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Chapter 5 - Academic Life - Recent Developments

The Academic Affairs Division of the university has focused on three major goals in its efforts to enhance the quality and accessibility of its educational programming during the past decade: developing a curriculum that responds effectively to the changing needs of our students, creating and sustaining an optimal environment and means for the delivery of that curriculum, and increasing the diversity of the people who work and study in that environment as well as what is studied. The academic activities and initiatives selected for description in this chapter are efforts to fulfill these three goals. An extended evaluation of their effectiveness in accomplishing the goals is undertaken in the Selected Topics section of this report.

The Curriculum

The goal to "develop and provide curricula in the liberal arts and professional fields that are responsive to the needs of the students, the region and society at large" is fulfilled through both undergraduate and graduate offerings and by the delivery of programs on and off-campus and, as of this year, through distance education. All programs undergo periodic review, ongoing assessment and continuous change to ensure that students receive a quality education at Shippensburg University.

Three areas that have undergone fairly extensive change in the last decade are general education, interdisciplinary programming, and extended studies.

General Education

The university's General Education program has been in place since 1986 and is currently undergoing its third comprehensive review. Various program modifications have occurred as a result of the first two review cycles, carried out in keeping with the university's general education program review policy, instituted in 1989. Modifications include improved scheduling, an increase in the number of required science units, elimination of 12 required electives, addition of a foreign-language requirement for B.A. majors, preparation of a descriptive brochure and catalog copy, greater integration of technology into the curriculum, and the development of the Nelson General Education Assessment Project, described in Chapter Three.

Recently, attention has focused on basic skills components of the program-English, history, library/information, mathematics and speech. Prior to the fall of 1997, for example, students could meet the composition requirement by satisfactorily completing either Composition or Documented Essay. These two courses have now been replaced by a single course, College Writing. This course allows for more efficient scheduling and, more important, includes a required research component and paper. Because the new course emphasizes academic research and documentation, the library/information skills requirement, currently taught as a "stand alone" component of the program, will be integrated into College Writing this year.

A new Mathematics course, Basic Mathematical Models will replace Introductory Algebra and eventually College Algebra as well. The new course, which will be introduced in the fall of 1999, focuses on developing students' problem-solving and modeling abilities by incorporating material drawn from a number of disciplines. By moving away from drill-and-practice to application, it is anticipated that students will more successfully make connections among mathematics, general education, and their major.

An outcomes-assessment plan for the six-course basic skills component of the General Education program is being implemented this year. This plan will augment the Nelson research with performance-based outcomes-assessment data. The third and final component of the General Education assessment program, performance assessment of the knowledge areas, is to be developed this academic year.

To give greater coherency to the General Education program and provide better guidance for future planning and assessment the committee that developed the basic skills assessment plan drafted a set of metagoals for the program:

Students who successfully fulfill all the General Education requirements for the baccalaureate degree will be:
  • Prepared for advanced study in the major
  • Acquainted with the foundations and range of knowledge
  • More active in their own education
  • More open to new ideas and change
  • More creative and effective problem solvers
  • Better able to cooperate and collaborate when working with others
  • More self-confident and understanding of their own strengths and limitations.

These metagoals have been submitted to the general education review process for consideration and approval during the present review cycle.

A representative sample of 100 students who graduated in May, 1998, was reviewed this fall to determine the extent to which students are actually fulfilling the general education requirements at Shippensburg. The students in the sample were distributed by degree program in the same proportion as all graduating students: 38 B.A., 23 B.S., 22 B.S.B.A. and 17 B.S.Ed. With few exceptions, judging from the analysis, students are meeting the specific requirements of general education at Shippensburg University.

While the present General Education program possesses many strengths, fully meets System guidelines, is scheduled efficiently, has undergone continuous, incremental improvement, and is completed by nearly all students, a large percentage of students and alumni, as will be seen in Chapter Ten, fail to appreciate its value for future learning. Consequently, the General Education Study Group, responsible for the first stage in the review of the program, has been given the charge of developing "a more engaging and inspiring" program that will better address and respond to student needs.

