Academic Program and Student Outcome Assessment Plan
UW Oshkosh has updated its Academic Program Plan on an annual basis since the plan’s inception in 2006. This year, the Office of Academic Affairs has undertaken the task of a significant revision to better reflect the changes that have occurred over the past four years as UW Oshkosh has embarked on strategic planning, including large-scale and comprehensive liberal education reform grounded in research and the understanding that liberal education outcomes are essential for student success in the global society. Integrated planning efforts and multiple activities are underway that seek institution-wide transformation leading to student success. As the following plan conveys, there are a wide range of activities—informed by liberal education reform and Inclusive Excellence—that focus more directly on curricular change (especially General Education reform) and retention strategies as the University moves forward in the implementation of its strategic reform. The revised plan also represents UW Oshkosh’s work towards the Growth Agenda’s More Graduates for Wisconsin Initiative. It will be reviewed by campus governance groups over the course of the Fall 2010 semester.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, the University participated in several national and state initiatives based upon the dual foundations of liberal education and inclusive excellence, in order to help us reexamine our curriculum and retention strategies. On the national level, a team of UW Oshkosh faculty members attended the AAC&U General Education Institute in Burlington, Vt., to create a plan for the next phase of general education and assessment reform activities.
Teams of faculty, staff and administration also participated in national research projects focusing on liberal education reform, retention and inclusive excellence themes through the Wisconsin Transfer Equity Study sponsored by the University of Southern California, and the Give Students a Compass Project sponsored by AAC&U. Staff from the Office of the Provost made a presentation about the UW Oshkosh Compass Project at the annual AAC&U meeting in Washington, DC, and also at the annual meeting of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago. The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Curricular Affairs represented the state of Wisconsin at the University of California General Education Conference in Fullerton, Calif. The Provost participated on the planning and proposal review teams for a national general education conference sponsored by AAC&U.
At the state level, eight faculty and staff members participated in the fall 2009 Compass Meeting in Madison. A cross-representative team of faculty and staff involved with diversity work participated in a UW-System training event for Inclusive Excellence. A second Inclusive Excellence event at the system level also involved campus leaders of various diversity initiatives. In spring 2010, 24 faculty and staff presented at the UW-System President’s Summit for Teaching and Learning in Madison. The Provost collaborated with System staff to plan for future LEAP work throughout the state. Local efforts to further liberal education and assessment reform on campus and to increase retention of under-served students are outlined later in this update.
To further efforts at serving more students in the region and the state, and to expand curricular options in a strategic manner, the University successfully petitioned the Higher Learning Commission to change our Statement of Affiliation Status to reflect the highest degree offered (the Doctorate of Nursing Practice), program offerings at 34 remote sites, and the use of a streamlined process to report remote sites.
During the past year, Academic Affairs focused on addressing two significant strategic challenges from our initial Academic Program Plan. The first of these was: Curriculum Structure, Program Planning and Program Review. The following initiatives, programs and reform efforts specifically addressed this challenge.
Programmatic Strategies for Liberal Education Reform
A faculty group designed a curriculum review strategy to gather data from academic departments regarding the teaching of the essential learning outcomes. To accomplish this work, a system for capturing data was developed in conjunction with Academic Computing and made available through Titan Web for faculty access. Each department examined its curriculum to identify levels of student achievement for select outcomes. Nearly 1,200 courses across the campus were reviewed and entered into the data collection system. In the spring semester, data analysis and initial reports were discussed. A faculty group continues to examine the data in order to help create a proposal for minimal general education requirements and to develop an approach for more effective assessment of general education.
Strategic Review of Graduate Education
A Graduate Education Development Team was created to provide support for the development of strategic, programmatic, and enrollment plans for Graduate Studies. A newly approved Strategic Plan for Graduate Studies guides the work of the colleges in the coming years for graduate recruitment, marketing, program development, policies, and program delivery. This includes the design of graduate certificate programs to serve as gateways to the graduate degree programs if individuals desire to apply to the graduate degree program in the same discipline. The design of a general graduate studies marketing piece will brand graduate studies at UW Oshkosh for promotional purposes. The delivery of more graduate courses or programs in hybrid or fully online formats will be part of a more comprehensive University discussion for online programs.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, new program development was a continuing priority of the University’s proposed Growth Agenda. A change in degree offerings was the addition of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree during summer 2010. The College of Nursing also is collaborating with UW-Stevens Point to offer its undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree on the Stevens Point campus, beginning spring 2011.
