Higher Learning Commission
Chapter 4. Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
3.A. The institution's degree programs are appropriate to higher education.
3.A.1. Courses and programs are current and require levels of performance by students appropriate to the degree or certificate awarded.
The University of Central Missouri (UCM) uses several processes that ensure the relevancy of its programs and appropriate standards for student performance. The primary mechanism is our assessment model, entitled Central's Quality Improvement Program (CQIP). All academic programs are directed to comply with the provisions of CQIP. The first two components of this model explicitly require each department to identify student learning outcomes for all of its degree programs, both undergraduate and graduate, and to externally validate those outcomes on a regular schedule. This process ensures the student learning outcomes are current and appropriate not only for the major but also for the degree. Implied in this process is the discussion and establishment of expected performance levels for students. The University needs to emphasize this aspect of the outcomes validation process more in the future as a number of programs do not work closely enough with members of their advisory committees to determine exit level competencies. Additional information concerning assessment of program outcomes appears in Chapter 5, Criterion 4.
Faculty members typically utilize a group of external experts in the discipline (e.g., employers, graduates from the program, faculty from peer institutions) as an advisory board to validate their program's outcomes. In some cases, faculty members also align their outcomes to standards established by state and national accrediting bodies or professional organizations. Faculty review the professional standards along with the input from their advisory group and make modifications, allowing programs to respond in a proactive manner to changes in the discipline. For example, documentation of this program validation process in the Nursing Program is evidenced in the minutes of the Nursing Quality Improvement Committee in 2009-2010. A detailed explanation of how student learning outcomes are defined and validated is presented for each degree program in the Virtual Resource Room under CQIP, Goal A, Component 2.
Recently, the University introduced the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) in Lee's Summit, Missouri, that focuses on programs defined as high need by local industry and business partners. One of the strengths of the programs being developed for the MIC is the process used to define the student learning outcomes. Whereas most program advisory boards meet once or twice a year for perhaps 5-6 hours to review learning outcomes, MIC faculty meet for 5-6 hours each month with a much larger group of representatives from participating businesses during the first six months of program development and implementation. The result is a curriculum with an extremely well defined set of outcomes that is current and appropriate for the degree.
A second major process that addresses this criterion is UCM's internal program review. The University reviews all of its academic programs on a five-year cycle. As part of this review, departments receive a Data Pack (see Appendix A) that includes, among other measures, student performance data in both general education and the major for each program. Based on this institutional data as well as student data collected by the program, a report is prepared for peer review. The Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) conducts the review of undergraduate programs. The APRC is composed of two faculty from each of the four colleges, one faculty from the library, one faculty from the Department of Academic Enrichment, and the Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. The APRC is charged with evaluating existing academic programs and making recommendations focused on the program's contribution to the University mission, academic quality, and resource adequacy and utilization efficiency.
The Graduate Council conducts graduate program reviews in a similar manner. The Graduate Council is composed of eight faculty who hold full graduate faculty status, two graduate students, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate Council develops and reviews University policies and procedures for graduate education; reviews and recommends graduate curriculum; monitors the quality of graduate programs of the University; and advises the graduate dean on university, college, and department policies and procedures as set forth in the Graduate Catalog. http://www.ucmo.edu/provost/committees/grad.cfm
The leadership of the APRC and Graduate Council reviewed and confirmed alignment of the procedures used to review academic programs in 2010-2011 and again in 2013. The procedural documents, criteria, and guidelines used to perform these program reviews are available in Appendix A. The peer review and evaluation of programs provides the opportunity for faculty to engage in programmatic self-study. A team of faculty from the APRC reviews the documents and evidence presented by the program under review, meets with the chair of the department and program coordinator if appropriate, writes an evaluation that identifies the program's strengths, weaknesses, and includes recommendations for program improvement or deletion. The report is presented to the committee as a whole in the presence of the faculty and chair from the program under review. One of the key areas evaluated in these sessions is student performance. The program review report and recommendations are then presented to the Provost and Chief Learning Officer who meets with the dean and chair to determine strategies for program improvement, including discussion of resources. Although both the APRC and Graduate Council have worked to better align the requirements of the various accrediting agencies with those of UCM's program reviews, there is less than complete satisfaction among the departments with the current process as many still see a need to further reduce the redundancy between the internal and external peer review processes.
All academic programs also comply with the provisions of Central's curricular review processes documented in the University Curricular Process Guide and the University Curriculum Handbook (revised 2012). A system of multiple reviews including departmental committee, departmental chairs, college committees, college chairs, the Faculty Senate University Curriculum Committee, the Teacher Education Council, the Graduate Council, and the Faculty Senate General Education Committee work together to assure the catalogs are current and reflect performance expectations. For example, these curricular processes were used by the Nursing Department in response to the changing standards of their accrediting body to revise courses and outcomes at the graduate level in 2012-2013.
Another mechanism used to ensure currency and quality of programs is Goal B 2 of CQIP, Professional Development for Improvement of Instruction and Assessment of Student Learning. This component of our assessment model defines professional development in the context of curriculum only. Thus, it is seen as a plan to prepare faculty to teach and assess the student learning outcomes that have been identified by the department's faculty. As program outcomes change as a result of the outcomes validation process, departments either hire new faculty to address the newly added or revised outcomes, or provide professional development for currently employed faculty that prepares them to teach the revised curriculum. This professional development, focused on the teaching and assessment of revised program outcomes, contributes to UCM's ability to ensure the relevancy of our curricular offerings and the adoption of appropriate performance levels for our students.
The final process used to evaluate the extent to which courses and programs are current and performance levels appropriate is accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the University of Central Missouri. Many of our programs are also accredited by professional agencies that have standards regarding program content and rigor. Successful accreditation is evidence that a given program meets such standards and is delivering a relevant and quality program to its students. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the Athletic Training program received its initial accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The following Theatre programs received accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) in March, 2013 - Theatre, BA; Theatre, BFA; Theatre, BS; and Theatre, MA. Their next accreditation visit is scheduled for Spring 2018. The following Art programs received re-accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) in April, 2013: Studio Art (Illustration), BFA; Studio Art (Illustration), BSE; Art, BFA; Commercial Art, BFA; Interior Design, BFA. The next accreditation visit is scheduled for Spring 2016. A complete list of current external accreditation, authorization, and recognition is provided in the Virtual Resource Room; this information is also listed within each individual program's CQIP report.
3.A.2. The institution articulates and differentiates learning goals for its undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and certificate programs.
Student learning outcomes for all academic programs are differentiated through the processes described in 3.A.1, and are then presented in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs, the course syllabi, and various departmental publications both on- and off- line. The learning goals for each program can be found in the Virtual Resource Room in the CQIP section by department or program name under Goal A. 1 'Student Learning Outcomes.' All syllabi are expected to list the subset of the program outcomes that are addressed in the class, along with a description of major assessments and expected performance levels. The outcomes to be learned and assessed in each course are identified and developed by the faculty at the University of Central Missouri. As described above, these outcomes are adjusted on a regular basis as a result of the outcomes validation process. To ensure comparability across courses, adjuncts do not have the latitude to develop the major required outcomes or learning expectations for the courses they teach. Instead, they are instructed to use the syllabus that outlines the course outcomes and student performance expectations developed and approved by the program's faculty.
Undergraduate programs identify two major types of learning goals: general education and program specific. The learning outcomes for the general education program were developed by faculty and approved by UCM's Faculty Senate, the Provost, and the President. They include a set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes or values derived from the American Association of Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise) program. A more detailed description of the general education program and its development is presented under Criterion 4 in Chapter 5.
Program-specific outcomes are developed and regularly reviewed by the faculty who teach in the program. Disciplines in the technology, science, and health areas typically re-validate their outcomes on a more frequent schedule than do programs from the social sciences, arts, and humanities areas where the pace of disciplinary change is not as rapid. Most programs have done a good job of defining the learning expectations of their majors in a manner that allows for direct assessment of the outcomes. However, several programs do exist in which the student learning outcomes are not well defined and/or not easily quantifiable.
The learning goals for UCM's undergraduate programs are clearly differentiated from those of related graduate programs with some exceptions. The University makes a clear distinction between graduate (5000 and 6000 level) and undergraduate (1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 level) course offerings. There are also separate catalogs, advising systems, and administrative units for undergraduate and graduate programs. UCM does allow appropriate 4000 level courses to count as graduate credit. The Graduate Council reviews course proposals for 4000 level courses that can be taken for either undergraduate or graduate credit to ensure the syllabus has a clear and appropriate differentiation of learning outcomes, work expectations, and evaluations between graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, course syllabi are also evaluated as part of the five-year academic program review process.
3.A.3. The institution's program quality and learning goals are consistent across all modes of delivery and all locations) on main campus, at additional locations (on the main campus, at additional locations, by distance delivery, as dual credit, through contractual or consortial arrangements, or any other modality).
Section II.F of the Faculty Guide indicates that the "quality and learning goals are consistent across all sections of a course, regardless of mode of delivery, location, instructor, or teaching arrangement (i.e. contractual or consortial)." This section of the Faculty Guide provides information related to expectations for faculty with respect to course syllabi and instructional procedures. The Faculty Guide directs faculty to develop and distribute syllabi for every course offered providing written documentation of "an outline of the course content, expectations for students' engagement, basic instructional procedures, course schedule, assessment measures, grading policies and practices, attendance policies, engagement expectations (related to credit hours awarded), and related matters of interest and concern." This guideline applies to ALL courses. Examples of syllabi for all programs can be found under Goal A.3 in the section on CQIP in the Virtual Resource Room.
As mentioned in 3.A.2 above, adjuncts are directed to use the approved syllabus and to teach to and assess the course outcomes developed and defined by on-campus faculty. The weak link in this process is that--although all new courses and programs must go through the University's curriculum review process--the institution has no formal structure or methodology for ensuring all sections of a given course have the same learning goals and expected performance levels. Instead, the responsibility for assurance of comparability rests with the administration within each college and department. Most programs have effectively enforced the adoption of common course outcomes for all sections of courses taught in the department. Some programs, however, have been less diligent in pursuit of comparability across different sections of a given course. As a result of this finding, UCM is currently considering developing an Academic Procedure and Regulation that will establish a review process to ensure consistency in student learning outcomes across instructors and all modes of delivery.
UCM's most prominent consortial arrangements are offered through the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) in Lee's Summit, Missouri. As described in 3 A 1 above, the learning outcomes defined for the programs to be offered at MIC are the result of a lengthy and rigorous review process involving all members of the consortium: the Lee's Summit School District; the Metropolitan Community Colleges of Kansas City, Missouri; the University of Central Missouri; and various business partners. All courses in the MIC programs, including dual credit offerings, have been reviewed to ensure comparability of learning goals. Courses not deemed equivalent have been either dropped from the program of study or modified to make them comparable across institutions.
