Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Department Mission Statement:

The mission of the Department of English at Illinois State University, which emphasizes an English Studies model, is to:

Department Vision Statement:

The Department of English at Illinois State University is dedicated to providing an environment that facilitates the individual and communal work—creative, intellectual, pedagogical, administrative, and outreach—of our faculty, staff, and students. Our long-term goal is to position ourselves as the premiere English Studies program so that we can serve as an exemplar of the English Studies model to faculty and students nationwide.

Permanent Department Objectives:

Our mission, vision, and objectives are guided by the University strategic plan, Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State. Our objectives include the following:

Goal I. Clarify and Strengthen the Department's Commitment to the English Studies Model.


  1. Hold periodic forums at which Department members are invited to discuss their vision and/or practice of the English Studies model.
  2. Create opportunities for Department members to share their work, with a more cohesive understanding of English Studies an emerging result.
  3. Continue to support public events that showcase interesting work students are doing in English Studies.
  4. Revise ENG 100 and ENG 300 to better reflect all areas represented in the Department.
  5. Review doctoral seminars and exams and possibly revise to better reflect the English Studies model.
  6. Revise the Masters program to better reflect the English Studies model and differentiate it from other similar programs across the country.
  7. Expand opportunities for team teaching across subdisciplines.
  8. Recruit and support outstanding tenure-track faculty in English Studies.
  9. Attempt to include one or more cross-disciplinary positions in the next three-year hiring plan.

Goal II. Improve the Curriculum to Better Reflect Both Who We Are and the Current Commitments of the Discipline.


  1. Undertake major revision of the undergraduate curriculum.
  2. Envision new ways of conceptualizing/framing courses.
  3. Consider creating a service-learning and/or social justice component in the major.
  4. Consider creating new global literature and culture courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
  5. Create support structures for innovative, online teaching.
  6. Explore a broadly conceived language requirement in the doctoral program.
  7. Explore the feasibility of an MFA program in creative writing.

Goal III. Increase Support for Research, Teaching, and Service Activities.


  1. Increase funding for departmental research grants.
  2. Explore tangible ways to recognize time spent on graduate/undergraduate mentoring and other out-of-class instruction.
  3. Explore grant opportunities to benefit the Department.
  4. Look into possibility of creating departmental site for innovative research/teaching in digital humanities.
  5. Pursue creative options for course scheduling to encourage/support research and teaching.
  6. Seek ways to eliminate unnecessary work/streamline bureaucratic elements of the Department’s operations.
  7. Consider revising Department ASPT guidelines to make more transparent the criteria for annual ratings in creative work and scholarship, teaching, and service.
  8. Work to improve the transparency and fairness of all departmental evaluative processes.

Goal IV. Tangibly Support Diversity and Work toward Increased Diversity among Students, Faculty, and Staff.


  1. Increase opportunities for Department members to engage in diversity recruitment/outreach activities and travel.
  2. Organize and promote diversity workshops and other activities for Department members.
  3. Increase partnerships with other organizations, such as the LGBTQ Institute, Diversity Advocacy, and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
  4. Explore ways to better fulfill the Department’s commitment to hiring and retaining diverse Department members.
  5. Explore ways to better fulfill the Department’s commitment to recruiting and retaining diverse graduate and undergraduate students.
  6. Encourage leadership and broader participation in diversity initiatives.

Goal V. Build Greater Collegiality among Students, Faculty, and Staff.


  1. Explore the possibility of a seat on Council for Lecturers/Instructional Assistant Professors and/or APs.
  2. Organize regular, informal social gatherings.
  3. Create more opportunities for Department members to get to know one another across areas/caucuses.
  4. Seek out ways to better recognize the contributions of Lecturers/Instructional Assistant Professors, Administrative Professionals, and Office Staff.
  5. Invite broad, inclusive participation in departmental affairs.
  6. Encourage support for one another through greater participation in activities outside one's area/caucus.

Goal VI. Improve Efforts toward Communicating the Value of English Studies to Broader Constituencies.


  1. Seek out ways to communicate our work to broad audiences both locally and nationally.
  2. Commit greater financial support for outreach activities.
  3. Create a Podcast Series—English Studies Goes Public—that highlights the interdisciplinary work of Department members.
  4. Recognize the outreach work of Department members in tangible ways (e.g., in the ASPT process).
  5. Encourage broad collaboration on proposals for grants that can benefit the entire Department.
  6. Communicate ways in which English Studies contributes to University sustainability initiatives.
  7. Increase opportunities for graduate students to explore careers outside of the academy.