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Strategic Plan

Ayres Hall Front View 2011

The College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Accepted March 29, 2012

The College’s Roots Are Deep in Tennessee Tradition.

The College of Arts and Sciences is deeply rooted in the tradition and history of the University of Tennessee. Indeed, the College essentially began with tiny Blount College, which opened its doors in 1794 and offered a broad education in the sciences and arts, that is a ‘liberal arts’ education which develops intellectual capacities broadly, rather than specific technical skills. This broad educational focus remains part of the college’s curriculum to this day.

Old Picutre of Ayres HallPresident Brown Ayres reorganized Blount College into “colleges” in the spring of 1905, but he did not use the term “college” to denote an independent, separately administered academic unit. For example, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts oversaw all academic programs. In 1913, President Morgan decided that administrative responsibilities needed to be divided. The dean of the College of Liberal Arts at that time, James D. Hoskins, was joined by deans of engineering, agriculture, law, medicine, and dentistry. This separation of responsibilities anticipated the university’s future as a comprehensive academic institution in which the College of Liberal Arts (renamed the College of Arts and Sciences in 1994) functions as the university’s academic core, providing both general education and discipline specialization.

The College of Arts and Sciences today remains the gateway to knowledge for every undergraduate student who enrolls at UT. The faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences provide the foundational instruction for these students, helping them to put down the roots that will nurture their lifelong learning.

About

The College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest, largest, most comprehensive, and most diverse of the eleven colleges at UT. Its twenty-one academic departments and schools, seven centers and institutes, and twelve interdisciplinary programs span the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the visual and performing arts.

There are 640 fulltime-equivalent (FTE) instructional faculty in the college which includes 420 research- active tenure-track faculty and 219 non-tenure track faculty

StudentsThe College of Arts and Sciences is the gateway to knowledge for every undergraduate student who enrolls at UT. As part of the university’s general education curriculum, all students receive core instruction from the college in the humanities, the visual and performing arts, and the social and natural sciences. Thus, our faculty provide significant teaching support for undergraduates from across the university, delivering nearly three-quarters of the student credit hours of all lower division courses and about one-third of the student credit hours required for typical four-year degrees in business, engineering, and nursing

In addition to providing instruction for the university-wide general education curriculum, our faculty provide instruction within the college to nearly 7,000 undergraduates seeking degrees in the college’s 141 undergraduate majors, concentrations, and honors programs.

They also provide opportunities for about 1,300 graduate students to seek degrees from fifty different graduate programs and certificates.

In total, the instructional faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences provide an impressive fifty-one percent of all student credit hours university-wide.

On average over the past five years (2008-2014), the college has granted 1900 bachelor’s degrees annually and just over 300 graduate degrees annually (combining master’s and doctoral degrees.)

In addition to their instructional role, the faculty of the college pursue vibrant programs of research, scholarship, and creative activity, through which they advance the frontiers of knowledge and prepare undergraduate and graduate students to become independent and engaged scholars.

As the academic foundation of the university, the college is the central driver of UT’s academic accomplishments and the largest contributor to all aspects of the university’s missions of instruction, research, and service to society. Through our exemplary contributions to these missions in both quality and quantity, we aim to advance the college, and thus the university, to Top 25 status.

Values

Committed to the traditions of the liberal arts, the college seeks to promote the values of free and bold intellectual inquiry, vibrant and effective civic engagement, respect for diversity, and an understanding of our nation’s and world’s rich cultural heritages.

Mission

The College of Arts and Sciences is a diverse community of teachers, learners and scholars, from across the nation and around the world who work together to advance the frontiers of human knowledge and creative activity across a wide range of academic disciplines while serving communities beyond the campus through professional service and public engagement. The college seeks to uphold the highest standards of academic freedom and to cultivate in students the critical thinking skills, intellectual inquiry, and understanding of diverse human cultures that are necessary to become engaged global citizens. By emphasizing core values of a liberal arts education, life-long learning and adaptability, the college’s academic programs provide students with the intellectual foundations for a rich, fulfilled, and engaged life and career.

