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ACADEMIC QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM


SYSTEMS PORTFOLIO

NOVEMBER 1, 2008

UNIVERSITY OF SAINT MARY

LEAVENWORTH KS 66048

Organizational Overview

01 Distinctive Institutional Features

The University of Saint Mary (USM) is a private, not-for-profit Catholic, co-educational university sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCL). The original campus of the university, located in historic Leavenworth in the rolling hills near the Missouri River , occupies land first settled by the SCLs in 1870.

USM takes its distinct character from the educational mission as stated in the Constitution of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, and the Vincentian charism of our sponsors, that sees education as one of the great acts of charity, “serving others at the fullest points of their needs.” In this sense, USM has always shown flexibility in improving and changing to meet the needs of its neighbors, with respect for diversity of all kinds. This charism provides a context for our university mission and values, and is evident in key factors and decisions that describe the current over-all direction of the university, in the strategic plan, and in the series of Action Plans focused on the three categories of Helping Students Learn, Valuing People, and Planning Continuous Improvement

Figure 0.1 Mission and Values

Mission

The University of Saint Mary educates students of diverse background to realize their God-given potential and prepared them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well being of our global society.

Values Statement

The University of Saint Mary believes in the dignity of each person's capacity to learn, to relate, and to better our diverse world. We value community, respect, justice, and excellence.


USM employs different educational delivery systems in thoughtful response to market and student needs. A part of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, the Leavenworth campus serves traditional undergraduate residential and commuter students and also houses USM's Online-Learning offices. Adult and non-traditional undergraduate and graduate students take courses in sites in Kansas City , KS , and in Overland Park , in the Kansas City area. The primary extended site offices, established in 1989, reside in Overland Park , a vibrant, affluent, corporate, suburban area in Johnson County .

USM recognizes distance education as an inevitable emerging and alternative global education model responsive to the 21 st century “revolution of place.” Seeing distance education as playing a role in USM's future, in 1998, USM received a change in status of affiliation from North Central Association to offer a distance education degree program in the Master of Arts in Teaching. Following the success of that program, in 2007 USM received a further change in status of affiliation allowing “no prior commission approval for distance education degrees.”

Informed by mission, USM features several curricular directions that reflect 21 st century best practices and needs:

  • A philosophy of education of Applied Liberal Arts that intentionally connects learning to the real world in concrete and practical ways, through active classroom learning and pedagogy, and a variety of experiential learning choices;
  • Interdisciplinary, team-taught Freshman Learning Communities;
  • A Global Studies Institute, cross-disciplinary Idea Seminars organized with a common theme of Global Interdependence, and a Global Studies Major;
  • Nationally recognized and commended Academic Assessment System;
  • A nationally recognized Service-Learning Program aligned with Campus Compact and Americorps/VISTA;
  • A Strategic Plan that builds on partnerships in allied health, especially the Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Healthcare System;
  • An innovative, quantitative Activity-Based Costing methodology for academic programs establishing contribution margin benchmarks and a qualitative Program Analysis Template employed by each academic program;
  • Improved initiatives for partnerships and articulation for adult academic programs through Extended Sites Office.
  • Online-Learning Program designed for growth.

•  Scope of Educational Offerings

USM offers traditional liberal arts academic programs, pre-professional, and professional undergraduate programs in 25 majors, in addition to master level graduate degrees through extended sites. Our accelerated degree-completion and master's degree programs are designed for non-traditional students, many of whom are working professionals.

The Leavenworth campus traditional programs operate on a 16-week semester basis for day classes, 8 or 16-week evening classes, and weekend pass-fail workshops. The Online Learning Program and most of the Extended Sites operate on accelerated 8-week, six-term deliveries per year. At times a single course may be offered on campus and at an extended site through teleconferencing.

The twenty-six undergraduate majors and all graduate programs are distributed under the academic authority of nine academic departments, all under the academic oversight of the Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Extended Sites has administrative oversight for the graduate programs and undergraduate programs at those sites. USM is classified as Carnegie Master's L with regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association and the specialty accrediting organizations of NCATE, CCNE, and IACBE, and state approved programs in nursing through the Kansas Board of Nursing and in education through the Kansas State Department of Education.

Figure 0-2 Majors and Degrees Offered

Leavenworth Campus Associate and Bachelor of Arts Degree

Liberal Arts (AA)

Art Global Studies Mathematics Psychology

Criminology History Pastoral Ministry Theatre

English Liberal Studies Political Science Theology

Leavenworth Campus Bachelor of Science Degree

Accounting Elementary Education Medical Technology

Biology Information Technology Sport Management

Business Admin Healthcare Informatics Nursing (BSN degree)

Chemistry Interdisciplinary Studies

Bachelor of Science Degree Extended Sites

Applied Psychology History (Secondary Education Certification)

Elementary Education Business

Master of Arts Degree Extended Sites

Education Psychology

Special Education Counseling Psychology

Master of Science in Business Administration Degree Extended Sites

Business Administration, with concentrations in Finance, Human Resources, Healthcare, and Management