UCM is also engaged in several limited online consortial arrangements with other Missouri institutions. These arrangements were in response to declining enrollments in selected programs. Instead of each institution offering low enrollment upper division courses, the course load is distributed among the consortium's members. Under the current system, students from the member institutions can take courses in their major from any of the members. The home institution awards the degree and all fees and tuition revenues remain with the home institution regardless of where the course is taken. This arrangement has resulted in considerable savings for the partner institutions as it has eliminated the need to staff all of the required courses in a major by distributing the cost of delivering the program across institutions. In some cases, consortial partners have collaboratively developed syllabi for the articulated courses. However, these are relatively new arrangements and not all consortium partners have developed a rigorous process for determining comparability across courses. This issue that will need to be addressed by the members in the future.
The biggest problem with comparability of program quality and learning goals is with transfer credit. Much like the review of courses in our online consortial arrangements, the review for course equivalence with transfer courses is based on a review of course titles, course syllabi, catalog descriptions, and other supporting materials. This problem became a heated topic of discussion during the development of our newly revised general education program to be implemented in the fall of 2014. The learning outcomes of the general education program are the organizing principles for the curriculum, and demonstration of competency is the intended assessment method. The faculty developing the new general education curriculum quickly realized that as UCM moves to a competency-based approach for all of its programs, not just general education and not just programs offered through MIC, the evaluation and determination of comparability would be difficult if not impossible. Our current method of evaluating transfer credit is not equipped to handle a competency approach to teaching and assessment. UCM recognizes the problem, but until all schools move to a competency-based approach, it may be difficult to find a mutually agreeable solution.
Instructional design and support services specifically focused on course development, pedagogy, and assessment are available to all instructors in an effort to promote consistency and effectiveness in course design and delivery. The ongoing collaborative efforts of UCM faculty, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Technology's CentralNet and Technology Enhanced Instructional Design (TEID) teams have led to higher quality and consistency in UCM's online course offerings. This kind of consistency in online instruction requires a strong design approach, and UCM is guided by the Quality Matter's idea of aligning the entire course with learning objectives, which are developed through use of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. The actual design process most closely follows the ADDIE approach.
- Analysis - A TEID team member talks to the instructor and learns the specific needs, and what challenges there might be.
- Design - The design team plans out an initial design. Frequently, digital storyboards, traditional sketchbooks and markers, or note taking are used to organize this stage of the process.
- Development The TEID design team works with the faculty member to design the course using a general model (template) developed for UCM. All faculty have access to this model, and it can be revised for teaching style and discipline. UCM currently does not have a focus group or testing plan. That is done as the course is taught, and all but the most minor or urgent revisions are made after the semester is concluded.
- Implementation The course is delivered to the faculty member for use in the "classroom."
- Evaluation As mentioned above (see Development), UCM does not have a focus group or testing plan. That is done as the course is taught, and all but the most minor or urgent revisions are made after the semester is concluded.
The TEID team follows certain steps when working with a faculty member. Like the ADDIE, these steps are not identical to the Dick and Carey Model but they are very similar. For example, the instructional team always asks for, or helps develop, the Learning (Performance) Objectives up front (Step 3), and then consults with the instructor on how to develop the course and revise any assignments that might already exist. The design team then assists faculty in developing assignments and course content to fit the objectives (Steps 4-6 and A). However, as is mentioned above, UCM does not have a formal evaluation step at this time (Steps 7 & 8), and evaluation generally occurs as the course is taught.
Support Services are available to faculty who need assistance in the production of multimedia experiences and the delivery of audio, video, and multi-formatted content. Training is also offered to develop the skills and knowledge of our learning management system and other content development tools, as well as instruction in the use of web conferencing and video teleconferencing. This training is provided through online tutorials and face-to-face sessions for faculty, staff, and students.
The Office of Technology's CentralNet unit also supports our course management system, Blackboard. The Blackboard (Bb) Learn System is the most used instructional management system in the world, and is the vehicle by which UCM faculty delivers web- based educational content. UCM uses the Bb Learn System to:
- Create and Deliver Powerful Learning Content
- Facilitate Student Participation, Communication, and Collaboration
- Assess and Evaluate Student Performance
Blackboard is used in fully on-line classes, hybrids, and to enhance face-to-face classes.
To help ensure the quality of instruction for online courses, the University established an academic procedure and regulation (AP&R 11) in 1998 (revised in 2005 and 2013) that directs all instructors who teach online to be certified through successful completion of UCM's process, which is based on Quality Matters training. This Academic Procedure and Regulation provides detailed information regarding the philosophy and methodology involved in this certification. In addition, all faculty must have their courses peer reviewed by a panel led by a member of UCM's Technology Enhanced Instructional Design (TEID) team. They may also choose to submit their courses for external peer review.
Blackboard and many of the technology support services are available to students and faculty anytime from any location. These services directly support and impact the quality and consistency of our academic programs.
The Office of Extended Campus administers a survey to our students taking online and hybrid classes to determine their satisfaction with the technology used in course delivery and the support services offered by UCM for distance learners.
Guidelines for dual credit offerings are designed to ensure faculty and course quality. UCM is committed to ensuring the courses taught through dual credit have the same learning outcomes and expected levels of student performance as the comparable courses taught on campus. Dual credit is addressed in more detail in 3.C.2.
3.B. The institution demonstrates that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills are integral to its educational programs.
3.B.1. The general education program is appropriate to the mission, educational offerings, and degree levels of the institution.
The University is completing a revision of its general education program that began in 2007 with the creation of a set of guiding principles developed by our faculty and approved by our Faculty Senate. The general education program is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills, primarily in liberal arts and sciences, to undergird all baccalaureate programs. The Faculty Senate General Education Committee (FSGEC) has been reviewing course proposals since the spring of 2013. The FSGEC has ensured that all courses approved as part of the revised general education program include provisions for early and frequent assessment and feedback of student performance. It is expected that the new general education program will be implemented in the fall of 2014.
The revised program is based on the philosophical foundations of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) model. The learning outcomes of LEAP and our general education program are designed to prepare students for the challenges of the twenty-first century. The goals of our general education program align directly with the University's mission to provide students "with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation, and the world." The general education program also complements the University of Central Missouri's Strategic Positioning Platform which reads in part, "UCM prepares students by giving them knowledge and experiences that broaden and deepen their education so they may flourish in a world of accelerated change." UCM graduates should be prepared for the challenges they will face upon completion of their degree programs.
The General Education Review Committee distributed copies of the program guidelines, timeline, and proposed outcomes to the campus community for comment and met with faculty to discuss the learning goals of the proposed revised general education curriculum. The proposed program was discussed and approved by the Faculty Senate in the spring of 2012 and approved by UCM's president on April 25, 2012.
The general education program is organized according to a set of learning outcomes that define the foundational skills and knowledge students will attain through the program. The outcomes or competencies are organized into three groupings: Foundational Skills, Knowledge, and Engagement. One of the major revisions to the program was the addition of a required discipline-specific capstone course in which students will integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the formal general education program with major- specific content through a cumulative work or experience that demonstrates the ability to gather information, perform synthesis and analysis, and communicate in a technical and proficient manner.
Feedback from faculty, based on student performance, indicated our students needed additional practice in the intellectual skills area. For that reason, the revised general education program placed considerable emphasis on the development, practice, and assessment of the foundational skills. Every course approved as a skills course must teach and assess one foundational skill. All approved knowledge courses must teach and assess one knowledge competency and one foundational skill competency. It is expected the additional practice and assessment of these skills will significantly improve student performance.
The competencies for Outcomes 1 (Skills), 3 (Engagement: Individual and Social Responsibilities), and 4 (Integration-Application) were intentionally written to allow for performance-based assessments. The newly appointed Director of General Education and the Director of Assessment have developed a draft of an assessment process that will utilize faculty teams organized by outcome. These Outcome Teams will develop a common scoring rubric for each outcome to be applied to an end-of-course assessment in classes approved by the Faculty Senate General Education Committee (FSGEC). In addition, these faculty teams will share teaching and assessment methods with each other to further enhance and improve student learning. The Director of the General Education program will work with the Faculty Senate University Assessment Council (FSUAC) to develop and implement a grading system that will allow each faculty who teaches a course that addresses one of the foundational skills to record student proficiency in the skill assessed in that class. The Office of Institutional Research with the assistance of the Office of Technology will develop an assessment accountability system to track and process student performance on these end of course assessments.
The revised General Education program meets the requirements stipulated by Core Component 3.B.1.
3.B.2. The institution articulates the purposes, content, and intended learning outcomes of its undergraduate general education requirements. The program of general education is grounded in a philosophy or framework developed by the institution or adopted from an established framework. It imparts broad knowledge and intellectual concepts to students and develops skills and attitudes that the institution believes every college-educated person should possess.
UCM's undergraduate catalog provides detailed information about our general education program and is a primary source of curriculum information for all members of the University community. A dedicated website, located on the Provost's web page, provides clear information about our General Education program including the history of its development, a set of FAQs, the list of approved courses, learning outcomes, and detailed information about the philosophy, purpose, goals, requirements, and structure. The website is managed by the Director of General Education who sits on both the Faculty Senate General Education Committee (FSGEC) and the Faculty Senate University Assessment Council (FSUAC).
UCM has incorporated a presentation on the purpose and learning expectations of our general education program into all of its campus visits for prospective students as well as freshmen orientation. This is done to better articulate the purpose, content, and learning outcomes of UCM's undergraduate general education requirements. In the summer of 2013, the University created the position of Director of General Education to both elevate the perceived status of general education in the campus community and to provide coordination and leadership in the implementation of the revised general education program.
UCM has a system of professional advisement. All of our professional advisors have been educated on the goals and purposes of our general education and major programs and go over these principles with their advisees during student conference sessions. Freshmen are not allowed to enroll without first conferencing with their academic advisor. This helps ensure students are made aware of the program and enroll in the general education courses most appropriate for their major. Faculty and chairs have discussed all aspects of the program at Academic Council and Faculty Senate meetings as well as department meetings and retreats.
As described in 3.B.1, the outcomes of the revised general education program are grounded in the well-established framework of AAC&U's LEAP model and organized into three groupings: Foundational Skills, Knowledge, and Engagement (Individual and Social Responsibility and Integration and Application). There are four major outcomes defined by a set of ten competencies. The competencies and their operational definitions were used to determine whether a course belonged in the revised program. The intent was to design a structure that allows for the creation of courses that have broad appeal and relevance to each student's academic, professional, and personal success. The overall goal was to make general education more flexible for students and faculty while preserving the rigor of the foundational academic skills and the liberal arts and sciences.
Our general education program is designed, as is LEAP, to respond to the "changing demands of the twenty-first century - demands for more college-educated workers and more engaged and informed citizens. Today, and in the years to come, college graduates need higher levels of learning and knowledge as well as strong intellectual and practical skills to navigate this more demanding environment successfully and responsibly." The third bullet point in UCM's set of guidelines for its general education program reads, "The General Education program provides students with foundational knowledge and skills, primarily in liberal arts and sciences, to undergird all baccalaureate programs." This emphasis on a strong liberal arts education is appropriate to both our mission and our educational offerings. Our general education program will equip all of our graduates with the necessary foundational knowledge and skills to be effective citizens and productive in their chosen field.
