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The SAPCAS Senior Steering Council has completed its final report.

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Dean's charge to the Senior Steering Council
SAPCAS Subcaucuses, with charges
Cover letter from the Dean
Wikswo letter to the faculty
SAPCAS Schedule
Scheduled Major Meetings and Report Deadlines
Listing of SAPCAS members and e-mail addresses
Glossary of terms
Dean's charge to the Senior Steering Council

4 December 2000

TO: Senior Steering Council for College Strategic Planning (Professors Wikswo, Chair, Christensen, Eakin, Horowitz, Porter, Siegfried, and Wiltshire)

FROM: John H. Venable, Dean

SUBJ: Charge to the Council

In light of Provost Burish's extension of the timetable for the University's strategic planning process, the College of Arts and Science has another opportunity to consider its own long-term plans and to propose additional initiatives to the University Strategic Academic Planning Group (SAPG). As you probably know, the SAPG has provisionally approved existing and proposed interdisciplinary initiatives in Law and Business, the Learning Sciences, Nanometer-Scale Materials, Biophysical Sciences and Bioengineering, the Culture of the Americas, and Environmental Risk and Resources Management, and transinstitutional initiatives in Neuroscience and Structural Biology. But central areas of College inquiryódiscipline-centered and interdisciplinary foci of research and teaching¬óare not yet represented among the SAPG's favored programs. While I support these several initiatives recommended by the SAPG, and will entertain other scientific proposals for development within the College, I am deeply concerned by the virtual absence, to date, of humanities and social science representation in the SAPG-approved academic plans, and the imbalance of College or University emphasis that might be inferred from it. I therefore welcome the opportunity provided by the Provost to commission a second phase of the College planning process with the purpose of expanding its vision and widening its embrace¬óof rendering it inclusive, representative, and faithful to the College's total mission.

I am very grateful to you for agreeing to serve the College in this effort by joining the Senior Steering Council for Strategic Academic Planning for the College of Arts and Science (SAPCAS). Your work will begin immediately and continue until a plan acceptable to the Dean and to the Provost has been designed, no later than the end of the Spring 2001 term. The Council should consult documents produced in the earlier phase of the College's academic planning but should not feel constrained by them. The Council will report to me.

The Council is charged with the following tasks:
  1. In consultation with the College faculty, to formulate a set of priorities for the College, for the next five to ten years, which will serve as a foundation for the construction of a strategic academic plan;
  2. To solicit ideas for strategic academic initiatives from members of the College faculty;
  3. To conduct a review of these proposals against the criteria for strategic initiatives established by the SAPG, and to recommend those deserving adoption to that body;
  4. In the same context, to assess and, if approved, to develop three multi-school initiatives¬óLaw, Literature, and Politics; The Culture of the Americas; and The Center for the Creative Arts¬ósuggested by my office for possible recommendation to the SAPG ;
  5. To consult the departmental strategic academic plans produced for Dean Infante and consider their recommendations;
  6. To identify three to five strong graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences, as prescribed by the SAPG, and additional graduate programs in the natural science division, for emphasis and investment, adhering to the following guidelines: such programs should have critical mass; they should have attracted and suitably placed superior students; and they should have on-going financial support.
  7. To work closely with the SAPCAS sub-committees of my appointment (in consultation with Professor Wikswo) and any other faculty groups it may assemble for expert or specialized advice;
  8. To take particular notice of proposals from and in the humanities and social sciences in order to guarantee fair and balanced representation of College interests in the academic plan;
  9. To recommend to me at any time additions to this charge that have the support of a majority of the Steering Council;
  10. To draft a Strategic Academic Plan for the College of Arts and Science.
No more important task than this one currently faces the College. It is crucial to our future that it be addressed with intelligence, imagination, vision, energy, and a collegial spirit. I trust you to bring these assets to the assignment. I am very grateful for your willingness to accept it, and I look forward to working with you on it.

Please find attached an outline of the SAPCAS sub-committee structure that I am proposing. In most cases, one Steering Council member is assigned to a sub-committee. Sub-committees report, of course, to the Steering Council.

