Academic Distinction Strategic Plan

Report of
Academic Distinction Subcommittee
of the Strategic Planning Committee

For Discussion

SCSU educates the global citizen for the 21st Century. We are a comprehensive university which prepares students for careers and a positive role in the community with both general liberal studies and specific career skills. Students are taught by professors in strong academic programs with significant ties with the local and global community. Our dedicated faculty and staff are committed to a quality education experience for students. We focus on the global environment in general and multi-cultural efforts with opportunities on and off campus.

Using data from surveys, focus groups and interviews, the following recommendations have been formulated. In order to maintain and enhance the distinction formulated above, there are several steps that can be taken. However, not all can be accomplished at once. The following priorities from areas 2, 3, 4 and (see below) are recommended by the Academic Distinction Subcommittee for immediate implementation, with the understanding that efforts will be ongoing while future efforts are added.

The five top priorities for Academic Distinction in year one must be:

  1. Cultivate an atmosphere of trust, respect and openness;
  2. Prepare students, faculty and staff to function and work in a diverse, global environment;
  3. Maintain and enhance quality applied programs;
  4. Support the liberal arts and connect them to our students' lives and career choices;
  5. Adopt a framework that recognizes and supports multiple forms of scholarship with the time and resources to pursue them.

Strategy Recommendations for the Academic Distinction Priorities for Year One

  1. Cultivate an atmosphere of trust, respect and openness. The one most important change noted by the committee as needed by the university at this time is the cultivation of an atmosphere of trust, respect and openness. What emerges from the data is a picture of a university community with strong shared values around the issues of fairness, security and freedom from harassment. Likewise, there is a commitment to democratic and open processes in running the university. However, many felt there were barriers to operation and collaboration. Open intellectual inquiry was highly valued by all members of the university community, but there was a huge disparity between the value placed on that by students and the value they placed on ability to defend unpopular ideas. This was perhaps the largest disjuncture with faculty values. In order to remove barriers, collaborate and pursue rigorous intellectual inquiry (including inquiry into difficult or unpopular ideas), we need an atmosphere of trust. This needs to occur at all levels of the university - between faculty, staff and administration, between colleagues, between students and faculty and among students. Such an atmosphere would allow collaboration where there are now rigid boundaries and barriers to operation, appropriate mentoring, and a discourse of open and respectful inquiry, and willing participation of all members of the community in the "citizenship" activities necessary to accomplish our goals. It is difficult to make specific recommendations for a change that cuts horizontally across all aspects of the university, but some preliminary steps for year one should include:
    • The appropriate administrative departments will develop student cohorts to create a "small college" atmosphere.
    • Faculty and academic administrators will participate to the greatest extent possible in social events, teaching and departmental intellectual events such as seminars, lectures, debates and discussions.
    • Places such as reading rooms will be designated (by administrators and departments) on campus where faculty can interact as scholars.
    • A series of debates, dialogues or discussions between prominent figures which model reasoned discourse will be scheduled by a University Colloquium Committee. (See also the Diversity and Social Justice Subcommittee Report and Recommendations.) A committee should be created to which departments can apply for support for events, speakers, etc. This committee should include faculty, students and administration (on the academic side, especially).
    • Faculty and academic administrators will participate to the greatest extent possible in joint planning and information sharing.
  2. Prepare students, faculty and staff to function and work in a diverse, global environment. Students will graduate and leave SCSU to function and work in a world increasingly made "smaller" by demographic changes, technologies, and travel, etc. Global learning includes both international experiences for students and faculty and the discussion and teaching of global issues on campus. These international experiences should be guided by students' professional and educational goals. While the experience may appropriately include language learning components, the goals should be more than language proficiency. There should be practical applications for linguistic abilities, and those abilities become a vehicle for career preparation, research, global citizenship, broadening of horizons and personal enrichment. Faculty should be well prepared to teach and function globally, and the campus community as a whole should think of itself as an "international university." The university will market the global vision and recruit students who want to participate.
    • Curriculum will teach and allow students to avail themselves of global resources, views and values by integrating diversity and global issues into curricula.
      • The administration, faculty and staff will work together to provide the university community opportunities to think and act as global citizens;
      • The administration, faculty and staff will work together to support international speakers/symposia/on diversity and global/international issues, film series and cultural events (on campus).
    • The administration, faculty and staff will make the university a leader in international education.
      • Seek and nurture significant partnerships with the global community
      • Faculty exchange programs
      • Create campus infrastructure to host and house global and diversity activities
        - international internships/practica/student teaching
        - international research opportunities
      • Look to of the skills and talents of people who have had international experiences (alumni, faculty, staff, students)
    • The administration, faculty and staff will work together to actively seek diverse domestic and international faculty.
    • The administration, faculty and staff will work together to recruit top diverse international and domestic students and provide service and support once they are on campus.
    • The Center for Teaching Excellence or other appropriate unit will provide faculty and staff development opportunities in diversity/international issues.
    • Initiate the development of international program opportunities for study abroad which provide access to a broad group of students (not just specific majors)
      Provide staffing and support to the Center for International Studies so the Center can better meet the demands of international programs and students.
  3. Maintain and enhance quality applied programs. As the committee looks at academic distinction, it finds itself drawn in two directions - toward both the liberal arts and applied programs. Based on data from the entire academic community, we know that applied programs and career development are (and should be) highly valued, as are intellectual inquiry and personal development. One thing that will make the university distinctive is quality applied programs (such as those in areas where market demand will continue to grow1) whose graduates still retain liberal arts values which are a foundation for excellence. The data show that several programs feel that they have achieved distinction, and will need support to maintain their quality. In addition, the liberal arts that provide support for those applied programs must be adequately supported. The committee recognizes that the strength of this university is not to be a liberal arts school, although a small number of our graduates will go on to be professional scholars and artists. The great majority of our students go into the work force in a variety of capacities. The university, therefore, needs to insure that all our graduates have the specific skills and knowledge to begin a successful career. The scan of external environment indicates that there is a growing presence of U.S. firms in other countries and greater international competition for markets. As the people of Minnesota increasingly interact across national boundaries, a better understanding of other cultures and nations is necessary. Finally, data show that the community views SCSU as isolated and inflexible in responding to community needs. Quality applied programs should be closely tied to the communities they serve through service learning, internships and applied research. These findings support the following recommendations:
