Priority 1: To provide top-quality academic programs with a liberal arts education core.
I. Departmental Review
- Continue external reviews:
All departments should be reviewed to receive an outside assessment of their program relative to other institutions of comparable focus. This should happen on a rotating basis, with each non-accredited department reviewed on a five-year cycle.
- Continue internal reviews:
All departments should periodically review their curriculum offerings to minimize duplication with other departments, to avoid top-heavy curricula with over-specialization, to update official course syllabi, etc.
- Achieve accreditation (where applicable):
Departments with accrediting bodies or licensing agencies (computer science, engineering physics, chemistry, geosciences) should initiate, reconfirm or maintain status to enhance requirements of graduates and bolster their graduation status. Departments without accrediting bodies should establish curricula that either meet the standards of the profession or follow models suggested by professional societies.
- Enhance academic standing of the environmental science program:
Provide this program with a status equivalent to a department (formal or informal), to include appropriate budgetary support, secretarial/technical support, new faculty positions, representation within university governance and other items that constitute full administrative status.
II. Faculty Development
- All faculty follow the teacher/scholar model:
When making new hires, require all incoming faculty to be teachers and scholars with active research programs (research in a broad context). For existing faculty, provide necessary support and encouragement to allow them to develop into quality teacher/scholars, including involvement of students in their scholarship activities.
- Support teacher enhancement workshops:
In cooperation with the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Instructional Technology, provide workshops aimed specifically toward faculty in the college.
- Enhance professional development funding:
To create faculty of higher quality that truly reflect the teacher/scholar model, increase funds to attend/present at meetings and other scholarly gatherings to allow each faculty member to participate more.
- Enhance internal research funds:
Increase funds available via GRFC and "start-up" program to promote scholarly activity by faculty.
- Enhance external research funds:
In cooperation with the Office of Sponsored Programs, encourage all faculty to seek external funding of research programs, including the acquisition of equipment. This can lead to improved teaching opportunities, especially for those projects that involve undergraduate and graduate students as "personnel."
- Include experiential learning component for each major:
Require students in each major to complete some form of experiential learning that goes beyond the typical classroom experience. This could include participation in individual faculty research, undergraduate research, working for employer in related field, internships at the new nature center, independent study with internal or external group, intensive field courses, etc. To monitor/supervise these programs, resources must be allocated in the form of release time or hiring of additional faculty.
- Develop college-wide evaluation of instruction:
Adopt college-wide instrument for student evaluation of teaching so that instruction can improve, comparison between departments can be facilitated and comments from students can be read by department chairs (and dean if necessary).
- Support assessment:
Establish departmental mechanism of assessment for graduating seniors (MFAT exam or other assessment device). The importance of this assessment process must be conveyed to the students, perhaps by linking their performance to a particular course grade or ability to graduate.
- Increase graduate support:
Increase financial support of graduate assistants through both internal and external sources.
- Support University Studies courses:
Departments must continue to offer service courses to support other programs at the institution (e.g., University Studies and interdisciplinary majors).
- Provide informational technology:
Because information technology is an ever-increasing component of effective student learning, the college actively supports efforts to: extend access to information technologies to faculty, staff and students through systematic acquisition of hardware and software and by providing training opportunities and support; utilize technology to streamline administrative services; maintain an up-to-date "information technology plan" to guide the coordinated acquisition of hardware and software; personnel training and support service development; extend distance-learning opportunity via technology; provide technical support staff; equip classrooms with multi-media presentation equipment; provide state of the art information technology, including parallel processing, for research and teaching; establish or enhance web pages for the college, departments and individual classes; implement web courses where appropriate.