I welcome your responses to this Council charge.
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Strategic Academic Planning for the College OF Arts and Science

Caucus Structures, Proposals, and Possible Initiatives
March 20, 2001

SAPCAS Senior Steering Council:

Professor John Wikswo, Chair&nbsp
Professor Jerome Christensen* Report Outline editor
Professor Marshall Eakin&nbsp
Professor Gregg Horowitz Premises Editor
Professor Ned Porter Criteria Editor
Professor John Siegfried*&nbsp
Professor Susan Wiltshire Recommendations Editor
Professor Paul Elledge, Associate Dean, ex officio Other Efforts Editor
*Also members of the expanded SAPG

Caucus 1: Charge: To solicit, review and/or design possible College contributions to multi-school, interschool, and transinstitutiional research/educational initiatives (including those listed below):

Caucus: Burke, Christensen, Eakin, Horowitz, Kreyling (Chair), Porter

  1. Law, Literature and Politics
    Sub-caucus: Christensen (Chair), Oppenheimer, Zeppos

    This Caucus should consider existing strengths in Law and Literature, build on a newly designed cooperative program between Political Science and Law, and develop an academic proposal for exploiting both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  2. The Culture of the Americas
    Sub-caucus: Eakin (Chair), Fitz, Gregor, Kreyling, Outlaw

    This Caucus should begin with the proposal already accepted by the SAPG and develop it into a fully-fledged initiative, with potential contributions from the various schools and programs stated and documented. Emphasis should fall upon opportunities for graduate students.
  3. Center for the Creative Arts
    Sub-caucus: Burke (Chair), Clayton, Daniels, Hallquist, Horowitz, Murphy, Sloop, and Dean Mark Wait (Blair)

    This Caucus should work toward an expansion, intensification and centralization of creative arts activity at Vanderbilt, with attention to the opportunities for creativity afforded by recent technological advances. It should consider the plausibility of offering a graduate degree in writing, building upon existing strengths in English, but including educational opportunities in film-making, digital composition, imaging, on-line journalism, photography, scene-design, studio arts, and music. "Writing" is here broadly conceived to include not merely fiction and poetry but non-fiction, science, law, play- and screen-writing.
Caucus 2: Charge (revised): To develop a single, long, unranked list of strong, existing departmental or interdisciplinary graduate programs in the College of Arts and Science qualified for increased development. This list should include a brief rationale supporting each selection.
Caucus: Bahry, Bell, Gay, Siegfried, Staros (Chair)

This Caucus should solicit and review proposals from departments and programs for the enrichment of graduate curricula, instruction and other training, and forward with the report those data used to form this list.
Caucus 3: Charge: To review and select departmental or interdisciplinary proposals, graduate or undergraduate, for recommendation to the SAPG.
Caucus: Haglund (Chair), Hancock, Jrade, Wiltshire

This Caucus should review the original departmental academic plans submitted to Dean Infante (and any graduate plans not recommended by Caucus 2), select those appropriate for forwarding to the SAPG, and counsel other promising units on how their proposals might be refurbished for reconsideration.
Caucus 4: To review or create over-arching proposals¬óe.g., on teaching, technology, research innovations, etc.¬ónot identified with particular disciplines but embracing several.
Caucus: Ayers, Doyle (Chair), Hancock, Jrade, McNamara, J. Plummer, Sapir, Weintraub, Wikswo
  1. Technology
    Sub-caucus: Ayers, Plummer (Chair), Sapir
  2. Teaching
    Sub-caucus: Jrade, McNamara, Weintraub (Chair)
  3. Library
    Sub-caucus: Doyle (Chair), Hancock
Caucus 5: Charge: To research the "strategic academic plans" or similar documents from other institutions, particularly colleges of liberal arts within research universities, for additional ideas on initiatives appropriate to and plausible for implementation in the CAS.
Caucus: Ayers, G. Graham, Harris, Weintraub (Chair)
Caucus 6: Charge: To conduct an in-depth review of curricular offerings, programs, research projects, specialized knowledge and other academic activities in our sister Vanderbilt colleges for opportunities for additional synergistic collaboration with CAS at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Caucus: Cornfield, Damon (Chair), Marcus, Russell, Scott
Caucus 7: Charge: To determine how the financial aid goals of the College might be optimized in light of this strategic planning exercise.
Caucus: Siegfried (Chair), Christensen
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Cover letter from the Dean

December 18, 2000

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

     You will find attached to this letter another from Professor John Wikswo announcing the launching of a second phase of the College's strategic planning endeavor. We ask you to read it carefully, paying particular attention to the schedule it establishes for executing the process.

