Update on Strategic Planning: January-March 2014

The Penn State Lehigh Valley campus community has remained active in the 2014-2019 Strategic Planning Process at the beginning of the Spring semester.  Below is an outline of the progress from January-March 2014 in the development of the campus strategic plan.

Beginning of January: Articulated Vision and Sub-Committee Action Plans formatted and finalized

January 11: Alumni Planning Retreat held to align alumni initiatives with new campus goals

January 14: Update provided to Faculty Senate

January 16: Advisory Board updated about the planning process and next steps

Beginning February: Initial lay-out of plan with all essential elements is designed; narrative pieces begin to take shape

February 11: Update provided to Faculty Senate

February 7: Strategies and action items are reviewed by campus administration

February 26 & 27: Strategic Planning Committee meetings held to discuss strategic initiatives and review action items

March 5: Ethics and Integrity information from UP is reviewed; initial group establishes framework for plan

March 10: Faculty and Staff Online Questionnaire on Sustainability and Diversity is launched

March 18: Senior and Academic Managers meet to discuss actions, timeframes, and measures

March 21: Sustainability and Diversity Online Questionnaire closes and inventory is compiled

March 26: Diversity Committee meets with Dr. Terrell Jones to showcase the diversity plan framework

*Various departmental meetings held in January-March to flesh out and develop action items

For additional information about the 2014-2019 Strategic Planning Process, click here.

Provost Jones’ Talk on Strategic Planning

The Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment (OPIA) at University Park has shared a web recording of Provost Nicholas Jones’ presentation to university and campus faculty, staff, and students. The talk, “The Provost’s Perspective on Strategic Planning,” was held on February 12, 2014, and highlights the current unit-level process and the upcoming university-level planning stages.

Provost Jones presented the emerging themes (still in draft form), including:

  • Promoting Our Health
  • Stewarding Our Resources
  • Transforming Education
  • Building Our Digital Future
  • Valuing and Exploring Our Cultures
  • and other/s, TBD

Also discussed was the importance of the university mission statement, values, foundational principles, supporting strategies, and guiding principles for resource allocation.

Click here to view the entire webcast.

PSU’s Statistical Snapshot

Penn State University’s Office of Strategic Communications offers a unique webpage with user-friendly stats for anyone wanting to know more about the university. Visit Penn State at a Glance: A Statistical Snapshot of the University for interesting, informative stats, including:

  • Penn State’s total enrollment, from all 24 campuses: 98,097. This is a 4 percent increase from 2009, when the enrollment was 94,301.
  • Penn State awarded 21,385 degrees in 2013.
  • Penn State encompasses more than 22,000 acres and more than 1,784 buildings statewide.
  • The value of Penn State’s endowment is $2.03 billion, representing a 59 percent increase from the $1.28 billion mark of 2009.
  • Alumni were responsible for $87.6 million of the $237.8 million in funds raised by Penn State in 2013.
  • Penn State has about 582,000 living addressable alumni, 326,000 of whom live in Pennsylvania.
  • Penn State graduates 88 percent of its athletes, compared to the NCAA’s Division I mean rate of 80 percent.

Sustainability and Diversity Questionnaire

Two important components of the 2014-19 campus strategic plan are a Campus Diversity Plan and a Campus Sustainability Plan. Each of these sub-plans asks the campus to showcase the progress made in these two areas (sustainability and diversity) and to outline strategies to further achievements in these areas.

In order to continue framing these two plans, the Office of Institutional Planning has asked each faculty and staff member to complete a short questionnaire to share information and ideas related to both sustainability and diversity on campus through an online link sent via the faculty/staff list-serv.

The questionnaire is meant to be a starting point for further conversations and planning efforts. Faculty and staff who have additional information to contribute beyond this questionnaire in regards to either sustainability or diversity, should contact the Office of Institutional Planning to share these in an expanded format or meeting.

Questions about this questionnaire can be directed to Kristy Hove, Institutional Planner, at kmw14@psu.edu.

March Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals: Focus on Learning Outcomes


The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publication of interest for higher education professionals. Click on the title to access the full article. This article summary is credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (March 2014 edition).

Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in U.S. Colleges and Universities (Zhao Yang)

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment report, Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in U.S. Colleges and Universities, presents findings from a spring 2013 survey of academic officers on assessment activities. The survey results indicate significantly more assessment activity than a few years ago, and the range of tools and measures to assess student learning has expanded significantly – with 84 percent of the respondents reporting they had common learning goals for all their students.

National College Completion Rates and Dual Enrollment

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The National Student Clearinghouse released its second annual college completions report in December 2013. Data was collected from over 3,500 participating colleges and universities.

Findings in the 2013 report include:

  • Nearly one in four students who completed a degree or certificate (23.4 percent) did so at an institution different than the one where they first enrolled.
  • Completions beyond the starting institution raised the overall completion rate from 43 to 56 percent.
  • Gains from completions at institutions other than the starting institution were greater for students who were age 20 or younger when they first entered college than they were for older students: 14.7 percentage points, compared to 8.4 and 6.8 percentage points for the delayed entry (age 21‐24) and adult learner (over age 24) groups, respectively.
  • Six‐year completion rates for the fall of 2007 national cohort showed a gender gap of 6.7 percentage points in favor of women.
  • Seven‐year outcomes for the fall 2006 cohort showed a 4 percentage point increase (from 54.1 to 58.1 percent) in total completions over the six‐year rate reported in our 2012 completions report. Changes in percentages from the six‐ to seven‐year outcome show the advantages of tracking college students for a longer period.
  • Seventeen percent of two‐year starters completed a four‐year degree, and more than half of those did so without first receiving an associate’s degree.

Additional information in the report deals with Dual Enrollment Students:

This report introduced a significant enhancement to the student cohort under study by including, for the first time, those students who entered college with prior experience in college-level courses through dual enrollment opportunities while still in high school. Analysis of the postsecondary outcomes of former dual enrollment students showed a completion rate of 66 percent for this group, 12 percentage points higher than the completion rate for the students who had no prior dual enrollment experience in the fall 2007 entering cohort….The results show that including students with prior dual enrollments in the starting cohort clearly increases the observed national college completion rate.

Source: http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/about/media_center/press_releases/files/release_2013-12-16.pdf

Access the full report here: http://nscresearchcenter.org/signaturereport6/

January 2014 Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals


The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publications of interest for higher education professionals. Click on the titles to access the full articles. These article summaries are credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (January 2014 edition).

The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013: First Generation Students (Melodie Christal)

In The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013: First Generation Students, ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) provide information to gain a greater understanding of first-generation students. Nearly 94 percent of ACT-tested first-generation students aspired to earn some form of postsecondary degree, and two out of three took ACT’s recommended core curriculum of four years of English and three years each of math, science, and social studies. Despite this preparation, first-generation students lag behind their peers in college readiness, and ACT and COE advocate for more effective policies to promote college readiness for these students.

Managing Online Education 2013: Practices in Ensuring Quality (Zhao Yang)

Managing Online Education 2013: Practices in Ensuring Quality presents results from a survey conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) in spring 2013. The survey collects data on the instructional, operational, and technology infrastructure of online programs in higher education. Key findings include: (1) institutions are adopting standards in their online courses with more than 85 percent of responding institutions implementing some form of “standards” or “best practices;” (2) more than half of institutions (58 percent) require new online faculty to participate in faculty development prior to teaching their first online courses; (3) the vast majority of institutions offer library services and advising to online students; and (4) course completion rates for online courses are 3 percent lower than for on-campus courses (78 percent vs. 81 percent).

How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues (Zhao Yang)

The College Board report, How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues, discusses ways in which the value of postsecondary education can be measured and provides insights into debates about the value of college and the need to improve education attainment in the United States. The report also includes essays by five eminent scholars on issues relating to the benefits of higher education and how to improve the distribution of those benefits.

2013 SAT Report on College and Career Readiness (Melodie Christal)

In 2013 SAT Report on College and Career Readiness, the College Board reports only 43 percent of 2013 high school graduates taking the SAT were academically prepared for college-level course work. This number has not changed in five years. Studies show students who meet the SAT College and Career Readiness benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and more likely to persist and complete their degree. The 2013 high school graduates who met the SAT benchmark had several academic characteristics in common. They were: (1) more likely to have completed a core curriculum (four or more years of English and three or more years each of mathematics, natural science, and social science or history); (2) more likely to have taken honors or AP courses; and (3) more likely to be ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class.


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