Bowie State University
College of Arts and Sciences
Strategic Plan 2010-2015 Click Here to Download
Changing the Way We Deliver Excellence
…..to build a collaborative academic community that will transform the College of Arts and Sciences and subsequently BSU for a better future
College of Arts and Sciences and the Changing Landscape of Bowie State University: A Planning Prologue
Bowie State University has been in existence for over 144 years. It is one of the oldest Historically HBCUs in the nation. It is classified as an MS II institution, according to the Carnegie Classification system. Like most of the other HBCUs, teaching is the primary role of faculty at Bowie State. Consequently, the pursuit of scholarship tends to be relegated to a distant second place.
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the largest of four colleges at BSU. With the responsibility for delivering the core liberal arts curriculum at the institution, the CAS is cognizant of its role in providing the strong foundation upon which other colleges may build programs of excellence. Further, if Bowie State is to emerge as a competitive institution in the nation as a provider of high quality education and a significant player in the traditional knowledge-production and knowledge-transmission model of higher education, the CAS must assume its rightful place as a leader in this institutional effort.
The CAS is committed to the role of higher education in preserving and understanding the diversity of strands in our intellectual heritage as it pertains to both enduring and emerging fields. Because BSU is gradually changing its role from being a predominantly teaching institution to embrace the knowledge discovery and dissemination processes and graduate education, faculty research is becoming increasingly important. We need to change the way we deliver excellence to students and the society in general.
Changing the way we deliver excellence entails changing the institutional mindset to embrace the new vision and to work toward the change needed to move BSU to the next level of excellence. We need a new an appropriate set of tools and infrastructure to support the changes that we are poised to make. Consequently, in the next five years, we propose an ambitious plan that will include the development of a modern teaching and research infrastructure. Our faculty will be dedicated to excellence in teaching and the diligent pursuit of research.
Philosophically we see the CAS, and BSU, for that matter, as a living organism comprising of subordinate elements that work together synergistically to produce a functional whole. To this end, we will strive to build a collaborative academic community that engages our diversity for transforming the academic enterprise. This five-year plan represents the hopes and aspiration of faculty, students, staff and administrators in the CAS, with input from Alumni and other external stakeholders.
We aspire to become a college that nurtures and supports a faculty that is diverse, innovative, and excellent in teaching, active in pure and applied scholarly research, and responsive to the needs of students and the community.
The mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is to provide a superior education, enabling students to develop critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking and to make well-founded ethical decisions. We offer our students contemporary, relevant, and service-oriented educational programs that are guided by the standards of excellence set forth by professional associations and accrediting agencies.
The CAS subscribes to the five cores values of BSU – Excellence, Civility, Integrity, Diversity, and Accountability.
How do we define these values?
Excellence – We value and strive to pursue excellence in all our endeavors. We measure excellence by the impact on our region, nation, and world.
Civility – We are committed to treating all individuals with dignity and respect.
Integrity – We are committed to judging all individuals impartially, critiquing fairly, and practicing high ethical conduct.
Diversity – We uphold a worldview that values diversity and cultural differences, and recognize that multiple perspectives enhance creativity.
Accountability – We accept responsibility as stewards of university resources, and pledge to fulfill our commitment to the mission of the college and the institution.
The CAS has adopted four academic virtues as the currency in which we transact business. These virtues are designed to capture the essence of our being as a College and institution, and hence are applicable to the discharge of the institutional goals and other goals and for that matter any other administrative goals that may be proposed by anyone.
Excellence - To encourage faculty to do their best and desire perfection in all their endeavors
Scholarship - To encourage faculty to contribute to knowledge in their fields.
Student Success - To be student-centered and promote effective teaching and student learning.
Service and teamwork - To promote teamwork, collaboration, and partnership, as well as dissemination of knowledge for the betterment of society.
The undergirding themes in our plan
As we develop our strategies for the future, there are certain themes that guide our strategic plan.
The challenges that confront our modern society, be they environmental, socioeconomic, cultural, or health, are complex, intertwined and interrelated at their core. Consequently, their solution will rest on an interdisciplinary approach that engages expertise in different departments and programs. Working across disciplines is a prudent and efficient way of using scare resources. Further, the students whom we train should be equipped with diverse experiences and skills to succeed in the workplace of the future where collaboration and multitasking are needed.
In an increasingly global community, the CAS is committed to sensitizing its faculty, staff and students to the fact that we live in an interdependent world where problems transcend traditional boundaries of yesterday. Our curriculum must be internationalized so that students not only graduate with knowledge about global issues, but equipped to use it to make a difference. Faculty need to engage their counterparts in collaborative ventures of mutual benefit, including research, resource development, and education.
Learning to make a difference
The CAS should embrace the ‘learning to make a difference’ concept whereby civic engagement is not an afterthought, but rather an integral part of the training of students and an extension of our scholarly activities. Our faculty should seek to contribute to knowledge in their disciplines through professional development, and engage students in inquiry through discovery. More importantly, the knowledge discovered must be translated into practice for the benefit of society at large. Civic engagement and public service must become integral part of the student preparation in the CAS.
CAS should acknowledge individual and group idiosyncrasies and define diversity broadly to include, but not limited to, personality, learning styles, life experiences, race/ethnicity, class, gender, country of origin, ability, and cultural, political, and religious affiliations. More importantly, diversity should be engaged by integrating these varying experiences and perspectives into teaching, research, and outreach. It is important for faculty, staff and students to respect diverse viewpoints and perspectives and be willing to debate them in a civil manner.
