University Strategic Alignment Process

Questions & Comments

   You may send any questions to USAPFeedback@ipfw.edu as we are no longer accepting questions through this website. Thanks.

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Questions

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  1. How can we afford to sustain programs with few students as majors?
     
  2. I see admin adding jobs that deal with "window dressing". How can we afford these?
     
  3. Can you please help us understand how the decisions regarding the recent restructuring were made? If the Strategic Alignment task force is truly responsible for creating metrics and measuring departments and programs against the Strategic Plan why would these decisions not be postponed? The restructuring that is occurring which appears to not be based on data or metrics adds to the lack of trust and questions of direction for the campus community. While we understand the message continues to be that everything is transparent, the actions are quite different.
     
  4. Will an outside auditor be invited in to review IPFW and make suggestions as to where to make cuts, consolidations, and other allocations? In recent years this is something that, for example, the AAUP has done at a number of institutions.
     
  5. I have three questions about 'data-driven decisions'. First, how is USAP determining what data is worth pursuing? One can analyze an institution as vast as IPFW from a virtually endless number of perspectives to produce data. Each data set that could be produced includes an implicit or explicit set of values. For example, one could look at total enrollments for a department, which would implicitly value tuition dollars. Or one could look at the enrollments for a department relative to the total possible number of students in the offered sections of that department, which would implicitly value tuition dollars alongside efficiency. And so on. Whose values are determining the data sets that will be pursued?

    Second, what does USAP plan to do with areas where meaningful data will not be available? For example, many people hold that the value of a college education includes helping students to be good citizens by developing thinking, writing, and speaking skills. But it would be hard to measure whether or not students have been helped to be a good citizen. Similar things could be said of leadership. How will USAP include these areas in their decisions given that such decisions could not, in a meaningful sense, be 'data-driven'?

    Third, what metrics will USAP use to develop data to evaluate its own performance? Obviously, USAP should only continue if it provides a valuable contribution to IPFW. What data will USAP be gathering to evaluate, and hence make a 'data-driven decision' about, its own performance?
     
  6. What is a "signature program"? Criteria?
     
  7. Two suggestions. The first suggestion is obvious. IPFW needs to cancel low enrolled courses. According to the Common Data Set information on our website, IPFW reported 338 courses with 9 or less students. Ball State University during that same collection period reported ZERO classes with 9 or less students. Indiana State University reported 423 courses with 19 or less students. IPFW had 849 during the same collection period. Paying full-time pay for 8 or 12 students makes no sense. We should correct this immediately to address the budget shortfall. The second recommendation is a little less obvious, but warrants strong consideration. IPFW should cut funding to any programs (CASA, Mastodon Advising Center, ODMA, etc.) designed specifically to improve graduation or retention. The data suggests that these programs obviously have not been working. Our 6 year graduation rate in 1996 was 19%. The most recent one is 22%. It has fluctuated over the past dozen plus years, but is always in the 20% range. Now consider that IUPUI had a graduation rate of 27.8% in 2000 and the most recent data now has them at 41.6%. Why haven't our programs had the same success? Would removing funding from these programs and allocating these funds to successful programs be a better use of institutional dollars? At the very least, shouldn't we overhaul more than just the titles of the staff members in these areas? Just some ideas to consider.
     
  8. I'm very curious about the signature programs that is mentioned in the strategic plan. If we are to be known for signature programming then I would think "signature" means unique, and unlike anything else other colleges are offering. As of now there are only 10 out of 103 academic majors that require an internship as a part of their core degree requirements for graduation. However, 3 out of 4 employers/companies state they place preference on a candidate with experience on their resume.
    (http://www.naceweb.org/uploadedFiles/Pages/MyNACE/grab_and_go/students/job-outlook-2014-student-version.pdf)
    The way our majors are designed right now is ultimately doing a disservice to our students and making them believe that they don't need an internship or related experience to be a successful graduate of IPFW. By focusing a signature program around ALL academic programs and integrating internships, then we would become known as a college that places emphasis on employability. This would not only be appealing to local & national companies, but it can also be used as a recruiting technique for higher admissions rates. If IPFW is known for having a strong passion for students' future career success, and that 100% of our students get internships or some type of experiential education, then we could get a lot more students. What are your thoughts on looking at signature programs from an out-of-the-box perspective like experiential programming?
     