Vision

The College of Arts and Sciences will attract a diverse student population and provide both an excellent liberal arts education to undergraduates and an excellent professional education to graduate students.

The College of Arts and Sciences will be a leader among public research universities in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and creative arts by rewarding the scholarly and creative productivity of its members; by promoting increased extramural support for research, scholarship, and creative activity; and by supporting outreach to the state, the nation, and the world.

Goals

The college should have a base budget that is sufficient for it to carry out its mission and accomplish its strategic goals, should continuously and effectively communicate its accomplishments to external stakeholders, and should cultivate mutually-beneficial relationships with stakeholders that allow them to invest in the college’s future successes.

Goal I. Provide a diverse undergraduate student body with an excellent education.

The college should provide all UT students with a liberal arts core education that helps develop critical skills necessary for life-long learning in a changing, global environment. To its majors and minors, the college should also provide instruction in the foundational ideas and latest developments of their discipline. Finally, the college should provide its future alumni with opportunities for research and creative activity, international and intercultural study, and engagement with communities around the world.

A. Increase the quality of undergraduate instruction by college faculty. 

  1.  Develop methods for reliably assessing the quality of undergraduate instruction provided by college faculty.
  2. Ensure that faculty members are rewarded for outstanding instructional efforts at the undergraduate level.
  3. Regularly assess the quality of the college’s undergraduate programs, and use this information to guide resource allocation decisions.
  4. Assess the infrastructure that supports teaching in the college, including hardware-, software- and Internet-based instructional technology, and develop and implement improvements.

B. Ensure that the college curriculum showcases and supports the college’s educational objectives. 

  1. Review the college’s general curricular requirements on a regular basis.
  2. Develop mechanisms for effectively communicating the college’s educational objectives to its undergraduate students.
  3. Develop tools and materials that help undergraduates and faculty members understand the college’s curriculum and the learning outcomes associated with undergraduate courses in the college.
  4. Develop methods for reliably assessing whether the college’s undergraduate courses accomplish their stated learning outcomes.

C. Increase the amount of in-class contact between undergraduate students and tenure-line faculty in the college. 

  1. Encourage the college’s instructional units to develop new mechanisms for increasing the number of student credit hours delivered by tenure-line faculty, while maintaining excellent instructional programs.
  2. Ensure that undergraduate instruction provided by the college is delivered by an appropriate balance of tenure-line and non-tenure-line faculty members, while maintaining excellent instructional programs.
  3. Encourage the college’s instructional units to expand summer school offerings as needed and appropriate.

D. Improve graduation rates of undergraduates in the college.

  1. Devise and enforce degree milestones that promote timely graduation.
  2. Identify and remove graduation bottlenecks.
  3. Develop tools and materials that facilitate excellent academic and career advising within the college and its academic units.
  4. Develop methods for reliably assessing the effectiveness of academic and career advising within the college and its academic units.
  5. Ensure that staff and faculty members are rewarded for excellence in advising.

E. Foster interdisciplinary learning and independent inquiry and scholarship by undergraduate students. 

  1. Revise the college’s faculty workload template to facilitate the reporting of interdisciplinary teaching.
  2. Develop evaluation guidelines for tenure-line faculty whose teaching responsibilities span two or more academic units.
  3. Develop a sustainable funding model that supports interdisciplinary instruction and successful interdisciplinary academic programs.
  4. Develop reporting mechanisms that accurately reflect department-based contributions to the curricula delivered by interdisciplinary academic programs.
  5. Support college and departmental programs that promote excellence in interdisciplinary learning, independent inquiry, and scholarship, including the College Scholars program and department-based honors and research programs.
  6. Develop reporting mechanisms that accurately reflect faculty mentorship of undergraduate research, independent scholarship, and creative activity.

F. Increase the diversity-related educational benefits that accrue to undergraduates in the college.

  1. Support the university’s Ready for the World program by providing undergraduate courses and co-curricular activities that serve RFTW learning objectives.
  2. Encourage undergraduates in the college to pursue study-abroad opportunities.
  3. Increase the number of study-abroad scholarships awarded by the college.
  4. Encourage the college’s academic units to provide appropriate service learning, internship, and community engagement opportunities for undergraduate students.
  5. Provide course offerings that attract students with diverse backgrounds and interests, and that engage students with varying levels of prior academic preparation.