Since the development and approval of our general education program, the Director of General Education evaluated the congruence between the outcomes and competencies of our program with those of the Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). The result of this review indicated our program is quite consistent with three of the Areas of Learning of the DQP that applied to general education - Applied learning, Intellectual Skills, and Broad Integrative Learning. Although our program addresses the fourth area, Civic Learning, it is not a point of focus in our revised program.
A frequent observation made by faculty and students alike was that our previous general education program did not appear to be a program at all but rather a collection of unconnected courses. One of the strategies directed at improving on this perception was to create a general education program that was highly interdisciplinary and utilized learning communities to help students see the connections between the disciplines. The University was not as successful in accomplishing this goal, as the overwhelming majority of courses submitted during this process do not involve co-teaching, interdisciplinary instructional teams, or learning communities. Therefore, the Director of General Education and the Director of Assessment have started a process to provide incentives, through our Center for Teaching and Learning, for faculty to develop integrated learning communities that include linked assignments focused on creating connections across different content areas.
UCM introduced a new degree-audit system in 2013 that informs students and their advisors about their progress towards completion of the degree requirements for their major. This audit also provides detailed information about student completion of general education requirements and clearly indicates which courses need to be completed. This degree audit system is a major vehicle for articulation of general education for all campus stakeholders.
Lastly, as mentioned in 3.B.1, upon completion of the review and approval of courses for the redesigned general education program, the FSGEC will construct a curriculum matrix that identifies the relationship between each course with and the various knowledge, skills, and engagement outcomes of the program. This matrix will allow the Director of General Education to identify the faculty who teach common foundational intellectual skills. The plan is to construct faculty Outcomes Teams, organized by intellectual skill. For example, under the leadership of the Director of General Education, all faculty who teach written communication will be asked to meet to share best practices and areas of concern in the teaching and assessment of written communication, and to review student performance data. This process was used at UCM in the early 1990s and proved quite successful at improving teaching and assessment methods while dramatically increasing faculty understanding of the program as a whole.
It is critical that students understand the significance of general education as well as the course requirements for graduation. The University is dedicated to not only providing a quality general education program but also to ensuring that students take the right set of courses needed to avoid unnecessary coursework, expenses, and an increase in time to degree.
The mission of the general education program clearly articulates its purpose and overarching goals, "The General Education program at the University of Central Missouri serves student need and the public interest by ensuring students have strong foundational skills and by providing a broad, enriched academic experience that both complements and supplements their study within specialized disciplines." The University will have the necessary systems in place to allow for successful implementation of its redesigned general education curriculum for the fall of 2014. Much of the work planned for the spring and summer of 2014 will focus on articulating the vision of our general education program to students, faculty, and staff.
3.B.3. Every degree program offered by the institution engages students in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information; in mastering modes of inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments.
The set of competencies that define UCM's general education program are grouped into three categories: Foundational Skills, Knowledge, and Engagement. All knowledge courses must also include one of the foundational skills as a designated outcome for the course and although not required, departments are strongly encouraged to integrate the foundational skills into their discipline specific courses. All of our advisory boards have identified the foundational skills of our general education program as necessary for success in the workforce and most of our major programs have incorporated these intellectual skills into their majors and developed them in the context of their discipline. Furthermore, our revised general education program requires all majors to develop and deliver a capstone course in which students will demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply skills, knowledge and responsibilities gained from the General Education program with major-specific content through a cumulative work or experience.
The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey from 2011 showed that our faculty identified the following educational goals as either very important or essential for their students:
- 99% - Develop ability to think critically
- 98% - Develop ability to write effectively
- 97% - Help students evaluate quality and reliability of information
- 72% - Develop creative capacities
In addition to formal coursework, every undergraduate program provides some form of co-curricular engagement that offers students the opportunity to engage in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information; mastering various modes of inquiry; and presenting creative works. For example, each spring, UCM sends a sales team to Atlanta, Georgia, to compete in the annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC). Students are judged on how well they perform during 20-minute sales presentations. The officials judging these presentations include both college professors teaching sales and marketing, and sales and marketing executives. Presenting students have the opportunity to interact with CEOs, Directors of Marketing, Sales Managers and Human Resource Directors from major corporations at the job fair held in conjunction with the competition.
UCM Marketing students also compete each year in a State Farm Sales Competition held at the UCM campus. This competition challenges students to use tools such as social media to effectively sell car insurance to young adults. In 2012, students from nine institutions, including the University of Central Missouri, University of Missouri, Wake Forrest University, University of Southern California and Western Michigan University assembled on UCM's campus to compete for thousands of dollars in financial awards to apply toward their education.
The intense competition required young adults to sell an auto insurance policy to mock buyers who already had a quote from another major carrier. In addition to role- playing, students were asked to present their Integrated Marketing Communication Plan, which included a strategy for using social media as a way to showcase their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and presentation skills.
The Sales Role Play showcased a student's personal selling skills in real-world scenarios with prospective young auto insurance buyers. It required students to think quickly on their feet while reacting to buyers' individual needs, and selling the value of personal service. Finalists in this category were given their "finals" scenario only 30 minutes before their last role-play.
Two senior marketing majors from UCM, Eli Clark, Cleveland, MO, and Andrea Hamilton, Cuba, MO, claimed the Team Competition trophy for achieving the highest combined scores in the presentation and the first and second rounds of the Sales Role Play. Clark took second place and earned a $1,500 award for his Integrated Marketing Communication Plan, and received a $1,500 award as an "overall" winner for both his IMCP and Sales Role Play performances. Hamilton captured second place in Sales Role Play and received a $2,500 award.
Our theatre students showcase their creative talents each year by participating in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment from KCACTF respondents. In addition to providing invaluable experiences for our students, feedback from these competitions serves as a major source of program assessment information for the faculty of the theatre and dance program.
The goals of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival are:
- to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs
- to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight; and achieve professionalism
- to improve the quality of college and university theater in America
- to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived; and experimental works
The University of Central Missouri Department of Theatre and Dance received top honors at the Kennedy Center American College Region V Theatre Festival held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, January 20-26, 2013.
The University of Central Missouri "Talking Mules" Speech & Debate Team is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the finest intercollegiate competitive forensics programs. For one of their biggest spring competitions, the UCM Speech & Debate Team selects several members to participate in an exhibition debate tour of the British Isles. The two-week tour pits UCM's finest against Debate Unions representing such universities as: Cambridge, Oxford, Trinity-Dublin (Ireland), Cardiff and Glamorgan (Wales), The English-Speaking Union (London), and Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Glasgow (Scotland). The "Talking Mules" first took the Montgomery Cup from the British in 2001 and have successfully defended the Cup in several subsequent tours. Additional honors for the team include:
- 2004 Nationally ranked top 10 in NFA-LD debate
- World Universities Debate Championship 2002
- U.S. National Champions in 1999, 2001, 2002 (International Public Debate Association)
- 2002 and 2001 Nationally ranked Top 10 in the National Parliamentary Debate Association
- 2001 Missouri State Debate Champions
- 2001 Pi Kappa Delta National Debate Championship
- 1998 NFA-LD National Champions
- 1995 Pi Kappa Delta National Championship
A fourth example of co-curricular activities that illustrates how UCM students engage in collection and communication of information comes from our Department of Criminal Justice. The University of Central Missouri's Gamma Epsilon Delta chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association/Lambda Alpha Epsilon earned its 12th consecutive Region III sweepstakes trophy at the regional competition in Garden City, Kansas, in October of 2013. Eight teams competed from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The UCM team of 39 individuals participated in the academic areas of criminal law, police organization and management, juvenile justice, corrections and LAE knowledge. Competition also included individual and team firearms, crime scene investigation, and physical agility. The UCM team now is preparing for the national conference and competition in March 2014 in Overland Park, Kansas, where they will compete for their twelfth consecutive national title.
Finally, the Harmon College of Business also offers Integrative Business Experience (IBE), a 12-hour block of courses that allows student teams to create a company, write a business plan, obtain a loan from a local bank, generate an actual product, and then sell the product with the profits benefiting a local charity. This carefully selected sequence of courses provides an ideal opportunity for students with an entrepreneurship interest.
3.B.4. The University recognizes the human and cultural diversity of the world in which our graduates will live and work and have identified as general education outcomes that specifically address this issue.
The University of Central Missouri has a long history of commitment to human and cultural diversity. This commitment is expressed in our educational and co-curricular offerings in a variety of ways. Our revised General Education Program is organized around a set of four major outcomes that are operationally defined by 10 competencies. An examination of those outcomes reveals that our general education program specifically addresses human and cultural diversity. Outcome 2 reads as follows: "UCM graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the world in which we live by acquiring: knowledge and appreciation of literature, languages, and the arts using the standards of evidence and reasoning appropriate to the humanities and the arts; knowledge of the physical and natural world using the standards of evidence and reasoning appropriate to the sciences, mathematics and technology; and knowledge of the human experience using the standards of evidence and reasoning appropriate to history and the social/behavioral sciences."
Outcome 3 states that "UCM graduates will demonstrate an understanding of individual and social responsibility by: evaluating individual actions, intercultural relationships, and social choices within local/global frameworks using ethical reasoning, civic principles, and cultural values." Competency 9, which is housed under Outcome 3, goes on to state, "Students will become engaged, responsible citizens of the 21st-century world by critically thinking about their actions and the actions of others in this diverse world. Students will explore what it means to be a responsibly-engaged member of society by reflecting on their own individual choices, comparing choices of diverse cultural groups, and/or reflecting on these choices in cross-national contexts."
In addition to addressing human and cultural diversity in our general education program, the University offers a variety of diversity-based academic programs such as Africana Studies; International Studies; Anthropology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Religious Studies. One of our popular freshman classes is AE 1450, Valuing Differences, which explores personal, experiential, and interactive issues relating to race, gender, class, and culture. This class focuses on educating students on ways culturally diverse populations enrich society.
To complement our formal academic programs, UCM has developed a number of cultural and diversity-based policies, events, educational opportunities and student services. The University of Central Missouri's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration occurs each year in January. The UCM, Whiteman, Sedalia, Kansas City, and Warrensburg communities pause to reflect on the work and impact of Dr. King, while renewing goals of respect and dignity toward one another. Programs include Community Service Awards, Warrensburg community Ecumenical Service, Freedom Scholarship Dinner, Gospel Concert, and Community Blood Drive. The University of Central Missouri's Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support (MAPS) office provides UCM students with one-on-one academic or social support. MAPS is a student-focused office developed in conjunction with UCM's Learning to a Greater Degree Contract. Students seek the services of the MAPS office if they need guidance or moral support in academic or social areas; periodic help or motivation; or have concerns with academic policies, discrimination, professor/student misunderstandings, financial aid, and housing. MAPS staff provide the following services:
- Academic Responsibility Coaches - Provide academic support and introduce students to a variety of support strategies and tools to boost their college success.
- Academic Tutoring - Provides trained tutors for athletes, at-risk and Suspension Waiver Program students.
- Campus Advocate - Provides resources for students who feel underrepresented, underserved or otherwise discriminated against.
