St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
March 17, 2005 10:00am - 12:00pm
Glacier North

Download minutes [PDF: 11 pages]

Present: Judy Kilborn, Theresia Fisher, Lisa Foss, Judy Litterst, Diana Burlison, Addie Turkowski, Annette Schoenberger, Donella Westphal, David DeGroote, Michael Spitzer, Neal Voelz, Pat Krueger, Brenda Wentworth, David Sikes, Mark Nook, Mahmoud Saffari, Susan Motin, Debra Carlson

Absent: Edward Addo, Ben Baliga, Bonnie Hedin, Debra Leigh, Subba, John Palmer, Joe Opatz, John Burgeson, Frankie Condon, Guihua Li, Phil Thorson, Sara Grachek, Balsy Kasi

1. Approval of the minutes for March 3, 1005

The draft minutes have been completed, and Judy Kilborn will review the minutes and then forward them to the committee for review on Friday, March 4, 2005. Please email your comments, corrections, changes, and your vote on whether or not to approve the minutes to Judy Kilborn. As a side note, it has been requested that we follow speaking order and that everyone speak up when speaking.

2. Announcements

•  We have set a deadline of March 31, 2005, to take action on the items that we have been working on. We need to have subcommittees get closure on what they are recommending. We will have to have actual motions at the March 31 meeting. If you want feedback before the next meeting, you can send documents to Judy Kilborn, who will send the documents out to the group for feedback. We are very close, and the sub-committees have been working like crazy to get things done by the deadline.

•  Keep in mind that all of the sub-committees should be looking at the NSSE data that was sent out to check to see if there are any indirect measures that can be pulled off those surveys that may fit into our objectives.

•  The two ACT pieces (general questions and the specific 29 questions that SCSU added) that were brought in should be looked at by the subcommittees, as there may be some indirect measures that could be included as measures under some of our objectives. This will be comparative data.

•  The infrastructure committee will meet with both President Saigo and Provost Spitzer regarding the infrastructure proposal. The short half-hour meeting will include a short presentation of the proposal and time for discussion about what is in the proposal following the presentation. As chair elect of the committee, Theresia Fisher will also attend the meeting.

•  SPC members are encouraged to attend the Faculty Forum Day workshops. Individual invitations will be sent via campus mail to all SPC members. The afternoon session has been described as an interactive keynote address that may help the conversation on general education.

3. Call for new agenda items

Fisher - Add to the agenda the discussion about the contract with Kathie Gilbert

4. Subcommittee Reports

Graduate Programs

DeGroote - Judy Kilborn, Dennis Nunes, Lisa Heinrich, and myself have been working on this and have come up with a summary of the goal that we have come to, and then divided the goal into a statement and a process measure. We then developed a strand map to help visualize the way that we see the goal within the context of continuing quality improvement. The strand map is mainly for the committee to use and will probably not need to go anywhere else, but what it is trying to show is the input from the various stakeholders who will drive the quality improvement process. This is a continuous process to look at and evaluate current graduate programs that lead to changes and modified programs. One of the questions and the underlying issue really is about what graduate programs represent at SCSU. The original goal as written was tying graduate programs to existing undergraduate programs in a way that is highly restrictive as to what the future of graduate programs is at SCSU. This is not a current reality. The continuous quality improvement process is a way to gauge when new program development needs to occur as opposed to an individual coming and saying they think we need to start a new master's program. We need a process that looks at whether or not we have any opportunity to start new graduate programs,

Kilborn - The original language said, "we will support graduate education" and Michael suggested that we come up with a more qualitative term than just support for graduate programs. There does seem to be a lack of education within the university community in regards to the thought that graduate programs cost SCSU money. This is incorrect information, and there are actually many examples of long-standing, robust graduate programs that are moneymakers. These programs are quite different than the similar undergraduate programs.

DeGroote - Referred to Graduate Subcommittee handout.

Feedback on the goal:

Fisher - One thing that comes to mind when we are talking about this is the Strategic Planning retreat three years ago with Ken Mortimer and other consultants, who made a very strong point of saying that SCSU had too many graduate programs. Dennis Nunes disagreed with that and openly said he did not believe that was the case. The conversation then was one of do our graduate programs have enough students, or if you have a graduate program that is connected to an undergraduate program, then that makes sense. If there are other graduate programs that do not have enough students, then we should be looking at those. Some of the programs that we were talking about would not necessarily be cost effective, but are related to undergraduate programs, and then we have a whole group of them that we have a program just to say we have the program. This is a problem. I am not recommending anything but am just bringing it up for whatever we want to use the information for.