New Degree Programs (Implementation Dates):
- B.S. in Kinesiology (Fall 2009)
- B.S. in Environmental Health (Fall 2010)
- B.A./B.S. in Women's Studies (Fall 2009)
- Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) (Summer 2010)
The Establishment, Renaming or Elimination of Departments
Established the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education (Fall 2009), which involved moving the following programs from the Department of Kinesiology and Health in the College of Letters and Science, to the new Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education in the College of Education and Human Services:
Physical Education Major
Physical Education PreK-12 Teacher Preparation Emphasis School Health Education Minor
Adapted Physical Education Minor and Certification (#860 License)
Renamed the Department of Kinesiology and Health to the Department of Kinesiology (Fall 2009)
The Establishment of Sub-Majors or Certification Programs:
- Leadership Certificate in the Bachelor of Applied Studies Fire and Emergency Response Management (Fall 2009)
- Educational Administration Certificate Program for Principal Licensure in the Educational Leadership Department (Fall 2010)
- Civic Engagement Minor in the Political Science Major (Fall 2010)
- Insurance and Financial Planning Minor in College of Business (Fall 2009)
- Civic Engagement Emphasis in the Political Science Major (Fall 2010)
- Insurance Emphasis in the Finance Major (Fall 2009)
- Web Presence Management Emphasis (Fall 2010)
- Environmental Policy and Values Emphasis in the Environmental Studies Major (Fall 2010)
- Environmental Science Emphasis in the Environmental Studies Major (Fall 2010)
- Strength and Conditioning Emphasis in the Kinesiology Major (Fall 2009)
Narrow the Focus of the Curriculum and Reduce Time-to-Degree
Academic programs are being reviewed to reduce the time-to-degree while ensuring that they prepare graduates to be successful in their fields of study. Department chairs and the deans are scheduling courses in ways that ensure available seats in gateway courses and keep students on pace to graduate on time. Increased offerings during interim and summer sessions also are helping students stay on pace to graduate. UW Oshkosh is a campus of choice for transfer students, and the campus will continue to build upon this strength. Transfer articulation agreements and programs with the UW Colleges and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges will continue to be developed.
The University will increase educational access through enrollment growth in high-demand programs needed for regional and state economic growth. These will include programs, such as our new Environmental Health Program, an Insurance emphasis, and Digital Media, as well as the expansion of Nursing, Mathematics and Science teacher education, Biology/Environmental Science, and the Bachelors of Applied Studies. The development of more online and hybrid courses will make programs more accessible to potential students in the region. Increasing outreach and on-site programs also will help meet the needs of working students and local businesses.
Programs under development include:
- B.A. in Japanese Studies (with UW-Whitewater)
- B.S. in Radiologic Sciences
- M.S. in Educational Foundations
- B.B.A. in Interactive Media Design
M.S.E. in Human Services and Nonprofit Leadership
Retention: Closing the Achievement Gap
The second significant strategic challenge identified by our initial Academic Program Plan and addressed during the 2009-2010 year was the Changing Student Profile: Implications for Recruitment, Retention and Mix. The following programs, initiatives and activities highlight the work toward meeting this challenge.The strategies below are on-going approaches that will enable UW Oshkosh to reach its goals for the More Graduates for Wisconsin Plan. The primary foci are on retention and closing the achievement gap for students of color and socio-economically disadvantaged students. UW-Oshkosh continues to concentrate on its undergraduate retention rates in accordance with the UW-Oshkosh Student Compact. The compact focuses on assessment, academic advising, career development, counseling, and academic support resources, such as supplemental instruction and tutoring. Using the data from NSSE, the Equity Scorecard, Give Students a Compass, the WI Transfer Equity Study, and the Climate Study, UW Oshkosh is addressing the obstacles to success for its students, especially its students of color. Specialized mentoring and academic success programs are being enhanced and developed to address the needs of students of color. A retention specialist for Native American students has been added to the resources found in the Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity.
A new position, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence (replacing the AVC for Equity and Diversity), will work with campus constituencies to address issues of integrating Inclusive Excellence into the programs and services for those students at UW Oshkosh who are high risk or disenfranchised.
