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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:

  • maintain and support an environment of open inquiry and innovation that encourages excellent creative work, scholarship, and teaching throughout the Department;
  • support and continue to develop model undergraduate programs based on the concept of English Studies;
  • support and continue to develop model graduate programs also based on the concept of English Studies;
  • develop reciprocally supportive links between the undergraduate and graduate programs in English and with the undergraduate and graduate programs in the University as a whole;
  • prepare graduates of all English programs effectively for careers inside and outside of education after graduation;
  • maintain links with secondary and post-secondary schools throughout Illinois to foster effective research and teaching in the discipline across grade levels;
  • maintain and develop public service programs consistent with the teaching and research aspects of the Department's mission;
  • communicate and interact with other institutions having comparable educational and research missions to enhance teaching and research within the Department and to advance theory and practice in the field generally.

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:

  • Create a work environment that values all members as people and fosters positive morale and transparency where possible, acknowledges and honors the professionalism of all faculty, staff, and graduate assistants in our various roles, and recognizes the interdependence of our work through informal and formal discourse;
  • Promote innovative and dynamic pedagogical research, scholarship, and practice in the classroom and the curriculum;
  • Support—through reassigned time and co-teaching opportunities—interdisciplinary research and publication, while continuing to value the forms of research and publication that are appropriate to a particular field;
  • Continue to articulate and revise a multi-dimensional understanding of English Studies that responds to the changing needs of our students, the field, and the world;
  • Maintain our commitment to providing students with a learning environment and community that supports growth as individuals, professionals, and citizens;
  • Work to increase diversity among faculty, staff, and students, and to encourage appreciation of and engagement with diversity through individual, programmatic, and departmental action;
  • Secure the human resources, facilities and other resources required to support excellence in scholarship, teaching, and research.

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.