Interdisciplinary Study

Almost non-existent a decade ago, interdisciplinary study is gradually becoming an accepted and commonplace mode of study at the university. Currently interdisciplinary study takes several forms: the Interdisciplinary Arts major (initiated, 1990), interdisciplinary minors in Ethnic Studies (1993) and Women's Studies (1992), the clustered-learning program (1993) and team-taught Honors courses (1992).

With the exception of the Honors courses and introductory courses in Women's and Ethnic Studies, these programs have tended to be more multidisciplinary than interdisciplinary in nature. But this is rapidly changing. The College of Education and Human Services, for example, has initiated an innovative Human Services Week with activities and speakers addressing the service elements common to criminal justice, education and social work and has developed a new course integrating components of the three disciplines. Recently, student teachers have been paired with social work students in an effort to introduce them to the potential benefits such collaboration provides to clients and professionals alike.

Similar developments are occurring in the College of Arts and Sciences. Last year, for example, witnessed the formation of a Center for Applied Social Science Research and Public Policy Analysis, an interdisciplinary group of social and behavioral science faculty and students who are pursuing opportunities and have already acquired several contracts to conduct applied research. The Biology and Geography/Earth Science departments are actively exploring the possibility of developing a joint research station at Burd Run. A recent $50,000 grant from the State System of Higher Education to assist in revitalizing the general education program focuses on interdisciplinary study, a direction that received support during faculty discussions this summer. Emerging in the College of Business through the collaboration of faculty and students from different disciplines is a plan to operate a student-run satellite university store in downtown Shippensburg, giving business majors unusual opportunities to apply principles and theories learned in the classroom to a real business venture.

While it is too early to say where the curriculum will be ten years from now, it is clear that interdisciplinary study is likely to play an even more prominent role than it does at present.

Program Outreach: Off-Campus Programs, Extended Studies, & Distance Learning

Increasingly, residents of southcentral Pennsylvania seeking course work are nontraditional students, over 24 years of age, employed and wanting more convenient access to learning than the typical schedule of course offerings on campus can provide. Although traditional residential students are anticipated to be its largest student commitment in the foreseeable future, the university is also committed to meeting as many of the needs of our nontraditional students as possible.

A continuing challenge for the university is finding ways of securing sufficient resources to launch new programs. Among recent efforts to respond to changing educational needs in the region is the university's Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), offered collaboratively by faculty in Computer Science and the College of Business at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg. Even though this program has been successful in terms of student satisfaction and enrollment, it remains one of a few programs presently offered off-campus and one of only two new degree programs instituted at the university in a decade. The main obstacle to new program development, especially professional graduate programs (the kind most in demand in the area), is lack of adequate funds to start and support the programs. For example, when the College of Business presented its proposed new Master's Degree in Business Administration last year, it was clear that the budget required to support the small cohort of graduate students exceeded the amount of resources that could be made available to the program without negatively impacting the college's undergraduate program.

In an attempt to overcome funding constraints, the university has embarked on a three-faceted strategy: 1) a greater dedication of existing resources to graduate programs that clearly meet demonstrable and pressing regional needs, 2) the re-establishment of a continuing education program, called Extended Studies, and 3) the gradual development of the university's distance education capability.

Illustrative of the first approach is the present development of a Master's Degree in Gerontology involving faculty from all three colleges. The program will respond to significant need in the region for persons trained in the field and is projected at this early stage of planning to require a level of funding the university can manage. In anticipation of the program's approval by the State System Board of Governors two years from now, plans are underway to gradually shift the resources needed to support the program from areas in less need.

An Extended Studies program was approved by the various campus governing bodies last year and a position vacated by a retired administrator converted to the deanship of the program. While a national search is being conducted for a dean, an interim dean is collaborating with faculty, administrators and community resource people to facilitate the initial development of a small number of programs that will be offered in selected off-campus sites. Physical resources such as office space, phones, computers and other equipment have been provided. An administrative assistant has been transferred from another office to assist the dean in the establishment of extended studies. An Advisory Council for Extended Studies is being formed consisting of faculty, administrators and members of the community to advise the dean on program development and implementation.

