Chapter 1: Introductory Overview
“Academic Excellence, Enriching Individual Lives, Making a difference in the World,” the primary goals of the University of Illinois at Springfield (Strategic Plan, 2006) resonate throughout the heritage of its campus. Originally founded in 1969 as one of Illinois’s initial upper division institutions, Sangamon State University was mandated to be a “truly pioneering segment of public education” in the Master Plan for higher education in Illinois (1967). True to the mandate, founding President Robert Spencer and the faculty created a unique avenue for individuals to enter upper-division and graduate study. An environment was created in which professional and vocational objectives could be pursued within the framework of a liberal learning model. Located on 740 acres of prairie, six miles southeast of Springfield, adjacent to scenic Lake Springfield and to the 340-acre campus of Lincoln Land Community College, the Sangamon State University campus was originally comprised of ten one-story metal buildings. From the beginning, teaching and education in public affairs formed the cornerstones of the institutional mission. At its start, 45 faculty offered a curriculum with 13 majors to 800 students. Small classes, close connections between students and faculty both inside and outside the classroom, and innovation in education characterized the original vision for Sangamon State University. (See the history of UIS)
As UIS approaches its 40th year since the original mandate, much has changed on its campus but the original vision, with its emphasis on teaching, remains very much alive. The UIS campus has evolved into a more comprehensive and traditional university. In 1995, the Board of Regents, the governing board of Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Sangamon State University, was abolished and Sangamon State University was integrated into the University of Illinois system. Sangamon State University became one campus in a three-campus system: University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Illinois at Springfield. This new name marked the beginning of momentous change for the university. UIS’ first doctoral program was launched in 1998, and in the fall of 2001, the first class of freshmen was admitted. Today, 200 faculty across 22 undergraduate programs and 22 graduate programs deliver the curriculum. The UIS campus serves 4,761 students in both online and on-campus learning environments. The campus “on the prairie” has grown from the original ten metal buildings to several permanent buildings (Health Sciences Building, Public Affairs Center, Brookens Library), including UIS’ newest classroom building (University Hall) with state-of-the-art classroom technology, a residence hall, and town houses. Additional town houses and a recreation center are currently under construction and a new residence hall is in the planning stages. (See the UIS Campus.)
Of central importance for the future of UIS is that, in the short time since joining the University of Illinois system, the campus has begun to push toward its vision of becoming one of the premier public liberal arts universities in the country, offering an innovative, high-quality liberal arts education that serves local, state, regional, national, and international communities.
As one of the three campuses of the University of Illinois system, UIS is governed by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Each campus is led by a chancellor who reports to the University President and the Board of Trustees. The Chancellor is UIS’ chief executive officer charged with articulating a vision and direction for UIS as well as having ultimate responsibility for all campus functions and operations.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is the final authority over all campuses of the University of Illinois system. This governing body has control over all matters except those that are delegated to the authority of the president of the university, the chancellors, or other officers or agencies of the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois Statutes provide a governance framework for all three campuses, which includes administrative organization and responsibilities; legislative organization and functions; conditions of appointment and tenure for faculty members and administrative officers; and conditions relating to sponsored research, gifts, grants, patents, and copyrights. In addition to the Statutes, the Board of Trustees has provided a set of regulations entitled The General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure. These regulations describe the organization and responsibilities of administrative offices that provide supporting services, outline in greater detail various business procedures mentioned in the Statutes, specify the conditions governing the use of university property, and describe in some detail employment policies and employee benefits. Further, the Guidelines for Administrative Procedures for University-Campus Relationships provide a framework for the application of the Statutes and the General Rules for campus administrators.
The UIS campus has three divisions: the Chancellor’s office, Academic Affairs, and Student and Administrative Services. The Chancellor’s division includes the offices of Access and Equal Opportunity, Development, Special Events, Constituent Relations, Public Relations, Marketing, Conference Services, Campus Services, Human Resources, and the Police Department. The Chancellor’s division also links with the University of Illinois Foundation (through the Office of Development) and the University of Illinois Alumni Association. The division of Academic Affairs is led by the Provost and Vice Chancellor, who oversees the four academic colleges (see below for description), Brookens Library, the Grants and Contracts Office, Graduate Assistantship Office, Undergraduate Academic Advising Center, Center for State Policy and Leadership, Office of International Programs, Sangamon Auditorium, and the Ombudsperson Office. The Associate Vice Chancellors for Academic Planning, Undergraduate Education, and Graduate Education and Research, and the Associate Provosts for Information Technology and Budget and Planning report to the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. The division of Student and Administrative Services is led by the Vice Chancellor of Student and Administrative Services. The Associate Vice Chancellor (Enrollment Management), Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Associate Dean of Students, and Assistant Dean of Students report to the Vice Chancellor of Student and Administrative Services. (See Appendix 1.)
The institution is comprised of four colleges: Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Public Affairs and Administration. Each college is overseen by a dean who reports to the Provost/Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. The policies and procedures for each of the colleges are approved by an executive committee led by the dean. Brookens Library is also overseen by a dean and the Center for State Policy and Leadership by an Executive Director. (See Appendix 2.)
The University of Illinois system has a long tradition of faculty, staff, and student governance. The idea of shared governance remains at the heart of campus decisionmaking. Today, the Campus Senate, a faculty-staff-student governance system, plays a vital role in the development and approval of academic policy (graduate and undergraduate), monitors new initiatives and program/unit review, and oversees faculty personnel policy. Members of Campus Senate are also elected to serve on University Senates Conference, a three-campus body that serves as an advisory group to the Board of Trustees, the president of the university, other administrative officials, and the campus senates on issues that impact the entire University of Illinois system. A student representative is also appointed to the Board of Trustees.
At the time of the last self-study in 1997, the campus had only recently merged with the University of Illinois. Since becoming a University of Illinois campus, UIS has undergone dramatic and dynamic changes. Faculty, staff, and administrators modified the campus’ existing structures and policies to align with the University of Illinois system statutes. As institutional planning proceeded, it became evident that a number of organizational changes were necessary for the university to effectively fulfill its mission and prepare for its new initiatives.
Administrative Changes. Since 1997, a number of administrative changes have resulted from retirement, resignation, and reappointment. Appendix 3 provides an overview of these changes.
Transition from Schools to Colleges. In 1998, the academic units of the campus were reconfigured as colleges to achieve consistency with the academic organization of the Urbana and Chicago campuses. This transition strengthened the administrative role of these academic units by decentralizing authority over policy, personnel, and budget. In 2002 the Center for State Policy and Leadership was moved out of the College of Public Affairs and Administration and became a freestanding unit within Academic Affairs.
Elimination of Business and Administrative Services. In 2006, the division of Business and Administrative Services was eliminated. Campus Police and Service Enterprises were moved to the Chancellor’s Office. Physical Planning and Operations was moved to the division of Student Affairs. This change allowed for the elimination of an administrative line, Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services, thereby creating a Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Administrative Services.
Information Technology Services. In 2006, a new unit that combined Educational Technology (from Academic Affairs) and Campus Technology Services (from Business and Administrative Affairs) was created within the division of Academic Affairs. This new unit, Information Technology Services, is overseen by an Associate Provost for Information Technology who reports directly to the Provost. This organizational change placed information technology services directly within the academic mission, eliminated costly redundancy, and improved overall service to the campus.
Creation of Associate Chancellor of Constituent Relations Position. In 2001, a position was created to advise the chancellor on matters relating to all branches of government and to serve as the liaison to the University of Illinois Government Relations Office. The Associate Chancellor of Constituent Relations also serves as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor, representing the Chancellor on campus and university committees and coordinating responses to various constituency issues.
Creation of the UIS Office of Development. Upon the merger with the University of Illinois, the SSU Foundation Office was eliminated and its assets were transferred to the University of Illinois Foundation. A University of Illinois Foundation Vice President was assigned to UIS. She also holds the title of UIS Associate Chancellor, oversees the UIS Office of Development, and reports to the Chancellor. This office leads the effort to secure financial support for academic, cultural, and extracurricular programs offered at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Creation of Associate Vice Chancellor Positions. In 2001, an Associate Vice Chancellor of Graduate Education and Research position was created. This position was created in direct response to concerns of the NCA site visit in 1997. In 2005, an Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education position was also created. The creation of this position was necessary for the effective oversight of the general education expansion on the campus.
Elimination of Faculty Collective Bargaining Unit. With the 1995 legislative action to merge Sangamon State University with the University of Illinois, the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act was amended to effectively eliminate the faculty bargaining unit on the UIS campus. The Collective Bargaining Agreement was honored through its expiration in June of 1997. All faculty personnel policies and procedures were governed by this agreement. With the expiration of this agreement, faculty personnel policies and procedures (guided by University of Illinois Statutes) were developed by administrative and faculty governance leaders. A governance committee of faculty and administration oversee and review current faculty personnel policy per the UIS Faculty Personnel Policies Handbook.
Elimination of Degrees. Master’s degrees in Psychology (1997), Mathematical Sciences (1998), Economics (1999), Community Arts Management (1999) and a bachelor’s degree in Health Service Administration (1999) were eliminated and phased down during the last 10 years. The nursing program was transferred to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in 2000. Individual master’s degree programs in Child, Family, and Community Services and Gerontology were eliminated and combined to form an M.A. in Human Services.
New Degrees and Certificates. In 2004, the Teacher Leadership concentration within the Educational Leadership graduate degree became a separate master’s degree. In 2006 Educational Leadership added a post-master’s certificate in Educational Leadership for school superintendent endorsement and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Legal Aspects of Education. In 2007 a certificate in Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security and post-baccalaureate certificates in Community Health Education and Epidemiology were also added. These new certificates were in direct response to constituency need. A new B.A. degree in Philosophy was also created in the fall of 2004.
