A university must foster an environment that inspires and promotes transformational change.
One way to do that is by empowering faculty to be key agents and drivers of that change. Seattle University is taking that approach through the Provost Fellows, a collective of professors who are doing critical work in support of the Reignited Strategic Directions.
“With the Provost Fellows, we are building on and mobilizing the immense wealth of scholarly expertise, experience and relationships our faculty have at Seattle University,” says Provost Shane P. Martin. “Through this important work, they are elevating our Strategic Directions and developing the curriculum of the future and problem-solving critical issues of our times—climate change and environmental sustainability, racial injustice and widening economic inequity and rapid technological change and its attendant social and economic impacts.”
Led by Co-Directors Charles Tung, PhD, and John Fleming, the Provost Fellows is a multi-year initiative that initially grew out of the planning around Goal 1 of the Reignited Strategic Directions: Reimagine and Revise the Curriculum. In total, Provost Fellows are working across four goals that also include Scholarship Mission & Culture, Supporting LIFT SU Initiatives and Enhancing the Student Experience.
“The launch of the Provost Fellows imbeds faculty leadership across our strategic plan for growth. Speaking just about Reimagine and Revise the Curriculum, the area in which I am co-chair with Dr. Margit McGuire, the role of faculty leadership is crucial to the work of strengthening the education we provide to our students,” says English Professor Tung, who is Special Assistant to the Provost for Curriculum.
After launching in early 2022, the Provost Fellows have worked to greatly increase faculty engagement within their areas of the Reignited Strategic Directions by leading workshops and forums, researching high-impact practices and creating tools to assist colleagues in reimagining their programs.
“The Provost Fellows working on Reimagine and Revise the Curriculum have researched existing educational pathways and internal models, as well as effective practices and strong models in a wide variety of disciplines at peer and aspirational institutions," Tung says. "Our goal is to support thoughtful and informed curriculum revision across all our programs for the sake of all our students."
With a generous $871,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, faculty members in academic departments and programs will be able to apply to receive support to coordinate and facilitate the work of Reimagine and Revise the Curriculum within their program.
“With acknowledgment, support and resources—especially in the form of time and space—Provost Fellows can build on, nurture and encourage the creative and intellectual capacity of faculty colleagues across the university,” says Fleming, director for Curricular Policy and Programs.
This spring, Provost Fellows will co-host a summit that will bring together the resources they’ve developed for programs and departments and serve as a university-wide orientation to and dialogue around the curriculum revision work that will take place in Academic Year 23-24.
The summit will kick-off the next phase of work for many Provost Fellows, where they will produce scholarship on teaching and learning and share their findings and the results of their work at with a broader audience across the higher education landscape.
“The Provost Fellows are doing transformative work that has the potential to be a national model around the country," says Provost Martin, "creating opportunities for universities to rethink how they acknowledge, understand and promote leadership and scholarly contributions of faculty."