each fall, President Johnson and I enjoy hosting a luncheon for faculty who have just returned from their sabbaticals. It is always inspirational and impressive to learn about the scholarly accomplishments that are achieved during sabbatical leaves. If you are a tenure-track faculty member and are eligible, I strongly encourage you to submit an application for a sabbatical in the near future.


    ASUN senators approached me early this fall with a request to review our institutional policies and practices regarding the use of “clickers” in classrooms. It turns out that we don’t have any policies on the use of clickers. There are about a dozen or so different devices in use across campus at any given time. Some of the devices are free, but most come with some cost to students. It is not uncommon for students to be required to purchase licenses for multiple devices. Last week a group of faculty, ASUN representatives, and Wenzhen Li from TLT gathered to discuss our use of clickers and what might be done to standardize the technology that we use while reducing the cost to students. It was a lively discussion, and I learned a lot about clickers! I was impressed and encouraged by the commitment of faculty to employ best practices in pedagogy while being mindful of minimizing costs for students. We concluded the meeting by agreeing that we would pursue a request for proposals from clicker vendors with the goal of identifying a single platform for UNR. Students and faculty will participate in the review of potential clicker platforms. We hope to get this taken care of next spring with hopeful implementation for Fall 2020.

    RTC Virginia Street Project

    The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is planning a major roadway construction project that will impact the University of Nevada, Reno community. The RTC project will make significant changes on Virginia Street between 8th Street and the West Stadium Parking Complex beginning in April and continuing through November 2020. The project will improve safety and mobility and extend the RTC RAPID Virginia Line route to the University. The University will communicate routine updates as needed and has current construction information on the Facilities Services website. As the construction dates draw closer, RTC will begin providing regular construction updates that include more detailed information about construction activities, traffic control, and detours. To learn about the project, visit, email, or text Virginia to 797979.

    I hope that you will all be able to spend time with friends and loved ones or the holiday break while enjoying a bit of downtime. I look forward to seeing you next leap year!

    Sincerely, Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: October 30, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope that your semester is going well. Perhaps I’m just getting more sentimental as time passes, but it seems to me that the fall foliage this year has been particularly lovely. The autumn colors remind us that another semester has passed its midpoint and the holiday season will soon be upon us.

    Promotion and Tenure

    We have updated guidelines for “early consideration for tenure” on the Provost’s website. I encourage deans, department chairs and tenure-track faculty to read these revised guidelines. This year we have also revised the structure of our University promotion-and-tenure review process. In addition to our regular committee, we have appointed a separate committee that is charged with evaluating promotion packages for non-tenure-track instructional faculty. The committee, established following a Faculty Senate recommendation, is comprised of tenured faculty and senior instructional faculty. I believe that the new committee will help elevate the important contributions of instructional faculty to the fulfillment of our institutional missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.

    Testing Center

    Justin Kavanagh has done a nice job of launching the University Testing Center, which is located on the first floor of the William Raggio Building. In addition to providing a facility for standardized tests such as the LSAT, GRE, and Accuplacer, the Testing Center is a resource for faculty who would like to have examinations administered outside of regular class times. If you would like to learn how to schedule computerized exams, stop by the Testing Center to see Justin or drop him an email at


    It seems like just the other day that the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) renewed our accreditation. However, accreditation is a process that never really ends. On Oct. 14 and 15, we were visited by NWCCU representatives from Montana State University and Washington State University as part of our “mid-cycle review.” This was a rather informal review that included a day of meetings with University faculty and leadership. The reviewers were very complimentary of the University’s growth and accomplishments, noting in particular our designation as an R1 university, our impressive growth in graduation rates, professional development opportunities for graduate students, and NevadaFIT. While the review process was not for the purpose of providing formal recommendations, the reviewers provided clear guidance that our primary focus for improvement needs to be on assessing learning outcomes of our degree programs. This recommendation is timely as we are currently engaged with re-verification of course alignment with the 14 Core Objectives of the Silver Core Curriculum.

    Speaking of NWCCU and NevadaFIT, we recently learned that the University will receive the Beacon Award for Excellence in Student Achievement and Success at the 2019 NWCCU meetings in November. The award is in recognition of the impact of the University’s academic boot camp, NevadaFIT. Felicia Dewald, director of NevadaFIT, will accept the Beacon Award on behalf of the University, and she will be recognized for her exceptional leadership of the program.

    While it may seem over the top (even for me) to mention NevadaFIT in three paragraphs, the program has reached an important milestone. The College of Liberal Arts, the School of Community Health Sciences, the Reynolds School of Journalism, and the School of Social Work have all committed to making NevadaFIT a requirement for their incoming freshmen. With these commitments, all University colleges and schools require NevadaFIT for their incoming freshmen and thus NevadaFIT will be required for all incoming freshmen beginning in the Fall of 2020. This transition requires some significant scheduling and programmatic changes and we are working closely with Student Services to implement them.

    Graduate Programs

    With the approval of the Graduate Council, the Graduate School has implemented a number of recent policy changes including lowering the credit requirement for a non-thesis master’s degree from 32 to 30 units. In addition, all graduate programs requiring a doctoral dissertation must now hold a public defense of the dissertation that is advertised on the Graduate School’s events calendar. Find out more about these and other policy updates. The Graduate School has also updated policies regarding academic standing, probation and dismissal.

    Town Hall

    Save the date for Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 4-5 p.m. In an open dialogue – the first of a monthly Town Hall series – guest panelists will include Lydia Huerta Moreno, Gender, Race and Identity; Anthony Martinez and Ayanna Refelord, ASUN; Tamara Guinn, GSA; Sandra Rodriguez, Center for Student Engagement; and Donna Healy, Classified Staff representative; and Mary Dugan, General Counsel. This first town hall is titled "Free Speech, Tolerance, and Social Justice: Critical Perspectives." This series is meant to bring together different perspectives, experiences and University sectors to address the challenges that we are facing, seeking to establish a shared Action Plan. The dialogues are meant to allow for the University communities' active participation, so your input is invaluable. This town hall will be held in the Joe Crowley Student Union Great Room on the fourth floor. Finally, the University’s Bicycle Working Group, a subgroup of the Sustainability Committee, has received notice from the League of American Bicyclists that the University has renewed its Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University designation. Good news – now let’s go for platinum!

    Happy Halloween!

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: August 29, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    Well, it has happened again. Another trip around the sun and here we are, embracing the excitement and energy of a new academic year. I hope that you had a rewarding summer, including some time to relax and recharge.

    In his recent letter to the campus, President Johnson provided an excellent summary and update on what has transpired and where we stand regarding the Argenta explosion. I would simply like to give a tip of the cap to the countless number of individuals who stepped up when needed to get us through this challenge. Against all odds, Wolf Pack Tower is now housing 1,300 new freshmen and Howler Village is up and running. Well done! 

    New faculty

    Please join me in welcoming 85 new academic faculty who will be joining departments and schools across the University. These faculty are distributed as follows: seven College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; four University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, five College of Business, 25 College of Liberal Arts, 12 College of Science, three School of Community Health Sciences, one Reynolds Scool of Journalism, four College of Education, 13 College of Engineering, three University Libraries, one School of Social Work, and seven Orvis School of Nursing.


