Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI)

Chancellor

Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI)

The Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI) is part of the UNCSA Forward strategic plan, and it aligns with all five pillars of the plan with a particular emphasis on health and wellness and institutional sustainability. One of the key goals of the project is to maintain a high level of rigor and support academic/learning outcomes.

As a result, a new calendar template will be created with faculty, staff and student input throughout spring 2022, to be used in curricular and events planning for implementation in the 2023-24 academic year.

Introduction to CSI

Resources

Updates and communications

CSI Update from Provost Sims (Nov. 22)

Dear UNCSA Colleagues,  

I am pleased to provide you with an update on the Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI). We have made significant progress and we are grateful to many of you who have provided enormously beneficial ideas and feedback to this project.

November 4-5, we held a Prototyping Retreat with Divisional Representatives (CSI Liaisons and others). At this retreat, we reaffirmed and established the importance of "building blocks" developed through extensive engagement of faculty and staff. From these building blocks we derived a shorter list of "cornerstones" that were prioritized as of utmost importance to our institution. These included: 1) Driven by production and learning outcomes, 2) Keeping Conservatory model, 3) Supporting culturally responsive pedagogy, 4) Supporting the ability to focus on EDIB and Wellness, and 5) Ensuring federally mandated contact/credit hours.  The Deans took these cornerstones as well as the building blocks and created a first iteration of a prototype template that we believe can meet the needs of all Conservatories, DLA, and High School.  To be clear, this is not a final product by any means, but rather a good faith effort to establish a common reference point for future conversations with faculty, staff, and students. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue the work of the retreat and drill down on the specifics that will help provide a more comprehensive picture that can be shared widely.  As a part of this we will be creating a survey that will be sent to students to gather ideas and feedback on this project. On Dec 8, we will be holding a 3 hour dedicated Liaisons meeting.  At this meeting, we will gather initial feedback by sharing details of the draft prototype template.  

Lastly, as a follow up to the December meeting, we're planning another two-day retreat on January 4th-5th 2022. At this retreat, we will be developing a final draft prototype template that will be presented to all faculty, staff, and students for feedback early in the spring semester.     

On behalf of the CSI planning and project teams, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued participation, energy, and support of this initiative. We look forward to providing many more details as this process unfolds after the holidays. Please visit our new web page to learn more and keep up to date on the latest information.  

In community,

Patrick J. Sims

CSI Update from Provost Sims (Nov. 9)

Dear CSI Liaisons and Division Representatives,  

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time out to join us at the CSI Prototyping Retreat last week. Your presence and feedback was instrumental in helping establish and reaffirming the "cornerstones" which were derived from the "building blocks" we gathered from various faculty stakeholders.  Because of that input, we have a first iteration of a prototype template that we believe can meet the needs of all Conservatories, DLA, and High School.  To be clear, this is not a final product by any means, but rather a good faith effort to establish a common reference point for future conversations with faculty, staff, and students. 

We hope that your schedule will allow you to join us at a dedicated Liaisons meeting on December 8th from 9 am to 12 noon, in the conference room SAAB 301.  We look forward to gathering your initial feedback as we share with you the details of this prototype.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue the work of the retreat and drill down on the specifics that will help provide a more comprehensive picture at the meeting.   

Lastly, as a follow up to the December meeting, we're planning another two-day retreat on January 4th-5th 2022. To the extent possible, please hold these dates on your calendar.  We would love to have you join us for part of that meeting as we continue the process of finalizing the draft template and communication plan that will be presented to all faculty, staff, and students for feedback.   

In community,  

Patrick J. Sims

UNCSA Forward: Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts (Nov. 9)

Dear Campus Community,

On Oct. 1, I presented the vision for our next strategic plan and asked our campus community to engage in providing feedback that will shape our final plan. As we go through this planning process, I will be sending regular communications to provide additional information about each of the core strategies that comprise UNCSA Forward(opens in new tab). These core strategies are Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB); Health and Wellness; Maintaining and Expanding Industry Relevance; Institutional Sustainability; and Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts. Today, as the next in a series of communications about these strategies, I’d like to share more thoughts on our opportunities for increased Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts.

The mission of our institution is first and foremost to train artists. We provide gifted emerging artists with the experience, knowledge and skills needed to excel in their disciplines and in their lives. Direct and meaningful experiences with the intersections of those disciplines is a critical component in the development of artists for the global arts and entertainment industry of today and beyond. It’s not just a "nice to have" for young artists — it is a "must have."

What we continue to see throughout the industry is that the work that is being created today does not exist in the same kind of silos and categories that it has in the past. Highly skilled students in any arts discipline will have access to another realm of opportunities when they also have direct experience with how their craft intersects with others — and an arts ecosystem like UNCSA is better-positioned to provide that kind of experience than almost any other institution. There is a lot of collaborative and interdisciplinary work already happening on our campus, but the reality is that we are just scratching the surface. Opportunities to work on interdisciplinary projects that transcend traditional institutional boundaries will be an enormous complement to our students’ learning and will prepare them for successful 21st-century careers in a way that very few other institutions in this country can. In essence, we want to embrace our role as a conservatory that hones and develops their craft, but also our role as a laboratory that makes the space for highly skilled artists of each discipline to work together to create what is next. 