Creation of Senior Online Coordinator Position. In 2006, this position was created within the Provost’s office to facilitate communication among the online program coordinators, disseminate best practices in online education, and serve as principal contact with university offices for the resolution of concerns that are common across online programs.
Creation of the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL). In 1997, the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning was established to assist faculty in the development of online courses. This unit was initially housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but in 2007, it was moved to Brookens Library.
Creation of a branch of University of Illinois Alumni Association. Upon the merger with the University of Illinois, a branch of the University of Illinois Alumni Association was established. This unit coordinates with the Alumni Association branches at both other campuses to sponsor local events and provide services for University of Illinois graduates.
Creation of the Offices of International Student Services and International Programs. As a result of the expanding responsibilities of study abroad programs and the increasing numbers of new international students, in 2006 the Office of International Programs was divided into two distinct offices. One office, International Student Services, reports to Student Affairs and focuses on the needs of the international students, including administration of visa regulations, international student orientation and transitions, SEVIS compliance, and the traditional programs of the office. The other office, International Programs, now reports through Academic Affairs and maintains responsibility for the Global Experience Program (study abroad and exchange programs), faculty and staff visa advising, and the English as a second language (ESL) program.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has the statutory authority to set tuition rates for University of Illinois students and to collect funds based upon those rates. Beginning in FY 1997, with a change in state statute, public universities have the authority to retain and expend locally held tuition revenue as well. Prior to FY 1997, institutions were required to deposit tuition revenue in the state treasury and receive an appropriation before it could be expended. For public universities as a group, tuition revenue represents 43% of the former “appropriated funds” operating budget comprised of State tax funds and tuition revenue. Since state tax funds remain so large a fraction of this total, the General Assembly and the Governor remain active participants in decisions about tuition levels through their ability to control tax appropriations for universities.
Comparative Analysis. Beginning in FY 2002, UIS experienced three years of state imposed budget rescissions. These rescissions ranged from 6.5% to 7.4%. The recent spike in tuition increases has been driven by declining and flat state support (FY 2005 and FY 2006). Tuition increases along with cost savings measures have helped UIS meet inflationary pressures. On top of these costs, tuition increases have helped make up for lost state support during the rescission years. Figure 1-1 (UIS State Support per Income Fund Dollar, FY 1997–FY 2007) shows the history of state support versus tuition support for UIS. A decade ago, state tax funds represented 74.6% of the university’s total appropriated funds budget, and tuition revenue represented 23.5% of the total. In academic year 2007, general tax support has fallen to 56.7% and tuition has risen to 43.1%. Again this trend is the same at the university level as found at UIS.
The demands on tuition revenue necessitated by declining state support have required UIS to increase tuition at a faster pace than the growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). UIS has long monitored its costs in relation to Illinois personal income, a readily available measure. Table 1-1 reveals that after a long period of relatively stable tuition as a percent of Illinois per capita personal income (PCPI), an increase began in about 2002. Undergraduate 24-hour annual tuition as a percent of PCPI rose from 7.3% in 2002 to an estimated 10.0% in 2007. UIS believes that the increase reflects a move from a bargain price point to a more comparable price in comparison to UIS’ peers.
The academic year 2007 undergraduate tuition and fee charges at UIS are $7,244, which is significantly lower than the tuition and fee charges of UIUC ($9,882) and UIC ($9,742). (see Table 1-2a and Table 1-2b) The UIS charges largely reflect the former rates as a Board of Regents institution. At that time, tuition and fees were set in the context of Illinois State University (ISU) and Northern Illinois University (NIU). UIS’ current tuition and fees remain more closely approximate to the rates at ISU ($8,040) and NIU ($7,871) than those at the sister U of I campuses. UIS’ current rates rank the campus as seventh highest among the Illinois public universities, behind UIUC and UIC at numbers one and two, ISU and NIU at numbers three and four, and then Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Western Illinois University at fifth and sixth in the rankings.
Year-to-year percentage increases have also varied and continue to do so. For academic year 2007, the overall percentage increase for UIS tuition and fees was 21.6%. This increase outpaced both UIUC at 14.5% and UIC at 14.7%. Such a differential resulted from a $125 per semester differential increase for all new UIS students to support core academic programs approved by the Board of Trustees for 2006 and will continue into 2009. The end result will be an increase in tuition and fees of $1,000 per academic year at UIS above any other base tuition increases. (see Table 1-3) This program was initiated because UIS’ base operating budget needed augmentation to adequately support the academic mission and ensure the quality of the academic programs. Funds are being used primarily to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and to sustain UIS’ educational technology leadership. The purpose of this program is to help ensure that UIS achieves the same reputation for high academic quality that has been earned by the other two campuses of the university.
Tuition decisions with respect to Financial Aid policy. The Board of Trustees has established a financial aid policy which ensures that the full cost of tuition—not covered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission Monetary Award Program—is covered for students eligible for a full MAP award. This so-called Map-Gap program ensures that the neediest students have their tuition costs covered. While tuition rates at UIS are below that of its sister institutions, UIS has now crossed over the MAP award threshold. For academic year 2007, $87,500 has been set aside in awards and grant funds to make financial aid awards to students with a MAP program gap. The amount of funds set aside is adjusted each year and the increase is directly tied to the general tuition increases.
UIS is mindful of the increasing cost of attendance. The university recognizes that its cost of attendance has outpaced the price increase benchmarks, but it is also aware of rising financial aid available to students. A campus group with representatives from the administration, Student Affairs, Campus Senate, and the Student Government Association provides input to the tuition-setting process. As part of campus discussions regarding tuition increases, financial aid is examined by an internal group. Table 1-4 is prepared each year to display changes in tuition, fees, and financial aid. The most recent analysis reveals that while UIS tuition and fees have increased more than 78% over the five-year period leading to academic year 2006, UIS’ financial aid program has grown over 119%. While the largest growth has been in loan programs (135%), growth in both grant and scholarship programs (109%) and student employment (88%) have outpaced the growth in tuition and fees.
Another view of financial aid at UIS can be found in the annual “Who Pays” analysis. (See Figure 1-2) For the most recent reported term, fall 2005 (AY 2006), 36% of UIS undergraduate students paid no tuition and fees out of pocket; 22% paid less than $2,000; 6% paid more than $2,000, but less than full tuition and fees; and 36% paid full tuition and fees. The percentage of UIS undergraduates paying full tuition and fees is significantly less than UIC at 46% and UIUC at 54%. While these results are somewhat dependant on the financial need of the student mix at the three institutions, it is largely a reflection of UIS’ lower tuition and fee rates. This analysis is another indicator monitored by the campus as UIS’ tuition and fee rates rise.
Cost Sharing of Higher Education and Tuition Guarantee. Calculations of instructional costs are made annually by the IBHE as cost data for past years become available. These costs exclude research and public service expenditures and the overhead attributable to those functions. The remaining costs represent the true costs of instruction in the absence of the other missions of the campus. These costs are then divided by total credit hours to arrive at instructional cost per credit hours. The most recent data available is from academic year 2005 and is displayed in Table 1-5. Over the period from AY 2002 to AY 2005, undergraduate tuition as a percent of instructional costs rose from 32.6% to 43.9%. This increase reflects both rising tuition rates and falling state support. UIS expects this percentage will continue to grow given the experience in AY 2006 and AY 2007 in terms of state support and tuition rates.
The fair share model also suggests that out-of-state students should pay the full cost of their instruction without a subsidy from the state of Illinois. Hence, the traditional non-resident tuition rate is set at three times the in-state rate. UIS, along with its sister campuses, has recognized the overall shift in tuition as a percent of instructional costs. To keep the non-resident rate from exceeding full costs, UIS is now adding the same dollar increase in per credit hour tuition to the non-resident rate rather than three times that dollar increase. In 2006-07, the entering undergraduate non-resident tuition was $491 per credit hour, which was 2.6 times the resident rate of $186 per credit hour. The 2005 data suggest that a 2.3 times difference would cover full costs for non-resident students. As UIS continues the policy of incrementing the non-resident rates by the dollar increase rather than three times the dollar increase, it will bring the non-resident rate closer to the full cost benchmark.
Legislation passed in 2003 fundamentally altered the relationship between the university and undergraduate students, as well as their families, with regard to the costs of education. In that year, the University of Illinois Act (110 ILCS 305/25) was amended to include a four-year tuition guarantee for new Illinois-resident undergraduate students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program on any of the three campuses of the university. The plan allows students and families to budget for tuition costs over a four-year course of study. Each student is considered part of a cohort defined by the date of entry to the university. Each cohort is guaranteed an unchanged tuition schedule for four years, making planning for the costs of a college degree substantially easier. The program is described in University of Illinois Guaranteed Tuition Plan.
Graduate Tuition. Tuition charges are expected to be higher for graduate programs. UIS has consistently maintained higher per credit hour charges for graduate students as compared to undergraduate students, although the margin historically has been small. In 2006-07, the credit hour rate for in-state graduate students was $196.75, $10.75 more per credit hour than their undergraduate counterparts. UIS recognizes that a differential for graduate study is warranted, but it has attempted to keep graduate rates as affordable as possible given the large number of non-traditional-age graduate students enrolled, who do not normally qualify for financial aid. UIS has tried to balance its concern for returning adult students with the costs of providing graduate instruction. The amount of the graduate differential is considered each year during the tuition-setting process.
Several new initiatives have emerged on the UIS campus in the last decade. In 1998, UIS’ first doctoral program, a Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA), was launched. In 2001, UIS added the Capital Scholars program and the first class of freshman were enrolled and in residence on the UIS campus. In 2004, the Board of Trustees approved a plan that allowed for a significant expansion of the freshman class in the fall of 2006. With the assistance of a number of external grants, the campus also added completely online degree programs: eight baccalaureate and seven master’s degree programs, three academic minors, and four certificates. (See Appendix 7.) Most of these online degree programs mirror the degree programs already offered on the UIS campus and are taught by full-time faculty. These new initiatives required careful and deliberate analysis and planning of UIS’ organizational structure, financial resources, and infrastructure.