    Approximately 2,650 students participated in NevadaFIT this August. This was an increase of about 1,000 students relative to last year. The Colleges of ABNR, Business, Education, Engineering and Science all required NevadaFIT for their incoming freshmen this year. The kickoff ceremony in Lawlor was an amazing sight and experience. Approximately 900 of the NevadaFIT students were housed in Wolf Pack Tower. This turned out to be a good opportunity to “kick the tires” on the logistics of operating the residence hall and getting students to and from campus. Based on anecdotal discussions with students, mentors, and coordinators, it appears that we had another outstanding edition of NevadaFIT.

    My sincere thanks to Felicia Dewald (Director of NevadaFIT), college and school coordinators, faculty, mentors, and the good folks in Student Services for once again making this signature event a huge success for our incoming freshmen.

    Student Success

    As I mentioned in my letter last May, we will be focusing on student success at the level of individual programs during the coming academic year. I have asked deans to work with department chairs and faculty to review and analyze individual degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to determine what can be done to enhance degree-completion rates.

    This review will include: (1) Analysis of degree paths using Curricular Analytics to examine the complexity of degree paths and to remove unnecessary barriers to degree progression, (2) Use of Student Success Collaborative/Navigate (SSC) analytics to identify early indicators that a student may be on a path that is not likely to be successful. For example, the SSC analytics reveal that, in the absence of any intervention, approximately 20% of Computer Science majors who make less than a B in CS135 (Introductory Computer Science) ultimately complete a Computer Science degree. We will use SSC analytics for each of our degree programs and develop “campaigns” that provide focused advising for at-risk students, and (3) Review of graduate degree programs to assure that course requirements are appropriate. We also want to be sure that students are receiving appropriate advising and mentoring and that they are meeting clearly defined targets for progression.

    I note also that we are in the final year of our five-year contract with EAB, the company that sponsors the SSC platform, and during the coming year, we will seek your input on whether we should renew our contract.

    Online education

    Our offerings of online courses and degree programs have increased substantially over the past several years and even greater growth is anticipated. Current online-degree programs that reside in Nursing, Education, and Liberal Arts (Judicial Studies) are managed independently by those units. The online Executive MBA program in Business is managed by 365 Learning. Current (Social Work and Public Health) and future (Master of Accounting, Master of Business Analytics, and Master of Cyber Security) master’s programs are conducted through a partnership with Pearson and managed through the Provost’s office. We are also planning to offer our first undergraduate degree programs beginning in Fall 2020.

    In addition, there are many individual online courses that are offered through 365 Learning or by individual faculty. Several years ago, the University Curriculum Committee established policies to review and approve online courses to assure that best practices in online delivery were being followed. It is now time to bring our online courses and programs under one structure within the Provost’s office. Toward that end, I am asking Dave Shintani, David Zeh, and Kerri Garcia (365 Learning) to develop a plan for consolidation and coordination of online degrees and course offerings.

    Academic advising

    Between 2013 and 2018 we added 28 professional academic advisors, which reduced our student:advisor ratio from ~1000:1 to ~400:1. With the addition of four new advisors this fall, we are getting close to our goal of a 350:1, which is the nationally recognized standard for effective advising. As noted above, we have also made significant investments in the Student Success Collaborative/Navigate software, which is a powerful platform for effective student advising.

    Throughout the coming year, we will be developing a structure by which standardized best practices in advising will be developed and implemented campuswide. A central advising office will work closely with liaison advisors from individual schools and colleges to assure that all units are making full use of advising resources and to facilitate collaborative implementation and development of effective advising strategies. I also hope to establish a career ladder for advisors that will allow them to advance professionally within the University (there currently are no promotion opportunities for advisors).

    The coming year will be another important one as we grow and develop as a nationally and internationally respected research university that is committed to its mission of excellence in education and engagement with our local and statewide communities and partners. I wish you every success in achieving your professional goals as you inspire and educate our students.

    Please come out and cheer on the Wolf Pack this Friday in our home opener against Purdue! RTC is offering enhanced bus service for football fans during home games from downtown and Midtown Reno to Mackay Stadium.

    Thank you for all you do to make the University the great institution that it is. Have a wonderful fall semester.

    Sincerely, Kevin C.


  • Provost's Perspective: May 15, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    There is no mistaking where you are or the time of year when you see students taking photos around campus in their cap and gown, and the beauty of campus shines brighter than normal. Thank you for the amazing work by all who prepare to welcome thousands of visitors to our campus for Commencement. Our projections are that 3,201 degrees (551 graduate, 63 Med School and 2,587 undergraduate) will be awarded during the four ceremonies - now being held in Lawlor Events Center - beginning Thursday evening and ending Saturday morning. That is slightly more than last year’s record graduation of 3,137.

    I apologize in advance for the long letter that follows...but you have all summer to read it.

    We have made the decision to move the Department of Psychology to the College of Science. The move will become official on July 1, 2019. This decision was based primarily on the overwhelming sentiment from Psychology faculty that their research and educational programs align best with the College of Science. Deans Debra Moddelmog and Jeff Thompson and their respective team members have done an excellent job working together to assure a transition that is minimally disruptive to students and faculty. Please be assured that this move in no way impacts our commitment to support and grow the outstanding College of Liberal Arts programs in humanities, social sciences, and the arts. These programs are and will continue to be fundamental to the University’s collective mission of learning, discovery, and engagement.

    Following a January 2019 NSHE summit focused on student success, Chancellor Reilly and the Board of Regents have directed NSHE institutions to take action in two strategic areas. First, NSHE institutions have been charged with implementing co-requisite math and English classes for all new freshmen beginning in Fall 2021. There are abundant and compelling data from Complete College America that students who enroll in remedial math and/or English classes have a very low probability of completing a degree, regardless of whether they successfully complete the remedial classes. The success of these students increases significantly if they enroll in co-requisite classes, which are college-level math and/or English classes combined with additional remedial instruction. Dr. Chris Herald has been recognized nationally for his innovative leadership in developing co-requisite math classes, and the University currently offers co-requisite math and English classes. Last fall, more than 550 University students were enrolled in co-requisite math classes and approximately 300 were enrolled in co-requisite English. However, more than 900 students were enrolled in remedial math classes and approximately 200 were enrolled in remedial English. Beginning in Fall 2021, students who do not place into college-level math or English will be enrolled in co-requisite classes. Remedial math and English will no longer be offered. As you can imagine, this represents a significant challenge for us and other NSHE institutions. However, given our experience and leadership in co-requisite classes, I am confident that we will be successful in this transition.

    The second directive that came out of the January NSHE meeting on student success was a mandate to focus on student success at the program level. Chancellor Reilly has asked all NSHE institutions to prepare a report on program-level student success and outline program-specific plans to improve retention and graduation. Student-success metrics are typically discussed at the institution level (e.g., our current Fall-Fall retention rate for new freshmen is 81% and our current 6-year graduation rate is 57%). However, it should come as a surprise to no one that student success varies significantly among different degree programs. In response to Chancellor Reilly’s request, we are compiling program-specific retention and graduation rates and will be communicating them to deans. While the primary emphasis is on undergraduates, we will be generating comparable data for graduate programs. Deans will be asked to work with department chairs and faculty to discuss how student success can be improved. I expect this to be a significant topic of discussion in the 2019-20 academic year.

