Strategic Planning Committee
1999-2000 End of the Year Report
Excellence in Learning, Scholarship, Service

Contents

Vision
University Mission
Executive Summary
Academic Distinction
Cultural Diversity and Social Justice
Technology
Service Community
External Relations
Other Units
Continuing our Commitments

Vision

With students as its focus, St. Cloud State University will be a leader and a driving force in developing a quality educational environment by identifying, creating and providing intellectual, cultural and economic opportunities that anticipate the needs of a rapidly changing environment in a global society.

University Mission

St. Cloud State University is the largest of the Minnesota State Universities. It is committed to excellence in teaching and learning: to fostering scholarship, research, and artistic and creative endeavors; and to enhancing community service and collaborative working relationships. As a comprehensive university it serves primarily the citizens of Minnesota; it also functions as a regional university for the upper Midwest and attracts students from other states and nations.

As an educational community of students, faculty and staff, St. Cloud State University provides a full range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs to prepare for living and working as responsible citizens. It supports intellectual and scholarly achievement, recognizes the diversity of scholarship of women and various cultural groups, instills a sensitivity to the values of a multicultural and ever changing world, and provides access to life-long learning experiences.

Core Strategic Direction:
Excellence in Learning, Scholarship, Service

Supporting Strategic Themes:
Academic Distinction: Supporting learning and scholarship
Cultural Diversity and Social Justice: fostering community to serve a changing world
Technology: Infusing information technology
Service Community: Building a respectful and secure campus environment
External Relations: Contributing to community

Executive Summary

SCSU Strategic Planning Phases 3 and 4: Revising Strategies and Implementation 1999-2000

While we speak of the university's strategic plan, the fact of the matter is that it is comprised of a set of interlocking plans written by every unit of the university and guided by the five themes that the campus has developed. Two units have not participated-the SCSU Foundation which was excluded by President Grube in the original charge to the committee, and the Center for International Studies, which had sufficient personnel change that the committee thought they should wait until 2000-2001 to complete this process. The plans are housed in the office of the Vice President for Administrative Affairs and available on the strategic planning web site, http://lrts.stcloudstate.edu/spc/. The thrust of this year's efforts has been implementation and revision.

Logically one might suspect that this would mean that the Strategic Planning Committee is out of business. This is not the case. Next year the committee will primarily monitor and assess our progress to the goals laid out the last two years and work with units to complete and integrate plans to further the directions indicated in these plans. Dr. Jeanne Hites, Center for Information Media, was the unanimous choice of the committee to chair the 2000-2001 academic year. She has worked on the committee since its inception and chaired the Academic Distinction Subcommittee.

What follows then is a summary report of our progress so far, our new plans, and activities developed during the 1999-2000 school year. The committee has again based its work around the five themes. The first part of this report will examine each of the themes to suggest what progress has been made and what still needs to be done, distinguishing between last year's recommendations and new ones. The second part of this report will summarize the plans of the five academic colleges, Graduate Studies, Learning Resources and Technology, and Continuing Studies.

Academic Distinction

Goals

Academic Distinction goes to the heart of the University's aspirations and springs from its heritage of excellence. This includes:

  • A quality educational environment.
  • Focus on excellence and distinctiveness.
  • A community of open and vigorous intellectual inquiry.
  • Career-focused education with a strong liberal arts foundation.
  • Preparing students, faculty, and staff to function effectively in a diverse, global environment.
  • Cultivation of adequate resources for the attainment of distinction.
  • Applied research and scholarly or creative activities, particularly student-faculty and community-focused projects.
  • Critical consideration and skillful integration of technology into academic pursuit and administrative tasks.

Discussion

Last year's committee made recommendations on the hope of new resources. The most important academic development was the MnSCU approval for a tuition increase that put an additional $3.5 million behind academic distinction. Most of this went to new faculty hires that supported the goals of academic distinction in the individual colleges and were consistent with the college's strategic plan. Some of these hires meet other goals such as increased global awareness and maintaining quality applied programs.

Another goal was increased support for all four of the Carnegie scholarships. The administration and the Faculty Association have agreed on a process for application for reassigned time totaling $100,000 so faculty could pursue projects fitting the four scholarships of the Carnegie report.

The current facilities plan will help achieve some of the academic distinction goals of the 1998-1999 plan. It will especially address getting adequate space to all departments, reducing the number of faculty who are not housed near their department, and providing adequate meeting space.

The Enrollment Management Plan has begun to attract better students. The admissions office completed its fourth year of recruiting at least three National Merit Finalists. With four admitted for the 2000-200l academic year, we will be named a National Merit Scholar University in 2000. Similarly our current figures show a slight growth in students for the top 10% of their class and in those between the 75th and 89th percentile. Also, orientation in the summer of 2000 will contain a segment discussing academic as well as other campus and community expectations.

