This past August, Jason Osborne was hired as Miami’s provost or chief academic officer. His goals for the position include restructuring the Global Miami Plan, strengthening Miami’s graduate programs and enhancing diversity and inclusion.
To improve the Global Miami Plan, Osborne tasked the newly-formed Liberal Education Committee (LEC) with restructuring the areas that Miami and other liberal arts universities aren’t focusing on. The Global Miami Plan recently received a grade of “C” as a liberal education program by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
Although Osborne is unsure what the Global Miami Plan will end up looking like, he said his team will make the necessary changes to improve the liberal arts experience within the next two years.
“I’d love to see [the Global Miami Plan] kind of streamlined, so that it’s not just 300 courses that students have to sift through and check off on a list,” Osborne said. “There’s going to be a lot of ideas batted around, and I know that at the end of the day, any set of ideas that are put forward are going to be vetted through the entire community for feedback.”
Osborne doesn’t intend on making the curriculum more challenging, but he said he wants to make the requirements more clear and the courses more engaging.
To build stronger graduate programs at Miami, Osborne said he wants faculty to feel like they have the freedom to conduct more research and innovate with students who are interested in doctoral degrees.
“I think we’re a little behind [in our graduate programs], and I think it’s for a very good reason,” Osborne said. “Our focus has always been on undergraduate students and making sure that experience is top notch.”
Osborne also said he’s interested in creating a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) program, due to the national shortage of nursing faculty.
In the fall of 2018, Miami’s Oxford campus developed the department of nursing in the college of liberal arts and applied sciences.
At Clemson University, Osborne was the Dean of the Graduate School and led the graduate education effort in the ClemsonForward strategic plan from 2015 to 2019.
“[Osborne] worked closely with each of the Colleges to grow their graduate programs and achieved overall 12 percent growth during his tenure, championing new, high demand and innovative programs,” said Carla Bennett, the Director of Academic Finance at Clemson University. “Jason’s biggest challenge was growing university doctoral programs, and he was able to grow those programs [by] seven percent through 2018.”
Although Osborne’s primary duty is to improve academics, he will be partially responsible for implementing the One Campus Climate Survey Task Force recommendations, which focus on diversity and inclusion.
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In order to improve campus climate, Osborne said he believes it’s essential that the Miami community understand and accept how we came to be here and who came before us.
“Obviously, you can’t change those events, but being aware of it and honoring the past and the people who were here before us I think is important,” Osborne said.
To ensure the university is on the right track, Osborne believes everything comes down to adequately preparing students for life after college and providing faculty with the resources they need to do their jobs well.
“Being a provost is a privilege and an honor, [but] it’s also a great responsibility,” Osborne said. “We are aggressively and creatively exploring how we can do more.”