    On a related topic, the University has been participating in the APLU “Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success” initiative, the goal of which is to share best practices among comparable institutions to promote student success. We are in the “Western Land-Grants” cluster, which includes Colorado State Univ., Langston Univ., Montana State Univ., New Mexico State Univ., North Dakota State Univ., Oklahoma State Univ., South Dakota State Univ., Univ. of Idaho, Utah State Univ., and Univ. of Wyoming. We are currently exploring the use of a Curricular Analytics (CA) program developed by the Univ. of Wyoming to identify curricular bottlenecks that impact time to degree. As an initial test, all member institutions entered four-year curricular plans for four majors: Agriculture Sciences, Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, and Music Education. The software produces a Curricular Complexity score for each major, which takes into account “delay factors” (number of prerequisites required for a course) and “blocking factors” (the number of courses for which enrollment depends upon completion of an individual prerequisite course). A higher composite score represents greater complexity. Our complexity scores ranged from 71 for Psychology to 394 for Mechanical Engineering. While the analytics tool doesn’t include other factors such as GPA requirements that might contribute to program complexity, we found that it stimulates some very useful conversations around the rationale for curriculum design. Accordingly, we are going to ask all programs to enter their curricula into the CA software over the summer. We think that this will provide a useful talking point in our broader discussion of how to improve student success at our University.

    We recently wrapped up our third cohort of ACUE completers. I am very pleased to report that 83 faculty (out of 87 who started) and 27 graduate students (out of 28 who started) completed the course. General responses from participants were very positive. Our Office of Assessment is currently working with ACUE to quantitatively evaluate the impact of the ACUE course on student performance and course evaluations. Several briefing papers on the impact of ACUE at other institutions can be found on the ACUE website (scroll down on the landing page to find links to the reports). Going forward, there is enthusiasm for creating an ACUE Fellows program that would promote ongoing dialogue on best practices in teaching and would form an integral component of a broader initiative to support and promote excellence in teaching. Stay tuned.

    We have several new colleagues in leadership positions that have or will soon be joining us:

    • Dr. Donald Easton-Brooks will be the next Dean of the College of Education. Dr. Easton-Brooks is currently Professor and Dean of the School of Education at South Dakota State University and has an impressive record of leadership in education. Donald will assume the deanship on July 1, 2019.
    • Dr. Eloisa Gordon-Mora will begin her appointment as the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer on June 15, 2019. Dr. Gordon-Mora has a rich history of experience in higher education administration in general and in diversity and inclusion in particular. She comes to us from the Universidad Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico where she holds the title of Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Vice Chancellor.
    • Dr. Matthew Means will be joining us in June as the new Director of the Honors Program. Matt is an accomplished violist and comes to us from Fort Hays State University, where he developed and launched their honors program.
    • Dr. Clark Whitehorn will be the next Director of the University of Nevada Press. Dr. Whitehorn has more than 20 years of experience in academic publishing and is currently the Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor of the University of New Mexico Press. He will begin his appointment on June 20, 2019.
    • Dr. Jimmie Manning assumed his duties as Chair of Communication Studies in January of this year. He was previously at the University of Northern Illinois.
    • Finally, several new department chairs include K.D. Joshi, Chair of Information Systems (Washington State University); Joseph Squier, Art (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana), and Carolyn Warner, Political Science (Arizona State University).

    I would like to congratulate Neuroscience Academic Advisor Lindsey Forbes for being honored as an  Outstanding New Advisor Award Winner , selected by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising

    Audrey Casey holds a retirement plaque and stands between Marc Johnson and Kevin Carman.

    And finally, after 18 years of extraordinary service in the Office of the  Provost, Audrey Casey will be retiring later this month. She and her husband are anticipating some serious road trips in their travel trailer, but primarily Audrey is looking forward to spending more time with her granddaughter in Oklahoma.

    Best wishes, Audrey!

    Wishing you all the best for a relaxing and productive summer.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: April 4, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    I am pleased to announce that Dr. Donald Easton-Brooks has accepted our offer to serve as the next dean of the College of Education. He begins his new post at the University on July 1, 2019. Dr. Easton-Brooks comes to the University following a very successful tenure as dean of the School of Education at the University of South Dakota. He succeeds Dr. Ken Coll, who has served as College of Education dean since July 2013. In the summer of 2018 Dean Coll announced he would be returning to the College of Education’s faculty.

    Dr. Easton-Brooks brings extensive experience as dean and associate dean and has a strong record of promoting collaboration across the disciplines. He has served in numerous leadership roles in national and international education organizations and is highly regarded by his colleagues across the country. He has a strong record of promoting research productivity, both in terms extramural funding and scholarly publications. He leads by example through his excellent record of scholarly productivity and is an internationally recognized authority in equity and inclusion within the discipline of education.

    Dr. Easton-Brooks has been dean of the School of Education at the University of South Dakota since 2015. He was dean of the Colleges of Business and Education at Eastern Oregon University from 2013-2015, and was an associate dean in the School of Education from 2010-2013 at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has also held administrative and faculty positions at the University of North Texas and the University of Connecticut.

    Under Dr. Easton-Brooks’ direction, South Dakota’s School of Education has implemented a strategic plan that has led to national recognition of the school’s teacher residency program. This has in turn led to an increase in enrollment of 31% in undergraduate students and 11% in graduate students. After having never been previously ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, the school is now ranked 43rd in Online Education Programs and in the top third in Graduate Education.

    Dr. Easton-Brooks has extensive experience in budget management, overseeing major construction projects, developing relationships with businesses and communities, creating higher-education access programs for diverse student groups, planning in order to support a diverse university community, developing student-success systems, engaging in alumni relations and developing strategies for enrollment management. He has also excelled as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the areas of diversity and equity.

    Dr. Easton-Brooks’ research agenda has helped shape policies both in the United States and in African countries as well as in New Zealand, Germany and Australia. He is a section editor on “The Handbook of Teachers of Color” through the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and through his help in the introduction of the concept of “ethnic matching” to the field of education, has promoted the creation of a more diverse workforce in education. He is author of the just-released book, “Ethnic Matching: Academic Success of Students of Color”.

    While at South Dakota, Dr. Easton-Brooks has helped create campus-wide collaborations and partnerships that have furthered the School of Education’s reach. For example, he established new opportunities with the institution’s School of Medicine and School of Health in developing a Health Education and Medical Education doctoral degree. Fourteen of his school’s faculty members applied for national grants with schools and colleges across campus on topics such as biomechanics, neuroscience, STEM, learning science and mental health.

    Dr. Easton-Brooks received a B.A. degree in Sociology from Greenville University, his master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Colorado at Denver, and his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado at Denver.

