In the focal area of success, objectives in seven categories – developmental education, first-year retention, progress toward degree, graduation rates, academic quality, graduate student success, and faculty scholarship – contribute to the goal of increasing the number of students at system institutions completing quality academic programs. System-wide objectives include:
- Improving the outcomes of students requiring developmental education.
- Increasing the retention rate of students overall and in important target populations, including low-income students, underrepresented minority students, returning adult students, and transfer students.
- Increasing the number of students making progress toward on-time completion.
- Increasing the four- and six-year graduation rates of students overall and in important target populations.
- As an extension of academic program review, system-wide assurance that academic programs prepare students to be knowledgeable and competent in their chosen disciplines and proficient in quantitative literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communications skills.
- Implementation of efforts to improve the outcomes of students enrolled in graduate programs and assessment to monitor these efforts.
- Enhancing the contribution of faculty scholarship.
On this page:
Summary of Institutional Developmental Education Strategies
Summary of First-Year Retention Strategies
Summary of Progress Toward Degree Strategies
Summary of Graduation Rates Strategies
Summary of Academic Quality Plans
Summary of Graduate Student Success Strategies
Summary of Faculty Scholarship Strategies
Summary of Institutional Developmental Education Strategies
Bluefield State College: Students requiring developmental education are less likely to complete a degree, and with a portion of Bluefield State’s incoming students requiring developmental education this strategy is expected to further develop an environment for students to succeed through excellence in teaching, learning, and advising. The faculty and the counseling office will collaborate to assure accurate student placement into the Accelerated Learning Program.
Concord University: The institution will offer developmental classes in English and math to students who enter the University with deficient skills in one or both of these areas. While the developmental courses help most students succeed in graduation credit-bearing courses, taking these classes often require students spread coursework over one or two additional semesters. In an effort to provide students with the developmental courses that they need and to also facilitate the completion of the degree in four years, the University is piloting new ways to deliver the content of developmental courses.Concord has developed a new course, ENGL 105-Grammar, Composition, and Rhetoric (3 credit hours), that must be taken concurrently with ENGL 105L-Grammar, Composition, and Rhetoric Lab (1 credit hour). Students enrolled in English 105 will also complete a one-hour lab course (ENGL 105L) to ensure that students with deficiencies will receive additional help with mechanics and usage from the University faculty.The University will also develop and implement new developmental mathematics courses that will provide condensed versions of developmental-level courses (MATH 90/91 and MATH 91/103), thereby enabling students to complete two mathematics courses within a single semester.
Fairmont State University: Since the fall 2012 semester, FSU has been engaged in continuous improvement to enhance the quality of developmental education. A team representing FSU attended an HEPC workshop in the fall of 2012, and as a result incorporated into its planning elements of “Complete College America.” Through an associated grant the University was able to host campus-based professional development to support faculty design and development of new curricula in both the “Pathways” plan for developmental mathematics and the “Accelerated Learning” plan for developmental English.
Glenville State College: The institution will improve pass rates in developmental and introductory math and English courses by revamping the current courses, requiring supplemental instruction as needed, and improving tutoring in math and English.
The newly appointed math coordinator has been charged with overseeing the completion of a reformulated developmental math course to replace the current two course sequence. The coordinator is additionally charged with working with the math faculty to ensure the alignment of the new developmental math course with college-level introductory math courses. The reformulated introductory math courses are expected to be accompanied by supplemental instruction in the form of co-requisite one to two hour math labs.
The English faculty have been charged with an examination of the current developmental course in English and revising the course as needed. A supplemental instruction requirement is expected to be a central feature of this initiative. The English faculty are additionally charged with ensuring the alignment of the developmental English course with college-level introductory English courses. The offering of sections of introductory English courses with a supplemental instruction requirement is also a part of this initiative.
The College needs to develop a larger pool of students to provide the expanded tutoring services required to support both the faculty teaching and the students enrolled in developmental and college-level introductory math and English courses. Glenville State also needs to ensure that math and English tutors have the pedagogical training essential to effective instruction. Thus, the institution will offer for-credit and non-credit training of prospective student tutors.
Marshall University: This strategy focuses on two activities: 1) replacing non-credit bearing developmental/remedial courses, which contribute to higher tuition costs for students and lengthen the time to degree significantly, with credit-bearing stretch courses in English composition and emporium-based Math module instruction; and 2) offering a support structure for bridging activities through a no-cost-to-student Math Summer Bridge program prior to matriculation.Marshall’s English Department has created a 4-credit hour stretch course, ENG 101P (Beginning Composition Plus), for students with verbal ACT scores 11-17. This course meets the requirements of ENG 101 but includes a developmental component. Both ENG 101P and ENG 101 (3 hours) lead to ENG 201 (3 hours). ENG 201 has replaced ENG 102, moving the second composition course in the student’s sophomore year (200-level), linking it to the student’s major.The Mathematics Department is replacing MATH 098 and 099 with MATH 100: Math Skills, MATH 102, and MATH 102: Math Skills II. MATH 100 and MATH 102 are under University Curriculum Committee review, slated for first offering in Fall 2015. Students with ACT scores of 18 and below will be enrolled in MATH 100 (for majors that do not require college algebra) or MATH 102 (a course with additional content for majors that require college algebra).
Marshall University will continue to offer a no-cost-to-student Summer Bridge Program in Basic Math Skills. The Summer Bridge Program is a workshop designed to enrich math skills in students whose ACT score ranges 11-18. Marshall faculty teach the workshop sessions. Students self-select; this is not a mandatory program.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State is an open-admissions college with many students requiring developmental work in mathematics and English. Therefore, the institution will schedule paired ENGL 090 and ENGL 101 courses that will each meet five days per week for eight weeks. It will also develop a process for assessing the reading ability of incoming students to determine need for remediation and/or other assistance. The institution also plans to explore the feasibility of creating one-credit developmental math companion labs (such as 091L and 093L) for its two algebra developmental math classes to provide academic support for students with deficiencies.Potomac State plans to explore the option of changing developmental courses from pass/fail to letter grades. Additionally, the institution will develop and submit a Trio Student Support Services proposal to the U.S. Department of Education to provide additional math tutoring capacity to the campus.
Shepherd University: The institution does not offer developmental education, but rather a selection of stretch model courses in English and mathematics that allow students to continue to progress towards degree completion.
West Liberty University: The institution will be fully reformed into a modular format of developmental math by the end of spring 2015 and have career pathways and co-requisite gateway courses developed by fall 2015. The intended outcome of this developmental math reform is to have students complete their developmental requirement in a timelier manner and to learn content that specifically aligns to their college-level courses and intended careers. This model will eliminate time off between the developmental and college-level courses, with the intention of increasing retention and graduation rates among the developmental education cohorts.In the case of developmental English students, the university has initiated an advanced learning program that integrates developmental students into mainstream classes. The Department of Humanities works with the staff of the Student Learning Center to train and supervise student tutors, and with the admissions office to assign potential developmental students to the appropriate sections of freshman composition and tutorial classes. Instructors work with the tutors assigned to their English 101 courses to coordinate instruction across the composition class and a supplemental tutorial. The intended outcome of this strategy is to increase retention of students, improve passage rates for students who enter the university without adequate preparation for college-level writing, and to see better written work in all subsequent classes.