Online Learning Program

Master of Arts in Teaching

RN to BSN in Nursing

•  Student Base, Needs, Requirements


USM enrolls an average of over 800 students annually. In academic year 2007-08 USM averaged 863 students (886 Fall, 839 Spring). Student demographics have reflected national trends, shifting somewhat in the past three years, with a higher percentage of female students (from 51% to 57%) and lower percentage of male students (from 49% to 43% in the traditional 4-year program), and a growing number of transfer students in each of the past three years. The average age of traditional program students has increased from 21 to 22, primarily because of the growth of transfer students, especially in the nursing program, and in athletic transfers. A demographic “fast facts” profile follows for Fall 2007:

•  65% of students are from Kansas
•  13% are from Missouri
•  22% are distributed from among 19 additional states
•  88% of Kansas students are from counties in KC, KS metropolitan area
•  49% of students attend the Leavenworth Campus (LVN)

Of these students, 89% are Full-time

11% are PT

•  28% of full-time LVN campus students live on campus;
•  51% of students attend Extended Sites

Of these students, 16% are Full-time

84% are PT

35% are undergraduate

65% are graduate

•  The average student age of LVN campus 4-year undergraduate students is 22;
•  Of adult students, 37;
•  In traditional 4-year programs, 57% students are female, 43% male;
•  69% of LVN campus freshman are first generation college students (as self reported);*
•  32% are Pell recipients
•  85% of USM students receive some kind of need-based financial aid;
•  The average ACT is xx;
•  21% of LVN students and 17% of Extended Sites students come from underrepresented populations (self-reported);
•  45% of graduate students are enrolled in the distance learning MAT graduate program

*Using Trio Grant definition that both parents had not attended college

USM administers a recruitment and admissions system that utilizes best practices (Noel Levitz consulting) in meeting needs of prospective students and their families. Strong academic programs, the value of excellence in teaching and effective teaching-learning relationships pervade the university, while responding to changing student profiles and environmental needs in all aspects of student life. Informed by a liberal arts tradition, USM responds to environmental scan data, market trends, and mandates for services through its university learning outcomes “ for the 21 st century,” varied delivery systems, through more specialized professional undergraduate and/or graduate programs in teacher education and professional development programs, business administration with several tracks, counseling psychology, nursing, criminology, healthcare informatics (under development), and biology/chemistry curricula that allow for more professional flexibility.

•  Collaborative or Partnership Arrangements

USM ‘s collaborative and partnering engagement with external stakeholders and constituencies may be represented through three categories that occur in a variety of local, regional, and national functionalities: Administrative and Managerial; Outreach and Educational, and Professional and Regulatory. See Figure 3. below . Specifics and current initiatives are addressed in AQIP Criterion Nine: Building Collaborative Relationships.

Figure 3. Collaborations and Partnerships

Administrative and/or Managerial

COMPASS (for Online Learning Marketing and Recruitment)

Noel Levitz (Admissions and Recruitment)

SAKAE Institute ( Japan and China , Marketing and Recruitment)

Cristo-Rey (SCL-sponsored high school for underrepresented youth)

ROTC/University of Kansas

Library: Kansas State Interlibrary Loan and Catalog Records, Kansas Library Card, EBSCO Host, Cochrane Library , Northeast Kansas Library System, Evidence ‘Based Medical Guidelines

Missouri Bookstore (Online)

Aramark Food Services

EdTeck (eCollege Online Platform)

Outreach and/or Educational

Sister of Charity Healthcare System (Scholarships & Academic Programs)

Midwest Associated Colleges Consortium (MACC)

Kaufmann Foundation (Partnership for USM summer Latino Academy )

Math, Engineering, Technology and Science Consortium ( USM Latino Academy

TRIO Dissemination Partnership Program/ University of Kansas (ended fall 2006)

Articulation Agreements/Area Community Colleges

Leavenworth and St. Thomas Aquinas High Schools Dual Enrollments

School Districts in Area for Teacher Education Field Experiences

Area High Schools Participating in the USM/GSI Human Rights Conference

Service Learning/AmeriCorps/VISTA/Campus Compact

Service Learning Community Agencies

GSI Starr Institute: KC International Relations Council and Ft. Leavenworth

Leavenworth County Human Relations Council/Service Learning

Advisory Councils for USM Nursing, Education, and Business Programs

Theatre Christmas Production for Area Schools

Businesses and Agencies for Student Internships/Practica

Veterans Affairs

Professional and/or Regulatory

Council of Independent Colleges

National Professional Organizations in Academic Specialties

Kansas Council for Independent Colleges

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

Kansas State Department of Education

Kansas Board of Nursing

Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board

Higher Learning Commission/ North Central Association/ AQIP

National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

International Assembly for Accreditation of Business Education

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

•  Faculty and Staff Base


USM's core values of community, respect, justice, and excellence influence

governance and communication structures that stresses collaboration. Two Action Plans addressed under Category 4 “Valuing People” speak to current initiatives toward on-going improvements in meeting faculty/staff needs and requirements. USM features a Faculty Senate, University Assembly, a formal monthly Roundtable, and varying standing and ad hoc committees and line structures to ensure faculty and staff at all levels are given appropriate voice and/or vote in matters that affect them. The Mission Council actively recognizes staff and faculty throughout the year at all-university functions or displays.