    I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Dean Ken Coll for his excellent leadership. Since 2013, Ken has led the College of Education through a period that has seen sustained growth in its enrollment and research portfolio. He has been instrumental in establishing new innovate programs such as Nevada Teach and Pack Teach. Ken has implemented important structural changes that position the college for future growth. Dean Coll has developed strong partnerships with local and rural school districts, and has been strong leader and advocate for education throughout the state of Nevada. I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Coll for his exceptional service and in offering Dr. Easton-Brooks a very warm welcome to the University of Nevada, Reno and the northern Nevada community.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: February 27, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    Congratulations to all on the University of Nevada, Reno’s recent designation as an R1 university! This recognition is the product of many years of dedication by our University faculty, students and staff. It is an affirmation of our commitment to world-class research and scholarly activity and of our overall growth and maturation as a university. While it is appropriate that we pause and celebrate this recognition, the R1 designation should be thought of as a milestone on our continuous journey toward excellence in Learning, Discovery and Engagement. Onward and upward!

    Campus Climate Survey

    As you hopefully are aware, the University is participating in a Campus Climate Survey. The survey is open now through March 15. It will require about 20-30 minutes of your time and it must be completed in one sitting (it took me 25 minutes to complete it). Your participation in this survey is absolutely critical in order for us to accurately assess and understand our campus community. Your response will go directly to Rankin and Associates (the consultant who is assisting us with the Campus Climate Study) and will be completely confidential. Please accept my gratitude in advance for your participation in this wonderful opportunity to make our campus an even more welcoming and inclusive community.

    Testing Center

    I’m pleased to announce that Justin Kavanaugh has been hired to lead our new testing center. The testing center will be located on the first floor of William J. Raggio building and will provide computerized testing in support of University classes. The testing center is being established as a collaborative effort between Academic Affairs and 365 Learning. For those who wish to make use of it, the testing center will allow faculty an opportunity to administer computerized exams in a secure environment. This will allow faculty to devote more class time to instruction and it will provide students flexibility in scheduling exams within a time frame prescribed by faculty. Justin will be reaching out to deans and departments in the coming weeks to promote understanding of what the testing center will offer and develop an appreciation of how the center can best serve the needs of faculty.

    Honors Program

    I am pleased to announce that Dr. Matthew (Matt) Means has accepted our offer to be the next Director of the Honors Program. Matt established a new honors program at Fort Hays State University, where he is an associate professor of music (Matt is a violinist). Matt will join the University this summer. If you would like to contact him, he can be reached at

    Education Dean

    Four finalists for the next Dean of the College of Education have been identified. They will be participating in on-campus interviews from Feb. 25 through March 7. The four finalists are (1) Dr. Donald Easton-Brooks, professor and dean of the School of Education at South Dakota State University; (2) Dr. Melissa Burnham, professor and associate dean of the University of Nevada, Reno College of Education; (3) Dr. Daniel Robinson, professor and chair of the curriculum and instruction department at the University of Texas, Arlington; and (4) Dr. Dale Niederhauser, professor and associate dean of the College of Education, West Virginia University.

    Diversity and Inclusion Officer

    Four finalists for the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer will be visiting campus during the next couple of weeks. They are (1) Dr. Melanie Duckworth, associate dean of diversity and inclusion, College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Reno: public forum was Feb. 26, 1 p.m., JCSU Theatre; (2) Dwight Hamilton, J.D., Inclusion in Action, L.L.C. and former associate vice president for Equity and Title IX Coordinator, Northwestern University, public forum March 4, 1 p.m., DMSC 110; (3) Dr. Eloisa Gordon-Mora, director of special projects, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Ana G. Mendez University, public forum March 5, 1 p.m., MIKC Rotunda; and (4) Dr. Carolyn Dunn, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity, Central Michigan University, public forum March 6, 1 p.m., DMSC 110.


    On February 20, the Office of Marketing & Communications successfully started the rollout of our new University website, including new resource pages for Faculty & Staff and Students. More information about the site migration will be available on the Website Redesign page.

    Accessibility update

    Our digital infrastructure is undergoing a transformation similar to the transformation that made buildings accessible following ADA guidelines in the 1990s. For years, online content and the software used to build and access that content was created without consideration of accessibility to all. Now, it is becoming a standard and necessary part of making the ever-present digital world available to everyone.

    The University is dedicated to ensuring our online content and software is inclusive and accessible. We are making significant progress, but there are miles (or should we say gigabytes) to go. Tools are available at no cost to create or remediate online content in accessible formats. Training is offered through Teaching and Learning Technologies on how to use those tools, and annual training is required by policy for everyone who creates online content at the University.

    The new University website strives to meet the internationally recognized standard – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and AA) – for web accessibility that is common across higher education. Anyone who needs public-facing University-related web pages should contact the Office of Marketing & Communications. The University is required to ensure that all web content created by or on behalf of the University meets the web accessibility standards mentioned above. Additionally, procedures are in place to validate all software used throughout the University for meeting software accessibility standards. Those procedures include the allowance for exceptions when warranted. You can learn more on the Software Accessibility Procurement website.

    Over time, using the tools and following the processes will become second nature for everyone. There is a campus-wide Information and Communications Technology Accessibility Committee, chaired by Vice Provost Steve Smith, that works to make sure an inclusive university means an accessible university for all things digital.

    In closing

    As a closing note, I was saddened to learn that Wallace (Wally) Broecker passed away last week. Wally was an extraordinarily accomplished geochemist and oceanographer who is credited with coining the term “global warming.” His fascination with climate change was sparked when, while Wally was a graduate student in the 1950s, an anthropologist in Los Angeles convinced him to take a road trip to Pyramid Lake. The anthropologist was looking for helping in dating Native American artifacts at Pyramid Lake and Broecker was developing the then-new 14C dating technique. His findings suggested that Pyramid Lake was much deeper 10-15,000 years ago. He devoted his 65-year career to understanding the mechanisms that drive global climate change. If you are interested in a good read that provides a historical context for how our scientific understanding of global changed has evolved, I encourage you to read his book “Fixing Climate.”

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: December 17, 2018

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope you have had a productive semester. As you wrap up your final exams and grade reports, I’m sure that you are looking forward to a relaxing holiday break. I hope you have one!

    Here are updates on several important searches that are currently underway:

    • The search committee for the University Diversity and Inclusion Officer, co-chaired by Vice President for Student Services Shannon Ellis and Dr. Daniel Perez, will be conducting Skype interviews of a shortlist of candidates in January of 2019 and expect to conduct on-campus interviews of finalists early in Spring 2019 semester.
    • The search committee for the new Director of the Honors Program, chaired by Dean Greg Mosier, has identified four finalists who will be interviewing before the holiday break. Finalists will be interviewed on campus early in 2019.
    • Finalists for the Coordinator of the new Testing Center were interviewed last week and we hope to have the search completed very soon.
    • Finally, the search for the new Director of the University of Nevada Press is underway and we hope to have a candidate selected early in 2019.

    Summer Session funding model

    You may recall that the NSHE Board of Regents’ budget proposal included a recommendation to provide formula funding for STEM classes that are taught during the summer session. I have appointed an ad hoc committee to evaluate the potential implications of this revised funding model. The committee’s work has taken on added importance given that Gov. Sandoval has recommended the summer formula funding in his proposed budget. I met with the committee in late November to hear their preliminary assessment. During the Spring 2019 semester, the committee will be developing a set of recommendations on how to address three scenarios:

    1. impact of the summer 2019 implementation of a tuition-and-fee schedule that is the same as the regular academic year;
    2. a model for how to manage the approximately $2.85M in additional formula funds that would be generated based on the courses currently taught during the summer; and
    3. the HR, academic and fiscal implications of a significant expansion of summer course offerings.