The mission of Extended Studies is to develop and offer quality programs that meet temporary educational needs of the region using expertise from on- and off-campus, primarily at convenient off-campus sites and eventually through distance education. During the next five years Extended Studies should grow fairly rapidly and become a self-supporting program. The new dean will bring experience and expertise in Extended Studies and will work closely with the colleges and community to develop programs that help the university better serve continually changing educational needs in the region.

During its first year of operation, Extended Studies is pursuing four goals: 1) to develop an infra-structure for the smooth operation of the program, 2) to identify areas for program development and to offer several courses at off-campus sites, 3) to further research "benchmark" Extended Studies programs and "best practices" at other universities, and, 4) to begin developing ways of linking Extended Studies programming with the university's five-year distance education plan.

The third strategy for dealing with funding constraints, using distance education as a means of responding to emerging regional needs, is discussed more fully in Chapter Eleven, Technology and Innovation. A new five-year plan for distance education, developed by a committee of faculty and administrators over the past two years, was approved this fall.

The Learning Environment

A second goal of the university especially pertinent to academic affairs is to "maintain an environment that emphasizes excellence, innovation, and technology in teaching and learning and that results in lifelong purposeful learners." The university strives to fulfill this important goal in all of its activities and functions, but several academic initiatives of the past decade highlight the nature and extent of the effort: faculty recruitment and development, assessment, special student-faculty learning programs, and technological development.

Faculty Recruitment and Development

The mission and priorities of the university are conveyed to new faculty at the time of their recruitment and are consistently communicated throughout their probationary years at the university. Job advertisements are clear about the importance of excellent teaching and each candidate is asked to make a presentation before faculty and students as a part of the interview. A two-day retreat of all new tenure-track faculty held off-campus before the official opening of the school year concentrates on the characteristics of Shippensburg students, their learning and the use of diverse teaching methods to motivate and help students with different learning preferences and abilities succeed. This orientation is followed up with a series of fourteen "faculty exchanges" during the year, conducted by faculty and administrators, on various aspects of academic life, such as advising, technology, general education and performance evaluations. Evaluations of probationary faculty focus closely on teaching competency and development and in recent years they have routinely included comments that commend and encourage efforts to engage students in active learning experiences in the classroom.

For over a decade, faculty development has been encouraged and funded. In addition to sabbaticals (approximately 16 per year), educational leaves are available for faculty seeking to complete their doctorates or undertake coursework to develop expertise in new areas. Over the last five years, 14 educational leaves have been awarded, thirteen to complete the doctorate. Seven of these faculty have received their degrees; three others will receive theirs at the end of this year. Of the seven who completed their degree, three are minorities, four are women.

Every year the faculty Professional Development Committee (PDC) provides a range of opportunities for professional development for all full-time faculty. Funds to support these opportunities are provided by the Shippensburg University Foundation, the University operating budget and the State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Council. The university's Instructional Technology Committee also provides funding for the training of faculty in the use of technology in the classroom. Following data show last year's participation in and support for professional development through the PDC and Instructional Technology Committee.

Table 5-1 Support for Faculty Professional Development

Academic Year 1997/98

Category

Funding Source

Number of Grants

Amount

Small Grant/Special Projects

State System of Higher Education

5

21,849

Supplemental to State System Small Grants

Shippensburg University

5

2,362

Small Grants

Shippensburg University

8

7,128

Conference Presentations

Shippensburg University

80

52,071

Instructional Technology Grants

Shippensburg University

7

10,903

Summer Stipends and Research

Shippensburg University

18

40,139

 

Total

123

$134,453

Deans of the colleges also fund faculty presentations at national and regional conferences, and attendance at a wide variety of workshops, including workshops that involve student learning. Each year the university Teaching Center sponsors several workshops. For example, this past year three were offered: Teaching Large Classes Well, Legal Concerns in the Classroom, and Teaching and Learning in the Computer Age. Two to three faculty are selected by the PDC each year to attend the State System Summer Academy, an intensive one-week program that utilizes some of the best-known experts in the country to lead workshops on teaching and learning at the college level.

