Think Big Spring 2021 Plans

Geometric Square Pattern on a Blue Background

The Office of the Provost and the entire Think Big team are pleased to announce plans for the spring. With the help of the Think Big Pathway Leaders, the team is forging ahead with projects and activities to help CWRU move along its four pathways, toward its North Star.

Activities for spring 2021 include investigation of synergies at the health-environment-justice interface; a listening tour and survey to refine the definition of humanity/technology; the introduction of a data collection tool to capture our community efforts; seminars on diversity, equity and inclusion in the curriculum; and much more.

Read on for a short summary of the spring’s activities and proposed outcomes, along with ways to engage.

About

Under the leadership of Mitch Drumm and Blanton Tolbert, Pathway 1 will introduce an interdisciplinary topic for engagement across the campus. The premise is that societal problems require interdisciplinary solutions. The inaugural topic will be Health, Environment, and Social Justice. This set of interrelated topics was selected based on feedback about growing research areas in the federal agencies and the Biden administration as well as a review of seed topics submitted by our campus community last year. Collectively, they have also been discussed by our student body (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) in a variety of forums over the last year. 

Questions They Will Ask 

  • Who across campus is interested in this space?  
  • What new research is emerging at this intersection?
  • Could this become a defining area for CWRU?  
  • How do we develop policies and procedures in support of such activity, remove barriers, and incentivize engagement?  
  • As an interdisciplinary campus at heart, what can we do to help this topical area flourish more seamlessly?  
  • And if we find the right ingredients, how do we extend this to other emerging interdisciplinary topics? 

Process  

The Pathway 1 team will lay the groundwork with a panel discussion to which faculty, staff and students will be invited. The panel will include personalities that would attract a broad audience, demonstrating support from upper administration and encourage further interaction between groups by presenting common goals. From there, the team will work to build groups of interested parties, starting with a call to engage in discussion. This may include review of a journal article, review of a public issue, or engagement with funders who want to help develop this topical area.

Semester Metrics

A variety of outcomes will be tracked, including...

  • Participation by faculty, staff and students.
  • Identification of groups interested in developing projects and proposals.
  • Development of a journal club format to facilitate cross-discipline discussions.
  • Initial development of courses that could lay the foundation for new GER courses or graduate/professional courses that cross disciplines.
  • Evaluation of processes from which one page synopses will be created describing barriers in the process would be shared with UBC, Faculty Senate, Deans.
  • Identification of funding avenues for teams.
  • Tracking of scholarly activities that intersect the human-environment-social justice interface.
     

About

Under the leadership of Mark Griswold, Maggie Popkin (currently on sabbatical), and Fey Parrill (newly appointed), this team of leaders has been focused on helping define “humanity and technology” for CWRU. They’ve engaged in many discussions with faculty, reviewed the many ideas submitted by the campus for investment, and developed an Advisory Council. Refining the CWRU definition of humanity/technology and determining what pieces of campus apply to the definition are key to this semester’s activities. 

Questions They Will Ask

  • We see an evolving definition of pathway two...what is your reaction?  
  • Does this fit for you?  
  • How might we further articulate our collective uniqueness as an institution, both from a research side as well as a curriculum side? 

Process

By engaging in an additional listening tour with new voices, as well as the use of survey instruments, the leaders will help further gather opinions and feedback. Part of this effort will include tying this feedback to data including asking faculty to define what papers, grants, and courses have been developed to further this definition.

Semester Metrics

  • Convene two meetings of the Advisory Council, one to focus on funder interests and a second to review results of listening tours/surveys.
  • Conduct listening tours and all surveys.
  • Prepare a white paper and/or presentation analyzing outcomes of both research as well as courses on campus.
     

About

Tyler Reimschisel and Julian Rogers lead Pathway 3, and they have been creating new structures to leverage the strengths of the university in order to achieve the identified goals of the Pathway. Specifically, the Government and Community Relations Office has moved under the President’s Office. This has resulted in fast movement to build metrics, define focus, and engage constituencies as this move occurred. They have organized the Neighborhood Advisory Council and convened the Pathway 3 Advisory Executive Committee, Pathway 3 Advisory Committee, and the Community Engagement Quarterly meetings. In addition, they have purchased an online data tool called Collaboratory to help collect, organize and share all of the incredible community activities and research being conducted by our faculty, staff, and students. 

Questions They Will Ask

  • Using the lens of Public Health-Environment-Social Justice, what activities should we prioritize?
  • Which additional partners need to be at the table?
  • What additional supports could the University provide to advance the goals of Pathway 3? 

Process

There are a number of projects underway that will continue. This includes continued engagement with the two advisory committees and implementation of Collaboratory. It also includes implementation of the McBride Lecture Series to sponsor talks with and for the community, including a partnership with the Cleveland Public Library. Very tangibly, this team is also helping with COVID-19 vaccine education for the CWRU and Greater Cleveland communities….a very timely topic at the public health - environment - social justice intersection.

Semester Metrics

  • Introduce Collaboratory and the collection and entry of data.
  • Convene 10 Pathway 3 committee meetings.
  • Hold two community lectures.
  • Create a vaccine education program for our campus and our neighbors in Cleveland.
  • Raise awareness of the Pathway throughout our campus and Cleveland community.
     

About

Rob Solomon, Carolyn Gregory, and Megan Holmes lead our pathway four, a pathway that has been front and center in many of our discussions this year.  It is indeed the heart of our campus: our people.  The challenges in front of us––from wellness, mental health and self-care during the pandemic, to the need for civic and engaged dialogue, to the need for next level growth in our inclusiveness and diversity––are those that we must all address.  In many ways, diversity and inclusiveness has moved from a goal to a VALUE for our campus...that in itself brings cause for hope.  But much, much more must be done.  

Questions They Will Ask

  • What is the next level of inclusiveness that we take on?
  • What activities do we need to take on that can move the needle?  
  • Because of the stress of the COVID pandemic, how do we promote healing, self-care, and community-care?

Process

The key to this pathway is to use the strengths of our existing structures while capitalizing on potential growth opportunities and recognized best practices. This includes working with leadership and organizations across the entire campus. 

Semester Metrics

  • Increase dissemination of information about ongoing CWRU wellness programs.
  • Increase use of resources in mental health and wellness resources for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Deliver seminars on DEI pedagogy in the curriculum.
  • Link the infusion of DEI to the higher education accreditation process.
  • Increase implicit bias/Diversity 360 training.