Academic Program and Student Success Plan
UW Oshkosh updated its Academic Program Plan to reflect changes in programs, academic initiatives and changes in institutional priorities. Subsequently, governance groups and administrative groups reviewed and approved the plan. Ultimately, the Board of Regents approved the UW Oshkosh Academic Program and Student Success Plan at its October 2010 meeting. During the last academic year, the University advanced its work to reform general education through campus discussions about liberal education reform grounded in research and the understanding that liberal education outcomes are essential for student success in an increasingly global society. Collaboration among several campus academic and student support service groups, as well as several new faculty initiatives, continued our focus on promoting student success. The University organized its transformative work by integrating three priorities that informed and supported each other to promote student success. At UW Oshkosh, quality is built upon the dual foundations of liberal education and shared leadership for inclusivity, equity and excellence through a variety of programming initiatives. Student success is at the nexus of both the LEAP and Inclusive Excellence (IE) initiatives at the campus level. LEAP provides a rich context and framework for student learning experiences and IE provides a framework to create a campus environment in which students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to thrive through participation in a well defined liberal education. The revised plan demonstrates how the dual foundations of LEAP and IE promote student success, increased retention and, ultimately, increased graduation rates, all of which are critical to accomplishing the goals of the Growth Agenda’s More Graduates for Wisconsin on the university campuses in the UW system.
All of the Colleges and the Center for New Learning participated in a strategic planning process during January 2011 to discuss college-based distinctiveness in relationship to our broader University mission. These discussions, driven by the liberal education and inclusive excellence initiatives and informed by our analysis of data regarding student achievement, provided an opportunity to understand our context, common needs and common opportunities.
During the 2010-2011 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 re-examine our curriculum and retention strategies. On the national level, a team of UW Oshkosh faculty attended the AAC&U General Education Institute in Chicago to assist with planning for the next phase of general education and assessment reform activities. Staff from the Office of the Provost made a presentation about the UW Oshkosh Compass Project at the annual AAC&U meeting in San Francisco. The Provost participated in the planning and proposal review teams for a national general education conference sponsored by AAC&U, and served on the editorial advisory board of the organization’s quarterly publication Liberal Education. UW Oshkosh continues to contribute to the Give Students a Compass initiative sponsored by AAC&U through its plan for data collection on campus and system initiatives. The Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of Institutional Research participated in a special UW System Conference on retention strategies.
At the state level, six faculty and staff participated in the fall 2010 Compass Meeting in Madison. The Associate Vice Chancellor and Assistant Vice Chancellor participated in a UW System planning team to advance of the work of liberal education reform and inclusive excellence. In spring 2011, approximately 20 faculty and staff members and administrators presented at the UW System President’s Summit for Teaching and Learning in Madison. The Provost continues to provide leadership at the state level to plan for future LEAP work throughout the system. Local efforts to further liberal education and assessment reform on our campus and to increase retention of underserved students are outlined later in this update.
During the past year, Academic Affairs continued to focus 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
General Education Reform has been in progress at UW Oshkosh for several years. Not only is this reform required for our campus re-accreditation, it also provides an important opportunity to serve crucial student learning needs. To date, this reform has necessitated significant effort from faculty members and staff who have been envisioning possibilities, investigating best practices and examining feasibility. Many individuals and groups at UW Oshkosh have been actively engaged in discussions about pedagogy and best practices. Faculty and staff attended AAC&U conferences to present UW Oshkosh practices and to engage in the national dialogue about liberal education reform.
