Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Strategic Plan

Unanimously Approved November 18, 2016 / Updated Mission/Vision March 1, 2020

PDF Version

College of Communication and Information

Strategic Plan

2017 – 2021

Mission

We are a diverse and inclusive community that creates change by inspiring our students and pursuing scholarship and engagement that make a difference.  We shape socially conscious, ethical leaders who use communication and information to solve problems. We ignite the Volunteer Spirit to light the way for research, teaching, and service.


Vision

Create the best college of communication and information in the world:

  • Unified across disciplines
  • Grounded in integrative, collaborative, and inclusive scholarship
  • Centered on teaching and mentoring students from diverse backgrounds
  • Dedicated to professional practice and lifelong learning
  • Committed to service as a community of Volunteers

Values

The college is committed to diversity and fosters a sense of collegiate and social community. The culture of the college includes an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities of access to information and the exercise of freedom of expression. The College promotes new knowledge creation through research and creative activities.

The college believes in and cultivates the following values.

  • Intellectual curiosity and critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Global and intercultural engagement
  • Freedom of expression, independent media and democracy
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Ethics, honesty and integrity
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Service, community responsibility and engagement
  • Integration of theory, practice and knowledge
  • Transdisciplinarity and relationship building

Preamble

Communication and information technological innovation and/or convergence, coupled with the increasing realization of the central nature of communication and information to all aspects of a modern society, serve to underscore the challenges and opportunities that lie before us. The College of Communication and Information is charting a bold course based on leveraging its historic strengths coupled with a desire and willingness

  • To experiment and innovate
  • To embrace and face the challenges of the journey to the Top 25
  • To create and share new knowledge with the community of scholars, our students and the world
  • To strive for excellence in all of our programs that leads to international, national and regional recognition.

Our Priorities and Goals

Priority 1: The College of Communication and Information will recruit, enrich, and graduate a diverse body of undergraduate students who are prepared to enter the global community as lifelong learners and authentic leaders.

Goal A

Offer an innovative communication and information curricula for each of our undergraduate majors and minors.

Strategy 1:  Manage curriculum development to increase quality and facilitate increased retention and graduation rates.

Tactics:

  1. Encourage continued development of strong and innovative curricula for each of the disciplines.
  2. Coordinate changes to undergraduate curricula through the undergraduate committee to ensure that student needs are being met.
  3. Monitor demand for new curricula within the college and plan for changes as needed.
  4. Maintain accreditation for all undergraduate programs where applicable. 
  1. Benchmark and improve student retention rates.

Strategy 2:  Effectively advise and mentor students.

Tactics:

  1. Provide orientation and initial major advising through the undergraduate advising center.
  2. Provide advising for majors and minors within the appropriate schools to ensure that students follow the curriculum and graduate in a timely fashion. 
  1. Continue to hold an annual CCI Job and Internship Fair to enhance CCI student placement. 
  1. Encourage and mentor students to take advantage of leadership opportunities.
  1. Share career information and job opportunities with students and alumni.
  1. Work with the UT Center for Career Development to maximize professional opportunities for our students and alumni.

Strategy 3:  Effectively manage enrollment and demand.

Tactics:

  1. Manage student enrollment to ensure delivery of the curriculum to an optimum number of students.
  1. Monitor and minimize course bottlenecks.

Goal B

Recruit and retain outstanding undergraduate students.

Strategy 1: Promote and market opportunities available to prospective undergraduates. 

Tactics:

  1. Seek funding opportunities to engage in recruitment activities in areas outside of East Tennessee.
  1. Continue to take part in university driven invitational recruitment events targeted at undergraduate students.
  1. Improve the usability of the CCI Undergraduate Studies website. 
  1. Encourage internship opportunities for all students. 
  1. Create materials designed to promote each of the college’s undergraduate majors as well as study abroad programs and extracurricular activities. 
  1. Continue to update information provided to undergraduates during orientation sessions and recruitment events.
  1. Include CCI alumni in recruitment efforts as appropriate.

Strategy 2: Develop a resource base that supports well-qualified undergraduate students.

