In September 2013 Dean Antonio Cepeda-Benito appointed three subcommittees of CAS faculty, staff, and undergraduate students to address distinct but overlapping strategic planning issues pertaining to: (a) Climate & Diversity, (b) Student Experience, and (c) Faculty Success. Subcommittees met biweekly throughout the academic year, researched relevant literature, practices, and data from UVM and other colleges and universities, conducted on- and off-campus interviews and online surveys, and communicated with CAS faculty, students, and staff via a blog, faculty meetings, and open forum. Based upon this work, each subcommittee identified strategic planning Priorities, Goals, Recommended Action Strategies, Metrics and elements of a College Vision pertaining to its domain; Priorities, Goals, and Overall Conclusions are summarized below.
CLIMATE AND DIVERSITY
PRIORITY A: Ensure faculty, students, and staff members from underrepresented and marginalized populations are an integral part of the life and governance of the institution.
Goal: Make climate and diversity issues a living, acted-upon priority.
Priority B: Improve recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented and marginalized populations.
Goal: Change the demographics of the college by increasing the numbers of individuals from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations.
PRIORITY C: Engage all students, faculty, staff, and community members in rich curricular and co-curricular experiences that enhance understanding and appreciation of people of diverse personal and group histories, identities, and perspectives.
Goal 1: Ensure that faculty and staff have high levels of cultural competency.
Goal 2: Ensure that the college is recognized nationally as an institution that values the intellectual pursuit and understanding of diversity.
CLIMATE AND DIVERSITY CONCLUSIONS: Training in cultural competency for faculty and staff is essential to progress, as is, in particular, training in cultural competency for all instructors who teach D1 and D2 courses. It is also important to conduct a thorough evaluation of the ways in which bias incidents are reported in CAS and to identify and implement best practices for reporting such incidences in ways that provide safe, unintimidating, confidential methods.
Priority A: Ensure the curriculum is innovative, engaging, meaningful, and rigorous.
Goal 1: Enrich High-Impact Practice (HIP) offerings: First-Year Seminars and Experiences; Common Intellectual Experiences; Learning Communities; Writing-Intensive Courses; Undergraduate Research; Collaborative Assignments and Projects; Diversity and Global Learning; Service-Learning and Community-Based Learning; Academic Internships; Capstone Courses and Projects.
Goal 2: Identify and encourage experiential learning (much of which occurs through HIPs), such as undergraduate research, academic internships, performances and productions, service-learning courses, and travel/study experiences. Different forms and levels of experiential learning will suit the educational missions and resources of different departments and programs.
Goal 3: Create mechanisms to identify and meet diverse student needs at each stage of student UVM education: first year, sophomore, junior, senior; and explore extended/accelerated degree programs.
Goal 4: Identify and encourage innovative pedagogical practices and methods; encourage department-level conversations about providing discipline-specific, challenging educational experiences.
Priority B: Provide effective, rewarding advising and mentoring to all students.
Goal 1: Ensure that all students have access to advising resources (Informational Advising).
Goal 2: Provide effective, rewarding mentoring opportunities to all students.
STUDENT EXPERIENCE CONCLUSIONS: Student experience can benefit from CAS embracing the diversity of our departments and programs that, in turn, provides opportunities to address the varied interests and needs of our student body. Thus we should emphasize department- and program-centered review and decision-making with assistance and guidance from CAS and UVM. We recommend a new Annual Department Activity Report that identifies and tracks on-going efforts to offer High Impact Practices (HIPs), department-level pedagogical developments and new programs, inter-disciplinary connections, advising strategies, and faculty training. We must develop improved and up-dated department websites that better inform current and potential students, support student success, and encourage departments to reflect on their own curricular, teaching, and advising practices. CAS should also implement regular and systematic assessments to gather high quality student and curricular data to inform policy- and decision-making.
Priority A: Help all faculty achieve and sustain national stature of their creative and scholarly programs as well as accomplished and engaging teaching and professional practice (as appropriate to their faculty appointment) by providing resources for the recruitment and retention of faculty, production of scholarship, and/or excellence in teaching.
Goal 1: Invest in funding for scholarship, teaching, and professional development.
Goal 2: Ensure all faculty have time to concentrate on and excel at scholarship, teaching, and professional development.
Goal 3: Maintain and deepen collegial academic communities of departments, the college, and the university.
Priority B: Mentor and evaluate faculty using guidelines and criteria that foster faculty success.
Goal 1: Recognize excellence through RPT and Annual Faculty Evaluation processes.
Goal 2: Ensure that faculty are mentored at all stages of their career development.