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Vanderbilt University COACHE Action Item Accomplishments

After the release of the Faculty Working Group COACHE report in 2017, a Deans’ Working Group was convened, composed of nominated representatives from each school and college that reports to the Provost. This Working Group was charged with providing insights from and to each of school/college’s dean and faculty. Each school and college also conducted its own analysis of its specific results. From this, action items addressing specific results were developed. These action items are categorized into ten COACHE survey subject areas. A full listing of COACHE subject areas and names of the schools and colleges with corresponding abbreviations can be found at the bottom of this page.

Accomplishments (Organized by COACHE Subject Areas)

Appreciation and Recognition

  • Peabody consistently recognizes faculty and staff achievements and the dean is diligent about submitting nominations for university and external awards. Peabody is also aware of opportunities for improvement in these areas, and has embarked on a more intentional and purposeful nomination process. (Peabody)
  • Five faculty members in the School of Nursing have been selected as Fellows in distinguished academies. (Nursing)
  • An annual rewards incentive program has been developed and deployed to provide unrestricted research funds to faculty who (i) have been successful in securing extramural funding, (ii) successfully nominate Vanderbilt faculty for national or international awards, and (iii) who publish research papers that are highly cited and/or that are published in elite journals. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The dean is diligent about nominating faculty for both internal and external awards, and has successfully nominated faculty for membership in the American Law Institute, and as a Carnegie Fellow, among other honors. (Law)
  • Nominated multiple faculty for national and international awards. (Provost)

Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality

  • Town Hall listening sessions were held with non-tenure track faculty to better understand their concerns. (A&S)
  • The Divinity School has held conversations about how the faculty can work together to strengthen faculty relationships, ensure a meaningful role in governance, and provide more support for mentoring. (Divinity)
  • The Dean launched monthly dinners to welcome new faculty and recognize those with notable achievements. (Peabody)
  • Peabody hosts several activities for faculty to gather and address wellness issues, including Circles of Trust and Meditation Mondays. The Circle of Trust experiences are designed to create a process of shared exploration among Peabody faculty to nurture and act on their personal and professional integrity, whereas Meditation Mondays are weekly opportunities to participate in free guided meditation. (Peabody)
  • School of Engineering Faculty Development and Diversity Committee created an internal online survey with the option for written comments and conducted focus groups with representative faculty. (Engineering)

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • School of Engineering Faculty Development and Diversity Committee expanded its portfolio of faculty mentoring activities to include content designed for mid-career and non-tenure track faculty. (Engineering)
  • The newly-appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has placed a concerted effort on finding ways to better recruit and retain URM faculty. The medical school is participating in the Academic Pathways Program. The Associate Dean supplements these efforts with other programs, including providing Culturally Aware Mentor Training for their faculty. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • With a focus on inclusive training and mentoring, upcoming workshops will focus on NIH career development awards and writing personal statements for NIH biographical sketches. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The Dean convened a committee to study the needs of women faculty in the basic Sciences. The committee met monthly and provided a report to the Dean, which he has shared with the Department Chairs. A response has been provided to the committee with actions already taken on several items. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • In response to the committee’s report a new Maternity Bridge grant program is being developed to support the research programs of women faculty when the continuity of their research program is impeded by the responsibilities of child-bearing. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • Launched Faculty and Post-Doctoral Fellow Sexual Harassment Survey. (Provost)
  • Offered “Finding and Attracting Top Talent: Best Practices for Faculty Searches” on monthly basis in the fall semester, met with individual search committees, and provided individualized coaching as needed; nearly all 2018-2019 search committees participated. (Provost)
  • Offered IMPACT leadership development series, NCFDD-based webinars, and Community Writing Sessions for faculty. (Provost)
  • Created InclusAbility efforts with multi-staged initiatives including awareness campaign, campus-wide events and programming. (Provost)
  • Implemented the Provost’s Women’s Initiative and established Provost’s Steering Committee for Initiatives Focusing on the Status of Women. (Provost)
  • Owen established a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board comprised of faculty, staff, and students to develop awareness, engagement, and best practices in creating a culture of inclusion and belonging. (Owen)