Tactics:

  1. Increase funding for scholarships and support of student research activities.
  2. Establish funding support for student travel to professional and academic conferences as well as creative exhibitions/festivals/competitions.
  1. Increase scholarships to fund study abroad travel expenses (see Priority 4, Goal B, Strategy 1, Tactic 3 below).
  1. Increase scholarship support for student experiential learning opportunities.

Goal C  

The College of Communication and Information will upgrade its equipment and facilities to provide undergraduate students with world class knowledge-creation and knowledge-dissemination environments. 

Strategy 1:  Maintain and upgrade all equipment and facilities.

Tactics:

  1. Maintain and upgrade computer laboratories. 
  1. Maintain and upgrade the Scripps Convergence Lab to continue to provide a setting in which students can produce a wide variety of projects. 
  1. Maintain and upgrade the Public Speaking Center to support CCI’s campus-wide oral communication program.
  1. Maintain Patrick Auditorium with the audio visual and “smart” technology needed to maximize instructional effectiveness.
  1. Maintain and utilize the Martha S. Wallen “classroom of the future” to foster collaborative teaching and learning. 
  1. Continue to provide and evolve a comprehensive plan for CCI equipment and software replacement and maintenance.
  1. Continue to address CCI space needs by exploring opportunities to expand within existing university buildings and/or by building an addition onto CCI’s current building – The College of Communication & Information Complex – to include a number of state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory, research and student media spaces.
  1. Maintain and upgrade the Converged Newsroom to enhance student success.
  1. Maintain and upgrade the Message Effects Laboratory to encourage student research.
  1. Maintain and upgrade the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.

Priority 2: The College of Communication and Information will strengthen graduate education through an emphasis on excellence and improvement of the graduate student experience.

Goal A

Increase the number of quality graduate students from diverse backgrounds.

Strategy 1: Enhance the effectiveness of recruitment efforts.

Tactics:

  1. Establish and maintain graduate curricula that reflect the realities of evolving communication and information research fields in order to attract more students. 
  1. Strive to increase funding to attract and retain high caliber students from diverse backgrounds.
  1. Continue to seek external funding for our graduate students from governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and private donors.
  1. Improve the usability of the CCI Graduate Studies website to make it more attractive to prospective graduate students.
  1. Improve materials designed to promote the college’s graduate programs. 
  1. Continue to update information provided to graduate students during orientation sessions and recruitment events.
  1. Increase graduate recruitment activities at professional meetings and academic conferences.
  1. Improve and expand CCI’s Doctoral Student Visitation Day.
  1. Identify key feeder schools to cultivate prospective graduate students from diverse backgrounds.

Goal B

Strengthen the productivity of our graduate students in terms of research, service, and scholarship.

Strategy 1: Encourage graduate students to collaborate and produce research.

Tactics:

  1. Encourage senior graduate students to serve as student mentors to incoming graduate students.
  1. Encourage faculty to establish research teams that include graduate students.
  1. Encourage collaboration between faculty and graduate students across the disciplines within the college.
  1. Enhance faculty graduate student mentoring skills.
  1. Provide opportunities for graduate students to interact with research scholars or professionals within the fields of communication and information sciences.
  1. Encourage students to participate in the CCI Research Symposium.
  1. Identify and develop resources to support graduate student research.

Goal C 

Maintain dynamic graduate programs that will complement and contribute to all fields represented within the college.

Strategy 1: Strive to promote rigorous programs that will provide students with substantive knowledge and varied experiences.

Tactics:

  1. Create programs that will allow graduate students to be well versed in their own specific communication and information discipline, while being knowledgeable about the interdisciplinary nature of the fields. 
  1. Allow and encourage program modifications consistent with transformations in the fields of communication and information sciences. 
  1. Encourage and financially support students to obtain international experience during their program.
  1. Support quality teaching by providing faculty with opportunities to learn about and engage in classroom innovation.
  1. Advise students about available cognate courses in the college.
  1. Develop benchmarks using our aspirational peers as models of excellence. 

Goal D

[PROGRAM SPECIFIC] Grow the master’s degree in information sciences, maintain its quality and increase its ranking.

