AASCU Official Presenting Keynote at Course Redesign Conference Feb. 2 at Southeast

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 19, 2011 — Dr. George Mehaffy, vice president for academic leadership and change with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), will present the keynote address at a campus conference on course redesign Feb. 2 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Mehaffy’s presentation is titled “Re-Imagining Higher Education,” during which he will discuss AASCU’s Red Balloon Project that focuses on helping member institutions redesign  undergraduate education for a fundamentally different era in the 21st century. The Red Balloon Project launched this academic year by AASCU is predicated on rising costs and decreased state support for public education, rising expectations of universities and rapid technology advancements.

The conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Robert A. Dempster Hall.  Southeast Missouri State University is hosting the workshop for those interested in the implications of the major changes currently under way in higher education, including the state-wide Course Redesign program. All sessions are open, and the day’s events will include a complimentary lunch.

Dr. Allen Gathman, chair of the Course Redesign Subcommittee at Southeast in addition to serving as professor of biology and director of the Center for Writing Excellence, will discuss new approaches to engage students in active learning in the Internet age. Gathman, along with Dr. Margaret Waterman, professor of biology and middle and secondary education; Dr. David Starrett, dean of the School of University Studies and Academic Information Services; and Dr. Sophia Scott, assistant professor of industrial and engineering technology and chair of Faculty Senate, will present  involvement, funding and development opportunities for faculty. A panel of speakers will take questions and discuss issues. The conference also will feature textbook publishers demonstrating technology support for course redesign. Dr. Ron Rosati, Southeast provost, will close the workshop, discussing next steps for course redesign at Southeast.

This past fall, Southeast Missouri State launched the Course Redesign Initiative.  This process, which follows the National Center for Academic Transformation model of Course Redesign, focuses on increasing active learning and student learning outcomes with the help of current and new technologies.  Course Redesign is the newest AQIP Action Project at Southeast with five courses currently undergoing the Course Redesign process. 

Faculty involved in the Course Redesign process have been active, and some have submitted proposals for Funding for Results (FFR) grants. This spring, a second call for FFR proposals will be issued as well as calls for University Information Technology Committee funding for Course Redesign related efforts, for new courses in the AQIP Course Redesign project and for an exciting new state-wide Course Redesign initiative.

Mehaffy, the keynote speaker, has served for 11 years as the vice president for academic leadership and change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in Washington, D.C., a higher education association representing 420 public colleges and universities and their 3.8 million students.  His division is responsible for developing and managing programs for member institutions in areas such as leadership development, undergraduate education, technology, international education and teacher education.  He works closely with presidents on a variety of national initiatives and organizes two national conferences a year for AASCU chief academic officers. Mehaffy has directed a number of innovative projects, including international programs with China and Liberia; a technology transformation annual conference with EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida; an articulation project with community colleges; and two major national studies of student success. Most recently, he organized efforts to transform undergraduate education through the initiative called the Red Balloon Project.  Before coming to AASCU, he had more than 20 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education in Texas, New Mexico and California.