Chapter 2:Significant Developments Since the 1996 Team Report

Over the past ten years, higher education has experienced a number of changes that were driven by our increasingly global and technological world.Many of these normal, evolutionary, and incremental changes have been mentioned throughout this self-study.This chapter, however, is intended created to provide details about five significant developments that have shaped Chadron Stateís current status.They are:(1) the increase in distance learning and the expansion of the CSC Statement of Affiliation (SAS) in 2002 and 2006 to include distance programs; (2) the increased use of technology for teaching on the residential campus; (3) renovations of facilities; (3) the turnover of senior administrative personnel three times in ten years; and (4) two major restructurings of the mid-level and senior administration in four years.

 

Distance Learning

  • Driven by the reality of a vast and sparsely populated service area, Chadron State College has been involved in distance learning since the 1930’s, offering the first correspondence courses with all interactions being accomplished via mail delivery.Directed independent study (DIS) or correspondence courses continue to be an important part of the college’s delivery system, with 368 students enrolled in such courses in the spring of 2005.Some of these courses are offered in an electronic format with assignments, exams, and projects completed using the college’s online Blackboard portal.
  • In 1949, the first CSC professor providing on-site delivery of coursework drove over 120 miles southeast of the campus to the small, isolated ranching community of Hyannis.This initiated an era of professors-on-the-road, with numerous courses delivered to communities across the college’s service region, supported by a fleet of cars and dedicated faculty.This delivery modality peaked in the 1970’s and 1980’s until the advent of interactive television technology (ITV).
  • In 1985, the college established the electronic delivery of instruction via black-and-white video and two-way telephone connections between a classroom at Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) in Scottsbluff and the Chadron campus.This two-way audio and visual instructional transmission called Slo-Scan technology, with images changing three times per minute, was slow and unreliable.But it allowed CSC to deliver more curricula more regularly to off-campus locations with reduced travel and weather risks and with less inconvenience to faculty. More important, students did not need to travel great distances for classes at Chadron, but could drive to the nearest interactive television site.
  • Today, the College provides ITV instruction using T-1, fiber, running at 384 kbs and Polycom codec and wireless control systems in each classroom.All delivery to remote locations is fully audio- and video-interactive and full-motion. CSC averages about 1000 hours of ITV instruction each month from September through April.Enrollment in ITV courses since 2001 has risen from 18 percent to 23 percent of off-campus duplicated headcount.
  • ITV sites include 17 high schools in the Panhandle via the Western Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium and four community college locations, as well as several remote sites served by the Nebraska Video Conference Network.
  • In the fall of 1997, CSC taught its first online course with an enrollment of nine students.Top Class software was used to develop and deliver the first courses until 2000. At that time the college migrated courses onto the Blackboard system and began full-scale training of faculty in online pedagogy and the Blackboard delivery system.
  • To provide Blackboard mentorship and pedagogical guidance for faculty, a full-time Instructional Design Coordinator was hired in the summer of 2000.Dr. Robin Smith has developed templates to assist faculty with web-enhancement or online migration of courses and is available 24/7 to provide technical assistance for both faculty and online students.
  • From 1997 to 2001, online duplicated headcount comprised less than one percent of all student enrollments.Since 2001, online enrollments have grown steadily to the present level of six percent in the fall 2005.
  • In the fall of 2000, the college formed a committee to develop and formalize policies regarding migration of courses to online format and the implementation of plans for growing technology needs and student services.These policies were adopted in June 2001.
  • In March of 2002, Chadron State College applied for an extension of its HLC accreditation to include specific online programs. The college was granted a modification of its Statement of Affiliation Status (SAS) extending offerings to the online delivery of the Baccalaureate program in Mathematics, and the Master’s degree in Business Administration (RR36).
  • During the 2004-05 academic year, the college finalized cooperative agreements with Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to deliver onsite and online courses for degree completion in Justice Studies.(RR47) Although programs in Applied Sciences and Mathematics were also accredited onsite in Wyoming, these programs are delivered via online technology.
