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Nowicki says Winter Forum was successful

Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki describes last month’s inaugural Winter Forum at the Arts and Sciences Council meeting Thursday.
Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki describes last month’s inaugural Winter Forum at the Arts and Sciences Council meeting Thursday.

At its meeting Thursday, the Arts and Sciences Council reviewed several elements of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, presented an initial assessment of last month’s inaugural Winter Forum. Nowicki called the event a “renaissance weekend,” noting that more students participated in the program than he expected, especially considering that the forum cut students’ winter breaks short, did not count for any academic credit and required a significant amount of reading. Additionally, the Winter Fourm came in under budget, costing the University less than $60,000.

“We didn’t want this to be a $100,000 designer program for less than 100 students,” Nowicki said. “For the impact of the event, something that’s in the order of $60,000 seems to be a good investment.”

Although Nowicki said the Trinity College Office of Assessment is still working on a final report, he was able to report to the Council that 95 percent of participants said they would recommend the experience to other students.

He also cited areas where the Winter Fourm could improve in the future. Nowicki said the number of minority students and student athletes who attended the event was smaller than he would have liked and reaffirmed his commitment to attract a broader range of students.

In the coming years, Nowicki said he will work with student groups to attract more underrepresented students.

“Part of it also is just raising the visibility of the forum—it was brand new,” he said. “We were flying by the cuff and we didn’t have enough time to do it.”

During his presentation, Nowicki announced that Winter Forum 2011 will be held Jan. 9 to Jan. 11 and the Duke Global Health Institute will serve as the event’s sponsor. The title has yet to be decided.

Lee Baker, dean of academic affairs of Trinity College, presented an update on another phase of QEP—the Global Semester Abroad. The program will allow 60 students to study issues hands-on in two different countries.

Baker told the Council that China and India will serve as the locations for the program, and the University is currently in the process of finalizing the details. The Global Semester Abroad is scheduled to begin Spring 2011.

In other business:

Arts and Sciences Council Chair Ruth Day, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, announced at the meeting the Duke had its accreditation reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last month. The University was placed on “monitoring status” by the SACS for Institutional Effectiveness, which measures student learning outcomes.

“It was just this one thing about institutional effectiveness out of this large list of things,” Day said. “Other very fine liberal arts, undergraduate universities have had this happen to them. In our case, we were doing [institutional effectiveness] well and with our examples, but there were not enough of them and they were not across a broad enough range.”

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