Commission on University Excellence

Report
1984

J. Curtis Chipman, chair


PREFACE
In an address to the Oakland University Senate on September 22, 1983, President Joseph E. Champagne announced the formation of a Commission on University  Excellence to conduct a "thoughtful and deliberate audit of how well we are doing what we say we are doing." Several days later the Commission membership and charge were announced calling for a preliminary report Co be submitted by May 1, 1984.

This document with its assembled appendices is one of a set of three collections of documents which the Commission on University Excellence now submits. It addresses what we were asked to do, the questions we asked,  what we have found out to date, and what we recommend should happen next. The second collection of documents, a support file, contains the formal reports that have been submitted to the Commission, and materials received other than formal reports. The third collection is the work file; it contains correspondence, minutes, and a budget.

The production of these papers, with the numbers of people and hours that have been either directly or indirectly involved, represent an investment by the entire University community in a pursuit of excellence that has been a feature of this institution for its first twenty-five years. We, the members of the Commission, sincerely hope that this investment will permit the continuance and even the acceleration of that pursuit in the next twenty-five years.

Respectfully submitted,
Curtis Chipman, Chair,   Suzanne Frankie, Oded Izraeli,  Joan Stinson, Nancy Collins, Geraldine Graham, Ronald Kevern, Tung Weng, George Feeman, Ray Harris, Joel Russell, Diane Wilson, William Fish, Priscilla Hildum, David Shantz, Frederick Zorn

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
On behalf of the other members of the Commission, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the people who are not named in the Appendices as contributors to this effort.

The first to be thanked should be the secretarial and other support staff associated with all of the formal participants. For them also this exercise required an additional effort over the past year. Their contributions were valued. Two faculty members who gave freely of their time were William E. Bezdek of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences and Ravi Parameswaran of the School of Economics and Management. Their assistance in the ^ development of the faculty and employer questionnaires and subsequent analyses was greatly appreciated.

Special thanks are due to Scott J. Barns in the Provost's Office who assisted the Chair in numerous administrative matters.

Persons who were engaged by the Commission and did high quality work in return included William Hamilton who handled some of the statistical overflow from he
Office of Institutional Research and Chuck Junak, Teresa Manschesky, Lori Ann Marsee, Sharel Palmer, and Daniel Pamukcu who did the coding for the alumni faculty and student surveys.  In addition, Stephanie Luongo served well as secretary for the December 3 meeting.

Finally and certainly not least to be thanked are those members of the Provost's Office staff who provided the secretarial needs of the Commission propoer over the past year, Espi Holford for the Organization of the Commission materials, Judy Clark for the preparation of this document and Gloria Schatz for the preparation and distribution of the study requests and service as secretary to the Commission meetings throughout the Winer semester.  It all might have happened without these people, but certainly no one would have known about it.

For the Commission,
J. Curtis Chipman, chair.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction

Chapter I: Admissions Standards
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations

Chapter II: Competency and Proficiency Standards
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations

Chapter III: Academic Program Review Mechanisms
Methodology
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations

Chapter IV: Academic Support Systems
Academic Advising
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Career Advising
Methodology .
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Computing Resources and Services
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Financial Aid
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Library Services and Resources
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
SHES-Resource Center
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Skill Development
Methodology
Principal Findings .
Formal Commission Findings
Recommendations
Academic Support Systems: Summary

Chapter V: Faculty Development
Methodology
Principal Findings
Formal Commission Findings .
Recommendations

Chapter VI: Other Areas for Review
Budgetary and Planning Processes
Information Patterns
Space

Summary 
Appendix I: Address of President Joseph E. Champagne September 22, 1983 [not included in online version]
Appendix II: Commission Study Outline  [not included in online version]
Appendix III: Commission Study Requests  [not included in online version]
Appendix IV: Commission Membership  [not included in online version]

 


INTRODUCTION

Since the complexity of the task outlined in President Champagne's address of September 22, 1983 suggests a strict attention to its formal charge, let us begin there:

The Charge:

 The Commission on University Excellence is charged to examine the quality of the academic enterprise at Oakland University, to document its findings and to propose such changes on policy and practice standards and retirements as it deems necessary to achieve the highest level of academic quality permitted by available resources.

In particular, the Commission is charged:

1.  To assess whether the current standards and requirements for admission to the University's degree programs are appropriate to ensure the enrollment of a student body substantially prepared to undertake the curricula prescribed by the faculty and to recommend revisions of entrance standards and requirements when warranted.

2.  To assess whether the existing undergraduate curricula assure that each degree recipient attains the ability to cope with the demands of a complex social and technological world through the development of substantial competencies in written and oral communication quantitative reasoning and critical thinking, and to recommend revisions and introductions of standards and requirements wherever warranted.

3. To assess whether existing mechanisms for the review of degree programs are adequate to assure that all such programs are of the highest quality compatible with available resources and to propose new mechanisms when necessary.

4. To assess the efficacy of the University's academic support systems—academic and career advising, library services and resources, computing services and resources, skill development programs—and to recommend revisions and introductions of appropriate systems where such will enhance the quality of the academic programs.

5.  To assess the University's program of continuing faculty development so as to assure that the faculty have opportunities to remain scholastically and professionally up-to-date within the limits of available resources.

6.  To assess the quality of the University's programs of professional continuing education and to recommend revisions and introductions of standards and requirements where warranted.

7. To recommend other areas of review which the Commission believes have a direct impact on academic quality.  

In carrying out the various portions of its charge, the Commission is encouraged to enlist the assistance of appropriate standing committees of the Senate as well as other groups and individuals.

Timetable:

The magnitude of the Commission's  task is such that the work of the body may well  extend beyond the current academic year. Nevertheless the Commission should furnish to the President no later than May 1, 1984, a preliminary report of its findings. '

In addressing this charge, the Commission has given its total attention to the first six items.  In doing so, we neither deny that there are other important aspects of academic quality than these six, nor do we assert that these six are preeminent.  Simply put, these were the six that we were asked to start with, and we found them more than sufficient to command our attention.

In particular the reader should note that these six charge items essentially refer to different facets of  the instructional role of the institution. The role of Oakland University as a research institution is well established and professionally respected.  Oakland public service role is considerable, expanding, and increasingly appreciated.  However, both the University's research and public service roles were beyond the scope of the specific tasks  assigned to us.

A second decision also influencing the nature of this work was not to attempt to develop a definition of academic quality against which to measure matters related to the first six items of the charge.  Instead, we have attempted to address the various issues that have been raised in terms of what really happens at Oakland, and what we have said as an institution that we want to happen (in official documents such as the University's Role and Mission Statement).

Early on in the process a subcommittee structure was established to deal with the special work that would be associated with the six items of the charge.  These subcommittees with their respective responsibilities and memberships were:

Subcommittee I    (Standards - Items 1, 2):
        Chipman (Chair), Feeman, Kevern, Stinson, Wilson, Zorn

Subcommittee II    (Resources - Items 4, 5):
        Russell (Chair), Fish, Frankie, Graham, Harris

Subcommittee III  (Academic Program Review Mechanisms - Items 3, 6):
         Shantz (Chair), Collins, Hildum, Izraeli, Weng

After three initial Commission meetings in October, these subcommittees continued to meet to propose studies for the Commission.  These were approved and refined by the Commission at the beginning of December.  The formal study requests were made shortly thereafter. Studies were conducted from then trough March, and most were either completed or had submitted preliminary results by the middle of March. During this time the Commission met monthly for progress reports while the subcommittees met weekly on items of their concern.   Open information sessions were sponsored by each subcommittee in the middle of February.

From the middle of March through the end of April, the full Commission met frequently to review and finalize reports from the subcommittees. Major items went through both an initial meeting for presentation and discussion and a second meeting for refinement and closure. There was also general discussion and determination of additional issues that had arisen in the process. The next six chapters are the results. The first five are organized in a similar fashion. They begin by stating the charge item that they address and by describing the specific studies that were undertaken. The principal findings of all completed studies are summarized, and status reports with indicated findings are given for any that still are incomplete. The last part of each chapter contains the formal Commission finding on that issue and a set of recommendations associated with that finding. The sixth chapter addresses other areas for review. 3  

CHAPTER I --Admissions Standards

The first item of the Commission's charge was:

to assess whether the current standards and requirements for admission to the University's degree programs are appropriate to ensure the enrollment of a student body substantially prepared to undertake the curricula prescribed by the faculty and to recommend revisions of entrance standards and requirements when warranted.

In addressing this item as well as other items of the charge discussed in succeeding chapters, the Commission has taken quite seriously President Champagne's request to determine "how well we are doing what we say we are doing."  Two previous statements of institutional goals seemed to be particularly relevant to the admissions area. The first was from the University's Role and Mission Statement:

Oakland University is selective in its admission standards and seeks both traditional and non-traditional students who can profit from its offerings. While serving principally Michigan residents, it welcomes qualified applicants from other states and countries. A special effort is made to locate and admit disadvantaged students with strong potential for academic success and to provide the support conducive to the realization of that potential. The faculty and staff cooperate with nearby community colleges to ensure that their students who seek to transfer to Oakland University are well prepared for work at a senior college. In recruiting and admitting students, enrollments are not permitted to exceed numbers consistent with preserving the high quality of instruction.

The second relevant statement is the summary of the undergraduate admissions policy dated September 1, 1975. Because of its influence upon the studies that the Commission undertook and the recommendations that have been developed, we ask the reader's indulgence and quote it in full:

UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS POLICY - A SUMMARY
September 1, 1975

A. ADMISSION OF FRESHMEN

Admissions to the freshman class shall be based on the following criteria:

(1) Applicants with a 3.20 or higher GPA will normally be admitted.
(2) Applicants with a 2.50-3.19 GPA may be admitted if recommendations solicited by the University from two high school teachers and/or counselors indicate strong motivation and likely success in Oakland's academic programs.
(3) Applicants with a 2.00-2.49 GPA may be admitted if recommendations from two high school teachers and/or counselors and an interview with a trained University admissions adviser indicates strong motivation and likely success in Oakland's academic programs.
(4) Applicants with a GPA less than 2.00 whose recommendations and interview indicate a high probability for success in Oakland's  academic programs may be admitted to degree programs conditionally. Credit shall be given and the condition removed  upon successful completion of 24 credits of specially designed freshman programs as determined by the academic policy committee and the special projects department of the Dean of Students Office.

B. ADMISSION OF DISADVANTAGED OR MINORITY GROUP PERSONS

Opportunities for disadvantaged students will be insured by establishment of the following guidelines and programs:

(1) Students admitted with a GPA less than 2.50 may be required to attend a summer orientation period.
(2) Students admitted with a GPA less than 2.50 will normally be assigned to the special projects department, Office of Student Affairs, for a particularized academic support program.
(3) To insure more opportunity for academically disadvantaged students while retaining its fiscal responsibility, the University should  make all effort to admit at least five percent and not more than ten percent of the freshmen class in the less than 2.50 GPA  category. Preference will be given to those students who are both academically and economically disadvantaged, and insure an increased admissions to the University of members of other minority groups traditionally disadvantaged.
(4) All efforts shall be made to insure that at least 15 percent of all  new freshmen students be Black.
(5) The chancellor and the appropriate administrative officers shall  work with community colleges in the development of cooperative  programs and arrangements for the purpose of increasing the opportunities in higher education for culturally disadvantaged students; the priorities set under this legislation shall be periodically reexamined in the light of the success of such programs and arrangements.

C. ADMISSION FOR COURSE WORK ONLY

(1) A non-matriculation category shall be established.

D. ADMISSION OF TRANSFER STUDENTS

(1) Admission of transfer students from other accredited colleges or universities shall be based on the following criteria:

a. Applicants who are in good academic standing (commonly defined as a cumulative college GPA of 2.00 or higher) at their previous college or university and who have completed 26 or more semester hours credit will normally be admitted. 5
b. Applicants who are in good academic standing at their previous college or university and who have not completed 26 or more semester hours credit may be admitted if one or more of the following indicate likely success at Oakland University: previous high school work, letters of recommendation, test scores, or an interview with a University Admissions Officer.