    • Departments take leadership in creating experiential learning by employing service learning and internships, and applied classroom activities and assignments.
    • Departments assess and maintain or enhance applied learning opportunities (such as practica, internships, service learning and other experiential programs) which meet national standards of excellence.
    • Administration develop strategies (such as databases of opportunities or communication of opportunities to appropriate departments) to assist departments with successful internship placements.
    • Departments and faculty will review and revise courses where necessary to ensure that global issues are included in the curriculum.
    • Faculty and administration encourage students to participate in international programs and learn about the cultures of international students here on campus.
    • Faculty (and students) conduct specialized applied research in the communities they serve.
      Administration, departments and faculty support capstone experiences in all disciplines.
  4. Support the liberal arts and connect them to our students' lives and career choices. The point of the liberal arts at this university is to foster excellence, personal development, open and vigorous inquiry, and the skills and habit of life-long learning necessary for a career to continue viability in the changing world of work. However, the data indicate that students do not always see the connection between the liberal arts and personal development, career viability and responsible civic behavior. To support the career skills with liberal arts, they must value their pursuit. Such values include:
    • A respect for and knowledge of many cultures;
    • A belief that reasoned discourse will lead us closer to the truth;
    • An appreciation of artistic expression which can teach us about ourselves and others;
    • The belief that it is the duty of all citizens to participate in civic discourse and responsible social behavior;
    • A life-long curiosity about the world and the ability to investigate it on many levels;
    • Respect for a sound foundation in a chosen field of inquiry, its realm of knowledge, methods and evidence.
    The data revealed that alumni ranked personal growth and intellectual inquiry as important values. Students, meanwhile, favor support for cultural diversity. The results of the faculty and staff survey analysis show overlapping values with these data and those of the student and alumni surveys. A cursory review of issues involving a sense of community reveals a large disparity between the desire to foster intellectual inquiry (4.56 on 5.0 scale) and the reality of our current environment (3.07). Students noted that they are coming here to get a job/career, not to get an education. This differentiation suggests that we, as an academic community, have work to do. Most incoming students believe they need special help in writing, reading, math, study skills, and/or speaking but do not connect these with intellectual inquiry. These findings suggest that in order for students to value the liberal arts, we need to connect the liberal arts to our students' lives in such a way that they understand how the study of liberal arts contributes to both personal growth and development and career advancement. While many faculty members already do this as a matter of course, students do not yet make the connection. We believe much of the responsibility for this is in the hands of the departments and faculty through their courses. In the next year:
    • Departments and faculty will continue review and revalidate courses where necessary to ensure that General Education courses are connected to students' lives, personal development and career aspirations.
    • Departments and faculty will create relevant, experiential learning (such as community-based service learning, internships, practica, etc.) in courses and programs, where possible.
    • Departments and faculty encourage and support (and, where appropriate, require) student attendance at non-class intellectual activities--lectures, debates, films, performances, workshops, etc.
    • Administration supports non-class intellectual activities through creation of a fund and mechanism to support and implement a University Colloquium series.
    • The faculty, departments and administration will work to change student culture regarding commitment of time and effort required of a full-time student.
      • General Education Curriculum Committee conduct a review of General Education courses to see that there is a consistent workload for students.
      • The Registrars Office will include in the summer orientation program written and verbal statements concerning workload expectations at this university.
      • Those responsible for Orientation 150 will include similar material in their course.
      • Departments will similarly consider how they communicate their expectations to students and plan strategies for such communication if necessary.
  5. Adopt a framework that recognizes and supports multiple forms of scholarship with the time and resources to pursue them. Faculty at such an institution need not only keep up with and contribute to their discipline, but also to be aware of their students' probable career paths, and to organize effective courses to get their students started. But an effective university will accomplish this through a diversity of methods. Boyer's four-scholarship framework seems to offer an appropriate approach to meeting these needs. It acknowledges Teaching (transforming and extending knowledge) as a scholarship, as well as Discovery (investigatory research), Integration (synthesizing and connecting and interpreting ideas), and Application (practical use of one's discipline, service). Initial conversations indicate that there are many unresolved concerns about the framework, and not all faculty have had adequate time to study and think through the implications of adopting this framework. The committee recommends in the next year:
    • Faculty continue the Carnegie Conversations until such time that concerns are resolved and faculty can adopt this or a similar framework freely.
    • Administration, faculty and staff work to institutionalize the adopted framework through grant process, negotiation (of promotion and tenure processes), sabbatical processes and other appropriate processes.
    • Administration, faculty and staff support teaching excellence through the continued development of and participation in Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence programming and services. Such programming and services should include
      • Faculty renewal and enhanced teaching through individual consultation strategies,
      • The development of programs responsive to the shifting demand of a faculty member's career at the university, and
      • Should provide access to current theory and best practice in teaching and learning.
    • Administration and the IFO develop a strategy for systematically identifying and nominating outstanding faculty for regional and national teaching awards.
    • Departments work toward educationally sound ways to reduce faculty load to allow time for pursuit of scholarship (such as focusing the curriculum on interdepartmental or cross-disciplinary collaboration which might have the effect of maintaining curriculum integrity while reducing the number of courses departments need to offer).
    • Administration support legitimate and educationally sound ways to reduce faculty load with the eventual goal of reaching nine semester hours teaching load.
    • IFO accept a legitimate proposal on reassigned time for scholarly or creative pursuits.
    • The administration encourages and recognizes selected service as scholarship of application, especially where it is tied the faculty member's discipline.