Throughout the 2010-2011 academic year, the faculty convened several meetings with the purpose of discussing liberal education reform. The original charge of LERT expired at the end of spring semester 2011, but not before the team had helped design the campus’ Student Learning Outcomes (May 2008), worked with departments on aligning courses with the learning outcomes (2009-2010), and shepherded the Liberal Education Framework (May 2011) through the governance process. Campus-wide efforts for this work draw upon the collective expertise of faculty and staff from LERT, APGES, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Leadership Team and the leadership team for General Education Reform. In addition to participating in general education reform, faculty members continued to engage in dialogues about student learning needs through the Gateway Success group. They also participated in faculty colleges on infusing such campus priorities as Inclusive Excellence, Sustainability, Inter-cultural knowledge, and Civic Engagement into the curriculum. Using the Student Learning Outcomes and the Liberal Education Framework recommended by LERT and approved through faculty governance, the Summer Working Group built upon the campus conversation begun by LERT and broadened at the Fall 2010 Provost’s Teaching and Learning Summit. University-wide gatherings also provided faculty with additional opportunities to review models at the February 2011General Education Reform Roundtable, and again in early June at the forum on Student Learning and General Education Reform.
A leadership team for general education presented a framework for general education in order to solicit feedback at the 2011 Provost’s Teaching and Learning Summit. The leadership team will use input from the summit to construct one or more General Education Reform proposals for the governance groups to consider. If all goes according to schedule, the University plans a Fall 2013 implementation of a reformed general education program, as proposed in the Liberal Education Framework timeline.
Strategic Planning for Graduate Education
A Graduate Education Development Team developed a strategic plan for graduate studies focusing on programmatic and enrollment plans for Graduate Studies. The Provost Administrative Staff and Chancellor Administrative Staff groups reviewed the plan and provided further discussion and input. This plan will continue to guide the work of the colleges in the coming years in terms of leadership restructuring, graduate recruitment, marketing, policies, and program development and delivery. It also 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 2010-2011 academic year, new program development advanced the University’s proposed Growth Agenda:
We hope to take the following programs before the Board of Regents during the next academic year.
a. B.S. in Radiologic Sciences – Fall 2011
b. B.B.A. and B.A in Interactive Web Technology – Spring 2012
New academic programs in the initial planning stage or under consideration for the future:
a. M.S. in Transnational Human Service Leadership
b. An Online Healthcare Emphasis with Clinical Nurse Leader, College of Nursing
c. Management Major, College of Business
d. Director of Pupil Services, College of Education and Human Services
e. Graduate Program for Licensure as a Principal, College of Education and Human Services
Changes in programs that occurred in 2010-2011:
a. New Degree Programs
- Japanese Studies Major
b. Renamed Majors/Degrees/Submajors
- Renamed Community Counseling to Clinical Mental Health emphasis within the College of Nursing
c. Suspended Degrees/Majors: none at this time
d. Eliminated Majors/Degrees/Submajor
- Within the Chemistry Major the emphasis Healthcare Science was eliminated
- Within the Chemistry Major the emphasis Healthcare Business was eliminated
e. Establish, rename or eliminate Submajors:
- New certificate: Coaching Certificate within the College of Education and Human Services.
- New certificate: Outdoor/Adventure Pursuits Certificate within the College of Education and Human Services.
- New Emphasis: Response to Intervention for the Classroom Teacher within the College of Education and Human Services.
- New certificate: Clinical Nurse Leader within the College of Nursing.
- New minor: Music Industry minor within the music major, College of Education and Human Services.
f. Establish, Rename or Eliminate a Department:
- Eliminate the Department of Public Affairs
- Establish the Department of Criminal Justice
- Establish the Department of Public Administration
During the 2010-2011 year, various offices in Academic Affairs reviewed issues related to transfer students and academic programs, resulting in the submission of a COBE grant to create the Titan Transfer Center. The main goal of the center is to assist students in their integration into the University through an augmented student transfer advising process. At the same time, this will allow transfer students to become better aware of University academic and student support services and the availability of high impact practices at the University. Discussions continue regarding a more seamless transfer of credits. The new general education reform group is also working on a transfer student experience to more fully integrate transfer students into the academic programs and campus life at UW Oshkosh.
The second significant strategic challenge identified by our initial Academic Program Plan and addressed during the 2010-2011 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.