West Virginia State University: The general focus of the institution’s Developmental Education strategy is to prepare underprepared students for successful completion of developmental Math and English courses. The institution will develop a state-of-the-art math learning center featuring computer-based supplemental instruction. A faculty member within the Math Department will help coordinate the developmental math initiatives. Additionally, training on best practices in developmental math education will be provided to full- and part-time developmental math instructors.The University will relocate its existing Writing Center to the library to make it more accessible to students. Students, especially those in English 020 and 101E, will be required to attend regular sessions at the Writing Center where they will receive additional help on writing assignments. WVSU will also implement a stretch course format that will combine English 020, 101E/101, and 102 in a way that will allow the University to teach the concepts learned in English 020 (developmental, non-credit bearing course) within the credit bearing English classes.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: WVU Tech recognizes the importance of developmental education for students who come into college underprepared for college-level math and English courses. This strategy will focus on the linking of learning objectives in Developmental English with the learning objectives in English 101. The alignment of learning objectives in both courses will assist in enhancing the students’ competency when they enter English 101. The English faculty will review the learning objectives for both English 90 (Developmental English) and English 101. Revision of learning objectives will occur where necessary to ensure alignment of learning objectives between the two courses. Course syllabi will be adjusted accordingly. Additionally, all students in English 90 will complete the same portfolio assignment as students in English 101 and 102. This assignment includes a reflective letter along with drafts and final versions of four essay assignments.
Summary of First-Year Retention Strategies
Bluefield State College: The institution will develop a mentoring program that pairs successful upper-level students with at-risk students as mentors. Mentors will attend formal training, and participating faculty and staff will be recognized for excellence in mentoring and advising with the opportunity to be selected for faculty advising and staff mentoring awards. The institution will also work to streamline financial aid allocation and administration procedures, including scholarship receipt and disbursement, and to establish an all-inclusive early alert system utilizing technology and analytics.
Concord University: Concord plans to revive its campus-wide Retention Committee tasked to identify retention-related strengths and weaknesses and to utilize and assess retention best practices and other campus-wide retention efforts. The Retention Committee will also develop a university-wide retention strategic plan. In addition to the system-wide compact retention goal, Concord has set an institutional retention goal (i.e. freshmen to sophomore fall retention at Concord) of a 1% increase each year of the compact.Concord spent much of spring 2014 revising its First Year Experience course, University 100 (UNIV 100), and has been working to incorporate activities and interventions into the course that foster positive academic mindsets among students.The Academic Success Center (ASC) will place particular emphasis on students with identified risk factors, such as lower high school GPAs, high unmet financial need, and undecided academic majors. Intervention activities will use a targeted approach for reaching these students. For example, students with undeclared majors will enroll in a special UNIV 100 section led by the Career Services director and ASC program coordinator that will focus on career options and corresponding academic majors. Students with high school GPAs below a 3.0 will receive information on academic support services beyond that received by all students. PROMISE recipients will be monitored for staying on track for scholarship renewal. Academic advisors will be notified of students receiving grades of midterm deficiencies and other at-risk indicators.
Fairmont State University: The following activities are initiatives created by the institution’s Campus Collaborative for Recruitment and Retention (CCRR), a workgroup comprised of professionals from Student Services, and faculty, academic administrators and staff. CCRR has recommended three action steps that will have an impact on retention, enrollment and success toward graduation:
- Redesign and implementation of a first-year seminar for all students to provide support in the transition into FSU and the college experience;
- A Passport Program for first-year students to provide information access, mentoring and need-specific support activities, and opportunities to create and engage in peer activities and learning communities; and,
- Review and possible campus-wide implementation of Appreciative Advising as a student support resource, focused on structuring the advising process from narratives about the students context, lives, successes and needs.
Glenville State College: The institution will employ a comprehensive approach to student persistence that integrates orientation programs, academic advising, career exploration, and a well-defined process for early intervention on behalf of first-year students at risk of not returning the following semester or the following year.Glenville will improve the retention rate of first-year students through the development and implementation of data-based advising guidelines for appropriate course placement. Academic advisors will be expected to follow these guidelines, especially in course selection for incoming first-year students deficient in math and/or English. Glenville will also improve the fall-to-fall retention rate of first-year students through enhanced intervention on behalf of at-risk-students. Specifically, the institution will strengthen its early warning system by the creation of two supplemental advising teams composed of selected faculty and staff.
Marshall University: The general focus of this strategy is to intervene with at-risk “Murky Middle” students before they matriculate: during summer orientation, the Summer Bridge program, and during the Week of Welcome in UNI 100 sessions.Activity 1 will require each academic college to develop an alternate 4-Year Plan for these at-risk students in the Murky Middle. These students have a higher failure rate in certain key general education courses, which affects the number of hours they ultimately earn in the first term. Because first-term earned hours as a data point positively correlates with retention for its focus group, Marshall’s goal will be to ensure that these students begin with a robust schedule (17-18 hours) that also reserves some of their more difficult first-year courses for their second semester.UNI 100 is a 1-credit hour, CR/NC course entitled Freshman First Class. It functions as an orientation to university life, addressing online registration, financial aid, and major/career match, among other things. At-risk students in the Murky Middle will start UNI 100 equipped with a fall course schedule that is customized for their use (17-18 credit hours, fewer courses with high DFW rate), etc. Before these students have an opportunity to add or drop courses during the first week of class, UNI 100 will guide them through important aspects of the 15 to Finish curriculum.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State is committed to improving student persistence to degree; however, the fact that the College provides open admissions with many of the students arriving under-prepared is problematic for retention. The college has formed a Retention Committee guided by a consultant from Noel-Levitz. An emphasis on student success through enhancing the demonstrable quality of its academic and student success programs will increase student persistence to degree.The institution plans to schedule paired ENGL 090 and ENGL 101 courses that will each meet five days per week for eight weeks, and will pilot the use of specific advisers for high-risk first-semester freshman. The Academic Success Center director and tutors will be used to advise students and guide them in choosing majors. Potomac State plans to implement a systematic process to assess the quality of student advising. Additionally, it will implement an academic recovery program during the spring semesters for freshman students earning between a 0.25 to 1.0 fall semester grade point average. The institution will also work with “WVU Adventure WV” personnel to include PSC new students in the Adventure WV program during the summer prior to arrival on campus.
Shepherd University: In its efforts to increase retention of first-year students, Shepherd will focus on three distinct areas of student success: 1) utilization of student support services; 2) access to quality advising; and 3) implementation and utilization of Beacon software to track and document at-risk students.In working to support general and at-risk student populations to ensure retention and academic success, the following items will be addressed: 1) utilizing and evaluating the Academic Support Center and TRIO services; and 2) utilizing and evaluating Disability Support Services and Student Success.
West Liberty University: The retention strategy is to provide student programming and services such as: academic success classes, ongoing tutoring programs, and counseling. All services are designed to improve students’ chances for academic success, social interaction, commitment to degree completion, and financial literacy.Hilltopper Academy is a summer bridge program that targets fulltime, first-year, degree-seeking freshmen with low ACT/SAT scores. The Academy provides an intensive week of mathematics and English instruction. Freshman students on academic probation are registered for an Academic Success class taught by the retention specialist and includes student peer tutoring.A one-hour course on study techniques, communication, time management, and routine meets once a week for 10 weeks. Additionally, all first time freshmen are required to take a First Year Experience Course. During the semester, students will be required to attend a financial aid and financial literacy presentation given by the Director of Financial Aid. The presentation will include credit card use, default consequences, SAP policy, and budgeting while in school. Students will be assessed in class after attending the presentation. Students will also have the option of enrolling in a 3-hour Financial Literacy course taught by College of Business Faculty.
West Virginia State University: West Virginia State University will enhance its New Student Advising and Orientation program to further encourage connection and engagement with University students, faculty, and staff and an understanding of the programs and services available at the University to support student success. Enhancements to orientation have been made over the past year, especially in the delivery of critical messages about advising, timely graduation, and support services. A parent/family program has also been introduced. A program evaluation tool has also been implemented. However, the University has examined best practices in orientation and its role in the success of new students and believes additional work is required to further improve the orientation experience and transition to the University.The institution will actively reach out to new freshmen who have financial balances with the University (not covered by financial aid) to discuss options for payment. It will also develop a “check-in” process for targeted sub-populations within the freshman class (low income, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, and first-generation), adult learners, and conditional admits.
