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2009-2014 Strategic Plan Goal 1:Provide Students with the Tools to Succeed

Advance an Innovative and Engaging, Learning Environment for Student Success

Develop pedagogical models that foster creative learning, encourage student independence, enable inspired teaching, and make the best use of new technologies. Create a University Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence as an outgrowth from the current Center for Learning Technologies (CLT) where pedagogy and content experts will provide faculty with modern tools for enhanced pedagogical effectiveness. Enhance student academic success through targeted initiatives by departments, colleges, and the university, that provide greater attention to effective advising and assistance for students with academic deficiencies. Offer attractive and effective learning environments and expand opportunities for high achieving students. Create a Student Success Center and a Learning Commons as enhancements to the Perry Library that will integrate the library, information technology and University College services, instruction, and assistance to foster student creativity and experimentation and help students develop skills to improve their personal and professional success.

Rationale: We continually look for ways to improve the student learning experience, particularly given that we serve many non-traditional student populations, including members of the military and military spouses, returning adults, working students, and learners at a distance. Our faculty has developed award-winning programs in instructional development through our existing CLT that can be of great benefit to the entire teaching faculty and graduate teaching assistants. As we become a more residential campus, we need to offer a stimulating learning environment for students both during and out of class hours. Our high-achieving undergraduate students seek rewarding and relevant academic opportunities that will assist them in their future graduate experiences and professional careers. The availability of creative technologies encourages students to explore and experiment. We can facilitate student success through a modern and attractive Learning Commons that will provide a learning-centered environment with associated technology in support of the pedagogy and research needs of our students. We also seek to strengthen support services for those students needing assistance in meeting the challenges of contemporary higher education. Our planned Student Success Center will consolidate all of the support services that students need, including general academic advising and counseling, testing services, and internship, co-op, and career services, into one central location that has a natural flow-through to the library and the effective workspaces of the Learning Commons.


  1. Strive for teaching excellence in classroom and distributed instructional models.
  2. Improve advising and academic support structures.
  3. Provide attractive and effective learning environment for students.
  4. Expand opportunities for high-achieving students to demonstrate proficiency.

Strive for teaching excellence in classroom and distributed instructional models.

Expand existing capabilities of the Center for Technology and Learning to create a new Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence, that will assist faculty to develop effective pedagogical models and support them with modern technology. Solicit faculty input on best practices and uses of all delivery modes for on-campus and distance education, regardless of delivery method or class size. Create or newly emphasize teaching workshops and training for new faculty, adjunct faculty, and teaching assistants, particularly for courses with large numbers of first-year students. Increase faculty participation in development workshops and seminars through widespread promotion and encouragement. Sponsor competitive internal awards for teaching excellence and innovation by graduate students, adjuncts, and full-time teaching faculty.

Responsible Parties

Provost, Distance Learning, Deans, University College, Graduate Studies, Department Chairs, Graduate Program Directors, Faculty Senate, Office of Computing and Communication Services, Information Technology Advisory Committee, Faculty, Student Affairs

Measures of Success

  1. Targeted workshops and training emphasizing teaching freshmen and other first-time college students developed by Fall 2010
  2. Improved teaching evaluations for Adjuncts, Lecturers, and Graduate
  3. Teaching Assistants from baseline 2009-2010 data.
  4. Increased faculty participation in existing programs and annual increase in faculty use of technology to enhance teaching effectiveness. Assessment instruments indicate faculty members and students perceive long-term effectiveness of program.
  5. Improved overall student satisfaction surveys, by department and College.

Improve advising and academic support structures.

Ensure that the planned Student Success Center is an efficient and inviting space that enables students who need University-wide support services for their academic goals to find them in one central location. Assist those students who are in academic difficulty to overcome obstacles to success through faculty, peer-to-peer, and on-line tutorial programs. Maintain a minimum of 80% Freshman-Sophomore retention rate. Develop programs to support retention and success at Sophomore -Junior and Junior-Senior levels. Obtain regular feedback from faculty and students regarding effectiveness of the Student Success Center in facilitating student success. Provide for effective advising within academic units by offering regular advisor training. Create and make accessible on the university website a guide to academic support services that includes Writing Tutorial Services, Career Management (internships), advising services, and other student and academic assistance organizations.

Responsible Parties Deans, Department Chairs, University College, Enrollment Management, Admissions, Chief Departmental Advisors, Graduate Program Directors, Faculty Senate, Disability Services, Student Affairs, Student Government Association
Measures of Success
  1. Using 2006-07 as a baseline, increased student achievement in traditionally difficult courses, increased retention rate from Freshman to Sophomore to Junior years, and increased average ratings on quality of advising from Senior and Graduate Exit Surveys and other assessment tools.
  2. Increased annual attendance at existing and enhanced advisor training.
  3. Increased faculty, staff and student ratings of usability and effectiveness of university website in obtaining needed information regarding academic support services.
  4. Assessment instruments indicate faculty members and students perceive effectiveness of Student Success Center.

Provide attractive and effective learning environment for students.

Ensure that the planned Learning Commons addition to Perry Library becomes a flexible, inviting space to facilitate student learning through exploration, discussion, collaboration, and access to technology that supports their out-of-class assignments and needs. Obtain regular feedback from faculty and students regarding effectiveness of the Learning Commons in facilitating student success. Continue technological enrichment and modernization of all learning spaces on campus and at Higher Education Centers, including laboratories, performing arts spaces, studios, and library study areas, and complete the mediation of all appropriate classrooms. Include group study areas as part of all future new building and building renovation plans. Ensure that strategic management of enrollment continues on an annual basis and that growth in enrollment is in line with resources available to support student success.

Responsible Parties Provost, University Capital Planning Committee, University Space Committee, University College, Enrollment Management, Office of Computing and Communication Services, Facilities Management, University Librarian, Deans, Associate Deans, Student Affairs, Graduate Student Organization, Student Government Association
Measures of Success
  1. Using 2008-09 as a baseline, increased number and percentage of total mediated classrooms,
  2. Increased student use of Perry Library and Learning Commons.
  3. Beginning in 2009-10, annual reports on technology and space improvements made and planned.
  4. Assessment instruments indicate faculty members and students perceive effectiveness of Student Success Center.

Expand opportunities for high-achieving students to demonstrate proficiency.

Provide high-achieving students at all levels with opportunities for research and academic success, including support structures for those who enter national competitions. Sponsor competitive student research fellowships and stipends, and faculty matching grants for undergraduate participation in sponsored research. Display student achievements more widely on the university website and through other media and scholarly publications.

Responsible Parties Provost, Deans, Honors College, Academic Departments, Faculty, Graduate Program Directors, Development Office, Media Relations/Marketing
Measures of Success
  1. Using 2008-09 as baseline, increase number of undergraduates participating in research, assessed by College, beginning in 2010-11
  2. Increase number of undergraduate students entering national competitions and whose work is recognized in these competitions, beginning in 2010-11.
  3. Increase number of undergraduate students supported in research through external grants, starting in 2010-11.
  4. Increase number of students that co-author presentations or publications with faculty sponsor(s), by 2011-12.

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