DeGroote - One of the reasons we wrote the process measure and the reason a process measure is written is that with what we have now, there is no way of being able to evaluate whether we should or should not keep a particular graduate program. There is no evaluatory process. If we have a goal to provide excellent graduate education to meet the mission and vision of the institution through continuous quality improvement, how do you do that? You develop a process measure that says let's look at graduate programs, let's ask these questions, see how they contribute and whether they are connected or not, and that is how we get at answering those questions about what this particular program or that particular program is doing in meeting our mission and vision. Then are there things that need to be contracted, need to be expanded, and new areas that we need to go into? What we have tried to put together is a way at getting at that in some kind of very professional, non-emotional, kind of way. It is only if people will accept it that it was going to take on a professional process. That is what I think strategic planning is supposed to be across the board.

Motin - I like this new goal. I think it is a stronger goal. We are going from the university will strive , to the university will provide us with a quality graduate program . You have your action right there. I agree we should let the process work and go through and look at the programs that are effective and doing well, and those will stay. The other ones will have an unhappy group of people, and some of the graduate programs will not be able to stay.

DeGroote - What I suggest is that you go through these things and give us feedback, which I will then share with Judy and Lisa. These are things that are too complicated to sort out here today. We just need to look at it and think about it and sort out the details. We have rewritten the goal primarily to reflect the reality of our current situation.

Schoenberger - This information is in the dean's office. Why are you asking us to do this again?

Kilborn - It would seem to me to be appropriate for this body to make a motion and pass a motion that gives a recommendation for Faculty Senate to reconsider this one item based on the PDR cycle.

DeGroote - I just can't change it because it is not my language.

Wentworth - Isn't that PDR cycle, the every four years, the same four years for everybody?

DeGroote - No

Schoenberger - It can't be the same five years for everybody either.

Wentworth - That is the part that I do not understand.

Motin - Some of us still do annual. It is all staggered. You will not have it on a standard cycle.

Kilborn - We could make a suggestion that it would somehow filter through a process of getting data rather than having everything on the same cycle.

DeGroote- The objective is to ask the departments to develop a mechanism by which they review faculty. This is not trying to be prescriptive. This is simply guidelines as to the kinds of things they need to do to be able to say this is how we can show quality in our graduate programs. These are the kinds of things that we need to look at to determine the value of the graduate program or the institution. We will have lots of different disciplines out there dealing with graduate education in many different ways, and this is a guideline for them to be able to look at how to accomplish the task of providing a quality graduate program.

Schoenberger - One of things that happen when we get our evaluation is that they use those and they have a meaning to them. If they say "every" they mean they will be done on a five year cycle; they will be done on a four year cycle. If they say it "needs," then anything from 1-5 years is fine; if they say it "must" you then no longer have that option of 1-5 years. I think it is important that we not ask people to do things they have already done a second or third time.

Kilborn - One of things that we are going to be having happen as this is actually implemented is, and we are not going to do it, how this data is collected in a way that isn't asking departments to do things every two weeks. I think that are we ok with that language? Was that in there originally?

DeGroote - No, and that is why I am saying that I can't really change it. I am not minimizing it in any way. I am simply saying that I can't personally change that.

Kilborn - Can we go ahead and make some sort of motion if we want some more specific language in there and actually make a motion to that effect. I don't think we have any disagreement that the language is a problem.

Brenda - I am not opposed to a motion, but this document was from the university graduate committee. We can recommend or ask the university graduate committee to add, as a recommendation from this committee, but I don't think we can just change it. I am happy to recommend to the graduate committee that they look at this at least.

Susan - I would agree with Brenda that we need to send a recommendation to the university graduate committee since it is their document. I would also like to point out that unless we want to talk about parallel, I think that curriculum and faculty is going to be easier to do on the same cycle. I would suggest that we do every four for both curriculum and faculty and keep them both the same.

Theresia - Although this document has the graduate committee on there, these actions were approved by Senate. So this is actually a Faculty Senate document. Perhaps the SPC could recommend to the faculty representative on the SPC to go the Faculty Senate and stress the issue of changes to this document.

Brenda - I am not in favor of asking Senate to change documents that a committee worked on.

Schoenberger - The committee gave it Senate to make the changes

Brenda - I still do not think it is right. Were there representatives from the graduate committee to approve and say ok you can make the changes?

Schoenberger - They don't get to choose.

