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A Collaboratory to Support Interdisciplinary Projects

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  1. A Collaboratory to Support Interdisciplinary Projects Robin Burke Greg Scott Mess Hall May 19, 2014

  2. Outline • Innovation task force • Obstacles to innovation • A proposal

  3. Innovation Task Force • Charged with proposing mechanisms for enhancing academic innovation at DePaul • Two main areas • Curriculum • Delivery

  4. The Role of Faculty

  5. Tenure-Track Faculty • Essential, but • Expensive • Long-term investment • Profitability depends on “filling the seats” • Passive • Depreciates over time • Fungible • Consumer of institutional resources


  6. Alternative Metaphor

  7. Tenure-Track Faculty • Essential, but • Expensive • Long-term investment • Source of energy • Fuels the institution

  8. Key findings I • DePaul is relatively nimble • much easier for us to introduce new, high-quality programs • new programs tend to grow both students and revenue • But • the process is unfocused, “hero-driven” • support for new programs is lacking • marketing is a weak spot

  9. Key findings II • Cross-disciplinary collaboration is particularly hard • Many structural disincentives • college-centered metrics • majors, FTEs, etc. • college-centered resource allocation • budget, faculty lines, space, etc.

  10. But the future • is interdisciplinary

  11. Deans’ concept • AVP for Innovation • external • market research: what are the needs? • internal • capabilities: what can we do? • resources • funding to the deans to launch and market programs • Top-down process • administrators are visionaries • faculty are implementers • Not interdisciplinary

  12. An Alternative View • Support faculty collaboration esp. across disciplines • Attack structural obstacles directly • Let innovation arise from creative interchange

  13. CIRSCI • Collaboratory for Interdisciplinary Research, Scholarship and Curricular Innovation • Support faculty (esp. across colleges) to work jointly on research and curriculum projects • Email me rburke@cs.depaul.edu for a copy of the proposal

  14. Four strategies • Relax the rules • make it possible to experiment • Make time • lower the cost of innovation • Make space • need to be together to work together • Don’t break what’s working • federate existing interdisciplinary centers

  15. Fiscal Reality • Difficult to get resources in the current climate • But innovation doesn’t come for free

  16. Signs of progress • Faculty Council Resolution on Collaboration • Approved by Faculty Council March 5 • Approved by the Provost March 24 • Main points • QIC / URC set-asides for cross-college projects • University-wide programs (Liberal studies, Honors and Study Abroad) should support collaborative courses • Faculty Council will work the Academic Affairs: • a number of potential initiatives including: • “exploring ways to create free-standing units at the university level (rather than in a particular college) to house collaborative work”

  17. Discussion • Let’s talk about collaboration • what do we need? • how do we get there?

  18. Resolution • Approved by Faculty Council March 5 • Endorsed by the Provost March 24