Three areas need to be addressed further. They are the recommendation for an atmosphere of trust and respectful discourse, faculty teaching load, and the establishment of consistent expectations for core and general education classes. Several of the college plans address the issue of teaching load and we know that discussion is going on in various places within the university. The various college assessment processes are giving us a basis to talk about what consistent expectations might be.

Any reader of faculty e-mail might feel that trust and respectful (or even reasoned) discourse is an area we should work on, but even here there are signs that this issue is being taken seriously.

Strategies suggested in this area for the next 3 years are as follows:

  • Develop a quality education environment guided by the assessment of programs
  • Cultivation of adequate resources that assessment would show were necessary for distinction
  • The development of more applied research and student faculty research projects

Cultural Diversity and Social Justice

Goals

Diversity and Justice will allow the University to better serve our rapidly-changing world and foster a community of people of many backgrounds and perspectives working successfully together. This includes:

  • Providing a supportive, respectful, and welcoming environment for all members of the University community including those traditionally disenfranchised by virtue of ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Recruitment and retention of a high-quality, diverse body of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Developing ways to celebrate our multicultural, international character and better integrate this rich tradition in all aspects of campus life.
  • A harassment-free, tolerant environment.
  • Building university-external relationships and individual experiences that encourage diversity ad a global perspective.
  • Appropriate technology to provide more "windows" on the world.

Discussion

Last year's report had a number of recommendations for specific units in this area. Many of those policy changes have been made. Interested persons are referred to the report on our web site. Although we could not agree on a detailed plan to increase minority hiring, minorities comprised 23.1% of faculty and administrative hires in 1998 and 19.1% of the same hires in 1999. We are making steady progress in this area, but cannot afford to think we have solved the problem.

Far and away the biggest accomplishment in this area was the establishment of the required racial issues course. Although this course is barely mentioned in last year's plan, it is consistent with the broad goals laid out in both this section and the academic distinction section of last year's plan. We hope that the UCC and the General Education Committee's are working on some assessment measures for this important program.

Additional advances in this area include the following:

  • Student orientation includes a review of the university's policies and commitment to social justice issues
  • Residential Life and Public Safety have added awareness of these issues to their training programs
  • A Gay Lesbian and Transgender support coordinator has been hired
  • Over 500 faculty and staff attended a reporting hate crimes workshop
  • The President's office has funded $210,000 worth of Cultural Diversity projects

Two recommendations of last year's plan are pending. The first is an evaluation of the workload in the affirmative action office with an eye to increasing efficiency by off loading some tasks to other offices or by increasing the staff of that office. Tied to this evaluation is our recommendation that an office of an ombudsperson be created. On this campus we expect the affirmative action officer to perform both judicial and advocacy functions. These two seem incompatible and the creation of an office to advocate for social justice might improve access for some students and faculty to the process, and might lead more often to mediation than to formal affirmative action processes.

Technology

Goals

Information Technology is an important tool to realize many strategies. This includes:

  • Enhanced teaching and learning.
  • Preparation of students for the rapidly-changing environment.
  • Increased building and maintenance of relationships.
  • Appropriate use of information technology to enhance safety and security.
  • Widespread us of information technology to provide easy access and more "user-friendly" services.
  • Increased levels of institutional research.
  • Identification of resources to strengthen and support information technology infrastructure and use.

Discussion

This is the area in which many see the material results of strategic planning. As in previous years the members of the Technology Subcommittee have also been members of the Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable (TLTR) group and we endorse the work and recommendations of that group. Some of the recommendations fulfilled are as follows:

  • 30 new electronic classrooms for 65 total
  • Completed wiring of campus (only the bookstore is unconnected)
  • Increased the number of connections in residence halls working to a goal of one/per person
  • Created and maintain 40 labs with a total 925 computers
  • Added computers with e-mail and web access to all general maintenance worker break rooms
  • Began program to "post" position openings for AFSCME to e-mail

Perhaps the greatest indication of the growth of technology on this campus is that nearly all of the unit plans this year call for the hiring of more technical support staff. The TLTR group has drafted a campus statement on intellectual property which is currently being reviewed and revised.

Service Community

Goals

A Service Community will lead to a more respectful and secure campus environment for everyone. This includes:

  • Placing students as our first priority in everything we do.
  • More flexible instructional and service systems for students.
  • Advising that is accessible, accurate, provides information on careers, and addresses transitional issues and the needs of diverse students.
  • Training and development on needs and issues of international students, faculty, and staff.
  • Recognition and use of the talents and resources of faculty, staff, and students who have lived abroad, international students, and community resources that foster a global outlook.
  • Valuing communication and the free and open exchange of ideas.