West Virginia University: WVU has planned three activities to improve first-year retention: 1) Project 168: Live Learn Communities coupled with a major- and career-based mentoring initiative based in two or more of WVUs colleges or schools; 2) a peer mentoring program for conditionally admitted Spring 2015 First-Year Pathway FTFTF and other academically underprepared FTFTF; and (3) a mentoring initiative for FTFTF of color, first generation in college FTFTF, and low-income FTFTF.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: The topic of retention has been a focus of discussion at WVU Tech over the past few years. The institution will evaluate the success of its existing retention plan especially as it relates to the first full year of activity in its newly designed Student Success Center. A committee will meet to review the success of WVU Tech’s current retention efforts and work to identify areas for improvement.The institution will also conduct a student satisfaction survey, the results of which will help the Retention Committee (and the whole campus) understand why students are retained (or are not) and graduate (or do not).
Summary of Progress Toward Degree Strategies
Bluefield State College: To augment the College’s current freshman orientation, a session will be developed to encourage completion of a baccalaureate degree in 4 years by taking 15 credits per semester. As a crucial component of this initiative, the College will ensure that course sequence is accurate through the use of a master schedule that includes a four-year list of course offerings.The second activity involves the development and distribution of a new financial aid award letter. Modeled after recommendations from the federal government, financial aid advocacy groups and peer institutions, the letter will break down award information into various categories to help students better understand their financial aid awards. Additionally, it will project future costs of attendance and available financial aid, and will emphasize on-time degree completion with the 15 to Finish initiative.
Concord University: The institution will actively promote the WVHEPC campaign 15 to Finish. Academic advisors will encourage students to enroll in at least 15 hours of credit-bearing coursework a semester or to take summer classes or CLEP exams to progress towards degree completion. Students will be informed of the need to successfully complete at least 15 hours per semester and the benefits of doing so (e.g., less loan debt/overall expense, on-time graduation, better outcomes, etc.). Additionally, Concord’s Graduation Starts Now campaign will be reinstated for fall 2015 incoming students. This campaign reinforces to first-time freshmen and parents at Orientation to keep graduation in mind as the goal when beginning college.Concord plans to conduct an audit of various administrative procedures that may hamper retention and graduation efforts. The institution also plans to solicit guidance from John Gardner, a retention expert who advises institutions on strategies to evaluate existing policies and procedures that may be undermining student retention efforts. Both academic and student life procedures will be reviewed and proposed changes will be referred to the area responsible for the procedure.
Fairmont State University: FSU has focused increased attention and resources on the analysis and application of institutional data, program assessment and assessment of learning, and implementing strategies to support students in negotiating the academic and student life challenges of college. The institution plans to develop improved strategies using institutional data to understand the correlations between macro-level metrics on retention, enrollment, and graduation (persistence), specific initiatives to ensure student success, and which initiatives are most likely to best position students for success (progression).In the fall of 2013, the University developed and opened the Fairmont State University Writing Center to support approaches to Developmental English and first year Composition. Faculty and academic leadership in the Department of Language and Literature developed the Center as a foundation to support the University’s broader efforts in the teaching of writing on all levels. The ability to write across multiple academic applications is central to successful matriculation and academic performance. The Writing Center has significant potential to positively impact retention and students’ progress toward degrees. Data from the Writing Center will be a good example of how data on a progression-related activity can inform persistence rates for the University.
Glenville State College: The institution will increase the percentage of full-time students successfully completing 15 hours per term and 30 hours per academic year by improvements in its advising system, course placement and registration practices, and tracking of progress toward degree completion. The College will improve faculty and student use of Degree Works, a degree audit system, in academic advising and course registration. New faculty will be trained in the use of Degree Works each fall. New students will be expected to demonstrate their use of Degree Works in the first-year experience course, GSC 100. Continuing students will be expected to bring a copy of their degree audit to the advising session that precedes registration for the next term.Additionally, academic departments will ensure a two year rotation for all courses required in their respective degree programs and reflect this rotation in program specific two-year and four-year plans of study. The course rotation schedule and plans of study will be based on the completion of 15 hours per term and 30 hours per academic year and be available to faculty and students on a continuous basis. These plans of study will be reviewed annually to ensure that they reflect any approved change in degree requirements or frequency of course offerings.The College will also improve its ability to track the number of hours completed each semester and academic year and the identification of students not following established plans of study. It will additionally develop a process for working with these students and their academic advisors to get these students back on track for timely degree completion.
Marshall University: The general focus of this strategy is to intervene with Murky Middle students before they matriculate: during summer orientation, the Summer Bridge program, and during the Week of Welcome in UNI 100 sessions, integrating ‘15 to Finish’ campaign strategies with UNI 100.UNI 100 is a 1-credit hour, CR/NC course entitled Freshman First Class. It functions as an orientation to university life, addressing online registration, financial aid, and major/career match, among other things. Students in the Murky Middle will start UNI 100 equipped with a fall course schedule that is customized for their use (17-18 credit hours, fewer courses with high DFW rate), etc. Before these students have an opportunity to add or drop courses during the first week of class, UNI 100 will guide them through important aspects of the ‘15 to Finish’ curriculum.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State College plans to increase the number of students making progress toward on-time completion and will work to keep the cost of education (tuition and fees) as affordable as possible. Additionally, the institution will implement appropriate software to assist faculty in advising students. Faculty will be trained to use AdvisorTrac as a tool in advising. Use of this tool will assist faculty in tracking student college and career plans and will allow that information to be shared when students change majors and/or advisers.
Shepherd University: Developmental education is an important driver of both graduation rates and nonproductive credits. Shepherd monitors progress toward degree completion of students in its stretch-model courses by eliminating the barriers between developmental education curriculum and credit-bearing curriculum.Shepherd will assess the effectiveness of its student support services in the retention and perseverance of students enrolled in stretch-model classes. Often students in these courses may be identified as “at risk,” and require additional support to progress towards degree completion.The institution will also encourage collaboration between Institutional Research, Academic Support and Student Success offices to engage students who are on academic probation.
To systematically enable students to reach graduation, it is important and part of best practices to provide clear and structured pathways to graduation. As part of this activity, Shepherd will examine and revise its current curricular charts and pathways contained in its online catalog through Acalog.
West Liberty University: The institution plans to provide multiple opportunities for disseminating information to first-time freshman regarding the benefits of preregistering for and completing at least 15 hours per semester. Since all first-time freshmen are required to enroll in College 101-First Year Experience, this course will be utilized to provide freshmen with information vital to successful and timely college completion. The course objectives are revised to include: the benefits of on-time degree completion, completing a minimum of thirty hours per academic year, academic program planning, financial aid, loan debt issues, and scholarship/aid eligibility. Instructor training for this course will include these new course objectives, and the course syllabus is adjusted to reflect these changes.In 2013, West Liberty organized a new faculty orientation program, along with new faculty advising training. The Enrollment Services division will partner with the Chair of Faculty Senate and incorporate on-time degree completion into the curriculum of these two established programs. This information will also include financial aid programs, financial aid eligibility, student loan debt, academic program planning, and the benefits of completing thirty hours per year for on-time degree completion.
West Virginia State University: The institution will develop appropriate promotional materials that highlight the importance of a degree audit tool (DegreeWorks) and provide training sessions for students and advisors in an effort to ensure that all participants get maximum productivity from the degree audit system. Based upon a review of external documentation and internal discussions, best practices will be developed to streamline advising, while increasing the effectiveness of the advising process and explore the possibility of centralizing the advising process for first and second year students through an advising center. The institution will also offer workshops in residence halls that allow faculty and staff to interact with students and share information related to services and programs that support student success.