Continual faculty professional development helps maintain an environment that emphasizes excellence and innovation not only in the classroom but throughout the campus. Its most important effects are observed in student learning outcomes, discussed in Chapter Ten, Student Learning and Development.

Assessment

Assessment of student learning is another major and comprehensive initiative that has emphasized, supported and enhanced excellence in teaching and learning. For more than a decade, Shippensburg University has been developing and integrating into its planning and budget processes a comprehensive, data-based, self-study program intended to ensure continuous institutional improvement. The assessment of student learning outcomes in the institution's academic areas is a key component of the program. Because all of the campus environment influences student learning and development, however, the self-study program extends well beyond academic departments and programs and encompasses all divisions and functions of the University. This summary focuses primarily on assessment that relates to the academic areas.

The student outcomes assessment portion of the self-study program consists of institutional and programmatic levels of assessment, of external and internal sources of data, and of performance-indicator data as well as direct measures of student learning. At the institutional level, the university participates in three major national assessment programs: The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), and the College Student Experience Questionnaire (CSEQ). Results of these surveys are routinely reviewed by the president and his executive management team, the president's cabinet, various deans' councils, and other pertinent units in the administrative structure. Those responsible for areas needing improvement as evidenced by survey results, are assigned specific tasks and deadlines for reporting recommendations for change or improvements accomplished. The most important internally designed institutional assessments are two alumni surveys, instruments which solicit alumni views of a wide range of academic and student services. Results of the alumni surveys are reviewed and acted upon in the same fashion as for the external assessments.

The catalyst for student assessment at the departmental or program level is the five-year program review. For the review, departmental data are culled from institutional surveys of students and alumni, packaged into a booklet, and given to the department conducting the review. Each department develops its own student learning outcomes assessment program, the results of which are also reviewed, analyzed, and reported in the self-study along with plans for addressing identified student needs.

For many academic departments, the regular assessment of student learning outcomes and the use of these data to evaluate specific academic programs has been a relatively recent development. Some programs, such as the Departments of Teacher Education and Counseling began systematically evaluating student outcomes in the early 1990s, but most developed assessment methods after 1996 when such information became required in the five-year review process. University-wide workshops were held to train faculty in the preparation of assessment plans and to encourage their assimilation into departmental cultures. By the fall of 1997 all academic departments had plans in place. The first five-year reviews using student outcomes data were conducted in 1997/98 in the John L. Grove College of Business.

The College of Business uses a variety of data on student outcomes common for all departments. These include an annual alumni employment survey regarding employment, salaries and job satisfaction. Other college-wide assessment instruments include exit surveys and interviews with seniors, as well as internship and student research assistant evaluations. Each department within the Grove College of Business adds specific student outcomes assessment tools to the common surveys. Many of these consist of carefully designed measures of student and alumni satisfaction related to departmental missions. If responses are below predetermined levels, action is taken to address perceived problems. For example, the Decision Science program determined that six of the fourteen skill areas in their major were rated less than satisfactory in recent surveys of students and alumni. As a result, changes have been made or are underway which respond directly to these areas of concern.

While most academic departments in other colleges also use surveys to assess student outcomes, a number of other evaluation methods have been used successfully throughout the university. Portfolios have been used extensively by education disciplines for many years as a way to collect samples of student work which can be shown to potential employers. Departments such as History and Philosophy have adopted the portfolio as a record of student progress in meeting academic goals. The department trains all of its students in portfolio development in their first year. These portfolios are then collected from a representative sample of juniors and from all seniors and are evaluated anonymously by departmental faculty on a graduated scale against program goals. Results, combined with survey data, are reviewed in terms of program content and practice.

Various programs in the College of Education and Human Services have used student outcomes assessment as a way to validate their curriculum. For example, the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations has detailed goals and outcomes for every aspect of its program. A matrix has been developed that relates program objectives, activities related to each objective, and means of evaluation. Specific competencies are then required from students in each course. Students are also asked to provide extensive written feedback after each course, and to evaluate their internship experience. These data, along with alumni surveys, have helped to generate recent changes in the program.