Demographics for 2007-08 Academic Year:

  • 145 employees overall
  • 34% are full-time with faculty status
  • 57% hold terminal degrees in their field; 6 additional are ABD
  • 57% are tenured
  • 25% are untenured and but on tenure track appointments
  • 50% of the administrative council (6 total) hold doctorates
  • 71% of employees are in professional positions (60 professional staff; 44 faculty)
  • Of employees
  • 61% are female
  • 39% are male
  • 7.6 percent are minorities

•  Operational Environment Requirements

Begun in 1879, the 200-acre residential campus in Leavenworth has 11 buildings, many older with a classic appeal but that require constant maintenance and upgrading. Our Overland Park Campus 30 miles away requires coordination for technological and equipment support from LVN Campus staff, and that 10-year old building is shared with St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Other extended site classes are held in the Kansas City area.

Our residential campus is wireless, allowing flexibility in pedagogy and student learning experiences. We have completed most of our upgrades from desks to tables to accommodate laptops. The Online Learning Program offices are on the main campus, and we are currently preparing for a shift to Angel from EdTeck in support of not only distance learning but for general campus utilization. USM implemented a Jenzabar upgrade conversion in 2006. Campus security (emergency plans) and safety upgrades are on-going with oversight from the governing board.

USM maintains budgetary and financial accounting systems, including appropriate procedures and reports, providing financial results from operations. USM financial policies and procedures provide for sufficient internal controls including the adequate segregation of duties of employees. The administrative council of USM and the Board of Trustees review interim and annual financial reports. USM retains an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual audit for the purpose of reviewing annual financial statements, prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and to express an opinion on those statements. The accounting firm, as a part of its annual audit, also reviews the adequacy of USM's internal controls and compliance with provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements and issues a report on the results of their review. The Board of Trustees considers the results of the annual audit at a regular quarterly meeting.

•  Important Competitors

Over forty various institutions of higher education are represented in the greater Kansas City area, as primary locations or extended sites, resulting in a highly competitive educational arena. Our Online Learning Program, for example, competes with the University of Phoenix which has offices in KC. USM may be seen as competing with the over 17 two-year colleges in the greater KC area for the first two years of education, although our growing junior transfer population has benefits for our overall enrollment patterns. There are three other Catholic colleges or universities in the immediate area, and two additional private, religious based universities, and USM competes for faculty and staff as well as students.

As an update to our comprehensive SWOT analysis for our 2006 Strategic Plan and for our AQIP Systems Forum “Strategy for Action Workbook” in 2005, the USM community underwent a series of discussion related to our competition. The following are results compiled from a Zoomerang Survey completed in April, 2008, by faculty and staff:

•  Faith-based educational institutions in the KC Metro area
•  Growing presence of graduate programs in the KC Metro area
•  Kansas Regents Universities
•  National American Universities

•  Important Opportunities and Critical Vulnerabilities

Key steps in our Strategic Planning (SP) process, (AQIP Action Project 2005-06) which included external and internal environmental scans, together with a SWOT analysis, and identification of strategic issues, led USM to a strategic focus statement in 2006 which states

“The University of Saint Mary will realize its mission by developing a regionally recognized nursing program, building on its liberal arts foundation, with the introduction of program and strategic partnerships in allied health, and foster financial stewardship to further promote and enhance its reputation and academic excellence.”

The SP statement distills the study of important opportunities and vulnerabilities essential to the strategic planning process and sets a direction for USM's immediate and longer-term future. USM is implementing the strategic plan with a series of Action Plans and Action Steps, and undertaking the important emphases represented in our AQIP Action Projects. In surveying the USM community to “take the pulse” of faculty and staff in terms of their current (May, 2008) responses related to these questions, the following indicates their suggestions and perceptions:

•  61% supported recent initiatives to develop feeder connections through high schools;
•  56% perceived that USM needs to increase name recognition
•  54% supported recent initiatives to improve the appearance of our facilities.

Other data and commentary demonstrated continued support for the thrust of the strategic action plans for distance learning, and for extended sites growth, as givens in USM's current direction and initiatives.

Critical vulnerabilities are related to important opportunities. Continual (and successful) steps toward increasing fiscal stability require sufficient financial and human resources, the success of which is not unrelated to market and larger economic fluctuations, facility upkeep, enrollment management and success, and market mandates for services. USM is in various stages of planning and implementation to address these issues. (Note: Reference Related Category explanations here i.e. 4C1, 4B2 etc.)

For example, as more of USM's senior faculty retire it is important that salaries for faculty hiring and retention be competitive in our already competitive market. USM has initiated a three-year plan to raise salaries benchmarked to the Kansas Council of Independent Colleges salaries, with the first salary adjustment implemented for the 2008-09 acad
emic year.

Organizational Chart