Financial Resource Base. The launching of these new initiatives demanded a large share of incremental funds. New state funds have been limited during the past 10 years. In fiscal year 2003, state imposed rescissions began that endangered these initiatives; however, UIS has provided incremental funds to support these activities. A summary of new state programmatic funding requests and appropriations is attached as Appendix 4. UIS has also seen a 10% increase in gifts and endowments during the last decade. (see Figure 1-3)
An overview of the origin of the funding for these four initiatives follows:
Doctorate of Public Administration (DPA)
UIS initially received $300,000 from the state in FY 1998 to launch its first doctoral program. In FY 2001, the DPA program received another $150,000 in state funds. The first increment funded the Director, the Assistant to the Director, two 67% faculty joint appointments, graduate assistantships ($36,000), and operating expenses ($53,000). The second increment funded an additional 2.33 FTE faculty appointments and $36,000 in doctoral research assistantships.
The particular interest in online courses and degree programs started under the direction of the leadership at the University of Illinois administration in the mid-1990s. The Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Illinois identified online education as a priority and made funds available to the three University of Illinois campuses for the use of technology in the classroom and the development of online courses. In 1997 the University of Illinois established the University of Illinois Online (U of I Online) as a unit in the Vice President for Academic Affair’s Office to provide coordination and support to the three campuses of the University of Illinois. Its main goal was “to increase the number of high-quality online education programs available to place-bound and time-restricted prospective students in the U.S. and internationally.”
The implementation of UIS’ online degree completion programs has been funded mainly through grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL) was funded in 1997 through U of I Online. U of I Online also funded the start of the first online degree programs in liberal studies and management information systems, followed by funding for the Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership. In 2002 five additional online programs were launched (English, history, computer science, mathematics, and philosophy) with a Sloan grant and are now self-funding via tuition revenue. A second Sloan grant provided seed money for online degree development in an additional two baccalaureate programs (economics and business administration), as well as five graduate programs (environmental studies, public administration, legal studies, human services, and computer science). The proposals for each of these online programs included a business plan. Sloan grant funds are being used to develop the courses and carry first-year expenses before students are admitted to the programs. Matching funds were provided by the President’s Office. In each case, the ongoing expenses of the program (generally one new faculty line, a half-time support position, and limited expenses) are fully funded by new tuition revenue generated by the program. The programs generate more than their cost and return the balance to the campus for allocation.
UIS currently offers twenty-two online academic degrees, minors, and certificates. In addition to the Sloan Foundation, UIS has also received substantial grant support from a number of other sources including FIPSE, SBC, Elluminate, Illinois Century Network, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the IBHE. (See Appendix 6.)
Lower Division Expansion
The lower division at UIS has expanded in two phases. In the first phase, UIS received approval for the Capital Scholars Program (CAP) that included a small cohort of residential, highly qualified, traditional-aged students. The New Program Request for the Capital Scholars Program described an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum that would provide the general education and much of the first two years of coursework for students entering as freshmen at UIS. The curriculum was designed to complement the coursework in the major and the upper division general education required of all undergraduates. In the early years of the implementation of CAP, course evaluations, exit interviews, and town-hall type discussions with students indicated that the curriculum was specifically suited to students who desired an honors-quality education and was less suited to a more general population of freshmen and sophomores. UIS intended to expand the size and diversity of its entering freshman population beyond the 100-student cohorts of the Capital Scholars Program, but the institution needed a more flexible general education curriculum that would suit a more heterogeneous freshman class. It also needed a curriculum that would afford transfer students more opportunities for completing general education coursework that fit easily into the course categories of the state’s articulation initiative. In January 2003, the Provost convened the General Education Working Group (GEWG), a faculty committee whose purpose was to develop a general education curriculum that would be broadly marketable and easily adaptable to different populations of students. The GEWG met for two and a half years and produced the UIS General Education Curriculum based on the two principles of lifelong learning and engaged citizenship. While the curriculum was being deliberated, UIS administrators determined the mechanism by which the expansion of the freshman class would occur. Given the IBHE mandate under which the Capital Scholars Program was created, the decision was made to expand the Capital Scholars Program to include two curricula—the original CAP curriculum and the curriculum developed by the GEWG. During academic year 2004-05, administrators of the original Capital Scholars Program were asked to determine the best way to incorporate two populations of students under the same rubric, and the CAP Steering Committee recommended converting the program into the campus honors program, with an expanded four-year honors curriculum. With that series of decisions, UIS began recruiting a larger class of freshman for fall 2006, divided between a general cohort and an honors cohort.
The original budget projections for the Capital Scholars Program called for $2,000,000 in new state funds to supplement the tuition income to be generated by the students in the program. This funding provided the instructional faculty lines necessary to deliver the curriculum and also to enhance the support services available to students. The campus set aside $254,000 in available state resources to devote to the new initiative in FY2000. The campus received $300,000 in new state funding in FY 2001 and $165,000 in FY 2002. The University Administration partnered with UIS in the launch of the program and provided, via permanent reallocation, $750,000 in state dollars to UIS in FY 2001. In FY 2003, the state-imposed rescissions began and no further state funding was received for the program.
The incremental dollars available totaled $1,469,000, leaving a shortfall of $531,000. While small savings were achieved in Academic Affairs (mainly the salaries of new hires coming in below projections), the bulk of the program savings were attained in Student Affairs. In FY 2001, $39,300 was saved in academic hires. The areas under student recruitment and administration were held to $328,800 in new hires and expenses compared to planned expenditures of $634,000. This resulted in $305,200 in savings. The balance of the shortfall was made up in savings from other student services areas.
The current general education Capital Scholars expansion is being funded solely by tuition and fee revenue. The amount of campus infrastructure investments is less than was needed in the initial CAP implementation. The majority of the funds are being devoted to academic enhancements. Without an infusion of state resources or campus reallocation, the budget plan included deficit spending in the first four years. This deficit spending of approximately $2,000,000 is to be made up by contributions from the campus, the University Administration, and by future tuition revenue. The campus contribution, thus far, has been made through cost savings and avoidance rather than direct cash transfer. It is anticipated that the program will generate enough tuition revenue to cover costs sometime during the fourth year and be self-sufficient at the fully planned expenditure level in the fifth year.
Human Resources. During the last decade there has been a 29.1% increase in staff at UIS. Nearly 90% of this growth is associated with the new initiatives described in the previous section. Overall, the staff at UIS increased from 654 full-time equivalents to 844 full-time equivalents. (see Figure 1-4)
The faculty base increased from 181.5 to 239.8 or 32.2%. Tenured faculty decreased by 29 FTE while tenure-track faculty increased by 44 FTE for an overall tenure/tenure-track increase of 15 FTE or 9.8%. The bulk of the increase in faculty is found in the other faculty category. This category includes full-time faculty not on tenure track, visiting appointments, and part-time faculty. (see Table 1-6)
The loss of tenured faculty results from the retirement of faculty hired in the early years of SSU. Nearly all of the early faculty members are now retired. They have been replaced by newer faculty members on tenure track. Tenure track faculty members were added for the Capital Scholars Honors Program, the online degree completion programs, and the General Education expansion. These additions account for the overall growth in tenure/tenure-track FTE.
Student FTE enrollment in the fall of 1996 was 2,574.1. FTE student enrollment varied over the period, but has risen to 3,128.5 in the fall of 2006. This is an increase of 554.4 FTE or a 21.5% increase. (see Figure 1-5) The increase in total faculty has outpaced the increase in student FTE. However, the increase in tenure/tenure-track faculty, at 9.8%, has lagged the student FTE increase.
Some of this discrepancy is due to the usage of visiting appointments (with the title of Visiting Assistant Professor, for example). In the fall of 2006, the campus had five full-time faculty members on visiting assistant professor appointments for various reasons. In addition to the usage of the visiting title, the campus has increased reliance on part-time faculty. Some accreditation criteria demand the usage of current practitioners in the field as adjunct instructors to ensure currency and practical experience in the curriculum. Nonetheless, the fact remains that UIS has increased, on an FTE basis, its use of non-tenure/tenure track faculty from 15.4% in the fall of 1995 to 29.7% in the fall of 2006 (based on total FTE).
The rise in the numbers of academic professional employees is striking at 82.6%, an increase of nearly 83 FTE. Several major factors are involved in this increase and can identify nearly 90% of the growth. Over one-third of the increase (37.3% of the 83 FTE) results from additional academic professional employees paid from non-state funds through the Office of Development. These are employees paid through grant and contract funds and other local funds. The other local funds are largely comprised of student housing revenue. As UIS has added housing on the campus—Lincoln Residence Hall and town houses—the number of resident management and resident life staff has increased accordingly.
On the state-funded side, UIS has made large investments in student support services to accommodate its shift to a more residential, traditional-aged student population. These investments have been in the areas of student life and student services as well as admissions, records and registration, and student advising. Such increases account for nine FTE in the fall of 2006 related to the Capital Scholars expansion. Even greater investments of 14 FTE in academic professional staff were made for the start of the Capital Scholars Honors Program in 2000-03. These combined increases account for 27.8% of the total increase.
Online coordinator positions also have been added as new online degree programs have begun. The campus has added 10.75 FTE academic professionals involved in the delivery of online programs, which represents 13.0% of the growth in academic professional staff.
The final factor has been the movement of functions and staff from University Administration reporting lines and accounts to campus reporting lines and accounts. Network Services and Human Resources both moved to the campus during the past 10 years. Academic professional positions in these units comprise another 9.5 FTE, or 11.5% of the overall growth.