Retention: Closing the Achievement Gap
UW Oshkosh advanced several programs and strategies aimed at closing the achievement gap and assisting the University in reaching its goals for the More Graduates for Wisconsin Plan. The university was awarded a Closing the Achievement Gap grant by UW system in order to increase training for tutors and mentors in the Center for Academic Resources. Additionally, the grant provided for expanded Supplemental Instruction offerings, as well as professional development for all learning support services personnel. Collaborative efforts among the learning support areas and the Office of Institutional Research resulted in the collection and analysis of data about student success as it related to the Early Alert and academic support pathways.
UW Oshkosh continues to address 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. An Associate Dean from Letters and Science is leading faculty efforts to work with diverse student populations and to lead Diversity Dialogues in support of our underserved student population.
Early Alert Program
For the second year, the Early Alert Program provided information about students who do not demonstrate academic progress and/or may not be attending classes. Students are referred to academic resources such as tutoring, supplemental instruction and the Academic Check-up. The university is currently conducting an analysis of how Early Alert students follow up on the alert to receive help. The aim of the program is to provide students with information about their academic progress early enough in the semester so that the University can assist at-risk students, and increase retention.
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 are also provided with foundations in mathematics, writing, and reading study skills. Enrollment in this summer-before-college program expanded to fifty students. Initial follow-up studies demonstrate that TAP students continue to be successful as they continue their programs at UW Oshkosh.
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 underserved students in line with those of the student body as a whole. A new program, the Multicultural Retention Programs Tracker provides faculty, students and CASD staff with up to date information about student achievement and any possible academic crisis a student may be encountering. The overall goal of the program is to close the achievement gap and to raise the level of academic performance of multicultural students at UW Oshkosh.
Student Titan Employment Program (STEP)
For the second year, the STEP program continued to provide 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 are also 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 underserved students in the STEP program 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.
Core Programs for Faculty and Staff
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) sponsored numerous workshops and sessions to assist faculty members in understanding the developmental needs of first-year students and specialized populations. The Center integrates its work with other campus offices to assist faculty and staff to explore new ways to engage students for success. Work will continue to implement best practices and address obstacles identified by the university data about student achievement.
Gateway Courses: Student Success Discussions
For a second year, 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 underserved students. Data related to student activity in the academic learning support programs allow faculty to track student success. These data, as well as retention and graduation data, provide a background for discussion about how students of color are performing while at UW Oshkosh and if they are taking advantage of the many learning resources that are available on campus. Continued professional development and discussion of issues of Inclusive Excellence are included in the strategic direction of the college.
The following strategic challenges were also identified or addressed throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.
In order to accomplish the initiatives outlined for curriculum and student retention, the following financial challenges must be met:
- Reallocated resources to continue to support the following: TAP, STEP, SI, Early Warning Program, U-Matter and the Academic Check-up;
- Assistance from UW System in the development and approval of high-demand academic degree programs;
- UW System support of faculty and staff development in the areas of retention, academic support, Inclusive Excellence and course delivery methods;
- Future financial support for new or expanded student retention programs and services; and
- Future financial support for faculty to deliver new academic programs and ensure that seats are available to meet the considerable expected enrollment increases and funding decreases.
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 30 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 UWS 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;
- Continued difficult economy and politically charged environment in public schools;
- Limited funding for marketing and promoting graduate programs; reduction of program budgets to maintain course array.
Outreach Adult Access
- Services, programs, marketing 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 and for the campus to be more welcoming to nontraditional students. There has been an increase in courses and programs that are offered online to provide maximum flexibility.
- 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. The University received a renewal of a grant to support Prior Learning Assessment and a coordinator is working with departments to familiarize faculty with the process. There has been an increase in the number of articulation agreements with area technical and community colleges.
- Access to high-interest majors must be increased among adult students, and help provided to develop an alternative nontraditional version of those majors. UW Oshkosh will be part of a consortium to offer a Master of Sustainable Management Degree in Fall 2012.