Goal II. Recruit well-prepared graduate students from diverse backgrounds, and educate and mentor them effectively.

The college’s graduate programs should attract and admit students with excellent prior education and relevant experience, and should provide strong curricula, thoughtful and responsible supervision of students’ research progress, and effective advising and mentoring of students. The college’s graduate programs should prepare students for successful careers in their chosen fields.

A. Increase the quality of graduate students applying to and enrolled in our graduate programs. 

  1. Regularly assess the quality, outputs, and achievements of the college’s graduate programs, and use this information to guide resource allocation decisions.
  2. Secure increases in graduate stipends to enable the college’s academic units to compete with other institutions for high-quality graduate students.
  3. More strongly encourage the college’s academic units to nominate graduate students for external and internal graduate fellowship opportunities.
  4. Secure increases in faculty submitted training grant applications, and mentor graduate student submissions for individual support.
  5. Increase the amount of development funds available for graduate student support.
  6. Develop and support unit-level efforts that represent best-practices approaches to recruiting diverse and talented graduate students.
  7. Develop a communication strategy that showcases the achievements of graduate students in the college.

B. Increase the number of terminal degrees awarded by the college’s graduate programs.

  1. Secure increases in the number of graduate assistantships to permit growth in the college’s graduate student population where job opportunities warrant.
  2. Ensure that faculty members are rewarded for outstanding mentorship of graduate students.
  3. Work with appropriate offices to secure adequate space (studio, laboratory, office) to support a growing population of graduate students in the college.
  4. Advocate for changes in graduate student tuition and fees that reduce charges for advanced terminal degree students and for students fully supported by grants.

Goal III. Promote, support, and reward faculty excellence in scholarship and creative activity.

The creative and scholarly works of college faculty should be recognized nationally and internationally for their high quality and impact (as measured by appropriate disciplinary metrics), should be disseminated broadly, and should support the university’s land-grant mission when appropriate. College faculty should be rewarded for scholarly and creative excellence.

A. Increase external funding for research, scholarship, and creative activity, especially from Federal agencies and private foundations. 

  1. Partner with the Office of Research and with the college’s academic units to identify opportunities for external research funding and to support the preparation of grant and fellowship proposals.
  2. Encourage college faculty to prepare and submit individual, multi-PI, and center-based proposals for external funding as appropriate.
  3. Increase external research funding in areas of underdeveloped potential.
  4. Increase in-house seed funding for projects that have the potential to attract external research funding.
  5. Support the development of research centers and organized research units that attract external research funding.
  6. Assess the infrastructure that supports research and creative activity in the college, and develop improvements.

B. Enhance the quantity, quality, and visibility of faculty scholarship and creative activity. 

  1. Nominate faculty for nationally and internationally recognized awards.
  2. Develop a communication strategy that showcases the scholarly and creative accomplishments of college faculty.
  3. Increase financial support for the dissemination of faculty scholarship and creative activity to national and international audiences.
  4. Support the presentation of work at prominent national and international meetings by college faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.
  5. Support robust scholarship-of-engagement activities that carry out our land grant mission by building relationships with community partners and bringing reciprocal benefits to local, state, and global constituents.

Goal IV. Continue to build, support, and retain a world-class faculty and staff.

The college faculty and staff should be widely recognized as a diverse community of outstanding individuals committed to the college’s mission and vision. They should enjoy a collegial and supportive workplace that values diversity and that provides opportunities for continuous professional development and effective mentoring.

A. Increase the number of tenure line faculty in the college and improve recruitment and retention of outstanding scholar-teachers by the college. 