  9. We should require students to meet with someone before they are allowed to withdraw from classes after the first week. Purdue, Indiana and Ball State all have processes in place that ensure students understand their options before they are allowed to withdraw from a course. Ours is wide open. Also, we have more dropped courses by % than those universities.

    Also, faculty should have to explain to the VC of Academic Affairs why their course enrollments drop more than 20% from census numbers to final numbers. Keeping students in seats is what will increase our retention rates, and faculty need to play a larger role since they see/connect with the students more than any other IPFW employee. If we can identify why, we can begin to fix it.
     
  10. What is being done to address morale on campus?

    Has the University considered “360" reviews? We get reviews from our supervisors, but we aren't able to share our feelings about what they are doing. I think this would be most beneficial at the Chancellor/Vice-Chancellor/Director/Dean levels.


    What are we doing about finding sources for significant raises for folks? While the cost of living is going up and up, our paychecks have not moved (in any significant manner) in years. We have full time employees looking for 2nd jobs just to make ends meet. This is especially discouraging every time we hear about new (high paying) positions being created or people being reassigned and telling everyone about their big raises.
     
  11. Are there ANY MAJOR budgetary decisions that are going to be made BEFORE USAP reviews the unit reports from the departments? If so - which departments? Why would those major decisions not wait until May or so, after the unit reports have been reviewed?
     
  12. How are unit heads, directors, or chairs supposed to report to USAP candidly when they are concerned about censorship? The reporting process involves oversight from the Vice Chancellors. Some units have recently experienced deep cuts in staff, budget, etc. based on decisions from the Vice Chancellors. Candid reports that a unit head submits may recognize the limitations these reductions have put on the process of fulfilling institutional and/or unit mission and goals. However, the unit heads, directors, or chairs may be concerned that the Vice Chancellors would edit any reports that may make those executive decisions look bad.
     
  13. What is meant by a 'gateway course'?
     
  14. Part 1 question 5 of the USAP report asks 'What federal and/or state laws or mandates do you address, if any? Are we to include the state-mandated General Education requirements as all academic units are subject to this?
     
  15. How much descriptive detail of the laws do I need to provide when responding to the question regarding the Federal and State laws my department is required to address?
     
  16. I have a research project that will contribute to the achievement of goal 2 of the university’s Strategic Plan, but my chair does not wish to include this project as part of our department’s USAP goals. Can you please clarify for me what types of projects can be included in the USAP report? (Edited for anonymity)
     
  17. Why is the administration threatening to cut DCS CLs' salaries, in some cases by as much as 50%!? We all just heard that the financial environment is better than it has been, we have all been working hard to write goals and participate conscientiously in the USAP process, we all have been notified that we would receive raises and bonuses. How can I reconcile this good news and the rational, careful, transparent problem solving going on across campus through USAP, etc., with the fact that hard-working colleagues, who bring a lot to this campus and really help students, are being targeted in a very un-transparent, unfair way? How does this fit into the USAP model of transparency, goal setting, etc?
     
  18. I am concerned about the inclusion of "employment outlook" and "employment data" in the new USAP assessments. Could you please explain more about what these terms mean? On the one hand I understand the need to demonstrate that our students are prospering after college, but on the other hand getting a college degree (especially one outside of a pre-professional program) is not about job training. While it might make sense to evaluate job placements of nursing students or engineering students in nursing and engineering positions, most students who get degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences (for example) either go on to graduate school (which isn't employment) or are not getting jobs "in their fields." Many students who major in COAS programs have no intention of ever getting a job in that particular field. Boiling unit performance down to jobs does a disservice to the meaning of a college degree and is potentially not a fair way to evaluate many units.