    We will keep you posted as the committee’s recommendations come forward.

    Faculty Academic Leadership Program

    I was very pleased with the strong interest we received for faculty participation in the Faculty Academic Leadership Program (FALP). Twenty-two faculty members from across the spectrum of colleges and schools will participate in FALP next spring. I am grateful to Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Jill S. Heaton for enthusiastically agreeing to serve as the facilitator for FALP.

    Advanced Manufacturing Research Initiative

    I am also very pleased that we have successfully completed a process of identifying 35 positions that would be supported by new state funds if the legislature funds the Advanced Manufacturing Research Initiative (AMRI). While most positions would be in Engineering (16) and Science (8), most UNR academic units would also be allocated positions, i.e.: Community Health Sciences (3), Liberal Arts (2), Business (2), Journalism (2), CABNR (1) and Education (1). Governor Sandoval has included the full amount requested for the AMRI in his proposed budget, which is an important first step. If we are ultimately successful in securing this new funding, it will be transformative for the University and dramatically impact our ability to contribute to the rapidly evolving economy of Northern Nevada. We have authorized colleges/schools to initiate searches on 15 positions.

    University Arts Building

    Finally, I had the privilege of getting a sneak preview of the new Arts building one evening last week with President Johnson, Dean Moddelmog, Vice President John Carothers and a small group of donors who generously supported the project. While there is finishing work to be done, the building will clearly be an extraordinary new addition in support of our visual and performing arts programs. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities that will allow students and faculty to realize their full potential and will no doubt be a tremendous magnet for new talent. The evening was made extra special by a virtuoso cello performance from Dmitri Atapine.

    I wish you and your loved ones every happiness during the holiday season and throughout the New Year.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: October 12, 2018

    Dear Colleagues,

    It seems like just the other day that we launched the fall semester, and here we are almost at the midpoint. Fall is distinctly in the air and daylight savings time will soon retire for the season. “The painted ponies go up and down…”


    The search committee for the new dean of the College of Education has been appointed. School of Community Health Sciences Dean Trudy Larson will be serving as chair of the committee. The ad will be posted in November with an expectation of interviewing candidates in early 2019. The search committee for the new Director of the Honors Program has also been formed and is being chaired by College of Business Dean Greg Mosier. We have a strong pool of applicants and hope to be interviewing candidates in November.

    Testing Center

    The University has plans to open a Testing Center and is in the process of searching for the inaugural coordinator of the center. The Testing Center will be located on the first floor of Raggio (where the Math Center used to be). Its primary purpose will be to serve as a resource for our University faculty who wish to have their exams administered by computer outside of normal class times, allowing them to devote more class time to instruction. More details on how to make use of the Testing Center will be forthcoming.

    Formula-funding for Summer School

    As I mentioned in my previous letter, NSHE is proposing that the legislature provide formula funding for STEM classes taught in the summer. This would propel our University toward something resembling a three-semester model, which would have significant implications for virtually every aspect of our university operations. Accordingly, I have appointed a task force that will identify and recommend solutions for operations and standard practices that would be impacted. The committee will complete its work by May of 2019.

    Faculty Administrative Leadership Program

    During the spring semester of 2019 we will be offering a Faculty Administrative Leadership Program (FALP) that will provide guidance to academic faculty who are interested in pursuing administrative leadership opportunities (e.g., department chair, dean, provost, etc.). Details of FALP are being worked out but it will be modeled after the semester-long program conducted by Dean Jeff Thompson for College of Science faculty in 2014. Deans will nominate faculty from their colleges/schools and up to 20 total individuals will participate.

    Online education

    In addition to the 100 faculty and 25 graduate students who are participating in the full ACUE course, approximately 160 more faculty and graduate students are participating in the ACUE module “Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom.” My hope is that the dialogue among these ~285 educators will be a productive step forward in our ongoing commitment to promote scholarly discussions in an inclusive environment at the University.

    We have established a standing committee that is being charged with examining best practices in online education, both individual classes and degree programs. The committee is comprised of representatives from the many online degree programs across campus, Faculty Senate, 365 Learning and TLT. The committee will review our various offerings and make recommendations on issues such as testing to assure that we are maintaining high standards while also maximizing our potential for enrollment.

    Best wishes for a productive and rewarding semester.

    Advanced Manufacturing Research Initiative

    We received preliminary proposals from virtually all schools and colleges for tenure-track positions that would be made available if the 2019 legislature supports our Advanced Manufacturing Research initiative. The preliminary proposals requested approximately 60 positions. The review committee offered comments on the preliminary proposals, which I communicated to deans on Sept. 21. Final proposals will be due on Oct. 15. The review committee will make recommendations on the allocation of the anticipated 35 positions by Nov. 1. After discussing these recommendations with President Johnson, we will finalize a plan and use it to inform a narrative for the Advanced Manufacturing Research initiative, which will be shared with the University community and with legislators who are considering our proposal.

    Online accessibility forum update

    Mark your calendars, also, for Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 4-5:30 p.m. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee is hosting a campus community forum in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre to present a summary of actions and continuing efforts with online accessibility. As chair of the ICT committee, Steve Smith will present an overview of the University’s external audit, the resolution agreement between the University and the Office of Civil Rights, and then have members of the committee talk about work toward software, web and instruction content accessibility. The committee will be available for questions after the Online Accessibility Update Forum.

    Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Finally, if you’re interested in connecting your research or scholarly activity to industry or exploring commercialization, a number of resources and opportunities are available through Research & Innovation. The Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR) and the University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center—Powered By Switch are tangibly contributing to regional economic development and connecting to campus. Within NCAR, the Shared Research Facilities is a particularly applicable program. As the name implies, this program facilitates access to a number of our high-end laboratories and specialized equipment to faculty and students across the University, and to industry as well. At the Innevation Center, nearly half of the meetings are booked by faculty and staff and nearly half of the Makerspace usage is by University students. The Innevation Center desires to grow campus connections. Its programs and resources are free to faculty, staff and students. Enhanced support for commercialization and technology transfer is also available for those wishing to explore these opportunities for business partnership while also protecting discoveries. Please access the websites for these services to learn more.

    Best wishes for a successful second half of the semester.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: August 27, 2018

    Dear Colleagues,

    As Joni Mitchell sang, “The seasons go ‘round and ‘round…”… and here we are launching another academic year. I often tell friends that one reason I love my job is that I never get older so long as I don’t look in the mirror! Every year I am surrounded by another wonderful group of young scholars.

    Leadership changes

    Several leadership changes have taken place over the past few months and there are more to come. Dave Shintani started his appointment as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education on July 1, and Jill Heaton began her appointment as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs earlier this month. Additional changes over the summer include Debera Thomas starting her appointment as Dean of the Orvis School of Nursing and Shadi Martin assuming her role as Director of the School of Social Work. Please join us for a reception to meet Dr. Martin Monday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center Reading Room. On Sept. 18, we formally welcome Dr. Thomas at the Center for Molecular Medicine lobby at 4:30 p.m. Please join us for both receptions.

