Creating Our Future, Together

A Vision for the Future

In the spring of 2014, Samuel Merritt University's Office of Academic Affairs launched an effort to create a new vision for the Academic Division. (Click here to read Dr. Foster's email announcement and to view a short video message about the visioning process from members of the Senior Academic Leadership Team, which consists of the chief academic officers of each SMU school/program and members of the Academic Vice President’s Leadership Team.)

To facilitate the discussion, copies of the "Vision of Academic Affairs" framework were posted at all three campuses with an open invitation for faculty, staff, and students to comment.  Feedback was received from hundreds of people on campus to help create our vision.  The Senior Academic Leadership Team (SALT) analyzed and synthesized all of the feedback into a vision of our desired future.  This document was then disseminated to SMU faculty, staff and students, and feedback was collected from an online survey and a series of focus groups on all three campuses.  Based on the feedback received, SALT created the following description of our desired future:


 Envisioned Future of the SMU Academic Affairs Division

At Samuel Merritt University, we are united in the education of healthcare practitioners who will improve health and wellbeing in our communities. As educators, we engage in exemplary teaching, scholarship, service, and practice. As learners, we engage in authentic experiences that empower us for success. Our collective drive for excellence is characterized by a commitment to never stop asking, “How can we improve?”

Our success is founded on the contributions of everyone at Samuel Merritt University, our alumni, members of our local communities, and people throughout the healthcare system.  What we achieve together creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Thus, we are accountable to create and sustain a culture in which people experience:

  • Robust interprofessional collaboration;
  • Respect for the value diversity brings to us and appreciation for the ways that inclusivity enriches our communities;
  • Respect for each person’s physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs;
  • Encouragement and support that empowers us to develop our personal talents and interests while providing the necessary resources for success;
  • Intentional preservation of time and space for creativity and innovation;
  • Encouragement and opportunities to embrace change, confront daunting challenges, and celebrate experiences of learning;
  • Timely, clear and open communication;
  • A mutual commitment to earning each others’ trust.

Within this culture, we are all responsible for ensuring that our work aligns with a collective effort to achieve our vision.


From Vision Into Action

Using this Envisioned Future as a guide, workgroups of faculty and staff were formed to establish strategic goals and objectives around three major themes:  Teaching & Learning, Faculty Roles & Responsibilities, and Structure & Process.  Goals were drafted as statements of outcomes that the workgroups believe must be achieved for the Division to progress towards its desired future.  For each goal, objectives were created to provide focus and direction for the specific activities that will be pursued. These goals and objectives were reviewed and refined by SALT, which eventually approved list of 7 goals and 25 objectives.
In the spirit of open communication and collaboration (two of our Envisioned Future’s guiding principles), stakeholders are being invited to review each goal and objective and contribute their own thoughts and ideas in support of their achievement. A list of all 7 goals follows.  To comment on a goal, or to view and comment on its objectives, simply click the goal to open up a Google Sheet (it may take a minute to load), select the appropriate cell, and use the "comment" button towards the upper right-hand corner of the window to make your comment.

  • Goal 1: The University recognizes faculty for Excellence in some combination of their areas of focus, i.e. teaching, scholarship, service and practice.
  • Goal 2: There is a systematic, effective, and accessible approach to attract and develop faculty as teachers and/or scholars.
  • Goal 3: Curricular scheduling structure promotes consistency, efficiency and Interprofessional Education.
  • Goal 4: Administrative policies, procedures, processes and systems are efficient, aligned and easy to use.
  • Goal 5: Faculty, staff and students embody a culture of innovation and continuous learning and improvement.
  • Goal 6: Faculty, staff and students embody an inclusive, collaborative culture.
  • Goal 7: Samuel Merritt University is a valuable contributor to improvements in health and well-being.


What Next? 

Workgroups will be formed for identified objectives and be empowered to develop an appropriate scope of work and necessary SMART tactics related to the objective.  Workgroups will then work with SALT to finalize their scope and tactics, and identify/align resources as they are needed and available.  Given the pursuit of our vision to "never stop asking: 'How can we improve?'", progress will be continually monitored and experiences of learning will be identified, celebrated and used to bolster future success.

Regular updates on the progress of this important effort will be provided to the community through various methods. Please also visit this site for regular updates.  For more information, please contact Michael Negrete, PharmD, Interim Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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