Strategy Recommendations for the Academic Distinction Priorities for Years Two Through Five

In years two through five, The university community will assess and continue efforts begun in year one, and add efforts in areas 1, 6, 7, and 8:

  • A quality educational 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.

Relation of Academic Distinction to Mission and Vision

Academic distinction, however defined, lies at the heart of SCSU's mission and vision. It creates "a quality educational environment" and fosters "scholarship, research, and artistic and creative endeavors." Students educated in an academically distinct environment will be able to seize "cultural and economic opportunities" offered them.

Definitions of Academic Distinction

We agreed as a subcommittee that our charge required us to look at both academic excellence and program distinctiveness. After much discussion we agreed to the following:

  • That we should look to the Carnegie framework: clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effect presentation and reflective critique to review excellence in all four scholarships: Discovery, Integration, Application, and Teaching;
  • That one measure of excellence would be some national disciplinary standard appropriate to universities of our type;
  • That for many measures of both excellence and distinction, the academic department or center is the appropriate unit of measure;
  • That a department or center with academic distinction will exhibit most of the following characteristics:
    • have a shared consensus of its mission and communicate it to its students.
    • have clear expectations for students' learning and ways to measure their success.
    • have faculty whose scholarship and creative work supports that mission.
    • acknowledge the differing contributions of its faculty.
    • participate in its national disciplinary conversation.
  • Another way to look at distinction would be to look at a faculty's credentials (degrees and licensures), its scholarship (publications, presentations, products), visibility, teaching and mentoring.

With all of that said, as noted earlier, the data tell us that what makes us distinct is that SCSU educates the global citizen for the 21st Century:

  • We are a comprehensive university
  • Which prepares students for careers and a positive role in the community
    • with both general liberal studies and
    • applied programs with specific career skills.
  • Students are taught by professors in strong academic programs
    with significant ties with the local and global community;
  • Have access to dedicated faculty and staff;
  • A focus on the global environment in general and multi-cultural efforts - with opportunities on and off campus

Areas of Academic Distinction

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

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanne Hites, subcommittee chair (CH222)
Sid Parham (R112)
Dick Andzenge (CIS)
Roseanna Ross (CH1)
Heidi Howell (AS210)
David Boyer (Colbert So. 204, Mail: BH123)
Karen Wenz (CH37AA)
Dennis Nunes (AS121)
Musah (MS145)
Ravi Kalia (ECC252)
Brenda Wentworth (CH3)

1 The fastest growing occupations in Minnesota that require a college degree are: computer systems analysts, computer engineers & scientists, preschool and kindergarten teachers, special education teachers, marketing, advertising and public relations managers, social workers, physicians and surgeons, personnel/training/labor relations specialists, and physical therapists.

Appendix A

Checklist of Outcomes:

After several meetings in which the conversation grew increasingly abstract, it was observed that we were uncomfortable with what we couldn't measure or at least describe in some concrete way. As a result we developed the following checklist. The list is divided in two ways: first by goal listed in the 1997 report and second by groups being looked at (the University as a whole, departments and programs, faculty and students). The 1997 report suggested that SCSU will do the following:

  1. Maintain a quality educational environment
  2. Focus on excellence and distinctiveness.
  3. Create and encourage a community of open and vigorous intellectual inquiry
  4. Offer career-focused education with a strong liberal arts foundation.
  5. Prepare students, faculty and staff to function in a diverse, global environment
  6. Support and encourage applied research and scholarly or creative activities, particularly student-faculty and community focused projects.
  7. Cultivate adequate resources for the attainment of academic distinction
  8. Integrate technology into academic and administrative tasks.

Checklist of Outcomes: Evidence of Academic Distinction
(Ideas to date May 3, 1999)

Disclaimer: This is not prescriptive but descriptive. It is our hope that departments and census on their priorities for their own planning.

Directions: Select those items that are applicable to your college, department or program. Obviously not every item will fit every program or department. Please write in additions and comments. Check off those you feel your unit has achieved and you wish to maintain, and then select others that you wish to work on. The spaces in front of the items are for checks and prioritization.

