Chapter 3:  Response to the Concerns and Suggestions of the 1996 Team Report

This chapter details the North Central Association September 1996 review team’s concerns and suggestions and the college’s response to those items.  The chapter is organized according to the topics and headings in the 1996 report.

Concerns:

Only one major concern was listed in the 1996 report (RR54), and that was a “Lack of formal provisions for remediating under-prepared students.”  In 1996, CSC had just initiated an arrangement with Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) to teach remedial courses in English and mathematics, and participation by students in these developmental courses was voluntary. The site visit team was concerned that this was “an experimental program,” and that voluntary participation would make it “unlikely to be successful.”  Therefore, the college undertook the following steps to ensure that under-prepared students availed themselves of these opportunities.

  • During freshmen orientation in the spring and summer prior to enrollment, all new students with ACT scores below 19 in the Verbal and Math sections are required to take the eCOMPASS (electronic Computer-Adaptive Placement and Support System) exam for proper advising and placement into composition and mathematics courses.  The eCOMPASS exam provides an alternative to the ACT and gives an additional determination of student performance in both Verbal and Math skills.  Recently WNCC and CSC converted from use of the ASSET test to the eCOMPASS exam, which allows students to take the exam online with automatic scoring.  At freshmen orientation this exam is administered by a part-time WNCC developmental course coordinator, who has an office on the CSC campus.  This staff member scores the exams and completes a placement form for each student with regard to composition and mathematics courses based on pre-determined eCOMPASS exam minimums.  For entering students who are unable to attend orientation, the Student Academic Success Services office offers the eCOMPASS exam online.  Enrollment in composition and mathematics courses is delayed until the new students have a recorded ACT and/or eCOMPASS score on which to base the placement.  Since 1997, the number of freshmen with an ACT verbal subtest score of 18 or below has been generally four to six percent of the total undergraduate enrollment.  Between 100 and 150 students enroll each semester in either developmental writing or mathematics courses.   
  • Since 1998, the English faculty have required a minimum ACT score of 19 to enroll in Composition I (RR55).  This requirement is explicitly listed in the current 2005-07 (RR56) and the new 2007-09 (RR57) college catalog as well as the Educational Planning Guide (RR58), a workbook provided to new students that assists them with the planning of their General Studies courses.  If a student does not have the minimum ACT score, he or she may take the eCOMPASS exam as an additional measure of verbal performance.  If a score equivalent to the ACT score of 19 is achieved on the eCOMPASS exam, the student may enroll in Composition I.  The eCOMPASS scores are well correlated with ACT scores.  There are two developmental writing courses available based on scores as follows:  Basic Writing, ACT 15 and below; Developmental Writing, ACT scores between 16 and 18.  Both courses are offered on the CSC campus by WNCC.  To streamline this process for students, enrollment, financial aid, and transcripts for the courses through WNCC are seamlessly embedded into CSC’s process.  This minimizes the hassle for students and ensures that students do in fact enroll in these required remedial courses.
  • The English & Humanities Department has been working with the Office of Institutional Research for the past year to determine if students who enroll in the developmental writing courses do, in fact, benefit from this instruction when they finally enroll in CSC’s Composition I course.  Preliminary results from a 2004 cohort (RR59) seem to indicate that student performance in Composition I among students who took remedial courses versus students who had an ACT of 19 or above did not differ significantly.  The English & Humanities Department is working on this analysis as they consider some additional options for remediation.   The department is also examining the issue of using ACT Reading scores to determine if other types of developmental courses are needed. 
  • The Mathematical Sciences Department uses a “value-added” approach to advising students with regard to both developmental math courses and General Studies required mathematics courses.  A value-added matrix for course selection is provided in the new 2007-09 college catalog (RR57) and has long been published in the Educational Planning Guide (RR58), a workbook provided to new students that assists them with the planning of their General Studies courses.    This guide states: 

The following matrix is designed to aid the student in enrolling in the appropriate Mathematics course. If a student’s ACT Math test score is 1-18, the student must take the ASSET (eCompass) test for proper advising. If the ACT Math test score is 19 or higher, the student should be advised to take a Mathematics course based upon the following matrix and value added placement:

                                                ACT Math Score                                  Recommended Math Course

                                                1-15                                         ACFS-007M Basic Math

                                                16-18                                       MATH 016 Introductory or Intermediate Algebra

                                                16-18                                       MATH 100 Pre-college Algebra

                                                >19                                          MATH 142 College Algebra or value added

  • The Mathematical Sciences Department has also studied the achievement of students in beginning CSC mathematics courses who take developmental math courses versus those who do not.  The results of this study (RR60) seem to indicate that the developmental courses do not make a difference in student achievement.  In addition, the department has examined the achievement of all students enrolled in College Algebra, a course that is required by a number of majors including two of the largest majors on campus, i.e. Business Administration and Justice Studies.  Based on this analysis, the department has designed a new two-semester program to increase the success of students in College Algebra.  This proposal (RR61) received approval from the Faculty Senate Academic Review Committee (RR62) in the fall of 2006 to begin offering the two semester algebra sequence in the fall of 2007.  In the fall semester, students with ACT Math scores below 19 will enroll in Math 100 Pre-college Algebra.  In the spring semester they will enroll in Math 142 College Algebra.  Both courses will be taught by the same CSC instructor, an individual with significant high school teaching experience and an understanding of the needs of the developmental students.  Student learning outcomes for the two semester sequence will follow a natural progression for the entire sequence, and students will take both courses in the same academic year.  This option is being offered in addition to the existing remedial courses listed above.

 

Suggestions:

The site visit team report noted eight suggestions for institutional improvement.   Each suggestion is listed below with a summary of the college’s response to each issue.

 

I.  Review of publications to ensure that the mission statement is clearly and completely included.

  • CSC has been productively involved in the development and implementation of its new strategic plan since the spring of 2003.  Its ambitions are articulated in an eight-year plan, titled Vision 2011 (RR14), which will lead into the centennial celebration of the college in 2011.  The process of developing Vision 2011 resulted in the refinement of the college’s mission statement and the creation of a vision statement, along with six focus areas and 34 objectives distributed among the foci.
  • The mission and vision statements along with the six focus areas have been provided to all faculty and staff in a framed graphic for display in their offices or workplaces.  The new 2007-09 college catalog, which is published every two years, includes a section on Vision 2011 with the mission and vision statements (RR57).  In addition, the mission and vision statements are publicly shared via the college’s website for Vision 2011 (RR14) and in all major publications including the handbooks for faculty (RR63), professional staff (RR64), and support staff (RR65).
  • The college’s new president, Dr. Janie Park, has made the mission statement and the priority objectives of Vision 2011 the centerpiece of her institutional effectiveness and strategic planning process (RR66).

           

II. Review of committee structure for consolidation or deletion.

  • During the past decade, each of the college’s three presidents has examined the list of presidential committees and has strived to limit the number.  The charges for various committees have also been examined in light of the college’s changing environment and strategic planning. 
  • In the summer of 2006, at the end of her first year as President, Dr. Park worked with her cabinet to examine each committee, its charge, and its membership.  This effort was designed to eliminate or combine committees and to revisit the charge of each committee in order to make better use of faculty, student, and staff time. By combining or eliminating several committee charges, the number of presidential committees has been reduced from 22 to 16 (RR67). Charges have also been revised to better reflect the needs of the college in terms of continual improvement.  In addition, the membership of the committees was examined to include broad representation of faculty, staff, and students.    
  • Current presidential committees include the following:  Admissions and Scholarship Appeals; Awards and Recognition; Campus Facilities, Safety and ADA Compliance; Commencement; Diversity and Affirmative Action; Emergency Response; Homecoming; Honors Program; Institutional Effectiveness; Institutional Review Board; International Students; Retention and Student Development; Scholastic Day; Technology Fee; Technology Planning; Vision 2011 Strategic Planning.