It is important that what we do in the CAS promotes teaching and student learning. All students who enroll in the College should be assisted to become successful. Contemporary instructional facilities should be provided and faculty capacity to instruct augmented. Mentoring of students and their engagement should be both curricular and co-curricular. Our students should be prepared for life and be competitive with the best in the state, nation, and the world.
As part of this Strategic Planning process, the CAS conducted a SWOT analysis in spring of 2008. The outcomes are presented below.
Bowie State University is well known in the State of Maryland, having been in existence for over 144 years. It is close to major federal agencies including NASA, NSA, and the USDA. This advantage provides opportunities for faculty research collaboration with their counterparts in these agencies, and for student internship and employment opportunities. BSU has the only supercomputer in an academic institution in Maryland, and one of the fastest in nation. Its computer science program is accredited by ABET and offers one of only two doctoral programs at the institution.
Its HBCU status entitles BSU to apply for grants set aside for minority-serving institutions. Further, it offers unique opportunities for the institution to be a leader in addressing issues of concern to minorities and other underserved communities. The CAS is responsible for teaching the core liberal arts curriculum at BSU, and hence has opportunities for influencing the choice of majors of students. With eight departments, the CAS is situated for inter-departmental collaboration as well as opportunities for program growth an increase in student enrollment.
The Department of Fine and Performing Arts is currently building a brand new complex to support teaching and scholarly activities in CAS. The Department of Communications operates excellent TV and radio studios for teaching and outreach to the community.
The CAS has about 100 full time faculty, most of whom have terminal degrees in their disciplines. Many are already engaged in research or are eager to do so. One faculty in the Department of Natural Sciences holds three patents. Researchers in departments such as Computer Science and Mathematics are recognized by their peers in international circles as outstanding in their fields. Several faculty members are highly recognized authors with multiple books to their credit. The faculty body is diversified, with natural roots across the world, thereby readily facilitating international engagement.
Most importantly, the leadership in the CAS at all levels is visionary, enthusiastic and committed to excellence.
The HBCU status of BSU, while an advantage on some occasions, is also a disadvantage in the sense that the HBCUs tend to be associated with low academic standards and low resources, among other things. This situation presents a challenge to recruiting high-performing students and faculty. Retention and graduation rates are low.
The STEM disciplines, with the exception of Computer Science, confront poor physical infrastructure and technology for teaching and research. The situation is critical for the Department of Natural Sciences. Faculty research is hampered by a lack of key pieces of research equipment.
The generally low image of HBCUs in academia means that BSU, just like many others, is less selective in its enrollment, thereby admitting a large number of ill-prepared students in its freshman class. The low level of financial resources adversely impacts student support in several ways, including few scholarships, lag in technology infrastructure, and limited sponsored experiential opportunities for students. On-line course development lags behind what obtains at most state colleges and universities.
While diversity in faculty body is rich, diversity in academic programs is limited in most departments. The Department of Natural Sciences offers only two degrees and does not have Departments of Physics or Chemistry, and for that matter no degree programs in physics, chemistry or allied areas. This situation hampers the development of new programs that are dependent upon physics and/or chemistry as foundation. Outside of the STEM disciplines, faculty research is very limited. In the arts and humanities, the Department of Fine and Performing Arts lacks a degree program in music. On the whole, programs that are commonly independent at similar institutions are grouped together into one highly heterogeneous department.
The supercomputer is woefully underutilized, whether it is for educational or commercial purposes. Outreach efforts in the CAS are low. Engagement of the pre-college programs for the creation of viable pipelines into the STEM disciplines is low. There is a lack of a strong, organized global engagement effort, and defined processes for facilitating the engagement of international scholars (e.g., visiting scholars) in our research endeavors. There are only a few Graduate programs in the CAS. There are no professional science programs.
The support of industry and alumni engagement in the CAS is very low. Grantsmanship in the CAS is low, especially in the areas of the arts and humanities.
The Prince George’s County has a high concentration of African Americans who are the traditional clientele of HBCUs. The CAS has opportunities to reach out to these high schools to assist in improving the quality of teaching and student preparation, and create pipelines for enrolling quality students into BSU.
There are opportunities to seek, plan and build state-of-the-art instructional facilities for the STEM disciplines, and to create new academic programs to provide a wider diversity of programs for our clients.
There are biotechnology companies in the region that can be engaged in partnerships for program development, student internships, and employment.
Several community colleges, including Montgomery County Community College and Ann Arundel Community College as well as the University of Maryland University College, are widely known in the area for providing quality programs at affordable prices. The University of Maryland System exercises some control over the development of new programs, prohibiting the creation of identical programs that already exist at member campuses. This will place a restriction on the kinds of new programs the CAS may establish in the future.
There are four other HBCUs in the State of Maryland. They compete for funds and funding opportunities set aside for minority programs, as well as for students who prefer to attend HBCUs. The generally poor image of HBCUs in society works against efforts at these institutions to develop and advance at a competitive rate.
In harsh economic times, institutions with limited resources, like BSU, experience restrictions on growth and development. Further, the lack of endowments, significant alumni support, and significant fundraising capacity, places BSU and CAS at a significant disadvantage to be competitive in higher education.