UIS is a relatively young institution, a trait that presents both benefits and difficulties. The campus is still building a permanent infrastructure to meet all of its programmatic needs. But the relative youthfulness of the campus also enables UIS to have an infrastructure that is on the cutting edge of design and structure of residential space, teaching and learning environments, and technological support systems.
Physical Infrastructure. In anticipation of the needs of UIS’ new initiatives, a new Campus Master Plan for UIS was developed in 2000 to guide the long-range use and development of the campus. The rationale for expansion was based on (1)an existing space deficit of approximately 53,000 assignable square feet; (2)the extensive amount of academic and athletic space located in the temporary metal buildings; and (3)the anticipated growth in student enrollments requiring a significant increase in the existing permanent academic facilities. Further, it was noted that the increase in the residential student population would require an increase in parking facilities, athletic fields, tennis courts, and student residences. Since 2000, implementation of the new master plan includes the construction of a new classroom/office building (University Hall), a residence hall (Lincoln Residence Hall), and additional town houses. In response to the recommendations of the Campus Master Plan, a recreation center and additional town houses are under construction, an additional residence hall is in the design stages, and with the completion of University Hall and the Colonnade, the campus “quad” has begun take form.
Technology Resources. UIS has made significant investments in creating a technology-rich environment and promoting effective integration of technology with the curriculum to enhance learning outcomes. Today, UIS has a clear competitive advantage in effectively using technology to provide a more engaging learning environment for UIS’ students, both on campus and online. UIS is ahead of many institutions in the areas of technological availability and integration.
A sampling of the new technologies and services implemented at UIS over the last 10 years includes the following:
- Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning: U of I Online provided funding to UIS in 1997 to establish the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL) as a unit to assist faculty in the use of technology. OTEL has played a significant role in advancing the use of technology in UIS teaching and facilitating the development of online courses and degree programs.
- Wireless Campus: UIS was the first university campus in Illinois to provide campus-wide wireless availability. A large number of wireless laptops are available for checkout by faculty and students or for delivery to classrooms.
- Web Services: Students are able to register, view their grades and financial aid status, vote in elections, submit course evaluations, pay their fees, and manage their campus cash account (iCard) electronically.
- Smart Classrooms: Over 90% of the classrooms at UIS are equipped with technology to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Technology-enhanced classrooms located throughout campus are designed to strengthen the integration of technology into the curriculum. The new University Hall building is the most advanced facility among public universities in Illinois. All classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
- Computer Labs: UIS students, faculty, and staff have access to state-of-the-art computing facilities with over 250 stations available for public access. In addition to common software for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, a variety of computer hardware and software suited for developing almost every type of multimedia project are available. Equipment such as scanners, CD and DVD burners, digital slide scanners, analog/digital video converters, and laser color printers are also available for use.
- Learning Management Systems: Nearly 70% of courses—whether online or on campus—use learning management software. The system connects students (anytime/anywhere) to course content, to the faculty, to other students, and to the university and all its services. UIS currently uses Blackboard as its primary platform.
- E-Portfolios: Several faculty members and academic units at UIS have begun to incorporate E-portfolios into the curricula. The software used is TaskStream, a collaborative web-based productivity tool for organizing and managing shared practices through electronic portfolio and web-page creation, instructional design, and professional development.
- Class Capture: A growing number of UIS faculty members are making course lectures available to students for online review. This technology enables students to improve comprehension and retention and enables professors to improve the effectiveness of class and office hours.
- Podcasting: UIS provides full podcasting support for classroom lectures and campus events. A podcast is a creative communication tool that provides faculty with another way to interact with their students. Among the possibilities, it allows faculty to present scenarios and questions to their students, put forward points to ponder, and help students come to class prepared to articulate the thoughts generated by the podcast.
- Multimedia Production Support: Services are available to support faculty creating multimedia materials for use in their courses, as well as multimedia assistance to students working on academic projects. Multimedia projects have included the creation of digitized collections from 35mm slides, conversion of video presentations to CD-ROM and DVD formats, and the creation of fully interactive multimedia presentations.
- eSuite: The Digital Editing Suite (eSuite) is a studio for digital audio and video production. Users can create CDs and DVDs, record voice-overs for presentation slides, and capture/mix audio in a studio environment. The eSuite is also used for recording audio lectures for course-related podcasts. A growing number of faculty members at UIS are taking a learner-centered approach at integrating podcasting into their courses.
- Student Response Systems: Many faculty members across all disciplines take advantage of student response systems, also known as Clickers. These devices are used to increase interactivity and engagement in class. Clickers use infrared or radio frequency technology to transmit and record student responses to questions. They give faculty the ability to fine-tune their instruction based on student responses.
- Banner Student Information System: UIS was able to implement the Banner system along with the other two campuses in the University of Illinois system. The university would not have been able to afford an integrated student information and enterprise resource planning system on its own. The implementation was grueling, but the system now provides better planning data and has streamlined operations.
The University of Illinois at Springfield (as Sangamon State University) entered candidacy for accreditation in 1973. In 1975 the NCA granted the campus full accreditation up to the master’s level. In 1997, it was granted accreditation at the doctoral level, but limited to the Doctorate of Public Administration. In 2006, UIS was granted approval for distance education at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels.
In the 10 years since UIS’ last comprehensive visit, the campus has implemented a number of changes in response to the concerns of the 1997 report of a comprehensive visit. Follow-up to the 1997 visit included a focused visit in 2001 on strategic planning and graduate education, a progress report on assessment in the Capital Scholars (CAP) and Doctorate of Public Affairs (DPA) programs in 2004, and a distance-learning report in 2006. The following sections provide a discussion of actions and follow-up to each of the five concerns noted in the site visit team report.
…the university has not addressed well its role and responsibilities in the arena of graduate education. The NCA team does not believe that the university has addressed properly the advocacy of graduate study at the university… The NCA Team further believes that the University of Illinois at Springfield has failed to address adequately the need for a common standard of credentials, teaching experience, and research achievements for a specific cohort of graduate faculty.
As a result of these concerns, a focused visit was scheduled for 2001. The focused visit report delineated a number of changes in response to the 1997 site team report:
- Graduate Faculty Membership, Appointment, and Reappointment Process
In April of 2000, Campus Senate Resolution 29-16, Graduate Education Policy, was approved. This resolution set forth acceptable terminology in referring to faculty engaged in graduate education, responsibilities and criteria for faculty engaged in graduate education, an appointment process, and Graduate Council membership. The implementation of this resolution resulted in the development of college policies on faculty engaged in graduate education and their subsequent review by the Graduate Council in 2001.
- Administration of Graduate Education
In 2001 the Provost appointed an Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research and established the Office of Graduate Studies, whose responsibilities included oversight and advocacy for graduate education in the following areas: (1)graduate assistantship programs; (2)student services for graduate students; (3)data collection and information management on graduate education; (4)governance (Graduate Council); and (5)faculty development concerning graduate education.
In response to these changes the focused visit team stated:
The institution, its current administration, and its faculty are to be strongly commended for the several positive steps which have been taken since the 1997 visit pertaining to graduate education. All of the concerns expressed by that visit have now been greatly ameliorated. (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 9)
Since the focused visit in 1997, the role of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research has been further refined. This advocate has played an integral role in the continued success of graduate education at UIS, and the institution is committed to the integration of this role into Academic Affairs, which is evidenced by the recent hiring of a replacement for the previous Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research. Colleges have continued to refine their criteria for the identification of graduate faculty. Each year a master list of graduate faculty is compiled and held in the Provost’s office. In 2001, the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award program was initiated. This program has been very successful and has recently acquired a donor endowment for the award. In 2004-05, the UIS outstanding master’s thesis was selected as one of the three distinguished theses by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. The Graduate Council continues to oversee graduate program review. Finally, the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education and Research served as the publication committee chair for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools and was a member of the Master’s-Focused Institutions Committee of the Council of Graduate Schools.
“The time has come … [to] incorporate all previous planning in a readily identifiable strategic planning process, and give evidence of continuing the review of planning to keep it current with university initiatives… the University of Illinois at Springfield must consolidate all planning, through its newly created planning committee and enhanced institution research data, into a strategic plan in the early stage of implementing the new program changes requested.
At the time of the 1997 site visit, the team recognized the previous planning efforts but felt that they did not constitute a strategic planning process that involved a continuous cycle of review and required a focused visit to evaluate campus progress in this area. The 2001 focused visit report outlined the planning initiatives and outcomes since the time of the site visit.
These initiatives included the establishment of a Campus Planning and Budget Committee (a governance committee) and the development of an annual planning process at UIS. The primary goals of the Campus Planning and Budget Committee were to (1)advise campus administrators on the development of UIS planning and budgeting priorities for all areas; (2)monitor and provide advice for current and future budgets as part of the comprehensive campus plan; (3)recommend changes in planning priorities to the Campus Senate and Provost; and (4)report to the Campus Senate on budgeting and planning issues.
The focused visit report outlined several outcomes of this strategic planning process that had occurred since the 1997 site visit. These included:
- A reduction in the number of degrees offered by five, which represented 11 percent of total campus offerings;
- The elimination of six programs, with the addition of one master’s degree program, which was a consolidation of two that were eliminated;
- A sharpening of the focus of the college missions; and
- A shift from health-educated programming as a major UIS focus.
