College of Liberal Arts Strategic Plan

College of Liberal Arts Strategic Plan
Fall 2012

INTRODUCTION: Mission Statement and Summary of Strategic Goals

The College of Liberal Arts is central to the intellectual and artistic life of the University of Nevada, Reno. Offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees and supporting major scholarly research and creative activity in the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences, the college provides undergraduate students with general and specialized education that prepares them for advanced study, careers, and citizenship in a diverse world. The quality and effectiveness of our programs are essential to the success of the university.

The college provides students with knowledge, communicative and critical thinking skills, and creative experience necessary to navigate in a complex global environment. Faculty members teach courses in their fields of expertise, play an active role in the Core Curriculum, and create new courses in response to social changes and disciplinary developments. They bring artistic innovation to campus and the latest scholarship into the classroom. The college offers undergraduates rigorous, innovative programs of study in their chosen majors and minors. Our faculty teaches graduate students to do original scholarly research or creative work and mentors them as they launch successful professional careers.

The college supports discovery, creativity, and the advancement of knowledge. Our faculty is composed of active, engaged scholars and artists who present their research and creative work in major venues, from respected journals to prominent exhibition and performance spaces. Many publish with leading scholarly presses; many compete nationally for grant funding to support specialized research programs. Our faculty promotes creative and research opportunities for students, working with them closely on senior projects, recitals, theses, and dissertations. We value and support rigor and vitality in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship, recognizing that innovative work often changes how we view our own and other fields of knowledge.

The college provides service and outreach on many levels. Faculty members devote time to the institution in such activities as advising students, administering programs, and contributing to university governance. They play a significant role in their disciplines, providing external reviews of new scholarly and creative work and serving on editorial boards and in national organizations. Many use their professional expertise in outreach to the region, state, nation, and world. Students, with faculty guidance, also become involved in community service and develop as leaders in economic, cultural, and political life.

To enhance the multiple missions of the CLA and to align with University goals and priorities, the college will pursue the following strategic goals.

  • Goal 1: Enhance the educational experience of our undergraduate majors.
  • Goal 2: Enhance and promote faculty scholarly and creative activity.
  • Goal 3: Sustain and develop graduate programs.
  • Goal 4: Fulfill the University's liberal arts mission through the general education/core.
  • Goal 5: Extend the outreach of college programs.
  • Goal 6: Promote and cultivate the University's arts programs on campus and in the community.
  • Goal 7: Increase interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Goal 8: Expand diversity and global awareness.
  • Goal 9: Stabilize and make best use of instructional funding.
  • Goal 10: Develop and strengthen the pursuit of external funding.
  • Goal 11: Increase and optimize the use of space and facilities.
  • Goal 12: Create a transparent process for determining funding priorities.

*Goals 1-8 are mission-directed, addressing the college's contribution to the University's mission and strategic plan. Goals 9-12 are resource-directed, addressing ways to accomplish the mission of the college and institution.

PART I. Context for Planning

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is distinguished by its size, range of academic activities, high quality programs and faculty, and centrality in meeting multiple University strategic goals and priorities. The CLA supports the following departments and programs:

Anthropology; Art; Basque Studies; Communication Studies; Core Humanities; Criminal Justice; English; Foreign Languages and Literatures; Gender, Race, and Identity; History; Latino Research Center; Military Science; Music; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; and Theatre and Dance.

Other academic programs exist within these units: Oral History (History); International Affairs (Political Science); Women's Studies, Religious Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Holocaust, Genocide and Peace Studies (Gender, Race, and Identity); Historic Preservation (Anthropology); Museum Studies (Anthropology and History); Applied Statistics (Sociology).

Programs and departments in art, music, theatre, and dance are organized into the School of the Arts, which also administers the Black Rock Press, Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, the winter and spring Dance Festivals, Nevada Repertory Company, Nevada Chamber Opera, the Performing Arts Series, Reno Jazz Festival, Lake Tahoe Music Camp, and Argenta Concert Series.

The School of Social Research and Justice Studies includes the departments of Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, and Sociology, as well as the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, which administers the graduate programs in judicial studies and justice management. The nationally recognized debate program and the Mock Trial program are administered by Communication Studies and Criminal Justice, respectively.

In the University's curricular review process of 2010-11, conducted in response to severe cuts in the institution's budget, the German major and minor, Italian minor, and the entire Interior Design program were eliminated, and several master's degree programs as well as the B.F.A. in Theatre were placed on hiatus. Other programs came under review but were retained-in some cases after the departments and college agreed to substantial budget cuts within these programs. As the college emerges from this rigorous process of curricular review and program cuts, it is clear that all our surviving programs are necessary to the teaching and research missions of the University, and thus require sufficient resources to rebuild and enhance their areas of strength. At the same time the college will aim to strengthen those programs that are nationally recognized. The goals in this planning document reflect the principles developed in 2011 by the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee (, especially graduating the maximum number of well-prepared undergraduates, maintaining strong research and graduate programs, prioritizing tenure-track faculty, and seeking out administrative efficiencies and diverse sources of revenue.

College of Liberal Arts undergraduate and graduate programs offer areas of emphasis that foster the University's land-grant mission through the liberal arts. Based on almost any performance indicator, the college is the University's largest academic unit, offering 17 master's, 8 doctoral, and 23 undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and arts. All but one of the bachelor's degree programs have at least fifty majors; six have more than 200 majors, and two have well over 600. The Ph.D. programs include Anthropology, Basque Studies, English, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Judicial Studies (which serves sitting judges across the United States). Social Psychology, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program administered by the Graduate School, is staffed primarily by CLA faculty.

  • 3416 declared undergraduate majors (as of 12 September 2012)*
  • Approximately 600 graduate students, of whom 225 are pursuing the Ph.D.
  • 620 graduates (Bachelors) in 2011; 732 graduates in 2012
  • 101 graduates (Masters) in 2011; 106 in 2012
  • 22 graduates (Doctoral) in 2011; 22 in 2012
  • 169 continuing faculty (153 tenured/tenure-track; 16 Rank 0 lecturers)
  • 204 Letter of Appointment (LOA) faculty and 33 contingent lecturers, Renewable Contingent Upon Funding (RCUF)
  • 146 Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), 67 Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), and 6 postdoctoral instructors
  • 39 classified staff members (6 of them temporary) and 11 administrative faculty

*The college no longer awards the Bachelor of General Studies degree, so those student numbers are not included in our count of undergraduate majors or graduates.

The CLA is a vibrant academic unit sought out by students. The largest college at UNR, with 39.27% of the university's total SFTE in fall 2011, CLA experienced a 16.6% increase in SFTE from fall 2009 to fall 2011-nearly double the university's overall 9.2% increase. While some of this growth occurred in lower-division, university-wide required courses (e.g., English 101 and 102), much of it took place in our large majors (e.g., Psychology and Criminal Justice) and in fast-growing areas of student interest (e.g., Anthropology). The absolute number of new majors is greater in CLA than any other unit. The college has participated in an aggressive effort to recruit freshmen with excellent academic records and potential. In 2012-13, the college added 6 new National Merit scholars, doubling the number of National Merit undergraduates with CLA majors. With more and better-prepared students, the demand for CLA majors will likely increase. Given our structural and personnel limits-exacerbated by recent budget cuts-our major programs will face more challenges in providing enough classes and classroom space to meet student demand, and this, in turn, could impact our numbers.

