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Indiana University Northwest

Strategic Planning Committee

Academic Excellence at IU Northwest

Academic Excellence at Indiana University Northwest
approved by campus constituencies, 12/05

Indiana University Northwest is committed to academic excellence, characterized by a love of ideas and achievement in learning, discovery, creativity, and engagement. Within the context of our urban and regional setting, IU Northwest strives for the highest quality in teaching, research and service. With recognition of past accomplishments, this statement on Academic Excellence serves as an inspiration to even greater achievement.

  1. Love of Ideas. “Love of ideas” is a commitment to lifelong learning by all members of the campus community.
  2. Institutional Excellence. Excellence is a characteristic of an institution that empowers faculty, staff, and administrators to carry out university goals and purposes stated in its Mission, Shared Vision, and Strategic Plan.
  3. Academic Program Excellence. A program demonstrates excellence through a collectivity of excellence in research, teaching and service. IU Northwest supports research in broad domains such as the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of teaching and learning, the scholarship of integration, and the scholarship of application or engagement. Accrediting bodies for professional schools may have additional criteria or standards for excellence. Examples of characteristics of academically excellent programs are:
    1. Utilization of Resources to produce quality and efficiency, by funding:
      • A critical mass of qualified faculty and resources to meet instructional and research needs;
      • Innovative instructional methods that promote learning and serve a variety of learning styles;
      • A sufficient number of fulltime and part time faculty positions to provide faculty teaching loads and faculty/student ratios that support instructional effectiveness;
      • Initial accreditation and maintenance of accreditation for all appropriate programs.
    2. A Curriculum appropriate for the Mission and Vision of IU Northwest:
      • Based on standards appropriate to the general education goals of the university, and/or the goals of the department/discipline;
      • Structured so that students are placed in classes appropriate to their level of preparation; specifies and adheres to course prerequisites and progressions.
    3. Program Learning Assurance and Quality that
      • Encourages every student to be an active participant in the learning process;
      • Reflects diverse ways of learning and applying knowledge;
      • Respects diversity as a critical component of academic excellence;
      • Defines clear learning goals with high expectation for learning;
      • Measures student learning to determine whether students have achieved learning outcomes;
      • Feeds data from assessment back into instruction to encourage continuous improvement in student learning and mastery of learning outcomes;
      • Assists students through retention programs in meeting learning goals of general education.
    4. Demonstration of Continuous Program Improvement through
      • Self-studies and external program reviews;
      • Awards of accreditation through professional accrediting associations;
      • Strategic planning processes with quality assessment measures and benchmarking;
      • A variety of assessment methods.
    5. Support for Faculty Development activities that
      • Facilitate and reward creativity and independent and critical thinking by faculty that lead to excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship and creativity, and service;
      • Enhance teaching and learning endeavors of faculty who integrate knowledge of current thought in their field into their teaching, resulting in continuous revision of course materials to reflect synthesis of current thought into pedagogy;
      • Promote high standards in recruitment and retention of faculty;
      • Enable faculty to manifest their potential in teaching, learning, scholarship and/or creative work with funded research and teaching support programs;
      • Invest in mentoring and sponsorship programs for faculty that provide guidance and assistance for junior faculty.
    6. Relative Stature: Current academic stature of program benchmarked against peer institutions or national rankings, relative to the norms of the discipline: honors and awards; membership in national academies.
    7. Ability to generate sponsored programs, grants, fellowships, and awards.
  1. Administrative Excellence. At IU Northwest excellent administrators (chairs, deans, directors or above):
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    • Ensure decisions and initiatives reflect and advance the Mission, Shared Vision, Strategic Plan and unit Vision and Mission;
    • Develop innovative and efficient organization systems and procedures;
    • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility and effective allocation of resources consistent with the pursuit of excellence, taking into consideration the academic unit ‘s institutional needs, resources and priorities;
    • Encourage and maintain constructive human relations among peers, faculty, staff, and students;
    • Communicate effectively; listen and respond to the ideas, needs, and suggestions of administrators, peers, faculty, staff, and students;
    • Foster personal and professional growth and development of faculty and staff through training, scholarship and creative activities and participation in professional organizations;
    • Provide honest, competent, and accurate performance reviews;
    • Develop and coordinate academic unit fundraising activities as appropriate; effectively represent the campus and the academic unit throughout IU, professional and accrediting organizations, and the community;
    • Vigorously work to implement their individual commitment to institutional excellence;
    • Document excellence through annual written performance reviews;
    • *Implement the Student Centered Principles and appropriate service philosophy
  2. Excellence in Staff: Excellence for biweekly staff is based on the Annual Performance Appraisal, and for Professional Staff on the Performance Management Program. Excellent staff, in support of academic excellence,
    • Further the mission of the university and the responsibilities of the unit;
    • Work effectively to meet the objectives of the job and use resources effectively to meet these objectives;
    • Make effective decisions: implement sound decisions or timely actions based on available data;
    • Efficiently plan and prioritize time and resources to improve productivity;
    • Arrive to work at scheduled time, and are present when committed to be present;
    • Demonstrate knowledge and skills required to carry out job related duties, understand applicable unit and university policies; keep current on trends in field;
    • Focus on quality and productivity to increase personal and organization effectiveness; examine and improve processes related to job responsibilities;
    • Build and maintain productive working relationships with superiors and peers;
    • Relate effectively and diplomatically with employees, students, and community; present professional image to customers; make customers feel valued, are responsive to customer needs in terms of timeliness and ability to deliver services;
    • Incorporate IU Northwest Shared Vision in workplace responsibilities;
    • Generate new ideas and find original approaches; encourage others to do so;
    • Implement the Student Centered Principles and appropriate service philosophy;
    • Document excellence in annual written performance reviews