Answers

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  1. How can we afford to sustain programs with few students as majors?
    Trying to determine a program's contribution to the university is a complex process that could consider a number of factors, such as student enrollment, faculty costs, lab costs, support staff costs, graduation rates, grant production, and many others. IPFW does not currently have the data systems or processes necessary for properly answering your question, hence the reason why USAP was initiated.
    Attempting to answer this question will be a major point of design and analysis for the USAP Task Force members. On one hand, some academic programs provide significant credit hour production through general education courses while other programs have very strong upper-division majors... and a few programs have both or neither. In addition, there is a complex interplay between programs on campus, where courses in one area may be required for degrees in other disciplines.
    One of the important goals of the USAP process is to provide critical information on where programs and services are generative to the university (both in terms of credit hours and in the academic success of our students) and where they are less so. In turn, we hope that program directors, department chairs, and deans will use the USAP process to make curricular decisions that improve the success of our students while also being more efficient with their resources.

    Answered by Facilitation Team - July 22, 2014

  2. I see admin adding jobs that deal with "window dressing". How can we afford these?

    While USAP cannot speak to any particular staffing issue, we have three general answers. First, the new strategic plan encourages data-driven decision-making and the alignment of resources with the plan. USAP is intended to provide high-quality data to decision-makers and therefore improve our ability to align resources with the plan.
    Second, as a campus we presently have a poor understanding of the resource "balance" across units. Is one program flush with resources while another one is under-functioning due to being under-resourced? Answering this question is difficult within one division, such as Academic Affairs, but it becomes very challenging across divisions, such as comparing a program in Academic Affairs with one in Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. The USAP system will better allow us to understand the distribution of resources across campus.
    Third, the university needs to continue operating while USAP is underway. USAP has been compared to building a car while it is going down the road... Oh, and we need to create the blueprints at the same time. Over the coming year, there will be frozen positions, replacement positions, modified positions, and brand new positions as we continue to go down the road, making the best decisions we can with the information we have in front of us. It is our hope that the USAP recommendations, as well as those from other groups, will assist the administration in these important decisions.

    Answered by Facilitation Team - July 22, 2014

     

  3. Can you please help us understand how the decisions regarding the recent restructuring were made? If the Strategic Alignment task force is truly responsible for creating metrics and measuring departments and programs against the Strategic Plan why would these decisions not be postponed? The restructuring that is occurring which appears to not be based on data or metrics adds to the lack of trust and questions of direction for the campus community. While we understand the message continues to be that everything is transparent, the actions are quite different.

    With recent administrative changes, the Facilitation Team has heard this question several times. While the bulk of our answer can be read in our response to the previous question, we would like to add a comment how USAP will attempt to be transparent.
    Transparency is certainly a political buzzword, one that is often over-promised and under-delivered. The USAP process will continue to use this website to post questions and answers, as well as documents related to the process. We will be hosting numerous town hall meetings and informal coffee chats throughout the year, and we are available to come to your meetings to discuss where we are at in the process. Once completed, the profile templates, scoring metrics, program profiles, Task Force reviews of the profiles, and the final summary report will all be open to the university.

    Answered by Facilitation Team - July 22, 2014


    The day-to-day business and operation of the university must continue even as USAP begins its work, which is to focus on the alignment of resources with strategic priorities.

    A number of organizational adjustments within each of the vice chancellor's areas were recently shared with the campus community. These adjustments were made in response to a variety of factors, including resignation of an administrator, efforts to achieve efficiencies, improve effectiveness and cost savings, and better align the specific functions and structure of each respective division with university priorities. Questions about the organizational adjustments should be directed to the respective Vice Chancellor.

    Answered by Chancellor Carwein – July 22, 2014

  4. Will an outside auditor be invited in to review IPFW and make suggestions as to where to make cuts, consolidations, and other allocations? In recent years this is something that, for example, the AAUP has done at a number of institutions.

    The phrase “an outside auditor” may be taken in two ways, so we will provide two answers.

