Summary of Recommendations and Goals
During the last week of January 1999, key university governance and administrative groups reviewed the recommendations that emerged from the analyses of the four selected topics and made suggestions for final changes. These recommendations, compiled below, will be carried out within the next three years, at the end of which the Executive Management Team will undertake an assessment of their fulfillment.
Several of the groups also reviewed the existing goals of the university in light of the self-study results and concluded that most of the current goals continue to be appropriate for the university's present and future directions. The goals listed below show few changes from those included in the introduction. The most substantive is an additional goal that refers to planning for a new fundraising campaign by the Shippensburg University Foundation. A final recommendation, added at the end of the self-study process and found in the Institutional Integrity and Effectiveness section, asks that criteria for better assessing the accomplishment of all institutional goals be developed in the coming year.
Together with the implementation of the recommendations of the self-study, these goals will guide the university into the new century. Each of the goals and all of the recommendations support the central focus of the institution-the continuing excellence of the teaching and learning process throughout the university. Though selective in its choice of topics, the self-study found a common and related theme in all of the areas it evaluated. It found that the efforts of the entire campus community to accomplish its goals are interrelated and that each area is crucial to success in fulfilling the institutional mission. This interaction is complex and nothing is more central to it than the character of the relationship between students and faculty. The challenge is to provide students with a culture that builds both a lifelong desire to learn and the skills for professional growth and that conscientiously and objectively tries to find better means to achieve these ends.
Recommendations Institutional Integrity and Effectiveness
- Strengthen and further support the gathering and use of evaluation information for institutional decision-making. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning, which has been allocated additional resources, should provide the data for this effort, including:
- Assistance to units in improving data reliability and organizing databases for better access.
- Disaggregation of data for academic departments and colleges.
- The Planning and Budget Council, working with the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, needs to involve the entire campus community in becoming part of the "culture of evidence." For instance, they should:
- Supplement the annual IRP Profile with a summary of issues generated by the data.
- Prepare a follow-up report on subsequent utilization of data by various units.
- Monitor the balance between the two "co-equal" goals of the university-the development of the general intellectual abilities of students and their professional training in a variety of fields. Data should be generated and provided to the campus community on a regular basis, and any indication that this balance is shifting should be addressed immediately.
- The Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs should address the following issues raised by the assessment data:
- Review and refine on-line class scheduling.
- Review the follow-up survey conducted by the University Health Services.
- Evaluate the redirection of the Office of Career Services.
- Review and evaluate advisement procedures.
- Develop criteria for better assessing accomplishment of the university's general goals within the next academic year.
Student Learning and Development
- Enhance the development of faculty expertise in the use of diverse teaching techniques that complement the different learning styles of students. For example:
- Request that the Faculty Professional Development Committee, in conjunction with the new Teaching Center advisory group, develop a five-year plan for encouraging and assisting in the development of that expertise.
- Offer incentives to faculty for developing and using effective classroom assessment programs.
- Ensure that, in accordance with the faculty contract, evaluations of instructional faculty are focused appropriately on evidence of effective teaching and learning.
- Review the general education program within the current three-year cycle for ways to make it more "inspiring and engaging." For example:
- Clarify the purpose and role of general education.
- Incorporate more active student learning experiences.
- Provide more integrative, interdisciplinary opportunities.
- Utilize a wide variety of scheduling modules and patterns.
- Clarify and strengthen the role of graduate programming by:
- Appointing an ad hoc committee of faculty, administrators and students that will:
- Formulate and recommend a clear definition of the role and purpose of graduate programming and a set of criteria for assessing the effectiveness of graduate programs.
- Review and recommend changes in the role and functioning of the Graduate Council and the administration of graduate programs.
- Conducting a comprehensive review of graduate programs on campus, using current program review structures and policies together with the criteria formulated by the ad hoc committee once approved.
- Charge the International Studies Advisory Group to develop a plan that will enable students to gain a more global perspective, increase receptivity to ideas different from their own, and extend their ability to interact effectively with people from other countries and cultures. They should examine:
- Ways to enhance study abroad opportunities.
- Strategies to increase the number of international students on campus.
- Form a developmental education committee with broad representation from academic and student affairs to build on the recent consultant's report on developmental education and examine ways to improve the efficiency and effective delivery of the program. For example:
- Define more clearly the role of developmental education at the university.
- Recommend ways to enhance student retention, eliminate duplication of effort, increase collaboration among faculty and staff, and integrate services.
- Identify a series of activities that might enhance minority student retention and success. These should include ways to:
- Revitalize recruitment efforts for underrepresented minorities among students, staff, faculty and administrators.
- Improve communication links among the various programs involved in minority student retention and graduation.
- Develop, under the leadership of the Social Equity Office, a clear, accessible and effective process for identifying and responding to incidents of discrimination and racism among members of the campus community.
- Implement, through the Human Resources Office, a program that will improve working relations among all members of the campus community.
- Enhance the role and effectiveness of the Honors Program. For instance:
- Have the program conduct a thorough self-study with wide consultation of students, faculty and administrators.
- Reformulate the mission and goals of the program in terms that will permit the development of a useful student learning outcomes assessment program.
- Develop and implement an effective student learning outcomes assessment program.
- Craft a five-year plan related to the reformulated mission and goals with an associated budget request.
- Respond effectively to continued student concerns about the advising and scheduling processes, by forming an ad hoc committee to thoroughly review the current status of advising and student mentoring programs on campus, assess and monitor the implementation of the new on-line/scheduling process, and make recommendations for improvement of both processes.
- Develop the means for achieving greater collaboration between academic and student affairs for the purpose of better implementing a holistic view of student learning and development. For example:
- Form a team of faculty and professional staff from each of the areas to develop a common understanding or definition of student development.