The team of consultant-evaluators who visited UIS in 2001 noted that:
UIS had its house in good order in the area of planning, having made substantial progress in its planning initiatives. UIS now has in place appropriate personnel and processes to prepare for the future and to develop goals and strategies for the future. (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 16)
Further, the team noted two decisions that exemplified successful planning efforts on the campus: the focusing of resources and the decision to hire a national firm for assistance in the area of marketing and student recruitment. They noted:
The experience Noel-Levitz will bring to the campus should be helpful, and the planning processes in place should enable the campus to make the most of the advice it receives. (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 17)
Since the focused visit in 2001, the campus has embarked on two major strategic planning initiatives. In 2002, the Chancellor announced the creation of the National Commission on the Future of UIS. Two hundred people from the UIS campus and the Springfield community were asked to create vision statements in 13 different areas. Their final report was issued in October of 2003, “A Vision for all Seasons,” and led to the beginning of a formal strategic planning process that same year. In the fall of 2004, a 23-member strategic planning committee was created. This committee introduced a draft strategic plan to the campus in the fall of 2005 with the release of the final document in January 2006.
The NCA Team has found a problem in the timing of this current visit to fit the actual developments at the university. Because the implementation of the two requests for institutional change of adding a lower division component as well as a doctoral program, the NCA Team has struggled with what appropriate recommendation to make regarding the need for the fairly immediate review of the impact of the changes on the university along with the longer accreditation period. Accordingly, the NCA Team will recommend a Focused Visit to consider a unified planning process based on reliable data and also the initial implementation of the two new program areas.
The initiation of UIS’ lower division program and its doctoral program closely coincided with the 1997 site visit. As a result, the team recommended a focused visit in 2001 to review the progress of these programs. However, in the case of the lower division, a delay in the approval of the program resulted in matriculation of the first class in the fall of 2001. As a result, the focused visit evaluated the status of the plans for implementing the program rather than its progress. The team noted that “planning is well underway for the first class: a core program is being prepared, students are applying, facilities are being planned, renovated, or constructed, student life programs are being discussed, financing is secure.” However, they identified concerns “over the size of the class, completion of facilities, establishing the curriculum, the implementation of a program of activities for student life and an assessment program” (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 31).
The 1997 NCA team recommended approval of the campus’ request for institutional change concerning the doctorate in public administration, but they also recommended that the implementation of the degree be reviewed during a focused visit in 2001. The focused visit site team noted that “the faculty for the Doctor of Public Administration degree is in place, soon to be augmented by faculty experienced in graduate education, a cohort group of students sufficient for a doctorate program is in place, the Graduate Council has adopted a policy for differentiating doctoral coursework and for comprehensive exams” (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 30). Overall they found “the new doctoral program settling in with sufficient students, student advisement, faculty, facilities, library services, computing resources, curriculum, policies, and oversight to be a successful program” (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 10). However, the team also noted that “an assessment program appears to be only in the planning stages” (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 30).
In light of these issues, the team recommended that a progress report on assessment in both the lower division and doctoral areas be submitted in 2004. The HLC staff analysis of this report noted that
…the university is cognizant of what it needs to do to improve student learning, and that it is committed to achieving this goal. The report describes assessment implementation at the graduate and undergraduate levels that seek to link and make more effective the teaching/learning paradigm. With the leadership of an Assessment Task Force and assessment liaisons, who have articulated the goal to make assessment not only systematic, but also systemic and cross-disciplinary, an assessment culture appears to be emerging. (Staff Analysis of Institutional Report, 2004, p. 2)
The progress report in 2004 was accepted by the HLC and no further reports were required. Since 2004, the Capital Scholars program (CAP) has become an honors program and has been renamed (CAP Honors) to differentiate it from students who will enter as part of the general education expansion. Its assessment program has continued to develop, along with the curricular modifications necessary for becoming an honors program. A feedback loop of assessing outcomes, gathering and analyzing data, and making changes based on the data was established early in the program and continues today, especially for indirect assessment data such as NSSE and course evaluations. Faculty discuss data each year at “CAP Camp,” a week-long faculty development workshop held for CAP Honors faculty each May. The shift to honors program status has necessitated revisions to the CAP Honors learning outcomes, which have been approved by the CAP Honors Steering Committee. Changes in the status of the program and changes in leadership have, in the last three years, led to reduced use of direct, course-embedded assessment as a tool for analysis. A new Assistant Director with a statistical background was hired in fall 2006, and a course-embedded assessment plan has been initiated for courses in the first year of the curriculum.
Just prior to 2005, the Doctorate of Public Administration (DPA) program began to experience enrollment and administrative difficulties. The Provost and Dean of Public Affairs and Administration brought in an outside evaluator to examine the program and provide suggestions on possible alternative courses of action. The consultant’s report concluded that the DPA program had gradually departed from its original vision as a practitioner-orientated doctorate for individuals serving as public administrators in state and local government who plan to return to government service. Because the original goal of having university-wide faculty participation in the degree was not realized, offering courses and mentoring the doctoral students fell solely on the Public Administration faculty. The DPA program incrementally moved toward a more traditionally focused research degree. This change in orientation from a practitioner-oriented to a research-oriented degree was causing growing dissatisfaction and increasing complaints from practitioner students drawn to the original vision of the program. Nonetheless, the consultant reported finding strong support among students, faculty, and administrators for the continuation of a doctorate in the College of Public Affairs and Administration. He recommended that the program be redesigned to return to its original vision as a Public Affairs degree that draws on the faculty of multiple departments to provide a sufficient base for student mentoring and course offerings.
A committee of faculty in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and doctoral students met regularly from spring 2005 through summer 2006 to re-examine the direction and curriculum of the doctorate degree. A proposal for degree redesignation was drafted and introduced to the faculty of the college in fall 2006. Two general meetings were held during which faculty members were asked for feedback on the proposals and whether they would be willing to participate in a college-wide doctoral degree. The faculty were generally supportive of the new proposal and a sufficient number agreed to participate in the degree to allow the proposal to go forward to the formal governance procedure. The College Executive Committee approved the proposal for redesignation in November 2006. The proposal is currently undergoing review by the UIS Graduate Council
The University of Illinois at Springfield must enhance its institutional research program in order to identify standard quantitative data that becomes a part of the institutional consciousness.
At the time of the 1997 site visit, the Institutional Research Office reported to the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs. In an effort to better align the function of this office with academic decisions, it was moved under Academic Affairs with a direct line of reporting to the Provost in 1998. In 2004, the office was placed under the purview of the Associate Provost and has since been renamed the Office of Institutional Research (OIR). These organizational modifications, along with the implementation of the Banner student information system, have led to considerable improvement in the ways institutional data are gathered and disseminated (both internally and externally). At the 2001 site visit, the team noted that this office was represented on the Campus Budget and Planning Committee and that members of this committee “…expressed satisfaction with the information and data available to them…” (Focused Visit Site Team Report, 2001, p. 16). Presently, the Office of Institutional Research continues to support the Campus Budget and Planning Committee and supplies needed data for their deliberations.
Further, the focus and activities of the OIR have been sharpened. The Strategic Plan (2006) for the Provost’s office provides a description of the OIR’s focus:
The Office … gathers, analyzes, interprets, and disseminates timely and accurate data in support of academic management, decisionmaking, assessment, and planning. The availability of institutional (i.e., metrics) and comparative (i.e., benchmark) data is essential to facilitate organizational learning for the continuous improvement of the UIS campus as rational, data-driven decisionmaking processes yield more informed and successful decisions.
The Office of Institutional Research coordinates the campus’s response to statewide and national statistical surveys and data exchanges. Participation in these activities is required by mandate and/or benefit to increasing awareness of the UIS campus among members of the higher educational community. OIR provides data on an as-scheduled basis to external audiences, including other university offices, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Virtual Campus, and the National Center of Education Statistics. Data is also provided to survey publishers, such as College Board, Peterson’s, National Science Foundation, and U.S. News & World Report, in order to garner greater name recognition in the higher education community. Similarly, OIR provides datasets to various exchanges, including the State Shared Enrollment and Graduation Data Consortium and the High School Feedback Project, in order to garner access to data from other Illinois public schools.
The NCA Team regards the organizational development of student affairs as in its formative stages… UIS must make significant early progress in reviewing its student services and make a broad range of changes to bring them in line with current practices in many universities in America. Student Affairs will need to create a participative management style, use conceptual frameworks that relate the division to the educational mission, assess student needs and educational outcomes, market and promote its services, prioritize budget needs, and add new technology systems.
Since the 1997 site visit, Student Affairs has undergone several organizational and leadership changes. With the departure of two Vice Chancellors of Student Affairs, the newly appointed Dean of Students was appointed as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs in 2005. This individual brought an extensive student affairs background, strong leadership skills, and a management style that was widely affirmed by student affairs staff and students. In 2006, the division was combined with Business and Administrative Services, thereby strengthening its administrative position and role on campus.
With the advent of new leadership, the division implemented a new annual budget and planning process. This process provides an annual reporting cycle that integrates assessment of student needs information with strategic action plans as the division builds its student affairs initiatives. The division is in its fourth year of this annual planning process.
In response to the concerns of the NCA team, in 2001 the university formed a partnership with Noel Levitz, a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in strengthening student recruitment and retention practices in higher education. Over the next 10 months, Noel Levitz consultants examined various UIS practices and policies that were associated with enrollment management, specifically practices and policies that affect student recruitment, retention, and degree completion. In addition to examining current practices related to enrollment management, the consulting team engaged in a comprehensive assessment of enrollment data for the campus; conducted focus groups with students, faculty, and staff; facilitated strategic planning workshops in areas pertaining to recruitment and retention; and administered an assessment of student satisfaction. In an effort to determine the appropriate responses to this evaluation, in the fall of 2002, the Provost formed an enrollment management task force and charged one of its subcommittees to recommend actions that could be taken to enhance student retention and increase student satisfaction with the academic, student, and business services on the campus. Using the results of the consultation and the UIS Undergraduate Retention Plan that was developed during the campus-wide strategic planning session held in July 2001, the retention subcommittee began working with various members of the campus community across the academic affairs, student affairs, and business services divisions to address the areas that had been indicated as priorities for action. The work of the enrollment management task force resulted in the launching of a number of new initiatives to enhance students’ satisfaction with academic, business, and student services:
- The following positions were filled: a new dean of students, a new director of student life, a new director of records and registration, a new associate vice chancellor/ director of enrollment management, a new director of athletics, and a new housing director.
