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College of Arts and Science

Unifying Goal: Promote a vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes.

Objective 1: Prepare students for success at Miami and beyond through a liberal and applied education emphasizing inquiry-based experiential learning that integrates many disciplines.

Metric 1: Miami will achieve a six-year graduation rate of 85% and a four-year graduation rate of 75%.

The CAS will implement an array of strategies from outreach and enrollment to job or graduate school placement. Currently, CAS professional staff and faculty advisors pay focused attention to University Studies students, and we offer strategies to expand that support to other students.  CAS will also expand partnerships with Career Services and Student Affairs to enhance students’ four-year undergraduate experience.

Strategies:

  • Focus on departments and programs with majors experiencing high attrition rates; identify causes of attrition, and implement strategies to improve retention.
  • Implement Education Advisory Board Student Success collaborative tool to advance retention.
  • Divisional professional advisors across the University will develop a plan to better integrate the current first-year advisors’ strengths with divisional academic advising.
  • Simplify curricular requirements and articulate clear professional and career paths.
  • Develop additional scholar opportunities to enhance student profile.
  • Improve first-year students’ readiness for rigorous academics by developing online preparation classes. 
  • Develop and implement curricular interventions, from first to senior year (e.g., through summer or sprint preparatory courses or supplemental instruction in courses with high attrition).
  • Provide specialized and peer mentoring.
  • Identify, recognize, and reward faculty who are outstanding academic advisors (e.g., awarding affiliate status to the CAS Advising Office).
  • Increase the sense of community among students within academic fields and disciplines (e.g., through social media within majors or cohorts).

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Obtaining reliable data to track students across majors
  • Understanding that retention involves the entire campus, not just the academic units
  • Galvanizing a structure to create and foster common goals across units and divisions
  • Reconciling and prioritizing competing and increased demands on faculty (e.g., expectations for increased summer and winter term offerings, external support and scholarship, and involvement with recruitment)
  • Navigating the differing demands to maintain academic rigor while also streamlining the curriculum
  • Finding the faculty time and resources to provide additional interventions for at-risk students, such as smaller classes, better advising, and peer mentoring
  • Ensuring that data analysis takes into account the differences of academic units, with some having a large number of incoming students and others having no declared majors until students enter their second or third year.

Metric 2: Within one year after graduation, 90% of graduates (excluding those enrolled in graduate or professional school) will be employed.

The CAS will help departments and programs to strike a balance between preparing our students for a lifetime of work and citizenship and providing them with the needed skills and experiences for that first job. The CAS strategy involves partnerships involving the academic units across divisions, our advising team, career services, the alumni association and employers.

Strategies:

  • Implement career mentoring and development through improved partnership with Career Services, including involvement across the student experience
  • Network with department and divisional alumni to:
    • Highlight career paths to assist with job search;
    • Seek placement strategies to enhance internship opportunities and job placement;
    • Secure accurate lists of alumni and their careers from the development office.
  • Create department and program alumni advisory boards to enhance connections between alumni and students and increase internship opportunities and job placement.
  • Improve linkages with alumni and employers to create internships and advance employment of our graduates.
  • Design curriculum to help students understand and articulate the transferable skills they acquire from a liberal arts major.
  • Further develop career services pods for departments and programs  to deliver professional career advising.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Accessing reliable employment data
  • Recognizing that the one-year employment goal may not be appropriate for many CAS majors
  • Understanding how outside factors, such as the nature of the economy, may impact this goal from year to year and incorporating those factors into our analysis
  • Developing a better partnership with the alumni office, including better and more strategic communication.
  • Training faculty to assist effectively with job placement.

Metric 3: Upon graduation, 80% of students who apply to graduate or professional school will receive at least one offer of admission.

Currently, 77.8% of CAS students who apply to graduate or professional school receive at least one offer of admission; our goal is to reach 80%.

Strategies:

  • Take active steps to prepare appropriate students for graduate school through workshops, informal sessions, graduate exam preparation, mock interviews, and reviews of application materials, and one-on-one advising.
  • Offer graduate school fairs to bring representatives from other universities to campus to meet prospective students.
  • Task the pre-law and pre-medical programs with enhancing professional school preparation (e.g., an LSAT preparation course; have the pre-law alumni board help students prepare students to apply to law school. Physicians consult on interview skills and applications).

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Recognizing that the one-year deadline may not capture many students who eventually pursue advanced degrees and that the quality of the professional or graduate school to which our students are admitted is also an important measure
  • Ensuring that faculty and undergraduate research are well supported so that faculty are able to prepare students for graduate school admission and success
  • Monitoring the impact of AP and transfer credit and the reduction of overall credits needed for graduation on students’ readiness for graduate school.

Objective 2: Immerse faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students in research and creative scholarship that forms a vital part of the learning experience.

Metric 4: Continue to increase the quality and impact of scholarship or creative performance.

Currently, 75% of tenured and tenure-track faculty produce research or creative performance that meets or exceeds the division’s promotion and tenure standards.  Our goal is to reach 90%.

Strategies:

  • Maintain and increase the hiring of research-productive faculty
  • Promote and support research through continued support of faculty improvement leaves, assigned research appointments, travel support, and recognition of outstanding research projects.
  • Provide sustained mentoring across all faculty ranks.
  • Increase start-up packages for new faculty.
  • Clearly articulate P&T guidelines and University reward systems.
  • Create departmental and divisional opportunities to pre-review manuscripts and grant proposals.
  • Allocate resources to support cross-departmental and cross-divisional research partnerships.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Declining external support for active researchers and the need to develop bridge support for those with a research track record
  • Contending with the high number of University initiatives which may take faculty away from scholarship
  • Recognizing that the hiring of fewer new tenure-track faculty may lead to a smaller number of research active faculty.

