Objective V

Promote an environment where all faculty and staff are encouraged, empowered, and incentivized to pursue excellence.

We titled this strategic planning effort “Leadership Through Excellence.” For the McKelvey School of Engineering to truly adopt this philosophy, we must empower all dchool employees to pursue excellence by providing opportunity, training, and reward incentives.

Goal 1: Develop a coherent mission and vision for non-tenure track, full-time faculty.

As a small engineering school that seeks to offer a broad portfolio of degree programs, we rely on non-TT faculty (NTTF) for a significant amount of teaching and curriculum delivery. These faculty need to be integrated into the departments and school as first-class citizens. The first step is an unambiguous statement of their roles, responsibilities, and privileges within the school.

Goal Progress

Being driven by the vice dean of undergraduate education, this goal has received significant attention and effort. Policies and guidelines will clarify for full-time teaching faculty across ranks their roles and responsibilities, terms of appointment and the process for promotion. McKelvey Engineering policies will be aligned with Danforth Campus Policy on Full-Time Teaching Track Faculty with additional nuances that are distinctive to the school. This was no small task. Documentation has been reviewed with a variety of stakeholders and is pending final review and approval. These new policies and guidelines will help codify workplace best practices and processes for these important constituents in the departments and school.

Goal 2: Improve the voice of the staff and teaching faculty.

Our goal is to establish a variety of channels for staff and NTTF to communicate with school leadership to express concerns and to surface issues that affect them.

Goal Progress

Thus far, this goal has been focused on ways to improve the voice of staff and is also making good progress under the oversight of McKelvey’s representatives to the Danforth Staff Council. One of the main deliverables for this goal is the establishment of a McKelvey School of Engineering Staff Council, which, in many ways, will mirror the Danforth Staff Council. The draft charter and bylaws are being vetted by representatives throughout the school and at various organizational levels and will be launched soon. The council will strive to improve two-way communication between staff and senior administration, foster a more open and positive environment throughout the school, and highlight the contributions of staff.

The council holds the promise to be a powerful and positive contributor to the McKelvey mission and our collective success, encouraging opportunities to improve our delivery and our work environment. It will help inform leadership, influence outcomes, and enhance the teamwork between departments and across the school. In addition to being a forum to discuss issues, the council has the potential to leverage staff skills and experiences for innovative and creative solutions.

Goal 3: Ensure career development plans for all staff.

The school provides an unusual work environment for staff in that many staff report to faculty whose responsibilities do not typically include staff development. The work environment for staff in engineering should provide clear paths for career advancement. We need to establish an HR structure that ensures all staff have effective career-development plans.

Goal Progress

The last active goal under this objective is to ensure career development plans are in place for all staff, and our HR team has been driving this. While there are many deliverables under this goal, the recent hiring of a new HR Staff Learning & Development Specialist will be critical to achieving this goal. This new position will be focused on the entire employee life-cycle with emphasis on professional development and clarifying career paths for all staff. The new staff member will facilitate one-on-one sessions with all staff employees interested in developing their career paths and potential at McKelvey or beyond. In addition, University resources will be further leveraged and a new training budget that has been set aside in the upcoming fiscal years for McKelvey-specific staff training and development needs. Lastly, McKelvey has been actively contributing to the new WorkDay human resource system so that employee life-cycle management is incorporated into this new platform, ensuring a standard and formal set of tools is available and used throughout the University.

Goal 4: Ensure that the value of all faculty and staff is both explicitly and implicitly recognized.

There are many mechanisms by which someone feels valued — or not. Being explicitly recognized shows that the administration values an employee’s contribution. Being denied the same benefits afforded others sends the opposite message. We need to ensure our practices are designed to explicitly demonstrate to all employees that they are valued. Not all positions have equal reward, but all employees are entitled to feel valued.

Goal Progress

This goal is not yet formally active, but will directly benefit from the establishment (and contributions) of various initiatives, including the McKelvey Staff Council, noted in goal 2 above.

Goal 5: Establish diversity in all forms, including race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation and politics as an asset.

Diversity of the leadership, the faculty body, and the student body are explicit goals of the university. Such goals must permeate throughout the organization. By embracing diversity, all members of the school know that they are equal partners in our aspirations, that the school does not tolerate bias or abuse, and believes that diversity is a strength that enables it to address a variety of challenges with a broader perspective.

Goal Progress

The school continues to engage with the University’s Academy for Diversity & Inclusion and will adopt best practices and recommendations as they become formalized.