Borne from the Academic Strategic Plan, Immersion Vanderbilt calls for each undergraduate student to participate in an intensive learning experience that takes place in and beyond the classroom and culminates in the creation of a tangible final project. Students will engage in a civic and professional, creative expression, international, or research immersion experience. Immersion Vanderbilt will help students explore their interests, transform ideas into action, and make a difference in the world.
Over 600 faculty members participated directly or indirectly in the Strategic Planning Process, making Immersion Vanderbilt a program inspired by Vanderbilt's world-class faculty. Since the introduction of the Strategic Plan, nearly 40 faculty from across all school and colleges have served on the Immersion Committee charged with crafting the potential academic structure and network of resources. Faculty members across the university are not assessing this work and developing individual school and college programs through the faculty governance process. Pending faculty approval, completion of an immersion experience and final academic project will become a degree requirement for undergraduate students entering in the fall of 2018.
Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience (DIVE) serves as the University's Quality Enhancement Plan, a critical part of Vanderbilt's ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. DIVE operates within the framework of Immersion Vanderbilt and constitutes a new and focused effort to enhance student learning. The goal of DIVE is to teach human-centered design thinking to students so that they may solve complex, real-world problems, develop critical thinking skills, and work in multidisciplinary teams within an immersive, faculty-guided project.
Vanderbilt is committed to supporting and retaining outstanding faculty who have recently received tenure. As these faculty assume more senior status, it is important that Vanderbilt renew its commitment to them so as to ensure continued success in their careers that will lead to even greater national and international visibility. On a competitive basis, the Provost's Office will award tenured associate professors (or the equivalent rank in the Blair and Law Schools) the title of Chancellor Faculty Fellow. This designation includes funding of $40,000 a year for two fiscal years. The funds are designed to support the professional development of the awardee. Chancellor Faculty Fellows also gather throughout the academic year at meetings designed to build interdisciplinary connections and foster a broader intellectual community.
The Provost Research Studios initiative is designed to support the professional development of full-time faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure track) who are not full professors. The PRS award provides financial resources to support mentoring from outside the university. Such mentoring will not only advance the research and scholarship agendas of these Vanderbilt faculty, but will also help expand their professional networks. PRS provides a chance to bring a more senior scholar or scholars from other universities to campus and/or to visit a more senior scholar or scholars at other universities. A key objective of the program is to offer this support at a critical time in the faculty member's career so as to leverage the impact of this investment.