    First, if the question is about the campus’ ability to keep accurate accounting of its revenue and expenses, critical areas of the university are financially audited cyclically by the "internal audit" staff from Purdue West Lafayette for both transactions and processes. Recently this audit process has included, among others, international travel, federal student grants, and Information Technology Services. IPFW has also requested reviews of DCS and athletics, but these have not yet been performed.  Purdue WL does a thorough job and would be the first to investigate any perceived problem areas.

    Second, if the question is in reference to how appropriately a campus function is funded in relation to accomplishing its mission at the university, then that is what USAP is being designed to accomplish. In addition, the new office of Institutional Effectiveness through on-going assessment and program review will play an increasingly important function in this area.  Finally, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and other accrediting bodies provide both programmatic and financial solvency measures to assure student success.

    Answered by Facilitation Team - July 22, 2014

  5. I have three questions about 'data-driven decisions'. First, how is USAP determining what data is worth pursuing? One can analyze an institution as vast as IPFW from a virtually endless number of perspectives to produce data. Each data set that could be produced includes an implicit or explicit set of values. For example, one could look at total enrollments for a department, which would implicitly value tuition dollars. Or one could look at the enrollments for a department relative to the total possible number of students in the offered sections of that department, which would implicitly value tuition dollars alongside efficiency. And so on. Whose values are determining the data sets that will be pursued?

    Second, what does USAP plan to do with areas where meaningful data will not be available? For example, many people hold that the value of a college education includes helping students to be good citizens by developing thinking, writing, and speaking skills. But it would be hard to measure whether or not students have been helped to be a good citizen. Similar things could be said of leadership. How will USAP include these areas in their decisions given that such decisions could not, in a meaningful sense, be 'data-driven'?

    Third, what metrics will USAP use to develop data to evaluate its own performance? Obviously, USAP should only continue if it provides a valuable contribution to IPFW. What data will USAP be gathering to evaluate, and hence make a 'data-driven decision' about, its own performance?

    1. How is USAP determining what data is worth pursuing? This is at the crux of developing any assessment system—and you are absolutely correct that whatever we measure reflects not only what we value, but what we will become. If we place credit-hour production above all else, it will lead to everyone chasing credit hours through topical courses, certificates, and minors—further stretching our limited resources. If we over-value the number of graduates, resources may become skewed toward upper-division courses, which could weaken general education. After reviewing multiple assessment models, the Facilitation Team, with approval of the senior administration, decided to build the framework around the university’s mission, vision, and strategic plan. This is challenging process as it is much more difficult to operationalize and assess alignment to the strategic plan than something concrete like productivity metrics (e.g., credit hours). So whose values are determining the data sets? Ours are—the collective sense of IPFW as expressed through the mission, vision, and strategic plan.

    2. Meaningful data is another challenge to an assessment process that attempts to review both the Department of Physics and the Physical Plant. By switching the focus from productivity alone to alignment to the strategic plan, the assessment system provides the flexibility to review very different functions of the university. We agree that there are disconcerting examples of universities who have lost their traditional purpose—of developing students as whole humans, appreciating beauty and goodness as well as learning content knowledge—replaced by outcome metrics better associated with manufacturing than institutions of higher education. However, there numerous examples of universities that are in financial ruin because they overextended themselves beyond their resources. The campus administration, Facilitation Team, and Task Forces are committed to finding a balance that leads to student growth, scholarship, and community impact, while also being fiscally responsible.

    3. What metrics will USAP use to develop data to evaluate its own performance? Like any university, IPFW has embarked on many initiatives, both academic and administrative, some of which have fizzled, flopped, or downright bombed. The mission of USAP is to produce recommendations on how to better align university resources based on data and strategic-level planning. The evaluation metrics for USAP will be developed by the Task Forces and will be based upon the strategic plan’s metrics as well as an evaluation by the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors. Through a lens of continuous improvement, the USAP process should evolve and change as we gain proficiency in the alignment of budgeting, planning, and assessment; if it does not, it should be discontinued.