  • In 2004, to meet the needs of both residential and distance learning students enrolled in the online mathematics program, the college introduced the concept of “hybrid” courses in which classes are composed of both on-campus students and place-bound students at a distance.These hybrid courses are offered completely online for students at a distance, with campus students accessing a portion of their instruction through face-to-face interaction with the instructor and the balance through online delivery with the place-bound students.For example, in Calculus I, a five-credit course, residential students receive three hours of traditional in-class instruction and the remaining two hours of weekly instruction via the Internet on the Blackboard online course management system.In the same class section, students who live too far to commute to Chadron can access the entire course via Blackboard™.These hybrid courses allow the college to meet the needs of all of its students around the region without sacrificing the onsite interactions with professors by residential students, and have now been extended to courses and programs beyond mathematics.Campus students are embracing distance learning via online, hybrid, and correspondence courses in order to provide the needed flexibility for off-campus employment.A recent Carnegie Corporation (a consulting firm, not the foundation) survey of CSC students, conducted in the spring 2004, indicated that on average, students are working approximately 32 hours per week, and the distance learning modalities are important when accommodating work schedules.
  • In 2004, online summer school offerings were introduced.Traditional and ITV instruction in summer school over a four-week daily attendance format had resulted in a steady decline in summer enrollments to that point.Introduction of online courses has caused resurgence in summer headcount, due to the ability of students to return home for employment during the summer months.Many of the summer courses now offered online are General Studies courses with an average of 34 percent of all courses offered in this way.
  • In January 2006, the college submitted in an HLC one-time “Special SAS Reconciliation for Distance Learning Degree Programs.” (RR48) This resulted in the approval of five additional undergraduate programs and five additional graduate programs.
  • In the spring of 2006, the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) approved an online degree, the Master of Science in Organizational Management, as a cooperative degree shared among the three state colleges – Chadron, Peru, and Wayne.(PRR1) At the time of its April 2007 HLC site visit, CSC is seeking an expansion of its SAS to include this new degree.
  • In the spring of 2006, the Department of Business & Economics, working closely with the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Services, the Offices of the Registrar, Computer Services, Financial Aid, and Admissions, created the Business Academy.This program was launched in the fall of 2006, with all the courses in the Department of Business & Economics being converted into an eight-week format. (RR49) There are two versions of this plan, an online version and a blended version.The blended version for residential students includes three hours of classroom instruction per week.
  • To support the anticipated larger volume of online activity, provide better data redundancy, and offer improved online support for students and faculty 24/7, CSC migrated from Blackboard to the enterprise platform, eCollege, in fall of 2006.The college’s Blackboard contract will be allowed to lapse in the summer of 2007.While the eCollege platform has provided a substantial increase in reliability and technical support, the accelerated migration to the new platform has increased stress among the faculty who are faced with learning a new system.Numerous workshops have been offered to assist the faculty, and the college’s Instructional Design Coordinator has offered significant numbers of one-on-one sessions with individual professors.
  • The average number of users per month on CSC’s Blackboard/eCollege site has grown from 140 duplicated headcount in 2000 to a high of 1,435 enrollments from 1,008 individual students in the fall 2006.The average number of courses that are either web-enhanced or fully online has also grown from 22 in 2000 to 1,185 with more than 104,372 separate hits on course sites during a single month.In the fall of 2006 there were 92 fully online courses offered for a total of 3,616 credit hours.
  • With the growth in online learning the college has begun to monitor the withdrawal rate in fully online courses as compared with campus-based sections of the same course.To facilitate this monitoring, additional personnel have been added to the offices for Extended Campus Programs.The following typical examples seem to indicate that the withdrawal rates are fairly equivalent regardless of the modality of delivery.In three sections of face-to-face General Psychology, withdrawals were three, one, and one. In the online version there were three withdrawals.In American National Government, three on-campus sections had withdrawals of one, zero, and one.The online course had one withdrawal.In Patterns of Humanities, the four campus sections had withdrawals of two, five, three, seven, and six.The online course had two.While these examples are valuable, the college is still in the beginning stages of this monitoring, which needs to be increased substantially.