First-Year Experience Program (FYE)
The First-Year Experience program, which is still in its developmental phase, focuses on an expansion of orientation, living learning communities, and the current two-credit FYE course. These programs are being modified to assist with the transition of transfer students, veterans, students of color, and non-traditional students. Additional sections of the FYE course have been developed to target nontraditional students and will be scheduled to meet their needs. Assessment of all new students through MAPWORKS will allow for improved identification of students new to campus who are at risk and to better mobilize resources for those students. The FYE course is used to provide more connections for at-risk students, to introduce them to the University learning outcomes, and to highlight the student learning resources available on campus in the hope that they will take advantage of the institution’s multiple learning services. While some progress has been made with FYE, more work needs to be done to help make it the foundation of our retention efforts. As we move forward, we are also looking to develop a sophomore-year experience that will ensure continuity in the personal and academic development of students.
Early Alert Program
An expanded Early Alert program to identify students who do not demonstrate academic progress and/or may not be attending classes was piloted during the 2009-2010 year in 100- and 200-level gateway courses. Those students identified as high risk are contacted by faculty and advisers to address issues interfering with student success. Students are referred to academic resources, such as tutoring, supplemental instruction and the Academic Check-up. Early Alert information is also shared with athletics/coaches and Student Support Services personnel who follow up individually with the students in these programs.The Registrar’s Office is currently working with several IT units on campus to develop a better tracking system for Early Alert. The program will assist at-risk students, increase retention, and provide better communication to students early in the semester when assistance is most needed.
Titan Advantage Program (TAP)
The Titan Advantage Program provides students identified as high risk with the advantage of becoming oriented to campus life and resources while getting a head start on their academic careers. TAP students not only earn general education credit, but they also are provided with foundations in mathematics, writing, and reading study skills. Enrollment in this summer-before-college program doubled in the third year of the program. Initial follow-up studies demonstrate that TAP students continue to be successful as they continue their programs at UW-Oshkosh.
English as a Second Language Tutoring Program (ESL)
The English as a Second Language tutoring program has just completed its second year. The program assists international and domestic students for whom English is a second or foreign language to develop English skills in writing, vocabulary development, speaking, and pronunciation. Students are referred by faculty or may voluntarily seek out services from this program.The program notes steady growth and is well-received by participants. Implementation of the ESL program will allow the University to support specific needs of English language-learners. Funding must be found to continue this program.
Multicultural Retention Programs (MRP)
The MRP provide services that support recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation of multicultural students. This is accomplished through counseling/advising, specialized tutoring in math and writing, and personal, financial, and career counseling. Assessment measures include persistence rates, academic standing, and graduation rates. These programs endeavor to close the gap in educational achievement by bringing retention and graduation rates for under-served students in line with those of the student body as a whole.
Student Titan Employment Program (STEP)
STEP provides students with employment opportunities that allow them to earn the equivalent of one semester of tuition while working with faculty and staff in their areas of specialization. Internships and off-campus employment also are being developed to assist students in earning valuable experience and the money they need to help pay for their educations. Academic components are not the only factors in retention. Efforts to increase the number of under-served students in the STEP program also are seen as ways to build connections and to build upon what we know about the value of high-impact practices and retention of at-risk students.
The Graduation Project identifies students who left the University in good academic standing and were close to completing their bachelor’s degree and encourages them to return to finish their degree. The program focuses primarily on working adults. Specialized advising, academic support, and financial counseling are part of the project. A new aspect of the Graduation Project includes identifying those students who were in good standing and have met or are close to meeting the requirements to earn an associate’s degree. The granting of these associate’s degrees will serve as an incentive for students to continue their education and also will increase their marketability.
Give Students a Compass Program
UW Oshkosh is a participant in the Give Students a Compass program sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Lumina Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation. Data collection continues to focus on the rate of participation of under-served populations in high-impact practices and student performance in these practices.
Wisconsin Transfer Equity Study
UW Oshkosh was approached by UW System to participate in the Wisconsin Transfer Equity Study, sponsored by the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education. The study provides the campus with data about application trends and conversion rates of students of color between two- and four-year campuses.
Core Programs for Faculty and Staff
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will be conducting workshops and sessions to assist faculty members in understanding the developmental needs of first-year students and specialized populations. It also will partner with other areas to help the faculty incorporate Inclusive Excellence into the curriculum and in the classroom. Work will continue to implement best practices and address obstacles identified by the University’s participation in the Equity Scorecard, the Give Students a Compass Project, the Campus Pride Index, the Climate Study, and NSSE.
