St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
November 19, 2003, 10:00 a.m. Mississippi Room, Atwood Center

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Members Present: Ben Baliga, Debra Carlson , David DeGroote, Theresia Fisher, Lisa Foss, Bonnie Hedin, Pat Krueger, Judith Kilborn, Steve Klepetar, Guihua Li, John Palmer, Mahmoud Saffari, David Sikes, Mary Soroko, Karen Thoms, Brenda Wentworth

Members Absent: Edward Addo, Diana Burlison, John Burgeson, Sara Grachek, Kvame Johnson, Susan Motin, Joe Opatz, Phil Thorson, Addie Turkowski

Approval of minutes:

Moved by Klepetar, seconded by Hedin, to approve the minutes of November 5, 2003. Motion passed.

Call for New Agenda Items:

Carlson asked that Student Government be added to the agenda.

Brief Reports from Chair:

  • Timing of University-wide Forums: Kilborn spoke with Lin Holder. Thursday, January 8, from 1:00 - 2:00 and Friday, January 9, from 10:00 - 11:00 have been reserved for SPC forums.
  • Meeting with Michael Spitzer: The SPC will not request time on the April forum day because it does not want to conflict with the American Democracy Conference sponsored by the Provost. Provost Spitzer is supportive of SPC forums. He thought academic distinction was an important place to start and that something about assessment would be good. He encourages us to wait with anything that has to do with the make-up of the institution until next year because he feels we are not ready for that at this point. The Provost will help in any way that he can with the forums, including co-sponsoring. He felt that the data subcommittee was an efficient use of our time. He told Kilborn that the SPC can consult with Mike Mundis, including running the KPIs past him. Kilborn reminded the committee that it does need to keep in mind that Michael Mundis' background is not in an academic environment. He is very quick to learn but we would need to have the context of what we are working with firmly in mind. The Provost would like to see KPIs as they are developed before they are shared with the university community. Kilborn will try to have regular conversations with Michael Spitzer to get feedback in a timely fashion.
  • Faculty Senate Action: Faculty Senate approved the Priority Strategic Goals. Fac ulty Senators extended thanks to the SPC for putting the word "global" back into the academic distinction goal.
  • Spring Semester Meeting Calendar: Meetings are not every other week because of the need to work around spring break and IFO Delegate Assembly. Kilborn's goal is for the SPC to finish KPIs before spring break.

Fisher stated that the SPC needs to recommend to the President via the Provost the adoption of the priority strategic goals.

Moved by Palmer, seconded by DeGroote to approve the priority strategic goals and recommend to President Saigo by way of Provost Spitzer their adoption. Motion passed.

SPC members representing bargaining units other than the FA should follow internal procedures to take priority strategic goals to their bargaining units for approval. Kilborn noted that feedback was received on priority strategic goals during the forums earlier this year. That does not preclude bargaining units acting on approval now. Some SPC members felt this was redundant of what happened last year. Kilborn stated this is the final approval after the feedback.

Kilborn said that people in different bargaining units have the right to take back information and to bring forward any recommendations to this body. Fisher noted that so far the only strategic planning items that have been approved through the whole process (this body, Senate, Provost, President, President's Council) are the mission and vision statements. Klepetar said that he felt it was necessary for the SPC to approve the priority strategic goals and send them forward to the Provost in order to put closure on what the SPC did last year.

Action: Kilborn will write memo to the Provost and President recommending approval of strategic priority goals.

Scheduling of next set of KPIs with the Data Subcommittee:

Last week the Data Subcommittee met with the Technology Subcommittee. They will come back to the Data Subcommittee with revised KPIs. The University Community Relations Subcommittee will meet today and will notify Kilborn if they are ready to meet with the Data Subcommittee next week. The Service Community Subcommittee was asked to let Kilborn know when they are ready. Academic Distinction and Diversity and Social Justice are working in the background but won't be ready for a while.

Discussion of definitions and planning of first university-wide forum:

DeGroote, Wentworth, Grachek, Foss met last week to draft a list of working definitions. The principle is to get to transparency and clarity about terms. The list of terms is not exhaustive. Academic distinction and assessment are not on the list of terms defined. The thought is that at the first forum we may not talk at length about all the terms but it is a place to start to come to consensus on the definitions as a group. Each of the subcommittees may have a better idea of terminology that they are working with that should be defined.

DeGroote recommended shying away from defining terms like "diversity" and "global" because they are in a sense academic and very difficult to define. Wentworth said that she served on a committee for a year defining those words. It has been done.

