Draft November 22, 1999

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, MORRIS

NORTH CENTRAL ASSOCIATION SELF-STUDY

VOLUME I

Chapter I

Introduction and Overview

On April 10-12, 2000, a team from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools will visit the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) to evaluate its programs and to make a recommendation about accreditation for another ten year period. The starting point for the team's deliberations will be the self-study report presented here. This chapter explains why UMM did a special emphasis study, discusses the campus wide effort in organizing and shaping the self-study, and then outlines the scope of this report.

Acknowledging the importance of the five criteria for accreditation, UMM addresses them first in Volume I of the report and provides further documentation in Volume II. In addition to the five criteria, this report reviews the eight concerns that emerged from the 1990 accreditation visit and our efforts to resolve them. But the heart of this self-study is the special emphasis focusing on the quality of student academic life at UMM, a public liberal arts college which is a part of a large research university. This introduction will outline the reasons for, and the theme and goals of the self-study, describe the organization of this report, discuss the hypothesis approach and the hypotheses chosen here, and the nature of the data collected. It assesses important issues for the institution and identifies key recommendations for the future.

Why UMM chose a special emphasis self-study.

The special emphasis self-study is a relatively new option to the traditional comprehensive one that UMM has completed in the past. In the former, the institution commits "serious attention to a select group of critical issues in order to contribute to institutional improvement and educational excellence." In the latter, it assesses itself globally with respect to five criteria. UMM has chosen the special emphasis option for two reasons: 1) it better serves the goals of institutional planning by providing a focused study of the relationship between UMM's distinct features--a residential liberal arts college which is a part of a large, public research university; and 2) it will help to improve the quality of student academic life by providing a focused study of UMM's successes and needs that can be shared with the campus, with the central administration and Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, with the state legislature, and with interested members of the public.

Theme and Goals of the Self-Study

The theme of this self-study is the quality of student academic life at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a public liberal arts college which is part of a large research university. There are three goals:

• To describe the college's expectations of and aspirations for the academic life of its students and to assess the reality;

• to describe the students' expectations of academic life in the college and to assess the reality;

• to assess how being a public liberal arts college in a large research university affects the expectations, aspirations, and realities of student academic life.

The term "student academic life" is likely to mean different things for different people, but for purposes of this self-study, it means a core of curricular and co-curricular work--credit earning and non-credit earning pedagogy (e.g. non-credit student research). The "college's expectations or aspirations for its students' academic life" means the production of liberally educated, socially responsible citizens creative in their intellectual life on the campus. The phrase "students' expectations of academic life in the college" means that students expect to find good teachers who are accessible and that the college provides opportunities for intellectual growth and stimulation.

The fabric of student academic life is so intricately interwoven that a quick glance might not reveal an essential bond between the core and periphery. The aim of producing socially responsible citizens, for example, is fostered to a degree if a college has a sense of community and hindered to a degree if it does not.

By definition, residential life is peripheral to this study, yet it cannot be ignored. Residential life plays an important part in creating socially responsible citizens.

 

Organization of the Self -Study

The completion of the self-study was a campus wide effort led by a steering committee which had seventeen members, including the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Finance, two students, a faculty member from each of the four academic divisions, the Director of Assessment (who is also a faculty member from the Division of Science and Mathematics), the five subcommittee chairs, the writer of the self-study report, and the self-study coordinator, who also chairs the steering committee. The charge to the steering committee was to design the self-study plan, aid in its implementation, and to assist the writer and coordinator in preparing the self-study report.

To further assure broad representation in the preparation of the self-study, the steering committee formed five subcommittees composed of faculty, staff, and students to explore various facets of this special emphasis self-study as noted below. (See Appendix A for membership of the steering and subcommittees).

The Steering Committee charged the subcommittees to compare wherever possible to those institutions which were identified as the peers of UMM--the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and the Morris 14 colleges (both public and private colleges). See Appendix F for the members of these peer groups. Further, whenever possible insofar as it produced insight into the quality of student academic life, they were to assess the impact on UMM of being part of a large research university.

The Steering Committee also charged each subcommittee to explore a specific aspect of the self-study. They were backed by a host of institutional resources, including the Committee on Assessment of Student Learning, the Coordinator of Institutional Research, the former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, the Director of the Career Center, and others who have prepared substantial institutional surveys.

Subcommittee I addressed the quality of student academic life, pre- and post-UMM years. The eight members included the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Director of the Career Center, the Director for Alumni Affairs, a counselor from the Minority Student Program, an alumnus from the community, two faculty, and one student.

Subcommittee IIa examined the curricular and co-curricular quality of student academic life. The seven members included the Director of Academic Advising, four faculty, and two students.

Subcommittee IIb examined the importance of extra-curricular life to the quality of student academic life. The five members included a faculty member, two students, and the Directors of Residential Life and Student Activities.

Subcommittee III looked at the resources for maintaining and improving the quality of student academic life. The eight members included the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Physical Plant, the Director of Computing Services, the Director of Grants Development, two faculty, and one student.

The fourth group, the entire Campus Resources and Planning Committee--a standing committee of the Campus Assembly--measured how UMM met the five criteria for re-accreditation.

Context of this study

The intent of the special emphasis self-study is to establish that the institution meets the five criteria for re-accreditation without providing the detailed analysis required by a comprehensive self-study. Permission to do a special emphasis self-study is given only to those institutions where it is assumed that the essential quality for accreditation already exists.

The Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota established UMM as a coordinate campus of the University of Minnesota in 1959 to replace the existing agricultural high school which had operated at the University's Morris facility since 1909.

UMM's distinctive features are that, with 1900 students and 121 FTE faculty in 1999, it is a small, selective, rural, public, residential liberal arts college that is a part of a large research university. Collectively the features make it unique. In a time when many college programs are evolving towards a comprehensive curriculum and colleges are disbursing information to commuter populations or diffusing it electronically to remote ones, UMM affirms the value of liberal learning acquired in a residential setting. Through this special emphasis self-study, UMM seeks a deeper understanding of how being part of a large public research university enhances or diminishes that traditional approach to higher education. The self-study explores the interconnections of the features that make the college unique.

The Hypothesis Approach

Given the limitations of time, the collective expertise of the committee members, and the decision to pursue the special emphasis self-study, the steering committee determined that the best approach was to pose carefully chosen propositions about the quality of student academic life at UMM which could be validated from existing data or from data that was to be collected as a part of the self-study process. These hypotheses were to be developed by each of the four major area subcommittees in consultation with faculty, staff, and students who were most informed about each area.

The Data for this Study: Old and New

The scope and depth of data--new, current, historical and comparative--is substantial. Even before the special emphasis self-study was finally formed, the steering committee reviewed the existing institutional data. It included external reviews; assessments of the freshman course, Inquiry; alumni surveys; and a host of other studies dealing with new students, retention, and graduation rates, follow-up on students who have left UMM, and student/faculty program evaluations. There were studies developed by UMM, those conducted by the University of Minnesota as a whole, and studies conducted by, for example, the American College Testing Service (ACT) or ACE/UCLA Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP). In essence, there existed a solid foundation of institutional data to support this self-study.

Wanting the most current information, the committee decided to develop a unified survey of students and faculty designed to elicit responses to key issues related to the quality of student life at UMM. This unified Student Quality of Life Assessment Survey (SQALS) combined several different questionnaires into one instrument, one for students, another for faculty. The student survey looked at an assessment of learning in the major, an evaluation of coursework and instructors, and comments from students on a host of co-curricular activities such as study abroad. It concluded with an overall assessment of students' satisfaction with their university experience. The faculty survey explored many of the same issues.

The subcommittees contributed questions to the SQALS to elicit more precise data for their hypotheses. For example, the subcommittee dealing with the hypothesis "too many students leave UMM on the weekends, which is detrimental to the quality of student academic life," wanted to know about students living in the residence halls and how frequently they went home during the course of an academic year. Some subcommittees went beyond the SQALS data and gathered additional information. The subcommittee dealing with the hypothesis that the library enhances the quality of student academic life did a careful comparison of library resources--staff and holdings--at both the COPLAC and the Morris 14 institutions. And, in examining the hypothesis that UMM effectively recruits, supports, and retains quality faculty and staff, the American Association of University Professors publication ACADEME provided valuable comparative data about UMM salaries.

The results of the self-study--the response from student surveys, analysis of data, consultation with faculty and staff, and reports from subcommittees-demonstrate that this institution has been successful in serving its students. Indeed they are enthusiastic about UMM, as are the faculty and staff, though they note, and rightly so, that we do a great deal with few resources.

There have been significant accomplishments at UMM which provide an important context for this special emphasis self-study. This is not to suggest that the news is all "good" but most of it is encouraging. Here are a number of examples that make this point:

•All of the surveys conducted with students, current and former, indicated a high level of satisfaction with UMM, especially the interaction with faculty and staff.

•After a twenty year hiatus, UMM's building program made significant advancements. This included construction of the Student Center, construction of a new science building, the creation of a "Town/Gown" Regional Fitness Center as an addition to our Physical Education Center, and renovations of the Humanities Fine Arts Center, Spooner and Pine Residence Halls, and the Old Humanities Building. In addition, the 90's saw the construction of a state of the art computer language facility in the Old Humanities Building.

•Many programs and activities undertaken in the 90's gave special emphasis to internationalizing the curriculum and encouraging our students to study abroad. In 1992, UMM established the Center for International Programs, charged to encourage students to study abroad during the course of their undergraduate career. Since the program began, the number of students studying abroad went from a handful annually to approximately 5% of the student body. In fact, in a recent unified student survey, 20% of seniors reported that they have studied abroad during their undergraduate career.

•In addition, UMM and Concordia College jointly received a three year Ford Foundation Grant to encourage faculty to internationalize the curriculum at both institutions. This included course development and study abroad opportunities for faculty,

•Our institution underwent a conversion to semesters to commence in the Fall of 1999, which encouraged the revision of majors, course offerings and the general education requirement.

•UMM graduation rates for both majority and minority students were the highest in the University of Minnesota system.

•Although there were racial incidents earlier in the decade, UMM's minority student enrollment continued to rise through the 90's, again achieving the highest percentages in the entire University of Minnesota system.

•UMM obtained five year funding to establish a minority program called Gateway to help minority students succeed in their college years.

•UMM moved to strengthen its academic program by solidifying nine previously temporary faculty appointments into tenured positions.

· UMM was allotted two additional faculty positions as a result of funding from the most recent legislative session.

•The number of UMM students attending graduate school right after or shortly after completing their undergraduate study in the past decade has ranged from 25% to 32%, a solid percentage.

•The UMM student profile, based upon high school rank, national test score results, retention, and graduation rates, was among the best of the public liberal arts colleges in the nation.

•UMM continued to attract excellent faculty who fit the institutional profile of strong teaching and scholarship.

•Many of the senior faculty have had extraordinarily productive scholarly accomplishments throughout the 1990's.

•UMM faculty received recognition at the state, all-university, and campus levels for excellence in teaching.

•UMM strengthened its advising system through a more systematic academic warning system, and better faculty and staff training and information sharing.

•UMM had a vibrant student extra-curricular life with 85 student organizations--political, social, recreational, and academic.

•There was unprecedented involvement of undergraduate students in research, service learning, and assistance with instruction.

•The University of Minnesota "overhauled" its financial management system and introduced a new accounting system which, though controversial, has provided better oversight of university funds.

At the same time, there are areas of concern. Enrollment which was to grow to about 2000 has actually declined moderately over the last two years and there has been a slight diminishing in the overall quality of the student body in terms of high school rank and ACT scores. Retention of students is lower than at the best private liberal arts colleges. While UMM's funding situation has improved through the 90's, all evidence suggests that the campus is still seriously under-funded given its size and aspirations. UMM has an excellent faculty, but there is difficulty in attracting and retaining faculty in this rural environment, particularly when there is a spouse with professional qualifications.

Conclusions

The picture that emerges from this special emphasis self-study is that UMM has a strong academic program as measured by student evaluations, faculty assessment, and comparison with other institutions within the COPLAC and Morris 14 groups. At the same time, there is compelling evidence that the institution, in comparison with the best public and private liberal arts colleges, lacks essential resources to attract able students, hire and retain outstanding faculty, and maintain a strong academic program and modern physical plant. Still, what has been accomplished over this decade is most impressive, given the chronic under-funding of the institution. There emerge from this study recommendations for strengthening the institution. Among the most important are:

Increase the scholarship resources for recruiting and retaining students.

Improve salaries and support for both faculty and staff

Enhance the visibility and development capacity of the institution.

The next part of this report examines the five criteria of accreditation and includes responses to the eight concerns that were raised in the 1990 NCA Self-Study Evaluation.

 

Chapter II

The Five Criteria of Accreditation

Criterion I--The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.

The mission and purposes of UMM are clearly and publicly stated; they are appropriate for a liberal arts institution of higher education and, in fact, guide the programs and operations of the institution. The most recent statement of mission for UMM was adopted in 1984 by the University of Minnesota, approved by that body again in May 1989 and reviewed by the Board of Regents as recently as December, 1988 and it is published in the 1999-2000 UMM Catalog.

UMM confers the bachelor of arts degree in 27 of the majors commonly available in undergraduate liberal arts colleges. Teaching licensure programs in elementary and secondary education, as well as pre-professional coursework, are offered in the context of the liberal arts tradition. The University of Minnesota Charter, adopted by the legislative assembly of the territory of Minnesota, and in 1858 by the State Legislature, entrusts the power "to confer such degrees and grant diplomas as usually conferred by the university to the Board of Regents." Typically, degrees are conferred by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the UMM faculty.

Statement of purposes and mission

Conceived at the outset as a four year liberal arts college, UMM was to serve not only the population of west central Minnesota, but also to provide an educational opportunity for students throughout the state and later elsewhere, who sought a University of Minnesota undergraduate liberal arts education in a small college setting. The guiding principles of selective admission, controlled growth, and academic excellence in a residential campus atmosphere have not changed for almost four decades, since the establishment of UMM in 1960.

The current mission statement of UMM has been endorsed by the university's governing body, the Board of Regents, and has been modified only slightly over the years:

The University of Minnesota, Morris as an undergraduate, residential liberal arts college is distinctive within the University of Minnesota. The Morris Campus shares the University's statewide mission of teaching, research and outreach, yet it is a small college where students can shape their own education. The campus serves undergraduate students, primarily from Minnesota and its neighboring states, and serves as an educational resource and cultural center for citizens in west central Minnesota. Through its instructional excellence, commitment to research, many extra-curricular programs and services and a strong sense of community, the University of Minnesota, Morris endeavors to achieve its place among the best liberal arts colleges in the region.

The institutional mission and purposes are clearly and strongly supported by the campus community and have been affirmed by successive Central Administrators of the University of Minnesota over the past nearly 40 years. They guide many of the operational activities, provide a framework for planning and orderly change, shape UMM curriculum, define the qualifications of faculty, and determine the criteria for admitting students. Even in our teacher preparation program, the emphasis is on a strong liberal arts foundation, instilling in our student teachers the importance of conveying the value of a liberal education to another generation.

In fact, UMM aspires to be in the forefront of the nation's small undergraduate liberal arts colleges and to be the best public liberal arts college in the country. This view finds its fullest expression in the following vision statement, crafted in the early 1990's and endorsed by the faculty, staff and students.

The University of Minnesota, Morris intends to be in the forefront of the nations' small undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We will be increasingly known for our select student body, intellectual excitement and rigor, innovative curriculum and concern for the participatory quality of student life. Our enrollment will remain 2000, a number suited for our physical facilities and sense of community.

Secure in our historic appeal to able students and selective in our admission of those who thrive with rigorous academic expectations, we will have the confidence to vary our mix of enrollment, to recruit and retain a more heterogeneous student body. Students who contribute to the extra-curricular life of the campus and to a balance of interest in the various liberal arts disciplines will be sought. We will employ varied measures of excellence to recruit and retain a competitive student body in a campus culture which encourages civility, cooperation, and collaboration. There will be strong commitment to diversity, to international and non-traditional students, as well as a continuing concern for rural and first generation college students from Minnesota and its surrounding states.

We value the residential character of the campus. The schedule of classes and the calendar of activities will provide our residential community an intellectual, cultural, and social involvement throughout the academic year. Student life will emphasize preparation for leadership, the development of a sense of personal and social responsibility, and active participation in campus life. Through this vision for our future, we at the University of Minnesota, Morris commit ourselves to fulfill our mission to be an outstanding public liberal college.

This vision is rooted in reality in a number of ways. As indicated, UMM has characteristics of the best liberal arts colleges: small size, residential setting, controlled admission, commitment to attracting an able and diverse student body, and undergraduate liberal arts education with a highly coherent general education curriculum and high expectations of faculty scholarship. UMM's student body already ranks highly among the institutions in COPLAC as measured by ACT and SAT results, percentage of incoming freshmen in the top 10% of their high school graduating classes, the number of graduating seniors attending graduate school, and the percent of minority students in the overall student population. There is also a vigorous extra-curricular life, with over 85 student organizations, and over 20% of graduating seniors in 1999 reported having studied abroad during their undergraduate careers. The excellence of the student body is matched by the faculty. Since 1966, 27 UMM faculty members have received all-university recognition for outstanding undergraduate teaching, a much higher proportion than in any other college of the University of Minnesota. Outstanding teaching is reinforced by strong scholarly activity. From a tenured and tenure-track faculty which has averaged 90 people over the 40-year history of the institution, it is impressive to find that the paintings of one are in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, that the psychological theories of another are included in major textbooks on personality throughout the world, that another has emerged as a national authority in vernacular architecture, another is a distinguished scholar in radical Protestantism, that several have been recognized by their professional associations for major achievements and several others have held leadership positions in their national and regional associations. A UMM faculty member serves as the editor of the scholarly journal Conradiana. Over the years, UMM faculty have been editors and founders of journals in philosophy and in American popular culture. Another UMM faculty has been at the center of important research in frog deformities. Over the past decade, five UMM psychology members have been recognized by the Minnesota Psychological Association for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

The commitment to teaching and research are to the benefit of UMM's students; in a recent survey, faculty affirmed that the institution was doing an excellent job in getting students involved in research. They value joint student/faculty research projects which result in student and student/faculty authored papers, presentations, and performances. As a public institution, UMM shares the liberal arts experience with the broader community through community service projects, public lectures, art exhibits, musical and theater performances, and through credit and non-credit courses and programs.

As further measure of its leadership and commitment to liberal education, UMM led in the establishment of COPLAC in 1992. The national body with 17 member institutions has shared a common commitment to academic excellence and concern for undergraduate student development.

In sum, in its publicly stated mission and vision and in virtually every dimension of the institution's operations--in the selection of students, faculty and staff, in its curricular offerings, in its rich curricular and co-curricular activity, in its service to the broader community, and its national leadership among public liberal arts colleges--UMM affirms its commitment to the liberal arts.

 

Criterion II--The institution has effectively organized the human, financial, and physical resources to accomplish its purpose.

Criterion II includes a presentation and evaluation of the organizational structure of the campus, its physical resources, the academic program, and its human resources.

The University of Minnesota was established by an act of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature in 1851. The resulting charter, and later the state constitution, granted to the Board of Regents autonomy in the management of the university's internal affairs, independent of all other executive authority. The Board of Regents, made up of 12 members selected by the state legislature to serve six-year terms, is the chief governing body of the University of Minnesota, including its Morris Campus. One regent is chosen from each of Minnesota's congressional districts and four are chosen from the state at large. One of the four at-large regents must be a university student. The President of the university is an ex-officio member of the Board of Regents. The board's major responsibilities are the selection of the President, the enactment of rules, regulations, and policies governing the university, control of university expenditures, and approval of all staff changes.

UMM is one of the three coordinate campuses of the University of Minnesota headed by a chief executive officer, the chancellor. The chancellor, appointed by the Board of Regents, is responsible for administration of the campus and is a representative of the faculty and to the board. The chancellor reports directly to the president of the university.

Structure of UMM Campus Assembly and Committees

Authority and responsibility for educational policies and procedures of UMM campus are vested in the Campus Assembly, which is composed of all faculty and academic staff and representatives of the students and civil service/staff. The Chancellor of the campus serves as the chair of the Assembly; other officers include a vice chair, secretary and parliamentarian, who are elected by the Assembly. Elected committees include: 1) The Consultative Committee composed of faculty (academic staff are included with the faculty for purposes of representation on committees), students and civil service/staff; 2) the Academic Grievance Committee composed of faculty, students and civil service/staff, which considers grievances by faculty or students concerning alleged violations of academic freedom and responsibility; and 3) the Executive Committee composed of faculty, students and civil service/staff members including the Chancellor (Chair), Vice Chair and the Secretary of the Assembly. The Executive Committee recommends membership on standing and adjunct committees, requests reports for information to the Assembly and prepares the agendas and calls meetings of the Campus Assembly.

The campus governing system at UMM may be characterized as broadly representative, participatory, and democratic. All faculty and academic staff are members, as well as one student for each 100 enrolled and one civil service/staff for each 50 employed, assuring wide representation. And the open nature of the Assembly structure includes ready access to a governing structure. Educational policy and procedure includes the broad perspectives of the entire campus community. The current membership of the Campus Assembly is 199.

Members of the standing committees of the Campus Assembly are recommended by the Executive Committee for approval by the Assembly. There are five Assembly Committees: Assessment of Student Learning Committee, Campus Resources and Planning, Curriculum, Scholastic, and Student Services. In addition, there are at present six adjunct committees: Academic Support, Faculty Development, Functions and Awards, International Programs, Minority Experience, Student Academic Integrity, and Teacher Education. These committees for the most part are composed of faculty, students, and civil service/staff, and their charge typically consists of major areas of responsibility of the Campus Assembly.

With the exception of faculty in their first year on campus, and those on leave, most faculty serve on one Assembly or adjunct committee. To maximize faculty interest in committee service, all faculty are asked to submit committee preferences for the succeeding year. (Again, the academic staff are included here.) Typically, representation from civil service/staff and students is determined by the association representing civil service/staff and upon the recommendation of the Morris Campus Student Association. To the extent possible, the Executive Committee attempts to match faculty interests to committee assignments. A similar mechanism is employed for student and civil service/staff appointments.

Assessment of Campus Assembly and Committee Structure

The best measure of the adequacy of the campus governance to meet its goals and objectives is its record over the past ten years; it has reviewed the governing structure, responded to all-university directives, dealt with controversial issues, addressed campus plans and initiatives, and has embarked upon a broad evaluation of student learning. At each step, decision making has moved forward, according to the constitution, with substantial consultation and debate at all levels of the institution.

This is not to suggest that the process is perfect. There is chronic complaint about a complex governing structure with onerous committee work. Yet, recent efforts to downsize the number of committees resulted in few modifications. Quite frankly, the campus has a strong tradition of open dissent, and characteristic difference of opinion on educational matters. This democratic spirit is not tangential but rather goes to the heart of the institution. Democratic decision making, broad consultation, and full and lively debate are important to faculty, staff, and students of this institution.

Table 1

 

Org Chart

Structure of Academic Affairs

The chief academic officer for the campus is the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean. The Dean reports directly to the Chancellor and is administratively responsible for the four academic divisions and interdisciplinary programs such as directed studies, internships, and interdisciplinary majors which cut across divisional boundaries. In addition, the Dean is responsible for the Academic Assistance Center, Academic Advising, the Center for International Programs, the Center for Student Learning and Faculty Teaching, Computing Services, the Library, Media Services, and University College. The Dean shares responsibilities with four division chairpersons and several academic support unit directors. The organizational structure is shown in Table 1 on page 17.

The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean makes recommendation to the Chancellor concerning all academic matters, especially academic planning, resource allocations, curriculum development, and academic personnel matters. Among the specific duties assigned to the Vice Chancellor are working with the divisions, committees and other academic units, reviewing programs, developing new initiatives, guiding the Curriculum Committee, preparing budgets, and carrying out academic planning. The Dean makes recommendations for the allocation of all positions and operating funds for instructional and academic support programs. Working with the Division Chairs and other academic administrators, the Dean makes recommendations to the Chancellor on all academic personnel matters including initial appointments, salary, and tenure and promotion decisions.

During the past year, and continuing into 1999-2000, the current Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean is serving as Interim Chancellor. In his place, there are three Interim Assistant Deans for Academic Affairs, one for faculty affairs, another for student affairs, and a third for semester conversion. The Chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics serves as Chair of the Curriculum Committee, a function usually performed by the Dean.

Resources for Academic Affairs

In 1998-99, Academic Affairs had a staff of 51.3, including 10 academic staff and 20.75 clerical/technical staff. In addition, there are 6.35 FTE professional and clerical staff in University College who are not carried on UMM's roster because they are technically employees of the university-wide University College. In 1997-98 the total expenditures for Academic Affairs including both compensation and Supplies, Expense and Equipment (SE&E) funds were $9,931,832; the total expenditures for the instructional program amounted to $7,841,380. Taken together, this represents 56% of the institution's expenditures from the general operations and maintenance fund. An additional 9.3 staff positions have been allocated to Academic Affairs during the past five years and expenditures for compensation and SE&E have risen by 21%. Resources have increased, but under-funding still remains, especially for permanent positions, for instructional and computing equipment, and for funding that does no more than keep pace with inflation.

The Division Structure under Academic Affairs

The basic academic organizational units of the campus are the four divisions: education, humanities, science and mathematics, and social sciences. Membership in each division consists of its faculty, staff, and student representatives. Student representatives are selected for one year terms by student constituents and include at least one student from each discipline within the division.

The division chairperson is the chief administrative officer and representative of the division. Each division chair carries a one-third teaching appointment as well. The chair is responsible for directing the division's administrative work, approving the expenditure of divisional funds, guiding policy formulation, maintaining compliance with the university and divisional policies and procedures, monitoring the teaching and research of faculty, academic planning, and representing the division to the academic administration and on the Curriculum Committee. Division chairs serve five-year terms. Most disciplines within a division are represented by a discipline coordinator who leads the discipline in the preparation of curriculum proposals and teaching schedules and serves as liaison for the discipline's faculty to the chair on matters of common concern. Some disciplines have internally-assigned allocations, but the primary budgetary unit is the Division. Discipline coordinators usually serve without compensation or reduced teaching load.

In matters of faculty hiring, search committees composed of faculty and students review files and interview candidates, then make recommendations to the Division Chair, who in turn consults with the Academic Dean. In cases of promotion, appropriate peers recommend to the Dean; for tenure, only the tenured faculty recommend. The Divisions conduct at least one meeting per term with additional meetings as needed. The meetings are usually devoted to the discussion and approval of curriculum proposals submitted by the disciplines, the development of divisional policy and procedure, and advice to the chair on matters of campus policy, planning, resource requests and other matters of general concern.

Especially on matters of curriculum and of promotion and tenure, the decision process originates at the division level. Discussion and decision making regarding any of these matters may be initiated by the chair or any member of the division faculty. While the procedures vary slightly among divisions, in most instances they can be described accurately as follows:

Curriculum proposals are initiated by disciplines. In the case of interdisciplinary courses and majors, more than one discipline will usually concur. Proposals are then reviewed and voted upon by the division. After division approval, the corrected proposals are forwarded to the Curriculum Committee for approval and presentation to the Campus Assembly. Proposals involving honors or general education designation are also reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee. On a rare occasion, when the proposal involves a substantial change in program for the campus, such as adding or deleting a major, the Board of Regents makes a final decision for approval.

Divisions follow university-wide principles, procedures, and regulations concerning faculty tenure for making personnel decisions. Each division has its own set of procedures as well, similar but with some slight dissimilarity among divisions. Decisions to retain, promote, or grant tenure are based upon evidence of teaching effectiveness (including advising), scholarly or artistic distinction, and professional outreach, which includes on campus, within the profession, and to the community and/or region. Of these three major criteria, teaching and scholarship or artistic achievement are considered most important.

Here are the procedures for considering awarding tenure at UMM:

All faculty on a tenure track receive an annual review from the Committee of Tenured Faculty within their Division, and from their Division Chair, and both documents become part of the individual's dossier.

