Deborah Smith-Howell

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Dean for Graduate Studies

University of Nebraska Omaha

Deborah Smith-Howell

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Dean for Graduate Studies

University of Nebraska Omaha

Deborah Smith-Howell has served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Dean for Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha since 2007. She is also a Professor of Communication. She joined the university in 1989 as a faculty member in the then Department of Communication where she coordinated the university’s basic public speaking course. From 1996 to 2004, she was departmental chair and the founding director of the School of Communication. Currently, she has administrative oversight of UNO’s academic learning communities including the University Honors Program and Thompson Learning Community, academic community engagement initiatives including the UNO Service Learning Academy, curriculum and program review and development, general education/dual enrollment, graduate studies, and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs responsible for the Center for Faculty Excellence, academic program assessment, and university honors and awards.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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