    Answered by Facilitation Team - July 23, 2014

  6. What is a "signature program"? Criteria?

    The phrase “signature program” is new to the university… introduced in this strategic plan. The phrase is one that suggests programs that will develop over time, rather than being declared at the outset. Signature programs are those that distinguish and set IPFW apart from other institutions and might be an academic program, a distinguishing center, research program, or a student services program.  These programs and services will become what IPFW is known for and will enhance our ability to recruit and retain students. 

    According to the related process goal in our strategic plan, a signature program will respond to regional needs and will be built on faculty expertise. Promoting success in student achievement through learning outcomes, graduation rates and job placement prospects is also a priority.  How can we leverage the exceptional talent and expertise of IPFW faculty and staff to develop programs that truly set us apart from other institutions, both regionally and perhaps nationally?  What programs have the potential to eventually be self-sustaining?  What unique and high-demand aspects already exist at IPFW that could be further developed and promoted?  Defining signature programs is an opportunity for this campus to distinguish itself by what we do best.  Identifying them will occur over the next several years and will emerge as we align our work with the strategic plan. 

    Answered by Facilitation Team – August 22, 2014

  7. Two suggestions. The first suggestion is obvious. IPFW needs to cancel low enrolled courses. According to the Common Data Set information on our website, IPFW reported 338 courses with 9 or less students. Ball State University during that same collection period reported ZERO classes with 9 or less students. Indiana State University reported 423 courses with 19 or less students. IPFW had 849 during the same collection period. Paying full-time pay for 8 or 12 students makes no sense. We should correct this immediately to address the budget shortfall. The second recommendation is a little less obvious, but warrants strong consideration. IPFW should cut funding to any programs (CASA, Mastodon Advising Center, ODMA, etc.) designed specifically to improve graduation or retention. The data suggests that these programs obviously have not been working. Our 6 year graduation rate in 1996 was 19%. The most recent one is 22%. It has fluctuated over the past dozen plus years, but is always in the 20% range. Now consider that IUPUI had a graduation rate of 27.8% in 2000 and the most recent data now has them at 41.6%. Why haven't our programs had the same success? Would removing funding from these programs and allocating these funds to successful programs be a better use of institutional dollars? At the very least, shouldn't we overhaul more than just the titles of the staff members in these areas? Just some ideas to consider.

    The subject of low enrollment issues and allocation of resources is what the USAP task force will be addressing over the next few months.  Class size is a complex issue influenced by many different factors, but the VCAA has established general course minima for both graduate (10 students) and undergraduate (12 students).  However, many clinical, field experience, and art/music classes have lower enrollment due to instructional design or external requirements such as accreditation or licensing.  Indiana’s degree map requirement also makes scheduling and management of classes even more critical because we are required to offer the right classes as students need them in order to graduate in four years.  Still, the question of multiple sections of a specific class being offered when they are not all full will certainly be addressed.  We appreciate the data you’ve provided which is exactly the kind we will be collecting as we do our analysis. 

    As to your second question, all programs and services will be analyzed through the USAP process including the ones you mention.  These programs provide an important service to high-risk students and it’s important to note that they are not solely responsible for graduation and retention rates.  When looking at these rates, we refer to the Indiana Commission of Higher Education data which differ from what you provided:

    http://www.in.gov/che/files/IndianaUniversityPurdueUniversityFortWayneCompletion.pdf

    http://www.in.gov/che/files/IndianaUniversityPurdueUniversityIndianapolisCompletion.pdf

    A significant benefit of the USAP process is that we will be using a consistent set of criteria, metrics and data to do our analysis, which will also be available to the entire campus.  This is critical in understanding how our resources are currently allocated and how they should be allocated to achieve the goals in our strategic plan.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – August 22, 2014