1. Notice. Early applications for tenure require notification of the Division in the Spring of the year before the review takes place (different dates for different Divisions). Individuals regularly scheduled for a tenure review will be notified by their Division.

2. File. A dossier has been accumulating within the Division, and needs to be brought into presentational condition by the candidate. It includes a resume; list of teaching and other assignments, committee service records, student evaluations, outside evaluations, reports of probationary evaluations, etc. In some Divisions, the Chair, or a deputy, helps prepare the file.

3. Division. The Committee of Tenured Faculty within the Division meets and votes on the candidacy of members. The Division Chair is a voting member of the Division Committee. Meetings are usually between November 15-January 1.

4. Division Chair. The Chair prepares a report of the Divisional decision, which requires approval of the Committee of Tenured Faculty of the Division. She/he also prepares an independent recommendation, in either agreement or disagreement. The faculty member sees, and has the opportunity to comment upon, the report of the Division and Division Chair. Sent to the Dean by January 20.

5. Dean. The Dean makes the file available to the "Level II" Committee. Date: [c. January 25]

6. Level II Committee. This group serves as a consultant to the Dean, and assesses cross-institutional fairness, equity, etc. A copy of the recommendation of this group must be supplied to the candidate, and becomes part of the file. Date returned to Dean: [c. 10 February]

7. Dean. The Dean makes an evaluation and recommendation, which must be sent to the candidate and the Division Tenure Committee via. the Division Chair, which is then forwarded with the recommendations of the Level II Committee, Division Chair and Division Committee to the Chancellor. Date: [c. 25 February]

8. Dean of the Graduate School. Serving as a consultant to the Chancellor, the office of the Dean of the Graduate School at the Twin Cities campus makes an assessment of the candidate's professional career in the context of the greater University of Minnesota. Date sent and returned: [c. 25 February; 10 March]

9. Chancellor. The Chancellor makes his/her decision. If it differs with that of any individual or group earlier in the process, that individual/group and the candidate must be notified.

10. Senior Vice President. The Chancellor informs the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (Twin Cities) of the decision by March 15, for entry into the data base and presentation to the Regents at their May meeting.

11. The deadline for final written notification of the candidate is May 15.

Appeals are made to the all-University Judicial Committee on the Twin Cities campus, within 30 days of receipt of written notice.

Assessment of Academic Affairs

The organizational structure and responsibilities, from the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to the Division Chairs and the faculty, are clear and effectively carried out for the most part. Policies--some prescribed as they should be at the all-university level--are appropriate, widely publicized and provide appropriate recognition of the role of the governance structure, the Campus Assembly and its committees.

Academic decision making, especially on matters of faculty promotion and tenure, class schedule and curriculum, flows from the discipline faculty to the division, through the governing structure when necessary and on to the administrative. The one-third position of Division Chair, as conceived of almost forty years ago, is not equal to the task of divisions that have grown in faculty and complexity over the years. Additional help for the Vice Chancellor and the Division Chairs is needed.

 

 

 

Structure of Student Affairs

Student Affairs at UMM has two fundamental and integrated goals: it provides an array of essential and ongoing services necessary for the operation of the college, and at the same time, through its various programs, contributes to the intellectual, personal and social development of the student body. Student Services recruits and admits students; provides financial aid; manages student employment; schedules classes; registers students, keeps the records; monitors; provides personal, educational and career counseling and placement; gives support for internships; provides personal and educational support for minority students; furnishes the organizational and technical assistance for social, cultural and educational extra-curricular activities; and is responsible for intercollegiate athletics, recreation, outpatient medical care, a living and learning environment for residential students, and a disciplinary system.

The goals and objectives for Student Affairs are consistent with the mission of the institution and the level of development and staffing is characteristic of student personnel activity across the University of Minnesota system. The student affairs program at UMM is headed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and is organized around administrative units: Admissions and Financial Aid, the Career Center, Health Service, Minority Student Program, Student Activities, Residential Life, Student Counseling, the Registrar's Office and Intercollegiate Athletics. In 1998-99 there were sufficient academic professional staff to allow for a high degree of professional specialization: 31 professional, 21 clerical, and 7 custodial employees. Professional staff is distributed as follows: the Vice Chancellor holds a P&A appointment; there are four in Admissions and Financial Aid, one in the Career Center,12 FTE in Athletics, one in Student Activities, five in Residential Life, three in Counseling, one in the Registrar's Office, three in the Minority Student Program.

It is the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs who coordinates policy formulation, resource allocation and working relationships among student services units and provides leadership in planning, staffing, budgeting, and program evaluation as well. The Vice Chancellor represents the student personnel point of view for the Chancellor and the campus administration and governance system, and represents UMM's student affairs at the all-university level. The responsibilities of each of the student services units are conventional and related to their descriptive titles. Each has a public statement of mission and responsibility which are found in the college's annual reports (see Appendix G) There are, however, a few unique organizational characteristics that bear mentioning.

During the early 1990's a single Student Life unit which included both Student Activities and Residential Life was returned to two separate directors. This came at the request of students who saw considerable distinction between the two functions. There is now a Director of Residential Life and a Director of Student Activities which are separate offices. Given the vibrant student organizational activity on campus, having a separate student activities office overseeing a wide range of student organizations appears to have been a positive move.

Although Academic Advising is a distinct unit within Academic Affairs, the activities of the unit are closely allied to Student Affairs units. The current Director of Advising also serves as the Secretary of the Scholastic Committee, and consequently is in a position to know the entire picture of academic advising policies and procedures. In the past five years, the academic advising program has been strengthened by better training for faculty and staff advisers, by providing prompt, reliable academic information about students to advisers, and by a clearer and more systematic student academic progress system.

The Minority Student Program (MSP) has responsibilities to support the minority student population which cross organizational lines. MSP is involved in recruiting, counseling and academic advising, tracking student performance, academic assistance, support for student organizations, extra-curricular educational programming and occasionally internship and placements--all where minority students are involved.

The Student Services Committee, Scholastic Committee, and the Minority Student Experience Committee work directly with several of the Student Affairs units and in some instances control some of their policies. There is also an effective student government with representatives in the Assembly and on all campus committees; this provides many opportunities for discussion, criticism and control.

Resources for Student Affairs

Like the entire UMM operation, resources for the student affairs area are limited. Yet, they are still highly successful in completing their work. Staffing remains merely adequate in Student Counseling and the Minority Student Program. Admissions and Financial Aid, Student Activities, Residential Life are short-staffed but still remarkably effective. The Registrar's office with its many operations and responsibilities is understaffed and Athletics is seriously under-funded in terms of salaries for the coaching staff and operational expenses. Operating funds are adequate in those units and activities which have a source of income from fees--residence halls, student activities and organizations for extracurricular programming, Health Services, and the Career Center. The Admissions and Financial Aid program spends more than its budget, but because its activities are essential to the quality of the academic program, funds have been reallocated from other areas to sustain the program.

Financial Aid funds for scholarships, grants and loans have been inadequate to meet the students' needs. With substantial increases in tuition through most of the 1990's, more student financial aid has come in the form of loans. Students with advanced standing, in particular, must carry a large proportion of loan debt for their final two years. Financial aid has been "front ended" for incoming students, so student employment dollars are an important source of student funding. Beginning in 1999, aid will be distributed on a four-year renewable basis. Table 2 shows the distribution of financial aid for the past five years.

The facilities for student activities were a cause of concern in the 1990 NCA study. Since then, in the first major construction on the campus in almost 20 years, UMM received funding from the State Legislature to build a student center, which included an expansion and renovation of an existing building, Edson Hall. The building has emerged into a campus center with major events (convocations, recitals, meetings, and luncheons) occurring there. The Student Center houses the Office of Student Activities, student organizational offices including the Morris Campus Student Association, the International Study and Travel Center, the Outdoor Center, the campus radio station, a major auditorium, lounges, major meeting rooms, and a cafeteria.

Table 2

 

 

Page 9 Data Book

Assessment of the Effectiveness of Student Affairs Activity

The Student Affairs program is effectively organized and administered. Goals and objectives are clearly designated and compatible with the liberal arts mission of the institution. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs has direct access to the Chancellor and other senior officers and an ample opportunity to influence college policy. Policies affecting student life, as well as specific policies for student affairs units, are well publicized in the UMM Catalog, in the Residential Life Handbook, and in other college publications. Resources available to student affairs, while less than optimum, are generally adequate, but there is serious under-funding in financial aid.

How well is Student Affairs accomplishing its goal and objectives? The answer is, "very well indeed." It is no exaggeration to say that there is a vibrant student life at UMM. There is a high level of student involvement in campus life. Indeed, it is among the strongest characteristics of the institution. Students are involved in all aspects of governmental, cultural, and recreational life at UMM. The ACT student opinion surveys throughout the 1990's show a high level of student participation in campus activities and high satisfaction as well. Students continue to appreciate the opportunity to exercise leadership, and find the accessibility, commitment, and support of student affairs personnel.

Structure of Finance

The Vice Chancellor for Finance is responsible for financial administration. As a fiscal officer for the campus, the Vice Chancellor advises the Chancellor on allocation of funds, prepares and monitors budgets, directs business office operations, and is responsible for all non-academic personnel management at the campus level. In addition the Vice Chancellor is the senior officer responsible for General Services, which under the direction of its manager includes the Bookstore, Business Office, Food Services, and Human Resources. The administrative and service units which report directly to the Vice Chancellor for Finance are largely self-supporting for their operating expenses, funded from assessments and other income producing enterprises, or directly from revenue such as cross charges to other units, fees, and sales.

 

 

Assessment of Finance

In an effort to increase income to help the overall funding of the campus, UMM underwent substantial increases in tuition starting in the early 90's and ending relatively recently. The hope was that the tuition at a higher level would be sufficient to make up for the inadequacy in other sources of funds. Unfortunately, increased tuition revenue has been insufficient to keep up with the financial demands of the campus; it remains chronically under-funded. At the same time, with an enrollment likely not to exceed 2000 students, tuition, even with substantial increases, has only a limited probability of really helping the overall financial situation of the campus. Similarly, legislative funding, while more generous in recent years, is not likely to provide sufficient resources for the institution to prosper. Clearly their interest is in non-legislative funds provided by private contributors. That amount of money for the institution has grown modestly over the past decade, restrained by limited staff to cultivate contributors.

Structure of Physical Plant

The principal goal of plant services is to provide clean, safe, high quality physical facilities which enhance the educational program at UMM. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Physical Plant and Master Planning, who reports directly to the Chancellor, is responsible for Campus Security, Duplicating Services, the Post Office, and Vending and Transportation, as well as for maintenance and operation of the academic and auxiliary campus buildings, utilities, grounds, and public communications. The Associate Vice Chancellor also has a major role in physical facilities planning, legislative building requests for the campus, and serves on the Campus Resources and Planning Committee. Whereas operations and maintenance of the campus buildings and grounds is a local responsibility, new construction and major remodeling, which requires direct legislative funding, are controlled by the Central Administration's Department of Physical Planning.

In 1998-99, the Plant Services unit had a staff of 41.3 supervisory, clerical, skilled trade, maintenance, custodial, and heating plant personnel who operate and maintain 500,092 GSF: academic buildings 109,009 GSF; housing 227,855 GSF; and auxiliary enterprise programs 163,228 GSF along with 265 acres of campus grounds.

The present campus was planned and built beginning in the 1960's on an already landscaped site with several major existing buildings constructed in the early 20th century and characteristic of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul agricultural campus. Most of the major facilities are contemporary, including the original Science complex (1968), Briggs Library (1973), the Humanities Fine Art Center (1973), the Physical Education Center (1973), the heating plant (1970), three of the Residence Halls (1966, 1970, 1971), and Food Service (1971). The older classroom buildings--Humanities (1954), and Social Science (two phases: 1920 and 1949)--received major renovation in the 1990's. All of the major instructional areas and most of the administrative space are accessible to persons with impaired mobility

The long range plan for the development of physical facilities included five major buildings-a university center, a classroom/office building, a public performance auditorium, a field house, and an addition to the science building. At the same time, during the 90's, a key issue was the gradual deterioration of the classroom spaces on campus due to inadequate funding. At the end of the decade, additional legislative appropriations have made it possible to substantially improve the physical plant, including some classroom upgrading. The campus master plan lays out in comprehensive detail the plans for the renovation and reconstruction of the campus over the next five to ten years, including the renovation of the existing science facility, the library, and the older classroom/office buildings. This plan also calls for a public performance auditorium, a field house, and a classroom office building. The Central Administration and the Regents tightly control all legislative building requests. A current approved long-term plan is required by Central Administration and forms a basis for campus legislative building requests, but political strategies and university-wide campus priorities and time tables are often compromised.

Assessment of Physical Plant and Master Planning

Plant Services is well organized and effectively managed, but under-staffed and under-funded to optimally meet its goals and objectives. The work of Plant Services in the 1990's has been substantial with new buildings, remodeling of old buildings, and maintenance of campus grounds. The perception in the early 90's was that this beautiful campus has become a little ragged around the edges, particularly the grounds. Further, classrooms simply in need of upgrading and repair and labs without adequate ventilation have made what was once an exceptional campus, less so today. The construction boom of the late 90's and the systematic, detailed master plan for renovation of existing facilities give considerable hope that the new century will see a return to what is basically a beautiful campus.

The Academic Program

Degree Requirements

All University of Minnesota degrees are granted by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the faculty of the university school or college in which the student is enrolled. While requirements vary to some extent among the undergraduate colleges of the university, there is no distinction among the degrees granted because of the campus of enrollment. At UMM each discipline and division has articulated the goals and objectives for majors and programs, and a more comprehensive statement on the objectives of the curriculum is contained in the description of the general education and other degree requirements, also found in the current UMM Catalog on pages 55-58 (see Appendix H).

In 1997, the campus approved a new general education curriculum that would become effective in fall 1999. The move to a new GER was prompted by at least two major reasons. The first was that the Minnesota State Legislature required all public colleges in Minnesota, including the University of Minnesota, to move to a semester-based academic program no later than 1999. This change served as an opportunity to review and rework the existing academic program. Second, the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum was implemented to facilitate easy transfer within higher education institutions in Minnesota. The previous General Education Requirements (GER) did not easily translate in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. The campus took the opportunity to review and revise its existing GER into a more streamlined curriculum that was compatible with the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.

Programs in Professional Education

Over the past decade, the Division of Education has seen dramatic departure from its emphasis on placement of student teachers in schools in West Central Minnesota, or in about a 50 mile radius of Morris. Up until 1992, it was unusual to find students who did student teaching in other parts of Minnesota, including the metropolitan and Twin cities area or even more unusual, out of state. Occasionally, students would do international student teaching. All of that has changed in the decade of the 90's. Many students, particularly in the elementary education, continue to do their student teaching in selected schools within a 50-mile radius of Morris, but there has been an aggressive effort to place students in student teaching situations in environments that reflect the demographic trends of the country and the global economy. A significant portion of UMM students are now being placed in selected major metropolitan centers with diverse populations--El Paso, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois, as well as in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In the early part of the decade, students wishing to teach abroad were limited to two countries: England and Australia. Now, ten years later, UMM places student teachers in 20 different foreign countries. Student teaching, the culminating experience of the teacher education program, has become an opportunity to become immersed in a multicultural or international experience in schools in this country and abroad. Creating this diverse teacher education experience for our students simply builds upon a program already acknowledged to be excellent by the National Council for Accreditation in Teacher Education (NCATE).

Calendar, Credit Load, Grading System

During most of the decade, UMM operated on the quarter system with a late-starting fall quarter unique in Minnesota. Beginining in Fall 1999, UMM has moved along with the entire University of Minnesota to a semester system with fall term starting in late August and spring semester ending in early May. Introduced at that same time will be an "intersession" of about three weeks, from mid-May to early June, where students will have an opportunity to engage in unique learning opportunities on campus, in other parts of the United States, and abroad. Under semesters, it is expected that students will average 16 credits (4 courses) per semester. During the latter part of the 1990's, UMM changed its ABC/N grading system with S/N grading available in most courses to an AF/SN grading system. The F was reintroduced in the Fall of 1997.

Academic Progress Requirements

UMM has a rigorous and somewhat unique academic progress requirement system. UMM established minimum academic progress requirements that apply to student status and eligibility for financial aid, provisions for possible suspension, and loss of eligibility for aid. The authority for administering the requirements and taking action, when necessary, rests with the Scholastic Committee.

Academic progress is audited annually at the end of spring semester; students who meet the annual requirements will continue in good standing. Students who do not meet the requirements for good standing but fall within specified guidelines will be placed on a Level I probation. Students who fall below the requirements for Level I probation will be suspended. Students who successfully appeal their suspension will be allowed to return on conditions for one semester, the period of conditions is called Level II probation. Students on probation remain eligible for financial aid. There are two criteria for meeting minimum academic progress requirements: 1) performance over time (cumulative GPA); and 2) performance during the short term (annual completion ratio of 75%). Student must meet both. Students whose annual completion ratio is between 50% and 75%, or whose cumulative GPA falls in a certain range, will automatically be placed on probation.

Human Resources --Faculty

The specific goals and objectives which guide the development of the faculty are most clearly articulated in the mission statement of goals, objectives, and priorities. They include maintaining all-university standards in hiring, retaining, and promoting faculty; pursuing equal opportunity and affirmative action principles with an emphasis on increasing the representation of black and native American faculty; promoting faculty exchanges and visiting professorships; retaining tenured faculty; and promoting faculty development in teaching, advising, and scholarships; and providing funds for leaves, equipment, and funds in support of scholarly activity.

The teaching effort in 1998-99 totaled 120.1(FTE) permanent, temporary, full and part time faculty. They were distributed among four divisions and twenty seven disciplines: 11.2 in Education; 42.9 in Humanities; 35.5 in Science and Mathematics; and 29 in Social Sciences. The 1998-99 FTE for teaching faculty reflects 114 permanently budgeted positions called "lines" with the remainder made up of temporary, full time and part time faculty. Some of the temporary positions are continued so that permanent faculty can go on leave, but most are hired on a short-term basis in the absence of permanent positions. A positive development over the past years is that UMM is increasing the proportion of permanent lines and just recently converted four temporary enrollment-related positions to tenure track. In addition two more undergraduate initiative positions will become permanent in fall 1999.

Institutional data on the academic preparation, experience, and other characteristics of the faculty show an instruction staff that is well qualified to carry out the educational mission of the institution. As a whole, the faculty represent a cross section of graduate schools in the United States and several foreign countries. They are committed to undergraduate liberal education and as members of the faculty of a major research university, many who have strong commitments to research, scholarship, and artistry. Skill in teaching is their most distinguishing characteristic. Fifteen members of the current faculty have received the university-wide Horace T. Morse Alumni Foundation Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, including two in 1998-99. Two have received the All-University Tate Award for Excellent in Undergraduate Academic Advising. In addition, five psychology faculty members have received the Minnesota Psychological Association's Walter Mink Award for Outstanding Teacher of Undergraduate Psychology and one has been named the CASE Minnesota Professor of the Year Award. Another has been active in co-publishing papers with her students, two of whom received first-place recognition at the Minnesota Academy of Sciences annual meeting. The current faculty includes an internationally recognized artist; the editor of a major national journal on Joseph Conrad; the editor of another in Latin American Popular Culture; a nationally recognized scholar of vernacular architecture, and an internationally recognized scholar of radical Protestantism.

And there's more. In the Division of Education, the chair is the co-editor of the Journal of the International Society for Teacher Education; another faculty member is a member of the committee that selects the Minnesota Teacher of the Year; still another is the president of the Minnesota Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators and also serves on the executive board of the Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

In the Science and Mathematics Division, a faculty member in mathematics serves as the associate editor of Biometrics, a scholarly journal in statistics; a geologist was a session chair for the International Glacialogical Society Symposium held in Sweden in 1998; another geologist is a councilor for the Council for Undergraduate Research, a distinction held by only a handful nationally. A computer scientist serves as a reviewer for the Computer Journal.

An historian in the Social Science Division has been president of the Meiklejohn Education Association and co-author of an article in 1992 that was the recipient of the Harry Pratt Memorial Award for the best article in the Illinois Historical Journal in 1992. A sociologist is the co-editor of the Elsevier/JAI Press annual volume, Advances in Gender Research, as well as serving as president of the North Central Sociological Association.

These distinctions are not unusual for UMM and provide compelling evidence of a faculty that is truly distinguished.

 

 

Faculty Characteristics

A list of the current faculty showing discipline, rank and degrees is published in the UMM Catalog. Complete statistical information on the characteristics of the faculty over a period of years is published in the Data Book and the UMM academic profile data (see Appendix I). This information includes budgeted and FTE faculty positions by discipline, number of courses taught, class size, student credit hours, instructor credit hours, student faculty ratios, and instruction workload index, percentages of minority and female faculty, tenure rates, and average salaries. In 1998-99, 93.7% of the permanent faculty had received terminal degrees: 89.5% held a doctorate and an additional 4.2% held an alternate terminal degree.

Table 3

Faculty by Rank

1993-94

1998-99

Rank

Number

Percent

 

Number

*Percent

 

Percent Change

Professor

33/104

31.7

29/114

25.4

-6.3%

Associate

2/104

27.8

27/114

23.6

-4.2%

Assistant

26/104

25.0

35/114

30.7

+5.7%

Instructor

2/104

1.9

2/114

1.7

-.2%

*In 1998-99, 18.6% of permanent positions were filled by temporary or split appointments.

In 1998-99, 72% of the permanent faculty were tenured; 38.5% were women, and 18.9% were minorities. The mean age of the permanent faculty was 48.1 years, and 17/114 or 15% were 60 years of age and older.

To see how the faculty have changed, this information is compared with the faculty profile in 1991-92. The most obvious changes are that the number of permanent faculty has increased by 9.6--from 104.5 in 1991-92 to 114 in 1998-99. Beginning in fall 1999, that number has again increased by 4, and in fall 2000 will further increase by 2, bringing the number of permanent lines to 120. Further, there are more women in the faculty, particularly at higher ranks

The Data Book shows that the FTE faculty has grown by 9% since 1991-92 from 112 to 120.1, while the student body has decreased. In 1998-99 the student/faculty ratio was 15.6, which is not unusual for a public undergraduate institution with the size and mission of UMM.

Teaching loads of 5 or 6 courses per year (under quarters) on an institution-wide basis allowed time for interaction with students, committee work, co-curricular activities and scholarship. (In some cases, one lecture/lab course per term is considered a normal load.) While the average teaching load is moderate in comparison to that of many public and private undergraduate institutions, it remains favorable across the University of Minnesota system. In fact, many consider that to be one of the real strengths at UMM in the recruiting of new faculty. The teaching load under semesters will be 4 to 5 courses per year.

Table 4 shows the growth in FTE faculty among the divisions during the past six years. Table 5 shows that student/faculty ratios and teaching load vary across disciplines: the highest ratios are in anthropology (27.6), computer science (21.8), psychology (21.5), economics (20.1) and elementary education and humanities (18.5). At the same time, there are other disciplines, some of which are labor intensive--e.g., studio art--where the student/faculty ratios are low.

While the teaching load of six courses per year was the campus standard under quarters, as a practical matter, some variations existed among disciplines. UMM's academic management information system maintains several indices to try to show faculty workload such as student/faculty ratios, instructors credit hours and an instructional workload index, with factors and credit hour, advisees and class size. None of these indices adequately cover the situation for every discipline. Table 6 shows distribution of enrollment, classes, and faculty.

Table 4

 

p. 46 Data Book

Table 5

 

 

pp. 40

 

 

 

p. 41

Table 6

 

 

p. 44

 

 

 

p. 45

Faculty salaries are currently stronger than in 1990, when UMM came through a long period of scarce resources and limited faculty salary increases. How strong they are depends upon the measures used and with whom UMM is compared. In comparison with COPLAC, UMM ranks 6t of 13. UMM ranks 10 among the Morris 14, and 12 among 15 public and private colleges and universities in Minnesota (7, 8, and 9). Other factors that influence the comparative value of UMM salaries are the exceptionally strong University of Minnesota faculty benefit package, and the fact that UMM's relative position in salaries with other institutions includes a relatively large number of non-tenure track faculty.

Table 7

 

 

 

 

 

1997-98 salary comparisons Morris 14 and other MN institutions

Table 8

 

 

 

 

 

1998-99 ACADEME Morris 14

Table 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

1998-99 ACADEME COPLAC

Faculty Turnover

On the average, over the past ten years, 14% of the faculty is new to the campus each year. This figure includes the annual turnover tied to the replacement of faculty on leave by temporary appointments and short-term enrollment additions, almost always made at the junior level. During this same period, turnover among tenured faculty is quite small; among probationary tenure track faculty the turnover was 2%; among temporary faculty the turnover was much higher, 8%.

Faculty Evaluation

The faculty members have responsibilities for teaching and advising, research and artistic endeavor, and professional service. Some faculty have administrative responsibilities as well. Though scholarly/artistic productivity and service to the campus and the broader community may vary to some extent among individuals and even across disciplines and divisions, teaching effectiveness is essential for each faculty member. The system of annual review for retention, promotion, tenure, and salary determination is the core faculty evaluation. The evaluation of teaching effectiveness and a tangible reward of excellence in the classroom are fundamental to that system. Policies regarding the process of peer and administrative evaluation and decision making described in the university-wide guidelines are strictly applied. With respect to teaching effectiveness, faculty are evaluated in three ways. First, student evaluations of every course are collected and processed according to a standardized format. In addition to providing immediate feedback to division chairs, the student evaluations are given considerable weight during the review by peers for tenure and promotion and by the chairs for merit salary increases. Second, colleagues within the division make judgments of teaching effectiveness (and scholarship and service) independent of student evaluations during the review process. Finally, the chairs, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the Chancellor make judgments for faculty effectiveness, based upon all evidence available as they review and prepare their final recommendations at the campus level.

In a series of interviews with faculty, it was noted that younger faculty are especially concerned about the weight given course evaluations. While the emphasis is on the student opinion of teaching, younger faculty are concerned that they carry too much weight in the deliberative process.

The evaluation of scholarship, especially important for retention and tenure and merit salary decisions, is conducted during the review process by discipline, division peers, and campus peers. In formal tenure and promotion evaluation, the opinion of outside reviewers is sought. Eventually the Chairs and the Vice Chancellor must make a similar evaluation as they carry forward their recommendations. The process of faculty evaluation is rigorous, systematic, and well understood.

Faculty Excellence

UMM has always had a strong faculty, but it is clear that scholarly contributions of both new and continuing faculty match their excellence in the classroom. Table 13 on page 59 shows a recent compilation of scholarly contributions of UMM faculty. This is an impressive list when one considers that in 1980, the NCA found the scholarly contributions of UMM's faculty lacking.

Assessment of the Work Environment

A number of observations about the faculty work environment can be drawn from informal discussions in the spring of 1998 with various groups of faculty and with the division chairs. Teaching loads at UMM remain a relative strong point in comparison with public and private institutions. At the same time, a critical issue for hiring and retaining strong faculty is a question of spousal hires. More and more, both spouses desire appointments in faculty positions. Division chairs noted that this is an increasing problem that has grown in prominence over the last decade as increasing numbers of faculty are hoping to find appointments for spouses when they come to UMM. Unfortunately, the relatively small size of UMM and the absence of other employment opportunities in the Morris area for highly trained faculty make this a major source of concern in attracting and retaining excellent faculty. A related concern is the start-up cost of hiring new faculty, particularly in the sciences where there is an expectation that not only will one retain faculty members with a good salary, but will provide them with a laboratory in which to carry on essential research for their scholarly program. Some faculty noted that they did not feel adequately briefed on the expectations at UMM for promotion and tenure.

