Academic Transformation

Contact Us

Dr. Matthew Crosston
Director, Academic Transformation

Rethinking the Academy for a Complex Future

Higher education is at a dangerous crossroads, which was visible to many even before the COVID-19 pandemic completely turned many’s understanding of the Academy upside down and revealed just how fragile many of our institutions can be. Whether it is declining high school population, limited instructional support and ever-constrained resources, along with growing public outcry and downright cynicism in some corners about the value of a college degree, higher education must embrace the challenge to overcome this existential crisis. In this troubling environment, Bowie State University must restate its relevance to current and future students and their families, reinvigorate itself as a leader in innovative and purposeful research, and passionately embrace this ever-changing landscape as a unique opportunity to prove our capability to be of distinct value to all.

During this time of disruption, to meet the future head on, we must align our resources, people, and energy to fully support and invest in areas of new opportunity and identify where Bowie State can have greater impact and be more relevant for our emerging global citizens. Not facing this crisis in higher education head on with purpose, drive, ambition, and hopefulness means negative impacts will be felt for years to come.

The Division of Academic Transformation leads this facilitation and evolution of the new Academy, of the new higher education landscape, across teaching, research, and service. This leadership is conceptualized through the following priorities:

Priority 1: Safeguard the rigor and dynamic-active learning of all courses across modalities

This priority is a mixture of quantifiable data research and evaluation with direct personal engagement with departmental leadership and faculty actors. A yearly “rigor and active learning” evaluation is done across all departmental course holdings in order to communicate findings to department leadership. This evaluation is not about modalities but about the quality of content, student engagement/success, and pedagogical approaches utilized in all Bowie State courses. Accommodations, revisions, and adaptations are facilitated from this yearly evaluation by working directly with individual faculty. The aim is to significantly impact the level of rigor and active learning found in all Bowie State courses, making the university curricula overall a hallmark of quality education and a continuous platform for ongoing innovation which attracts and retains the best students.

Priority 2: Identify instructional improvements and efficiencies

This initiative focuses on the building of a virtual platform that highlights unique innovations and approaches applied across faculty at Bowie State. The bulk of the data research and evidence collection for this initiative is funneled through the Division of Academic Transformation, working closely with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Academic Computing. The purpose of the initiative is to have single-portal access at Bowie State that allows faculty to be aware of the instructional improvements and efficiencies done by fellow colleagues and programs, thus allowing for an organic spread of innovation across the entire faculty body.

Priority 3: Facilitate improving viability across all existing programs and ascertain/affirm the viability of potential new programs

This facilitation involves working with the viability reports of all programs so as to investigate future partnership opportunities. These opportunities include traditional programs like internships to more innovative endeavors like community interactions, corporate pipeline agreements, and direct career market connections for new graduates. The aim of this priority is to connect all programs to their natural markets as well as create pathways to new markets not yet realized for Bowie State’s most precious resource: its future graduates community.

Priority 4: Develop opportunities for faculty development, research elevation, recognition, and rewards

Arguably the most important priority for the Division of Academic Transformation, as success in this priority synergistically leads to greater buy-in, investment, and achievement from faculty across all other priorities. The largest concentration for this priority revolves around the acquisition of grant resources and other external partnerships that result in faculty improving their skills, gaining new credentials, making lucrative connections, and earning research recognition and rewards that raise the prestige and overall rankings profile of Bowie State University.

Priority 5: Enhance opportunities for student success and propel dynamic engagement between academic programs of study and career realization

While every division of Bowie State University shares this priority, the Division of Academic Transformation’s participation revolves around helping student communities explicitly realize how their programs of study directly connect to specific career paths and how to better position themselves post-graduation to powerfully market their candidacies to success, for example via skillset acquisition and micro-credentialing. In the end, the reputation of Bowie State University is founded upon the success and future endeavors of its graduating students.

Priority 6: Engage the university as a de facto “transformation ombudsman”

Outside of the Division of Academic Transformation’s core five priorities, there is a sixth priority that represents the Division’s overall willingness and capacity to jump in and participate in various university initiatives and endeavors wherever and whenever the resources and talents of the Division can be effectively maximized. This represents general collegiality and a passionate commitment to service that infuses the Division of Academic Transformation at Bowie State University. It is dedicated to not just realizing its own aforementioned priorities but also contributing to the mission objectives of the university’s many different academic and administrative units, helping all evolve, elevate, and excel.