E. ADMISSION OF MATURE PERSONS

(1) Admission of individuals whose formal education has been interrupted for three years or more immediately prior to application for admission and who would not normally meet other admissions criteria, may be admitted based on one or more of the following criteria: sustained employment record; recommendations from employers, educators, and other professional persons; success in formal training programs; and standardized test results. An interview with a University Admissions Officer at Oakland University is required for such applicants to be considered for admission.

I.  Methodology

In trying to assess whether our entering students are "substantially prepared " it is easy enough to generate contradictory indicators. On the one hand, if one considers the average Oakland GPA or API of students at the freshman/sophomore level, the correct answer seems yes. On the other hand, if one considers the number of these same students that are taking remedial courses, the correct answer seems to be "no."

In order to make a reasoned assessment to resolve the apparent contradiction noted above, the Commission elected to attempt a thorough study of the current admissions procedures in the operational sense of what kind of students do they produce and how well do these students do. This resulted in a very complex situation. As can be seen from the above, the current procedures address many types of candidates, reflecting our goal to seek both traditional and non-traditional students. In addition to these at the undergraduate level, there are graduate candidates also to consider. At the graduate level, requirements vary from individual program to program. In recent years, different operational rules have been developed at the undergraduate level for candidates to different programs from school to school and/or college and centers. The resulting number of possible procedures for different groups and programs is fairly large.

Consequently, the following groups were selected for attention upon:  FTIACs (First Time In Any College) of age 23 or less, all other FTIACS, transfers from 2 year colleges in Michigan, all other transfers and post baccalaureate/second degree candidates at the undergraduate level. Graduate students were considered as a single group. Minority students were considered as they occurred in all of these groups. Various studies then were requested to assess the current situation in the context of these different student groups.

For background material, an ad hoc committee was established and  requested to conduct a literature search to develop an understanding of  the current professional assessment of valid predictors of success in undergraduate programs. Since most of our students are products of the secondary education program of the State of Michigan, materials were obtained from the recent Commission on Michigan High Schools report1 submitted to the State Board of Education and from the resulting  recommendations of the State Board of Education.2

The Senate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee was requested to report on the specific procedures being utilized at the undergraduate level. This Committee also was asked to compare our procedures with those of  nine other universities or colleges. A similar study was requested of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Study with respect to graduate students. Both of these parties also were requested to report on programs and procedures for minority student recruitment. The Director of Admissions, Jerry Rose, was requested to develop a detailed profile of all entering groups of students; he was to be assisted by the Director of  Institutional Research, David Beardslee, in this effort.

 In addition to these studies designed to determine where our students  came from, what they looked like, and how they got here, further studies focused on what they did after they got here. While longitudinal studies would have been preferable, the Commission determined that they were not feasible given the current student records system. Therefore, a detailed analysis of activities during the Fall Semester of 1983 was made instead.

One component of this analysis was conducted by the Senate Academic Standing and Honors Committee, assisted again by Mr. Beardslee and the Dean for Student Services, Manuel Pierson. The object of this study was to develop profiles of students within the main student groups who were in academic difficulty in the Fall of 1983.

The second component of this analysis was conducted by the Commission in cooperation with every academic unit on campus. A large nine-cell sample was drawn across forty-seven different curriculum code groupings and including 5170 undergraduate students (approximately 50% of the total population). This data was used to ascertain what differences in performance might exist among these student groups. A similar study involving over 600 matriculated graduate students (approximately 60% of all such students) also was conducted by the Office of Graduate Study.

The final study was requested of Mr. Beardslee of the Office of Institutional Research to further develop his analysis of the Summer, 1983 graduates to provide profiles of the four undergraduate groups identified in this study.

 II.  Principal  Findings

A. Background Material

The ad hoc committee for literature searches has not yet  completed its report. Documents arising from the Commission on Michigan High Schools have been reviewed. A recommendation especially relevant to the admissions area is that every high school student preparing to enter college should have 4 years of English, 3 years of Mathematics through trigonometry, 3 years of Science,  3 years of Social Studies, and 2 years of a Foreign Language. In addition, explicit recommendations to institutions of higher learning are to:

1.  Require two years of foreign language instruction or demonstrated proficiency for admission or graduation. (Students should be allowed to meet this requirement at either the high school or college level, in line with the recommendations elsewhere to local school boards.)
2.   Develop alternative programs with a strong service component (counselors, social workers, psychologist, and attendance personnel) to help students at different levels of achievement and personal development. It does little good to encourage minority students and others who may have special needs to seek a college education if they are not offered the help needed to stay in classes.
3. Implement policies to ensure equal access to all services and programs without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, marital status, or handicap.

Surveys of the Commission on Michigan High Schools also developed information on current typical high school programs. The next section of this report will deal with that information and will include comparisons of Oakland young FTIACs with typical high school graduates in Michigan.

B. Undergraduate Admissions Procedures

Current Oakland admissions procedures are based upon the policy quoted above, but include some additional features.  First, high school GPA is computed solely on academic subjects—English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Natural Sciences, and Foreign Languages. Programs in SEM, SECS, NRS, and Physical Therapy have different GPA minimums than those used elsewhere within the University.  Nursing and SECS require 3.0 for both FTIACs and transfers with demonstrated Mathematics and Science proficiency.  SEM has a 2.8 floor for both FTIACs and transfers. Physical Therapy requires 3.0 of FTIACs, 2.8 of transfers, and also has a Mathematics and Science requirement.  For SECS and Physical Therapy these special requirements include 3 years of Mathematics (not through trigonometry) and 3 years of Natural Science, performing at the 3.0 level.  In Nursing, 2 years of Mathematics and of Natural Science are required.  In some of these programs, enrollment limits have been set but increased GPA minimums have kept these limits from being activated. Transfer students are evaluated on the basis of their total college GPA, since delays in preparing advance standing reports prevent an evaluation on the basis of what courses actually will transfer. Requirements for second degrees and post baccalaureates are based essentially upon departmental consent.

It should be noted that all of the above procedures apply to initial admission to Oakland University. A feature of recent years has been for certain programs to set additional requirements for admission to the program or for major standing within the program. The Commission has not studied these procedures as such, although individual units may have done so in the context of the performance profiles requested by the Commission.

Other institutions studied were Michigan State, Michigan Tech, University of Michigan, Wayne State, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami of Ohio, and Wright State. The major comparisons were these. Oakland University is virtually alone in not requiring the ACT for applicants. Schools with higher GPA minimums for FTIACs are Michigan State, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Bowling Green. It should be noted that the latter two schools use a GPA that is based upon all courses, while Oakland computes GPA on academic courses only. Schools with higher GPA minimums for transfers are Michigan Tech, University of Michigan and Miami of Ohio. Some of these schools have enrollment limits for some programs, and select the best qualified from applicant pools when the number of applicants exceeds the limits set.

C. Graduate Admissions

Admission requirements at the graduate level vary from program to program with only a few of these requirements being common to all programs. Among the latter are the holding of a baccalaureate with an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or better. Of the nearly 2,000 graduate students enrolled in Fall, 1983. about 55% were fully admitted and 45% were in the special graduate (non matriculated) status. This shows a sharp improvement over a decade ago when only 36% of the graduate students enrolled were matriculated students.

The graduate admissions process (i.e. promotion, recruitment, application, folder compilation) is separate from the work of the Graduate Office and is a function of the Admissions Office. The budgets are separate as well. This creates problems of coordination and task implementation. It is possible that the University saves money with this arrangement since Admissions Office personnel play multiple roles. However, because of this arrangement, the Dean of Graduate Study reports that recruitment efforts are weakened and the University has difficulty attracting students that fully match its faculty expertise or meet its affirmative action goals.

Data presented to the Commission related only to completed applications on which admissions decisions had been made. They showed that graduate programs have well-defined admissions requirements, similar to those of other institutions reviewed. There is wide variation in the manner to which these requirements are adhered in practice, particularly with regard to GRE scores in Biology and entry GPAs in several programs. In the latter case, the fact that about 75% of the students are above 27 years of age plays a key role in down-playing the entry GPA and considering other factors. The wisdom of this practice is borne out in many cases, but its accuracy is somewhat clouded by several apparent instances of loose grading standards. Cloudiness in the process is also produced by the fact that entry GPAs of the under 28-group are frequently below listed standards. General sharpening in adherence to admissions requirements would be in order, but this needs to be accompanied by a much stronger recruitment effort.

Two of the findings indicate that a correction in some current perceptions would be in order:

First, it is commonly believed that most of our graduate students have baccalaureates from Oakland. This was true in only 25% of the sample. Of the other 75%, about one-third of the students had their baccalaureates from institutions outside of Michigan. This seems to imply a strong recruitment effort,  but such is not the case. Rather the distribution results from the students being located or relocated in this area for personal or employment reasons.

Second, it is commonly stated that Oakland has few full-time graduate students. The data shows that about one-fourth of the matriculated students are full-time. Clearly, virtually all non-matriculated students are part-time.

D. Minority Recruitment

We begin with a discussion of minority recruitment at the graduate level. Data showed that 6% of the students sampled were non-U.S. students, that 8.6% were in minority codes, and that 2.3% were Black minority. The last named were located exclusively in education or social science programs. It is well known that the national pool of such students is small and competition for them is great. Nonetheless, recruitment efforts made by Oakland are at least equal to those at peer institutions out-of-state and all institutions in-state, except in one regard. Most of the institutions examined participated in the federally-funded Graduate Professional Opportunities Program, while Oakland did at one time but does not now. That approach has little chance of success (it is limited to doctoral candidates), but must be tried. The better route to take is to develop strong long range faculty-student contacts with corresponding people in selected minority institutions. This approach has already been initiated.

At the undergraduate level the Admissions Office appears to conduct a wide range of activities, and reports that these are supplemented by the activities of several other campus groups. In the comparative (study with the other institutions mentioned above, only Michigan State and the University of Michigan appear to have a larger number of activities than Oakland.

In terms of resources devoted to this effort within the Admissions Office. Mr. Rose noted that a larger proportion of funds is spent upon the recruitment of minority students than their corresponding proportion in the total new enrollment. All minority applicants with GPAs of 3.0 or higher who are residence hall applicants receive scholarship offers. Out of the nine professional staff in the Admissions Office, two are Black and one is Hispanic, but they perform other duties in addition to specializing in minority recruitment.

Mr. Rose reported that competition for talented minority students is keen nationally and quite intense within the state among Michigan institutions. Further, only the University of Michigan appears to have an advantage at this time. In this light it is interesting to note that U-M's minority recruiting success rate is running currently at a 5% rate in the context of a 10% goal. An additional difficulty cited by Oakland's Associate Director of Admissions, William Robinson, is that of a "decade-long increase and shift, particularly on the part of Black students, of enrollment into community college 2-year programs which lead to employment instead of transfer into 4-year degree programs."

In the group of young FTIACs, when the Black students of the Academic Support Program are taken into consideration, the percentage is 14.5%—practically the stated goal of 15%. However, Oakland does not come close to meeting such a goal for Black enrollment in terms of total student population. From a high of 6.7% in 1977 yearly enrollment figures have tended downward to the current figure of 5.3% for the Fall of 1983. It is interesting to note the differences that occur across the student groups under consideration. In the transfer groups, the percentages are very small—2.2% admitted and 2.4% enrolled from 2-year schools in Michigan, 4.2% admitted and 4.6% enrolled from all other transfers.