    Leadership searches

    Two significant leadership searches will be conducted this year. Ken Coll will return to the faculty on June 30, 2019, and thus we will search for a new dean of the College of Education. Tammie Valentine will be stepping down as Director of the Honors Program after 14 years of service and we will be searching for her successor this year as well.

    New scholarly entities

    At the June 2018 Board of Regents meeting, two new scholarly entities were formally approved. The Institute for Neuroscience will provide a nexus of research and collaboration for faculty across the University. Credit goes to Mike Webster, Psychology, for promoting the establishment of this institute.

    The Ozmen Center for Global Studies will provide structure for scholarly studies that address a broad range of research issues that have…well…global significance. The center is supported by a generous gift from Fatih and Eren Ozmen. Berch Berberoglu, Sociology, has worked tirelessly for many years promoting the concept of a global studies center.

    Summer registration fees

    In the summer of 2019, we will begin charging registration fees and tuition for summer sessions that are equivalent to what is charged during the regular academic year. We currently charge the equivalent of in-state registration fees in the summer, so this will have no impact on in-state students. Non-resident students will be paying the same tuition that they pay in fall and spring semesters. This transition is an important transitional step in anticipation of proposed legislation that would provide formula funding from the state for summer classes beginning in the summer of 2021. Over the coming year, we will be working with 365 Learning and the University budgeting team to modify our budgeting structure to accommodate this change.


    Approximately 100 University faculty are participating in ACUE, the Association of College and University Educators' online Course in Effective Teaching Practices. The program is designed to provide faculty with resources and techniques to be excellent educators. The course has been modified from last year and is now spread out over the entire academic year. This change was made based on feedback from faculty with the goal of allowing faculty more time to complete and reflect on the modules that make up the course. Under the leadership of David Zeh, we are also offering the ACUE course to 25 graduate students. We conducted a pilot program for graduate students last year, and the course was enthusiastically endorsed by the students. Finally, please note that we will be offering one of the ACUE modules - “Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom” - to all faculty this fall. More information will be forthcoming, but faculty will be able to sign up for the course during the week of Oct. 1, and then participate in the module from Oct. 8-22. Please put this on your calendar and plan to join the University community in this important opportunity.

    International students

    We have reengaged in our goal of recruiting more international students to the University of Nevada, Reno. We have a promising agreement with USAC that would potentially bring several undergraduate students from China, and we are renewing discussions with possible “pathway provider” companies that would recruit undergraduate and graduate students from around the world.

    Advanced Manufacturing Research

    Last week, we issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to deans for tenure-track faculty positions in the broad area of Advanced Manufacturing Research. This RFP is in anticipation of an enhancement proposal that will be submitted to the Nevada legislature for consideration in the 2019 session. The enhancement proposal requests 15 faculty positions in the coming biennium and an additional 20 positions in the FY22-23 biennium. The proposal also requests funding for 55 graduate research assistantships and 10 administrative and technical staff positions. Preliminary proposals will be due from the deans on Sep. 14 and final proposals on Oct. 15. Our goal is to have searches launched before the end of 2018.

    I wish you all the best for a rewarding and productive year.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: April 10, 2018

    Dear Colleagues,

    It is that wonderful time of year when we have the opportunity to recognize outstanding members of our faculty. I’m pleased to announce that four faculty members have been named Foundation Professors. They are George Bebis (Computer Science and Engineering), Michael Branch (English) Wendy Calvin (Geology and Sciences and Engineering), and Peter Weisberg (Natural Resources and Environmental Science). All four of these individuals have truly distinguished records of scholarship, teaching and service to the University of Nevada, Reno and their profession.

    The F. Donald Tibbitts Award is a long-standing tradition at the University that recognizes faculty for excellence in teaching. Faculty are nominated for this award by their peers and recipients are recommended by a faculty committee after an extensive review process. This year’s recipients are Dianna Townsend (Education) and Shannon Richard (Nursing). We also have a new teaching award this year, the Judy and Paul Bible Excellence in Teaching Award. Students nominate faculty for this award, and nominees are reviewed by a committee comprised of faculty and students. The inaugural recipient of this award is Candice Bauer (Engineering).

    All of these outstanding faculty will be recognized at this year’s Honor the Best ceremony, held Tuesday, May 15, from 3-5 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Milt Glick Ballrooms.

    Orvis School of Nursing Dean

    After many years of distinguished service, Patsy Ruchala will be retiring as Dean of the Orvis School of Nursing. She leaves the school in excellent shape and poised for even greater things to come. I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Debera Thomas will be the next Dean of the OSN. She comes to us from Northern Arizona University and has a distinguished record of leadership, scholarship and teaching. She will begin her appointment July 1, 2018.

    Classified Employee Family Opportunity Program

    The University is pleased to announce The Classified Employee Family Opportunity Program for spouses, domestic partners and dependents of our classified staff. This program, which will pay a portion of the base registration fee for University courses, will begin in the fall 2018 semester. It is the culmination of a long effort by University and the leadership of the Staff Employees Council (SEC) to broaden educational opportunities for the families of the University’s classified staff. For specific questions related to this benefit, visit the Human Resources website.

    Changes in the Provost's Office

    As you have probably heard by now, both Vice Provost Stacy Burton and Vice Provost Joseph Cline have announced their plans to retire from the University at the end of this summer. Their contributions to the institution have been enormous, and they will be missed greatly. We are now in the process of identifying their replacements. Read the position descriptions to find out more. A search committee consisting of a broadly representative group of administrative and academic faculty will begin reviewing applicants for these positions next week. I’m grateful to Fred Holman for chairing the search committee.

    Nevada State Undergraduate Journal

    Earlier this spring, I met with undergraduate student leadership from the University and UNLV regarding our aspirations to be recognized as Carnegie R-1 universities. These impressive young scholars are fully committed to this goal and want to be sure that undergraduate students have an active role in achieving it. University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV students collaboratively manage the Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal, a peer-reviewed annual publication. If you are mentoring an undergraduate who is conducting scholarly research, please encourage them to consider submitting a manuscript of their work to the NSURJ.


    Accessibility is a top priority across the University of Nevada, Reno on many fronts. One of those fronts is accessibility of online content and services for all students, employees and the public. This is a constant struggle, as older material may be in a digital format inaccessible to all. Newer technologies offer innovative ways to present content but may not accommodate access by every person regardless of ability.

    Over a year ago, the University came to a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights as a result of an anonymous complaint of inaccessible online content. A large cross section of University staff has been working diligently since that agreement to improve access for all. An external audit revealed specific areas in need of attention. From that audit, a Corrective Action Plan was developed. It was approved by the University Information and Communication Technology Accessibility Committee and approved by the Office for Civil Rights in March 2018. The plan is now being implemented. It includes, among other aspects, training, remediation of inaccessible content, compliance guidelines for new content and timelines to complete the corrective actions. Regular reports on progress are to be submitted to the Office for Civil Rights.

