Goals & Progress
College Planning Process
During 1995-96, the College undertook a series of deliberations to achieve a vision and goals that would look to the future and promote improvement while accommodating the diverse needs, strengths, and interests represented by its many departments. In the following years, that vision and those goals became the bases for an annual planning cycle whose product was and is the “Annual Report and Plan.” This document digests annual reports from the departments, provides information about College-level developments, and continually modifies the five-year goals in light of accomplishments, needs, and assessment indicators.
The annual cycle begins early each spring semester when faculty members submit their annual activity reports and meet with their chairpersons to evaluate past performance and agree on responsibilities for the coming year. Later in the semester, each chairperson consults with the departmental faculty while drafting a department-level report which, following the faculty evaluation pattern, reflects on the year just passed and sets goals for the future. In addition to the individual faculty reports, the departmental chairperson examines assessment results, including the major field test (or equivalent) data and the report of the most recent external peer review. An outline of the peer review process can be seen at: http://gemini.tntech.edu/~jarmistead/planningschedule.htm.
While working on the departmental report and plan, each chairperson meets with the Dean to evaluate the chair’s and department’s performance during the preceding year. The conversation includes a review of assessment results and a tentative projection of future goals.
Departmental reports follow a college-wide outline, the latest incarnation of which, without the explanatory material, is as follows:
- Mission statement
- Responses to relevant Changes in Society and your Discipline(s)
- Faculty and staff transitions
- Outstanding accomplishments
- Goals and Assessment (incorporating results of testing, focus interviews, portfolios, capstone experiences, external peer reviews, etc.)
- Goal-oriented funding needs (next several years)
Faculty approval of the draft departmental report is obtained before the completed, “clean” version is submitted to the Dean by 15 June. Departmental reports are archived in the department offices.
Relying heavily, though not exclusively, on these departmental reports, the Dean prepares during June a college-level “Annual Report and Plan.” Click here for a complete text of each “Annual Report and Plan” since 1995. Except for the one in 2003, when university-level master planning interrupted the College cycle, each of these annual documents has a section on progress toward the previous report’s five-year goals, followed by a section listing the goals for the coming five years. Below, as illustrations, are the commentaries on goal accomplishment from the previous two college reports.
From the July 2004 Report
Between now and the last “annual report and plan,” the College submitted new five-year goals for the Academic Master Plan. The following comments reflect progress on both last year’s report goals and any additional College-level goals included in the Master Plan. Progress on departmental goals can be checked in each department’s annual report, and major progress is incorporated above in the lists of major accomplishments.
Faculty Development: We raised the allocation for approved proposals to the CAS Faculty Development Fund by tenure-track faculty members from $1000 to $1500.
Student Development Goals:
- establish departmental mentoring programs: we did this, but so far the results have not been terribly encouraging; we hope for improved results as we learn how to run these programs.
- improve undergraduate advising: we identified space for a new College advising center.
Recruitment and retention:
- Assist low-producing graduate programs: we established departmentally funded TA-ships, using adjunct dollars, in English and Math. In English, early implementation has already produced positive results in increased graduate enrollment and graduation rates.
- redesign the student ambassador program: we transformed this into department-based mentoring programs. The new advising center should contribute in this area as well.
- pilot four freshman learning communities: The Learning Communities pilot has thus far not produced good results, because new students have not been willing to join the communities. This year, we are placing qualified students in three or four learning communities at random during SOAR registration. If this is judged ineffective, we will consider merging the learning communities pilot with the honors program.
- contribute to internationalizing of the campus: we assisted the International Student Affairs office in establishing new study-abroad scholarships and opportunities.
- Better integrate . . . concerts, etc. . . . with ongoing classroom education: by scanning students’ Eagle cards at the door of each performance/presentation in the Center Stage Series, we have begun to develop benchmark statistics to be used in improving student attendance in the future.
Fund-Raising and Alumni Relations:
- double the size of Board of Visitors: we added two members last year.
- engage in a focused fund-raising effort: we plan to seek a major donor for the new advising/mentoring center.
- Establish a more systematic . . . relationship . . .[with] area high schools and community colleges: we held a planning meeting in summer 2004, involving selected teachers from all levels and several counties, to form teacher councils and web pages for each of the five basic areas of study: science, mathematics, social science, English, and foreign languages.
- Increase technical support for specialized equipment: we supported Foreign Languages as they created a student lab coordinator position. We need but cannot yet afford a college instrument technician.
Organization and Space
- Assist Sociology and Political Science in merging the two departments: the administrative merger was fully implemented without insurmountable obstacles, and plans are going forward for moving the offices of political scientists to Matthews Daniel.
From the July 2005 Report
Student Recruitment, Development, and Retention: We did establish an advising center at the college level, improved the Learning Communities, and added support for graduate student travel. The new fast-track programs in Chemistry and Computer Science show signs of increasing the number of graduates.
Faculty Development: We did implement a new faculty award for research and creative activity and encouraged departments to seek private dollars for faculty development (with some success in English and History).
P-16: We did establish the “shell” web page and maintain momentum in this effort by offering teacher workshops in the Fall and Spring.
General Education: we did make minor improvements in counting and categorizing students who attended Center Stage events.
Fund-raising and Alumni Relations: We did gain the support of the TTU Foundation for our proposal to create Foundation Professorships (in effect, a new, top rank), and additional scholarship dollars did come to the College.
Assessment: Many faculty members assisted in preparing the SACS compliance report.