In 2013, UConn launched a comprehensive process to develop a new academic vision to identify special goals and strategic initiatives, and realize our aspiration to become a top flagship University recognized for excellence in breakthrough research, innovative education, and engaged collaborations with state, community, and industry partners.
The University Academic Vision Committee, consisting of highly respected faculty members, was assembled to provide diverse, relevant, and institutional perspectives in growing academic and research excellence at our University. Completion of this comprehensive academic vision is a major and critically important undertaking, one that has drawn on expertise from UConn faculty, students, deans, advisory committees from each college and school, and others through public forums and electronic discussion.
UConn has a strong track record of exceeding established goals in recent decades. It already has surpassed goals in the current academic plan for student selectivity, new academic program development, and innovative research projects. The development of this academic plan presents an opportunity to chart a new course and re-envision the future of our institution based on a critical analysis of the quality of our programs and the difficult but necessary choices we face to achieve excellence. This process also requires a greater emphasis on achieving higher standards in all aspects of our enterprise, including faculty recruitment, promotion and tenure, teaching effectiveness, admission standards, research productivity, and vital scholarship and creative works. The new academic vision represents a departure from previous efforts and is distinguished for its focus on achieving excellence in interdisciplinary research and education and the significant investments from Next Generation Connecticut and Bioscience Connecticut to realize our goals.
The new academic vision is guided by:
Bold and Visionary Ideas
Academic institutions face ongoing challenges in navigating an environment with diminishing numbers of high school graduates, changes in state support that require even greater stewardship of our precious resources, and fierce competition for federal research grants. A successful academic vision will identify bold strategies to grow in the midst of these challenges.
Growth of Extramural Research Programs
Extramurally funded research is vital to new discoveries, development of outstanding graduate students, and economic development. We must develop aggressive strategies to increase the amount and diversity of state, federal, industry, and philanthropic funding for research.
Adaptability to Change
Our ability and willingness to change will be a defining measure of ultimate success through the advent of new innovations in teaching pedagogy, technology, emerging topics for research and scholarship, global implications, and new models of agile academic organization.
Active Participation of Faculty
A broad cross-section of our faculty worked to identify priorities and develop
goals for the University and their College or School academic plans, and this
faculty engagement must continue as we operationalize and institutionalize this academic vision.
Accountability to Achieve Goals
We must hold ourselves accountable for our decisions and the investments we make to advance UConn. We will develop an assessment plan, with carefully selected metrics that measure our progress toward our academic goals.
The process and the guiding principles of the academic vision were presented to the University Senate, the Council of Deans, and department heads. Each College and School appointed a group of faculty, students, and staff to serve on the individual College and School Academic Vision Committees. In developing the College- and School-specific academic plans that are aligned with the overarching goals of the University academic vision, these committees were asked to respond to a set of core academic questions:
• What are our strengths?
• What new strengths can we create?
• What can we improve through collaborations with UConn’s Colleges and Schools?
• What programs can we realign or streamline to reallocate resources?