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College of Arts & LettersStrategic Plan 2019-24

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Students sitting and talking outside Barry Arts Building.

January 9, 2020


Vision Statement

The College of Arts and Letters will be recognized as an innovative leader in liberal arts education and interdisciplinary studies in the mid-Atlantic region, acknowledged for its ability to prepare students to be critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, effective communicators, and engaged citizens.


Mission Statement

As the largest and most diverse college on campus, the College of Arts and Letters serves as a core intellectual and cultural center for ODU and the communities it serves, promoting and extending knowledge of the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Our students become engaged citizens and skilled professionals through learning opportunities that foster:

● Appreciation of the diverse cultural and aesthetic heritage of humankind, recognition of the challenges that face contemporary societies, and understanding of the complexities of human experience;

● Development of the essential skills of critical reading and thinking, effective communication, technological proficiency, and creative problem solving.

● Cultivation of the qualities of intellectual honesty, freedom of thought, ethical action, and dedication to equity, inclusivity, and justice. These qualities enable students to successfully navigate the challenges of work and citizenship in an increasingly globalized world.

The College and its faculty are committed to active scholarship that integrates innovative teaching with internationally-recognized research and creative endeavors. The College provides both graduate and undergraduate students with valuable opportunities to engage in groundbreaking research and transformational learning experiences. The College also offers advanced training and qualifications in a variety of fields, preparing graduate students for further research and professional careers.


Goals, Objectives and Strategies

Goal #1: Promote scholarly activities that develop and apply new forms of knowledge, inquiry, and interdisciplinarity.

Leadership in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

Objectives Strategies
Further elevate the College of Arts and Letters as a national and international leader in research, scholarship, and creative activity.
  1. Continue to increase faculty engagement in securing external grant funding.
  2. Find additional external funding for faculty research, scholarship, and creative activities, including support for visiting research scholars and endowed chairs.
  3. Establish a speaker series highlighting faculty research, scholarship, and creative activities that promote diversity, inclusion, and community awareness.
  4. Advocate to make faculty workload more equitable with other ODU colleges to encourage and reward scholarly productivity.
  5. Create an annual College award for exemplary graduate scholarship and continue to nominate faculty for distinguished scholarly awards and fellowships.
  6. Communicate an identity or brand for the College that reflects the excellence and diversity of faculty scholarship, and engage in strategic communication with external and internal constituents to enhance the impact of this scholarship.

Balance in Instructional, Research, and Service Expectations

Objectives Strategies
Formulate clear and equitable expectations for faculty to promote balance in their instructional, research, and service expectations.
  1. Develop and apply effective criteria for measuring and evaluating research, scholarship, and creative activities based on faculty teaching and service loads.
  2. Authorize teaching load flexibility to facilitate faculty productivity in research, scholarship, creative activities, and new directions in their fields of study.
  3. Establish effective criteria for awarding faculty participation in undergraduate and graduate research, scholarship, and creative activities that are not included in faculty FTE.

Growth in Scholarly Activity and Productivity

Objectives Strategies
Empower faculty and graduate students to increase their research and creative activities.
  1. Reevaluate measures for research, scholarship, and creative activities for Promotion and Tenure as well as Graduate Teaching Certification
  2. Establish effective mechanisms for the participation of undergraduate and graduate students in faculty research, scholarship, and creative activities.
  3. Facilitate and recognize activities that support research, such as mentoring faculty members and students, pursuing grants and professional development opportunities, and engaging in external professional service.
  4. Promote partnerships and collaboration across academic departments, programs, and disciplines to facilitate diversity-centered, interdisciplinary scholarship.
  5. Review and revamp financial support of graduate student participation at conferences, conference travel, and professional development workshops.
  6. Increase use of the Social Science Research Center as a resource and collaborator in faculty and graduate student research activities.

Goal #2: Incorporate global issues, perspectives, and cultures more fully into the College’s academic and service activities.

Global Content in Curriculum and Instruction

Objectives Strategies
Ensure that global content is reflected in curriculum and instruction to better prepare students to respond to the needs and challenges of a global society.
  1. Promote majors, minors, and certificates that have a global orientation in connection with existing programs in international studies, regional studies, interdisciplinary studies, creative arts, and world languages and cultures.
  2. Enhance support for faculty and students seeking to participate in study abroad programs and graduate students seeking to participate in short-term and semester study abroad programs and student exchanges.
  3. Incentivize faculty to individually or collaboratively develop study abroad courses that ensure student participants are fully immersed in local cultures and languages and that will enhance faculty and student engagement with international communities. Increase the number of study abroad programs for graduate students, and enhance the visibility of these programs.

Global Content in Research and Creative Activity

Objectives Strategies
Encourage the inclusion of global content in research and creative activities.
  1. Pursue international faculty exchange programs with other institutions.
  2. Provide more financial support for faculty members to participate in academic conferences abroad.

