St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
December 3, 2003, 10:00 a.m. Mississippi Room, Atwood Center

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Members Present: Ben Baliga, John Burgeson, Debra Carlson , David DeGroote, Lisa Foss, Sara Grachek, Bonnie Hedin, Kvame Johnson, Pat Krueger, Judith Kilborn, Steve Klepetar, Guihua Li, John Palmer, Addie Turkowski

Members Absent: Edward Addo, Diana Burlison, Theresia Fisher, Susan Motin, Mahmoud Saffari, Phil Thorson, David Sikes, Mary Soroko, Karen Thoms, Brenda Wentworth

Lacking a quorum, moved by Klepetar, seconded by Carlson to begin the meeting as a sub-committee. Motion passed.


  • This is the last meeting of the semester. The first meeting of spring semester is Friday, January 23, from 1-3 pm , Mississippi Room.
  • President Saigo has requested to meet with the Strategic Planning Committee on January 23.
  • Mahmoud Saffari has asked to give a PowerPoint presentation on retention to the SPC. Given that many members have already seen this presentation in other forums, Kilborn will ask that Saffari e-mail his presentation to Jackie for distribution to the SPC. Time can be allotted for questions after members review the material. The presentation will eventually be on a website.
  • Elections for SPC chair and chair-elect for 2004-2005 will take place January 23.
  • Kilborn has asked that someone be named to replace Joe Opatz on the SPC.

Call for new agenda items:


Discussion of definitions and planning for first university-wide forum, January 8th & 9th:

Forum sessions will take place in Brown Hall Auditorium. Title of the forum: Strategic Planning: Moving Toward Implementation.

Outline of forum:

  • A handout of Strategic Planning Committee Working Definitions will be provided.
  • There will be a brief explanation of where the strategic planning process is.
  • Focus will be on the Carnegie Classification PowerPoint.
  • There will a discussion of KPIs and what they mean. Drafts of quantitative and qualitative KPIs will be presented.
  • Time remaining will be devoted to questions.

Committee discussion turned to data in the proposed power point presentation.

  • The source of the data tables is the National Center for Education Statistics, 1997, as presented in the book, Understanding Faculty Productivity. The PowerPoint presentation's goal is to show who we are and how we compare with other Carnegie classifications of institutions in the areas of average hours worked by full-time instructional faculty and staff, allocation of time by function for full-time instructional faculty and staff, average classroom hours, student credit hours, and average scholar products.
  • Palmer suggested that Table Three identify how student credit hours are generated (credit hours x student enrollment = student credit hours.)
  • Baliga asked if it were possible to show SCSU data. Li and DeGroote confirmed that the national data listed for public comprehensive institutions was comparable to SCSU data.
  • Krueger asked about national trends. Is there a decrease or increase in credit hours since the 1997 data?
    • DeGroote responded there is a trend toward greater student credit hour generation everywhere. Enrollment is up and funding is down. The only institutions not suffering financially from this trend are small private colleges.
  • The forum will point out how KPIs will need to be written for goals within the context of SCSU being a public comprehensive university.
  • A broad discussion followed. On the one hand, SCSU is constantly concerned about enrollment numbers and recruiting more students. On the other hand, there are too many students - not enough seats in courses, certain majors are putting limits on enrollments, not being able to provide good service to students.
    • Is there a way for strategic planning to address how enrollment can fit resources, or do we live with the situation and figure out strategies outside of strategic planning to deal with it?
    • DeGroote felt that the problem is endemic and will continue for perhaps the next five years until high school graduation rates drop.
    • Is SCSU willing to accept the fact that it will educate the students who come to the university, or will SCSU cling to the notion of "harvesting the best of Minnesota "? We need to face the fact that we basically serve students from Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities . We need to serve them the best we can with the resources we have.
    • A place to start is to reduce the size of our general education program. It is too cumbersome, too awkward and too confusing for students and faculty alike.
    • What happens if we are successful with increasing retention rates and we have an increase in enrollment through recruitment efforts? We can't serve the number of students we have now.
    • What does it cost us to deliver our vision of the institution (providing quality education in undergraduate and graduate programs)? How do we achieve the revenue to cover that cost? How do we get to the point where resources match enrollment? What is the tipping point where too many students mean fewer resources per student? This discussion does not seem to be happening. Right now our revenue comes from 53% tuition and 47% state funding. We are moving to a tuition-based model of funding.
    • Maybe the number of students we need to run our budget is too large to run the university effectively. When we reach and/or exceed that number, the degree of misery seems to rise at SCSU dramatically.
    • That is what strategic planning is all about. You develop a plan and then you develop a gap analysis: Here is the plan. Here is where we are right now. These are the resources we have. These are the students we have. These are the types of programs we have. Can we really do what the plan says?

Sometimes it means adjusting the plan. Sometimes it means adjusting who you are. Maybe we can't do everything.

    • Without placing blame or being too critical, management here always seems to be catching up, always reactive. The whole idea of strategic planning is to be proactive-define metrics that will speak to good practice, speak to quality education, and speak to the number of students that should be in classrooms. There are universities all over the country who have their strategic plans on the web and they are asking the same questions we are.
    • Who we are is defined by the circumstances right now. How will we define ourselves in the context of who we are as a public comprehensive university? How many programs should we offer at the baccalaureate level? How many programs at the masters level? When we can get to that point, any program not operating within the confines of good practice should be put on probation. If they can't meet the standard in a certain time period, resources should be reallocated to maintain the vision of the university.
    • Good practice is not defined by only what happens in classrooms, advising and in scholarship, but also budget. There must be indicators on what you need to spend to sustain good practice over time.
    • Carlson referenced the 1996 document of Dr. Bob Shirley, strategic planning consultant hired by Dr. Grube. The first piece is called personal values. Those are our priority strategic goals - the five themes. The next phase is the matching process-going through the internal and external inputs of decision components regarding each academic program. Then cost is introduced. You don't figure the money in until you look at who it is you want to be, what it is you want to offer and how that fits into the higher education mix. Public higher education as part of the state's government has to be flexible and responsive to the legislature and governor.
    • Fac ulty at a university are by-and-large quite liberal but organizationally very conservative. That has led to the 5-6 year struggle with strategic planning. We need to open up where we are to implement the KPIs so that we can get to the matching so that a gap analysis can be done. We can't talk about this any more. We have to do something.