Discussion

Last year's Service Community Subcommittee spent much of its time defining its charge and contacting its constituencies. This year that subcommittee, chaired by Pat Krueger, Assoc. Director of Admissions, made a number of substantial recommendations. They fit broadly under the rubrics of service to the public, service to students, and communication and morale building among ourselves. To better serve the public the committee recommends the following:

  • Establish an 800 number for the university so people could call in for free
  • Create several electronic visitor's centers on campus where visitors can see electronic maps and get information about various campus activities
  • Create a virtual kiosk on the Web so that the public could access many university offices and services on the web

To better serve students the subcommittee recommends the following:

  • Revamp and staff an expanded advising center
  • Develop early intervention strategies such as mid-semester warnings, exam study days, and extended library hours to improve student success
  • Develop web access for students for most services they need to create "one stop shopping"

To develop staff morale and improve communication the committee recommends the following:

  • Improve internal communications by making sure all staff have email and other computer access
  • Update job descriptions to reflect current responsibilities
  • Promote SCSU to staff and students

External Relations

Goals

University-External Relationships will be the key to many of our aspirations. Community perception of the value that the University provides determines the level of our support. As a public university, SCSU has the responsibility to be a leading force in intellectual, cultural, and economic development and contribute to the fabric of central Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. This includes:

  • Applied scholarly and creative activities on community issues.
  • Developing relationships that allow students and faculty to be aware of work and career outside the University.
  • Strengthening the relationship between alumni and the University.
  • Building multicultural and international relationships that provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to expand their experiences.
  • Use of technology to enhance our range and quality of relationships.
  • Providing resources through these relationships to enhance learning.

Discussion

Last year's External Relations Subcommittee took a narrow view of our external relations and thought it should regularly test our impact on various constituencies by regularly polling our legislators, members of the business and education communities, and our alumni. They set up a series of polls and a recurring schedule to administer them. The Office of Institutional Research has agreed to administer them according to this proposed schedule.

This years subcommittee, chaired by Dr. Arthur Mehrhoff, Community Studies, spent a good deal of time attempting to define our constituencies and explored the way in which different units had very different relationships to the community. For instance, the audience for the theatre department's productions might be a very different group than those the College of Business (COB) consults with. The subcommittee defined a series of concentric circles of community centered at the campus, but reaching out to the Upper Midwest. It also acknowledged that not every unit would work in every circle.

The committee also discovered the extent to which this university is committed to service in the St. Cloud area. It was surprised at the number and variety of ways staff as both individuals and parts of the university interacted with the community. After this study the committee recommends the following:

  • Let each unit find a niche consistent with its vision and this plan
  • Create an regional institute to focus and coordinate our external relations
  • Reward staff, especially non-teaching staff for external work
  • Urge faculty to seek opportunities for the scholarship of application in the community
  • Incorporate the community in department and curricular matters through internships, advisory councils, and guest speakers
  • Publicize our activities both to ourselves and to our constituents

Other Units

The other units making plans this year include Learning Resources and Technology Services, Continuing Studies, the Graduate School, and the five Academic Colleges of the university.

LEARNING RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

This unit defines its mission as "connecting you with information and technology." In search of this mission LRTS has set itself the following goals:

  • Will provide a safe, healthy, collegial work environment
  • Will be central to faculty and staff development in the use of information and technology
  • Will be an environment where innovation and excellent patron service flourish
  • Will continue to establish partnerships with regional businesses and educational institutions
  • Will receive foremost recognition from MnSCU and the legislature
  • Will strive for one national grant and national recognition a year

The plan offers a number of strategies for achieving these goals. Foremost among them are an increase in trained librarians and other staff. We are currently well below the national minimums set by the American College and Research Library Standards. Other strategies suggested are to establish a "college service team," to use the Miller endowment to maintain and enhance the technological capabilities of the new facility, and to invest in a campus-wide messaging and calendaring system.

CONTINUING STUDIES

The Center for Continuing Studies sees its mission as "to extend learning opportunities to students who cannot attend traditional classes and to provide professional development to a variety of constituencies through multiple delivery systems." Its vision is "to bring students to the university by bringing the university programs to students." Some of the goals it has set are as follows:

  • To become the primary regional provider of degree programs and services to non-traditional students ·who can not attend regular classes between 8:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays
  • To increase staffing to accommodate growth and expanded services
  • To develop off-campus and distance learning graduate and undergraduate degree programs to meet market demands
  • To become a resource center for non-traditional students
  • To develop internal plan to tell campus of continuing studies activities
  • To develop and Internet presence for instruction

Continuing Studies sees itself growing in both credit production and in non-credit professional instruction.