The arithmetic of Oakland's distribution of undergraduate students, with only about 45% coming from the young FTIAC group, works strongly against developing an ethnic composition comparable to that of the state's population minority unless recruiting gains can be accomplished within the non-FTIAC groups. It should be noted that the Admissions Office is currently making efforts in this direction.\, although Mr. Robinson's comment quoted above should place limitations on our expectations in this area. In addition, it should be noted that our current figures for Blacks among new enrollees, exclusive of those from the Academic Support Program, are very comparable to those for the Black population of Oakland and Macomb Counties combined, the large majority of our students.

An additional problem in this area is the retention of minority students after they enroll.  There appear to be two components to this problem.  The first is related to the nature of the Academic Support Program, which accounts for approximately 75% of Black FTIACs when added to the group of Fall admits. These are students who fall below the general 2.5 GPA minimum and whom we accept as academically disadvantaged. The difficulties of compensating for those disadvantages in a short period of time are enormous, and it should therefore come as no real surprise that fully 40% of our Black students are in various stages of official academic difficulty as opposed to 10% of our White students. Programs for the academically disadvantaged are by definition high risk ones, but this causes problems for retention and consequently for the achievement of these goals (to the extent that large numbers of our Black students are in the Academic Support Program).

A second component of the retention issue is simply one of the difficulties associated with moving from a community that is primarily Black to one that is primarily White. This is a cultural problem which is at least one order of magnitude bigger than the one traditionally encountered by any other college freshman. It is for this reason that successful recruitment of minority staff and faculty is especially important. On the one hand, the role models provided are important for motivational reasons. But equally important, minority staff and faculty can assist the minority student to feel more a part of this academic community and may be able to contribute positively to retention.

E. Profiles of Entering Students

For the Fall, 1983 Semester, 3721 students were admitted to Oakland University and 2415 of these actually enrolled. The distribution of enrolled students across the different groups was:

Group  % Entering Fall. 1983
FTIACs < 23 years old 48.4
FTIACs  > 24 years old 1.3
2-Year Transfers, Michigan 27.2
Other Transfers 14.5
U2/PB 8.5
Total  99.9

We start the discussion with the young (enrolled) FTIACs. These students were not only principally from Michigan but mainly from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties (84.4%). Their academic high school GPA average was 3.14. Approximately 83% of those that applied were accepted. Popular programs were EGR/CIS (21.6%), Nursing/Health (21.0%), and Math/Sci (16.4%). Black students admitted under the standard admissions procedures were 4.3% and other minorities 2.5%. Students enrolled in the Academic Support Program are considered to be entering in Summer, 1983, but if they were added to the student group entering in Fall, Blacks would be approximately 14.5% of the resulting group of young FTIACs.

It is instructive to consider two types of comparisons for these young FTIACs. In the first, we consider them against data obtained from the Commission on Michigan High Schools in terms of course preparation. For the second, we consider them in the light of ACT scores reported in the Detroit Free Press (February 2, 1984) for most high schools in Oakland County.

A summary of significant differences between Oakland young FTIAC academic preparation and state-wide averages includes the following information.

Course Preparation Oakland State-Wide State-Wide College Enrolled  High School
English, 4 years or more 71% 68% 25%
Mathematics, 3 years or more  88%  79%  3%
Social Science, 3 years or more  69%
 
60% 44%
Natural Science, 3 years or more  63%  57% 2%
Foreign Language, 2 years or more  47%  44% 11%
Act Scores Oakland State Wide
English 19.1 17.7
Mathematics  20.9 17.8
Social Sciences  19.0 17.2
Natural Sciences 22.9 21.3
Composite  20.6 18.6

ACT scores are available for approximately 80% of the young FTIAC group. If they are compared to scores in Oakland County, the best match is with those of Birmingham Groves on a subject by subject basis. Composite scores are comparable to those of Groves, Lahser, North Farmington, and Troy. They are inferior to Brother Rice, Rochester Adams, and Seaholm. They are generally superior to all of the 33 other public schools mentioned in the Free Press report.

Although in the total Fall, 1983 population, 5.5% were FTIACs of age 24 or more, this group was so small (1.3%) in the current admissions data that no summary will be given. It should be noted that in the other groups, older students are significantly represented.

Enrolled Group  %  > 24 Years of Age
2-Year Transfers, Michigan  41.4
All Other Transfers  30.3
U2/PB 86-9
All Groups Enrolled, Fall, 1983 25.2

We consider next the students who enrolled from 2 year institutions in the State of Michigan. The average college GPA of students who applied was 3.03 and 97.6% of these were accepted. Students from Oakland County were 45.3% of the enrollees of this group and Macomb County 40.7%. The most popular areas for these students were Mathematics/Science (18.1%), Nursing/Health (17.7%), and Economics/Management (15.9%). Class placements were freshman | (19.5%), sophomore (37.6%), and junior (42.9%).  Black students were 2.4% of this total and other minorities 2.0%. 

For students who otherwise transferred, the average GPA of those applying was 2.84 and 92.4% of these were accepted. Here the county distribution was Oakland 52.9% and Macomb 25%. The three most popular areas for these students were Mathematics/Sciences (24.8%), Nursing/Health (18.2%), and Arts/Humanities/Letters (14.2%). Class placements were freshman (22.1%), sophomore (42.1%), junior (33.4%), and senior (2.4%). Black students were 4.6% of this group and other minorities 3.0%.

A similar summary of students within the second undergraduate degree/post baccalaureate group is given as follows. The main county distribution was Oakland 68% and Macomb 21.4%. Essentially all the program placement was to Undecided (89.8%;?). Black students were 4.1% of this total and other minorities 6.1%.
Within the total enrolled group, including students from the Academic Support Program, 9.1% were Black.

F. Profiles of Students' Performance in Course

The focus of the studies associated with this section was on the performance of all these separate groups in the different separate curricula into which the admissions procedures had placed them. The graduate version has been completed. The undergraduate versions are still incomplete, but some significant preliminary analysis has been done. We begin with the graduate situation and then will consider the undergraduate.

The main result from the graduate study, as alluded to previously, involved grading policies. Data from the 28 programs examined show that correlation coefficients between entry GPAs and Oakland GPAs have the following numerical values:
 

.84 .74 .66 .59 .48 .35 .20 .18 .01
    .65 .59 .47 .39 .23 .17 .05
      .58 .49 .37 .28 .19 .07
        .40   .24    
            .29    
            .27    
            .27    
            .21    

This is quite a range. These numbers and the corresponding regression lines, if drawn, demonstrate clearly how varied the contribution of the entry GPA is to the course GPA earned at Oakland. In several programs, it appears that students are virtually assured high grades. While there is a certain amount of looseness in admissions practices and in grading, probationary and dismissal policies are handled rather tightly. That is to say, graduation requirements are taken quite seriously. This practice certainly contributes to the quality of the programs.

As will be discussed elsewhere, graduate programs have a thorough periodic review procedure. Within that mechanism, adherence to entry and exit requirements and grading practices should be examined and corrective measures recommended. The mechanisms for improvement are in place and  working.

At the undergraduate level, there were three components of this study. The first considered the performance of all students across all curricula. This study was divided between the Commission and the various academic departments. The Commission's responsibility was to obtain a systematic sample of the different student groups at two levels, freshman/sophomore and junior/senior, for the first four  groups. U2/PBs have no class standing. The resulting 9 types (4x2 + 1) were sampled from the Fall, 1983 enrollment Student Record tape across 47 curriculum code groupings. Whenever possible, cells of size 35 were constructed.

All relevant data available on that Student Record Tape was subjected to a preliminary SPSS summary and distributed to the academic units along with the names within their samples. These units were, as time and resources permitted, to check for any gross bias in the samples drawn and to report on any significant performance differences that they could detect at the individual course level. In the meantime the Commission would further study the data on the Student Records tape. This preliminary analysis has been done; the work of the various academic units has been only partially completed to this date.

The most significant finding so far is that there were substantial differences in performance with regard to transfers from 2-year colleges in Michigan at the freshman/sophomore level. There were three separate statistically significant indicators of this phenomenon which will be described below.

First, differences were particularly noticeable in these areas: Engineering, Psychology, Undecided Nursing and Health, Undecided Mathematics and Science, and Undecided Letters. The performance indicator used in detecting these differences was the API.  In all the cases mentioned above the average API was under 2.3, more than .3 below the average API of young FTIACs in these curricula, and in the ,presence of cell sizes of 25 or more students for both groups.

Second, this difference was not just confined to a few curricular groupings. If we ignore the cell size and count in how many of the different curricula a group has an average API of under 2.3, we see sharp differences. The following table illustrates this. The second column gives the number of curricular groupings that had any students of this particular type. The first column gives the percentage of curricular groupings where the student type had an average API of under 2.3. As an example the table shows that over half (51.2%) of the 41 curricular groups with 2-year transfers at the freshman/sophomore level have those students at an average API of under 2.3.
 

Group  % API <2.3 # of Curricula
FTIACs <23, FR/SO 7.0 43
FTIACs  >23, FR/SO  12.5. 32
2-Year Transfer, FR/SO  51.2  41
Other Transfer, FR/SO 22.5 40
FTIACs  <23, JR/SR  2.2 45
FTIACs  >JR/SR 18.2  3
2-Year Transfer, JR/SR  6.5 46
Other Transfer, JR/SR 2.3  43
PB/U2 11.8 34

Third, at the freshman/sophomore level, the standard deviation of the 2-year transfer is significantly greater than that of young FTIACs across all curricula with an F-value of approximately 2.2.

Group Mean API Stand. Dev.
FTIACs  <  23, FR/SO  2.68  .67
2-Year Transfers, Michigan, FR/SO 2.31  1.02

The second component of the undergraduate performance profiles, students in academic difficulty, also echoes this finding about 2-year transfers at the freshman/sophomore level. The study is only partially complete but significant items that have emerged up to now will be summarized, based upon the report submitted by David Beardslee to the Senate committee. The total population figures for the Fall, 1983 Semester included 4.1% coded as on probation and 6.5% coded as dismissible. Of this latter group 62% actually were dismissed while the remainder (2.5% of the total population) were continued in the Dismissal Option Program. In the following discussion, the different class codes will be combined into a single category - academic difficulty.

Here are the summaries for the four undergraduate groups:

  % Academic Difficulty FR/SO % Academic Difficulty JR/SR
FTIACs < 23 13.0 3.2
FTIACs  >24 18.6 12.5
2-Year Transfers 22.6 7.2
Other Transfers 14.8 5.7

One should note that since the older FTIAC group is a much smaller size than that of the others, more variability is likely there.
Otherwise there is a solid echo of the general performance profile noted above. It extends even to the curricula noted, EGR/CIS,Math/Science, and Health. The general problems associated with all undecided groups are also noted. When the figures are broken down by male and female students, the males from the 2-year schools appear particularly prone to academic difficulty.

The other significant finding that has emerged from the preliminary analysis of students in academic difficulty is the disproportionate number of Black students in academic difficulty. The resulting table indicates the differences; cases based on fewer than 35 individuals were omitted.

% in Academic Difficulty

  FTIACS < 23 FTIACS < 23 2 year transfers
  FR/SO JR/SR JR/SR
White 10.0 2.0 7.0
Black 40.2 21. 18.2

The analysis of the data so far has not subdivided these groups into subgroups admitted using the greater than 2.5 GPA basic minimum or the less than 2.5 GPA alternative. If, as would be likely from the distributions described previously, a majority of the Black students in academic difficulty have participated in the Academic Support Program, it appears that these academically disadvantaged students are not being supported at a level sufficient to permit them to function as successfully as their White counterparts at either the FR/SO or the JR/SR level.

The final component of the student performance profiles considered these groups' representation at the time of graduation. Unfortunately, this study was seriously flawed by an eccentricity in our student record system which eliminates previous information on students who remain at Oakland for further work (10% in this study). From the resulting study, of interest was the fact that the average time between entry and graduation is four and one-third years for the FTIACs and a little over three years for the transfers. Additionally 18% of the FTIACs took some credit at other institutions along the way to obtaining their Oakland degree. Positive correlations, within major programs, were detected between Oakland and high school GPA.

