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Task Force on Planning/Institutional Effectiveness

Meeting One
August 29, 1996

Members Present

Dr. John Cormier
Dr. Willie Heggins
Dr. Ronald R. Ingle
Ms. Patricia M. McAbee
Ms. Gloria Caldwell Sims
Ms. Joan Williams
Mr. W.D. Workman, III, Chairman

Technical Advisers Present

Ms. Dorcas Kitchings
Dr. David Underwood

Guests Present

Ms. Katherine Fanning, Governor's Office
Dr. Charles Gould, Florence-Darlington Technical College
Dr. Sally Horner, Coastal Carolina University
Dr. Reid Johnson, Winthrop University
Dr. Harry Matthews, USC Columbia
Ms. El Nault, Clemson University

Staff Present
Ms. Saundra Carr
Mr. Alan Krech               
Mr. Nelson Lindsay                
Mr. Russell Long
Dr. Mike Smith
Dr. Lovely Ulmer-Sottong

Mr. Workman brought the Task Force on Planning/Institutional Effectiveness to order at 2:20 p.m. I. The committee set future meeting dates: Meeting Two Thursday, September 5, 1996 9:00 a.m. - noon Meeting Three Wednesday, September 11, 1996 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Meeting Four Monday, September 16, 1996 9:00 a.m. - noon II. Mr. Workman stated that the committee would discuss all assigned indicators at today's meeting. He presented this as the best approach to gain an understanding of what additional research is needed. "Polishing" will occur in future meetings. III. Mr. Workman led discussion of each of the assigned indicators: (1) Mission Focus ( C ) Approval of a mission statement Mr. Workman began the discussion by asking, "approval by whom?" He stated the process was easily measured. Either there was approval or disapproval of an institution's mission statement by CHE. Dr. Matthews disagreed. He pointed out that varying opinions exist regarding CHE's authority to approve or disapprove mission statements. He stated the purpose of approval is to ensure congruence with the overall mission of the State. Dr. Horner added that the current SACS guidelines have built-in checks already in place to determine what is a good mission statement. Mr. Workman said that the best interests of South Carolina may not be to meet the minimum requirements set By SACS' "pass/fail" method. Dr. Heggins added that approval should require the inclusion of faculty, Board of Trustees, and CHE. Mr. Workman defined "approval of a mission statement" as: 1. an institution has an approved mission statement, and 2. the mission statement references a geographical mission that SACS does not include in its criteria. Mr. Krech clarified CHE'S authority with respect to mission statements by pointing out pertinent section of Act 359. Dr. Underwood stated that relevant criteria should be used to define indicator 1(c). Ms. McAbee reminded the Task Force that the mission statement is essential throughout all Task Force indicators. It must be specific, not broad. (1) Mission Focus (D) Adoption of a strategic plan to support the mission statement (E) Attainment of goals of the strategic plan Mr. Workman asked if the usefulness of a strategic plan can be measured. He wondered if the strategic plan is always congruent with the mission statement. Are all parts of the mission statement included in the strategic plan? Ms. Simms stated that in business the strategic plan comes first. The mission statement evolves from the strategic plan. To be successful, institutions must use a scientific process to evaluate if a strategic plan is working. Mr. Workman said that required SACS self-evaluation is good for a period of time. Self-analysis of a strategic plan should be made in a timely manner. CHE does not have approval of strategic plans. Mr. Workman added that if CHE notes that an institution has not revisited its strategic plan in X? Years, CHE should have the authority to request a review of the plan. Ms. McAbee warned the committee to be careful of what they are instituting. Institutions should not be required to merely rearrange words to meet a requirement. Some goals of strategic plans may take longer than the specific time in which it was originally thought they could be completed. Dr. Horner stated that the SACS guidelines have an on-going planning process. Assessment must include the cycle of using assessment to rebuild the strategic plan. Dr. Johnson explained that missions and strategic plans have historically gone through various processes: intentions, resources, processes, and outcomes. Mr. Workman stated that goals are important. He requested CHE staff to define: strategic plan, goal, strategy, mission statement, and frequency of review. (3) Instructional Quality (A) Class size and student/teacher ratios Mr. Workman warned against the use o averages to determine class size. The committee should use the actual number of classes taught with the actual number of students in each