Brenda - I don't like that.

Fisher - A motion could be written differently that would be easier. It could be put in the announcement section of Senate that the faculty reps were discussing this in SPC and are recommending that Senate refer it back to the graduate committee. It could be a very short and sweet thing. But the point is, this is no longer the graduate committee's purview; this is the Senate's purview once the actions of the committee are approved. It is more of a courtesy thing that can just go through very quickly.

Foss - It seems to be a courtesy to go back to the graduate committee and say, that they would be the ones, since they brought the original quality indicator list, to bring it back to Faculty Senate. It just seems out of order to do it any other way. It seems to be a courtesy to go through the graduate committee and would be appropriate.

Fisher - I don't think there is an issue of just going back to the graduate committee. I think the issue is how to get a courtesy call to Senate. If you take it directly to the graduate committee that is the first thing that is going to come up when the committee brings it up to Senate. I think it is less problematic. Why don't we just ask Annette to refer it to the graduate committee?

Schoenberger - I can ask Senate to refer it back to the graduate committee.

Motin - I do think, yes if I was on the graduate committee I would want to know the changes, but it seems like Faculty Senate is the final arbiter of what is done. It has been pounded into our head the last few years. If I was sitting on whatever committee, I would like to be informed the document was being changed because to run it through the committee takes longer.

Schoenberger - The proper place for this is to take it back to Senate and say do you want change the wording of this document now, or do you want to send it back to the committee and ask them to take care of it? This is the proper way to do it.

Fisher - We have had some problems working with an FA committee and therefore thinking that it is the FA position. Any committee is a relatively small body of people, and Senate is our representative body of people from every department.

Motion by Fisher : SPC recommends that the SPC faculty reps bring the document to Faculty Senate to discuss possible changes to the wording.
Second : Motin

Kilborn - Please take this document and carefully read it, and then bring in or email your suggestions. We will not be bringing forward the entire document, but will need to come up with some unified presentation. If you have a notion about what steps should be in that packet, let us know.

DeGroote - We have developed the strand map which is way of connecting actions to stakeholders to various groups. This allows us to take the objectives and run action boxes for which people will then act on this and carry that action to some other group. The basic outline is on the back of the document.

Kilborn - We would like to get to the point of acting by the next meeting. So we need to do some serious reading of the details and come back with comments and suggestions.

General Education

Nook - Most of this document was here at the last meeting. We had some pieces that were missing on assessment of the current program. We were also missing pieces of the general education assessment and revision of NCA and the other is recommendations. I would like to look at the three pieces today that did not exist a week ago. The assessment of current programs is on the third page and what we tried to do in this section is try to look at what level of assessment is currently occurring in general education. Fortunately, we had to submit a large document to the higher education learning commission, North Central Accreditation, so we have a good measure of where we are at in assessing general education at this moment. What that boils down to is that we are doing a reasonable job of individual courses, but we are not assessing any programs. 191, 192, and 193 is looking at all of the courses that they put together as individual courses. The same is true of most of the core and individual courses that are within the distributionary. The one step beyond that is that the Racial Issue curriculum is just beginning to look at how a collection of courses is meeting the criteria that we are developing.

The other information available is some course taking pattern stuff -- that was one piece of information put together by the College of Business and the other put together by members of the Mathematics and Statistics department in looking at core courses. There is a lot more to the COB document. This is one of panels that comes out of it -- it is one of the summary panels. One of the things that kind of shows up the clearest in this particular document is this anecdotal belief that many faculty are tossing around that most of our students are shorting their science distribution area is pretty clear. That is really happening. Half as many credits as is generated in science general education as they are in the other two distributionary. It is not a real surprise there, but it is the first time that we have had the data to say that it is really happening and to know what our student course-taking patterns are in the distributionary and the core areas. All that was done was the total number of credits generated in one of the courses listed as a general education course. We know about the double counters, but what we don't know about is the waivers. The assumption is that waiving is going on in all colleges. We do know that if we just take the courses out there that are labeled general education courses, how many credits are we generating in each of those, and science is generating half the number of the other two. However, there are open seats in science general education, so we are meeting the needs and then some. So if there were people just backed up waiting to get into science courses on this campus, they would all be full.