G.  Summary of Findings

We now summarize our findings with respect to how they compare with previous goals and procedures that we quoted at the beginning of this chapter as institutional policies.

1. Admission of young FTIACs: Current procedures seem to be producing students whose credentials compare very favorably with state-wide averages and favorably with averages locally. However, whether this is equal to substantial preparation is questionable. That approximately 30% have not had 4 years of English is clearly not satisfactory. More serious problems also appear when the number of years of Mathematics studied is compared to the results of the placement examination given by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Only 7% place beyond trigonometry and only 30% place beyond Algebra 2 as opposed to the clearly over 65% who should according to the number of years of Mathematics as reported having been taken in high school. Within their coursework at Oakland FTIACs performed at about the 2.6 level in API during the freshman and sophomore years combined.

2. There were not enough FTIACs over age 23 to yield accurate analysis.

3. Admission of transfers from 2-year colleges: While no problems were detected at the junior/senior level, significant ones were at the freshman/sophomore level. Our current procedures for these students at this level do not appear to be producing students who are "well prepared for work at a senior college."

4. Admission of other transfers: Current procedures appear to be working satisfactorily or at least comparable to those for young FTIACs.

5. Admission of second undergraduate degree and other post baccalaureates: No special problems are indicated by the studies conducted.

6. Admission of Minority Students: Goals for the recruitment of Black students at the freshmen level are close to being achieved, but do not extend to the total population. Difficulties in recruitment are especially noticeable within the groups other than young FTIACs.

7. Academically Disadvantaged Students: If the goals of this program are to provide some form of a college experience to academically disadvantaged students, then this policy is working just beyond the upper end of the limits placed upon it (10% of the freshman class) in the Senate legislation. If the goals are to provide a support system within which students can move to a successful college experience as indicated in the Role and Mission Statement, then the data indicates that serious difficulties are being encountered.

8. Admission of Mature Persons: As expected, this group is a non-trivial proportion of newly-enrolled students. No difficulties in this general category were noted. In fact, within Mr. Beardslee's study for the Senate Academic Standing and Honors Committee, he found that "overall academic progress indicator levels favor the older students in most cases."

9. Admission for course work only: Some questions were asked on the Alumni Survey regarding the use of the non-matriculated category. It was found that only 1.2% of the respondents had first entered Oakland through such an option at an off-campus site.

10. Comparisons with other institutions: The major differences noted were that Oakland does not require the ACT and tended to have somewhat lower GPA minimums for high school admits. However in half of the cases with higher GPA requirements the schools allowed non-academic courses to be included in that average.

11. Admissions Policy: While not the object of a specific study, it is apparent that Oakland does not have an admission policy as such, but rather a collection of various procedures which allow  wide variation in their application.

III. Formal Commission Findings

A.. At the undergraduate level, Oakland University has an admissions policy which consists of a set of procedures that allow for a broad range of interpretation and provide little standardized data for guidance beyond that provided by the GPA at the previous institution. Given that framework, the Admissions Office does a reasonably good job of enrolling students that appear to be above the average of the available pool in Southeastern Michigan.

B. The group of enrolled students shows a good balance of both traditional and non-traditional students drawn from high schools, community colleges, other four-year institutions, and baccalaureates returning for additional study. Goals for minority student recruitment are being met within the group of young high school admits, but recruitment difficulties within the other sources of applicants hinder the extension of these goals across the entire student body.

C. Within the group of enrolled students, there are several indicators that the level of preparation is not as strong as it was in years past and is not likely to significantly improve quickly. These indications arise from regional manifestations of concerns raised in the "Nation at Risk" study,3 local aspects of the concerns raised by the Commission on Michigan High Schools, and actual results obtained from various placement tests administered to entering Oakland students.

D. Beyond these difficulties which are national in scope, there appear to be difficulties which are more specific to Oakland's stated goals in the admissions area. The first is that a smooth transition for community college students at the freshman/sophomore level is not proceeding as well as it is at the junior level. The second is that Oakland's support program for its academically disadvantaged students does not appear to be having the results desired.

E. The Role and Mission Statement states that "enrollments are not permitted to exceed numbers consistent with preserving the high quality of instruction." There are no clear University-wide procedures identified for achieving this goal.

F. At the graduate level, the admissions criteria and procedures are quite varied, since they are primarily the responsibility of individual programs. There appears to be inconsistency in the application of some of these procedures.

G. Overall recruitment of graduate students for most programs appears to be limited to the local area. Approximately one-half of the students in graduate courses are from the non-matriculated category.

IV. Recommendations

A. The following proposed policy statement responds to issues recently raised at both the national and state level as they apply to an admissions policy for Oakland University. This proposed policy should be reviewed by the Senate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee and presented to the University Senate for its possible modification and approval early in the Fall Semester of 1984. If approved, specific procedures should be developed for its implementation by the Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid and presented to the Senate by April 1, 1985. Simultaneously, the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost should present his views to the Senate on the long-range implementation of the total policy:

OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
ADMISSIONS POLICY

The undergraduate admissions policy of Oakland University derives from its position as a major university within the system of public education of the State of Michigan. Consequently, it endeavors to interact constructively with the other members of that system, to serve the educational needs of Michigan, and to impact positively upon the lives of the students that are accepted for admission. That policy is:

1) To select students with an approved college preparatory curriculum which can serve as a foundation for further development in one of the University's undergraduate programs. Specifically, such a program includes as a minimum the equivalent, at the high school level, of 4 years of English, 3 years of Mathematics, 3 years of Natural Science, 3 years of Social Science, and 2 years of a Foreign Language.

2) To select students with a strong likelihood of success in the University's programs. To provide for an accurate assessment of that likelihood, applicants are required to submit relevant information including high school GPA in academic subjects, class rank, reading level, ACT or SAT scores, and previous college GPA when appropriate. In addition, Oakland also actively seeks out students of high potential who might otherwise appear to be academically disadvantaged in terms of some of the above indicators.

3) To select students on the basis of the ability of existing academic support systems to address their individual needs. The support systems should provide a smooth transition from the admissions process to the advising process, accurate placement in the initial courses of instruction, and appropriate assistance in the correction of common weaknesses of background.

4) To draw from the pool of qualified candidates defined in 1) and 2) above in order- to create an academic community which reflects the diverse ethnic backgrounds and talents of the entire society. Oakland University strongly believes that all of its students are enriched by a full exposure to the various perspectives and experiences of a heterogeneous student body. Accordingly, appropriate goals are set periodically for the overall composition of the student body among the varieties of traditional and non-traditional groups of students that Oakland serves.

5) To achieve in its final student body a balance of program enrollments that will be supportive of quality instruction across the diverse curricula of a modern, complex.

Many components of the University community cooperate in the implementation of this policy. The faculty through the Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, as assisted by the Director of Admissions, develops procedures adequate to identify a pool of applicants with the required preparation levels and positive indicators of likely success. The Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost with advice from the Vice President for Student Affairs, the academic deans, the Director of Admissions, the Director of Institutional Research, and the chair of the above Senate committee determines appropriate enrollment goals within the pool of students identified as qualified candidates. In short, implementation responsibilities for items 1) and 2) fall to the Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, while the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost is ultimately responsible for items 3), 4), and 5). Both parties report to the Senate periodically upon the manner in which they are carrying out these responsibilities.

B. In developing procedures to implement the new policy, the Senate Committee should be asked to include the following features:

1) A phased program of increasing, specific high school preparatory course requirements to meet policy 1) by Fall, 1990. When feasible, competency goals within the different subject areas should be recommended.

2) Required submission of ACT or SAT scores for all applicants by Fall, 1986. Oakland should participate in the ACT Standard Research Service. This would provide for entering students an assessment of their chance of a C or more in up to 40 different courses and various majors at Oakland.

3) To communicate early and clearly that writing is valued at Oakland, a biographical essay should be required of each applicant.

4) Consider transfer students essentially the same as high school admits unless the credit equivalent of at least two years of full-time college work has been completed. Then, assessment of that work should only include courses which are transferable. Therefore, these evaluations must be based on advanced standing reports.

5) Establish practical application deadlines for all students that will permit the considered evaluation of submitted material and the smooth initiation of the orientation and advising process.

C. To facilitate the provision and the identification of needed academic support, all students should be required to take placement tests in Mathematics, Rhetoric, and Reading prior to enrollment. Consideration should be given to using ACT instruments for placement by the Center for Academic Skill Development (as proposed in Chapter 4).

D. The current Academic Support Program for the academically disadvantaged should be restructured. It is recommended that the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs jointly appoint a committee charged to design a complete one to two year program with suitable summer components that would provide specific requirements for continuation in the program at specifically defined stages. This committee should also recommend which University regulations in the areas of financial aid and academic progress should be modified during a student participation in the program. Relationships with the proposed Center for Academic Skill Development should be defined. This committee should be asked to report by April 1, 1985. When a program is approved, fixed and variable costs should be determined, sources of external and internal funding identified, and corresponding enrollment goals then established in the context of these facts.

E. The graduate program coordinators should be asked to review their admissions requirements in the light of their current admissions practices and to make them consistent whenever discrepancies appear.

F. The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Study should initiate and conduct, with the help of the Office of Institutional Research, a longitudinal study of non-matriculated graduate students. This study should:

1) determine the composition and educational background of this group of students

2) analyze their course selections

3) determine the extent to which these students remain at Oakland, seek admission to graduate programs, ultimately succeed in doing so, and finally obtain degrees.

G. To pursue the instructional goals set for graduate education, graduate recruitment activities should be strengthened. Consequently, the University should review the organizational structure of the total graduate operation to examine the feasibility of having an integrated office for handling recruitment, publications, admissions and program implementation.

CHAPTER II --Competency and Proficiency Standards

The second item of the Commission's charge was:

to assess whether the existing undergraduate curricula assure that each degree recipient attains the ability to cope with the demands of a complex social and technological world through the development of substantial competencies in written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking, and to recommend revisions and introductions of standards and requirements wherever warranted.

In addressing this particular item in the context of President Champagne's exhortation to assess "how well we are doing what we say we are doing," the Commission found the following excerpt from the University's Role and Mission Statement to be an appropriate prior statement of institutional goals in this area:

Oakland University provides rigorous educational programs. A strong core of liberal arts is the basis on which undergraduates develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential for successful living and active concerned citizenship. A variety of majors and specialized curricula prepare students for post-baccalaureate education, professional schools or careers directly after graduation. Each program provides a variety of  courses and curricular experiences to ensure an enriched life along with superior career preparation or enhancement.

The competency levels implied by "substantial" and the reference to "degree recipient" were interpreted to envisage ones beyond those necessary for survival in undergraduate courses and equivalent, rather to those common regarded as the hallmarks of a sound university education. Finally, it was turned that these competency levels were but steps toward the ultimate goal of developing the "skills, knowledge, and altitudes essential for successful living and active concerned citizenship."

I. Methodology

While this issue of competency development is indeed central to the instructional mission of the institution, ready means for making a reasoned assessment of our current status were not obvious. This was initially frustrating and ultimately a matter of concern. Six studies finally were selected to attempt to develop hard information. The first was to gather information from the literature as to how others deal with this issue both practically and theoretically. The ad hoc committee used in the admissions area was again called upon. The Senate General Education Committee was asked to file a report on the relationship of that program to the development of these competencies with possible implications for admissions of all students, and transfer students in particular. The remaining four studies consisted of the faculty, alumni, student, and employer surveys. All were designed to measure the assessments of major concerned parties of our efforts in this area. The faculty survey attempted to gather other information as well.