GRADUATE STUDIES

The vision of the School of Graduate Studies is "to become recognized as the preeminent university for applied and professionally focused graduate students in the Upper Midwest." It feels this is an achievable vision because of the high demand for applied programs and the relative lack of competition among public universities in this area.

In order to achieve this vision, the School of Graduate Studies proposes to concentrate on three basic initiatives:

Expand the role of graduate studies at SCSU:

  • Increase the number of graduate programs consistent with mission and vision
  • Increase enrollment where appropriate in existing programs
  • Pursue cooperative doctoral programs in applied areas with a high demand for graduates

Upgrade the quality of graduate offerings:

  • Increase quality of applicants to our programs
  • Increase resources to programs
  • Increase technical and library support
  • Reduce attrition of qualified students
  • Establish quality indicators and assess programs accordingly

Expand quality distance education:

  • Provide internet and ITV courses
  • Establish executive programs that go to where students are
  • Develop certificate programs to meet the needs of those who do not need a degree

Obviously the School of Graduate Studies cannot work on these goals without the cooperation of departments and colleges. Planning is well under way to establish an executive MBA and an executive program in Criminal Justice. More long-range plans include the possibility of a MAT and masters work in Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, and Public Administration.

THE FIVE COLLEGES

As of this writing (after the spring 2000 graduation) the plans of the academic colleges are in varying states of completion. The COB plan was finished and accepted last year in order that it might be part of the AASCB accreditation. The plans of CFAH, COSE, and COSS are all in the final stages of draft, and COE has yet to complete a draft of its plan. What follows then is not a college by college summary, but a distillation of the trends and foci that are available from these plans and which seem to be common to more than one of them.

Maintain and enhance current programs

Each college is concerned that new strategic initiatives do not detract from what they perceive to be their strengths. Several colleges argue that core areas need to be shored up before new initiatives can begin. Some of the ideas in this category are as follows:

  • Nearly every college needs additional technical and secretarial staff
  • COSE needs to buy about $300,000 of scientific equipment a year to match the level of similar schools
  • Implement assessment and move toward data based decision making
  • FAH reduce class size in certain classes to recommended national standards
  • COSS gradually reduce class size in Democratic Citizenship
  • COB focus resources on undergraduate teaching
  • Begin discussion of college-wide expectations of students

Faculty teaching load

In one or another, each college recognizes that these new initiatives require either a reduction of the contract teaching load or a more creative use of reassigned time.

  • COB will maintain current reassigned time policies
  • FAH's plan mentions a 4-credit backbone and several ways to give faculty reassigned time for scholarship and service
  • COSE seeks to redefine labs so that their contact hours do not exceed their credit hours
  • COSS looks for funding for reassigned time-with particular emphasis given to plans that strengthen the university's global presentations

New programs and initiatives

  • FAH develop new cohort model for delivery of core
  • COSS develop new graduate program and seek to make COSS the international college
  • COSE develop a nursing program at both the BS and MS levels; develop MS in Electrical Engineering
  • COB develop an Executive MBA program
  • COE develop a Masters of Art in Teaching (MAT) {from the Graduate Studies Plan}

Continuing our Commitments

Last year's report suggested that the university had made a number of commitments. These were as follows:

  • A commitment to change the composition and the culture of our student body
  • A commitment to change the way we as a community talk to one another
  • A commitment to make the university a leader in international education
  • A commitment to redefine the nature of faculty work
  • A commitment to give teaching and learning technologies to students and faculty
  • A commitment to stabilize and increase the university's resources

This year has seen real progress in several of these commitments. Enrollment management is beginning to change our student body. We have greatly increased the amount and sophistication of teaching and learning technology on campus. The foundation's growth, the establishment of the Miller Library, and the tuition increase has increased our available resources. This year's planning speaks directly to the issues of faculty work and international education. Both are included in all the college plans.

We have made some progress on the issue of campus discourse, but still have a long way to go. There seem to have been many colloquia, speeches and other public events that generated interesting and lively discourse. A number of highly successful conferences were held on campus including a large GLBT conference, which generated no on campus incivility. However, several unfortunate issues were played out on e-mail in ways that seemed openly hostile. But even there, voices of reason and calm were heard and on several occasions, remarkable admissions of misunderstanding and apology were offered.

We seem to be renewing our commitment to our region. The faculty is doing more applied scholarship and we are looking at our real effect on those around us. More and more we seek to be a resource for this community and a responsible citizen in it.

THANKS

The Strategic Planning Committee thanks our staff, especially Lucie Schwartzkopf and Mir Haider for their consistent work throughout the year. We thank each other, for our individual contributions to the group. But most of all we thank those members of the staff and the faculty who participated in their unit's strategic planning. This has been a collective and collaborative effort of which we can all be proud.

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