Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 1: Excellence in research and creative works

After a full year of 2030 strategic planning campus conversations – over coffee and lunch, during Town Hall sessions, through surveys and emails and listening sessions – seven core strategies have emerged as the driving forces behind the next decade of success at UCCS. 

Starting this week, Communique will inform you weekly about each of the seven core strategies, which are not prioritized in any way. These updates will continue over the next seven weeks, culminating the next Town Hall on September 3, to which the entire campus community is invited.

This week, Communique will give an overview on cultivating excellence in research and creative works. This core strategy working group was championed by Provost Tom Christensen, with associate vice chancellor for research Jessi Smith serving as team lead. The names of the team members, all of whom volunteered for the working group, are provided here.

Cultivating excellence in research and creative works

”To cultivate excellence in research and creative works, UCCS will promote and invest in research and creative excellence to generate new knowledge, benefit society, attract and retain outstanding faculty and expand transformational experiences for students.”

The charge of the first core strategy in the UCCS 2030 Strategic Plan: To promote and invest in research and creative excellence. In doing so, UCCS aims to generate new knowledge, benefit society, attract and retain outstanding faculty and expand transformational experiences for students. 

Working group
After Chancellor Venkat Reddy’s Town Hall sessions in March, faculty, staff and students formed and joined working groups for each of the plan’s seven core strategies. Core strategy working groups were tasked with identifying the priorities, initiatives, anticipated outcomes and measures of success for each of the strategic themes. 

Provost Tom Christensen took charge of the first core strategy working group, with associate vice chancellor for research Jessi Smith taking on a role as team lead. Faculty and staff volunteers rounded out the group. 

According to Smith, “My motivation for being involved with this group is more than just my role as the assistant vice chancellor for research. Original discoveries underlie the very core of our academic mission. Research active faculty translates to students learning from experts in their field, contributing to new knowledge, and bettering the world through problem solving.”

She continues, “Being part of this working group has helped remind me about the intrinsic value of research. It is not all about grant dollars, reputation, or journal publications. Those things are nice, but research is so much more than a swirl in a petri dish. It is a dynamic process that makes the university flourish. Research should be at the center of any institution of higher learning. It is how we know what to teach. It is how we serve our students and our community. Working on this core team allows me to find small and large ways that I can use my position to create and maintain the changes we want to see.”

Outcomes
By promoting and investing in research and creative excellence, the core strategy working group envisions the following outcomes: 

  1. A substantial increase in research active faculty, support for student research, research staff support, and resources for infrastructure
  2. All research active faculty will have more time for research 
  3. An increased national reputation for research and creative works 

Measures of success
As the strategy moves into implementation, the core strategy working group will measure success by the following criteria: 

  1. A significant increase in research and creative outputs, funding, productivity and impact 
  2. A significant increase in research active faculty 
  3. A significant increase in the real value of funding and resources for undergraduate and graduate student researchers 
  4. A maximum four-course workload for research active faculty per academic year 

Initiatives
To translate vision into practice, the core strategy working group recommends the following initiatives: 

  1. Develop and implement an equitable framework for research policy, practice, shared-governance and evaluation 
  2. Increase university investment in research faculty, research and sponsored program support significantly above growth and inflation margins 
  3. Foster a diverse research culture and strengthen infrastructure 
  4. Significantly expand support for student research, especially among underrepresented students 

Next steps

With a draft strategy in place, there are limited opportunities for further refinement. Campus community members with thoughts on how to fine-tune the existing strategy are welcome to submit suggestions on the strategic plan website. They will be passed to the designated core strategy working group for review, and appropriate changes will made. 

Faculty, staff and students will have additional opportunities to participate in the strategic planning process as teams tasked to each core strategy form in the fall semester. Continue to check the strategic plan website for updates.

Chancellor Venkat Reddy is grateful to the active participation of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in helping to shape the future of the UCCS campus.

 

Read additional deep dives:

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 2: Sustainable enrollment

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 3: Engagement and inclusive belonging

Strategic Plan Deep Dive Week 4: Optimization of capabilities

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