College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
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  • Strategic Theme 3: Faculty Scholarship, Teaching and Mentorship

Strategic Theme 3: Faculty Scholarship, Teaching and Mentorship

We will enhance the infrastructure that supports scholars as intellectuals, educators and individuals across all academic ranks. We will seek to provide robust support to stimulate faculty productivity in research and scholarship. This includes a clear appreciation and valuing of research, publication and creative activity across all of our disciplines. We will seek to support this productivity through increased emphasis on and resources to obtain competitive grants, fellowships and external awards. Our efforts will champion our faculty in their drive to be leaders in their disciplines and in interdisciplinary efforts that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Strategy 1 – Amplify research support and recognition

Actions

  1. Launch and expand the College’s Research Excellence Fund through fundraising and broadening of support categories, potentially including a) opportunities for release time; b) travel to conferences, research and performance activities; c) external review of creative works and research products; and d) staff support
  2. Consider and employ creative approaches to increase research time, including re-evaluation of teaching requirements, buy-out structure and teaching releases, including courses taught outside of the standard fall and spring semester terms (e.g., winter)
  3. Increase nominations of faculty for external and internal awards with support from College staff and campus research centers to ease the burden placed on faculty and their nominators
  4. Encourage community-engaged scholarship by clarifying its value in the evaluation of faculty and considering other initiatives, such as training, to familiarize faculty with best practices in community-engaged scholarship
  5. Communicate with our stakeholders and state leaders to promote better understanding of the value of research and scholarship and its benefits to society as a whole
Strategy 2 – Elevate external funding opportunities and resources

Actions

  1. Position the Research Excellence Fund to support faculty release time and other resources such as seed, bridge and just-in-time funds to promote external grant and fellowship success
  2. Structure external funding expectations that are in line with disciplinary-specific norms and expectations, as well as in comparison to our aspirational peer institutions
  3. Expand and improve pre- and post-award support to streamline communication on available funding opportunities for faculty by involving research-focused centers and institutes such as the Hall Center, Life Span Institute and Institute for Policy & Social Research
  4. Identify opportunities for corporate support, both in funding and student internships, through partnership with the Office of Innovation & Collaboration
  5. Develop a guide for units seeking help connecting with industry partners, outlining multiple ways this can be undertaken including research sponsorships, research consortia, internships, externships, faculty industry sabbaticals and professional development modules made for specific industries
  6. Build support for post-doctoral fellows to contribute to the goals of their research group, while developing their own line of research
Strategy 3 – Bolster innovative teaching and mentorship

Actions

  1. Promote innovative teaching including course redesign efforts and increased connections with campus resources including the Center for Teaching Excellence and Center for Online & Distance Learning
  2. Increase support for faculty to expand research opportunities (including the supervision of fellowship and other external funding opportunities) for undergraduate and graduate students
  3. Fundraise and seek national partners for improvements in engaged learning and other cutting-edge instructional spaces
  4. Further develop teaching specialist and other instructional-focused positions where consistent with the mission and goals of a unit to support enhanced contributions of instructional staff
  5. Develop support mechanisms (including time and financial resources) for faculty pursuing discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary training in pedagogy and/or mentoring on campus through offices such as the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Online & Distance Learning, as well as through off-campus opportunities
  6. In collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence, conduct a College-wide review of best practices for evaluating teaching and mentoring, and begin to integrate findings into unit and College-wide evaluations
  7. Explore incentives and training that support and acknowledge the considerable time commitment and importance of student research mentoring efforts
Strategy 4 – Revitalize recruitment and hiring strategies

Actions

  1. Work with units and faculty to identify and implement effective, novel recruiting strategies to hire star performers that do not disrupt existing, well-constructed hiring plans
  2. Identify, study and implement strategies (e.g., fundraising for professorships, increased recruitment and retention of students) to generate resources that can be used for support of additional faculty lines
  3. Develop a clear and transparent strategy for how hires are prioritized, where decisions can be explained and guidance provided for future years
  4. Ensure hiring practices that include diverse applicant pools and consider the application of more broad definitions of excellence (see College DEI Plan, Section II)
Strategy 5 – Support career development through mentorship and transparency

Actions

  1. Develop strategies and resources to inform faculty early in their career about grant and fellowship development, promotion and tenure expectations, feedback about progress beyond the third-year review and resources to mitigate barriers, with particular focus on the experiences of traditionally marginalized faculty
  2. Assess and address factors limiting associate professor progression and full professor excellence, with particular focus on the experiences of traditionally marginalized faculty
  3. Work closely with units to ensure annual evaluation procedures are clear, equitably applied and ratings are given in line with the rigor outlined in the units’ guidelines and goals
  4. Clearly outline and share the College strategy for faculty retention, especially related to counter offers and equity adjustments
  5. Ensure under-represented faculty have the support needed to succeed (see College DEI Plan, Sections I and III)
  6. Enhance mentoring at all levels, in collaboration with the Provost’s Office, by developing training and guidelines that support individual utilization of best practices, expanding opportunities for mid-career faculty to receive strong mentoring, and supporting the targeted pairings of faculty mentors across disciplines as needed

Accountability metrics

  • Improvement in overall reputation of our departments and programs, according to system determined most appropriate for such measurements within individual departments
  • Increase external funding in discipline-relevant ways including a) number of external grant and fellowship submissions; b) number of large institutional center and training award submissions; and c) number of mentored student fellowship submissions
  • Increase in number of community-engaged research projects
  • Increase in faculty participation in undergraduate research
  • Improvement in faculty progression rates
  • Improvement in faculty retention across all ranks, with particular attention to faculty from underserved groups (see College DEI Plan, Section III)
  • Indications of high faculty satisfaction, as noted in annual College feedback survey
  • Growth in number and magnitude of external and internal awards