Research publication (call for proposals)

Summer is around the corner! In addition to a much deserved break, it’s also a good time for scholarly renewal with new plans and fresh ideas. I would like to extend my best wishes with a call for proposals for the following two new book series (contributions from scholars in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Oceania, and Europe are welcomed):

International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice

International Perspectives on Aging

Book proposals and expression of interests in chapter contributions within the scope of the two book series may be sent to me at sheyingchen@yahoo.com.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, it is imperative to gain a better understanding and demonstrate academic excellence at the international level or with an international view. Pace faculty has shown great interests in the scholarly pursuit in such areas as global governance and management (key contact: Professor Farrokh Hormozi <fhormozi@pace.edu>), an emerging consortium for interdisciplinary aging study and service (key contact: Professor Philip Greiner or myself <schen@pace.edu>), diversity and Americans of Middle Eastern heritage (key contact: Professor David Nabirahni <dnabirahni@pace.edu>), juvenile delinquency study (key contact: Professor Roger Salerno <rsalerno@pace.edu>), and STEM and computing education (key contact: Professor Lixin Tao <ltao@pace.edu>). I thank the leaders and participants in these initiatives/interest groups for their commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and service to help bring Pace to greater international prominence.

With my best wishes for a relaxing, refreshing, and productive summer.

Graduate education

Our graduate coordinators and faculty have worked hard in program development, teaching, and mentoring of students with the support and involvement of department chairs and deans. The university-wide discussion last semester on strengthening graduate education drew wide participation based on referrals from the deans and graduate admissions offices, nominations from an initial interest group, and interests known through direct contacts (to include anyone who might have good input). A lot of colleagues, including Drs. Philip Greiner, Daniel Baugher, Richard Schlesinger, Farrokh Hormozi, Rebecca Tekula, James Parker, and John Dory (to name a few) shared valuable insights. Our colleagues hoped for some strategic planning with improved communication and coordination to enhance graduate education and research at Pace as a doctoral/research university. I was grateful to Professors Joe Ryan, Maria Iacullo-Bird, and Melissa Marie Grigione for helping/volunteering to help with a proposed document to summarize the important points that came out of those meetings. Special thanks also go to Rey Racelis for creating a discussion site accessible to all members of the group. Graduate student Amol is assisting with the creation of a virtual resource center for graduate faculty; he’d love to receive your continued contribution of ideas and materials (at aa13910n@pace.edu) with the inventory-taking effort.

There were other colleagues who indicated willingness to serve as key contacts for brainstorming on specific topics, including Professor Barbara Mowder for a survey of graduate policies and procedures within and across the university (which is an important function of the university-wide coordination in order to ensure consistency with standards and practices). Professor Raymond Lopez suggested to also collect data on numbers of graduate students by department for the last ten years. Professor Lixin Tao contributed a number of good points, including creating a peer-reviewed journal on graduate education and research based on Pace Library’s Digital Commons to promote interdisciplinary research and program development. Our libraries have shown a keen interest in developing learning resources in support of graduate programs, and University Librarian Bill Murdock is the contact person. Other topics of high interest (and points of contact) included: graduate assistantship (Professor Melissa Grigione), graduate research (Professor Wade Pickren), and grants development (Assoc. Provost Victor Goldsmith). It is hoped that a continuing interest in addressing shared challenges and opportunities (e.g., international recruitment, 3+2 programs, graduate faculty development, inter-college/school coordination, resource sharing, graduate program rankings, representation on the Council of Graduate Schools, etc.) will lead to more ideas and recommendations regarding benchmarking, best practices, policy debates, and global engagement.

The pursuit of excellence

The semester started smoothly and we are fully geared up for our strategic goals. In terms of the fundamental needs of the institution amid various challenges, we must focus on distinguishing Pace for its value by enhancing its academic rigor and improving its scholarly reputation including international recognition. While the work of our teams has covered a wide range of fronts, we aim at strategically re-positioning Pace for academic distinction by taking immediate steps toward longer-term goals. Developing faculty leadership and forging an alliance for academic excellence are two major strategies to sustain outstanding teaching with the use of technology and the development of learning resources in support of student success, effect change toward a culture of scholarship and an institution of prestige, and enhance community building embracing diversity and academic freedom. Based on the feedback from a pilot group meeting last semester, I am convening a larger University-wide forum on improving graduate education at Pace. A brainstorming meeting on faculty development focusing on research and scholarship has also been conducted with useful input from a number of offices and participants. The faculty interest group on aging research is now evolving into a Consortium for Interdisciplinary Aging Study and Service, designated as a pilot project for test use of the Faculty Academic Commons and exploration of a model for faculty development. Our Office of Planning, Assessment and Institutional Research is short-handed but trying its best in reporting, survey coordinating, and benchmarking for quality assurance. Our CTLT/Phorzheimer Center for Faculty Development is initiating a new Faculty Research Forum, and our Library is actively promoting eScholarship (use of Digital Commons) and revitalizing its Book Talk series. Personally, I am launching two book series, co-editing two journal issues, and will hold a book talk on diversity management on Wed. Oct. 12 at noon in the Mortola Library to “cast a brick to attract jade.” Hope to see you there and best wishes for another successful academic year!