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Questioning Outreach - Available for any students who may be experiencing difficulties relating to their identity.
- Student Outreach - Provides essential support and resources as students progress toward graduation.
- Suspension Waiver Program - Program for high-potential students who have previously been suspended due to low grades.
- Title IX Advocacy - Provides support to any victim of sexual misconduct.
The UCM Mentorship Program pairs upper class and graduate student mentors with first-year students from populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education. The program helps participants realize a supportive and informed transition to college life and provides guidance to help them become successful students and contributing members of the campus community. The program assists students (primarily recipients of Cesar Chavez and MLK Freedom scholarships, and Kauffman Scholars) in: adjusting to college life, learning the campus culture, and engaging in academic and extracurricular endeavors.
UCM's sponsorship of charter schools in Kansas City, Missouri is one of the more significant and program related activities, providing teacher education majors with invaluable experience in the area of human and cultural diversity. The Midwest Center for Charter Schools and Urban Education at UCM sponsors nine public charter schools in Kansas City, Missouri. This relationship enhances UCM's ability to provide a comprehensive, engaging teacher preparation program and contributes to its mission to serve at-risk students. UCM has sponsored charter schools since 1999, offering prospective teachers opportunities to gain hands-on experience within an urban setting, and satisfying accreditation standards for their education. Since 2003, more than 2,000 UCM students have acquired classroom experience in the UCM-sponsored charter schools.
An examination of UCM's Core Values and Community Creed demonstrates the importance the University places on diversity and the valuing of differences in a variety of contexts. The Student Planner contains descriptions of a number of services, offices, and policies that speak to diversity, nondiscrimination, and equal opportunity. Our Board of Governor's Policy 1.2.150 on nondiscrimination can be found in the Student Planner and on our website. Links to sites describing the above offices and activities as well as other human and cultural diversity related functions/services are provided below.
Cultural/Diversity-Based Academic Courses and Programs
- AE 1450 Valuing Differences
- Africana Studies
- International Studies
- Religious Studies
- Women's and Gender Studies
Diversity-Based Policies and Student Services
- Nondiscrimination Statement
- UCM Core Values
- UCM Community Creed
- Mentorship Program
- Campus Advocate
- Summer Enhancement Programs
- Non-Traditional Student Services
- Office of Accessibility Services
- Office of Community Engagement
- Office of Volunteer Services
- International Center
- Office of Military and Veterans Services
- MLK Celebration and Scholarships
3.B.5. The faculty and students contribute to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge to the extent appropriate to their programs and the institution's mission.
Although UCM is a Comprehensive 4-Year Public University and research is not the primary focus of our educational efforts, scholarship, creative works, and the discovery of knowledge do occupy a place of significance in our institutional culture appropriate for our mission and classification. The University of Central Missouri offers many opportunities for faculty and students, at all levels, to contribute to scholarly and creative endeavors and provides financial and human support for these activities.
Scholarly Activity and Research
The Center for Teaching and Learning works to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning at Central Missouri through discussions, workshops, and media access such as the subscription to the "Teaching Professor" newsletter. The scholarship of teaching and learning at Central mirrors the intellectual endeavors we practice in our academic research and creative activities. This dynamic process may involve reflecting, investigating, collecting data, analyzing, applying, and reporting results. This process will enhance student learning through more effective teaching.
The Honors College offers an academic program specifically designed to enrich the knowledge base, skills, and educational experience of high achieving and exceptionally motivated undergraduate students. Students in The Honors College declare a major from among those offered by UCM's academic colleges and complete requirements specific to The Honors College. The curriculum is highly flexible and can be customized to meet the specific academic and career goals of individual students. Among many other benefits, students in The Honors College have unique access to honors designated course sections and interdisciplinary colloquia, and are provided with the support and resources needed to pursue advanced level research and creative projects in their areas of academic interest. Key among these experiences is the Honors Project. The Honors Project is a four-credit-hour capstone course designed to promote undergraduate student research and creative activity. Students select and work closely with a UCM faculty member who oversees their progress, supervises their work and helps to facilitate completion of the project. Students are strongly encouraged to choose a topic that corresponds directly with coursework in their major areas of study. This could include course readings, classroom experiences and faculty lectures. Many times a project's idea is sparked by classroom interaction in a student's major and flourishes outside of the University setting. The primary goal of the Honors Project is the development and enhancement of the student's independent research and creative aptitude.
The McNair Scholars Program was established to prepare first-generation, low-income college students and students from groups underrepresented in graduate education for doctoral study. First funded by Congress in 1989, Central's McNair Program began in 1991. The program provides opportunities for research or other scholarly activity, summer internships, seminars and other educational activities designed to prepare participants for doctoral study. McNair Scholars have many opportunities to experience a professional research conference. In addition to having the opportunity to present their research before an interdisciplinary community, scholars are able to network with faculty, graduate school staff, and their peers and receive invaluable information about the graduate school application process.
The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) is an academic support unit dedicated to serving Central's faculty and staff. It functions under the direction of the Provost and Dean of the Graduate School. OSPRI establishes, administers, and coordinates programs that guide Central in its research, scholarly activity, and creative endeavors. The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity (OSPRI) is charged with ensuring compliance with all pertinent external funding agencies and university policies and procedures governing externally funded programs. Therefore, all proposals for external funding of research, scholarly activity, and creative endeavors whose approval will result in a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other agreements committing the University to provide services, products, or reports must be approved by OSPRI.
Sponsored Programs provides the following services for faculty, staff, and students at UCM:
- Serves as the responsible office for sponsored program administration activities on the University of Central Missouri campus.
- Coordinates university policies and procedures relevant to sponsored programs.
- Maintains GrantLink, UCM's electronic proposal development and proposal tracking system.
- Maintains a university subscription to GrantLink's web-based grant funding information database program, providing the campus community with access to a web-based database of funding opportunities from private and government sources.
- Provides access to GrantLink's SMARTS/GENIUS service that allows UCM's faculty and staff to register their fund-seeking interests and be automatically e-mailed funding notices as they are announced.
- Works with faculty and staff to develop and review grant proposals and approve draft budgets.
- Provides the necessary institutional acceptance for awards and contracts, obtains budget account numbers to establish spending authority for principal investigators and project directors, and assists with closeout and final reporting of externally funded projects.
- Coordinates and sponsors informational workshops that feature federal, state, and industry program officers and conducts training workshops.
In conjunction with the University Research Council, administers the University's Internal Grant Program that provides funding for faculty, staff, and graduate student research. The University is currently reviewing the organizational structure of these offices. The position of Director of Sponsored Projects is vacant at this time.
The University of Central Missouri holds faculty, staff and students to the highest standard of conduct. The shared values that bind a research community such as UCM together include: honesty, accuracy, efficiency, and objectivity. Education in the ethical and responsible conduct of research (RCR) is deemed as an essential activity for any type of research, and CITI RCR training is required for the UCM principal investigator of any funded program. It is important to note that federal funding agencies including the NIH and NSF are now restricting funding to only those institutions that have formal RCR training.
UCM has an affirmative duty and legal responsibility to prevent, investigate, and report all instances where a reasonable presumption of misconduct in research related activities has been established. UCM is taking a proactive stance to meet the Higher Learning Commission's criteria for oversight and support services ensuring the integrity of research by offering the CITI RCR course at no cost to all its faculty, staff and students.
The UCM Institutional Review Board (IRB) is composed of the Human Subjects Review Committee, the Institutional Compliance Official, and clerical support. The purpose of the IRB is to review research applications and proposals involving human subjects to ensure the rights of subjects are not violated and that the research conforms to the Code of Federal Regulations.
The University Research Council functions to:
- formulate policies and procedures pertaining to University-wide internal funding for faculty research and scholarly activities
- assist the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Sponsored Programs in promoting research and scholarly activities
- serve as a resource and liaison to departments and colleges
- review and recommend funding of faculty research proposals and research leaves
- review and recommend graduate research funds and awards
Faculty are required to demonstrate scholarship, defined in the manner most appropriate for the discipline, as part of their responsibilities as faculty and as a criterion for promotion and tenure. Such scholarship and creative works are expected of all faculty who teach in our graduate programs. Moreover, the cultivation of such skills in our graduate students is an important program outcome. Students pursuing graduate degrees in most programs at UCM are required to take courses in research design/problems and are encouraged to complete a master's thesis. The School of Graduate and Extended Studies also provides research assistantships for a limited number of students to allow them to cultivate their research skills and to engage in meaningful scholarship activities.
Results from our most recent HERI (Higher Education Research Institute) survey administered in 2011 indicated that 31% of our faculty engaged undergraduate students in their personal research projects and 57% worked with students on a research project. Many undergraduate programs not only encourage student participation in scholarship activities, but also require students to develop and practice these skills as part of their formal curriculum. A number of departments have found resources to support student research and student participation in faculty research. The Department of Psychological Science, for example, requires all of their majors to take a one-year research and design sequence in which students learn to conduct research using scientific methods and to present and publish their results in appropriate venues. The department sponsors a research day in which students present their research to the University community and at regional and national psychology conferences. In addition, the University offers an undergraduate scholars grant to which students may apply for support for their research. A similar grant is available to offset travel costs associated with the student presenting at conference.
In FY13, the Office of Sponsored Programs facilitated 72 submissions from 37 Principal Investigators to 33 funders totaling $20.8 million. Thirty-two Principal Investigators received 63 awards from 25 sponsors totaling $6.8 million.
Our McNair Scholars Program provides informational seminars, graduate school visits, faculty mentoring, and funded research internships to eligible undergraduate students to prepare them for doctoral study. This program is open only to low-income students who are first-generation college students or students underrepresented in graduate study by race or ethnicity. In addition, each spring the University hosts a Scholars Symposium, which is open to all students, at which student research is presented in a conference-like setting. These are just a few examples of how UCM supports scholarship among its students. The University provides numerous opportunities outside the formal classroom that allow students to practice and apply the knowledge and skills learned in their classes.
In addition to engaging in disciplinary research, UCM has a long, proud tradition of active engagement in the arts. The list below provides a sample of opportunities available to students, staff, and faculty related to creative work.
Performing Arts Series - Annual University-wide series of performances available to the campus and community
Central Missouri Repertory Theatre - Annual summer theatre program involving students from UCM and the region's high schools
Richard Hermann Black Box Theatre - Student written, staged and performed short plays
Highlander Theatre Mainstage and Studio One-Act Theatre - Annual program of performances by UCM students
Gallery of Art and Design - Art gallery featuring premiere shows by regional and national artists
Visiting Artist Lecture Series - Lectures by artists featured in the Gallery of Art and Design
Campus Sculpture Collection - Outdoor sculpture collection
Community Music Program - Program where the region's school students take lessons from UCM students and professors
Summer Music Camp - Annual camp led by UCM faculty and students
Show Me Justice Film Festival - Films to raise awareness about social injustice
3.C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.
3.C.1. The institution has sufficient numbers and continuity of faculty members to carry out both the classroom and the non-classroom roles of faculty, including oversight of the curriculum and expectations for student performance; establishment of academic credentials for instructional staff; involvement in assessment of student learning.
