Strategic and Annual Planning Reports
Planning is an essential function of any institution the size and complexity of Arts & Science but it is especially important in an academic environment, where the goals of improving research and instructional programs normally take a number of years to accomplish. Documenting the planning process is also important because we operate in a university fiscal environment in which aspirations exceed the resources available and difficult funding choices need to be made.
Because the timeline needed to achieve ambitious academic goals is multi-year, the most appropriate academic planning format is also multi-year. At the same time, because Arts & Science is highly dependent on tuition income and works with a very small financial margin, there is a need to examine budget allocations each year, even while working within a multi-year academic plan.
We have therefore developed two separate but related processes to address the distinct needs for academic and financial/operational planning.
The SPR is a statement of an academic unit’s multi-year plan for academic development and the implications of that plan for faculty recruitment, curriculum, co-curricular activities, and administrative infrastructure. Because it is a multi-year plan, the SPR need not be revised annually. Significant revisions in the SPR would be made only when a department believes that its academic direction needs restatement. We do recommend, however, that the department chair carefully review the statement at the beginning of each three-year term as chair and that a new SPR be submitted when a new chair appointment is made.The APR contains a short progress report on the plans and goals established in the SPR, with a central focus on faculty recruitment. Mostly, the APR involves data collection, primarily using the Arts & Science Information System (ASIS), for course offerings, teaching assignments, financial aid awards, and graduate placement records. The APR is also the opportunity to make on-going budget and special funding requests.Although ensuring submission of both the SPR and the APR is the formal responsibility of the chair, the preparation of the SPR should lie primarily with the chair while preparation of the APR should be the primary responsibility of the department administrator.
Planning for departments and programs should proceed within the context of the Arts and Science development plan.The core of Arts & Science’s development plan is to build departments and programs of enormous distinction, and to do so by attracting senior and junior faculty who are at the very top of their fields and then by using these faculty to create programs of such quality and vitality that they will attract the best and most interesting students to GYU. Faculty recruitment is the single most important factor in academic development. Recruitment strategies should be designed with considerations of quality always being of paramount importance. It is better to sacrifice some coverage of areas and/or the certainty of filling a position in order to maintain the very highest hiring standards. Faculty lines are the single most precious resources within FAS, and they should be treated as such. Tenured hires are expected to be scholars who are deeply influencing their fields, and untenured hires are expected to be positioned to develop into scholars who will have major influences on their fields.Arts & Science is the instructional heart of the university. It provides virtually all of the instruction for Arts and Science graduate and undergraduate students, and also provides broad liberal arts education for students throughout the university. As such, it is critical for Arts & Science departments to mount undergraduate and graduate programs of exceptional quality. Every Arts & Science department is expected to contribute to each aspect of our educational responsibilities — general undergraduate education (including the Morse Academic Plan and Freshman Honors Seminars); introductory, major and upper-level elective undergraduate courses; master’s degree courses; doctoral courses and dissertation supervision. The balance between undergraduate and graduate teaching should be assessed regularly and particular attention should be paid to reducing the number of minimally enrolled courses. With respect to the balance between graduate and undergraduate teaching, please note that the policy of Arts and Science is that course reductions for administrative assignments are normally applied to a faculty member’s graduate teaching obligations first.A key to providing instructional programs at the very highest level is to ensure that every course is taught by an appropriate instructor. The working presumption is that all regular courses within CAS and GSAS are taught by tenure and tenure track faculty. Exceptions to this working presumption need to be justified. Teaching assistants are normally expected to serve in educational enhancement positions, i.e., discussion/recitation for large lecture courses, language/writing sections, and as laboratory leaders. Clinical faculty positions are to be used to meet instructional needs in areas where it is not critical to have research active tenure and tenure track faculty providing the instruction. Part time faculty should be deployed sparingly to cover a crucial area, to fill an unexpected need, or to take advantage of special expertise.Every department also has an obligation to provide student advisement and curricular enhancements such as research opportunities, independent study and reading courses. While explicitly required for doctoral studies, these elements are also important at the undergraduate and masters levels.Arts and Science’s primary focus is to make investments in faculty and students, but faculty, students, and academic programming require infrastructure, staff, operating support, equipment, and facilities. Because investments in infrastructure compete with academic investments, our goal is to build an infrastructure that maximizes service and effectiveness for the minimum investment.