The CLA is a leading contributor to graduate education. The graduate programs in Psychology and English are among the largest in the institution. Indeed, without the Ph.D. effort of the college, the University would be hard pressed to meet minimum requirements for the highest Carnegie Foundation classification. Several programs within our disciplines are recognized nationally and internationally for uniqueness and quality, notably Literature & Environment (English), Great Basin Paleo-Indian Studies (Anthropology), Behavior Analysis (Psychology), and Basque Studies. Others, such as Clinical Psychology and Social Psychology, contribute substantially to the quality of life and to underserved populations in our region.

The University strategic plan targets increased graduate student enrollment. The CLA has the ability to expand as much as any other college-and at lower cost than most. Key limitations on expansion include a shortage of funded graduate assistantships, the non-competitive funding of most assistantships (still only $14,000), and the pressure on faculty members who are heavily involved in advising as well as instructing graduate students.

The college is the largest contributor to the undergraduate Core Curriculum-from the 100-level courses in writing, arts, and social sciences, through the Core Humanities sequence, to the diversity and capstone course offerings. The college will continue to play a key role in the Core even in the event of substantial changes to the general education requirements. Our faculty members have taken the lead in the curricular innovation and interdisciplinarity that have characterized our college's portion of the current Core, and we will respond energetically to the creative and logistical demands of any new general education curriculum that may be approved by the University faculty.

Thus, the college must meet a substantial and sustained demand for quality instruction across all levels of the curriculum.

Quality and productivity of faculty. The range and depth of the college's efforts at all levels of instruction are matched by the quality of teaching performance. The CLA has 13 winners of the F. Donald Tibbitts University Distinguished Teacher Award, 6 statewide winners of the Regents' Teaching Excellence Award, and 4 recipients of the CASE-Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year Award. The college also boasts an active research effort. The connection between faculty research and graduate education is direct, and faculty in Ph.D.-granting programs are expected to be at the leading edge of disciplinary research. Distinguished, nationally recognized scholarly and creative activities occur throughout the college, not only in departments offering the Ph.D.

  • 27% (23 of 85) of all Foundation Professorships have been awarded to faculty in CLA.
  • 42% of the faculty recognized for the University's Outstanding Research Award (16 of 38) have come from departments in the CLA. Faculty members from the college have also been named to Carnegie, Fulbright, Guggenheim and McNamara professorships and National Humanities Center fellowships. The college boasts one member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • In 2011, CLA faculty published 28 books (monographs), 20 edited collections, 2 nationally reviewed novels, 224 peer-reviewed articles in academic and professional journals, and 95 chapters in new scholarly books. More than ¬¬¬218 papers and 59 poster sessions were presented at professional conferences.
  • In 2011, CLA faculty presented hundreds of musical and theatrical performances in northern Nevada and the eastern Sierra, more than sixty in various states outside the region (including Lincoln Center in New York), and 15 performances in Europe and in China. They made 6 professional recordings, mounted 10 solo art exhibitions, and participated in 27 invited, curated and/or juried exhibitions.
  • Taking into account only the monographs, novels, international music performances and the solo art exhibitions, the 2011 output of the college fulfills 73% of the University's 2015 goal for "annual number of books, compositions, and artistic performances and exhibitions" produced by UNR faculty (Goal 1C). [Refereed articles: 15% of that goal.] Cambridge, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins University Presses are only a few of the venues producing CLA faculty books; articles appear in leading disciplinary journals and many prestigious interdisciplinary outlets including Science and Nature.
  • Between 2008 and 2011, the college generated $12,094,879 in grants and contracts.

Scholarly, creative, and instructional efforts within the College of Liberal Arts produce some of the most visible connections between the campus and the surrounding community. Here are a few examples.

  • Programs in the performing arts bring thousands of visitors and audience members to campus. The Reno Jazz Festival, now in its 51st year, draws roughly 10,000 participants to campus annually. Every Spring Dance Concert brings more than 5,000 Washoe County elementary school students to campus. The Sheppard Gallery has a revolving series of art exhibits, with hosted openings and lectures open to the public. The Department of Theatre and Dance presents a wide range of plays on the Redfield Proscenium Stage and in the experimental Redfield Studio Theatre.
  • The college has hosted such well-known speakers as Martha Nussbaum, Garrison Keillor, and F.W. de Klerk. Through the Hilliard Fund, Leonard Fund, and other contributions, the college and its departments host lectures and workshops by many prominent scholars.
  • The Department of Psychology provides empirically based treatment to some of the community's neediest citizens. Through its Behavioral Analysis and Clinical specialties, it maintains contractual service arrangements with both the State of Nevada and the Washoe County School District. The Person-centered Assessment Training & Habilitation (PATH) clinical program specializes in assisting persons with disabilities with behavior disorders and physical and health restrictions.
  • In 2011 the Department of History and the Washoe County School District received a fifth Teaching American History Grant of $990,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to continue and expand work with K-12 education through 2014, reaching out to school districts and teachers across northern Nevada.
  • The Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies has had contracts with the State Department of Education, Washoe County School District, the Nevada Legislature and Supreme Court, and other entities in the justice system for research and services of various kinds.
  • CLA faculty members are regular commentators in local media on a wide range of social and political events, and some have been interviewed or featured in programs on PBS, BBC, and the Discovery Channel.
  • The Oral History, Museum Studies, and Historic Preservation programs connect with Northern Nevada-Great Basin communities through heritage projects.
  • Through internships and volunteer efforts, college faculty and students have provided translation services for local government agencies and tutoring and special programs at Washoe High School, the Washoe County Libraries, and local homeless shelters.

The college furthers the commitment to diversity and global awareness stated in the University's strategic plan (Goals 1 and 4). In Spring 2011, 28% of the undergraduates with CLA majors were from underrepresented ethnic groups. The college provides resources and encourages discussion of diversity through its many core curriculum diversity courses and through several degree programs (e.g., International Affairs and the majors and minors in the Gender, Race, and Identity program). The college's annual diversity report, provided each fall to the Center for Student Cultural Diversity, outlines the full range of our departments' efforts and achievements in the area of diversity.

Conclusion: The CLA endorses an enhanced graduate education and improved Core Curriculum, two of the University's goals. Because the CLA is also the academic unit meeting the needs of the largest number of student majors, it is closely involved with a third important University goal: that of recruitment, retention, and timely graduation of undergraduates. As the University responds to the state's economic situation and shifting demographic, the CLA will continue to take the lead in offering a quality undergraduate academic experience. At the same time, faculty research is critical to ensure both the quality of the student experience in the classroom and the maintenance of the University's standing as a Carnegie Research Extensive and US News and World Report National Research Institution.

The size and range of the college provide both strengths and potential points of vulnerability. Thus, the context of planning for the CLA involves several challenges:

  • meeting multiple areas of high demand in a time of scarce resources;
  • enhancing areas of strength and (inter)national visibility;
  • articulating and making visible the college and its mission-as a whole, not only as a sum of its departmental/disciplinary parts.

PART II. Strategic Goals and Performance Targets

Goal 1: Enhance the Educational Experience of Our Undergraduate Majors

In keeping with the University's Goal 1A, the college will maintain its broad range of degree offerings in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and continuously evaluate its undergraduate offerings to ensure quality, demand, and engagement with all ranks of faculty. The college will strive to enhance student experience beyond the classroom through internships, service learning, and international educational opportunities.

In planning during a time of scarce resources, the college must struggle for balance. The scramble to cover the multiple instructional missions of its departments-general education, graduate education, and education for majors-should not result (as it often does) in inadequate coverage of courses needed for departmental majors. In addition, in making hiring decisions, departments and the college need to balance the demands of adequate substantive coverage of the field/discipline with strategic choices regarding areas of emphasis in research and artistry.