The faculty survey was distributed to all full-time faculty and to all part-time faculty who had taught at least one course in the Fall Semester of 1983. While it called upon each respondent to express an opinion on relevant areas for increased attention, the majority of its questions sought information on specific course practices which might be generally considered as supportive or necessary for the development of these competencies. Additional questions attempted to identify major influences upon each individual instructor in the adoption of these practices. As was indicated previously, the Commission was greatly assisted by a considerable effort on the part of Professor William Bezdek of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the College of Arts and Sciences in the development of the questionnaire, establishment of coding procedures for the accurate transmission of data, and initial statistical analysis.

It was not anticipated that the results of the faculty survey would establish that these competencies were being developed, but rather that the degree of absence of related activities in actual courses would indicate the appropriate level of concern for their development. For example, if students are seldom asked to write, it is hard to imagine how they will become proficient writers.

The alumni and student surveys sampled the perceptions of people who had either received an Oakland education, or who were completing one. A key
aspect of these was to use sections of an ACT-developed survey which contained questions that we found to be particularly relevant and for which a large amount of normative data was available (in excess of 10,000 respondents). A sample size adequate to detect differences of five percentile points or more between Oakland's data and Chat of the normative group was determined.

For the alumni survey, the previous CAMP alumni response rate was considered in determining the final sample size, and a systematic sample was drawn from the alumni relations computer files. This original random sample drew graduates of undergraduate programs in the same approximate proportions that they were represented by in the Summer, 1983 graduation list. This was done to accurately reflect the current programmatic mix which is different from that in the alumni computer file. There, previous program preferences for the Arts and Sciences are still evident and neglecting this factor could have produced some bias in the sample.

The student survey was essentially the same as the alumni survey but also included some questions in the STUDENT CONGRESS supplement. This was in return for the Congress' offered assistance in survey distribution and coding. Only students with ninety credits or more (seniors) were included. The sample size was determined as for the alumni survey, and since this amounted to a sizable proportion of all such students, all seniors enrolled in the Fall, 1983 Semester were surveyed.

The employer survey involved employers or potential employers of twenty-five or more Oakland graduates (approximately 150 employers). This instrument was developed by Professor Ravi Parameswaran of the School of Economics and Management. As was indicated previously, his efforts were considerable and were greatly appreciated. This survey asked for promotion patterns of Oakland graduates and assessments of their strengths and/or weaknesses. Comparisons were sought between them and graduates of other state institutions, other U.S. institutions, and the respondents' own imagined "top ten" institutions as a third comparative group. Follow-up interviews were conducted with sources of negative comments for additional clarification and amplification.

II. Principal Findings

In this section, the findings that have been so far derived from the studies are summarized, and an indication of the status of each as of the time of the drafting of this chapter is given.

A. Literature Search

The literature search is not yet completed. One article, otherwise brought to our attention, was particularly thought-provoking. This was Astin's "Excellence and Equity in American Education," which was presented to the National Commission on Excellence in Education.It is here that Astin argues for a "value added" concept of excellence in education whose "basic argument...is that true excellence resides in the ability of the school or college to affect its students favorably, to enhance their intellectual development, and to make a positive difference in their lives." Astin also argues that "the value-added approach is not a substitute for academic standards, nor does it require any change in such standards."

Astin's entire program with its use of pretests, posttests, and other feedback devices raises a number of interesting points. While many would question their applicability at the individual course level, their implications at the institutional level are more defensible.  For us, a more precise statement of the challenge inherent in these ideas would be:

Let us suppose that Oakland has established standards and requirements that assure that all of its degree recipients obtain the stated goals. How good a job does Oakland then do in advancing the students that it admits toward these goals? Does Oakland indeed "affect its students favorably,...enhance their intellectual development, and...make a positive difference in their lives"?

Responding to these questions would be an interesting exercise for us all; it would extend from the total institution all the way down to the individual faculty member.

B. General Education

The response from the Senate General Education Committee was that theoretically the structure of the new General Education program is designed to support precisely both the goals implied for competency development as well as those for the development of successful human beings who are active, concerned citizens. However, given that the program is not fully implemented, they chose not to make any further claims for the actual results that would be achieved. They did note that a writing component would be a desirable feature in the courses approved for inclusion in the program.

The Commission finds that the General Education program bears a heavy responsibility in the development of the desired competencies. As the single common component of every Oakland undergraduate degree, it is within this program that the initial commitment must be made and the development begun. Later, enhancement and further development can and must occur in the courses of the major, but the overall program can hardly be any better than its roots in General Education. It is in General Education that Oakland either does or does not deliver on the "strong core of liberal arts" promised in the Role and Mission Statement quoted previously.

In addition, because General Education forms a large part of many students' early programs, it should be recognized that it is within General Education that Oakland begins to communicate its standards and to indicate how they may differ from the student's previous institution. To a large extent, the "rigor" of Oakland's programs will be revealed in its courses of General Education.

Accordingly, the program in General Education is a complex one, and the successful implementation of the new program will be difficult, requiring the active support of the entire University community. The Commission notes that not the least of these difficulties is, paradoxically, a consequence of one of its strengths. The strength referred to is Oakland's oft-stated commitment not to use graduate students as instructors of record in its college-level introductory courses. While a definite advantage of this is to assure experienced regular faculty in charge of its General Education courses, it does limit the options available in the actual conduct of many of them. There are no graduate students available to lead small discussion sections or to grade students' papers as is usually the case in many institutions of comparable complexity and size to Oakland. The successful resolution of this anomaly is a continuing challenge for us all.

C. Faculty Survey

The analysis of the faculty survey is not yet complete. As one can see by referring to the survey in Appendix III, it was a lengthy instrument seeking detailed information about specific course practices. An almost equal amount of information also was obtained about the characteristics of the course and of the instructor. All of this requires further, careful, statistical analysis to ascertain the actual relationships that exist. In this section we shall report upon results that have emerged from the preliminary analysis. Examples will be given of the apparent levels of activities that are associated with some of the desired competencies.

The survey was distributed to about 360 full-time faculty and visitors and to about 185 part-time faculty. The response rate for the full-time faculty was approximately 46% and for the part-time faculty approximately 26%. Consequently, there is a bias in the sample to over-represent the full-time faculty as indicated below.

  Full-time Part-time
Distribution, fall 1983 66% 34%
Faculty survey  77% 23%

Across the different ranks the correspondences are fairly good. Instructors tend to be slightly over-represented, and full professors are slightly under-represented. The 437 courses in our sample were most often taught by experienced, full-time faculty who had been at Oakland for over 7 years. The courses varied considerably in size—a quarter of them being small (less than 20 students) and the remainder evenly divided between medium-sized and large classes.

Slightly more than two-thirds of those responding had appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Most courses (regardless of the unit in which they were taught) were directed toward majors in that field; courses offered for fulfillment of General Education requirements accounted for about 25% of all those taught, and service courses for another 19% of all courses in our sample. Before addressing specific information related to the courses, several observations about those conducting the courses can be made.  The first is that between full-time and part-time faculty the number of (statistically) significant differences in course practices is very small—many fewer than between members of different disciplines. There may be only two. Full-time faculty are more likely to employ alternate final examination methods to the traditional closed book final, and they also are more likely to assign papers of more than fifteen pages in length. With respect to matters requiring additional institutional attention (Question #93), part-time people are more likely to call for more opportunities for students to specialize within their curriculum.

When the faculty is considered across the disciplines, the variety of teaching styles is much in evidence. However, when the major influences affecting how a particular course is to be structured are considered (Question #29, e.g.), no significant differences appear. The ordering of these influences, as self-reported, is from greatest to least: course material, class level, student background, class size, personal preference, and need to meet other University obligations. There may be some indication of faculty overload here as 30% of the respondents count this last category as of non-minimal influence in setting course structure.

When items for increased curricular attention are considered, differences occur. The item of the greatest concern is critical and analytic skills (78.5% for increased attention). Here, the faculty from the natural and social sciences are weighted toward increased attention, while those from the humanities and the schools are relatively weighted toward the opinion that enough attention is being given. The area of next greatest concern is writing (76.2% for increased attention). Here, the support appears uniform across all the major discipline groups. After these two topics, concern falls off to about the 50% level for increased attention for oral communication and quantitative skills. For admissions, 42% indicate need for increased attention. With quantitative skills and admissions, the same pattern of disciplinary differences occurs as did previously with respect to critical and analytic skills.

Some of the specific course data is summarized below:

Tests or quizzes used—Yes, 83.2%
On tests, importance of short answer questions—Major, 32.8%
On tests, importance of problem solutions—Major, 62.1%
On tests, importance of essay questions—Major, 47.9%
Final examination given—Yes, 87.0%
Type of final examination—Closed book, 77.7%
Final examination cumulative—Yes, 70.0%
Homework or papers assigned—Yes, 78.4%
On assignments, importance of library papers—Major, 23.0%
On assignments, importance of analysis/criticism papers—Major, 37.0%
Papers over 15 pages assigned—Yes 19.5%

Now, of course, not all of the activities above are necessarily relevant to any one course, but the numbers indicate their general level within the courses of the sample. The analysis becomes more complicated when one tries to measure the effect of such factors as course type, class level, class size, and discipline (none of which are often independent). It is here that the bulk of the additional analysis has to be done. Topics to study, in addition to those above, include such items as grading schemes, other types of papers, and patterns of time spent in class discussion.

In the preliminary analysis there are indications that the competency developments are more often being addressed in small, advanced, or (some) major classes (or perhaps some combination of these). There are also indications that they are addressed less in General Education courses and that these courses may be less rigorous. Whether this is due to the typical large class size of these courses or not is not yet clear, but the following tables illustrate some of these tendencies:

Importance of Analysis or Criticism Papers

  Major Moderate Minimal Not Used Total
Class Size          
< 20 46% 13% 1% 40% 100%
20-39 41% 8% 7% 44% 100%
>40 21% 11% 1% 67% 100%
           

Importance of Library Papers:

  Major Moderate Minimal Not Used Total
Level          
100-299 15% 7% 4% 74% 100%
OVER 300 31% 15% 5% 49% 100%

Required Paper over 15 pages

Course Type Yes No Total
General Education 8% 92% 100%
Majors 26% 74% 100%
Service 94% 6% 100%

Importance of Essay Questions:

Course Type Major Moderate Minimal Total
General Education 61% 16% 23% 100%
Majors 50% 18% 32% 100%
Service 20% 11% 69% 100%

Again the reader is cautioned that as in any large data collection, interpretations will vary.  It is the responsibility of further analysis to clarify apparent patterns. Obvious questions for that analysis include what levels of activities exist across major discipline groups, what kind of influence does class size actually carry, and which bears more influence, class level or being a course primarily for majors.  In addition an attempt should be made to resolve some apparently contradictory responses in the data. For example, the "material" is given as the major determining factor by a very large margin, but there are still widely varying patterns of structure. Also, does the level of concern about writing match the level of activities that are required involving writing, or is it just a problem everyone wants someone else to solve?

The total analysis should provide a first approximation as to what Oakland's standards are at the current time. These should be reviewed periodically by the faculty, since a standard is not a very effective rallying point if it is never seen. This common knowledge of what others are expecting their students to do serves as a  valuable balance. Naturally, students often prefer the easiest path. Instructors that appear to imply that such a path is feasible undermine those who would lead their students along one that is more rigorous.

D. Alumni Survey

The analysis of the alumni survey is complete from the point of view of comparing Oakland alumni to those of the normative data. The sample size obtained has provided a stronger test than is customary in such studies, and we can have a high degree of confidence in the existence of most of the differences claimed to have been detected. The complete technical presentation and specific cautions are included in the full report on this survey in the support file. In that report comparisons will be made between Oakland alumni and alumni of both public and private institutions. In this summary we will focus just upon comparisons with public institutions. The actual questionnaire is in Appendix III, and the reader may wish to insert a thumb there before proceeding further.