Institutional Leadership and Shared Governance

  • In order to preemptively address matters of shared faculty governance and unity of practices among tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, Blair activated its Faculty Advisory Committee. This body is elected and consists of tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and part-time faculty. The chair of the committee was assigned the title of Director of Faculty Affairs. (Blair)
  • College of Arts & Science faculty voted to change the A&S Constitution to allow non-tenure track faculty to both vote for and serve on the A&S Faculty Council and Faculty Senate. (A&S)
  • The College of Arts & Science created a non-tenure track Faculty Advisory Group to advise the dean on issues related to culture, compensation, professional development, and evaluation/promotion. (A&S)
  • The dean gives twice-yearly State of the Law School presentations to all faculty. The presentations cover all aspects of the law school and are open to questions from all faculty. (Law)
  • The School Life Committee was revised to include broader membership of faculty, students, and staff to provide a forum for addressing issues and enhance faculty engagement in governance. (Nursing)
  • Regular Town Hall meetings are held to update faculty and staff on important issues and address concerns. (Nursing)
  • Launched Shared Governance portal. (Provost)
  • Created and published Report on Faculty to the public (first annual Tableau report on the composition and demographics of Provost-reporting Vanderbilt University employed full-time faculty members). (Provost)

Interdisciplinary Work, Collaboration, and Mentoring

  • Every department and program developed a mentoring plan to ensure that faculty members receive strategic advice about faculty advancement. (A&S)
  • The law school will continue its highly-rated faculty mentoring program. The program includes a one-on-one match of each assistant and associate professor (tenure and non-tenure track) with a full professor, annual mentoring plans and reports, and a mentoring committee overseen by the Associate Dean for Research. (Law)
  • Owen continues to have success with their postdoctoral program, all areas of the school are involved. The school recently launched a web page that highlights the program. (Owen)
  • The school encourages collaboration and interdisciplinary work by continuing to build areas, such as healthcare business, that are naturally interdisciplinary. Owen redesigned its orientation program to include a new diversity segment featuring a diversity executive formerly from the corporate headquarters of Nissan. Recent faculty promotions demonstrate support for interdisciplinary work. (Owen)
  • Peabody initiated a more defined and systemic mentoring plan for junior tenure-track faculty. Peabody also plans to create an effective and visible system of mentoring practice faculty, lecturers, and senior lecturers. (Peabody)
  • Two committees were formed to review mentoring practices for tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, with separate mentoring luncheons held for tenure-track assistant professors. Reports were completed and Peabody is beginning to implement the recommendations this academic year. (Peabody)
  • The dean’s office held conversations with department chairs regarding standard practices around mentoring and inclusion of non-tenure track faculty in departmental activities. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The School of Medicine held a workshop on faculty mentoring and several social gatherings with tenure-track assistant professors. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The School of Nursing added a new Senior Associate Dean for Research and Assistant Dean for Clinical Scholarship. The focus of their initial work was to establish processes for additional support and mentoring of junior tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty. (Nursing)
  • Launched GlobalVU site designed to connect faculty, facilitate faculty outreach and engagement. (Provost)

Nature of Work- Research

  • Resulting from discussions with department chairs, directors, and faculty, the College of Arts & Science developed a new leave policy that will be more equitable and supportive of faculty research. The new policy, to be announced, before the close of the spring 2019 semester, will advance the research portfolio of A&S faculty, foster incentives to seek external funding, and support faculty recruitment and retention efforts. (A&S)
  • The College of Arts and Science created an incentive program to encourage more external grant applications. (A&S)
  • Peabody added a grant manager in each department with significant external funding to better support faculty needs. (Peabody)
  • Through the use of Academic Analytics, Peabody increased their external award submissions. (Peabody)
  • Peabody College increased travel allowances for their faculty to attend conferences. (Peabody)
  • Matching funds commitments are routinely made in support of a variety of faculty-led extramural funding requests, in particular those proposing acquisition of major research instrumentation. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • Several internal research grant programs are run to promote world class basic biomedical research: (i) a Bridge grant funding program for faculty with grants that are not renewed on the first attempt, (ii) a Realignment grant program for faculty wishing to change research directions, and a (iii) JumpStart grant program for faculty who have lost all funding, often because of teaching/service administrative commitments. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • Launched Public Voices Fellowship. (Provost)

Nature of Work- Teaching

  • The College of Arts and Science launched a new program called Immersion Scholars to encourage faculty creativity by providing additional resources. (A&S)
  • Owen increased faculty engagement with undergraduate students through participation in the recently launched undergraduate business minor. Four of the five full-time faculty needed to support the undergraduate business minor have been hired, with the fifth hire in progress. With the minor growing to 30 sections across five core areas, Owen faculty feel a much stronger connection to undergraduate education. (Owen)