There is remarkable commitment to undergraduate education, to working with students in the classroom and in scholarly research and in co- and extra-curricular activities, and to a high degree of professionalism. Faculty are concerned that there are not sufficient resources to carry out their scholarly endeavors, and needless to say the funds available for leaves, profession-related travel, or research funds for scholarly endeavors remain inadequate. One of the biggest occurrences over this past decade is that a number of UMM faculty members who started at this institution in the 1960's, the first decade as a four year liberal arts college, are now reaching retirement age. A whole generation of the founding fathers is leaving the stage of UMM. It seems that this transition is largely peaceful, in that the values of the institution--a commitment to the undergraduate liberal arts mission and a strong emphasis on the importance of the student in the learning process--are widely shared at UMM by all levels of the faculty. However, the loss of experienced faculty puts new strains on leadership across campus, especially regarding leadership on committees.

The gender mix and diversity of the faculty has improved over the decade. The number of women at all ranks of the faculty has increased by 13.1% since 1990. The number of minority faculty has also increased. These were matters of concern in 1990 and still remain so, but clearly there has been a serious effort to attract, retain, and promote female faculty members and faculty of color. The most successful efforts have been with the retaining of female faculty members. They have also moved into highly visible and important positions on the campus. Now, for example, there are three females serving as Assistant Academic Deans and another as acting Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The Director of the Faculty Development Center is also female. While it is true that most of the division chairs and unit directors on campus are still occupied by males, the important role of female faculty at the senior ranks and at the important administrative positions has improved significantly since 1990.

Faculty still complain as they did in 1990 about the onerous committee and service work required by the institution at all levels from discipline to campus. Yet, this is also a highly democratic faculty which has chosen to participate in the governance system of the institution, again at all levels. The adverse side is the time that it takes to run the institution. There is frustration with the enormous amount of time devoted to committee work, discipline activities, administrative activities, campus committee assignments, or self-study committees, but there is seemingly little that we can do about it. Efforts to reduce the bureaucracy of committee assignments have generally resulted in only modest reductions in committee work. Within the past two years, there was a serious effort to reduce the number of adjunct committees. The net result of almost a year of discussion and examination was modest to say the least--two adjunct committees, Honors and General Education--were dropped. Ultimately, most members of the faculty felt the existing adjunct committees were essential in the oversight of the running of important campus programs.

The conclusion probably still prevails that the administrative and campus workload falls unevenly on certain faculty. Younger faculty particularly are protected from service responsibilities by division chairs and the Dean so that they may gain promotion and tenure. Perhaps little can be done to reduce the bureaucracy and committee work, particularly if the institution is to maintain one of its especially strong characteristics, the long-standing tradition of faculty involvement in making curricular, personnel, and educational policy decisions.

Another area of concern is that of clerical and technical assistance for faculty. The Data Book shows that staff positions for academic support have increased from 41 to 51 in the past eight years. Additions to the clerical staff on the campus during the past ten years have been modest to say the least. With the advent in widespread use of computers for word processing and related activity, faculty are certainly able to do much more of their own clerical work, but still they need to have course-related support. The faculty has grown, but course related support at the division level (clerical, computing, and student assistant) has remained relatively static over the past ten years. There is evidence that there is serious need for such assistance directly to faculty in their course related activities.

Human Resources--Staff

Remarkably and unfortunately, little was said in previous NCA self-studies about the role of the staff-- academic professionals, civil service, and union members. They play an important, indeed a vital, role at UMM. And it is clear that UMM has a highly dedicated and conscientious staff in all job categories. The purpose of this section is to articulate some of the issues and concerns raised by the staff. These include staff salaries, professional development, and conditions of employment. Over the past ten years, the staff has changed in size in the following ways: academic professional increased from 46 to 75; Bargaining Units (AFSCME and Teamsters) increased from 69 to 148; and Civil Service decreased from 116 to 38--a net increase in staff of 30. Salaries for teamsters and AFSCME are set through union negotiation processes, but the Academic Professional and Civil Service staff are not covered under similar contracts. The staff is a diverse group engaged in activities ranging from cleaning buildings to those directly involved in instruction. The issues of concern to each group of employees may be summarized as follows:

1) Civil Service (professionally-oriented program staff). Civil Service staff noted that pay plans normally have university-wide across-the-board increases plus departments can make in-range adjustments based upon performance. Other campuses make such adjustments--UMM does not. Further, it is difficult to advance professionally at UMM.

2) Teamsters (includes food service, building and grounds and custodial staff). There is little upward mobility in the building and grounds crew. And there is a feeling that middle and lower management are not doing their jobs.

3) AFSCME (clerical and technical). Issues of inadequate compensation, opportunities for advancement and the disparity in benefits packages between faculty and staff surfaced here.

4) Academic Professional (P&A) - this is a relatively new job category that encompasses most of the professional (non-teaching) staff at UMM. Senior administrators and many of the department heads outside of the teaching faculty hold one kind of academic staff ranking or another. It includes the Registrar, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Finance, and those who hold director-level positions. In recent years, most new appointments in the professional non-teaching staff at UMM have been in the Academic Professional category rather than in Civil Service. Typically, these appointments are made for no more than one to three years. This permits the university considerable flexibility in salary, length of appointment, and conditions of employment. Since this is a somewhat unique category to the University of Minnesota, comparable salaries, matters of staff development and conditions of employment are not rooted in the same comparability with other institutions as found with faculty. Some of the issues of concern to the Academic Professional staff include salary disparities between faculty and P&A staff, lack of secure positions (most P&A staff are on one year contracts), few opportunities for professional development, and a sense that their role in governance has been diminished.

Staff in all categories seem to have excellent training for their work, but because there are no common measures or standards for promotion or retention as exist for faculty, it is difficult to measure precisely the expertise of the staff. There are, of course, those who have terminal degrees or certification in particular areas that demonstrate their expertise, but many staff hold positions in which their degrees or fields of study are not immediately relevant. Staff accomplishments in their positions are reflected in the number of staff who have received all-university recognition through, for example, the Tate Award, the Academic Staff Awards, and the Outstanding Service Award. Each category of staff has its own measures of professional distinction and advancement. Whatever shortcomings there are in the salaries for staff in various categories, there is a general agreement that staff are of the highest quality and that these positions at UMM remain attractive and, indeed, in some respects coveted in this region. Staff are known for their dedication, longevity of service, and knowledge of the institution. On a day-to-day basis, staff have important contacts with students which deeply affect student satisfaction with UMM. In the residence halls, the library, the student center, and the computer center, and other student services offices, students routinely work with staff members, perhaps as much as with faculty.

In 1990 the staff use of new technology was limited, but they have risen to the challenge by gaining computer proficiency, much of it self taught. Indeed it is now woven into the fabric of the institution. UMM remains a premier employer in the region with salary and benefits strong by comparison to the local economy. Staff also have a strong interest in professional advancement as evidenced by their participation in such programs as the Master of Liberal Studies or the Graduate Certificate in Computing and Educational Technology. Although the staff expresses concerns about UMM and the way they are treated, they also make it emphatically clear that they enjoy their work, they like being here and they have a commitment to the place, their colleagues, and our students.

Criterion III--The institution is accomplishing its purposes

The following section offers evidence that the institutional goals are being met, including data supporting the quality of teaching and research activity, information on the student body, evidence of internal and external services, and information on resource allocation and the adequacy of facilities.

The Accomplishment of Institutional Goals

The Self-Study concluded that beyond the broad purposes of teaching, research and service, the institution has seven major operational goals: maintaining excellence in teaching; maintaining a level of research activity expected of a campus of the University of Minnesota; maintaining a student body appropriate to the mission of UMM; providing service achievement; sustaining leadership and governance appropriate to a liberal arts campus; allocating funds equitably and appropriately; and maintaining and improving facilities. These operational goals are appropriately directed toward the achievement of UMM's official goals, overall mission and purposes.

UMM maintains a series of regularized processes to assess both the quantity and the quality of its instructional program. These include: the annual analysis of statistical information, such as enrollment and student credit hour data; grade distributions by course, discipline, and division; and retention and graduation figures. Student opinions of the quality of the instruction they receive is the subject of an intensive Student Evaluation of Teaching which collects and analyzes course evaluations for every course taught. Student opinions regarding their satisfaction with various aspects of their university education are collected periodically using standardized survey instruments. Follow-up information on the occupational and post-graduate educational success of UMM graduates is collected annually.

The primary responsibility of assessing the quality of student achievement at UMM rests with the faculty. Until recently, UMM employed no comprehensive examinations or other standardized system of assessing intellectual, personal, or educational development of the student body. Each discipline, and indeed each faculty member, was responsible for the continuing evaluation of the academic progress and completion of performance objectives of students at the level of the individual course in progress toward completion of the major. Over the past two years, however, UMM has organized a comprehensive plan to assess student learning. Further, the Coordinator of the Scholastic Committee and the Registrar monitor progress toward the entire range of degree requirements and those academic progress requirements which, if not met, could lead to suspension for low scholarship.

Assessment of the university's success in scholarship and artistic endeavor is, of course, indicated by the faculty's record of publications, compositions and artistic presentations. Annual reports of several units, such as University College, Student Activities, and University Relations, document the many educational and cultural contributions to the area. Finally, the quality of campus facilities has been judged subjectively by both the faculty and the students in evaluation surveys; certain professional judgments are available as well.

Maintaining Excellence in Teaching

Whatever may be said about the relative importance of the primary institutional purposes--teaching, research, and service--it is the quality of teaching that is crucial to the long-range success of UMM as an undergraduate, liberal arts college of the University of Minnesota. For individual faculty, it is excellence in the classroom which is the most important criterion in the annual evaluation process which leads to determination of salary, tenure, and promotion.

Student evaluations of each course provide immediate feedback to individual faculty members and to division chairs on quality of instruction. However, when the results of the evaluations are aggregated by class size, by division, or for the campus as a whole, they provide the most direct evidence of teaching effectiveness available from the consumer, i.e. the student. Table 10, which is the aggregate of the results from the spring 1998 administration of the Student Evaluations of Teaching Form for classes with 11-30 student enrollments (the most common class size), provides an example of the format used and a clear indication of the high marks that students give the UMM faculty for their teaching skill. In conjunction with the Self-Study, UMM conducted two surveys of all current students and another of former alumni which provide valuable insight regarding the instructional program. Alumni were asked to rate the level of their satisfaction with UMM and its impact on their lives. The results of these are discussed later in this report in Chapters IV and V.

Table 9

 

 

Evaluation Table 11-30

Maintaining Research and Scholarship

For the Self-Study, information on faculty achievement in research, scholarship, and artistic production was collected and tallied from the current vitae of each member of the 1998-99 teaching faculty. The last time a similar compilation took place was in 1989.

Table 10 below shows faculty scholars and artistic productivity in 1998; Table 11 shows similar activity of faculty in 1989. The analysis includes temporary, tenure-track, and tenured faculty and was as complete and accurate as the standardized UMM vitae sheets would allow.

 

 

Table 10

Tabulation of Faculty Research and Scholarship 1998 (120 Faculty)

DIVISION

Professional articles, chapters in books

Authored or edited books

Monographs, manuals, published reviews, videos

Exhibitions, pub-lic performance of creative work

Conference Presentations and Papers

Education

Elementary

14

0

3

0

58

Secondary

27

9

3

0

96

Total

41

9

6

0

154

Humanities

Art History

20

3

12

46

33

Art Studio

1

0

13

292

12

English

74

6

11

0

80

French

65

5

16

0

72

German

7

1

1

2

27

Music

26

0

0

106

4

Philosophy

50

25

10

0

59

Spanish

60

10

10

0

61

Speech

13

1

5

0

52

Theatre

1

0

3

123

10

Total

317

51

81

569

410

Science & Math

Biology

90

1

9

0

84

Chemistry

39

0

0

0

39

Computer Science

25

0

0

0

19

Geology

39

0

2

0

101

Mathematics

90

4

7

44

85

Physics

39

0

0

0

23

Total

322

5

18

44

351

Social Sciences

Econ/Mgmt

43

4

1

0

86

History

105

13

50

0

147

Political Science

39

1

3

0

34

Psychology

130

4

15

0

149

Sociology/Anthro

47

6

18

0

101

Total

364

28

87

0

517

P & A

26

6

8

34

43

All Campus

1070

99

200

647

1475

  

Table 11

Tabulation of Faculty Research and Scholarship 1989 (116.5 faculty)

DIVISION

Professional articles, chap-ters in books

Authored or edited books

Monographs, manuals, published reviews, videos

Exhibitions, pub-lic performance of creative work

Conference Presentations and Papers

Education

Elementary

5

0

1

0

11

Health

0

0

0

0

0

Physical

0

0

0

0

0

Secondary

0

1

0

0

9

Total

5

1

1

0

20

Humanities

Art History

3

0

0

9

5

Art Studio

1

0

0

75

0

English

3

4

2

0

3

French

2

2

0

0

9

German

1

2

0

0

8

Music

14

0

0

36

2

Philosophy

4

5

2

0

10

Spanish

1

3

2

1

16

Speech/Theatre

5

0

0

60

42

Total

34

16

6

181

95

Science & Math

Biology

11

1

5

0

15

Chemistry

3

1

2

0

7

Computer Science

2

0

0

0

1

Geology

11

1

10

0

19

Mathematics

2

0

0

0

7

Physics

3

0

0

0

3

Total

32

3

17

0

52

Social Sciences

Business-Econ

2

0

0

0

7

Economics

13

1

1

0

19

History

23

6

14

0

27

Political Science

10

1

1

0

14

Psychology

40

0

4

0

35

Sociology/Anthro

10

1

6

0

33

Total

98

9

26

0

135

All Campus

169

29

50

181

302

The statistical tabulation above does not accurately reflect the full range and richness of faculty contributions. To obtain a more complete picture, the work of the individual faculty member must be examined in some detail. The curriculum vitae of the faculty will be available for inspection by the NCA visiting team.

The mission of UMM as an undergraduate liberal arts campus of a major university clearly includes the role of research and scholarly activity. The UMM faculty is a professionally active faculty, composed of people who often are among the leading scholars in their particular area or who are active in composing, performing, directing, and sculpting. And what makes the campus an especially exciting one is that such faculty involve students directly in their professional work in all sorts of ways. If one adds to that the friendly and informal atmosphere in which the student-faculty collaboration takes place, it is clear why the UMM experience has had a lasting impact on many of its graduates.

Profile of the student body

In the fall of 1998, the student body was made up of mostly traditionally-aged students, though 7% were over the age of 25. 60% are women, 40% are men. Most are full time students. 82% are Minnesota residents. 18% come from out of state and foreign countries. It should be noted that in the last 10 years, there has been a gradual decline in the number of international students, although efforts are now underway to increase that number. In fall 1999, there are nine international students on campus. Some students are commuters, but most live on campus or in rooms in the nearby community. The majority of students receive substantial financial aid; 94% received some form of financial assistance in 1997-98 (see Table 2 above). UMM has a minority enrollment of 16%, the largest in the University of Minnesota.

Most students are academically able; Table 3 shows that in the fall of 1998, the high school rank of entering freshmen stood at the 87 percentile with 43% coming from the top 10% of their high school class. In the fall of 1998, the composite ACT was 24. While this is a strong showing, there has been a gradual decline since the last NCA study when the student profile stood at an ACT composite of 25 and the entering freshmen percentile at 92%, with over 62% coming from the top 10% of their high school class. In the intervening 10 years, the competition for top students is becoming increasingly intense.

Table 12

 

 

p. 18 Data Book

The educational objectives of the UMM student body are appropriate to the liberal arts, with the majority having the objective of a four-year baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degree in traditional academic disciplines or other professions. UMM has a substantial population of pre-professional students who also transfer to the professional schools of the University of Minnesota, or to other institutions. Table 4 shows the distribution of majors at UMM from 1994-98.

 

 

Table 13

 

 

pp. 35 Data Book

 

 

p. 36 Data Book

Providing University Services

The University of Minnesota, Morris is meeting institutional goals of providing effective academic student and campus support services. The academic support services include advising, academic assistance and tutoring, and library, audio-visual, and computing services; the student services include admissions and financial aid, the registrar, counseling, placement, minority support services, student activities, athletics and recreation, international programs and housing; other campus services include business office, food service, transportation, printing and bookstore, and campus security. These services function at a level appropriate to a campus of our size and mission. Details of the function and resources of the units have been provided in the preceding section. There are shortcomings and resource shortages to be sure, but most units provide service of high quality.

Providing services for the Community

The mission and planning documents make clear that commitment to public service is a general goal of the university. Without a doubt, UMM's public service function is more directly expressed through the activity of the University College unit described here. These activities range from evening and summer courses to special centers, conferences and economic development initiatives. The new Center for Small Towns provides an important link between the university and the small communities of western Minnesota. Projects associated with city planning, economic surveys, and Y2K compliance are made possible through this program. Students under a major service learning initiative provide the staffing of most of the community projects. Other current public service activities include a speakers bureau of faculty and staff; the office of Student Activities and the academic disciplines offer dozens of theater performances, art exhibits, concerts, films and convocations each year--all open to the public. Intercollegiate athletic events and summer camps in basketball, wrestling and swimming afford the community enriched opportunities in sports.

Beyond this, UMM serves as a resource for improving telecommunications technology in the area. Media Services assists in the production of programs and broadcast over the local public television station. The Computing Services staff has provided assistance to local businesses in computer applications. A microcomputer lab is available to the clients of the Small Business Resource Center. The Briggs Library is available to the public. Individual faculty and staff also contribute their time and expertise to community projects--as speakers, as judges in science, speech and theater, and music contests, as consultants to government or public service agencies. One faculty member in political science, for example, has written the strategic plan for a local community. Others in mathematics have done survey research for communities. UMM's contributions to the community at large reveal that, given its size, mission and rural setting, a quite comprehensive service program is being carried out.

Sustaining Leadership and Governance

Within the University of Minnesota system, UMM has a long-standing reputation as a well-run campus. On balance there has been a minimum of internal controversy or disruptive shifts in educational policy. There is a shared understanding of the primary goals and objectives of the institution which sustains the leadership across the campus and has done so for three decades. Campus leadership has been provided not only by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors, but by many unit administrators, ranging from the division chairs to the Registrar and the core of experienced faculty and staff who believe they can and should make a lasting contribution to the policies of the institution. Among the campus executive officers, key unit administrators, and senior faculty and staff, there has been a history of stability and modest turnover.

Resource Allocation

The principal revenue for the campus comes from a combination of tuition and legislative appropriations, which is treated as a single source of funds under the university's funding system. For fiscal year 1998-99, UMM received over $19,737,997 from this source, called the General Operations and Maintenance Funds. Room and Board, student fees and receipts from the bookstore and other enterprises make up the second largest source of revenue - in 1998-99 about $5,459,690. Income from various service units such as printing, transportation, and business services which rely on charges for other campus units, and occasional cash sales to employees and students make up a third source of funds (about $194,771 in 1998-99). Gifts from alumni and friends constitute several university-wide endowment funds and provide an important source of funds for the UMM Scholarship program. Funding for capital construction comes almost exclusively from specific legislative appropriations for that purpose. They vary from year to year.

Trends in the resources available to the campus during the past decade are shown in the Data Book. Table 11 shows total expenditures which include both compensation and supply, expense and equipment funds for the educational and support service programs of the campus. Expenditures for the auxiliary enterprises are not included. Growth is evident over the ten year period in all major categories--$1,743,486 in the support services, $450,048 in academic services and 1,372,937 in the academic divisions.

The increase in legislative funds and tuition has been insufficient to fully fund salary increases for academic personnel, civil service, or unionized employees, or to provide reasonable and needed increase in supplies, expenses and equipment budgets for campus units. This has been true at the University of Minnesota as a whole. Indeed in the early part of the decade, when the state was under severe financial retrenchment, there were virtually no salary increases. In the later part of this decade, with the state more prosperous, salary increases have been considerably better for faculty and to a lesser degree for staff, but still insufficient to keep up with our peer institutions.

Fiscal control, which was criticized in the last NCA report, has improved university-wide since the last NCA study. Now the College and University Finance System (CUFS) provides greater control over the entire budgetary and record keeping process. While CUFS itself has been criticized as a system only for specialists in accounting, it is credited with giving the institution a better grip on its income and expenditures.

Table 14

 

 

Data Book p. 2

Maintaining and Improving Facilities

Campus opinion regarding the quality of facilities varies. The Science Building, the Physical Education Center, the Library, the Humanities Fine Arts Center, most of the residence halls, Food Service, and the Heating Plant are good or adequate facilities by any standard. The new construction needed to complete the development of the campus is underway in the 1990's; long-range plans for a new Science Building, the University Student Center, and a Fitness Center have been achieved as will a major renovation of the Humanities Fine Arts Center. The faculty, on the other hand, as they expressed their opinions in 1999, are critical of some of the classrooms and special purpose facilities.

Initiatives that depend more clearly upon legislative funding, and thus on the central administration of the university, include improving essential non-academic services, increasing faculty salaries, replacing outdated instructional equipment, adding needed facilities, meeting the increasing demand for computer access, improving library holdings, increasing the tenure lines to alleviate understaffing in some disciplines, and obtaining research funds for faculty.

The essential conclusion of the Self-Study is that there is strong evidence that the institution is accomplishing its purposes. The present institutional strengths will be preserved by maintaining the priority of academic funding, the emphasis of teaching excellence and academic freedom, the commitment to scholarship, the responsibility of service as a cultural resource for west central Minnesota, the accessibility of administration, a participatory process of governance, the high quality of entering students, and the excellence of our graduates.

 

Criterion IV--The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness

This section covers an evaluation of the planning process, stability of resources, indications of long-range strength, and plans for the future. Evidence is offered that UMM will continue to accomplish its mission and purposes.

Long-range Institutional Planning

The University of Minnesota, Morris has participated with all of the colleges and campuses of the University of Minnesota in a system-wide planning effort for the past ten years. The effort, under the direction of the university President and the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, has put in place an interactive and cyclical planning process by which all colleges and campuses develop compacts including goals, objectives, and priorities. These compacts are supposed to provide the basis for budget decisions, for legislative appropriations requests, for resource allocation, and for campus development.

Long-range development is influenced by the President and the Central Administration through the university-wide planning process under which campus goals, objectives, and implementation strategies must be integrated into planning for the total university. The central administration controls resource allocation to the campus, both through the biennial budgeting process and through its ability to present to the Board of Regents and then to the Legislature major funding requests for staff, operating funds, and new buildings which affect an individual campus. Nevertheless, the UMM administration controls the campus plan, the ongoing budget, and the allocation of new resources among its programs once the funds have reached the campus. This is perhaps more true than ever before. The current Central Administration has emphasized de-centralized control and collegiate authority. This has been especially reinforced by the university's new funding formula, Investments for Managed Growth or IMG.

The current planning document reaffirms the mission and basic institutional characteristics--small size, residential setting, controlled admission, commitment to attracting high-ability minority and majority students, an undergraduate liberal arts education with a highly coherent general education curriculum, and high expectations of faculty scholarship. It projects a gradual growth in enrollment to a student body of 2000 by about 2000-2001 while maintaining a student-faculty ratio no higher than 17 to 1.

The Planning Cycles - Strengths and Weaknesses

Institutional planning is the responsibility of the Chancellor and his administrative unit heads--most importantly, the three Vice Chancellors and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning. The Morris Campus Resources and Planning Committee has a major consultative role in the development of formal planning documents, especially statements of mission, goals, objectives, and priorities. The committee creates or reacts, makes recommendations, and often endorses strategic plans of the campus and its major administrative units--Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Finance, and Plant Services.

Much of the campus strategic planning effort may be characterized as a "bottom up" effort. Administrative units, including academic disciplines and divisions, feed both long- and short-term plans to the Vice Chancellors, who, in turn, use that information to develop coherent objectives and plans for their respective areas of responsibility. These plans then become the basis for the campus strategic plan which is developed by the Chancellor in consultation with the Campus Resources and Planning Committee. When the Chancellor is satisfied with the campus plan, for which he is ultimately responsible, it is passed on to the Central Administration for reaction. A three-year cycle for the major goals, objectives, and priorities documents and accompanying strategic plans is the current practice. A two-year cycle of campus biennial budget requests is in place as well, dictated by the university's need to formulate biennial legislative requests. Added to these is an annual compact process between the campus and central administration in which agreement is reached on broad goals, principles, and specific activities to be accomplished in the succeeding year.

Planning at UMM is supported by a well-developed data base, provided by the UMM Academic Management Information System, information from the Central Administration's Management Planning Information Service, and a variety of campus and university-wide specialized institutional studies.

The efforts toward planning, including this Self-Study, have helped the campus to gain support for its building requests and to obtain grants, have strengthened the Chancellor's hand in presentations to the Central Administration, and have clearly enhanced the likelihood that UMM will continue, efficiently and effectively, to accomplish its purposes in the future.

 

Trends in Resources--Past and Future

From the standpoint of resources, human and financial, the institution is on balance stronger than it was as the decade began, though not as strong as needed to be the best. Financial resources, as expressed in actual expenditures, have increased by more than 40% during the decade. Table 14 (p. 63 above) shows rather clearly that the increase in funds has been allocated in accordance with the institutional priority of maintaining the quality of the educational program. There is, however, disagreement whether faculty salaries have kept pace with the competition (see Table 8, p. 44). Funding for supplies, expenses and equipment has increased over the decade, but the number of support staff is inadequate, as evidenced later in this report. Nevertheless, the evidence supports the assertion that there is a good financial base of funding.

UMM has a mission, curriculum, degree requirements, and major academic regulations which show a history of great stability. The distribution of student credit hours completed and the pattern of courses taken demonstrates that, despite which major, the advisors and the structure of general education requirements have guided students to a well-rounded liberal education. Follow-up studies consistently confirm the achievement of graduates and record their satisfaction with the educational experience at UMM. Perhaps most important for the future strength of the institution is the fact that consensus among faculty, administration, Central Administration, and Regents that UMM should remain a single-purpose, small, selective, undergraduate liberal arts college has not changed in the 40 years since its opening. There is no intention of altering the mission in the future.

Financial Stability and Budget Outlook

As UMM approaches the beginning of the new century, the financial picture is mixed. As noted, the operating budget of the institution has grown by 40% to $17,699,560 over the past decade. Funds to support supplies, equipment and expense have also increased substantially in this decade over the last. Increases have been considerably greater than simply the cost of inflation. At the same time, the basic resources are not entirely adequate for an institution that aspires to be the best public liberal arts college in the country. Money for student financial aid, for faculty and staff salaries, for new equipment, particularly computers, and for maintenance of the physical plant and grounds is not sufficient. This, of course, could be said by almost any institution, but the evidence is that time and again, UMM has proven to be a lean institution that makes the most of limited resources. UMM' s sources of funding are essentially three: 1) legislative funds, 2) tuition, and 3) private gifts. While the University of Minnesota and UMM have gotten increasing support from the state legislature, the dollars have not increased dramatically. And we don't expect that they will. Paying tuition has become an answer to increasing the resources available to UMM, particularly in the 1990's. In the late 1980's, UMM was rewarded for keeping a tight rein on enrollment at about 1750 students to assure the quality of that student body. UMM was to be rewarded for its size, that of a top-rated liberal arts college, and for its innovative curriculum. In the early part of the 1990's, the new central administration looked to UMM to increase its enrollment and to increase tuition. Since the central administration agreed that the college could keep tuition in excess of a certain amount, UMM would have a larger revenue source. Thus, in the early 90's, UMM began to increase tuition to a point that it was more expensive than virtually any other undergraduate college of the University of Minnesota, particularly the College of Liberal Arts, and certainly more expensive than any of the public institutions in the state. UMM was still below the tuition of the private liberal arts colleges, but the gap, which was once marked, began to close. The central administration's view was that the per student cost was unusually high at UMM and that a more realistic enrollment would be as high as 2,500. UMM resisted such an enrollment figure based upon its own assessment of its current faculty resources, the living quarters available to students and the classroom/laboratory facilities available. Basically, the enrollment of 2,500 was not realistic, so more recent plans have placed the enrollment ceiling at about 2,000. A further complication in the tuition issue was the new university funding formula called "Investment for Managed Growth" (IMG). This funding formula along with the greater decentralization in the University of Minnesota has placed more responsibility in each of the individual colleges' hands. This was intended to give the colleges greater control over their own destiny and over their own resources, but it also required the colleges to make their income projections through planned enrollment. There is an advantage to having excess tuition, because the units can keep it. But, failing that, future funding will be lessened as a result of lower tuition revenue. There is no bailout for those units that did not achieve their tuition expectations.

