Academic Strategic Plan enters 5th year, still igniting innovation across campus

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

Heading into its fifth year, Vanderbilt’s Academic Strategic Plan continues to spark innovation and provide a roadmap in pursuit of the university’s mission. The plan’s impact is evident in all corners of campus as faculty, staff and students work collaboratively across disciplines, schools and colleges.

A just-released report details accomplishments from the 2017-18 year.

“As one of America’s top academic research universities, we are defined by our deep commitment to learning and discovery, but what sets Vanderbilt apart from its peers is our unswerving focus on our mission. That focus drives our strategy,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “The Academic Strategic Plan has been our blueprint since 2014. Our commitment to this course is reaping rich rewards and putting us on the leading edge.”

Launched to pursue excellence in education through scholarship, creative expression and research by leveraging Vanderbilt’s strengths in these areas, the plan has guided enhancements to the university’s undergraduate experience, advanced trans-institutional collaborations and discoveries, and inspired the launch of new educational technologies.

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Susan R. Wente (Vanderbilt University)

Key accomplishments for the past year include the $600 million capital investment in the residential college initiative, a $65 million commitment to fast track drug discovery, road maps to advance our International Strategy and increase Shared Governance, the launch of two new online degree programs, and investments in faculty including six new TIPs awards, 12 new Chancellor Faculty Fellows and five new University Courses.

“By identifying priorities together and then investing in our faculty and the student experience, we continue to make real, significant progress,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “From the millions of dollars in external funding secured because of TIPs, to the thousands of students exposed to new and innovative programming through the expanded and enhanced undergraduate residential experience, the initiatives developed through the plan continue to set Vanderbilt apart.”

In the coming year, key plan-related milestones include the opening of E. Bronson Ingram College, the launch of Immersion Vanderbilt as a graduation requirement for the incoming first-year class, the first cohort of Russell G. Hamilton Scholars, the continuing development of a global fellows program and an international media and outreach campaign, and investments in data science and brain and mental health research.

Academic Strategic Plan By the Numbers (2017-18)

Trans-institutional Programs

  • $5.4 million in new funding
  • 6 new proposals funded
  • 59 faculty involved
  • $25.1 million awarded over the last four years

PIERS (Provost’s Initiative to Enhance Research and Scholarship)

  • $65 million commitment from Deerfield Management for drug discovery through Ancora Innovations
  • 7 multimillion proposals supported involving 225 faculty through the L-POD office
  • 89 limited submission opportunity calls with 131 applications and 39 approvals to submit
  • 8 events focused on building partnerships with sponsors, including the Army Research Labs and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Chancellor Faculty Fellows

  • 12 newly tenured fellows elected in fourth cohort
  • 54 fellows to date
  • $40,000 provided to each fellow, annually for two years

University Courses

  • 5 new courses; 2 are multicultural
  • 12 faculty representing 6 schools and colleges
  • 211 students enrolled

Immersion Vanderbilt

  • 16 Pathways workshops held
  • 79 students awarded stipends through the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program
  • 25 iSeminars held
  • 12 faculty served on Immersion Vanderbilt Steering Committee

Education Technology Committees

  • 38 faculty, 19 staff, and 5 students participated in five committees
  • 20 new Leading Lines podcasts downloaded or played more than 7,000 times
  • 2 new online degree programs launched
  • 16 MOOCS involving 23 faculty members reached 382,919 learners
  • 9 grants totaling $57,837 were awarded through the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning