Higher Learning Commission
Chapter 6. Criterion 5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The institution's resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.
5.A. The institution's resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
5.A.1. The institution has the fiscal and human resources and physical and technological infrastructure sufficient to support its operations wherever and however programs are delivered.
UCM was founded in 1871 with just a few dozen students and more than 140 years later it serves over 12,000 students from the state, regional and national levels. The University also has a diverse representation of international students from nearly 50 countries worldwide.
UCM operates in a prudent and tactical manner, aligning its resources with its strategic priorities to support its overarching goal of student success. To further fulfill this mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings and respond to future challenges and opportunities, UCM continues to align resources and decision-making with a Strategic Governance for Success Model that focuses on "Governance for Student Success." UCM has implemented a strategic governance model that includes four components:
- Strategic Resource Allocation
- Strategic Positioning Platform
- Institutional Performance Measures
- Fiscal Infrastructure
During the past 10 years, UCM has managed decreasing state appropriations in order to continue to support its operations. It has done this through strategic resource decisions involving fiscal management (e.g., 90 day hiring freezes), steady enrollment growth (e.g., increased net tuition revenue) and administrative efficiencies (e.g., reorganization of academic colleges and departments).
UCM's Strategic Resource Model has given the institution confidence in its ability to meet short-term challenges required in a tough economy and the longer-term vision to plan for growth and new opportunities. While the model is helping UCM prepare for the future and create a more viable educational experience for its students, it has also enabled UCM to successfully overcome successive years of decreased state funding. Four components are included in the UCM Strategic Resource Model:
- Revenue Growth
- Fiscal Management and Institutional Budgeting
- Academic Program Viability and Productivity
- Administrative Efficiencies
From 2001-2013, Missouri state budget appropriations to UCM decreased from approximately $60 million to approximately $50 million. Additionally, UCM has experienced a larger student body on the first day of classes for each of the past four years (2010 - 10,984; 2011- 11,476; 2012 -11,669; and 2013- 12,297). During the past 10 years, UCM has seen enrollment grow by approximately 25%; yet UCM has maintained a commitment to parents and students to keep the cost of attending the University affordable (the annual average rate of tuition increase at UCM is below the CPI for the fifth consecutive year). Through targeted programs such as the Military Tuition Package, international student recruitment that created a 50 % increase in their enrollment, and the Missouri Innovation Campus, UCM demonstrates its commitment to a college education that is accessible and affordable.
Tuition and Fees
The University meets the costs of its educational programs primarily through state appropriations, tuition and fees. UCM considers its tuition and fees to be competitive with 12 other state-supported, public universities. The following table shows annual tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates at Missouri universities.
As a publicly owned institution of higher education in the State of Missouri, the University receives annual appropriations from the State, such appropriations being made by the Missouri General Assembly from the general revenues of the State. It is important to note that state appropriations as a percentage of total revenues have decreased from 38% in 2004 to 29% in 2013. The University continuously monitors State revenues while maintaining close contact with the Missouri Department of Higher Education to ensure it is pro-active in anticipating potential future State appropriation reductions.
Tuition and fees are established by the University's Board of Governors upon the recommendation by the University President. In 2007, the Missouri Legislature enacted a law (Senate Bill 389) limiting tuition and fee increases to no more that the preceding year's national urban consumer price index (CPI-U). The law contains certain provisions that allow an institution's relief from the limit if approved by the Commissioner of Higher Education. For fiscal year 2014, the Missouri Department of Higher Education informed all State of Missouri universities that 1.7% would be the allowed tuition rate increase in accordance with the CPI-U Index criteria set forward by Missouri Senate Bill 389. The University supports the initiative to provide affordable tuition to its students.
Enrollment/Tuition Revenue Growth
For the Fall 2013 semester, the University had a headcount enrollment of 9,955 (8468 FTE) undergraduate and 2,539 (1,382 FTE) graduate students for a total of 12,494. The number of enrolled credit hours by undergraduate and graduate students at the University for the fall of 2013 was 143,592, compared to 138,251 in Fall 2012.
"Traditional" students make up the largest segment of the University's student body. Of undergraduates, 78.5% are between ages 18 and 24 (mean age 23); 33.4% live in on-campus housing; and 54.1% of undergraduates are female. The University is "moderately selective" with the average matriculate scoring 21.63 on the ACT, and 66.4% ranking in the upper half of their high school class.
UCM's historic service area encompasses 21 counties in central Missouri. The University has also expanded its service area into the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Web-based courses, degrees and collaborative articulation agreements are expanding the University's service area even further. The undergraduate student population for Fall 2013 was comprised of 53.6% from the University's service region in central Missouri, 8.1% from St Louis (City and County), 26.5% from other areas in Missouri, 8.8% from other states (of which 3.8% of the total student population was from Kansas) and 3.0% from foreign countries.
Reorganization of Academic Colleges and Departments
In August 2010, President Ambrose charged the provost and deans with reviewing and realigning the administrative structure of Academic Affairs. In his charge, the President focused on three objectives of the administrative reorganization - to (1) promote positive interaction of faculty and mutually-supportive academic programs; (2) highlight academic program strengths and promote public recognition of high-quality programs offered by UCM; and (3) produce administrative cost savings. The plan to restructure the administration of academic units was developed by the Provost and Deans. Since January 2007, academic programs have been organized into five colleges housing 33 academic departments and two independent programs. At the beginning of the review process, consideration was given to reducing the number of colleges from five to three. However, during the process it became clear that a three-college structure would force some arbitrary program associations that were not a good or logical fit.
The plan ultimately approved by the Board reduced the administrative structure to four colleges (from five) and 25 departments (from 34). The new structure includes clustering some departments in "schools." The school structure is designed to promote interaction of related programs, enhance academic collaboration, and to raise the visibility of these programs to potential students and the public. However, with the exception of the School of Technology that was not changed by the revised configuration, the "schools" have no additional administrative structure. Although the new structure retained many of the existing college and departmental structures, there is a net reduction of one college and eight academic departments. The base-budget savings generated by the reorganization exceeded $612,000.
In order to continue creating efficiencies to ultimately improve the student experience and value of a UCM degree, one of the changes implemented in 2011 included a 90-day hiring freeze on all personnel vacancies to generate lapsed salary savings at the institutional level. In response to the State of Missouri funding reductions for FY 2013, a hiring freeze was implemented for full and part-time new positions, vacant positions, positions that become vacant, temporaries, promotions, reclassifications and market adjustments.
For faculty positions, the Provost and Deans determine the faculty searches to be conducted for each academic year. During the period of a hiring freeze, only those searches that are critical to the continued operation of academic programs are approved. A portion of the salary savings from vacant faculty positions may be approved for temporary hires, including adjunct faculty and overload assignments, to cover essential classes. Special consideration is given to positions involving campus and personal health and safety, delivery of essential University services, and other certain positions deemed critical to the advancement of the academic mission, research, or fundraising. Savings results from the hiring freezes include: in FY11, $798,000 for staff and $1.2 million for faculty; in FY12, $1.2 million in staff and $1 million in faculty salary savings; and in FY13, $500,000 for staff and $235,000 for faculty. UCM's FY14 budget includes $250,000 for staff salary savings.
Three years ago the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) directed the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) to identify and conduct a review of "Low-Productivity" programs at all state universities. CBHE explicitly expressed concern over "Low-Productivity" programs that are duplicated at several universities. For purposes of the review, CBHE defined "Low-Productivity" programs as baccalaureate degree programs with an average of ten or fewer graduates per year over a three-year period and master's degree programs that have had an average of five or fewer graduates per year over a three-year period. As a result of this review, a total of 12 programs were identified for elimination over a 3-year period.
The Provost and Deans completed an additional review of programs identified by MDHE. The Deans involved department chairs and faculty in discussions about programs identified on the MDHE list to the fullest extent possible. In addition to the single MDHE criterion (based on numbers of program graduates), the Provost and Deans considered the following criteria in formulating UCM responses:
- the centrality of the program to the institutional mission and state needs
- the number of low-enrollment courses unique to the major program
- the general education and service-course responsibilities of the program
- the potential for program collaboration with other state universities
- the potential for cost savings from elimination of the program
This program review process will be extended to all academic programs offered by UCM. This proposed local review has helped the University identify Signature Programs as well as those programs for which the allocation of additional resources may be needed to strengthen or enhance existing quality and performance. The statewide and institutional responses to program review and institutional viability processes have been important considerations as UCM builds a new strategic resource allocation model for the future. The academic program review process, and the decisions resulting from that process, has produced base-budget financial savings. Further, the program review process has promoted our institutional mission focus, improved resourcing for viable academic programs, and enhanced our ability to serve students and produce tuition revenue. Much of the benefit will occur over a period of several years. UCM's planning process provides reasonable opportunities for students to complete programs in which they are currently enrolled and address concerns of faculty and other university employees who may be in programs identified for possible discontinuation by this academic program review process. UCM will continue to focus on the following four areas as part of its ongoing resource allocation review:
- Administrative Structure
- Operating and Support Expenditures
- Savings Produced via Partnerships, Collaborations and Academic Support
- Inventory/Accountability Regarding Cost Savings and Administrative Efficiencies
An examination of the tables presented below will show that despite cutbacks in state support, the University has been able to maintain faculty and staff positions through the combination of new hires and reduced turnover. The University also maintains a very acceptable student to faculty ration of 17:1. The President and Provost are committed to ensuring UCM has excellent and sufficient numbers of faculty to deliver the curriculum and mentor students.
Employee Hires and Turnover
New Hires 2013
Number of Faculty and Staff
UCM is maintaining these faculty and staff numbers in order to manage the growth in enrollment demonstrated over the past four years. The table above displays key metrics that speak to the institutional momentum from 2012 to 2013. The number of new faculty hires (48) includes 35 new full-time faculty. To address faculty and program demands, the Provost develops a faculty staffing plan annually based upon individual college needs and overall Academic Affairs priorities. This process begins at the department level, progresses to discussions with the deans, and culminates with the Provost's plan.
UCM is aggressively embracing opportunities through sustainability initiatives to become as operationally efficient as possible. The University's goal is to provide a Higher Performance Learning Environment. A High Performance Learning Environment is achieved by decreasing utility use and cost, reducing UCM's carbon footprint, lowering building operating and maintenance costs, addressing deferred maintenance and energy infrastructure needs, while providing a superior learning environment on a green, sustainable campus. UCM's progressive efficiency goals have been hampered by aging facilities. Due to state funding constraints that have occurred over a number of years the University was unable to proactively address the deterioration of its aging buildings costing the University over one million dollars annually in energy and operational expenditures. In 2008 it was estimated that the University backlogged over $36 million of deferred maintenance, energy and sustainability opportunities. Much of this scope of work consisted of upgrades or replacement of 70-year-old boiler systems, installation of energy efficient lighting, obsolete heating and ventilation systems, replacement of leaking windows and roofs, along with resolving a host of other energy inefficiencies throughout the campus.