  1. Maintain a quality educational environment

    A quality educational environment includes time, spaces, opportunities, resources for open, vigorous intellectual inquiry. A quality educational environment should enhance study, collaboration and the socialization which creates community. This includes print and electronic library resources which support and facilitate scholarship, and opportunities to share and celebrate intellectual achievement. Opportunities will be available to witness and participate in debates, discussions, intellectual inquiry and personal development of all members of the academic community.

    A quality educational environment will have the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • Adequate classroom space, comfortably furnished, arranged appropriately for the activities involved and equipped with appropriate supplies and technology.
    • Adequate space for experiential learning, including labs, studios, rehearsal and performance space that encourages learning, practice, scholarship and creative activity.
    • Adequate office space for professors to work as professionals and which helps students to perceive professors as professionals.
    • Support staff for academic activities including clerical, lab, and technical support.
    • Adequate opportunities and places for faculty and students to share ideas outside the classroom (e.g. a commons in every building with current journals).
    • Comfortable reading rooms where faculty and graduate students can peruse current journals (library and elsewhere).
    • Adequate access to current research and professional literature in the library (e.g. increase library book and periodical acquisition budget).
    • Adequate access to appropriate institutional research by faculty, administration and staff (e.g. advisor computer access to student records).
    • Numerous non-class quality intellectual activities--lectures, films, performances, workshops, etc.
    • Other

    Departments/programs
    • Encourages and supports students and faculty to attend non-class intellectual activities--lectures, films, performances, workshops, etc.
    • Other
    Faculty
    • Encourages and supports student attendance at non-class intellectual activities--lectures, films, performances, workshops, etc.
    • Acknowledgment that thought and reflection are essential to the life of the mind by limiting classroom assignments (9 sem. hrs. a week) and administrative time.
    • Faculty input into library priorities.
    • Recognition of faculty intellectual and creative achievement.
    • Other
    Students
    • Classes in which student participation is rampant.
    • Students have opportunities to share and celebrate their intellectual achievement (student research colloquium, literary journals, art shows, etc.).
    • Other

    Comments:

  2. Focus on Excellence and Distinctiveness.

    Excellence and distinctiveness are hard to sort out. Our division here reflects our thinking on this problem, and some items could easily appear on either list.

    A focus on excellence will exhibit the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • The Administration in concert with the IFO will ensure that faculty/staff/students have opportunities to pursue scholarship in its many forms.
    • The Administration encourages and provides support for faculty preparation and renewal through regular sabbaticals (every 7 years) and scholarly or creative efforts.
    • The Administration and departments encourage and provide support for faculty applications for grants, fellowships and programs such as the Fulbright
    • Admissions will successfully recruit a higher percentage of students in the top 10% of their graduating class.
    • University will continue to offer a range of programs and focus on the excellent delivery of these programs.
    • University will maintain appropriate master's programs and focus on the excellent delivery of these programs.
    • The Administration systematically identifies and nominates faculty for regional and national teaching excellence awards.
    • Other

    Departments/programs
    • Graduate Programs Most of these are applicable to undergraduate and graduate education, however, we think the following list is applies particularly to graduate education.
    • Planned learning experiences
    • Core learning experiences
    • Doing-centered learning
    • Individualization
    • Tangible product (Thesis/Project/Report)
    • Planned outside-of-class activities
    • Other
    • All programs
    • Curriculum reflects current national trends.
    • Institutional research aids department and center decisions.
    • Needs assessments identify strengths and weaknesses and aid decision making.
    • Departments review what they require of students.
    • Program changes do not compromise the quality of the curriculum.
    • Programs assess for program improvement, using internal AND external benchmarks
    • Program assessment is performance-based.
    • Programs secure expertise of outside scholars in assessing programs
    • Departments develop evaluation criteria and strategies for its programs and courses.
    • External advisory committees facilitate program improvement where relevant.
    • Departments collaborate in course offerings where possible to realize an efficiency that can reduce the total number of offerings necessary.
    Faculty
    • Faculty have appropriate qualifications.
    • Faculty renew themselves through regular sabbaticals and scholarly or creative efforts.
    • Faculty teaching loads reasonably allow time for scholarly or creative efforts.
    • Faculty publishes, presents and/or attends national and international meetings.
    • Informal discussions and reading groups occur across disciplines.
    • Faculty scholarship is supported and rewarded (including one of the four scholarships and creative activities).
    • Faculty share ideas on teaching strategy and support each other through peer mentoring, evaluation of materials and instruction.
    • A variety of formative and summative assessment tools are used by teaching staff for course and program improvement.
    • Faculty give careful consideration to student assessment processes when revising courses to improve the quality of instruction and materials.
    • Faculty demonstrate growth in teaching skills as well as disciplinary knowledge.
    • Faculty are accessible to individual students for teaching, collaborations and advising.
    • Other
    Students
    • Entering students will meet required proficiency in science, math, the arts, English composition and literature, and one other language
    • Entering students will understand the time and commitment necessary to excellence on a university
    • A higher percentage of students will be in the top 10% of their graduating class.
    • Faculty/student collaborative scholarship occurs.
    • Students are made aware of current thought and theory.
    • Informal discussions and reading groups occur across disciplines.
    • Students who come for job skills will leave with life skills ("deparochialized" or "liberated") with changed perceptions and skills to learn and think critically, appreciate arts, etc.
    • A large percentage of students who chose to apply, will be accepted into graduate or professional schools
    • Students have easy access to quality advising.
    • Students work closely with faculty in learning, collaborations and advising.
    Comments:

