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Deans Council

Deans Council Retreat

Hilton Conference Center

August 03, 2011


Note:  At times, issues of confidentiality may require that some items discussed in these meetings be excluded from these minutes.

Members:  Bill Barnes, Dave Caudill, Tom Currin, Steve Hamrick, Ruston Hunt, Joyce Mills, Thomas Nelson, Jeff Orr, Nikki Palamiotis, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Zvi Szafran

Members Absent:  

GuestsDavid Stone


Zvi shared results of personality test done during Senior Staff Retreat and had everyone self-evaluate.  No interest in doing the full test with our group.

There are a number of key issues that the Deans Council needs to help our community understand and address and include:

  • Less money available from the State per student
  • Increasing demand for low-cost higher education
  • Retaining quality of education with less resources
  • Low graduation rates compared nationally and compared to other nations
  • How to deal with this as a nation and as a university
  • Low cost – high volume education 
  • Expenditures focus on faculty salaries and buildings and not on education 
  • Funding is based on input rather than output (graduates) – changing policy would have a significant impact.

Formula funding will change eventually to put more focus on graduation rates.  Our graduation rates are approximately 31% for first-time full-time freshmen. 

The topics of discussion for today include the following:

  • How can we deliver instruction more economically?
  • How can we redesign our key courses to make them more efficient and increase success rates?
  • What is the role of online and hybrid instruction in addressing these issues?
  • How can we increase our retention and graduation rates?
  • New facilities will be harder to get; how do we maximize our existing facilities?
  • How do we serve our adult and military students more effectively?

Suggestions/comments from the Council:

  • Need to look at graduation rate for our graduate students – Nikki
  • Need better support for adult learners
  • Need strong IT support
  • New generation of students are using technology for learning – have to keep up with them at the university level 
  • Must be convenient for students 
  • For-profit institutions focus on retention, shorter class terms (6-week schedules), but charge higher tuition.  Private institutions also aggressively market internet search engines 
  • Need to focus more on on-line delivery of education and/or alternative delivery methods
  • More assisted labs, less lectures 
  • Will require faculty-buy in and would need incentives in place
  • Efficiently delivering education
  • Redirecting faculty to do research, etc. 
  • Good to look at different models but need to establish what our goal is 
  • Goal is to reduce D, F, W’s in classes and increase graduation rates without sacrificing quality of our programs 
  • Is it faculty’s responsibility to get students through or student’s responsibility to succeed?  Faculty are facilitators to student learning but ultimately it is the student’s responsibility.  Most students want to succeed – need incentives for both students and faculty.   
  • How to change attitudes? 
  • Students going elsewhere to take online courses we are not offering. 
  • How to get older faculty to adapt to new technology?  Focus on those who are willing and as they are successful others will comes on board. 
  • Significant increase in students taking e-Core classes.  Growth rate of 10% online and approximately 20% of credit hours being taught on-line.  Majority of e-Core classes are in math, English, and history.  Online delivery reduces space issues.  Math does not want to teach online because of failure rate; English not opposed but feels intro should be live; history – no one has developed on-line courses.
  • How to start changing the culture on our campus and let our faculty know this is the new normal?
  • Generate specific A&S on-line courses – math, English, history to recapture those students lost to e-Core – Tom – what incentives?  Money to develop, help with courses, money generated comes back to the department – work on area e group 4 most not available as e-core options.  Not restricted to full-time faculty, use part-time if available, purchase on-line modules, etc.  Focus on core courses or any with potential?   Any with demand.   Advertise, work with advisors to get the word out, email students, etc. 
  • How to look at course design without additional funds? 
  • Making capacity larger, more resources available to increase success
  • Faculty taking more responsibility for student success
  • Faculty are all supposed to be doing FCARS, etc. learning outcomes
  • Ask deans to work with department chairs to identify 3 courses with problematic D, F, W rates and ask what resources it would take to improve those, tutors, etc. to help or even redesigning course.  Becky can be a resource for this.  Do research to see what is being done elsewhere.
  • Wshr0700 – web report to help
  • Identify similar courses taught across disciplines, courses taught in multiple formats that could be consolidated
  • Consolidate sections to create large lecture – how does this affect faculty?  Courses taught in multiple formats count as one course for the faculty – increases capacity, problem for courses already full – faculty would want additional compensation or credit for teaching in multiple formats creating problem for faculty teaching large lectures for no additional compensation.
  • Need to come to a common method of compensating faculty campus wide.  Ratio of full to part-time faculty varies greatly among departments as well as number of lecturer versus tenure-track faculty.
  • Incentives for faculty research by combining lectures, etc. allowing more research time.
  • Using course technology – smart boards but could we do more?  How to encourage faculty to seek new technology for delivering courses. 
  • Desire to learn – new learning management software to replace blackboard?  Early adopters may receive better support – looking for 3 institutions to start up at the beginning.  December may be too soon but next summer might work for SPSU.
  • How far should we go technology-wise to bring our courses up to date?  Look at competency-based progression versus course completion progression to increase graduation rate?    Accreditation issues with this as well as Board of Regents requirement that students complete a certain number of credit hours.  Need to be as consistent as possible campus-wide with technology usage.  What are our goals – in 5 years, 10 years?  Must keep up with private institutions using greater technology – students expect it and are willing to pay more for it.  Need consensus to move forward.  How do we convince faculty that we don’t have the same funds today as in past years?  Have to respond to faculty in a different way, i.e. capital funding will not be available until outside funding has been exhausted.  Should faculty travel be harder to get, scrutinized more?
  • What specific steps do we need to take to help our faculty understand times have changed and adopt a new culture?  EOY funds have been available for us because we are fiscally responsible and hold revenues back.  Change faculty expectations document to incorporate specific responsibilities to the faculty.  Workload – needs to be defined and available to department chairs.  Is expectation of all faculty that they need to be able to teach on line?  Select few, or only new faculty?  All courses on campus need to have an online shell with all materials available.    Han - issue with having institution-wide expectations as each school is different.  Some expectations can be universal, others more specific.  All courses should have online shell containing some amount of material – syllabus, test answers, etc.    Ask faculty to consider teaching their course in hybrid format – could double enrollment.  Have each dean establish additional expectations, beyond the universal, that will create more efficiency.  Many faculty don’t even use Vista. 
  • Accountability – this needs to be addressed in annual evaluations, post-tenure reviews, etc.  Faculty need support to use new technology.  If there are expectations, they should be written and there should be consequences if they are not done.  Modify evaluation rubric and have chairs be willing to document deficiencies in expectations.
  • If no objection, in September do workshop for chairs, October for peer committees or vice versa and have deans and Zvi review expectations and consequences.  Do at university level and school level.  Deans will share rubrics with each other.



