Goal 1 : Action Steps
As you view the action steps, you will observe icons next to each step which indicate progress.
Goal 1: Create, strengthen, and enhance programs and curricula that are responsive to the needs of a diverse community of learners.
Rationale: As a public university committed to access, it is important to respond to the varied backgrounds and needs of our students. One size does not fit all, and our offerings should recognize that. The steps outlined below are meant to improve retention and graduation rates, and increase enrollment in degree completion and graduate degree programs.
1.1. Strategy 1: Develop support services that address both cognitive and non-cognitive areas for all students, including first-generation and/or under-prepared students.
1.1.1. Create First Year Program (FYPlus) to support Educational Achievement and Access Programs (EAP) and other at-risk first year students.
1.1.2. Establish a university-wide peer mentoring program to support all students, including first-generation/under-prepared.
1.2. Strategy 2: Develop academic programs and supports for adult learners to expand our recruiting options and better serve the regional needs for continuing and advanced education.
1.2.1. Establish a University College* (programs for graduate and continuing studies), with a separate admissions process for both graduate and bachelor’s degree-seeking adults that recognizes acculturation barriers, work/family constraints, and expectations, and values prior learning where appropriate.
*University College refers to a college experience designed for adult learners, often with specially designed degree structures and offerings.
1.2.2. Offer degrees that meet the current demands, interests, and opportunities for returning adults and graduate education.
1.2.3. Design specialized schedules for continuing education and graduate students that include evenings, weekends, online, hybrid, and accelerated formats including fifth-year and full-time graduate programs.
1.3. Strategy 3: Develop student-centered scheduling practices to insure timely degree completion and an efficient use of resources.
1.3.1. Publish and follow course rotations for all undergraduate and graduate degrees in the catalog, on department websites, and in a print format available to students. Be sure that there is a two-year schedule of planned course rotations available at all times. As part of this effort, a new centralized electronic platform should be adopted so that edits occur in one place and are deployed to all relevant electronic locations.
1.3.2. Determine the feasibility of offering key major requirements both fall and spring. Implement wherever financially possible.
1.3.3. Adopt a data-driven scheduling model to maximize degree completion opportunities and eliminate scheduling conflicts for essential major requirements. Include a plan for degrees to be completed during the day and at night, where possible.
1.3.4. Develop 3-, 4-, and 5-year plans with summer courses and intersession courses included to support different paces for different types of students. Discount tuition in summer and reconfigure financial aid packages where possible.
1.4. Strategy 4: Increase participation in international exchange programs to support both WCSU’s commitment to intercultural competence and a widely recognized high-impact practice.
1.4.1. Identify and promote best abroad locations for each major and create a list of approved major courses at those locations, wherever possible.
1.4.2. Include best semesters for travel on program sheets.
1.4.3. Double the number of faculty-led study-abroad experiences over the next three years, with a published rotation to insure a wide variety of opportunities. Currently we offer Italy (intersession), Spain/Morocco (summer), Barbados (summer), Costa Rica (spring break alternate years), Paris (starting spring 2018).
1.4.4. Require all students who study abroad to present information about their experiences at a welcome-back event each fall and spring.
1.4.5. Determine the current level of scholarship funding available for students with high financial need who wish to study abroad, promote the availability of those funds, and work to grow the dollars available annually.
1.5. Strategy 5: Support applied learning opportunities including research, innovation, performance, and service to support connections between curriculum, community, and careers.
1.5.1. Dedicate funds to support student participation in professional conferences and performances and simplify the process for acquiring those funds.
1.5.2. Establish a WCSU organization/infrastructure that allows students and faculty to collaborate with local organizations to invent, innovate, problem-solve, and accept fees for services where appropriate.
1.5.3. Expand community partnerships to support service learning and applied research and innovation projects.
1.5.4. Acknowledge students, faculty, and staff who support these opportunities through awards, ceremonies, and an up-to-date list maintained on the WCSU website, and on the academic transcript.