    A focus on distinctiveness will exhibit the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • Is recognized by the general population, businesses, professionals and scholars as academically distinctive.
    • The University maintains its position as the institution with the most nationally most accredited programs in the state.
    • Is seen among the Minnesota state universities as distinctive.
    • Alumni contribute to and support academic distinction.
    • The University community has shared a vision and goals
    • Other
    Departments/programs
    • Departments pursue and maintain accreditation where available and appropriate.
    • Offers a program of emphasis not found in region.
    • Graduate program leaders model professional behavior to the field, show concern for student professional development
    • Other
    Faculty
    • Faculty have a comprehensive range of experiences which inform their teaching and scholarship
    • Conducts specialized applied research and contract work in the region.
    • Graduate Programs
    • Faculty invested in field and graduate ed.
    • Faculty with non-University workplace experience
    • Other
    Students
    • Conducts specialized applied research and contract work in the region.
    • Graduate Programs
    • Committed students with diverse experiences
    • Other
    Comments:

  3. Create and encourage a community of open and vigorous intellectual inquiry

    Inquiry and the right to try out new and unpopular ideas are at the heart of the University. These items require the investment of personal rather than financial resources on many of these items.

    Open and vigorous intellectual inquiry will exhibit the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • Has forums for intellectual exchange
    • Has a culture of civil discourse which distinguishes intellectual disagreement from ad hominem attack.
    • Other
    Departments/programs
    • Graduate Programs have a program culture of shared purposes and supportive learning environment
    • Department models the UN freedoms of information: Everyone feels secure in their right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media
    Faculty
    • Participates in cross disciplinary teaching and scholarship.
    • Exposes students to the extremes of thought in the field (as well as the mainstream).
    • Models inquiry and discourse for students.
    • Has a culture of civil discourse which distinguishes intellectual disagreement from ad hominem attack.
    • Other
    Students
    • Faculty and students engage in discussion on the standards of good scholarship
    • Student participation in class is frequent and of high quality
    • Has a culture of civil discourse which distinguishes intellectual disagreement from ad hominem attack.
    • Those engaged in discussion agree to disagree, listen respectfully, argue their position by providing evidence to support their claim, and makes no assumptions that the listeners are wrong.
    • Other
    Comments:

  4. Offer career-focused education with a strong liberal arts foundation.

    A career-focused education with a strong liberal arts foundation exhibits the following:
  5. Departments/programs

    • Program (each major or minor) has a core of classes required of all students
    • Departments take leadership in creating experiential learning by employing service learning, experiential learning and internships
    • Has successful internship programs which meet national standards of excellence.
    Faculty
    • Faculty have an agreed upon set of information and skills which all majors should have.
    • Specialty courses are offered by specialists.
    Students
    • Entering students will meet required proficiency in science, math, the arts, English composition and literature, and one other language
    • Students are made aware of current thought and theory.
    • Informal discussions and reading groups occur across disciplines.
    • Students who come for job skills will leave with life skills ("deparochialized" or "liberated") with changed perceptions and skills to learn and think critically, appreciate arts, etc.
    Comments:

  6. Prepare students, faculty and staff to function in a diverse, global environment

    Global learning includes both international experiences for students and faculty and the discussion and teaching of global issues on campus. These international experiences should be guided by the student's professional and educational goals. While the experience may appropriately include language learning components, the goals should be more than language fluency.

    An environment in which students, faculty and staff are prepared to function in a diverse, global environment will exhibit the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • Includes both international experience for faculty and students and opportunities to think and act as global citizens.
    • Encourages and supports faculty development and international experience.
    • The Administration and the IFO encourages and supports faculty applications for global fellowships and programs such as the Fulbright.
    • The Administration will seek to recapture the University leadership in International education.
    • Supports international speakers and symposia on campus on global and international issues.
    • Has a diverse faculty
    • The Administration and Center for International Studies will play a leadership role among sister institutions
    • Other
    Departments/programs
    • Has included global issues in the curriculum
    • Encourages students to participate in international programs
    • Has a diverse faculty
    • Other
    Faculty
    • Has included global issues in the curriculum
    • Encourages students to participate in international programs (including language programs).
    • Faculty supports and encourages student development of language skills
    • Has a diverse faculty
    • Uses web and other technology to encourage wide ranging scholarship by students
    • Has defined the "cultural issues" in the discipline and how scholars and faculty in other countries work.
    • Emphasizes "comparative education" in all appropriate disciplines
    • Encourages and supports faculty development and travel.
    • Faculty successfully apply for global fellowships and programs such as the Fulbright
    • Faculty contribute to development of international programs both on and off campus
    • Other
    Students
    • International students are welcomed and participate in campus programs
    • Students have the opportunity to be immersed in another culture
    • Students participate in international programs
    • Students have a good understanding of global issues, history, and geography
    • Students will be encouraged to exceed state language requirements
    • Students will perceive and behave as global citizens by involving themselves in global issues
    • Other
    Comments:

  7. Support and encourage applied research and scholarly or creative activities, particularly student-faculty and community focused projects.

