Santa Clara University


Provost's Office News & Events


Provost's Office News & Events

Provost's Office News & Events

  •  Mass of the Holy Spirit - Class Cancellation

    Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015

    At the beginning of each academic year, the Santa Clara University community celebrates the Mass of the Holy Spirit. As a University community rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, many of us call on the Spirit of God to be with us in all our works, activities, and endeavors. While the Mass is a Roman Catholic liturgy, we honor the diversity of faith perspectives within our community, and we welcome one and all to join in the celebration.

    This fall, the Mass of the Holy Spirit will be celebrated at noon on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, in the Mission Church. To enable the campus community to attend the Mass, classes will not meet between 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. that day. Classes that usually meet from 11:45 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. will be cancelled. Classes scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. will begin at 1:15 p.m.

  •  Open Forum on Faculty Compensation

    Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015

    On May 27th, the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Vice President for Finance and Administration sponsored an open forum on faculty compensation. Discussion topics included guiding principles for faculty salary planning, housing assistance, and implementation of salary adjustments for merit, promotion, market, and equity. The slides are available in the Faculty Affairs Committee’s shared drive.

  •  Welcome to New Deans

    Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015

    Three new deans begin their terms of service this summer. Debbie Tahmassebi, former Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Chemistry at the University of San Diego, has been appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University, effective June 15, 2015.

    Tahmassebi has served, at the University of San Diego, as associate dean of program development in the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and special assistant to the Provost. Her contributions there included the development and support of new College programs and initiatives, oversight of assessment efforts, expansion of undergraduate research, and record growth in sponsored programs. In 2012-13, she was selected as an American Council of Education Fellow to work with President David Burcham at Loyola Marymount University. More information is available in the University’s official press release.

    Caryn Beck-Dudley, Dean of the College of Business at Florida State University, has been named Dean of the Leavey School of Business. Her appointment will begin on August 1, 2015. A well-established scholar in employment law and the design of ethical organizations, Beck-Dudley has served as dean of two major business schools over the past 13 years. At Florida State University she developed a compelling strategic plan for the business college, expanded its entrepreneurship and analytics programs, established novel programs for veterans, and led an ambitious fundraising campaign for a new building. With expertise across business, law, and ethics, Dean Beck-Dudley brings a remarkable record of strategic leadership, innovative program development, and fundraising success to the Business School. Her extensive experience will be invaluable as Santa Clara University enhances its engagement with Silicon Valley. More information is available in the University’s official press release

    Carol Ann Gittens, former Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and associate professor in the Liberal Studies program, began serving as interim dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology on June 15, 2015. Gittens has directed SCU’s undergraduate pre-teaching advising program as well as the interdisciplinary minor in urban education. From 2007-2012, Gittens was founding director of SCU’s Office of Assessment. She held a leadership role in SCU’s efforts related to accreditation, established new methods of evaluating institutional effectiveness and student learning, and designed and managed a multi-year, assessment plan for the revised Core curriculum.

    A search for the next dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology is underway. Committee members include:

    • Ujala Akram (Assistant Dean for Marketing/Enrollment Management, ECP)
    • Marco Bravo (Associate Professor, Education)
    • Lisa Goldstein (Professor, Education)
    • Harold Hoyle (Lecturer, Education)
    • Peter Pabst, S.J. (President of Cristo Rey School in San Jose)
    • Teri Quatman (Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology)
    • Ed Ryan (Vice Provost for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness)
    • Jerry Shapiro (Professor, Counseling Psychology)
  •  Classrooms and Construction

    Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015

    As announced in the Provost’s update in December 2014, new construction across the street at 455 El Camino (Guadalupe Hall) will provide 15 classrooms for the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and for Graduate Engineering. This will free up some general use classroom space for undergraduates and allow the University to create some new classroom space in the Engineering Center. The new Art and Art History building (scheduled to open in fall 2016) will provide 5 additional classrooms beyond the current total for general campus use. The Fine Arts building currently occupied by Art and Art History will be upgraded and maintained temporarily for classroom use until more classrooms are available through new construction.