- Staff in the Office of Development, in consultation with academic colleges and financial assistance, revamped the scholarship application process to allow for more decentralized selection and earlier award notification.
- Standardized times for scheduling courses were incorporated.
- Earlier registration time periods were created to facilitate the provision of student services.
- Hours were extended for various business services, including the bookstore and the bursar’s office, to improve student access.
- The offices for student financial services, including student accounts and iCard, were relocated to facilitate easier student access.
- A final exam week and schedule was implemented.
- New technological systems were implemented that integrate student information and the enterprise resource planning system (i.e., Banner) and provide audits of individual student records (i.e., DARS).
The SSI data provides a comparison to other four-year public institutions (see SSI Data Summary). Comparative data for 2005 identifies areas that require attention in admissions, registration services, campus support services (see section on student support services) and campus life (see section on Student Life). A number of items in these areas show that UIS mean satisfaction scores are significantly lower than mean scores at other four-year institutions. While some items indicate that not all issues with student satisfaction in these areas have been adequately met, some items are showing improvement and provide evidence that the campus is focusing on improvements in these areas.
In 2006, UIS requested approval for its existing online programs and for future online programs that would be developed, implemented, and supported in a similar manner. This change request followed prior North Central Association approval of distance delivery in 1996. At that time, the NCA approved a distance delivery nursing program at UIS, which utilized a combination of face-to-face and synchronous compressed video technology. Since 1996, UIS had expanded its distance learning to eight online degree programs, including two graduate and six undergraduate programs. Because of this expansion and as a part of a comprehensive review of online offerings at HLC institutions, the HLC requested a change request in 2006.
This change request was approved in February 2006 and UIS was given commission approval for the online delivery of six undergraduate programs, two master’s degree programs, three certificate programs, and for future online baccalaureate degree completion and master’s degree programs. Since this approval, UIS has moved forward with the development and implementation of two more online baccalaureate degree completion programs, five master’s degree programs, and three certificate programs. (See Appendix 7.)
At UIS, planning has become a part of the university’s culture. While it is noted in the 2006 UIS Strategic Plan that the plan is the first comprehensive strategic plan for UIS since 1992, the plan also notes the university’s history of planning. Over the past decade, UIS had convened university leaders three times to plan for its future. These collegial assemblies were comprised of faculty, staff, students, and external partners.
The last comprehensive strategic plan was prepared in 1992. This process began in 1990 at the direction of the Board of Regents. The 15-month process involved internal and external constituencies. These groups examined the internal and external forces that would shape the future of then Sangamon State University (SSU). The groups assessed the strengths and weaknesses of SSU, discussed how well SSU had met the community’s past needs, and identified how SSU could position itself to meet future demands. Environmental scanning was prominent with four groups engaged in assessing the impact of external forces on the future of SSU. The efforts of this group resulted in a report, “Toward 2000: A Strategic Plan for Sangamon State University.”
At its meeting in June 1995, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the UIS Development Planning Committee (DPC). In May 1996, the DPC issued an interim report that presented the UIS Vision Statement and made recommendations on the initiation of a full four-year undergraduate program, the development of a doctorate in public administration, and the implications of the vision statement in selected program curricular areas.
The final report presented analysis and recommendations relating to strengthening the academic program, academic organization, off-campus programs (the Peoria Center), and academic support, public service, and research activities. In each area, committee discussions were guided by the ideas about the campus’ future as elaborated in the UIS Vision Statement. The DPC Report also included an analysis of the budgetary implications of the recommendations and a discussion of the next steps in the planning process.
The UIS Vision Statement was intended to provide a sense of the direction in which UIS should develop over the next 10 years. Being a vision, it was less explicit than a plan, but it was intended to be specific enough to serve as a touchstone for making decisions. It correctly assumed that resource growth would be limited, that energy and resources would need to be focused to ensure quality and distinction, and that some opportunities would have to be foregone because of the institution’s inability to be all things to all people.
The budgetary analysis section of the DPC report integrated known budgetary commitments with the resource requirements of new initiatives, showing sources of new funds and uses toward which new funds would be directed for the next five fiscal years. The budgetary analysis proceeded on the assumption that a modest level of revenue growth would occur. The UIS Planning and Budgeting Committee played a key role in reviewing the DPC analysis containing the recommendations for support of new initiatives over the next five fiscal years. (See Appendix 7.)
In fall 2002, Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen announced the creation of the National Commission on the Future of UIS (the Commission) as a visioning process that would be followed by a strategic planning process. The fundamental charge to the Commission was to envision what UIS would look like in 10 years and to talk boldly about UIS’ aspirations. Eleven campus leaders organized task forces as part of the process. Each task force included faculty, students, staff, alumni, and external constituents. The Commission engaged in a decentralized visioning process. It was intended to be a broad-based collaborative effort at dreaming “boldly yet realistically” about what UIS might become in 10 years. It was intended to be a visioning process to precede a more formal strategic planning process. This was not a process designed to replace the UIS Vision Statement, approved in 1997, nor was it a strategic planning process. While the task forces were encouraged to envision the future, their 13 vision statements were not compiled into one overall vision statement for UIS. That process was left for the more formal strategic planning process to follow.
The Commission’s primary effort consisted of 13 task forces and formally commenced in March 2003. Each task force was asked to apply the two general questions (“Where will we be in 10 years?” and “What do we aspire to be in 10 years?”) to its own college, division, or specific area of interest. Serving on the Commission were 192 people, including more than 40 faculty (nearly 25% of all UIS faculty), more than 40 staff, and more than 100 alumni, students, and friends of UIS. Each task force was charged with producing a concise one-page statement responding to the questions in regard to each college, function, department, or area of interest.
The task forces were asked to make a few assumptions as they looked ahead 10 years. One was that the enrollment of students taking classes on the Springfield campus would increase to 6,000. At the time, the current enrollment at UIS was about 4,500, approximately 400 of which were degree-seeking students taking all of their courses online. The 6,000 Springfield-campus students that UIS projected in 10 years did not include online degree-seeking students or students taking courses exclusively at the Peoria Center. Of the 6,000 Springfield students, the number of residential students was expected to increase from 630 to 2,000 in 10 years.
The Commission produced a document, “A Vision for All Seasons: Looking Ahead 10 Years,” which was released October 31, 2003. It includes the task force’s 13 vision statements as well as summaries of those statements. Following the document’s release, the Chancellor formally announced the beginning of a strategic planning process for UIS. A representative campus committee was formed to recommend how best to begin the strategic planning process. The Commission’s vision was used as the starting point for their discussion. In the Chancellor’s remarks at the closing ceremony on October 31, 2001, he noted five general themes from the Commission’s report:
- UIS will become a nationally recognized regional leader in higher education;
- UIS will have a more diverse faculty of teacher-scholars and a more diverse student body;
- UIS will be on the leading edge of advances in technology;
- UIS will continue to be a national leader in providing online courses and online degrees; and
- UIS will promote the importance and significance of the words and writing of Abraham Lincoln.
The general vision that resulted from the Commission was that UIS will be one of the best small public liberal arts universities in the nation with high-quality professional-degree programs. This vision and the other themes developed in the process were carried forward into the most recent strategic planning process.
In fall 2004, UIS began its first comprehensive strategic planning process since 1992, which became part of a larger process in the University of Illinois system initiated by the new president. The committee included 12 faculty members, six administrators, four staff members, and two students. The process involved wide consultation with UIS constituencies and the plan was approved by the Campus Senate in January 2006. With this approval, the colleges and divisions of UIS created their own strategic plans. This planning process generated a new mission and vision statement, along with a statement of strategic intent and six strategic goals for UIS. The first three of these goals are considered UIS’ primary goals, while the final three will assist in the achievement of the UIS vision and the implementation of UIS’ goals.
UIS will achieve academic excellence through excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in scholarship.
Enriching Individual Lives:
The University of Illinois at Springfield seeks to establish an atmosphere that contributes to the intellectual, cultural, social, and personal enrichment of all its participants.
Making a Difference in the World:
With its location in the state capital, UIS has always had a special emphasis on public affairs, citizen engagement, and effecting societal change. This goal echoes and updates those traditions through the theme of Making a Difference in the World. This theme is conceptualized as a series of activities related to reflection, dialogue, and action on public policy and civic culture, resulting in engagement with the world outside the university. The focus includes local, state, national, and global concerns. All undergraduates will participate in engagement activities, and graduate students will continue to have numerous opportunities for hands-on learning and research. The campus will continue to build on its solid record of accomplishment in public affairs, applied research, and training activities, paying special attention to public policy and the civic culture.
Strengthen Campus Culture:
Efforts will increase significantly to make UIS staff, faculty, students, alumni, and friends aware of the university’s identity and direction. UIS will be known for its high level of responsiveness to students and as an institution where respect and civility prevail in all interactions. Tolerance for a diversity of opinions will be a hallmark of the UIS culture.
Enrollment and Retention:
By improving access and opportunity, UIS will enroll, retain, and graduate a larger and more diverse student body engaged in classroom and technology-enhanced education. UIS plans to grow to 6,000 on-campus students and will always be a “small university” in the best sense of the word.
Resources and Infrastructure:
UIS has lofty goals and an inspiring vision. Many of the action steps to pursue UIS’ vision require the allocation of new resources and the reallocation of current resources—financial, human, and physical. UIS will make bold decisions and will find the resources to implement the goals in this strategic plan. This plan not only allows UIS to focus more specifically on what it wants to become but also provides a framework within which to allocate and reallocate resources.
