Provost discusses Creative Adaptation Awards

Provost Michael Halleran discussed the 2013 Creative Adaptations awards and the move to online course evaluations during the Provost’s Report to the Board of Visitors as part of the Provost’s Report.

Halleran noted that $183,000 was awarded to the College of William and Mary’s Creative Adaptation Awards, which recognizes and helps fund innovative ways to improve education at the College. The College awarded programs in business, education, biology, music and geospatial analysis.

“We granted $183,000 in awards of the $200,000 we had allotted,” said Halleran. “These adaptations will improve education and save us money.”

Halleran also focused on the College’s need to transition from paper course evaluations to online evaluations.

“The current system we have is clunky and about to die,” Halleran said. “We conducted online pilot programs across some departments this past fall, and we will be moving completely online for this semester. The online response ratings are quite favorable, and the answers do not appeared to be skewed. Moving online also adds a sense of anonymity for the students.”

To expand the curriculum, Halleran focused on the possibility of e-learning at the College.

“We have created a committee which has until April 1 to experiment to see what the best way is to move forward in this area,” said Halleran. “The recommendations are unsure yet, but MOOCs [massive open online courses] do not work. They have been shown to lose money.”

Halleran then called on English professor Suzanne Raitt and Writing Resource Center director Sharon Zuber to discuss the writing aspect of the curriculum at the College. The pair focused on the importance of one-on-one instruction of writing between student and professor at the College and on the purpose of the Writing Resource Center as a tool for education.

Rector Jeffrey Tramell ’73 addressed the necessity of teaching writing at the College.

“Nothing compares to the importance of writing,” Trammel said. “Every student needs to have the experience of writing throughout the curriculum. There are those who have slipped through the cracks and we need to focus on that [issue].”


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