St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
October 22, 2003, 10:00 a.m. Mississippi Room, Atwood Center

Download minutes [PDF:6 pages]

Members Present: Diana Burlison, John Burgeson, Debra Carlson, David DeGroote, Theresia Fisher, Lisa Foss, Sara Grachek, Bonnie Hedin, Pat Krueger, Judith Kilborn, Steve Klepetar, Guihua Li, John Palmer, Mahmoud Saffari, Mary Soroko, Addie Turkowski, Brenda Wentworth

Members Absent: Edward Addo, Ben Baliga, Susan Motin, Joe Opatz, Karen Thoms, Phil Thorson

Approval of minutes:

Moved by Palmer, seconded by Carlson, to approve the minutes of October 8, 2003. Motion passed.

Call for New Agenda Items:

Senate response to the word “global” in the Academic Distinction Goal 1. (Will be reported in Announcements but will be our Item 8 on the agenda.)


  • Kilborn said that she had a brief conversation with Roland Specht-Jarvis after the last SPC meeting. Roland and she misconnected about the document we reviewed at the last meeting. She asked him for a paragraph or two to share with the SPC. He thought she meant to orally communicate. Roland did not realize the documents would be passed around. Kilborn also wanted to clarify the list of programs in the document is accurate. Akita and Aalborg do not have an official SCSU program there, but there are cohorts that go to those locations.
  • Kilborn reported there were two actions in the October 21 Faculty Senate:
    • FA Senate did approve the motion in SPC September 10 minutes to modify the language of that one academic distinction goal, “The university will strive to promote graduate level preparation to meet community needs.”
      Action: Grachek: Check website to make sure the above statement appears.
    • FA Senate passed a motion made by Gary Cheeseman of the FORL Department:

      Whereas St. Cloud State University’s commitment to global education has been a defining feature of her identity for at least twenty years, and
      Whereas the first strategic plan assigned a high priority to global education, and
      Whereas the current strategic plan lists global education in both the Mission and Value statements, and
      Whereas there is no mention of the centrality of global education in the academic distinction goals,
      Therefore be it resolved that “and global” be inserted after the word “diverse” so that the revised statement will read as follows:

      I. St. Cloud State University will strive to provide a quality educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students.

      A. The University will strive for excellence by providing a rich, diverse and global curriculum. Classes and programs will integrate diverse and global perspectives.
  • Kilborn announced to FA Senate yesterday that the priority strategic goals were up on the web. She asked that Faculty Senators take back to the their departments for discussion and feedback the goals that had not been voted on (all those but Academic Distinction). Senate will vote on these goals in one month.

Kilborn asked the SPC if there were questions.

Carlson asked how it was that Senate passed a motion yesterday including the word global in the academic distinction priority goal when SPC minutes reflecting the committee’s discussion were approved only today.

Kilborn responded that she reported to Faculty Senate that SPC had discussed this issue at length at our last meeting and had passed motions that Senate would see once the minutes were approved: tolook at strategic goals after attempting KPIs and to include global concerns in the KPIs. Kilborn sees the action at Senate as a parallel discussion that resulted from previous discussions with Theresia and with her. The motion brought to Senate was prepared ahead of time and was in Faculty Senate packet. Fisher added that FORL faculty previously on the SPC approached her last year and Roland Specht-Jarvis approached her this year. The FORL faculty passed a motion in their department and that motion came to Senate yesterday. Carlson stated that the motion by the SPC passed at the Oct 8th meeting enacted the decision of the SPC that “diverse” included “global.”