West Virginia University: To increase percentage of students completing 30 credit hours in the first semester, West Virginia University will implement two activities (initiatives): 1) transform Math Workshop into a credit-bearing course; and 2) reduce first-time full-time freshmen exploratory students’ time to matriculate into major.The goal of transforming Math Workshop to a two course sequence, Math 112/122, is to provide students needing remedial assistance a credit-bearing course that is also responsive to their remedial needs. This activity will involve developing curriculum for MATH 112/122: Intermediate Algebra, which will serve a projected 1100 students per academic year. The developed curriculum will consider the merits of a set of 5-week modules versus the more traditional 15-week design, using flipped instruction model.University College Advising will utilize specialized advising, use of best tools (Banner, Degree Works, and AdvisorTrac), and emphasis on Student Progression Plans with distinct benchmarks to ensure students matriculate into their majors in a timely manner. The University College Advising will also hire an Educational Programming Specialist to lead exploratory students’ success efforts.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: WVU Tech will continue its focus on freshman progress through advising and tutoring services provided by the Student Success Center. This progress is measured and tracked with a fall/spring/summer academic calendar. Academic intervention will continue in response to Early Alert data provided by faculty. In addition, utilization of the Early Alert system which informs advisors and faculty of at-risk students will be continued.The institution will continue to provide study skills programs to freshmen through the WVUe 191 First Year Experience Seminar, and Student Success Seminar Series. Content for study skills instruction aims to facilitate the transition between high school and college-level study strategies. Topics include college reading strategies, note taking and revision, time management, and test preparation.Beginning in the fourth week of the semester, faculty identify academically at-risk students through the Early Alert portal. The Provost shares information received through the portal with the Director of the Student Success Center (SSC), and the academic deans. The SSC contacts each student by email to offer tutoring, advising, and referral to other campus resources as needed.
Summary of Graduation Rates Strategies
Bluefield State College: The BSCS 100 Building Successful College Skills course designed to assist incoming at-risk students with their transition to BSC will be modified and expanded to support all incoming students. A new First Year Experience course will be developed to augment first year retention initiatives at BSC. The First Year Experience one credit course will be grounded in student development theory and will utilize best practices in student retention. The course will focus on study strategies, financial literacy, as well as personal and professional development.The institution will develop and implement a four year BSC Student Engagement Program. First Year students will participate in the First Year Experience Course; sophomores will participate in the Sophomore Seminar Series, juniors will participate in the Junior Year Career Readiness Seminars and seniors will participate in the traditional departmental Capstone Class. The “Sophomore Seminar Series” will include four one hour sessions addressing the following topics: 1) Service Learning 2) Internships and Study Abroad 3) Research and Engagement and 4) Diversity and Networking. The “Junior Year Career Readiness Seminars” will include four one hour sessions addressing the following topics: 1) How to develop Professional Resumes and Other Business Communications Skills, 2) The Job Search: Where to Start and Where to Go, 3) Basic Business Etiquette, and 4) Dressing for Success and Acing the Interview.
Concord University: The activities outlined in retention and progress toward degree will also foster progress with Concord’s 4- and 6-year graduation rates. Additionally, the University will revise academic advising to include more intrusive, appreciative, and efficient methods to better advise students, especially those who are at greater risk of not graduating (e.g., low-income and undecided students) and continue special targeted advising for returning adults. Concord also plans to fully implement DegreeWorks over the compact period.
Fairmont State University: FSU’s College of Science & Technology and the School of Business are collaborators in the design, piloting and implementation of a project to help students succeed in high-risk courses, such as Physics, Chemistry, Accounting and Economics, by enhancing the teaching and learning experience. Curricula are being revitalized to include collaborative and experiential learning, supplemented by student peer mentoring programs and new instructional technology. This interactive approach to learning encourages participation and achievement, and prepares the students for real-world performance.In 2012, Fairmont State University was one of only 15 applicants nation-wide selected to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program. This five-year grant, totaling nearly $2 million, has enabled Fairmont State’s College of Science & Technology and School of Business to pilot a project designed to improve student success in targeted high-risk courses. Fairmont States Title III initiative focuses on helping students to be successful in the most challenging classes they face within their respective disciplines. In targeting the courses with the highest rates of D’s, F’s and withdrawals, the Title III grant strategies provide technology tools, student peer mentoring and experiential and collaborative learning opportunities that will provide students with academic support that positively impacts academic success within their disciplines.FSU has initiated strategic work to provide enhanced support to veterans as a specific population. This effort, supported in part through a grant from the HEPC, began in the fall 2014 with preliminary planning and has continued through the spring 2015 term.
Main themes for initial planning and continuing strategic efforts include: 1) engaging in initiatives to broaden University-wide awareness of and knowledge about needs and challenges for veterans at Fairmont State; 2) designing and delivering faculty and staff professional development to build stronger capacity to support veterans at the University; and 3) engaging in ongoing design, development and implementation of activities and services for veterans.
Glenville State College: Glenville State College will raise its four- and six-year graduation rates through further diversification in the mode of delivery of the courses needed for degree completion and the means of earning college credit.Progress toward degree completion can be a function of course availability. Availability is partly a matter of what is offered and partly course scheduling that prevents students from taking one or more courses in accordance with their plan of study. The offering of online courses can reduce the likelihood of class conflicts and may even allow for the more frequent offering of some courses. Therefore, the College will strive to increase the array and frequency of online offerings first of required general education courses and then of lower-level required courses in high-demand programs.The College will strive to provide additional opportunities for students to complete degree requirements through competency examinations and competency-based learning portfolios. Such opportunities allow students to earn credits toward degree completion without working around the scheduling restrictions or enrollment limits which can prevent timely enrollment in one or more required courses. The same opportunities can also reduce the need to postpone repeating an essential course due to a scheduling conflict. In either case, competency-based options support progress toward degree completion.
Glenville State College will also increase the appeal of its RBA program and interdisciplinary degree program as pathways to a college degree. It will do so by crafting sample fields of study consistent with these degree programs and promoting these options. The College will additionally develop fields of study aligned with the HEPC approved four-year degree in Applied Science.
Marshall University: Marshall will engage in a research study designed to explore the effects of Learning Community participation on student learning and persistence toward degree completion. Student learning will be measured by overall GPA and performance on the following university learning outcomes: Integrative Thinking (connections to experience), Critical Thinking, and Information Literacy. Student persistence will be measured by continued enrollment at the university over time.Additionally, Marshall University will initiate two programs of research to identify methods to improve retention and graduation rates among low income and underrepresented students. The first initiative will be to create learning communities comprised of student cohorts enrolled in common courses, including the University’s First Year Seminar, a writing-intensive course, and a service-learning course. Each learning community will include activities intended to reduce the effect of stereotype threat among first-generation students and provide opportunities to develop peer support programs within the community. The second initiative is to apply `big data’ analytic techniques to identify student characteristics that predict student success or withdrawal. Using these data, the faculty and staff of the University will identify interventions designed to help students who may be at risk for dropping out of college.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State plans to increase graduation rates, especially for students in AA programs who intend to complete a bachelor’s degree at another institution. It will develop semester-by-semester cohort (advising) sheets for each academic program providing students and advisors with a visual example of credit hours, course pre-requisites, and courses required to graduate on time. Students will have the ability to plan and track progress toward degrees and determine the impact of changing majors.The institution will also develop processes for students to complete developmental math and English course sequences in a timelier manner. A stretch MATH 092 class (combination of 091 and 093) was developed and pilot tested during the fall 2013 semester. Two compressed (7.5 week) ENGL 091 and ENGL 101 cohort class sequences are currently being pilot-tested to provide students the opportunity to complete remedial English and college English in the same semester.Potomac State will develop a two- or four-year degree that is offered entirely online and will work with faculty to reduce all associate degree programs to 60 credit hours and baccalaureate degree programs to 120 credit hours. The institution will also implement a 15-to-Finish communication strategy during new student orientation sessions and first year seminar classes. Additionally, Potomac State will implement a Catamount Success Academy for entering freshmen with low (1.7 to 2.0) high school graduating grade point averages.