Metric 5: Upon graduation, all Miami students will have participated in a research (40%) or a similar experiential learning activity (100%), e.g., fieldwork, field or clinical placement, service-learning, public or private sector engagement, performances, and other applied learning activities.

Currently, 89% of undergraduate students are involved in research or similar experiential learning activity; our goal is for 45% of our students engaging in research and 85% in experiential learning.

Strategies:

  • Increase undergraduate and graduate student partnerships, and highlight outcomes.
  • Incorporate senior research and scholarship projects into the major.
  • Increase the number of client-based service projects by engaging alumni and other external partners.
  • Showcase undergraduate and graduate research projects more broadly (e.g., website, publications, public meetings).
  • Encourage students to present or publish in appropriate venues.
  • Use service-learning courses to engage students.
  • Incorporate research and scholarship activities into all levels of the curriculum.
  • Develop meaningful service learning partnerships across divisions.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Finding the faculty time and resources needed to supervise research and scholarship
  • Shoring up graduate programs to ensure and foster synergies and research partnerships among undergraduate and graduate students
  • Garnering sufficient support to maintain the research infrastructure
  • Locating opportunities for service learning in a small town environment.

Objective 3: Engage students with substantive co-curricular and internship opportunities that augment their learning and establish a strong foundation for lifelong success, growth, and adaptability.

Metric 6: 75% of Miami students will complete an internship before they graduate.

Strategies:

  • Improve our collaboration with the Office of Career Services to better identify internship opportunities.
  • Develop an alumni advisory board to enhance internship opportunities (also listed for metric 2).
  • Develop partnerships with potential employers as well as government and private, public, and not-for-profit businesses (also listed for metric 2).
  • Encourage electronic and web-based connections (e.g., LinkedIn) with alumni, faculty, and students.
  • Create a zero-hour internship course number to track non-credit experiences.
  • Incorporate internships into the major, where appropriate.
  • Create a department or divisional communicate plan for informing students about internship opportunities.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Meeting this metric given the lack of availability of internships in certain fields of study
  • Providing training for faculty in disciplines who have typically not arranged or supervised internships
  • Finding a sufficient number of internship opportunities in the Oxford area which has a limited supply of placements
  • Tracking internship experiences so that progress can be monitored
  • Recognizing that many students are already highly involved in multiple majors and global studies, thus limiting their ability to participate in  internships
  • Navigating the  legal challenges and constraints surrounding paid and unpaid internships which could limit future partners
  • Securing the needed faculty mentors for internships.

Metric 7: 95% of Miami students will have two or more co-curricular experiences before they graduate.

Strategies:

  • Create enhanced partnerships between Student Affairs (particularly residence life) and the academic units to develop projects and initiatives of common interest (e.g., co-sponsoring co-curricular and academic support events and activities).
  • Encourage qualified students to participate in disciplinary, professional organizations.
  • Examine best practices used in departments and programs to expand or improve academic clubs or departmental honor societies.
  • With the Division of University Advancement, increase support for student academic clubs from alumni contributions or endowment funds.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Finding the faculty time and resources to engage in the time-consuming work of creating and sustaining academic clubs
  • Enhancing effective and productive communication between Student Affairs and the academic units.

Objective 4: Offer flexible pathways to and through the University, including interdisciplinary, e-learning, and multiple degree options, to help students achieve timely and cost-effective completion.

Metric 8: 20% of our students will graduate with multiple degrees, majors, or co-majors, and 5% will graduate with a combination bachelor and master's degree.

Strategies:

  • Require a second major or co-major in appropriate disciplines (e.g., journalism).
  • Coordinate curricular offerings into co-majors to enhance interaction across departments, programs, and divisions.
  • Provide clear curricular maps for achieving multiple majors or co-majors.
  • Identify students with a high number of Advanced Placement hours to recruit for combined bachelor-master’s degree programs.
  • Increase the number of combined bachelor-master’s degree programs.
  • Build on existing MA programs to provide additional opportunities for current undergraduate students to earn a master’s degree.
  • Create revenue-generating options for existing graduate programs.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Recognizing that some degree programs have extensive requirements that are needed for accreditation, employment or graduate school, making a second major or co-major difficult to complete
  • Balancing the goal of increasing the number of students who double major with the goal of encouraging rigorous, in-depth academic study
  • Examining the viability of small graduate programs.

Metric 9: 60% of degree programs can be completed in three years or less through curriculum revision and by using different pedogogical approaches and modes of delivery.

Strategies:

  • Work with department chairs and program directors to complete 14 degree descriptions per year over the next two years.

Metric 10: Increase the online and hybrid credit hours to 10% of the total credit hours.

Strategies:

  • Identify commonly transferred online undergraduate courses, and develop online versions of these courses to capture lost credit hours.
  • Develop undergraduate certificate programs that strengthen important skills needed for professional advancement (e.g., writing, data analytics).
  • Develop and offer “leveling courses” for students to compete for admission into highly competitive graduate programs (e.g., speech pathology).
  • Develop hybrid undergraduate courses for Miami students to improve pedagogy
  • Develop and offer courses and programs in at least three graduate areas: speech pathology and audiology, gerontology (in partnership with social entrepreneurship), and creative writing (low residency MFA).
  • Develop online, content-based courses that provide continuing education credits for teachers.

Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Garnering the necessary IT and instructional design support for developing and offering online and hybrid courses
  • Providing high quality faculty training to develop and teach online and hybrid courses
  • Demonstrating the value-added of online courses and degree programs to offset concerns with the comparatively high Miami tuition cost
  • Securing the hardware support needed to develop an online presence.