St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
March 3, 2005
10:00 - 12:00 p.m. Glacier North

Download minutes [PDF: 9 pages]

Members Present: Judy Kilborn, Theresia Fisher, Lisa Foss, Frankie Condon, Judy Litterst, Diana Burlison, Addie Turkowski, Guihua Li, Annette Schoenberger, Phil Thorson, Donella Westphal, Balsy Kasi, Sara Grachek, David DeGrooote, Michael Spitzer, Neal Voelz, Pat Krueger, Brenda Wentworth, David Sikes, Mark Nook

Members Absent: Edward Addo, Ben Baliga, Bonnie Hedin, Debra Leigh, Subba, Susan Motin, John Palmer, Debra Carlson, Joe Opatz, Mahmoud Saffari, John Burgeson

Due to some restructuring of job duties, Patty Dyslin, administrative assistant to the Provost, will no longer be taking minutes. David Sikes will temporarily take the minutes until Judy Kilborn can find a permanent replacement. This will be a high priority item.

1. Approval of the minutes for January 20, 2005 and February 17, 2005
Due to some computer malfunctions, these minutes are still in the process of being completed.

2. Announcements

  • Extension of the contract with Kathie Gilbert
    A formal request needs to go to President Saigo.
    Theresia Fisher requested to move this to an agenda item.
  • SPC and the big picture
    Judy Kilborn reminded us all that we need to be thinking about and trying to keep the overall big picture in mind as we go forward with the tasks at hand.
  • Employees/Institutional Learning and Growth Definition
    Theresia Fisher stated that the Majors and Minors subcommittee is struggling with this definition, so it will be discussed during the Majors and Minors subcommittee report on the agenda