 

III. Adopt policy requiring faculty and professional staff to update credentials to reflect current assignments.

  • Each year as part of the annual evaluation process, faculty members submit a Professional Activities Report (PAR).  The format for the PAR was updated in 2002 to shorten it, yet provide more essential information.  This document includes a self evaluation of professional goals and lists of activities related to teaching, scholarship, and service.  Changes in credentials, certifications, or advanced coursework are also reported.  (RR68)
  • In 2006 all faculty members updated their vitae, which are kept on file. 
  • Qualifications to teach are determined by the departments and the deans.  When retirements or vacancies occur, existing faculty members, in rare cases, may be shifted in terms of teaching assignments.  If the colleague does not have the requisite academic preparation, he or she may be asked to take additional course work.  Since 2000 this has only occurred once in the case of a position in Finance, and the additional coursework was completed to make the individual well-qualified for the position.  This adjustment was required by the ACBSP specialized accreditation of the CSC Business Administration program at both the graduate and undergraduate level.   

 

IV. Monitor administrative costs to ensure no adverse impact on instructional units and programs.

  • In the past ten years, Chadron State College has undergone two major administrative restructurings and three major changes in senior administration including the president, vice presidents, and academic deans.
  • Each of the three college presidents during the past decade has had individual management styles and organizations.  Each has undertaken administrative reorganization that reflected 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. 
  • Under the leadership of President Samuel Rankin, the college changed the organization of academic departments from seven divisions to four schools (RR51) with academic deans.  Under President Thomas Krepel, this structure was continued for five years until severe budget cuts in 2002 required a reduction from four schools to two schools (RR52), which eliminated two academic deans.  These budget cuts were due to a 5.14 percent drop in state appropriations for the state colleges.  Despite these cuts, no full-time faculty positions or academic programs were lost.  President Janie Park continues this conservative approach to staffing, but in August 2006 she expanded the schools from two to three (RR53) to address the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) governance and deans’ workload issues.
  • The current breakdown for college employees is 35 percent faculty, 27 percent professional staff, 30 percent support staff, and 8 percent graduate assistants.  This number includes 106 full-time faculty members and 21 part-time faculty members.

     

V. Implement a process for faculty and staff involvement in assessment of effectiveness of administrators.

  • The college President, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Services, and all three academic deans are evaluated each year in the spring by the faculty. 
  • Four years ago the college administration asked the Faculty Senate to design a plan for faculty evaluation of administrators.  The senate adopted the IDEA system from Kansas State University, which allows an extensive online survey by faculty for each administrator.  This feedback mechanism can be viewed at:  http://www.idea.ksu.edu/FeedbackSystem/IDEA_feedback.html
  • The results of these evaluations are given to the President who reviews the results and discusses them with the vice presidents. The IDEA results are given to each administrator by their immediate supervisor for use in their personal improvement plan.  Because these are confidential employee evaluations, similar to student ratings of faculty, these are not published or shared with third-party individuals, nor are the student ratings of faculty.  However, the IDEA results are used to develop professional goals that are evaluated the following year.

 

VI. Include a broader representation of students on the technology committee.

·        Under President Thomas Krepel, a technology committee was formed and chaired by a faculty member.  Membership included five faculty, seven professional staff, and one support staff.  Departments represented included the Registrar, Distance Learning, Media & Publishing, Library & Learning Resources, and Computer Services.  Despite development of a plan, state budget cuts forced it to a back burner and the committee was dissolved.

·        In 2002 under President Krepel, a technology fee was established and a committee assigned to identify and approve acquisitions funded by the fee revenue.  Membership includes three to five students recommended by Student Senate, one faculty member from each academic school recommended by Faculty Senate, and the Director of Computer Services who chairs the committee and oversees the fee budget.  Annual committee membership details can be viewed at http://myweb.csc.edu/compserv/techfee/

·        In 2006 under the new president, Dr. Janie Park, a Technology Planning Committee was established.  Membership includes the Director of Computer Services serving as Chair, an academic dean, one faculty member from each school, a librarian, a representative of distance learning, the Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Services, a student services representative, a support staff representative, and two student representatives as recommended by Student Senate.  A recently hired external consultant facilitates the planning process.

