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Vision 2020 Initiatives

 

Vision 2020: Academic Reorganization Planning

The following Vision 2020 Initiatives have been approved by The University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett. 

Initiative #1: Annual Evaluation of Faculty Performance   

The annual evaluation framework described here is oriented toward proactive engagement between faculty members and their peers and supervisors. The process is aimed at maximizing potential and supporting the University mission. Furthermore, the annual evaluation framework offers an ideal opportunity for reorganized academic units to encourage interdisciplinary linkages among faculty that will serve to engage our students, strengthen the University's reputation as a research institution, and provide service to the State of Mississippi, the Gulf South region, and beyond.

Committee: Jacob Breland (Chair), Jonathan Barron, Sam Bruton, Angie Burton, Bridget Hayden, Frank HeitmuIIer, Joshua Hill, Ann Marie Kinnell, Alisa Lowery, Derek Patton, Bernd Schroder, Lachel Story

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Initiative #2: Tenure and Promotion   

There should be a rigorous separation of promotion and tenure for tenure track faculty. Promotion should be an official institutional recognition of meritorious achievement in research/scholarship/creative activities, service, and teaching/librarianship. Specifically, promotion functions to recognize talented faculty members for their records of achievement within their respective disciplines or in interdisciplinary settings. Thus, promotion to the rank of Associate Professor is a necessary condition for tenure at The University of Southern Mississippi. There are inherently different criteria for tenure, such as an individual's potential for long term contributions to the university. Clear and uniform policy is particularly necessary for promotion of interdisciplinary tenure-track faculty who may have responsibility to more than one unit.

Committee: Jacob Breland (Chair), Jonathan Barron, Sam Bruton, Angie Burton, Bridget Hayden, Frank HeitmuIIer, Joshua Hill, Ann Marie Kinnell, Alisa Lowery, Derek Patton, Bernd Schroder, Lachel Story

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Initiative #3: Faculty Handbook   

The Faculty Handbook is a guide to University offices, activities, and policies that affect members of the Faculty, as defined therein.  The Faculty Handbook is not a comprehensive, self-contained policy document, and neither is it a contract of employment.  Material in the Faculty Handbook does not replace, amend, or abridge approved policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (“IHL Policies and Bylaws”) or The University of Southern Mississippi Employee Handbook (“Employee Handbook”).  In the event of conflicts between the Faculty Handbook and either the IHL Policies and Bylaws or the Employee Handbook, the latter documents are controlling and take precedence.

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Initiative #4: Uniform College Documents   

This initiative seeks to develop a set of common policies and procedures for all academic colleges which includes consistency in the basic contents and naming of such documents. Additionally, this initiative outlines guiding principles for college-level standing committees and faculty representation. The proposed documents will have a common yet flexible framework to allow additional, college-specific information to be incorporated.

Committee: Kelly Lester (Chair), Cindy Blackwell, David Cochran, Sabine Heinhorst, Susan Hrostowski, Joyce Inman, Mary Lux, Scott Milroy, Sarah Morgan, Jerry Purvis, Alan Thompson, Melissa Thompson

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Initiative #5: The Organization and Function of University Committees

Committees play an integral part in University decisions, direction, and operations. Their structures, membership, and bylaws determine the quality of their contributions to the University as a whole. The first objective of this proposal is to establish definitions of the multiple types of committees that exist on campus. Further, this proposal aims to institute guiding principles for the organization and function of University committees through bylaws, committee maintenance, and evaluation.

Committee: Kelly Lester (Chair), Cindy Blackwell, David Cochran, Sabine Heinhorst, Susan Hrostowski, Joyce Inman, Mary Lux, Scott Milroy, Sarah Morgan, Jerry Purvis, Alan Thompson, Melissa Thompson

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Initiative #6: Aligning Faculty Governance and Representative Bodies with Vision 2020    

The Academic Reorganization Faculty Governance and Representation Committee recommends "Aligning Faculty Governance and Representative Bodies with Vision 2020" to drive academic excellence, promote scholarly and creative activity, support faculty, and offer the best possible educational experience for students at USM. This initiative ensures that: a) no college can have a majority vote, b) all campuses have representation proportional to FTE's, and c) there are a lowered number of representatives to promote efficiency in work. This initiative aims to promote a cultural shift in the value of service by clarifying the purpose of each governance body, roles of the representatives, and the qualifications to serve on councils.

Committee: Kelly Lester (Chair), Cindy Blackwell, David Cochran, Sabine Heinhorst, Susan Hrostowski, Joyce Inman, Mary Lux, Scott Milroy, Sarah Morgan, Jerry Purvis, Alan Thompson, Melissa Thompson

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Initiative #7: Developing School-level Policies and Procedures  

This initiative outlines the process whereby school bylaws and other governance documents will be created for every new and existing school at the university. The organization and content of these documents should generally follow specific norms and standards arising from the reorganization plan and should be as consistent as possible across all schools and colleges. The aspirational goal of this initiative is to create a uniform framework of governance to go alongside the school structure that underpins Vision 2020.