Two examples of initiatives aimed at creating capacity and space for interdisciplinary opportunities are already underway. They are integrating the new Studio for Creative Practice into our arts and academic programs, and developing streamlined and aligned campus calendars through the Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI).

After a decade of collaborative research and design, the Studio for Creative Practice took shape in 2019 in the Division of Liberal Arts (DLA) as a place for up to two dozen students from all of our arts schools to immerse themselves in courses on creative research, collaboration and experimentation in interdisciplinary art. In the first course, students practice how to discover new ideas, research their topics, test concepts, and bring art to life between and across disciplines, methods and media. In the advanced course, students develop an idea as they will post-college as professional artists, including communicating with collaborators, sustaining research and testing, developing audiences, identifying funding sources, writing grants and proposals, and ultimately going public with a work of interdisciplinary art. You can experience work created through this practice with fourth-year student Marina Zurita’s devised work, "Mother Tongue," based on research and interviews done with a community of trash pickers in her native country of Brazil, when it is presented this spring as part of the performance season.

The Collaborative Scheduling Initiative is an ambitious universitywide undertaking that can help us create time and space for interdisciplinary work, as well as better balance on campus in workload and schedule. Our work groups have already taken the first steps toward creating a new calendar template by spring 2022 that would be used in planning for the 2023-24 academic year. With a goal of developing a production calendar that better aligns with the structure of the academic calendar, CSI also seeks to utilize a block schedule model for the campus that contains recurring times or spaces for interdisciplinary work while upholding two other core strategies: EDIB and health and wellness. In addition, CSI also would maximize our longstanding Intensive Arts program at UNCSA, leveraging its inherent interdisciplinary opportunities in a way that would enable full participation by all our conservatories.

Over the past month I have been visiting meetings with faculty, staff and students to hear feedback and ideas about these proposed strategies for UNCSA. Everyone in our community has the opportunity to share their ideas about Interdisciplinary Work in the Arts, or any aspect of UNCSA Forward, by filling out the survey(opens in new tab) which was sent out on Oct. 18, and is open until Nov. 19. Survey responses are anonymous and will be used by the Leadership Council to refine and finalize the strategic plan in order to present it for approval by the Board of Trustees in December. 

Sincerely,

Brian Cole 
Chancellor

In-Service Day Focus: Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (Sept. 14)

Dear Faculty,

I look forward to seeing all of you in person for our first all-faculty in-service day of the semester on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 p.m. in the ACE Main Theatre.

The focus of the first half of our meeting will be the introduction of an ambitious university-wide initiative that will help us create better balance on campus and room for interdisciplinary exploration.

Over the past decade, one of the ongoing and unresolved challenges at UNCSA has been addressing imbalances in the institutional calendar and how that structure can best accommodate our numerous performances, productions, events, curricula and activities. I believe that there is consensus that we must make substantial revisions to the academic and production calendars to ensure a vital and viable campus experience for students, faculty and staff, and to support each of the core strategies of our next Strategic Plan: Health & Wellness; Institutional Sustainability; Interdisciplinary Work; Industry Relevance; and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB).  

In order to achieve these outcomes, we are asking you to participate in active discussion around the Collaborative Scheduling Initiative (CSI) that will focus on creating a new calendar template by spring 2022 that would be used in curricular and events planning for the 2023-24 academic year.

Here is a link to the project charter for your reference. Goals of the project are:

  • To create a balanced schedule between the two academic semesters, ensuring a consistent amount of contact time in hours/minutes across all programs and the academic year.

  • To create an integrated block schedule to fit into the yearly academic calendar for UNCSA that contains recurring times for interdisciplinary work while upholding health and wellness and EDIB.  

  • To develop a production calendar that aligns with the structure of the academic calendar.

  • To develop a strategy that maximizes “Intensive Arts” at UNCSA, leveraging its inherent interdisciplinary opportunities that will enable full participation by all conservatories.

  • To maintain a high level of rigor and support academic/learning outcomes.

  • To lead to a sense of wholeness, consistency, and a more integrated experience for students, faculty and staff.
     

We know that faculty, staff and student input will be critical in the success of this initiative. As you discuss this effort with each other and with our staff and students, please be mindful that a separate communication will be sent to them at a later date. We want to minimize any sense that staff and students are not vital to the success of the CSI project. We are, however, underscoring the major role that you all will play as our faculty by engaging you first in the conversation during the workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 21. We look forward to hearing your thoughts about the project and we will also describe in more detail the timeline and development process, and the ongoing channels for communication and input. 

Please note that our in-service day will be held in person. ADA accommodations will be available upon request; please email Kathryn McMillan at mcmillank@uncsa.edu. You will receive a sign-up for the remaining afternoon workshops in the coming days.

I thank you in advance for your time, which I know is particularly precious as the semester and performance season get into full swing.

Sincerely,

Brian Cole 
Chancellor