J. Kilborn’s October 29th Visit toTask Force on Restructuring (TFR) to Provide Input from SPC:

(handout of packet Kilborn received from the TFR: Three tables of proposed organization and the Ghosh/Mortimer consultants’ report)


  • Kilborn said that TFR minutes posted today state that discussion will not be limited to the three organization charts in the handout. Other plans are coming in for the committee’s review.
  • Kilborn identified issues that have come up through SPC discussion that feed into restructuring:
    • General education, first-year experience program, academic programs being under academic purview (DGS, tutoring, academic support units), the importance and placement of advising, and possibly affirmative action, which would tie into the diversity and social justice theme.
  • Kilborn asked the committee what they wanted her to bring forward to the TFR.
  • Committee comments included:
    • Restructuring plan needs to respond to the need for accountability—lines of responsibility need to be clear.
    • KPIs can only be successful and important if there is tracking and reporting on them. In the restructuring, will there be a person or office to do this, particularly since we no longer have an institutional research office?
    • DeGroote and Saffari have met with the TFR. 62% of the general education credits and 70% of overall credits come from 3 colleges (COFAH, COSS and COSE). If one of the goals of restructuring is to provide a more cohesive and effective general education program, how will this get done? Will a single entity be able to manage that? DeGroote offered that each of the three colleges should have a coordinator of general education—probably not a faculty member because it is not about curriculum and what is in courses but how to manage course offerings. He suggested perhaps an assistant or associate VP for general education to coordinate this.
    • Klepetar saw an opposite approach. He, too, has spoken with the TFR. The second and third organization tables have a dean of arts and sciences. Klepetar sees the creation of an associate dean of arts and sciences to be responsible for general education and be in charge of a relationship with the MN Transfer Curriculum. We have now chosen to ignore the MN Transfer Curriculum. Is that the best decision? Will MnSCU at some point say that SCSU can’t continue to run two general education programs and tell us we must use the MN Transfer Curriculum. If that day comes, SCSU will be in trouble. There are a number of departments that would not count in the MN Transfer Curriculum. Additionally, he does not see much effect if the issue of resources is not dealt with, causing the tension between offering major and general education courses.
    • SPC has discussed in the past the need to balance general education and upper division. One of the Academic Distinction goals defines who we are in terms of majors, minors and graduate programs—upper division—not general education.
    • Fisher noted that many other state universities have been working to modify their general education programs for years to be in compliance with the MN Transfer Curriculum. Discussion has come up at statewide meet and confer. MnSCU has made it known that the MN Transfer Curriculum will be the statewide general education program. SCSU is not the only university to have issues with the MN Transfer Curriculum, but we are out there the farthest.
    • Turkowski noted that a number of universities across the country have gone to the model of general colleges to deal with the issues of the general education program and to provide enough courses for students.
    • Soroko noted the same issue was on the table at the time of the last restructuring in the mid 1980s and that restructuring didn't resolve this issue.
    • Another concern is the proliferation of expensive administrators.
    • Kilborn noted that the Provost has asked that the TFR not suggest things that will cost more money.
    • Palmer noted that Associate VP of Academic Support serves primarily first- and second-year students
      who are in the general education program. It would be simpler to have one person whose responsibility is the delivery of courses to interface with the Associate VP for Academic Support than to have three college coordinators of general education interface.
    • DeGroote said the heart of the matter is what is meant by a comprehensive university. There has not been that discussion. We are not a liberal arts institution; we are not a research I institution. Some say SCSU is about general education, some say liberal arts, and others say professional programs like engineering, technology or nursing. We serve many clientele—general education, service departments, distance learning, majors, minors, graduate students. Trying to provide support for peer disciplines works best with the current college structure. DeGroote sees college general education coordinators as the best model. However, if you have a single person involved with general education, you at least need to link subordinates in the colleges for a balancing act, and that balancing act is more difficult the farther you get away from the source of the courses.
    • Kilborn indicated that in extensive discussions last year, we defined a comprehensive university as a four year institution that offered professional and liberal arts major and minor programs as well as graduate programs.
    • Grachek, a MAPE representative, made comments related to the accountability issue and technology. Some IT people report through one system; some through another system. She suggested a full-time CIO position (perhaps an Assoc VP for Technology) and also looking at restructuring IT on campus.
    • Fisher said that Acceptable Use was also discussed at statewide meet and confer. The point faculty made was the need to couple managerial responsibility with technology competency. IFO saw significant gaps in the Acceptable Use Policy. Security is an on-going issue. Pedagogy and CIOs are significant issues between IFO and MnSCU.
    • Palmer said that in all three options of the organization charts, there seems to be a disconnect between teaching curriculum and reporting. There is no Associate VP for Academic Affairs. All of the deans are placed at the same level as the associate vice presidents of the other categories. In terms of basic organizational structure, that creates problems when a Provost has two different levels reporting to him.
    • Wentworth said the restructuring appears to revolve around the management of general education and resources for lower-division course work. How do we promote upper-division courses? The Strategic Planning Committee has said that is where we want to put resources.
    • Burlison said that she hoped the TFR and SPC would take a broader look at restructuring to meet the needs of students first and then align with that the academic needs. If we focus only on general education and graduate education, there will be a group of students that will be left out. We know from experience,- that when we leave students out, they leave.
    • Kilborn noted that in the three organization options, tutoring, advising and other support services are coming under the Assoc VP of Academic Support. One of the intents is to deal with the issue of lack of oversight of some of the tutoring services on campus. Again, the question is how to achieve a balance between accountability for general education and providing courses at the upper division and graduate levels?
    • Soroko noted that every accrediting association is asking for assessment, and there is no place in any of the three organizational options that involves academic assessment or specifies where it fits in. Assessment is a huge undertaking.
    • Palmer noted that assessment may be under an associate vice president for academic affairs.
    • Klepetar suggested that the text of the plan (Page 1, second last paragraph) fosters competition among the deans—makes them entrepreneurial. For example, he read the statements, “Student tuition dollars should be shown as an integral part of academic budgets and should be based on student-oriented criteria. Financial rewards for entrepreneurial behavior should be made clear and a portion of it should flow directly to the units that generate the money.”

