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Harvest Our Treasures identifies several overlapping objectives that raised questions about potential improvements to the academic organization of the University:
- The entire University agreed we want to spend a greater portion of our budget on academics, including instruction and research, and less money on administration.
How could we generate administrative efficiencies that could free up funding for academic initiatives?
- Faculty consistently expressed the desire to do more team-teaching and more collaborative and cross-disciplinary research, programming, and service. Faculty consistently stressed the need to educate students how to approach problems from multiple different disciplinary perspectives.
How can we reconcile the tenure and departmental appointments, which are essential to objective research and academic curricula, with the goal of promoting cross-disciplinary programming, research, team-teaching, and more?
- Many different constituencies expressed the need for Seton Hall to be as nimble and adaptive as possible, given the frequency and scope of technological, scientific, social, political, economic, demographic, and other disruptions, including the pandemic, population shifts, climate change, artificial intelligence, and more.
How do we empower faculty to realize their creative passions, pioneer new initiatives, connect with student interests and concerns, and yet respect and strengthen our investment in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the traditional liberal arts and sciences curricula?
- Faculty consistently expressed a sense that this or that program was inadequately supported to realize its potential, precisely because the University seemed to be trying to “do everything.” How do we balance our academic priorities between growth and traditional disciplines?
How do we prioritize certain academic areas of strength, so that we can afford to be as great as we can be in those areas and not spread our resources too thinly?
In September of 2020, the Board of Regents approved the draft Academic Vision Statement, Goals and Objectives of Harvest Our Treasures, and it identified several priority goals for immediate implementation in 2020-2021. These priorities included advancing an Affordability and Accessibility agenda; maximizing student engagement, retention, and persistence during and after the pandemic; fully launching the University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; initiating a comprehensive philanthropic campaign; conducting critical Accelerated Program Sustainability Assessment in support of the University’s Academic Vision and Goals 1, 2, and 5; and evaluating and recommending changes to the University structure to promote the University’s sustainability and Goals, 1, 2, and 5. This last priority addressed the four sets of questions and objectives above.
The University Structure Committee presented an initial draft proposal to the University community in April 2021. Presentations to every individual College and to the entire University community, more than 70 office-hour meetings, an anonymous web portal, and Faculty Senate feedback were used to gather feedback and ideas that informed substantial modifications to the original proposal. After reviewing the new proposal, faculty feedback including College votes, the Board of Regents accepted the Provost’s modified proposal in September 2021. https://www.shu.edu/news/approval-of-modified-seeds-of-innovation-proposal.cfm
Implementation began in October 2021 with the Seeds of Innovation Implementation Steering Committee.
- Under Seeds of Innovation, Seton Hall aims to increase the proportion of its budget that it spends on academics, including teaching and research.
- No faculty positions were cut, even though 150+ administrative and staff positions had to be eliminated as part of a Reduction in Force.
- Seeds of Innovation concurrently generates administrative efficiencies and fosters creative and collaborative new teaching, learning, and research opportunities.
Summary of Approved Academic Restructure
Creation of a new collaborative unit joining the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Communication and the Arts
- Strategic differentiation from other programs
- Innovative possibilities for cross-disciplinary human development initiatives and creative pedagogies, design thinking, learning studios
- Consolidate administrative redundancies in small Colleges to make faculty-to-staff ratios more consistent with norms and free up resources for faculty hires and research
- Preserve existing programs and faculty, but create pathways for rethinking communication as education, art as human development, education as communication and design.
Goals for all Colleges to ensure collective responsibility for fundraising, grants, program development, scholarly advancement, budget management, and collaboration.
Offer of an additional faculty/associate dean line to the College of Arts & Sciences, consistent with its College Strategic Plan, to ensure sufficient administrative support for recruitment, fundraising, grant-writing, promotion of the liberal arts & sciences, and more consistent with administrative resources in our other Colleges.
A radically transparent Interactive Program Analysis Dashboard (IPAD), created with the faculty co-chairs of the Program Review Committee and other faculty, to keep programs informed of key data about their program and trigger action to remedy any issues before they escalate or call for a faculty-led Program Review.
Academies Initiative by which the Office of the Provost invests regularly in faculty-led, cross-disciplinary, short-term projects to advance research and scholarship, grant submissions, program development, service, team-teaching, undergraduate experiential learning opportunities, and more.