Maintain and enhance the quality of the undergraduate curriculum.

  • The college and departments will regularly review and assess existing majors, with attention to student learning outcomes and other assessment data, level of student demand, extent of faculty involvement, resource requirements for program improvement, and curricular needs.
  • Departments will use the program review process to develop and revise student learning outcomes, curricular mapping, assessment planning and reporting, and college-level credit granted for pre-college work (CLEP, AP, IB, etc.)
  • College faculty will review college requirements and proposed new programs as the need arises, in consultation with departmental and college curriculum committees. The college will expedite the launching of newly created and consolidated programs and certificates (e.g., Dance major, combined B.A./M.A. and B.A./M.P.A. in Political Science) in response to student need and demand.
  • College faculty will examine and, if necessary, revise the core experience (beyond the disciplinary experience) of all CLA majors as a whole, in the context of changing general education requirements and credit limits.

Maintain and enhance the quality and consistency of instruction in the majors.

  • The academic experience of our undergraduate majors, especially at the 300- and 400-level, depends upon the majority of these courses being taught by regular, permanent full-time faculty rather than by part-time instructors. Exceptions should be made only where specific relevant professional experience can only be provided by LOA instructors, as in the case of Criminal Justice or Political Science, or where strategic use of postdoctoral fellows or visiting instructors can provide new approaches not available elsewhere.
  • The college and departments will cooperate to maintain adequate and appropriate staffing of upper-division major courses so that specialized topics, smaller enrollments, detailed and personalized work assignments, rigorous writing and research requirements can be provided.
  • The college will facilitate departmental faculty conversations about appropriate coverage of disciplinary areas for the undergraduate curriculum. Departments must strategically consider what constitutes adequate or excellent coverage of their field. Departments and the dean should work together to determine the most appropriate types of faculty lines needed to meet these departmental curricular goals.
  • In proposing new positions, the college priorities will be to increase the number of tenure-track faculty and decrease the student/faculty ratio.
  • Departments will use annual evaluations, student comments, and other relevant data to address problems with teaching, through appropriate mentoring and other professional development practices.

Recruit and retain well-prepared undergraduate students. The college will:

  • Continue to provide resources for recruitment and marketing, particularly among high-achieving prospective students. It will promote individual campus visits by National Merit finalists, potential Presidential scholars, and other accomplished high school students with high potential to excel in CLA programs.
  • Seek additional scholarship support for talented majors in the liberal arts, particularly in areas that are not currently well funded with scholarships.
  • With departments, continue to highlight and reward outstanding student achievement among our majors through dean's awards and other public recognition.
  • Enhance communication with and among students through integrated email lists, a college newsletter, improved websites (both departmental and college), and print materials.
  • Use and more effectively publicize the CLA student advisory board as a venue for learning about and discussing student concerns and needs.

Support and extend effectiveness of academic advising. The college will:

  • Support accessibility and quality of academic advising through regular communication with departmental undergraduate advisors, training of new advisors, and departmental updates for college advisors.
  • Work with departments and the advising center to develop workable assessment tools for college and departmental advising efforts. Have an advising assessment plan in place by 2014.
  • Address the heavy advising load in departments with large numbers of majors (over 500), through additional resources and/or reallocation of personnel. The college is well below the NACADA standards for advisor-advisee ratio for faculty/professional advising.
  • Long-term: create a college advising center with trained peer advisors and additional professional staff.

Prepare students for careers, graduate education, and community service by increasing opportunities for experiential learning.

  • Internships and service learning
    • Increase the visibility of undergraduate internships available through departments.
    • Seek opportunities for additional internships through departments and/or college.
    • Collaborate with the service learning coordinator to locate opportunities for class work and student involvement.
  • Undergraduate research and artistry
    • Increase the visibility of undergraduate research and creative work by continued support of student publication (e.g., Montag) and performance venues.
    • Promote student participation in campus and national research conferences, forums, publications, and competitions.
    • Provide resources to expand and develop undergraduate laboratory and studio experiences.
  • Study Abroad
    • Increase the number of CLA students who participate in study abroad programs, and continue development efforts to increase the number and dollar amounts of CLA study-abroad scholarships.
    • Advise students strongly and at every opportunity to complete their foreign language requirement early in their college career in order to encourage their study abroad and enhance their experience of a different culture.

Pursue innovation and flexibility in course delivery, both online and face-to-face, considering both student needs and best practices for achieving the goals of liberal education.

  • Adjust scheduling and course offerings to current needs of majors, through careful monitoring of student enrollments and consultation with undergraduate majors (student advisory board, departmental and discipline-based student organizations).
  • Promote faculty flexibility in scheduling of courses and other learning experiences in a variety of time frames (late-start, evening, wintermester) and formats (online, hybrid, classroom).
  • Encourage faculty to take advantage of new developments in teaching methods and course delivery (including new online initiatives) by providing resources and rewards for participation in and application of knowledge from professional development (seminars, webinars, mentoring programs, etc.).
  • Prepare students for participation in the new knowledge economy by pursuing Goal 3 of the university strategic plan: "increase adoption of innovative teaching strategies designed to improve learning, emphasizing literacy in information, digital, and visual presentation and information research instruction."
Goal 2: Enhance and Promote Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activity

Students' intellectual and artistic growth requires a faculty engaged in research, which the college defines as scholarly and creative activity. The University's external recognition and reputation also derive from faculty scholarship and artistry, especially in well-defined areas of excellence. It is therefore essential to enhance and promote our faculty's scholarly and artistic work. Faculty members in College of Liberal Arts have a strong track record: many have built national and international reputations in their fields, and several departments have achieved or are poised to achieve recognition for particular areas of strength. We can and will do more: to recruit and retain the best research faculty available; to provide our faculty with the support necessary to accomplish their work; to recognize accomplishment appropriately; and to define and promote areas of signature strength within the college.

Recruit and retain top faculty.

  • Departments, in collaboration with the college (and school, if applicable), will define their research mission and priorities and identify and recruit scholars who will advance that mission.
  • The college, in collaboration with departments, will support recruitment of the best research faculty possible, with competitive salaries and start-up support.
    • Selectively recruit at levels above the newly minted assistant professor.
    • Seek external funding for endowed chairs/positions in the college.
    • Craft competitive retention packages for top researchers who receive offers from other institutions.
  • The college will seek and maintain equity in faculty compensation and fairness and transparency in the distribution of workloads.

Support scholarly and creative activity.
Some of the most visible faculty research in Liberal Arts depends upon the availability of costly equipment and laboratory space (e.g., Psychology and Art). At the other extreme, some equally prominent research and creativity is largely self-supported by individual faculty members (as is the case nationally in many humanities fields). Nevertheless, all CLA faculty involved in research have distinct needs that must be met: means for obtaining data, research materials, travel and writing time for scholarly output, production of recordings and mounting of exhibitions.