Finally, the University program for assessing general education consists of three parts: an attitudinal study, a learning skills assessment, and a general knowledge assessment. The assessment of student attitudes about learning, referred to as the Nelson General Education Assessment Project, has been five years in development and implementation. The study will continue for several more years, at least until ample data about changes in student attitudes toward learning over the full span of a cohort's undergraduate experience have been collected and analyzed. The learning skills assessment program was developed in 1997/98. Pre-testing began last year for some of the abilities being assessed during the spring diagnostic testing of entering freshmen. The first post-test will occur at the end of the 1998/99 academic year. Results of both general education assessment programs will be incorporated into the general education program review. Development of the third component, which will focus on current objectives for the general knowledge areas, begins this spring.

Special Programs

Partly to enrich the general learning environment and partly to motivate students to want to learn and engage in "effortful thought," the university has initiated several special programs that unite students and faculty in stimulating educational experiences outside the classroom. These include: Academic Day, a day reserved during New Student Orientation for a variety of academic activities, the highlight of which is a discussion of an assigned book (The Hot Zone in 1997 and The Color of Water in 1998) within small groups of freshmen and a faculty member; and University Day, a day set aside in the spring for special educational events throughout the campus, ranging from departmental field trips to alumni workshops on career opportunities in various fields to intellectual games. Whereas Academic Day was supported at the outset by a large majority of faculty (and still enjoys such support), University Day was slower to gain acceptance and be used by all departments as an effective way of involving students more actively in the academic life of the campus. Recent surveys, however, show that some of the more reluctant departments have begun to actively participate.

A very important and well-attended event held on University Day is the presentation of the results of student-faculty research sponsored by the University Research Program. Funded by the Shippensburg University Foundation, currently in the amount of $22,500, the program allows students to actively engage in mentored research or other scholarly projects with sponsoring faculty. Each fall, students and supporting faculty mentors throughout the university are encouraged to apply for project funding. In the spring, students who have been awarded grants share the results of their work with the university community during University Day through posters, displays and oral presentations. Last year, 73 students received support for their projects. Six of them were selected to present the results of their work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research held at Salisbury State University in Maryland. This conference provides students an opportunity to view firsthand how the results of academic research are shared and to hear speakers discuss emerging issues in their respective fields.

It is noteworthy that each year the number of faculty collaborating with students in research projects grows and some faculty personally sponsor student travel to national and regional conferences to present posters and papers. In addition, the Ethnic Studies program has sponsored a student research colloquium annually the past several years in which student participation has been unusually high (42 last year), faculty sponsorship strong (10) and the quality of presentations a credit to the sponsoring program.

Two other programs that have valuable potential for significantly impacting the learning and development of students as well as the "tone" of the intellectual life on campus are the Honors and the Study Abroad programs. The Honors Program continues to attract more well-qualified students than the 40 who are selected for the program each year. Initiated in 1985, the program, largely general education, has evolved slowly under the leadership of three different faculty directors and with the support of supplementary funding by the Shippensburg Foundation. Interest in admitting more students into the program, an upcoming program review, the development of a formal assessment of student learning and a new program director promise significant change in the future. Greater support for the program is high on the list of needs submitted recently by college deans and chairs to the Shippensburg Foundation for consideration as part of an upcoming capital campaign.

In several ways, the Honors Program has served as a model or laboratory for innovative teaching and learning on campus. The first program to use team teaching and clustered learning in a significant way and to develop a community service effort associated with an academic endeavor, it has influenced important changes in other programs such as the clustered learning program for at-risk students.

Over the past three years, attempts have been made to incorporate within the program other innovations as advocated by the National Collegiate Honors Association. During the 1997 spring semester, for example, Honors students and two faculty members participated in a course entitled, "The Southern Narrative in Black and White," that included a study trip to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. While the course was, in the view of all involved, the kind of mind-opening and challenging experience the university wishes for its students, cost prohibits it at present from serving as a model for other programming.