    It is our premise that to achieve distinction and excellence, we must support and encourage each of the scholarships: Discovery, Integration, Application and Teaching. One effective way of fostering excellence and open and vigorous intellectual inquiry is through student-faculty collaborative scholarship and community projects.

    Support of applied research and scholarly or creative activities, particularly student-faculty and community focused projects will exhibit the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • The Administration encourages and recognizes selected service as a scholarship of application.
    Faculty
    • Participates in cross disciplinary teaching and scholarship.
    • Faculty/student collaborative scholarship occurs.
    • Faculty scholarship is supported and rewarded (including applied scholarship and creative activities).
    • Conducts specialized applied research and contract work in the region.
    Students
    • Faculty/student collaborative scholarship occurs.
    • Students work closely with faculty in learning, collaborations and advising.
    • Conducts specialized applied research and contract work in the region.
    Comments:

  8. Cultivate adequate resources for the attainment of academic distinction

    Adequate resources are the means for most everything else in this checklist. Resources are a necessary but not sufficient condition for the attainment of distinction. It is difficult to achieve any distinction or excellence when programs are underfunded.

    Cultivation of resources includes the following:

    Campus/University wide
    • The Administration supports accreditation through resources and activities as necessary.
    • The Administration must fund on other measures as well as FTE's.
    • Administration works with faculty and students to lobby legislature and the system for increased funding.
    • The Administration encourages and supports faculty applications for grants.
    • Graduate Program Resources: The Administration and faculty will support graduate programs through recruitment and development of new programs and research resources (library, periodicals, graduate assistant support, labs)
    • Other
    Departments/programs
    • Department monitors major/minor enrollments and actively recruits.
    • Dean and department are active in seeking external funding sources.
    • Department and Faculty plan for external funding.
    • Programs and majors have sufficient electives available to them in other disciplines that
    • University does not need to duplicate staffing.
    • Administration works with faculty and students to lobby legislature and the system for increased funding.
    • Other
    Faculty
    • Department and faculty plan for external funding.
    • Faculty assist Administration to lobby legislature and the system for increased funding.
    • The faculty successfully apply for grants.
    • Other
    Students
    • Students assist Administration to lobby legislature and the system for increased funding.
    • Other
    Comments:

  1. Integrate technology into academic and administrative tasks.

    Technology can support administrative tasks, teaching and learning in very effective ways, such as: increased contacts between students and faculty and staff, reciprocity and cooperation among students, increased use of active learning techniques, timely feedback, improved time on task, communication of high expectations, new ways to respect diverse talents and ways of learning. In order for these things to happen, technology must be effectively integrated. For additional information see the SCSU TLTR plan.

    Skillful integration of technology into academic pursuit and administrative tasks exhibits the following:

    Departments/programs
    • Departments and programs have access to adequate discipline-specific technologies for teaching, learning, scholarship and creative works.

Faculty/staff

    • Faculty and staff will have skills to use technology as appropriate.
    • Faculty and staff will have the support they need to use technology as appropriate.
    • Faculty will be able to select and use appropriate technologies to improve the quality of instruction and scholarly activities or productivity in administrative tasks.
    • Other

Students

    • Students have access to and skills to use general and discipline-specific technologies for scholarship and future job applications

    Appendix B
    The Results of Data Collection

    A. INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

    Staff

    • Received 161 responses
    • The structured questions indicate:
      • Most staff enjoy working at SCSU.
      • Need more training especially, Computer training.
      • Need more time to adequately perform the job duties.
    • The Open ended questions indicate
      • Staff need updated equipment resources
      • Security in buildings could be improved
      • Staff think academic programs and the work ethic of employees are things
      • SCSU is doing well.
      • Staff overwhelmingly feel that SCSU must communicate better within and without and be more appreciative/respectful of staff.

    Students

    • ACT survey 1837 responses indicate that entering freshmen:
      • Most want a small group class format
      • Two-thirds have a degree in mind
      • Believe they need special help in writing, reading, math, study skills, and/or speaking
      • Forty percent want advising on careers
      • Sixty percent want to participate in intramural athletics
      • Of the 33% that want to volunteer, 48% are females, 56% are minorities
      • Are NOT coming to SCSU because they heard it was a party school
      • Get information by visiting the campus itself
      • Are coming here to get a job/career, not to get an education
    • Student focus interviews responses:
      • Students included the following in their positive attitude
        -- Teaching and professor accessibility and
        -- Number and diversity of student organizations
        -- Classroom: Teachers rather than grad assistants in the classroom
        -- Free Internet and e-mail
        -- Athletics and intramural
        -- Internships and study abroad
        -- Child care center and support services
        -- Volunteer link
      • Students included the following in their negative responses
        -- Advising was repeatedly mentioned as being bad
        -- More evening and weekend classes
        -- More sections of English 162, 163 and Speech 161
        -- Longer hours for bookstore and library
        -- Smaller classes, no auditorium classes
        -- More trash cans and bicycle racks
        -- All teachers should use evaluations
        -- Need for placement tests
        -- More computers and technology
        -- More parking
        -- Better communication between financial aid and business office

    Departments/programs/areas/units (DPAUs)