UCM took unprecedented steps toward reducing its carbon output, improving energy efficiency and addressing a backlog of deferred maintenance projects through a campus wide Energy Savings Initiative. Trane of Piscataway, NJ is the ESCO, or energy services contractor. After an investment grade audit to identify energy conservation measures that could be accomplished through infrastructure improvements, the UCM Board of Governors approved a $36.1 million energy performance contract in April 2009. Extensive building improvements were completed over a period of 18 months. Core elements of the upgrade program include energy-efficient geothermal ground source HVAC systems, new hot water systems, more energy-efficient lighting, new campus wide building automation, life safety measures, laboratory air systems and controls; green technologies for curriculum utilization and campus green awareness, new roofs and windows on various buildings; improved indoor air quality in classrooms, improved air handling systems, and acoustical improvements for the classroom and office space.
Funding for all campus efficiency improvements was obtained through a 15-year lease- purchase arrangement through a subsidiary of Bank of America. The lease provided financing for all costs associated with the construction, installation of equipment and labor. Trane, a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, was selected to join the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 40 of the world's largest cities. The Clinton Climate Initiative is working with governments and businesses in cities around the world to tailor local solutions that are economically and environmentally sustainable. CCI and the American College University Presidents Climate Commitment are working together to retrofit colleges and universities across the United States.
Housing and Dining
The University owns and operates a Housing System serving the University and its students. The Housing System presently consists of 16 residence halls, 4 apartment buildings (which in the aggregate can house 3,950 students), 3 residential dining facilities, 6 retail dining facilities, and a student union building. Occupancy in the residence halls runs consistently at 83%. On-campus one, two and three bedroom apartments are offered at various rates per month with a total student capacity of 281 students. Occupancy in the apartments runs consistently between 91% and 95%. Approximately 31% of the University's undergraduate student body lives on-campus. The University has instituted a second year residency requirement that is expected to increase demand and enrollment as well as retention and graduation rates.
The University is planning to construct a new 320-bed apartment-style residence hall that will include four floors of student residential living and that will house the University owned Bookstore plus private retail food options. Each apartment will include a kitchen, living room, a private bedroom for each occupant and a bathroom per each two occupants. Preliminary estimates include 108 two-bedroom and 26 four-bedroom apartments. Construction of the Mixed-Use Facility is anticipated to begin in April 2014 for a fall 2015 opening.
A Space Needs Analysis performed by Paulien and Associates in 2008, revealed that UCM had adequate classroom space for additional students (pages 28-29 of report). The analysis did indicate a need for upgraded laboratory facilities though for both student labs and faculty research. In response to that demonstrated need, the University pursued and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to help pay for much needed improvement and expansion of our science labs in the W.C. Morris building. Expansion and renovation of chemistry laboratory space was completed in 2013 thanks to the $451,813 NSF grant. The project benefits students in UCM's Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics and the Center for Alternative Fuels and Environmental Sciences (CAFES). The current facilities were expanded from 975 to 2,200 square feet, allowing the department to meet the increasing demands for student research space and the growing research and development aspect of CAFES at UCM. The grant was NSF funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. All undergraduate chemistry majors are required to complete research projects. This made it possible for students to complete their work in a timely manner while working on larger projects in a lab with more comprehensive safety features. The laboratory serves not only chemistry majors, but also students studying in other academic majors who are completing chemistry courses as required or elective coursework.
Missouri House Bill No. 16 appropriated $13,229,000 from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Fund to the University of Central Missouri for planning design, renovation, and construction of the Morrow - Garrison buildings. To complete the project UCM used match funds from the Regina Myers McClain Trust Estate, bequeathed to UCM for nutrition, health and wellness programs. UCM was able to totally renovate and transform the use of these buildings to accommodate the current and future uses of the School of Health and Human Performance.
The renovation of Garrison, Morrow, and North Morrow, enabled the Department of Nutrition and Kinesiology to improve their state of the art labs for biomechanics and exercise science programs. UCM now has programs offered that will make this building a true living lab. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni can have fitness assessments performed, learn better health & nutrition skills, and take exercise classes or take advantage of a personal trainer.
In fall 2007, in conjunction with the Marrow/Garrison building renovations and in order to take advantage of shared mechanical systems, the Board approved a fee referendum (passed by students) for construction of a Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The $21 million SRC project included the renovation of Garrison Gym, 3 fitness rooms for aerobics, spinning, kickboxing etc., three new sport courts, a free weight room, four additional fitness areas housing nearly $500,000 of fitness equipment, a passive recreation room, and Einstein's Bagels. The building also has an inside walking track, outside patio area for lounging, and several soft seating areas for students to network and relax.
The University earned a Silver rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification with the renovation of its Morrow-Garrison complex and construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The LEED Green Building Rating System and Certification is a nationally recognized system that measures how well a building or community performs across metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, conservation of resources and awareness of environmental impact.
In addition to the new building and renovations, UCM moved its tennis courts and installed sports turf. The field is used for recreational purposes and also serves as the site for practices for UCM's Marching Mules. All outdoor facilities are lighted. Students utilize the field and courts. Located south of campus are additional student recreation fields used for a variety of intramurals and club sports activities.
There have been a number of projects and improvements to the campus the last few years. The following major projects, designed to improve student services by creating a safe and effective learning environment, have been completed since the last HLC visit.
- $36M ESCO Project. This project improved the energy conservation profile of approximately twenty-five buildings across the main campus academic buildings and also added a campus-wide network-based fire alarm and mass notification system to the main campus buildings
- $42M Mixed Use Project. The University Board of Governors just approved the $42M Mixed Use Residential and Retail/Restaurant Project
- $6.1M Stadium Build-Out
- General Services Relocation Project
- $1M Nickerson Residence Hall Renovation Project including new and updated finishes to living spaces, student lounges and Life Safety Upgrades
- $3.2M Nickerson, Houts and Hosey Window Replacement Project
- $300K Houts and Hosey Fire Alarm Upgrade
- $400K Elliott Student Union and Residential Life Building Automation System Upgrade
Improvements and Renovations
- Lovinger Building Collaboration Zone
- Student Financial Services Renovation
- WC Morris Science Building 4th Floor Laboratory Renovation
- Humphreys Building 2nd Floor Computer Lab Renovation
- Intensive English Relocation and Renovation
- Career Services Renovation
- Military and Veteran's Success Center
- Max Swisher Airport Hangar-3 Student Lab Renovation
- Max Swisher Airport Student Flight Coordinator Service Desk Renovation
- Max Swisher Airport Hangar-3 Flight Simulator HVAC Renovation
- Max Swisher Airport Main Terminal Restroom Upgrades
- TR Gaines Building Roof Replacement
- Nattinger-Bradshaw Residence Hall Roof Replacement
- Elliott Student Union Roof Replacement
- Art Center Roof Replacement
- Fire Alarm and Fire Suppression System Testing and Maintenance Contract
- Kitchen Hood Suppression Systems Testing and Maintenance Contract
- Kitchen Equipment Maintenance Contract
- Roofing and Water Infiltration Service Contract
- Vibration Analysis for Preventive Maintenance
- Residential Life Building Automation Systems Service Contract
UCM's information technology plans and initiatives are designed to give faculty, staff and students the tools they need to create a positive and dynamic learning environment. New technologies keep students abreast of the latest changes in their field. UCM's Office of Technology is well equipped to provide the technological infrastructure needed to support all University operations.
The Office of Technology is comprised of six teams, a project management office and an administrative staff that works together to support the technology needs and requirements of UCM's students, administration, faculty, and staff. The Application Systems (AppSys) team has core responsibilities for the Banner enterprise system and add-on modules that support the business functions of UCM that include students, finance, human resources, payroll, financial aid, alumni, development, MyCentral portal, etc. The CentralNet team provides general oversight of academic systems that includes such systems as Blackboard, AdobeConnect, streaming video, etc. CentralNet also provides assistance to faculty for online course development, academic research and development of software applications, and general academic media needs for faculty and students. The Computer Support Services (CSS) team is responsible for providing general and specific computer hardware and software support for end-user computing devices that includes workstations, laptops, handheld devices, tablets, etc. CSS builds and deploys base images, conducts operating system updates and patches, provides acquisition assistance, and performs appropriate hardware repairs and replacement. The primary duties of the Network Services (NS) team is oversight of UCM's infrastructure (voice and data), which includes all the hardware, software, cabling, and services that makes up the voice and data network infrastructure. Technical Services (TS) team is responsible for the server, storage environment, network operations center, and core applications associated with network connectivity and authentication. In addition, the TS team has responsibilities for data backups, active monitoring of systems, security, access, and the general condition of servers. And lastly, the Technology Support Center (TSC) team provides first line support to the UCM user community. The TSC conducts basic trouble-shooting, processes user requests for services, and answers general questions about campus technology. UCM's technology infrastructure is well equipped to meet the demands of University operations.
5.A.2. The institution's resource allocation process ensures that its educational purposes are not adversely affected by elective resource allocations to other areas or disbursement of revenue to a superordinate entity.
In conjunction with UCM's overall strategic finance effort to align resources with mission and strategic plan, the University engaged in a comprehensive Administrative Review in 2011 that was conducted by faculty, staff and students. Hundreds of suggestions were submitted by the campus community for consideration. Rapid Response Teams were assembled to review suggestions and to make recommendations. The Rapid Response Teams developed and made recommendations to the UCM Board of Governors for consideration in the following areas: Duplication/Policy Changes; Organizational Assessment; Facilities; New Revenues/Auxiliaries; Technology; and Purchasing/Contracts. A description of the process used and details about the specific recommendations made by the Rapid Response Teams can be found in the June 2011 Administrative Review Report. In summary, the Teams identified 14 recommended actions that resulted in immediate base budget savings of over $2 million. One- time savings (cost avoidance) of $450,000 was identified and numerous actions were recommended aimed at enhancing services to students.
5.A.3. The goals incorporated into mission statements or elaborations of mission statements are realistic in light of the institution's organization, resources, and opportunities.