Over this decade, the result of the push for greater enrollment and income and the IMG formula has been higher tuition and, for a while, more revenue. But the adverse effect has been twofold: there is evidence that tuition has increased faster than the incomes of the families that traditionally have sent their children to UMM; and as our enrollment has dropped in recent years, our tuition revenue has not made IMG projections. The point is that tuition as an important financial underpinning of the institution has been unsteady this past decade.

Improvements for Becoming the Best

In a number of measures such as the quality and productivity of our faculty and staff and the excellence of our student body, UMM is already among the best of the public liberal arts colleges with which we compare ourselves. We need more resources. In general, resources should be directed toward more financial aid students, better compensation for our faculty and staff, more staff to support the academic enterprises of the institution, and more funds to expand our capacity in fund development to reach potential givers and to increase the visibility of the institution. The institution needs funding to increase our technological infrastructure, not only wiring but computer access for faculty, staff, and students; to attract top-flight faculty, particularly in the sciences, where start-up costs for research programs are high; and to strengthen the library holdings.

Plans for the Future

One of the most articulate statements about the vision of UMM in the future was written by Elizabeth S. Blake, former Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean.

As a campus it is our aim to provide an undergraduate liberal arts program which will prepare citizens for intellectual leadership in their communities, throughout Minnesota and beyond, as the state enters the twenty-first century. UMM hopes to inspire students with a lifelong love of learning and with a desire for constructive service to human society.

We want the bachelor of arts program to be accessible to any qualified citizen who makes the effort to meet our application requirements. We want to offer the best undergraduate liberal arts education that we can devise. We want to provide an attractive, supportive environment for learning. We want UMM faculty and students to make their share of distinguished contributions to scholarship and the arts. We want to enrich the life of all citizens in this region of the state. These are our institutional goals.

As we strive to achieve the ideal in public undergraduate education, these goals translate into specific priorities and activities. Accessibility means financial aid and accurate admissions information; it also means an academic assistance center, helpful advising, and a minimum of bureaucratic procedures. Offering the best undergraduate liberal arts education we can devise means attracting and keeping excellent faculty members but it also means supporting them with up-to-date facilities and equipment and providing ongoing faculty development opportunities. It means bringing together a culturally diverse faculty, staff, and student body in an intensive living-learning environment which has a lasting impact. It means a coherent curriculum through which novice students gradually become expert independent learners. It means making available such diverse learning opportunities as honors and internships, athletics and music lessons, peer tutoring and undergraduate research. It means personalizing education and being responsive to individual differences. It means involvement and commitment by every member of the community.

Criterion V--The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships

There are both general and specific ways in which UMM demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships. In general, it is a remarkably civil and democratic campus community. Further, there is evidence of a wide understanding of and commitment by faculty, staff, and students to the mission as a single focus liberal arts college. There is civic pride in the institution, along with a strong commitment to governance and respect for all members of the campus community. In addition, there is a strong commitment to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body that has resulted in 23 faculty of color (18.9% of the faculty) and 288 students of color (15.8% of the student body). This diversity is not by accident, but is the result of a strategic admission policy to recruit students of color.

UMM vigorously ascribes to the all-university equal opportunity statement in its hiring practices, its treatment of faculty and staff in the work place, and in positions open to talent. It is also committed to a policy of protection against racial or sexual harassment. Earlier in this decade, a task force defined a clear policy against racial harassment (Appendix J) and steps were taken in a number of ways to increase the climate of tolerance and understanding on the campus, including diversity jams sponsored by the Minority Student Program and the Student Activities Office. A new program called Gateway was designed to enhance chances of success at UMM for students of color. Similarly, UMM strongly supports the policy against sexual harassment and makes that policy widely known across the campus. Incidents of harassment that a generation ago would simply be overlooked are now clearly defined so that students, staff, and faculty who are the objects of such harassment may find redress within the university grievance system. A first-year seminar course (IS 1001 Human Diversity) is required of all incoming freshmen. The course is intended to look at diversity in all of its dimensions--racial, intellectual and physical. It underscores that a university community should have in its curriculum a place where students and faculty may address issues of common concern. The report of Subcommittee IIb evaluates the current racial climate at UMM.

One of the great strengths of a civil society is the capacity to restrain arbitrariness--to protect those with lesser power. The campus has a number of committees within its governance system that protect faculty, staff, and students in a variety of situations ranging from mistreatment in the workplace to disputes between students or between students, faculty, and staff. Appeals to institutional and academic policies can be made through the Scholastic Committee or the Consultative Committee, both made up of faculty, staff, and students. Students with challenges to the academic policies of the university may find redress through the Scholastic Committee. Any of the constituencies of the university community may approach the Consultative Committee about their concerns and do so in confidence.

UMM has faithfully adhered to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) policies regarding academic freedom and tenure of faculty. Even at a time when the University of Minnesota Board of Regents contemplated a change in the tenure policy, UMM faculty and administrators held firmly in support of the existing tenure policy. On balance, the institution has been scrupulous in assuring that there is a fair, open, and deliberative review process for promotion and tenure. Further, there are few examples, if any, of faculty not holding tenure being unable to fully express their views as a tenured faculty member would. In short, this is a campus community with a deep democratic spirit and a tradition of shared responsibility and governance. This is not only a matter of principle, but of practice, as is evidenced in its committee structure which provides access to students, faculty, and staff on grievances related to personal associations, academic policies, or professional relationships.

In an effort to address issues related to violence on campus, all crimes are reported at least once a semester in the Weekly Bulletin. While crimes of all kinds are relatively infrequent at UMM, some do occur. There is a need for vigilance and timely public disclosure of such crimes. Public reports of statistics about crime are intended to make the campus community aware of the nature of such activity on the campus. Cooperation between campus and community security forces is important to ensure the safety of both the campus and the community.

By virtually any of the measures of integrity in practices and relationships, UMM clearly emerges as among the best public liberal arts colleges in the country. In its governance system, in its committee structure, in its racial and sexual harassment policies, and in its curriculum, the institution has clearly defined processes for redress of grievances--academic, personal, and professional. The embodiment of the democratic spirit is found in the faculty, staff, and students where voices are heard and respected.

Chapter III

Eight Concerns from the 1990 NCA Review

Eight concerns were noted in the 1990 NCA Report; most have been completely or adequately addressed, though some still require attention.

1) There are three related issues, which if not corrected, they believed would weaken UMM's potential. Some classes are too large; a few majors offer a bare minimum of necessary courses; and UMM's overall retention and graduation rates are too low.

In response to the first concern, that some classes at UMM are too large, it should be noted that the average lower division class size in 1998-99 was 28.7 students. This encompassed 347 classes. Further, the upper division average was 15.4 students. This assumes a faculty of approximately of 120. The overall faculty:student ratio is actually about 16:1. There are of course specific classes such as Introductory Psychology or Geology in Daily Life which have enrollments anywhere between 200-300 students. This is not typical, however. There are certain disciplines in which the enrollments between upper division and lower division are not substantially different, but on the average one sees modestly-sized lower division classes and comparatively small upper division classes. To cite some examples, in history, the typical lower division class size average is 54. 7 students, whereas in the upper division courses the average is 18.7. In psychology, where the lower division averages 96.6 students, the upper division average is 15.5. In anthropology the lower division average is 77.0, the upper division average 19.4. In biology, there is a close relationship between upper and lower division at about 16.9 and 16.6 respectively. In mathematics the lower division average is 32.7 whereas the upper division average is 16.3. Some disciplines have averages at the lower division level of 13.6 and only 9 plus in upper division courses.

A comparison of enrollments, classes and faculty (Table 5, pp. 37-38 above) with Table 15 shows evidence of fairly consistent lower and upper division class sizes over most of the past decade; further, in the large classes, particularly in psychology and geology, the students' evaluation of their learning experience is positive and indeed students in both upper division and lower division classes report satisfaction with their experience. Students say they're satisfied with class size, but then they report that they learn more in small classes. Our class size is typical for COPLAC institutions.

Table 15

 

 

 

 

p. 26 1989-90

Student response to instruction has been consistently high over the years at UMM. If there is a criticism from students, it more typically is that the variety of courses offered and availability of courses that they want is not as great as they could hope for. With regard to the availability of courses, ratings in the 1989 and 1994 surveys that were particularly low have recovered in 1998. Class size is also offset, in part due to the large number of opportunities for alternative learning experiences. In 1997-98, for example, 826 students participated in directed studies which either involved a 1:1 working relationship with faculty or a faculty person and a small group of students. Further, UMM students, particularly at the upper division level and in their major, had ample opportunities to do individual research projects. In the SQALS, almost 30% of seniors reported working on an individual research project with faculty.

In response to the criticism that a few majors offer a bare minimum of necessary courses, there has been a concerted effort over the past decade to assure that there are at least two and typically three or more faculty for each of the majors. In the last NCA Self-Study, there were a number of disciplines in which the critical faculty size had not been achieved. Right now, German has 2.5 FTE faculty, but virtually all others have three or more.

To be sure, over the decade, the faculty has grown only modestly in terms of full-time equivalence so the possibilities of offering a wider array of courses in individual majors or overall are not great. Students consistently rate their classroom experiences highly favorably and their encounters with faculty equally favorably.

Finally, with regard to retention and graduation rates, which were considered to be too low in the last NCA visit, we can report notable gains. The four-year graduation rate has improved from 24.6% to 41.3%; the five-year graduation rate from 39.9% to 51.7%, and the six-year rate from 33.5% to 50.1%. Interestingly, our success in retaining students between their freshman and sophomore year has been uneven over time, but certainly since 1989 always in the high 70% to mid-80% range, and there has been a significant improvement in retaining students between the sophomore and junior year and an improvement between the junior and senior year. It should be noted that retention among students of color is equivalent to that of majority students, though graduation rates tend to be somewhat lower over the past decade. Compared to public institutions, retention and graduation rates are high and what one would expect of a strong public liberal arts college, but considerably lower than private liberal arts colleges. The best assessment is that graduation rates have improved dramatically since the last NCA visit, and retention rates have improved more modestly.

2) The University of Minnesota and UMM have a seriously flawed financial management and accounting system.

Since the last NCA visit, the University of Minnesota has implemented a new accounting system referred to as CUFS which provides more systematic oversight and budget accountability. This was a university-wide problem in 1990 and has been addressed at the all-university level. UMM has simply followed suit.

3) There are significant unmet needs for new instructional and research equipment.

When the 1990 NCA Self-Study was conducted, UMM had emerged from a long period of budget retrenchments, and a similar long period of absence of funds for new facilities, equipment and supplies. On the whole, the decade of the 1990's has been stronger in funding for instructional and research equipment, and certainly toward the end of the decade, new facilities which house such equipment. Since 1993-94 when $125,500 was expended for research, the figure has actually increased to $213,000 in 1997-98. In short, there has been a gradual increase in the dollars allocated for research activity (1998-99 Data Book, p. 8).

The allocation for supplies, expense and equipment (SE&E) expenditures from the general operations and maintenance fund and state legislative special appropriations increased from $2.3 million in 1992-93 to $3.6 million in 1997-98. This is an impressive percentage increase, though in actual dollars the amount is less dramatic. Further, there are funds for new equipment in the new science building, in the renovated Humanities Fine Arts Center, and in the newly-completed Regional Fitness Center. Expenditures for computer access have also gone up substantially from a little over $77,000 in 1992-93 to $163,000 in 1997-98.

At the same time, the NCA Self-Study indicated that there is an urgent need for set-up funds, particularly in disciplines of the sciences where the norm is having the funds available to advance faculty research programs. This typically has been arranged on a case-by-case basis, but there is a need to establish an ongoing fund for this purpose. Similarly, although there has been an increase in professional development funds, the faculty still must carry a considerable portion of the cost for travel and related expenses when attending out-of-state and professional meetings.

Another example of an urgent support need is in the area of computing services. While UMM does an excellent job in providing services for e-mail, Internet access, and UMM Web sites, there had been a serious lack of staff support to help to faculty and students using computer technology. Since the self-study was initiated, a staff person has been hired to provide this support. There is a need for computer upgrades, but that is being addressed now with plans to upgrade faculty computers every four years.

4) There are a few majors which are understaffed from the faculty standpoint and sufficiently unpopular among students so there is question about whether they should be offered.

As indicated earlier, there has been a concerted effort in the decade of the 90's to assure that there is a minimum of three faculty in each discipline where the major is offered. We sometimes slip below that figure, but on the whole that is the minimum norm for majors across the campus. The history of UMM has been one in which it has carefully monitored the majors and has tried to stick with those that are appropriate for the liberal arts mission of the institution. And over the years, majors with modest enrollments or small faculty size have been reviewed for continuation. On the whole, the answer has been that the number of majors that we currently have--27--is not excessive and is entirely consistent with the best liberal arts colleges. It seems that there is a minimal number of majors needed for a liberal arts college and UMM is at that point. Even relatively small majors such as physics often enroll a large number of students in service courses that serve other majors in other disciplines. UMM went through the experience of dropping majors that were either lacking in quality or in demand but that has not been a major issue in the 1990's. The majors are on the whole uniformly staffed and student satisfaction with majors is consistently strong. While there may be dissatisfaction with a particular instructor here and there, the overall sense is that UMM's majors are strong, particularly with efforts to have at least three faculty in each.

 

5) There is a pressing need for a new student center which should include a meeting place that could promote faculty interaction.

A new student center was constructed in 1991-92 which has genuinely become a campus community center for lectures, banquets, artistic events, luncheons, and meetings of faculty, staff and students, either separately or together. It is located at the heart of the campus and it has met and indeed exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, the building is still not entirely done. The student center actually is an addition to an existing Edson Hall and the old auditorium was not entirely renovated because of limited resources. That task is yet to be fully finished.

6) The general faculty are not sufficiently competent to offer a sound "writing across the curriculum" initiative.

The writing across the curriculum initiative was a key part of the general education requirement developed in the late 1980's and continued through 1998. Under semester conversion, there has been a major revision of our general education requirements and the writing across the curriculum requirement has been dropped. The new general education requirement still has at its heart a common experience, but now there are two other major categories: skills for the liberal arts, and expanding perspectives. Writing is still a critical part of the curriculum at UMM, but it has been incorporated into the major.

7) There is insufficient funding for faculty research and professional travel.

In general, funding for faculty research and professional travel has improved modestly, but it is still inadequate for an institution that has high expectations of scholarly activity on the part of its faculty. The recent Self-Study at UMM indicates that there should be a substantial increase, particularly given UMM's relative size and geographic isolation, which increases the need to provide maximum support for both professional contributions and stimulation. An additional $30,000 for support of professional development would be a step in the right direction.

 

8) The college's assessment program of course examination and institutional surveys must include student outcomes using nationally standardized measures of achievement.

In the past three years, UMM has aggressively addressed assessment of student achievement and learning. This has involved developing a plan that was submitted to NCA for approval, which it has done. Under the leadership of the Director of Assessment and an Assessment Review Committee, this entailed soliciting assessment plans from each of the disciplines and academic support units. The UMM assessment plan was approved in by NCA July 1998.

This plan aims to integrate assessment with the academic functions of the institution and to support and strengthen assessment as part of the academic culture. It shows that assessment is already a part of the academic culture of UMM. At the same time, the campus needed a common language to ease the communication between units and create an infrastructure to promote, motivate and support the units. The administration part of the UMM assessment process proposes a unique and innovative unit: Center for Student Learning and Faculty Teaching. This organizational structure places the assessment where it belongs, underscores faculty ownership, and emphasizes that student learning is an outcome of faculty teaching and cannot be improved without addressing faculty instructional development.

As designed by the task force, the conceptual model consists of unit assessment cycles as well as an institutional assessment cycle. Units include the course, the discipline curriculum, the major, the general education curriculum or its components, and other programs--for example, Study Abroad--where significant student learning has been identified (a detailed list of units is given in appendix). The overall institutional cycle aims to provide feedback among units to assist them in identifying overlapping student learning needs, and to integrate the results of individual unit assessments. The conceptual framework not only allows the unit assessment cycles to flow from the institution's published mission and goals, but it also creates channels to identify necessary changes in institutional goals. See Appendix K for the complete Assessment Plan.

 

Heart of the Report

This is the heart of the report, focusing on the special emphasis theme, "The quality of student academic life at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a public liberal arts college, part of a large research university." The phrase "student academic life" is likely to mean different things for different people, but for purposes of this self-study, it means a core of curricular and co-curricular work, which is defined to be credit earning, and non credit earning pedagogy, e.g. non-credit student research. The phrase "college's expectations of and aspirations for its students' academic life" means that the college aims to produce liberally educated, socially responsible citizens and that UMM students contribute to the creative and intellectual life of the campus. The phrase "student's expectations of academic life in the college" means that students expect to find good teachers who are accessible and that college provides opportunities for intellectual growth and stimulation. There are three goals in this theme:

    1. To describe the college's expectations of and aspirations for student academic life and to assess the reality;
    2. To describe the students' expectations of academics at the college and to assess the reality;
    3. To assess how a public liberal arts college in a large research university affects students' expectations, aspirations and realities.

Within this theme four dimensions were identified for further exploration:

    1. The quality of student academic life: the pre- and post UMM years
    2. The quality of student academic life: the UMM years, curricular and co-curricular activities
    3. The quality of student academic life: the UMM years: extra-curricular activities
    4. Resources for maintaining and improving the quality of student academic life

Four sub-committees explored these topics. Realizing that it was not possible to do a complete examination of each, they carefully selected hypotheses that helped assess the topic within our overall self-study theme. What emerges is a remarkably revealing picture of the quality of academic life at UMM. While the reports are not exhaustive, they are thorough and cast considerable light on the important issues affirming the quality of academic life and the resources needed to improve and to sustain that quality in the future.

Chapter IV

The Quality of Student Academic Life: The Pre- and Post-UMM Years

Sub-committee I examined two aspects of UMM: 1) whether the "Pre-UMM years"--UMM's ability to find, attract, and admit students--affects the quality of student academic life; and, as a public liberal arts college, its accessibility to students of modest means; 2) whether UMM graduates meet UMM's expectations.

The first task was to identify a limited number of concrete issues that could be assessed with measurable outcomes. Six propositions were chosen, three from the pre-UMM years and three from the post-UMM years. They were:

· UMM students come prepared to do successful work

· UMM takes its students far in four years

· The diversity of the entering student body enhances the quality of academic life and is consistent with UMM's mission.

· The geographic location of our graduates reflects our mission as a leading public liberal arts college.

· The number of UMM alumni who attend graduate school meets our expectations.

· UMM graduates are active, contributing members of their communities.

Pre-UMM years

UMM students come prepared to do successful work

This proposition has two aspects: "preparedness" and "success." Initial discussions of the charge to assess how UMM's ability to find, attract, and admit students affects the quality of student academic life started a debate concerning why "selectivity" in admissions may be desirable for an institution with UMM's mission. Beyond the obvious answer that selectivity matters in UMM's assessment by outsiders and in the institution's standing as a national liberal arts college, selectively may enhance the quality of academic life because it may be a proxy for preparedness or motivation. In particular, the faculty of a national liberal arts college is engaged in research and therefore may be better matched with students who are prepared to engage in serious, expansive inquiry. Indeed, students with these traits may help create a climate where all excel because students learn from one another.

On the issue of preparation, a variety of different interpretations or measures were considered. Lacking any obvious measure for motivation, the committee considered and rejected several proxies as being inadequate measures, including the other colleges entering freshmen have considered and number of college credits upon entry. Some information regarding the motivation of our entering student body can be inferred from the characteristics of the 1997 freshman class, as revealed by the 78% of new students who completed the CIRP freshman survey. The survey indicated that entering UMM students had higher high school grades than the national norm. Moreover, the students rate themselves as more able in academic ability, writing, speaking, and mathematics. They also regard themselves as having relatively high intellectual self-confidence, creativity, spirituality, and drive to achieve that exceeds the national average. Seventy-seven percent indicated that they were planning to go beyond the BA degree (19% a Ph.D. and 15% a medical or law degree), well above the national average. Fewer also reported having been bored in class than the national norm.

To gain greater insight, the committee ultimately decided to examine those aspects of preparedness that are 1) measurable and 2) utilized by UMM admissions in making their decisions--ACT composite score (ACT); high school class rank (HSR); and those meeting the entrance expectations regarding math, science, languages. Whether these measures of selectivity actually explain success at UMM is explored below.

First, has UMM attracted a selective student body in recent years? Over the last decade, there has been a slight decrease in preparedness as measured by ACT and median HSR. In 1990, the median composite ACT of the entering class was 25 and the median HSR was 92. By 1998, these measures had slipped to 24 and 87 respectively. This slippage may have been offset by a greater level of academic preparedness: in 1990, 61% of entering students had completed two years of language study, 78% three years of science, and 91% three years of mathematics. By 1998, these numbers had increased to 95%, 98%, and 98% respectively.

To ascertain whether these admissions criteria are correlated to success at UMM, a statistical analysis was undertaken. UMM GPA after four years at UMM for those students who entered in 1990 and 1994 was used as a measure of "success." The ACT composite score (ACT COMP), HSR, and gender of these students were used as explanatory variables. In addition, a dummy variable was created to reflect the entering year, 1990 or 1994, to capture any cohort effect on GPA performance. In terms of ACT composite and HSR, the 1990 entering class was relatively strong; 1994 was relatively weak. Presumably, because students learn from each other, a stronger entering class may help lift performance for all students. Unfortunately, information on high school preparation in mathematics, languages and sciences was not in a form readily available for use in the regression analysis.

The analyses clearly indicate that HSR and ACT COMP are statistically significant in explaining UMM success as measured by GPA. Higher ACT COMP and HSR lead to greater likelihood that a student will have a higher UMM GPA, lending support to using these as admissions criteria. Gender is also significant. Other things being equal, female students are more likely to have a higher UMM GPA. Surprisingly, the results provide no support for an influence on student success of class year. One possible explanation might be that any cohort effect on learning was offset by higher grading standards on the part of the faculty; another might be that the greater preparedness of the 1994 class offset any ACT COMP or HSR effect.

A separate statistical analysis was undertaken by an advanced statistics class taught by Jon Anderson, UMM Associate Professor of Mathematics, in the fall of 1997. Anderson's study attempted to identify factors important to a different measure of student success: student retention. For retention in the senior year, Anderson's study revealed that ACT COMP and HSR and intended major were important factors. Higher academic ability as measured by HSR and ACT COMP, however, may increase the probability that some will leave UMM. For a student in a two- or three-year pre-professional program, higher academic ability decreases the probability of retention. In part, this reflects UMM being a component of a wider university system. It is not surprising that some academically talented students desirous of a career in architecture, for example, would begin their career at UMM, which has no architecture program, and complete it at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis where such a program is offered.

That ease of movement between UMM and the broader university is one helpful feature of being part of a large research university. For some students (engineering, management), however, it may be possible to counteract this situation and retain students at Morris until completion of the bachelor's degree. Efforts currently underway to further connect UMM graduates with "automatic admission" to graduate programs on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses may improve retention of these talented students in pre-professional programs. For all other majors, it should be emphasized, higher academic ability increases retention.

UMM takes its students far in four years.

Ideally, UMM would be able to attract and admit serious and bright students who will greatly benefit from their experiences here--students who "travel" a long way in their UMM years. Unfortunately, direct measures of how far students are taken while at UMM have not been identified. Some insights can be gained from the following, however.

Several questions asked of entering freshmen in 1995 CIRP survey were asked on the 1999 Comprehensive Student Survey. While there is no guarantee that the same individuals have provided answers to each survey, there is likely to be some overlap in respondents--freshmen in 1995 are among 1999's graduating seniors. In particular, students were asked whether the following objectives were considered to be essential, very important, somewhat important, or not important:

To be very well off financially.

To make a theoretical contribution to science.

To write original works.

To develop a philosophy of life.

To be a community leader.

For each of these, the percentage of senior respondents in 1999 saying that the objective was essential or very important changed from the 1995 freshman survey. More students (25.2%: 23.8%) said that making a theoretical contribution to science, writing an original work (21.3%: 15.9%), developing a philosophy of life (54.3%: 45.1%) and becoming a community leader (40.2%: 34.3%) was essential or very important in the 1999 senior survey than in 1995 freshman survey. Fewer senior students in 1999 (31.1%) said that being well off financially was essential or very important than did freshmen in 1995 (62.2%).

These striking results are consistent with the known positive student outcomes of residential liberal arts colleges (Astin, 1999) and suggest the public UMM is succeeding at emulating the outcomes more often associated with private liberal arts colleges. The last finding, being well off financially is less essential upon graduation, is especially significant in light of the increase in materialistic values among college students in the last three decades (Astin, 1999).

In addition, students were asked whether they agree strongly, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or disagree strongly with the following: Individuals can do little to change society. In the 1995 freshman survey, 23.9% agreed that individuals could do little. Of the UMM seniors who responded in 1999, 19.4% agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement. While clearly this is an improvement and indicative of some success, more could be done. In particular, UMM may be able to inculcate a greater sense of the possibilities for constructive civic participation through expansion of its service learning initiatives.

Results from the annual UMM Former Student Survey Questionnaire also suggest the distance UMM takes its students. The latest available survey results (1996 graduates) found that among the perceived benefits of attending UMM, the following were ranked highest: developing close friendships; the ability to think and act independently; experience and skill in relating to other people; understanding one's abilities, limitations, interests, and values; the ability to write clearly; background and preparation for further education in a professional, technical, or scholarly field; to recognize assumptions, make logical inferences, and reach conclusions; the ability to withhold judgment, raise questions, and examine contrary views; and to develop vocabulary, terminology, and facts in a variety of fields of knowledge. The highest ranked benefits of attending UMM in the survey of 1996 graduates are consistent with those cited by graduates for the last seven years.

The subcommittee considered examining the percentage of graduates with professional/management positions and contrasting these to the education/occupational status of parents to test whether UMM takes its students "far." However, the latest CIRP survey indicates that the parents of UMM students have significantly more education than the parents of most United States college students. The survey also indicates that incomes are slightly below national averages. A comparison of parental information from the CIRP survey to the Former Student Survey results yields no obvious conclusions other than fewer graduates being in farming than their parents.

The results discussed are suggestive of UMM's success in taking students "far." However, given the importance of the proposition in assessing whether UMM is successfully accomplishing its objectives, the Assessment Committee might create focus groups of students to gain additional longitudinal information over the next decade.

The diversity of the entering UMM student body enhances the quality of academic life and is consistent with UMM's mission.

A diverse student body creates opportunities for personal and academic enrichment, fosters an acceptance of diverse viewpoints, and reminds all members of the community that respect and tolerance are prerequisites for an open and free society. We have the capacity to consider only a subset of diversity measures: race, geographic, gender, and economic. These have been examined in different ways.

Racial Diversity. Considering its location in a rural area with little racial diversity, UMM has a large minority enrollment--an aspect of the "pre" years which contributes to UMM's strength. Throughout the 1990s, UMM has gradually increased its minority student enrollment. According to the Data Book, in 1990, 145 (7.2%) members of the student body were minority students. By 1998, the number had increased to 303 (15.8%). The percentage of minority students at UMM is the highest of any University of Minnesota campus. Moreover, as indicated in Table 16, UMM compares favorably to other COPLAC institutions.