A quorum of the committee is present at this time.

Approval of minutes:

Moved by Kleptar, seconded by Palmer to approve the minutes of November 19, 2003. Motion passed.

  The committee returned to the previous discussion:

    • A concern is that the strategic plan is primarily academic, but the strategic plan should allow us to look at the entire budget and how we allocate-including facilities, GMWs, etc.
    • We are not in a good place. There are changing expectations from the public and the legislature. A hard cold look is good for us. To do an assessment of ourselves is better than having one forced on us by outside agencies.
    • The Provost has asked the SPC to encourage programs to think about target numbers. We need to think about getting to that point soon.
    • In defining ourselves, we look at strategic advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is our location. One disadvantage is that our growth does not benefit us from a system financial point of view.

Kilborn wrapped up discussion by urging SPC members to attend one if not both of the forums - January 8 th from 1-2 pm , January 9 th from 10-11 am . Foss will send Kilborn text for an announcement about the forum; then Kilborn will send an e-mail to scsu-announce inviting the SCSU community to attend.

KPIs for SPC and data subcommittee:

Kilborn has set a deadline for KPIs to be done by March 12 (before spring break). She asked that subcommittee chairs notify her when subcommittees are ready to meet with the data subcommittee and when KPIs will be ready to be presented to the large committee. Kilborn asked chairs to keep subcommittees moving.

Discussion on forum on KPIs: scheduling, planning and content:

  • Kilborn asked the committee when the next forum should be scheduled. Is April too late? Do we anticipate that discussion of KPIs will generate substantial change so that they will need to come back for committee discussion and revision?
  • Should there be college forums?
  • What about an electronic forum? (similar to discussion sponsored by the Restructuring Task Force)
  • What about an information forum and then have discussion online?
  • A forum on Academic Distinction KPIs could present the general university KPIs and talk about how we get from those KPIs to department and college goals.
  • After the January forum, we will have a better sense of what the next step is.

Kilborn asked the SPC to think about what would be a productive, open process for a forum on KPIs and how to actuate it. A decision will be made after the winter break.

 Report from Lisa Foss on alumni survey : (handout : SCSU Alumni Association Reputation Audit Report, July 2003)

Foss reviewed the survey with the SPC. Among areas covered: year of graduation, residence, area of study, characteristics of a quality education, characteristics of a quality college experience, what SCSU is best known for, and involvement with the alumni association.

  • Key findings of the survey included:
    • Students choose SCSU for value, location and academic excellence.
    • SCSU offers accredited programs and a degree that contributes to career success.
  • Conclusions of the survey:
    • How alumni see SCSU is different from how they believe others see it.
    • Interest and involvement diminish over time; e.g., the most recent graduates are the most enthusiastic.
    • SCSU is missing an opportunity to tout its academic jewels.
    • SCSU's reputation changed in the early 1990s.
    • The Alumni Association can play a role in building SCSU's reputation.

Vote of no confidence from Student Government:

The vote of no confidence took place last spring. The essential problem was that Student Government saw the strategic planning process going on a long time with no action. Near the end of spring semester, Theresia Fisher and Jay Vora planned to write to Student Government addressing their concerns. In the rush of the end of the year, that was not done. This semester Judith Kilborn and Theresia Fisher were going to write to Student Government and/or meet with them. Theresia has been ill for a couple of weeks. Kilborn and Fisher will make the contact with Student Government when Fisher is better. A copy of the letter they write to Student Government will be shared with the SPC.

Committee members noted that there might be an unreal expectation of what the SPC has the authority to do. It can develop the plan, and it can make recommendations. The SPC can't implement the strategic plan. Maybe an education process is needed to help Student Government understand the role of the SPC.

Strategic Planning is an ongoing process. Committee members felt that there has been good progress in the last two years, particularly last year, but at times committee members themselves have been frustrated, so it is not surprising that the students would be.

Grachek shared a personal experience about being involved in a community strategic planning process while she was a SCSU student. Not seeing action on that committee frustrated her at that point in her life.

Kilborn said that she hoped one of the supporting tenants of the strategic plan is being able to serve students better. Students are the most important stakeholders. As noted in earlier SPC meetings, the strategic planning goals seems distant from students. The SPC will want to keep the student perspective in mind while writing KPIs and write those KPIs in terms of what students will gain, not in terms of what SCSU will provide.

Election of chair and chair-elect:

Kilborn read from the May 2, 2003 SPC minutes:

Moved by Wentworth, seconded by Klepetar that next year the SPC at its first meeting in the spring semester select a chair and chair-elect for the coming year-before fall course schedules have to be submitted. Motion passed.

The SPC decided to begin the process by asking faculty who are currently serving on the SPC if they are interested in running for either of the positions. Kilborn will send an e-mail to SPC faculty. If people from the SPC come forward and are willing to place their names in nomination, we will select from among those people. If no one is interested, Kilborn will ask that faculty who are full IFO-members submit their names. The SPC would then elect someone from that list of names.

Klepetar suggested that Kilborn identify in the invitation that reassigned time is given the chair of the SPC.

Meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.

Notes by Jackie Zieglmeier