Innovation-is-the-Responsibility-of-the-Whole-Institution-300x215Click here to download The EvoLLLution’s interview

The following interview is with Dave King, associate provost of outreach and engagement at Oregon State University. King is an industry leader when it comes to devising innovative approaches to post-graduate education; he and his team spearheaded a post-baccalaureate BS in computer science that’s turning the heads of employers and administrators alike. In this interview, he discusses innovation in the graduate education space and shares his thoughts on the role of outreach and continuing education (CE) in driving this innovation.

1. Why is it important for institutions to be innovative in their approaches to post-baccalaureate, graduate-level programming?

It’s important because of the competitive nature of the marketplace these days. We seem to be at a point where we’re seeing a lot of new programs that are being very creative in the way they attract students. Innovation is going to be critical to be successful. Innovation also really has to drive learner success. [The combination of the two] is why it is so important.

2. What role does outreach and CE typically play when it comes to innovating a university’s graduate programming?

We have a fairly unique integration here among our credit, non-credit and CE and extension programs. We try to create a ‘spectrum of access’ so any learner can find, across this spectrum, any spot they want to fall into that hits what they need.

It could be, from one end of the spectrum, just raw information straight from a research project that somebody with a PhD could manipulate for their own purposes in their business. On the other end would be fully online graduate degree programs. In the middle, you have all of these other areas that we’re talking about — CE, individual credit courses, undergraduate degree programs, extension programs.

The importance of connecting those is that when you start to create learning opportunities anywhere along that spectrum, you should be able to use those at other spots along the spectrum. That way, you’re improving learner success by providing them access to whatever type of learning opportunity they need.

3. Ideally, how should the responsibilities of individual faculties and outreach/CE be divided when it comes to creating and delivering innovative graduate-level programming?

Although the faculty members have responsibilities, it really should be driven more by the learner. There are learners out there who need graduate degrees, without question. Those folks are going to be rewarded for getting their graduate degree in the marketplace by employers and other entities in society. What really should drive it is what the learner needs are.

The graduate faculty who are creating these programs need to find a spot along the spectrum that supplies the learner access in the best way possible to [meet their] needs. Not everybody needs to have a degree. Take a 50-year-old worker; we still would like to see someone of that age come back to learn things, but they probably don’t need a graduate degree. They probably just need to be better at their job tomorrow.

4. When it comes to understanding what learners need, does outreach play a role at all in helping faculties understand what the various learners coming back to the school actually need, or is that more of a responsibility each faculty and department maintains internally?

Outreach, obviously, depending on how your institution comes at it, should have a better understanding of what’s going on in communities, in certain aspects of the target audience, because in many cases the outreach programs are actually in those communities and can bring that information back to the campus in a way that actually helps people understand what the needs are. Individual faculties and departments and disciplines, as a whole, all contribute to our understanding of what the learner needs are.

5. When it comes to developing the innovative approaches to delivering this programming, does outreach play a role there or is that again mostly held within departments themselves?

At our institution, there are quite a few faculty members we work with who have split appointments. They just naturally bring some of that outreach understanding to the table. But overall, no matter where you are within the faculty structure, it’s up to the faculty to understand the value of innovation in meeting the learner needs. Just, for instance, think about how you effectively improve learner success in a flipped classroom or in a blended classroom and apply that not only to the outreach areas, but to graduate programs and to others. We spend a lot of time worrying about economies of scope in graduate programs where we think about economies of scale in undergraduate programs. We need more graduate programs with a finite number of students who are successful. Innovation is about the only way we actually grow in those areas.

6. Is innovation an explicit priority of outreach units, or a byproduct of the demand to drive accessibility and revenue?

I don’t think you can be successful without innovation; however innovation unto itself probably is not going to be attractive enough to faculty members. You have to actually show how innovation improves learner success.

7. Is there anything you’d like to add about the role of innovation in graduate education and how outreach can take the lead in supporting an institution’s focus on graduate programming?

With the competitive nature of the graduate marketplace right now, the graduate students we’re getting are expecting to have as much opportunity of success as possible. A lot of times, we’ll see students come to a program fresh and new, who bring new ideas themselves. In engagement, in outreach, these days, what I say is we have to learn as much as we teach and listen as much as we talk. It’s not just any one of us or the early adopters or even the faculty administration or any individual sector in this discussion bringing innovation to someone else. Everybody involved, together, learning from each other and then moving ahead with the innovative ideas.

This interview has been edited for length.

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Key Takeaways

  • In order for an institution to be successful in the modern higher education marketplace, innovation must come from every level, not just continuing education.
  • Innovation is critical to ensuring an institution can meet the needs of prospective students at every stage of the academic spectrum.