Table 16

Racial Diversity for COPLAC Universities (percentage)

 

 

Native American

Hispanic

Black

Asian American or Pacific Islander

Minority Student Body

International

 

College of Charleston

0.2

1.0

8.0

1.0

10.2

2.0

 

The Evergreen State College

0.4

4.0

4.0

4.0

16.0

not available

 

Fort Lewis College

13.0

5.0

1.0

1.0

20.0

2.0

 

Henderson State University

1.0

1.0

15.0

1.0

18.0

1.0

 

Keene State College

0.3

1.0

1.0

0.5

2.8

not available

 

Mary Washington College

0.3

2.0

4.0

4.0

10.3

0.3

 

Ramapo College of New Jersey

0.2

6.0

7.0

4.0

17.2

4.0

 

St. Mary's College of Maryland

0.3

2.0

9.0

4.0

15.3

1.0

 

SUNY College of Geneseo

0.2

3.0

2.0

5.0

10.2

0.2

 

Truman State University

0.2

2.0

3.0

2.0

7.2

2.0

 

University of Maine at Farmington

1.0

0.1

0.3

1.0

2.4

1.0

 

University of Minnesota, Morris

6.0

2.0

5.0

2.0

15.0

1.0

 

University of Montevallo

0.4

0.3

12.0

0.3

13.0

2.0

 

University of North Carolina at Asheville

0.4

1.0

3.0

1.0

5.4

1.0

SOURCE: Peterson's Guide to Higher Education, 1999

Geographic diversity. Given UMM's mission as a public liberal arts college funded by the tax dollars of Minnesotans, it can not be assumed that attracting large numbers of students from other parts of the nation is inherently desirable. Still, in acknowledgement of UMM's growing reputation, the total number of students in the UMM student body from outside the state of Minnesota has increased in the 1990's from 12% of the student body to nearly 18%. UMM was also drawing students from a larger number of high schools in 1998 than in 1990: 572 versus 471. Also consistent with UMM's mission, the number of students from within a 25 mile radius of the campus has decreased from 8% in 1990 to 5% in 1998. The number of students from the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul Area has fallen from 30% in 1990 to 26% in 1998.

Gender Diversity. For the past ten years, the male to female ratio at UMM has steadily declined from 55:45 in 1988 to 40:60 in 1998 (Figure 1). With the exception of Fort Lewis College and Ramapo College of New Jersey, the percentage of males is similarly low at other COPLAC institutions (Table 17). According to the latest number of "Scientific American," this phenomenon is occurring throughout much of the world, and certainly all of the English-speaking world. The gender imbalance has not yet led to serious problems, but is a matter meriting some attention and closer scrutiny. Among other consequences, this trend has, no doubt, contributed to enrollment pressure in some disciplines. As Table 18 illustrates, biology, psychology, elementary education, and English are majors with large enrollments that are majority female. As the male:female ratio at UMM has declined, the number of majors in these disciplines has gradually increased.

As with other COPLAC institutions, UMM is confronted with difficult choices: should we devote more resources serving our ever greater female population, including reallocating resources internally, or should we attempt to make the campus more attractive to men?

Figure 1

 

 

 

Table 17

Full-time Student Body by Gender for COPLAC Universities (percentage)

 

Female

Male

College of Charleston

64

36

The Evergreen State College

59

41

Fort Lewis College

47

53

Henderson State University

56

44

Keene State College

57

43

Mary Washington College

66

34

Rampo College of New Jersey

51

49

St. Mary's College of Maryland

57

43

SUNY College of Geneseo

66

34

Truman State University

58

42

University of Maine at Farmington

67

33

University of Minnesota, Morris

57

43

University of Montevallo

68

32

University of North Carolina at Asheville

57

43

SOURCE: Peterson's Guide to Higher Education, 1999

University of Minnesota, Morris Male:Female Ratio

 

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Female

55

55

56

55

56

56

55

56

57

57

60

Male

45

45

44

45

44

44

45

44

43

43

40

SOURCE: Data Book, University of Minnesota, Morris (1989-90, 1994-95, 1998-99)

Table 18

Distribution of Students by Gender Within Discipline and Major Areas of Study

 

Women

Men

Total

Education*

 

Elementary Ed

137

77.0%

41

23.0%

178

Humanities

 

English

127

68.3%

59

31 7%

186

 

Speech Communication

45

68.2%

21

31.8%

66

 

Other

138

62.4%

83

37.6%

221

 

total

310

65.5%

163

34.5%

473

Science and Mathematics

 

Biology

156

69.6%

68

30 4%

224

 

Chemistry

48

55.2%

39

44.8%

87

 

Computer Science

33

23 9%

105

76 1%

138

 

Mathematics

30

38.0%

49

62.0%

79

 

Other

21

40 4%

31

59.6%

52

 

total

288

49.7%

292

50.3%

580

Social Science

 

Economics

22

32 8%

45

67 2%

67

 

Liberal Arts for the Human Services

66

79.5%

17

20.5%

83

 

Management

42

50.6%

40

48 2%

83

 

Pre Management

42

47 7%

46

52 3%

88

 

Political Science

43

47.8%

47

52 2%

90

 

Psychology

123

79.9%

31

20 1%

154

 

Other

81

53.6%

70

46 4%

151

 

total

419

58.5%

296

41 3%

716

 

Interdisciplinary Programs

10

100.0%

0

0 0%

10

 

Pre Professional

102

55.4%

82

44 6%

184

 

Undecided

74

60 7%

48

39 3%

122

 

TOTAL

1340

59 2%

922

40 7%

2263

*Secondary Education Majors are found within their areas of concentration

**TOTAL reflects double counting of students with multiple majors

Economic Diversity. As a public liberal arts college, UMM strives to provide access to its programs to students with modest financial resources. The economic profile of UMM students that emerges from a variety of sources suggests we are achieving this goal. The 1997 CIRP profile of UMM freshmen indicated that UMM students have family incomes somewhat lower than national averages. Moreover, market research conducted on behalf of UMM's Admissions office indicated that the 1995-97 matriculants for UMM were disproportionately from counties with lower income, from small towns, and from rural areas. However, significant numbers of students also originate from relatively affluent suburban counties.

As is true in many other colleges, however, UMM has increased its tuition and fees at rates well above the inflation rate and income growth. As Table 19 and Figure 2 demonstrate, most of the growth in tuition and fees relative to Minnesota income growth occurred earlier this decade. Since that time, the rate of increase at UMM has been fairly consistent, yet slightly above, income growth. What remains clear is that the cost of attending UMM and the University of Minnesota as a whole is rising more rapidly than incomes in the area are rising.

Table 19

Student Tuition and Required Fees and Minnesota per Capita Personal Income (cumulative percent change in italics )

Student Tuition and Required Fees

Academic Year

University of Minnesota, Morris

 

University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts

 

Minnesota State Universities

 

Mlnnesota per Capita Personal Income

 
               

. _

1990-91

$2,747

 

$2,630

 

$1,997

 

$19,627

 

1991-92

3,066

10.4

2,898

9.2

2,207

9.5

20,535

4.4

1992-93

3,569

23.0

3,242

18.9

2,276

12.3

21,419

8.4

1993-94

3,639

24.5

3,381

22.2

2,534

21.2

22,296

12.0

1994-95

3,806

27 8

3,526

25.4

2,642

24.4

23,457

16.3

1995-96

4,189

34.4

4,136

36.4

2,618

23 7

24,509

19 9

1996-97

4,554

39 7

4,549

42 2

2 780

28 2

25 608

23 4

 

 

 

UMM Tuition, Required Fees, Room and Board

 

1990-91

1991 -92

1992-93

1993-94

1994-95

1995-96

_ 996-97

1997-98

1998-99

Resident Tuition

$2,498

$2,760

$3,263

$3,330

$3,497

$3,859

$4,194

$4,406

$4,596

Required Fees

249

306

306

309

309

330

360

465

465

Room and Board

NA

2 994

3.030

3165

3.291

3 474

3,594

3 714

31319

 

$2,747

$6,060

$6,599

$6,804

$7,097

$7,663

$8,148

$8,585

$8,880

Figure 2

Post-UMM years

Assessment of the University Experience - The Graduates' Opinions

The UMM Career Center has conducted follow-up surveys of graduating classes nearly every year since 1973. There were also two longer term surveys conducted of alumni, one in 1989, and again in 1999. These studies from the 70's, 80's and 90's typically show that the unemployment rate shortly after graduation was low and that about 75% of those who went directly to work were employed in professional, technical or managerial, or sales positions. Surprisingly, most reported careers related to their majors. More than 25% typically went directly to graduate or professional school, with this figure as high as 32%, and the surveys showed that satisfaction with UMM and its educational program was uniformly high.

Friendships made and the experience and skill in relating to people were the most highly rated benefits of the college years, according to the graduates. Many of the intellectual processes thought to be characteristic of liberally educated persons, such as independent thinking, seeing relationships among ideas, making inferences and examining contrary views, received high ratings as well. Appreciation of the arts, music and drama, acquaintance with literature, understanding scientific theory, and mathematical analysis received lower ratings. The survey also showed a high level of community involvement and civic consciousness, but little interest in partisan politics.

For almost all of the graduates, the objectives of the UMM general education curriculum were apparently met.

The majority of graduates found employment related to their majors: 33% of the graduates reported that they were employed in the same field as their college major and an additional 34% found employment in a related field. When asked about the importance of their coursework as preparation for their current job, a substantial number of graduates indicated that indeed it was; 66% said the courses in the major were moderately to extremely important and 61% said the same for general education coursework. In addition, 58% reported that internships, teaching, or research experience that they had received were important preparation for their current employment. Finally, 45% indicated that extra-curricular participation was important preparation for their current jobs.

UMM graduates are remaining in Minnesota. That pattern has not changed appreciably since 1973, when the Career Center began the follow-up studies. Two other observations about those graduating over 30 years: they are civic minded, but not particularly political. They are also professionally consciencious, evidenced by participation in professional associations and subscriptions to professional journals.

Typically, 28% of the graduates from the 1990-98 graduating classes surveyed went directly to graduate or professional school; the peak number was 32% in 1993. This is a high percentage, particularly for a public institution, and among the best of the COPLAC institutions. The percentage of graduates going to graduate school has been edging up over the years with the 1990's having the strongest showing. The largest number attended professional and graduate schools in Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota is the most often-listed institution.

Academic Progress and Retention and Graduation Rates

Retention and graduation rates provide additional evidence that UMM is meeting its goal of maintaining the level of student achievement. Retention at UMM is typical of selective, pubic undergraduate education with just over 78.6% of freshmen returning for their sophomore year, but only 56.6% becoming seniors. This is a retention rate well below that of a private, residential, liberal arts college, but is partially explained because students transfer for specialized undergraduate degrees offered in the Twin Cities (i.e., engineering, pharmacy). A recent university-wide study shows that UMM has one of the highest graduation rates among all of the colleges within the University of Minnesota system. Table 20 shows cohort retention and graduation rates for recent years.

Table 20

 

 

 

p. 30

Recent graduation rates show that about 50.1% of entering freshmen will have graduated from UMM in six years; an additional 12.7% will have graduated elsewhere within the university. In the 1990's UMM increased its efforts to recruit and retain a student body with ability and educational objectives more compatible with its institutional mission. An academic assistance center, improvements in the advising program, required annual program planning, the establishment of the Minority Gateway program, and stiffened academic progress requirements were added in the 90's to improve retention. Information regarding the success of our graduates and whether their careers, sense of civic responsibility, and participation in their communities meet our expectations has proven to be difficult to obtain. More frequent regular surveying of alumni is important if UMM is to accurately assess this aspect of our effectiveness. Moreover, comparative information from other COPLAC institutions is not available, making a consistent gathering of longitudinal information on our alumni even more important.

The first proposition is that the geographic location of our graduates reflects our mission as a leading public liberal arts college. As noted above, because UMM is a public institution, the fact that most of our student body is from Minnesota and surrounding states is not surprising. As the Data Book reports, in the early years of UMM, 95% or more of its students came from Minnesota high schools. More recently, as few as 20% (1985) of UMM students had origins outside Minnesota. The latest figure (1998-99) is 18%. For comparison purposes, Table 21 presents the geographic location of our alumni for representative class years since 1965. No clear trend emerges from this data. While significantly more UMM alumni from 1965, 1970, 1975, and 1980 reside outside of Minnesota than came from Minnesota high schools, this is not the case in more recent years. Regardless, UMM alumni by state (Table 22) is suggestive of our growing national presence.

Table 21

UMM Alumni Geographic Distribution

 

 

 

 

 

CLASS YEAR

TOTAL

TWIN CITIES

% OF TOTAL

TWIN CITIES

% OF TOTAL

OUT-STATE MN

% OF TOTAL

     

INCL. Wl

 

MN ONLY

     
 

1965

145

34

23.45%

34

23.45%

53

36.55%

 

1970

284

93

32.75%

92

32.39%

134

47.18%

 

1975

214

74

34.58%

73

34.11%

75

35.05%

 

1980

235

68

28.94%

67

28.51%

97

41.28%

 

1985

318

109

34.28%

104

32.70%

117

36.79%

 

1990

409

135

33.01 %

132

32.27%

166

40.59%

 

1995

524

234

44.66%

229

43.70%

154

29.39%

 

 

Notes

Our database incl. records with some WI zips in the TC geo area. Totals for the TC area with and without WI records are included.

The "Border States" column includes some records also found in TC including WI.

The column head "Network Codes" incluses alumni willing to be involved in social events, helping students, legislative efforts, admissions, etc.

UMM Alumni Geographic Distribution

 

TOTAL MN

% OF TOTAL

BORDER

% OF TOTAL

US& FOREIGN

% OF TOTAL

NETWORK

% OF TOTAL

   

STATES

 

NOT INCLUDING

CODES

   
   

Wl,IA,SD,

 

MN, Wl,IA

     
   

ND

 

SD,ND

     

87

60.00%

11

7.59%

47

32.41%

16

11.03%

226

79.58%

11

3.87%

47

16.55%

39

13.73%

148

69.16%

14

6.54%

52

24.30%

33

15.42%

164

69.79%

21

8.94%

50

21.28%

44

18.72%

222

69.81%

36

11.32%

60

18.87%

55

17.30%

299

73.11%

45

11.00%

65

15.89%

54

13.20%

383

73.09%

55

10.50%

86

16.41%

41

7.82%

Table 22 - UMM ALUMNI BY STATE

(11/21/97)

Alabama 10 Nebraska 56

Alaska 33 Nevada 15

Arizona 84 New Hampshire 8

Arkansas 9 New Jersey 20

California 186 New Mexico 32

Bay Area 11 New York 45

L.A. Area 44 North Carolina 46

San Diego Area 7 North Dakota 165

Colorado 120 Fargo Area 434

Denver Area 76 Bismarck / Mandan 21

Connecticut 4 Ohio 47

Delaware 1 Oklahoma 24

Florida 81 Oregon 49

Georgia 27 Pennsylvania 20

Hawaii 8 Rhode Island 2

Idaho 24 South Carolina 14

Illinois 241 South Dakota 416

Chicago Area 309 Rapid City 70

Indiana 41 Sioux Falls Area 315

Iowa 121 Tennessee 33

Des Moines Area 39 Texas 129

Kansas 35 Austin Area 14

Kentucky 17 Dallas/Ft. Worth 28

Louisiana 26 Houston/North Houston 26

Maine 4 Utah 9

Maryland 35 Vermont 4

Massachusetts 24 Virginia 55

Michigan 72 Washington 69

Minnesota 8,098 Washington D.C. 19

Duluth Area 168 D.C. Area 108

Fargo / Moorhead 471 West Virginia 8

Fergus Falls 57 Wisconsin 285

Mankato 302 Eau Claire 29

Mpls. / St. Paul Area 4,054 Hudson 37

Morris 367 Madison Area 46

Morris Area 563 Milwaukee Area 61

Rochester 209 Wyoming 22

St. Cloud Area 1,015

Mississippi 7

Missouri 48

Montana 35 CANADA 11

BAD ADDRESSES OTHER FOREIGN 42

Graduates 998

Non-Graduates 1,116

DECEASED 99

Graduates 60

Non-Graduates 39

The number of UMM alumni who attend graduate school meets our expectations.

Astin (1999) reports that liberal arts colleges, more than other types of institutions, enhance the student's chances of enrolling in graduate study. For UMM, graduate/professional school enrollment information 9-12 months after graduation for recent years is presented in Table 23. Prior to 1989, about 22% of UMM graduates went directly to post-graduate or professional education. Since 1990, between 25 and 32% of our graduates have annually gone directly to graduate/professional school (Donovan study, 1999). It should be noted that the movement in graduate school enrollment closely parallels the admissions profile of that UMM class. The most recent longitudinal information on graduate school enrollment (currently being updated) indicates that as of 1989, 45% of UMM graduates had attended a graduate/professional program (Donovan study, 1989).

Table 23

Graduate/Professional School (9-12 months after graduation from UMM)

Year of

 

Male

 

Female

 

Total

Graduation

N

%

N

%

N

%

1989

26

29.5

18

17.0

44

22.7

1990

21

28.0

20

22.7

41

25.0

1991

27

32.1

46

28.2

73

29.6

1992

25

25.5

45

28.1

70

27.0

1993

27

33.3

41

26.3

68

28.7

1994

31

35.6

39

29.5

70

32.0

1995

27

39.7

38

27.1

65

31.3

1996

21

22.3

43

29.5

64

26.7

1989-96

205

30.4

290

26.6

495

28.0

UMM graduates are active, contributing members of their communities

One aspect of effective liberal arts colleges is that they inculcate cultural awareness, democratic values, civic duty, and social responsibility. To judge UMM's effectiveness in this regard, questions concerning political participation and activity in community affairs were included in the 1999 survey of former students. Preliminary results are reported in Table 24. For all alumni from 1964-98, over 88% have voted and over 10% actively campaigned for a political candidate. The majority (56%) of former students are members of a community organization and/or have volunteered time for a community

Table 24 - Activities

 

1964-73

   

1974-83

   
 

Male %

Female %

Total %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Politics

Voted in election

96.4

97

96.7

95.1

95.6

95.4

Attended political party function

16.6

17.1

16.8

15.5

12.5

14.1

Actively campaigned

18.7

15.6

17.3

14.4

12.7

13.5

Community Affairs

Attended public meeting

69.6

65.2

67.5

60.3

55.9

58.2

Member of a community organization

74.9

75.4

75.1

64.4

64.7

64.5

Volunteered time for project

60.6

67.5

63.8

57.6

62.5

59.9

Professional/Career

Subscribed to professional publication

80.3

67.5

74.4

79.4

63.9

72.2

Member of professional group

76.2

72.3

74.4

72.2

65.4

69.0

Attended professional meeting

75.9

69.5

73.0

75.0

66.0

70.8

            1. 1994-98
 

Male %

Female %

Total %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Politics

Voted in election

90.2

86.1

87.6

73.2

75.8

74.9

Attended political party function

12.1

9.3

10.4

7.1

8.5

8.0

Actively campaigned

9.2

6.6

7.6

6.1

5.8

5.9

Community Affairs

Attended public meeting

45.9

36.6

40.2

28.7

28.5

28.6

Member of a community organization

51.5

53.8

52.9

31.4

40.3

37.2

Volunteered time for project

42.7

49.1

46.6

40.2

46.2

44.1

Professional/Career

Subscribed to professional publication

74.4

57.0

63.6

51.2

50.3

50.7

Member of professional group

66.4

59.2

62.0

49.0

53.4

51.9

Attended professional meeting

66.4

61.0

63.1

47.8

55.1

52.4

1964-1998

 

Male %

Female %

Total %

Politics

Voted in election

90.0

87.1

88.4

Attended political party function

13.3

11.0

12.0

Actively Campaigned

12.3

9.0

10.5

Community Affairs

Attended public meeting

52.5

55.9

47.2

Member of a community organization

57.1

55.9

56.5

Volunteered time for project

50.8

54.0

52.5

Professional/Career

Subscribed to professional publication

73.0

58.3

64.8

Member of professional group

67.2

61.0

63.8

Attended professional meeting

67.8

61.8

64.4

project (52%). Most are also active in their professions with nearly 65% attending professional meetings and nearly 64% a member of a professional group.

Conclusion

The results discussed here are strongly suggestive of UMM's success in taking students "far." However, given the importance of the proposition in assessing whether UMM is successfully accomplishing its objectives, it is recommended that the Assessment Committee create focus groups of students to gain additional longitudinal information over the next decade.

Chapter V

The UMM Years: Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities

This section of the report covers four hypotheses that are intended to demonstrate the various curricular and co curricular experiences at UMM that enhance the quality of student academic life. The hypotheses are:

1) The UMM library enhances the quality of student academic life

2) Alternative academic experiences enhance the quality of student academic life

3) Advising enhances the quality of student academic life

4) Co-curricular instruction enhances the quality of student academic life

While all of the hypotheses explored in this special emphasis Self Study are important, perhaps none are more central to the vitality of the institution than the quality of instruction, advising, co-curricular activity, and, of course, library resources. Although each hypothesis addressing academic life during the UMM years was approached in a slightly different manner, all are grounded in data gathered through a combination of surveys of faculty, staff, and students, comparisons with the Morris 14 and/or COPLAC institutions, and, where appropriate, focus groups or interviews with selected faculty, staff, and students.

The Library Enhances the Quality of Academic Life

In this first hypothesis, there were exhaustive comparisons with other (COPLAC) public liberal arts colleges and with the Morris 14. And, of course, there were surveys of both students and faculty measuring their satisfaction with the library and its resources. As a starting point, it would be useful to give a general sense of faculty/staff and student perceptions regarding the strengths of the library. Simply put, faculty and students convey a strong regard for library services in the area of coursework and teaching, and that therefore, the library does indeed enhance the quality of student academic life. Nonetheless, there are problems to be addressed if UMM is to be the best undergraduate liberal arts institution. What would the library need? This is a complicated issue and best discussed in three sections: funding, technology, and education.

Obviously, funding is required to maintain an excellent library. Compared to other institutions in the Morris 14, on a per student basis, funding for support staff and the collection is low at UMM. Indeed, our combined book and periodical budget is $96,000 below the average of those institutions.Efforts have been reviewed to reduce costs (periodical bundles and consortia purchases) but in the end, increased spending is fundamental to library improvements.

Increased spending on technology has and will continue to be an important component to the library budget. Increased technology will perhaps improve the library. In the future, for example, more journals will be available electronically, there will be increased access to resources, and interlibrary accessibility will become more efficient and faster.

Increased education of students will be important to both making them aware of library strengths and to advise them on how to formulate realistic demands. A goal of the First Year Seminar under semesters is to reach students earlier in college to help them to efficiently find library information that they need and to access it easily. Some of the dissatisfaction with the library on the part of students is due to the immediate gratification attitude which is an outgrowth of increased sophistication with electronic availability. What follows is an assessment of various facets of the library starting with a comparison with other public liberal arts colleges (COPLAC). Table 25 below examines the UMM library in comparison to other COPLAC institutions on a number of categories listed below.

The numerical averages presented in the tables give a crude index of UMM library resources compared to the other COPLAC institutions. Simply put, they are below the average. As it stands, UMM's library expenditures per student of total educational and general expenditures are slightly at the lower end of the scale. UMM should be moving toward the middle. At the same time, although our funding is not adequate, the head librarian noted the UMM collection gets used extensively; 60% of the collection gets circulated over ten years. In many places the rate is half of that. Further, faculty have a lot of ownership of the collection because they select many of the books and periodicals included in the library.

Table 25

 

 

PALS

 

 

PALS 2

 

 

 

PALS 3

It is difficult to entirely assess the advantages of being part of the University of Minnesota system. However, a clear one is that we do not have to pay Internet costs. With respect to electronic services in general, sometimes UMM gets reduced rates, prices, or subsidies and sometimes we get left out. We can get loans from the university's Walter Library for the entire quarter, whereas others get them for two or three weeks.

Other observations drawn from the assessment of the library in the SQALS present a highly favorable view of the library. Here a number of key points that illustrate this statement.

Overall, students in all four years are satisfied with the library but there is some dissatisfaction in the adequacy of the collections. Faculty reaction was similar to the students' response noted above. Most faculty responded that the library is adequate for an undergraduate institution but that more resources are needed, especially for journals. About 2/3 of the faculty find the book collection adequate for teaching needs and 1/4 find the collection inadequate. However, 3/4 find the book collection inadequate for research and only about 1/5, or 20%, find the collection adequate for research. This is an interesting asymmetry.

A somewhat similar asymmetry holds with respect to the library's periodical collection. About 1/2 find the periodical collection adequate for teaching and about 1/3 find the collection inadequate. In contrast, 3/4 find the periodical collection inadequate for research while only about 1/4 find the collection inadequate.

A reasonable conclusion to draw is that faculty find the library's book and periodical collection adequate for teaching but find the collection inadequate for research. Further, over 3/4 find the library's electronic resources (web page, indexes, data bases etc.) adequate for teaching and research. Almost all find the library's services (help from reference librarians, class instruction sessions, book working, placing items on reserve, help in filling out inter-library loans, etc) adequate for teaching and research.

What emerges from this study is that there is a strong recognition that the librarians make the most of the library resources. Even with modest resources there is a high level of satisfaction on the part of faculty and students with the collection for instructional purposes and there is a strong endorsement of library services. At the same time, there is recognition that our collection--books and periodicals--is low in comparison to most of the Morris 14 and modest when compared to COPLAC institutions. Essentially, there is an urgent need for resources for more support staff, for the electronic means of efficiently conveying materials, and especially for increasing the book and periodical collection. Having said that, the evidence of faculty and staff is overwhelming that the library enhances the quality of academic life at the institution.

Advising Enhances the Quality of Academic Life

The next hypothesis examines how academic advising enhances the quality of academic life at UMM. This section of the self-study is based upon a carefully developed report on academic advising, done by the director of academic advising and is contained in its entirety in Volume II of this report. This section begins with a definition of academic advising and the goals for advising at UMM. It discusses how the advising system works, some of the chronic issues associated with it, student and faculty level of satisfaction, some particular concerns about certain advising, and prospects for making the system better and best.

Academic Advising Defined

UMM is committed to developmental academic advising by the faculty and to encouraging the special relationships possible between students, faculty, and staff. Broadly defined, advising is accomplished through events such as New Student Orientation; through people who staff such programs such as the Career Center, Counseling, the Academic Assistance Center/ Disability Services, the Minority Student Program, the Center for International Programs, and the Advising Office. Advising support is offered by academic advisers, classroom instructors, peer and residence hall advisers, and students and staff across campus. More narrowly defined, academic advising refers to the academic advising program. In 1970, in order to ensure formally that academic advising occurs at the individual level, UMM initiated a program to match each incoming student with a faculty adviser in the student's area of study (see Appendix C). Academic advising within this framework is the focus of this analysis.

UMM's definition of advising is consistent with the developmental theories of leaders in the field, such as Arthur Chickering. It fits well with the criteria for the John Tate Academic Advising Award initiated at the all-university level in 1986 to reward advisers who practice developmental advising by helping students "formulate and achieve intellectual, career, and personal goals." The 1975 UMM advising policy document lists these developmental goals appropriate to successful advising:

1. Faculty should help the student assess existing strengths and weaknesses.

2. Faculty should help the student clarify educational goals.

3. Faculty should inform the student of the range and scope of academic experiences available at UMM and encourage the student to experiment.

4. Faculty should familiarize the students with policies and regulations which might influence his/her program.

5. Faculty should communicate to the student what decisions he/she will have to make at what stages of an academic career. The student needs to understand how today's decisions may limit possible alternatives later on.

6. Faculty should initiate a continuing evaluation of the adviser-advisee relationship to assess the extent to which the advising relationship is meeting the students' needs and goals.

Clearly, the expectation for academic advising at UMM, as expressed in its advising documents, is extremely high.

UMM's philosophy of developmental advising is worthy of a "best" liberal arts college.

Comparisons with the Morris 14 and COPLAC Institutions

UMM's advising program is more like the advising programs of the Morris 14 than of the COPLAC institutions. The operational principle in all but one of the Morris 14 is that faculty, rather than professional advising staff, advise students who have chosen a major. In most instances, advisers come from the discipline of the major and are assigned either in the first or the second year. In a few colleges, advising during the first semester or year is carried out by the instructors of the freshman course, whether it is called a seminar or symposium. The option of assigning undecided UMM students to their First Year Seminar instructors has been talked about informally here, but the first priority of those involved is firmly to establish the course as part of the semester curriculum. Undecided students are advised by the faculty as well as by professional advisers. With the exceptions of St. Olaf and SUNY at Geneseo, the other colleges don't separate the advising needs of students of color from those of other students.