class. Ms. McAbee stated that technology can multiply faculty presence. Dr. Smith explained that several task forces were struggling with the definition of who is a teacher. Dr. Matthews stated the Task Force must define terms. Ms. McAbee was concerned that distance learning and technology are related to types of students and not just numbers. Mr. Workman stated that class sizes can be measured by existing data reported to CHE. Dr. Gould said that definition of class size should reference the discipline -what is accepted or not accepted in a particular discipline. The staff of CHE should define: class, credit hour, faculty, and class ratios. (3) Instructional Quality (B) Number of credit hours taught by faculty Dr. Johnson questioned if definition of faculty was determined by status or function. Dr. Underwood explained that various levels of faculty exist: tenured vs. untenured, permanent vs. Temporary. Mr. Krech pointed out the way that faculty is counted in the 1996 Higher Education Statistical Abstracts. Dr. Heggins asked if teaching assistants are considered faculty. Mr. Krech explained that only three institutions of higher education in South Carolina use teaching assistants who have primary responsibility for classes. The staff of CHE should define the term faculty. (7) Graduates' Achievements (A) Graduation rate Mr. Workman stated that graduation rates used to be based on a four year cycle. There now needs to be a way to measure graduation rates that recognize stop-outs, changes in life-long learning processes, and change of major. He felt the best way to assess life-long education is through participant satisfaction. Ms. McAbee said graduation rates should be based on those who enter with intent to graduate. She wonders about those who intend not to graduate. Mr. Workman asked if students automatically take a degree if they complete coursework at a two-year branch of USC. What if they finish the first two years of a four-year program at the Columbia campus? Do they automatically get an associate degree in the area studied. Dr. Matthews stated that students are encouraged to take a degree at the two-year regional campuses if they finish the work. Students can only be granted associate degrees from USC where USC offers that degree. Dr. Johnson notedthat group graduation rates are based on a poor sample: first-time, first-year, freshmen. Dr. Gould stated that the group studied causes result that are radically distorted. The numbers should be tied to student goals. Dr. Johnson pointed out that goals change. Mr. Krech explained that the big problem facing the determination of graduation rates lies in the Federal government's definition of a full-time student in the Students' Right To Know Act. The Federal government has established that a student who graduates with 150% of the catalogue time is considered a normal graduate. Mr. Workman stated that the Task Force should use the Fed definition as a starting point. CHE staff should define: graduation rate, full-time student, and part-time student. (7) Graduate achievements (B) Employment rate for graduates Mr. Workman said the employment rate for graduates is easily determined: survey the graduates and ask them if they have a job. Ms. McAbee noted that a "healthy" percentage of students that attend college use their degrees to better the community questioned how much the State should pay and state. However, they do not draw a paycheck. If surveyed, these students would self-identify that they are making life in South Carolina better. Mr. Workman questioned how much the State should pay for self-satisfaction. The responsibility with checking "customer satisfaction" lies with Alumni Offices. Mr. Krech noted that survey return rates are low and survey costs are high. Perhaps the South Carolina Employment Security Commission could provide the data. Data is now available across state lines - but not for all fifty states. Dr. Johnson added that non-traditional students are coming back to college to get more education. Rarely does this newn education prompt changing job or career. Ms. McAbee suggested those not holding a traditional waging earning job need to be included in the definition. Mr. Workman added that a liberal arts education is not specifically job related, but adds to the economic betterment of the State. Ms. Simms warned that including non-wage earning workers would cause the mixing of data. A survey should ask: Do you work for a paycheck? Do you pay taxes? We can include those not holding traditional wage earning jobs, but each must be placed in its proper category. Ms. Simms' experience indicated that surveys are the least effective way to capture information. (7) Graduates' achievements ( C ) Employer feedback on graduates who were employed or not employed Mr. Workman felt employers are willing