Resources and Support

  • The Divinity School completed an $11.5 million renovation and 13,641 square-foot expansion. The improvements include better teaching and gathering spaces that will create a more collaborative environment. (Divinity)
  • Owen made significant infrastructure investments with renovations to the Walker Management Library and Owen courtyard, lobby, and third floor, which houses faculty offices. The renovated Walker Management Library offers comfortable open spaces and state of the art meeting rooms to study and collaborate. Progress on the Owen expansion and graduate student housing has shown significant support for professional/graduate infrastructure. (Owen)
  • Peabody is undertaking a multi-year, multi-building, massive maintenance and renovation project beginning with the Home Economics and Mayborn buildings. This includes creating flexible classrooms, hoteling office space, and dedicated graduate student space, as well as making all Peabody buildings accessible. Work began in 2018. The project is co-funded by the university and Peabody. The college will also complete cosmetic upgrades to One Magnolia Circle and the Susan Gray School. (Peabody)
  • School of Engineering continues its faculty recruiting efforts through the Emerging Scholars in Engineering Lecture series. (Engineering)
  • School of Nursing added a five-floor building that includes advanced classrooms, faculty offices, and a simulation teaching lab and brought faculty and staff together from disparate locations, allowing the school more opportunity to build and strengthen community and collaborations. (Nursing)
  • A Core Developmental Grant program is now run annually to provide funds to Research Core support/service facilities to develop new technology or to purchase instrumentation that falls in the intermediate price range, for which it is particularly challenging to secure extramural funding. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • Partial TIPs funding for acquisition of a state-of-the Titan Krios electron microscope was leveraged with Basic Sciences funds and a commitment of space in the ESB building by the Provost to both establish a cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopy facility at VU and to recruit two new faculty specializing in this transformative technique. (Provost and SOM Basic Sciences)
  • Identified the need for campus-wide, high-level investment in disability/accessibility improvements on campus; created InclusAbility efforts with multi-staged initiatives including awareness campaign, campus-wide events and programming, and suggested changes to infrastructure and policies to ensure sustained improvements across campus (started in July 2018).
    • Partnered with student organizations (SAA and VANA), campus partners (SAS, EDI, Residential Life, Events and Reservations, CFT, Next Steps), community groups (Empower TN), and more.
    • Introduced disability and accommodations content into Residential Education/Student Centers trainings.
    • Implemented changes to student-facing surveys, forms, and staff/student leader trainings to increase InclusAbility language and practices.
    • Instituted first successfully celebrated campus-wide Disability Awareness Month events/activities.
    • Worked with DOS and Student Centers to increase wheelchair inventory for accessibility and increased use of CART services at events for hearing impaired attendees.
  • Evaluated current faculty training and created and supported new Faculty Development Committee. (Provost)
  • Coordinated six faculty development events through Faculty Insights programming. (Provost)
  • Relaunched Chairs and Directors Workshop. (Provost)
  • Continued planning and development of new office space at 1101 19th Avenue Building which is to be the home of Faculty Senate meetings, Faculty Senate administrative office and will include Faculty Commons and Digital Commons. (Provost)
  • In addition, to TIPs, launched Global and Arts & Humanities micro-grant funds to reach more faculty and be responsive to needs in a timely way. (Provost)

Tenure, Promotion, and Renewal

  • The Blair School of Music Tenure Review Committee clarified standards for promotion from associate professor to professor, particularly in the area of composition. (Blair)
  • In order to ensure optimal faculty performance, the Faculty Review Committee examined ways to improve post-tenure reviews. Several improvements have already been made since the time of the COACHE survey. (Blair)
  • To address concerns raised by small groups of assistant and associate professors, new programs will be launched in the upcoming year to meet faculty development needs. (A&S)
  • Peabody has worked to promote non-tenure track faculty members whose promotions were long overdue. In 2018-19, nine were promoted, the most in Peabody’s history. (Peabody)
  • The School of Medicine held meetings and workshops with educator track and research track faculty to discuss issues related to career development. A development plan for research faculty will be rolled out in 2019. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The new Associate Dean for Faculty Development meets annually with all tenure-track assistant professors, supplementing interactions they have with their chairs and mentoring committees, to ensure a uniform message regarding metrics of tenure and promotion. (SOM Basic Sciences)
  • The dean’s office held conversations with department chairs regarding standard practices around annual evaluations and initiation of promotions. (SOM Basic Sciences)

School/College Abbreviations and COACHE Subject Areas

The names of the schools and colleges are abbreviated in this document as follows:

School/College Name                                 

Blair School of Music (Blair)

College of Arts and Science (A&S)

Divinity School (Divinity)

Law School (Law)

Owen Graduate School of Management (Owen)

Peabody College of Education and Human Development (Peabody)

School of Engineering (Engineering)

School of Medicine- Basic Sciences (SOM Basic Sciences)

School of Nursing (Nursing)

Office of the Provost (Provost)

COACHE Subject Areas (2016 Survey)

  • Appreciation and Recognition
  • Department Engagement, Quality, and Collegiality
  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Institutional Leadership and Shared Governance
  • Interdisciplinary Work, Collaboration, and Mentoring
  • Nature of Work- Research
  • Nature of Work- Teaching
  • Nature of Work- Service
  • Resources and Support
  • Tenure, Promotion, and Renewal

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