The UCM focus is to prepare students to be successful in a world of accelerated change. To successfully accomplish this, students must be given knowledge and experiences that broaden and deepen their education. The University of Central Missouri's commitment to continuous learning allows students to find their own sense of purpose and equips them with the tools to make it a reality.
The cornerstones of UCM are innovative academics, engaging programs, servant-leadership opportunities and worldly perspective. These building blocks allow students to flourish at UCM, and, most importantly, these elements prepare them for a life of continuous learning.
UCM has a long tradition of "Education for Service," which remains ingrained in how the University helps students be successful and how it prepares students to excel in the professional world. UCM serves students by fostering a community of engagement, providing tutoring and mentoring services that ensures positive outcomes, and participating in relevant experiences that translate to employability. This is demonstrated by UCM's 90-plus percent employment rate for graduates six months after commencement.
UCM's Strategic Priorities are divided into four broad categories:
- Value Proposition
- Mission Driven/Alignment
- Partnerships and Collaboration
- Student Success
These priorities drive the institution's decision-making and resource allocations. Institutional measurements for access, affordability, completion, and student success are used to evaluate UCM's performance in satisfying its mission. Additional information regarding UCM's university-wide performance indicators and metrics can be found in the Supplemental Materials section in the Virtual Resource Room.
The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), described earlier in 4B, is a progressive collaboration between the Lee's Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community Colleges, the University of Central Missouri, and selected business partners. By engaging business partners and community organizations, the MIC is reshaping the way students experience education. The intent is for MIC students to graduate with a four-year degree, two years after high school having accrued limited or no student debt. The program will emphasize applied experience through paid internships resulting in graduate with highly sought-after skills for high-paying careers. Academic programs at The Missouri Innovation Campus focus on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Beginning their junior year in high school, students take classes from Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri to earn college credit. Upon graduation from high school, these students will have their high school diplomas and associate degrees. After high school graduation, students who finish their entire MCC curriculum are eligible to complete a bachelor's degree from UCM in only two years.
One of the most significant obstacles facing students who pursue a college education is cost. The MIC delivers the value of a four-year degree with reduced student debt through student employment, tuition forgiveness, shared tuition, low-interest loan programs, and paid internships. The Missouri Innovation Campus is a bold, visionary approach, connecting students with a valuable, affordable education, and connecting businesses with the skilled, career-ready workforce they need. This program was recognized by President Obama in July of 2013 when referring to the MIC he said, "...That is exactly the kind of innovation we need when it comes to college costs. That's what's happening right here in Warrensburg, and I want the entire country to notice it, and I want other colleges to take a look at what's being done here." In November of 2013, UCM hosted a National Convening on Higher Education Innovation at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri sponsored by the Missouri Innovation Campus, the Office of the Governor of Missouri, the Lumina Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. One of the results of this convening attended by many national experts in educational innovation, was a blueprint of where UCM needs to go from here and the hurdles that lie ahead. UCM has a long way to go to bring this competency-based program to its completion, but with the commitment of the administration, our business and education partners, and the state government and various foundations, we are confident we will succeed and so will our students. This major project is realistic in light of UCM's organization, mission, and resources, and represents a wonderful opportunity for our students and university.
The previously described Learning to a Greater Degree Contract is an elaboration of our mission that is not only realistic but promises to have a dramatic effect on student success as measured by improved retention and degree completion. The Learning to a Greater Degree Contract incentivizes students to average 15 credit hours per semester, follow a more focused course schedule for at least the first two semesters, and regularly attend class. Institutional initiatives have created a university environment that supports a growing campus student population. This includes more opportunities for students on campus such as dining, recreational, and other experiences that are suited to a "24/7" student population.
Servant Leadership Opportunities
With its motto, "Education for Service," UCM students dedicate hours of volunteer assistance to many nonprofit agencies. Many of these opportunities were discussed earlier in 3.E.1 but a few are highlighted again here to illustrate UCM's commitment to extend its mission without compromising its overall education programs and services:
- The student group, Breakers, participates in Habitat for Humanity annually during spring break.
- Providing opportunities for students to help children who may not have a healthy diet, ECHO is a program that distributes backpacks filled with food to preschool children in need.
- In a simulation setting, students in the Department of Nursing at UCM's Summit Center interact with those high school juniors interested in pursuing nursing as a profession, and who are studying at the Summit Technology Academy.
- University safety students and faculty members provide a valuable service to Warrensburg and Johnson County by staging mock accidents that bring emergency response units to campus to obtain training they can apply to real-life emergency situations.
There are numerous examples showing UCM students are able to demonstrate their commitment to engage with the local community and provide service to those in need. For example, UCM has one of the most engaging university Homecoming weeks in this region and a big part of the activities represent opportunities for students to demonstrate leadership skills in giving of their time and talent to the local community. Here are some notes from Homecoming 2013:
- Blood Drive: UCM holds a blood drive twice a year and this year collected 605 units (last year UCM collected 465). This year UCM also conducted a bone marrow registry for the first time.
- Donation Creation: 5,688 cans of food collected equaling 5,187 lbs. The food collected went to the local food pantry in Warrensburg.
- Community Service Project: This year UCM's day of service placed over 989 volunteers and site leaders with 68 agencies. Due to the number of volunteers the group branched out and sent teams of students to Higginsville, Pittsville, Centerview, Holden, and Concordia to work. The response from surrounding communities was one of gratitude, and very favorable.
UCM prepares students to work in a world that continues to become more globalized by offering:
- Study abroad opportunities in 60 countries and 285 institutions worldwide;
- The UCM International Studies major is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of global challenges and policies that affect human development, peace and security in the five major regions of the world;
- UCM's "Talking Mules" debate on an international level by participating in the annual Montgomery Cup debate program, which takes the team to the British Isles to compete against some of the best debaters at schools such as Cambridge and Oxford.
The University demonstrates its commitment to delivery on goals derived from its mission and strategic positioning platform by allocating resources to the types of projects and activities described above.
5.A.4. The institution's staff in all areas are appropriately qualified and trained.
In 2009 the Office of Human Resources revamped New Employee Orientation to become a more welcoming and educational first day experience. Reviews have been positive and many have positively commented regarding their first day encounter and were looking forward to working for the University.
In 2010, the University introduced an online training system for Preventing Sexual Harassment and Appreciating Diversity. In the fall of 2013, the University was able to add Bullying Prevention and Title IX Awareness to its online training package. These courses are available to all employees at any time. All new employees and graduate assistants complete the Preventing Sexual Harassment training during orientation. Teaching assistants are required to complete a mandatory three-day Teaching Excellence Program.
Along with orientation and online courses there are many opportunities for staff and faculty to attend face-to-face trainings or meet one-on-one for coaching sessions. Topics include teambuilding, leadership development, personal development, supervisory skills, technology training and copyright infringement training.
The newly renovated Student Recreation and Wellness Center opened in January 2011, and has been a great addition not only for the students, but for staff and faculty as well. Staff and faculty may use the Student Rec Center without charge, as long as they visit the center 30 times each semester. This has provided a great incentive for the campus community to remain or become healthy without having the upfront cost of a gym membership.
Healthier You is a wellness program sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. The program provides employees with an opportunity to receive a free health screening and to complete a Health Risk Appraisal. Staff and faculty who participate have their cholesterol, height, weight, and blood pressure checked. Programs such as this one have played a major role in helping the University contain rising health care costs.
UCM strives to provide a respectful, safe, healthy, and clean environment for our community as evidenced by becoming a tobacco-free campus as of January 1, 2014. In consideration of guests and those who may find it difficult not to use tobacco while on campus, individuals may continue to use tobacco in their personal vehicles.
Student employment is a centralized team effort at UCM. Students are able to see jobs that are available and apply for them online through Mules4Hire. Mule4Hire is coordinated through the Office of Career Services. Once students have successfully found a job, they come to the Office of Human Resources to complete mandated new hire paperwork.
UCM has diligently worked to avoid layoffs, although there have been a few instances in the last ten years that have required a reduction in force. In these cases, the University has been able to provide early notifications or in many cases employees were transferred within the University system.
Each year UCM recognizes staff who have been with the University in five-year increments. Staff personnel, along with their supervisors, are treated to a luncheon and receive a pin and Visa gift card as a small token of the University's appreciation for their dedication to service. Each year 125-150 staff members are recognized at this event.
Although the University tries to keep the cost of a college education affordable, it still represents a considerable investment. The educational development of UCM's students, faculty, and staff is highly valued by the University. Towards that end, UCM has in place an Educational Development plan for its employees. UCM provides its full-time employees up to 15 credit hours and part-time employees up to 6 credit hours of complimentary tuition for course work at UCM each academic year. UCM also pays for up to 15 credit hours of graduate level courses; however, employees are responsible for any applicable taxes. Spouses and qualified dependents are eligible to have 50% of applicable tuition fees paid by UCM. There is no limit on the number of credit hours that may be taken by spouses or dependents each semester.
Because of the fiscal limitations of state appropriations in recent years and in order to allow for pay increases, the University has become creative in finding additional ways to provide benefits for staff and faculty. The President of the University has designated additional days off around the holidays for staff and faculty to spend time with their families. In the fall of 2013 the President also worked with Sodexho, our campus dining service, to provided staff and faculty an option for breakfast and lunch at a reduced cost. This not only provided a healthy, economical meal for our employees, but also encourages more interaction with students.
5.A.5. The institution has a well-developed process in place for budgeting and for monitoring expense.
The State's Budget Process
As a component unit of the State of Missouri, the University follows the budget policies and procedures outlined by the State through the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE). MDHE is charged with presenting a unified higher education budget request to the Missouri Legislature, which is included in the State's annual budget. See http://www.dhe.mo.gov/cbhe/ and http://www.dhe.mo.gov/.
The University receives instructions and guidelines annually to be followed in preparing budget requests for the upcoming year (e.g. July, 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015). See the Missouri Budget Process document. Each University President is given the opportunity to present their institutions funding needs to the Missouri House Appropriation Committee as hearings are held on the appropriation bills.
Capital Appropriations requests are also submitted annually to the Department of Higher Education along with copies to the States Office of Administration, Division of Budget and Planning. The request is ranked according to the University priorities on building improvements or for new construction. These priorities are updated based on the University Master Plan. Information is entered into an access database that uses formulas to calculate projected cost by industry standards for square footage. MDHE then prepares a consolidated request for funding from the state based on each University's top priorities. Each year the University also provides to MDHE expenditure data by program for the last two years and the current year's budget, which is due in December.