For the 2013-14 academic year, there are 487 full-time teaching faculty employed by the University of Central Missouri. The University has a 17:1 student-faculty ratio. Seventy-five percent of UCM's full- time faculty are tenured or tenure track (56% and 21% respectively). Twenty-five percent are non-tenure track. The University's goal is to maintain continuity and an appropriate balance of tenured and non-tenured faculty to allow the University to respond quickly and in a fiscally responsible manner to changes in programmatic needs (e. g., implementation of new or pilot programs).
This past fall, the University hired 35 new, full-time faculty who completed a 3-day orientation workshop to prepare them to utilize our course management system, and to learn about best practices in teaching and assessment. Seventy two percent of our full time faculty hold a terminal degree in the discipline in which they teach. UCM strives to hire appropriately credentialed faculty not only for courses taught on-campus, online, and at our Missouri Innovation Campus, but also for our dual-credit classes, and cooperative educational ventures such as consortial arrangements.
For most disciplines, the doctorate is recognized as the appropriate degree for promotion. There are exceptions made to this policy based on experience and nature of the discipline as explained in the Faculty Guide. Despite continued decreases in state funding and subsequent reductions in staff due to administrative efficiencies and reorganization, the University has been able, for the most part, to fill faculty positions that have arisen due to retirement, faculty leaving the University for employment elsewhere, or creation of new programs. However, several programs, particularly those in high demand areas, have been challenged to fill positions due to the market and competitive salaries. Responses by faculty on the HERI survey indicate that less than half of our faculty (approximately 43%) are satisfied with their teaching load, suggesting their workload is perceived as being less than optimal. UCM's full-time load is 12 hours per semester, with 9-hour loads the norm for business faculty and graduate faculty in the College of Education.
For the purposes of promotion and tenure, all faculty are expected to contribute in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. A criticism made by the HLC peer review team in 1994 dealt with the heavy committee responsibilities of our faculty. Although the University's efforts in 2000-2004 reduced the number of standing committees, the University has since added a number of standing and ad hoc committees, leading to a concern on the part of some faculty about reduced opportunities to work on teaching and scholarship.
Oversight of Curriculum
All departments and colleges have established curriculum committees. New course development and course revisions are under complete control of the faculty through the curriculum review process. New courses and changes to existing courses are reviewed first at the department level and finally at the college level before being sent to the dean for final approval. All new programs are initiated at the department level and must be evaluated by the Provost to determine resources needed to deliver the program and overall program demand before new program proposals are submitted to the college, and eventually, the Faculty Senate University Curriculum Committee for review.
The Faculty Senate University Curriculum Committee (FSUCC) is primarily concerned with the appropriateness of programs to the University's mission and goals, the quality of programs, overlapping interests, duplicate offerings, the proliferation of programs, and the impact on students and their educational goals. In exercising its curricular responsibilities, the committee is guided in its action by concerns for the proper relationship of the committee to University, college, and department functions.
The specific functions of the committee are:
- To act on all curricular proposals that have been deemed by a college/unit curriculum committee to be in compliance with the FSUCC
- To formulate the rules and procedures used to submit curricular additions and/or changes using the guidelines that have been established by the FSUCC
- To develop and maintain necessary forms used to request curricular changes
- To interpret and enforce the administrative provisions of the FSUCC
- To act as college curriculum committee for Academic Enrichment, the Honors College, Library, and the Provost Office curriculum proposals
- To provide oversight (yearly review) of programs such as the Individualized Major and Minor that are not housed in a specific Department
This committee reports to the Faculty Senate. It is empowered by the Faculty Senate to forward its recommendations for program additions and deletions directly to the Provost with a copy to the Senate for informational purposes. If recommendations and/ or rules and procedural changes have broad implications for the University, they will be forwarded to the Senate for approval before going to the Provost. If there is a substantive change by the Faculty Senate in proposals passed by the Curriculum Committee, then the Faculty Senate shall return the amended proposals to the Curriculum Committee for further action one time.
Oversight of Assessment
In addition to the Faculty Senate University Assessment Council (FSUAC), which operates at the institutional level, each department and college has an assessment committee that is responsible for implementing formative and summative assessment processes within their programs and reviewing student data to determine if students are performing at the appropriate levels. Once a strength of our overall assessment program, some department and college assessment groups have not been as actively involved in assessment as they were in the past. Although a substantial number of department committees have remained active and engaged in assessment since 2004, some have not. The college-level assessment committees have also not operated as intended, and the engagement of these groups in assessment at the programmatic level remains a priority. As part of our implementation of our assessment model, CQIP, all faculty in every program participate in the determination of student learning outcomes for their majors, as well the formative and summative assessment processes that are used to evaluate student performance in the identified outcomes. See Chapter 5, section 4 B 4 for more information on the role of faculty in the development and implementation of UCM's assessment processes and philosophy.
3.C.2. All instructors are appropriately credentialed, including those in dual credit, contractual, and consortial programs.
The establishment of credentials for instructional staff - faculty classification is described in Board Policy 2.2.040. Faculty at the University of Central Missouri are classified as non-tenure-track, which includes full time instructors, full time assistant professors, adjunct, and visiting faculty and tenure-track or tenured faculty which are classified at the assistant, associate, and full professor level. Faculty may be appointed to positions as set forth in this policy and university procedures.
In most instances, a terminal degree is required for promotion. In most academic disciplines and for most faculty positions, the appropriate terminal degree is the doctorate. The University recognizes, however, that in some disciplines and for some positions, other degrees and/or discipline-specific, professionally recognized certifications are equally appropriate to scholars in those areas. The University also acknowledges that in exceptional cases there may be a faculty member who does not possess the appropriate terminal degree but who does possess extraordinary qualifications to merit exception from the terminal degree requirement. Such instances of exception will be based on a considerable record of illustrious achievement and will be decided on a case-by-case basis and approved in writing by a departmental committee, department chair, dean, and provost. For those disciplines or positions where the appropriate terminal degree is not the doctorate, the degree or certification requirement will be stated in established policies initiated by the department affected and agreed to in writing by the college dean and the provost.
Promotion is recognition of a faculty member's sustained and distinguished service to the department, college, University and profession and is based upon accomplishments. Promotions are awarded on the basis of merit, as substantiated by academic credentials and by systematic evaluation of a faculty member involved. Promotions are not automatic but must be earned. The criteria for recognition and evaluation of merit become progressively more exacting as a faculty member moves from lower to higher academic ranks. Promotion to the rank of professor is reserved for those faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding performance in their respective fields. Further information about faculty credentials may be found in the Faculty Guide Section III Personnel Policies and Procedures. B. Promotion and Tenure Policy.
The University has also established minimum academic credentials for graduate faculty. The Graduate Faculty Review Committee (GFRC) reviews initial and reappointment applications for Full Graduate Faculty. Review of requests for initial and reappointment applications for Associate Graduate Faculty Status are conducted by the Dean of the Graduate School.
The staff from UCM's Dual Credit program work hard to ensure that the credentials of all dual credit faculty are appropriate for their assigned level of instruction. Any high school teacher who wishes to become an adjunct teacher for UCM in the dual credit program must:
- Have a master's degree in the discipline to be taught, or
- May be approved with a master's degree in another discipline, provided the teacher has a minimum of 18 graduate hours in the respective discipline.
To obtain approval as a dual credit teacher, the instructor must submit the following credentials to the Dual Credit office for review by the appropriate academic department:
- Letter of intent indicating the course(s) for which teaching approval is requested
- Official transcript(s) from each school attended. UCM transcripts will be requested internally by the dual credit office when application is received.
- Teacher certificate
- 3 letters of recommendation (one from the principal, two others from colleague(s) and/or college professor(s))
3.C.3. Instructors are evaluated regularly in accordance with established institutional policies and procedures.
All faculty, regardless of rank and tenure status, are evaluated in all classes each semester by their students. The University of Central Missouri uses multiple forms of faculty evaluations to improve courses; present evidence for promotion, tenure, and potential merit pay; to construct professional development plans; and inform students of faculty qualifications. To comply with Missouri statute, each faculty member at UCM is evaluated by students every semester for each course taught using a set of standard questions approved by the Faculty Senate that is administered via an online survey. The results are published on the University web site. This evaluation information is not used in the determination of retention, promotion, or tenure of faculty members. In addition to the evaluation required by Missouri statute, all faculty members who teach, including those who offer courses through Extended Campus, are evaluated in each course, each semester, by their students through a department and/or college instrument, regardless of mode of delivery. Faculty members, their department chair, and college dean have access to these student evaluations. The University of Central Missouri Faculty Senate requires that departments utilize procedures which ensure evaluator confidentiality during the distribution, completion, and analysis of faculty course evaluations and that faculty will not receive course evaluation results until after final grades have been submitted.
In addition to student evaluations, department chairs evaluate faculty members annually, relying on multiple means to evaluate teaching, scholarship, and service. The evaluation includes an assessment as to whether the faculty member has met expectations in each of the three categories. The chair then creates a professional development plan for faculty for the upcoming year. Faculty members review their evaluations with their department chair to enhance their professional strengths and effectiveness and to plan to achieve the agreed-upon goals, such as promotion and tenure. Chairs evaluate first- and second-year faculty in preparation for making recommendations on reappointment. After review with faculty, chairs forward the evaluations to the college dean, and these evaluations, along with written recommendations for areas of improvement, are kept in the faculty member's department. A written rebuttal from the faculty member may also be kept in the file. These rebuttals may be used for reference when an application for tenure or promotion is considered.
3.C.4. The institution has processes and resources for assuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles; it supports professional development.
The Graduate Faculty Review Committee (GFRC) reviews initial and reappointment applications for Full Graduate Faculty. Review of requests for initial and reappointment applications for Associate Graduate Faculty Status are conducted by the Dean of the Graduate School. This process not only evaluates academic credentials, but also determines current graduate teaching experience and evidence of professional service. http://www.ucmo.edu/graduate/faculty/facstat.cfm
University faculty teach additional courses using cutting-edge technology to reach schools outside the University. The Western Missouri Educational Technology Consortium (WeMET) is comprised of the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and 15 partnering Missouri school districts. WeMET offers several options for school curriculum expansion and multiple sections of course offerings from schools all over the state of Missouri with college credit available through UCM. WeMET can assist with the development and implementation of educational programs, activities, and course schedules that involve interactive systems for the regular school day. Planned in-service training programs are available for faculty and staff using two-way interactive systems as well as, in person with hands-on participation. WeMET also provides technical support to consortium members for the operation of equipment in I-TV classrooms.
Information related to professional development for faculty is presented in the Faculty Guide, Section III. Personnel Policies and Procedures G.
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers many development opportunities for faculty and staff including pedagogical advancement and educational innovation, as well as needed information and training on policies and regulations that affect them on a daily basis. The Center for Teaching and Learning can help faculty integrate sound teaching practices with the most current instructional professional technology. The CTL works to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning at UCM through activities such as the annual Faculty Research Day in which UCM faculty are recognized for their achievements and research. The University committed more than $177,000 towards professional development through the CTL alone in 2013-2014.