     We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of two themes of Professor Wikswo's letter:
  1. Strategic planning for the College is a collective, collaborative, consultative effort: its success depends upon contributions from faculty at all ranks, in all departments and programs. Faculty silence will spell failure.
  2. Rapid response is essential. First call is last call. Successive deadlines for our working groups require prompt activity from the beginning by all participants in the planning process.
     Strategic academic planning is for the immediate future the highest priority for the College, after teaching. It represents the most promising opportunity we are likely to have for at least a decade to effect major changes in the implementation of our mission. We have been extremely gratified by the faculty's early response to this opportunity. With sustained energy and excitement throughout the process, we will almost certainly be successful in significantly advancing the University.

     Thank you for your thoughtful, energetic participation.

John H. Venable

Richard McCarty


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Wikswo letter to the faculty

December 14, 2000

TO: Faculty, College of Arts and Science
FROM: John P. Wikswo, Chair, Senior Steering Council for College Strategic Planning
RE: Strategic Academic Plan for the College of Arts and Science (SAPCAS)

I am writing to request your help in our efforts to prepare a comprehensive strategic plan for the College of Arts and Science.

A brief review of the ongoing University planning effort will help place our project in an appropriate perspective. In the Spring of 1999, Provost Tom Burish initiated an effort by the Strategic Academic Planning Group (SAPG) to develop a strategic academic plan for University Central. I have been a member of SAPG since its inception. In September, 1999, Provost Burish wrote to the University Central faculty and deans, requesting that each school submit a strategic plan to him by March 31, 2000. On February, 1, 2000, Dean Infante requested that A&S departments provide him with their strategic plans by 18 February, and on April 31, he submitted to SAPG his strategic plan for the College. SAPG, working under a tight time schedule set by the Board of Trust, reviewed the seven school plans, organized a planning retreat in July, and requested white papers on interdisciplinary proposals that had been outlined in the various school plans. Through the summer, SAPG continued to review proposals and formulate its core recommendations. By mid-October, SAPG had completed its initial effort, and distributed to the retreat participants a draft of a portion of the University Plan. By late summer, it became obvious to SAPG and a number of other faculty that the College plan, and the portions of it that were appropriate for inclusion into the University Plan, did not adequately present a strategy for continuing to build the College and anchor its central position in the University. Fortunately, at meeting of the recent Board of Trust, the deadline for completing the University plan was extended until 25 April, 2001.

As a result of the extension of the deadline for SAPG, the College now has an opportunity to revisit and refine its strategic plan. Dean Venable has appointed a Senior Steering Council for College Strategic Planning, with Professors Christensen, Eakin, Horowitz, Porter, Siegfried, Wiltshire, and me as members. Dean Venable, Associate Dean Paul Elledge, and I have identified six sub-committees or Caucuses that will examine specific aspects of the College Planning effort. The Steering Council and the Caucuses comprise the group that will be responsible for Strategic Academic Planning for the College of Arts and Science (SAPCAS). Each department will have a faculty member serving on SAPCAS, not to act as a representative of departmental self-interests but to provide a bi-directional conduit of information between the faculty and SAPCAS.

We have a great deal to accomplish in a very short time. We anticipate having a draft report to Dean Venable by early March to allow for adequate review by the College faculty and the Faculty Council prior to the April submission of the complete College plan to SAPG. That in turn means that the Caucus reports must be in draft form by 1 February and final form by 15 February. Hence we need input from the College Faculty immediately!