 

Teaching with Technology

  • Since 2000, the College has encouraged professors to web-enhance their on-site courses, both at campus and remote sites.The web-enhancement of courses provides a substantial increase in additional learning resources for students.Faculty provide an active Blackboard or eCollege site for their face-to-face courses that includes lecture notes, handouts, practice quizzes, supplemental websites, and electronic grade book views for each student.On average more than 200 courses are web-enhanced each semester, and over 1800 web-enhanced courses are archived on the campus server.
  • In the late 1990’s, the renovation of the old Miller Gymnasium was undertaken to create the new Miller Hall for high tech teaching.Each classroom in this building is fully mediated providing projectors interfaced to computers to display text, PowerPoint presentations, websites and links, and three-dimensional objects or demonstrations using the Elmo camera.Two rooms are also linked to the campus ITV system so that courses can be delivered to a variety of sites in the college’s service region, while also teaching face-to-face on the campus.
  • In addition to the Miller Hall mediated classrooms, the college has created fourteen new computer-mediated classrooms across campus in the past five years.These facilities are in addition to the previously existing ITV rooms in the Burkhiser Technology Complex.These mediated classrooms are not part of the ITV network, but they have the same capabilities with regard to computers, projectors, and cameras.
  • Computer Services has significantly increased the bandwidth for the campus, and provides high-speed internet access for all instructional areas as well as the residence halls.A new communications portal, MyCSC, was implemented last spring to increase the usefulness of the campus email site to include announcements and areas where groups can work together electronically.
  • Seven years ago the college created a new position, Instructional Design Coordinator, to assist faculty with creating web-enhanced as well as fully online courses.In addition to working with individual faculty, the coordinator regularly conducts workshops about online pedagogy for faculty.
  • Wireless technology *has been added to the Reta E.King Library and the Student Center.In the library, there are laptops that are available for student checkout and use in the facility, a new mediated classroom, a new student computer lab, along with numerous online periodical services, such as JSTOR Online, *that allow distance learners or students in the residence halls to access a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

 

Campus Renovations and Facilities Updates

  • Chadron State College has completely renovated five buildings in the past six years and another is currently being remodeled.These include Memorial Hall for Visual & Performing Arts, Miller Hall for advanced technology in teaching, Edna Work residence hall, the Burkiser Technology Complex for Business & Economics and Applied Sciences, and the former Carnegie library building as the Mari Santos High Plains Heritage Center.The Burkiser Technology Complex, Miller Hall, and Memorial Hall were updated to include additional classroom space, updated computer labs and computer training facilities, and fully mediated classrooms.Sparks Hall is currently undergoing renovations to be completed in the summer of 2007 and will house the central administration and Foundation offices.The current Administration Building will be remodeled in 2007 and 2008. Currently, only the top two floors of the building are dedicated to instruction the remodeled building will house full mediated, high-tech classrooms, faculty offices, and facilities for five academic departments as well as offices for the Dean of Arts & Sciences.A new Physical Facilities building was constructed in 2003.
  • The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center (RR50) pays tribute to the western Nebraska native who became one of Nebraskaís leading authors.Its renovation five years ago has created an important meeting place on the campus. In addition to exhibits on the development of the High Plains and the cattle industry, the center houses an archive of important historical documents and artifacts, as well as a state-of-the-art digitizing laboratory, the Kosman electronically-mediated classroom, a gallery of rotating artistic and historical exhibits, permanent exhibits on Sandoz and the High Plains environment, and the outdoor Heritage Gardens that feature native Sandhills and pioneer plantings.The Center is an important asset for student research in history and literature, and is frequently used by professors in these areas for class projects.
  • Smaller facilities on the campus have been recently established or have been updated to enhance their utility.These include the High Plains Herbarium and Pharmacognsy Collection, the Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology, the CSC Planetarium, the Black Box Theatre, the “hot glass” glass-blowing facility in Memorial Hall, and the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) operated by the Department of Business & Economics.
  • A new agriculture laboratory building and large-animal arena and an addition and renovation to Armstrong Gymnasium are planned for the campus.Program statements have been completed for submission to CCPE and for state funding.
  • On an annual basis, smaller renovation projects for computer labs and classrooms are undertaken as part of the annual needs assessments done by the academic deans.
  • The college has operated an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized model program to heat and cool the campus using a wood-chip boiler system.Small tree limbs and slash piles associated with the lumber industry in the Pine Ridge forests of the region provide an excellent source of wood chips.In addition, the slash piles are fire hazards and using them for chips assists the U.S. Forest Service in keeping the forests fire free.The success of this program has led to an application by the college in the spring 2007 for another model energy project involving wind turbines and photovoltaic systems to provide electricity for the campus.Students in the college’s Industrial Technology program built a wind turbine last year. The new demonstration project, if funded, will provide an ideal learning laboratory for these students.