Operational Expectations

The UMM advising system is focused on matching students with advisers and ensuring that meetings between them occur. As administered by the Academic Advising Support Services office (Advising), the system has these key components:

All new students, with the exception of students of color and high school students attending UMM under the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program, are placed with faculty advisers in the disciplines of their major whenever possible. Undecided students are placed with faculty whose advising loads are below their maximum or who have special interests in working with students who are undecided about their majors. Students may transfer freely from one adviser to another. PSEO students are advised by the Advising staff, though the program is administratively based in University College. Students of color are placed with counselors from the Minority Student Program (MSP) during their first two quarters and are moved to a faculty adviser by annual planning in May. A pilot program is underway to strengthen the advising of students of color in their first year by linking each student with a faculty adviser in addition to the MSP adviser.

Faculty advising loads are kept to no more than 30 advisees, unless the adviser agrees to carry additional advisees. The advising policies approved by the Campus Assembly state that advisers are expected to be well informed and to be available three hours per week with at least one of these hours before or after the popular 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. class times. The first adviser/ advisee meeting for all new students takes place in the fall during new student orientation; advisees meet with their advisees during each registration period, culminating in annual planning in spring. The adviser's signature on the registration form indicates that advising has taken place. Under semesters, adviser signatures will be required throughout the first two years. Annual Planning is required at the end of each of the first two years. At the end of the second year, students are expected to plan for the final two years.

The responses to the questions about advising in the 1999 SQALS show that 95.8% of the freshmen respondents reported that they met with their advisers, and from 92% to 98% of the respondents met with their advisers during the next three years. Their answers to "how often" show that a large percentage of respondents in each class met with their advisers more frequently than the policy requires: 40.4% of the freshmen, 81.2% of the sophomores, 94.5% of the juniors, and 74.5% of the seniors.

Table 26

How often have you met with your adviser?

# meetings with adviser

Yr 1

Yr 2

Yr 3

Yr 4

  1. more than 2x a qtr
  • 19.1%
  • 19.8%
  • 22.7%
  • 27.5%
  • 2x a qtr
  • 21.3%
  • 13.5%
  • 13.6%
  • 13.7%
  • 1x a qtr
  • 55.3%*
  • 47.9%
  • 31.8%
  • 33.3%
  • 1x a year
  • 2.1%
  • 16.7%*
  • 26.4%
  • 25.5%*
  • never
  • 2.1%
  • 2.1%
  • 5.5%*
  • ----
  • * Freshmen are required to meet with their adviser once a quarter; sophomores and seniors meet once a year. There are no required meetings for juniors.

    Chronic Issues

    The advising system was adjusted throughout the 1970's and has maintained its basic tenets through the present day. A study of the four advising documents and of the available data, along with recent discussions with two focus groups of advisers--those who are relatively new and those who are experienced--shows that no matter how much the advising system is adjusted and improved, many of the unresolved issues remain about the same. To be "best," we should address them. They include, for example:

    1. Disparity of advising assignments
    2. An underlying principle since 1970 has been that students and faculty should be able to work with people with common interests. An experienced adviser noted that "students will go where they are the most comfortable," and that "they and their parents want assurance that the adviser knows the field." Initial assignments are made by the staff based on the student's intended major identified during summer registration of the first year. Assignments thereafter are made at the request of the student or adviser. A summary of adviser assignments by division in spring 1999 shows the following advisee average numbers per unit: Administration 8; Education 14; Humanities 12; Science/ Math 20; and Social Science 18. However, individual advisee loads range from 0-50. One of the ongoing problems leading to disparity in advising assignments is that some majors are more popular than others. In addition, many students change their minds about their major three or four times during their college years but ask to stay with their original advisers, even after changing their major. The Advising staff processed 1153 adviser or major changes in 1997-98: 468 were changes of major only; 383 were changes of adviser only; 302 were changes in both major and adviser. The SQALS confirmed that among seniors surveyed, 78.2% of the respondents had changed their adviser at least once, and 55.6% had changed their major.

      We do need to consider whether there are alternatives that would reduce the inequity of advising assignments. To illustrate, an Advising study of Biology majors shows that advising loads range from 32-50 per faculty adviser, significantly higher than for any other discipline. For the past several years, the number of incoming students who indicate Biology as their choice of major has been between 70-85. The 1997-98 shows the five-year average of Biology majors to be 216. However, the average number of Biology graduates in that period has been 32.4, representing a student shift away from Biology while students are here. The Advising staff, after consulting with the division chair of Science/ Math, began to reduce the Biology overload by shifting incoming Biology majors to other advisers within Science and Math. It is nonetheless true that the Biology advisers, more than other UMM faculty, expend their advising resources carrying advisees who will change their major within the first year or two. When focus group advisers were asked what would prevent faculty from advising first year students in other divisions, the response was "nothing but their willingness to learn how." But, as one pre-professional adviser commented, "Training advisers does not address the credibility question: 'Is this person I'm talking with really familiar with pre-med?'"

    3. Uneven advising

    Retention studies consistently show that students who have positive relationships with college personnel are more likely to be continuing students. The studies by Steve Granger over two decades measure student satisfaction with advising from the perspective of the senior year.

    These studies consistently show that seniors are very satisfied with the advising they receive as upper-class students. However, in his 1996 study Granger reports, "The results suggest that, from the perspective of the senior year, the faculty advising during the freshman-sophomore years was not considered satisfactory for substantial numbers of students." In fact, 37% of the 1996 seniors remember it as poor or very poor--the same poor showing as in '89 and '92. Means are based on a six-point scale from "very poor" to "excellent." A comparison of mean satisfaction ratings at UMM and public colleges is found in Tables 35-36.

    Table 27

    Granger 1996 Bachelor's Degree Candidate Survey

    Rate the quality of advising you received from:

    Item

    89 mean

    92 mean

    96 mean

    Fresh-Sophomore Advisors

    3.14

    3.02

    3.05

    Junior-Senior Advisors

    4.00

    4.09

    4.01

    Your Major Department

    4.19

    4.35

    4.35

    Special Programs

    3.60

    3.31

    3.28

     

    The tabulations of responses about advising in the SQALS in Table 28 below provide separate ratings from 459 students by class, confirming high ratings in the last year and solid ratings in the second and third years. Minority response was 14.7%, similar to the percentage of minority students in the UMM student population as a whole. An important distinction between the Granger studies and the SQALS is that Granger always asks seniors to recall their advising experiences. Those students tended to recall their freshmen advising experiences as less than ideal. The SQALS, on the other hand, asked freshmen through seniors to assess the quality of their advising. From that perspective, the responses of students of all classes tends to be most positive, even in the first year.

    Table 28

    Student Quality of Life Assessment Survey

    Evaluation of Current Adviser

    Your current adviser:

    Yr 1

    Yr 2

    Yr 3

    Yr 4

    1. Is consistently available
  • 89.2
  • 91.8
  • 89.6
  • 96.0
  • Keeps regular office hours
  • 91.5
  • 91.8
  • 90.5
  • 96.0
  • Becomes acquainted with me
  • 65.9
  • 79.4
  • 84.1
  • 92.2
  • Is a beneficial relationship
  • 68.5
  • 76.3
  • --
  • 92.2
  • Discusses academic goals
  • 78.0
  • 81.1
  • 84.8
  • 94.1
  • Provides information I need
  • 79.1
  • 85.6
  • 85.0
  • 93.1
  • Interested in my performance
  • 79.3
  • 80.4
  • 84.0
  • 94.1
  • Keeps me up to date on change
  • 51.0
  • 69.1
  • 69.2
  • 80.4
  • Refers when necessary
  • 73.0
  • 81.0
  • 84.0
  • 97.0
  •  

    While advising among first year students is rated lower than advising in years two and beyond, and some areas could be strengthened, the ratings overall are strong. In trying to reconcile why seniors in the Granger studies later report dissatisfaction with the advising of the first two years, faculty focus groups provided several explanations: closed classes, waiting lists that get "longer and longer," "being placed with an adviser they didn't choose," or that students often don't know their major. Certainly the advising relationship deepens as students become immersed in their majors. Advisers in both focus groups found that students undecided about their majors are difficult to "give specific answers." One concluded, "We are not necessarily failing them in the first two years." Though one adviser looked for opportunities to discuss the importance of the liberal arts with undecided students, another asked, "Without a major, how can you advise [them]?" The faculty focus groups identified advising undecided students as an area needing attention.

    A statistical analysis comparing the responses of minority and non-minority students to the SQALS advising questions showed an overall similarity. There are two exceptions. While all non-minority students knew the names of their advisers, a small percentage of minority students (2.78%) did not. In response to the question, "My adviser keeps me up to date on change," non-minority students stated their adviser keeps them up to date 72.3% of the time, whereas minority students report that they do and they don't in equal proportions (50%). In another analysis, responses to each question were compared by minority group. Table 29 identifies only those minority groups and questions in which differences were significant.

    Table 29

    Comparison of Minority Response to Advising Questions

    Student Quality of Life Assessment Questionnaire

    Evaluation of Current Adviser

    Your current adviser:

    Black

    Native American

    White

    5. Discusses academic goals

    72.7%

    87.5%

    85.4%

    6. Provides information I need

    81.8%

    75.0%

    86.9%

    9. Refers when necessary

    60.0%

    81.3%

    85.3%

    We would need to be able to compare responses by class level and know whether or not students of color were responding to their faculty adviser, MSP adviser, or both, to interpret these data.

    1. Advising students of color
    2. There is a continuing perception, expressed in print in advising documents as early as 1980, that "too many minority students at UMM received inaccurate advice, which resulted in program difficulties for them." Table 27 shows that special programs, which include MSP, rate only slightly higher than freshman-sophomore advising. The academic progress chart in Appendix C identifies minority students from out-of-state as one of two groups with a higher proportion not meeting academic progress requirements. The director of MSP has proposed a pilot program to bring faculty academic advisers into the advising of first year minority students by linking them with MSP advisers. The intent of the pilot would be to train in two directions. The faculty can provide greater insight into majors and pre-professional programs with the MSP staff. The MSP staff, in turn, can provide faculty with greater awareness of cultural issues.

    3. Rewards for good advising

    As early as 1974-75, an Advising Task Force proposed that "some system should be provided by which advising effectiveness can be emphasized, recognized, evaluated, and rewarded on the UMM campus" (see Appendix C). Three areas were identified in which advising should be emphasized: in hiring; making decisions to retain, promote, or grant tenure; and in making salary adjustments.

    Becoming Better

    UMM has a superb advising philosophy and builds its program using components similar to those of the Morris Fourteen. In all studies, advisee satisfaction is strong in the senior year. The surveys taken as part of the NCA review suggest that advising is strong in the final three years. The Granger studies suggest it is weakest in the first two. If we ascribe to be "best," then one of the first steps should be to address the chronic issues that continue to be unresolved.

    1. Reduce the inequity of advising assignments

    1. Improve advising during the first year and after

    3. Reward Advising

    Becoming Best

    Some of the suggestions in "Becoming Better" can be achieved as time and responsibilities permit after the move to semesters. To become a "best" advising program, the campus needs to agree on what "best" is and locate the resources to change, either through grants or through reallocation of funding to provide for additional staff. The directors of Advising, the Minority Student Program, and Academic Assistance support all recommendations in this report for serving students in academic difficulty and for addressing problems jointly.

    1. Develop a system to provide evaluative feedback to advisers

    2. Expand services to students in academic difficulty

    1. Implement an intervention program for students in academic difficulty

     

    Summary

    UMM has a long-term commitment to and tradition of developmental academic advising that is more like the advising programs of the Morris 14 than like those of the COPLAC institutions. For years UMM seniors have indicated satisfaction with the advising they receive in their last two years. The responses to questions in the recent SQALS show high satisfaction among respondents in the second, third and fourth years as well. Thus, in general the advising program is successful and the evidence strongly supports the proposition that advising clearly enhances the quality of student academic life. Still it could be better. To be among the best, the college will need to provide evaluative feedback for advisers, locate the resources to expand services to students in academic difficulty, and introduce an intervention program to help them. These changes will require cooperation across campus as well as additional staff.

    Alternative academic experiences enhance the quality of student academic life.

    There are a number of measures that confirm the hypothesis that alternative academic experiences enhance the quality of student academic life at UMM. The evidence clearly indicates that students participate in alternative activities and learning experience in large numbers throughout their undergraduate years.

    In the SQALS, students were asked to respond to items such as, "I have enhanced my career at UMM through the English Language Teaching Assistant Program (ELTAP)." The responses below in Table 30 list a host of activities in which students participated and then by year, the level of participation expressed in percentages. The seniors responding reported 51.5% having served as assistants in the classroom, 41.6% had been Morris Academic Partners or Morris Administrative Interns (MAP/MAI), over 40% participated in directed studies, and over 20% had studied abroad. Moreover, additional data on alternative learning experiences suggest a high level of participation in individual research projects, as listed on Table 31 below.

    The numbers and percentages found in these tables confirm earlier surveys conducted by the university. In the 1996 Bachelor's Degree Candidate survey, with an approximately 70% return rate, 209 students responded. Of those, 36% reported the opportunity for "work with a faculty member on a shared research or artistic project." These projects could correspond to UROP, MAP, directed studies, and individual research projects. In 1996 26% reported an internship, compared to 41% in 1998. In 1996 14% reported study abroad and 25% travel abroad. In 1999, 20.4% reported studying abroad. Seventy-six per cent reported on-campus employment, for which we have no direct number for comparisons from the 1999 SQALS, but 51.5% reported work as assistants in the classroom, which are almost invariably paid positions. Again in 1996, 72.7% of the students rated an opportunity to learn research methods in the field of "good," "very good," and "excellent." However, this reflects both curricular and co-curricular experiences. The 1996 study indicated that all of the numbers were up from 1992.

    Table 30

    SQALS RESULTS

    For each of the activities in the first column, the number is a positive response to the question, "I have enhanced my career at UMM through participation in ELTAP," for example.

    Activity

    Seniors

    Juniors

    Sophomores

    Freshmen

    ELTAP

    7.2%

    8.2%

    3.2%

    1.2%

    Study Abroad

    20.4%

    11.0%

    5.3%

    3.5%

    UROP

    12.4%

    3.7%

    1.1%

    1.2%

    Directed Study

    40.4%

    22.0%

    10.8%

    3.6%

    Internship

    41.6%

    29.2%

    11.7%

    3.5%

    Morris Academic Partner/Intern

    29.3%

    21.3%

    5.3%

    0.0%

    Teaching Assistant

    51.5%

    31.5%

    18.3%

    1.2%

    Individual Research Project

    29.6%

    19.4%

    12.8%

    4.8%

     

    Table 31

    DATA ON ALTERNATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES

    Activity

    Year

    # Students

    Comments

    Directed Studies

    97-98

    826

    Most of them were in the Social Sciences division

    Area of Concentration

    97-98

    8

    Over five years, most have been in Anthropology

         

    and Statistics

    Credited Internships

    97-98

    76

    Over ten years, 49% have been in LAHS & Psychology

    Morris Acad. Partner

    98-99

    37

    Total budget, $51,000. Even distribution by Division

    Morris Acad. Internship

    98-99

    43

    Total budget, $63,750. Most are non-divisional.

    Prior Learning Internships

       

    Anecdotal information available

    Study Abroad

    98-99

    108

    Over 5% of the student body studies abroad annually.

    The 1996 survey concluded that there seemed to be evidence that institutional efforts to improve opportunities for mentorships, cooperative faculty/student research, junior year partnership employment, and international travel and study are paying off.

    It seems that the institution has little systematically archived information about student assessment of co-curricular experiences. By co-curricular we mean activity that in many cases is directly related to the classroom, such as being a teaching or research assistant, or other experiences for which credit is awarded, such as internships or study abroad. It seems that information about these co-curricular experiences are scattered about the campus and that the information available is concrete in MAP/MAI, for example, but in other cases it is sketchy and vague. Emerging from this is a view that we need to more carefully collect and assess the value of the co-curricular experience. Having said that, there also seems to be a pattern that over the last decade, there is an increasing level of student participation in what we would call co-curricular activities and that students and faculty attach considerable significance to this co-curricular activity.

    It is interesting to note that surveys over the years have shown that our graduates attach high priority to pursuing a fulfilling career. The surveys also show that graduates find careers in the field in which they major or in closely related fields: 66.6% for graduating classes 1964-98; and 26.7% of the graduates are in unrelated fields by choice. It is simply not true for UMM graduates that there is little correlation between what they do in the UMM years vis-a-vis the post-UMM years. This suggests that the opportunity to work individually with faculty on research/artistic projects or perhaps serving as a assistants in the classroom in the field of their major should be viewed as being extremely valuable in developing a career path.

    In sum, the data suggests considerable importance for what we call co-curricular experiences and that they do indeed enhance the quality of student academic life.

    Classroom instruction enhances the quality of student academic life

    In examining the direct and indirect evidence, it seems undeniable that the classroom instruction does enhance the quality of student academic life. The response to classroom instruction in the 1999 SQALS, the awards won by the faculty for excellence in teaching and undergraduate education, the student assessment of faculty again in the SQALS and in the Student Opinion Survey conducted by Stephen Granger in 1998 reflect overwhelming evidence of a high level of student satisfaction with instruction at UMM. There was some criticism of the scheduling of classes and availability of courses, but on the whole, students were enthusiastic about the instruction received at UMM. Tables 32 and 33 below from the 1999 SQALS bear this out.

    Table 32

    Satisfaction with courses in the major

     

    Senior

    Junior

    Sophomore

    Fresh

    Overall Quality

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    95.3%

    88.5%

    94.8%

    91.9%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    4.8%

    11.5%

    5.2%

    8.1%

    Appropriately Challenging

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    87.7%

    98.5%

    90.0%

    92.0%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    12.4%

    10.6%

    10.0%

    8.0%

    Preparation for Advanced Courses

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    89.3%

    84.1%

    86.8%

    89.1%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    10.7%

    15.9%

    113.2%

    10.8%

    A further breakdown for satisfaction with courses in the major illustrates that the responses were better than "good;" they were "excellent" and "very good."

     

    Senior

    Junior

    Sophomore

    Fresh

    Overall Quality

    Good

    21.0%

    18.6%

    21.6%

    32.6%

    Very Good

    43.8%

    50.4%

    53.6%

    38.5%

    Excellent

    30.5%

    19.5%

    19.6%

    20.9%

    Appropriately Challenging

    Good

    26.7%

    20.2%

    24.0%

    31.8%

    Very Good

    30.5%

    47.4%

    46.0%

    43.2%

    Excellent

    30.5%

    21.9%

    20.0%

    17.0%

    Preparation for Advanced Courses

    Good

    29.1%

    35.5%

    32.7%

    41.0%

    Very Good

    40.8%

    39.3%

    43.9%

    37.3%

    Excellent

    19.4%

    9.3%

    10.2%

    10.8%

    In 92% of entries, the ratings were Very Good-Good. Similar data exists in the survey for courses outside the major.

     

    Looking at student assessment of faculty in the SQALS in Table 33 below, one clearly sees that on matters of accessibility of faculty, faculty understanding student needs, faculty encouragement, and feedback on performances, a high level of student enthusiasm is evident. What is equally impressive is the number of respondents across classes (Table 34).

    Table 33

    Student Assessment of Faculty in the Major

     

    Senior

    Junior

    Sophomore

    Freshman

    Accessibility of Faculty

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    92.2%

    96.3%

    93.7%

    91.9%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    7.7%

    3.7%

    6.4%

    8.0%

    Faculty Understands Needs

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    93.1%

    82.6%

    83.1%

    87.1%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    6.8%

    17.4%

    16.9%

    13.0%

    Faculty Encouragement

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    92.0%

    83.5%

    85.1%

    80.4%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    8.0%

    16.5%

    14.9%

    19.4%

    Feedback on Performance

    Good/Very Good/Excellent

    89.2%

    79.8%

    74.7%

    71.7%

    Very Poor/Poor/Fair

    8.9%

    20.1%

    25.1%

    28.7%

    Similar data for courses outside of the major show again a high level of student satisfaction with courses of all kinds.

    Table 34

    Number of Respondents

    Class

    # of Respondents

    % of Respondents

    Senior

    115

    25.6%

    Junior

    123

    27.4%

    Sophomore

    108

    24.1%

    Freshman

    103

    22.9%

    Total

    449

    100.0%

    The number of respondents (449) is over 25% of the student body and there is a relatively even distribution from freshman to senior. This suggests a strong endorsement of the quality of how instruction enhances the quality of student academic life.

    Further evidence for student satisfaction with the academic program comes from assessments by the Granger 1998 Student Opinion Survey. Satisfaction with the academic program at UMM is reflected in the first six items in Table 35--dealing most directly with the respondents' satisfaction with instruction. The satisfaction ratings (scale: 1 = lowest, 5 = highest) for all the items are high and particularly high in satisfaction with "instruction in the major," "availability of instructors," and "attitude of faculty toward students." While satisfaction with the "testing and grading system" is strong there is some significant dissatisfaction as well among the sophomores, juniors, and seniors who may have preferred the ABCD/N system to the A/F system introduced across the university this year. The freshmen who knew no other system were quite satisfied with testing and grading. Even though the return rate for the administration of the survey was low, it is still gratifying to see in Table 36 that satisfaction ratings dealing with these most important aspects of the academic program have never been higher since the survey was first administered in 1981.

     

     

     

    Table 35

    Comparison of Results of the Student Opinion Survey 1981-1998

    Mean Satisfaction Rating

    National

    Academic Items

    1981

    1984

    1986

    1989

    1994

    1998

    Pub Col

    Course content in your major

    3.67

    3.73

    3.65

    3.60

    3.57

    3.77

    3.87

    Instruction in your major

    3.73

    3.73

    3.72

    3.63

    3.71

    3.97

    3.89

    Availability of your instructors

    4.00

    4.06

    4.04

    3.92

    4.09

    4.19

    3.83

    Attitude of faculty toward students

    4.11

    4.01

    4.05

    3.90

    4.09

    4.22

    3.87

    Testing/grading system

    3.78

    3.79

    3.65

    3.66

    3.63

    3.48

    3.78

    Preparation for your future occupation

    3.54

    3.50

    3.59

    3.40

    3.39

    3.63

    3.64

    Availability of courses you want

    3.04

    3.05

    2.74

    2.40

    2.75

    2.90

    2.93

    Variety of courses offered

    3.41

    3.45

    3.43

    3.23

    3.13

    3.26

    3.60

    Class size relative to type of class

    4.10

    4.13

    4.19

    3.88

    3.97

    4.22

    4.00

    Flexibility to design own program

    3.68

    3.63

    3.71

    3.42

    3.39

    3.54

    3.53

    Academic advising services

    3.67

    3.66

    3.76

    3.53

    3.60

    3.68

    3.68

    Availability of your advisor

    3.84

    3.86

    3.88

    3.64

    3.81

    3.87

    3.69

    Value of info provided by advisor

    3.62

    3.56

    3.62

    3.36

    3.49

    3.64

    3.63

    Classrooms

    3.92

    3.85

    3.82

    3.68

    3.49

    3.27

    3.66

    Laboratories

    3.78

    3.70

    3.67

    3.49

    3.18

    2.96

    3.56

    Study areas

    4.00

    3.84

    3.87

    3.56

    3.71

    3.74

    3.64

    Library facilities & services

    4.37

    4.26

    4.08

    3.81

    3.65

    3.85

    3.90

    Computer services

    3.70

    3.49

    3.76

    3.73

    3.78

    3.33

    3.79

    Honors programs

    -

    -

    -

    3.48

    3.19

    2.79

    3.83

    Tutoring services

    3.74

    3.42

    3.97

    3.69

    3.73

    3.67

    3.82

    Acad probation and suspension policies

    3.43

    3.36

    3.36

    3.38

    3.27

    3.45

    3.43

    Credit by exam policies

    3.69

    3.75

    4.07

    3.68

    3.78

    3.70

    3.83

    Academic calendar

    3.42

    3.53

    3.23

    3.33

    3.27

    3.71

    3.67

    This college in general

    4.17

    4.15

    4.11

    3.98

    3.98

    4.15

    3.85

     

     

    Table 36

    Results of the Student Opinion Survey Among '98 UMM Students

    (Neutral opinions not listed)

    Percent Mean Rating

    Academic Items

    Satisfied

    Dissatis'd

    Used Serv'c

    UMM X

    Pub Col X

    Course content in your major

    68%

    11%

     

    3.77

    3.87

    Instruction in your major

    71%

    6%

     

    3.97

    3.89

    Availability of your instructors

    82%

    3%

     

    4.19

    3.82

    Attitude of faculty toward students

    86%

    3%

     

    4.22

    3.87

    Testing/grading system

    61%

    15%

     

    3.48

    3.78

    Preparation for your future occupation

    56%

    10%

     

    3.63

    3.64

    Availability of courses you want

    35%

    39%

     

    2.90

    2.93

    Variety of courses offered

    51%

    27%

     

    3.26

    3.60

    Class size relative to type of class

    87%

    3%

     

    4.22

    4.00

    Flexibility to design own program

    39%

    8%

     

    3.54

    3.53

    Academic advising services

    66%

    13%

    71%

    3.68

    3.68

    Availability of your advisor

    69%

    9%

     

    3.87

    3.69

    Value of info provided by advisor

    42%

    15%

     

    3.64

    3.63

    Classrooms

    49%

    22%

     

    3.27

    3.66

    Laboratories

    29%

    26%

     

    2.96

    3.56

    Study areas

    70%

    7%

     

    3.74

    3.64

    Library facilities & services

    77%

    9%

    93%

    3.85

    3.90

    Computer Services

    53%

    25%

    91%

    3.33

    3.79

    Honors programs

    24%

    38%

    17%

    2.79

    3.83

    Tutoring Services

    62%

    8%

    34%

    3.67

    3.82

    Academic suspension policies

    34%

    2%

     

    3.45

    3.43

    Credit by exam program

    62%

    8%

    31%

    3.70

    3.83

    Academic calendar

    63%

    12%

     

    3.71

    3.66

    This college in general

    89%

    3%

     

    4.15

    3.85

    An examination of the subgroup responses shows only small variations from group to group in their satisfaction ratings on "course content in the major." Satisfaction is high among both men and women, across all classes, among students for each division, and among older students. Satisfaction is somewhat lower among minority students. Ratings of satisfaction with "instruction in the major" are extremely high and show little variation among subgroups of sex, class, or division of the major. When students were asked about "out-of-class availability" and "attitude toward students," the faculty received high marks among all subgroups, as they have over the years (Table 35).

    The next four items from Table 35 are related to the instructional program, but less directly so. Limitations on their ability to pursue a program of choice--imposed through class scheduling, the class size, variety and frequency of offerings, the number of sections, and perhaps the many general education requirements that must be met--are probably reflected in these items. As a group, students show their dissatisfaction with "availability" and "variety" of course offerings. In 1989, when enrollment surged and new requirements were added, satisfaction ratings on those items related to scheduling took a steep dive over the three previous surveys. In 1994 and in 1998, however, "availability of courses you want at times you can take them" has shown some modest recovery (see Table 36). Nevertheless, the fact that 39% say they are dissatisfied and only 35% are satisfied with "availability" is highest among sophomores (58%), lowest among seniors (30%). Satisfaction ratings with "the variety of courses" offered by this college first declined in 1989, remained low in 1994 and 1998. The poor showing may reflect the difficulty students are finding in trying to fit the limited number of general education courses meeting the general education requirements into their programs. In any case, the low satisfaction ratings on "availability" and "variety" of courses identifies a source of continuing irritation with the academic program at UMM. Satisfaction with class size is high. "Flexibility to design your own program" is not a problem, according to these respondents. ". . . this campus has a great student:teacher ratio, great instructors, an awesome radio station and it's very easy to get involved."

