During the conference, attendees discussed the question below at their tables, and prepared responses. Each table provided two responses. The summary response was limited to 25 words, and a corresponding detailed response was given with a 250 word limit. Click on each summary response below to view the detailed responses. At the bottom of the page, you will find a word cloud representing all responses to the question.

What could be done to best motivate, enable, and empower the changes that we have talked about?

Table 1 - Require students to complete Capstone Project (e.g., thesis, group project, creative work) and provide faculty recognition for supervision.
  • Give students the 3 things that really matter - ability to argue, ability to connect, ability to empathize
  • Develop habits of mind - to reason, to connect and to energize
  • Maintain disciplinary mastery - build research into every class - every class has a research component - every student conducting some type of research
  • Master one thing and have a little taste of other things - use the research piece to compel a more focused and more engagement with the major field of study.
  • Every student should have an external learning experience for credit - learning about other people, other lives, and gain empathy. Or require a thesis or capstone project for each student
  • The changes that we have talked about today are more likely to happen if promotion and tenure and merit decisions reflect a value for these things.
  • Engage graduate students doing research with undergraduate students - "team teaching research using graduate students to help with undergraduates" especially for the Capstone Project; a culture of informal learning life of the entire organization
  • CTL creates a list of training and incentive to participate - to enhance creativity, innovation, better teaching Note: incentives because it is hard to legislate it
  • Not every student needs to do an advanced research project, some will be best suited to pick the "low hanging fruit" - data bases, discovery through inquiry, etc.
Table 2 - Require supervised research/experiential learning as part of every degree plan to guarantee both student and faculty buy-in.
  • Institutionalize interdisciplinary fora like the Campus Conversations to change academic the culture.
  • Teaching should be viewed as a form of applied research and should thus count more in P&T decisions.
  • Master your discipline so that you can better integrate your research and your teaching.
  • Require faculty to incorporate undergraduates into their research agenda.
  • Encourage programs to revise their degree plans with an eye to incorporating research/experiential learning
  • Give credit for "off the couch" activities that are experiential in nature.
  • Use different numbers to give teaching credit to different members of the teaching team.
  • Require research/experiential as part of every degree plan to guarantee student and faculty buy-in.
Table 3 - Flexible use of existing rules, FAR nudge to encourage innovation, freshman mentorship, faculty development resources
  • Faculty development
  • Make flexible use of the existing rules to provide credit to meaningful "discovery learning"/internships etc... make dept. chairs aware that this is a priority
  • Modify FAR form to include a description of research teaching activities. Nudge faculty to starts adhering to the message.
  • Freshman mentorship experience with a group paper due at the end of the year.
Table 4 - Make it easier to innovate – team-teach across colleges, get teaching credit for mentoring and reward these activities.

We feel all students should have a major experience during their freshman year and that each course should incorporate creative discovery elements where the onus is on the student. We need to exploit existing flexibility in the degree plans so students can try new things without changing the catalog. Faculty need mechanisms to have the flexibility and time to innovate.

Degree plan flexibility:
Do not allow students to require a major until the end of their sophomore year! Too many get stuck in ill-suited majors which only adds to their degree time and prevents their ability to explore different types of learning.

Table 5 - Incentives for faculty to teach/mentor outside their discipline and/or interact with faculty in other units. Can build on existing models/programs

We're talking about building clusters of courses that can be part of the core curriculum in which students would take a set of courses in different departments (even different colleges) that are organized around a common theme. At the end of the series of courses, that students would all take together, there would be an external learning experience--possibly study abroad but it could be in U.S. or even in Austin.... and alumni could be involved in the external learning experience. This is built on Normandy scholars and Plan II model. Technology could be integrated perhaps through blogging or other spaces in which students from the other classes could connect. Would build community too. Some of the content could be put on line too to make classroom more a space of dialog. Could create incentives modeled on UGS signature course. Elements can be connected. Also create dialogues in front of the classes. Conference at the end of the class?

Table 6 - Provide time, credit/incentives, support (not necessarily $$) to implement suggestions. Fundraise. Create conditions that don't punish failure during innovation.

The primary need for implementing new ideas is resources ($$, staff support, more full time faculty, esp. TT). It is also very important for the university, starting in the Tower, to find ways to give those who support and run new programs to be credited for their work. It may be that non-TT faculty and staff should run these programs. Fundraising will be important to support some of these new innovations, assuming no extra state support. We also think it is important to not punish faculty who are willing to experiment and innovate. None of us were fans of competency based learning or mastery learning, in part because maturity levels are so variable in teens. We did think that the SMOC model made sense for some large departments, to allow for reallocation of faculty to other courses. We also liked the idea of a consortium like Unizin, where digital assets and collaborations would be supported. Finally, the suggestion was offered that UT should consciously reduce faculty and staff in deliberate fashion, strengthen certain programs and run them at a high level, with proper funding.

