St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
December 2, 2004

Download minutes [PDF: 6 pages]

Members Present: Judith Kilborn, Brenda Wentworth, John Palmer, Donella Westphal, Sara Grachek, Neal Voelz, Guihua Li, Annette Schoenberger, Diana Burlison, Frankie Condon, Edward Addo, Theresia Fisher, Phil Thorson, Lisa Helmin Foss, Susan Motin, David DeGroote, John Burgeson, Bonnie Hedin, Pat Krueger

Members Absent: Ben Baliga, Joe Opatz, Balsy Kasi, Mahmoud Saffari, Addie Turkowski, Debra Carlson, David Sikes

Guest: Michael Spitzer, PN Subbanarasimha

1. Approval of minutes for November 18, 2004: Motion to accept minutes from November 18 (Fisher/DeGroote). Motion passed.

2. Spitzer discussion: Announcements and new agenda items were skipped to have Provost Spitzer. Spitzer stated that the Strategic Planning Committee was making very good progress and the committee must continue to make progress on completing the KPIs.

For Academic Distinction, Spitzer said he would like the committee to consider: for those departments with external accreditations -- existing evaluations and reports; for those programs without external accreditations – graduation rates, job placements, graduate school enrollments, performance in capstone courses, has that program identified a series of learning outcomes, how many students achieve those established learning outcomes and at what level.

Voelz asked Spitzer to define a program. Spitzer said that at this point, were talking about an academic major or minor or the gen. ed. program. Academic majors sometimes have emphasis within a major but the more important thing right now is the major as a whole.

Kilborn asked what the Deans have been told of the planning process. She said CoFAH is having a forum to discuss KPIs and the chairs are asking for departmental KPIs.

Spitzer said that Academic Affairs Council has talked about learning outcomes but they have not talked about specific KPIs.

Kilborn asked if people are seeing learning outcomes as KPIs.

Spitzer said that they could be talking about mission statements and learning outcomes, which are all a part of the NCA assessment process.

DeGroote asked if NCA looks at colleges and programs.

Spitzer said no. NCA looks at the university as a whole, but they may look randomly at programs.

Fisher asked to look at the committee charge. She said the current charge is not fit the approach of the SPC. She said the committee has formed subcommittees that would be talking about KPIs with the departments and helping them come up with KPIs.

Kilborn said that Fisher is reflecting what her subcommittee is thinking but not necessarily the whole SPC. She asked who actually writes the KPIs, the SPC or the whole committee.

Spitzer said that the subcommittee structure will get at what he wants. There should be some form of uniformity among the KPIs, but they must be related to what the students are learning. KPIs will be different for different programs. For example, national exam scores would be critical, but some programs will have them and some will not. We will have to have some other mechanism, like a portfolio review or capstone course. There must be room for variability, but there needs to be consistency across the university. He said the more narrowly we can focus the KPIs, the more successful we will be.

Wentworth said the each program is collecting information differently. She asked how the NCA will react to that. Is there a need for common data that the university can aggregate?

Spitzer said, yes, there will have to be. These could include retention numbers, graduation numbers, and the NSSE report. These numbers don’t necessarily reflect individual programs, but we could ferret down into data to look at programs. That would be helpful.

Schoenberger asked how we would measure graduation at the department level.

Spitzer said those numbers are hard to get at yet very much look at externally. These numbers may need to be handled at the institutional level, not to penalize but to look at ways to do things better. That is the critical notion of assessment – how do we help ourselves improve across the board.

Li said departments could look at the number of degrees awarded each year.

DeGroote said that departments could look at branch courses, for example cell biology. You could look at how many students took that course and then how many students graduated.

Palmer said if were going to depend on data to improve the system, the first thing we do is get a handle on where our students are. We were told that degree maps are informational and we don’t have to follow them. At the data level, we don’t have some of the basic abilities to plan and teach students.

Spitzer said some pieces are going to be hard to get but there are some that we do have. There are two processes: 1. What do we have and how do we use it? 2. What else do we need?

Kilborn said the Balanced Scorecard will help with the development of that infrastructure.

Fisher interrupted the conversation briefly to introduce Subba and explained that he will be helping us as a consultant to the strategic planning process.

Fisher said that what is clear is the assessment process does not by itself give us KPIs. There is strategizing and prioritizing that needs to be done in order to come up with KPIs. They must be relevant to the department.

Spitzer said that assessment will be looking at learning outcomes, which are used to make changes that need to be made. He said KPIs are broader in scope than what you would gather in a department assessment. He said that a KPI could be the number of students achieving the learning outcomes set by the department. The assessment program would tell us how to increase that number.