More promising in this regard, perhaps, is last spring's venture in "Creativity, Invention and Entrepeneurship," a course taught by two faculty (one in Chemistry, the other in Management and Marketing) to twenty students. Over the course of the semester, student teams researched and developed patentable products, prepared business and marketing plans and presented their products to an audience of Arts and Science Advisory Board members. The emphasis upon research, exploration and discovery represents the sort of innovative programming advocated by the Council and at the same time has the potential for involving a large number of students.

Slower to develop but recently enjoying a large surge of interest from two sources is the Study Abroad Program. Until this year, fewer than twenty students have taken advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in any one semester. Strong faculty support in one of the departments in the College of Business, which evolved into a senior seminar devoted to the development of a study abroad program for business majors that is expected to receive some funding from a university benefactor, is one of the sources of interest and excitement. The other is the new Director of the Study Abroad Program who, building on the work of a committee two years ago, has generated this year a large number of student inquiries about the many opportunities for study abroad, provided much expanded and easy access to information about these opportunities and made the application process a smoother one.

Currently the university has formal exchanges with two institutions overseas: the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark and Humberside in England. Students have also attended with some frequency Edge Hill University, England. Shippensburg faculty have conducted courses abroad during the summer months; this summer, for example, courses will be taught in Austria, France and England. Other placements have been individual and located in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Spain. Many new initiatives for both individual placements and exchanges are currently underway.

Recognizing both the importance of study abroad for broadening Shippensburg students understanding of the world as well as the difficulty many students have in meeting the costs associated with travel, living and study overseas, the deans and chairs have submitted Study Abroad as another major priority for funding consideration by the SU Foundation in the next capital campaign.

Technology

The use of technology in enhancing teaching and learning at Shippensburg has expanded greatly during the past six or seven years, and the university has recently joined several consortia to participate in grant-funded projects that are developing its distance learning capability considerably. These and related developments are reviewed in Chapter Eleven, Technology and Innovation.

Diversity

The goal "to enhance the diversity of the students, faculty, administration and staff, to improve the campus milieu in which they interact, and to make the curriculum more gender-balanced and inclusive of different cultures and ethnic perspectives" has been in many ways one of the most challenging for the university. It is far-reaching and confronts, not only on campus but also in the wider community, ways of thinking and acting that are traditionally much more circumscribed than what is envisioned by the goal. On balance, the university has made substantial progress toward achieving the goal during this decade; success is more apparent in some areas than in others but in every area efforts toward change are ongoing. The successes achieved thus far are attributable to strong presidential leadership and support, to an ever-growing number of individuals committed to ensuring that the university fulfills its goal and the commitment of substantial resources to make achievement of the goal possible.

Under the administration of a new dean, the Office of Admissions five years ago set itself the goal of doubling the enrollment of entering minority students within five years through annual increases of approximately 20 percent. Immediately a set of aggressive strategies was put into effect. For example, two university representatives were assigned to Harrisburg and Philadelphia to develop closer ties with key community leaders, school districts and organizations. The Diversity Enrichment Program was developed, a program involving the training and support of thirty campus and community minority leaders who work to generate in the region greater minority student interest in Shippensburg University. Several programs were organized to bring minority students to the campus for various events, including an overnight campus visitation. The number of visits to high schools and colleges in areas where African American and Hispanic populations are largest was greatly increased. Through the auspices of the State System, the campus participated in the Minority Joint Recruitment Program, hosted the Pittsburgh Partnership (a three-week summer program for teenage minority students from Pittsburgh), and actively sponsored an ongoing program for minority students in Chambersburg (see Chapter Six, Student Life). The College Board's SEARCH Service was utilized to identify and send mailings to minority students throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

These initiatives contributed to the successful doubling of minority enrollments over the past five years. The following table shows the progress made.

Table 5-2 New Minority Enrollments*

1998

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

Black

110

90

85

66

76

51

Hispanic

28

31

26

30

20

19

American Indian

6

5

4

4

1

0

Asian

41

24

27

30

25

17

Total

181

150

142

130

122

87

* Includes new enrollments for Fall and Spring semesters. 