Strategy 1: Create and maintain high academic standards. 

Tactics:

  1. Remain compliant with the American Library Association accreditation standards and engage in continual self-assessment and improvement.
  2. Utilize the iSchool connection to innovate and expand interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and research that address the challenges and opportunities associated with the world’s dynamic knowledge economy.
  1. Ensure that the distance education and on-campus programs retain parity in teaching effectiveness, student engagement, course offerings, financial support and physical facilities and resources.
  1. Develop and refine assessment measures to demonstrate that graduates have attained core competencies expected of information professionals as articulated by the American Library Association and identified by statements of knowledge and competencies developed by other relevant professional associations.

Goal E 

[PROGRAM SPECIFIC] Increase the quality and recognition of the college-wide master’s program.

Strategy 1: Improve the current program through innovation and idea implementation.

Tactics:

  1. Review the structure and curriculum of the master’s program to make improvements.
  1. Develop and refine output assessment measures to ensure that graduates attain competencies in each of the concentration fields. 
  1. Consider the creation of a college-wide online master’s program and/or other innovative master’s programs.

Goal F

[PROGRAM SPECIFIC] Continue to increase the quality and recognition of the CCI doctoral program. 

Strategy 1: Strengthen research ties between faculty and students.

Tactics:

  1. Encourage more faculty to become involved in the doctoral program and with doctoral students. 
  1. Create a formal faculty-student mentoring program to provide research guidance to doctoral students with the end goal of assisting them in presenting conference papers, producing publications, and securing positions.
  1. Create a CCI graduate faculty.

Strategy 2: Strive to maintain high academic standards.

Tactics:

  1. Continue to assess the doctoral program for improvement purposes.
  1. Seek additional internal funding for our doctoral students from the Provost’s office and the Graduate School.
  1. Identify opportunities for external funding of doctoral and master’s graduate research assistantships from key UTK partners and other funding agencies.

Goal G

Further invest in the graduate programs through increased resources and scholarships, as well as facility improvements. 

Strategy 1: Maintain the current level of resources while seeking new support revenues.

Tactics:

  1. Continue to seek external funding for improvement of graduate teaching and research facilities.
  1. Seek new endowments for scholarships and assistantships.
  1. Seek funding to obtain and promote cutting edge technology and equipment for research and teaching. 
  1. Continue to improve record keeping and data gathering, especially for assessment purposes. 

Priority 3: The College of Communication and Information will strengthen its capacity, productivity, and recognition across its total portfolio of research, scholarship, creative activity, and engagement.

Goal A

Become an internationally recognized college for transdisciplinary communication and information scholarship. 

Strategy 1:  Assist faculty members to pursue externally funded research grants.

Tactics:  

  1. Increase the number of faculty involved in developing sponsored project proposals to 75% of all tenure-line faculty by 2021.
  2. Continue to support the formation of transdisciplinary faculty research teams (defined as at least two researchers from at least two different schools) around areas of expertise and around specific grant opportunities.
  1. Support the expansion of transdisciplinary faculty research teams to include faculty from other UT units and colleges.
  1. Continue to pursue externally funded support for GRA positions. 
  1. Continue to develop partnerships with other UT units and colleges
  1. Continue to develop partnerships with other institutions outside of UT, including governmental, non-governmental, and academic institutions, both national and international.

Strategy 2:  Provide college-level support for faculty research endeavors.

Tactics:  

  1. Continue to provide CCI research grants to faculty as funds permit.
  1. Continue to encourage faculty to apply for research-focused SARIF funds and other internal funds.
  1. Continue to provide funding to support professional development leave.
  1. Continue to provide travel support for faculty members to present their research and creative outputs to national and international conferences.
  1. Increase the number of GRA positions in the college.
  1. Provide untenured, tenure-track faculty with a one course release to work on a sponsored research proposal within the first three years of employment.
  1. Increase the number of faculty chairs/professorships.
  1. Whenever possible, include faculty travel in externally funded grant proposals.

Strategy 3:  Foster a culture of research/creative work throughout the college.