- Develop common student development outcomes to be used by both areas in program planning and assessment.
- More fully institutionalize and integrate into the planning processes of the academic and student affairs areas student learning outcomes assessment. Various units of the university should:
- Continue the development of a performance-based outcomes assessment program for general education.
- Strengthen the assessment of majors and minors.
- Continue support for the Nelson attitudinal assessment.
- Develop an assessment strategy in each of the Student Affairs programs.
Technology and Innovation
- Improve the planning and budgeting process for technology by creating a council with representation from all constituencies of the university that would plan, coordinate and monitor purchasing and usage. Among other responsibilities, the council should:
- Inventory current technology and its usage and assess its efficacy in relation to institutional mission and goals.
- Evaluate the efficiency of technological use in relation to space utilization and to the goal of providing the most productive classroom environment.
IDevelop purchasing priorities for replacement and acquisition of new equipment.
- Monitor and suggest improvements in the interconnection and levels of university technological support, including the possibility of more personnel in certain areas.
- Improve the coordination of and opportunities for systematic training in the use of technology for faculty, administration and staff. This should be implemented either through the proposed technology council or through closer consultation among the units of the university currently responsible for training-that is, the Information and Computer Technologies Center, the Division of Library and Media Services and the Office of Human Resources. Many suggestions offer promise. For example:
- Assess needs through surveys on interest in and use of technology.
- Offer series of widely-advertised workshops.
- Identify role-models who can offer individual assistance throughout the various units of the university.
- Colleges within the university, in conjunction with the Office of Extended Studies and appropriate inter-campus committees, should support the development, implementation and evaluation of distance education efforts to develop web-based and video-conferencing courses locally and those involving collaborative efforts such as the Virtual University project, and should seek additional funding for expanded projects.
- Improve and build a more effective grant writing capability for the university. The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Institute for Public Service and Sponsored Programs should explore ways of enhancing this capacity, including the possibility of employing new personnel.
- Continue the discussion of and come to a resolution on how technological or computer literacy might be further enhanced within the curriculum of the university and whether minimal computer competencies should be expected for students, faculty and staff. Such discussions should be conducted through the university governance structure. Competencies should be considered, when appropriate, by academic departments for inclusion in student outcomes assessment.
- Enhance the efficiency of Student Affairs administration and services by developing and implementing a five-year computer automation plan.
- Improve communication between the university and the region and within the university itself in order to strengthen awareness of university programs and services in the surrounding area and to sensitize the campus to the importance of community service. For example:
- Create and implement a plan to improve public information on campus outreach activities developed by the Office of Public Relations, the Office of Extended Studies and other appropriate units of the university.
- Establish an ad hoc or permanent committee charged with developing policies designed both to promote awareness of outreach activities and to encourage participation in them among all campus constituencies.
- Develop appropriate assessment instruments to demonstrate and enhance the effectiveness of the university's community outreach efforts. For instance:
- Utilize general survey instruments developed by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning in cooperation with other areas of the university such as the Institute for Public Services.
- Incorporate community service data into division evaluation procedures.
- Provide community service data to colleges and academic departments for integration into their five-year reviews and student outcomes assessment plans.
- Support and expand the efforts of the university to provide educational and innovative programming for the region through the Office of Extended Studies. This emphasis should include, whenever possible and appropriate, the use of distance education technology.
- Continue to pursue avenues to improve interaction between the university and the local community. In particular, involve more local citizens in campus events and activities, and build upon existing formal and informal channels of dialogue with surrounding communities.
- Maintain a environment that emphasizes excellence, innovation and technology in teaching, learning, and assessment, and results in lifelong purposeful learners.
- 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.
- Develop and provide curricula in the liberal arts and professional fields that are responsive to the needs of our student body, the region and society at large.
- Enhance and expand opportunities for students, faculty, administration and staff to become engaged in community service activities within the region.
- Continue to provide and expand multicultural activities complementary to curricular programs and to support the establishment of a campus environment that embraces an understanding and appreciation of diversity.
- Offer co-curricular programs that provide all students with a wide array of opportunities to enhance their development by being engaged in campus activities as leaders and as active participants.
- Enhance student development opportunities in the campus community that are complementary to curricular programs by enhancing and/or expanding programs and services.
- Maintain and develop resource management systems and procedures that provide timely and accurate information, assure sufficient accountability and compliance, and support efforts to continue to decentralize budgetary management and control.
- Continue to develop a more effective and people-oriented approach to the provision of financial, administrative, human resources, facilities, public safety and computing services to the university community through application of technology, staff training and possible functional realignment.
- Make the advantages of state-of-the-art computing and information technology available to all elements of the university using non-proprietary standards and the shared computing power inherent in networking.
- Develop campus physical facilities to more adequately support current programs and services as well as future directions. In this regard, the campus should move toward implementing the recently-approved facilities master plan to assure efficient and effective allocation and use of space, long-term viability of facilities through adequate maintenance and repair programs, and regulatory and statutory compliance.
- Implement a university-wide marketing program complementing the enrollment management process of the institution that will result in an undergraduate and graduate applicant pool from which to select incoming classes of students who will represent greater diversity, who will graduate in greater numbers and who will yield the best match of interests and abilities with the resources of the university and the needs of the region.
- Continue programs, initiatives and activities that enhance the work of alumni activities, fundraising, and overall university enhancement as it pertains to institutional advocacy and Foundation fundraising.
- Continue emphasizing the university's role in enhancing the quality of life in its service region through economic development initiatives, town/gown relations programming, shared cultural educational activities, and public service.
- Plan and complete, in partnership with the Shippensburg University Foundation, a new comprehensive campaign for the university to begin in 2001. The purpose of the campaign will be to support the continuing development of a quality education and better services for students.