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Current Academic Affairs Initiatives

Academic Interest Pathways

This year, Miami will be embarking on a new project aimed at improving success rates for undecided students on the Oxford campus and for all regional campus students. Designed for students who are exploring majors or are typically underprepared for college, an Academic Interest Pathway is a collection of academic majors that focus on a broad content area and that are aligned with students’ interests, knowledge, skills, abilities and career goals. Academic Interest Pathways provide students with educationally coherent pathways (course scheduling blocks and co-curricular options), along with customized academic support and progress monitoring. Students pursue a pathway which is associated with their interests and career goals and which guides them through initial academic requirements and into their chosen major or program of study. 

Accessibility

The Office of the Provost, in collaboration with Student Disability Services and IT Services provides information, training, and support for faculty and academic advisors to enable students with disabilities find their place at Miami, engage with the community, and succeed and reach academic and personal success. All faculty and staff in Academic Affairs are expected to complete an online accessibility training module. University websites also must be made compliant with accessibility standards. 

Accreditation Reviews

Miami University will undergo two accreditation-related reviews by the Higher Learning Commission during the 2018-2019 academic year.  During the fall semester, a reviewer will evaluate two of Miami’s additional locations: the Voice of America Learning Center and the Upper Arlington location to ensure that the academic programming at those locations meet accreditation criteria. This review will entail a written report and one-day site visits.  In summer 2019, the University will submit its Assurance Argument for an online review.  The Assurance Argument consists of multiple narratives that describe how well the University is meeting the criteria for accreditation.

Affordable and Open Educational Resources

Led by the University Affordability/OER Committee which includes the associate provost, librarians as well as faculty representatives from each academic division, Miami is taking active steps to promote the use of affordable and open educational resources. Support programs and resources have been created to assist faculty in exploring, adopting or creating OERs and other affordable learning materials for their courses.

Assessment of the Global Miami Plan

As part of the accreditation requirements of the Higher Learning Commission, the Office of Liberal Education will be launching its plan for direct assessment of the signature learning outcomes related to the Global Miami Plan: critical thinking and writing.  These outcomes will be assessed via a major written assignment or project in all capstone courses.  Beginning in fall 2018, capstone instructors will need to do:

  1. Identify one assignment in the course that involves critical thinking and writing;
  2. Load the assignment prompt and three samples of students’ work for that assignment into a Google Drive folder.

The Office of Liberal Education will send instructions to capstone instructors each semester..

Boldly Creative - Strategic Academic Enrichment Initiative 

On December 8, 2017, the Miami Board of Trustees passed a resolution directing the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services to “establish a Strategic Initiatives Fund of at least $50 million from the carry forward and reserves of the University for the purpose of funding new academic program initiatives as determined by the Provost and President.” The Boldly Creative Strategic Academic Enrichment Initiative will focus on funding promising academic programs and research projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Advance knowledge in the professional fields considered most in-demand throughout Ohio, the region and the nation.
  • Prepare students with the versatile skills and mindset to meet the needs of a demanding and dynamic workforce, with an emphasis on disciplinary diversity.
  • Advance Miami’s reputation for excellence and innovation in broad, transdisciplinary areas of research and pedagogy.
  • Develop/enhance partnerships from the government, non-profit, corporate, higher education and/or health care sectors to enhance programming and learning outcomes.
  • Demonstrate a long-term sustainability plan that generates net new revenue by increasing enrollment beyond the residential capacity of the Oxford campus or from external sources. This may include programming that offers professional credentials, develops increased e-learning offerings that will attract students beyond Oxford’s residential population, and/or supports growth on Regional Campuses.

Groups of faculty will submit proposals that are aligned with the criteria. The Deans will review and evaluate these proposals, and make recommendations to the Provost who will consult with the President before awarding funding.

Diversity and Inclusion

In the spring of 2018, Miami received the report on the campus climate assessment conducted by Rankin & Associates Consulting.  The goal of this project was to evaluate the experience of the current campus climate by all members of our community; identify successful diversity and inclusion initiatives, reveal challenges facing members of our community, and recommend strategies to address the challenges and build on successes. Additionally, a presidential task force, led by Dr. Rodney Coates, was appointed and developed a preliminary report which included suggested recommendations for fostering a more welcoming and inclusive learning, working and living environment at Miami University.  This year, Miami community members will be invited to review and offer input on the recommendations of both reports. 

Faculty 180

Three years ago, Miami purchased an application for a university-wide electronic faculty activity reporting system known as Faculty 180. The goal of this platform is to enable faculty to enter data once and then be able to generate multiple forms of curriculum vitae, annual activity reports, and promotion dossiers. In addition, departments and divisions would have access to consolidated data to assist with academic program review, accreditation, strategic planning, recruiting and marketing, and 2020 Plan reporting. The platform was launched across the University in fall 2017.  It is now being assessed for future improvements and use

Guaranteed Transfer to Degree Pathways

As part of our obligations to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Miami is participating in the development of statewide guaranteed transfer pathways from two-year to four-year degree programs in an equivalent field. These pathways are being created by statewide faculty panel members which include representatives from Miami University. Transfer pathways are being developed in clusters with associated specific majors within each cluster. Cluster areas include: Business; Social and Behavioral Sciences and Human Services; Education; Arts, Humanities, Communication, History, and Design; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; Public Safety; Health Sciences; and Industry/Manufacturing and Construction. Approximately 50 major specific pathways will fall under the eight clusters. See ODHE website for more information.

New Promotion Paths and Titles for Lecturers & Clinical Faculty

In spring 2018, University Senate passed a resolution to enable faculty who currently hold the position of Lecturer or Clinical Faculty to apply for two promotion points. With each promotion point, the candidate’s title would be adjusted.  The titles for these faculty who hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degree from an accredited college or university and who meet all other necessary criteria would be titled: assistant teaching professor, associate teaching professor or teaching professor (depending on the level of promotion).  Faculty who hold a Masters (non-terminal) degree from an accredited college or university and who meet the other necessary criteria would be titled: assistant lecturer/assistant clinical professor, associate lecturer/clinical professor or senior lecturer/clinical professor (depending on the level of promotion).

Strong Start to Finish Initiative

For the next two years, Miami will participate in a new initiative, called “Strong Start to Finish,” which is supported by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Education Commission of the States.  The goal of this initiative is to advance college completion among entering Miami students who are academically underprepared for college. 

Research shows that only 35% of students who enroll in developmental or remedial education courses graduate from college within six years.  These success rates, however, dramatically improve when students are provided:

  1. Co-requisite support courses or programming for gateway math and English courses
  2. Clear term-by term schedules or degree maps
  3. Accurate placement assessment
  4. Academic advising with encouragement to enroll in at least 30 credits during their first academic year.

A group of Miami faculty and staff experts in teaching math and writing courses and advising students will collaboratively develop a plan for implementing these four elements.