Preparation of UCM's budget documents generally occurs through the following steps. Throughout the budget cycle, discussion regarding budget priorities occurs through the Provost's Council (deans), the President's Staff (vice-presidents and key leadership administrators), and the Strategic Leadership Team (senior leadership, in addition to the vice-presidents). In support of the budget decisions, the Budget Office prepares forecasts based on the President's recommendation on revenue generated from anticipated enrollment data, tuition rate increases, and state appropriations. Increases in mandatory expenses are identified, as information is gathered on rate changes for the Missouri Retirement system (MOSERS), health insurance premiums, and faculty promotion and tenure costs and reported to the Board of Governors. The President makes recommendations for salary increases for both faculty and staff. Faculty promotion and tenure funding are considered mandatory expense items each year, per the Faculty Salary Model adopted by the University in 2003.
For example, the 2013-2014 budget included the following: 2% growth in tuition for both on-campus and on-line course offerings; 1.7% tuition rate increase; $600 salary adjustment for employees earning less than $100,000; $560,000 allocated for Faculty tenure and promotions; and funding for new positions to support students because of enrollment growth. Allocations to departments were their FY2013 base plus salary increases and the associated benefits.
Additional budget requests are received from various units through the respective Vice Presidents on an ongoing basis. These requests are tabulated by the Budget Office in a pending needs list, which is used to develop the base budget for the University. Reallocations and expense savings are identified throughout the process to ensure funding will be in place for expected enrollment growth. Campus input from all councils occurs (Faculty, Professional Staff, Support Staff, and Bargaining Unit) throughout the process.
The Board of Governors is updated on projected budget scenarios either through the Finance and Administration committee or the Board as a whole. They also receive statements of unrestricted revenues, expenditures and transfers on the current budget quarterly, along with enrollment and credit hour production from the Enrollment Management division. Legislative updates by the President are included in each Board meeting. The final budget is approved by Board of Governors and includes tuition rate increases, salary adjustments, and room and board rates. Budget reallocations within colleges that are deemed necessary to support program growth are approved by the Provost and Deans.
After approval by the Board, the Budget Office gathers individual department budget documents for uploading into the University's budget development module within the SCT Banner system. The final budget is balanced and approved by the Vice-Presidents and the Provost before loaded into the finance and human resource position control module for the July 1 opening of the fiscal year.
The University also monitors its transactions. In 2003 the University identified as a top strategic initiative the need for an ERP system to update and integrate computer and technology systems used on campus. UCM's Information Technology Policy Council (ITPC) charged one of its advisory committees to begin researching and evaluating possible vendors for the system. Out of four possible venders, the selection committee chose the SCT Banner product. SCT's implementation package included a focused analysis of current business practices and a review of the best business practices found in higher education. Since implementation, UCM has reduced duplication of data, developed a common look and feel across all administrative systems, implemented a system based on modern technology with on-going vendor support, acquired the ability to call upon a national network of Banner users for best practices and problem solutions, and developed extensive Web-delivered services and online functionality for students, faculty and staff. Banner enterprise system and add-on modules that support the business functions of UCM include students, finance, human resources, payroll, financial aid, alumni, development, MyCentral portal, etc.
In order to meet current reporting requirements and provide a more accurate comparison of actual to planned activity, the University requires all funds in which revenue, expenditures, and/or transfers will be recorded to be budgeted in SCT Banner financials. UCM uses system edits in Banner to verify sufficient funds are available before payments are made. This process provides an automated comparison to established budgets.
A variety of inquiries, reports, and queries are available in Banner for use in reviewing actual fund activity as compared to budget. The web based self-service module (MyCentral) portal makes it easy for budget managers to query their base budget, budget adjustments, year-to-date expenditures, including payroll transactions, encumbrances and available budget balances with real-time data. They also have the ability to compare prior year data to current activity for analysis. Departments are responsible for the accuracy of transactions recorded against their funds and for conducting operations within the limit of funds allocated.
Additional reports are available within the system, and Argos is also used by budget managers and administration to supplement information reporting. Questions, corrections, and/or reallocation of resources may result from the ongoing review process.
The Budget Office works with department managers regarding tuition and fee rates, budgeting and monitoring. In addition to the data available within the University, UCM submits required budget reports to MDHE that include current year budget and 2 prior years' actual expenses by program code.
The University has a clear budget process that relies on identifying institutional priorities, planning, attending to pending budget needs, reviewing budgets, preparing, and monitoring. The monitoring and control systems provide proper fiscal oversight with comparisons of actual revenue and expenditures to approved budgets occurring within the University and the state.
The University maintains its financial statements on the basis of a fiscal year ending June 30 and follows the accrual basis of accounting. The University's financial statements are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. An annual budget for estimated receipts and disbursements for the coming fiscal year of the University is prepared by the University's Office of Budgeting for acceptance by the Vice President of Finance and the President, and is presented to the University's Board of Governors for approval. The budget lists estimated receipts by funds and sources and estimated disbursements by funds and purposes.
The financial records of the University are audited annually by a firm of independent auditors in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United State of America and the standards for financial audits contained in Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. UCM has focused on the following 6 areas as part of its ongoing budgeting review:
- Operating Fund Processes
- Institution-Wide Processes and Priorities
- Utilization of Annual and Recurring Savings
- Targets for Annual Budget Savings
- Net Unrestricted Assets/Expenditure Controls
- Costs Associated with Mission and Revenue Growth
Additional information regarding UCM's Budget Review can be found in President Ambrose's Memo 11.
5.B. The institution's governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the institution to fulfill its mission.
5.B.1. The institution has and employs policies and procedures to engage its internal constituencies - including its governing board, administration, faculty, staff, and students - in the institution's governance.
The University has multiple opportunities and structures for the involvement of its administration, faculty, staff, and students to participate in institutional governance. The University's organization and governance is described in detail in Section I.1 of the Faculty Guide. Key structures among these are the Board of Governors, the Strategic Leadership Team, the Provost Council, the Academic Council, the Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Council, and the Support Staff Council. The University's policies and procedures are maintained by the University Policy Officer who is responsible for updating and revising University policy as needed. A listing of University Procedures and Guidelines can be found at http://www.ucmo.edu/upo/guide/.
The Board of Governors Policy Manual describes the policies, procedures, and areas of responsibility of UCM's governing board. The manual presents direction to the board with regard to its operation and that of the University. In addition, it contains policies and provisions related to university employment, academic affairs, finance and administration, and student affairs. The University Policy Review Council operates to: review proposals for Board of Governors policies and University procedures; share proposals brought forward with colleagues and constituent groups; present feedback received to the Policy Review Council; and make recommendations to reconcile proposals with existing Board of Governors Policies and University Procedures. Included in the Council membership are representatives from: the General Counsel, Policy Office, Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Council, Support Staff Council, Bargaining Unit, Student Government Association, Provost Council, Academic Council, and two Non- Academic Divisions.
The Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) is composed of the President; Provost and Chief Learning Officer; Vice President for University Development/Executive Director of UCM Foundation; Vice President of Finance and Chief Operations Officer; General Counsel; Vice Provost for Student Experience and Engagement; Vice Provost for Technology/Chief Information Officer; Vice Provost for Enrollment Management; Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment; University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Chief Communications Officer; Executive Director, Facilities Planning and Operations, and the Executive Assistant to the President. The SLT is the major advisory group to the President and contributes to the overall strategic planning of the University.
The Provost Council consists of the Provost, Deans, Vice Provosts, Vice President of the Faculty Senate, and the Director of the International Center. The function of the Provost Council is to provide recommendations and support to the Provost in the administration of the academic programs of the University as well as many academic support services. The Provost Council plays a critical role in disseminating information to the academic community on campus as well as providing the Provost with feedback with respect to academic and support services programming.
The Academic Council is composed of the Provost, the chairs of the academic departments, the college deans, and a number of other academic administrators. The Academic Council functions as the primary organizational group for department chairs and deans. The Council functions in an advisory capacity to the Provost/Chief Learning Officer for Academic Affairs. The Council recommends actions to the Provost who either responds or directs the recommendations to the proper person or organization within the University governance structure.
The Faculty Senate (FS) as the representative body of the faculty of University of Central Missouri, is the main vehicle for effective and regular participation of faculty in the governance of the University of Central Missouri. UCM has a long history of collegially shared governance, with the Faculty Senate playing a preeminent role. The Senate makes decisions in areas of responsibility assigned to the FS by the administration or initiated by the faculty, most importantly, on matters related to academic requirements, policy, and processes. The FS has the responsibility to respond promptly and meet administrative deadlines when necessary in advising and making recommendations to the administration on matters referred to the Senate under Article I, Section b, 2 of the Faculty Senate Constitution. The FS also constitutes a forum for discussion of matters of concern to the faculty and makes recommendations concerning its findings on those matters to the administration. Most of the issues that originate either in the Senate or from the administration are initially assigned to one or more of the standing Faculty Senate Committees. The committees, after review and discussion, bring their recommendations to the Senate for discussion by the full body. The FS President then reports to the Provost and the University President, those recommendations made by the FS as a result of the FS's deliberations. The University President then reports back to the FS the final action taken on these matters.
The Professional Staff Council and Support Staff Council at the University of Central Missouri play a significant role in University governance, in addition to performing vital support services to the institution. One of the functions of the Professional Staff Council is to review and evaluate current and proposed policies and procedures employed by UCM to administer the institution's classification and compensation system. The Support Staff Council works as the liaison between non-exempt employees and the University's administration and is the recognized vehicle for support staff to express their concerns to upper administration.
University policies and guidelines describing expected student values and conduct are presented online and in hard copy in the Student Planner/Handbook. This publication also contains information to assist students with academic issues such as appeals, and to alert them to their responsibilities as students. The University's attendance policy, academic honesty policy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and Discrimination/Harassment Procedures are some of the policies presented in the Student Handbook.
5.B.2. The governing board is knowledgeable about the institution; it provides oversight for the institution's financial and academic policies; and practices and meets its legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
UCM is governed by its Board of Governors. In 1995, action taken by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education under the authority of the State of Missouri General Assembly made the University of Central Missouri eligible for a statewide mission. At that time, the Board of Regents was abolished and the Board of Governors created.
The Board of Governors is composed of eight members. Five voting members are be selected from the counties comprising the institution's historic statutory service region as described in 174.010, RSMo, except that no more than two members are appointed from any one county with a population of less than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Two voting members are selected from any of the counties in the state that are outside of the institution's historic service region. One nonvoting member who is a student is selected in the same manner as prescribed in 174.055, RSMo.
The Board is charged by Missouri statutes to hold property in trust for the State and oversee the University. The Board President, the University President, the Provost and the Director of Sponsored programs also serve as legal representatives of the University when they sign legal contracts and agreements.
