The FIT strategic planning process devoted the fall term to identifying the key challenges and opportunities the College will face over the next decade. More than 80 interviews were conducted; four special roundtables were convened; and, in January we met as a Steering Committee to push the process forward by establishing nine special planning committees. The results of these discussions and deliberations are summarized in the four documents accompanying this charge to the special planning committee. We are asking the School of Art and Design to establish:
- a memorandum identifying Issues for first roundtables;
- a report on interview results;
- a report summarizing the central themes from the strategic planning roundtables convened December 6-7 and December 15-16, 2004; and
- a report on enrollment trends.
Over the next two months we are asking the special planning committee for the School of Art and Design to address three strategic challenges.
Strategic Challenge 1. FIT seeks to be a magnet for the most capable and promising students of New York City, the nation, and the world—students with an interest in a premier institution for attaining an education at the nexus of design, business, and technology, at an affordable price. FIT has a strong commitment to educating a student body that is characterized by diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, family income, geography, and nationality. FIT seeks to be an institution that serves as an accelerator of the most talented and promising students, including those whose creative potential finds expression through other means than traditional college entrance exams.
The Report on Enrollment Trends indicates that FIT, over the last five years, has made important strides in achieving these goals and at the same time, there have been important shifts in the distribution of FIT students from two- to four-year programs and from part-time to full-time status. Now is the time to take account of those changes, asking in the process how can the School of Art and Design assure that it provides both two and four year degree programs that meet the learning needs of its students, that prepare students for robust careers, and that satisfy the more immediate demands of the employers who hire its new graduates. Here the School needs to ask itself a series of basic questions. Does the School have in place criteria and processes to monitor the performance of both its two- and four-year programs in terms of the jobs and careers of its recent graduates? Should the first two years of the programs that prepare students for an FIT baccalaureate program be the same as the two-year curriculum leading to an AAS degree? Should the School consider developing stand-alone baccalaureate degree programs to which students are admitted in their first year? What degree or other exit strategy will be appropriate for first-time students admitted to baccalaureate programs who decides to leave at the end of two years? In framing answers to these questions and in its response to this first Strategic Challenge, the School should also consider the recent reports from NASAD and FIDER.
Strategic Challenge 2. In the increasingly competitive market for top students, those institutions that rise to the top have both excellent academic programs and exhibit a tangible commitment to being student centered. Students know when they are being served, when they see themselves as truly belonging to a community that reflects their interests and concerns, and when they are taken as serious partners in the learning process.
Now is the time for all of FIT's programs and services to ask What changes to the campus environment will enhance teaching and learning while also increasing student satisfaction with their educational experience at FIT? More specifically, this Strategic Challenge asks, How might the School of Art and Design best strengthen its commitment to being student-centered in terms of the support students receive from classroom and non-classroom faculty as well as from the administration and staff, the nature and extent of the Schools co-curricular programs, the effectiveness of its programs of academic advising, and the efficiency and success of its programs of internships, job placement, and career planning?
Strategic Challenge 3. A key goal for FIT emerging from the strategic planning process is to be and be seen as a creative hub linked to an increasingly dispersed set of industries—a nexus for the distribution of new ideas, new techniques, and the imaginative use of new technologies. As a creative hub with global reach, FIT might conceive and organize some of its elements as a think tank—a generator of innovative, entrepreneurial ideas that serve and help advance the fashion and related industries. FIT as a creative hub would engage in dynamic partnerships with industry, with other higher education institutions, with its own students as barometers of new directions in the fashion and related lifestyle industries. FIT creates opportunities for its students as well as its faculty to serve as intellectual capital to enhance the workings of its industry partners. One of the keys to becoming such an institution is the recruitment and retention of faculty with broad experience, with reputations for excellence, and with a global perspective.
This strategic challenge asks the School of Art and Design to identify those new programs and opportunities which can best ensure that FIT remains a creative hub to which industry leaders look for both new ideas and workers. In considering how best to invest in FIT's future equal attention should be given to the question of faculty recruitment and retention.
In considering these strategic challenges the School of Art and Design should:
- explore and then specify the planning goals it wants to achieve in responding to each challenge;
- identify a limited set of specific initiatives and the principal resources that will be needed to achieve these goals;
- suggest a limited set of metrics and benchmarks that the School could track to see if, over the next five years, sufficient progress is being achieved; and
- identify those issues and concerns that will need to be addressed once this current round of strategic planning is complete.
School of Art and Design Committee Members
CHAIR: Joanne Arbuckle, associate professor, Fashion Design-Apparel; acting dean,
Art and Design
CO-CHAIR: Ellen Goldstein, associate professor and chairperson, Accessories Design
Israel Cruz, coordinator, Instructional Computing Center
Donna David, instructor, Communication Design
Stephanie De Manuelle, adjunct assistant professor, Fine Arts
Helena Diamant-Glass, associate professor-coordinator, academic advisement
Vincent DiFate, instructor, Illustration
Judith Ellis, chairperson, Toy Design; professor, Communication Design
Mario Federici, assistant professor and chairperson, Production Management: Fashion and Related Industries
Marianne Klimchuk, assistant professor and associate chairperson, Packaging Design
Anne Kong, instructor, Display and Exhibit Design
William Mooney, assistant professor, English and Speech; acting assistant dean, Liberal Arts
Douglas Mulaire, adjunct instructor, Photography
Kingsley Parker, assistant professor, Communication Design
Michael Seiz, assistant professor, Fashion Design - Apparel
Jeffrey Silberman, assistant professor and assistant chairperson, Textile Development and Marketing
James Vaughan, professor, Interior Design