I urge each of you to review both the enclosed documents (our Charge and the organizational plan for SAPCAS) and the strategic plan submitted last February by your department, and consider carefully how the College might best realize its potential for greatness. I would appreciate hearing from you in writing (Box 1807 Station B or as soon as possible, and no later than January 15. In Dean Venable's words, "it is crucial to our future that [this project] be addressed with intelligence, imagination, vision, energy, and a collegial spirit."

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SAPCAS Schedule

25 April 2001SAPG report complete for submission to Board of Trust
1 April 2001SAP-CAS report complete and submitted to Dean Venable for delivery to SAPG 27 February 2001Interim report by Wikswo to Faculty Council and College Faculty 20 February 2001Interim report by Wikswo to the College Faculty 15 February 2001Caucuses and Subcommittees report to SAP-CAS Steering Council 6 February 2001Interim report by Wikswo to Faculty Council 1 February 2001Subcommittee interim reports to SAP-CAS Steering Council 9 January 2001Wikswo meet with the Faculty Council 18 December 2000College Faculty informed of SAPCAS and invited to contribute 15 December 2000First SAPCAS meeting 4 December 2000SAPCAS formed

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Scheduled Major Meetings
and Report Deadlines

Meeting Type
Weekly Lunch Meetings
Major Luncheon
6837 Stevenson Center
University Club
Hermitage B Room
11:30 - 2:00
11:00 - 1:00
Caucus Chairs
Steering Council
Apr. 23
Apr. 25
Apr. 25
SAPG report complete for submission to Board of Trust
May 2
May 7
May 9
May 14
May 16
May 21
May 23

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SAPCAS members and e-mail addresses

John Ayers
Donna Bahry
Vereen Bell
Carol Burke
Jerome Christensen
Jay Clayton
Daniel Cornfield
Cheryl Cosby
William Damon
Kate Daniels
Don Doyle
Marshall Eakin
Paul Elledge
Earl Fitz
Volney Gay
George Graham
Richard Haglund
Terryl Hallquist
Donald Hancock
Alice Harris
Gregg Horowitz
Cathy Jrade
Michael Kreyling
Leah Marcus
Richard McCarty
Russell McIntire
Tim McNamara
Marilyn Murphy
Bruce Oppenheimer
Lucius Outlaw
John Plummer
Ned Porter
Cliff Russell
Mark Sapir
Virginia Scott
John Siegfried
John Sloop
James Staros
John Venable
Mark Wait
David Weintraub
John Wikswo
Susan Wiltshire
Melissa Wocher
Nick Zeppos

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Glossary of terms

SAPG The Strategic Academic Planning Group, appointed by the Provost, charged with developing an academic plan for the University for submission to the Board of Trust.
SAPCAS The Strategic Academic Planning group for the College of Arts and Science, appointed by the Dean and charged with developing an academic plan for the College, for submission to SAPG.
CAS The College of Arts and Science Senior Steering Council The group of seven, appointed and charged by the Dean, responsible for overseeing SAPCAS, receiving its recommendations, and drafting a strategic plan for the College, for submission to the Dean.
Caucus A sub-committee of SAPCAS.
Transinstitutional initiative An academic initiative that includes the Medical Center and University Central
Inter-school initiative An academic initiative that involves two schools (exclusive of Medicine).
Multi-school Initiative An academic initiative that involves more than two schools (exclusive of Medicine).
Interdisciplinary Initiative An academic initiative that involves two or more disciplines.
SAPG criteria The criteria established by the SAPG for judging the appropriateness of an interdisciplinary initiative for acceptance into the University strategic plan.

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SAPCAS Premises
January 13, 2001

     These seven premises will guide us in formulating and assessing proposals for shaping the aspirations and crafting the future of the College of Arts and Science.

  1. Improving Vanderbilt University's eminence in research requires the strengthening of the faculty and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Science.

  2. Vanderbilt University's tradition of pedagogical excellence is central to the growth and training of our students and the well-being of the entire institution. The College of Arts and Science must continue to support and reward the highest quality of undergraduate and graduate teaching.

  3. As a liberal arts college within a major research university, the College of Arts and Science can provide undergraduates with extraordinary opportunities for learning through research.