  1. Continue to refine the college’s Request for Proposals (RFP) process for allocating tenure-line faculty positions, and engage the college Budget and Planning Committee in the RFP process.
  2. Work with central administration to build a sustainable financial model for offering competitive start-up packages.
  3. Advocate for greater flexibility in the carry-over of start-up funds during a faculty member’s probationary period.
  4. Expand college participation in the UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair program and other special hiring initiatives.
  5. Work with the Office of the Provost to make effective use of the campuswide Partner Hiring program.
  6. Prioritize support of tenure-line faculty as a central college-level development goal.
  7. Support college academic units in their efforts to recruit distinguished visiting faculty.
  8. Develop a communication strategy that articulates the need for additional tenure-line faculty in the college.

B. Further diversify the college’s tenure-line faculty. 

  1. Develop recruitment and hiring strategies that represent best-practices approaches to diversifying the tenure-line faculty.
  2. Develop a system for rewarding academic units and department heads that show extraordinary efforts and/or success in recruiting, mentoring, and retaining diverse tenure-line faculty.
  3. Increase the number of diverse tenure-line faculty hired via normal and college Target-of-Opportunity search processes.

C. Support continuous professional development of tenure-line faculty. 

  1. Use the annual performance evaluation system to promote greater participation by tenure-line faculty in scholarship-enhancement opportunities, such as Faculty Development Leaves and Professional Development Awards.
  2. Recognize and reward academic units that demonstrate excellence in mentoring junior tenure-line faculty.
  3. Provide incentives for tenure-line faculty members to continue their professional development as teachers and scholars (e.g., through participation in research centers or by working with campus units such as the TennTLC or the Innovative Technology Center).
  4. Establish a college-wide pre-tenure faculty fellows program that provides junior tenure-line faculty members with opportunities to meet colleagues outside their home departments.

D. Recruit and retain a diverse cohort of high-quality lecturers. 

  1. Develop policies that implement a performance-based career ladder for lecturers.
  2. Develop policies that enable the college’s academic units to appoint lecturers on multi-year contracts.
  3. Encourage the college’s academic units to pursue externally funded lecturer appointments (e.g., teaching postdoctoral appointments funded by the Mellon Foundation or the American Council of Learned Societies).
  4. Develop recruitment and hiring strategies that represent best-practices approaches to diversifying the college’s non-tenure-track faculty.
  5. Provide incentives for non-tenure-track faculty members to continue their professional development as teachers (e.g. by working with campus units such as the TennTLC or the Innovative Technology Center).

E. Enhance quality of staff working within the college. 

  1. Recognize and reward academic units that provide staff members with opportunities for professional development.
  2. Develop a communication strategy that showcases the professional accomplishments of outstanding staff members in the college.
  3. Advocate for staff compensation that is competitive in the Knoxville market and rewards excellent performance.

Goal V. Increase the resource base that the college has available to accomplish its goals.

The college should have a base budget that is sufficient for it to carry out its mission and accomplish its strategic goals, should continuously and effectively communicate its accomplishments to external stakeholders, and should cultivate mutually-beneficial relationships with stakeholders that allow them to invest in the college’s future successes.

A. Advocate for increases in the college’s base budget. 

  1. Develop a communication strategy that showcases the central role that the college plays in both the mission of the university and the path to the Top 25.
  2. Engage in discussions that promote greater understanding of the metrics used to guide the distribution of resources among university units.
  3. Advocate for greater financial transparency at all levels of the university.

B. Build relationships with alumni and other external stakeholders and communicate college successes, priorities, and goals to these audiences.

  1. Facilitate contact with alumni and other external stakeholders at the level of individual academic units.
  2. Maintain Ccllege-level contact with alumni and other external stakeholders through strategic use of print publications, digital publications, and social media.
  3. Publish a college Annual Report for broad distribution internally and externally.
  4. Publish college and unit strategic and development priorities on the web.
  5. Enhance national communication of college activities and accomplishments.

C. Supplement the college base budget with additional funds that will allow the college to accomplish its strategic goals. 

