College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Plan

Dean Eileen FungDear CAS Colleagues,

I invite you to imagine a new educational landscape at USF where our students succeed and all of us thrive.

The College of Arts and Sciences is ready to advance the University’s 2027 Strategic Plan to create a diverse, socially responsible learning community that fosters a value-centered, academically rigorous, and mission-driven Jesuit liberal arts education and that responds to the opportunities of the 21st century.

The College promotes excellence by offering all learners the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and mission necessary to be people for others. As a community, we are committed to:

  • promoting student-centered academic curriculum and innovation in the liberal arts core, degree, and non-degree programs for all learners;
  • advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in recruitment, retention, and in our teaching and curriculum in order to respond holistically to the needs of our growing diverse communities;
  • investing in faculty and staff engagement and professional development so every member of our community may thrive;
  • investing in faculty and staff engagement and professional development so every member of our community may thrive;
  • addressing facilities and technology needs to support curriculum, research and creative work for our students, faculty and staff.

Faculty and Staff Leadership

In fall 2021, the Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) was charged to draft the College’s strategic goals and actions to support the university’s overall strategic plan. By fall 2022, DAC completed phase one of the College’s strategic planning. I wish to thank Chris Brooks, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, Karen Fraser, Nicole Gonzales Howell, Elisabeth Jay Friedman, Diana Lattimore, Julio Moreno, Ron Sundstrom, Indre Viskontas and Dana Zartner, who dedicated two semesters to evaluate inventory, gather feedback from stakeholders, and create a draft of our strategic goals. I also wish to thank Katie Baum, Resources and Planning Manager, who facilitated the project.

Two staff steering committees (OPE and Exempt) were also formed in fall 2022 to provide additional feedback to the strategic priorities and goals. I am grateful to Luca Ameri, Jamie Andan, Erin Brigham, Craig Conforti, Amy Joseph, Samantha Lam, Lee Ann Radwan, Spencer Rangitsch, and Glori Simmons who will help us maximize our ability to engage staff in the planning and implementation process in the coming years.

There are also a number of faculty who will be facilitating our strategic planning efforts. Professor Christina Tzagarakis-Foster (Biology) is the Faculty Director for Facilities & Operations and will be focused on the development of Masonic East (formerly the Blood Centers of the Pacific) for academic use. Professor Eric Hongisto (Art & Architecture) is the Faculty Director for Arts Initiatives and is leading the conversation on reimagining the arts at USF. Professor Stephanie Sears (Sociology) has been appointed as Faculty Director for ADEI and will oversee the college's continued efforts to be an inclusive and welcoming space for all. Professor Michael Goldman (Sports Management) has stepped into the role as Faculty Director for Graduate Programs and will support the development of the College's numerous Masters programs. Finally, Professor Dana Zartner (International Studies) has been appointed Faculty Director for Strategic Planning. Dana will facilitate the planning and implementation of the following seven goals, which are aligned with our strategic priorities.

Strategic Goals

A high priority for the College is to engage in the work of Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Actions to create institutional support for ADEI work, better mentorship for our faculty and staff, and bring a diverse array of perspectives into the classroom are already underway.

In collaboration with other units on campus (e.g. Tracy Seeley’s Center for Teaching Excellence), it is critical that we re-examine our curriculum and teaching practices as we collectively support the work of intersectionality, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at all levels.

The College continues to partner with the Provost’s Office on diversity hiring and retention initiatives for all faculty and staff. In order to better support our students and each other, we are committed to the College’s call for ADEI work by creating and funding education opportunities to train faculty and staff to address inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, cross-cultural communication, global perspective, sustainability, and ADEI best practices both in and out of the classrooms.

We will reimagine a curriculum that will provide a humanizing liberal arts education to all learners, ensuring that students will be prepared with critical, creative, equity-minded and globally-focused knowledge and skills.

In collaboration with the Core Advisory Committee and Joint University Curriculum Committee, we will revise the Core Curriculum to better reflect an intersectional emphasis on the key issues of importance to all disciplines, including cultural diversity, global perspective, and sustainability. We will explore novel, interdisciplinary programs, (eg. Digital Futures, ADEI certificate) that offer students the opportunity to engage from a variety of perspectives.

Further, as we look to advance our College’s priorities on connecting local, regional and global perspectives, we will focus on enhancing our immersion and global education curriculum as well as sustaining and developing research, service and teaching in global education.

Collaborating with department chairs and program directors, we plan to launch a holistic, data-driven process to assess the viability and vitality of programs to ensure we are offering the most dynamic and innovative educational opportunities to all our students. These efforts will contribute to the financial stability of the College and advance the University’s institutional enrollment strategic plan to ensure a sustainable future.