Brainstorming About University-wide Discussion for This Year:

Kilborn asked the SPC if they believed the SPC should sponsor university-wide forums that would gather information and input about concerns that have been discussed by the SPC—for example: international education, general education, transfer curriculum, academic distinction, how well technology is working, the nature of technology and pedagogy.
Noted that SPC could ask TLTR and TPR if they wanted to co-run forums to get input that all areas would need.

Kilborn and Klepetar would be willing to set up the forums for discussions about general education and its relationship with the transfer curriculum and with international education—probably not designed for all bargaining units but primarily faculty units.

Kilborn noted that in addition to gathering input, some topics need a formal presentation so that the issues can be laid out.

SPC members felt assessment would be an area to receive faculty input. Assessment appears to be stalled, but it is an issue that will not go away, particularly when the NCA accreditation visit is scheduled for 2007. The self-study should be written in 2005. Questions and concerns are coming from faculty about assessment. Noted that there are a lot of misconceptions about assessment so there is a learning curve that needs to be addressed. Assessment is not about faculty teaching but student learning outcomes. The forum could lay out where we are now with assessment, why it is important and create some common language. Clearly there is an interface between assessment and KPIs. It is the core of academic distinction. It comes from student learning, so there is a need to do assessment.

Topics mentioned are tied to specific priority strategic goals (Examples: Academic Distinction—assessment, general education, transfer curriculum; Technology – maybe run discussions in connection with TLTR and TPR..

It was suggested that there be discussion on the student experience. What is an educated student? What is the quality of the graduates we produce? SCSU offers all kinds of opportunities and leaves it up to students to decide what to do. When they graduate they have vastly different experiences, and that is okay within a range or parameter.

Noted that it is important to have a way to solicit the student voice. Provost Spitzer has said that it is imperative that we improve how we serve the students in our strategic plan and in the restructuring of the university.

There is a need to think about: a) how we structure the forums so people would have more than one opportunity to attend. b) who we target to present forums to. Student services would certainly impact other bargaining units.

