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Faculty / Staff Conversation - Session 18

Vision and Priorities

Mission/Vision

  • Need a clear mission.
  • Assess any strength against the overall University mission.
  • The Strategic Plan should address the vision of the University and goals should be defined with tactical initiatives that will be assessed along with funding priorities.
  • We value collaboration, multidisciplinarity, and engagement; we want them rewarded.
  • Vision: Western Carolina University is an engaged institution that values the liberal arts and rewards engagement from faculty, students, and staff.

Curriculum

  • Make the hard decisions and eliminate dead weight. Assess and minimize program and resource duplication; e.g., combine digital media resources/programs across the WCU campus; duplication in programs more so in Distance Learning than on-campus.
  • Liberal studies + career path = WCU education. It takes both equally; it cannot be an either/or choice.
  • Commit to the importance of Liberal Studies as essential to the value of a university education. Balance the choices in current LS so it is strong but not prescriptive program Require modern foreign language proficiency Educate students and parents about short- and long-term employment value of liberal education Provide resources for LS Provide a skill set via LS
  • Remove bureaucratic and registrar barriers and silos that prohibit collaboration/consortium teaching and planning. Silos cost more money, are less efficient, and do not maximize human resources and equipment—e.g., the “Space Committee” that allows “protected” areas.
  • There are not enough resources for strong, growing programs. Too much focus on SCHs. SCHs should support overall education. If you have FTE you can generate SCHs, but the SCHs generated may not be where they are needed; reallocate resources.

Teaching

  • Teaching is the most important thing we do! Strategic Plan should reinforce quality teaching.
  • To better resource teaching: Stop hiring department-specific faculty and hire College faculty instead. Have SCH follow the faculty member and not the department course prefix. Do SPA assignment by College to decrease duplication of effort, function and human resources.
  • To reinforce teaching mission: All EPA members (including Deans and Associate Deans) should be involved in teaching. Get rid of the EPA non-faculty category. Do not hire administrators who have not taught. How many Vice Chancellors have been in the classroom?

Resources

  • Identify WCU’s top few areas of excellence that address the top economic drivers in WNC region. Prioritize resources to support these ongoing areas of excellence. Next, identify areas we need to have; based on cost, resource this next order of priorities.

Scholarship

  • Clearly identify in the mission what WCU values with respect to scholarship. This will attract faculty. The University must then reward accordingly.
  • All faculty need to be actively engaged in scholarship/research in their discipline.
  • Implement the Boyer Model the way it was meant to be implemented. Don’t treat any disciplines/departments like second class citizens.

Region

  • Is the mission to focus on the needs of the region? If so, then WCU’s service to the economic needs of the region should be assessed to determine what service works and what doesn’t at WCU
  • Address faculty ties to the community college and private college/university faculty members in like disciplines.
  • Initiate regional higher education learning cooperative between public and private institutions in greater Western NC.

Weaknesses

  • WCU is adding more students and more majors with fewer resources.
  • Athletics - What is our mission? Poor administrative decisions have negatively affected academics. Athletics does not bring students to WCU, but it could. Should WCU be Division I? In Division II, we could win more games and offer more diverse athletic programs Why keep spending so much on football at cost of other athletic and academic programs?
  • Too little diversity Faculty: Need to hold ourselves accountable for diversity in our own and students’ experiences. Diversity cannot be supported through the curriculum alone. University: Needs to value, support, and measure diversity. Students: Need increased exposure and exploration of diversity. Diversity is part of QEP
  • No follow-through on strategic planning The University has never operated full circle under a Strategic Plan. What happened to the last strategic plan
 

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