The primary purposes of the Board are to ensure that the University of Central Missouri maintains an appropriate and responsible mission statement, that it is properly funded; that the institution carries out its purpose through the selection and evaluation of the University's president, and that the institution's autonomy is not intruded upon by governmental controls or special interest demands. The role of the Board is to serve as an advisor and mentor to the University President by providing insights, outside expertise, and advice regarding the future of the institution and its policies. The Board represents the University in the external community and refers external requests or comments to the proper internal channels for follow-up. The Board assists the President in articulating the University's needs to the legislature and the taxpayers as required. Rarely does the Board serve in its role of court of last resort, as this occurs only when dismissing tenured faculty. The Board of Governor's Policy Manual includes Board directives regarding faculty retrenchment, intellectual property rights, patents, degree revocation, educational business activities, public broadcasting, and charter school, as well as direction for approval of contracts, real estate and capital projects, investments, expenditures of university funds for political purposes, deposit of University Funds, and textbook rental fees. Individual Board members complete a Conflict of Interest report and potential conflicts of interest are monitored by the General Counsel and the Assistant Secretary to the Board. Board members often participate in student and community activities and ceremonies, and are sensitive to the role of the University in the community.
UCM board policies and practices have established communication lines and participatory requirements. The Board of Governors Policy Manual discusses legal requirements of the Board including requirements of the Missouri Sunshine Law. Members are cognizant of open meetings requirements with which General Counsel and Assistant Secretary to the Board assist in monitoring. The Board members are instructed in duties of care (be informed and participate) and loyalty (corporate opportunity, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, constituencies).
The governing board holds on average nine scheduled meetings per year. In addition, there are special meetings called outside of the regularly scheduled meeting to address university business items. Frequent communications are made between the President's Office, General Counsel's Office and the Board of Governors related to legal, legislative, financial, contractual and other University business matters. Additionally, the Board receives information related to the campus through a series of media sources and University publications. Regularly scheduled meetings consist of committee meetings (i.e., Finance & Administration, Academic Affairs, and Student Experience & University Advancement); a Work Session to inform and provide in depth discussion of items the Board will consider for action; Closed Session to consider and discuss legal, personnel and real estate matters; and a Plenary Session to receive reports and to act on items that require Board approval. The Board President serves as a link between the University and the UCM Foundation, and is the Board's official spokesperson for media inquiries. However, the full Board has input and is informed of any releases. Responses made to legislative inquiries regarding Board matters as well as other matters are restricted to the position taken and supported by the Board as a whole and not individual views.
The UCM Board maintains a comprehensive compliance program and annual audit process. The Board receives regular enrollment updates, tuition updates, financial updates, grant applications and award activity updates. Its members are provided evaluative information with regard to request for bids for contracts and services that assist in making informed decisions. Between meetings, the Board is often provided with current articles, reports, analyses, and national and state updates concerning the University and Higher Education in general. Board members attend national and state forums on education and board governance.
The UCM Board is provided regular updates on major operational issues and engages in strategic discussions about the future needs of the campus. The University's legal counsel reports to the Board and works with the University President on a day-to-day basis. The General Counsel presents litigation updates at each Board meeting for review, discussion, or consideration and keeps the Board apprised of contractual, negotiation, personnel, real estate, and other legal matters.
In addition to regular financial reports, the Board receives regular legislative updates as they relate to pending legislation that could impact funding for the University, and when needed, takes a formal position with the State Legislature to voice its support or opposition (e.g., House Bill 253). The Board is presented with and discusses quarterly investment reports and quarterly statements of expenditures and revenues in January, March, June and October of each year. An annual investment report and annual debt service report are reviewed by the Board in September of each year. In October, the Board receives and reviews an annual external audit report. Regular Tuition updates are provided, as are bids and contracts summaries reflecting procurement activities. The Board's Finance Committee Chair meets with the external auditors each year as they prepare to begin their audit work. In April of each year, the Board approves the next fiscal year's operating budget. In June, the Board approves the fiscal year appropriations request and capital budget appropriations request that are both submitted to the State for consideration.
UCM's Board of Governors is knowledgeable about the institution and provides excellent oversight for UCM's financial and academic policies and practices. The Board meets its legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
5.B.3. The institution enables the involvement of its administration, faculty, staff, and students in setting academic requirements, policy, and processes through effective structures for contribution and collaborative effort.
While all of the Faculty Senate committees are involved to some degree in setting academic policies and processes, several Senate committees play a more direct role than others. The Senate's Academic Standards Committee specifically address issues related to academic requirements, policy, and processes regarding regulations stated in the General (Undergraduate) and Graduate Catalogs, e.g., graduation requirements, admission standards and policies, academic probation and suspension policies, etc. The FS General Education Committee (FSGEC) formulates, reviews, and maintains policies and procedures to operate the General Education program. One of its main responsibilities is the evaluation and selection of proposed and existing courses for the General Education program. This committee currently is finalizing its review of courses for the revised general education program to be implemented in the fall of 2014. The FS University Curriculum Committee (FSUCC) reviews all new program proposals, program revisions, title changes, and certificate proposals. This committee is a recommending body for program additions and deletions. The FSUCC is primarily concerned about the appropriateness of programs to the University mission and goals, the quality of programs, overlapping interests and 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 Faculty Senate University Assessment Council (FSUAC) has many responsibilities, but chief among them is the charge to serve to interpret, review, and integrate university assessment activities and their results, and to coordinate these activities across academic programs, student support services, and other campus units. To ensure collaborative involvement of the various senate committees on matters related to academic affairs, there is a requirement of joint membership between the FS University Curriculum Committee, FS General Education Committee, and the FS University Assessment Council. A member of each of these committees sits on the other committees. This person is usually the chair. For example, the chair of the FSGEC also is a member of the FSUCC and the FSUAC.
The Planned Placement Committee reviews and establishes requirements and policies related to student placement into developmental and gateway courses. All new students and transfer students with fewer than 24 earned semester hours must be placed according to university policy (Undergraduate Catalog, p. 6). This committee works closely with the Testing Services Office and Office of Institutional Research to establish minimum placement criteria. The Faculty Senate Personnel Policies Committee reviews proposed faculty personnel policy changes in the Faculty Guide for submission to the Faculty Senate. Two other significant committees that address academic policy and practice related to retention and student completion are the Student Success Committee and the University Council for Student Development described previously in Chapter 5, Criterion 4.
In 2011, UCM implemented a restructuring of the administrative organization. The title of Chief Learning Officer was added to the Provost's position as well as additional responsibilities in the areas of student affairs, information technology, and enrollment management. In order to better align organizational structures with the revised responsibilities, four Vice Provost positions were created: Enrollment Management; Student Experience & Engagement; Information Technology; and Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. In addition to the deans of the four academic colleges, the Provost relies heavily on two administrative groups for input with regard to academic policy and practice. They are the Provost Council and the Academic Council.
The function of the Provost Council is to provide recommendations and support to the Provost as she administers the academic programs of the University, as well as many academic support services. The Provost Council is chaired by the Provost and the membership includes the: Vice Provost for Student Experience and Engagement; Vice Provost for Enrollment Management; Vice Provost for Technology; Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment; Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies; Dean of the College of Education; Dean of the College of Health, Science, and Technology; Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies; Dean of Library Services; Dean of The Honors College; Director of the International Center; and the Faculty Senate Vice President.
The Academic Council functions as the primary organizational group for department chairs and deans. The Council functions in an advisory capacity to the Provost/Chief Learning Officer for Academic Affairs. The Council recommends actions to the Provost who either responds or directs the recommendations to the proper person or organization within the University governance structure. These recommendations will indicate the Council's majority opinion on an issue or a call for action. The recommendations are in writing and contain the appropriate individual or group to receive the recommendation.
The Student Government Association (SGA) serves as a liaison between the students and the faculty, staff, and administration of the University of Central Missouri. The SGA conveys any and all concerns of the students to the faculty and staff, and enacts necessary legislation, within the authority of the SGA, in order to carry out the Constitution and Bylaws. The SGA was instrumental in the approval by students of a testing fee and the minimum passing score on a general education examination as a condition for graduation. UCM's students play a major role on many university committees. Although students are listed in the membership of virtually all Faculty Senate Committees, the institution has not always been successful in recruiting students for all of its committees where student membership is warranted. Students did contribute significantly to the development of the revised general education program and continue to make contributions on a number of important committees such as the FSUAC, FSUCC, and the Academic Standards Committee to name a few.
The University also has two standing staff groups, the Professional Staff Council and the Support Staff Council. The critical role played by staff in the implementation of academic policy and process cannot be overemphasized. It is the staff who work directly with our students and faculty on a daily basis, that are often the first ones to identify issues and problems with extant policy and practice that negatively impact our students and the business operations of UCM.
The Professional Staff Council is structured to serve and advise the University President on matters of mutual interest and to serve as an information and liaison medium for Professional Staff on such matters as may be referred to the Council, as the Council initiates, or as Professional Staff members of the University may request. Similarly, the Support Staff Council serves as a deliberative and recommending body representative of the non-exempt employees of the University of Central Missouri. The council considers appropriate items that originate within its membership or that are referred by its constituency or the administration of the University of Central Missouri. The council serves as a medium for improving communication and as liaison between non-exempt employees and the University administration.
5.C. The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning.
5.C.1. The institution allocates its resources in alignment with its mission and priorities.
UCM has a long history of thoughtful and strategic allocation of resources to areas that advance its educational mission and priorities. However, the University's approach to planning and resource allocation has changed during the past few years. The work of positioning the University of Central Missouri, in cooperation with the Board of Governors, began in June 2010 with the appointment of a Transition Planning Team facilitated by Dr. Gordon Lamb [interim president June-July, 2010]. The Transition Planning Team met with 24 different constituent groups and provided a foundation for the wide range of priorities that were required to prepare for an effective presidential foundation while at the same time leading the institution to meet both the challenges and opportunities presented to the University of Central Missouri. The priorities were also further refined by the economic challenges faced by our nation and the state of Missouri and a focus of the Governor's Statewide Summit on Higher Education in August 2010. Four institutional priorities were identified for UCM:
- Enhancing the Value Proposition for the University
- Being a Mission-Driven University
- Providing enhanced opportunities for Partnerships/Collaboration
- Heightening Sense of Responsibility for Student Success
Two points of progress outline the movement of UCM to a more strategic approach in allocating its resources in alignment with its mission and priorities. The first point of progress is the implementation of the Association of Governing Board's Strategic Governance Model for Student Success. The model provides for an institution-wide engagement in strategic governance and leadership, strategic resource allocation model, and productivity [including both institutional effectiveness and efficiencies].
