By Jessica Wang
The Division of Academic Affairs has launched an effort to complete its Academic Master Plan by the end of the 2016-17 academic year with polytechnic identity in the 21st century serving as the central focus of the plan.
Generally released every three years, the Academic Master Plan consists of statements of principles and values that spearhead future direction of academic programs and courses at Cal Poly Pomona as opposed to concrete, operational plans with specific program prioritization.
“We’re not looking specifically at individual [plans]”we’re asking larger philosophical questions that will frame the next conversation on specific programs,” said Sylvia Alva, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“These will be conversations with faculty, staff and students to get at the deeper questions about how we think about the future direction of the academic programs here,” added Alva.
According to the Overview of Academic Master Plan Development document on CPP’s website, academic plans generally examine four interrelated questions pertaining to student demographics; types of academic programs offered; how the university assures quality of programs; and the human, fiscal and physical resources needed for students and programs.
Among the questions examined include, but are not limited to: What kinds of support do faculty and staff need to best exemplify the “Learn by Doing” approach?
How does being a polytechnic university shape and direct the academic programs for our university?
How should the university effectively assess how well its programs fulfill their polytechnic ambitions?
With the establishment of the Academic Master Plan Steering Committee, along with 10 small working groups comprised of roughly 11 members each from the campus community, critical questions for effective academic planning are posed and the working groups must provide written responses within a specific timeframe.
“What I have asked the committee to think very hard about is what it means to be a polytechnic university in the 21st century; so that’s going to be a key question for them,” said Alva, who also serves as co-chair of the Steering Committee.
The Academic Master Plan is guided by University President Soraya M. Coley’s Strategic Plan, which resides over various divisions that range from academic to student affairs”and according to the Strategic Plan’s overview page on CPP’s website, serves to “chart the university’s course for the next several years while also identifying top academic and campus initiatives and the resources and facilities to achieve those objectives.”
“It’s the expression of our mission, our values”but those values apply not just to Academic Affairs, they also apply to each of the other divisions of the university,” said Alva of the Strategic Plan, describing it as an overarching umbrella.
“The Strategic Plan will help inform their work.
It also begins to service a way for the university, at the highest level, to prioritize its work so it will have these strategies for the next five years,” added Alva.
While revisions have not yet been finalized, emerging themes that will be reflected prominently
within the Strategic Plan include polytechnic identity, experiential learning, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, social responsibility and student success”amongst others.
“The academic plan plays off of the [Strategic Plan] but is largely for academic affairs,” said Alva.
“The emphasis is on courses [and] degrees”on how we want to think about our classrooms given these new degree programs or these expanded, enriched conversations of what polytechnic identity means.”
According to Alva, Coley seeks to lead discussion on the physical master plan following the projected May 2017 completion of the Academic Master Plan.
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
Academic master plan for students
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