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Transylvania 2020

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Enhance Innovative Thinking


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In our effort to improve our standing among America's finest liberal arts colleges, Transylvania will undertake the following important and innovative academic initiatives:

  1. Provide every Transylvania student with a personally tailored academic experience within the common university curriculum, comprising at least one of the following:

    1. A hands-on research project or creative production;
    2. A faculty-student designed course of no more than three students;
    3. A student-designed, academically grounded, community/civic engagement project.
  2. Institute an experimental pedagogy laboratory, the Academic Innovation Laboratory, paying particular attention to technology as a catalyst for innovations in teaching and learning in the context of the liberal arts.

    1. Foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary innovation and engagement.
    2. Provide an exploratory technology budget each year to facilitate the purchase and evaluation of emerging technologies.
    3. Make the pedagogy laboratory the locus of research on emerging technologies that reshape the learning environment in ways suited to the liberal arts college (e.g., dialogic settings, interactive learning, etc.).
    4. Provide course release time to faculty engaged in work in the pedagogy laboratory.
    5. Use the pedagogy laboratory as a tool for faculty development, disseminating emerging ideas, providing guidance on their effective use and further development, and exploring how they can be brought to scale across the university and beyond.
  3. Publicize and build upon the experimental August Term and First Year Seminar Program.

    1. Showcase August term and the integrated First Year Experience (FYE) to prospective students and their families through a multi-channel communication flow.
    2. Hire sufficient faculty to make the August term program sustainable without compromising other academic programs, including First Year Seminar (FYS) and First Year Research Seminar (FYRS).
    3. Continue the spirit of experimentation in August term to deliver innovative ideas and respond to changes in the student body, institutional needs, the market, and contemporary cultural contexts.
    4. Undertake structured research to evaluate the effectiveness of August term.
    5. Present the August term and integrated FYE model at national meetings on the First Year Experience.
    6. Use August term as an incubator for ideas and approaches that can be used to evaluate and improve the quality of the entire general education curriculum.
  4. Advance student and faculty excellence, in particular by increasing the university's research and scholarly output in volume and quality.

    1. Expand funding for student research and creative and scholarly work.
    2. Define, encourage, and support faculty scholarship.
    3. Establish the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) as a faculty resource to develop new expertise in new pedagogies and scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL).
    4. Introduce pre-tenure leaves for probationary faculty so they can complete scholarship and creative work prior to tenure reviews.
    5. Provide faculty training and support in developing grants, both institutional and individual, with release time to focus on such time-intensive initiatives.
  5. Diversify the intellectual, cultural, and personal perspectives represented in the Transylvania community, and infuse this diversity (including international perspectives) into the curriculum.

    1. Strengthen Transylvania’s out-of-state recruitment while maintaining strong market position in Kentucky, as detailed in the Strategic Enrollment Plan.
    2. Develop partnerships with schools, school districts, and community-based organizations that serve primarily students of color, and continue to expand Transylvania’s active international recruitment efforts.
    3. Provide faculty development that focuses on incorporating diversity-and-inclusion-related themes into course content as well as on building inclusive practices into pedagogies.
    4. Organize faculty-student May term trips and exchanges—in partnership with institutions abroad—that emphasize diversity and inclusion issues.
    5. Increase institutional funding to support faculty and student participation in May term travel.
    6. Increase the faculty’s awareness of and involvement in co-curricular diversity and inclusion programming, and enlist faculty support in promoting such programming to students.
    7. Establish agreements with educational and cultural institutions internationally that will allow students to participate in experiences related to their specific academic fields (e.g., math and science teaching abroad; programs with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, etc.) and explore possibilities to establish physical outposts in certain locations.
    8. Promote ongoing research collaboration with a limited number of domestic and international sites where community-based research leads to better understanding of diverse perspectives.
    9. Augment funding to support semester study abroad for students.
  6. Develop innovative and integrative means to support student scholars by expanding and coordinating academic support services through the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE).

    1. Provide space that is conducive to learning and scholarly discussion in a dynamic learning environment.
    2. Staff ACE to create a single point of access for all academic support services in order to improve the student scholar experience.
    3. Build and coordinate a strong academic tutoring program.
    4. Support collaboration and cross-training of experts among the main providers of academic assistance.
    5. Expand and strengthen the academic services already offered.
  7. Increase the number of Transylvania students awarded prestigious national and international scholarships.

    1. Establish a developmental program for Premier Scholars by providing them with the resources and support to fully realize and then advance their potential.
    2. Provide information about fellowships and scholarships through a dedicated website that publicizes the success of past recipients for both internal and external audiences.
    3. Develop advising, coaching, and programming that informs all high achieving students about scholarship and fellowship opportunities and guides them through the application process.
    4. Further engage the faculty in the recruitment process, including faculty with national and international fellowship and scholarship experiences.
  8. Expand curricular offerings, in particular interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary programs and initiatives.

    1. Evaluate which majors might have room for more inter- and multidisciplinary dimensions.
    2. Hire some postdoctoral teaching fellows or senior Bingham scholars who would introduce new focal areas to our curriculum, expand/support new majors and minors, and test new curricular foci.
    3. Add new majors or minors such as Creative Writing, Health Studies, Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Environmental Studies, Film Studies, and other distinctive programs.
  9. Enrich and expand library resources, including personnel and technology, to further information literacy.

    1. Add one Reference and Instruction Librarian to the Public Services Team.
    2. Acquire a Citation Tool such as RefWorks or EndNote.
    3. Acquire a Discovery Tool to make the research process easier, allowing cross-searching of all databases with one search.
    4. Add a Special Collections Librarian/Archivist.
    5. Acquire online research resources.
  10. Establish Transylvania's Center for Liberal Education (CLE) as a nationally recognized forum for advancement of the liberal arts, with a special focus on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary initiatives.

    1. Expand current national faculty seminar to a four-day meeting.
    2. Include presidents and provosts (1 seminar for each) from across the country in the Transylvania Seminar.
    3. Establish a publishing program—both print and electronic—to broaden the impact and increase the visibility of the Center.
    4. Establish faculty development opportunities through the Center for Liberal Education that would allow faculty to extend their reach beyond the campus (e.g., as journal editors and reviewers; using new media to communicate scholarship; etc.).
    5. Develop seminar for high school counselors and teachers about the value of a liberal arts education.


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