The second area of progress in integrated strategic planning was the development of the Strategic Resource Model with four defined areas of measurable objectives to re-position the institution and prepare for the new fiscal realities challenging public higher education. To address revenue growth, UCM initiated a focused strategy in enrollment management with allocation of new resources and staff. This included the development of the "Choose Red" Campaign in support of enrollment management goals and to raise the market/brand visibility of the University as well as the development of enhanced relationships with Whiteman Air Force Base (WAFB). To better recruit and serve the active military and veterans, UCM established an Office of Military and Veterans Services and increased UCM's engagement with the WAFB Community Affairs Council/Chamber Committee on Military Affairs.
UCM continues to use the Strategic Governance Model and the Strategic Resource Allocation Model to maintain focus on strengthening revenue development, fiscal management, academic performance, and administrative efficiency. The cumulative impact of the administrative review was $2,000,000 in Year 1; $944,000 in Year 2; and $535,000 in this current fiscal year. The net effect of both revenue enhancements and costs savings has allowed the University to keep tuition down, manage declining state support, absorb increases in fixed costs, provide some salary growth, and maintain a high level of performance.
There are three main institutional components of the model that will be utilized as UCM moves forward. The first is a set of institutional metrics that directly aligns to the State of Missouri Performance Based Funding Model. These metrics focus University energy on the primary statewide higher education objectives of access, college completion, affordability, and engagement. The second major component will be the building of a performance-based academic portfolio to guide the allocation of all resources related to academic programs and instruction, enrollment growth management, and student persistence and success. As mentioned in Chapter 5, Criterion 4 C, examples of this academic portfolio for three of our departments is available in the Supplemental Materials Section of the Virtual Resource Room. The last internal tool is a new strategic positioning platform that provides a clear and concise means to communicate the elements of UCM that makes it distinctive within a competitive and crowded higher education market within the state and region. The platform provides a greater sense of place and purpose, a means to align UCM's core focus and resources, and produce more value for all who engage in UCM's educational community. The UCM strategic positioning platform yields key deliverables such as a positioning statement, unique attributes, audience definitions and benefits, and, reasons to believe - all important elements specific to clearly charting UCM's future direction and growth. The strategic positioning initiative, to be fully maximized, will require steadfast discipline and commitment by all UCM stakeholders.
The Foundation approved the endowment payout rate for fiscal year 2014, which will provide $824,394 for scholarships and academic programs. This is an 8.28% increase over fiscal year 2013. When several students were unable to return to campus because they lacked the resources, the Foundation provided $15,000 to Enrollment Management to be specifically applied toward their retention. The Foundation awarded six students a total of $5,068 and as a result, the University netted $58,000 in revenue. Several advancements in the Foundation's financials made these actions possible. These include a 22% increase in giving for the 2012 calendar year (an increase of $880,000) and a new record for total assets, exceeding $40.1 million for the first time in Foundation history. The Foundation's asset growth, which increased $4.7 million between October 2011 and December 2012, is a promising trend for the future. The UCM Foundation's five-year rate of return ranked its performance among the largest and most productive public and private higher education endowments.
5.C.2. The institution links its processes for assessment of student learning, evaluation of operations, planning, and budgeting.
Since the arrival of our current president in August of 2010, UCM has made significant strides in its efforts to be a data-driven institution. As described previously, the University made a commitment to purchase an accountability management system to better link assessment results, teaching and assessment practices, academic planning and processes, and budgeting. The purchased system did not meet our needs and the contract was canceled, leaving UCM without a third party provider of these important services. The staff of the Office of Institutional Research (IR) was expanded in 2012 to include a Director, Assistant Director, and two Research Associates to address these issues and to respond to the reporting needs of the various constituents of the University as well as outside agencies. The Director's research focus is on Institutional Effectiveness. The Assistant Director is responsible for all outside reporting (e.g., IPEDS, MDHE data requests, US News and World Reports). The two Research Associates specialize in producing reports and managing data collection in the areas of enrollment management and student experiences and engagement, respectively. The entire IR staff responds to ad hoc requests made by the campus community and works closely with the Applications Systems division of our Office of Technology as needed. The IR office is currently working on performance-based academic portfolios that will measure each academic department's progress on key metrics, to include student learning and development. Examples of drafts of these portfolios are presented in the Supplemental Materials section. The information to be presented in these portfolios will be used to evaluate the operations of units and directly impact planning and budgeting. The academic key performance indicators have not been finalized at this time. The institution has identified the development and implementation of an accountability management system as remaining a priority.
In the early 1990s, when UCM committed to the assessment of student learning, then UCM President Ed Elliott set aside more than $345,000 for assessment related activities. With the development of Central's Quality Improvement Program (CQIP), a substantial amount of these dollars were moved directly into department budgets to be used to cover the costs of implementation of CQIP and to give departments the autonomy to do so. Following President Elliott's retirement and subsequent reductions in state funding, the University reduced the amount of CQIP dollars and pulled back the money to each respective dean's office. The amount of dollars now available to departments varies by college. The Office of Testing Services, which implements the assessments approved by the Faculty Senate University Assessment Council, has an operations budget used to fund a variety of assessment activities, most notably general education assessment, assessment in the major field, and surveys of students, faculty, and alumni (e.g., National Survey of Student Engagement, CIRP Freshmen Survey, Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, YFCY, HERI). Furthermore, the Center for Teaching and Learning utilizes its resources to support the professional development of faculty in the improvement of their pedagogy and assessment skills.
To aid in the evaluation of operations as they relate to student learning and productivity, the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC), was charged in 2013 with developing criteria to identify signature programs for the University. Building on the work of Rick Staisloff from the RPK Group, the APRC will develop criteria to be used to define signature program status. These to-be-defined programs will be recognized as strategic budgeting priorities. The operations of departments are also evaluated as part of the five-year review process conducted by the APRC. As described in Chapter 5, the Data Packs provide each department with metrics in key areas such as student quality, student performance, and productivity. The plan is to integrate the information currently presented in the Data Packs into the performance-based academic portfolios described above. It is expected the data elements for this portfolio will be finalized by the end of the spring 2014 semester. Other elements to be included in the department's portfolio are pass rates on the general education assessment, number of degrees awarded, number of degrees awarded in professional applied sciences and technology, and freshmen success rates (i.e., the percentage of First Time Full Time Freshmen who successfully complete 24 hours in their first year) as these are four of the five state performance funding elements for the University of Central Missouri that relate to assessment of student learning.
Goal 2 of UCM's Presidential Priorities for 2013-2014 is to fully execute the contract for completion: to invite more students into the UCM community, increase the number of those students who cross the finish line with their degree in four years, and make certain that their degree prepares them to be competitive in both life and work. As part of the University's commitment to implementation of the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract, which directly links budgeting and planning to student learning, UCM has:
- added academic advisors to assist students in the identification of the "right 15 credit hours"
- established a completion scholarship for seniors who have continually enrolled in and completed 30 semester hours per year
- increased the number of on-campus jobs for students
- began construction on a new Multi-Use Facility
- created a 24/7 engaged environment for students
5.C.3. The planning process encompasses the institution as a whole and considers the perspectives of internal and external constituent groups.
While state appropriations have been placing a strain on all Missouri public higher education institutions, President Ambrose identified the need to address fiscal challenges while also improving the UCM student experience and the value of a UCM degree. A strategic positioning initiative was identified as a core component of the Strategic Resource Model to more effectively define the University's "place and purpose." Numerous UCM communication opportunities and supporting University messages had been without a disciplined foundational strategy and consequently, there was not an overarching UCM core message that was either distinct or relevant internally and externally.
When President Ambrose began his presidency at UCM, institutional communication was decentralized and the UCM brand was inconsistent and undefined. Through a comprehensive research effort with internal, external, and prospective stakeholders, the Cryder Rinebold Company, a branding and communications consultant hired by the University, assessed the current state of the UCM brand. After thorough analysis of the research findings and implications, Cryder Rinebold developed the foundational model for the actual platform. President Ambrose and Cryder Rinebold presented the platform to the Board of Governors and select leadership groups to further hone and focus the deliverable. This specific step in the process helped different stakeholders develop strong ownership in the initiative, and in turn, insured a successful campus/community/regional rollout and acceptance.
The findings of the research effort became the basis of the initiative's key goal: a positioning platform that distinctly set forth a unifying positioning statement, brand attributes, key audiences, audience benefits and "reasons to believe" in the UCM brand. Included in UCM's Strategic Positioning Platform are six distinct attributes that define what the University stands for. These six attributes are:
- Engaging - Immersing students in learning experience through their purposeful involvement
- Cumulative - Aggregating multiple points of learning to broaden and deepen education
- Passionate - Encouraging each student to find his or her own sense of purpose
- Confident - Embracing change and the new opportunities and challenges of tomorrow
- Enterprising - Creating new ways for all students to engage in their education
- Caring - Acting on the needs and welfare of people and community
These attributes are highlighted in the following characteristics of the intended UCM student experience called "Reasons to Believe."
- Engaged Learning - UCM students leave campus well prepared for the future with practical, hands-on experience through programs like Live Red, Contract for Completion, and Experiential Portfolio.
- Worldly Perspective - UCM prepares students to work in a world that continues to become more globalized by offering international opportunities, applied learning experiences and study abroad programs
- Culture of Service - With its motto, "Education for Service," UCM students dedicate hours of volunteer assistance to many people and groups like Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish, ECHO, etc.
- Future-Focused Academics - New technologies and skills needed for an emerging economy help UCM stay proactive through programs like the Summit Center, MIC and online education.
Recognizing that campus-wide buy-in was critical to the success of UCM's new positioning platform, University Relations staff and Cryder Rinebold coordinated a series of engagement and education sessions among diverse campus stakeholders. The key objective was to provide relevant information to the different stakeholders so they could understand how their work, regardless of their specialty, supported the new UCM positioning. University Relations staff used these strategic positioning sessions to illuminate how each stakeholder directly supported the University-wide initiative.
Implementation began in March of 2012 and is ongoing. Based on the successes of the "Engagement and Education" phase, campus-wide implementation of the UCM positioning initiative continues to be well received. And while there may be small populations that have not gravitated towards the positioning strategy, the majority of campus stakeholders proactively reach out to the University Relations staff to support the positioning through their respective needs. For example, the UCM Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies undertook a complete reworking of the College's strategic plan in order to align with the University's strategic positioning platform. A critical measure of success was to hear varying internal stakeholders acknowledge that "we now understand the bigger picture, and how we directly support the advancement of the University through our work."