Tactics:

  1. Develop a College-wide Research Statement that integrates CCI’s research disciplines showing how they work together across all four schools.
  1. Continue to implement the college-wide and individual school workload policies that specify faculty research/creative activity expectations.
  2. Encourage collaborative faculty research and publication with other faculty members and with graduate students.
  1. Continue to schedule and promote faculty and doctoral student research presentations at school and college level colloquia.
  1. Continue to enhance the annual college research symposium.
  1. Hold book launches to celebrate new CCI faculty books.
  2. Continue to update the faculty research database (bios, CVs, articles, citations, research interests, etc.) on the CCI website.
  1. Enhance the process for recognizing CCI faculty and doctoral student research excellence (awards, professional development leave, etc.).
  1. Further develop and formalize a CCI visiting scholars in-residence program. 
  1. Encourage faculty to submit research papers and propose panels at professional/academic conferences.
  1. Nominate CCI faculty for university, national and international awards.
  1. Showcase posters from faculty and graduate student research conference presentations.
  1. Publicize bi-monthly faculty research accomplishments to the CCI Board of Visitors and CCI faculty and staff via email and CCI’s website. 
  1. Encourage faculty members to complete their Elements research profiles and keep them up-to-date.

Goal B

Become an internationally recognized college for discipline-specific scholarship. 

Strategy 1:  Develop a supportive environment for disciplinary scholarship.

Tactics:

  1. Establish common research areas of interest within the disciplines and coordinate joint research in those areas within the schools.
  1. Identify key disciplinary conferences and publications to target as research outlets.

Strategy 2:  Measure research outputs at the school level.

Tactics:

  1. Achieve a minimum of two research units per faculty member on average per year within each of the disciplines in the college.
  1. Measure and publicize scholarly output for each school annually.
  1. Benchmark CCI’s research productivity internally with peers and aspirational peer institutions at least every five years within the limitations of available data.
  1. Encourage faculty to load their research outputs into the UT TRACE system, which provides metrics such as downloads. 

Goal C

Encourage the formation of collaborative partnerships with key internationally-oriented research organizations.

Strategy 1: Build support networks and seek academic partners for collaborative research projects.

Tactics:

  1. Explore and support the development of research projects between CCI and research institutions from other countries.
  1. Continue to host international communication and information scholars.

Goal D

Encourage CCI faculty members to develop a global view of research possibilities.

Strategy 1: Offer opportunities and incentives for faculty to include international/intercultural perspectives in their teaching and research.

Tactics:

  1. Encourage faculty members to submit proposals for international/intercultural grants and contracts.
  1. Encourage and support research on international/intercultural issues in collaboration with colleagues and doctoral students within the college and university and with international colleagues.

Strategy 2: Offer opportunities and incentives for faculty to enhance their international/intercultural experiences.

Tactics:

  1. Publicize the specific expertise of faculty to governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions who fund research. 
  1. Encourage and support faculty presentations at international conferences.
  1. Encourage international faculty development leaves and Fulbright opportunities.
  1. Encourage faculty members to engage in international training and lecture programs.

Goal E 

Create and maintain research laboratories.

Strategy 1: Improve the quality of our research equipment and facilities.

Tactics:

  1. Maintain and update the focus group/group communication research laboratories to support a wide variety of faculty/student research projects.
  1. Maintain and update the user experience laboratory to support human computer interaction research.
  1. Continue to upgrade CCI’s Public Speaking Laboratory as a center for public speaking teaching and research.
  1. Continue to upgrade CCI’s Adam Brown Social Media Command Center as a center for social media teaching and research.

Strategy 2: Pursue opportunities to enhance research facilities.

Tactics:

  1. Identify potential research partners.
  1. Submit grant proposals for equipment purchases.
  1. Create and maintain a plan for keeping hardware and software updated.
  1. Look for opportunities to share or leverage research equipment.
  1. Submit research equipment and special software needs as part of new faculty start-up packages.
  1. Utilize the enhancement opportunities created from operating some of CCI’s research laboratories as UT core facilities.

Goal F

Provide research-dedicated space for funded research projects.

