Benchmarks of Excellence: Institutional Vitality

From the analysis of site visits and institutional materials made as a part of the PKAL-FIPSE Core Institution Project, the following benchmarks have been identified as key elements that contribute to systemic and sustainable success in the process of reform:

  • An acknowledgment of need, a recognition that students are changing, the societal context is changing, and research advances are transforming scientific and technological worlds
  • A statement of mission and vision of the future that is tightly woven into institutional policies and reflected in practices and programs old and new
  • A willingness to take risks, to explore and try new ideas– at the individual, departmental and institutional level
  • Respect for the work of colleagues exploring and trying new approaches, evident in both the formal review and tenure process and in informal culture and conversations
  • Leaders, within the administration and faculty, committed to supporting colleagues taking risks, addressing needs, moving toward the institutional vision of the future
  • A focus on students that suggests new ways to look at the research activity of faculty and at the facilities used for learning
  • A philosophy of discovery-based, research-rich teaching and learning that pervades all programs, for all students
  • Conversations about student learning that cut across and link disciplines, as well as collaborations on pedagogical reform, course development, research and institutional policies
  • A mechanism to measure the impact of different approaches– what difference they are making and to whom
  • Active connections beyond the campus to scholarly colleagues engaged in similar work, as well as to communities from which students come and those to which they go upon graduation
  • Active involvement in national discussions on public policy and higher education
  • Persistence and an awareness of the need for continuity and sustainability.

Excerpt from Investing in Faculty