Welcome to the new academic year

Hope the summer has been fulfilling and refreshing for everyone as we are preparing for the new academic year. Our New Faculty Orientation will be held on Wednesday August 31, 2011, starting at 9:00 a.m. on New York City Campus in the Multipurpose Room. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the Pace academic community!

For next week, August 24th (NYC Campus) and August 25th (PLV Campus) will be our Teaching with Technology Days organized by CTLT. I invite all faculty who can make it to register here. Also, there will be a “TAP – Creating your E-Portfolio” Workshop on Wednesday August 24th (NYC) and Thursday the 25th (PLV) at 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. I strongly encourage those who are going up for tenure and promotion to attend since you will need to submit your TAP materials through the Pace E-Portfolio platform. Please contact Maria Garces at mgarces@pace.edu if you would like to participate.

We are planning for more workshops and other faculty development events throughout the academic year in support of teaching and learning, research scholarship, and faculty leadership. Stay tuned! Please send me an email at schen@pace.edu if you have an idea or suggestion to help us to assist you to develop your career and succeed at Pace.

End of semester remarks

APR 29, 2011

As the Spring 2011 semester draws to a close, we are pleased by Pace’s progress including major efforts in advancing teaching, learning, and academic support services as showcased in the first issues of a new joint publication Academic Excellence & Leadership Development. In addition to improved financial outlook, we also share with the University community continued challenges to our academic undertaking. Another progress report is due November 1, 2011, to the Middle States to document full implementation of several measures including the use of assessment evidence that is linked to strategic plans and goals and a fully approved faculty handbook that codifies faculty participation in governance. As a doctoral/research university (DRU), Pace not only needs to maintain quality production of at least 20 research doctorates each academic year (in addition to First professional and Professional doctoral degrees) but also a high level of research activity across the University including R&D expenditures and research staffing. We are proud of teaching and learning excellence and our academic rigor needs to be more widely recognized and appreciated by students and others as the hallmark of a Pace education. We have varied results in graduate program rankings and need to find out ways to keep improving. Raising Pace’s academic standards and reputation is crucial to the University’s future success, and various rating systems (from US News Best Colleges to National Research Council’s ratings of doctoral programs) need to be considered in our institutional measures and strategic planning, in addition to such outcomes as the NSSE results. Pace as a national university must also strive to excel internationally in a global economy, including a potential China project which will require pulling and utilizing our unique resources in this area. Innovation is the answer to developing academic programs of the highest quality, while faculty leadership is the key to revitalizing our academic community.

Faculty Institute

I cordially invite colleagues to the following events to kick off a scholarly, refreshing summer:

Workshop on Research and Publication, Pace University Faculty Institute, May 24, 2011, 10:45 – 11:35 AM, One Pace Plaza, Room W511

This workshop aims at supporting faculty to succeed at Pace as a doctoral/research university (DRU) by exploring how to increase scholarly productivity. Dr. Perry Halkitis, Associate Dean for Research & Doctoral Studies and Professor of Applied Psychology & Public Health in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University, will shed light on promoting a culture of scholarship via faculty development. Ms. Janice Stern, Senior Editor in Health and Behavior at Springer Science & Business Media, will discuss trends and state-of-the-art in publishing, with tips for publisher-author interaction. The guest speakers will be joined by our Chairs of the Committees for Scholarly Research and Kenan Faculty Development as well as Library staff with information on support mechanism at Pace.

