New plan shapes Flagler’s academic future

By Tiffanie Reynolds |

A new deaf education lab, renovations to the Chisp-Ellert House and a teaching center are some of the changes students may see on campus in the future.

The Academic Strategic Plan, passed by the Faculty Senate in late January, gives the college standards to follow when deciding what to add or change in academic classes and policies. It will directly influence majors, classroom policies and the academic calender for the next 5 to 10 years.

“A document that says, ‘this, in a nutshell, is what Flagler wants to do,'” said Andrea McCook, associate professor of Theatre Arts and a member of the Academic Strategic Planning Committee.

She explains that it will not only help make changes, but also clearly state what kind of college Flagler is and what they will teach to their students. This is what the Academic Mission and Guiding Principles of the plan covers, defining what the plan is and the kind of goals Flagler will reach in the next decade.

The rest of the 50-page document contains proposals, which are the concrete changes that Flagler wants to make in the near future. The Faculty Senate will vote and add them to the Academic Strategic Plan in the next few years. Some are supported more than others, and not every proposal will be included in the plan.

The plan will be presented in front of the Board of Trustees by Dr. Hugh Marlowe and Dean Woolfolk on February 23. If passed, it will become a part of the Institutional Strategic Plan, a larger document which influences policies over the whole college. Both are expected to create some major changes to the college in the next decade.

“The college needed a much clearer plan academically,” said Dean Woolfolk.

He and Dr. Arthur Vanden Houten presented the idea of an academic plan to the Faculty Senate in 2008, feeling that Flalger needed to focus more on academics than building and admissions.

Along with plans for a new deaf education lab, Teaching Center, and renovations to the Chisp-Ellert House, another proposal passed with the plan is the participation in the Institutions of Excellence Program, which will help add more science classes to the new general education requirements.

Other changes the plan will also help introduce are an Environmental Science Major, increase in internship programs and study abroad trips as well as build up the Anthropology and Archeology program.

Although the Academic Strategic Plan will influence big changes to Flagler College, the plan itself will not replace any policies already enforced.

Barbara Blonder, associate professor of Natural Sciences and Chair of the Faculty Senate, said, “It’s a plan, not a contract. It sets out vision and goals. If the setting changes, then the plan will certainly change.”

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