    • Most DPAUs define their primary function as teaching and service to students.
    • Most DPAUs have either a mission or vision that they see as consistent with that of the University.
    • Most DPAUs identified recruitment of faculty and students as a goal and accepted goals from outside sources such as accrediting agencies.
    • Most DPAUs need more faculty, technology, and/or space.
    • Most DPAUs see licensing/legal requirements, changing level of responsibilities of our students, and changing technology as the major trends that have implications for planning.
    • Most DPAUs identified high quality faculty, staff, and programs as their major strengths.
    • Most DPAUs alluded to a vague feeling that some things about the faculty needs improvement, such as more research, more diversity, more up to date knowledge.
    • Most DPAUs identified their main constituents as students
    • Most DPAUs suggested that the best performance measure would be some type of student evaluation either current or after graduation.
    • Many also insisted that FTEs were NOT a good measure.
    • Most DPAUs suggested that we fix the current database, evaluate administrators, and do a long term follow up of graduates to assess the state of the institution.
    • Most DPAUs suggested that SCSU is distinguished by its friendly, caring campus, good size, good faculty, and international programs.
    • Most DPAUs suggested that they were distinguished by their internships and accreditation.
    • The two most common answers to the question relating to how to make SCSU one of the top ten were that it was a totally unrealistic goal and that we were already there

    B. INSTITUTIONAL VALUES (as of 12/17/96)

    By the end of October 1996, the results of the student and alumni polls on the internal environment at St. Cloud State University were compiled. They showed a very high priority for physical safety and freedom from harassment, fairness to all. Likewise preparation for career and life after graduation stand out as areas of concern for both groups. Alumni also ranked personal growth and intellectual inquiry as important values. Students, meanwhile, favor support for cultural diversity.

    The results of the faculty and staff survey analysis shows overlapping values with these data and those of the student and alumni surveys. What emerges is a picture of a university community with strong shared values around the issues of fairness, security and freedom from harassment. Likewise, there is a commitment to democratic and open processes in running the university. A cursory review of issues involving a sense of community reveals a large disparity between the desire to foster intellectual inquiry (4.56 on 5.0 scale) and the reality of our current environment (3.07).

    C. EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT (as of 12/19/96)

    Demographic Trends:

    The changes in the population will be characterized by a leveling off of traditional college students and growth in non-traditional groups. The population of the state is aging. The proportion of those Over 40 will sharply increase. The median age of Minnesotans in 1990 was 32.5 years. By 2020, the median age will be 40.0 years. The number of traditional age students is expected to grow for the next decade. The young adult population will peak in 2015, then begin to decline. The variations in this age group are projected to be less dramatic in the coming 30 years than in the past two decades.

    Minority population growth will account for a larger share of total population growth in the future. Minnesota's total minority proportion is expected to to rise from 6.3 percent in the year 1990 to 15% in 2020, but this is still far below the current national average of 24 percent. These rates of increase are attributable to high in-migration rates for most minority groups, combined with a younger age distribution and higher fertility rates. African Americans will remain Minnesota's largest minority group in the year 2020, according to projections. Asians and Pacific Islanders will remain the state's second- largest minority group. The state's American Indian population is expected to grow from 49,909 people in 1990 to about 91,490 in 2020, a gain of more than 80 percent. The Hispanic population is projected to be about 150,000 people in 2020. This is an increase of 178 percent.

    Jobs/Economy Trends:

    One-third of new jobs will require a college degree by the year 2010 (currently 25%), while one-third of new jobs will require a college degree by the year 2010 an even higher percentage will desire a college degree for employees.

    Small firms will continue to create a significant share of new jobs. Large corporations are cutting management layers, and small firms are being created in greater numbers. The number of self-employed will grow; many will work at home using computers. Life-long learning will be necessary for workers due to restructuring and career changes. There is a growing presence of U.S. firms in other countries and greater international competition for markets. As the people of Minnesota increasingly interact across national boundaries, a better understanding of other cultures and nations is necessary.

    Technology will drive the economy, but jobs will rely on the ability to acquire knowledge. Future job skills will require communications, critical thinking and analytical skills. The fastest growing occupations in Minnesota that require a college degree are: computer systems analysts, computer engineers & scientists, preschool and kindergarten teachers, special education teachers, marketing, advertising and public relations managers, social workers, physicians and surgeons, personnel/training/labor relations specialists, and physical therapists.

    Competitive Forces:

    The competitive forces group was charged with scanning the external environment with a focus on the competitive external environment in which St. Cloud State University operates. First the group identified our primary educational competitors. Their findings from a student choice point of view are that our primary competitors are first the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, second the University of Minnesota-Duluth, third, Mankato State University, and fourth all the private schools together with the exception of the University of St. Thomas for graduate programs. Next, we reviewed the web pages plans for these competitors to analyze our goals for distinctiveness. It was found that these institutions are responding to many of the same trends we are but our focus on the global environment in general and multi-cultural efforts in particular provide us with the greatest distinction.

    The competitive forces scan revealed many positive characteristics of St. Cloud State University, including the sense that SCSU has generally strong academic programs and is a leading institution within the MnSCU environment. In addition, negative characteristics that could provide tremendous future opportunities, were identified. Many of the contacts were supportive, yet candid, regarding what SCSU must do to thrive in the future such as become less isolated.

