Provost’s Office

The Blog #7

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all had a wonderful break: catching up, resting up, getting ahead (?!?)—all in good measure. We hopped in the car Wednesday evening for a whirlwind trip to Nebraska. With two, twelve-hour stretches in the car, I decided I would make the most of it and work to get my grading and some planning done. Years ago, that meant dropping stacks of papers and a handful of pens into my bag—how times have changed.

The double-edged sword of ever-evolving technology

I love my computer–especially now that it’s lighter to carry around than those old stacks of paper. It absolves me of having to write legibly, it checks my spelling, and it can find orphaned documents that I know I’ve written but can’t remember where I saved. Ten years ago, that was enough, but now I need access to Canvas, too. And Canvas needs to be connected to the internet. And my car is not connected to the internet. So began my adventure.

In pursuit of a hotspot

No problem, I thought. I know my phone can be a hotspot—except when I tried to enable it, I got caught in an endless loop of being sent to the Verizon website. Ok, I thought. I’ll take care of it on the website. Hours later, I realized this was hopeless. Ok, I thought. I’ll call. Ironically, you can’t call the phone store to take care of an issue with your phone. Ok, I thought. I’ll drive to Mt. Pleasant and sort this mess out. After investing way too many hours of my life trying to activate the hotspot that comes with the unlimited data plan, the Verizon guy—IN LESS THAN THREE MINUTES—sees that I have the wrong unlimited data plan, clicks a button, and up pops the hotspot option. It worked, and I got all sorts of things done on the way to Lincoln and back.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know (But Someone Does)

I can’t tell you how many times during my quest for traveling internet access, someone said “Just click hotspot in settings on your phone.” Everyone else seemed to know how this works and were a little incredulous that I didn’t. I think that happens a lot. We all know things that seem really obvious to us and assume everyone else knows what we know—especially if the information seems easily accessible. The problem is, there’s so much information, accessible in so many places, it’s hard to know where to look (or what to look for). It won’t help you activate a hotspot, but here’s a good list of where to go for good campus info.

What You Might Need To Know—And Where To Find It

Alma College Campus Calendar

If you go to the full calendar (not just the “Campus Events” wiki on the Inside Alma Portal) you can click on any day to see the whole list of events with full information. You can also search for or filter events by topic. If you’d like, you can subscribe to specific calendars (RSS or iCAL). If you are hosting an event (or need to reserve meeting space on campus) that’s where you’ll find the links to do that, too.

Provost’s Office Webpage

This one’s probably worth bookmarking. Just in the “Resources for Faculty” tab alone you’ll find:

  • Community Governance (current lists of Department Chairs, Division Membership, Membership of all Community Governance Committees, and a calendar of all Faculty Meetings and Department Chairs Meetings)
  • Grant Forms and Reimbursement Information (descriptions and application forms for Faculty Small Grants, Faculty Professional Development Funds, and Publication Funds)
  • Travel-Related Forms for Faculty (Motor Pool Procedures, Expense Report Forms for non-P-card expenses), and Missing Receipt Documentation)
  • EPC and Other Academic Forms (Course Change, New Course, Program Change, etc.—some of these will be under revision soon given the new General Education Program)
  • Spring Term Information (with course offerings soon to be announced)
  • Student Planning Guides (How-To guides for both students and faculty)

Some of the tabs are purely informational (Faculty Honors & Recognition, Andison Center for Teaching Excellence, Meet the Staff), but if you intend to use people or animals in any of your research, you’ll want to visit:

  • Institutional Review Board—for any research study that involves human subjects (BEFORE the project begins).
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee—if you’re planning to use animals for demonstration, in the classroom, or if your research involves animals.

There’s a lot more information floating around campus. If there’s something you want to know how to find out about, let me know at I’ll start a cheat-sheet.

Looking Forward to Friday

This Friday, colleagues of the MPH Working Group will walk us through their proposal for a low residency Masters of Public Health program. Their work has been grounded in developing a graduate program that is unique and distinctive to Alma, grounded in the core liberal arts, and that addresses social needs in accordance with the Evergreen Plan. The program description, budget and proposed curriculum are attached to the Friday Forum calendar invitation. The Andison Center for Teaching Excellence is happy to host our Friday Forum in SAC 110 around 3:30. Please join us to share a drink, a snack, and each other’s company. We’ll kick off the presentations a bit before 4:00. As always, come when you can and leave when you must.


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