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Provost's Challenge


Led by Portland State University’s Provost Sona Andrews and Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success Sukhwant Jhaj, the Provost's Challenge formed the initial launching project for reTHINK PSU. The Provost’s Challenge allocated $3 million in 2012 to fund and support twenty-four innovative faculty-staff activities, engaging more than 150 formal collaborators, to accelerate online learning and the use of innovative technology in educational delivery and to improve student success and graduation. The selected projects emerged from 162 ideas that were proposed by more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students. 

The Provost’s Challenge concluded on June 30, 2015, on time and under budget. Details on the outcomes are available on each project's webpage (links below). Of the $3 million allocated to Provost's Challenge, $2,737,138 was spent, resulting in more than $260,000 in savings. For expenditure details, please see here.  The Provost's Challenge Celebration in May 2015 brought together faculty, staff and students to share successes and reflect on their work. 

 Acceleration Challenge

The Acceleration Challenge awarded funds for the implementation of strategic, high-impact clusters of online classes. Priority was given to proposals that met one or more of the following criteria:

  • Creation of complete online programs and degrees
  • Positioned to positively impact a large number of PSU students
  • The offerings enhanced student success and time to degree
  • Improved outcomes for students at lower cost

Project #63
University Studies Online General Education

Project #67
A Coherent Set of Ten Fully Online Courses

Project #110
Social Entrepreneurship Certificate 

Project #158
Highly Effective Online Programming in Business  

Reframing Challenge

The Reframing Challenge awarded funds for collaborative projects that leveraged innovation in technology to make major changes in the delivery of high-quality, affordable education. Priority was given to proposals that met one or more of the following criteria:

  • Big ideas where the commitment was made to affect change in a short amount of time
  • Possibilities: Incorporating credit for prior learning; rethinking the number of credits required for degrees; using massive open online classes (MOOCs) developed either by PSU or others; reimagining credentialing; developing proficiency-based curriculum; and/or designing collaborations that lead to degree completion.  


Project #47
Meeting (and Exceeding) Student Goals in Mathematics and Statistics
Project #59
Leveraging the Efficiencies of a Credit-Based “Mini-MOOC"

Project #91
Online Master of Social Work Degree Specializing in Community and Leadership Practice

Project #92
Giving Credit Where It's Due

Project #169
An ePortfolio Initiative to Transform Learning and Assessment at PSU

Project #186
Reframing Chemistry and Biology Education at PSU for the 21st Century

Inspiration Challenge

The Inspiration Challenge awarded funds for projects that developed technology-based solutions that led to improved student success and graduation. 

  • This challenge was modeled on the success of the Last Mile Initiative at PSU, which has shown that it is possible to have a large impact with very modest cost when we are inspired to collaborate around an opportunity or issue that affects our students.

Project #54
Online Academic Advising & Career Development Modules

Project #55
Continuing Engagement for Social Change 

Project #73
The Last Five Miles: Coaching Students to Degree Completion

Project #78
Reaching Out: Utilizing Technology to Enhance the Student Experience 

Project #88
Faculty Advising Initiative

Project #96
Tools for Improving Orientation Advising

Project #107
Development of a Digital Academic Requirements Committee Petition

Project #111
PDX Open: Reducing Student Textbook Costs

Project #113
Mapping an Online Presence for UNST Mentors 

Project #120
Online Faculty and TA Development 

Project #136
Online Major Change Mechanism

Project #139
Digital Badges for Creativity and Critical Thinking

Project #155
Mobile and Augmented Reality Resources for Learning

Project #161
Using Technology to Answer Key Questions on Student Success in STEM