Goal #1: Academic Excellence

UIS will achieve academic excellence through excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in scholarship.

Strategic Thrust #1: Excellence in Teaching and Learning

At UIS, teaching remains the central function and student learning is the overriding goal. This goal will be achieved through valuing and supporting innovation in teaching and promoting faculty contributions to the national dialogue on teaching and learning. UIS will create an environment that promotes engaged, active learning with the ultimate goal of preparing students to be leaders and thinkers in the world.

Action Step #1: Create an organizational structure and provide resources to advance teaching and learning:

  • a) Establish a unit, perhaps a “Faculty Development Center” in order to create, organize, and sustain programs and initiatives related to teaching innovation and engaged learning. Included would be an exchange of best practices in teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • b) Establish a Teaching Academy as a vehicle for faculty who are recognized by their peers as outstanding teachers to provide guidance to newer faculty.
  • c) Establish a fund for teaching innovation that promotes active, engaged learning.
  • d) Ensure that faculty development opportunities are made available to part-time faculty.
  • e) Provide support to faculty for involving students in professional organizations.
  • f) Use a portion of online course fees for curriculum development.
  • g) Strengthen learning support services such as the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL).
  • h) Encourage and reward faculty who participate in interdisciplinary course development and team-teaching, and remove administrative and accounting barriers to interdisciplinarity.

Action Step #2: Create knowledge bases and communication mechanisms focusing on teaching and learning:

  • a) Create a knowledge base/information repository for best practices related to teaching.
  • b) Develop a structure for communication about effective teaching for all faculty parallel to what exists among online faculty.
  • c) Across programs, establish a process for soliciting feedback from alumni about strengths and limitations of their programs’ curriculum.
  • d) Strengthen communication between general education, experiential learning units, and the majors for a seamless undergraduate experience.

Action Step #3: Organize forums devoted to improving teaching and learning:

  • a) Organize brown bag presentations on teaching and learning.
  • b) Organize symposia on teaching/learning issues involving invited speakers.
  • c) Organize seminars on dealing with underprepared students.

Action Step #4: Improve the assessment of learning outcomes and of teaching; use aggregated information from course evaluations to inform faculty development programming:

  • a) Establish and fund a program to support improvements in the assessment of learning outcomes and program review.
  • b) Adopt a new course evaluation instrument.
  • c) Implement a multidimensional approach to teaching evaluation.
  • d) Use the data from the improved teaching evaluation approach as the basis for issues addressed in faculty development programs.

Action Step #5: Engage with faculty at other universities in the national dialogue about teaching and learning:

  • a) Promote and support faculty involvement in organizations that focus on improvement of teaching.
  • b) Promote dialogue about the scholarship of teaching.
  • c) Encourage faculty who are teaching online courses to seek “Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality” (MVCR) certification from OTEL; provide appropriate recognition and rewards.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #1:

  • National recognition for promotion of best practices in teaching
  • Proportion of degree programs having active programs of assessment of learning outcomes
  • Performance of UIS graduates on standardized outcome measures (e.g., pass rates for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and English as a Foreign Language tests)
  • Number of faculty with MVCR certification
  • Alumni satisfaction and achievement

 

Strategic Thrust #2: Excellence in Scholarship

UIS affirms its commitment to high standards of scholarly excellence based on varied forms of scholarship expressed in the Boyer model – an approach appropriate to a premier public liberal arts institution with strong professional programs that values teaching and engagement in the world. Consistent with our history, UIS will continue to support scholarship aimed at shaping and improving public policies and practices. Believing that active scholarship is essential to excellent teaching, UIS is committed to developing a faculty of teacher-scholars, students who collaborate with faculty on research projects, and staff who are engaged in advancing the professional practice in their fields.

Action Step #6: Organize a variety of forums to support faculty scholarly skills and activities:

  • a) Organize brown bag series to encourage research collaboration.
  • b) Promote discussion of achieving balance among the components of the faculty role, i.e., teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • c) Conduct a dialogue on the multiple forms of scholarship and creative activities and the assessment of scholarship in its various forms.
  • d) Conduct workshops on providing advice on the process of publishing scholarly works.

Action Step #7: Create opportunities for collaborations in research and creative activities:

  • a) Revive and update intersession concept as an opportunity for faculty collaboration as well as student learning.
  • b) Develop a mechanism for matching student and faculty research interests.

Action Step #8: Establish more high-visibility collaborative projects, some of which will be “Stretch Ideas” for UIS. (More details about these projects are in Appendix D.)

  • a) Emiquon Field Station and associated projects
  • b) Center for Online Learning, Research and Service
  • c) Center for Geographic Information Systems Applications
  • d) Downstate Illinois Innocence Project
  • e) Experiential and Service Learning Institute

Action Step #9: Foster the scholarly activities of students:

  • a) Encourage and support student attendance at regional academic and professional conferences.
  • b) Provide formal recognition and incentives for faculty who sponsor or supervise student scholarship.
  • c) Find ways to support faculty/student interaction outside the classroom.
  • d) Recognize faculty’s student project supervision efforts.
  • e) Further develop student research symposia, building on the success of the UIS Science Symposium.

Action Step #10: Identify research/scholarship space needs and include those needs in space planning.

Action Step #11: Regularly distribute information to students and faculty about institutional support for scholarship.

Action Step #12: Increase funding, non-instructional assignment availability, and joint appointments for pursuit of faculty scholarly and creative activities.

Action Step #13: Increase funding for staff professional development and scholarly activities.

Action Step #14: Invest in Brookens Library and Educational Technology.

Action Step #15: Create and maintain standards for scholarly excellence in each college/program.

Action Step #16: Develop faculty skills for securing grants through mentoring and workshops.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #2:

  • Annual number of scholarly publications, presentations, juried exhibitions, and performances
  • Annual number of grant applications, grant awards, and dollar value of grants and contracts
  • Annual number of student presentations at campus, regional, and national scholarly and professional conferences
  • Number and proportion of faculty who are fellows of their professional societies or hold comparable formal peer recognition
  • Citations of UIS faculty scholarship
  • Quality of scholarship, with benchmarks varying by disciplines, journals, conferences, etc. These must be defined further at the college level.
  • Number of students inducted into academic or professional honor societies

 

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