Many programs contribute to the retention of minority students. Although the percentage of minority students retained is below the university norm, it is much higher than the national norm for comprehensive, public universities (see Chapter Ten: Student Learning and Development). The academic programs which contribute to the success that has been realized include: the Commission on Minority Student Retention, the Learning Assistance Center, diagnostic testing and placement of entering students, the ACT 101 program, developmental courses in basic skills, the clustered learning program, the Ethnic Studies Program, the Martin Luther King Program and the Marshall Mentoring Program. Together, and in conjunction with effective support programs in student affairs, these programs have had a positive influence on minority student retention. As noted in Chapter Ten, however, minority student retention rates have slipped somewhat in the past several years. The slope appears to be associated with the admission of greater numbers of less prepared students, a finding that has serious implications for developmental programming at the university.

The increase in importance of developmental education for minority student retention has come at a time of transition in developmental programming and its administration for the whole student body at Shippensburg. The resignation of the director of the ACT 101 program, the upcoming retirement of the Dean of Special Programs and various changes that have occurred or are expected to occur in different skills areas of general education called for a review of developmental education and the development of a comprehensive plan for the future. To begin the process, an outside consultant visited the campus Fall 1998 for ten days, examined available materials and interviewed over 50 faculty, students and administrators. His report underscored three needs: the need to integrate, coordinate and refine the various "fragmented and scattered" developmental offerings, services and programs throughout the campus community; the need to define the concept and practice of developmental education for the university at large; and the need for developmental education to be seen as a campuswide responsibility, rather than the responsibility of a few individuals or programs. These and other issues are among the matters under current discussion campuswide.

As reported in Chapter Four, while great strides have been made toward increasing the numbers of women faculty in the last decade, the percentage of minority faculty has remained the same despite efforts to improve their numbers. The kind of aggressiveness that has characterized the recruitment of minority students is required if more progress is to be realized in the recruitment of minority faculty. This need is reflected in the recommendations that conclude the self study.

During the past six or seven years, the university has conducted several studies of the perceptions women and minorities have of the Shippensburg campus environment. These include the perceptions of students, faculty, administrators and staff. In the most recent of these surveys (conducted last year for the campus's Commission on Human Understanding), results are summarized as follows.

The commitment to make the campus a more multicultural environment has widespread campus community support. Overall, 82 percent of the campus say they "enjoy working with a more diverse group of colleagues," 68 percent are "committed to making the campus a more multicultural environment," and 74 percent "see the benefit of hiring more women and minorities." While these numbers are not yet unanimous, they represent significant support for an important campus goal. In general, the perception is that the campus environment is a positive one for women. There is a difference between males and females on how supportive that environment is, but the difference is at the positive end of the scale's continuum.

The problem areas that surfaced in the survey are primarily two. While the general campus attitude is that diversity is good for the campus, minority faculty, administrators and staff do not always see that that attitude has been translated into action. Most minority respondents report feeling a "sense of exclusion" on campus. At the same time, there is a general perception of widespread inequity on campus related to gender and race regarding how certain groups are treated and how important policies are implemented. Some see women and minorities as being treated less fairly (for example, in the evaluation and promotion processes); others see women and/or minorities receiving better consideration and treatment. The president has responded to the results of the survey by soliciting recommendations for addressing the problems identified and by improving communication with various constituencies, especially staff, in the expectation that better information will increase perceptions of fairness and inclusion.

The decade saw the implementation of courses and programs that would provide a more diverse cultural environment for students and the expansion of library holdings regarding women and minorities. As mentioned earlier, during this time, Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies minors were established. Both programs have enjoyed strong faculty leadership in their directors and active faculty participation in their advisory committees. Also in these years a program of "winter institutes," devoted to the creation and modification of existing courses to include diversity issues and perspectives, was offered. For three consecutive years, a week-long intensive program, lead by a nationally recognized expert and attended by fifteen faculty, gave faculty valuable opportunities to gain insight and knowledge on how to make their courses more inclusive of women's and minority's contributions and perspectives.

Other curricular developments include the formation several years ago of a minor in International Studies and the requirement that all students take a multi-cultural course as part of general education. The University Curriculum Committee is currently working on various options for implementing the requirement.