OSU Open Campus earns national recognition

OSU Open Campus (formerly Oregon Open Campus) was selected as the western regional winner and national finalist for the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Congrats to Beth Emshoff, Jeff Sherman and the rest of the OOC team on this well deserved recognition.

Learn more about this award distinction and download the OOC award application

Legislative conversations starting up

As part of the university’s budget, the three Statewide Public Services (Extension is one) are beginning conversations with legislators as a way to gain insights into their priorities and how we can position ourselves to contribute to Oregon’s most pressing needs.

Take a look at the “leave behind” that describes our budget requests and five areas of emphasis (PDF)

OSU to host Oregon Environmental Literacy Program

In 2007, Oregon passed legislation that began six years of planning for a program dubbed “No Oregon Child Left Inside”. Among the outcomes was a rich plan to expand work around environmental literacy. Beginning in 2014, the Oregon Environmental Literacy program (OELP) will be administered by OSU and led by a team of faculty with Susan Sahnow at the helm. The steering committee is scheduled to start meeting this month.

Learn more about the background and commitment to environmental literacy (PDF)

Health Extension Run 2014

Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences will become Oregon’s first nationally accredited College of Public Health and Human Sciences. To bring awareness to this distinction and the power of living a healthy lifestyle, two college undergraduates – and brothers, Isaiah and Jeremiah Godby – are running to 30 out of 36 Oregon counties, stopping at OSU Extension Service offices along the way and encouraging community members, alumni and Beavers fans across Oregon to join them – whether you walk, run or use a wheelchair.

Find out when the run will be in your area

Upcoming professional development opportunities

Smith-Lever Act CentennialThe first week in May is historic.

On May 8, 1914, the Smith-Lever Act was enacted that established outreach units at Land-grant universities across the nation. On May 8, 2014, a convocation in Washington, DC will commemorate this national policy and all the associated successes of taking knowledge to the people.

Learn more about plans to celebrate this important milestone.

As a member of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee, I spent significant time in the last month reading and discussing promotion and tenure dossiers for OSU faculty.

Undergirding all conversations about the more than 70 candidates was the question of scholarship. For faculty responsible for outreach and engagement, scholarship is demonstrated in diverse ways—unlike the conventional peer-refereed publications expected of researchers.  To qualify, scholarship must meet three criteria—1) original intellectual work 2) validated by peers, and 3) communicated. I am glad to report that faculty conducting engaged scholarship are recognized with career advancement. It is clear, though, that work remains to better define how peers are selected and how communication helps to implement associated innovations.

Two weeks ago at the Vice Provost Awards for Excellence luncheon, Dave, Deb and I distributed plaques and checks to several outstanding examples of engaged work. Congrats to all of this year’s recipients!

IN THE NEWS

QUESTION OF THE  MONTH

Q. The new Leadership Development Program for Executives is for faculty.  Are there thoughts for a strategic talent pipeline for staff?  Both for movement within the classified system and also from classified to professional faculty?  If we could increase retention of our many talented and dedicated staff, we would also better capitalize on the investment the Division has made in their hiring, training, and development.

A. What a great question! In fact, professional development, skill building and career advancement for division staff are critical to our collective success. While there are some campus-wide programs that include classified staff, we need to consider unique options for Outreach and Engagement, and I invite input and suggestions from all.

Should we consider a special internal development program? What should it contain? How about a job exchange or shadowing program that allows people to experience another setting? Maybe we should design an annual office tour that would spend a day on the road visiting off-campus division facilities. Internships? Your ideas are welcome.

Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement
Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement

On Friday we hosted the first O&E Quarterly Conversation. This new effort is in response to the request for more regular opportunities to hear from division leadership as well as to discuss timely topics. We had a great turnout, both in person and online, with some excellent questions. We started with a few unit updates from Extension, Extended Campus and PACE, I shared about the division’s new Leadership Development Program for Executives and then the majority of the time was spent on Q&A.

If you weren’t able to join us, you can view the recording. If you have additional questions or comments, this is a great place to continue the conversation.

The next O&E Quarterly Conversation will take place this summer. Watch for a calendar invitation for that soon.

Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement
Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement

Recently OSU passed the billion-dollar mark on our first-ever capital campaign, with the 4-H Foundation raising over $16 million – strengthening 4-H today and for years to come. Plans are now underway for a post-campaign fundraising initiative, and there is an opportunity for our division to play a significant role. As a first step, we have been asked to identify distinctive qualities that would inspire financial support for outreach and engagement programs.

I’d appreciate your thoughts on the following:

  1. What makes outreach and engagement at OSU distinct from similar units at other institutions?
  2. What are our emerging areas of strength deserving of additional investment and why?
  3. What can the division provide to students so they are best prepared to become leaders?

