Strategic Plan

II. Teaching & Learning

In the humanities, students learn how to read and analyze critically, how to write creatively and cogently, and how to assess the reliability of source material and arrive at conclusions based on evidence and reasoning. The humanities also address how to live life as responsible citizens and active members of the communities we inhabit. Learning how to teach others how to learn is the ultimate expression of the fundamental value of learning how to learn. That’s why we have been so successful educating high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers as inspiring and innovative teachers, such as Erin Gruwell, whose Freedom Writers Diary inspired a major movie and a philanthropic foundation for innovative pedagogy.

1. Enhance undergraduate recruitment efforts and lower-division general education

Photo: Humanities Honors Program seniors, 2017. Credit: UCI School of Humanities 
  • Enhance recruitment by ensuring that all admitted students receive personal contact from faculty members.
  • Demonstrate the clear value of a UCI humanities degree in the Humanities by sharing data regarding successful career paths and highlighting student success.
  • Support the Humanities Honors Program and refine coordination with the Campus Honors Program in order to provide our best students with an integrated, research-oriented education.
  • Continue to expand Humanities Core by allowing winter start and summer completion.
  • Develop a more content-based approach to Writing 39B/C that would enlist groups of ladder faculty and graduate student instructors to work together on intellectually challenging coursework.
  • Strengthen the articulation between the Academic English 20 series and Writing 39A so that international students and domestic students from non-English backgrounds can make optimal progress.
  • Identify potential majors and double-majors early in their undergraduate career and advise them through our programs.
  • Expand our Humanities Peer Mentoring program and First-Generation support program, to assist all our students to make a successful transition to UCI.

2. Improve the upper-division undergraduate experience

Photo: Aya Labanieh, undergraduate triple-major in comparative literature, French & philosophy. Credit: Danielle McElroy 
  • Rethink upper-division curriculum to better reflect the needs and aspirations of transfer students.
  • Explore best uses of instructional technology in humanities settings.
  • Expand the 4+1 option, which allows students to earn a combined B.A./M.A., to most of the majors in the school.
  • Grow interdisciplinary majors and minors, such as European Studies and Global Middle Eastern Studies, Medical Humanities, Latin American Studies, and Queer Studies that give UCI Humanities a distinctive profile nationally and internationally.
  • Explore research opportunities and coursework where advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students can learn together.
  • Increase the number of capstone seminars/projects, research opportunities and relevant internships for majors in SOH. 
  • Support Humanities Out There (H.O.T.) so that more UCI undergraduates have a significant service-learning opportunity.
  • Enable study-abroad opportunities for all SOH majors, through UCEAP and our own programs.
  • Promote language learning as a key condition for successful global engagement, through innovative and effective approaches to language teaching, multilingualism, language residence houses, summer intensive workshops and other institutionally creative means.
  • To this end, extend the current PIE (Program in International Engineering) for German to other languages; develop similar programs with other Schools (Business, Social Sciences, Social Ecology, Public Health and Nursing).
  • Develop GE courses taught in Spanish both to support Hispanic Heritage speakers and to encourage all students to speak and work in Spanish. If successful, consider other languages as well.
  • Develop stronger ties with School of Education for teacher-training degree programs and credentialing; expand H.O.T., TH!NK, the History Project and other pedagogically inspired initiatives.
  • Establish connections between majors and employment options, clarify how the degrees are applicable to the job market.
  • Educate faculty, students and staff about key “career readiness” indicators, in cooperation with the Career Center.
  • Articulate and demonstrate the humanistic skills that will equip students for productive lives, including excellent communication; visual and media literacy; cross-cultural and global awareness; civic knowledge and engagement; historical analysis and understanding; and facility with argument, judgment, and questions of value.

3.  Build on graduate education successes & increase career training and opportunities

Photo: Samantha Carter, Ph.D. student in visual studies. Credit: UCI School of Humanities 
  • Sustain the 5+2 Ph.D. program in order to allow interested graduate students to complete their dissertations in a timely five years, followed by a one to two year research and teaching faculty position to launch them on their careers.
  • Increase the programs supporting graduate students from the Humanities Commons, including public humanities internships.
  • Build on current programing to prepare our graduate students to be the finest teachers possible.
  • Pay greater attention to the sequencing and assignment of TAships, so that graduate students acquire both the teaching experience they need in established courses and the opportunity to explore the design and organization of their own courses.
  • Increase the number of GSR positions so that graduate students can have research experiences as part of their portfolio.
  • Encourage graduate programs to plan their curricula so that graduate students can readily meet departmental requirements at UCI in a timely manner.
  • Enable opportunities and preparation for nonacademic careers.
  • Expand available emphases and certificates for graduate students.
  • Publicize the impressive strength and success of our graduate programs.
  • Encourage best practices among the faculty for advising and mentoring graduate students. 

4.  Strengthen classroom learning with co-curricular educational experiences

Photo: UCI graduate student Kourosh Alizadeh discusses philosophical concepts with fifth-graders at Irvine’s Canyon View Elementary School as part of the TH!NK program. Credit: Steve Zylius / UCI 
  • Using the existing La Casa Nuestra, the Rosa Parks House, the Religious Studies House, and the Humanities House as prototypes, develop residential facilities that enable students to experience integrated programming together. Sponsor faculty-led events and seminars in these student residence environments.
  • Maintain robust Student Associations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to ensure a sense of community and to represent the interests of students in discussions about issues that affect the entire school.
  • Use programming from the departments—e.g. films screened by the Film and Media Department, poetry and prose readings by students in the school’s premier writing programs—to draw students to the school after hours in lively intellectual exchange.
  • Make sure students feel invited and empowered to participate actively in our conferences and other events.
  • Integrate co-curricular offerings with undergraduate courses on the model of Humanities Core and Illuminations.
  • Make internships and study-abroad experiences readily available to every student.

5.  Ensure a diverse student body and inclusive culture

Photo: undergraduate students walking near Humanities Gateway. Credit: UCI School of Humanities 
  • Build on our existing departments of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies to promote a rich academic environment where top-notch scholars are pursuing research and teaching in underrepresented fields of human culture.
  • Strengthen ties with the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies in the School of Social Sciences for the same purpose. 
  • Strengthen offerings in Native American Studies, Queer Studies and Global Cultures with the aim of encouraging students to study both the cultures of their own heritage alongside traditions which may be foreign to them.
  • Work with all departments in SOH to ensure a schoolwide commitment to diversity and inclusion, not just in faculty hiring, but also student recruitment and staff employment. 
  • Retain students by working to make all members of our community feel welcome and supported. 
  • Support international students academically and recognize them for the breadth of perspectives they bring to the educational environment of the campus.
  • Welcome and support all "non-traditional" students, including re-entry students, veterans, post-retirement degree seekers, and lifelong learners. 
  • Support all admitted and matriculated students regardless of immigration status.
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