  • Continue the following practices.
    • Provide funding for faculty scholarship (both junior and senior faculty) through the Scholarly and Creative Activities Fund.
    • Support faculty travel to present work at conferences and other professional venues. (The amounts available to faculty annually were increased in FY2013.)
    • Use one-time money, as well as funds leveraged from outside the college-Provost's office, Vice President for Research (VPR), etc.-to provide and replace necessary research equipment in appropriate fields.
    • Advocate for appropriate funding for the University libraries: books, research journal subscriptions, and other materials are essential to scholarly productivity in many of our fields.
    • Work with University Media Relations to publicize CLA faculty research, publications, and creative accomplishments in appropriate venues.
    • Recognize outstanding faculty research efforts with internal awards and through aggressive nominations of faculty for external recognition.
  • Develop policies and programs to promote time for writing, especially at the pivotal juncture for a specific research project. The contraction of sabbatical opportunities makes this objective especially significant.
    • Allow for limited-term course banking (typically over no more than a two-year period), through the role statement process and taking into account departmental curricular needs.
    • Identify a "research professorship" as a fundraising goal. This would be a semester-long course release, offered competitively through the college, for senior faculty members who have book contracts or specifically stated research goals.
  • Encourage faculty from all disciplines to pursue external funding for their scholarship and creative activity-and provide administrative support for grant-seeking.
    • Recognize and reward expanded contract and grant activity in the annual review process. (This includes recognizing applications for major external grants and fellowships, which often consume as much time as writing an article.)
    • Adjust faculty teaching loads, through the role statement process, where major grant activity warrants such consideration.
    • Continue salary support (topping up) for prestigious fellowships.
    • In 2012 the college hired a half-time grants officer; the college will assess whether that resource helps lead to more grant submissions and/or greater success in winning external grants and contracts.
  • Support and recognize tenured associate professors in the progress toward promotion to full professor.
    • Encourage departments to create clear, discipline-based criteria for promotion, based on peer and aspirant peer institutions.
    • Focus a competitive course-release program toward associate professors at a pivotal moment of the project(s) that will lead to promotion.
    • Create programs to support associate professors who assume major administrative responsibilities, e.g., department chair. One example: a course release in the year following completion of such responsibility, to support research and writing.

Define and promote areas of signature strength within the college.
The University's mission statement calls for creating "new knowledge, through basic and applied research, scholarship, and artistry, in strategically selected fields." Such areas can exist within a specific department with a clearly focused, externally recognized scholarly agenda; or they can connect faculty across disciplines.

  • Define where such areas exist within CLA. Current examples include the three areas within Psychology, cross-disciplinary concentrations in Great Basin studies, environmental studies (including arts and humanities), and emerging emphases in global studies and social justice.
  • Identify strategic areas for development, in connection with the university's strategic plan and departments' existing and "growable" strengths.
  • Provide support for scholarly journals, edited by faculty and connected to areas of excellence that will bring external recognition to the college. Journal opportunities should be supported in partnership with scholarly professional organizations and be of such salience that external reviewers would be able to comment on their connection to the research mission of the participating department.
Goal 3: Sustain and Develop Graduate Programs

Closely connected to the vitality of faculty research and creative activity is the strength of graduate programs. Increasing the number of graduate students and graduate degrees granted is a goal of the University. The College of Liberal Arts has a unique opportunity for expansion of graduate programs at lower cost than those in many other units, and our top Ph.D. programs have attracted interest from qualified students from all over the world. However, growth in CLA's graduate programs has been attenuated by lack of funding for graduate students. With increased faculty and student funding support, vibrant M.A. and Ph.D. programs in CLA could expand, contributing to the research visibility of the college and university.

Enhance graduate offerings through consistent departmental assessment of existing programs. Each department should:

  • Articulate its graduate programs' goals for students: e.g., M.A. programs as launching pads for Ph.D. study and/or as terminal degrees in preparation for careers; Ph.D. programs as launching pads for tenure-track faculty positions and/or as training for public- or private-sector employment.
  • Develop a graduate recruitment plan consonant with its articulated program goals.
  • Regularly review its graduate curricula, especially the extent to which graduate students' work is dependent on 400/600 courses, and how the graduate component of such courses differs from the undergraduate component. Seek ways to decrease reliance on 400/600 level courses, including through the strategic use of interdisciplinary 700-level seminars that serve the needs of more than one graduate degree or certificate program.
  • Establish clear and rigorous criteria for graduate faculty status, review graduate faculty periodically for meeting those criteria, and assign courses in keeping with Graduate School policy.
  • Monitor time-to-degree ratios for graduate students in comparison to disciplinary national norms.
  • Review the above actions on a yearly basis to assess whether goals are being met, improvements made, etc. This will be the responsibility of the graduate directors, who report annually to chairs.

Enhance our graduate offerings by selectively cultivating new programs.

  • Launch the M.A. program in Gender, Race, and Identity Studies, approved by the Board of Regents in 2010. The success of the GRI graduate certificate program, as well as the 2012 tenure-track hire in Women's Studies/GRI, suggest that the master's program can begin soon.
  • Develop and submit for Board of Regents approval the M.F.A. proposal in Creative Writing (English), which received "pre-proposal" approval in 2008.
  • Restore the master's program in Communication Studies, in conjunction with SSRJS graduate offerings. Because restoration depends upon a critical mass of research faculty as well as cross-disciplinary offerings with other departments, launch a study immediately to map out how the M.A. would take shape and determine a plausible timeline.
  • Explore possibilities for innovative "accelerated" bachelor's/master's programs, such as the recently approved B.A./M.A. and B.A./M.P.A. in Political Science. Departments should determine if a similar program would work in their field(s). Departments with Ph.D. programs may explore the possibility of offering accelerated/combined five-year M.A./Ph.D. programs.
  • Continue to develop innovative, cross-disciplinary offerings in the School of Social Research and Justice Studies by identifying areas of potential common training (e.g., statistics, methodology) across those disciplines and possibly other social sciences. In the first year of this process, departments identify potential areas for common courses; the second year would be dedicated to creating and implementing the courses.

Enhance support for graduate students.
Without the necessary financial support, it is difficult to recruit and retain the best graduate students-and, given the job market in many fields, unethical to encourage students to accumulate large debts while pursuing graduate work.

  • Increase the number of state-funded graduate assistantships.
    • This objective goes hand-in-hand with enhancing undergraduate education (Goal 1), because class size in many undergraduate courses, especially in the social sciences, demands more teaching assistance than is currently provided. It is also consonant with contributing to general education (Goal 4), because Core Writing currently relies too heavily on a limited LOA pool and because many large social-science courses meet Core requirements.
    • The action in this category will be a joint effort between departments and the college: departments identify and justify the need for assistantships; the college then prioritizes and advocates for funding of those positions.
  • Increase the basic stipend for graduate assistants, particularly in fields where the current stipend has become most uncompetitive. This must be a university priority.
  • Develop funding from both internal and external sources for graduate students' research, particularly at the dissertation stage for Ph.D. students.
    • Make dissertation-year fellowships and travel funding a college development priority. The college's recent successful application for dissertation-year fellowship funding from the Bilinski Educational Foundation will provide twenty dissertation-year fellowships over the next three years-and a launching pad for development efforts to sustain the program.
    • Collaborate with the Vice President for Research/Dean of the Graduate School to restore the Dissertation-Year Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences, lost in recent budget cuts. Ideally, there should be at least two such fellowships per year: one in humanities and one in social sciences.
    • Allow graduate students to work with the CLA grants officer to identify and apply for competitive national fellowships and grants. This access can begin immediately, dependent on availability of the officer.
  • Encourage contract and grant efforts of faculty that specifically incorporate funding for graduate research assistants (as is currently done in Psychology, the Latino Research Center, the Grant Sawyer Center, and elsewhere in the college).
Goal 4: Fulfill the University's Liberal Arts Mission through the General Education/Core

The core courses, as well as service courses, taught within our departments and schools contribute significantly to the University's strategic goals for undergraduate education, including an education that "provides knowledge of, appreciation for, and experience with written and oral communication, quantitative procedures, the scientific process, ethical judgment, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, information and media literacy, and history and culture of Nevada, the United States, and the world" (Goal 1). The university plan also notes that "the State and the nation also need well-informed and thoughtful people to fulfill the critical role of citizen in a democratic society" (Goal 4). In their breadth and depth, the core courses taught by CLA directly contribute to preparing students for participation in the world economy and global community.