    As you know, several classrooms have been designed or redesigned for greater flexibility and enhanced technology over the last three years.  Redesigned classrooms include Kenna 109 and 308; O’Connor 110, 204, and 210; Graham 163 and 164, Varsi 114,  Engineering 602, and Alumni Science 220.  (Varsi and the two Grahams were new classrooms). This summer three new classrooms will be created:  two in the former Frugal Innovation Lab and one in Engineering 101, the former Graduate Engineering Office. As we upgrade current classrooms and plan future classrooms to meet the University’s needs, the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Learning Spaces will continue to provide ideas and feedback on classroom needs and features. A complete list of the members of the Committee on Learning Spaces is online.

  •  STEM Leadership

    Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015

    Over the course of the 2014-15 academic year, the University engaged in visioning and programming for the STEM project. The visioning process, which occurred in fall of 2014, produced a bold, distinctive vision statement for a STEM Initiative and STEM Complex; STEM Initiative guiding principles, and principles and boundaries for the STEM Complex. 

    The programming process, which began in winter 2015 and will conclude shortly, aims to translate the ideas that emerged from the visioning stage into a detailed space program that supports the vision and strategy statements.
    In the 2015-17 academic years, the University will develop an implementation plan for the STEM initiative; work with a design firm to develop facility plans for the STEM complex; and engage in fundraising efforts to support the realization of the STEM vision. Additional work to develop appropriate facility and resource management models will begin this summer.
    Leadership for the STEM project over the 2015-17 academic years will include four committees: 1) executive committee, 2) vision implementation committee, 3) advisory committee on facility design, and 4) fundraising committee. Chairs of committees 2-4 will work together to collaborate and coordinate activities. A working group will research and recommend resource and facility management models. A complete list of committee members is on the STEM2020 site.
  •  Record High Undergraduate Retention Rate

    Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

    Santa Clara’s official retention rate (first year students who return for their second year) has set a new institutional record. For the cohort entering in fall 2013 (Class of 2017), 96.2% of the students returned to Santa Clara for their sophomore year. The previous record high, of 95.2 percent, was set for the 2011 cohort returning in fall 2012.

    Many thanks to the dedicated faculty and staff who support our first-year students and help them achieve their academic and personal goals.

  •  Rhodes Scholar’s Success a Testament to SCU Faculty and Staff

    Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

    Aven Satre-Meloy, Class of 2013, was recently awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, just two years after winning a Fulbright Award to teach and do research in Turkey. The third Santa Clara University alumnus to win the award, Aven graduated summa cum laude with degrees in in political science and environmental studies and was awarded the Nobili Medal, which each year goes to the male graduate judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the University. In many ways, he embodied the best elements of a Santa Clara education—rigorous academics and  experiential education outside the classroom, all enriched by a passion for social justice.
    Aven’s achievements have already begun to inspire current students to see themselves as potential Fulbright Fellows and Rhodes Scholars. Aven recently met with the Johnson Scholars and talked with them about how his experiences at the University made him a competitor in the prestigious fellowship programs. During his time at the University, he studied abroad in Turkey, served as a peer educator with One in Four—a sexual violence prevention program—and as a Community Facilitator, a member of the Associated Student Government, and a Hackworth Fellow in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Aven may be most remembered as a key change agent in the development of a new University Honor Code.

    In addition to Aven’s account of his educational opportunities, Aven’s application for the Rhodes Scholarship required 8 letters of recommendation from faculty and staff.  Letters written by Christopher Bacon, David Decosse, Matthew Duncan, Dennis Gordon, John Farnsworth, Leslie Gray, Tedd Vanadilok, and a faculty member in Turkey complemented the institutional letter provided by Leilani Miller and Stephen Carroll. Faculty and staff from several departments also helped him prepare his application materials and practice for the interview portion of the competition.