Kilborn asked what the goal was to arrive at definitions-to reach an understanding to move into academic distinction and assessment? Are we setting up what the definitions of goals, actions and KPIs are so that we can move into forums on separate sets of KPIs as we go? What would introductory remarks for this forum focus on? That we want to give a set of terms and how we define them to encourage conversation about them, to help understand the strategic planning process, or to get input from the campus community? Is it to arrive at common definitions to describe the principles underlying our plan and work? Some terms will not lead to much discussion; others will. For instance,the KPIs will generate discussion because they will drive the assessment later on. Other discussion-generating topics may bethe difference between quantifiable and quantitative measures and the whole idea of a regional comprehensive university and what that means at SCSU because that might impact the academic distinction discussion later on. If we can come to common agreement on terminology, future forums will be more informed. Kilborn asked if in addition to presenting terms, the forum would facilitate discussion.

A variety of observations were made relating to terminology and concepts that the first forum might cover:

  • DeGroote replied that Wentworth provided an example of qualifiable KPI to the SPC and that needs to be done in a larger context.
  • Soroko noted that the terms sound business-oriented. The SPC might want to revise them to be more amenable to an academic institution.
  • Kilborn suggested identifying terms that might be hot spots.
  • Palmer asked if there is general understanding in the university community of what "service community" means? Palmer also noted that we do this indirectly with the goals and KPIs, but have we captured a definitional sense of what "service community" means?
  • DeGroote said that the terms are about operational work. Themes will be continuously defined by goals, KPIs, the assessment of those KPIs and responsibility. That all fits together to build a picture of what academic distinction or any other themes is. Palmer and Soroko complemented DeGroote on that statement and suggested that the SPC say the themes of the strategic plan are defined by the goals and KPIs. That means the discussion of the goals and KPIs has great substance. They narrow the definition of what we will be doing in each of those categories.
  • DeGroote said there needs to be a global understanding that assessment and strategic management are ongoing processes.
  • Kilborn remembers faculty comments from the forums that research or scholarship were being left out of academic distinction. DeGroote replied that KPIs could define research or scholarship as a part of academic distinction.
  • Kilborn asked for clarification of the plan to have a discussion of academic distinction as part of the definitions discussion. Foss said that maybe it would be defined through a future forum when academic distinction is talked about.
  • Palmer asked if there are words within the goals that need to be defined; for example, "good practice"? DeGroote replied that if discussion is directed around pitfalls the process can be moved along. If we take KPIs about "good practice," we will start talking an hour. If we previously define it, we can move on to what the KPIs represent. It is an efficiency issue. We don't want everyone to bring their own definitions.
  • Foss said that she sees the first forum as informational with discussion.

Action: SPC members: e-mail Lisa Foss by Monday, November 24, terms or terms and definitions that might be appropriate to add to the list. Provide feedback on terms already on the list, especially looking at hot words and softening language so that it is more academic.

Action: DeGroote, Foss, Grachek, Wentworth: Wordsmith list of definitions and bring back another reiteration to SPC by next meeting.

Discussion turned to the Carnegie Classification.

  • Klepetar said he did not find the inclusion of the Carnegie Classification on the terms document useful. How does it apply to us?
  • Fisher asked if this was in regard to where we fit as a regional comprehensive university.
  • DeGroote said that SCSU's classification is a Masters (Comprehensive) Colleges and Universities I.
  • Fisher said that SCSU is one of two MnSCU universities in this category. Mankato is the other.
  • DeGroote said that in a book given to him by the Provost, Understanding Faculty Productivity, all of the benchmark data is based on the Carnegie Classifications.
  • Klepetar suggested that if the Carnegie Classification list is to be talked about at the forum, there needs to be an explanation of what SCSU is, what that means, why it is significant.
  • Palmer said the meaning comes from the expectation of faculty workload and productivity as measured by Carnegie. There is also a definition about what kind of scholarship occurs at the institution. There are different expectations for workload and scholarship at SCSU than at Bemidji , for example.
  • Li said that universities that award 40 masters degrees in more than three graduate programs are classified as Masters (Comprehensive) Colleges and Universities.
  • Klepetar said he was interested in the implications of the Carnegie Classification and academic distinction, particularly where we stand in relationship to liberal arts. We have majors that are liberal arts across the curriculum, but also professional programs and pre-professional programs.
  • DeGroote affirmed that there was a lack of understanding that SCSU is a comprehensive Masters I university and what that entails. There are conversations on campus that we are a liberal arts school but we are not. The KPIs will have to reflect the spectrum of liberal arts as a general education component and the other areas of the comprehensive university we are. This conversation is about moving us to a clearer understanding of the broad spectrum and scope that SCSU provides and not the narrow spectrum that some think it provides.
  • Carlson asked if previous strategic planning committees collected strategic plans from institutions comparable to SCSU ( University of Northern Iowa , Townsend State of Maryland) that would show process so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel. It may be appropriate to look at other schools' KPIs, particularly qualitative KPIs.
  • Li said that NCHEMS provided a list of 20 institutions comparable to SCSU.
  • Kilborn said that the committee might look elsewhere for models but one of the earmarks of a good strategic plan is buy-in from the community. Our strategic plan would look different from other universities based on our values.
  • Fisher added some background. When the strategic planning process started here under President Grube, SCSU invited a premiere consultant to work with the strategic planning committee to develop our own values. Diversity and Social Justice is uniquely ours. The other four themes will likely be found in other universities' strategic plans.
  • Kilborn said that she was hearing the SPC say that if the forum includes Carnegie Classification information, there needs to be context and purpose that is clear to people.
  • DeGroote said that it is the SPC's job to write the KPIs. The SPC needs to be operational, not evaluatory.