to respond to the State's request to provide this information. Human Resources departments would be required to respond. How this would work needs to be evaluated. (7) Graduates' achievements (D) Scores of graduates on post-undergraduate professional,graduates, or employment- related examinations and certification tests Mr. Workman wondered how we can gather scores for life pursuits that do not require exams. Indicators 7 (b)(c)(d) need to go together. A survey should ask what the employer has to say - ask who is employed usefully. Dr. Heggins commented that graduation rates are affected by the economy and the employment level. Many South Carolina graduates move out-of-state for work. Mr. Workman responded that being employed out-of-state is better than being unemployed in South Carolina. When times are hard and jobs are scarce, retention is high. Dr. Johnson noted that all test scores can not be obtained - especially the CPA exam. Mr. Krech explained that CHE does not require the yearly reporting of results of CPA and engineering exams because of the special characteristics of these examinations. Reporting of these exams is not currently possible. Mr. Workman pressed for the reporting of all appropriate scores. (7) Graduates' achievements (E) Number of graduates who continue their education Mr. Workman sought a definition for continuing education. Dr. Matthews suggested continuing education is another piece of the employment rate. Graduation rates should equal employment plus continuing education. Mr. Krech asked if the Task Force felt it should count students who hold a four-year degree and return to matriculate at a two-year college. It must be clear what happens to graduates by institution. Dr. Cormier asked if continuing education necessary to continue licensing should be counted. Ms. Simms inquired if there is a specific time frame for reporting. Ms. Kitchings added that the time frame becomes important to the institution. The longer the time, the harder it is to track students. The definition should use a specific time by type of degree and from the point of graduation. Mr Krech noted that Act 255 already requests much of the necessary data. Act 255 surveys biennially three years out. Dr. Underwood noted that Act 255 reports available data. CHE staff needs to define continuing education. (7) Graduates' achievements (F) Credit hours earned of graduates Mr. Workman asked if a degree requires X hours, how many hours can you take to get it? Dr. Horner brought to the attention of the Task Force the surcharge, currently used in North Carolina, to students who take more hours than the State is willing to pay for. (8) User-Friendliness of Institution (B) Continuing education programs for graduates and others Mr. Workman stated that continuing education plays a community-based role. How can it be defined? How can it be measured? Can it be measured by counting the number of programs? Dr. Heggins asked if public service and community activities are also included. Mr. Krech responded one way to define continuing education would be to limit it to community interest activities for which credit hours are awarded. Mr. Workman added, that continuing education is a subset of life-long learning. Life-long education covers the gamut of experiences. Ms. McAbee noted that continuing education directly relates to services of the Clemson Extension service. There are faculty teaching continuing education to farmers in the field. This instruction goes outside the "box" of what is being measured today. The Task Force needs to end up with a product that truly measures uses of continuing education. Currently, nontraditional occupations and public service are not addressed. Mr. Workman said Clemson Extension Services could be a part of the Tech System. Dr. Horner asked that the population and area served to be percentage of use of the population of the considered. Dr. Heggins noted that, because of the 1890 Rural Development Project, S.C. State faculty go to communities and aid in economic development. Ms. Simms stated that business and industry are looking for special requests to meet special needs. Employers are "paying for skill" in a competency-based market. When business and industry look to education, they look to the technical colleges. Dr. Matthews noted that some programs at the land-grant institutions are outside the purvey of the CHE. These programs are financed by the Federal government. IV. Mr. Workman encouraged the Task Force members to do outside reading and explore the Internet for information. V. Dr. Gould announced that the Tech committee will complete its report on August 30, 1996. Copies will be transmitted to the Task Force. Mr. Workman adjourned the meting at 4:36 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Russell Long Recording Secretary