3. Call for new agenda items


4. Subcommittee Reports

  • Enrichment beyond the Curriculum
    Foss - The committee has only had an opportunity to meet once. The handout in grid format was basically notes from the meeting discussion that have not gone through any subcommittee revisions. The focus, which came out of the small group meeting with Kathie Gilbert, was on the quality in-class and out of class experience goal under Academic Distinction. The committee specifically talked about those experiences outside the classroom. In the small group meeting with Kathie Gilbert, one of the things she talked about that we already have a tool on campus that we could be using, is the NSSE Survey. There is quite a bit in the NSSE survey that talks about student engagement. Kathie recommended that we use some of the indicators that we have already collected data on and will collect again this spring as part of the indicators that we are looking at. The committee split it up three ways. We talked about distinguishing between professionalizing experiences, which would be related to the student's major or course of studies; personal growth experience, which may not have a relationship to what they are actually studying but helps them become a more well-rounded person; and a civic engagement experience which seems to have a big push on campus from the Provost's office and other areas on campus such as the American Democracy Project. Performance indicators still need to be written for these areas. We would like to look at how many of our students or what percentage of our students is participating in those three kinds of experiences. One of the things we talked about was the need to have a very general goal that talks about the percentage of students or the number of students that participate in these types of things, because depending on what the student's major is, those experiences might be different. For example, we did not want to write just an indicator on internships because for some programs that is not the kind of professionalizing experience that they would do, so we would aggregate up, looking at it at a university-wide level as that professionalizing experience, but it would be different in theatre vs. philosophy vs. chemistry, and the departments would be able to help us define what those would be and report on those.
    DeGroote - If we get too descriptive, other people will not buy in, and sometimes you have course requirements that are outside the classroom that will require some definitions.
    Schoenberger - What is meant by outside the classroom?
    Foss - This is part of what we need to define. The first we need to do is get out there and talk to students and find out what they are doing.
    Burlison- When you think about clubs and organizations we should tap into the Volunteer Connections information
    Krueger - How about the spring break for credit trips? I am assuming because it is for credit that we call that classroom, but I am not sure. Those are wonderful experiences
    Kilborn - A classroom assumes more than one student, so if you are doing independent study or an internship, maybe that is not a classroom; it is a class, but not a classroom.
    DeGroote - The point is that we will collect it all, and then it will be our job to sift it out and put in the appropriate categories. We will then create the matrix.
    Kilborn - When would they be defined, and how would people know what to give you without some initial documentation?
    Foss - That is part of what we would have to do. There would have to be some flexibility; we would start with some definitions, and then as we gather the information, those definition would become clearer.
    Wentworth - In our program, we have a lot of students that participate, who are not majors or minors in the program, just because they are on campus and they want to do it. We also have a mix of students who are enrolled in practica, who do the same things that the students who do it because that is what they want to do. Do you want to track this type of thing?
    Foss - I think that is part of what we will struggle with this, lots of stuff students do that we don't quite know how to track, for example when you are looking at volunteer things, when you are looking at clubs and organizations and the things that they do, these things are not readily available, so we are going to have to get creative.
    Schoenberger - One of the things we could do is that we can ask for people to tell you what the students are doing. You could have a few definitions, but make sure that you put in there that if you are doing something that does not fit in one of the pre-determined definitions, tell us anyway; it may fit in another category. What we don't want to do, in any way, is come across saying that we don't want to know what they are doing. Be careful to say, here is the stuff that we have.I If you have something that does not fit, tell us about it anyway, and we will make another category.
    Kilborn - Maybe we could explicitly ask a few questions to see if we can actually capture some of those questions before we start collecting data.
    Foss - It is important to collect this data first before we write some of these other objectives, you know about increasing things, because we just do not know, we may already be doing a good job of this, but we just don't have any kind of consistent measurement with similar language.
    Kilborn- Could I ask that when we get a copy of the ACT questions, that all of the sub-committees look to see if there are questions that could be pulled out and just be included under a performance indicator or data source, because I would not want you to change what you are doing, but if what you are doing is relevant to any of the questions, certainly that's national data that we would want to use.
    Li - The 2001 NSSE is on the web, and I will send the link, and the 2003 electronic copy will be sent by email.
  • Infrastructure Committee
    Judy - We met with Kathie Gilbert and talked about recommendations for infrastructure in terms of or in response to Michaels questions: Do we need a data specialist in addition to the one they talked about hiring to help Guihua? Do we need all these things right now, and do we need the technology right now?
    Phil - Really the first priority was to get the manager per say that was proposed in the infrastructure memo as some type of an assistant VP position for Strategic Planning, and that person could be a champion within this group. But also to be really looking at the needs and start almost immediately looking at what are the needs on our campus for within that office of Strategic Planning. The manager type person definitely needs to come first, so that we are not hiring someone underneath and then trying to hire this higher level person down the road. It was clear in the group that there are not enough resources around right now to just pull half of somebody's job to do the data analyst type thing or even to do the vice president's responsibilities. We did then trickle down to the next level, which was from beyond the manager position, beyond the data analyst position, looking at the needs that are in the computing areas and the survey areas to make sure there are correct resources in the other areas. We did not think there was really any slack where we could just hold off and hold things for a year, and I don't believe the group was even supportive of waiting until after the fiscal year to start a search. We wanted to get going aggressively to meet with Michael very soon.
    Kilborn - The other thing is that we really felt as a committee that we could not be doing the technical stuff without that champion there. We might want to build our own thing, we might want to buy software, and to start on that process without having the person who would be the champion there didn't seem to us to be doable.