Implementation of this plan includes a commitment to allocate and reallocate resources and a capital campaign consistent with the goals of this plan. Further, it is agreed that UIS will continuously implement and review the plan in pursuit of the major goals and vision. This plan marks the start of a period of development at UIS in which it has strategically looked to the future of the campus, developed the action steps to get there, and will continually reassess its progress. This plan is expected to have a major impact on the development of UIS in the next five years.
With the completion of the institutional strategic plan, all colleges and divisions were asked to develop their own strategic plans (i.e., College of Business and Management, College of Education and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Public Affairs and Administration, Center for State Policy and Leadership, Brookens Library, Chancellor’s Division, Academic Affairs Division, Student Affairs Division). As Stage 3 of the University of Illinois Strategic Plan Development, each college and division was asked to develop a mission, vision, and a set of strategic goals along with action plans that outlined how their units would strengthen and support the institutional strategic plan. Performance indicators were identified so that the colleges and divisions could track their progress in meeting their goals.
The Sangamon State University Foundation served as the chief fundraising arm until the university became the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1995. At that time, all fundraising activities at UIS fell under the administration of the University of Illinois Foundation. It was then that the Office of Development was established. At the time of the merger, the University of Illinois was in the midst of its second capital campaign, “Campaign Illinois.” In 1998, UIS joined the remaining years of this university campaign. A case statement was developed out of goals identified by campus administration, colleges, and units. “A Defining Moment,” the UIS campaign, was announced along with its goal of $15 million. It was the first capital campaign in the history of the SSU/UIS campus and was embraced by the Springfield community. The first development publication, Capital Investment, was created for the campus, and it marked the first time such a publication was sent to regional friends and all alumni. In addition, the Chancellor’s Capital Council was created to honor donors to the campus with lifetime giving of $5,000 or greater. The campaign’s goal was reached in 18 months including private support accumulated since 1995. During the campaign, UIS received its first endowed chair and two endowed professorships along with added scholarships and program support.
A development council composed of administrators, deans, directors, and development officers was established in 1999. The purpose of the council was to provide outreach and training in development to campus leaders in an effort to facilitate their engagement as participants as well as stakeholders. Special seminars and guest presenters have addressed topics such as: “The role of the dean in development, planning, giving, and annual giving,” “The role of friends and community advisory boards,” FACTS training, gift administration, and scholarship administration.
In 2001, the Office of Development prepared an analysis of opportunities and constraints for fundraising at UIS to assist with development planning and, in 2003, compiled a UIS Campus Profile to serve as a baseline and identify areas of greatest promise. Quarterly reports, displaying progress in annual giving and major gift support, were distributed on campus. In 2004, vision documents from the National Commission for the Future of UIS and other strategic planning documents were used to prepare campaign plans for UIS.
In 2004, the campus’ first corporation/foundation gifts officer was hired and was assigned the task of establishing basic procedures, inventorying the campus for areas that may be of interest for support, and identifying faculty who have strong interest in garnering such support. Today the corporation and foundation fundraising components at UIS are still in their early stages and results may not be realized for years to come.
In the last decade, the amount of UIS endowments ($294,948.80 for 2007) has increased tenfold (as compared to the previous decade). (see Table 1-7) Overall, private support has increased from $646,469 in 1997 to $2,546,831 in 2006. (see Table 1-8) A number of major gifts acquired during the first capital campaign and thereafter are just now beginning to mature. The first endowed chair has brought stature and new opportunities on campus. The third professorship received by the university, the Wepner Distinguished Professorship in Political Science, will complement this endowed chair by advancing a focus on Abraham Lincoln and political science. A fourth professorship, the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Chair/Professorship in Liberal Arts and Sciences, has recently received a portion of its funding from the Schewe estate. Depending on the final size of this gift, this professorship may become an endowed chair.
The most recent University of Illinois strategic planning initiative will provide the foundation for the next major fundraising campaign for the three University of Illinois campuses. This campaign was announced by President White in June 2007. This campaign will be unique in that each campus will focus on its own strategic needs. For UIS, the fundraising campaign will focus on the priorities and three strategic goals identified in its strategic plan. (See Appendix 9.)
Beyond these larger planning initiatives, the annual strategic planning initiative has been revamped so that it is more focused and has a more direct link to academic planning and the budget process. In 1998, the previous Long Range Academic Planning Committee and Campus Budget Committee were joined into the Campus Planning and Budget Committee (CPBC). This committee produces an annual Campus Goals and Objectives Report that is informed by the UIS mission, previously by the mission statement developed by the Development Planning Committee in 1997, and now by the mission articulated by the recent strategic plan. In addition, the CPBC solicits input from the division heads and the deans each year, whose presentations are in turn informed by the units under their direction. This process has resulted in clearer and more deliberative objectives for campus planning. The Campus Goals and Objectives Report is presented to the Campus Senate in the spring of each academic year. This report forms the basis for the annual request for new funding presented to the Board of Trustees and to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The report also establishes the basis for campus units, both academic and administrative, to pursue specific proposals and initiatives. (See Appendix 8.)
Until about six years ago, annual budget and planning was focused on “themes” of funding established by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. With the budget crisis in the State of Illinois, the institution was faced with one budgetary priority: academic excellence. During this difficult time, the priority was to preserve the core academic function of the institution. UIS, along with the other University of Illinois campuses, has emerged from this crisis as a “state-assisted” rather than “state-supported” institution. While this change of status clearly has drawbacks, it now provides the campus with more opportunities for self-determination. The annual strategic planning process is now closely connected with institutional priorities through the use of incremental budget recommendations.
Program review is a mandated process by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). UIS is required to review all degree programs within a cycle of eight years and to submit a summary of each review to the IBHE. This review leads to the continuation of strong programs, the implementation of corrective measures to programs with problem areas, or the suspension or elimination of programs. The program review process has become an integral part of UIS’ program planning and improvement cycle. It is embedded in the governance structure for academic review. A program or unit review is not only reviewed by its college and dean but also by the Undergraduate or Graduate Councils. These councils provide an analysis of strengths and challenges of each program or unit under review and these are presented to the Campus Senate. The process has been useful in helping the institution focus on the needs of its programs and units and evaluate their status in the ever-changing market, while also identifying new academic initiatives and strengthening those already in place. While UIS is required to review any program or unit that has been through the IBHE approval process, the campus has chosen to review other academic, research, or public service units for quality assurance purposes. Additionally, program review guidelines have been revised to centralize the assessment of learning outcomes.
Accountability has become an inevitable reality of higher education today. Institutions of higher education must quickly respond to demands from both internal and external constituencies. Institutions must provide education in a format and time that fits the needs of students and the community, balanced against academic and strategic parameters and at an affordable price. However, the only way to ensure that UIS is prepared to meet these demands effectively and in a timely fashion is by staying closely in touch with these needs and demands. To do this, UIS has embedded a cycle of continuous improvement into institutional planning to incorporate constituency feedback into this process. An array of performance indicators are used within the annual and strategic planning processes at UIS. Performance indicators are consistently linked with strategic intentions and action plans within institutional planning documents. Since 1997, UIS has begun to incorporate the findings of a number of standardized assessment tools that yield comparative performance indicators and the results of local surveys into its planning processes:
Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI)
In 2001, UIS contracted with the Noel Levitz consulting firm for assistance in reviewing and developing action plans to strengthen its student recruitment and retention practices. One of the assessment tools used during this consultation was the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI). The SSI assesses the degree of importance students place on various academic, business, and student services as well as students’ satisfaction with these services. The difference between the degree of importance and the level of satisfaction, referred to as the gap, provides an indication of the extent to which students’ expectations are not being met. The SSI also provides normative data for 12 scales and individual items. UIS first administered the SSI in 2001, and then again in 2003 and 2005 to a stratified sample (by student headcount across colleges and undergraduate/graduate levels) that comprised approximately 30% of the UIS student body.
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is designed to obtain information from colleges and universities nationwide about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. NSSE provides information about the extent to which an institution’s students exhibit characteristics and commitments known to be related to high-quality undergraduate student outcomes. NSSE provides a comparison of institutional results to that of peer institutions, Carnegie peers, and institutions nationwide (benchmarks) to assist in the identification of best practices. NSSE is administered on an annual basis (since 2002) to both freshmen and seniors at UIS, and the data is used to inform the action plans of both student and academic affairs.
Cooperative Institutional Research Program Freshman Survey (CIRP)
The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) is a national longitudinal study of the American higher education system and is administered by the Higher Education Research Institute. The CIRP freshman survey involves normative data on some 1,800 institutions and over 11 million students. This normative data provides a detailed profile of each year’s entering college students. UIS receives a profile of their entering freshman class along with a national normative profile for similar types of institutions. This profile provides data on demographics, expectations of the college experience, secondary school experiences, degree goals and school plans, college finances, attitudes, values, life goals, and reasons for attending college. Items from previous years are repeated to help institutions assess trends in the characteristics, attitudes, values, and aspirations of their entering freshmen. CIRP has been administered to all incoming freshmen at UIS (2002–06), and the data has been used to inform strategic planning in both student and academic affairs.
Association of College and University Housing Officers-International Housing Assessment (ACUHO-I)
The Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), in partnership with EBI, provide a benchmarking assessment for university housing. These assessments measure a student’s perception of the effectiveness of an institution’s housing program. ACUHO-I provides institutions with an indication of the dimensions of their housing program that are the strongest and which areas need to be improved. It assesses a student’s perception of either apartment or residence hall programs, policies, and resident assistants. This data is used to evaluate the impact of housing policies on resident satisfaction, identify infrastructure and support needs, determine residential programming needs, and assess the effectiveness of resident assistant training. This assessment has been administered to students in the residence hall, town houses, and apartments each year from 2003 to 2006.