Whatever changes may occur as a result of the current re-examination of the Core Curriculum, the college will continue to promote and advance its critical position within the general education program at the university, college, and department levels as well as through state and community outreach initiatives.

Support initiative, innovation and flexibility in the design and delivery of all core and service courses. This is a university, college, and department issue; however, the college will benefit from college-level discussion and planning-through the creation of a CLA general education planning committee, or through presentations and brown-bag discussions.

  • Encourage creative solutions for the delivery of required introductory courses to large numbers of students.
    • Widen choices in course section selection through wintermester, late start, evening and online classes.
    • Offer summer courses strategically to serve student needs more efficiently and gain revenue for CLA and its departments.
  • Explore creative possibilities in the design of a core social science course or courses.
  • Support Core Writing initiatives to address skill levels across student populations, e.g., the English 100I-105-106 sequence to meet the needs of students who are not yet prepared to succeed in English 101 but do not require pre-college-level remedial coursework. Support and assess such innovative solutions.
  • Support enhanced assessment plans for core-related courses and programs. The re-examined general education program will include a significant emphasis on assessment, and the college and departments will be involved in this planning.

Address funding for staffing of Core Curriculum offerings.

  • Address the significant demand for additional permanent and temporary instructors to support the Core as the University's undergraduate enrollment grows. Minimize the impact of this growing demand upon the course offerings for majors.
    • While hiring issues are best addressed by departments and the college, funding of staffing is a college and university function.
    • A restructuring of general education may open the opportunity for dialogue regarding funding of qualified temporary instructors and the establishment of more TA lines. Any restructuring must involve discussion of course delivery and size at all levels.
  • Departments hiring faculty will consider explicitly whether positions might meet specific core needs and how individual candidates might participate in teaching core classes.
  • Address the problem of finding enough qualified temporary instructors at the wage we are currently able to pay. Staffing resources are discussed further under Goal 9.
  • Advocate for metrics (e.g., SFTE for departments delivering Core Humanities courses) that give the college and departments full credit for their contributions to the Core.

Plan for a college-level discussion of requirements and resources once a decision has been made at the university level about general education at the institution.

  • To carry out such a review, an ad hoc college committee should be appointed in Spring 2013. At a minimum its membership should include representatives from the core areas served by the college. Its specific charges and timeline will depend on the outcome of the current general education restructuring proposals and vote.
  • Review and possibly revise the college's requirements for its own majors.
  • Review the resources devoted to programs currently associated with the Core Curriculum.
Goal 5: Extend and Improve the Outreach of College Programs

The college's strong record of community outreach is discussed in Part I of this document and in Goal 6. Through these efforts, the various units of the college have played a considerable role in helping the University move toward several important goals outlined in its strategic plan:

  • "Engagement with Nevada's citizens, industry, and governments" (Goal 1).
  • "Improve the physical and mental health of Nevadans" (Goal 5).
  • "Enrich the quality of life and culture in Nevada with outreach in the performing and visual arts and humanities" (Goal 1D).
  • "Establish and develop long-term relationships with communities of color" (Goal 1D).

The CLA will take the lead in defining and articulating the importance of liberal arts education, through programming, marketing/recruiting, instruction in our lower-division courses, and outreach to the community. Assessment of this effort can occur through annual discussion among the Chairs and Directors, CLA Advisory Board, and Student Advisory Board, who will identify objectives for marketing, recruiting, and outreach. The college plan is to continue and extend our efforts in all areas where we are currently active, with additional areas of emphasis such as these:

Reach out more effectively to a diverse Nevada community.

  • Forge ties to Latino, Native American, and African American communities, in collaboration with the Center for Student Cultural Diversity and the Latino Research Center.
  • Provide targeted recruiting materials in Spanish as well as English. (We have allocated money in 2012-13 to create such materials.)
  • Announce upcoming events in local and regional media that include outlets targeting the Latino community.

Connect CLA and its programs with K-12 education.

  • Continue to encourage and (where appropriate) sponsor activities and events linked to K-12 students and teachers. Examples in 2012 include CLA sponsorship of the We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution district competition, the Youth Writing Program, and the Reno Jazz Festival (ongoing).
  • Build partnerships with the new Signature Academies in the Washoe County School District, through the involvement of our faculty and possibly our students.
  • Partner with the College of Education on collaborative projects, including grant applications where the academic "content" lies within the liberal arts.

Bring high-quality events to northern Nevada and promote them effectively.

  • Enhance the quality and "name draw" of the speaker for the Forum for Excellence event.
  • Consider expanding the series by adding a speaker or performance event to link with the Forum for Excellence speaker.
  • Expand cooperative arrangements with KUNR, KNPB, and Nevada Humanities.

Provide resources to focus and recognize research contributions made by faculty and students to citizens of the community and region.

  • The Bilinski Educational Foundation three-year gift to support Ph.D. students focuses specifically on "land-grant liberal arts" scholarship, either in the cultural heritage of our region (anthropology, Basque studies, English, history) or in the service of our state and its people (political science, psychology, social psychology). The proposal includes creation of an annual Bilinski Community Symposium, where dissertation fellows will present their work to and engage in dialogue with representatives of local, regional, and statewide agencies and organizations relevant to their projects. The first fellows will be selected in spring 2013, for awards in academic year 2013-14; the first symposium should occur in spring 2014.
  • Encourage and recognize outreach efforts by faculty individuals and groups. Many of these contributions are recognized by the beneficiaries but not by the college.
Goal 6: Promote and Cultivate the University's Arts Programs on Campus and in the Community

The arts provide a valued and recognizable "public face" for the University. Faculty, students, and alumni feature prominently in the workings of the AVA Ballet Theatre, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Artown, and other local arts organizations. Faculty members engage in extensive outreach to K-12 programs throughout Washoe County. The economic impact on the region has been estimated at over $6 million per year. The CLA is in an excellent position, pending adequate funding, to fulfill Goal 1E of the University's plan: "expand the number of artistic performances and exhibitions in state, national, and international venues."

Address the need for marketing of arts events. CLA has allocated temporary funding to cover a half-time appointment in the University's Department of Integrated Marketing to assist with SOTA marketing strategies and implementation. This agreement will likely continue through Spring 2014, but long-term plans should be in place by Fall 2014.

Promote interdepartmental collaboration.

  • Continue recently implemented annual school-wide events (Fall Gathering and Spring Graduation Celebration).
  • Explore opportunities for shared administrative resources and further interdisciplinary teaching.
    • Re-evaluate SOTA 101, a core course for non-majors.
    • Develop an interdisciplinary core course in the arts for all art, music, and theatre majors.

Implement the major in Dance by Fall 2015. The Dance major was approved by the Board of Regents and slated to begin in Fall 2010 but was put on hold during the budget crisis of 2010-11.

Continue to address capital needs in the Arts. The "Act I" construction project, slated to begin in May 2013, includes creation of a new Virginia Street entrance to the Church Fine Arts Building, expansion and renovation of Theatre areas, and renovation of the Front Door Gallery. While the faculty, students and other stakeholders are enthusiastic about these recent developments, they are also keenly aware of significant problems remaining throughout the Church Fine Arts building. Preliminary discussions are underway to determine the scope and goals for Act II of the renovation process. Further discussion can be found in Goal 10.