  1. Encourage the college’s academic units to strengthen collaboration with college development staff in order to build units’ capacity for and success in raising private funds.
  2. Engage current and prospective donors by working through the Donor Commitment Continuum to increase donors’ philanthropic investment in the short- and long-term strategic needs of the college and its units.
  3. Increase individual, corporate, and foundation giving that both supports college and unit priorities and goals and represents donors’ philanthropic intent.
  4. Develop best-practices guidelines for the establishment of unit-level external advisory boards.

Key measures of progress

  1. Total student credit hours delivered by Arts and Sciences units, by course level (100-, 200-, 300-, 400-, 500-, and 600-level courses).
  2. Fraction of student credit hours in undergraduate Arts and Sciences courses that are delivered by tenure-line faculty members, by course level (100-, 200-, 300-, and 400-level courses).
  3. Number of undergraduate degrees granted annually by Arts and Sciences units, and four-, five- and six-year graduation rates of students receiving undergraduate degrees from Arts and Sciences.
  4. Number of graduate degrees granted annually by Arts and Sciences units, and time to degree, reported by degree type (MA, MS, MM, MFA, PhD) and discipline.
  5. Fraction of Arts and Sciences undergraduate majors that are involved in original research, scholarship, creative activity, field work experiences, or study abroad courses or programs.
  6. Fraction of graduate students, by unit, receiving financial support (through internal or external assistantships, fellowships, or external grants or contracts).
  7. Number and percentage of graduate students receiving external fellowships.
  8. Number of articles, books, exhibitions, and performances by Arts and Sciences faculty.
  9. Number and percentage of Arts and Sciences faculty receiving nationally-recognized awards.
  10. Grant awards and expenditures, both overall and from Federal sources.
  11. Establishment of unit-level and college-level rubrics for the assessment of instructional quality.

Expanded list of metrics

Goal I. Provide a diverse undergraduate student body with an excellent education.

A1 Total student credit hours delivered by Arts and Sciences units, by course level (100-, 200-, 300-, 400-, 500-, and 600-level courses).
A2 Fraction of student credit hours in undergraduate Arts and Sciences courses that are delivered by tenure line faculty members by course level (100-, 200-, 300-, 400-level courses).
A3 Ratio of (University-wide) undergraduate student FTE to Arts and Sciences tenure line faculty FTE, and comparison with peer-aspirational institutions.
A4 SAIS scores, peer review assessments, and other measures of teaching quality and effectiveness for tenure line faculty in undergraduate courses.
A5 Average time for students to successfully complete their first upper-division course.
A6 Average time for students to successfully complete their first upper-division course in their major.
A7 Four-, five- and six-year graduation rates of students receiving undergraduate degrees from Arts and Sciences.
A8 Number of graduates of interdisciplinary programs.
A9 Fraction of Arts and Sciences undergraduate majors who are involved in original research, scholarship, or creative activity.
A10 Number of courses delivered that support Ready for The World learning outcomes, and total enrollment in them.
A11 Number of undergraduate students who participate in study-abroad programs.
A12 Number of undergraduate students who participate in service learning courses.
A13 Scores of graduating students on the National Survey of Student Engagement.
A14 Assessment of undergraduates’ satisfaction with their education at graduation and at intervals following graduation.

Goal II. Recruit well-prepared graduate students from diverse backgrounds, and educate and mentor them effectively.

B1 Assess discipline-specific graduate stipends compared to peer-aspirational institutions.
B2 Number of new graduate students recruited from US News Top 100 National Universities and Top 100 Liberal Arts colleges.
B3 Number of graduate student applicants, number of graduate students admitted, and number of graduate students who accept admission offers, by unit.
B4 Quality metrics (GPA,GRE scores, field specific tests, etc.) for graduate student applicants, for admitted graduate students, and for graduate students who accept admission offers, by unit.
B5 Number of graduate students receiving external fellowships.
B6 Number of graduate students receiving internal (Graduate School) fellowships.
B7 Time to degree for graduate students, reported by degree type (MA, MS, MM, MFA, PhD) and discipline.
B8 Number of graduate degrees granted annually by Arts and Sciences units, by degree type and discipline.
B9 Fraction of graduate students, by unit, receiving financial support (through internal or external assistantships, fellowships, or external grants or contracts).
B10 Assessment of graduate students’ satisfaction with their academic program and mentoring.
B11 Placements for graduate students upon graduation, five years after graduation, and ten years after graduation, by unit.

Goal III. Promote, support, and reward faculty excellence in scholarship and creative activity.

C1 Number of proposals for external funding submitted by college principal investigators, by unit.
C2 Number of successful proposals for external funding, by unit.
C3 Number of large center proposals.
C4 Grant awards and expenditures, both overall and from Federal sources, by unit.
C5 Research funds originating from collaborative arrangements with regional entities, such as UT-Battelle.
C6 Number of journal articles, books, exhibitions, and performances by faculty.
C7 Disciplinary impact metrics as appropriate: citation analysis, number of publications appearing in highly-ranked journals, or books published with highly-ranked presses.
C8 Number of invited presentations at national and international conferences.
C9 Number of invited seminars, colloquia, and other presentations at other universities.
C10 Number of faculty presentations that support UT’s public engagement mission.
C11 Number of Arts and Sciences faculty receiving nationally-recognized awards.
C12 Outcomes of college-based research efforts that lead to entrepreneurial efforts and/or are taken up by the UT Research Foundation.

Goal IV. Continue to build, support, and retain a world-class faculty and staff.

D1 Total number of tenure line faculty in the college.
D2 Faculty salaries by rank and discipline, and comparison with Carnegie RU/VH institutions.
D3 Track faculty salaries by gender, race, and ethnicity.
D4 Number of faculty in college successfully recruited by other institutions.
D5 Ratio of annual college investment in start-up funding to college F&A return.
D6 Number of Governor’s Chairs in the college.
D7 Number of faculty recruited through special hiring initiatives.
D8 Number of successful partner accommodations for recruitment and retention.
D9 Number of faculty in college who have funded professorships or chairs, or receive salary supplements from development funds.
D10 Percentage of space in college that has undergone significant renovation or has been newly constructed in the last ten years.
D11 Number of faculty of color in the college.
D12 Number of women faculty in the college.
D13 Net gain/loss of diverse faculty on annual basis.
D14 Number of faculty, and distribution of faculty by rank, using scholarship-enhancement or scholarly leave opportunities.
D15 Number of short- and long-term visiting faculty.
D16 SAIS scores peer review assessments, and other measures of teaching quality and effectiveness for lecturers.
D17 Average compensation of lecturers relative to aspirational peer institutions.
D18 Average number of years in service for lecturers.
D19 Number of lecturers who attain promotion annually.
D20 Tenure-line to non-tenure-line faculty ratio, compared to peer institutions.
D21 Number of externally-funded lecturer positions.
D22 Staff to faculty ratio, compared to peer institutions.
D23 Staff salaries (exempt and non-exempt) compared to other colleges at UT and to the Knoxville market.
D24 Number of non-exempt and exempt staff members in the college.
D25 Number of staff who undertake professional development workshops or seminars annually.

Goal V. Increase the resource base that the college has available to accomplish its goals.

E1 Number of academic units in the college with advisory boards that meet at least once per year.
E2 Number of academic units in the college that publish newsletters at least once per year.
E3 Number of visits to college and unit websites.
E4 Number of college units that post strategic priorities on their websites.
E5 Number of individuals who receive the college Annual Report.
E6 Annual attendance at college-sponsored venues, such as McClung Museum, Clarence Brown Theater, the Ewing Gallery and pre-Game Faculty Showcase events.
E7 Paper and electronic circulation of Higher Ground.
E8 Number of development “white papers” submitted by academic units.
E9 Total annual giving to college.
E10 Total annual private fundraising supporting college activities.
E11 Annual number and total value of cash gifts to college.
E12 Total annual F&A returned to college and its academic units.
E13 Number of college professorships supported by development funds.
E14 Number of college undergraduate and graduate fellowships, and total student fellowship dollar amount, funded by private gifts.
E15 College revenue, reported by source and per university undergraduate FTE.
E16 Total annual revenue generated by endowments in the college and its units.
E17 Total recurring base budget of the college.

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