    Political-legal Trends:

    The federal legislative prospect is bleak. Federal funding for higher education, including financial aid, is unlikely to increase. The public and policy-makers question the value of a bachelor's degree. Public confidence in higher education has declined. There is a public perception that higher education does not manage its finances effectively. Society expects universities to contribute to economic development and to the solution of public policy problems.

    In the state of Minnesota, since 1987, the proportion of the total state budget provided for higher education has declined by 21.5%. Higher education's share of state funding likely will continue to decline in competition with other social needs. MnSCU will emphasize 1) academic accountability, defined as measuring student achievement in all areas of learning, and 2) operating efficiency. State funding and MnSCU funding increasingly will be tied to performance. SCSU does not have a strong public identity. The public and policy-makers often do not distinguish between SCSU and Mankato State, Moorhead State, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. External leaders perceive SCSU as high quality and a positive place, but inwardly-focused, inflexible, unresponsive, and not innovative.

    Technology Trends:

    The technology trends group was charged with scanning the environment with a focus on identifying key technology trends that would present threats or opportunities for SCSU. Based on literally hundreds of technology-related contacts, the subgroup compiled what it considered to be the most important technology trends (threats and opportunities). Technology to support instruction and the delivery of education was a primary interest item. This includes using technology to support instruction in the traditional classroom, to using technology to support the more controversial "electronic university." Using technology to improve services to students, including advising and administrative support, was identified as an important use of technology. Technology planning, training, and funding were also identified as key technology issues.

    MnSCU plans for information technology, including the "electronic academy," are uncertain. In higher education there is a need to balance aspirations for productivity, access, and quality through use of information technology. Information technology is expensive and costs for replacement, upgrading, training, and support must become an integral part of all budgeting. Universities are recognizing the need for institution-wide planning and a vision about the use of information technology. SCSU student interest in information technology centers on: the need for training and basic information technology literacy, careers, the need to have the requisite computer skills and the use of computers for job searching and networking, greater use of computers for student services, such as on-line registration with search capabilities, and the desire for SCSU to be a leader in the use of information technology. Faculty/staff interest centers on: .... maintaining institutional competitiveness, .... the need for planning, .... the need for additional resources, .... the desire to see SCSU exert leadership, .... and improving teaching.

    Distance education is seen as both a threat and an opportunity by faculty/staff and students. For example, the numbers of "higher education providers" will grow with innovations in information technology. The focus of concern is maintaining quality. Improving access through distance education is seen very positively. Support for use of information technology in student services is high among staff and students. Deterrents to doing so are perceived to be MnSCU barriers and funds. Staff and faculty have asked for more training and support services. The new library provides an extraordinary opportunity for SCSU to lead within MnSCU and the state and to provide focus.

    Strengths/Weaknesses and Threats/Opportunities:

    The Strategic Planning Committee methodology called for us to utilize the data we had gathered to identify our internal strength and weaknesses and our external threat and opportunities. On November 11, 1996, the SPC spent a full day going over all our findings (presented above). Then the SPC identified the strengths/weaknesses and threats/opportunities that SCSU faces at this times. Those identified are presented below in brief form. Recall that it was on the basis of our perceived current strengths/weaknesses and threats/opportunities, that the SPC built its draft strategic goals and objectives.

    Internal Strengths

    • good instruction especially in undergraduate education,
    • quality programs
    • variety of programs offered
    • international programs/study abroad opportunities
    • international focus
    • location
    • safe secure environment
    • new library
    • dedication of faculty and staff
    • affordable education
    • division I hockey
    • diversity and number of clubs and organizations
    • student services
    • child care center

    Internal Weaknesses

    • lack of reliable, capacity information technology infrastructure
    • lack of support for campus information needs
    • resources stretched thin
    • lack of overall structure for continued strategic planning
    • lack of focus & planning in departments/institution
    • advising structure (career and academic)
    • party school image and incoherent public image
    • parking
    • lack of structural support for groups of students with special needs such as international students, handicapped students, nontraditional students, etc.
    • lack of diversity (staff, students, etc.)
    • lack of communication among campus constituencies
    • lack of training in some areas for faculty and staff
    • lack of recognition of faculty and staff efforts
    • lack of family oriented services
    • lack of community outreach, partnering and collaboration
    • internal bureaucratic barriers to operations

    External Opportunities

    • steady population growth in our regional base
    • strong non-traditional student base
    • strong minority student base
    • strong need for career retraining student base
    • evolving desire for lifelong learning student base
    • demand for alternative educational delivery systems such as distance education
    • safe and secure city location
    • desire for community connections such as CC, TC and HS partnerships
    • strong demand for educational opportunities which keep up with the changes in the business
    • environment, evolving careers such as service jobs, multi-national focus, etc.
    • demand for graduate programs related to forces identified above
    • expanding technology base

    External Threats

    • fast changing technology
    • funding level of public higher education
    • funding structure with MnSCU
    • funding level of SCSU
    • legislative ambivalence toward higher education in general and SCSU in particular
    • competition in distance education alternatives
    • community held view of party school image
    • community held view of SCSU as inflexible in responding to community needs
    • community held view of SCSU as isolated from its communities
    • lack of support for graduate degrees from MnSCU (and state)
    • MnSCU and state bureaucracy
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