Seeds of Innovation
"In the case of all things which have several parts and in which the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts, there is a cause; for even in bodies contact is the cause of unity in some cases, and in others viscosity or some other such quality."
— Aristotle 980a Metaphysics, Translated by W. D. Ross
Over the course of a full year, from fall 2019 to fall 2020, the entire Seton Hall University community shared its ideas, aspirations, and concerns as part of an inclusive planning process that culminated in a strategic plan, Harvest Our Treasures, which was approved by the Board of Regents in December 2020.
Our comprehensive strategic plan, Harvest Our Treasures, informs all Office of the Provost projects as it redirects resources from administrative expenses to enhanced academic instruction and research. This work includes a significant number of new faculty hires, most of which are on the tenure-track.
In line with the Strategic Plan and as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, the Office of the Provost coordinates multiple additional major initiatives to foster innovative, collaborative, effective, and high-quality academic programs and cross-disciplinary research.
These initiatives originate in faculty ideas and objectives shared through dozens of meetings, town halls, web portals, idea boards, and focus groups during our inclusive strategic planning process. Balanced teams of faculty and administrators have worked and continue to work together to develop and implement the initiatives. Read more about the shared governance behind this work on our Project Timeline below.
Through the ordinary channels of shared governance, we continue to welcome constructive participation and forward-thinking suggestions from faculty for ongoing revision as we strive together to realize our Academic Vision. Appropriately, our Academic Vision was articulated by a group of over 20 faculty members, with proportionate representation from every college, early in the Strategic Planning process.
Named after Plato's Academy, the grove where Athenians gathered outdoors for impromptu philosophical conversation about pressing questions, our Academies enable, support, and fund faculty-led initiatives beyond the typical constraints of ordinary faculty schedules and units. By creating new academic programs, grant applications, research and service projects, the Academies engage timely matters of public concern, including green chemistry, meaningful work, applied technology, health research, and Catholic social work in action. Funding our Academies was made possible because of savings achieved through Seeds of Innovation.
We responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with a commitment to retain all our faculty positions. We also responded with a commitment to keep any adjustments aligned with our Strategic Plan goals. These value-based commitments forced an analysis of how we could reorganize our colleges in ways that would realize administrative savings and then enable us to reinvest those savings in faculty and in creative new research and programs. The Seeds of Innovation plan, which teams of faculty across the University are now implementing, will achieve both goals by creating a new unit that enables and funds exciting, interactive work between the faculty in communication, arts, education, and human development.
Interactive Program Analysis and Dashboard (IPAD)
Across the nation, faculty need data to respond nimbly and intelligently to developments in their fields and to technological, environmental, political, economic, and social disruption. To deliver this data, a team of faculty and administrators created a dashboard. It enhances chairperson and program director access to key information. It increases transparency, and bolsters genuine shared governance by allowing faculty to correct and act on the data. The team also established an administrative protocol for working with program faculty and for triggering the existing faculty-led Program Review process, which the Faculty Senate has streamlined and refocused on strategy.