Strategy 1: Create and maintain on-campus research space

Tactics:

  1. Retain research space in Hoskins Library.
  1. Inform UT facilities and research offices of the need for expanded or specialized research space as needed.

Priority 4: The College of Communication and Information will attract, retain, and recognize stellar and diverse faculty and staff who strive for excellence and proudly embody Volunteer values. 

Goal A

Develop strategies and metrics to recruit high caliber and diverse faculty and staff.

Strategy 1: Promote open faculty and staff positions. 

Tactics:

  1. Aggressively promote job openings nationally, internationally and locally to reach highly-qualified potential applicants.
  1. Effectively promote CCI job openings at international/national association meetings as appropriate.

Strategy 2: Utilize every faculty and staff open position as an opportunity to increase faculty and staff diversity.

Tactics:

  1. Pursue opportunity hires whenever possible.
  1. Fully participate in UTK future faculty recruitment initiatives.

Goal B

Develop strategies and metrics to attract and retain high caliber faculty and staff.

Strategy 1: Increase faculty and staff salaries to market levels.

Tactics:

  1. Seek external funding for endowed faculty professorships.
  1. Seek external funding for endowed CCI faculty chairs.
  1. Work with UT’s central administration to identify the resources required to increase salaries for CCI faculty and staff. 
  1. Provide competitive faculty start-up packages.

Strategy 2: Provide CCI faculty and staff with increased opportunities for professional, research/creative and personal development.

Tactics:

  1. Continue to support and grow faculty professional development leave opportunities.
  1. Continue to support and grow opportunities for professional growth involving CCI staff and faculty.
  1. Establish partnerships across the University to support transdisciplinary research and teaching.
  1. Establish incentives to encourage cross-college transdisciplinary research.
  1. Maintain and improve CCI support services for pursuing extramural funding.

Priority 5: The College of Communication and Information will develop a sustainable and effective resource base for the future and continue transformation of its infrastructure.

Goal A

Significantly increase the resources coming into the college from external sources.

Strategy 1: Continue to grow CCI’s development program.

Tactics:

  1. Continue to work with CCI’s Board of Visitors (BOV) and friends of CCI to identify and cultivate potential donors.
  1. Orchestrate and successfully complete CCI’s Journey to the Top 25 Capital Campaign’s goal of raising $15 million dollars for CCI by December 31, 2019 by securing gifts to support for:
    1. Undergraduate scholarships
    2. Graduate scholarships
    3. Faculty and graduate student research and travel
    4. Faculty professorships and chairs
    5. Facilities and technology improvements, expansion and support
    6. Diversity and inclusion
    7. Internationalization and study abroad
    8. Student internships and other types of engagement opportunities
    9. College and School excellence/enrichment funds
    10. Other School and College needs
  1. Keep BOV members informed about what CCI is doing and of its needs. 
  1. Continue to update CCI’s development plan. 
  1. Continue to communicate the ongoing metrics used by development staff.
  1. Develop a plan to increase the opportunities for potential donors to participate in CCI activities.
  1. Explore additional methods of encouraging and supporting individual school development efforts.
  1. Continue to develop and steward long-term relationships with major CCI donors and potential donors. 
  1. Develop and submit significant proposals for large grants/endowments to appropriate foundations and corporations. 
  1. Continue to develop CCI’s annual campaign (i.e., the College Fund) to increase the number and size of alumni donations. 
  1. Develop occasional project based fund raising campaigns through the use of Vol Starter. 

Goal B 

Identify opportunities to generate additional funding for CCI from internal and external sources.

Strategy 1: Develop and deliver CCI executive education and professional engagement programs.

Tactics:

  1. Identify CCI faculty members interested in executive education and professional engagement programs.
  1. Work with CCI faculty to develop marketable workshops and short courses for professional and non-profit organizations.
  1. Work to identify organizations for which CCI might develop customized executive education programs.
  1. If feasible, work with the Haslam College of Business’ Center for Executive Education to market and deliver CCI executive education programs. 
  2. Develop a business and marketing plan for CCI’s Executive Education Program.

Goal C

Significantly increase the resources coming into the college from internal sources.