Shepherd University: The general focus of the strategy is to ensure the continued relevancy and quality of Shepherd’s academic programs through the program review process, with an emphasis on assessment of alternative course schedules (compressed/hybrid) and instructional delivery formats. Academic departments will complete gap analyses and create action plans toward program improvements based on assessment results.As part of compliance with the HLC credit-hour worksheet and federal compliance elements, courses that utilize online, hybrid, compressed formats, or other timelines for instruction will be assessed for meeting stated outcomes. Course syllabi are reviewed each semester by department chairs to ensure student learning outcomes are tied to course content and program goals. Department chairs, deans, and faculty peers conduct classroom observations/evaluations of faculty on a regular schedule as outlined by the Faculty Evaluation Policy.
West Liberty University: An ongoing goal for West Liberty is to secure funding for the Ellucian-Degree Works advising tool to assist students with preparation for on time degree completion. However, with or without degree-works, West Liberty will focus on improving four- and six-year graduation rates through the development of student services, programming, and financial literacy. The institution will work to provide additional opportunities for academic, social and personal interaction between international and American students through programs and activities such as the International Club, Bridge Builder initiative, Host Family Program, American Ambassador Program, and additional training for institutional staff.All first time freshmen are required to enroll in the First-Year Experience course. During the semester, students will be required to attend a financial aid and financial literacy presentation given by the Director of Financial Aid. The presentation will touch on credit card use, default consequences, the SAP policy, and budgeting while in school. Students will be required to complete a short handout in class after attending the presentation. Students will also have the option to sign up for a 3-hour Financial Literacy course taught by the College of Business Faculty.
West Virginia State University: The institution will develop appropriate promotional materials that highlight the importance of a degree audit tool (DegreeWorks) and provide training sessions for students and advisors in an effort to ensure that all participants get maximum productivity from the degree audit system. Based upon a review of external documentation and internal discussions, best practices will be developed to streamline advising, while increasing the effectiveness of the advising process and explore the possibility of centralizing the advising process for first- and second-year students through an advising center. The institution will also offer workshops in residence halls that allow faculty and staff to interact with students and share information related to services and programs that support student success. Additionally, the University is working with the HEPC on a comprehensive plan that stresses the significance and importance of 15 to Finish.
West Virginia University: For its Graduation Rates Strategy, West Virginia University will focus on Creating Pathways to Graduate School for Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) Students. This will be achieved through two activities focusing on returning adults: 1) RBA to Graduate School Pathway; and 2) increasing the number of completers amongst RBA students.West Virginia University’s RBA program will partner with graduate programs at WVU to create pathways for its adult learners to matriculate into graduate school. These partnerships will ensure that RBA students who sign an agreement to pursue RBA-Graduate School pathway, will be guaranteed admission provided they complete the RBA program with a satisfactory level of performance. The promise of simple entry to graduate school provides an additional incentive to complete the RBA degree, and the presence of a pathway increases the probability that a given RBA student will pursue graduate study. In addition, in building the pathways, we are guiding students toward choosing courses that not only complete their RBA degree, but build skills they will need in the graduate programs. Students receive a personalized education plan that includes courses that fit skills they will need after undergraduate is complete, not just a collection of general education courses.Additionally, all inactive RBA students’ files will be evaluated to determine what is needed to graduate. Inactive students who are within two semesters of graduation will be contacted and encouraged to return to complete their degrees. The institution will also implement a new model of self-directed advising that will allow the advisor and the RBA student to build a relationship that will be sustained from application to graduation. Advisors will become a campus advocate for the students both online and on campus presenting a community that is supportive to adults.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: WVU Tech will focus on increasing the number of first-time, first-year undergraduates who complete their program within 150% of the published time for the program by developing an understanding of who its students are and what motivates them to succeed. The institution will identify a statistically reliable questionnaire by which to retrieve the student data relevant to student success. These data include student motivational data, credit hours attempted versus credit hours earned, student satisfaction and priorities assessment, common characteristics in student retention, and institutional barriers to student success. The results of these data will be used to focus the development of initial draft institutional responses to student needs, expectations, and motivations.
Summary of Academic Quality Plans
Bluefield State College: The focus of the Academic Quality Comprehensive Plan is for Bluefield State to be a model for Success known for: 1) emphasizing the retention and graduation of all students; 2) delivering strong, nationally accredited programs, including programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, that meet economic demands at community, state, national, and global levels; 3) demonstrating excellence in teaching, student learning, research, and community service; and 4) valuing an equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus community that respects differences among members. Excellent instruction, research, and academic support activities assure that students demonstrate expected knowledge and proficiency in their academic program and in general education, leading to increased retention and graduation.An orientation for new and adjunct faculty will be developed to ensure that they are fully aware of the College’s policies and procedures, appropriate advising and mentoring techniques, available instructional technology resources, and best practices in teaching. To that end, each new and adjunct faculty member will be assigned a mentor from the same or related field.The faculty and the counseling office will collaborate to assure accurate student placement into the Accelerated Learning Program. The institution will strengthen assessment of student learning to assure graduates are knowledgeable, competent and proficient in quantitative literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
Concord University: With a grant from the Higher Education Policy Commission, Concord University will develop research-based assessments of student learning outcomes for the general studies education program. Pilot projects are currently being developed to provide authentic assessments using grading rubrics with the assessment learning outcomes mapped to the University’s Learning Goals and the newly developed State Learning Goals.By surveying incoming freshman and graduating seniors, the University intends to provide a value-added measure of attitudes related to the general studies program. In addition, the National Survey of Student Engagement will provide an attitude assessment of students which is norm-referenced to a national population.Each academic department will develop assessment plans and submit annual assessment reports. These reports document national accreditation in athletic training, education and social work, as well as accomplishment of discipline specific goals that correspond to the University’s mission and goals.Each program at Concord identifies programmatic assessments that assess students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions and are mapped to the University’s learning goals in each content/programmatic area. Data from programmatic assessments are analyzed each semester and across an academic year to inform the content/program. Each academic program prepares an annual assessment report that summarizes and analyzes the programmatic assessment data using a University template and/or the national accreditation standards.
Fairmont State University: In the fall term 2013, leadership at Fairmont State University critically examined structures and resources in place to ensure that all academic programs could confirm that students were meeting challenging learning outcomes and were providing high quality experiences. This was coupled with an examination of structures and strategies to ensure that University programs collected and analyzed data to ensure those outcomes were in place and being met.This strategy focuses on the continued implementation and ongoing improvement of the program assessment structure and process for academic assessment created by the Critical Friends Group in 2014. These elements are designed to ensure ongoing assessment of student learning, focusing on evidence that programs use to support program design and delivery, and to ensure that programs are effective. Program assessment focuses on key components relative to ensuring that graduates are knowledgeable and competent in their chosen disciplines, and also are proficient in General Studies Attributes.FSU will continue the implementation and improvement of its program assessment structure and process for academic assessment by focusing on efforts to strengthen mapping learning outcomes at the course/instructional level to program goals assessment. As part of the pilot cycle, programs were reviewed by peer CFG faculty in other programs to assess the degree to which elements of the program assessment structure were present.Findings from across all programs are summarized in a “matrix” that denotes areas of evidence in the program assessments, and areas where peer reviewers suggest need for focus and attention. This level of review gave the CFG the ability to identify the areas shared across campus where resources, time and energy could be best focused to enhance academic quality and strengthen student learning at the program level.
