Christa Kelly, News Editor
Provost Karen Kaivola announced that the Augsburg Academic 2025 Plan had been completed at the Jan. 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Action, as previously reported in the Echo.
“The plan,” Kaivola wrote to the Echo, “is intended to align with, though not duplicate, the university’s new strategic plan (Augsburg 150) that was approved by the Board of Regents in October.”
Much like the Augsburg Academic 2025 Plan, the Augsburg 150 plan outlines visions, plans and goals for Augsburg’s future. However, it is much more brief–the entire Augsburg 150 plan takes up only one page. Much of it seems to be reaffirming Augsburg’s current structure, repeating the same mission and tagline that the university currently has. However, there were some new pieces, such as the university’s goals. These were threefold: to “strengthen Augsburg’s three-dimensional education”, to “advance the public purposes of an Augsburg education”, and, finally, to “grow as a sustainable university”.
The Augsburg Academic 2025 Plan reflected similar, though not identical, goals. The plan notes that it is “organized around three objectives”. First, it holds that Augsburg will strive to use “culturally-responsive programs”. Second, it aims to “invest in signature and problem-based learning experiences that prepare students for the workforce”. Finally, Augsburg hopes to “build structures, processes, and capacities that drive results, quality and growth/sustainability.”
The first of the goals is primarily focused around increasing the diversity of the school. Academic Plan 2025 describes achieving this through hiring more faculty and staff that “better reflect…the diversity of our student body.” It also notes that “new models of mentorship and support” should be given for the faculty and staff of color that Augsburg has. Part of this involves requiring staff in positions of power to “complete the diversity and inclusion certificate”. It implies that growth in “intercultural capacity” and “culturally-responsive pedagogies and curriculum” will be necessary for receiving both tenure and promotions. It also discusses better supporting students through designing programs targeted at “populations new to higher education” such as first-generation college students.
The second goal looks at the programs that Augsburg is offering to students. The university hopes to use “academic program review, program-level assessment of student learning, and periodic review of enrollment data by the University Committee on Academic Planning” to determine which programs to invest in. Not only will this involve off-campus programs and community partners, but it will also include curricular and residential learning opportunities. This is intended to both help Augsburg undergraduate students find essential learning opportunities and increase the success of the graduate program by offering more unique experiences.
The third goal involved supporting faculty and administrators through new plans and processes. These include restructuring departments, revising the faculty handbook, implementing new technology and improving the cooperation of different teams. Another piece of this goal is the implementation of the new structure for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs now that both departments are under the leadership of the provost.
“This plan grows out of many conversations over many years”, Kaviola said. Still, she noted that it could change over time. The plan is expected to be revisited in 2022 when it may be “refined, refocused, or swapped out with new initiatives, as appropriate to that moment.”
The plan is now posted under reports on the university’s Academic Affairs website.