UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to incorporate faculty voices in 2025 vision

The liberal arts college’s strategic plan, slated for 2025, will include direct input from elected committees and faculty.


Joseph Cress

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

The University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ 2025 vision highlights how the university hopes to collaborate with faculty and staff to incorporate their ideas into changes made to the college.

The vision for the liberal arts college for the next five years was distributed to department chairs in the form of a presentation on Feb. 28, and Dean Sara Sanders released a spring update regarding the strategic plan.

In the video, Sanders said the goals of the strategic plan are to:

  • Keep the liberal arts college a world-class, comprehensive college
  • Build on the college’s strengths
  • Deliver transformative education that is enhanced by the university’s research, scholarship, and creativity.

“As we come out of our learnings from the fall through our self-study, the college review, and understanding our budgetary situation, it’s clear that the vision that we hold dear will not be possible without more decisions and actions with a longer horizon in mind,” Sanders said in the video.

Sanders told The Daily Iowan that the vision for the next five years aims to build the college’s writing communication section and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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“We will be looking at curriculum, areas of strength, how we use our resources, and what our students need,” she said.

Sanders said every university is tackling how to better and modernize their institutions.

“We’re not unique in this — everyone is having these conversations,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure that Iowa is the place that people want to be. And so how do we think about our own opportunities to really maximize on who are we, and where do we want to be, and where do we maximize our strengths?”

Sanders said it is important to update the university to make it an ideal institution for prospective students.

“When I started [at] Iowa 20 years ago, many things were the same,” she said. “We know that as the world changes, we know that our student interests change and we as an institution have to be able to adapt, and so that’s part of our goal, too, is to figure out, ‘How do we adapt?’”

The plan intends to incorporate the ideas of UI shared governance so that all voices across campus are heard, Sanders said.

“What we’re asking is for our faculty leaders, people who are experts in their areas, to lead voices to where they feel that we should go in some key strategic areas,” she said. “This is not about reducing, it’s not about minimizing, it’s about building capacity, building strength for the future.”

The strategic plan will be more put together in the fall, Sanders said, when the committee work will be emerging, as the plan is just beginning.

The rich body of faculty will help bring issues to the forefront as the plan develops, Sanders said.

“Our departmental directors are just phenomenal,” Sanders said. “They know their areas, they know where the research trends are going. They know where Iowa’s excelling, they know where Iowa needs to strengthen. I’m asking our leaders to bring forward to us how they feel that we can actually strengthen our future.”