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Academic Priorities 2017-18

2017-8 Strategic Academic Priorities

The strategic academic priorities outlined below have been developed in consultation with the Academic Strategic Planning Committee over the past eight years and complement other long-standing commitments of the college, as articulated in its mission statement and Administrative Policy Manual. These strategic priorities inform the development and allocation of resources via shared governance, including the development and evaluation of proposed staff and faculty positions and recruitment of the individuals who fill them.  Departments and programs submitting position proposals should include attention to the ways in which the position they propose will advance at least one of these strategic priorities while following the guidelines for such proposals found in Chapter VI of the Administrative Policy Manual. 

Please note that all programs intending to submit a proposal for a faculty position are expected to meet with the provost and the senior director of the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness before the submission of that proposal to discuss ways in which the proposed position can promote inclusion and equity at the college (Administrative Policy Manual, VI. A.1. f.). Because the framing of a position is one of the primary opportunities for promoting inclusivity and deepening and diversifying the candidate pool, we strongly encourage those intending to submit proposals to seek that conversation as they are initially conceiving the profile of the position.  

The most important theme cutting across all these priorities is the need for creative partnerships and imagination in shaping a compelling liberal arts education in the 21st century that remains healthy and rewarding in terms of staffing and workload and advances Beloit’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.

Academic Strategic Priorities

1. Promoting the Liberal Arts in Practice in a Residential Learning Environment.

Key components of the Liberal Arts in Practice include:

●      Developing students’ capacities to synthesize experience and evidence, to adapt and apply skills and knowledge to new contexts, and to engage in meaningful reflection about those experiences.  This includes identifying and proposing solutions to impediments they encounter in their learning, recognizing the factors that contribute to successful experiences, and making plans that build upon past experiences.  

●      Forging intentional and focused overlays among habits of mind developed in courses in and outside a student’s major fields of study and through international, interdisciplinary, experiential, and residential learning, including on-campus employment.

●      Promoting and supporting advising relationships that help advance our students’ practice of the liberal arts, including their abilities to make connections across experiences and contexts, reflect on what has been learned, or not learned, and why, make and execute plans, and articulate the value of their liberal education.

●      Engaging alumni in ways that promote students’ liberal arts in practice learning experiences and career development.

2. Focusing on anti-racism, equity, and inclusive living and learning as core components of the college’s mission.   These efforts include:

●      Intentional recruitment and retention of faculty and staff to include greater representation from groups traditionally underserved by higher education.

●      Pursuing faculty and staff development and reforming institutional structures and practices to promote equity and the thriving of all students, staff, and faculty members.

●      Promoting introspection, empathetic understanding, and richer perspectives and practices through the engagement of diverse perspectives and methods of knowledge development.

●      Creating opportunities in curricular, co-curricular, and residential venues that advance inclusion and equity in intellectual and cultural pursuits.  

3.  Engaging in evidence-based faculty and staff development that promotes high-impact learning experiences and mentoring relationships. This includes:

●      Developing meaningful measurement of the student learning experience informed by higher education research.

●      Employing these metrics in planning, programming and budgeting.

4. Encouraging faculty, staff, student, and alumni collaborations around research, creative work, and curricular development.

5. Addressing skills-related and institutional barriers to student success. This includes: 

●      An emphasis on an asset-based approach that acknowledges reciprocal responsibilities on the part of all members of the college community (students, faculty, and staff) to eliminate those barriers.

●      Faculty and staff development in universal design for learning (UDL).

●      The continuing internationalization of the curriculum and the overall student residential learning experience.

6. Promoting the above practices in rewarding and manageable ways through individual and collaborative experimentation.  For example:

●      Programmatic flexibility and collaborative staffing

●      The creative use of time

●      Collaborative partnerships on and/or off campus

We have advised ASP that the committee may recommend up to four tenure-track positions in 2017-8. These lines reflect vacancies created due to recent or anticipated resignations and retirements as well as one carried over from last year’s pool.  We think the committee is right to consider each year whether holding available positions from one year to the next helps in facilitating strategic planning.

The deadline outlined in the APM for preliminary proposals for tenure-track positions is September 15, with a January 23 deadline for full proposals. The Academic Strategic Planning Committee will follow up soon with further information on the review process for those requests.

Due to budgetary constraints and enrollment pressures in some programs that demand temporary staffing, we will not approve any new faculty fellow positions this year. 

This information will remain available at the provost's website:  https://www.beloit.edu/academicaffairs/facinfo/

Scott Bierman

Ann Davies