Roundtable on Faculty Leadership Development, Pace University Faculty Institute, May 25, 2011, 2:00 – 2:50 PM (with possible extension to 4 pm as needed), One Pace Plaza, Room W511 

This Roundtable hopes to attract faculty aspiring to play a greater and more effective leadership role through participation in shared governance via committees, Faculty Councils, academic programs, departmental affairs, and moving into administration. Ideas and approaches to faculty leadership development will be shared and best practice examples examined. Open and unrestricted discussion will be encouraged in order to identify diverse faculty needs, interests, and aspirations to help the University with planning and assessment of its faculty development efforts. Representatives from support offices and programs will join the discussion with information on fellowships, grant programs, affirmative action, etc. Participants with strong interests may be invited to further brainstorming as part of a “critical mass” for planning new initiatives.

The global community

I received feedback that some liked my opening remarks at the live-televised closing plenary last month. Let me share it with my readers here:

March 20, 2011

Colleagues and distinguished guests,

Thank you for coming to New York City to attend the largest international conference of its kind at Pace University. I want to thank the Left Forum board of directors, and many others including Dean Herrmann and Prof. Salerno of Pace University for helping to make this wonderful event possible. Pace University is committed to academic freedom and free speech. It’s heartening to see hundreds of panelists and thousands of participants taking advantage of this rare opportunity to engage in a global dialogue on critical issues facing the world today.

Leaders of democratic countries have advocated for change, but change is impossible when even the victims of traditions accept status quo as a result of various deliberate indoctrination. As many people see socialism as defeated, unionism decayed, organized labor lost its way while terrorism is on the rise, a different context is needed for the critical dialogue that is essential for social justice and truthful scholarship. The voices of senior and junior intellectuals, organizers, and activists at this conference are important to the diversity of views crucial to every democracy where the working class and the middle class are still the backbone of the society.

At the international level, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the “open door” of China and other former socialist countries have greatly changed the world, largely for the better. Nonetheless, in my scholarly view, the world has not completely learned its historical lesson. My research of the Chinese case has challenged the assumption that the most important change in 1978 was the “open door” and reform policy, often interpreted by some Westerners as turning to capitalism. My theory is that the de-politicization of the socialist “economic state” was the first key to understanding the dramatic changes and remarkable results. In other words, socialism as a socioeconomic system was never fully tested. The Chinese leadership under Deng Xiaoping wisely put aside the debate on “-isms” in order to grab the last chance for the nation state. However, as the economic state has been de-economicized by the reform, the Chinese state is increasingly facing the same issues that have dominated the national agendas of Western countries (whether “welfare states” or not any more). Therefore, the topics of this conference are increasingly relevant to those countries as well.

Again, thank you all for your contributions to the broad and non-sectarian discussions at the conference. Whether you’re returning to your home in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, or Europe, please keep in touch with the colleagues you’ve met at the conference. Best wishes for your pursuit and I hope to see you again at Pace in the near future.

Thank you.

Community building

The university is a community of scholars. My background in community studies reminds me that this cannot be taken for granted, however. Even those who have been affiliated with a university for many years may have a hard time responding to questions such as those in the Great Colleges to Work For surveys. For those new to an academic career at the university, life can be overwhelming and personal and family sacrifices are not uncommon in order to meet the demands of teaching, research, and service while on the tenure track. A sense of community may also be prevented by such a culture as working in silos and complicated by such a reality as distances between campuses. On the other hand, information technology has created a new universe, i.e., the second or virtual world, which gives rise to a new type of online community. The virtual world, however, can be as wild as the real one, and the information can be overwhelming even within the tight structure of a university. I tend to put myself in faculty’s shoes and my recent experience transitioning to Pace helped me to appreciate all the potential difficulties. It’s easy to find things by checking the website index, though you need to know something exists and can spell the name in the first place. For the numerous unknown things, they may remain mystery for a long time, only for one to regret later not taking advantage sooner. I’m not a tech dummy and have been fortunate finding things out through various meetings and connections, but I have to admit that there are still a lot of things out there that I’ve not learned. Is it possible to shorten such a learning curve for all in the scholarly community, particularly new faculty, in terms of the information and resources they need most to survive the challenges and succeed in their pursuit? Borrowing the idea of a “one stop” service for students, I got a group together with the strong support of our CIO to brainstorm how we may compile in one place resources useful for teaching, research, and service while providing a professional social space for faculty as scholars through forums and blogs by eliminating the distances between campuses. The project, called Pace University Academic Commons (or Faculty or Scholars’ Commons) is a collaborative effort of ITS, CTLT, Library, University and College/School communication specialists, and faculty. Such a cyberspace is currently being created by a team led by Joe Seijo at CTLT. The plan is to construct, with faculty guidance, a robust yet user-friendly site, also for faculty to foster collaboration and interaction with their peers of diverse backgrounds in a desirable virtual environment. The team has recently decided to switch from WordPress platform to Microsoft SharePoint and the latest work has not yet been made public. However, I invite faculty colleagues to take a look at the template at the old site http://academiccommons.pace.edu and let us know what you think. The team needs your guidance, and your suggestions will be greatly appreciated by all!

