Strategic Planning

Emerson College uses strategic planning to provide a vision for each department for the next several years. Each academic department and school reviews its strategic plan on an annual basis, to identify programmatic needs and establish plans for faculty hires, budgets, curriculum, and space planning.

The Office of Academic Affairs coordinates this academic planning process with department chairs and school deans, beginning in the fall semester and culminating in prioritized initiatives in the spring semester to be implemented the following academic year. The resulting goals, initiatives, and plans are developed with significant faculty input to reflect the academic mission of the College.

Faculty and staff should consult with the department chairs and school deans regarding strategic planning for their departments and programs.


Emerson is a private, independent, nonprofit college fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges as authorized by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Emerson is also accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (for its master's degree in communication disorders), and the Massachusetts Department of Education (education preparation programs in the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Performing Arts).

Emerson was reaccredited by NEASC in 2013 and will undergo full review for reaccreditation in Fall 2022, with the five-year review scheduled for Spring 2018. The Spring 2013 Report of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges may be viewed here (after logging in with your Emerson College username and password). The reaccreditation process involves review, reflection, assessment, and planning by administrators, faculty, students, and members of the professional community.

Program Reviews

Each of Emerson’s academic and instructional programs is reviewed regularly by department or program faculty. Reviews are administered and supervised by the Office of Academic Affairs. Most reviews occur on a five-year cycle.

The purpose of Emerson’s academic program reviews is to put into place a system of continuous assessment, planning, and improvement to help achieve the academic mission and the identified academic commitments. Program review is an evaluative, not a descriptive, process; it results in judgments about the quality of a program and the adequacy of its resources.

The Academic Program Review Guidelines provide complete information about the process of program review, and the Program Review Schedule provides a schedule of program reviews.

Decanal Evaluation and Schedule

Since the approval of the deans’ roles and re-affirmation of the schools at Faculty Institute, I have worked with the president, deans and Faculty Council to establish a process for decanal planning and evaluation.

Several academic initiatives are underway

  • Forming a liberal arts council, giving agency to the liberal arts dean in hiring, promotion and tenure for liberal arts faculty; liberal arts sequencing of course and minors
  • Developing curriculum across departments and schools
  • Developing innovative curriculum: civic media, business major, comedy minor
  • Focusing on assessment: creating learning goals for the College
  • Increasing academic rigor: understanding and acting on the NSSE data
  • Creating graduate programs online
  • Strategic hiring, clusters
  • Creating NEXUS, a faculty and chair mentoring program
  • Inclusive Excellence progress in faculty hiring, graduate admission
  • Launching a global engagement initiative
  • Academic planning for Emerson LA

In order to make progress on these initiatives, build an academic team, and effectively execute the Davis grant for Sustainable Innovation, I am proposing the following plan that staggers the dean searches:

Interim Dean of Communication

  • Now in the 2nd year
  • Renew the appointment for 2 years: 2014–2015 and 2015–2016
  • Initiate formative feedback in May of 2014
  • Initiate summative feedback in May of 2015
  • Based on feedback about performance over 3 years, discuss with president and Faculty Council and determine the scope of search (i.e., regional search or national with search firm) and launch 2015-2016

Interim Dean of the Arts

  • Now in the 1st year
  • Renew appointment for 3 years: 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017
  • Initiate formative feedback in May 2014, 2015
  • Initiate summative feedback in May 2016
  • Based on feedback about performance over 3 over years, discuss with president and Faculty Council and determine the scope of search (i.e., regional search or national with search firm) and launch 2016-2017.

Each Interim Dean will have served for four years—enough time to create a shared vision and begin to act on it, to advance strategic academic initiatives, and to acquire sufficient administrative experience for professional development.

Overview of the Position and Responsibilities of the Dean

  • Dean of the School of the Arts and Dean of the School of Communication
    • Re-define role of deans
    • Serves as chief academic officer of the school with responsibility for:
      • Developing a vision and strategic goals for the school
      • Faculty mentoring, development, and agency
      • Convening the faculty
      • Leading the intellectual and creative growth of programs
      • Developing intellectual coherence and academic cooperation across schools and the institute
      • Managing personnel, budget, planning and processes for tenure and promotion
      • Identifying, prioritizing and articulating school needs to internal and external audiences
      • Assisting in fundraising and development initiatives in coordination with the Chief Academic Officer, President and the College’s campaign
    • Guides departments and programs that may be changing, merging
    • Fosters development of chairs and provides continuity and guidance for chairs

Evaluation Process

  • To ensure confidentiality and neutrality, Institutional Research will be the collector and repository of all feedback
  • Formative evaluation will consist of several broad questions
  • Summative evaluation will be in response to a reflective statement by the dean and will include a series of performance indicators as well as open-ended questions; I will be available for anyone wishing to respond in person
  • Collated feedback will be shared with the president, Faculty Council and Dean

Next Steps
Announce at Faculty Assembly.