  8. I'm very curious about the signature programs that is mentioned in the strategic plan. If we are to be known for signature programming then I would think "signature" means unique, and unlike anything else other colleges are offering. As of now there are only 10 out of 103 academic majors that require an internship as a part of their core degree requirements for graduation. However, 3 out of 4 employers/companies state they place preference on a candidate with experience on their resume. (http://www.naceweb.org/uploadedFiles/Pages/MyNACE/grab_and_go/students/job-outlook-2014-student-version.pdf) The way our majors are designed right now is ultimately doing a disservice to our students and making them believe that they don't need an internship or related experience to be a successful graduate of IPFW. By focusing a signature program around ALL academic programs and integrating internships, then we would become known as a college that places emphasis on employability. This would not only be appealing to local & national companies, but it can also be used as a recruiting technique for higher admissions rates. If IPFW is known for having a strong passion for students' future career success, and that 100% of our students get internships or some type of experiential education, then we could get a lot more students. What are your thoughts on looking at signature programs from an out-of-the-box perspective like experiential programming?

    You are correct that signature programs are unique and will distinguish us from other universities.  “Out-of-the-box perspective” is exactly what we need as we begin to identify programs and services that may emerge or be developed as signature programs.  We appreciate your comments and will ensure the task force has this suggestion to consider.

    You can also refer to question #6 for more detail on signature programs.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – August 22, 2014

  9. We should require students to meet with someone before they are allowed to withdraw from classes after the first week. Purdue, Indiana and Ball State all have processes in place that ensure students understand their options before they are allowed to withdraw from a course. Ours is wide open. Also, we have more dropped courses by % than those universities.

    Also, faculty should have to explain to the VC of Academic Affairs why their course enrollments drop more than 20% from census numbers to final numbers. Keeping students in seats is what will increase our retention rates, and faculty need to play a larger role since they see/connect with the students more than any other IPFW employee. If we can identify why, we can begin to fix it.
     


    Course withdraw rates can serve as a key indicator of a student’s ability to succeed and is an issue that we need to pay attention to, along with courses with high rates of D’s and F’s. DFW rates at IPFW parallel the areas with the highest DFW rates nationally – mathematics and science introductory courses. Requiring students to meet with an advisor or faculty member before dropping a class could help us identify their reasons for considering withdraw and in some cases, their decision may be averted. However, class withdraws are made for a variety of reasons including personal and family reasons as well as students who simply are not prepared for the rigor of college. Early-on, we need to connect all students with the campus resources and support they need to increase their success rates. This systematic intervention is already happening in some cases, such as the Math department’s use of MAP-Works to make early alerts for introductory classes. As we consider strategic plan alignment and our top priority of supporting student success, the USAP task force will make recommendations on how we can align our resources to better address these issues campus-wide.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – September 3, 2014

  10. What is being done to address morale on campus?

    Has the University considered “360" reviews? We get reviews from our supervisors, but we aren't able to share our feelings about what they are doing. I think this would be most beneficial at the Chancellor/Vice-Chancellor/Director/Dean levels.

    What are we doing about finding sources for significant raises for folks? While the cost of living is going up and up, our paychecks have not moved (in any significant manner) in years. We have full time employees looking for 2nd jobs just to make ends meet. This is especially discouraging every time we hear about new (high paying) positions being created or people being reassigned and telling everyone about their big raises.
     

    Many conversations are happening around the issue of campus morale and ways to improve it. From the beginning of USAP, we acknowledged the challenge of rolling out a complex process like USAP with campus morale being low. It has been a difficult couple of years, with leadership changes, enrollment decreases, budget challenges, and lay-offs to some of our close colleagues.

    Fixing our campus morale issue is neither easy nor quick. For our part, USAP can support morale through transparency and open communication. We will communicate our progress and direction and ensure you know where to find information about the strategic alignment process. There will be campus-wide and departmental meetings and you can contact any member of the USAP Team with questions. We are not paying “lip service” when we refer to transparency – we are committed to it.

    Regarding your specific suggestions - a 360o Review is a process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them including direct reports and peers. This system can indeed be useful for identifying strengths or weaknesses and for providing feedback that enables team and individual development. However, the system must be used as part of a comprehensive performance management system, supporting the strategic objectives of an organization. Used as an independent source of feedback, 360o reviews can be quite damaging. Because feedback is sent anonymously, the receiver has no one to ask for clarification of unclear comments or information. Since it is not part of our performance reporting system, there is no current plan to use this process.

