UTSA vice provost discusses emergency training programs for faculty.
By Austin P. Taylor
During the second of four scheduled open forums for candidates for the dean of academic success position July 11 on the fourth floor of Moody Learning Center, liberal arts sophomore Miguel Alcorn asked Mary Dixon if she has a plan to expand academic success at this college if she is chosen for the job.
“My first plan is to usually start by listening,” Dixon, dean of academic success candidate, said.
While the position is new, Dixon said the groundwork for what she will be trying to accomplish has already been done.
“We want to make sure we’re spending time listening to each other and talking through what’s really worked well, where are we in terms of metrics and data and what would we like to see change over time,” she said.
Dixon said she has not created a final plan on what she’ll be doing as the dean of academic success because she hasn’t talked with the college executive team. If she gets the job, she wants to be on the same page as the rest of the team, she said.
She would like to have a unit strategic plan formulated with this college’s executive team within the first three months of working at this college.
Janae Johnson, risk management coordinator for this college, asked Dixon if she had any experience implementing or taking part in faculty emergency procedure training.
At UTSA, Dixon said the psychology faculty and mental health professionals have created a training program for faculty called “Classroom incivility or mental illness?” to help faculty better identify harmful behavior in the classroom.
“In some cases, it’s just incivility. You’ve got a student who is being rude to another student … in some cases, you have a mental illness situation where you need to give that student support as quickly as possible and try to help them get through the steps and what that means,” Dixon said.
Dixon said UTSA is in the early stages of installing “panic buttons” in classrooms, so faculty can quickly respond to emergencies.
Speaking on her experience with dual-credit at UTSA, Dixon said she would credit UTSA’s success to relationships between the faculty and districts under the program.
“It was a lot of work. I don’t have a magic wand for dual credit, it’s work and it’s expensive work,” Dixon said. “Anytime we can find ways of streamlining, anytime we can find ways of organizing in a different way that help us move forward, that to me is a big strategy.”
The main questions Dixon wants to answer in this college’s dual-credit programs are:
- How do we check and stay up on program accreditation?
- How do we do it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the faculty?
Dixon worked at this college from 1996-99 and Northwest Vista College from 2012-14.
Dixon earned her master’s degree at Texas A&M University. She has been serving as the Associate vice provost for teaching and learning services at UTSA since December 2016.
Dixon was the second of four candidates to be interviewed for the dean of academic success position. Her full bio and résumé, along with a recording of the open forum, can be found at http://alamo.edu/sac/Academic-Dean-Open-Forums/.
Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education, is leading the search committee. She can be reached at 210-486-0920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dean of academic success position will report to DR. Jothany Blackwood, vice president for academic success at this college. She can be reached at 210-486-0950 or email@example.com.