Strategy 1: Identify and pursue resource growth opportunities internally.

Tactics:

  1. Request new resources as part of proposals to establish any new M.S. and/or B.S. concentrations/degrees in communication and information.  
  1. Evaluate existing lab fee schedule to determine if changes are needed based on increased expenses associated with lab fee classes. 
  1. Identify additional lab fee classes, as needed, to generate the funds required to provide CCI students with access to “high value” hardware and software.
  1. Identify and fully utilize all UTK internal technology support funds to address CCI’s ongoing technology needs. 

Strategy 2: Identify and pursue opportunities to generate revenue by renting out CCI spaces to internal and external clients.

Tactics:

  1. Develop a strategy/plan for renting CCI laboratories to internal and external clients (e.g., User Experience Lab, Message Effects Lab, Adam Brown Social Media Command Center, etc.).
  1. Develop a strategy/plan for renting CCI community spaces to internal and external clients (e.g., the CCI Patio, the Scripps Lab, etc.).

Strategy 3: More clearly inform CCI’s key constituencies about what we do as a college and about our goals and achievements. 

Tactics:

  1. Continue to inform the central administration of the campus and system about CCI activities and needs.
  1. Collaborate with other campus units, as appropriate, to inform the central administration of CCI’s needs. 
  1. Provide CCI alumni and friends with ongoing information about CCI activities and needs.  
  1. Provide CCI undergraduate and graduate students with ongoing information about CCI activities and needs.  
  1. Provide CCI faculty and staff with ongoing information about CCI activities and needs.  
  1. Make the central administration aware of the requirements imposed on CCI by programmatic accrediting agencies and how these requirements translate into resource needs for the college.
  1. Develop a plan for publicizing the accomplishments of each CCI unit to stakeholder and peer groups, including: CCI colleagues, UTK administration, students, alumni, local and state community members, and disciplinary colleagues at aspirational institutions. Particular attention should be paid to communication strategies focused on enhancing unit program rankings by scholarly organizations and other entities (e.g., US News & World Report).

Priority 6: The College of Communication and Information will enhance diversity and inclusion to benefit our campus.

Goal A  

Create and sustain a diverse and inclusive undergraduate and graduate student community within CCI.

Strategy 1:  Emphasize diversity and inclusion within the undergraduate curriculum.

Tactics:

  1. Encourage faculty to infuse their courses with diverse perspectives.
  1. Invite guest speakers from diverse backgrounds to speak to classes. 
  1. Continue to monitor and update college and school diversity and inclusion plans.
  1. Include the CCI Diversity and Inclusion Statement and UTK’s Disability Statement on all course syllabi.

Strategy 2:  Enhance the culture of diversity and inclusion for students.

Tactics:

  1. Continue to periodically conduct a college climate survey with CCI undergraduates to provide a better understanding of the experiences of students within the College. 
  1. Continue to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to be involved and seek leadership positions in CCI student clubs and organizations. 
  1. Continue to support CCI’s Diversity Student Leaders Society, the National Association of Black Journalists Chapter and any other diversity-focused student organizations within the College.
  1. Continue to partner with on campus groups to increase and improve diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives.
  1. Provide students with information about organizations that serve diverse interests scholastically, professionally and socially. 
  1. Actively recruit high school students from diverse backgrounds. 
  1. Continue to develop multicultural events and programming to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
  1. Continue to identify and nominate diverse students for professional development opportunities and awards.

Goal B   

Encourage undergraduate and graduate students to expand and evaluate their world view in order to become ready for the world.

Strategy 1: Offer opportunities and incentives for students to seek knowledge of other societies and cultures.

Tactics:

  1. Infuse courses with international and intercultural content.
  1. Continue to support and expand CCI faculty-led study abroad programs.
  1. Continue to identify and develop funding to support study abroad scholarships with a goal of awarding scholarships for students studying abroad annually.
  1. Promote study abroad programs on an ongoing basis.
  1. Increase the number of students participating in study abroad programs.
  1. Provide a clearinghouse for information on communication and information study abroad programs.
  1. Maintain and update CCI’s study abroad web page and additional promotional materials.