    Since the Office of Student Fellowships opened in 2005, the University has seen a significant increase in the number of students and alumni who have won prestigious fellowships and scholarships. Of the four alumni who became finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, three applied between 2009 and 2014. The other alumnus advanced to the finals and received the Rhodes in 1955.
    The Office of Student Fellowships was conceived by Richard Osberg (then Director of the University Honors Program) in consultation with a group of faculty and staff, and is currently directed by Leilani Miller. The office has focused its efforts on working directly with students to raise awareness of scholarship and fellowship opportunities and to help them prepare for the competitions. In the coming months, Leilani and her team will develop a series of workshops for faculty to help them think about how they might coach students who are interested in pursuing fellowships and to share strategies for writing strong letters of recommendation for grant and fellowship competitions. Dates and times will be announced in January.
    With Aven Satre-Meloy’s achievement we have much to celebrate in the community effort that nurtured Aven during his time at SCU and in the exceptional individual that Aven has become. At Santa Clara University, the breadth of educational opportunities creates many options for students to find outlets for their diverse interests. Staff and faculty advise and mentor students through these experiences, a key part of the University’s effort to educate the whole person.

  •  New Learning Spaces

    Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

    In support of the teaching scholar model, the Provost’s Office has been working to generate new and enhanced learning spaces. I am pleased to report that the University has made significant progress by finalizing the long-term lease of a modern office building located at 455 El Camino Real. Slated to open in Summer 2015, the renovated 75,000 square foot building will provide much needed classroom, laboratory, and office space to the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and the School of Engineering. Fifteen new classrooms are being built, which will support the needs of graduate education in the two Schools, reducing the programs’ demands for classroom space on the main campus and dramatically increasing the University’s classroom inventory.

    Santa Clara will begin construction on the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History building in April 2015. The new facility will provide a cutting-edge environment to foster the integration of creativity and innovation through the study and practice of art. When it opens in Fall 2016, the building will offer a combination of thirteen studio spaces and classrooms, which increases the University’s classroom inventory by five.

    As the University embarks upon SCU 2020, detailed planning and analysis is underway to support the development of the School of Law’s new building, the STEM complex, and the Alumni Science redesign. These buildings will include a number of innovative classrooms that support the Teaching Scholar model, add to the University classroom inventory, and create greater flexibility in classroom scheduling.

  •  Vision Statement for STEM

    Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

    Santa Clara University has completed a two-month visioning process for STEM, facilitated by HOK and the University’s STEM Steering Committee, that included 23 on-campus interactive workshops with over 160 university faculty, staff, students, and administrators participating. In early January, the STEM Steering Committee will be inviting you to comment on a draft Vision Statement, supplemented by guiding principles for STEM education at Santa Clara University. This document will be important in guiding the programming phase, to begin in mid-January, that will identify the specific functional and technical requirements of the STEM complex. Your input will be greatly appreciated.

    It is with gratitude that the University and the STEM Steering Committee acknowledge all of those who contributed to the Visioning Statement, the process, and Visioning Document.

  •  Student Evaluation of Teaching

    Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

    In the Provost's Update in Winter 2014, I described the work of the Student Evaluation of Teaching Task Force which proposed a new instrument for the student evaluation of teaching (SET). The Task force had consulted widely, reviewed a substantial body of research, and considered and revised several drafts of proposed SET questions through an extensive feedback process.  In 2014 a pilot study was launched in which the proposed SET instrument was administered in 46 winter quarter courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and in 6 Law School spring semester classes. A total of 548 students from these classes completed the SET survey.

    The Faculty Affairs committee, after reviewing data from the pilot studies and consulting broadly with faculty through a survey, has recommended approval of the new instrument. On their recommendation and the subsequent recommendation from the School of Law, I have approved the adoption of the new instrument for implementation this fall term.

    The SET questions can be found here. More information about the SET Task Force and its work is available online.

    The work of the 2013-14 SET Task Force resulted from a recommendation of the 2012-13 Task Force on the Evaluation of Teaching. The earlier task force had recommended not only a review of the University’s SET instrument, but also the use of multiple sources of evidence, including student evaluations, peer evaluations, and course materials, in evaluations of teaching.

    I have asked Eileen Elrod, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development, to take the lead on behalf of the Faculty Development Program in providing support for schools, disciplines, and departments engaged in the development of strategies for incorporating multiple sources of evidence in teaching evaluations.

    I want to thank the Faculty Affairs Committee, the SET Task Force, the faculty who participated in the SET pilot project, and the members of the Information Technology staff who are preparing the technological support for the new SET.  And I thank the University community for the strong commitment to excellent teaching and thoughtful evaluation of teaching effectiveness.

    An error in this entry was corrected on October 9, 2014.