Leadership (extended)

This may seem to deviate a bit from my focus on faculty development but teaching as they do in the classroom (and online) has kept reminding me of the ultimate purpose – our students. The students need to acquire leadership awareness and skills more than ever, and the following is what I communicated to them today:

Demonstrate your leadership in learning

Remember: You may learn little (a national concern now: Insidehighered.com – news – Academically Adrift) if all you care is about your grade in this course. You CAN learn a lot in the classroom AND online IF you take charge of your own learning and think hard as to how it will benefit you now and in the future. Tell me how I may help you – if you prefer to do presentation online (or in the classroom), let me know and I’ll make adjustment to the presentation schedule. If you require more learning material, tell me and I’ll get more for you. If you need individual consultation, let me know and we’ll schedule an appointment. We had an active virtual classroom session and I heard most preferred face-to-face meetings, so our next meeting will be in the classroom and I’ll be with you (instead of video conferencing). The key word is learning (via reading, research, writing, and exchange/discussion – at the graduate level), and my grading will not be based on a particular argument you make (so you’re safe) but your level of effort and actual achievement as shown in your own work and contribution to the class. It’s fairly easy for me to assess how much reading you’ve done for the course but very hard for me to help you with a better grade if you never show up online and your paper has little literature support. So, help me to help you, and enjoy discovering new horizons in building up your knowledge and skills of analytical/critical thinking!

Leadership

Leadership is part of my scholarly interest (Chen, 2009 & 2011) grounded in administrative practice, including a major responsibility in faculty development at different institutions. Based on my own experience as a faculty member spanning more than two decades, I cannot overstate its importance since I was blessed with various kinds of support as I grew professionally along the way. My time at IU was a culminating experience, where I not only oversaw/created such faculty support arms as the Institute for Learning and Teaching Excellence (ILTE) and the Academy for Leadership and Diversity (ALD) but also personally benefited from various training series including a yearlong program (and yearly alumni sessions) focused on the challenges and rigor of becoming a qualified institutional leader.

Academic leadership in the broad sense includes teaching, research, and service in terms of exercising positive influence in the accomplishment of these common but essential tasks. The good news is that I’ve found our CTLT/Pforzheimer Center for Faculty Development, in collaboration with our Library and ITS, has done a remarkable job in helping faculty to develop leadership in teaching and learning by keeping abreast with cutting-edge instructional technology (which will be further enhanced with improved administrative guidance and support Universitywide — stay tuned). Student learning is of paramount importance and I’m always heartened by a collective commitment to excellence in teaching (and mentoring), particularly Pace’s dedication to creating thinking professionals who are highly sought after as innovators and successful leaders, and who will positively impact twenty-first century society. This in turn will require excellence in scholarship (especially in keeping with Pace’s reputation as a doctoral research university). As emphasized by the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge, research is a key ingredient in the institutional identity of universities and an indispensable prerequisite for a successful program of teaching and public service. On the other hand, shared governance requires faculty leadership in service and active participation in academic decision making. Therefore, these are also important fronts for faculty development while the University has indicated a strong commitment in its recent Middle States follow-up report.

It’s within such a context that I proposed to build an institute for academic leadership development at Pace. The underlying premise is that the proposed institute will not replace but help to enhance, connect/integrate, and expand leadership development efforts at different levels within various divisions throughout the University. Thus, the tasks are two-fold: to build or formalize a decentralized leadership development network, and to create a central base and coordinating mechanism with major program initiatives to address major gaps or unmet needs. Also, the proposed institute needs to self-sustain at least a portion of its programs after a start-up period via community offering and national marketing. Therefore, an Institute & Network for Academic and Professional Leadership may be the appropriate name. What should/could actually be done, however, will not only depend on necessary resources but also wide input/support. I’m glad an interest/advisory group met on Friday and we’ll recruit more faculty in future planning meetings, with the anticipation of various expressed needs (demands) for action to guide the agenda setting. Notwithstanding all the issues that need to be sorted out, it’s clear that communication must be improved and enhanced throughout the University so that all will see the big picture to avoid duplicating or diluting each other’s efforts. This will be my top priority for the next few months, and I’ll keep you updated as major progresses are made.