Context for Analysis (C)
2C1 Accomplishing Explicit
Western has committed substantial resources and attention to major objectives that complement student learning and fulfill portions of its mission. Sustaining Institutional Accreditation Priorities is an area in Western's Building the New American Regional University: A Five-Year Strategic Plan 2007-2012 that focuses on AQIP Action Projects. Western successfully completed its first three AQIP Action Projects during the years of 2004-2006, funding them for three years at $100,000 each year, and is sustaining these important priorities through base funding:
- Student Engagement
- Communicating Quality
- Applied Learning (Category
Another major objective, Western also upgraded its hardware and software system, in 2004-2006. These areas represent four of seven areas within the The Western Advantage: A Five Year Strategic Plan . Figure 2.1 identifies progress for the strategic goals and objectives associated with these distinctive objectives.
In 2007, Western launched and provided an Annual Update on another three Action Projects, with expected completion dates in 2009:
- Building Graduate Programs
- Enhancing Academic Quality through Critical Thinking
- Using Measurement and Assessment
Figure (to be created) provides a matrix that aligns the seven strategic opportunities, goals, and objectives with the Nine AQIP Categories.
Building Graduate Programs involves developing the infrastructure and curriculum for the Master of Applied Science and the Master of Applied Arts degrees. It includes the establishment of a Graduate Office, the development of graduate programs, the identification of a graduate faculty, the allocation of supporting resources, recruitment of graduate students, and the establishment of support structures.
Enhancing Academic Quality through Critical Thinking includes developing and implementing teaching and learning strategies that emphasize critical thinking skills; enhancing academic support programs, services, and mentoringfor students; integrating social and cultural activities into the general studies offerings; and preparing students for the workforce by promoting an understanding of diverse cultures and people and an expanded program of international studies.
Using Measurement and Assesses addresses the critical role that the collection, maintenance, and reporting of institutional assessment data has for Western's commitment to continuous improvement. This Project includes creating an Institutional Research Office; establishing data-use policies and procedures; managing and improving data; developing a University-wide assessment system; and showing evidence of data-informed decision-making.
Another distinctive objective is the high priority Western places on partnerships and service within the community (9R1). The current strategic plan identifies Building Connections as an area of opportunity.
The Student Engagement AQIP Action Project continues to target 1) increasing applications, yield, and retention of student cohort groups identified in the Enrollment Management Strategic Plan; and 2) increasing student engagement as directly measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and indirectly by improved retention. This Action Project involves Western’s strategic planning processes, including branding and marketing, and three national initiatives connected to student engagement: the National Learning Community Project (NLCP), the American Democracy Project (ADP), and Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year.
The Communicating Quality AQIP Action Project focuses on sharing achievements of Western's faculty/staff, alumni, students and programs, especially in student engagement and applied learning (Figure 2.2).
The Banner Gold Project, using SunGard SCT Banner software, replaced the previous administrative software and hardware systems with an integrated, technologically current, web-based system that empowers users with access to accurate, current information. In addition to being a Distinctive Other Objective for Western, this Project also supports institutional operations (Category
Figure 2.2 Three-Year Goals for Communicating Quality
Complete baseline surveys and internal benchmarks.
Use broad-based support of the campus community to
communicate Western's quality initiatives.
Identify key internal stakeholders to communicate the
impact of this focus on quality.
Expand communication, including focused quality
Complete all qualitative focus groups to review changes
in opinions based on communication.
Review recruitment inquiries and alumni giving rates to
see an increase.
Complete quantitative studies, comparing the results to