Committee: Kelly Lester (Chair), Cindy Blackwell, David Cochran, Sabine Heinhorst, Susan Hrostowski, Joyce Inman, Mary Lux, Scott Milroy, Sarah Morgan, Jerry Purvis, Alan Thompson, Melissa Thompson

DOWNLOAD INITIATIVE # 7 


Initiative #10: Maximizing Operational Efficiency in Academic Processes  

This initiative makes recommendations to maximize the operational efficiency of the University. Developing more efficient processes will lead to faster results, improved academic service, and cost savings for the institution. One overarching goal of this proposal is to recommend changes in processes that could eliminate the "Southern Miss Shuffle" culture, which occurs when students (or even faculty or staff) are shuffled around various campus offices, often unnecessarily, to resolve an issue instead of having someone proactively assist them.

Committee: Kelly James-Penot (Chair), Anna Barrett, Darcie Conrad, Elizabeth Cranford, Sally Downey, Darcie Graham, Heather Miller, Quentisha Jones, April Jordan, Sharon King, Gina McCarty, Martha Resavy, Michelle Shows, David Sliman, Carlos Sterling, Debbie Stoulig, Tameka Sullivan, Danielle Sypher-Haley, Terry Whittington 

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Initiative #11: Academic Staff Development, Promotion, and Retention  

This initiative makes recommendations that emphasize and prioritize academic staff development, promotion, and retention. The academic reorganization provides an opportunity to initiate and implement these recommendations as restructuring may involve enhancements of job responsibilities. Professional development opportunities can empower staff to maximize their potential, enable career progression, and greatly benefit the University by increasing competency, productivity, and efficiency.

At present, deficient options exist for staff advancement and promotion, so this initiative investigates potential for the creation of a promotion structure for staff. A focus on staff retention is also critical as it can provide a well-trained, engaged work force whose individual goals align with the mission of the University. Staff development, promotion, and retention opportunities are necessary to create a committed, motivated community of University employees. Intentional investment, of both time and resources, in people has the potential to drastically improve the University.

Committee: Kelly James-Penot (Chair), Anna Barrett, Darcie Conrad, Elizabeth Cranford, Sally Downey, Darcie Graham, Heather Miller, Quentisha Jones, April Jordan, Sharon King, Gina McCarty, Martha Resavy, Michelle Shows, David Sliman, Carlos Sterling, Debbie Stoulig, Tameka Sullivan, Danielle Sypher-Haley, Terry Whittington

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Initiative #12: Communication Plan for Implementation  

This initiative recommends consideration of the list of University entities that will be directly affected by reorganization; support for the suggested timeline provided by this committee; and the provision of resources needed for a smooth transition of academic and support staff during the reorganization. The academic reorganization will provide the University with an opportunity to open lines of communication and to take into consideration staff recommendations that can help eliminate the "Southern Miss Shuffle." Opening lines of communication that have been cut off in previous years and creating new and more effective lines of communication will increase staff efficiency, build trust, and boost morale among staff, allowing them more time to focus on student recruitment and retention. A smooth transition will be vital for the success of the reorganization and communication is key to its success.

* Appendix A has been updated with the new path for updating directory information in SOAR:

Self Service > USM Self Service > Use > Update Online Directory Info

Committee: Kelly James-Penot (Chair), Anna Barrett, Darcie Conrad, Elizabeth Cranford, Sally Downey, Darcie Graham, Heather Miller, Quentisha Jones, April Jordan, Sharon King, Gina McCarty, Martha Resavy, Michelle Shows, David Sliman, Carlos Sterling, Debbie Stoulig, Tameka Sullivan, Danielle Sypher-Haley, Terry Whittington

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Initiative #13: Academic School Staff Operations Manual  

The establishment of a website to house forms, instructions, and support materials related to the tasks outlined in the Inventory of Work is truly aspirational. This website has the potential to maximize efficiencies and improve consistency, service, productivity, and engagement at the school, college and university level. This website will provide a resource for staff and administrative faculty as they execute the tasks outlined in the Inventory of Work.

Committee: Kelly James-Penot (Chair), Anna Barrett, Darcie Conrad, Elizabeth Cranford, Sally Downey, Darcie Graham, Heather Miller, Quentisha Jones, April Jordan, Sharon King, Gina McCarty, Martha Resavy, Michelle Shows, David Sliman, Carlos Sterling, Debbie Stoulig, Tameka Sullivan, Danielle Sypher-Haley, Terry Whittington

DOWNLOAD INITIATIVE #13

 

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