    Annette - It doesn't make sense to hire somebody to do the technical computer material if we don't know what it actually is that we want them to do. You've got to have someone who can come in and say this is how we are going to do this, this is what is available, and this is what we are going to choose to do it with. We do the hiring based on that.
    Phil - We discussed where institutional research fits in with this office, and we wanted to reserve some of those conversations for when we meet with Michael to look at these different thoughts. I think Kathie Gilbert gave us some pretty good input as to how this is going to be successful if we have the consistent involvement of that higher level person. Without it, she also had some concerns.
    Kilborn - I do think that Michael is committed to that position is some ways. I wonder if the infrastructure committee wants to meet with Michael as a whole. What does the committee think?
    DeGroote - What would the point of the meeting be?
    Kilborn - To have a conversation with him as a whole committee about our priorities with regards to this infrastructure proposal.
    Phil - The goal to was to make clear some of the observations that Kathy Gilbert had about if you start in this direction, here it is going to lead you, and if you start in this direction, here is where it is going to lead you, and to make sure that we even look at this as an all or nothing, and we need to look at how we would phase something like that in, or what is realistic. I think the discussion is necessary from the diversity of people too that are at that table. I think we could also set come clear expectations about, sure you could start creating some dashboards, but where is that going to get you and how can we implement a better plan? Make sure that he knows that don't think it a good option to just start in on the technology thing, but that would rather be one of the worst things that we could do.
    Foss - Kathie was very clear that there is work involved in collecting some of this data, finding things and getting it out, which is not the work of the SPC. There is going to be stuff like this in all of the subcommittees. You can't expect the SPC to do that; it is the work of the University. There should be somebody responsible for that. That is too much to ask for a volunteer committee, or if it is a volunteer committee, it is probably is not going to get done in a timely manner or they are going to get burnt out. A lot of what you are hoping to do isn't going to move forward very quickly if there is not somebody responsible for it.
    Kilborn - I am wondering at this point if we should talk with Michael. I do think that we need to set up a meeting? Do you think we should meet with Michael, Roy, or the two of them together, which makes it more difficult to schedule?
    DeGroote - I think we should email Michael and ask him about the meeting and whether if he thinks that we should just meet with him or if we should meet together with the President.
    Kilborn - When Lisa and I were talking with Michael about the contract extension with Kathie Gilbert, he made it very clear that it was Roy 's to review. I will email Michael and see what he says.
    Annette - I think we should meet with the President. I think he needs to be there. If he decides it is going to happen, it will happen.
    Kilborn - I think the President has made it clear, that he is in the position that he wants things to happen.
    Annette - If we can't present our argument to him in 10 minutes, we don't understand it ourselves. That is what we tell our students.
    Kilborn - What is the will of the committee? Do you want to make a motion on this? Do you want to go ahead and do something without a motion? How do you want to do this?
    DeGroote - I think that you should just go ahead and do it as part of your work as a committee.
    Kilborn - As part of the work as a committee, I will go ahead and contact President Saigo and set up a half hour meeting with the infrastructure committee.
    DeGroote - I would also inform Michael of the meeting.
    Annette - Ask him if wants to be there.
    Kilborn - I will make sure that Michael is in the loop on this thing, and he will have the option of saying yes or no he wants to attend.
    Phil - I would like to suggestion a tentative agenda of reviewing the plan with them, then giving the feedback and a summary of the conversation with Kathie and the finish up with a question and answer time. I think it is important that we observe a timeline, get in there and give an overview of the whole thing, give some of the feedback from Kathie and go forward from there.
  • General Education - Time Definite at 11 a.m.
    Kilborn - As the SPC, it is our job to look at the big picture and try to figure out what is healthy for our organization, so as a subcommittee we are really see the need to address general education changes now. We are thinking about this document as a position paper. What we would really like to focus our discussion on is what you have before you.
    Nook - The first page is the outline as to what we think the document will look like. We know for the next meeting, there will be some additional text coming under several of the subheadings. A little history about the document is that this is not new. There was a university forum held last spring but not well attended. A call went through faculty senate as well. Most of the ideas that are in here have come from that forum and discussions and other comments by various faculty and SPC. The historical review is really limited to 1980 and the document has not changed much. Some changes include in '88-89, added MGM requirement, in late '95 we went through the semester conversion and created the current general education curriculum. We were driven by a NCA report. We took our current curriculum and added math, which did not exist, made philosophy a single critical thinking course, and also wrote a clear set of goals and mission statement for the racial issues. This was first time this had happened. We took on diversity curriculum and wrote it and defined it. The rest of the curriculum has no mission statement and no set of goals. Each of the departments had to submit a reauthorization of the courses to make sure they met the criteria. Those objectives have not gone through the core courses, none of the distribution areas have been defined with a definition. We have the option as the SPC to say we are at a fork in the road. We have to assess our general education program. We can either write a bunch of post dated learning outcomes and definitions for programs, or quick write assessments, or we can take the other option and say our general education has enough problems that we need to evaluate our material to make it fit the 21 st century student. NCA and the troubles we are having accepting and sending with MN Transfer Curriculum are two of the things that are driving us. If we look at courses on the books, we left some serious holes. We don't adopt the MN Transfer Curriculum; we consume it, and make it ours. We take the goal areas and say they are going to look like this; we can now develop a useable curriculum. What is a new general education curriculum going to look like? We can use the transfer curriculum as a skeleton and go from there. Let's just think it over. One of the things that we want to be careful of as a committee, is that we are SPC not Gen Ed committee. We are trying to prepare this document as a position paper. We walk the line of members being on both committees, and we have to be careful not to mix up the two.
    DeGroote - One small point is that we can have different definitions than two year colleges and what they use should probably be expanded.
    Fisher - I think we have to consider how this MN Transfer Curriculum came to us. It did not come from a bottom up process.
    Annette - Yes it did; it was created and controlled by faculty.