    It is important that every faculty and staff member become familiar with the new policy and procedures in place to make the University’s online environment accessible to all. Information concerning this can be found on the Accessibility and Technology web pages.

    I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring weather!

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: January 29, 2018

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope you had a restful and enjoyable break and are recharged for a great semester. Below, I offer some news and updates on what is happening at the University.


    We won’t have final enrollment numbers until census day (Feb. 2) but our spring enrollment is looking strong and bit above projections. Freshman Fall-Spring retention rates are particularly strong (~93%). Retention of the 1337 freshmen who participated in NevadaFIT is 95% while retention for students who didn’t participate in NevadaFIT is 91%. I’m particularly encouraged that Ph.D. enrollment is up approximately 4% compared to spring 2017. This is an important leading indicator toward our goal of achieving R1 classification.

    Student Success Collaborative

    Derek Furukawa recently hosted a half-day retreat during which academic advisors from several colleges and schools provided examples of how they are using the Student Success Collaborative (SSC) advising software to improve undergraduate student outcomes. I was impressed by the creative and impactful ways that SSC is being employed. It was noted that early interventions could be greatly improved if we had the ability to capture mid-term exams and grades in SSC. Further discussion revealed that we do not have a clear mechanism for reporting mid-term grades or for routing them to SSC if they were reported. We feel that the challenges can be overcome and we have established an ad hoc committee consisting of folks from IT, TLT, Records and Registration, and Mathematics and Statistics Faculty to work on the problem. Stay tuned for further developments.

    First-generation students

    In an effort to bolster our recruitment and retention of first-generation students, Student Services is looking to launch an initiative to identify faculty members who were also first-generation students. We define “first-generation” as a student whose parent or guardian never graduated from a college or university. First-generation faculty could serve as inspiring role models for students who are navigating the path of being the first in their family to obtain a college education. Here’s a great example at the University of California system of what we hope to accomplish. I believe this program will give us an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with these students and increase their chances of success at the University of Nevada, Reno. If you were a first-generation student and would like to be involved in some manner through our expanding diversity initiatives, please respond directly to Dr. Shannon Ellis, VP Student Services. There will be opportunities for engagement through print and digital formats. The level of your engagement will be an individual choice, but I believe there’s value in compiling this list and sharing your stories with our students.

    Merit raise survey

    A recent survey conducted by the Faculty Senate revealed that a majority of faculty would like to see a change to the current University system of awarding merit raises. About half of those who voted for a change preferred awarding merit based on a simple percentage rather than a fixed-value merit step, and about half preferred a system that was a “hybrid” that included a combination of a fixed-value raise with a percentage raise. Thus, over half of the respondents expressed a desire for a merit-raise system that was based partially or entirely on a percentage basis. Accordingly, I have submitted to the Faculty Senate a plan for revising how merit is awarded. The proposed plan would be a hybrid model that would use fixed merit-step values to determine 45% of the raise (essentially the same as the University's current policy), 45% of the raise would be determined based on a percentage of each unit’s salary pool, and 10% of the raise pool would be allocated to unit leaders (e.g., deans or vice presidents) to be used at their discretion to address issues such as exceptional performance, equity, compression and retention. The plan would eliminate the need to for each unit to have an average merit score of 2.5. I look forward to getting input from the Faculty Senate on the proposed modifications.

    International student recruitment

    Many of you know that we have committed to increasing our enrollment of international students and have been negotiating with INTO, a “pathway provider” company, over the past year to assist us in that effort. Much has changed during the last 12 months and universities across the nation are seeing significant declines in enrollment by students from other countries. International enrollments in Canada and Australia are soaring. The tragic shootings in Las Vegas earlier this year tarnished the reputation of the state of Nevada with many international students. As a result of these changes in the market, INTO informed us early this month that they would not be further pursuing a partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno. While this is disappointing, we remain committed to enhancing our recruitment of international students and will be charting a new path over the coming weeks. Through our discussions with INTO, we learned a lot about the landscape of recruiting international students and how pathway-provider companies are structured. We have developed pathway curricula for several undergraduate and graduate degree programs and have identified and addressed several institutional challenges associated with recruitment of international students. In short, we are now much better prepared to move forward with recruitment and retention of international students. We are looking into a possible partnership with USAC to recruit international students and in the coming weeks will make decisions on if and how we want to engage with a different pathway provider. I am grateful to the many faculty and staff who have worked hard on this initiative – you have my assurance that your efforts will not be wasted.

    Best wishes for a productive and rewarding semester.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: October 25, 2017

    Dear Colleagues,

    We are midway through the fall semester, and as always, we wonder how it has gone so quickly. This has been a particularly challenging semester as we have faced and dealt with many social challenges at the local, state, and national level. I’ve been pleased to see how our students, faculty, and staff have embraced these challenges with constructive dialogue and meaningful actions. It is a process that is never finished, but we are stronger and better for regular reaffirmation of our core values and principles.

    I offer a few updates on select initiatives that we are working on during this academic year:

    The Silver Core

    The Silver Core originated from the deliberations of the General Education Task Force, which then-Provost Johnson created in Fall 2010. In Spring 2012, the GETF proposed two alternative general education programs (Silver and Blue). Those were refined in Fall 2012 under the direction of Provost Hardy. In Spring 2013, following two votes of the faculty, the University chose to change its general education program and selected the Silver Core proposal. Then the hard work began to make it happen. Elliott Parker came in as Core Director in summer 2013, and he oversaw the Core through the transitional period leading to the launch of the Silver Core in Fall 2016. The Silver Core includes 14 “Core Objectives” that describe the attributes and competencies that all University of Nevada, Reno graduates should possess when they graduate.

    At President Johnson’s President's Council retreat this past August, we reviewed the Silver Core and discussed its value and significance. Everyone came away impressed and inspired by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the Silver Core. This enthusiasm prompted us to feature the Silver Core in the Opening Ceremony for new freshmen. Students, faculty, and regents took turns reading aloud each of the core objectives. It was wonderful way of communicating to new students and to the entire University community our commitment to comprehensive liberal-arts education.

    When the Silver Core was drafted, it included an explicit understanding that it would be a living document, one that could and should be updated and modified as appropriate to remain relevant to evolving societal and economic conditions. Core Objective 10 specifies that “Students will demonstrate an understanding of diversity through courses that focus on topics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, physical ability, language, and/or social class with an emphasis on the analysis of equity.” Largely in response to ongoing dialogue with students, we have come to appreciate that meeting CO-10 doesn’t necessarily assure that students are exposed to issues that address contemporary issues of diversity. Further, many CO-10 courses that addresses contemporary diversity issues are 300- or 400-level courses that have prerequisites and are thus not readily available to all students. Accordingly, the Core Board – currently chaired by Dr. Sarah Cummings – is addressing this issue.