The University's Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) supports, organizes, and administers the professional development activities for faculty as well as some staff training. The CTL's mission to promote and maintain academic excellence at UCM is achieved through several avenues of support. Sixty eight percent of our faculty reported participating in some type of on-campus professional development activity while 92% reported receiving travel funds to professional meetings. Approximately 38% of UCM faculty indicated they received funding for paid workshops outside the University.
CLT provides numerous grant opportunities to faculty. Faculty can apply for funding to support a wide variety of activities including travel to conferences, new multimedia equipment for classrooms, release time for research projects, and development of online courses. The following is a list of CTL funded efforts since July 1, 2013 for the 2013- 2014 academic year:
- Faculty Fellows Summer Seminar: $10,000
- Faculty Research Day: $5,000
- On Campus Faculty/Staff Development: $5,000
- Instructional Research & Development / Institutional Improvement Grants: $50,000
- New Faculty Orientation: $23,000
- Speaker Series Grants: $5,000
- Faculty Travel Grants: $30,000
- Professional Enhancement Committee / Professional Development Grants: 49,390.90
Total funding budgeted: $177,390.90
Scholarly Activity Fund - Travel funds of $600 support full-time faculty who must travel to perform scholarly activities at state, regional, national, or international professional meetings. Eligible activities include: presentation of paper, poster, academic exhibit, or workshop; professional duties or national officer duties; or discipline-related meetings of any faculty member within their first two years of full-time faculty status.
Funding Under the auspices of the International Center, UCM has established a designated fund to assist international travel for faculty/professional staff. Financial support for international travel for an individual's scholarly activity cannot exceed $750 over two fiscal years.
Although the University culture encourages and supports continued professional development of our faculty in both their discipline and in pedagogy and assessment, this is not a formal requirement. The Faculty Guide does not specifically speak to this issue, except in the sections dealing with promotion and tenure, as faculty will not be able to advance without evidence they have stayed current in their discipline and adept in their teaching roles. The University needs to consider how we might change encouragement and support such activity among our faculty for those not up for consideration for promotion and tenure.
3.C.5. Instructors are accessible for student inquiry.
Faculty members are to maintain a minimum of five scheduled office hours per academic week and be generally available to students by appointment. A current schedule of classes and office hours must be posted when the semester begins. Faculty who teach online are encouraged to respond to student inquiries within 24 hours and are obligated to post office hours when they are accessible to students online.
Results from our most recent administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (2013) show our faculty are not just accessible to students for inquiry; the results indicate faculty/student interaction is a strength. Responses to the following items place UCM an average of 12.8% above our peer group:
- Quality of interactions with faculty
- Discussed academic performance with a faculty member
- Instructors provide prompt and detailed feedback on tests or completed assignments
- Discussed topics, ideas, or concepts with a faculty member outside of class
- Instructors provided feedback on a draft or work in progress
3.C.6. Staff members providing student support services, such as tutoring, financial aid advising, academic advising, and co-curricular activities, are appropriately qualified, trained, and supported in their professional development.
Staff members who provide student support services are appropriately qualified, trained, and supported in their professional development to better equip them to meet the diverse needs of our students. We hire numerous tutors through our Student Success Center who work closely with the director to ensure they are both qualified and trained to work with the students who utilize the tutoring services delivered by the staff of our Center. Student tutors are usually in the major in which they tutor. Student tutors must have a recommendation from their department unless they just came to UCM and meet a minimum GPA. We also hire graduate students or upper level students who have had some experience tutoring and/or have taken courses equivalent to UCM courses. Most of our student tutors are referred by faculty members in a specific area. Tutors receive training throughout the year. For example, the student tutors meet with the director of our Success Center to discuss specific experiences, problems, or concerns they have encountered, and how to help students with what they might consider difficult professors. The students who work in the residence halls undergo several days of training before they are hired to prepare them to deal with both academic and nonacademic issues they are likely to encounter while working in residential life. Academic advisors must have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree and receive training prior to working as an advisor and following employment, meet regularly with all academic advisors across campus to discuss policy, practice, and new advising technologies as appropriate.
3.D. The institution provides support for student learning and effective teaching.
3.D.1. The institution provides student support services suited to the needs of its student populations.
One of the strengths of UCM is the variety of student support services. As soon as students apply for admission, UCM evaluates their academic record to determine if mandatory placement into developmental courses is needed to better ensure student success in general education and their major. Our Academic Enrichment Office provides a comprehensive set of services to prepare students for college coursework including, the TRIO program and its associated Student Support Services. Other services and programs offered through Academic Enrichment include: courses to prepare students for gateway classes; the Writing Center; the McNair Scholars Program; Student Success Center and Learning Center.
UCM utilizes professional advisors located in each college and in our recently created Gateway Center to help students enroll in the courses most appropriate for their major to ensure students stay on track towards their degree. The Gateway Center serves our Open Option students, who have not yet declared a major and first-semester transfer students. The Gateway career counselors/advisors also provide vocational guidance to our students to help them in their career choice. The Gateway Center provides student-focused academic advising for Open Option majors, i.e., UCM students who are in the process of exploring their major and minor options. The emphasis is on assisting undecided students to carefully select classes that continue to move them toward graduation while they are still exploring their academic direction.
In addition to Gateway academic advising for Open Option majors, the Center offers major and career exploration services to all UCM Students. The Center uses one-on- one counseling appointments or in-class presentations to provide a special emphasis to an exploration of self, using career assessments, interactive exercises, informational interviews, and online career resources. The goals are to increase graduation rates while lessening costs by decreasing time to degree completion.
In 2013, UCM created the University Council for Student Development. The University Council for Student Development (UCSD) focuses primarily on the delivery of academic advising, and other student services directly related to student retention, graduation, and success.
The specific responsibilities of the council are provided below, but are not limited to:
- Recommending University policy on academic advisement and other student services to the Provost and Chief Learning Officer
- Conducting research on effective practices in academic advising, and other student services, and making recommendations to the Provost on strategies that may enhance student retention, graduation, and success
- Developing and providing management oversight for the First Year Experience
- Identifying, planning, and coordinating professional development for Academic Advisors, both professional and faculty
The Division of Student Experience and Engagement (SEE), housed in Academic Affairs, offers a variety of academic and social services to our students. The Office of Student Experience and Engagement's mission is to facilitate student success by providing student centered programs, facilities and services that promote educational, professional, and personal development. Student Experience and Engagement helps students locate and receive the assistance they need to be academically and personally successful, to have a safe and supportive collegiate experience, and to experience personal growth and develop a sense of personal responsibility. Through our American Democracy Project and other activities, SEE helps students to thrive as emerging citizens and leaders, understanding their role and responsibility within a larger community, and identifying their personal values, appreciating differences, and adapting to a diverse society.
The SEE Office also monitors student behavior that may impact student success through the Maxient system. Maxient is a software package that allows the University to record and evaluate student behaviors such as drug use, assaults, absenteeism, plagiarism, etc., in an effort to identify students who are engaging in behaviors detrimental to their success at Central. Students identified as at risk through Maxient are contacted to allow UCM to introduce intervention strategies.
The University's Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention (VSAP) works closely with campus and community partners to create, implement, and evaluate best practice initiatives to address gender violence and high-risk alcohol use, and to increase the capacity of our local community to address those issues. VSAP oversees the University's annual deployment of AlcoholEdu and Haven, on-line alcohol prevention and sexual violence prevention programs, and facilitates several student efforts such as Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA) and Epic Educators to provide student focused programs. It also actively participates in the state Partners in Prevention coalition using the Missouri College Health Behavior Survey data to identify areas needing additional attention.
The VSAP also oversees the University's Strategic Plan for Alcohol, Other Drug, and Violence Risk Reduction. Although not directly related to academic programming or coursework, our records indicate that certain social/behavioral patterns are good predictors of student success or the lack thereof.
The University recognizes that residence life provides noteworthy experiences for the student's growth and development. The residence halls provide a variety of programming and leadership opportunities. There are also special interest housing programs, commonly referred to as SHIPs, which group students in related degree programs together and offer particularly focused co-curricular programming. Furthermore, a significant amount of the staffing is provided through graduate assistantships and student employment providing students with significant on-the- job experiences.
Beginning in the spring semester of 2014, the University will deploy ARCs (Academic Responsibility Coaches), who will serve as peer mentors, to reach out to students in the residence halls to help guide them to services and develop important academic support skills like time management. This is a cooperative effort of Residence Life, MAPS, and the Success Center.
The quality and quantity of support UCM provides for student learning and development continues to be a strength of this university.
3.D.2. The institution provides for learning support and preparatory instruction to address the academic needs of its students.
It has a process for directing entering students to courses and programs for which the students are adequately prepared. The University is classified by the state as a moderately selective institution. As such, UCM has admissions standards that ensure incoming full-admit students have the necessary ability and educational history to be successful at UCM. Each year, UCM also admits a limited number of students (150-180) who show they can benefit from attendance in a university environment through our Success Program. The Success Program is a highly structured program that involves enrollment in a Learning Community designed for first semester success, participation in a week long Summer Workshop the week prior to school, and a learning agreement outlining other requirements to remain in good standing at the University. These students receive developmental courses matched to their unique needs, including courses in reading, writing, mathematics, and study skills coupled with one or two carefully selected gateway courses. The enrollment of these students is carefully controlled to maximize student success.
The University's Planned Placement Policy guides academic advisors and incoming students in course selection and sequence in writing, mathematics, and reading intensive courses. A Planned Placement Committee reviews student performance data annually to determine if placement scores are appropriate or if they need to be adjusted. The state of Missouri is in the process of establishing standard placement scores for all public institutions of higher learning in the state, and UCM is contributing to this discussion that obviously impacts our program, as does the state's proposed Best Practices in Remediation effort that is directed by state law.
As described in 3 D 1 above, the Department of Academic Enrichment (AE) improves student academic success by helping underprepared students prepare, prepared students advance, and advanced students excel. Most students find they need academic help from time to time. When this happens, the faculty, staff, and student tutors can help students develop and demonstrate knowledge and skills needed to:
- meet and exceed Central Missouri's academic standards and
- function successfully at UCM through courses designed to orient students to the University environment, college studies, and diversity
AE provides courses that assist and enrich the learning experience as well as count as elective credits toward graduation. Several key courses offered by AE are Supplemental Instruction (SI), Learning Strategies, and Speed Reading. Supplemental Instruction (AE 1826) is a 1-hour credit course that provides specific strategies and support for selected sections of some of UCM's courses. SI allows students to study together in a relaxed yet structured environment. Students can view the available SIs by searching for AE 1826 when registering for classes. Then, students identify a course they find challenging. Next, a student who has successfully completed the course is hired and trained as an SI leader. The SI leader attends the class and then plans and leads the study activities for the SI sessions. This program has made a significant positive impact on student success.