The alumni survey is a locally developed instrument that is distributed and analyzed by the UIS Survey Research Office. This survey is disseminated to UIS graduates one, five, and nine years after graduation. It collects information concerning the graduate’s perception of educational practices in their major program and opinions about their UIS experience (quality of instruction, facilities and resources, program/course availability, participation opportunities). It also assesses usage and satisfaction with selected student and academic services and results of UIS educational experience. Finally, information is collected concerning employment and educational history after graduating from UIS. Alumni survey data is an integral part of the program review process. Academic programs use this data, along with that of their assessment of learning outcomes, to evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum.
Campus Climate Surveys
The UIS campus climate survey was developed locally and has been distributed twice in the last 10 years by the Diversity Task Force (2000 and 2006). The survey is distributed in two forms, one survey for faculty and staff and one for students. The student campus climate survey asks students to indicate the extent of their agreement or disagreement with eleven statements about whether specified conditions exist in academic programs on campus. Most questions include a series of sub-questions that address particular types of diversity such as race/ethnicity/culture, gender, disability status, and sexual orientations/gender identity. The student campus climate survey also addresses student life/campus experiences with questions concerning student perceptions of campus climate/atmosphere, the existence of discrimination, and experiences they have had, seen, or heard about on the UIS campus. The faculty/staff campus climate survey asks faculty and staff to rate the racial climate, the gender climate, the climate for people with disabilities, and the climate for people who are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, and Queer/Questioning) on the basis of six pairs of opposites. The survey also addresses faculty and staff perceptions concerning the existence of discrimination on campus, as well as experiences they have had, seen, or heard about on the UIS campus. The results of these surveys are used to inform strategic and annual planning processes and are integrated in the Report on the Participation and Success of Underrepresented Students and Staff that is submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education each year.
Core Alcohol and Drug Survey
The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey is provided by the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. The Core Institute is a leading research, assessment, and development organization serving alcohol and drug prevention programs across the nation. This survey assesses the nature, scope, and consequences of alcohol and other drug use on college campuses. It includes questions on sexuality, campus violence, institutional climate, perceptions of alcohol and drug use, and extracurricular activity involvement. This survey has been administered to each entering UIS freshmen class since 2002. The results of this survey are used to guide programming and initiatives in student support services and housing. (See Core Data Summary.)
- UIS Faculty Satisfaction Survey. This survey was distributed in 2004 by the Campus Planning and Budget Committee. Survey questions covered demographic information, UIS quality, work environment, faculty voice, campus climate, and resource allocation. (See CPBC Faculty Satisfaction Survey.)
- UIS Technology Survey. This survey was distributed in 2005 by the Academic Technology Committee and examined the perception by faculty, staff, and students of the importance of and their satisfaction with UIS Information Technology Services. (See ITS Technology Survey Data Summary.)
- UIS Classroom Technology Survey. This survey was conducted in 2005 to assess how faculty utilize classroom technologies in their teaching. This survey was used to determine the classroom technology needs of faculty for technological planning. (See Classroom Technology Survey Report.)
- UIS Academic Professionals/Civil Service Quality of Life Survey. This survey was undertaken in 2005 at the request of the Campus Planning and Budget Committee (CPBC) to assist in their development of the Goals and Objectives Report. The survey was designed, administered, and compiled by the CPBC’s Academic Subcommittee. Academic professionals and civil service employees were asked to rate the importance of and satisfaction with the reputation of UIS, administrative leadership and responsiveness, cooperation, respect and staff morale on campus, the UIS work environment, potential for career advancement and development, respect and autonomy in the workplace, workplace recognition, workplace procedures, compensation, workload, and the impact of Banner and selected services. (See Academic Professionals and Civil Service Employee Survey Report.)
- Center for Teaching and Learning Survey. In 2005, a task force was convened and charged with assessing the functions of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and developing recommendations for its future. The task force developed a survey for faculty, staff, and students that was designed to assess the perception, usage, and interest in the activities and programs of the CTL. (See CTL Task Force Report.)
- Brookens Library Survey. In 2005, the Survey Research Office developed and administered a survey of the UIS Community regarding perceptions and usage of Brookens Library. The purpose of this survey was to assess the library needs of users for the development of planning documents. (See Springfield Community Survey on Library.)
- Applied Study Survey. Every semester the Applied Study Term program surveys their students concerning the perceptions of their internship experience and their satisfaction with the functions of this office and staff. (See Appendix 5)
- Springfield Community Survey. In 2005, the Survey Research Office conducted a telephone survey of Springfield area households for the UIS Brookens Library and Springfield’s public Lincoln Library. In addition to questions about library-related topics, questions were also included related to community attitudes about and contact with UIS. (See Springfield Community Survey Report.)
Since 1997, UIS has engaged in a number of institutional planning and reporting activities that have established the foundation for the current self-study process. The current self-study immediately follows an extensive period of institutional planning, culminating in the 2006 UIS Strategic Plan. The current effort gives UIS the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the campus in meeting the elements of the new UIS mission as it prepares to meet the future needs of its many constituencies.
In fall 2005, the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs appointed three individuals—the Associate Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education, a Faculty Associate to the Provost’s office, and a faculty member—as co-chairs of the accreditation steering committee. The members of the steering committee were selected in consultation with the Vice Chancellor of Student and Administrative Services and the Chancellor. The committee consists of 13 members who represent staff, faculty, and administration, each of the four colleges, undergraduate and graduate education, student affairs, institutional research, budget and planning, assessment task force, library and technology support services, and online education.
Following the end of the strategic planning initiative in fall 2005, the steering committee convened in the spring of 2006 and began to delineate the self-study process that would occur over the next year and a half. Chairs of the steering committee began to meet with small groups of faculty, staff, and administrators with expertise in specialty areas (e.g., graduate education, institutional planning, online education, internships, assessment, and enrollment management).
Members of the steering committee include the following:
- Karen Kirkendall, (Co-Chair), Associate Professor, Liberal Studies and Individual Option
- Karen Moranski, (Co-Chair), Associate Vice Chancellor Undergraduate Education
- Beverly Bunch, (Co-Chair), Associate Professor, Public Administration
- Julie Chapman, Assistant Professor, Library Instructional Services
- Farokh Eslahi, Associate Provost for Information Technology
- Barbara Ferrara, Associate Director, Center for State Policy and Leadership
- James Hall, Associate Professor, Management Information Systems
- Adriel Ippolito, Coordinator, Credit for Prior Learning and Assistant Director, Applied Studied Term
- Sharron LaFollette, Associate Professor and Chair, Public Health
- Sandra Mills, Associate Professor, Social Work
- John Ringle, Director, Housing and Residential Life
- Aaron Shures, Associate Provost
- Teresa Szabo, Associate Director of Business and Stewardship, Office of Development
- Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, Assistant Professor and Director of Theatre, Communication
The primary goal of the self-study process is to engage the campus community in an open and objective review and analysis of the growth of the institution since the 1997 self-study was completed for the NCA-HLC. The following objectives guided the self-study process:
- To examine the ways in which the institutional policies, procedures, decisionmaking, and activities reflect its mission and guiding values;
- To evaluate the extent to which the campus has mobilized its resources to meet the future needs of its constituencies;
- To assess the effectiveness of UIS’ continuous planning processes in promoting institutional improvement;
- To affirm and celebrate “institutional hallmarks” that validate the UIS mission; and
- To identify opportunities for improvement and propose institutional remedies consistent with the 2006 strategic plan.
The self-study process included seven phases beginning in spring 2006:
In the spring of 2006, the steering committee was convened. The committee began their work with a review and discussion of the criterion for accreditation and the goals and objectives of the self-study. A timeline was developed for self-study activities. The Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and the three self-study co-chairs attended the HLC Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Phase 2—Data Collection
In the summer of 2006, the steering committee organized into teams addressing themes drawn from the HLC criteria and began to collect data. A Blackboard site was set up so that all members of the committee could have access to materials that were collected.
Phase 3—Connecting with the Campus Community
In the fall of 2006, steering committee members developed working papers on their thematic assignments. These working papers involved descriptions of the campus and its activities, an analysis of performance indicators, and a presentation of hallmarks and challenges in the thematic areas. In October and November, a panel of steering committee members presented their findings to the campus community in four open forums. The campus community was invited to have lunch, listen to the findings of the panel members, and provide feedback to the self-study process. Each forum revolved around on one element of the UIS mission so that discussions could be focused. These discussions were recorded and transcribed. One hundred and forty-seven members of the campus community attended these open forums.
Phase 4—Document and Website Development
In early spring 2007, the committee chairs and the reaccreditation coordinator began to prepare a draft of the self-study document and develop the reaccreditation website.
Phase 5—Review and Conversation
In mid-spring 2007, a draft of the self-study was first reviewed by the steering committee and then released to the campus community. The reaccreditation website was released to the public at this time also. Two open forums were scheduled to collect feedback from the campus community. Feedback was also collected through a link on the website.
Phase 6—Incorporation of Campus Feedback
In the late spring and early summer of 2007, feedback from the campus community was incorporated into the self-study draft. A final draft and supporting documents were submitted to the HLC and Site Visit Team in late summer. The development of the website and electronic resource room continued through this time period.
Phase 7—Preparation for the Site Visit
The self-study process for UIS followed on the heels of a strategic planning initiative. Energized by a new mission statement and committed to a self-study process that documents and analyzes a profile of the campus as it actualizes this mission, UIS has chosen to use this statement to frame the organization of the self-study. Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 each address an element of UIS’ new mission statement: Teaching and Learning, Scholarship, Public Affairs, and Online Education. Each chapter addresses each of the four cross-cutting themes: Future-Oriented Organization, Learning-Focused Organization, Connected Organization, and Distinctive Organization. The Distinctive Organization section of each chapter will include a discussion and analysis of the identified institutional strengths and areas of concern. Finally, the summary provides an overview of the institution with respect to the five criteria for the Higher Learning Commission.