The University of Central Missouri has successfully implemented and established its strategic positioning initiative. Under the leadership of President Ambrose and the UCM Board of Governors, the positioning of the University occurs on a daily basis and includes most University-wide communications, external communications, marketing, promotion, development, alumni relations, and student and faculty recruitment efforts. With a clearly defined brand positioning, UCM has achieved tremendous results including record-setting enrollment for the past two years. Overall brand awareness of the University in the region is at an unprecedented level. Additionally, as a result of the ongoing efforts of President Ambrose rooted in the Strategic Resource Model, UCM achieved national prominence in 2013 following a visit by President Barack Obama who stated, "I want other colleges to take a look at what is being done here (at UCM)."
The University Relations staff continues to provide strategic branding and communications counsel to the University at-large as additional activation opportunities arise and as other University initiatives (e.g., UCM's "Contract for Completion" initiative, capital improvements, etc.) continue to further drive the message communicated through the institution's successful positioning.
UCM's plans and initiatives in use of information technology resources are designed to give students, faculty, and staff the tools needed to create a positive and dynamic learning environment. In other words, student success is dependent on technology resources being deployed to support the learning environment. Obtaining these goals are accomplished by the following: (1) responding to the current technology resource needs, demands, and requirements of university constituents through infrastructure upgrades and improvements; (2) embracing new and future technologies and requirements through capacity planning and upgrades; and, (3) partnering with campus constituents to anticipate future technology requirements in order to meet the technology demands of the learning environment. The network infrastructure serves as the foundation and framework through with technology resources are deployed across campus.
Presented here are exemplars of the planning processes for two of UCM's colleges, the College of Education and the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. These processes illustrate the alignment between the strategic planning of our academic colleges and the University's strategic priorities, and how these planning processes consider both internal and external perspectives. College of Education Strategic Planning Process: As a cornerstone of the University for more than 140 years, education planning is directly tied to UCM's strategic priorities, historical and statewide mission, and motto. With these principles as the guiding star, the College of Education (formed in 2007) actively seeks guidance and input from the public school sector being served. Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies Planning Process. Strategic planning in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies is driven by UCM's strategic priorities, UCM's mission, and the mission of the college, and involves participation and input from both internal and external constituents.
5.C.4. The institution plans on the basis of a sound understanding of its current capacity. Institutional plans anticipate the possible impact of fluctuations in the institution's sources of revenue, such as enrollment, the economy, and state support.
Under the leadership of President Ambrose and our Board of Governors, UCM has managed to continue to support its operations despite unstable economic times through prudent strategic planning. Institutional planning is heavily influenced by anticipated continued reductions in state appropriations and the possible impact fluctuations in enrollment, changes in the economy, and rising fixed costs will have on UCM's revenue. These and other factors that might impact UCM's financial stability are regular topics of discussions at the President's Strategic Leadership Team meetings, Board of Governors meetings, and Provost Council meetings.
The two main sources of revenue for the University are state appropriations and tuition and fees. Given declining funding from the state, the University has placed significant emphasis on strategic resource allocation (See 5 A for a detailed description of UCM's resource allocation model and its fiscal impact.). To summarize the main points, UCM has implemented a Strategic Governance for Student Success model that includes 3 main components: Strategic Resource Allocation, Strategic Positioning Platform, and Institutional Performance Measures. UCM's Strategic Resource Model has given the institution the mechanism to address both the long- and short-term challenges due to decreasing state appropriations and rising costs. It has done this through strategic resource decisions involving fiscal management (e.g., 90 day hiring freezes), steady enrollment growth (e.g., increased net tuition revenue) and administrative efficiencies (e.g., reorganization of academic colleges and departments).
As student tuition and fees are a major source of revenue, the University has accordingly placed tremendous emphasis on increasing enrollment and improving retention. UCM has experienced record enrollments in each of the last two years due to its increased emphasis on recruitment. It should be noted, however, that the enrollment for First Time Full Time Freshmen for the fall of 2013 was essentially flat. "Traditional" students continue make up the largest segment of the University's student body, but this majority is shrinking as the number of 18-year-old high school graduates is declining in the state and nationally. The overall increase in enrollment was due to UCM's ability to attract more international, transfer, and online students.
UCM continues to make efforts to recruit in other markets as a means of increasing revenue. For example, UCM has identified an additional student population that could potentially have a significant positive impact on enrollment - the military. Since the creation of the Military and Veterans Success Center, UCM has seen a significant increase in the number of military and veterans enrolled at the University. UCM received approval from the Higher Learning Commission in 2013 to open an additional location at the nearby Whiteman Air Force Base (WAFB) in Knob Noster, Missouri. This location will allow us to better serve the airmen, their families, and the staff of WAFB while increasing revenue for the institution. UCM also submitted a Change Application to the Higher Learning Commission in 2013 to obtain permission to offer online and ITV classes at the National Guard Armories in the State of Missouri. Given the extensive drawdown in the military that is planned over the next two years, the number of military personnel who qualify for tuition assistance is quite large. Through targeted programs like the UCM Military Tuition Package and improved recruiting efforts, UCM expects to see substantial increases in enrollments of military personnel and their dependents that will positively impact revenue.
The Space Needs Analysis for the Campus Master Plan performed by Paulien & Associates, Inc. in 2008, determined that UCM had adequate classroom space for its current enrollment and future increases. Some problems with student lab space were identified which have subsequently been addressed. However, with the implementation of the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract, students will be required to live in the residence halls for their first two years. The University is responding to anticipated space needs based on increasing enrollments and changing expectations on the part of our students with respect to housing. The University is building a new Mixed-Use Facility that will include a 320-bed residence hall (See the Master Plan update for a detailed description of the proposed projects to meet anticipated space requirements.). Over the last eight fiscal years, major renovations were completed converting Todd Residence Hall from a 64-room non-air conditioned residence hall to a 34-apartment air-conditioned facility. Most recently during the summers of 2012 and 2013, $1,500,000 was spent on major refurbishments and upgrades to Nickerson Residence Hall. New fire alarm systems directly tied into the Public Safety Dispatch have been completed in Ellis Hall, Nickerson Hall, Hosey Hall, and Houts Hall. UCM Housing replaced older non-efficient windows in Hosey, Houts, Todd, and Nickerson Residence Halls with more energy efficient windows. Additional energy savings upgrades have been completed in various halls with newer HVAC system and the replacement of various housing system roofs. Together with UCM's corporate dining partner, Sodexo, a complete remodel of the Todd Dining Center was accomplished in the summer of 2009 with smaller improvements completed in the Ellis Dining Center. Standard and Poor's recently reaffirmed UCM's "A" bond rating (Nov 2013) because of UCM's strong financial position.
The statewide and institutional responses to program review and institutional viability processes have been important considerations as UCM builds a new strategic resource allocation model for the future. The academic program review process, and the decisions resulting from that process, has produced base-budget financial savings. Further, the program review process has promoted an institutional mission focus, improved resourcing for viable academic programs, and enhanced UCM's ability to serve students and produce tuition revenue.
5.C.5. Institutional planning anticipates emerging factors, such as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization.
As described in 5.C.4, the University strategic planning process is designed to anticipate emerging factors such as shifts in demographics, the economy, state support, fixed costs, globalization, and technology.
The previously discussed initiative aimed at helping active duty military personnel and veterans is one way the University is responding to shifting demographics. As a result of the institution's efforts, UCM was designated as a 2014 Military Friendly Schools, Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named UCM to this list, which honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the nation that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.
Factors contributing to UCM's "Military Friendly" designation and increased military enrollment include the establishment of the state-of-the-art Military and Veterans Success Center (MVSC), which assists military and veteran students to be successful in their education by providing individual and group study areas, computer work stations, and dedicated staff. The Center assists veterans who want to transition from the military into civilian careers by furthering their college education. The MVSC also works with the Veteran Center in Kansas City to provide mental wellness services that include helping combat veterans deal with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. UCM has also initiated opportunities such as the Military Tuition Package, which helps pay for educational expenses that are not covered by military benefits, and has established cooperative programs with Whiteman Air Force Base and the Missouri National Guard to better meet needs of their active duty personnel.
Other efforts designed to impact enrollment are in the areas of international student recruitment and expansion of our Stateline Grant Program. The University has seen a 50% increase in the number of international students in the past year alone, with applications for spring of 2014 showing similar upsurge. UCM's Choose Red Grant (an expansion of our Stateline or Kansas Grant Program) for students from contiguous states, allows students living in surrounding states to attend UCM at the same rate as those students who reside in Missouri. Eligible states include Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Tennessee. This new grant will help increase out-of-state enrollment.
Technology: Infrastructure and Capacity
Over the past two years, UCM invested $3.2 million to upgrade the technology through network infrastructure in order to accommodate existing and future network connectivity and bandwidth requirements. The network upgrade project consisted of replacing network core electronics, building entry routers, floor level switches, and network operations center server routing equipment. One of the outcomes of the deployment of this new equipment is that UCM maintains a 10 Gigabit backbone across campus. Included in this network infrastructure upgrade project was the expansion and increased capacity of wireless connectivity across campus to meet the ever-growing demands being placed on wireless connectivity from laptops and mobile devices. In order to support the higher level of bandwidth across the backbone, single mode fiber cable was installed UCM Self-Study Report 212 across campus as part of this network infrastructure upgrade project. The results of this important campus project positions UCM to provide high quality technology resources in support of the learning environment now and into the future as the University continues to grow.
The "status quo" of the technology environment cannot be taken for granted. UCM will continue to investigate and review options to maintain a network infrastructure that supports the demands, needs, and requirements of the learning environment. For example, UCM currently has a 1 gigabit connection to the Internet; however, as more and more bandwidth to the Internet is required, upgrading UCM's Internet connection will be required. Thus, efforts are already taking place to review options for moving to higher amounts of bandwidth to the Internet to support the learning environment. Internet bandwidth becomes more and more of concern as technology resources are leveraged from the Internet cloud via hosted services.
Another way UCM will continue to improve and enhance the deployment and utilization of technology resources across campus is to establish a campus advisory board. A collaborative and collective community must exist in order to represent and address the diverse technology demands, needs, and requirements for technology resources across campus. This advisory board will also help guide technology decisions on campus by monitoring needs, assessing current options, and discovering new opportunities to enhance technology resource support for students, faculty, and staff. Constraints to budget allocations for technology resources are a real concern and challenge. Thus, it is more important than ever to have the UCM community actively engaged in the technology environment to ensure decisions are prioritized to truly provide a learning environment that leads to student success.
