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Provost Office Initiatives


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The Provost identifies initiatives to be launched in a variety of ways. Many come from the faculty-driven Academic Strategic Plan. Some initiatives start as a partnership with the Office of the Chancellor. Other times, initiatives are launched based on feedback from the deans, faculty groups or in partnership with the
Faculty Senate.

From Launch to Action Plan – Office of the Provost Step-by-Step Process

  • Initiative Launch
    • Leadership Feedback: The Provost shares initial thoughts about the initiative with the deans of the schools and colleges, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and leaders of other engaged campus entities
    • Committee Formation: The Office of the Provost works with the deans, campus partners and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to identify and invite a collective set of committee members that will provide broad campus representation across multiple demographics, perspectives and applicable disciplines (See Committee Formation Best Practice). Self-nominees are also continually considered through input mechanisms on the Shared Governance website.
    • Committee Charge: The committee is briefed by the Provost who shares the background on the initiative and other considerations. The Provost explains what specific deliverables are needed and the timeline. In addition, a plan is made for campus engagement and communications.
    • Public Announcement: The initiative background, goals and committee are announced through MyVU, posted to the Provost website and distributed via other channels.
  • Committee Work (see Committee Best Practices Ensuring Success)
    • Work Product: Initiatives may involve a range of work – from in-depth peer university assessments, to taking stock of Vanderbilt’s assets in a given area via survey, to developing a pedagogical framework. Committees may form sub-committees to distribute the work and to engage individuals not directly serving on the committee. At a minimum, the work results in a memo to the Provost but often times produces a more fully developed report. These expectations are set by the Provost in the charge meeting.
    • Timeframe: Committee efforts sometimes take an academic year (sometimes more) to complete, whereas others might require a couple months with an aggressive set of meetings.
    • Outreach and Engagement: Committee members represent the broad university regardless of their specific disciplinary, department, school/college affiliation and are expected to reach out to gather feedback from those groups (see Committee Best Practices Inclusive Committee Formation). Committees may gather feedback through surveys, small group meetings or a larger town hall.
  • Committee Report or Deliverable
    • Feedback Gathering: When a report is submitted to the Provost, the deans and other stakeholders are updated, and it is shared with the university community (generally through MyVU postings)
    • Approvals: Some committee deliverables (the naming of a hall or building) may require Chancellor or Board of Trust approval
    • Action Plans: Following most reports, action plans are developed based on recommendations. Parties to engage are identified and resources including funding, bandwidth, logistics and legal implications are considered. The Provost assesses the extent to which recommendations are aligned with other ongoing initiatives and university priorities. Depending on the scope, these action plans can take additional time to develop. Sometimes recommendations need adjustments to fit certain needs. And there are times when some are found to be unfeasible due to specific circumstances or resource availability. For the most part, the recommendations provide a launching pad for making changes or enhancements to a given area through the input of a large number of vested individuals in consultation with leadership.
  • Communication: Along the way, the Vanderbilt community is engaged to ensure information is openly available online. MyVU stories are posted at the launch of an effort and at the time of the report submission. Additional stories follow as new actions are announced. The Provost also communicates to the committee and others as needed for follow up and feedback on the progress.

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