Please contribute by commenting below. Your answers will be shared with our OSU Foundation team as they work on shaping this new campaign initiative.


DIVISION UPDATES

In March, the OSU Board of Trustees approved a biennial request for the Statewide Public Services that adds $16 million of new funds in addition to a 5.8 percent continuing service level adjustment. Download the “Proposed 2015-17 Legislative Funding Request to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission” document (2.9MB) to read the details of this request, including the five areas of focus put forth by Extension. This information can be found on pages 30-33.

In May, we will begin accepting applications for the division’s new Leadership Development Program for Executives. Curious and want to learn more? Join us on April 25 at the O&E Quarterly Update when Deb Maddy will share additional details about this exciting opportunity.

The spring issue of O&E Magazine is now available in print and online. This issue features stories about STEM-related outreach and engagement activities from across the university. Check out the stories on the new website.

In an effort to advance the division’s diversity goals, we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Learn more about the division’s key diversity goals, as well as details of the MOU.


FOR YOUR CALENDAR

O&E Colloquium
Wednesday, April 16, 2-5pm (reception to follow)
CH2M Hill Alumni Center
Event website

Ecampus Faculty Forum
Over lunch, Eduventures’ President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Nemec will present a national market update on online education based on a 2014 study published by this Boston-based market research firm.
Thursday, April 17, 8am-4:15pm
CH2M Hill Alumni Center
Register

O&E Division Quarterly Update
Friday, April 25, 9-10am
Kidder 202 and streaming online at http://live.oregonstate.edu/


IN THE NEWS


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

EdFuture 2014: Global Collaboration for Online Higher Education, presented by the American Distance Education Consortium

This conference, to be held May 13-15 in Orlando, convenes today’s top education thought leaders and practitioners to share their vision of tomorrow’s online education ecosystem and provides a roadmap of how to collectively reach it. Dave King will be presenting on the international projects and the bilingual learning modules being produced by our Open Educational Resources unit. Check out Dianna Fisher’s guest post on her recent trip to China to learn more about work in this area.


QUESTION OF THE MONTH

Q: What is OSU doing to support faculty success?

A: I serve on a Provost’s Council work group that is designing a prioritized approach to helping our faculty be successful. In February, we sponsored a faculty forum to collect input about possibilities. Some of the ideas included:

  • The importance of meaningful start-up funds for new faculty, grant support, help in achieving work-life balance, and controlling cumbersome bureaucracy (early career).
  • The mixed value of mentoring and need to focus on items that simplify the conflicting demands of serving on the faculty—such as facilities support and ordering equipment. (mid-career)
  • Work elements that enhance satisfying relationships, the importance of physical spaces, administrative support. (late career)

Several division faculty members participated in this exercise, and the Provost’s Council will soon consider initiating a systematic program.

 

 

By: Dianna Fisher, Director, Open Educational Resources & Emerging Technologies

I recently traveled to China to train faculty at the Central Agricultural Broadcasting and Television School (CABTS) on Articulate Storyline – a software solution that enables the creation of learning modules using a friendly interface. The training was sponsored by Oregon State University and the American Distance Educational Consortium.

I flew to Beijing on March 21st and was picked up at the airport and taken to dinner before settling into my hotel to rest after a long flight and losing a day.  I have to mention that this meal was the first of many that the beginning topic of conversation has something to do with my skill with chopsticks.  Really! I had different dinner companions at almost every meal and they were all impressed. I didn’t realize this was such an admired ability, but several commented that I was better with them than they were.

It seems that over the 10 days I ate more food than I normally eat in a month, but it was all good, healthy food. Each meal consisted of 10-15 dishes and each a Beijing specialty.  I ate everything from fungus to grass carp to tripe and some things I am sure I am better off not knowing, but it gave them such pleasure to keep me sampling everything while being asked, “Do you love it?” My answer was usually, “Yes!”  The food was fresh and simple. It’s not the Chinese food we are served here.  They took great delight that I photographed every dish and if I forgot, someone would remind me before a serving was taken. The Peking Duck was fabulous. There is actually a ritual to eating it.

In between training times, I was taken to the Great Wall of China and we walked five miles of it. After training was finished, I had an afternoon of bartering at the market with my friend Zhou Xiao (Kitty) who had previously visited OSU. I spent my last day with Julia (I can’t even begin to transliterate her Chinese name into English letters). We walked over 10 miles that day as we went to the Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and of course, short visit to Chairman Mao laying in state in his crystal coffin….

….But, the training….

The workshop participants were faculty members who are responsible for delivering education to the farmers in their provinces.

I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to go to China and work with these faculty members who became my students for the week. They had a wide-range of ages and were from five different provinces.

The group went beyond what they were taught and sought out advanced techniques on their own and found delight in sharing with the others.