    Salary increases for faculty and staff is another issue on the minds of many people. As part of their final report, the University Budget Committee recommended that salary increases be implemented as soon as possible and that the request be sent to the Purdue Board of Trustees by March 2015, as required. We must continue to align our resources to the strategic plan and build a budget that supports and allows for raises to make this happen... something everyone is committed to as a goal.

    We will forward your suggestions to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors as well.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – September 3, 2014

  11. Are there ANY MAJOR budgetary decisions that are going to be made BEFORE USAP reviews the unit reports from the departments? If so - which departments? Why would those major decisions not wait until May or so, after the unit reports have been reviewed?
     

    This year, we are facing a $2.4 million budget shortfall resulting from an enrollment decline. This must be addressed parallel to USAPs efforts. This year shortages cannot wait for the USAP process which will have an impact on the future alignment of resources. The university needs to continue operating while USAP is underway and yes, decisions will likely be made before the task force completes their review and analysis of unit reports. USAP has been compared to building a car while it is going down the road... Oh, and we need to create the blueprints at the same time. Over the coming year, we will need to fill positions as we continue to go down the road, making the best decisions we can with the information we have in front of us. It is our hope that the USAP recommendations, as well as those from other groups, will assist the administration in these important decisions.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – November 17, 2014

  12. How are unit heads, directors, or chairs supposed to report to USAP candidly when they are concerned about censorship? The reporting process involves oversight from the Vice Chancellors. Some units have recently experienced deep cuts in staff, budget, etc. based on decisions from the Vice Chancellors. Candid reports that a unit head submits may recognize the limitations these reductions have put on the process of fulfilling institutional and/or unit mission and goals. However, the unit heads, directors, or chairs may be concerned that the Vice Chancellors would edit any reports that may make those executive decisions look bad.
     

    The Task Force has requested that no changes or edits be made to the unit reports and that Authors be given the opportunity to create their own report. However, each USAP report requires approval before final submission to the task force. This means the person ultimately responsible for the unit has to give the go ahead for the task force to begin their review of the report. Approvers should not make changes to the report. However, this step does allow Deans and Vice Chancellors to provide comments and feedback to individual units as well as the task force. This collaborative process should be determined between Unit Leads and Approvers and will likely vary by division and college. Units are encouraged to work with their assigned Approver prior to submitting the report through P+ so that any questions or issues can be addressed before that point.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – November 17, 2014

  13. What is meant by a 'gateway course'?
     

    Gateway Courses are courses that are: 1) credit bearing, 2) at the foundational level (either developmental or entry to major), 3) high risk to students (high D, F, W, I rates - 30% or greater) and 4) with high enrollment. Passing, or not, such courses becomes a “gateway” to further study.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – November 17, 2014

  14. Part 1 question 5 of the USAP report asks 'What federal and/or state laws or mandates do you address, if any? Are we to include the state-mandated General Education requirements as all academic units are subject to this?
     

    Yes, that is a state mandate that you have to address, but feel free to just mention it in response to question 5 without details, given that most people will not need much detail about this very common state mandate. Only elaborate if you think it’s necessary to explain some particular constraint your department experiences as a result of this mandate.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – November 17, 2014

  15. How much descriptive detail of the laws do I need to provide when responding to the question regarding the Federal and State laws my department is required to address?
     

    At a minimum you should provide the name of the law or mandate and any other pertinent information you believe the task force should be aware of. This level of detail will likely vary based on the unit and is up to you to decide. Please spell out the laws rather than just a list of acronyms, assuming the task force will not be familiar with the list.