The other piece that comes out of the data set is the large table called general education credit production. What this allows us to do is look at the number of credits generated per semester and then some grand totals in each of the core areas. You can look at individually how we did each semester, but you can also look at a grand total over a three year period, total credits. The individual numbers are not something that I focused on very much at all. Instead what you kind of want to look at are relative numbers. One of the other pieces that you can pull out of here and take a look at is the three distribution areas. Two of the areas only have two options: they have the right hand column and the left hand column, and so the left hand columns are those prime courses everybody has to take two of. With natural sciences we have another breakout because we have right and left hand courses and we have lab courses. All of the lab courses however are left hand courses. You see pretty clearly that there is a big difference between the right- and left-hand column. That is exactly what we engineered into the system; we wanted it that way. We were saying that the courses in the left-hand column represent the traditional liberal arts and sciences. We want everybody to take at least two of those in each of the three areas. We are then short in these other areas. The other thing that you can see then is that right- and left-hand columns are defined by departments and by no other mechanism. There is no definition of what constitutes what is a left- or right-hand side course other than it is offered by a particular department, not what is the content of the course.

The other handout is one that shows a year's worth of graduates that looked at which semester of their courses did they complete various general education courses. Then figured out the average time from when they matriculated until they completed the course. So this lets us know if they are taking courses in their first year, second year, or third year on average. As you look over this information, more students are slipping into their second and third years to complete these courses. All of these are being completed in less than four semesters on average, which means they are being completed on average in the first two years of the student's matriculation. We are getting people moved through the core. The somewhat disappointing piece is that students are not moving through the racial issues course in the first year. But remember the racial issues course was not in place right away, so some students did not have the opportunity to take the course until later. Some of this is a pass/fail issue, and some of it is an advising issue.

Fisher - When I did an orientation, the students had quite a bit of math anxiety. Huge math anxiety. Even to talk about a math course was a pretty significant feat. The issue is that in the high school system the math is not there.

Nook - Please remember that this information is a one-year snapshot. One of things that were found is that there were many students who graduated from this institution who never completed core courses for one reason of another. That might have been that they were transferred in, or it might have been that they were students who went away from here for the summer and took the course somewhere else and then transferred it back. There may have been a waiver involved in that they met the criteria in some other way. There were a fair number of students who never on paper look like completed those courses if you just run through their transcript record. You don't pick up those transfer ins if you do that. You have a synopsis of the three reports as given that lays out what is in there.

The university really has done some evaluation of its general education program. There is some level of assessment going on at the course level, but not at the program level. There are several things that are missing in our general education program that we have found through this evaluation. We don't have acceptable learning outcomes in most of the major portions or in the curriculum as a whole. There are a minimum of three general education curriculums on this campus: the MN Transfer curriculum, the Honors, and our university general education's curriculum. There is no assessment going on at all with the MN Transfer curriculum, except for the courses that happen to be doing single course assessment. The general education curriculum is being assessed at the course level, and racial issues are looking at program assessment. The honors curriculum has had ongoing assessment for awhile. I don't know whether it is at the program level or course level. There is some program assessment through at least student survey. This is an indirect measure. We are in an interesting area to try to assess our general education program.

Fisher - We got a memo back when I was co-chair saying that we make recommendations to him via the Provost. I think that as a university wide committee, that is what we do. I think the faculty representatives and the FA President will take it back to Senate and do that. President Saigo may want to know what Senate's recommendation is before he decides on what he wants to do.

Motion by Brenda Wentworth: That the General Education Subcommittee Position Paper, after grammatical editing, be officially sent by the Strategic Planning Committee through the Provost's office to the President and also to Faculty Senate for discussion.
Second: Pat Krueger

Majors and Minors

Fisher - We incorporated the changes that the committee had made when we assessed the major/minor plan the last time. We also figured out a way for the institutional learning and growth regarding majors and minors and employee skill, and we had some discussion about that for Faculty it was Article 22 and 25, but for other units and for other employees of the institution, it could be something else. What we put was how does the personnel evaluation procedures of the following employee groups impact the skill level with regards to majors and minors? So for institutional learning and growth, one of the components is the employee skill level. For faculty, they always have to keep current with their skills in terms of the program, and for the other units we just listed the requirements of the contract. Each different group can then specify how their personnel evaluation procedures impact on the majors and minors.

We also changed the scales we had to a one to five scale where one is totally meeting the objective and five is not meeting the objective at all. How would you rank the following with regard to your departments major/minor program. Then we have declarative statements, such as my department has the appropriate data to accomplish the previously listed objectives. We made all of the other recommended changes. '

The last thing we did was we talked about NSSE and how it could be used with what we were doing with the major/minor plan. One thing we came up with was with NSSE being University wide, you have certain actions that may be above or below the means. But that is not necessarily informative to a particular department. A particular department may be way above or way below or right on the money for that mean. Is there a way to disaggregate the data?

