Vision in Action
Strategic Initiative Fund




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Making Vision in Action Investments through the Strategic Initiative Fund 2006-07

Each school/college Strategic Plan contains proposals for enhancing the competitive position of the unit, and, by extension, the University. The first step in making VIA investment decisions is to extract a strategic developmental agenda from each school/college plan, an agenda that provides a logical path of sequenced actions (and one that clearly presents the interdependencies of actions). With these developmental agendas in hand, University leaders can use the “strategic goals matrix” as criteria in evaluating VIA grant proposals.

The initial funding cycle for the Strategic Initiative Fund Grants occurred during the fall of 2005. Fifty requests for funding were received from TCU’s faculty and staff. Twenty-five were approved resulting in approximately $1.8M in commitments. It is anticipated that $2.2M will be available for funding during the 2006-07 cycle. The deadline for submitting 2006-07 applications is March 24, 2006. It is anticipated that the selection announcements will occur during mid’April. Successful applicants will have funding available beginning June 1, 2006.

Strategic Initiative Funds Initial Year Investments

An executive summary of the successful proposals can be reviewed at The following is a summation of those projects which were funded:

In an effort to promote the graduate presence at TCU Don Coerver (AddRan) has been approved to hire consultants to review and offer recommendations regarding the advancement of existing English and History Ph.D programs. Bill Slater (Communications) and Dan Williams (English) were funded to conduct a feasibility study for an Executive Doctorate in Mass Communications and MFA in Creative Writing respectively. Two new Centers were funded: Cecilia Silva’s (Education) Center for Urban Education, and a feasibility study to establish a TCU Center in Guanajuato, Mexico was proffered by Tracy Deitz (Social Work). Additional programming was approved for existing Centers. Tony Burgess (Science and Engineering) will offer a program called Biodiversity: Inquiry and Methods through the Institute of Environmental Studies and Don Jackson/Barbara Herman (Political Science/Student Affairs) are expanding the Center for Civic Literacy programming.

Expansion of research was of high priority to Rhonda Keen-Payne (Health & Human Sciences) and Mike McCracken (Science and Engineering). The Research Initiative in Nursing and Health Sciences and the Science & Engineering Research Center will provide increased opportunities for faculty and students to engage in academic exploration. Additionally, Dennis Gibbons (Library) received funding to acquire Eighteenth Century Collections Online allowing researchers to view a comprehensive digitized text of 150,000 volumes published between 1701-1800.

Increasing opportunities for the undergraduate student fared well in the funding process. Christine Riordan and Greg Stephens (Business) were funded to begin The Neeley Leadership Institute which will enroll 60 junior and senior business students. Strengthening TCU through Service Learning, a joint application from Cathy Avila-Linn (Student Affairs), Catherine Wehlburg (Teaching Excellence), and Linda Moore (Social Work) will add to existing service learning opportunities. Tommy Thomason (Journalism) will oversee Real World Advertising/Public Relations. This concept offers practical opportunities for students to write, design, edit, and research for external clients. An Engineering Internship Program will allow Steve Weis (Engineering) to pilot an idea allowing 12 students to be trained as technician helpers between their 2nd and 3rd year. If successful, all engineering students may ultimately participate in this summer program.

Students will also be affected by enhancing current undergraduate programming. Carrie Leverenz (English) will oversee a new computer lab and expanded curriculum in the new Media Writing Center. Mike Butler (AddRan) and Marsha Ramsey (Academic Services) will create and oversee an Academic Advising Center for AddRan students which includes pre-majors. Scott Sullivan (Fine Arts) will conduct a study to determine the feasibility of adding an Arts Administration Minor. Andy Fort (Religion) and Carrie Zimmerman (Student Affairs) will expand the Common Reading: Engaging First Year Students in TCU’s Learning Community for new freshmen.

The Strategic Initiative Fund has responded to TCU’s goal of connecting to the external community. Ranjan Muttiah (Geology) will offer a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certification Program to outside companies and governmental agencies. Julie Lovett (Extended Education) will offer Spanish language training through the Fort Worth ISD Workplace Spanish Initiative with the intent of expanding this offering to additional area school districts. Richard Estes (Music) has been approved to establish a Permanent Relationship Between the TCU Opera Studio and the Fort Worth Opera.


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