I did not know what kind of students I would find in the class. Would I find students who were there because they were told to be? Was this a mandatory training?  I am excited that I found a group of students who were eager to learn, who were very smart and who took the initiative to solve problems and create solutions.

The presentations were the beginnings of what would eventually become learning modules that would be packaged for farmers to access.

The topics were crop rotation, integrated pest management, corn borers, silk worms and the ever present smog. I enjoyed working with them, teaching them, and then watching them work with each other as they created their projects and then presented them on the last day.

The learners exceeded my expectations for their learning and the staff of CABTS exceeded my expectations for hospitality. I look forward to continued collaborations.

Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement
Scott Reed, Vice Provost, University Outreach and Engagement

Welcome to my inaugural First Monday Update.

In these monthly posts I’ll share updates on division initiatives, upcoming events, links to news articles and a Q&A (this month I asked for Deb Maddy’s help in responding). That’s the plan to start, but I’m open to changing up the format and content based on what you want to hear about. If you have suggestions on ways to improve these posts, please let me know.

I hope this can be a conversation, not just a way one-way communication. Share your comments and questions and I will do my best to respond to you as soon as I’m able.

So, here we go.

DIVISION UPDATES

I have been asked to provide testimony to a US Congressional Committee on March 4 about the role and function of Extension’s founding federal legislation, the Smith-Lever Act. I invite you to be one of the first to read my testimony (PDF)

We received a record 31 nominations for the Vice Provost Awards for Excellence. I am looking forward to recognizing these efforts at the awards luncheon on April 16.

I am pleased to share that Dr. Lou Swanson, Vice President for Engagement at Colorado State University, will be the keynote speaker at our O&E Colloquium on April 16. His address “Six things universities must do differently in the next five years to engage learners” will be followed by table conversations and a panel discussion including Provost Randhawa. Look for the invitation coming soon.

A planning team is busy preparing for the OSU Extension Reconsidered: Engaging Communities in the Arts, Humanities & Design forum on April 15. OSU is one of a dozen universities hosting day-long exploratory conversations on the topic as a part of the national Extension Reconsidered initiative. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting event.

The topline report from the recently conducted OSU Extension Service statewide survey is full of interesting findings and I look forward to digging into the data more in the months ahead. I hope you’ll join us this Friday, either in person or by phone, to hear what we learned and to discuss how it can inform our work.

FOR YOUR CALENDAR

OSU Extension statewide survey results presentation and discussion
Friday, March 7, 10am-12pm
Kidder 202 / Lived streamed at live.oregonstate.edu

O&E Colloquium
Wednesday, April 16, 2-5pm (reception to follow)
CH2M Hill Alumni Center

Ecampus Faculty Forum
Thursday, April 17, 8am-4:15pm
CH2M Hill Alumni Center
Register

IN THE NEWS

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

This year’s Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference in Alberta, Canada will explore the theme “Engaging for Change: Changing for Engagement.” Proposals are sought for presentations, posters and other forms of communication that will inform or advance research on, and the practice of, engaged scholarship and community-university partnerships. The deadline for submitting proposals is March 17.

QUESTION OF THE MONTH

Q: What’s the future of SOARS*?

A: As SOARS approaches the end of its life span, we’ve begun exploring electronic on-line program planning and reporting options.  There are some promising alternatives available on the market and we hope to have a replacement for SOARS established by plan of work time 2015.  If you have ideas on how to improve the program planning and reporting process, please let me, Cory Parsons or Kim Tarrant know.  We will seek input from faculty on a new program planning and reporting system once we’ve narrowed the choices to what appear to be feasible and functional options for OSU Extension.

* For our non-Extension folks, Stories, Outcomes, and Accomplishments Reporting System (SOARS) is the online system used by all Extension educators to prepare their annual Plan of Work and Report of Accomplishment.

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 8.23.31 PMAt last week’s State of the Division address, Dave, Deb and I shared some of the highlights from 2013, as well as looked forward to the year ahead. We spent the last portion of our time together answering questions from the audience, who attended both in-person as well as many who joined us remotely.

If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here: http://media.oregonstate.edu/media/0_ufqglzw1

Download the presentation slides (PDF, 1.5MB)

If there are additional questions or comments I hope that you will share them here or you can contact me directly. We appreciate your input and your interest in the division’s operations and success.

 

Dave King
Dave King, Associate Provost Outreach and Engagement

Over the years I have collaborated on several projects with Mike Boehlje, agricultural economist at Purdue, including:

Most recently we recorded a podcast with Bob Bertsch from North Dakota State titled Working Differently in Extension, based on a commentary on the future eXtension that was published in the October 2013 Journal of Extension.

Listen to the Working Differently in Extension podcast.

Take look at the latest commentary and the listen to the podcast, and let me know what you think.