  • Chairs and peer committees meetings with Zvi and a couple of deans – clarify P&T expectations (fall)
  • Subcommittee (Tom Currin, Dave Caudill, David Stone and Becky Rutherfoord) to draft university wide standards for IT usage for all faculty – schools/departments may add to this list for their faculty
  • Each dean is to identify additional expectations relative to their school; expectations for new faculty (attend CTE, etc.)
  • Department chair/dean training?  Support professional development.  Currently, there are no university-wide expectations for chairs
  • Will share documents and have a consolidated document for university wide expectations
  • Training for administrators
  • CTE – Becky will run 4 sessions on reappointment, pre-post tenure, etc. beginning in the fall
  • Retention/graduate rates – 1) new faculty need to go through level 1 faculty advising, 2) level 2 advising coming out – voluntary or not determined by dean
  • Degree works – all faculty need to know how to use it and create two-year graduation plan and this needs to be on the minimal expectation list – failure will result in unsatisfactory annual review.    Han disagrees that all faculty should be able to create two-year graduation plan – leave to academic advisor – administrative responsibility.  Zvi disagrees – faculty should be able to but not required to do for all students.  Students will be introduced to degree works and creating two year plans in SPSU 1001.  Faculty should be familiar with degree works; workshops need to be available to train faculty. 
  • Faculty need to know degree works and understand it but not necessarily create the students’ two year plans.
  • Better customer service – transfer credit issues – not being handled fast enough big complaint from students.  Szafran suggested deans/chairs develop metric for common things such as how long before assignments are returned, exams are returned, etc.,
  • Have we looked at labs? Identify types and number of labs, how long they meet, hands on or not, space requirements for labs, etc.  Mary labs are scheduled in spaces but aren’t actually meeting in there or are not meeting for the full time scheduled.  Some labs are being retrofitted to serve multiple uses, i.e. labs and classrooms.  Have laptop requirement for all students reducing need for open labs.  Offer packages to include e-books.  Don’t have the technology or band width to support that many additional computers.
  • Should have at least a minimum recommendation of a laptop for students who ask but may vary by department.  Still have specialized labs but do away with general use labs.  Pursue e-books.  Hybrid courses – how to make it happen.  Tom – not enough lab space – would like to go to virtual labs but are not yet fully developed.  Nelson – suggests reducing labs to 2 hours instead of 3 – would free up a lot of space.  Some places where you could use virtual labs and other places where it is not appropriate. 
  • How to fix the lab situation?  Inventory labs and review usage data for space efficiency. 
  • Reduce labs from 3 to 2 hours – continue to give faculty the same credit
  • Where do we get the support for all of these online deliveries – not only IT support but instructional design support
  • Hybrid where appropriate
  • Different lab requirements by department
  • Equipment purchases – how much is it really needed and would a simulation work better
  • Need to know out of capital what was ordered and what was not –
  • Courses with labs – everyone teaching labs:
  • What would be implication of cutting from 3 to 2 hour labs
  • How many of experiments now could be simulated with appropriate software, etc. without loss of student learning
  • Through combination of several things could two labs be operated where before only one
  • (Address faculty members lab credit up front by assuring they won’t lose credit because will be taking on additional responsibilities for online part of lab)
  • Try to find efficiencies where we can
  • Audit labs to see if meeting as scheduled

SPSU is member of adult learning consortium – giving credit for experience and/or prior learning assessment.  Students prepare portfolios, faculty evaluate for course credit, credit is given or denied based on demonstrated learning outcomes.  Some faculty are taking PLA training to learn how to assess credit. Each department needs to have someone who understands the process and can assist students.  We may even offer a course on how to prepare a portfolio.

SPSU has been designated a military-friendly campus and will have more presence on campus.

Will be hiring a staff person to identify students who did not complete their degrees and encouraging them to return to college.  This will work in conjunction with on-line offerings to provide attractive options for adult learners.

Lab survey results due back by Labor Day.  TAPP now available for e-Core classes.

Future meetings:

  • Discuss revenue generation
  • QEP
  • Send Zvi topics for discussion
  • Have more meetings like today


Meeting adjourned at 4:18 pm