5.D. The institution works systematically to improve its performance.
5.D.1. The institution develops and documents evidence of performance in its operations.
The University of Central Missouri documents evidence of the performance of its operations through a variety of processes and reports. The primary source for much of the institutional data used for 60 evaluating processes and performance within units and across the institution is the Office of Institutional Research (IR). Another primary source of information is the Applications Systems division of the Office of Technology that works closely with IR to ensure consistency in data collection and reporting. The Foundation Executive Director Monthly Report, prepared by the Executive Director of UCM's University Foundation, provides highlights in four areas: investments, statement of activities, financial position, and fundraising.
The Office of Institutional Research serves as an important resource for UCM's administration by providing the data and information used to measure progress toward institutional goals. For example, to determine progress towards several of the goals in UCM's Revenue Growth component of our Strategic Resource Model, the IR office produces regular reports for Enrollment Management that are shared with the President, the Board of Governors, and the colleges. These reports, as discussed in the sections on Criterion 4 in Chapter 5, contain information of applications, enrollment trends, retention, completion, class demand, etc. The IR Office is currently in the final stages of development of a University-Wide Metrics and Performance Indicators report and an academic performance portfolio for each academic department (Sample data sets for three departments are presented in the Supplemental Materials section of the Virtual Resource Room.) that will be integrated into our program review process. In addition to reporting information for internal use, IR reports data to various external organizations including the federal and state government. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) allows the federal government to collect data from all public and private schools. Every institution that participates in any federal student financial aid program authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act is required to report annual data.
By virtue of UCM's participation, the University has access to information from other institutions that are used for comparison and evaluative purposes. IR submits student unit information to the Missouri Department of Higher Education for its Enhanced Missouri Student Achievement Study as well as aggregated data for the state's performance funding initiative.
IR also participates in several national surveys each year, such as the CIRP Freshmen Survey, National Survey of Student Engagement, and the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory. Some surveys are interested in only one area, like the College and University Personnel Exchange survey of faculty salaries. By participating in the CUPA survey, schools have the ability to compare faculty salaries with those of similar schools across the nation. Other surveys, such as those done by U.S. News and World Report, ask for information about costs, student demographics and university offerings, in an attempt to rank Central Missouri among other regional universities. Using data from these tools as well as data compiled in response to ad hoc reporting requests, IR provides support for assessment, program review, enrollment management, institutional grant applications, accreditations, and strategic planning. The primary mechanisms for documenting performance in academic affairs are the annual reports and program reviews. Each academic department must provide information related to progress on the previous year's goals and respond to performance data presented in the Data Packs (to be replaced by the Academic Performance Portfolios) prepared by the Office of Institutional Research. The Five-Year Program Reviews, discussed in Chapter 5, serve as the principle means for determining program viability and quality.
There is a range of other reports and documents used to provide evidence of performance by the University. The Office of Administration and Finance has created a Monthly Budgetary Reporting Package that is available in BANNER, consisting of a Monthly Budget Summary Report, Monthly Transaction Detail Report, Labor Distribution Report, and an Open Encumbrance Report. The Monthly Budget Summary Report provides budget versus actual information per each org (department number) that reports to the Budget Manager. The Monthly Transaction Detail Report shows the transaction detail for each account within an org or department. The Open Encumbrance Report provides the open encumbrances for specific organization codes at the end of each month. And lastly, the Labor Distribution Report shows the detail activity for each employee within a fund-org-account-program (FOAPAL). Audited Financial Statements for 2013.
The University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is provided each year in compliance with the requirements of the Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The department of public safety publishes the annual Security and Fire Safety Report to notify members of the campus community and other interested parties of incidents of crime and emergency situations on UCM property, on public property adjacent to the University or at sites owned or leased by the University. The report includes crime statistics for the past three years, crime prevention programs, fire statistics, a listing of safety tips, alcohol and drug policies, sexual assault education prevention programs, emergency response, and resources that are available to the campus community in emergencies. The Biennial Review prepared by Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention measures reported acts of violence and substance abuse and allows for comparisons against national benchmarks. The adoption of the MAXIENT system, implemented in the fall of 2013, will aid UCM tremendously in the early identification of a student in need of intervention.
5.D.2. The institution learns from its operational experience and applies that learning to improve its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability, overall and in its component parts.
The University is committed to responding to student, faculty, and staff needs to improve the institution's effectiveness and service to its constituents. In the area of student services, the University has implemented a number of initiatives that demonstrate institutional learning. Information provided by IR indicated that students who did not declare a major by the end of their sophomore year were significantly less likely to graduate. In an effort to improve student success of our non-declared majors (Open Option students), UCM created the Gateway Advising and Major Exploration Center. 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 still deciding students in carefully selecting classes that allow them to progress toward graduation while still exploring academic direction.
The Department of Academic Enrichment (AE) is dedicated to improving student academic success. AE offers both credit courses--for elective credit (no fees except those regularly charged for credit courses) and non-credit services (free to any student enrolled at UCM). The department also houses two federally funded TRIO grants--the Student Support Services Program and the McNair Scholars Program. AE has a long history of documented excellence in terms of advancing students in their academic programs. The Student Success Center (SCC), described in Chapter 4, was developed to improve student performance, particularly in courses identified by IR as high risk (i.e., high D/W/ F rates). The SSC provides free tutoring to UCM students. The SSC is a component of the Department Academic Enrichment.
The Provost, Deans, and Chairs are responsive to the needs of their faculty and students. The revised general education program was in direct response to student feedback indicating dissatisfaction with the previous general education program. Students did not perceive the connection between courses or the need for general education and reported the course options were too limiting. Faculty likewise believed the program lacked integration and continuity and was not doing a good enough job of preparing students for their upper division courses. Furthermore, student performance in gateway general education courses was not at a satisfactory level. The academic program review and curriculum review process have produced better and more efficient programs of study for our students. The Missouri Innovation Campus was the result of the expression of an explicit need for employees with a well-defined set of knowledge and skills currently found lacking in many graduates in technology related programs. The many revisions to programs, in terms of course requirements as well as changes in teaching and assessment methods were the result of student assessment and employer feedback. Implementation of Enrollment Validation, Early Alert, and an increased emphasis on attendance, mid-term grades, and early assessments were reactions to data provide by IR that students who attended class and received feedback as to their standing in class, were significantly more likely to succeed. These are all exemplars of the improvements made in academic affairs in response to operational experience.
The University listens to its students. In response to student feedback, the residence halls and dining facilities have received substantial upgrades and a new Mixed-Use Facility will be completed by fall 2015 to further enhance the quality of student housing. The expansion of wireless access was a reaction by the University to the demonstrated need for greater and higher quality wireless connections for students, faculty, and staff. Many student services previously requiring direct contact with on-campus personnel can now be accomplished online. Blackboard, UCM's course management system, has improved student-faculty communication and academic support in general. The genesis of the Student Recreational and Wellness Center (SRWC) was the student concern with the lack of accessible, quality recreational options for students. The Student Government Association (SGA) initiated a student referendum to establish a student fee to support the construction of the facility that was supported by the University administration and the state of Missouri. New recreational fields were also built south of campus as well as a new turf football field, and new basketball/tennis courts to accommodate student demand for recreational space. Library hours were expanded as a result of student feedback. Dining options were added in the JCK Library, SRWC (Einstein's Bagels), and at the new Audrey J. Walton Clubhouse in Pertle Springs. Based on positive feedback for existing coffee shops/ Internet cafes, the new Mixed-Use Facility will include a restaurant and a Starbuck's. These represent a sample of the improvements made to student services in response to operational experiences.
The University continually monitors faculty and staff salaries for comparison with national norms and salaries at peer institutions. Although compensation is a major priority, faculty and staff raises have not kept pace with inflation and remain a concern for the institution, particularly in disciplines and staff positions requiring market adjustments. The University recently introduced new health insurance options for its employees to provide the highest quality insurance at the lowest cost possible. UCM desires to provide a respectful, safe, healthy, and clean environment for our community as evidenced by a tobacco-free campus as of January 1, 2014.
Areas of Growth and Success:
- UCM operates in a prudent and tactical manner, aligning its resources with its strategic priorities to support its overarching goal of student success. The University has multiple opportunities and structures for the involvement of its administration, faculty, staff, and students to participate in institutional governance. UCM's Strategic Resource Model has given the institution confidence in its ability to meet short-term challenges required in a tough economy and the longer-term vision to plan for growth and new opportunities. The administrative efficiencies described in previous chapters were in response to evaluation of performance and cost. These efforts continue.
- The cornerstones of UCM are innovative academics, engaging programs, servant- leadership opportunities and worldly perspective. These building blocks allow students to flourish at UCM, and, most importantly, these elements prepare them for a life of continuous learning. The Missouri Innovation Campus is a bold, visionary approach, connecting students with a valuable, affordable education, and connecting businesses with the skilled, career-ready workforce they need. The University has expanded its service area into the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Web-based courses, degrees and collaborative articulation agreements are expanding the University's service area even further. UCM's Office of Technology is well equipped to provide the technological infrastructure needed to support all University operations.
- There have been a number of projects and improvements to the support services provided to the campus from the Facilities Planning and Operations Department since the last HLC visit including improvements in the chemistry laboratory space and renovation of the Morrow Garrison buildings. UCM took unprecedented steps toward reducing its carbon output, improving energy efficiency and addressing a backlog of deferred maintenance projects through a campus wide Energy Savings Initiative.
Areas for Improvement:
- One of the most significant obstacles facing students who pursue a college education is the cost of higher education. This issue has been compounded by the economic challenges faced by our nation and the state of Missouri.
- The University's approach to planning and resource allocation has changed during the past few years. The institution has identified the development and implementation of an accountability management system as a priority. The strategic positioning initiative, to be fully implemented, will require discipline and commitment from all UCM stakeholders. Program review has identified "Low-Productivity" programs as baccalaureate degree programs with an average of ten or fewer graduates per year during a three-year period and master's degree programs that have had an average of five or fewer graduates per year during a three-year period. As a result of this review, a total of 12 programs were identified for elimination over a 3-year period.
- Program review is an ongoing activity. A Space Needs Analysis revealed that UCM had adequate classroom space for additional students, however the analysis did indicate a need for upgraded laboratory facilities though for both student labs and faculty research. Weaknesses in plant assets have been identified in the areas of furniture, fixtures, & equipment and construction.