While the primary interest was in comparing our graduates' perceptions of the contribution that Oakland had made to their development in twenty-four different areas, additional information was gained as well. This can be divided into two parts, one demographic and the other dealing with perceptions of the institution as a whole. Our summary will begin there. Please keep in mind that here we describe only areas of (statistically) significant differences between Oakland and the normative data.

The Oakland alumni were older, with more representatives of the thirty-year category than those in their mid-twenties. The normative group contained more Education majors and fewer majors in Engineering/Computer and Information Science or the general letters area. Although not explicitly provided for within the design, the Oakland sample contained a good match to the current mix of students among the main admissions groups described previously. There were more Oakland alumni who had attended for three years and less who had attended for two years. The Oakland group contained fewer who planned to obtain a Ph.D. and more with no further educational plans. Of those planning to continue their education, more Oakland alumni were doing so for increased earning power and fewer for licensure or other certification. In that pursuit more Oakland  alumni had taken from 0-10 additional credits, but fewer fell within the categories of 11-30 additional credits or of non-credit courses.

The responses in the area of institutional assessment were interesting since several were directly related to the goals of the Role and Mission Statement quoted above. There was no difference in the area of preparation for further study. One should note the actual numbers here since they show that 52.6% found themselves either "more than adequately" (34.6%) or "exceptionally well (18.0%) prepared. With respect to attending Oakland again 65.0% said "probably" or "definitely" yes, but the "definitely" group was smaller than that of the normative group. There is also a difference in whether a person would elect the same major again, with more Oakland alumni indicating a definite change. The reason for the choice of college showed strong differences (over ten percentile points) with the location factor much greater for Oakland alumni and fusing less relevance for the factors of cost and program offerings than in the normative data. Finally, the assessment of overall institutional quality was higher for the Oakland group as was their assessment of the resulting improvement in the quality of their life regardless of the financial benefits ("definitely yes - 72.1%).

 The third section of the alumni survey dealt with contributions to personal growth in a number of academic and nonacademic areas. For each, the possible responses were that the school had contributed "very much," "somewhat," and "very little." We checked for differences within each of the two extreme categories. Oakland alumni had higher responses in the "very little" category for the growth areas of speaking effectively, managing personal/family finances, using the library, understanding consumer issues, caring for one's own personal and mental health, and recognizing rights, responsibilities, and privileges as a citizen. Of these, the greatest difference was in health with the library close behind and the least difference was in citizenship. Fewer credited us with contributing "very much" in the area of following directions. On the other side, fewer said that we had contributed "very little" in the areas of writing and appreciating the arts. Even more positively, more said that we had contributed "very much in understanding different philosophies and cultures, defining and solving problems, and in the area of recognizing assumptions making logical inferences, and reaching correct conclusions. Of these, the greatest difference was for the topic of different philosophies and cultures.

Now while we must remember that these are measurements of what our past students think that we did for them (as it is also for the normative data against which we are comparing ourselves) it still should be a source of institutional pride that those ideals that we have elected to stress in our curriculum, particularly a "strong core of liberal arts," have both been perceived and appreciated by our past students. Correspondingly, those areas that we have not stressed so strongly also reveal themselves, but the overall picture provided of an institution capable of setting some educational goals and achieving a corresponding impact upon its students should provide with a confidence in our ability to deal with the new challenges that we face today.

Additional work is required on the alumni survey to investigate what differences exist internally to the Oakland data among graduates of different major curriculum groupings. In addition, the responses of graduates of different time periods should be examined to see if any changes seem to be occurring in their perceptions.

E. Student Survey

The preliminary analysis of the student survey is not yet available. It will include differences between our current students and our |alumni. It will also require careful analysis of the normative data to determine how these perceptions appear to evolve over time within the normative group. It will be important to determine whether the positive aspects of the alumni survey extend to our current students.

F Employer Survey

The preliminary analysis of the employer survey is not yet available. While it is still subjective data, its analysis will provide some external evaluation of characteristics of our graduates.

III. Formal Commission Findings

A. The data of the alumni survey indicates that Oakland has had some success in the past developing competencies in written communication, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking. The new program in General Education demonstrates a continuing commitment to extend these competencies to students within all the curricula of the University. However, data from our other studies also indicates a coming decade or two of poorly prepared secondary students. This will require an increased effort to obtain the goals Oakland has set for each undergraduate degree recipient. To be effective, this effort will require increased attention to our students' development. It is a development that is not guaranteed merely by the successful completion of courses.

B. With respect to the particular areas of written communication, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking, the Commission finds:

1. It is necessary to write well to function well in our society. Development of writing skills requires and enhances development of critical thinking. It balances the tendency created by the increasing complexity of technology to deal with issues in quantifiable forms. Oakland should redouble its efforts in this area; the University should set and pursue as a long-term goal producing graduates known for writing well.

2. Substantial quantitative skills are necessary for a person to successfully cope with the complex, technological world that is emerging. At Oakland, current program preferences of many students provide multiple opportunities for such development. Indeed, it is an absolute requirement in many cases. Current mechanisms exist for extending these opportunities to all students, but there are limitations to their full utilization because of the poor preparation students have in mathematics.

3 In the area of oral communication, continuing restrictions of resources for both staff and space make a formal university program infeasible. Wherever there are opportunities for improvements, these should be pursued actively.

4. As implied above, the active development of both written and quantitative skills supports the development of critical thinking and general intellectual enhancement. Suitable means for assessing what kind of contribution an Oakland education is making should be developed.

IV.   Recommendations

A.   The development of competencies in written and oral communication,
quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking is at the heart of our instructional efforts. All academic units must make an appropriate contribution. The Commission recommends that this effort be considered a balanced responsibility between the General Education program and the programs of the individual majors as follows:

1) General Education's role is a key one in that it is the only common component of all curricula and is essentially the first one encountered by the students. As was mentioned before whatever is going to happen must be started there and started well.  The essential limitation faced by General Education is that most of its courses have high enrollments, and ready means of providing much individual attention to students within them are not generally available.

However, working within these limitations and seeking to improve upon them whenever possible, the Senate General Education Committee should be asked to:

(a) Evaluate any proposed course not only on the basis of its subject matter, but also on the basis of what contribution can be made within that course to competency development;

(b) Once the entire program is implemented, review the patterns that develop in the students' sequences of courses, and assess the balance of the competencies being developed;

(c) Periodically receive reports on particular General Education courses and reauthorize them or not on the basis of their apparent ability, in practice, to address the dual goals of subject matter and competency development; and

d) Continue to exercise a leadership role in the University's developing pursuit of these general instructional objectives.

2) It is within the individual major programs that the competency development begun in General Education must be carried on and realized. In the small classes which are common for the courses in the major, they have the opportunity to further develop these competencies in the course of mastering the particularities of that discipline. Accordingly, all program directors and others with similar curricular responsibilities should be asked to actively encourage their faculty to take full advantage of all such opportunities that arise within their classes. They should attempt to assess during program reviews what kinds of results are being achieved. All major programs should either require extensive writing in most of their courses or require an advanced writing course as is currently done in some Management curricula.

B. Since the overall success of any University commitment to develop these competencies is never going to be far ahead of the faculty's commitment to achieve them, we recommend that the instructional efforts of individual faculty members be supported by:

1) Asking that all parties to the assessment of teaching as a component of either reviews or salary determinations seriously consider how adequately their current evaluation devices measure the contributions that the individual is making to the development of these competencies by students, and to make such modifications as they deem both practical and appropriate; and by

2) Asking that the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee, as assisted by the Office of Institutional Research, review teaching practices, inform the University community on a regular basis as to the normative expectations that are being made concerning these competencies in the individual courses of instruction, and to recommend changes as they deem appropriate. More specifically, current course practices should be carefully assessed periodically, and the University should be informed as to the standards implied by them. The Teaching and Learning Committee should recommend changes if particular practices appear to be eroding those standards. The specific procedures and timetable for accomplishing these objectives should be developed by May 1, 1985.

3) Continuing to support and expand the "Writing across the Curriculum" workshops sponsored by the Rhetoric faculty. The Senate Teaching and Learning Committee should attempt to identify other such devices for similarly assisting the faculty.

C. While the current writing requirement may be appropriate to achieve survival skills in an undergraduate curriculum, it is not sufficient to achieve the level of effectiveness desired of our undergraduate-degree recipients. Therefore, we recommend that the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences be asked to form a committee of his faculty complemented by representatives of additional schools to recommend to the University Senate by April 1, 1985 a second level of writing proficiency to be achieved by each undergraduate prior to the receipt of the degree. The current writing requirements should be maintained as a method of achieving the competence necessary to function in an undergraduate curriculum where writing is valued.

General requirements should be developed that efficiently make use of the writing that is already taking place in upper-level courses. Submission of writing samples and/or individual instructor approvals should be considered.  Special courses or seminars might be appropriate to some disciplines, so alternate means of satisfaction should be explored.  To prevent students from procrastinating, specific time requirements would need to be set with specific procedures established for those who had not met the requirement by the 100 credit limit.

D.  All faculty should be asked to consider if there are appropriate oral communication experiences that could be used in their courses.  In particular, the Communications faculty should be asked to develop some specific suggestions that could be considered by April 1, 1985.

E.  Astin's challenge on value added education is one which we should accept.  Accordingly, the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee should be asked to investigate the feasibility of periodically assessing the impact that Oakland is having on its students' intellectual development, and to report its findings to the Senate by April 1, 1985.  In particular, the standardized instrument offered by ACT, COMP5 should be carefully considered for its applicability.

Chapter III--Academic Program Review Mechanisms

The third item of the Commission's charge was:

to assess whether existing mechanisms for the review of degree programs  are adequate to assure that all such programs are of the highest quality compatible with available resources and to propose new mechanisms when necessary. 

In addition, the sixth item of the Commission's charge was:

to assess the quality of the University's programs of professional continuing education and to recommend revisions and introductions of standards and requirements where warranted.

During initial discussion, it was noted that most of the programs associated the the sixth charge item do not currently have written program review procedures. It was decided therefore that the most effective and feasible way of responding to these two charges was to combine them in the following assignment of responsibilities to Subcommittee III, Academic Program Review

A. Determining if all academic programs offered by the University are periodically reviewed by an appropriate reviewing body (i.e., the relevant college, school, etc.),

B. Examining all existing review mechanisms to determine if they are adequate to ensure that all academic programs are of the highest quality compatible with available resources,

C.  Making recommendations concerning either the development of appropriate review mechanisms where they do not now exist and/or the improvement of current review mechanisms where this appears indicated.

I.  Methodology

The following sequence of steps was taken:

A.  A list was developed of all major academic programs sponsored by each of the University's academic units (see Table 1).

B. Deans and directors of these academic units then were asked to indicate those programs which were reviewed on a regular basis with a formal review mechanism described in writing (see Table 1). Copies of all such formal review mechanisms were then gathered. (Copies are available in the support file.)

C.   A set of criteria was developed for use in evaluating program review mechanisms as formally described. The initial assumption was that any mechanism for reviewing academic programs should be able to serve adequately three major purposes. First, a program review process should make a significant contribution to long-range planning.

During the course of a review, attention should be given to the original goals and objectives of the program, and an assessment of the extent to which they remain valid given current and/or future realities. Second, the review process should determine if the program is using its resources effectively, and if they are adequate to ensure an institutionally acceptable level of program quality. Finally, a program review process should be able to make a significant contribution to increasing the degree of rationality of the University's budgeting process. Institutional budget decisions should, in our view, take into consideration the contribution of a program's goals to the University's mission, and the level of resources needed to carry out the program's goals at a level of quality acceptable to the institution.

In order to accomplish the above objectives, a review process should be built around a written self-study prepared by those closely involved in the program. This self-study should be largely descriptive as well as evaluative in nature. It should contain basic information about the program, such as its goals, resources, and accomplishments as seen from the perspective of both teachers and students. Evaluation by outside individuals is necessary to provide both objectivity, and a larger and more diverse perspective from which to view the program. Finally, there must be some final set of recommendations flowing from the process, with a mechanism for ensuring they are appropriately carried out.