 

Turnover in Administrative Personnel

  • On occasion, changes in personnel can provide renewal and reinvigorate an institution.Frequent changes in numerous administrative positions can also slow the institution’s progress on important initiatives or can alter the vision altogether as new people become acquainted with the college and their leadership positions.The turnover in senior administrators at CSC has been especially significant as described below.Administrative restructuring has played a role in some of the personnel changes.Therefore, some references are made to that in this section, with more details provided in the next section.††
  • In the past ten years Chadron State College has undergone three major changes in senior administration including the president, vice presidents, and academic deans.The presidents have included Dr. Samuel Rankin (1987-1998), Dr. Thomas Krepel (1998–2005), and Dr. Janie Park (2005 to present).††
  • Four academic vice presidents have served during this ten year period including Dr. Merlyn Gramberg (to 1997), Dr. Thomas Krepel (1997-1998), Dr. Joyce Hardy (1998-2005), and Dr. Lois Veath (2005 to present).††
  • Three Vice Presidents for Finance & Administration have served including Mr.Thomas Saban (to 1997), Mr. Ed Hoffman (1997-2006), and the current interim vice president, Mr. Dale Grant (2006-present).Mr. Grant had served as the college’s comptroller since 1998.††
  • The Dean of Students position has fluctuated between the title of Vice President for Student Services, until 1999, and then again in 2006, and the Dean of Students (1999 – 2005).Two individuals have served in the vice presidential position, including Dr. Gary Musgrave and the current Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Services, Dr. Randy Rhine.Two individuals have served as Dean of Students, including Dr. Rex Cogdill (1999-2004), and then Dr. Robert Stack (2004-2006).
  • Over fifteen years ago, the college converted from eight divisions to four academic schools (RR51). The four academic deans were stable positions from the early 1990’s until 2002, when budget cuts forced the reorganization to two academic schools (RR52). Both new schools were headed by new academic deans.One of the new deans, Dr. David Welch, served for only two years (2002-2004), and was then replaced on a two-year interim basis by one of the previous academic deans, Dr. Margaret Crouse (2004-2006).The other new dean in 2002, Dr. Lois Veath, served as Dean of Arts & Sciences until 2005 when she assumed the interim Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs position.A one-year interim appointment was made in Arts & Sciences, when Dr. Kathy Bahr left her position as Associate Professor of English for one year to serve in this capacity until the new president, Dr. Janie Park, could restructure the administration and advertise these positions for permanent appointment.††††††

 

Administrative Restructuring

  • Each of the three college presidents during the past decade has had an individual management style and organization. Each has undertaken administrative reorganization that reflected environmental influences of the period as well as individual priorities.During these reorganizations, professional staff positions have been eliminated and switched around in terms of the reporting chain of command, and administrative positions have been reduced. (RR53)
  • For a detailed description of these restructurings please refer to Chapter Five, Criterion One, Core Component 1d.