- 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. A request to change the 72 credit rule for transfer students to 90 credits (for students enrolled in Center for New Learning Degree Programs) will go before the faculty senate in Fall 2011.
Academic Programming Priorities
Finally, as a result of the strategic planning process, the four colleges of the University 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.
In keeping with the principles of liberal education and inclusive excellence, learning will involve engagement with real-life challenges and address issues of diversity. Each of the colleges and the Center for New Learning provide students with multiple opportunities to experience learning that is reflects liberal education principles. The College of Business (COB) supports a strong internship program for all majors. In addition, the COB provides a broad array of nine different business-related clubs and organizations promote engaged and active learning. The College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) continues 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. Additionally, the College supports programming to engage more Wisconsin residents to obtain teaching certifications through its alternative add-on licensure initiatives. The College of Letters and Science (COLS) engages students through high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research and internships in a number of areas. Several programs in COLS engaged STEP students to assist with faculty research and other projects. The College of Nursing (CON) engages students through the new the addition of new programs that meet both professional and community needs such as the Clinical Nurse Leader program and the BSN to DNP program. These programs impact communities around the state. The Center for New Learning engages students through increased business training initiatives and strengthening its relationship with UWEX to develop additional cooperative baccalaureate and master degree programs.
Globalization and Diversity
The Colleges and University as a whole continue to pursue their goal of creating a campus environment that will increase the recruitment, retention and graduation of multicultural and disadvantaged students. This important work supports the UW System’s Inclusive Excellence initiative at the campus and program levels. Continuing efforts are underway across the campus to enrich the curriculum and provide faculty development so that cultural diversity becomes a prominent and pervasive trait campus-wide. The COB hosted a Global Careers Conference to inform students about international professional experiences. The COB also organizes study tours to China, Egypt, Europe, Peru and India to provide more diverse and global learning experiences for students and faculty. Affiliations with professional organizations focusing on diversity such as NAME, TESOL, and White Privilege provide students, faculty and staff with multiple opportunities to engage in scholarship and dialogue about these issues. The COEHS diversity plan guides these experiences. Research and internships in international settings are two ways that COLS is addressing globalization and diversity. The Gateway Success Dialogues program examines 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. Diversity is also considered in coursework and clinical experiences. Continuing Education promotes language immersion camps for K-12 students in the region.
As a part of the UW System’s core strategy of building stronger communities, the University is committed to developing outreach activities that engage multicultural communities.
Additionally, faculty members and students provide services and expertise in order to organize educational events aimed at our community. COB provides an MBP Professional Development Program Series. The COB also hosts a Business and Economic Development Day for Leadership Oshkosh and the Business Success Center provides non-credit business education and consulting services to the community. COEHS continues to assist districts to prepare teachers for new licensure requirements including training of faculty, workshops for teachers, and mentoring training. The COLS has 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. The College of Nursing is engaged with community partners to improve advanced nursing practice through the DNP Capstone Projects that will be completed in community agencies and other off-campus sites. Collaborative research projects with Affinity Health System involve many students and faculty from the 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. Continuing Education also engages the larger community through national and regional conferences.
The colleges and CNL recognize the need to have our students develop to their full potential. Campus liberal education reform activities focus on a wide variety of knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences that promote student excellence. The COB offers several scholarships to high performing students. COB assessment practices enhance program quality through the creation of learning expectations for quantitative skills, communication skills, and project management skills. Student excellence is also supported through several student/faculty collaborative research projects across COLS programs. The Student Success discussions and the Diversity Dialogues are other ways that COLS demonstrates that student excellence is a priority. CON continues to focus on its assessment strategies to meet the benchmarks of excellence and will continue to recruit and retain quality students. The pass rates for graduate nursing students on national exams are exemplary. CNL is enhancing its programs and its student assessment component based on the results of a recent program review. CNL also promotes student excellence through its national honor society, Alpha Sigma Lambda.