·        It should be noted that Dr. Park added two students to each of the 16 Presidential Committees to increase their representation. (RR69)     

 

VII. Continue and increase effort to achieve diversity in administrative staff, faculty, and student body.

  • In 2003 the college received a Title III planning grant titled “Reducing Barriers to Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation of Native American and Hispanic Students at Chadron State College.” (RR46)  Dr. William Roweton, at that time the Director of Institutional Research and Assistant to the President, wrote the planning grant and provided the leadership and coordination for the grant activities.  A major goal of the planning grant was to create a comprehensive development plan to identify interventions to enhance recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of Hispanic and Native American students.  The results of this goal were used to develop a five-year Title III grant application which was submitted in 2005-06.  That application was not funded, but it did lead to the development of a series of initiatives for which individual funding is currently being sought by Dr. Roweton.  In the fall of 2006, Dr. Roweton was named Director of Sponsored Research & Funded Initiatives for Minority Student Achievement and Retention.  He is actively working on additional grant applications to support implementation of the important initiatives developed by the Title III planning grant.  He is also partnering with a primarily Hispanic school in Scottsbluff, Nebraska working with elementary school children to improve their motivation to stay in school and attend college. 
  • The new Dean of the School of Business, Economics, Applied & Mathematical Sciences (BEAMS), Dr. Gary White, is very active in international exchange programs for faculty and students.  Because the college’s service region is very rural and a relative mono-culture, it has been exceedingly difficult to recruit a diverse faculty, although we have made strides with the student body.  Therefore, CSC has decided to increase diverse perspectives on the campus by initiating international exchanges to expose our students to semester-long exchanges of faculty and students from other countries.  In the fall of 2006, Dr. White applied through the Federal government to participate in the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) for visiting professors from overseas.  The application was approved and CSC is now able to host such individuals.  This spring, the CSC Department of Business & Economics is hosting two professors:  Munira Akilova, an Assistant Professor of Economics from Tajikistan, and Guncha Komekova, a Lecturer from the Turkmen State Power-Engineering Institute in Turkmenistan, who is interested in marketing education.  These two professors are living in the High Rise residence hall, eating in the cafeteria with the college’s students, attending classes, providing presentations, and working closely with the faculty and students in the department.  It is hoped that each year the college will host one or more individuals from a variety of academic disciplines and countries. 
  • During the 2006-07 academic year, CSC hired an international consultant, Dr. Victor Udin, to promote the recruitment of degree-seeking international students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to attend college in Chadron.  CSC hosts approximately 22 international students who are seeking four-year degrees from the college.  The majority of these students currently are from a variety of African countries.  In the past the college has hosted a substantial number of individuals from Samoa and Pakistan.  Dr. Victor Udin is also working to create a CSC faculty exchange program as well as a short-term student exchange program for CSC students and students in the Ukraine.
  • Gender equity has also been a focus of the college and has been easier to address than ethnic diversity.  CSC, which is in compliance with Title IX, has added women’s softball as an NCAA Division II sport this year and has built a state-of-the-art softball complex at a cost of $235,140.57.  In addition, the percentage of female faculty members has increased by 25 percent in the past two years.  Currently, nearly 38 percent of the 106 full-time faculty are female, and of those, 15 are associate or full professors, all of whom are tenured.  The President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Education, Human Performance, Counseling, Psychology & Social Work (EHPCPSW) are female.  In addition, 15 of the mid-level administrators are female.   

 

VIII. Continued attention to effective implementation of college-wide assessment process across all units at the institution.

  • All academic programs of study at CSC have program assessment plans based on student learning outcomes. (RR138)  Efforts are currently underway to ensure that every course syllabi includes specific learning outcomes and performance criteria that are subsets of the program learning outcomes. 
  • A variety of direct and indirect methods of assessment are used by the academic departments.  Data is collected and analyzed each semester on “Assessment Day,” which is the first day of final exam week when no exams are given during the day.  This allows faculty to conduct assessments of graduating seniors, as well as time to meet with colleagues to discuss and analyze data.  Assessment reports are due on October 1 each year, for the previous academic year.  These reports are included on the CSC assessment website.
  • As stated in Chapter One, Chadron State College is one of 14 institutions accepted into the “pioneer cohort” of the HLC Academy for the Assesment of Student Learning.  The college’s participation in this four-year program will allow it to accelerate assessment in academic units and jump-start new efforts in non-academic services units.  In addition, the college’s plan for the academy will improve assessment efforts in the graduate programs, as well as in General Studies.  Additional details about this effort are in Chapter Seven as well as documents related to the HLC Assessment Academy in the resource room. (RR41)