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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Summer tuition sharing initiative results, 2017

In 2016 CLA began a summer tuition sharing initiative in which tuition generated by increased summer enrollments beyond a baseline number was shared equally between departments and the college. Based on summer 2017 enrollments, five departments received tuition sharing payments: Asian Languages and Literatures; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; Geography, Environment, and Society; Global Studies; and Psychology. I encourage faculty and staff to consider ways in which summer enrollments in your department might be promoted and encouraged to generate additional revenue for departmental priorities. The flexibility of online options is of increasing interest to students in summer while they hold jobs or internships. Summer tuition revenue is important for the college’s budget, but of more importance is that summer curriculum helps students finish their degree in a timely manner or allows them to explore new areas of interest.

Positive developments in undergraduate enrollments

We continued to see good news in our first-year undergraduate enrollments in fall 2017:
  • CLA added 2,659 first-year students, which is 219 over our target. This is our largest new class since 2009. 
  • Just under 24% of our first-year students and 26.6% of our incoming transfer students are American Indian and students of color, both new highs (see details on CLA’s undergraduate and graduate diversity).
  • Just over 74% of first-year students are CLA first-choice students. This percentage marks our third consecutive year of improvement on this measure and is our best showing since 2006. 
  • As measured by the ACT (which is of course only one measure), the academic preparation of our students continues to climb. In 2012, 36.3% of our new first-year students scored 28 or over on the ACT. In 2017, that figure was 49.2%. 
All of these figures are a credit to the dedicated and determined work of our faculty and staff. By providing inspiring teaching; exciting new curricular offerings; leading-edge career readiness; enhanced advising; and opportunities to engage meaningfully in faculty research, internships, and learning abroad, and by other means as well, you are establishing these positive trends for CLA.

Considerations for faculty recruitment

I reported to you earlier on our faculty recruitment results for 2016-17. Because I neglected to do so in that post, I wanted to take a moment to restate what the Associate Deans and I take into account when authorizing faculty searches. I know that there is often worry that faculty recruitment results from a mechanistic or formulaic data-deterministic analysis, but that is not the case. A number of factors are relevant, including: the significance of a position for departmental strategic planning and building/rebuilding/maintaining excellence and strong ratings and rankings; critical needs to address substantial and immediate curricular/intellectual gaps; trends in majors, student credit hour pressures, and increased teaching loads on faculty; exciting intellectual and curricular innovations often building upon current strengths, including potentially in clusters; upcoming retirements; and accreditation issues. We have also considered “exceptional hires” or “targets of opportunity” in situations where a short-term opportunity exists to make a hire of sufficient significance and impact that it would justify not using our standard open-search processes. Of course, as we all know, all of these factors are operating in balance with the need to address other important unit and collegiate goals as well and to ensure that we are providing an ever-improving environment for those faculty, staff, and students already in CLA to do their best work and be rewarded and recognized for doing so. One of the goals of the college’s three-year planning process is to provide more certainty and clarity to departments about faculty size and searches over the coming three-year period and to reduce anxiety that another shoe is about to drop from year to year. We are continuing three-year strategic planning with our third wave of departments this year.

The importance of CLA in the U’s climate and tone

The College of Liberal Arts has a special role to play in creating a campus climate in which we can all thrive. As a significant proportion of the faculty, staff, and students at the U, we in CLA must lead by example in building and driving a university culture and tone that values diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and identities. In the CLA Neighborhood (aka intranet), we have gathered a list of resources on diversity, inclusion, and campus climate. Please let us know if you have suggestions for additions. Along with our leading-by-example role in building the U’s climate and tone, we all have the same obligation within our college. Whether by the way we treat each other within our departments and units, the tone of two-way communication between college offices and departments, the nature of the interactions between faculty and staff, or the nature of faculty-faculty and staff-staff interactions, we can and should build a tone and climate of respect and support.

Task force to examine instructional budgeting and planning

Earlier this month, I appointed the CLA Instructional Budgeting and Planning Task Force, which includes representatives from CLA offices, department chairs, and administrators. The task force will examine issues related to instructional planning and delivery and the coordination of three-year planning/budgeting and annual budget requests in the college.

Friday, November 24, 2017

CLA Statement of Principles on Liberal Education Redesign

(CLA's shared governance and consultative bodies, including the CLA Assembly, the Council of Chairs, and the Dean's academic leadership team, established in November 2017 the following set of principles to guide the University's deliberations on liberal education redesign.)

The College of Liberal Arts, through consultation among Dean John Coleman, Associate Deans Jane Blocker, Penny Edgell, Ascan Koerner, and Steven Manson, the chairs of the thirty-one CLA departments (through their representative body, the Council of Chairs), and the CLA Assembly, sets forth the following principles with respect to the redesign of undergraduate Liberal Education requirements.

Rather than choose among and promote one of the Liberal Education models currently being considered, the College advocates a set of principles that should guide the redesign process in whatever form it takes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

CLA campaign kickoff remarks

(Remarks delivered at public launch of Shattering Expectations: The Campaign for the College of Liberal Arts, November 4, 2017)

Thank you all!

Tonight has been extraordinary.

Let’s have another round of applause for our performers as well as our guests who have shared their powerful stories.

I hope tonight has indeed shattered your expectations about our college and campaign.

Earlier tonight you heard that through this campaign we seek to become a destination college. And that’s true. But this vision is not just about CLA.

As the home of the humanities, arts, and social sciences we are uniquely suited to tackling the most pressing problems facing individuals and societies today. As you’ve heard tonight, from opportunity gaps to helping individuals thrive, CLA is facing these challenges head on.

So, yes, we aim to be a destination college, but a destination college with a very defined purpose: to do the most good we can for others. The better we are at our work, the better our research, the more ready our graduates, the greater good we can do.

At the beginning of the night, President Kaler said he couldn’t imagine a world without the liberal arts.

But for a moment, let’s do just that.