    Answered by Facilitation Team – November 17, 2014

  16. I have a research project that will contribute to the achievement of goal 2 of the university’s Strategic Plan, but my chair does not wish to include this project as part of our department’s USAP goals. Can you please clarify for me what types of projects can be included in the USAP report? (Edited for anonymity)
     

    Although it is possible to include as a departmental USAP goal something that will be the primary responsibility of a single person, the department needs to create a set of USAP goals that reflect the department as a whole. Although the department chair will generally have the responsibility of serving as the report writer, it is expected that there will be discussion with and input from as many members of the department as possible. In the end, the report submitted by a department should reflect shared goals of the whole department, even if the actual responsibility for achieving particular goals may rest with one or two people.

    Answered by Rachel Hile, Co-Chair – December 17, 2014

  17. Why is the administration threatening to cut DCS CLs' salaries, in some cases by as much as 50%!? We all just heard that the financial environment is better than it has been, we have all been working hard to write goals and participate conscientiously in the USAP process, we all have been notified that we would receive raises and bonuses. How can I reconcile this good news and the rational, careful, transparent problem solving going on across campus through USAP, etc., with the fact that hard-working colleagues, who bring a lot to this campus and really help students, are being targeted in a very un-transparent, unfair way? How does this fit into the USAP model of transparency, goal setting, etc?
     

    Declining enrollment requires us to make business decisions that impact the university in a variety of ways.  USAP was created as a forward-thinking process that strengthens how we make decisions and operate, enabling us to focus on our core mission and strategic direction.  Part of that direction involves the programs and classes that we offer.  As enrollment declines, the mix of course offerings has and must change to accommodate our student population.  Department Chairs are responsible for determining the mix of the classes we offer including which courses are offered face-to-face or online as well as which instructors are assigned to each course. Continuing Lecturers funded through the Division of Continuing Studies have played an important role in supporting our students and are valuable to this university.  For these instructors, positions are based on sufficient enrollment and decisions regarding the classes we offer will impact their viability.  In some cases, the number of online courses taught by chairs and tenured faculty either during the regular academic year or on overload during the summer has split the department’s enrollment among the courses they offer.  As a result, an increased interest from tenured faculty to teach online courses, coupled with declining enrollments, decreases the demand for the number of classes available for some Continuing Lecturers to teach.  Although the number of instructors impacted is very small, when the load of a Continuing Lecturer is reduced, the overall compensation is reduced as well.  In making these decisions, enrollments are monitored over the course of several years and will continue to be monitored in the event an enrollment trend begins to justify additional courses so that workloads can be revisited.  While it’s regretful that anyone who has played a significant role with students might be negatively impacted by these decisions, it is the reality of our current enrollment and is in no way meant to target a particular person or group and certainly is not meant to diminish the contribution of so many valuable instructors.

    Answered by the Facilitation Team with input from DCS - June 17, 2015

  18. I am concerned about the inclusion of "employment outlook" and "employment data" in the new USAP assessments. Could you please explain more about what these terms mean? On the one hand I understand the need to demonstrate that our students are prospering after college, but on the other hand getting a college degree (especially one outside of a pre-professional program) is not about job training. While it might make sense to evaluate job placements of nursing students or engineering students in nursing and engineering positions, most students who get degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences (for example) either go on to graduate school (which isn't employment) or are not getting jobs "in their fields." Many students who major in COAS programs have no intention of ever getting a job in that particular field. Boiling unit performance down to jobs does a disservice to the meaning of a college degree and is potentially not a fair way to evaluate many units.
     

    The Facilitation Team agrees with the questioner’s basic point that you cannot always tie a degree to a specific a career and that learning and creation are important scholastic endeavors in and of themselves. The Task Force believes that employment (finding jobs out of college) and employment outlook (what job openings are available in our region) are important data points in understanding IPFW’s role in the region. This data helps to contextualize other data the Task Force will be reviewing, such as enrollment numbers and credit hour generation. The Community Research Institute has access to a national data system that links Labor Department job codes to Department of Education CIP major codes. The CRI report should provide an understanding of what jobs our graduates are taking, along with an analysis of the projected market need. The IPFW Destinations survey (or your own unit’s alumni survey) will supplement CRI’s information and provide another source of data for understanding where our graduates are headed next in their lives.

    Answered by the Facilitation Team - September 8, 2015