Kilborn said that programs are at different places. The gen. ed. mission is very old and doesn’t have learning outcomes. It’s a matter of figuring out what we can do now and what are long-term objectives.

Palmer said that if there is no consequence for not achieving something, why would we do it? We need to link resources to the plan. There’s always competing demands and we have no history of responding to non-compliance.

Spitzer said that we need to reward those who are in compliance and to provide resources for those who are not.

Kilborn asked if Jan. 2005 is still the target for completing the Academic Distinction KPIs.

Spitzer said it is a target. There must be significant progress soon or we will be in trouble with the NCA.

Fisher said it would be helpful to have Spitzer here more often, maybe the first ½ hour of every meeting to help answer questions.

Spitzer suggested that he receive draft minutes so he could look at them to make suggestions.

Palmer said the Balanced Scorecard consultant said that this was the only strategic planning committee she was aware of that didn’t have a VP-level or higher person on the committee.

Spitzer said this was the only strategic planning committee he has seen that didn’t have a VP-level person on it.

3. Announcements:

Kilborn said the dates and times for next semester meetings are on the agenda.

Fisher requested that we keep next year’s meetings on Thursdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Motion to establish Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. as the regular Strategic Planning Committee meeting time for next year (Fisher/Condon). Motion passed.

Kilborn announced that many of the subcommittees will be reporting on the January 20 meeting.

4. Infrastructure needs subcommittee report:

Thorson handed out draft of infrastructure needs request. The request is focused on key staffing needs. (copy of infrastructure request is attached).

Discussion: Assistant Vice President for Strategic Planning: Schoenberger explained that the AVP position would be the strategic planning champion. She said the position didn’t have to have that exact title but it needed to be excluded management. The position needed to be filled by a person who can push the process forward and needs to have the ear of the president and provost. This person will be the connection between stakeholders and those doing the implementation. Data Integration Specialist: Schoenberger explained the DIS position will have to get the data out of the ISRS and budget information systems. The proposal also asks for additional staff help, software and equipment and office space.

It was pointed out that equipment cost was not an indirect cost and must be moved up front because we will need it first.

Kilborn said that Kathie Gilbert said having this position (AVP position) is really an important part.

Thorson said that the salary numbers are only ballpark.

Fisher asked about a timeline.

Schoenberger said the subcommittee didn’t even talk about this, but we are thinking that if we need to have this done in June, we’re going to have to do this immediately.

Li said that the percent of staff support time might be higher in the beginning and decrease over time.

Motion to accept the current infrastructure proposal with indicated changes and forward the proposal to the President and Provost for funding (Palmer/DeGroote).


DeGroote asked about the dollar amount for staff positions.

Palmer said those numbers will turn out to be what Human Resources determines them to be, but we do need to include a number. We also need a number for indirect costs in order to purchase appropriate time.

Fisher asked if the DIS position reports to the AVP. The subcommittee responded that it would.

Kilborn said that we asking the committee to approve the general concept but that the final document would include editing.

Spitzer asked about the relationship between the AVP position and the SPC.

Schoenberger said the position should sit ex-officio on the SPC.

Palmer said we need to move the motion forward because we were not going to get through the details today.

Thorson said that we will need to put words around the proposal to emphasize how important this is. Without it, we probably would be able to only patch a BSC effort together.

Schoenberger said that the President has said strategic planning is a priority.

Spitzer said the rationale will be very important.

Kilborn said there was a motion on the floor.

Vote taken. Motion passed.

Kilborn said she would have copies of the final request at the next meeting.

5. Citizen’s League Report

Kilborn opened the discussion on the Citizen’s League Report. She said she thought it focused more on K-12 education but that we need to keep this report in mind as we move forward, especially as MnSCU is looking more at accountability.

Palmer said that he thought that the 4-years other than the University of Minnesota are ignored.

Wentworth asked if we knew which sections will be approved.

Palmer said that he will be at a meeting later that day to discuss the report.

Schoenberger said the MnSCU web site has a lot of information on the report.

Palmer said the report didn’t break any new ground of financing higher education.

Kilborn asked Palmer to report back to the committee on this issue.

6. CARE representative on Strategic Planning Committee

Foss discussed the strategic planning efforts of the CARE committee in the area of diversity and anti-racism. She asked if there was interest in having a representative from CARE to serve as a full member of the Strategic Planning Committee to serve ensure coordination of the two efforts.

Motion to ask a representative from the CARE committee to serve as a full member on the Strategic Planning Committee (Foss/Condon). Motion passed.

7. Group work