A letter from Provost Randy Swearer
Welcome and thank you for visiting the Office of the Provost website.
The Remarkable Transformation of Philadelphia University
During the past three years the Provost’s Office has closely collaborated with the faculty to facilitate positive change at the University. It is breathtaking to look back now and consider what this partnership has accomplished in such a brief time period.
We created an award winning new transdisciplinary college and restructured all academic programs into a streamlined group of three colleges designed to foster collaboration. Working together we embedded key parallel academic functions in each college to insure efficiency, effectiveness, and to encourage institutional learning. We identified the need to support our unique pedagogy, Nexus Learning, and, in response, developed and funded The Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning. Faculty search committees hired new leaders for many of our major academic units. And we were fortunate to tap into our own wealth of talent to promote others into key leadership positions.
The faculty helped shape a new academic building that opens this fall, designed specifically to support the DEC curriculum. We worked collaboratively to create a comprehensive and progressive new shared governance structure that respects areas of faculty primacy, while creating conditions for deep and generative collaborations between the faculty and administration.
One of the most exciting developments has been the Academic Growth Plan, which created an innovative framework, unprecedented to my knowledge in American higher education, for collectively shaping innovative new academic programs with multi-disciplinary faculty teams.
Each of the initiatives I have highlighted above is a stunning achievement, but taken together as an integrated plan they have transformed this remarkable University.
A Few Special Initiatives for the 2012-13
This academic year the Provost’s Office will focus on an interconnected group of initiatives. We will work with the faculty to fully implement the shared governance structure approved last spring. As part of this effort, we will collaborate support and help develop the new Curriculum Innovation Space (CIS) program incubator embedded in the shared governance framework. We will assist academic program development teams that created promising curricular concepts during summer academic growth planning as the teams refine the concepts in the CIS.
Re-envisioning General Education
I believe that one of our most exciting academic opportunities is in the area of general studies, particularly reframing the traditional dichotomy between professional education (and it emphasis on practical reasoning) and liberal learning. Last year this office collaborated with the Re-envisioning General Education Committee to bring to campus a number of luminaries on the forefront rethinking general education. These visits generated a new dialog across the colleges about possible futures for our general education program. We will continue to bring major thinkers to campus to augment and enrich our dialog about general studies. During the spring semester the Re-envisioning General Education Committee, with full support from this office, will design a process for generating a plan for a new or revised general education program. I encourage all of you to participate in this exciting process that directly impacts nearly half the undergraduate curriculum.
The Academic Growth Plan
We will continue to work with the faculty on the Academic Growth Plan, a planning process that that brings together faculty and academic leadership together to share ideas, conceive new programs, and identify opportunities to improve the academic experience for students. Summer meetings anchor the timeline for new program development and provided a unique collaborative and supported setting to incubate plans and innovate curricula across the institution. During the academic year, the Curriculum Innovation Space and the Academic Opportunities and Oversight committees advance, market test, and refine new program concepts developed in the summer as part of the academic growth planning process.
Growth Plan also defines a conceptual framework for the development of academic
programs at the University.
Specifically, it drives the design of new
program opportunities that leverage and build cross-college capabilities to
create University-wide teaching and learning experiences. The goal of the
framework is to create programs that crossed the boundaries of colleges,
divisions, and schools to create a more academically integrated institution.
Graduate education is a key component of our Strategic Plan. Our graduate programs have increased in number and quality during the past three years, creating a critical mass of graduate students on campus. We now need to conduct an integrative examination of graduate education at the University and the infrastructure that supports it.
I look forward to collaborating with our faculty and academic leadership team to continue on our path toward innovation, and accelerate the ascent of this remarkable institution.
Provost and Dean of the Faculty