Additionally, supervising staff will:

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    • Effectively coach, evaluate, and counsel staff;
    • Identify areas for and support employee development opportunities for staff;
    • Encourage teamwork and group achievement for staff;
    • Lead change/achieve support for objectives for staff;
    • Enable and empower staff; provide appropriate opportunities for growth for staff;
    • Strive to achieve diverse staff at all levels;
    • Understand diversity issues and create supportive environments for diverse employees.
  2. Faculty Excellence: Academic excellence for faculty requires satisfactory active participation in research, teaching, and service (teaching and service only for clinical appointments and lecturers), and superior performance in one area. Clinical appointees and lecturers follow the same guidelines for teaching and service, but will not be evaluated on scholarship/discovery. Librarians additionally are evaluated on professional performance. Evaluation is based on the criteria provided in the Academic Handbook and Promotion and Tenure Guidelines. Excellence in faculty is documented in annual written evaluations/ performance reviews. Individual units can add criteria for excellence as long as the unit requires faculty to meet the stated criteria in the IU Academic Handbook.
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    1. Research (May include the broad domains of scholarship of discovery [and creativity], teaching, integration, and application.) To be adequate, all tenure-track and tenured faculty must be engaged in peer reviewed scholarship that contributes to, integrates or applies the body of knowledge in one’s field through scholarly activities and widely-disseminated peer-reviewed publications, exhibitions, and/or presentations at state, regional, national, or international professional meetings. Quality of publications is more important than mere quantity. Excellence in research requires high-level scholarship. Characteristics may include but are not limited to:
      • Ability to provide well-documented assessments of the quality of scholarship using measures that are credible and verifiable;
      • Disciplinary knowledge demonstrated by peer-reviewed scholarship and continuous professional development;
      • Ability to generate research funding in disciplines where funding is available;
      • Relevant to discipline, a significant number of scholarly publications within a five year period;
      • Citation rate of publications, where appropriate;
      • Ability to publish in high quality journals;
      • Other quantitative evidence of distinction in scholarship;
      • Honors and awards;
      • Creative Work disciplines: rank among peer units at other universities using such indices as gallery/museum exhibits for visual artists, stage productions for theatre artists, screenings for film makers, dance concerts for dancers/choreographers, and publications for creative writers. Assessment of quality should be external. And while rankings by external agencies are not usually available for units focused on creative work, such units should be cognizant of any such rankings or comparative studies.
    2. Teaching: The baseline for effective teaching is pedagogic skill and competency in the faculty member’s subject matter. Excellent teachers display such characteristics as:
      • Being professionally active—in scholarship, curriculum development, teaching development, and, if appropriate for rank or discipline, producing publications and/or engaging in community outreach;
      • Being committed to and facilitating student achievement of learning outcomes;
      • Engaging in scholarship and producing high-level peer reviewed scholarly outcomes and publications, as appropriate for rank or discipline;
      • Teaching in interactive ways; are partners in the learning experience and inspiring love of and desire for learning;
      • Respecting individuals, individual differences and diversity of opinion, and adapting teaching methods to a variety of student backgrounds and learning styles;
      • Effectively utilizing technology, where appropriate, to enhance the learning experience;
      • Being readily available for consultation with students and publishing and keeping liberal office hours at times convenient to students;
      • Using multiple and fair measures to assess student work and providing ongoing, clear feedback to students;
      • Providing periodic documented peer review of teaching by program faculty;
      • *Implement the Student Centered Principles and appropriate service philosophy.
    3. Service (May include the scholarship of application or engagement). Scholarly activity in applied research and/or professional or public service must involve a high level of skill in communicating and applying the knowledge of one’s professional competence to the university, the profession, and/or the community. Service may be both inside and outside the university and may be rendered to the academic unit, department, university, community, professional organizations, governmental bodies and other institutions. Adequacy in service requires consistent activity, good citizenship, and an equitable contribution; however, such scholarly service activities are not sufficient for excellence as “scholarship” unless they lead to peer-reviewed recognition, activities and/or publications.
  2. Student Excellence. At IU Northwest, students are prepared for lifelong learning, ethical practices, successful careers, and civic engagement. Student Excellence is defined in Outcome 1 (2004) Student Profile of Academic Excellence. Students, upon graduation, are prepared to perform well in their work and as citizens. An academically excellent student is one who
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    • Has mastered basic skills needed to begin university level work;
    • Assumes responsibility for developing and monitoring his/her academic course of study;
    • Engenders respect, motivation and interest in learning;
    • Assumes responsibility for one’s own learning;
    • Demonstrates higher-order cognitive skills;
    • Demonstrates achievement of all IU Northwest General Education Goals by the time of graduation.

Note 12/6/05: *Implement the Student Centered Principles and appropriate service philosophy.
This bullet point was included in the document approved by the campus constituencies in November 06, under V Staff Excellence; it was intended to be in other categories as well but was inadvertently omitted from IV Administrative Excellence and VI Faculty Excellence. This version corrects the error.