Table 7 - Recognize, support, and amplify the good things happening already --- which too often happen in spite of the current structures.
  • Analogous problem for faculty as for students: students receiving no or minimal credit for transformative experiential learning, faculty developing, directing activities outside of official job responsibilities and teaching loads. This might create release time for faculty.
  • Proactively engage accreditors to ensure room for faculty innovation.
  • Fund the student; dollars follow students.
  • Leverage opportunities for graduate programs to be innovation spaces. Need startup funds.
  • Independent study/conference courses could be innovation spaces, although potential issues with faculty needing to do as overloads and that UT students may not be prepared for demands of Oxford style independent studies.
  • Make use of upper level undergraduates to assist more in teaching (and research). More work study.
  • Reduce numbers of required courses. Perhaps better implementation of flags (and separating requirements from specific courses) enables substitution: Departments specify required learning experiences. Create new labs that allow students to check boxes for multiple requirements. Start with these experiences as electives, transition to requiring research experiences for all students.
  • Consider limiting double, triple majors but be sensitive to impact on small programs, centers
Table 8 - The Institutional structure is averse to sharing. Incentivize cross-disciplinary work through structural change.

Conversations about collaborating cross field and across discipline: more opportunities to both connect and support

Find a person to team-teach

Work that touches on other fields -- how to you connect with all of the other demands?

How do you make it count?

The institutional culture is averse to sharing.
Structured leave policy

One course (UGS a start) per 4 semesters that has to be with someone else

Pair tenure track with non-tenure track teachers to teach interdisciplinary courses

Reward/Prize for interdisciplinary research (translation project in Government, e.g.)

You can create a context that can employ research

Two-week experimental courses in summer that get full pay and full credit for students
Institutional changes need a tolerance for failure -- use an alternative evaluation process to assess
Formalize mentoring structure -- young professors sit in on experienced teachers classes

Credit for learning experientially
-- semester abroad
-- make a flag?
Quality control? Integrate into a course so that faculty are responsible
Piggyback on to structure of UGS to offer courses across colleges.

Table 9 - Rethink credit for team-taught (including cross-college) and individual instruction (faculty intensive) courses. How assess it's working? Resources huge! CO-OP component? Engage/Empower Non-Tenure Track.
  • *Incentives need addition credit for TRUE team-taught (not tag team) teaching.
  • "Resources for (e.g.) capstone will be "concept Limiting"
  • E.g., build "empathy"; etc.; How know it's working?
  • Integrating Teaching & Classroom; EVERY class has research component. We now have one inquiry flag. Must define research component for discipline; must share current/best practices. MUST have freedom to define what's done in the class. If just volunteer, student can find anything. If tied to discipline/research WE need to identify opportunities.
  • Like idea of external experiences that service oriented engagement. Does THIS need to be tied the discipline/research, or is it just 'outreach'. What's external (external to campus? External to classroom?). How give credit. What are current best practices. Cannot be paid.
Table 10 - Top down to graduate one must have an undergraduate research experience: bottom up creativity from the schools to design this experience

Alter the incentives to unlock any latent undergraduate teaching potential in the most outstanding researchers. Identify and reward outstanding teachers especially those that are involving undergraduates in research.

Address the barrier to the faculty of time spent training undergraduates in the research process outside of the classroom setting.

Recognize teaching on par with research; reflect this in the university mission statement. We need to find ways to have the best researcher-teaching undergraduates, not buy out of teaching undergraduates.

Initiate the idea of an informal educational tithe, everyone give what they can to improve the research experience, Sr. faculty to Jr. faculty, Jr. faculty to graduate students, graduate students to undergrads, upper classman to freshman.

Community engagement in teaching, practicing scientist and industry people that participate in informal teaching MOOCs, judging

Table 12 - Faculty incentives (TLC): Campus facilitation center makes innovative projects happen. Formalized reward/credit system for faculty and undergraduate students. Helps identify rising stars among undergraduates.
Table 13 - Experiential Learning, Professional Development of Faculty, Community Building, Breaking-Down Silos
  • Program for faculty to swap college/department locations for a year, and teach in the visiting department
  • Special seed funding for each department to create a teaching discovery course for undergraduates
  • Required capstone project of all students.
  • More professional development for faculty -- with funding and leave time
  • Create communities for professional development and discussion with accountability
  • Every liberal arts course should have a discovery component
  • Allow 3-6 hours credit for external learning experience (for example, internship), with end-of-semester report (pre-approved by departments)
  • More exposure to new ideas, lively conversations
  • Emphasize problem-solving
  • More widespread campus coversations, like this.
Table 14 - Need to control for quality of external experiences and how take advantage of the transformative programs already in place at UT Austin?