Gateway Courses: Student Success Discussions
The College of Letters and Science faculty members who teach gateway courses are examining data from the Equity Scorecard Project and other institutional data focusing on the academic progress of under-served students. Data from the compass project and the Early Alert program, as well as retention and graduation data, provide a background for discussion about how students of color are performing while at UW Oshkosh. Continued professional development and discussion of issues of Inclusive Excellence are included in the strategic direction of the college.
Coordinated Model for Student Learning Services
The University adopted a coordinated model for common goals, training and responses to institutional data as an effort to be more intentional about the success of our students of color. This work is a follow-up to a consultant’s visit and a task force on academic learning support efforts across campus. Student Support Services, the Writing Center, English as a Second Language tutoring, the Center for Academic Resources (tutoring and supplemental instruction), the Developmental Math Lab, Reading Study Skills, and the Center for Academic Support and Diversity will collaborate in this effort to create appropriate responses to University-wide data about retention, graduation and academic performance for students at risk. A University-wide data report, the Oshkosh Student Achievement Report, serves as the basis for goal-setting and reporting.
The following strategic challenges also were identified or addressed throughout the 2009-2010 academic year.
In order to accomplish the initiatives outlined for curriculum and student retention, the following financial challenges must be met:
- Reallocate resources to continue to support the following: TAP, STEP, the FYE program, Early Warning Program, U-Matter, and the Academic Check-up;
- Secure assistance from UW-System in the development and approval of high-demand academic degree programs;
- Obtain UW-System support of faculty and staff development in the areas of retention, Inclusive Excellence, and course delivery methods;
- Secure future financial support for new or expanded student retention programs and services; and
- Secure future financial support for faculty to deliver new academic programs and ensure that seats are available to meet the considerable expected enrollment increases.
The following are some of the conditions facing the future of graduate studies and the Graduate Education Development Team at UW Oshkosh:
- There are more than 25 other private four-year campuses, private doctoral institutions, and for-profit educational organizations within the state, almost all of which have made serious gains in market share over the past five years. Additionally, there is heightened competition among UW-Systelm campuses vying for graduate students;
- Competition from CESAs (Cooperative Educational Service Agencies), which provide in-district training and other programs offering educational programs for teachers that require fewer credits and less rigor, coupled with changing requirements for public school teachers;
- Slow development of off-campus courses or nontraditional delivery courses;
- Very difficult economy and much less employer reimbursement of graduate courses;
- No physical presence of UW Oshkosh graduate studies facilities in the Appleton area;
- Nonexistent budgets in departments for marketing and promoting graduate programs; reduction of program budgets to maintain course array; elimination of marketing budget in the Graduate Studies office; and
Reduction of institutional support of graduate assistants, both in FTE and amount of funding available to programs.
Outreach Adult Access
- Services, programs and delivery for nontraditional students must be improved, including more flexibility in course delivery in terms of time of course offerings and increased evening and weekend options to meet adult schedules;
- An image of UW Oshkosh that is more welcoming to nontraditional students needs to be developed;
- Collaboration with other institutions in the area to expand credit transfer options needs to be increased. Transfer of credits between institutions, credit for prior learning, and articulation agreements with technical college programs are critical factors in access for adult nontraditional students;
- Access to high-interest majors must be increased among adult students, and help provided to develop an alternative nontraditional version of those majors;
- Cohort-based and off-campus courses need to be expanded, as do combinations of the courses and certificate programs delivered to targeted employees and professional and civic groups;
- Credit and noncredit educational packages designed for specific professional and career groups should be created and expanded;
- A systematic review of policies and practices must be conducted in relation to their impact on adult nontraditional students;
- The web presence needs to be enhanced, including distinct pages for online course offerings
- Processes to encourage faculty participation in programs designed to serve adult nontraditional students should be developed; and
- Outreach and adult access needs, such as child care, should be considered.
Academic Programming Priorities
Finally, as a result of the strategic planning process, the University's four colleges and the Center for New Learning (CNL, focuses on adult learners), have identified four strategic academic priorities that their individual plans and missions have in common.