    Fisher - Maybe I am wrong on that, I will check on that. The MN Transfer Curriculum is highly political. You have various issues here; you have our own general education committee, which for many different reasons has gotten stuck. We have gotten to the point where it is time to do something. We are at a very difficult time where we cannot assess the current general ed program, and if we tried it would be disastrous. If the general ed committee is putting their best efforts into developing a general ed program that is meaningful and robust for the students and meets our institutional needs, we are also going to have be aware of the political pressures. We did have conversations before when we tried to look at our general ed and MTC and saw areas that we were good in, and we also have categories that we are really bad in. That is going to mean a different allocation of resources for departments, and that will be a tough thing. I think we all agree that the general ed program has to be revised. The committee is going to need help from different constituents, like Faculty Senate, UCC, and the SPC, in order to get this thing going.
    Kilborn- I think we need to do the right thing and look at the horizon and not the mire at our feet. If handled properly, I think we can minimize some of the fears that are connected with the political pressures.
    Condon - Everyone on this committee is going to be getting an invitation to the Faculty Forum Day event. There is a keynote breakfast and a series of workshops throughout the day. The speaker is John Gardner, who is a national expert on first year student transitions and success. You are invited to the keynote breakfast and also an invitation to a workshop following the luncheon, which will include the SPC, the general education committee, and the first-year experience advisory board. One of the ways of proceeding without confusing the boundaries of SPC and the general education committee is for you to come to that workshop and still be part of that conversation. We should use this opportunity while John is here to figure out what this committee can do in support of the general education committee.
    Kilborn - This is being worked on by a lot of different people and a lot of different venues, and let me just say that the general ed subcommittee of Strategic Planning asked to meet with Provost and the assessment ensure that what we do doesn't compromise our NCA visit. If we don't do this it is going to happen anyway. It is our intention that the position paper, if it's support ed by SPC, be attached to the minutes so that it will go out to the different bargaining units, and the faculty senate, and the general education committee to help facilitate a campus conversation.
  • Majors and Minors
    Fisher - The first part, the perspectives, we list the perspectives but then we had some discussion in the subcommittee exactly what the institutional learning and growth was. We took out the Balanced Scorecard book, and Subba has been in all of our meetings, so we got some of the specifics as to what that perspective is. From the book, and Subba's explanation, we got that really institutional learning and growth consists of three things: One is the employee skill level. An employee could be faculty, staff, or administration. It is any employee of the institution and whether they have the proper skills to do whatever it is that needs to be done. It is availability of the information or the tools for the information. I think a lot of what the infrastructure committee has been doing has been focusing on that. The third thing is then the organizational climate, such as communication, for example. So what institutional learning and growth is, are those measurements that would enable other measurements, so it is like a meta prospective. So what we ended up doing is that we have the objectives we started with, and then we put the institution's learning and growth on top of the other objectives and came up with particular PIs. We came up with the following questions (please refer to the majors and minor handout) A suggestions was made that you rank the answers to some of the questions
    Kilborn - I think that would be hard to do with rank, I think that the committee needs to think about that question and how you want people to answer it.
    Wentworth - I have no clue what you mean by the organizational climate of say, communications.
    Voelz - When you think about the climate of communications, you are thinking about the fact that there is communication that is effective and official. There is support and a climate for getting things done. If you don't have support from a certain level, can you accomplish your objectives.
    Foss - Do you want to break those out and have people respond to them individually?
    Kilborn - I think that organizational climate needs to be broken down and defined.
    Voelz - I would like to get some feedback from other committees on whether or not anyone else is troubled by institutional learning and growth?
    DeGroote - In our committee, for example, the value that we prescribe to graduate education varies widely in various interest groups. So what is the value in looking at that is an institutional opportunity to learn and understand what graduate programs bring to a comprehensive university like ours.
    Kilborn - I do think there are a variety of ways that you can focus in on it. It really depends on what piece of the pie you are looking at and what might be in there. Another we talked about is there are a lot of barriers in just the way we do things with graduate education. An example would be that you cannot hire a graduate student until they are in the system. So there is an actual barrier that we need to learn as an institution to get around. It could be barriers or opportunities that institutional learning and growth provides. It is all kinds of things.
    Wentworth - Don't we already have some satisfaction surveys out there, and couldn't we get some data from those surveys, especially from the student's perspective.
    Fisher- What we are asking is you know for faculty, Article 22 and 25 is appropriate for faculty, but what is appropriate for other areas? If you could give a language question what would be the appropriate thing, because it is everybody, but we just did not know what it was.
    DeGroote - One tactic would be to look at NSSEE questions, try to cast them back as things that fall under this to give you the questions so that you don't have to restructure.
    Addie- I would like to read Article 22 and 25 to have a better understanding.
    Kilborn - I would like to encourage people to read through this away from the meeting and all of the documents away from the meeting so that we can actually process those, and especially from perspectives of other bargaining units. You will see holes in this.
    Annette: The thing about the NSSEE data is that it talks about all the students, not an individual major or minor. One of things that we are asking about is if the students perceive things the same way that we perceive things.
    Fisher - In the objectives section, we put down questions that would go to particular departments, and these departments would answer the questions based on their majors and minors. The note says that some of the information will probably come from other sources. If that is the case, we would get it from the other sources or someone would get it from the other sources before we would ask the department so that we don't flood the departments with all of these things. We are trying to save wear and tear on the departments. Questions and comments on the objectives would be greatly appreciated.
    Kilborn- There is a disconnect in some of the questions about accreditation because there are some programs that are not accreditable. For instance, in my program, we do have national guidelines and standards in place of accreditation.
    Annette - We can then ask the same kind of question, but ask it about your national guidelines and standards as opposed to accreditation.
    Kilborn - The other question is that there are people worried about duplication of efforts so we need to be aware of this.
    Annette - People will want to know where the information is coming from.
    Fisher - Refer to SWOT handout and give feedback