Kilborn moved the discussion to how the forum will be conducted. All SPC members were encouraged to attend the forum, listen and get responses. Wentworth said that the subcommittee (DeGroote, Grachek, Foss and Wentworth) would prepare the handout, do the introduction, open the conversation. It would be good for the Provost to have a visible presence at the forum. Soroko asked if the forum would be described as providing background and soliciting input on the development of KPIs for strategic planning purposes. Kilborn asked the subcommittee for a forum title. Also details need to be worked out on room and publicity.

Discussion on second forum on assessment:

Kilborn asked the SPC if they saw a second forum on assessment that would look more at KPIs as the next step. Or, is the SPC seeing the second forum more on academic distinction and trying to come forward more with those goals?

  • Foss said she felt it made more sense to do the assessment forum before KPIs are developed. It was suggested not to title the forum "Assessment" but rather "Budget Based on Key Performance Indicators."
  • Palmer questioned when the strategic planning process would make a difference.
  • Wentworth asked when the process gets to accountability.
  • Kilborn responded that accountability comes through the KPIs.
  • Wentworth clarified that her questions was who says that accountability has been accomplished?
  • Palmer read from the NCHEMS report, "Your administrative team has made preliminary attempts to outline what KPIs seem relevant. This debate needs to be concluded soon and specific actions need to be taken to lend meaning to your commitment to hold various officers accountable for their performances." Palmer asked if the SPC has seen the administrative team's KPIs.
  • Kilborn responded that we have NCHEMS's response to KPIs. She emphasized the importance of finishing and having KPIs out and circulating before spring break and approved this year.
  • Foss added that the President's annual work plan assigns responsibilities to the officers. There is significant accountability in that quarterly SCSU is required to provide a document to MnSCU identifying what has been done each quarter. There is a mechanism for tracking accountability on assignments. This document could be useful in the future when the SPC looks at KPIs.

Kilborn steered the conversation back to the topic of the second forum. Will we do assessment and call it something different? Will we do a forum on the first set of KPIs? Will we do a forum on academic assessment? Kilborn again stressed the need to get input to get KPIs done. Soroko thought the first forum was to get input on KPIs. The second forum would say based on the input we received, this is what we recommend to the Provost and President. Fisher felt the SPC was looking at taking the KPIs to the department level because the fine-tuning would have to be disciplinary, especially with qualitative KPIs.

Wentworth said that for academic distinction, she would write the goals broadly so departments can set up their own department/program goals. She has spent time thinking about what the goals should encompass and looking at the five goals for general education that SCSU seems to value as a university. She has a plan to write general KPIs so each department can develop their own level or standard. Departments are responsible to make sure that students can master the five goals.

Kilborn noted that other people are working on KPIs for measuring student learning in upper division classes, major and minor programs.

Kilborn asked for the SPC's assistance to recap forum discussion today. The first forum will be information sharing on working definitions and to solicit feedback from the campus community. A second forum would center on Academic Distinction KPIs that would go to the colleges.

Palmer asked what the timeframe is for allocating resources consistent with KPIs if the KPIs are finished this year.

Kilborn reminded the committee that the Provost has asked that KPIs be presented in two priority orders: 1) KPIs now and those that need to be planned for; 2) most important and least important KPIs. When KPIs are established, resource allocation follows and there is accountability.

Committee members asked Kilborn to check with Provost Spitzer to see if resource allocation is in the SPC's purview.

Kilborn reminded the committee that KPIs put resources into the picture and tie action to budget.

Kilborn again brought the SPC back to recapping forum discussion. Will a third forum also focus on KPIs?

Foss believed that content of the second forum will evolve out of the first and so on. Noted that colleges do have college strategic plans in motion already.

Kilborn felt there was committee consensus about what the second forum would focus on. There seems to be no objection to a forum on KPIs that could still talk about assessment but approach it from the other end. It would be important to label that forum KPIs and not assessment.

Moved by Klepetar, seconded by Carlson that KPIs replace Assessment as the topic for the second forum.

Noted that the SPC no longer had a quorum.

Moved by Klepetar, seconded by Carlson to table the motion until the next meeting.

Kilborn asked sub-committees to continue to work on KPIs. Meeting adjourned 11:50 am.

Notes by Jackie Zieglmeier

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