Current Academic Affairs Initiatives

Academic Program Prioritization and Evaluation Project

Using a shared governance approach, Miami is embarking this year on a comprehensive evaluation of its academic programs that will include: (1) collecting and analyzing extensive data relating to student & employer demand, finances and staffing for each of Miami’s degree programs/majors at the graduate and undergraduate level; (2) establishing guidelines for departments and divisions to use in interpreting the data and developing curricular plan that respond to data findings; (3) creating, vetting and approving departmental curricular plans; and (4) assessing the overall impact and progress made in implementing the departmental curricular plans.

Aligned with recommendations nineteen and twenty of Miami’s new strategic plan, the purpose of the Initiative is to ensure that Miami provides the best portfolio of academic degree programs and majors that will serve our students, ensure the financial success and longevity of the University, and leverage human and financial resources wisely. This initiative is led by a steering committee that includes elected faculty Senate members (one from each division), chair of Fiscal Priorities Committee, Registrar staff, students, and ex-officio members (associate dean from each division, Associate Provost).

For more information, visit the Academic Program Prioritization and Evaluation Project Page.

Affordable and Open Educational Resources: Miami UBooks

Led by the University Affordable and Open Educational Resources 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. Beginning in spring 2020, Miami will pilot “Miami UBooks” (using the Unizin Engage platform) which will deliver e-textbooks to students via the Canvas Learning Management System at a substantial cost savings. Over a dozen faculty and 70 sections will be participating in the pilot.

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 submit proposals that are aligned with the criteria. Deans collectively review and evaluate these proposals, and make recommendations to the Provost who consults with the President before awarding funding. The first round of proposals has been completed. Round 1 Funded projects include new robotics engineering programs, an expanded nursing and new physician assistant program, e-sports and data analytics programs. Round 2 is already underway with five proposers being invited to submit full proposals.  Round 3 which is in the early stages will focus on proposals to create promising new and existing academic programs for online or hybrid delivery. 

Global Miami Plan Revision

To advance recommendation 17 of Miami’s new strategic plan, Liberal Education is engaging in a comprehensive review of the current GMP and creation of recommendations for “transforming the Global Miami Plan to better prepare students for success.”  Goals of the project include:

  1. Amplify and reinforce Miami’s core values and mission as a public research institution, playing to existing strengths;
  2. Create opportunities for innovation without creating curricular bloat;
  3. Reallocate or leverage existing resources;
  4. Be compatible with the state of Ohio’s transfer and articulation policies;
  5. Be broadly inclusive so as to be embraced by the university community as a whole, including Student Life and other divisions outside Academic Affairs
  6. Develop clear and measurable outcomes for each component of the GMP and a feasible and meaningful plan for assessment.

To develop their recommendations, LEC has engaged in a benchmarking exercise and literature review to glean best practices and innovations in general education, conducted a faculty survey, and held multiple open listening sessions.  It plans to develop two models to be shared and vetted in the spring semester by key stakeholders, including faculty, chairs, deans, students, leaders in divisions outside Academic Affairs, and University Senate, and then make revisions accordingly. 

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.

Honors College

To address the first recommendation of the new strategic plan, an ad hoc committee, chaired by an associate provost, has been formed and developed a comprehensive proposal to create a new honors college and a revised University Academic Scholars Program.  The honors college and rebranded scholars program will build on the strengths of the current programs and advance pioneering and rigorous student outcomes and programming.  The proposal is currently being reviewed for approval.

Strong Start to Finish Initiative

Miami is participating 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. 

Summer Reading Program Revision

A small task force that includes an Associate Provost, Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Director of Liberal Education, Director of Orientation and Transition Programs, the co-chairs of the current Summer Reading Committee, and a student representative are developing a proposal for revising the Summer Reading Program so that it is aligned with strategic priorities and advances greater learning outcomes.