A significant proportion of students entering college report that high school did not prepare them for the demands of studying on a college level. College academic success depends on a student's ability to study independently. Learning Strategies is a two-hour elective course that focuses on strategies for college academic success. The course offers tips and strategies for:
- Reading a college textbook
- Taking and studying lecture notes
- Managing your time
- Setting goals
- Improving memory and concentration
- Taking multiple choice, true/false, and essay exams
- Understanding the UCM Catalog, general education courses, and majors/minors
- Planning semester schedules
AE 1012, Speed Reading, is a 1 credit hour course offered twice each semester. The course is designed to increase reading rate and increase critical reading skills. Students learn and apply effective techniques for various types of reading, including textbook reading, newspaper and journal articles, and fiction. As an arranged course, the Speed Reading sessions are scheduled to fit the individual student's academic and work schedule during the first or second halves of each semester.
The University of Central Missouri proudly administers through the Department of Academic Enrichment two Federal TRIO Programs funded by the United States Department of Education: Student Support Services (SSS) since 1978 and McNair Scholars Program since 1991. Both programs provide services and opportunities for success to first-generation, low-income students and students underrepresented in higher education. Students with these characteristics often enter college but do not complete the bachelor's degree or enter graduate study without additional assistance. Our academic advising system, discussed in the next section, is a major learning support system for our students. Our advisors play a critical role in guiding students to courses and programs for which they are adequately prepared.
3.D.3. The institution provides academic advising suited to its programs and the needs of its students.
The University sees academic advising as critical to student success as measured by retention and completion. The recently adopted Learning to a Greater Degree Contract commits UCM to quality academic advising as part of the University's partnership for undergraduate completion. Several years ago advising was not considered a strength of the University as assessed by the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI). UCM has made a concerted effort to change that perception. The University hired more advisors and increased their training to better prepare them as mentors and coaches. The results of our most recent SSI show significant improvement in advising, but the perceived quality of advising still lags behind the national average as measured by student satisfaction. Improvement of academic advising remains a priority.
UCM uses a team advising approach to serve the needs of students at the undergraduate level. Each of the four colleges has designated professional academic advisors, to whom students are assigned by major or by last name. The professional advisors work with students from the time they are accepted as an incoming freshman or transfer student. Advisor assignments and contact information are available to students via the My Central Homepage or the Academic Advising webpage. College advisors assist students with goal setting, student development, program-specific information, transition planning, and referral to other campus resources. Faculty members also serve as advisors and mentors to students, working with them to meet their graduation requirements and transition planning for their chosen career. Although there is some variation among how the advising teams function across colleges, the college advisors generally work most closely with freshmen and sophomores, while faculty advisors/mentors generally work most closely with junior and seniors. Both college and faculty advisors play a crucial role in providing information to students from freshman orientation through graduation, using a variety of means, including face-to-face and electronic advising, emails and communication via Blackboard or social media, and written documentation specific to academic majors and programs. For example, the College of Education's 2013 New Student Handbook puts departmental contact information, an FAQ, a first-year checklist, survival tips, instructions for reading the student schedule, and four-year plans in the hands of students before they arrive on campus.
Undergraduate students who are admitted without a declared major (Open Option) are served by the Gateway Advising and Major Exploration Center. Gateway Advising is a component of the Open Option program. It is intended to ensure students are progressing toward graduation while actively exploring their academic options. Open Option is designed to help students who are unsure gain confidence and clarity in deciding on an academic program. It is not a long-term status. Students in the Open Option program may take UCM courses while participating in activities designed to help them in selecting a major. First-time freshmen may take up to 30 credit hours while remaining in Open Option status; other UCM students may remain in Open Option status for one semester. Career Counselors in the Center provide Gateway advising to ensure students are progressing toward graduation while minimizing the risk of taking courses that will not count towards their eventual chosen degree program. The Career Counselors facilitate methodical exploration of majors and careers through an individualized process, utilizing the most valid and reliable resources available to assist students with their decision- making process. Once students declare a major, they are introduced to their professional Academic Advisor, who is the specialist in the selected academic program planning and degree completion.
UCM is a member of the Educational Advisory Board's Student Success Collaborative. The Student Success Collaborative (SSC) is an important retention vehicle at UCM. The collaborative allows the mining of University data to identify at-risk students, and determine systemic obstacles to degree completion. The collaborative enables focused and proactive advising, matching students with the right majors, and fixing degree bottlenecks. More specifically, the Student Success Collaborative uses data analytics to identify majors in which students are likely to enjoy the greatest probability of success. This provides advisors with information to help students declare majors that not only match their career aspirations and interests, but also their academic strengths. SSC identifies critical early major requirements that should be completed in the first two years to ensure progress toward degree. Students are provided with clear pathways, and the system alerts advisors when students fail to register or complete critical courses.
The SSC permits risk targeting and intervention by identifying each student's likelihood of success in their current major, alerting advisors for students at medium or high risk for failure. The system makes "difficulty predictions" for upcoming courses, allowing early planning for success strategies. The SSC described above provides advisors with actionable intelligence to assist students in making informed decisions. Factors correlated to the likelihood of graduation are identified. Benchmarks are identified for successful and timely degree completion. The SSC system permits prioritization of students by risk level. This enables advisors to focus outreach efforts on the students that most need assistance, rather than reactively advising whoever walks in the door asking for help. The SSC system provides users with a clear, user-friendly interface. This allows both advisors and academic administrators to continuously gauge success, and make necessary interventions. Advisors have been trained in the use of this system and are better equipped to advise students as to the likelihood of successfully pursuing a specific major based on their performance in specific courses. We hope this information will lead to better retention and graduation rates for our students.
UCM offers specialized advising for students in our Honors College, the TRIO Program, the THRIVE Program, and athletics programs. In addition to the services provided by advisors on the UCM campus, UCM advising maintains a presence at our Summit Center. Students who live in the Kansas City area can access an advisor for a face-to-face appointment, or via the Internet from a computer station equipped with a webcam and conferencing software for that purpose.
All students admitted to any of our graduate programs are assigned a graduate advisor and must meet with their advisor prior to enrolling in classes to ensure the student is taking the appropriate courses in the proper sequence.
3.D.4. The institution provides to students and instructors the infrastructure and resources necessary to support effective teaching and learning (technological infrastructure, scientific laboratories, libraries, performance spaces, clinical practice sites, museum collections, as appropriate to the institution's offerings).
The primary mission of our Office of Technology is to provide students and instructors with the technological infrastructure necessary to support quality student learning and the delivery of our curriculum, whether it be face-to-face, hybrid, ITV, or online. The Office of Technology supplies computer, network, and telephone support for the entire UCM community.
The University has used Blackboard as its course management system since 1998. Blackboard allows faculty to post course content, communicate effectively with students, and to assess and evaluate student performance. Blackboard is supported well-qualified and dedicated staff that works tirelessly to ensure our faculty are trained in the use of Blackboard and that our system is current and operating properly.
The James C. Kirkpatrick Library (JCKL) is one of the finest higher education libraries in the state with more than 2 million materials in the collection. JCKL houses the Harmon Computer Commons and the Student Success Center, and offers student support in distance learning. Its mission is to address the information needs of the campus community by supporting the educational programs of the University; teaching library users how to locate, obtain, and evaluate information; and providing an environment conducive to research, study, and social and cultural activities. The Library accomplishes this mission through a combination of formal and informal course offerings and most importantly, through the efforts of its dedicated staff who are committed to helping our students make effective use of research and information resources. The James C. Kirkpatrick Library also supports the information needs of all citizens of Missouri, and, to the extent possible, the national and international community.
Students at Central have many spaces dedicated to student performance and clinical practice sites. These include numerous discipline specific labs, general computer labs, dance spaces, clinical practice in nursing, communication disorders, education, counseling, theatre, art, music, and so on. Examples of infrastructure and resources necessary to support effective teaching and learning are presented below.
- Office of Technology
- Google Apps
- Center for Teaching and Learning
- Technology Enhanced Instructional Design
- Distance Learning at UCM
Scientific Laboratories and Spaces
- Psychological Science Research Labs
- Math lab for general education Algebra course (posted in Virtual Resource Room)
- James C. Kirkpatrick Library
- McClure Archives and University Museum
Performing Arts Spaces
- James L. Highlander Theater
- Richard Herman BlackBox Theater
- Central Missouri Repertory Theater
- Hendricks Hall
- Hart Recital Hall
- 2013 President's Gala at Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City
Museum and Gallery Spaces and Collections
- McClure Archives and University Museum
- Gallery of Art and Design
- Essig Collection
- Helen Ball and Evelyn Louise Sims Costume Collections
- Laval Photo Collection
Clinical Practice Site
- Welch-Schmidt Center for Communication Disorders
- College of Education Innovation Classroom
Computer Labs (not an exhaustive list)
- Harmon Computer Commons
- College of Education Collaboration Zone
- Lovinger Computer Lab
- Computer Science Linux Platform
- Psychological Science Research Labs
- Human Performance Lab
- School of Technology Labs
- Biochemistry/Chemistry/Physics Labs
The University evaluates its academic support infrastructure on a regular basis. In 2008, Paulien and Associates Inc. conducted a Space Needs Analysis for the Campus Master Plan (updated in 2012). The results of this analysis revealed the University has a slight surplus of academic space assigned as Teaching Labs, given our current enrollment. The University recently upgraded its lab facilities for chemistry, anatomy, and physiology, but a number of teaching/research labs remain in need of improvement. UCM's Master Plan includes provisions for the building of a new structure for our mathematics and science programs west of the James C. Kirpatrick Library. This would create a new quadrangle on the south side of campus, while providing a facility that provides better classroom, laboratory, and research facilities. The lack of capital improvement funds by the state has made it difficult for institutions in Missouri to maintain and improve infrastructure without private support.
3.D.5. The institution provides to students guidance in the effective use of research and information resources.
UCM provides a variety of institution-wide methods to guide students in effective and proper research methods. Discipline-specific methodological training is completed in program curriculum.
The primary mission of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library is to address the information needs of the campus community by supporting the educational programs of the University; teaching library users how to locate, obtain, and evaluate information; and providing an environment conducive to research, study, and social and cultural activities. The facilities, services, and resources of the Kirkpatrick Library permit multiple avenues to direct students toward the goal of becoming information literate graduates of the University.
The library building on the main campus is conducive to research and study with areas for reading, convenient work space adjacent to computer workstations, 25 group study rooms, two seminar rooms for larger groups, a quiet study floor, and a silent room. To foster students' self-sufficiency with their research needs, the library faculty and staff respond to reference queries, give directional information, teach information research skills at the point of need, and help students effectively utilize information technology. During Freshman Orientation, library faculty and staff reach out to first-year students by staffing a booth from which the library employees provide information about the library. Library personnel offer Welcome tours during the early weeks of the fall and spring semesters. The library's marketing team uses tools such as social networking, online guides to services and resources, announcements of special events and library services shared in the weekly student campus communication email, and a library blog to communicate important information to students.
Librarians at the Kirkpatrick Library work one-on-one with students at the Reference Center and by referral or appointment for specialized assistance in a subject area. Librarians teach information literacy skills in class sessions as requested by faculty. Research instruction is offered to students in the fundamental required second semester writing course offered by the Department of English and Philosophy. The librarian instructor partners with the classroom instructor to tailor research instruction to the major course assignment. A new course offered by Library Services has been approved for fall 2014. This course will address a core general education competency for Management of Information in the newly revised general education curriculum.
