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ACADEMIC PLAN III 2009-2014 Looking ahead: themes, motifs, process. Myron Allen VP for Academic Affairs January 2007. Process: A template for communication. Stage 1: Identifying the main issues and themes. Discussions, presentations, feedback

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ACADEMIC PLAN III 2009-2014 Looking ahead: themes, motifs, process

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Looking ahead: themes, motifs, process

Myron Allen

VP for Academic Affairs

January 2007


Process: A template for communication

  • Stage 1: Identifying the main issues and themes.
    • Discussions, presentations, feedback
  • Stage 2: Formulating specific ideas for discussion.
    • Position papers, feedback, iteration
  • Stage 3: Develop department- and college-level plans.
    • Drafts, feedback, re-drafts
  • Stage 4: Develop university-level plan.
    • Draft, feedback, re-drafts



Motif 1: Building strength vs. adding breadth

  • UW has many strong programs.
  • Few of them have critical mass or bench depth.
  • A strong economy is an opportunity to build depth.
  • Adding new programs that have little existing foundation jeopardizes this opportunity.

Interdisciplinarity is a pathway to depth:

    • by promoting shared interests among scholars,
    • by capitalizing on UW’s relatively small size,
    • by providing a richer learning environment.

Motif 2: Reinforcing areas of distinction

  • Refine focus areas for building strength.
  • Provide opportunities for many departments — even small ones — to pursue excellence and depth.
  • Help attract the strongest new faculty members (scholarly communities = magnets).

Areas of distinction in AP II:

  • Critical areas of science and technology
  • Cultural assets, arts, and humanities
  • Environment and natural resources
  • History and culture of the Rocky Mountain region
  • Life sciences
  • Professions critical to the state and region

These aren’t written in stone, but it’s self-defeating to make sharp deviations from one 5-year plan to the next.


A few specific issues related to areas of distinction

  • Science & Technology:
    • Flesh out Institute for Energy Research
    • Solidify computational science & links with NCAR
    • Focus UW’s materials science expertise
  • Cultural Assets
    • Strengthen fine arts infrastructure
    • Explore a humanities institute
  • Life Sciences
    • Continue defining life science focus areas
    • Link life sciences with other areas of science and ENR
  • Professions
    • Define the scope of clinical health science offerings
    • Use SER & NCAR as levers to bolster science education
    • Integrate UW’s contributions to business and rural community development

(This is just a start.)


Motif 3: Promoting access to higher education

  • The Hathaway scholarship program helps reduce financial barriers to baccalaureate education in Wyoming.
  • Other barriers remain:
    • Coordination of P-16 education statewide;
    • Preparation of students for college.
  • UW has additional responsibilities:
    • to extend opportunities to part-time students, low-income students, place-bound students, students of color, nontraditional and first-generation students;
    • to formulate a sound, equitable tuition policy.

Motif 4: Committing to excellence

  • Embed assessment of learning in UW’s academic culture.
  • Develop a strategic plan for enhancing masters’ and doctoral education.
  • Solidify UW’s culture in faculty hiring, reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
  • Develop strategies for recruiting top students.

Motif 5: Providing leadership

  • Bolster UW’s role in the state’s public education system.
  • Build a strong, stable School of Energy Resources by:
    • cultivating contributions from many departments
    • enhancing communication with industry.
  • Translate expertise into public policy involvement.
  • Explore new possibilities for building Wyoming’s industrial research infrastructure and entrepreneurial.
  • Develop better mechanisms for cultivating leadership skills in early- and mid-career faculty members.
  • Enhance opportunities for students to build leadership.

Process: tentative time line

AY 2006-2007: Identify main issues

Oct 2007: First position paper from Academic Affairs

Mar 2008: Second position paper from Academic Affairs

Aug 2008: Third position paper from Academic Affairs

Sep 2008: Due date, first draft of department-level plans

Oct 2008: Due date, first draft of college-level plans

Jan 2009: First draft of university plan

Mar 2009: Final drafts of all plans

May 2009: Approval by Board of Trustees

Each position paper and draft will allow time for feedback


Strategic questions about the planning process

  • To what extent can UW unify its planning processes?
    • Academic plan (due 2009)
    • Support services plan
    • Capital facilities plan
    • Athletic plan
  • To what extent can we link the planning processes with the self-study required for HLC accreditation?
    • Self-study is due 2009.
    • HLC’s format is distinct from an academic plan.
    • HLC emphasizes themes important to our plans:
      • Orientation to the future
      • Focus on learning
      • Connectedness (internally and externally)
      • Distinctiveness.


Faculty & APs


Staff members

Academic administrators

Other UW administrators


External boards


Prospective students


Government agencies

Potential donors