Ramping Up for the Start of a New Academic Year

As happens each year, a number of important activities are scheduled in the so-called “pre-week.”  This year, I guess it’s more accurately called “pre-weeks” since the later start of classes (August 29) enables us to spread out meetings and activities rather than crowding them in to just a few days.  The calendar for these activities is available here, and I’d like to highlight a few of the new events we’ve added.

As you know, we are launching a new Learning Management System (LMS) this fall.  Canvas is a new product that has different features and a different operating approach than Blackboard.  A number of training sessions are scheduled throughout the next two weeks, on both the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses, so that you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with this new LMS as you prepare your courses for the fall semester.

On Thursday, August 18, you’ll have two opportunities to hear a presentation of the results of the faculty salary study conducted by Stan McKnight and Associates.  Two “Town Hall” meetings, one on the Stafford campus and one on the Fredericksburg campus, will offer you opportunities to hear the results of the study, to ask questions, and to hear from UMW officials about how we plan to respond to what the study results have to say to us about the status of our faculty salaries.  As you’ll hopefully recall, the purpose of doing this study was to gather accurate data about how our salaries compared to benchmark institutions when taking faculty rank, subject discipline, and market factors into consideration.  The consultant’s presentations will summarize data gained from the analysis they did of the salaries for the comparison institutions we identified.  That list of schools, and other details about the salary study, may be found here.

We’ve designated Monday, August 22 as “College Day” – an opportunity for each college to engage in activities designed to get the year off to a good start.  Additional details will be provided by each College Dean about what’s to be scheduled on this day.

The morning of Tuesday August 23 has been set aside as time for organizing university governance.  The University Faculty Council and all university level committees will meet during this time period to organize themselves for the coming year, elect committee chairs and secretaries, and carry out other business as required in order to get the governance year off to a good start.  A calendar of meeting dates for the coming year, worked out in conjunction with the UFC and the leadership of each of the colleges, is available here.  It’s a busy calendar, no doubt.  There are many groups that will be conducting university governance business during the year and we tried to schedule these activities in a way that we believe will promote a smooth flow of business throughout the year.

For everyone’s convenience, we also have a calendar of important dates for instructional faculty.  This calendar is a handy reference for all of the various deadlines on the teaching schedule (last day to drop classes, midterm deficiency report due date, and so forth).

And, of course, we’ll have our annual opening general faculty meeting on Thursday, August 25 at 10:30 a.m. in Dodd Auditorium.  President Rick Hurley is the featured speaker.  You will also hear remarks from Doug Searcy, Vice President for Student Affairs.  We’ll do the usual introductions of new full-time faculty members (presented by their department chairs), and the winner of the Topher Bill Award will also be announced.  This meeting is followed by our traditional faculty luncheon.  Later in the day (at 4:30 p.m.) we’ll convene in regalia for the Honor Convocation, doing this event for the first time in the newly completed Anderson Center!

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