Goals and Objectives

III. Supporting a Faculty of Excellence

The foundation of Dedman College's excellence is its faculty. Although many elements contribute to the reputation of a university, from facilities to student accomplishments to the success of sports teams, the quality and size of the faculty are undeniably critical factors.

Recognition for Scholarship

Dedman College faculty have been recognized with prestigious academic awards, including:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
  • Sloan Research Fellow
  • Election to the National Academy of Sciences
  • National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award
  • Department of Energy Early Career Award
  • Sam Taylor Fellowships

Key Metric

The number of full-time faculty in Dedman College will increase by 15 over the next five years. The number of endowed professorships and chairs will increase by five over this time.

Other Metrics

  • Ratio of faculty to student credit hours generated.
  • Number of endowed professorships.
  • Percentage of faculty appointments held by women and members of underrepresented groups.
  • Percentage of undergraduate student credit hours taught by full-time faculty.

Dedman College is justifiably proud of its faculty members, many of whom are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally for their contributions in teaching, research and service to the profession and the community. The number of College faculty elected to elite bodies (like the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences), and the faculty's record of success in winning grants and recognition from prestigious organizations (including the National Science Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation), are testaments to the quality of Dedman College.

Recruiting and retaining a faculty of excellence are ongoing challenges, especially in the competitive climate of American higher education today. Ensuring a healthy diversity among the faculty and staff is no less demanding. For Dedman College, however, the size of the faculty is now the most pressing concern. Despite the overall growth at SMU, the development of new programs and the ever-increasing demands on scholars and educators, the total number of faculty in Dedman College has not changed in 25 years. Almost all College departments have fewer tenure-track faculty than their equivalents in SMU's aspirant institutions, and some are not even staffed to the levels found in small liberal arts colleges. This means that Dedman College departments generally do not have the critical mass of faculty necessary to provide the breadth of teaching and research expected in leading American universities.

For Dedman College to reach its potential, further investment is necessary to increase the size of the faculty, thus bolstering targeted departments, building new capacity in research and creating new opportunities for students.

Objectives

  • Recruit and retain an exceptional and diverse faculty, dedicated to excellence in research and teaching. Dedman College should nurture a faculty of national prominence that embraces the institutional vision of research at the highest level combined with a fundamental commitment to undergraduate education.

  • Increase the number of faculty lines in Dedman College incrementally. The creation of new endowed professorships and chairs will be an important part of this growth.

  • Reduce dependence on part-time faculty in undergraduate classes. Like many American universities, SMU has become increasingly dependent on part-time faculty and adjuncts, especially in lower-level undergraduate courses. By increasing the number of College faculty and encouraging more faculty to teach introductory classes, the student learning experience will be enriched and more consistent.