Each of the colleges and CNL is committed to providing an environment of engaged learning, one in which faculty and academic staff include students as partners in the learning and discovery process. In keeping with the principles of liberal education and Inclusive Excellence, learning will involve engagement with real-life challenges and address issues of diversity.
The College of Business (COB) students in nine different business-related clubs and organizations promote engaged and active learning. The college’s formal curriculum also promotes engagement through internships that focus on authentic learning for its B.B.A. and M.B.A. programs.
The College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) is increasing its recruitment efforts for STEM content areas and its post-baccalaureate program to engage more Wisconsin residents in the field of education in high-need areas. The college also engages students in high-impact practices to strengthen learning experiences.
The College of Letters and Science (COLS) engages students through high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research, in a number of areas. Service learning and community-based learning in the college expands the learning contexts through internships.
The College of Nursing (CON) engages students through the new technologies associated with nursing informatics and creates curriculum responses based on input from students, faculty and communities of interest.
The Center for New Learning engages students through enhanced web advising via the use of webcams to all off-site students. Continuing Education engages the larger community through national and regional conferences.
Globalization and Diversity
As indicated in the UW-System’s Inclusive Excellence initiative, the colleges and the University as a whole must continue to pursue their goal of creating a campus environment that will increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of multicultural and disadvantaged students. They also should expand their efforts to enrich the curriculum and faculty so that cultural diversity becomes a prominent and pervasive trait campuswide.
COB focuses on internationalizing the student and faculty experiences through a U.S. Department of Education Business and International Education (BIE) grant. Expanding international internships for students also provides more diverse and global learning experiences.
COEHS encourages more faculty and student involvement with professional organizations that focus on diversity, such as NAME, TESOL, and White Privilege. COEHS also is enhancing the personnel and curricular components of its diversity plan.
Research and internships in international settings are two ways that COLS is addressing globalization and diversity. Curriculum integration of diversity themes is another strategy used by COLS to augment the curriculum. An examination of the retention of students of color is the basis for continuing discussion and reform efforts in gateway courses.
CON continues to facilitate opportunities for students and faculty to participate in international student and clinical experiences. CON is using data from the Equity Scorecard Project and the Campus Climate Study in its strategic planning.
The Office of International Education is collaborating with CNL to design international study-abroad experiences for non-traditional students. Continuing Education promotes language immersion camps for K-12 students in the region.
The University is committed to developing outreach activities that engage multicultural communities in the area, as well as encouraging individual faculty members and students to provide services and expertise, and to organize educational events aimed at our community.
COB provides noncredit business education and consulting through the Business Success Center.
COEHS also partners with external groups through its rural education initiative and through collaborations with area CESAs and school districts. The creation of a minor in Civic Engagement with an internship component, as well as a number of community collaborative projects (biology water testing, geological research, music and theatre performances, Christa McAuliffe Academy, Shakespeare Festival) are ways that the COLS engages with the community.
Collaboration with the Living Healthy Community Clinic and training provided for local health departments exemplify the community engagement activities for CON.
Continuing Education provides non-credit community programs and CNL collaborates with a number of two-year colleges through articulation agreements as a part of its commitment to community engagement.
The colleges and CNL recognize that the desire to have UW Oshkosh students develop their full potential is universal across campus. They also recognize that excellence is not simply defined by grades but includes a wide variety of knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences. COB recently received designation as a distinguished chapter from Beta Gamma Sigma, a national business honor society.
COB is developing additional dimensions of Assurance of Learning that guide the B.B.A. program.
COEHS is developing an honors course to support student excellence. Additionally, it is implementing data retreats based on the results of newly adopted assessment plans.The Writing Center from COLS is supporting student excellence by expanding its service to satellite offices across campus. Student excellence also is supported through several student/faculty collaborative research projects across COLS programs.
CON expanded its assessment strategies to meet the benchmarks of excellence and will continue to recruit and retain quality students.
CNL is enhancing its programs and its student assessment component based on results of a recent program review. CNL also promotes student excellence through its national honor society, Alpha Sigma Lambda.
The University’s Continuing Strategic Planning Process
In terms of next steps concerning UW Oshkosh's strategic planning process, we are now preparing for a campus-wide planning meeting in January to discuss college-based distinctiveness in relationship to our broader University mission.This, too, will be driven by liberal education and Inclusive Excellence initiatives and informed by analysis of data regarding student achievement.