Retention is also an area to focus on. Saffari indicated that this year SCSU had the lowest admit to enroll yield in four years. SCSU has no solid, well thought-out retention efforts. Effects are fragmented. There is not much accountability. We have fragmented first-year experiences. Faculty noted that departments may feel why should they care if students stay because they can’t serve them without adequate resources to serve two populations—upper and lower division. Again, there is no accountability. Class sizes have gone up and students leave if they are not happy and feel that they can go somewhere else where they are cared about. Noted that Provost Spitzer asked the SPC to look at size, quality and mix of students. Maybe we could have a conversation on barriers to retention to get information from departments to address issues. Some departments say they can’t offer courses so that students can complete their major. Noted also that maybe we not only look at class size, but we also look at who we are teaching. Students now need more attention, have more learning disabilities, are less well prepared for college than they were 15 years ago. Looking at demographic trends, this will be an increasing problem.

Action: This item will be on the agenda for the next SPC meeting. Members are asked to think about suggestions made and what priority should be used. How should forums be organized and presented?

Guidelines for Quantitative and Qualitative KPIs:

(handout – Qualifiable KPIs)

Discussion led by Brenda Wentworth:

  • Distinction has to do with excellence, a special feature or quality, implies quality, and that there will be some sort of qualitative measure about whether or not distinction has been reached.
  • Suggestions for ways to approach KPIs by describing levels of thinking, writing and speaking students should have. Every discipline has terminology students need to know. What does a program look at to see that a student has reached a goal set by the program? To do that you need to describe the student or identify what the standards are in whatever area you want to measure.
  • Some areas are quantifiable. An example is the number of programs that have been accredited. However, those programs have gone through reviews that are both qualifiable and quantitative.
  • How do we quantify diversity and social justice?
    • Kilborn said that if we want to change the climate, it won’t be sufficient to count the people from protected classes. There need to be some qualifiable measures to get at things like campus climate.
  • Measurement of learning is a qualifiable standard. If measuring learning were quantifiable, we would have
    pass /fail in all case. We would not need grades.
  • All programs should have some learning outcomes.
  • Brenda used writing as an example of how to show things are measurable. She created a rubric that would apply to any discipline. SCSU has an upper-division writing requirement so we agree that writing is important. You can look at the rubric and see that what the students are doing are observable behaviors. You can look at the criteria and decide whether or not a student is able to do this. Once people agree on the language, inter-rater reliability is very high on a rubric like this. It is a valid measure. Under the rubric Brenda placed standards for three different types of students (high achieving, average and low achieving). The more students at the higher level, the better they are achieving outcome—the better they are learning.
  • Student learning is central to academic distinction.
  • Brenda thinks there needs to be some KPIs for academic distinction that can be applied to all academic programs—writing, speaking, thinking critically.
  • The question is where will outcome measures be reported? Once we have a database with both quantifiable and quantitative measures, who will be responsible to make the case that SCSU has academic distinction?
    • Kilborn said that in an earlier conversation Provost Spitzer suggested that the SPC might be the body to which programs would apply to have academic distinction. SPC didn’t agree to that but could make a recommendation at to how that accountability is set up.
  • Comments from SPC:
    o This approach seems appropriate at the class level. How do you ratchet it up to the college level?
    • Wentworth responded that when developing the rubric she was looking more at program level. In a disciplinary program there ought to be standards.
    • Question to Wentworth: Is this reported on a program level or is it just something for each faculty member to monitor within his or her class?
    • Response from Wentworth: The program itself should know how many of its students are achieving at what level it is measuring. That fosters student learning. That is the purpose of assessment. Ideally that would happen at the program level and there would be some way to funnel it up to the college level and connect it with the strategic plan.
    • How do we get to the point where we do this? In the curriculum process when you submit a proposal, the old terminology was that you would submit terminal objectives. Could the SPC advise the curriculum committee that we believe all majors by a certain date would have to have on file their statement of expectations of outcomes for their majors – writing, speaking, critical thinking, cognitive knowledge.
    • Assessment is a continuous improvement model. Disciplines like nursing and engineering have to have all of these things in their self studies, so that accrediting agencies can see that there is an improvement process in place as part of curriculum. Reporting out is another piece, but the value is in student learning. Assessment should be part of the flow of learning and not sitting on the side.
    • The issue is not that faculty don’t value assessment. There is the issue of workload. Assessment is time consuming, especially qualitative assessment. Assessment has to be an ongoing process and coupled with pedagogy.
    • What do our students want? What do students tell us about their academic experience at SCSU? What do employers tell us about our graduates?
      • The Alumni Association did a random, on-line limited survey. 7,000 alumni were contacted; 1,000 responded. Graduates here before 1990 said that SCSU was a choice they had because of financial reasons or location. Graduates here after 1990 responded that SCSU had the best programs. They ranked academic programs and academic excellence very high. But they also said they felt other people did not have the same perception about SCSU.
    • The job of SPC is to lay out what we value. The KPIs then attach resources or accountability. The organization should support what we value. That is why we have been asked to comment on restructuring.