    Summary and Conclusions

    As all students prepared to register for spring quarter in 1998, they were asked to complete the ACT Opinion Survey. The same survey had been given on five previous occasions--1981, 1984, 1986, 1989, and 1994--so it was hoped that comparisons over time would be useful. The survey represents the opinions of the 363 respondents who provided usable returns. There are important results worth noting:

    · Satisfaction with the instructional program is high. Among respondents to the 1998 survey, satisfaction with "instruction in the major," "course content in the major," "availability of instructors," "attitude of the faculty toward students," and "preparation for your future occupation" are at an all time high. The "testing and grading system" trails somewhat, possibly because quite of few students preferred the previous grading system.

    · As has been the case in previous surveys, satisfaction with "availability of courses you want at times you can take them" and "variety of courses offered" is low. In Dr. Granger's opinion this reflects a chronic problem of resource allocation and class scheduling which too often does not reflect student demand.

    · Satisfaction with "academic advising services," "availability of your advisor," and "value of the information provided by your adviser" remains acceptable, as in the past. Nevertheless, 15% of the respondents are dissatisfied with the "information provided by their adviser" suggesting that advising is uneven among our faculty. The results of this survey contradict the SQALS finding, which shows a uniformly favorable response to the advising program, first year through seniors. Whatever the explanation for these disparities, there is agreement that on the whole our advising system is strong.

    · Satisfaction with or classrooms and laboratories has taken a precipitous drop. Only 29% of all respondents are satisfied with the lab facilities. The new science facilities will no doubt result in an improvement in this situation.

    · Ratings of the library, which over the years have led campus services, began to decline in 1989 and slipped again in 1994. They have recovered in 1998. The library again holds a high satisfactory rating.

    · Satisfaction ratings for computing services, which had been strong in previous surveys, have taken a sharp downturn in 1998. Twenty-five percent of the respondents are now dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction with "computer services" is highest among seniors (41%), lowest among freshmen (17%); science and mathematics majors (20%).

    · Satisfaction with the college's honors program is at an all time low. In the 1998 survey, usage has declined to only 17% and satisfaction with the program has fallen to the point that only 24% of those who say they were in the program are satisfied, 38% are dissatisfied. On a positive note, since 1998 the honors program has undergone important changes, particularly in efforts to increase the numbers of honors courses across the campus.

    · Satisfaction with the college's tutoring services is high and usage figures, highest among minority students and science and mathematics majors, are strong.

    · Satisfaction with UMM's facilities is declining--ratings of laboratories, classrooms and athletic facilities are especially low in 1998. New construction in science, the Recreation and Fitness Center, and the remodeling of classrooms will no doubt raise the ratings.

     

    · When asked to indicate their satisfaction with UMM "in genera,l" students, as they have in the past, give most favorable ratings. Eighty-nine percent are satisfied; three percent are dissatisfied; ratings are well above the ACT norms for public or private colleges.

    The high level of student satisfaction is rooted in their satisfaction with the faculty. The quality of the faculty is further evidenced by the recognition they have received beyond UMM. The most obvious example is the number of recipients at UMM of the All-University prestigious Horace T. Morse-Alumni Awards for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Since the award's inception in 1965, 27 UMM faculty have received this award in a highly competitive selection process across the University of Minnesota. In addition, many faculty have received recognition from their professional associations. For example, the Minnesota Psychological Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of Psychology Award--instituted in 1990 and given to only one recipient each year--has been awarded to five of the six full-time UMM faculty members in psychology. As we consider the various aspects of student life at UMM, we can affirm that classroom instruction enhances the quality of student academic life. The evidence is emphatic and consistent over time.

     

    Chapter VI

    The UMM Years: Extra-Curricular Activities

    Extra-curricular activities enhance the quality of student life.

    This hypothesis is more difficult to evaluate, but what is presented here presents a strong case that extra-curricular activities enhance the quality of student academic life. These activities are of particular importance because of UMM's location--geographically isolated, situated in a town that has few people of color and few cultural resources. Such isolation can cause problems that undermine the quality of student life. For example, large numbers of students might leave town every chance they get. The university's racially diverse student body might suffer greater tensions than it would if the university were located in a more diverse city.

    Given this situation, it is evident that UMM must have plenty of extra-curricular activities, including an attractive sports program, if the university is going to recruit and retain good students and be more than a suitcase school. And UMM must work hard to continue to build and maintain racial harmony and understanding if it is to continue to reap the benefits of a racially diverse student body. The subcommittee formed four hypotheses that were designed to see how the school is doing with regard to these tasks of overcoming the problems or potential problems of its isolation and some measure of how extra-curricular activities enhance the quality of student life.

    · Students who participate actively in campus life are more likely to stay at UMM than those who do not

    · UMM's extra-curricular programs promote respect for diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

    · Too many students leave UMM on the weekends, which is detrimental to the quality of student academic life.

    · The athletic program at UMM is a valuable tool for recruitment and retention. Athletes at UMM succeed academically to the same degree and graduate at the same rate as the student body as a whole.

     

     

    Students who participate actively in campus life are more likely to stay at UMM that those who do not.

    There is strong evidence that UMM has a rich extracurricular environment that invites a high level of student participation. And further, that this involvement on campus contributes to students' decisions to stay at UMM. In the 1998 Student Opinion Survey, students rate "opportunities for personal involvement in campus activities" high at UMM, as has consistently been the case over the years. In 1998 the satisfaction rate is at an all time high, well over the ACT public or private college norm. Of students responding to the SQALS, over 80% belong to one or more of UMM's 85 student clubs or organizations. Participation rates vary by class year between a low of 80% (for juniors) and a high of 90% (for seniors); 82% of freshmen and sophomores participate in student clubs and organizations.

    Students were asked whether their involvement in campus life included the following: leader of a club or organization, member of a club or organization, participant in campus governance, resident advisor, and/or student employee. Nearly 90% of all respondents indicated involvement in campus life through their responses. Students were able to pick only one response, indicating perhaps their most significant connection with the campus. The area identified most by students in their freshman and sophomore years at UMM was student organization membership (53% and 45% respectively). Juniors identified membership and leadership in student organizations as areas of involvement (36% indicated organization membership, 35% organization leadership). Seniors identified student organization leadership most frequently (39%), followed by student organization membership (32%). Fifteen to twenty percent of student respondents selected work as a resident advisor or student employee.

    85% to 94% of the respondents reported that their participation in these activities contributed to the likelihood that they would stay at UMM until graduation.

    While there is no direct evidence collected for comparing UMM's level of student involvement in extra-curricular activities with other colleges, the numbers of students involved is impressive, as is the importance that students attach to such involvement. It is an institutional strength that should be enhanced and publicized. Adequate staffing in the student activities area, first to coordinate fitness, recreation and intramural programs and second to support student organization, weekend programming and to better publicize campus and community events is essential. Even without more staff, extra-curricular activities are strong and clearly contribute to the quality of the student experience at UMM.

    Our conclusion is that the university is doing fairly well in addressing these matters. While data regarding the value of athletics as a recruitment tool are inconclusive, it can be said that UMM successfully retains its athletes and has established a balance between its athletic and academic programs.

    The campus does suffer from some racial tension, and students of color are less comfortable here than is the white majority. These things are to be expected, and they reflect the larger society. But given the context of the university, and the potential for misery and conflict, the university is doing well. It should continue to work hard at this issue.

    It has been widely thought that large numbers of students leave campus every weekend, but that is actually not the case. Students tend to stay in town, but they feel that there is little to do at the university on weekends. UMM should publicize its weekend activities more widely and institute more weekend activities for the large number of students who are here. Large numbers of students do get involved in student organizations, and they do see their involvement as an important aspect of their life at UMM and a factor in their desire to stay here.

    UMM's extra-curricular programs promote respect for diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

    The data collected in past surveys and in the 1999 SQALS do not allow for a discussion of all the aspects of this hypothesis but only the matter of race. The questions of culture, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation will have to be addressed in future surveys.

    UMM is committed to maintaining racial diversity among its student body, despite the fact that Minnesota (from which the school draws 82% of its students) is predominantly white. Sixteen percent of the students at UMM are people of color, giving the school the highest percentage of non-white students in the University of Minnesota system. The students who come to UMM generally have not had previous experience in a racially diverse environment. According to a 1997 survey, only half of the incoming students had socialized with someone from a different ethnic group in the previous year. This is well below the national average of 65% for young people entering college. These circumstances of fairly high racial diversity in a population of students not accustomed to a racially diverse community

    makes it imperative that the university do all it can to promote respect for racial differences and to promote racial harmony on campus.

    For the most part, the available data on racial diversity measure students' comfort with the campus community in general and with the racial climate on campus. The data do not address the effectiveness of specific extra-curricular efforts to increase respect for diversity. The 1999 SQALS was meant to address such efforts but, unfortunately, design limitations in the survey produced unusable results.

    In the recent past, racial tension at UMM has been fairly high as the result of several extremely unpleasant and widely publicized incidents of racial hostility on campus. There are signs, however, that this tension is diminishing. According to an analysis of the Morris Student Opinion Survey, which used a four point scale to measure satisfaction with racial harmony on campus--4 indicating greatest satisfaction--the mean response in 1998 was 3.38, up from a low of 2.83 in 1994. The 1998 figure (although slightly lower than the 3.52 ACT norm for public colleges) is the second highest level of satisfaction with the racial climate at UMM since this variable was first measured in 1981.

    Looking at these data in a slightly different way, 39% of the student body as a whole was dissatisfied with racial harmony on campus in 1994. This number dropped to 17% in 1998. Among racial and ethnic minority students, the percentage of those dissatisfied with the racial climate on campus has dropped in those years from 49% to 17%.

    The 1999 SQALS attempted to determine the level of racial harmony indirectly by asking students about their perceptions of the friendliness of the UMM campus and the town of Morris. They were also asked for their general level of satisfaction with their experience at the university. The answers to these questions were correlated with the students' racial identities.

    When asked to respond yes or no to the statement, "I find the campus to be friendly," only 3.6% of the white respondents answered in the negative, while 27% of the African American students and 12.5% of the Native Americans answered that way. The two Latino students split on this matter. (Because of their small number, these two students will not be considered in discussions of other results.) In contrast to the other groups of minority students, all four of the Asian students said that they find the campus to be friendly.

    Students were asked to respond on a four point scale to the statements, "I feel welcomed by the UMM campus community" and "I feel welcomed by the Morris community." They were asked to respond on a five point scale to the statement, "In general, I am satisfied with my experience at the university." A response of 1 indicated strong disagreement with these statements, while a response of 4 or 5 indicated strong agreement. For all three questions, there were statistically significant correlation between race/ethnicity and the level of comfort or satisfaction.

    Whites, Asians, and Native Americans generally feel welcomed by the UMM campus community, with the means of their responses ranging from 3.52 for whites, to 3.43 for Native Americans to a slightly lower mean of 3.25 for Asians. African American students, on the other hand, responded markedly less favorably with a mean of 2.63.

    General satisfaction with the university was high for white students and Asian students, with whites recording a mean response of 4.28 and Asians 4.25. But Native American students were less satisfied, their responses averaging 3.9, and African American students were least satisfied, with a mean of 3.45.

    All groups of students felt less welcomed by the Morris community than by the campus with white students showing a higher level of comfort than the others. The mean for white students was 3.08; for Native Americans, 2.68; for African American, 2.45; and for Asians, a low of 2.25. The determination of the SQALS that students of color feel less welcomed by UMM and Morris should be no surprise to anyone, but it is nevertheless important to document the fact.

    None of these responses indicates intense levels of dissatisfaction, but the differences among racial/ethnic groups are significant. White students are clearly feel that UMM and Morris are a more friendly and comfortable environment than do students of color, and they are more satisfied in general with their experience at UMM.

    In an attempt to measure the effectiveness of the various extra-curricular activities on campus that are aimed at increasing respect for diversity, the SQALS asked students if they participated in extra-curricular programs that increased their respect for "diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation." The percentage of students who said they have participated in such programs is fairly high at 73%. Participation in such events does not show significant correlation with race/ethnicity. The survey also asked students to indicate specifically which aspect(s) of diversity were addressed by the events they attended, but the survey did not allow students to list more than one aspect of diversity, so the results do not give an accurate sense of students' activities. What the answers to this question might indicate is the specific aspect of diversity that the respondents value most or feel most comfortable with, but there is no way of knowing for certain if this is the case, since the students were not asked to answer specifically in these terms. Overall, 50% of the respondents said that they had attended events that increased their respect for cultural diversity. Ethnic diversity was the least often cited at 7.2%. Race was cited by 17% of the respondents, gender by 14.5%, and sexual orientation by 11%.

    The university offers a number of extra-curricular activities designed to increase students' respect for various kinds of diversity, and students are attending these events. It appears that these efforts have had some effect in lessening the racial tension on campus in the wake of the episodes of hostility in past years. There is no guarantee that such episodes will not occur again, so all the university's efforts to address diversity should continue. Furthermore, there is some indication that the university would profit by encouraging students to move outside their comfortable patterns of behavior in choosing the events they wish to attend. The 1999 SQALS should be repeated over time (with some aspects redesigned) so that this year's results can be used as a benchmark against which to measure future change.

    Too many students leave campus for the weekend, which is detrimental to the quality of student academic life.

    This hypothesis was intended to assess how many students actually left on weekends to make some comparisons to other colleges and universities that are similar to the University of Minnesota, Morris and to make recommendations for strengthening weekend life at UMM. Surprisingly to most, the evidence revealed that most students stay around more on weekends, and most find interesting activity. At the same time, the study suggests that the institution needed to increase and better publicize organized activities on the weekends.

    There was already existing data relating to the weekend activity of on-campus students at Morris. Five years ago the Office of Residential Life was curious about how many students stayed in the residence halls on weekends since there seemed to be a perception on campus that many students left campus. To gather some data all of the Resident Advisors in the traditional halls were asked to record each week how many students stayed for the weekend. This has been tabulated for the last five years and the results have remained fairly consistent. The range has been 67%-72% of the students staying on campus for the weekends. This data is only for students living in traditional residence halls, not in the campus apartments or off-campus, or about 37% of the students enrolled at UMM. Most of the students in the traditional residence halls are freshmen or sophomores while those in the campus apartments or off-campus tend to be more upper class students. Typically, freshmen leave campus to go home more frequently than upper class students so the conclusion is that if the apartment and off-campus students were included the percentage of students staying on weekends would be a bit higher.

    An effort was made to gather data relating to the number of students staying on weekends at other campuses with some similarity to UMM. Inquires were sent to representatives at the fourteen schools known as the Morris 14 and also to all the COPLAC schools. A representative of each of the other colleges was asked the following questions:

    Do you have any information or research regarding how many students (percentage) stay for the weekends on your campus?

    Do you have information regarding on-campus students?

    Do you have information regarding off-campus students?

    Not everyone replied, but of those who did respond none of them had any hard data regarding students staying on weekends. A couple of representatives said they liked this institution's idea of having the resident advisors report each weekend and may implement that idea. Those that did respond indicated their information was based on anecdotal information, such as the number of cars they see in the parking lot on a weekend. A representative from Truman State said that since the academic quality of their students has improved he feels more students stay on campus for the weekend. A representative of Evergreen State noted that about half of their student body is from out of state and therefore a pretty sizable proportion of students stay on campus for the weekend. A representative of Fort Lewis College indicated he thought quite a few students stayed for the weekends because of the wide variety of outdoor recreation available in the area. Many representatives responded that they really did not have any accurate information regarding students staying on weekends but thought it was an interesting question.

    The SQALS conducted in 1999 provided some further information about our students. Some of the questions related to where students live, their satisfaction with housing options, and the number of weekends they spent on campus each quarter. All the responses were coded by year in school, freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. We had 449 responses from 105 freshmen, 108 sophomores, 123 juniors and 115 seniors. As expected, most of the freshmen (91%) indicated they lived on-campus and most of the seniors (75%) indicated they lived off-campus. Also as expected, virtually all of the students either live on-campus or close to campus. Only about 3% of the respondents indicated they lived more than five miles from campus. Students living on-campus were a bit more satisfied with the housing options available than those students living off-campus but in both cases there was general satisfaction with the housing options available.

    All students were asked how many weekends they spent away from campus during a ten week quarter. As expected, freshmen spent the most time away and seniors the least. 52% of the freshmen indicated they spent four or more weekends away from campus, while only 32% of the sophomores or juniors spent four or more weekends away and only 14% of the seniors spent four or more weekends away from campus. These numbers are consistent with the surveys done by the resident advisors that show 67% to 72% of the residence hall students here on average every weekend. The results also indicate that a higher percentage of upper class students stay on campus for the weekends. The majority of upper class students live off-campus and tend to stay more weekends than the predominantly underclass students in the residence halls so the conclusion that more than 72% of the students are on-campus on weekends seems valid. It appears that students do not leave campus on weekends in great numbers and that on any given weekend 75%-85% of the students do stay. With that many students staying in the area for the weekends it does not seem that the quality of student academic life is being affected negatively by too many students being away from campus.

    Students were surveyed regarding if they felt welcomed by the campus community and the Morris Community and also if there was plenty to do during the week and on weekends. About 95% of the students of all classes felt welcomed by the campus community. The reception by the Morris community was not rated quite as high, with 93% of the first year students feeling welcome to about 75% of the juniors feeling welcome. It seems a bit surprising that the perception of feeling welcomed by the Morris community declines from first year students to seniors. It appears the longer students are at UMM the less welcomed they feel in the community. One factor that may explain this a bit is that virtually all of the first year students live on campus and probably have significantly less interaction with the Morris community.

    Students were also asked if they found plenty to do during the week and on weekends. Since it appears there is a significant number of students here on the weekends, probably contrary to public perception, it is worthwhile examining whether students perceive there is enough to do.

    During the week a majority of students of all classes (69-80%) indicate they have found plenty to do. This probably includes both academics and activities. On the weekends there is significantly less satisfaction with "finding plenty to do."

    It is clear that UMM should communicate the data collected regarding students at UMM/in Morris on weekends in an effort to encourage campus leaders to consider how UMM programs, services, building hours, and expectations would be different if we believe that an average of 75% of students are in Morris each weekend. Additional efforts should be made to better publicize in the residence halls, on-campus apartments, the Student Center, and across the campus events which are scheduled on campus and in the community. Beyond these immediate actions, UMM should examine weekend life at UMM and determine ways to enhance opportunities for students. This could include holding focus groups to explore weekend activities/weekend life at UMM with a diverse group of students and leaders of groups who plan events for the campus and research weekend opportunities offered by UMM peer institutions. This could result in new programs to meet students' interests. It seems evident that UMM can enhance the quality of life on campus on weekends, but it is also evident that, contrary to popular perception, students are staying on campus most weekends.

    The athletic program at UMM is a valuable tool for recruitment and retention. Athletes at UMM succeed academically to the same degree and graduate at the same rate as the student body as a whole.

    Unfortunately, efforts to gather conclusive evidence regarding this hypothesis were not sufficiently successful to warrant a firm conclusion. Still, it is worth noting that at least one institutional study underscores the value of athletics, both in attracting and retaining students. In 1998 a follow-up to a 1987 study, Report of the Retention and Graduation Rates among Student Athletes at the University of Minnesota, Morris, was conducted. The sample group in the Pritchett follow-up study was composed of all freshmen who matriculated in 1989-96, all of whom were part of the retention study, although only those from the 1989-93 group were part of the graduation study. The study defined two graduation rates, a four-year rate, and a "to date" rate, which is the graduation rate excluding the four-year group.

    Pritchett's conclusions were that the average retention rate for athletes is higher than for the general student body, that the four-year graduation rate is lower than for the general student body, but that the "to date" rate is higher. In all instances the differences in rates were small (absolute differences of 2-4%). In the 1987 study, the athletes' rates were 10-20% higher in all categories. Pritchett attributes the closing of the gap over eleven years not to a slip in the athletes' performance but to greatly increased retention and graduation rates in the student body as a whole.

    There are differences by sport, but Pritchett cautions that these are likely short-term trends connected to the success of a particular program. He concludes, "Varsity athletics at UMM provides students with a basis that motivates students to return each year and creates a stable structure that promotes graduation." Although this conclusion may be true, it is hard to draw it from the numbers in the study.

    From 20-25% of the freshmen participate in varsity athletics; they come here with the intention of doing so. Some faculty agree that this is an important fraction of the student body. To say that athletics is not important in recruiting, one must believe that it's not important to most of the 20-25% of the freshmen participating, and that if the programs weren't there, they would have enrolled anyway.

    The SQALS survey suggests a contrary view that students and faculty think athletics is not a good recruiting tool, that 80% of UMM students would be put off by a strong athletics program. But a subset of students responding to the SQALS believed that athletics is an important tool for recruiting and retention. Those who agreed with the statement that the athletic program is a valuable tool for recruitment and retention also agreed with the following statements:

    I intend to contribute financially to UMM in the future.

    Extra-curricular activities at the University were a valuable part of my experiences.

    I participated in extra-curricular programs at UMM that have increased my respect for diversity of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

    My participation in [clubs and organizations] contributes to the likelihood that I will stay (have stayed) at UMM until graduation.

    The April 29, 1999 Report of the Athletic Task Force (ATF) states that "The ATF agrees that the UMM athletics program provides a number of benefits to the campus, both directly and indirectly. Because UMM is geographically isolated, elimination of intercollegiate competition could do harm to our visibility, name recognition, and therefore ability to recruit students." This led to a proposal for a Special Talent Award fund. From this one can infer that the college has endorsed the stance that athletics is important in recruiting students.

    Again, the evidence is incomplete and at times seemingly contradictory, but it appears that the weight of opinion is that intercollegiate athletics is important to a substantial number of our students. To that group, it is sufficient to attract them here and to influence their decision to stay.

     

    Chapter VII

    Institutional Resources

    The final topic for this special emphasis self-study is institutional resources. At base this is about financial resources, though it is frequently expressed in personnel, equipment and facilities terms. Four hypotheses were developed and explored:

    · Faculty and Staff are a resource which UMM effectively recruits, retains and supports;

    · UMM has the resources to aid in recruitment and retention of students;

    · UMM's visibility and fund raising ability enhanced student recruitment and contribute to its resources;

    · The campus physical environment is a resource that aids and enhances the quality of student academic life.

    What emerges here is the view that the institution does remarkably well with limited resources, that there needs to be a major infusion of additional funding for student financial aid; for faculty and staff salaries; for institutional development and advancement; for computing services, and for facilities. What became evident in the course of this study, is that the prospects for substantial additional public funding, either through the state or the federal government, seems promising but that UMM needs to give attention to private giving. At the same time, we must maximize efforts to gain as much public support as possible, particularly financial aid resources.

    UMM effectively recruits and retains an excellent faculty and staff, attracts superb students, has some measure of visibility and strength in fund raising, and has essential ingredients for a fine physical plant, but it is apparent that many more sources are needed to sustain our excellence and to make UMM the best public liberal arts college in the nation.

    · Faculty and staff are a resource which UMM effectively recruits, retains, and supports.

    This hypothesis was examined from several perspectives that were considered particularly critical to the institution. The report then posits an approximation of the resources needed to implement that portion of the plan to enhance faculty/staff recruitment, retention and support.

    Bilateral Employment. UMM has an excellent faculty and staff. This is an impressive accomplishment because it became apparent in the Self-Study how difficulty it is to both recruit and retain faculty and staff. A major factor working against recruitment and retention of faculty and staff is the sparse population of the geographic area which limits its capability to provide resources and services. Morris is situated 150 miles from the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and 90 and 100 miles from Fargo, ND and St. Cloud, MN. On the other hand, it is recognized that many faculty and staff choose UMM because of the area. Related to its limited resources is the lack, indeed the absence for the most part, of employment opportunities for faculty spouses or partners in the Morris area. Many faculty and staff come to UMM with spouses or partners who possess professional, scholarly, artistic, or skilled backgrounds. But some of them become discouraged in finding employment commensurate with their abilities. They and their faculty and staff partners become dissatisfied and seek employment elsewhere. This issue surfaced in discussion with faculty and division chairs as the key reason for losing faculty in the initial hiring process.

    UMM needs to initiate a bilateral employment program that is sensitive to a spouse's or partner's professional background. It needs to survey the Morris area to discover relevant employment possibilities. It also needs to consider setting aside one vacant faculty position annually that in addition would provide faculty or staff employment for a spouse or partner. The estimated average cost of bilateral employment is $35,000 annually. It includes salary and set-up costs.

    Salaries. Salaries are vital in hiring and retaining UMM faculty and staff. Comparisons of UMM's 1998-99 average faculty salary rankings with COPLAC and the Morris 14 are illustrated on p. 48. Among the COPLAC institutions, UMM is 6 of 13; among the Morris 14 colleges, UMM is 10. Based on the 1998-99 comparisons, it would require an additional $500,000 for UMM to be second among the COPLAC colleges and fourth among the Morris 14 institutions.

    Salaries for men and women are worth special comment. On the average, the salaries of women are slightly greater than those of men at the instructor, assistant and associate professor rank, but they are close. At the rank of professor, women's salaries are significantly less, but on the average, women at that rank have six fewer years of service to the college. On average across all divisions and ranks, men have higher salaries than women.

    The immediate outlook for faculty salaries is not promising. For 1999-2000, the UMM faculty salary increment was 3%, and will probably be the same for 2000-01. It can be assumed that the increases at the majority of COPLAC and Morris 14 colleges will exceed 3%, and the outcome will be a decline in UMM's rankings.

    The prospects for staff are equally unpromising, perhaps even more so. The decision at the all-university level three years ago to uncouple staff and faculty salary requests to the legislature, has served to the disadvantage of certain bargaining unit staff. Further, there is considerable variation across the university in terms of salary increases for selected staff, particularly in the Academic Professional category; certain "wealthy" units and colleges are able to give much higher increases.

    To further complicate matters, there simply are not the readily available comparisons of salaries for staff as found with faculty. The existence of the AAUP salaries across public and private institutions throughout the country and the data available from the Morris 14 and COPLAC institutions provide a ready measure for UMM's faculty; similar comparable figures do not exist for staff and this puts them at a disadvantage in salary negotiations.

    While a dollar amount has not been assigned for improving staff salaries in this study, it is apparent that a number of things need to occur. 1) Staff salaries must be re-coupled with faculty salaries in order to strengthen the prospects for improved staff salaries. 2) Comparison groups must be constructed by the institution showing staff salaries at, for example, the COPLAC and Morris 14 institutions, and selected other institutions across the nation.

    Set-Up Funds. Although set-up support in hiring new faculty has been provided, there is no recurring budget dedicated to that purpose. An ongoing budget providing set-up funding for new faculty is an additional means whereby UMM can strengthen its academic program. It can be especially acute in recruiting faculty in the experimental sciences. An annual budget of $50,000 would be a start for this effort.

    Professional Development Funds. Support for professional development funds was increased beginning with the 1999-2000 academic year. However, faculty must in most cases still carry a considerable portion of the cost of travel and related expenses when attending out-of-state professional meetings. UMM's size and geographic location increase the need to provide maximum support for both professional contributions and stimulation. An increase of $30,000 would cover almost the entire average expenses for at least 2/3 of UMM faculty.

    Computing Services. UMM has had two significant deficiencies in computing services. One has been in the lack of a cycle for replacing outmoded faculty computers and software with modern substitutes. Ideally, transition periods for replacement should be scheduled every three years. Included would be generous set-up funding for new faculty, strict equipment purchase standards, central review of requests, and equitable annual funding for desktop equipment purchases. The outcome should bring about greater standardization in software, and as a result better training and support for faculty. Happily, a modified version of this proposal is already being implemented. The one variation is replacement on a four-year cycle.

    UMM is at the bottom in staffing for technology support. Peer institutions report from 10 to 28 staff members dedicated to support of computing, networking, and instructional technology. UMM has seven full-time technology support staff. In particular, support for faculty had been absent. Recently, in some modest response to this problem a staff person has been hired to provide support to faculty.

    · UMM has the financial resources to aid in the recruitment and retention of students.