Glenville State College: The Academic Affairs component of Glenville State engages in a comprehensive, systematic, and continuous process of assessment to ensure the offering of curricular and co-curricular programs, academic support services, and other learning resources of superior quality in a personalized setting. The assessment process of academic affairs will promote informed decision-making through the collection, analysis, storage, and distribution of data on key programmatic and component performance indicators.The College, through its academic departments, will annually document student performance in terms of established learning outcomes and take any appropriate actions needed to improve learning outcomes.Between fall 2012 and spring 2014, Glenville revamped its degree requirements to provide for the 120 hour minimum prescribed by the HEPC. The completion of this process positions the College to undertake a review of the prior mapping of specified learning outcomes to one or more required courses. The review noted here requires in turn a review of assessment rubrics and assessment methods used in the courses to which the learning outcomes are mapped.The College will develop a more well-defined process for extracting data from degree program assessments to evaluate the achievement of the learning outcomes established for the general education program.
Glenville will institute a referral process that advises faculty not only of who has sought out tutoring but also whether or not additional tutoring is required. The College will concurrently encourage faculty to incorporate the referral process into their course requirements as a way to strengthen the referral process.
Lastly, the institution needs to complete the process of developing planning and assessment portfolios in student life that parallel those of academic programs. In this regard, special attention needs to be given to developing the rubrics and assessment instruments essential to evaluating the contribution of student life programming to reinforcing and enriching classroom learning. Additionally, it is necessary for Student Life to close the assessment loop by crafting and carrying out action plans to enhance student learning.
Marshall University: The institution’s Academic Quality Strategic Plan reflects an extensive and diverse set of strategies designed to improve teaching and learning across the institution’s academic programs. This summary addresses selected highlights of the institution’s plan. The primary plan objective is to ensure that all students graduating from Marshall University achieve rigorous outcomes/competencies that prepare them for success in the 21st century.Marshall will continue to engage faculty on the General Education Council (GEC) and the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee (WAC) to ensure that proposed courses address appropriate outcomes, demonstrate how the pedagogical methods enable students to practice the outcomes, and how each outcome will be assessed, and review portfolios of potential WAC instructors.All matriculating freshmen attending the University’s Week of Welcome (WOW) complete either a university-developed problem-based assessment or the CLA+, both of which assess critical thinking, information literacy, and written communication skill levels. Marshall’s graduating seniors take these same assessments, allowing Marshall to compare performance between the groups. Freshmen completing FYS complete a similar assessment, allowing the university to gauge student development during this critical first-year course.Marshall’s Degree Profile consists of nine domains of critical thinking (creative, ethical and civic, inquiry-based, integrative, intercultural, metacognitive, and quantitative thinking, communication fluency and information literacy). Each degree program is currently aligning its learning outcomes to Marshall’s outcomes at the program’s degree-level, i.e., a bachelor’s program will align its outcomes to Marshall’s capstone level, an associate’s program to the milestone level, and a master’s program to Marshall’s advanced-level outcomes. When this process is complete, it will be possible to aggregate program-level assessment results to the university level using the database it has created for assessment reporting.
In 2012, Marshall’s Faculty Senate and Board of Governors updated the University’s Course Syllabus Policy to require that each syllabus outline the specific pedagogical activities that will be employed to allow students to practice the competencies demonstrated in each course learning outcome. The updated policy requires that students be told how their performance on each outcome will be assessed following ample opportunities for them to practice.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: Potomac State will develop a formalized infrastructure to propagate and support web-based courses and programs. It will also continue to support faculty development opportunities and encourage innovation in teaching. The institution plans to invest resources to enhance academic support services, and extend assessment initiatives to the program level to evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process at PSC. In AA programs, PSC faculty will work with faculty/management from WVU-Morgantown to ensure a seamless transfer into baccalaureate programs. AAS/BAS programs will be evaluated for appropriateness of math requirements with development and implementation of technical math classes to replace college algebra.The institution also plans to hire a Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness. Responsibilities for this new position will include working with faculty on curriculum mapping and establishing markers so the quality of students’ learning as they progress through their disciplines can be identified and used to make data-driven decisions to strengthen the quality of the curriculum.
Shepherd University: The focus of Shepherd’s Academic Quality Comprehensive Plan is the assurance of continuous academic quality improvement based on LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) goals and outcomes that have been systematically integrated into the curriculum.With the curricular reform process of 2011-12, Shepherd successfully integrated LEAP into intended student learning outcomes for its core curriculum and as overarching institutional goals tied to the programmatic goals of all academic programs. By targeting the areas of advisement, assessment and at-risk student populations, the further strengthening of critical skills needed for and educated workforce will be evident.The institution will ensure that academic advisors and advisement staff participate in professional development activities in support of quality advising. Academic departments will complete gap analyses and create action plans toward program improvements based on assessment results. Student civic engagement activities will be promoted, evaluated, and aligned with student learning outcomes. Additionally, the institution will work to support general and at-risk student populations to ensure retention and academic success.
West Liberty University: The general objective of this plan is to improve student competence, achievement and success by monitoring the effectiveness of the General Studies and Academic Degree Programs. The General Studies Assessment Committee and University Assessment and Accreditation Committee will collaborate to assess student learning skills.The institution will evaluate student learning skills in the general studies program. This activity will require mandatory faculty participation for the assessment of student learning in all general studies courses. In addition, the activity will identify and evaluate specific learning outcomes in general studies courses and oversee the integration of general studies skills into degree programs. LiveText will be used for collecting information on the rubrics.The institution’s Assessment and Accreditation Committee (A&A) will develop prescriptive assessment recommendations and provide support, feedback, and encouragement for the assessment of student learning. For example, programs that are considered to be exemplary are not required to supply any additional assessment follow up until their next BOG review. Programs considered deficient are required to submit follow-up assessment documentation as soon as the following year or a longer time frame may be more appropriate to allow enough time to implement assessment measures and collect information.
West Virginia State University: The institution’s Academic Quality plan stresses academic quality through program assessment. Each program will have a comprehensive assessment plan that includes a timeline for the assessment process. In addition, general education courses will be assessed for quantitative literacy, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.The institution will work to create assessment tools, collect data, and identify areas of improvement in order to make effective changes in the program structure. Every program will be expected to develop assessment instruments to measure content knowledge, quantitative literacy, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.The institution will also work to improve quantitative literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills during students’ first year at WVSU. The University will require that all First Year Experience course instructors include sections on quantitative literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. In addition, FYE courses will be required to administer at least one assignment to test student understanding and abilities in the aforementioned areas.