(handout – Quantitative KPIs)

Discussion led by Mary Soroko:

  • Mary announced that the COB is in the process of purchasing a license for a software package to help aggregate assessment data. SPC is invited to a presentation November 10, 4:00 – 5:30 pm in BB-218.
  • The handout provides definitions of quantitative KPIs as well as considerations sub-committees might want to use when they are developing KPIs and a process we might want to follow if we decide that a "data subcommittee" is a good idea. On the second page, Mary provided some examples of KPIs. On the third page there are steps for a possible approach:
    • Develop some conceptual ideas for KPIs based on organizational goals. At least two measures should be established for each goal (one qualitative and one quantitative).
    • Obtain feedback from the “data subcommittee” on the feasibility of the KPIs suggested. The feedback provided will identify what information is currently available and what information needs to be gathered. Identify tools to get the information.
    • SP chair visits with Provost Spitzer to discuss resource needs for gathering additional information (may be cash outlay or staff time).
    • Based on input from the Provost, subcommittees refine their KPIs and write fairly specific definitions for each measure identified (with assistance from the data committee).
    • Request that campus leadership identify contextual information to evaluate KPIs. (Who do they want us to compare ourselves to? )
    • Present the KPIs to the campus community for input and discussion.
  • Quantitative KPIs are perceived as being objective, but interpretation is subjective.
  • The Provost expects that the SPC will provide some kind of definition to operationalize KPIs, as well as identify a responsible person or party of group for reporting the information and also identifying a calendar for how often the information will be reported.
  • Comments from SPC:
    • DeGroote distributed copies of quantitative KPIs from Azusa Pacific University.
    • SPC members asked for a motion to establish a data subcommittee.

      Moved by Li, seconded by Foss that the SPC form a data subcommittee that would serve as a resources for the SPC. Its role would be to provide information about the feasibility of KPIs and provide feedback on the language to ensure that each is measurable. Motion passed.
    • Requested that the data subcommittee would take the responsibility to see that data elements protected by data privacy acts would not be used.
    • Reminder that the Provost asked for two lists of KPIs: one that rank orders KPIS based on those that can be done now and those that are long-term and one that rank orders based on what we believe are our priorities (Noted that some KPIs may be incomplete or the integrity of the data needs to be fixed. )
    • The data person (Mike Mundis) offered by Provost Spitzer would be a resource for the data sub-committee but would not be a member of that subcommittee.
    • The following SPC members volunteered to be the data subcommittee: Guihua Li, Mary Soroko, John Palmer, Brenda Wentworth, Judy Kilborn.

Accountability for KPIs:


  • For some KPIs it will be obvious who is accountable.
  • Suggested that for Service Community, the sub-committee tread carefully, make suggestions and go to the stakeholders.
  • Suggested that accountability go as deep into the university structure as possible.
  • Suggested that sub-committees receive input from the data subcommittee before KPIs are brought to SPC for review.

Items for November 5 agenda:

Accountability – continue discussion
Technology KPIs
Brainstorming about university-wide discussions for this year — continued discussion
Report from Academic Distinction Subcommittee

Collection of schedules for next semester:

Forward schedules to Jackie.

Meeting adjourned 11:50 a.m.

Notes by Jackie Zieglmeier