Goal 7: Increase Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The University's strategic plan calls on units to "build cross-disciplinary research leadership teams to enhance multidisciplinary approaches" (Goal 1C). The plan emphasizes preparing Nevada and Nevadans for the diversified knowledge economy, as well as cooperating to prepare Nevada youth to participate in the world economy through education. The School of Social Research and Justice Studies, the School of the Arts, and the Gender, Race, and Identity Program have continuously promoted cross-disciplinary efforts in research, teaching, and outreach. The undergraduate major in Neuroscience, initiated by the Department of Psychology, involves two colleges (CLA and COS), and the recent COBRE grant to establish a Center for Integrative Neuroscience involves also the Division of Health Sciences. Other departments have created interdisciplinary majors or programs, such as the Ethics, Law, and Politics track in Philosophy, that draw students from across disciplines and sponsor public programs.

Expand interdisciplinary opportunities within the College of Liberal Arts and between our college and other units on campus. Along with the projects already underway, we propose the following venues for increased interdisciplinary cooperation within and beyond the college:

  • Great Basin Studies. The University of Nevada, Reno has a signal opportunity to be the hub of scholarship and creative work dealing with our region. Within CLA exist potential clusters of faculty and programs in the Great Basin's cultural heritage (Anthropology, Art, English, History, Historic Preservation, Museum Studies, Oral History, Basque Studies) and in issues of justice and health specific to our region (Social Psychology, Justice Studies, Sociology, Psychology). A Center for Great Basin Studies could also involve faculty from Science (especially Geography and Geology) and CABNR, to emphasize regional issues of natural resources and agriculture. Such a center could sponsor conferences and symposia, guest speakers, and possibly a journal-creating visibility and a destination for faculty and graduate students. Through its scholarship, teaching, and outreach, it could also place the Great Basin into broader national or international frameworks (economic, political, scientific, etc.).
  • Global Studies. Given the global emphasis for undergraduate and graduate education described in the UNR Strategic Plan, the college should coordinate, highlight, and deepen its connected offerings in this area. One approach could be a Global Studies Center. Such a center would involve cooperation with programs that have a strong global emphasis, including Political Science, International Affairs, History, English, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Sociology, and Anthropology. It would also establish connections with other units, such as the International Business major in the College of Business and the global education emphasis in the College of Engineering. Where appropriate to departmental missions, departments should consider-and the college should recommend for competitive university priority-faculty hires that expand the international reach of our offerings. The college should also explicitly support faculty and students doing work at sister universities abroad as a way of fostering international collaboration.

The goals of interdisciplinary cooperation could include any or all of the following:

  • Create interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs or courses.
  • Encourage external grant applications by faculty across disciplines.
  • Provide outreach opportunities and regional or national visibility for areas of signal strength.
  • Provide development opportunities for donors, including regional and national foundations.
Goal 8: Expand Diversity and Global Awareness

The College of Liberal Arts shares the institution's commitment to diversity and global awareness reflected in the University's mission statement and strategic plan. UNR "respects and seeks to reflect the gender, ethnic, cultural and ability/disability diversity of the citizens of Nevada in its academic and support programs and in the composition of its faculty, administration, staff, and student body" (mission) and aims to "globalize the UNR experience" by increasing the percentage of students studying abroad and by increasing opportunities for faculty to apply their disciplines internationally.

The goal of "diversity" in academic programs requires a) recognition of the differences that combine to make each individual (along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious or political beliefs, etc.); b) understanding of the social, cultural, and other dynamics that construct these differences; and c) exploration of issues of identity and justice in a positive and nurturing environment. In 2010 the Gender, Race and Identity (GRI) program was approved, making possible a reorganization of Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies, Religious Studies, and Holocaust, Genocide and Peace Studies into a more visible and coherent program of undergraduate study and community outreach. At the same time, "diversity" as defined above is the responsibility of every department.

The goal of "diversity" in the composition of faculty, administration, staff, and student body means that, insofar as possible, the demographic of the college and university community should reflect that of the larger community. The college's Diversity Planning Task Force, established in 2009, has developed a diversity plan for the college, establishing objectives and methods to measure achievements in recruitment and retention of faculty and students from all segments of society, especially historically underrepresented groups, and in developing a community that actively promotes diversity across its mission of teaching, research, and service and outreach.

In addition to a substantial number of core diversity courses, CLA offers two years of basic study in eight different foreign languages and requires most of its graduates to take language courses, thus preparing them to tackle language and culture barriers and encouraging student participation in world cultures.

Work toward further diversity in the faculty and student body through enhanced recruitment and retention practices.

  • Continue to require all search committees to meet with a HR faculty recruitment specialist for advice on building a diverse pool of candidates.
  • Members of the college's Diversity Task Force will meet informally with all candidates for faculty positions, to recruit representative candidates and to discuss the college's proactive approach to diversity.
  • Continue and expand the "buddy system" for new faculty.
  • Use such tools as Spanish-language recruitment materials and faculty connections with diverse student groups to present a more welcoming face to students and families from underrepresented groups in the community.

Prepare students for a rapidly changing, increasingly diverse world through a curriculum that reflects that world.

  • Encourage partnerships of units within and outside the college to achieve and deliver course content that deals with diversity.
  • Identify and support courses that provide intercultural communication skills.
  • Expand our variety of basic language offerings to respond to student demand, and monitor ongoing demand in order to ensure appropriate staffing.
  • Provide more unity and coherence to the courses and coursework dealing with diversity and global awareness by consolidating and perhaps mapping that curriculum.

Provide support (both financial and "moral") for research that addresses diversity issues.

  • Make clear to faculty and stakeholders that the college stands behind rigorous research that may be sensitive or unpopular in the broader culture.

Continue to support programming that embraces and expresses diversity.

  • Regularly consider representation and diversity when planning and issuing invitations to visiting artists for public programming and on-campus master classes and workshops.
  • Seek out and/or initiate partnerships between the college and other units within the university (such as ASUN) to discuss and plan programming that addresses issues of diversity.
Goal 9: Stabilize and Make Best Use of Instructional Funding

The University's strategic plan (Goal 1) specifies that students should be "taught by faculty with terminal degrees . . . in at least 70 percent of their credit hours," and be "exposed to professors actively involved in their professional research, scholarship, and artistry." Further, the number of tenure-track faculty should be increased and the student/faculty ratio decreased. The strategic use of reasonable funding is crucial as a means of achieving these goals.

Since the 2005 CLA Strategic Plan, the university's process for allocating salary savings has changed significantly. Salary savings generated from retirements and resignations, as well as from full-year sabbaticals and other leaves, now remain in the college for internal allocation. The college also receives a consistent annual allocation (currently $2,033,000) from the university's annual funding for "temporary instruction."

To some extent, these changes have brought stability to our instructional funding that did not exist in 2005. However, two other factors complicate the picture in CLA.

  • Annual temporary instructional funding is insufficient to meet actual needs. Consequently, some salary savings (approx. $400,000 in recent years) must be reserved every year to cover the shortfall.
  • Since the start of budget cuts in 2008, the college has lost 31 continuing faculty lines. Although 6 eliminated lines were associated with discontinued degree programs, the others were in departments that did not undergo curricular review. The college has since filled some of these gaps when salary savings permitted more than one-for-one replacement. But several departments still have considerably fewer continuing faculty than in 2008, in degree programs or specializations that are no less significant (and considerably more populated with majors) now than they were five years ago.

