Academic Affairs Retreat Focuses on present, future
“A gathering like this hasn’t happened at Delaware State University in nearly twenty years,” said Dr. Akwasi Osei, chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy. “I think it’s indicative of a new breeze blowing through Academic Affairs.”
Dr. Osei’s remarks referred to the Academic Affairs’ Retreat for Deans and Department Chairpersons, held on Friday, Feb. 16, in the DSU Technology and Training Center. The event, which began the evening before with a dinner for academic deans hosted by Provost Tony Allen, brought together fifty key academic leaders to receive a high-level briefing on the state of academics at the University and begin the planning process to meet the Provost’s major academic goals.
Vice Provost Saundra DeLauder presented a “deep dive” into DSU’s progress toward meeting the Key Progress Indicators (KPIs) for the Pride 2020 Strategic Plan. “This is intended to be an unvarnished look at what we’ve accomplished, where we stand, and the extent to which we have the resources to achieve our stated goals,” Dr. DeLauder said.
Dr. Alexa Silver, faculty fellow and president of the Faculty Senate, gave a detailed look at the state of the University’s General Education program. Dr. Silver said, “We have done many things well in terms of our design, but we do have to face the fact that over the past decade the understanding of what General Education can and should do has changed. Our challenge now is to become part of that national conversation.”
Dr. Allen has declared improving the outcomes of General Education courses, especially in Math, English, and Science to be a major priority over the next several years.
Associate Vice President for Research Dr. Melissa Harrington, provided an overview of the University’s current funded research portfolio, which is currently valued at roughly $20 million per year, and what kind of expansion would be necessary to increase that to $35 million within the next five to seven years. “Between Agriculture, Biology, and Physics we have a solid base from which to grow,” Dr. Harrington said. “But we’re going to have to expand our number of principal investigators and interdisciplinary teams submitting grants across the board. Every department, every faculty member has an important role to play.”
The afternoon revolved around working groups beginning the detailed process of developing a plan to increase research, building up University infrastructure, and developing action plans for the new colleges in the redesign process.
“This is just the beginning of the hard work ahead,” Dr. Allen told the group. “We will begin convening into these working groups over the next month, and getting down to the details. Then we will come back here, probably on a monthly basis, so that we can all sit down together and discuss it.”