Developing a Shared Mission and Vision

Scott Franklin, CASTLE Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning & Evaluation, Rochester Institute of Technology

The CASTLE Center began as a smaller research collaborative, with five faculty from departments of chemistry, biology and physics coming together to support discipline-based education research. The initial mission and vision was local: supporting individual research projects and identifying opportunities for collaboration. At the urging of the Dean of the College of Science, the group expanded in scope to form the CASTLE Center, which now includes programmatic and outreach initiatives. Maintaining consistency of vision and mission is a priority, and the group maintains several activities and practices that encourage this.

The Center maintains a weekly journal club AND separate research group meeting. This encourages regular contact between core and affiliated Center faculty, with multiple opportunities for communication and collaboration. As a result, concerns are freely voiced early, before they grow into more significant challenges.

The Center has engaged in multiple mission-defining practices, and developed a shared ownership of these processes. These include: 1) the initial proposal for the research collaborative, which solicited (and won) $45,000 from the COS Dean to support research, 2) the initial mission and vision proposal for the CASTLE Center, which solicited (and won) $100,000 from the RIT Vice-President of Research, and 3) a submission (which did not win) for $1,000,000 and designation as an RIT "Signature Research Area." Each of these was seen as an opportunity for the group to collectively define its goals, along with benchmarks of success.

As the Center continues to grow, the group's mission continues to evolve. Recently, the group agreed that, having accomplished its original "5-year plan," the time was ripe for a new strategic plan that builds on the past success. Research group meetings have been devoted to discussions and "group-writing" exercises to develop language that accurately reflects the collective vision.


Center Profile: CASTLE Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning & Evaluation - Rochester Institute of Technology