We will also leverage assessment to strengthen educational effectiveness and inclusive excellence. We will better utilize existing assessment data to better supports equitable and inclusive teaching practices. Through a collaborative process, we will also redesign assessment resources to help strengthen both course- and program-level practices and assist with student retention.

Our community is our people and people are our priority. Hiring excellent and diverse staff is a key step and ensuring ample opportunities for ongoing professional development is especially important. Ensuring staff continue to feel engaged in our educational mission is a fundamental step driving the success of the College in all endeavors.

We will continue to identify and establish professional development resources, recruitment and mentorship programs, and opportunities for all OPE and Exempt staff. Likewise, the College must evaluate current practices and design more effective processes for the following: onboarding, peer mentorship, and community-building strategies to ensure all staff feel integrated into College efforts.

As part of further support for staff, we need to establish ongoing training and skills acquisition to facilitate advancement and consider how we can meaningfully reward excellent service from our faculty and staff.

In the spirit of the Jesuit mission and a focus on cura personalis, the College will support existing, and develop new, opportunities for students beyond the classroom.

The College’s Creative Activity and Research Day has been a successful venue for our student researchers and artists, and we will continue to identify additional funding so that all faculty, staff and students may flourish in their disciplines.

Experiential learning is an aspect of a USF education that offers students a unique experience, while taking advantage of living in a global city with the abundance of opportunities available in the Bay Area. We need to foster meaningful experiential and community-engaged learning by integrating field studies, hands-on labs and studio experiences, global immersion programs, and internships into all majors and degrees.

The College is committed to supporting faculty in their dedication to disciplinary/interdisciplinary fields of study and artistic expression. Working with partners around the university (CTE, CRASE, Office of Contract and Grants), we will explore ways to provide greater support to all faculty in their research, teaching and service.

We will provide mentorship and support for Assistant and Associate Professors as they work to meet promotional milestones. We will support Full Professors in the continued development of their full academic portfolio, including research.

We will develop additional support and mentorship for BIPOC faculty, as well as resources for all faculty in the areas of ADEI, global experience, sustainability, and community engagement.

The College will also continue to fund and celebrate faculty collaborations on scholarship and creative activity with undergraduates and graduate students, USF colleagues, and academic and community partners around the world.

Graduate programs hold a special place in the College, and we have developed some of the most unique, interdisciplinary graduate programs in the Bay Area focused on issues of social justice, environmental sustainability, and equitable community development both locally and globally. We will continue to support and celebrate these programs. Work has begun on assessing the needs of each program and how we may better provide support and resources to ensure long-term viability, while also recognizing the unique needs of these programs.

The College must respond to the challenge of stabilizing graduate program enrollment, which forms a critical part of the financial health of the College. We have formed a subcommittee charged to develop and implement an integrated enrollment plan for our graduate programs and explore ways of increasing enrollments and ensuring opportunities to enroll in our programs for a diverse array of students.

In addition to supporting new program development, this subcommittee will focus on supporting our current programs by rightsizing programs; making the enrollment process more streamlined and effective and thus increasing yield; and increasing scholarships for our graduate students.

We have also begun to create additional support for industry partnerships to enhance networking and job placement for our graduate students, which will enhance our recruitment efforts. Creating sustainable partnerships and pipelines for our graduate students with organizations in the Bay Area and around the world will enhance professional opportunities, both through internships and post-graduate careers.

Facilities continue to be one of our top priorities to support and expand the arts and the sciences, and reimagine connection with the social sciences and humanities. Committees have been formed to assess and plan for our current and future needs. We will respond to the call from the university to develop a plan for the new acquired buildings on Masonic or the renovation of Harney to ensure that this facility is designed and built, with an eye to sustainability, to advance research, teaching and interdisciplinary collaborations, not only among faculty and staff in the College, but across other units.

Additionally, we will continue to work to create communal spaces where we may gather as a community and engage collaboratively across all units in the College.

Together through our commitment and collaboration to these seven goals, I am confident we will lead the way in creating a new vision of the College that meets the needs of all members of our community. I would like to invite you to get involved in the following ways:

We will also continue to provide updates on the projects defined by our strategic priorities on this website. Please return frequently, and I look forward to hearing from you as we move forward in this process.

We will also continue to provide updates on the projects defined by our strategic priorities on this website. Please return frequently, and I look forward to hearing from you as we move forward in this process.

Eileen Fung
College of Arts and Sciences