Since this blog launched in 2012, it has served as a place to celebrate, inform and reflect. I am thrilled that this semester I’ll share this blog with four faculty members who will write about the most inspiring actions this university has experienced since we started to shape Tech Tomorrow.
These faculty members lead working groups dedicated to shaping the implementation related to our strategic plan goals. As chairpersons, Ed Lisic, Jason Beach, Ann Davis and Bedelia Russell champion the work and are dedicating many long hours of research and conversation. Their groups, made up of dozens of campus community members, are moving at an incredible pace to see we provide Education for Life, Innovation in All We Do, Exceptional Stewardship, and Engagement for Impact.
You can learn more about Tech Tomorrow at www.tntech.edu/strategic, but to learn the most up-to-date information, I encourage you to read the four guest blogs this semester. But more than that, I encourage you to see yourself in these efforts and get involved. It’s time for Tech to stake claim to being the state’s best university for a real education for real people who seek real careers.
Today’s blog is written by Jason Beach, associate professor of curriculum & instruction, who leads Innovation in All We Do.
There is a tremendous amount work taking place at Tennessee Tech. Whether it is new construction projects, faculty developing innovative curricula and groundbreaking research, or students devoting time and energy to learn skills that will impact their lives and society, we are improving every facet of university life. Guided by our strategic plan, work at all levels are positioning Tennessee Tech to be the number one STEM-infused comprehensive university in the South.
As a chair of one of Tennessee Tech’s four strategic plan working groups, I want to share a few of the projects my group is engaged in this semester. Our focus is on innovation and consists of members that represent different aspects of the university experience. In the Fall, we started gathering information from faculty about innovative practices in teaching, research, and technologies that academic programs are implementing on a day-to-day basis. While we are still gathering data, we have amassed a large amount of information that provides an overall view of the innovation taking place in our colleges and administrative units. This data is immensely valuable because it breaks down silos between colleges and provides a landscape of possibilities ranging from cross-college collaboration, material sharing, and multi-college research opportunities.
We have also created a university workbook that walks leaders through the process of analyzing their departments by utilizing a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis that helps align departments with the overall mission and vision of the university. This process has already helped departments visualize areas of opportunity and motivated faculty to develop a plan with measurable outcomes. While this process is valuable at the academic level, administrative units at all levels are also participating to ensure that the university as a whole will benefit.
As we progress through this academic semester, working groups are not only tackling tactics laid out in the strategic plan, but are cross-collaborating on larger tactics that will impact the entire university. For example, two groups are gathering workforce data on our academic programs that impact the workforce at the local, regional and national levels. The vision for this information is to create a searchable database allowing colleges to identify gaps in program offerings in relationship to current workforce demands. This information in the hands of the faculty will help develop a foundation for the creation of new programs and opportunities to support ever-changing needs of our nation’s workforce.
As we continue to implement the strategic plan, we expect to see continued growth in the university, both in quantity and quality. There is a tremendous amount of work taking place at Tennessee Tech! To know more about Tennessee Tech’s strategic plan or to offer suggestions for implementation, please contact one of the strategic plan members, who are listed at https://www.tntech.edu/strategic/innovation.