Global Content in Service and Public Programming

Objectives Strategies
Encourage the inclusion of global content in research and creative activities.
  1. Increase engagement of the College and its units with campus and community organizations that promote intercultural awareness and diversity.
  2. Identify opportunities that leverage the College's geographic location and connections, and promote ways for students to engage in transnational experiences in the region or in other U.S. communities. These experiences could include working with recent immigrants or obtaining internships with international corporations or agencies.
  3. More fully support students who pursue work and volunteer opportunities abroad by facilitating the award of experiential credit for overseas activities.

Goal #3: Sustain and expand the College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in instruction, scholarship, recruitment, and retention

Recruit and Retain Diverse Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

Objectives Strategies
Develop and implement a College-wide plan to recruit and retain diverse faculty, staff, and administrators. Also, support diversity-related initiatives, particularly in regard to hiring faculty of color.
  1. Require each College department and program to develop and implement a diversity plan that is linked to the College and University plans.geared toward embracing and diversifying faculty, staff, and administration.
  2. Provide training in best practices for diverse and inclusive hiring. Also, organize diversity-centered focus group conversations with search committees to discuss how and why diversity is a crucial component of recruitment and retention.
  3. Include a statement in all position announcements that highlights the desirability of experience working with diverse populations and commitment to promoting diversity.
  4. Increase departmental connections with disciplinary caucus groups that promote the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, administrators, & students.
  5. Sustain and expand current efforts to strengthen relations and partnerships with diverse higher education institutions, such as historically black colleges and universities, Latinx-serving universities, and women's colleges.
  6. Strengthen mentoring relationships and opportunities in the College, particularly for diverse faculty members.
  7. Conduct an annual review of the impact and effectiveness of diversity-related initiatives and activities in the College and host a College forum each year to assess progress and concerns.

Mitigate Bias, Bigotry, and Bullying

Objectives Strategies
Expand the development and adoption of institutionalized policies and practices that mitigate bias, bigotry, and bullying for students, faculty, administrators, and staff.
  1. Provide leadership across the College that values and sustains a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive climate.
  2. Offer diversity-focused professional development workshops each year to faculty, staff, and students.
  3. Promote presentations by College faculty that focus on topics pertaining to diversity and inclusion.
  4. Maintain and extend each department's capacity to highlight diversity-related content and issues in the core of its curriculum, thereby promoting a climate of awareness and support for diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  5. Create a webpage linked to the College's homepage that provides updated information about diversity-related courses, events, issues, and trainings taking place in the College.

Recognize Additional Service by Diverse Faculty and Staff

Objectives Strategies
Expand the development and implementation of policies and practices that recognize and value additional service performed by diverse faculty and staff.
  1. Conduct trainings for chairs, program directors, and other College leaders that enhance understanding of the hidden or unrecognized labor performed by diverse faculty or staff, particularly in the area of service.
  2. Consider workload adjustments to recognize and affirm the additional service engaged in by diverse faculty or staff.

Recruitment, Retention, and Success of Diverse Student Body

Objectives Strategies
Promote the recruitment, retention, and success of a diverse student body.
  1. Provide equitable opportunities and outcomes for all student populations.
  2. Develop partnerships with culturally specific organizations to increase accessibility and support networks for underrepresented students.
  3. Increase efforts to recruit graduate students from underrepresented groups and offer mentorship programs that recognize, reinforce, and build upon their strengths, thereby enhancing their opportunities for success in the College's graduate programs.
  4. Support creation of departmental mentoring programs where underrepresented graduate students serve as mentors to underrepresented undergraduate students to increase the diversity of the College's graduate application pool.
  5. Assess retention rates of graduate programs and develop strategies to improve those rates, as needed.
  6. Develop an identity/brand that exemplifies and demonstrates the value of a liberal arts education and strategically promotes the College to diverse students.
  7. Assist the Office of Global Engagement in recruiting government-funded international students.
  8. Increase cooperative partnerships with the region's military community and explore additional ways to provide educational opportunities, including graduate programs, for military personnel within the region and worldwide.

Goal #4: Advance excellence in teaching and mentoring, and champion student recruitment and learning.

Promote Interdisciplinary Learning and Thinking

Objectives Strategies
Promote interdisciplinary learning and thinking by increasing student engagement in programs outside of their major.
  1. Increase the number of minors across the College by training faculty advisors to convey the value of pursuing a minor outside their department.
  2. Encourage the creation of interdisciplinary graduate certificates to improve the skill levels of graduate students across disciplines.
  3. Establish an annual college symposium centered on an agreed upon interdisciplinary theme and encourage inclusion of theme in courses across the College.

Increase Student Engagement in Research

Objectives Strategies
Increase student engagement and achievements in research.
  1. Improve the College's student participation in the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium over the next five years.
  2. Increase opportunities for student-faculty mentoring, interaction, and collaboration by recruiting graduate students to work on research projects with faculty.
  3. Increase student participation in external research symposia, and in particular, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Recruitment and Mentoring of Students

Objectives Strategies
Bolster faculty mentoring and recruitment of students into College programs.
  1. Engage faculty in developing and implementing plans to recruit more students into A&L undergraduate and graduate programs.
  2. Attract undergraduates from outside ODU and across the university to participate in extracurricular activities specifically sponsored by the College, such as Model UN, performing arts groups, and honor societies.
  3. Increase A&L student awareness and participation in events and opportunities sponsored by the Graduate School.
  4. Expand A&L outreach to Hampton Roads military commands to attract transitioning military to graduate studies, and partner with Hampton Roads civic organizations to provide opportunities for A&L graduate students.
  5. Assist the Office of Global Engagement in recruiting government-funded international students (Fulbright, Muskie, etc.).
  6. Include faculty mentoring of students as part of teaching evaluations.

Goal #5: Enhance the visibility of the College’s engagement with innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors and increase the overall level of student and faculty participation in these endeavors.

Assessment of Current Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Objectives Strategies
Assess the current level of engagement in and resources for innovation and entrepreneurship within the College.
  1. Complete an assessment study within the first year, across the College and within each department and program, that examines the degree to which current programs and initiatives are entrepreneurial and conceptualizes future plans for innovation.

Promote and Expand Engagement with Innovative and Entrepreneurial Endeavors within the College

Objectives Strategies
Promote and expand curricula, community programs, initiatives, and services pertaining to entrepreneurship and innovation within the college.
  1. Periodically assess the progress in increasing participation in entrepreneurship and innovation through internal studies conducted by the College's long-range planning committee.
  2. Hold workshops to discuss how departments might recognize and support the work of faculty engaged in applied and entrepreneurial activity.
  3. Continue to offer courses that teach students the deep discipline and forms of thinking required for innovation and promote these courses in the context of University-wide initiatives for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  4. Expand opportunities for purposeful, hands on, experiential learning, including internships, digital humanities, Model UN, and community engagement projects.

Promote and Expand Engagement with Innovative and Entrepreneurial Endeavors Outside the College

Objectives Strategies
Promote and expand curricula, community programs, initiatives, and services pertaining to entrepreneurship and innovation across colleges and with campus and community partners.
  1. Promote existing certificate programs and develop cross-College certificates for interdisciplinary innovation through collaborative curricula, workshops, and speakers' series (e.g., cybercrime speaker series).
  2. Pursue entrepreneurial outlets for the marketing and sale of original art by faculty and students.
  3. Create improved pathways for faculty relationships with the Strome Center for Entrepreneurial Activity, the ODU Resilience Collaborative, the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research, and other cross-college initiatives and centers related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Cultivate Increased Funding for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Objectives Strategies
Increase support for and visibility of already established programs and services, such as the Community Music Division, Humanities Behind Bars, Arts@ODU, and the SSRC.
  1. Determine the feasibility of establishing an endowment that provides support for the arts, humanities, and social sciences.d
  2. Increase College-based development efforts that focus on promoting faculty and student involvement in entrepreneurship.

Goal #6: Create a culture of vibrancy in the Arts Village and increase the visibility of A&L initiatives and collaborations, thereby elevating the College’s status in the public eye and facilitating recruitment efforts.

Community Engagement in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Objectives Strategies
Sustain the College's high level of community engagement in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  1. Maintain and expand the College's involvement in initiatives such as the Resilience Collaborative, the Lambert's Point Mapping Project, the Community Collaboration Re-Entry Summit, Humanities Behind Bars, the Refugee Studies Research Project, and the "Let's Talk about Our Dream" Project linked to the 400 Years of African American History Commission.
  2. Preserve the College's focus on research, social justice, service learning and interfaith dialogue through continued support of A&L institutes and centers that engage with regional, national, and international communities.
  3. Pursue major gifts or endowments that would fund programming and promotion in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  4. Revitalize and expand the College's Community Advisory and Arts@ODU Advisory Boards.
  5. Sustain recent trends of increased event attendance and earned revenues in the performing arts.

Increase Visibility of Activities and Events

Objectives Strategies
Increase the visibility of the College's community engagement activities and events.
  1. Improve connections with external and internal constituents, such as SEES, the Office of Research, the Office of Public Affairs and Strategic Communication, and the Alumni Relations Office, for cross-promotion and funding of College events and activities.
  2. Redesign the Arts Village in collaboration with the Office of Administration and Finance and other key units to increase vehicular and foot traffic.
  3. Develop innovative programming for the Arts Village, including street festivals and an outdoor concert series.
  4. Highlight the College's engagement with area organizations that address issues pertaining to racial and ethnic justice, gender equality, gay rights, interfaith understandings, community resilience, climate change, and environmental justice.

Enhance Engagement with Local Arts and Non-Profit Organizations

Objectives Strategies
Enhance the College's level of engagement with local community and arts-related organizations.
  1. Solidify and deepen collaborations with regional organizations, such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Urban League of Hampton Roads, Hampton Roads Pride, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, and the Virginia Stage Company.
  2. Establish recurring meetings of arts directors in the College to facilitate coordinated outreach efforts and interdisciplinary awareness, collaboration, and themed programming.