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March 2014 Update

Linfield continues to make strides forward on the 2012-18 Strategic Plan.  Recent activities include integrating learning experiences, investing in faculty and academic programs, expanding regional connections with the wine industry, strengthening the Division of Continuing Education and expanding the sciences for Linfield students.

Strengthen the Division of Continuing Education

Since fall 2013, a group of Linfield faculty and administrators have been meeting to discuss ways to strengthen the Division of Continuing Education and integrate its operations more fully into existing college operations as stated in the Strategic Plan. "Team DCE," as the group is called, has studied the student experience in DCE, recruitment and advising functions, and administrative structure and organization. Several members of Team DCE are part of the search committee for a new Director of Online and Continuing Education, expected to begin at Linfield by July 1.

On March 6, an administrative reorganization of the Division of Continuing Education was announced. The steps being taken reflect the findings of a consultant and Team DCE, and also reflect changes in the marketplace for online adult education. We seek to utilize college-wide strengths and personnel most effectively in providing high quality services to students, and achieve institutional enrollment and net revenue goals. The reorganization comprises two major components – 1) the integration of a number of administrative functions with the departments that provide similar services on the McMinnville Campus. including ITS and the Registrar's Office; and 2) separating the student recruitment and advising functions. Reflecting a change in the locations of DCE students and the ways they are recruited and advised, the reorganization calls for all DCE positions to be based on the McMinnville and Portland campuses.

Linfield's Adult Degree Program began in 1975 at the Good Samaritan School of Nursing, offering upper division college courses to working nurses, and then expanded to offer courses to working adults at community colleges in areas not served by four-year institutions. The program is now almost entirely provided online, with more than 800 students pursuing degrees and certificates in accounting, business and computer information systems, human resource management, international business, management, marketing and nursing.

Support faculty teaching and scholarship

The Strategic Plan calls for investment in faculty teaching and scholarship. The funding for an endowed chair in economics is now complete, and a new endowed fund for an award recognizing creative activity is making substantial progress.

Dave Hansen retired as professor of economics in 2012.  The Dave Hansen Endowed Chair in Economics is fully funded at $2 million. This new endowment recognizes the tremendous impact he had on the lives of countless individuals during his 43 years at Linfield College. The endowment allows the addition of a new faculty member to the economics department, helping to meet the increased demand for courses in that curriculum.  An anonymous donor provided the lead gift and more than 90 other gifts from alumni, faculty/staff, and friends helped complete the effort.  A new economics faculty member will be joining the college for the 14-15 academic year.

The Faculty Creative Award was established by President Thomas L. Hellie and his wife, Julie Olds. It is the second endowed fund to recognize faculty accomplishments established since the Strategic Plan was adopted in 2012. It will provide recognition of exemplary creative activity by Linfield faculty, adding to other awards that recognize scholarship, teaching and service. Faculty selected for this award will have an outstanding body of creative work that has been recognized by their peers and disseminated to a wide audience

Enhance the First-Year Experience

Dynamic first-year programming greatly enhances student retention and success. A First-Year Experience working group has been reviewing our current offerings and exploring diverse models toward creating a richer common academic experience for first-year students. The group, made up of faculty, administrators and students, has completed draft recommendations and submitted them to the faculty for review. They surveyed faculty, examined the effectiveness of existing programs, including orientation and colloquium, and will hold campus forums to review and discuss options and alternatives.

This spring, the group plans to conduct a more formal assessment and invite a broader campus conversation about revisions to the first-year program. In the interim, the working group, through the faculty Student Policies Committee, has recommended meaningful changes to the colloquium program, which will be implemented for fall 2014. In the future, the committee will also discuss how January Term and Inquiry Seminars can be enhanced and better integrated with other first-year programming, including the Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) started in 2011.

Oregon Wine Industry Experience enhances connections, career opportunities

Linfield is building on local and regional partnerships to strengthen our ties in the community. Our location in the heart of Oregon wine country offers unique opportunities for students to leverage their liberal arts education into careers in the wine industry through experiential learning opportunities, internships and service.

The Oregon Wine Industry Experience was launched last summer, allowing five students to spend the year working alongside some of the top vintners in Oregon, learning the wine industry from the ground up. Students are helping with field work and learning about soils, clones, farm practices and the regional diversity of wines. They meet with winemakers and vineyard owners, help with the crush and bottling, and explore the marketing and sales side of the industry. They also have the opportunity to learn all aspects of the business by meeting with wine writers, brokers, economists, retailers and marketers.

The program expanded internationally during January Term.  Students spent two weeks in Burgundy, France, exploring the history and landscape of the Oregon and Burgundy winegrowing regions, and learning various aspects of the international wine business.

Enhance the sciences

Linfield has a long-standing history of excellence in the sciences. As a testament to the increasingly important role of sciences in our complex world, our Strategic Plan calls for a reinvestment in the sciences to meet growing demand as we educate scientists and citizens for the 21st century.

Our faculty have developed innovative introductory science courses, such as an interdisciplinary science seminar, and will participate in the upcoming science-related PLACE theme, "How Do We Know," which questions the powers and limits of science and how the humanities factor into that equation. Faculty across the sciences continue to engage collaborative research projects with their advanced students. Linfield's "scientific boot camp" program, iFOCUS, brings new freshmen to campus to do hands-on research projects with science professors across a variety of disciplines even before they take their first Linfield class.

A robust planning process is underway to continue to look at science programming and  how Linfield can develop science facilities that will foster interdisciplinary collaboration and meet the needs of all students. At the February meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board directed us to engage an architect to evaluate possible changes in our current facilities as well as the construction of an additional science building. We hope to issue a "Request for Proposals" to architectural firms this spring.