Based on the above considerations, the criteria presented in Table 2 were developed and adopted by the Commission.

D. Each formal review mechanism was then reviewed and evaluated in terms of the criteria described.

E. Following the initial assessment as to the degree of consistency between the written description of review mechanisms received and the criteria in Table 2, copies of these assessments were sent to the respective deans and directors for their comments as to the accuracy of the characterizations of their document. Respondents were invited to comment on their own views as to the strengths and weaknesses of their review procedures, together with any other relevant observation they wished to share. (The responses received are in the support file.) The final assessments of all formal program review mechanisms as currently described in writing are presented in the Subcommittee's report in the support file. They take into consideration feedback we received from deans and directors.

II. Formal Commission Findings

A. The majority of major academic programs are reviewed periodically by formally adopted review mechanisms which are described in writing. All graduate programs and undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences are reviewed by procedures developed and controlled within the University. At this point, a number of graduate reviews have been completed. The College of Arts and Sciences' mechanism, however, is new and the initial set of reviews are just now reaching completion. Undergraduate programs in the professional schools and in the Center for Health Sciences which are reviewed, are done so by external bodies only, with review procedures designed and controlled by the external body.  At the present time, undergraduate programs  in these schools and centers are not also reviewed by groups within the University.

B. At the present time. there is no formal review mechanism for periodically evaluating the following programs (although informal review may be done by program faculty):

1) B.S. in Computer and Information Science (School of Engineering and Computer Science)

2) B.S. in Human Resources Development (School of Human and Educational Services)

3) B.S. in Industrial Health and Safety (Center for Health Sciences)

4) B.S. in Medical Physics (Center for Health Sciences)

5) B.S. in Medical Technology (Center for Health Sciences)

6) Bachelor of General Studies Degree (BGS Council)

7) Early College Study Program (Provost's Office)
 

C. Except for the Legal Assistant Diploma Program no written review mechanisms exist in the Division of Continuing Education. No jurisdiction for examining the results of such reviews by any University-wide group has been established.

D.  All the formal review mechanisms currently in use appear to be detailed, thorough, and in substantial conformity to the criteria described in Table 2.

E.  A number of the review mechanisms as currently described in writing are, in some areas, unclear or incomplete, or fail to reflect accurately current review practices.

F All the formal review mechanisms currently in place also appear to |make enormous demands on the time and effort of faculty and staff and require the cooperation of those individuals for their success.

G.   The review mechanisms examined have,  by and large, not been used a sufficient number of times to assess adequately how well they work in practice. In general, however, deans and directors are pleased with the mechanisms currently in place and think they show promise of  being effective review devices. It is not clear, as yet, how the review process is, or will be, integrated with the budgeting processes which allocate resources to academic programs.

III. Recommendations

A. The Steering Committee of the Senate should instruct the University Committee on Undergraduate Instruction (UCUI) and the relevant sponsoring academic units to work together to develop a formal review mechanism for periodically evaluating all major academic programs which are not so reviewed. At the present time, these would include the following:

1) B.S. in Computer and Information Science (School of Engineering and Computer Science)

2) B.S. in Human Resources Development (School of Human and Educational Services)

3) B.S. in Industrial Health and Safety (Center for Health Sciences)

4) B.S. in Medical Physics (Center for Health Sciences)

5) B.S. in Medical Technology (Center for Health Sciences)

6) Bachelor of General Studies Degree (BGS Council)

7) Early College Study Program (Provost's Office)

B. The Graduate Council should work with the Division of Continuing Education to develop a formal review mechanism for all major academic non-credit course program offerings offered by the Division. Responsibility for monitoring these reviews should rest with the Graduate Council, since most are continuing professional education with post-baccalaureates. Once this mechanism is in place and working, the assessment requested in the sixth item of the charge can be accomplished.

C. Academic programs offered at extension sites are credit offerings and should be reviewed as part of the formal reviews of departments and schools. Reviews of extension programs should include an assessment of the physical and administrative adequacy of the extension sites and their operation.

D. The Steering Committee of the Senate should be asked to instruct the UCUI and the relevant sponsoring units to work together to develop a  formal internal review mechanism for all undergraduate programs that are currently reviewed solely by bodies external to the University. It is assumed that these external bodies are primarily interested in reviewing programs for the purpose of deciding whether or not to continue accreditation of the program. The internal mechanisms, however, should periodically evaluate programs in terms of University goals and standards, with an eye to suggesting how programs can be strengthened and improved given the resources available to the University. These internal mechanisms should rely, as much as possible, on the self-study documents prepared for the external reviews

E.  The Steering Committee of the Senate should be asked to make clear in the charge to the UCUI that its responsibilities include evaluation and approval of all formal University mechanisms for reviewing major undergraduate academic programs. The UCUI should, in general have a similar function vis a vis undergraduate reviews as the Graduate Council has vis a vis graduate reviews.

F.  At present, those programs which are formally reviewed are extensively evaluated every five to eight years.  Given the rather volatile nature of higher education these days, this appears to be too long an interval for programs to go without any kind of University monitoring.  We recommend that the Provost's Office ensure that mechanisms exist for an appropriate review of some basic, current information about all academic programs on a yearly basis.  Such a yearly review can serve not only as an early warning of potential problems, but can also facilitate the implementation of an effective, on going planning process.

G.  The most effective way of assessing the adequacy of any program review mechanism is to examine how it actually works in practice.  This assessment should address such questions as the following:

1) Are individual reviews actually conducted in a manner consistent with the established review mechanisms.

2) What are the strengths and weaknesses in the review mechanism in the view of those who have participated in reviews (both reviewees and reviewers)?

3) Do the reviews, as typically conducted, actually result in strengthening and/or improving our academic programs.

4) Are the benefits that derive from the review commensurate with the cost of doing the review?

We recommend the Steering Committee of the Senate be asked to instruct the UCUI and the Graduate Council to periodically undertake such reviews at appropriate intervals.

H.  The cooperation and best effort of faculty, staff, and administrators are required if any thorough review process is to be consistently well done and achieve its goals.  To this end, it is recommended the following steps be taken to ensure the continuing commitment to the review process of those upon whom its success
depends:

1) The University should provide greater support in terms of time and/or money  to ease the burden of doing program reviews.

2) The University should consider developing a university-wide data base which could be used by all units, thus significantly reducing the time and energy required of individual units undergoing review.

3) To maximize the intrinsic value of the review to those |preparing the review materials, procedures and criteria should be flexible and tailored, as much as is feasible, to the needs of individual units.

4) The University should integrate closely the processes of  program review and resource allocation. If over the years, there appears to be no significant relationship between these two activities, it may reduce some of the incentive for doing a thorough job of program reviewing.

I.  Deans and directors should examine the written descriptions of |their program review procedures and clarify update and/or modify  as appropriate, taking into consideration the comments in the Subcommittee's report in the support file.


Table 1

Major Academic Programs Offered at Oakland University

A. Graduate Programs

1. College of Arts and Sciences

aMaster of Arts - English
aMaster of Arts - History
aMaster of Arts - Linguistics
aMaster of Arts - Sociology

aMaster of Music

aMaster of Public Administration
 

aMaster of Science - Applied Mathematics
aMaster of Science - Applied Statistics
aMaster of Science - Biology
aMaster of Science - Chemistry
aMaster of Science - Physics

2. School of Economics and Management

a,bMaster of Business Administration

3. School of Human and Educational Services

aDoctor of Philosophy - Reading

aMaster of Arts in Teaching - Early Childhood Education
aMaster of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Education
aMaster of Arts in Teaching - Reading
aMaster of Arts in Teaching - Special Education
aMaster of Arts - Counseling

4. College of Arts and Sciences and School of Human and Educational Services

aMaster of Arts in Teaching - English
aMaster of Arts in Teaching - Mathematics

5. School of Engineering and Computer Science

a,b Doctor of Philosophy - Systems Engineering
aMaster of Science - Computer and Information Science
a,bMaster of Science - Electrical and Computer Engineering
a,bMaster of Science - Mechanical Engineering
a,bMaster of Science - Systems and Industrial Engineering

B. Undergraduate Programs

1. College of Arts and Sciences

aAnthropology aLatin American Languages and Civilization
aArea Studies aLinguistics
aArt History aMathematical Sciences
aBiochemistry aMusic
aBiology aPhilosophy
aChemistry aPhysics
aChinese Language and Civilization aPolitical Science
aCommunications  
aEconomics aPsychology
aEnglish aPublic Administration and Public Policy
aEnvironmental Health aRussian Language and Civilization
aFrench aSocial Studies
aGeneral Studies aSociology
aGerman aSociology and Anthropology
aHistory aSpanish
aJournalism  
aEngineering Chemistry aEngineering Physics

2. School of Nursing

    bBachelor of Science - Nursing

3. Center for Health Sciences   

cIndustrial Health & Safety  ccMedical Technology
 cMedical Physics      Physical Therapy

4. School of Economics and Management

bAccounting bInternational Management
bFinance bManagement Information Sys.
bGeneral Management bMarketing
bHuman Resources Management bQuantitative Methods
bEconomics  

5. School of Engineering and Computer Science
 

cComputer Engineering bEngineering Chemistry
bElectrical Engineering bSystem Engineering
cComputer and Information Science bEngineering Physics
  bMechanical Engineering

6. School of Human and Educational Services

bElementary Education cHuman Resources Development  with specializations in:
bSecondary Education      Early Childhood Development,Youth & Adult Services

F.  Additional Major Undergraduate Academic Programs

    cEarly College Program (Provost's Office)

    cBachelor of General Studies (Bachelor of General Studies Faculty Council)


aReviewed by a formal mechanism developed by the University.
bReviewed by a forma mechanism developed by an external professional organization.
c Not reviewed by a formal mechanism.

 Table 2

Criteria Used in the Evaluation of Program Review Procedures

1.  Does the review procedure clearly specify the nature of the process so that all parties are clear as to their duties and responsibilities during  the course of the review? Does it identify the person responsible for  overseeing the review process so as to facilitate the process, and keep  on schedule in terms of some realistic time table?

 2 Does the review procedure require a written self-study, prepared by  individuals responsible for offering the program, which contains:

 a. a statement as to the goals and objectives of the program,

 b. a description of the curriculum and an analysis of its  appropriateness and degree of accessibility to students (in terms  of the scheduling of classes),

 c. an assessment of the quality of instruction, and a description of  the professional characteristics of the faculty offering the  program,

d an analysis of the resources supporting the program (equipment,  space, support personnel, library, etc.), and level of internal and external funding for the program,

e. a description of the administrative structure used to oversee the program (including the student advising mechanism),

f.  an analysis of student perception data concerning aspects of the program and issues where such data would be useful (both current I students and recent graduates),

g. information concerning relevant characteristics of current students, and recent graduates where appropriate?

3. Does the review mechanism review all appropriate programs at regular intervals?

4. Does the review process require a review of the self-study by an appropriate body external to the faculty offering the program?

5. Does the review process lead to some clear outcome, with a set of recommendations by the entity sponsoring the review?

6. Is there a mechanism for ensuring that recommendations are responded to adequately?

CHAPTER IV--Academic Support Systems

The fourth item of the Commission's charge was to:

assess the efficacy of the University's academic support , systems—academic and career advising, library services and resources, computing services and resources, skill development programs—and to recommend revisions and introductions of appropriate systems where such will enhance the quality of the academic programs.

As a result of preliminary discussions on all the items of the charge, it was decided to add financial aid as an appropriate academic support system. Because of the number of separate issues involved in this item of the charge, the structure of previous chapters will be modified. Each academic support system will have its own section with individual findings and recommendations.

