L&AD: Academics


F&M will engage students of great achievement and potential in a distinctive education true to the values of the liberal arts. That education will enable them to seize transformative opportunities in life, career, and responsible citizenship. We will revitalize our curriculum to better respond to, and guide, students’ evolving needs, goals, and interests, with a focus on more inclusive teaching and learning and a commitment to scientific and humanistic inquiry.

Objectives & Activities

  1. Support every student’s intellectual exploration and academic success by continuing to develop accessible and inclusive ways of teaching; enhancing and personalizing methods of advising and academic support; and creating more flexible, navigable, and individualized educational pathways throughout the curriculum.

    1. Implement training, technology, and other resources to ensure teaching and learning are inclusive and accessible.

    2. Establish an F&M learning hub, co-locating academic support services where possible.

    3. Enhance student support using the resources in place more effectively.

    4. Investigate the feasibility of providing academic programming outside the current academic year calendar to help students resume or accelerate their progress to graduation.

    5. Enable students to more easily customize their course of study and complement their majors with interdisciplinary certificates and experiential learning opportunities (e.g., community-based learning, internships and practicums). 

  2. Cultivate a holistic and accessible curriculum grounded in the liberal arts that is responsive to students’ academic interests and post-graduate intentions and provides innovative opportunities for integrating knowledge and creativity across all three divisions of the college.

    1. Conduct a comprehensive curricular review that will re-envision general education, departmental curricula and interdisciplinary programs to ensure that all components of the College’s liberal arts education are available to interested students.

    2. Implement a regular, consistent, and accountable process of academic program review that supports continuous renewal and updating of F&M’s academic portfolio, while respecting tenure and academic freedom.

    3. Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the curriculum through a deep intellectual engagement with language, culture, history, and social processes and structures.

    4. Encourage collaboration between departments and divisions by leveraging joint majors, special studies majors and interdisciplinary certificates.

    5. Revise existing institutional policies to create a more robust and flexible infrastructure to support and develop interdisciplinary programs, team-teaching opportunities for faculty and professional staff, and other cross-curricular innovation.

    6. Engage shared governance structures in undertaking curricular revision and program review, and provide training and support for faculty and professional staff in developing more nimble processes for leading institutional change.

  3. Bolster and spotlight academic programs that are in high demand from students that are likely to attract prospective students, and that respond to societal needs by addressing the world’s most pressing social, environmental, and political issues.

    1. Build on existing centers focused on government, public policy, and public affairs, broadly construed, and develop complementary curricula, including a possible graduate degree, in ways that recognize the importance of multi-disciplinary perspectives. Emphasize democratic innovation, citizenship, leadership, and public service.

    2. Consolidate the current programs in entrepreneurship and creativity, innovation, and design, and strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of such programs.

    3. Explore accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for our Business, Organizations and Society program (BOS) and support the BOS program’s commitment to a liberal arts curriculum.

    4. Establish a Data Science program that couples analytical skills with an appreciation of the human impact and ethical ramifications of data use.

    5. Expand the Public Health program and seek accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

    6. Continue to explore new programs corresponding to student interest that enhance the overall strength of our curriculum and contribute to recruitment and retention. Such new programs could be realized by collaborative agreements with other institutions and should not add materially to expenses.

    7. Preserve and amplify curricular and programmatic internationalization, in recognition of the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world.

    8. Accelerate planning and development efforts for a new science building.

    9. Improve support for pre-med programs and advising, re-engage students interested in the health professions, and ensure equitable access to these

    10. Gather, synthesize, and use data regarding the academic and post-graduation intentions of prospective and current students, as well as graduates, to better assess the ability of the curriculum to respond to students’ expectations.

  4. Build on existing strengths in student-faculty collaborative undergraduate research by giving every student the opportunity to participate in at least one collaborative and inclusive experiential learning opportunity every year during their time at F&M. Such opportunities include service learning, leadership development, student-faculty collaborative scholarship, creative projects, humanities laboratories, study abroad, travel courses, internships and community engagement projects.

    1. Link efforts of the Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster with the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement and other offices and programs engaged in community endeavors.

    2. Offer relevant training for faculty in community-engaged research and pedagogies.

    3. Seek additional support for student and faculty participation in experiential learning.

  5. Expand opportunities, remove barriers, and increase support for research, scholarship, and creative activity for students and faculty.

    1. Create processes to identify and address institutional barriers to successful scholarship.

    2. Create funds for pilot programs and preliminary investigations that could lead to external funding.

    3. Enhance support for grant management.

    4. Encourage a “team” model for inclusive faculty-student research, scholarship, and creative activity to increase impact.

    5. Advance and celebrate cutting-edge initiatives and collaborations, building bridges across disciplines.