As discussed above, CLA's unmet instructional staffing needs are of several sorts:

  • Severe insufficiency of tenure-track faculty in several departments with large numbers of majors (see Goal 1). (No department in CLA is "overstaffed"; there are simply greater and lesser degrees of understaffing.) This is especially true in Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Political Science/International Affairs. Adding one faculty line each in Psychology and Criminal Justice as of July 2013, from the competitive fund for positions in high-demand areas, is a welcome but only a first step toward meeting these needs.
  • Staffing shortages of instructors for lower-division and Core courses that serve students across the university (see Goal 4). The "instruction gap" identified in 2005 still exists: departments such as English, Psychology, Foreign Languages and Literatures (particularly Spanish and Asian languages), and Communication Studies do not have the personnel to teach the number of courses generated by student demand. The "hiring gap," with local teaching labor pools exhausted or unable to meet specific needs, also persists. Both gaps directly threaten the ability of students to enroll in required classes and thus graduate in a timely manner.

The college should pursue several strategies to meet its distinct instructional challenges:

Hire tenure-track faculty for instruction in the major, as well as for continuity within lower-division instructional programs.

  • The "default" instructors for upper-division major courses should be tenure-track faculty. Exceptions should occur primarily for specialized professional expertise for individual courses (e.g., in certain areas of Criminal Justice or Political Science).
  • Where appropriate to meet demand in the majors, vacant continuing lecturer positions should be converted to tenure-track lines (as has been done with several such positions in recent years). Such conversions may require providing LOA or other coverage for the teaching differential.
  • Continuing faculty should coordinate high-demand lower-division instruction (e.g., Core Writing, Basic Spanish Language Program, Core Humanities, large 100-level social science courses) and should teach some share of sections in those courses, for curricular continuity and consistency. (Under "Teaching Resource Management" since 2009, continuing faculty members have taught a greater percentage of CLA lower-division courses and sections than previously.)

Determine the most appropriate types of instructional lines to meet lower-division and general education needs.

  • Departments and the dean should work to determine the staffing models most appropriate for specific curricula. To the extent possible given funding, the default should be full-time, limited-term (possibly three-year) instructorships or teaching postdoctoral fellowships-to provide a reasonable standard of living and a career launching pad for adjunct instructors and to enhance continuity.
  • Increase the number of graduate teaching instructor lines in areas of greatest demand. (See also Goal 3.) The provost's spring 2012 call for proposals-which resulted in five new GTA lines for the college-provided a useful starting point for identifying needs. The college should collect complete information about GTA needs and prioritize them in advance of potential future calls for proposals.
  • Increase LOA pay to enhance recruitment of qualified instructors. Most CLA departments pay the current minimum of $815 per credit hour-well below the Modern Language Association's recommendation that adjunct pay be set at $7,000 per three-credit course. Reno's relatively few opportunities for qualified part-time instructors make it difficult for them to make ends meet, and the time demands of our sixteen-week semester make the low pay rate even less attractive. This limits our access to a high quality pool as many of these individuals opt for other employment.

Use faculty role statements and the annual evaluation and merit process more effectively to encourage appropriate levels of faculty teaching.

  • While the standard expectation of tenured CLA faculty is a balanced commitment to research, teaching, and service, not all faculty members are equally active across the three categories. While faculty effort and actual accomplishment in research and service vary considerably even within departments, teaching loads are typically quite static.
  • For faculty not actively engaged in research or service, increased teaching effort is appropriate. In recent years, some faculty members' teaching loads (and consequently their role statements) have been adjusted to reflect limited research and/or service. The college and departments should have a regular process for determining, making, and reviewing such adjustments (e.g., transition time, or possibility of alteration based on renewed research productivity).
  • The general university culture that disproportionately rewards research through the annual evaluation process must be actively monitored, so that individuals who assume a greater teaching load can also be appropriately recognized and rewarded.

Hire additional staff to support instruction college-wide and in areas of targeted need.

  • Within certain CLA departments (esp. in the arts), administrative faculty members currently serve as technical staff to support specific disciplines. These faculty members are involved in teaching (per their PDQs) as well as in maintaining teaching labs and studios. The college should be mindful of such needs in other departments as well (e.g., Psychology).
  • Across the college, administrative assistants' responsibilities have increased greatly in recent years, without concomitant position upgrades. If upgrades cannot be approved, the college should assist with responsibilities that can be centralized: e.g., website redesign and support. Student workers can effectively perform some of these functions.
  • Academic advising of majors varies considerably across departments. In other colleges, large departments employ designated advisors-an approach worth considering for CLA's largest majors.
Goal 10: Develop and Strengthen the Pursuit of External Funding

External funding is generated from several sources: fundraising and development (alumni and friends, foundations, etc.), and applications for grants and contracts for research or teaching. The College of Liberal Arts has built solid groundwork for both kinds of efforts, notably the Great Conversations speaker series (now in its seventh year) and the hiring of a grants officer (in 2012). We must do even more in the years ahead, and the endeavor will require many people's efforts.


Direct college fund-raising goals toward the goals and objectives identified in this plan.

  • Derive the college's development priorities, identified in a separate document and updated annually, from the appropriate elements of Goals 1-8 above.
  • Approach development opportunities not consonant with this plan selectively, so as not to consume undue time and effort by the development directors.

Consolidate and focus the work of the development directors and staff.

  • With the hiring of a new development director whose portfolio includes the School of the Arts but who is also part of a team effort with our continuing development director, both development directors will work on major college priorities.
  • Make both development directors responsible for significantly expanding our contacts with alumni and other identified prospects-a critical step toward growing our base of potential donors.
  • Use the new electronic newsletter, currently a one-way communication with alumni, more effectively with requests for feedback from recipients.

Make strategic use of the dean's time for development.

  • Development directors should take greater advantage of all available opportunities to arrange appropriate meetings for the dean with potential contributors. The dean, whose role statement specifies 20% for development, meets weekly with the development directors, reserves one slot each week for lunches with potential donors, and is typically available for donor meetings.
  • The development directors should work closely with the dean to strategically focus on potential donors identified through prospect assignments and research.

Involve chairs, directors, and faculty in development activities and prioritization.

  • Continue to provide workshops and progress reports for department chairs so that they can increase stewardship of donors.
  • Ensure that chairs have input into college fundraising priorities; engage chairs with the dean and donors as needed to promote college priorities related to their programs.
  • Engage faculty in development efforts as appropriate, with development directors' assistance.

Enhance the role of the CLA Advisory Board.

  • The CLA Advisory Board, a wonderfully supportive group of stalwart friends of the college, can play an enhanced role in connecting the college to the community, specifically to prospective donors.
  • Deploy advisory board brainstorming sessions to identify potential donors for specific major endeavors (as was done recently to identify donors for Act I of the Church Fine Arts renovation).
  • Encourage and enhance departmental "adoptions." Some board members have become liaisons between particular disciplines and the community and, at the same time, deepened their knowledge of the college. Use this liaison activity to help departments connect with potential friends beyond the university.

Selectively plan fundraising events and make effective use of existing events for fundraising.

  • Connect with friends and alumni in other ways beyond Great Conversations, a successful series but one that has seen limited expansion beyond the "usual suspect" subscribers. Invite donors and prospects to lectures already occurring on campus through the sponsorship of such entities as Core Humanities or the Hilliard Fund.
  • Carefully select and target events to maximize impact. Recent concerts, e.g., for contributors and potential contributors for the All-Steinway School, have proven successful-but these require substantial work by our development staff.
  • Recruit faculty to make presentations at alumni association gatherings in Reno and elsewhere (e.g., alumni club in southern California). Such events have the advantage of not taxing development directors with more "events planning."


Make optimal use of the new grants officer in the college.

  • Beginning in 2013, the college will assess this service based on number of faculty contacts, number of grants submitted, and (eventually) success ratio.

Build the faculty's abilities to apply successfully for grants and fellowships. (See Goal 2 for additional actions in this area.)

  • Continue to sponsor workshops for faculty on applying for grants and fellowships. (The first college-sponsored workshop occurred in Spring 2012.)
  • Follow up with collaborative workshops providing an opportunity for faculty to vet one another's proposals and facilitate revisions.
  • Encourage more faculty members to use the grant proposal assistance available in the Sawyer Center.
  • Develop a grant-seeking "best procedures" document with timelines, contact information, and flowchart of permissions, procedures, and best practices.
  • Develop mentoring programs for faculty research and grantsmanship. Ideally, such programs will be grass-roots (such as the current efforts in GRI).
  • Encourage interdisciplinary research activity and grant pursuit across departments, and/or between CLA faculty and colleagues in other colleges by recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts.

Recognize and reward grant-seeking as well as successful grant-writing.

  • See Goal 2 for details.
Goal 11: Increase and Optimize the Use of Physical Space/Facilities

Space is a University problem, not one unique to Liberal Arts. Nevertheless, access to good, effective, and adequate space has long been-and continues to be-a particular challenge for this large college and its many programs. Symbolic of this issue, the College of Liberal Arts offices are located in the Business Building, home of a college that is itself short of space. In most departments, part-time and LOA faculty share space, and some departments do not have any dedicated office space for part-time instructors. Shortage of office space severely deters interaction with students, instructional quality, and pursuit of faculty research. It places UNR at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting the best faculty and graduate students.

The college has made some progress over the past few years in alleviating the most severe space pressures. Departments, with the assistance of the provost and college, have pursued classroom upgrades (smart classroom technology) and creatively redesigned space to address other needs (offices for new faculty, office areas for LOAs and graduate students). The recent relocation of the Departments of Criminal Justice and Communication Studies to the sixth floor of the Ansari Building has brought two departments of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies closer together and has freed some space in the seriously overcrowded Church Fine Arts building. Plans are underway to create a computer lab, located in former Math Center space in Ansari, for students in our departments to use for class and other research projects. The college's development office is now located next to the dean's office rather than west of campus. In 2012, the Department of Art acquired roughly 6000 square feet in the Jot Travis Building. This renovated area includes seven studios (four of which are specifically designated for graduate students) two drawing classrooms, the Black Rock Press, and a student gallery. The School of the Arts now has space in the Virginia Street Gym for fourteen faculty offices/teaching studios, one classroom/keyboard lab, and storage for the University's permanent art collection. Funding will soon be in place for construction on "Act I," the renovation of the Church Fine Arts Virginia Street entry and Redfield Proscenium Theatre, to begin in May 2013.

Although these initiatives have addressed some space problems, many needs have been only partially met as our student body continues to grow. Therefore, our primary goal in this area is to take advantage of every opportunity to secure the following:

  • appropriate and well-equipped classrooms for both small workshops and large lectures;
    adequate office and storage space for the smooth functioning of our departments;
    adequate office space to ensure that all instructors are able to confer with students in an office environment;
    space for the arts that is up to date, adequate for our student numbers, and appealing to outside audiences;
    space that allows interrelated programs to be in physical proximity (e.g., SSRJS)
    adequate computer stations and computer lab space for students in Applied Statistics courses, which currently cannot meet student demand;
    coherent and accessible space for college services to students and community (e.g., advising center, computer labs) that is adequate to promote the college's image, its recruitment of students and faculty, and its identity.

Further, long-term goals include the following:

  • Construction or allocation of a Liberal Arts building or a building with a substantial Liberal Arts section. Most of the college's departments have had to mold themselves to fit available spaces; new construction could be designed to meet the specific needs of multiple departments as well as the college offices and college student services (advising, computer labs, etc.).
  • Reallocation of existing space to Liberal Arts, with appropriate renovation, as new buildings are constructed for other units. For example, plans exist (devised in the early 2000s) to convert Thompson to the humanities, once new space for Student Services exists. Construction of the Student Achievement Center could allow for this conversion. Should a new College of Business building become a reality, added space in Ansari would allow for much-needed expansion in the social sciences.
  • Development of an arts complex. Preliminary discussions are currently underway to determine the scope and goals for "Act II" of the Church Fine Arts renovation process. It would include adequate studio space for Art faculty and graduate students in support of the MFA program and adequate practice space for Music students. Eventually, the "arts complex" should include construction of a new facility along with the renovation and retrofitting of the Virginia Street Gym and Church Fine Arts.
Goal 12: Create a Transparent Process for Determining Funding Priorities

The recent experience of curricular review, with its emphasis on "vertical cuts," exposed the need to create transparent priorities-not just for how we eliminate or reduce programs, but also (ideally) for how we allocate new resources when those become available. During the 2011-2012 academic year, several funding opportunities from the Provost's office required colleges to rank proposals from departments: a useful exercise, but one focused primarily on the criterion of undergraduate student demand. Where opportunities or challenges arise without such clear mandates or guidelines, the college must have its own guideposts to prioritize among its competing needs.

In 2011, during the budget crisis, then-Provost Johnson and the Faculty Senate convened an advisory committee "to work with the provost in devising principles and priorities to guide strategic preservation of the university." As that committee reported, "there is no sound way to apply such principles in rank order or to devise an algorithm to apply with no subsequent judgment." However, several principles articulated there, as well as in the college's strategic goals 1-8, can provide parameters for our future decision-making as we move beyond "filling holes" and addressing deep deficiencies in meeting the demands of student numbers.

When proposals from departments must be weighed, the following criteria will be emphasized.
Proposals meeting all or most of these criteria will be ranked highest.

  • Undergraduate demand, including numbers of majors, student need for course offerings, number of classes at capacity.
  • Quality of program (graduate and/or undergraduate; research and artistry) in terms of national or international recognition or "signature" status within the college or university.
  • Presence of a clear departmental strategic plan
    • that articulates needs for growth, enhancement, and maintenance of quality.
    • that defines the department's research profile.
    • that articulates the importance of the program to the college's mission.
    • that is both innovative and reasonable.

When departmental proposals for funding for program enhancement must be weighed, these criteria will be emphasized:

  • Quality and consistency of program assessment, in terms of student learning outcomes and curricular enhancements based on assessment.
  • Program success as measured by student graduation rate (undergraduate), student placement in jobs or advanced degree programs (graduate).

When college-wide objectives must be weighed against department-specific needs and desires, the following considerations will be highlighted:

  • "Intersectional strengths": preference will be given to proposals that enhance areas of strength and visibility that the college as well as the department wishes to develop and enhance (e.g., growth of interdisciplinary programs already identified as college goals; enhancement of signature graduate programs; building of studies in designated areas such as global studies, Great Basin studies, environmental studies).
  • Advising strengths: proposals that enhance the availability and quality of advising at departmental and college levels will receive preference.
  • Personnel strengths: preference will be given to proposals for new faculty and/or staff positions that do not simply fill gaps in departmental offerings or provide "star quality" in the department but also contribute to the signature strengths that have been identified in departmental and college strategic plans.

The college's process for consideration of funding proposals is as follows:

  • At the departmental level, as many faculty members as possible should be involved in the planning process. Program review provides a good opportunity to institute this process, but regular department strategic planning or assessment meetings are also possible venues for faculty input.
  • Ongoing assessment of student learning and of other measures of the effectiveness of departmental programs should be an integral part of each department's master planning.
  • Department funding proposals will be sent to the dean, who will meet with the college's planning committee to discuss and prioritize these proposals.