    As noted elsewhere in this report, UMM began the decade of the 90's with a student profile the highest in its institutional history and then experienced a modest slide in that profile as measured by ACT scores and high school rank. Moreover, there are some disadvantages for the institution that need to be addressed if we expect to recruit and retain outstanding students There are a number of factors which help explain this change in the student profile and which suggest difficulties in attracting excellent students in a highly competitive market. It is clear that UMM has some weaknesses in both regards. One reason is the institution's lack of visibility.

    A closely related reason is its lack of recognition as an outstanding liberal arts college. According to a recent UMM survey, the most important factor in considering a college by prospective students is its reputation. Although "reputation" can be defined many different ways, certainly a college's academic standing is significant for many students, and especially for those who are most likely to succeed in college. Greater support for External Relations as presented in the next hypothesis is relevant in this regard.

    UMM also needs additional financial aid for its students at all levels of their college years in order to increase its student retention rate. To compete favorably with other institutions for students with strong high school backgrounds and the potential to be successful at the college level requires greater financial assistance at the sophomore, junior, and senior levels, as well as during the freshman year. UMM possesses an advantage in competing with private colleges because of its lower tuition, but does not match private colleges in providing financial support throughout the student's entire academic career.

    Another complication associated with financial aid which is so critical to attracting and retaining students is internal to the University of Minnesota. The campus that is perhaps one of our biggest competitors for undergraduates controls how much scholarship money we get. It is evident additional conversations with the Twin Cities campus are important to insure that there is some equitable distribution in the scholarship funding across the campuses of the University of Minnesota.

    On a positive note, over 57% of the UMM student body gets work study money and it appears that Morris Academic Partnership and Morris Academic Internships are good retention tools for juniors, the intended target. The financial aid that we have available is largely used "up front" to recruit new students and the resources have not been available to sustain financial aid at competitive levels through the four years of undergraduate education. Further, jobs in a rural community are scarce; work study positions on campus with a reasonable number of hours per week are a big retention factor, but are limited by inadequate funding. One effort to address these problems has been the recent introduction of four-year renewable scholarships.

    Given the enormous competition for able students that UMM wants to attract, the institution needs to get a fair share of the dollars available for the University of Minnesota, as well as other dollars from private donors. To illustrate, the U2000 initiative allotted $5,000/year scholarships for four years to students enrolling at the Twin Cities campus who were at the top of their high school class; UMM did not share in those funds. It is clear that UMM needs to make its financial needs known at the all-University level. As some measure of the commitment to provide more financial aid, UMM'sCapital Campaign has a target of a $2m endowment which would yield $100,000 annually for new student scholarships.

    Additional funding for student summer research as a means of recruiting and retaining top students would also help. (See Appendix E for data on present support.) There is no estimate on additional funding, but perhaps $25,000 would be an appropriate amount.

    The total amount needed to upgrade student recruitment and retention is estimated at $500,000. Beyond additional resources, UMM must be mindful of its niche in higher education. As Chapter IV indicates, the campus has historically attracted strong students from families of modest means. If we wish to continue to attract these students, the institution must carefully monitor its costs--tuition and fees--there is evidence that our increases in tuition in the 1990's have risen more sharply than increases in the incomes of families from which we traditionally draw many of our students. Put simply, we must contain the costs of attending UMM.

    · UMM's visibility and fund-raising ability enhance student recruitment and contribute to its resources.

    UMM must expand both its visibility and its fund-raising capabilities in order to reach its goal of becoming the nation's best public liberal arts college. The relevant campus units--Fund Development, University Relations, and Alumni Relations--are integrated into the External Group. Although each unit has its specific duties and responsibilities, each also needs and supports the others. Fund raising, for example, relies upon support from Alumni Relations concerning how and where to solicit gifts from former UMM students, and upon University Relations for presenting effective and timely recognition of donors. Meeting the needs of one unit strengthens the others to varying extents.

    During the early years of UMM's growth and development, emphases were placed on curricula, student affairs, staff, and physical plant. Components of external relations were relegated to lower priorities. UMM has now reached the point where more support should be provided for its external relations. To achieve its goal of the best public liberal arts college, UMM must become more widely known and more generously supported with funds from private sources. It is an especially appropriate time during the next four years to mount this effort, since the University of Minnesota will be launching a major fund-raising campaign during fall, 1999. Excellent volunteer leaders have agreed to lead UMM's fundraising efforts during the length of the campaign. One is the CEO of one of the largest insurance companies in Minnesota. The other is a successful restaurateur, as well as a member of the family that owns the most generous philanthropic corporation in our state. The target for UMM is $6m; as of the date the campaign was announced, $3.5m had been raised.

    UMM must be in position to participate fully in the campaign. Presently, one person is responsible for virtually all aspects of fundraising ranging from planned to annual giving, as well as cultivating alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, and the Morris area. Areas of potential support are left untapped because of an inadequate number of staff members. UMM's gift production should soar with more personnel to carry out the program. Again on a positive note, efforts are now underway to increase the fund-raising staff.

    For the fundraising effort to succeed, UMM must also gain greater visibility within the state of Minnesota, the midwest, and the nation. UMM has been overly modest. Energies have concentrated on the quality of the academic program rather than selling an image of the college. UMM has often been referred to as "the best-kept secret" in both local and national liberal arts education. In part, the visibility of the campus depends upon University Relations. With just one professional staff person responsible for publicizing the campus, the task is overwhelming. Much could and should be done to inform and educate prospective students, donors, and the public about the campus.

    To demonstrate the need for greater support for the External Group, surveys of similar units at COPLAC and Morris 14 institutions were conducted during spring 1999. Fifteen replies were received from nine public and six private liberal arts colleges, although none of the respondents included complete data for all of the questions (see Appendix E, Table VII). Public colleges had an average of 13.9 staff in External Relations, broken down to 5.4 in Fund Development, 3.4 in Alumni Relations, and 5.1 in University or College Relations. Private colleges have an average of 32.9 staff; 18.8 in Fund Development, 5.4 in Alumni Relations, and 8.7 in University/College Relations. UMM has 6 staff in External Relations, including 3.16 in fundraising, 1.84 in Alumni Affairs, and 1.0 in University Relations, plus student help.

    Public institutions raised an average $1,900,000 during the 1998 fiscal year. Private colleges raised $13,000,000 on average. UMM raised $1,298,440 in 1998, including $456,856 from 19% of our alumni. There are 8,340 living alumni who are UMM graduates, and 5,468 non-graduates. Thirty-seven per cent of UMM alumni live in the Twin City area (see Appendix E, Tables VIII and IX). A minimum of two new full-time professional staff are needed in External Relations. One, an experienced fund development professional who would solicit financial gifts from potential donors, has already been funded for three years. The second would be hired to serve as Director of University Relations. Total salary and benefits cost for the two positions is estimated at $130,000.

    Director, University Relations

    Salary and benefits $ 65,000

    Computer, travel, etc. expenses 15,000

    Fund Development Professional

    Salary and benefits 45,000

    Computer, travel, etc. expenses 5,000

    $130,000

    One final comment: Support for External Relations to enhance student recruitment is an important point, but visibility and fundraising can be useful for other purposes as well, depending upon the need and circumstances. External Relations can educate and inform legislators and the general public of the value, needs, and purposes of the institution.

    Perhaps because of our public status, UMM has not aggressively promoted itself. Now there is some urgency to gain greater public visibility for the institution. In attracting and retaining students, in gaining greater public support for the institution, and as a means for providing a growing contribution/donor-base, visibility for the institution is essential. This is not to second-guess earlier decisions to retrench that function, given the hard fiscal choices that were appropriate then. Now it is clear, based upon our own institution's priorities, that we must return to giving the whole area of external relations greater support. Even at that, the proposed estimate for the Director of University Relations and fund development professionals is comparatively modest in terms of benefit to the institution.

    · The campus physical environment is a resource that aids in student recruitment and enhances the quality of student academic life.

    There is considerable speculation as to how the campus physical environment aids in student recruitment and enhances the quality of student academic life. Some suggest that this is a factor that is important to parents, particularly in first viewing of the campus, where as to others, it is of less significance, particularly to the students. Still, to the extent that a deteriorating physical plant detracts from the instructional activity of the institution, it is obvious that there is a need to pay attention to this aspect of campus life. At the beginning of the decade there was a sense that the plant, which was once characterized as first rate, had been deteriorating throughout the 1990's, at least in some respects. The campus grounds and buildings that were constructed in the early part of the century or the late 1960's were beginning to show wear. Added to that, until the coming of the student center, the campus building program simply had not moved in over 20 years. In the later part of the decade, clearly the physical environment has taken a decided turn to the better.

    Evidence of building deterioration has been abundant: cracked walls, missing ceiling tiles, and soiled carpeting are but some of the problems in the social science building. Bad ventilation is most obvious in science labs, and bad acoustics and inefficient windows are found in HFA. Few buildings are wired for technology. But most of the campus buildings are basically sound, and with some infusion of dollars could be made again into attractive classroom space. This, added to the new science complex, gives considerable promise for the future.

    The grounds have not fully recovered from drought and limited grounds staffing of the late 80's and early 90's. Only in the last year or two has there been a concerted effort to restore the grass, plant new shrubs and plants, trim trees, and enhance the outdoor lighting. It is not clear if these changes will attract more students to the campus, but a strong physical plant is essential in an intensely competitive student and faculty recruiting environment.

    In the early 1990's, our building program got back "on track," first with the construction of the new student center. Then toward the end of the decade, a full host of projects designed to improve instruction, to provide recreational space or to make the campus accommodations more comfortable and user friendly, were undertaken. A new Science building, a new state-of-the-art language facility, a major renovation of the Humanities Fine Arts Center, classroom improvements in the Social Science building, handicap accessible facilities in the Humanities building, and renovation in a number of the residence halls are just some of the examples of improvement projects undertaken in the later part of the decade. Also, one high profile project is the Regional Fitness Center, a cooperative venture of the University of Minnesota, the State of Minnesota, the City of Morris and Stevens County. Each is contributing funding to make this joint university/community project a reality and will provide fitness and recreational facilities for both students and community residents.

    Of particular note is the fact that there is now a campus plan in place which details the development of the campus from green spaces to building renovations for the next half dozen years. It is perhaps the most comprehensive and complete plan the institution has ever had and provides a detailed blueprint for projects as funding becomes available.

    It is difficult to establish clear evidence that the campus physical environment is a resource that aids in student recruitment and enhances the quality of student academic life. But improvements to the physical plant that aid in instruction, that provide for a strong physical fitness environment, and make the campus environment more attractive can only make it ultimately a more appealing institution. Clearly, in the later part of this decade UMM is moving in the right direction with a substantial building program framed within a carefully developed campus plan. Indeed, as one looks at the new classroom facilities in the new science building it will become even more apparent how inadequate some of our older classrooms are.

    One of the concerns we confront in the decade ahead is that our physical plant staffing got trimmed substantially in retrenchments in the 80's and has never fully recovered. Even now, as we have gotten new buildings and improvements to our grounds, maintenance remains a struggle given our limited staffing in that area.

    Summary

    The essential conclusion that one can draw after reviewing the four hypotheses developed under Institutional Resources is that UMM does a remarkable job in educating students and enhancing the quality of academic life with limited resources. This is not to suggest that our resources are so limited as to severely hamper the institution on a day to day basis or in attracting qualified faculty, staff and students. But we do know if we wish to be the best among the public liberal arts colleges in the nation it involves additional resources. There is a constellation of issues associated with faculty and staff compensation and professional opportunities that need to be supported. This includes improvements in salaries, opportunities for bilateral employment, set-up funds and professional development opportunities. It includes updating of our computing facilities and staffing. Beyond those, we clearly need to gain greater visibility as an institution as a way of attracting students to UMM and of letting the public know about the quality of the institution as a way to encourage additional gift giving. This will require additional staffing in both University Relations and Fund Development. In short, we need to strengthen the whole area of external relations. More financial aid is needed for students up front and throughout the students' academic career at UMM. We should tap the resources within the University of Minnesota recognizing that UMM may not be getting as much as we could hope for. Securing private resources to strengthen our financial aid to students, particularly scholarship money. Along with improving faculty and staff salaries nothing can match the importance of strong financial aid for our students. Finally, we need resources to strengthen the physical plant of the institution. We have an excellent plan in place and our building program is strong, but more will be needed to bring the campus back to what was once described as a first rate physical plant. It is apparent that there is a high level of dedication on the part of the faculty and staff and students to the institution. People are willing to work hard at what they do and go considerably beyond what is expected in the service of students. But not matter how dedicated, it is evident that more resources are needed to keep UMM in favorable competition with the public and private institutions in terms of salaries, benefits for faculty and staff, and for financial aid for our students.

    Chapter VIII

    Conclusion and Recommendations

    The special emphasis self-study of the University of Minnesota, Morris has focused on the quality of student academic life at the University of Minnesota, Morris, a public liberal arts college which is part of a large research university. The phrase "student academic life" is likely to mean different things for different people, but for purposes of this self-study, it means a core of curricular and co-curricular work, which is defined to be credit earning, and non credit earning pedagogy, e.g. non-credit student research. The phrase "college's expectations of and aspirations for its students' academic life" means that the college aims to produce liberally educated, socially responsible citizens and that UMM students contribute to the creative and intellectual life of the campus. The phrase "student's expectations of academic life in the college" means that students expect to find good teachers who are accessible and that the college provides opportunities for intellectual growth and stimulation. The goals of the self-study were to:

    This conclusion will synthesize the findings of the special emphasis self-study in light of the three goals identified above and then posit recommendations for the future based upon the deliberations of those preparing the self-study report.

    With regard to the college's expectations of and aspirations for its students academic life, there is compelling evidence that the institution is succeeding in preparing liberally educated, socially responsible citizens and that UMM students contribute to the creative and intellectual life of the campus. The final verdict of this success will become more apparent as the outcomes of the assessment of student learning plan become available, but the other evidence drawn from a variety of sources is almost entirely favorable.

    The evidence for UMM graduates as responsible citizens is straightforward. The study of alumni completed by the UMM Career Center, covering almost forty years, finds a pattern of active citizenship in the campus that began at UMM and extends throughout the lives of our graduates. They are active in their communities and professions, but they are not particularly political--that is, they do not identify themselves with political parties. As for student contributions to the creative and intellectual life of the campus, the evidence is more dispersed and diverse, but still unquestionably favorable. Our students participate in large numbers in individual research projects. This past year almost 30% of the seniors reported that they were involved in individual research projects, over 41% of our students participated in academically related internships, 40% in directed studies and 12% in undergraduate research opportunity projects. Further, over 51% of seniors had assisted in the classroom at UMM; this included being discussion leaders, graders and tutors. After graduation, an average or 25% of the students over 40 years go on to graduate and professional school and that number has been as high as 32% in the early part of the 1990's. This is a strong figure, particularly for a public institution.

    The strength of this participation in curricular and co-curricular activity simply confirms what is happening in regular classes on a day-to-day basis. Faculty continually describe UMM students as able, serious minded and interested in learning. All of the evidence available points to the feeling that students are engaged in the academic life of the institution and that they go on to become positive, constructive citizens in these communities.

    Students--current and former--expressed a high level of satisfaction with the college. By any measure, there is emphatic endorsement of the institution. In the recent survey of alumni, they identified that the capacity to think critically, to analyze ideas and see topics from different perspectives as some of the strengths of their college experiences. This view is shared by alumni of all ages. Further, most students do find career positions closely related to their undergraduate major. Current students as well as alumni give uniformly high marks to the instruction they received at UMM; this is an assessment over the nearly 40 year history of the institution.

    Students have every reason to expect that faculty are dedicated to teaching and excellence in their chosen fields of inquiry. Again, UMM does not disappoint as evidenced by the number of faculty who have been recognized university-wide by their profession and elsewhere for their outstanding contribution to undergraduate education. Further, students indicated that their access to their faculty particularly as they move into their majors, is extraordinarily high and that this relationship is overwhelming favorable. Finally, student participation in a host of activities--directed studies, internships, MAI, UROP projects and individual research projects as well as study abroad--suggest a high level of opportunity for intellectual growth.

    In sum, student responses about their academic life, based upon overwhelming course evaluation results, and the survey among current and former students, demonstrate a consistent history of enthusiasm on the part of the student for faculty and the intellectual life of the institution. The opportunities of intellectual growth and work with individual faculty are consistent, long standing and of the highest quality.

    Discussion of Issues

    Many issues have emerged in this self-study that directly relate to planning and the long-term viability of the institution. Matters related to student recruitment and retention, staffing, visibility of the institution, and upgrading the physical plant emerged as especially critical.

    Scholarship money to recruit and retain students is especially critical. There is evidence that scholarship funds are not being equitability distributed in the university to the great disadvantages of UMM. Morris is losing ground within the university. We put our limited scholarship resources up front to attract students without having the resources necessary to retain them. Major emphasis must be given to acquiring more scholarship funds and financial aid to recruit and retain students throughout their undergraduate careers.

    More financial aid is essential to the long time viability of the institution. There is evidence that in this past decade our tuition has increased more rapidly than the incomes of families from which we traditionally draw our students. In short, we may have slightly priced ourselves out of an important market for UMM. Either we must increase our financial aid to attract such students or assume that we will lose them to other institutions able to offer more aid. It seems that whatever else emerges from this study, an emphatic reinforcement of need to gain a greater access to scholarship funds within the University of Minnesota and from other sources should be of the highest priority to the institution.

    Staffing. It is clear that there are a number of places that understaffing is serious matter, but probably no more so than in external relations and in technology support from computing services. By any comparative measure with our COPLAC or Morris 14 colleagues, UMM is at or near the bottom. As we look to the future, with private fundraising especially important, the absence of visibility for the institution and its accomplishments makes that task all the more difficult.

    Priority must be given to the entire area of external relations, which for good reason has been given less attention in the past. Further, in an information age, having the infrastructure and support in computing services is as important as is having clerical support in the divisions to assist faculty in activity that relates to their teaching. Similarly, our capacity to maintain the physical plant has been lessened by past retrenchments; with new buildings coming on line and with other facilities being renovated, plant services staffing needs to increase to manage the existing and new facilities.

    UMM in its own right as well as through its affiliation with the University of Minnesota as a whole, enjoys an excellent reputation, but there are still challenges in recruiting and retaining faculty. Mostly, these challenges are related to the sparsely populated, relatively isolated geographical region in which UMM is located. Attracting faculty to UMM is complicated when there is a career-oriented spouse. Finding employment outside of the university context is difficult at best. This self-study found that the issue of spousal employment is one of the most vexing issues confronting hiring officers at UMM. It needs immediate attention. The interim chancellor has already taken steps in that regard this past year, when he named a part-time coordinator for spousal employment to develop a policy and plan addressing this problem.

    Further, more faculty coming to UMM, particularly in the experimental sciences, have research projects that require start up funds which require institutional funds on an ad hoc basis. As we seek to attract faculty with research programs, it is necessary to establish an ongoing start up fund. Last, but certainly not least, is being able to offer competitive salaries. There is general agreement that UMM has much to offer faculty--reasonable teaching loads, excellent students, almost universal agreement about the institutional mission and affiliation with the great public university--but there is evidence that UMM is losing ground in competitive salaries. Put simply, UMM has not kept pace with many other public and private institutions with which it compares itself. The salary picture is somewhat distorted by the fact that unlike other institutions that employ adjunct faculty, UMM has had a large number of temporary faculty at the lower ranks which have tended to pull down the averages for UMM faculty. We are less competitive when compared to the institutions with whom we are competing for faculty, and the prospect of making substantial headway in salary, according to the self-study, is not strong. A concerted effort must be made with whatever means possible to strengthen salaries for faculty. Salaries of staff are also of concern. In recent years the university has uncoupled selected staff salaries from faculty salaries. The result is that the professional staff, especially, but also some union staff have lost ground in their salary efforts. The problem is further compounded by the fact that comparative data has not been gathered for the various staff groups. In short, as we look to improving faculty salaries, there is also a need to address disparities in staff salaries.

    There is general satisfaction on the part of students and faculty with the library. Most students are satisfied with the collection and certainly with the services provided by the library staff. Faculty concurred that the library is adequate or stronger to meet the needs of undergraduate instruction. Still, by almost every measure with our peer institutions, the library is in need of additional resources for acquisitions and support staffing.

    The physical plant of the institution is a cause for mixed reviews. There was evidence in the early part of the decade that the physical plant was deteriorating. With the exception of the student center, our building program was stalled and the existing facilities were beginning to show their age. Both the buildings and the grounds were looking ragged. Classrooms, in particular, were drawing considerable criticism for their age, lighting, appearance, air circulation and adaptation to new technologies. In recent years, additional dollars have now been refocused on improving the quality of our classrooms. With new buildings, the demands of technology and comfort are taken into account. The new science building is an enormous benefit to the institution, not only in preparing students for careers in the sciences but in providing a psychological boost as UMM looks to the future. But it also necessitated taking out of commission one of the two major recreational spaces on campus. Recreational space is particularly important given the relative geographic isolation of Morris and the long winters. That deficit is being addressed with the opening of the new Regional Fitness Center, an addition to the Physical Education Center and a cooperative venture with the Morris Area School District, the City of Morris and Stevens County. Not only is it a remarkable community-university partnership, but it promises to meet the recreational needs of both community and university faculty, staff and students.

    The association with a great public research university in the view of this self-study is important for UMM. And on the whole, that relationship is positive, though there are some disadvantages as noted below. The affiliation with the University of Minnesota sets a standard of excellence and visibility that enhances the reputation of UMM. It provides a distinctively high standard of accomplishment for faculty promotion and tenure. There is relatively easy access to the enormous library holding of the University. And on a practical level, the University of Minnesota has an extremely strong retirement and benefits program, which UMM faculty and staff share. Indeed, it is unlikely that it would be such an attractive package if UMM did not have an affiliation with the broader university. Through the affiliation with the major research university the faculty share research funds and grants-in-aid. It is not that UMM would not provide such support but its capacity to respond in the way that the major research university does would be much more limited.

    Being affiliated with a major public university also helps to place the issue of retention in some reasonable context. Whenever UMM gets compared to the private liberal arts colleges, our retention rate does not look particularly favorable. A graduation rate of approximately 50% in six years is actually favorable within the University of Minnesota and indeed in public higher education more generally. But compared to the private colleges it is a relatively modest rate. Without this affiliation with the University of Minnesota, we might find ourselves troubled by the retention rate more than we should be, particularly compared with other public institutions.

    The library affiliation with the University of Minnesota is, of course, an important one. Students and faculty and staff have almost immediate access to the rich resources of a major research university. Thus, while the UMM library collection is of modest size with limited assets to increase the collection, there is the access to the collection of the University of Minnesota as a whole and that is widely used by faculty and students.

    There have been some agreements between the campuses of the University of Minnesota to create a "common market" exchange for students. A number of students, though not as many as recently as earlier in the decade, go from the Morris campus to the Twin Cities (or vice versa) for limited time frames (usually one term) to take courses not available in the UMM curriculum and transfer them back. These agreements make it possible for students to get courses or programs not available at UMM. There are other agreements in place that make for easy movement between campuses; UMM has agreements in place where graduates who complete the UMM degree can then gain automatic admission or access to graduate or professional programs in the Institute of Technology or in the Carlson School of Management.

    Study abroad opportunities have been greatly enhanced by the affiliation with the University of Minnesota. UMM students have ready access to the many programs of the Global Campus; this has made it possible for UMM to give students many more study abroad opportunities than we as a small liberal arts college can create for ourselves. Further, it has permitted us to "specialize" in selected programs that are appropriate and unique to this institution. There is a high level of cooperation in the area of study abroad, with UMM students participating in programs in the Global Campus and Twin Cities students participating in UMM programs especially in our English Language Teaching Assistant and Global Student Teaching programs and the Summer Program in Paris.

    Being a part of a major research university helps reinforce the essential goal that research plays in creating new knowledge as opposed to the dissemination of old information. Though the emphasis is clearly on excellence in teaching, which this self-study re-enforces, it is also clear that good teaching is related to having an active research program which refreshes and enhances instruction.

    It is difficult to know if funding for UMM is enhanced by being associated with a large public research university. The University of Minnesota is a powerful institution in the state and exerts considerable influence in the legislature. Thus, in theory, this association should be a strong one for us. But we are also confronted with the fact that when compared with many of the private institutions in the Morris 14 and even with the COPLAC institutions on most measures of salary, library resources, and staffing, UMM ranks at best in the middle and frequently to the lower end. The prestige associated with being a part of the University of Minnesota has not resulted in having the resources to be competitive in all respects with our peers among public and private institutions. Perhaps the conclusion that can be drawn from this is, that while in the main, the advantages of being affiliated with a great public research university are clearly greater than the disadvantages, the need for additional funds even with such an affiliation, underscores the need for UMM to gain visibility in its own right and to tap resources other than those available through the university. UMM also must more aggressively seek its appropriate share of the resources that are made available for the university.

    Recommendations

    There emerge from this self-study a number of specific recommendations from each of the sub-committees examining various aspects of the quality of student academic life. While all are important and thoughtful, there are three that are central to the well-being of the institution which require urgent attention.

     

    Increase the scholarship resources for recruiting and retaining students. The investigations of the self-study have revealed considerable disparity between both the number and dollars available to the Twin Cities Campus compared to UMM. UMM needs to gain a greater share of the scholarship resources available within the University of Minnesota. Second, UMM must seek additional funds through private resources to enhance scholarship dollars to both attract new students and to retain those that are here.

    Improve salaries and support for both faculty and staff. Again there are two dimensions of this. One is to continue to make the case within the University of Minnesota for improving faculty salaries to make us competitive with our peer institutions, both public and private. It also includes aggressively seeking outside sources of funding for faculty/staff salaries. For staff it means increasing the number of people in critical areas and then supporting them with adequate salaries.

    Enhance the visibility and development capacity of the institution. There is substantial agreement that UMM must become more visible to enhance its chance of attracting good students and in assuring success in development efforts. With regard to the latter, there is also urgent need to strengthen our fund raising capacity with additional staff. This is matched by an urgent need to restore staffing in the area of University Relations.

    Following are other recommendations, also important, that affect the quality of the institution. Those recommendations are grouped alphabetically by category.

    Advising

    To become better: assess advising; reward advising; reduce the inequity of advising assignments; improve advising in the first year and after; develop team advisers for first year students of color if the pilot program currently in progress so indicates; and continue to notify students in academic difficulty. To become the best: develop a system for evaluative feedback to advisers; expand services to students in academic difficulty; implement an intervention system for students in academic difficulty; and address advising issues cooperatively.

    Computing Services

    Continue the program for replacement of faculty computers on a four-year basis.

    Increase staff for technology support.

    Course Scheduling

    Make certain that students are able to get classes when they need them. This is a day-to-day issue with which students are not happy and requires careful monitoring.

    Faculty Development

    Establish a budget for set up funds for faculty engaged in research programs.

    Increase professional development funds.

    Institutional Data Gathering

    Construct student focus groups whose aim is to gain longitudinal data on how far UMM takes it students in four years.

    More systematically gather data on the value of co-curricular experiences since they figure so prominently in life at UMM.

    Increase the number of surveys of UMM alumni and seek more comparative data from COPLAC and Morris 14 institutions.

    Library

    Increase expenditures for the library to make it comparable in collections and staffing to that of the strongest COPLAC institutions.

    Physical Plant

    Continue to enhance the campus physical environment as outlined in the campus master plan.

    Service Learning

    Expand service learning initiatives to inculcate a greater sense of the possibilities for constructive civic participation.

    Student Services Staffing

    Given the availability now of the Regional Fitness Center, and the critically important role that fitness plays, particularly in our relatively geographically isolated location in a place severe winters, we need additional staff to help coordinate fitness activity on campus.

    The self-study unearthed an important finding that most students stay on campus during the weekends, contrary to campus perception over the years. This suggests the need for more staff to give greater emphasis to programming and to increase publicity about campus and community events on weekends.

    All of the above are important and directly relate to the prospects of UMM becoming the best public liberal arts college in the country but it seems that the first three, which call for greater resources for attracting and retaining students, attracting and rewarding faculty and staff, and support to enhance UMM's visibility and capacity to raise funds, take precedence over all of the others.