West Virginia University: The institution will implement three activities in support of its Academic Quality Comprehensive Plan: 1) identify representative faculty and administrators from across the university to be members of the Academic Advising Council; 2) meet with members to identify vision, mission and strategic goals for the Academic Advising Council; and 3) communicate the vision, mission and strategic goals for the Academic Advising Council.As a step toward achieving a coordinated and effective advising, West Virginia University will identify representative faculty and administrators from across the university to be members of the Academic Advising Council. The Advising Council makes recommendations concerning advising policies, procedures, and issues, will disseminate information with advisors and others as appropriate, and will recommend and/or plan professional development workshops, sponsored by Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Assistant Dean for University College Advising.The institution will work to implement best practices in advising. Under this strategy, the Academic Advising Council will examine advising standards, “best practices”, and advisor roles as well as communicate their findings and suggestions to all advisors across the university. The Advising Council subcommittee on Advising Standards, Best Practices, and Advisor Roles will determine “best practices” in advising through research, attending conferences and discussions with various constituencies. The Council will then compile an advising manual/booklet to be disseminated to various departments in the University. This will help to standardize best practices throughout the advising community.The Advising Council through its subcommittee on Professional Development and Initial New Advisor Training will periodically host professional development activities for all advisors campus wide to disseminate best advising practices. The committee will develop a plan for professional development opportunities, and will promote the importance of advising within the university.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: The objective of the Academic Quality Comprehensive Plan is to provide support and training to the faculty in course development and teaching methodologies. As a teaching institution, WVU Tech embraces student engagement through multiple methods. Faculty regularly assess their courses and programs to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses. These assessments help inform adjustments to content and teaching practices. Faculty need opportunities to learn about, refresh their knowledge of, and discuss teaching methodologies which will help them address the issues the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has identified as the focus of the Academic Quality Comprehensive Plan.The institution will provide professional development opportunities to faculty for increasing their repertoire of teaching methodologies. The process will begin with the creation of a Faculty Development Survey directed at identifying: 1) teaching methodologies currently used by the faculty, and 2) faculty interest in learning new methodologies. Using the results of the Faculty Development Survey, the institution will develop a three-year faculty development plan.The institution will also work to ensure the quality of its online course offerings by providing training to faculty on best practices and design principles for online learning. Faculty who develop and deliver courses online will take the basic course offered by Quality Matters, and will use the QM Rubric to evaluate new online courses.
Summary of Graduate Student Success Strategies
Concord University: In an effort to improve overall graduate student success and strengthen academic excellence, Concord University will continue to deliver graduate programs that include reliable student services, high-quality academic programs and consistent retention and graduation rates. Additionally, the institution will work to develop new initiatives focused on increasing graduate enrollment, high-quality academic programs, and an improved student loan default rate.In an effort to increase graduate enrollment, the University will expand the delivery of the graduate programs beyond the boundaries of its traditional service area. Concord will review the quality and consistency of all graduate courses to ensure that each meets or exceeds quality standards of Quality Matters (QM). Faculty teaching online/hybrid courses in the graduate programs will be required to attend QM training and ensure that each course meets the QM standards. Some faculty will also complete the QM reviewer training.Concord University values the significance of experiential learning for its graduate students to develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. All graduate programs require a capstone course that includes an experiential learning experience at the end of each program. Graduate students’ success will be monitored and assessed at the end of each semester to determine successful program progression through Banner and Argos data programs. Graduate students who fail to meet minimum academic standards will be placed on probation and may be dismissed from the institution.
Fairmont State University: The institution’s Graduate Student Success strategy focuses on parallel efforts to engage in institutional efforts to improve success for graduate students by: 1) providing support through assessment of learning and program assessment that promotes high quality academic experiences; and 2) providing governance structures that balance institutional administrative needs with respect for the autonomy and different intellectual needs of programs.Since achieving university status in 2004, Fairmont State has been engaged in an ongoing process of refining its efforts to ensure academic program integrity, and ensuring that programs and institutional governance responsibilities are supported by sound structures. As new programs have been developed and implemented, the original Graduate Studies goals and outcomes have been modified to reflect the expanding nature of graduate education at the University.The institution will focus its efforts to improve success for students by revisiting, refining as needed, and reinforcing commitments to Graduate Studies at the institutional level, while continuing to respect the autonomy and intellectual needs of individual academic programs. It will review and analyze the values articulated in the University’s mission and goals, and how they are reflected in Graduate Studies goals and outcomes. Additionally, the institution will engage in planning and strategic decision-making within the Graduate Council, and in academic programs and colleges/schools to strengthen articulation, mapping with, and integration of the Graduate Studies goals and outcomes into individual graduate program goals and outcomes. Lastly, FSU will design a professional development agenda to support program design, instructional design, and program assessment design consistent with Graduate Studies and individual program articulation of goals and outcomes.
Marshall University: The goal of the Graduate College is to increase the numbers of students enrolling and completing graduate degrees at Marshall University. The Graduate College will work with the various academic programs, especially the College of Information Technology and Engineering and the College of Health Professions, to develop more accelerated (3+2 or 4+1) master degree programs. These programs allow for 12 hours of graduate course work to be completed during the student’s senior year and count for both the completion of the baccalaureate and graduate degrees.Marshall University will continue its joint venture with INTO Marshall University to recruit international students as direct admits to various graduate programs and to graduate Pathways offered by many of Marshall’s graduate programs. The Pathways program allows international students, with appropriate academic credentials and English-language proficiency skills, to enroll in a graduate pathway, e.g., Civil Engineering, to study English in an academic environment and enroll in selected academic content courses at the graduate level in a non-degree seeking status. If students meet progression requirements based upon performance in the Pathway, they are admitted to the graduate program.
Shepherd University: Shepherd’s strategies for graduate student success focus on enhancing the Shepherd experience through the creation of clear pathways to advanced degree programs and through additional offerings, thereby creating a qualified workforce and enhanced credentials for professionals.The institution will work to increase the participation of adult learners in graduate programs and certificate programs for licensed professionals. It will also increase efforts to recruit international students, and will expand graduate degree program offerings.Shepherd will work with targeted academic programs to develop accelerated pathways to graduate degrees, i.e., those leading to teaching certification or other professional degrees such as the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). Personnel will work internally to recruit Shepherds current students into its graduate programs through presentations in upper-level and capstone courses.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) allows Shepherd to offer up to four certificate programs without prior permission. The goal is to add additional certificate programs in business areas or in specialized educational endorsements such as autism or reading.
There are currently five graduate programs at Shepherd that support the mission of the University. The goals for the expansion of graduate education include implementation of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) and the development of new degree programs that include other academic schools at Shepherd, such as the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
West Liberty University: A campus-wide quality initiative is underway to develop a graduate education strategic plan that integrates with the institutional strategic plan. A solid infrastructure and timeline will addresses the needs of all West Liberty University graduate students and provide resources to the entire campus community. The institution will work to: 1) establish a mission with expectations for graduate education; 2) identify parameters to separate graduate and undergraduate policy and procedure; 3) develop a graduate education organizational structure; 4) amend the current university curriculum committee to integrate graduate education or establish a separate body functioning solely for graduate education; 5) develop or amend faculty evaluation policy/procedure to include graduate-level faculty; 6) develop or amend budgeting policy/procedure; 7) establish requirements and procedures for awarding graduate assistantships; 8) develop an institutional graduate student handbook; 9) establish and implement a communication and collaboration plan; and 10) establish a graduate student association.Additionally, as part of its campus-wide quality initiative, the institution will: 1) establish guidelines for graduate student orientation; 2) complete/publish online orientation modules; 3) evaluate current sufficiency and establish parameters for separating graduate student services from undergraduate student services; 4) review, identify, prioritize, and configure a learning space with 24 hour secure access for graduate student study; and 5) acquire and implement an appropriate CRM system to aid recruitment, communication, and tracking.
West Virginia State University: The institution will work with graduate faculty in the current graduate degree programs to find ways to identify research opportunities for current graduate students in an effort to increase graduate student success. The University is also in the process of establishing a graduate student advisory council to help advise graduate program coordinators when making decisions. This council would provide valuable insight and feedback about the graduate experience at the University from a graduate student perspective and also help identify areas of promise and deficiencies.
