Provost promotes relevancy, urgency and balance in first faculty Town Hall meeting of semester


    Provost Nowell Donovan presented the challenges and reasoning behind the plans to achieve TCU’s Academy of Tomorrow on Tuesday to about 30 people at a faculty town hall meeting.

    Relevance and urgency are the two challenges TCU faculty face in the changing world in higher education, Donovan said.

    “Are we relevant, or do we cost too much?” Donovan asked.

    During his hour-long speech Donovan described the Academy of Tomorrow as “our quasi-philosophical statement; what we will be doing in the future.”

    Balance between the student and faculty and balance between the depth of majors and the breadth of general education is what the future will hold, Donovan said.

    He said goals have been set to achieve this balance.

    Physically the Intellectual Commons will help achieve that balance, specifically the interdisciplinary Rees-Jones building. Donovan said the end goal of that space is academic entrepreneurship, students and faculty generating original answers to questions and problems in a cross-disciplinary way.

    New university-wide programs include the Quality Enhancement Program that is part of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation recommendations. Advancing global citizenship is one way the university will satisfy those recommendations.

    “[We] won’t simply be taking TCU to the world, but the world to TCU.” Donovan said.

    Smart classrooms in the new Rees-Jones building will have collaborative technology for students and faculty to speak to leaders across the globe, Donovan said.

    A global perspective will also be prevalent in the Four Great Theme Years. Each year, a new global topic will be taught and thought about throughout the university. Water, food, energy and time are the current planned theme years, Donovan said.

    Donovan said that success in this was dependent upon cooperation between academic affairs and student affairs.

    Full-time faculty members can enter proposals for Great Theme classes starting in late January.

    Another town hall meeting about new university programs will be held Friday.