Credit for external learning experience? What is a legitimate learning experience outside the traditional classroom? Do we just outsource what we should be doing ourselves? Don't just give "life credit" (or credit for summer experiences) Avoid impression that university simply outsources training and education

Partner small groups of students with faculty. Importance of peer mentors,

Recruit graduate students/postdocs to serve as mentors to ugrads from Day 1 (e.g., CNS program, or Intellectual Entrepreneur program), ideally recruiting students into research projects. Must be built into exisiting system of how graduate students are paid. Problem is high specialization.

How do we take advantage of the transformative programs already in place at UT Austin?

Make undergraduate research experience a requirement

Choice between different kinds of experiential learning, research projects.

Should we design the framework such that it encourages or requires team work?

Table 15 - We need to use data to identify the unique value of a UT education to inform and shape the changes we make in degree plans.

This question is very difficult to address. We need to understand the satisfaction level of the students and faculty and community at large. Assuming change is necessary - institutional support is key to motivate with money and relief and promotion. The university needs to implement their core values in daily practice. Core values need to be rewarded. The institution must follow through on initiatives, supporting faculty who experiment and possibly fail at first pass.

Table 16 - Identify and Engage Stakeholders (faculty, students, community, public at large)

Better structures for defining faculty workload.
How do we count graduate advising, team teaching, course innovation, ...

Changes in promotion and tenure.
How do we evaluate teaching in general?

Remove barriers to cross-discipline courses/teaching

Increased opportunities for service learning.
Fund department/discipline specific community relation position for experiential learning (faculty + staff to organize internships...)
Clearinghouse/exchange for a variety of experiential/internship experiences. (faculty, staff from different discipline to vet and monitor)

Cultivate the support staff and NTTF that will focus and support initiatives

Make sure all of these "experiences" count towards degree plans. (more credit for internships, research,....) Include metrics to track outcomes

Every student should do reserach (see manage faculty workload)

Evaluation with respect to individual statisfaction, graduation/retention, cost (best use of resources?)

Recognize the need to support facilities, journals, other tools for research.

New name for "service learning" that is branded as well as "Study Abroad"

Table 17 - Clear expectations for faculty, along with an incentive system consistent with those expectations, to create dept.-defined applied experiences for students
  • bookend experience for all majors – lower division experience and capstone experience, as defined by dept.

  • should involve independent inquiry and research at some level - will look different by department

  • could take form of external applied connection experience (study abroad, real work experience, service) 

  • need clear guidelines/expectation of faculty that come from the top and are shared by Deans, chairs

  • fear that emphasis on UT as teaching (mill) sacrifices value of research, but definitely need to embrace both

  • faculty too disconnected from advisors -- need staff and faculty engaged together to support students

  • most important for dept to have the ownership of defining student requirement --- such as inquiry flags

  • removing barriers is a kind of incentives

  • real problem with interdisciplinary P&T at UT

  • if get core course (in discipline) right and capstone, all will be ok

  • need faculty labor to be recognized and assurance it will be recognized
  • Table 18 - Mobilize students and student experiences to promote benefits of attending research intensive university (ex. making videos about their experiences); market benefits to prospective students & public
    Table 19 - Degree Plan Transformation (decanal/departmental levels)--complementing research; required problem-solving "signature course"; incentivize already-existing faculty research mentoring
    • Changing is slow and hard when it comes to degree plan changes. Having something analogous to the Course Transformation but for degree plans (with guidance, targets, etc.).
    • Problem Solving signature course -- all students get the language and basic skills and experience of research.
    • Let's formalize some of the informal ways we are working with undergraduate researchers and incentivize it for students and faculty.
    Table 20 - Innovation Class designation tied to some kind of incentive. Ensure alignment between curriculum and what faculty want to teach and find valuable.
    • Improve teaching merit/credit to reward faculty based on actual workload, experimentation, etc.
    • Also encourage better teachers to perhaps end up in bigger classes where they can do the most good?
    • Identifying and capturing success stores. Dissemination of best practices. News stories. Signature Course stories book is an idea.
    • More small discussion sections for larger classes.
    • Require some kind of experiential/experimental learning - internships, service organizations, undergrad TAs.
    • Awards or incentives for innovative classes.
    • Perhaps a designation of an innovative class, some kind of incentive tied to this (time, money, summer salary, something).
    • There are classes on the books that need to be taught, but NO ONE wants to teach. This means the curriculum needs to be changed. People don't perceive the class to be valuable. It probably isn't.