West Virginia University: The institution will engage in two main activities aimed at increasing the number of graduate degrees earned: 1) increasing the number of graduate degree programs offered; and 2) increasing the number of graduate students admitted to West Virginia University.The institution will facilitate the development, approval, and implementation of new graduate programs. At the master’s degree level, new programs that address student interest and workforce needs, dual-degree and interdisciplinary programs, and bachelors/masters pathway and accelerated programs will be developed. The goal is to establish at least four new or reconfigured programs per year. Only limited expansion of the number of doctoral programs is expected and desired, but the development of at least two new Ph.D. programs by 2018 will be pursued.WVU will also work to recruit more highly-qualified graduate students to its graduate programs. A primary focus is increasing the number of applications to programs to ensure high selectivity and sufficient numbers of applications to allow an appropriate number of admissions to meet enrollment targets. Components of this activity include determining program capacity, engaging in both general and programmatic recruitment activities, developing communication plans for responding to student inquiries, facilitating the admissions process, and encouraging admitted students to attend.
Summary of Faculty Scholarship Strategies
Bluefield State College
: The institution will work to provide sustainability to the Research and Sponsored Programs (RASP) office to enable it to continue to support and conduct workshops on grants and funding opportunities, and to implement mentoring opportunities for junior faculty by senior faculty. Students will also benefit through increased opportunities to engage in research activities with faculty mentors.The institution will also create a biannual festival to invite local high school students, particularly those enrolled in dual-credit courses, and their teachers to campus while seeking to increase the effort to contribute to faculty scholarship. To do this, the College will enhance the faculty Colloquia that are currently held monthly during the academic year.The Colloquia currently showcase and cultivate the work of the diverse community of scholars, scientists, students, alumni, and professionals at Bluefield State College. At the Colloquia, the College’s diverse community presents and discusses their innovative activities, projects, and techniques related to research, teaching, civic engagement, and clinical practice. These may include an upcoming publication, a community project, a teaching methodology, a grant proposal, a technological application, an artistic performance, or any other endeavor or talent of value to the mission of Bluefield State College.
During the biannual festival, local high school students, particularly those enrolled in dual-credit courses, and their teachers will attend presentations that are designed by faculty for a non-specialized audience and the general public. Participating faculty will orally and visually present current work on a research project, community project, creative project, grant proposal, teaching methodology, or clinical/ technological/applied innovation.
Concord University: The institution will continue to provide assistance to faculty pursuing their scholarly work through presentations at conferences and academic research. The institution will also continue to review, revise, and implement mechanisms or policies to assess faculty performance as scholars and teachers in their core academic activities such as research, scholarship, creativity, teaching, and community engagement through the annual submission and assessment of professional activities.Concord University will provide funding for faculty development each year in the form of travel support grants for travel to conferences and training, and awards to recognize book publications, peer-reviewed journal articles, and conference presentations. The institution will also supply an online professional activities form for faculty to record professional activities throughout the academic year.
Fairmont State University: This strategy focuses on two approaches to enhance contributions of faculty scholarship. The strategy attempts to strike a balance between supporting skilled and experienced researchers as well as faculty and staff who may be less experienced, or who have not engaged in research recently. Some elements of the strategy create opportunities for researchers to engage in strategic research opportunities that inform and support institutional practices related to student enrollment, retention, and academic success. The strategy also includes an effort to use the Boyer model of scholarship to generate a campus conversation about the nature and meaning of faculty research at Fairmont State, how faculty can and do apply their research skills, and how the University can engage in faculty development and capacity to enhance contributions to scholarship by faculty with a range of skills and experience.
Marshall University: Standards will be developed for research productivity metrics for inclusion in faculty contracts on a college-by-college basis, as will incentives for performing externally-funded research. Additionally, Marshall will continue to update its policies to reflect higher standards for scholarly work as those standards and expectations develop through the course of the normal review process and procedures. Modifications will be recorded through Board of Governors’ approval of revisions to existing policies and procedures.
Potomac State College of West Virginia University: The institution plans to enhance the contributions of faculty scholarship by mentoring faculty and evaluators in the need for alignment of evaluation guidelines and faculty evaluation ratings. The Campus President has asked the Dean of Academic Affairs to mentor division chairs in the guidelines, and mentor/evaluate their faculty accordingly. Additionally, the President informed faculty of the need to align all performance (teaching, service, and professional growth & development) activities with guideline-supported evidence in their annual and summative (promotion & tenure) faculty evaluation reports, and recommended that faculty engage in a form of scholarship aligned with the historic teaching mission of the College with “a continuing program of studies, investigations, or creative works”; including systematic assessment of instructional processes and findings applied to enhance course and program effectiveness. The process of goal setting will be implemented for faculty. Dean Tetteh will work with division chairs, and chairs will work with faculty, to set goals for the academic year.Potomac State plans to conduct professional development workshops for faculty related to conference presentations, publication, and grant-writing and will develop a streamlined process for faculty to apply for professional development funding. The institution also plans to seek private funding to enhance its $500K endowed faculty professional development fund by at least an additional $250K.
Shepherd University: While faculty scholarship is an expectation of all full-time faculty, as outlined in the faculty handbook, there are numerous ways to support this endeavor at Shepherd University. Through the development of graduate faculty qualifications using the Boyer Model for Scholarship, and through increased funding for professional development activity, faculty members will be aware of the increased support and emphasis on measurable scholarship outcomes, such as peer-reviewed publications or articles.Shepherd will encourage faculty to apply for and maintain graduate faculty status through the application process in the Division of Graduate Studies. The institution will also encourage faculty to take advantage of the recent restoration and increase in the amount of annual departmental funding available, both through departments and academic schools, as well as through the professional development committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Additionally, the institution will examine policies and qualifications for promotion and tenure as listed in the faculty handbook to ensure best and current practices are being employed to encourage faculty scholarship outcomes.
West Liberty University: West Liberty will work to enhance and expand the existing faculty professional development program to encourage and enable more and higher quality scholarly activity by the faculty. This strategy will broaden the current internal mini-grant program, modify the guidelines and processes for awarding travel funds related to scholarship, expand on-campus support for research, and emphasize the dissemination of faculty research results and artistic creation.The institution will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the mini-grant and faculty travel programs through the modification of guidelines and procedures, and increase on-campus support for scholarly activities, with possible reallocation of institutional funding. It will also expand the identification of grants and research opportunities for WL faculty and provide assistance with grant applications. The Research Corporation currently distributes general information about existing grant opportunities. This activity will seek to expand that support to include the preparation of applications. A process will also be developed to provide course release time to faculty engaging in scholarly activity.
West Virginia State University: The Promoting Excellence in Education through Research (PEER) program at WVSU provides financial support in order to encourage and foster faculty research and to leverage these resources in order to attract extramural funding, as well as promote and support the enrichment of academia and student learning at the University through research initiatives.
West Virginia University: The institution’s main objective under the Faculty Scholarship Strategy is to track the number of articles that faculty members publish in peer-reviewed journals. An accurate count of journal articles will be obtained by gathering the information from annual faculty reports that are used for annual evaluation, promotion and tenure. It is assumed that faculty will report publications fully in the annual reports. The strategy is to use electronic tools for the annual reports and to gather the data from these electronic submissions.Eight colleges at WVU-Morgantown are already adopting a reporting and record-keeping electronic database system, Digital Measures, to archive faculty performance data and to create necessary reports. The activity is to adopt an electronic system for all university academic units, and to coordinate its data fields so that the list of journal publications can be mined readily from the database.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology: Bearing in mind that WVU Tech is primarily a teaching institution, faculty are incentivized to pursue scholarly activities within their respective disciplines. These scholarly activities include publishing academic articles in peer-reviewed journals, writing and publishing books, and delivering conference presentations. One avenue of providing incentives and support to the WVU Tech faculty in pursuing scholarly activities is the Faculty Research Fund. Unfortunately, this fund has fallen into disuse. The focus of this strategy is to reenergize the Faculty Research Fund.The Faculty Assembly Research Committee will develop processes, procedures, and criteria for grant applications and award selection. In addition, this committee will develop a Faculty Research Interest Survey which will be delivered online to collect information on the research interests of the WVU Tech faculty.