    This fall, we commissioned a special Core Diversity Task Force to develop Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that articulate “Contemporary and US-focused Diversity and Equity. he task force (Ed Keppelmann, Jen Hill, Albert Lee, Deborah Boehm, and ASUN representative Precious Gbenjo) has completed its work, and its recommendations will be used as criteria to evaluate course proposals for mini-grants for faculty who wish to modify existing courses, or create new courses, that address current diversity topics. The expectation is that these courses will be taught during the 2018-19 academic year and going forward. The goal is to provide opportunities for all students to satisfy CO-10 requirements with courses that address contemporary topics of diversity and equity. Further, we are also in the process of hiring four new faculty who will have appointments with the Gender, Race, and Identify (GRI) Program

    The Core Board is also reviewing our policies for meeting the Quantitative Reasoning (CO-2) requirement. This discussion is in line with a national dialogue, led be the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, Austin, which advocates that colleges and universities should more closely align mathematics and quantitative skills with a student’s chosen field of study. For most STEM disciplines, college algebra leading to calculus is appropriate. However, social sciences, humanities and some professional disciplines may be better served by other quantitative competencies, such as statistical analysis.

    Finally, the Core Board is exploring potential options for elevating the status of and rebranding the Silver Core into a comprehensive “contract” that describes a University of Nevada, Reno graduate. It could be a useful document for engaging with employers and stakeholders to facilitate ongoing dialogue of how our curriculum can and should continuously evolve to meet the needs of rapidly changing socio-economic conditions and career opportunities. To assist in this endeavor, Reynolds School of Journalism’s Bob Felton’s Marketing class will use the Silver Core as a case study in the spring semester. We look forward to seeing what his students come up with!

    Accessibility update

    On July 1, 2017, new accessibility compliance policy and procedures went into effect. The policy and procedures are designed to ensure our information and communication technology (ICT) is accessible for all individuals. ICT broadly applies to all equipment and technology, from websites to PDFs, software to instructional content. Every division and college is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and resolving accessibility issues.

    Please be on the lookout in the next few weeks for more detailed information that will be shared campus-wide, as well as informational forums that will be scheduled to explain the support and resources available, as well as provide a forum to ask questions.

    Child care

    After a thorough process of exploring potential options for expanding child-care capacity on campus, it has become clear that partnering with a third-party provider is not a viable option. Such a partnership would not be financially viable and it would not be conducive to expansion of capacity by the Child and Family Research Center. I would like to thank Tom Judy, Ron Zurek, Sheri Waugh and Melissa Burnham for their investment of time in energy in helping us explore possibilities. We remain committed to finding a way to expand child-care capacity for our campus community and will be considering other options to achieve this goal.

    Contrary to persistent rumors, it’s important to reemphasize the University has never considered or intended to close or negatively impact the CFRC. There are no changes intended for the program, as we truly understand and recognize how vital this program is to our campus and the community.

    Pack Provisions

    The University community values all of its students, faculty, staff, and their families. We know that some of them face chronic or transient challenges with simply having sufficient food and other necessities. In the response to this need, the ASUN Center for Student Engagement has established and runs the Pack Provisions program, which seeks to support all members of this learning community and their families. The program offers short-term assistance with food, daily hygiene items and school supplies free of charge so that no one has to go without.

    However, some feel uncomfortable, ashamed or afraid of coming in to request assistance. Since people must self-identify and request assistance from Pack Provisions, many instead end up skipping meals or going without daily essentials. In fact, the 2016 Wolf Pack Civic Community Assessment found that while 26% of University of Nevada, Reno students experience food insecurity sometimes or often, only 14% of respondents answered affirmatively that they would be the type of student to accept assistance. We hope to eliminate this stigma.

    Please encourage any University students, faculty, or staff who are experiencing challenges related to food, clothing, school supplies or other everyday items to contact Pack Provision at or visit Pack Provisions in the ASUN Center for Student Engagement, 3rd floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union. For more information on Pack Provisions including hours and how to get involved, visit the Student Engagement website.


    We are engaged with active discussions with INTO (an independent organization focused on expanding higher education opportunities for students worldwide) as a partner to enhance enrollment of international students in undergraduate and graduate programs. This is a complex, long-term relationship that involves virtually every segment of the University. We are making good progress and are hopeful bring the contract to the Board of Regents for approval in February 2018.

    Kevin C.

  • Provost's Perspective: August 30, 2017

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer and are energized for another great year at the University of Nevada, Reno. As we embark on a new academic year, it is appropriate to reflect on our guiding principles as described in our strategic plan. Below, I have copied the Vision and Mission statements, as well as the Values that are in our strategic plan:


    The University of Nevada, Reno’s vision is to educate and graduate the best prepared, confident leaders for the state, national, and global community; to be a nexus for research and creativity that focuses on the vital issues of our time; and to serve as a catalyst for the betterment of our society.


    Inspired by its land-grant foundation, the University of Nevada, Reno provides outstanding learning, discovery, and engagement programs that serve the economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs of the citizens of Nevada, the nation, and the world. The University recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion, and accessibility.


    In all of its activities, the University is guided by the following values:

    • Excellence in all of our endeavors.
    • Integrity in all our actions.
    • Inclusiveness of diverse cultures and identities.
    • Collaboration between disciplines and programs and with community partners and stakeholders.

    Given the challenges that we have faced as a nation and as a university in the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, it is appropriate that we remind ourselves of our deep and fundamental commitment to being a university that celebrates and embraces diversity and provides a welcoming and nurturing environment for people of every race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and national origin. This is who we are and what we are about.

    Below are some updates on happenings around campus.

    International students

    We informed you last year that we were pursuing a possible partnership with a private company to assist us in recruiting international students. After talking with three companies, we decided to pursue a partnership with INTO. INTO representatives have made several visits to the University over the past few months to meet with administrative and academic faculty and we are in the process of detailed discussions with other INTO partners (e.g., Oregon State, Washington State, Colorado State, and the University of Alabama, Birmingham) to learn from their experiences. I believe that this partnership will bring much-needed international diversity to both undergraduate and graduate programs, and it has the potential for significantly enhancing revenue to support our growth and evolution as a research university. I’ll be discussing this venture with the Faculty Senate on Aug. 31, and hope to host an open forum on the INTO partnership sometime in September.


    This fall, approximately 50 faculty are participating in the ACUE course, which is “a high-quality, research-based, comprehensive, and scalable program to credential faculty in the evidence-based teaching practices necessary for student success.” Another 50 faculty will participate in the course in spring 2018, and we anticipate that approximately 100 faculty will take the course on an annual basis going forward. A special thanks to Prof. Beth Ledger, and Prof. Lynda Weist for serving as facilitators this fall. Dean David Zeh has also worked with ACUE and put together condensed version of the course that will be offered to approximately 50 graduate teaching assistants this fall.

    Electronic textbooks

    The business of textbook publishing is rapidly changing. Many University faculty have for some time been using textbooks that include supplemental online materials. Last year, we were successful in obtaining changes to NSHE policy that allow faculty to use digital textbooks that are directly linked to their classes through Canvas. Students have the opportunity to opt-out of digital text and obtain a printed text if that is their preference. The digital textbooks are substantially less expensive than traditional printed textbooks. The Nevada Wolf Shop successfully piloted the implementation of digital textbooks last spring and summer. Nine University faculty have opted to use digital course material for fall 2017. If you have an interest in learning more about digital textbooks and teaching materials, please contact Steve Dubey in the Wolf Shop.

    Kevin C.