SPCS shared its Strategic Plan publicly in August. We kicked off implementation in the fall semester, which has continued through the spring semester. We’re continuing to focus on our educational mission as one of five academic schools at the University. As such, much of our work this semester has been on degree program reviews and exploratory work by three committees: SPCS Innovation Committee, SPCS Pedagogy Community of Practice and the Badging and Alternative Credential Working Group. Another key accomplishment included an organizational structure analysis that resulted in a reorganization of key operational units to better align with the themes and goals of the Strategic Plan and the future of the School.

Degree Program Reviews

Degree program reviews are underway. The degree program reviews are being managed as a collaborative process among faculty, staff and administration with the goal of critically examining nine content areas to help frame an analysis and recommendations to the Dean. Current program under review include Human Resource Management, Paralegal Studies, Information Systems, and Liberal Arts. Nonprofit Studies will begin its program review after the spring term concludes. Timelines for Graduate Education program reviews are under development.

The program review process includes market research with the University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) Center for Research and Strategy. UPCEA has concluded its analysis of our existing degree program portfolio using its Portfolio Decision-Making Model (PDMM) to identify which programs are in alignment (and out of alignment) with positive market and occupational trends and is in the process of finalizing and sharing the results with us. UPCEA’s study will conclude over the summer with interviews with key area employers to confirm the results of the portfolio model and further assess new programming opportunities identified through the opportunity model.

Committees & Working Groups

SPCS Innovation Committee

This committee is working to make specific recommendations to the dean for innovation in SPCS. The committee has pitched innovations in several broad categories, including instructional technology and course delivery, and is working to prototype one or two innovations to then forward as recommendations to the Dean. Committee members include professional staff, faculty, and administrators in the school. The committee’s work aligns with strategic plan goal 3, Enhance Educational Experience & Outcomes and with the strategic theme of Innovation.

SPCS Pedagogy Community of Practice

This community of practice (CoP) seeks to collect and share best practices in adult and nontraditional teaching among all who teach in SPCS. The community is built by and for SPCS instructors with the support of the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology, the Adjunct Faculty Advisory Committee, and the SPCS Dean’s office. The community’s communication tools will launch through the summer and fall. The community’s work aligns with strategic plan goal 3, Enhance Educational Experience & Outcomes and goal 4, Integrate Across the University. It also aligns with the strategic themes of Focus and Innovation.

Badging and Alternative Credential Working Group

Digital badging, micro-credentials and other alternative credentials seem to support a growing trend among adult and nontraditional learners. SPCS is exploring these options as part of its strategic plan, specifically in support of goal 2, Meet the Needs of the Richmond Community and goal 3, Enhance Educational Experience & Outcomes. This working group seeks to become a knowledge repository on badging for the School and build a resource library of current trends and best practices. During the exploratory process, the group will build a badging proof of concept and identify a pilot that helps the School determine next steps in badge development as a professional learning programming strategy.

Additionally, the group will define what “badging” means (and what its value represents) at the University of Richmond and use the information gathered to create a framework to evaluate future digital badging proposals.

Organizational Realignment

Throughout the strategic planning process, we’ve been committed to actively seeking ways to align the operations and procedures of SPCS to those of the University where possible and appropriate. More importantly, we committed ourselves to ensuring that the School is structured in a way that best supports our strategic direction and our key constituencies.

We’ve worked throughout the spring semester to develop and begin implementing an organizational realignment, which will go into effect July 1, 2018. The School will be reorganized into four functional areas, whose unit heads will report directly to the Dean and sit on the Dean’s Leadership Team.

  • Academic and Student Affairs, including academic program planning and support, assessment and accreditation, and academic advising
  • Marketing and Engagement, including marketing, communications, external relations, fundraising, strategic partnerships and recruiting
  • Professional Education and Special Programs, including Summer School, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and professional education and lifelong learning programs
  • Administrative, Financial and Technical Services, including finance and budgeting, human resources, contracts and operational support