Nook - Yes. It will take some time. I have found a university that has done this sort of thing. It will take some time to disaggregate it. There are some potential statistical problems with doing that in that some of the group sizes get pretty small. We can certainly do it at the college level and do it at the major's level on our largest majors, such as elementary education. We can disaggregate this at some extent at the department level.

Fisher - What we decided was that if it could not be disaggregated right away, what we would do is ask the department based on your particular major and minor, what can you do in your program to help the University improve this score? So just let the reflection be from the discipline that is actually doing the work that can relate to what they are doing and come up with some help in this area.

Kilborn - We know that other schools have been looking at the NSSE data this way departmentally and trying to figure out how they can improve certain pieces of it. This is a possible thing that we can look at, and certainly as data flows down and up, we would hope that some of this would happen.

Foss - What is going to happen with what we have created? Are you going to do a general survey in the departments?

Fisher - We don't have a list of questions. What we plan to do is just hand them NSSE?

Foss - What you have been reading off is a series of questions. How are you going to do this? What are you going to do for that? What are you going to do with those questions?

Fisher - That was just an example.

Schoenberger - The NSSE data is university-wide data. This is the majors and minors committee. We can't tell these people to look at this data because they are going to come back to this and say that these do not apply to us. So what we said was, let's say we look at the NSSE data, and for those programs that fall below the means, what do you think you could do to help the university change that? We are not going to do a survey, but if we can disaggregate that data, the questions don't apply. We just want to hand a department the questions and ask what do you think you can do to help improve this?

Foss - I am just going back to the document that you handed out last time, and as I am reading this, it is a series of questions. Are you going to actually send this all of the departments, and they are going to complete it?

Fisher - yes

Kilborn - We are the SPC, and we are not actually doing at all of this, so I think what we are looking at is the intersection between what we put in the plan and how we filter down to the department. The SPC is not actually going to send out a survey to the departments. So is this going to be an assessment piece?

Fisher - The part I was reading is a new part, and so I was not talking about the other part. This other part is identifying the various places where the information can come from first, like the upper division writing requirement committee or the assessment committee. We are also doing that so that the information can be handled from other sources, and then what is left, those questions that can only be answered by departments, will go to the department. As far as this last thing that we are talking about, it is basically handing the department the NSSE things, and if some of the information can be disaggregated, then we can go sort through those departments that have enough students, and then we can go there. But if we can't, then we are going to hand NSSE to the department and say how can you improve the University's score?

Wentworth - Who is we?

Fisher - The major/minors subcommittee will hand NSSE to the department and ask them in their discipline how can you improve the University score on the various things?

Foss - I understand the second part that you were addressing, but my question was more to the whole document. So the questions are just a series of questions to help you get information so that you can actually write your performance indicators. I just wanted to clarify what this was actually going to be used for.

Fisher - If I could just reiterate what Kathy Gilbert said to us at that time, which was for the first couple of go arounds, it would be departments answering the questions until we get the data sorted out.

Kilborn - So that we can get closure on this piece, can you email me the correct document, and I will then email it to the SPC?

Fisher - Sure, all comments will be appreciated.

Kilborn - We are going to have to at some point when we have everyone's document start looking at some sort of consistent presentation of this information. Please be thinking about that as you look at the various drafts. We want to make it as simple as possible, and we want to get some sort of closure for next time. We will put off the Enrichment Beyond the Curriculum until next time.

Fisher - Can we move to agenda item #8?

Kilborn - Which is the contract with Kathie Gilbert?

Fisher - Do we need a motion?

Kilborn - No we can just go there.

Mahmoud - Are we just interested in areas that the department has scored lower than the national average, or are we also interested in the ones that scored higher?

Kilborn - We may want to look at both, or we may want to only look at certain things, but we will need to document before we can make that decision.

Fisher - The only thing I wanted to do is that we have Kathie as the external consultant, and we have Subba as the local consultant, and I am wondering if the committee has some kind of sense how we want to be working with both of the consultants. I know the majors/minors subcommittee has helped us immensely. Why I asked this to be put on the agenda was just kind of get a little conversation started on how you might want to use our consultants, specifically the period starting June 1 st . That is why I asked it be on the agenda.

Kilborn - We will put it as an item on the next agenda. Please email your suggestions and changes, and I would like to stress the importance of our push for closure on the documents we discussed today.