The Kirkpatrick Library's web page points library users to appropriate tools and resources, with links to the online catalog, subscription databases, research guides, and the University's digital repository. The web page provides a wealth of information about checking out materials, requesting materials from other libraries, services for distance learners, and the Central Summit Center. General information about the library, including hours of operation, room schedules, an employee directory, wireless internet assistance, and available software, is also found on the library's home page. Students may seek research assistance in many ways, including calling, emailing, texting, and chatting online with reference personnel. JCKL FAQ, a service that allows library users to search for answers to their library-related questions, is found on the library's home page. Users may browse existing question/answer pairs or submit new questions that will be answered and then included in the knowledge base of frequently asked questions.
The Personal Librarian program, a new initiative in the fall of 2013, randomly assigns each first-year student to a "course" in the University's course management system. The instructor is a librarian who will periodically communicate useful information about the library and will serve as a guide to appropriate resources for the student's information and research needs. The program has been successfully piloted at Yale University with positive feedback from participating students.
In 2012-13, 36 scheduled tours of the library were given. There were 124 group library instruction sessions that involved 2,724 students. Librarians were available at the Summit Center in Lee's Summit, Missouri, every Wednesday during fall, spring, and summer sessions.
The vision of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library is to serve as the information and learning hub for the UCM community through technology, physical environment, and services. Using a variety of techniques and tools, Library Services faculty and staff work to fulfill the library's mission and to support the learning framework that leads to student success.
Copyright affects faculty, staff, and students in their efforts to create original works, cite resources in papers, or use copyrighted materials in presentations. Members of the University community are expected to comply with the provisions of the United States Copyright Law and accept individual responsibility for copyright compliance. Whether creating original works or using others' copyrighted works, UCM's Copyright and Fair Use Office is charged with the significant responsibility of making students and faculty aware of copyright issues and enforcing the law with regard to creating original works or using others' copyrighted materials.
Students who conduct research with human subjects for whatever reason, (e.g., through grants, as part of a course assignment, as a research graduate assistant), must be aware of federal regulations and UCM's Code of Ethics and follow the prescribed review processes established by UCM's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is comprised of the Human Subjects Review Committee and the Institutional Compliance Official. The purpose of the IRB is to review research applications and proposals involving human subjects to ensure the rights of subjects are not violated and that the research conforms to the Code of Federal Regulations. Likewise, students conducting research involving animals must adhere to guidelines and procedures established by UCM's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC is dedicated to the humane care and use of animals in activities related to research and teaching conducted at UCM or by individuals associated with the University. The IACUC is guided by federal regulations and ethical principles intended to ensure the humane care and use of animals in research and teaching. All research and teaching involving vertebrate animals that is conducted or authorized under the jurisdiction of UCM is subject to review by the IACUC.
Another research and information resource for students is UCM's Undergraduate Research Program (URP). Undergraduate Research promotes academic enrichment by helping to support student research and creative projects. It aims to provide students with opportunities that advance academic learning and stimulate intellectual development. URP affords students the resources needed to explore topics and projects that arise especially from coursework and university life. One goal of undergraduate research is to foster in-depth collaboration between students and faculty on projects of mutual interest. For students, undergraduate research investigations typically provide the foundation for work in their chosen profession or pursuit of an advanced degree. Undergraduate Research also aids in helping to connect faculty members and students who share mutual research interests. The program offers modest funding for the pursuit of research and creative activities in the form of financial assistance for travel to professional conferences where students present or exhibit research/creative material. URP program also supports student research and creative work by organizing and sponsoring UCM's annual Scholars Symposium. The URP also helps students locate external grant revenue.
Several competencies in our revised general education program to begin in the fall of 2014 will guide and develop students' research and information skills. Competency 5 under Outcome 1 reads as follows: UCM graduates will demonstrate a mastery of intellectual and practical skills by acquiring and managing information effectively through research and the use of current and emerging technologies. At this time in the review of the course proposal process, the following courses have been approved as meeting Competency 5:
BTE 1210 Essentials of Managing Information
CIS 1600 Business Information Management
LIB 1010 Truth, Lies, and Information Mgmt.
LIS 1600 University Library and Research Skills
Competency 10 under Outcome 4 of the revised general education program asks graduates to demonstrate the ability to integrate and apply skills, knowledge, and responsibility by creating a cumulative work that demonstrates the integration and application of knowledge in new settings (the major).
The University recognizes the importance of the ability of students to identify and differentiate between valid and invalid sources of information, to apply that information to problems in their discipline, and to conduct appropriate, methodologically sound, and ethical research. This commitment is evidenced by the structures, curriculum, and resources the University has committed in these areas.
3.E. The institution fulfills the claims it makes for an enriched educational environment.
3.E.1. Co-curricular programs are suited to the institution's mission and contribute to the educational experience of its students.
The University announced its Strategy Positioning Platform (SPP) in August of 2012. This platform, derived explicitly from UCM's mission to transform students into lifelong learners dedicated to service, outlines who we are as an institution, what UCM stands for, and the value proposition we offer to our students and the community. A key piece of the SPP is the four "Reasons to Believe." These reasons, Engaged Learning, Worldly Perspective, Culture of Service, and Future-Focused Academics comprise the supporting features of UCM that explicitly define the types of opportunities UCM offers its students to equip them "with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation, and world."
A key office that supports the Strategic Positioning Platform is the Office of Student Experience and Engagement (SEE). The purpose of this office is to facilitate student success by providing student centered programs, facilities and services that promote educational, professional, and personal development. Recently the Office of Student Experience and Engagement introduced a co-curricular transcript program that allows students, faculty, and staff to document appropriate educational experiences of our students outside the formal classroom. This office also coordinates the Academic Competitive Teams Council that helps fund and promotes efforts such as the Talking Mules (forensic debate team), Model United Nations, DECA, Lambda Alpha Epsilon (American Criminal Justice Association), and Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders).
Within the division, the Office of Student Activities (OSA) houses university leadership programs such as the three-tiered Impact program, the student programming board entitled Spotlight, Volunteer Services, and Student organizations, many of which are academically focused. Many of the more than 200 student organizations and programs offered by OSA represent partnerships with academic units. For example, the LEAD series has featured several faculty members presenting on areas of specialty, and the volunteer fair sponsored each semester by Volunteer Services provides students in the Integrated Business Experience the opportunity to interact with social service organization representatives in their search for the not for profit organization on which they will focus their project.
SEE also coordinated Building Community Through Education, a university collaborative with the local school district and Habitat for Humanity affiliate to build a home in the area. This effort employed a construction management student as the site manager, provided experience hours for multiple construction management classes, showcased the talents of the Food Prep class, relied upon fundraising projects by a variety of classes and organizations, and employed the Innovative Public Relations Firm (a student PR firm) in conducting publicity for the effort. Similarly, the University is a partner and the host site for Project Community Connect, which brings a variety of services together in one place for one day to provide a focused outreach to the most marginalized members of the local community. Many faculty, staff, and students volunteer for this effort, and nursing and social work students, particularly, get extensive hands on experience while providing much needed services.
The UCM Foundation Board of Directors approved the creation of a Student-Managed Investment Fund within the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies that includes a $500,000 allocation from the Foundation. These funds will be used to create an actual portfolio, giving students in three upper-level finance courses hands-on investment management experience. The Board of Directors also approved the establishment of a second new program, the UCM Foundation Opportunity Grant that includes a $25,000 allocation for fiscal year 2014. The fund will invest in faculty and staff projects ranging from $100 to $5,000 with the distinct purpose of improving students' learning opportunities.
3.E.2. The institution demonstrates any claims it makes about contributions to its students' educational experience by virtue of aspects of its mission, such as research, community engagement, service learning, religious or spiritual purpose, and economic development.
The University's mission is to transform students into lifelong learners, dedicated to service, with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to succeed and lead in the region, state, nation and world. UCM's motto is "Education for Service." As mentioned above, two of the Reasons to Believe featured in our Strategic Positioning Platform are Engaged Learning and a Culture of Service. The University's commitment to community engagement and service is significant as these elements are key components of our mission, motto, and strategic plan.
The University maintains a variety of centers that focus on serving the community. For example, the Central Regional Professional Development Center promotes quality instruction in the classroom and overall school improvement by offering professional development opportunities for teachers. These include in-services and workshops for practicing teachers and administrators especially in science, math, technology, reading, and writing. The Small Business and Technology Development Center, (SBDC) part of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, offers practical management and technical assistance to small-business owners and managers. The SBDC leverages university, federal, state, and private resources to counsel and train owners and managers, and assist new and existing small business firms to become more productive and profitable. As mentioned in 3 E 1 above, UCM offers a variety of service learning projects through our Office of Student Experience and Engagement, such as the Student Volunteer Fair sponsored by Student Volunteer Services. One of UCM's more recent and ongoing projects devoted to community engagement and service is the Habitat for Humanity Project. The purpose of the project is to engage students in service learning while creating an opportunity for students of all ages to work together and have hands-on experiences. This project focuses on the development of a sense of community and creating stronger connections between the University, public school district, and the larger city and county community through its efforts to produce affordable housing for a local family. Building Community Through Education rests on the core belief that working collaboratively allows us to not only build homes, but community as well. To assist faculty in the development of service learning courses, the Center for Teaching and Learning offers mini-grants . Some of the more prominent service learning projects to be developed at UCM reside in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. For example, in MGT 3315 - Management of Organizations, ENT 3800 - Social Enterprise for Entrepreneurs, and ENT 1300 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship Learning Community, service learning is used to teach entrepreneurial, social enterprise and managerial outcomes. These outcomes include group decision making, leadership, budgeting, task management, planning, motivation, goal setting, strategy, and bases of influence (power), as well as future budgeting for sustaining the various service learning projects. The extent or nature of theories covered is dependent on class content and rank.
UCM provides numerous opportunities for personal, academic and professional growth. Our emphasis on student success through innovative academics, engaging programs, service learning and global perspective keeps the University focused on our commitment to shaping lifelong learners. With the recently implemented SPP, the scope and depth of engaged learning and service-related activities should only increase.
Areas of Growth and Success
- All programs have student learning outcomes that serve as organizing principles for programs
- Assessment model is sound and externally validated
- Revised general education program should be more interdisciplinary and integrated than previous program
- UCM has excellent support services for its students
- University provides numerous educational, social, developmental opportunities for its diverse populations
- UCM offers exceptional cultural and artistic opportunities for its students, faculty, and staff
- UCM's Office of Technology provides high quality support for the institution
- Advising is becoming a strength of the University
Areas for Improvement
- Faculty have not defined and implemented explicit learning expectations in all of our major programs to the degree desired and necessary
- Not all faculty list their course's student learning outcomes and expected performance levels in their syllabi
- The University needs to address the campus demands created by the vacancy in the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity
- The University needs to improve the methods for ensuring comparability of courses across multiple sections, types of delivery, and between multiple instructors