  4. Vanderbilt has earned a reputation for excellence in research. Now we should aim at even greater accomplishment and at more widespread recognition. The College of Arts and Science and University Central must develop and strategically support research initiatives by providing appropriate resources to those units where the opportunities for attaining distinction are most promising.

  5. Because much of the most exciting research is occurring at the borders between traditional disciplines, promoting it requires significant investments that often exceed what can reasonably be expected from individual departments, programs, and schools. Beyond its benefits for research, reinforcing dynamic exchanges among disciplines is also a means of strengthening multiple academic units at once. To realize the future to which the College rightly aspires, the University must commit to create interdisciplinary, multi-school, inter-school, and transinstitutional initiatives that encourage collaboration among departments, programs, and schools and to support them liberally with central resources.

  6. The academic mission of the College is advanced by engagement with larger communities. The College of Arts and Science must enhance its support for the innovative integration of service with research and pedagogy.

  7. We must strive to make Vanderbilt a more diverse community. To this end, the College of Arts and Science must support enterprising academic and social initiatives to broaden perspectives, to transform the intellectual culture, and to recruit and retain faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates from historically under-represented populations.
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Criteria for Strategic Academic Planning for the College of Arts and Science

January 24, 2001

Prologue: Proposals should be consistent with the Chancellor's goal of advancing Vanderbilt to the front rank of American research universities, contribute to enhancing the intellectual environment of the College of Arts and Science, and strengthen Vanderbilt's covenant with the community. To accomplish this, the following ten criteria will guide us in formulating and assessing proposals.

  1. Proposals should require significant investment in graduate education at Vanderbilt University and reaffirm our commitment to provide an unexcelled undergraduate experience.
  2. They should involve a broad spectrum of faculty rather than a few individuals.
  3. They should strengthen the disciplinary integrity and expand the interdisciplinary range of individual departments as well as the College and the University. They should forge effective faculty links within and across departmental lines, and, where appropriate, foster greater integration with the College of Arts and Science and its sister schools
  4. Proposed investment in an interdisciplinary program or project should reinforce rather than weaken the core disciplines and departments.
  5. A sufficient number of present Vanderbilt faculty should be firmly committed to participating in the project, although project realization may require recruitment of a specific external candidate, or in extraordinary circumstances, more than one individual.
  6. Proposals should be bold. They should require significant new intellectual and financial investment.
  7. The anticipated gains for the College of Arts and Science should be clearly identified and commensurate with the investment.
  8. Normally, proposals should show promise of generating the funding necessary to sustain the project following its establishment. For programs with few or no external funding sources, however, the initial, dramatic impact from significant investment may obviate the need for continuous generation of new funding.
  9. Proposals should contribute to the creation of a stimulating and enriching learning environment at all levels and assist in recruiting and retaining the very best scholars.
  10. Proposals should recognize the need to recruit and retain an intellectually, racially, and culturally diverse student body and faculty.

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SAPCAS Reports
(open in new window)

1     1a      1b      1c      2      3     4     5     6     7

Senior Steering Council

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(Refer to this section for a listing of updates made to this site)
  • March 22, 2001: ¬†Appendix B added to Caucus 1b Report.
  • March 22, 2001: ¬†Caucus 1c Report posted and linked from the Reports section of this page.
  • March 26, 2001: ¬†The deadline for receiving faculty comments on reports extended to 30 March 2001.
  • March 27, 2001: ¬†Added reformatted budget to Caucus 1a Law and Humanities proposal.
  • April 2, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Added SAPCAS Senior Steering Council decisions regarding Caucus 1a, 1b, and 1c proposals to the Senior Steering Council section of the Reports page.
  • April 5, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Addendum addressing needs of the Science Library added to the end of the Library section in the Caucus 4 report.
  • April 9, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Caucus 1 Report posted and linked from the Reports section of this page.
  • April 10, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†Caucus 2 Report posted and linked from the Reports section of this page.
  • May 18, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Senior Steering Council Reports: "Targeted Investments in Natural Sciences" and "Targeted Investments - Humanities and Social Sciences" posted.
  • May 28, 2001: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Senior Steering Council Reports: "Analysis of Caucus 3 Report" and "Analysis of the Appendix of Caucus 3 Report" posted.

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