Elevate academic excellence and embrace a culture of creativity and discovery
DePaul’s mission statement tells us that among the three fundamental responsibilities of all universities—teaching, research, and public service—“the university places highest priority
on programs of instruction and learning." In this age of constant change, easy access to information, and automation, DePaul graduates need not just a mastery of their field, but also the ability to create, innovate, and discover. Our academic mission is to serve as an incubator and repository of knowledge and to transfer that knowledge, first and foremost between faculty and student, and also between university and society. Our learning community of faculty, staff, and students will be further strengthened by focused support of distinctive academic initiatives, improved teaching effectiveness and program assessment, and enhanced support for faculty and student research and creative work.
Research and Creativity Illuminate the Path to DePaul's Future
Research and creative activity were more than a scholarly exercise at DePaul in 2018-19. The Office of Academic Affairs asked faculty and staff to help shape DePaul's future through innovation by submitting ideas that had potential to capitalize on emerging curricular trends, expand existing program reach to new markets, and attract or retain more students.
The university endowed a $2 million Academic Growth Innovation Fund to implement selected ideas as part of its academic excellence strategy. The fund met with an enthusiastic response. Of the 60 proposals submitted, 16 projects totaling over $2.1 million were funded. The resultant new courses, programs and methodologies are expected to increase university revenues within three years.
DePaul also uses internal funds to support scholars in traditionally underfunded areas, as well as faculty who need monetary assistance to bring preliminary scholarly, instructional or creative activity to fruition. The number of awards granted to faculty in the past five years has increased by about half, while the dollars committed have risen about 40%.
Number of Grants and Dollars Awarded from Academic Council by Fiscal Year
Source: Office of Research Services. Academic Council is composed of three councils: Quality of Instruction, University Research, and Public Services.
The 2018-19 academic year was an especially productive one for distinguished external research awards as two faculty members earned prestigious National Science Foundation Early Career Development grants. Additionally, research-active faculty won 10 awards of $100,000 or more from such respected external funding agencies as the National Institutes of Health, Library of Congress, and the Mellon and MacArthur foundations.
As a teaching institution, DePaul students benefit from these awards both in the classroom and as faculty research assistants, gaining the practical, hands-on experience for which DePaul is renowned. To advance this cause, DePaul committed to increasing student research and creative opportunities connected to faculty projects by offering supervision incentives and funding for both undergraduate and graduate student researchers.
Offering excellent academic programs that earn best-in-class recognition is another key strategy DePaul is using to achieve its goals, and the impact is evident. The university earned dozens of rankings in 2018-19 from a wide variety of organizations that recognized DePaul's top programs in specific disciplines.
For example, both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety ranked DePaul on their lists of best film schools; the part-time MBA program placed among the 50 best programs in the country in U.S. News & World Report's 2020 Best Graduate Schools survey; and the Princeton Review recognized our entrepreneurship program, among others. Furthermore, The Theatre School made The Hollywood Reporter's Top 25 list for best graduate schools for an acting degree, while the 2019 Game Design School Rankings reported DePaul as the best in the state and the Midwest.
Universities cannot achieve such recognition without exceptional faculty and staff striving for excellence. Indeed, together, our faculty and staff are elevating academics, increasing teaching effectiveness and ensuring DePaul students graduate with the skills necessary to create, innovate, and discover throughout their lives.