I. Academic Advising

A. Methodology

Questionnaires were sent to all units providing academic advising services as indicated in Appendix II. Examples of the questionnaire are in Appendix III. Additionally, questions regarding advising were included on alumni and student surveys. Responses were analyzed to extract information pertaining to the charge. (The survey of students was not analyzed in time to be included in this report.)

B. Principal Findings

1. Oakland University serves a very diverse student body, as evidenced by the variety of groups on which the inquiry sought information, all with specific needs that affect academic progress. The advising system needs to be one in which the specific needs of those respective groups are readily recognized and met.

2. Academic Advising has two basic divisions of service: The Academic Advising and General Studies Office has  responsibility for the academic advising of undecided and BGS students. All other academic advising is done within the schools and colleges, coordinated by the Academic Advising and General Studies Office.

 3. The goals and attendant objectives of each advising unit are parallel, but designed to meet the needs of the respective  groups served, i.e., undecided, "pre," and majors. All units seek to make their services known through the various communication media available on campus as well as individual programming.

4. According to advisers, orientation proved to be the major arena for exposing students to all services available. One effect of the orientation process, however, is that participating students are so inundated with new information that it is sometimes difficult to recall what has been presented.

5. There exists some confusion on the part of many students concerning where to go for what services.

6.  An unlts sought to improve the services they already provide through requests for increased funding for personnel, and/or computerization.

7. Time spent with advisees arose as a major factor of concern, because a lot of time is spent tracing the students' academic progress. There is a need to put into place an efficient method of tracking students to assure that appropriate requirements are met and that progress is recorded and readily available for advising purposes.

C. Formal Commission Findings

Specific concerns expressed in and raised by responses to the Commission inquiry included the following:

1.  High advisee/adviser ratios necessitate prioritizing services. Persons already accepted into the major receive highest priority; then precore, undecided and potential majors. The waiting period for an appointment at school/college advising offices ranges from one week during the peak periods in most offices to five weeks on a normal basis in SEM. However, most offices provided some walk-in/call-in advising service ranging from one-half day per week to continuous. The high advisee/adviser ratio within the schools and college is aggravated by forcing students to identify on the admissions form, one school or college as an undecided preference for a major. An unrestricted "undecided" category would allow truly undecided students to be assigned to the Academic Advising and General Studies Office thus reducing the advising loads of the schools and college.

2. The wait for receipt of advanced standing reports from the Registrar's Office can be as long as six months, thereby disadvantaging the advising effort. This means that transfer students are already into their second semester when information is received by the advising department regarding writing proficiency, course equivalency and number of acceptable transfer credits.

3. Although there is a 30-day presemester deadline for acceptance of admission applications, the processing of these applications sometimes goes right up to the time of the last orientation; and notification of admission is sometimes done  by phone. This causes a very high volume of untested uninformed students who need questions answered and records  evaluated at orientation. Attendant to this is the problem of most basic classes having been closed by that time.

 4. All schools and the College of Arts and Sciences have one person whose primary responsibility is advising and  coordinating the advising function within the unit. The  Center for Health Sciences is without such a person.

5.  There is a need for greater recognition among academic advising units that there are factors unique to members of various ethnic and non-traditional student groups which may affect academic performance and thus require more intense academic advising.

6. There are no formal means for to measuring the effectiveness of academic advising.

D. Recommendations

1. The Oakland University application for admission should be amended to include an "undecided" category so that these students can be readily identified by the Academic Advising and General Studies (AAGS) staff. Concurrently, a computer code would have to be assigned.

2. The AAGS Office should continue to have primary responsibility for the orientation and placement testing of incoming students and advising of undecided students regarding the academic options available to them, with computer-assisted career counseling serving as an aid in that process. Students would be referred from this area to the appropriate school/college advising office. In addition, the AAGS Office should:

a. introduce to all advising units, implement, and monitor an advising check-point system of program plans for all students—copies of the plans to be placed in each student's master folder in the Student Services Records Office as well as in the various departmental records;

b. meet at regular intervals with college/school advisers and department head advisers to keep abreast of specific changes in academic requirements;

c. continue the advising network; expand it to include sessions specifically designed to bring attention to the factors unique to members of various ethnic and non-traditional student groups which may affect academic performance and thus require more intense academic advising.

3. Each college/school should establish and/or continue to maintain an adequately staffed advising office to work in conjunction with faculty members to assure the advising of potential majors, premajors and declared majors.

Since a framework is already in place, it is feasible that Recommendations 1, 2, and 3 can be communicated to respective parties and implemented not later than December 31, 1984 (but ideally by the start of orientation this summer for the 1984 fall

4. The Office of Academic Advising and General Studies has requested additional staff to fully accomplish their goals and objectives. The likely growth of the "undecided" category will strain their resources further. We agree that additional staff is needed and recommend that such funding be provided.

5.  Computer Services, in conjunction with the Office of the Registrar, should make available a computer program, by August 1, 1985, specifically for the purpose of transcript evaluation for the preparation of advance standing reports.

6. Computer Services should assign a code to the "undecided" student concurrent with the change on the admission application which gives potential students this option.

7. The Admissions Office should have all applications processed and notify the Orientation Office not later than two weeks prior to the beginning of each term to allow for preset testing dates so that results will be available at orientation.

8.   To facilitate the continuous accumulation of uniform statistical information, a standard-tally document should be developed by December 31, 1984 by the University Senate Committee on Academic and Career Advising in consultation with the members of the advising network and the Office of Institutional Research. The document should be used to track in the volume of advising activity by unit and in specific categories on a continuous basis (i.e. groups established in question 4 of the inquiry). In conjunction with this, the committee should also develop a series of questions for the questionnaire to provide some formal means of measuring response to service provided.

 The Commission recognizes that these recommendations will require some  additional resources in specific areas and, perhaps, some organizational  restructuring. However, it was the Commission's finding that these recommendations are consistent with the goal of assuring an advising  system which is effective in enhancing the quality of the academic programs.

II. Career Advising

A. Methodology

Questionnaires were sent to twelve individuals who had been identified as having career advising responsibilities (see Appendix II). Response was 100 per cent, (a complete summary of responses is in the support file). Hereinafter, these twelve individuals are collectively referred to as respondents.

Following the receipt and initial review of the responses, Ms. Brazzell was interviewed by Subcommittee II and Ms. Chapman-Moore was interviewed by Commission member Ray Harris.

Sections I, J and K of the alumni survey were reviewed by Commission member Ray Harris, (summaries of responses and comments are in the support file).

As of this date, the appropriate sections of the student survey have not been reviewed.

B. Principal Findings

1. The Senate Academic and Career Advising Committee provides policy and direction, develops procedures, promotes coordination, serves as an appeal source and performs a monitoring function.

Career Advising services range from individual career counseling to simply informing students as to where they can obtain career information. Services include such activities as zero credit courses, workshops, career days, co-op programs, testing, and arranging on-campus interviews. Academic Advising and General Studies has the principal career advising responsibility for freshman and sophomores; Placement and Career Services has the principal career advising responsibility for juniors, seniors and alumni. Those respondents which do not view career advising as their primary mission try to help students construct their academic programs in a manner which facilitates their career objectives and/or will make the student more marketable. Students are directed to other units which can provide more intensive and comprehensive career advising. Those respondents with career advising as their major mission provide comprehensive career information and assist students in making career decisions. In many cases, services are provided to clients outside the university community. The array of services provided appears to be reasonably comprehensive and is expanding.

2. Most respondents did not report any formal means of measurement to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of services. The Senate committee prepares an annual report to the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost. The Career Center (Academic Advising and General provides questionnaires to users of computerized guidance systems. Placement and Career Services surveys recent graduates, as do some academic departments. Placement and Career Services also obtains evaluations from on-campus recruiters and at workshops.

3. The general consensus of service providers seems to be that objectives are being accomplished reasonably well. There are complaints of not enough time or staff and Nursing is especially concerned- about inadequate attention given to students who can't get in or stay in, or who made the wrong choice. 

The stated goals and objectives of the Senate committee do not appear to be completely in line with the current thrust and direction of the committee. Specifically, it appears that no periodic review of advising procedures is being performed and that no efforts are being directed toward the evaluation of the quality of advising. Most of the alumni responding to the alumni survey (52.4%) reported that they had never used Placement and Career Services. Since the survey document did not ask why the services were not used, the Commission can only speculate about possible reasons, such as lack of adequate publicity or employed students having no need of the services. Of those responding alumni who rated some or all of the ten listed services the reported rate of satisfaction ranged from 35.7% (coop program) to 71.7% (credentials file) and averaged 59.5% for all rated services. Of those responding alumni who compared the quality of Oakland University's services with those of other schools attended, 61.1% rated Oakland University's services about the same or better. It should be recognized that recent changes and improvements in career advising services did not affect most alumni: Eight respondents reported that some of the listed services were not available when they were attending the University.

4. The  new student records system is seen by some respondents as an aid which will help in accomplishing their objectives. Additional staff, both professional and clerical, is requested by several respondents. The main services which would be provided by added staff appear to be:

a. Provide more individual career counseling
b. Collect data on employment of graduates
c. Assist truly undecided students
d. Identify and assist students denied entrance to certain programs
e. Assist students with special problems (e.g., veterans, handicapped)
f. Develop group/peer counseling programs

5.   Most of the CAMP and SUAMP recommendations (reorganization, better coordination, improved placement and advising services) are thought to have been carried out. Several respondents believe communication, services and coordination have improved since those studies.

6. Coordination of campus-wide career advising services is generally achieved through:

a.  Advising network
b. Cross-referral of students
c. Senate Academic and Career Advising Committee through membership interaction with advising network
d. Publication of Career Counseling and Information Resources pamphlet.
e.  Informal contacts.

General consensus appears to be that coordination is effective.

C. Formal Commission Findings

The University offers a wide spectrum of career counseling services which range from individual career counseling to simply informing students as to where they can obtain career information. During the past one and one-half to two years since the issuance of the CAMP and SUAMP reports, the reorganization of offices and realignment of responsibilities has resulted in improved services, better coordination, and a general feeling that a better job of advising is being performed.

Changes and improvements are still evolving as evidenced by the creation of the Career Center this past fall and the current study, Academic Advising and General Studies, to develop a model for providing improved service to undecided students.

The career advising services provided to Oakland University students are reasonably effective, and improvements have occurred since the CAMP and SUAMP studies. There are, however, some trouble spots:

1. Virtually every office/department that offers some type of career advising service feels hampered by a lack of staff, either within their own unit or in a unit to which they refer students for advising services.

2. Very little service is offered specifically to graduate students, although general advising services are available to all Oakland students. This might be expected since many graduate students are part-time students who are currently employed.

3.  One office. Academic Advising and General Studies, is in the process of expanding services available to students but is concerned that publicity will create a demand that they will be unable to meet.

4.  Due to limited resources. Placement and Career Services is unable to actively develop contacts with employers and potential recruiters of Oakland students: They essentially react to employer-initiated contacts.

5. Systematic surveys of Oakland graduates are infrequent.  Surveys of Oakland graduates of specific programs (e.g., History graduates) usually are conducted on an ad hoc basis by individual departments.

6.  More intensive advising/counseling of undecided students (including those that cannot gain entry into the program of their initial choice) is apparently needed. This is thought to be a critical need by several respondents.

7. Additional assistance for students with special problems (e.g., veterans, handicapped) is needed.

8. Student contact with counselors must be restricted due to lack of sufficient staff.

9. Approximately one-half of surveyed alumni report not having used Placement, and Career Services. A small majority of those alumni who have used the services report their being satisfied. Some part-time and/or older students appear to feel that services are lacking for their particular needs.

It appears that the University is providing a comprehensive base of career advising services to its students and that these services are expanding and improving. Recommendations for improvement are, however in order.

D.  Recommendations

1.  The basic core of the career advising program is centered in two offices: Academic Advising and General Studies and Placement and Career Services. It would appear that, in addition to addressing the specific problems identified by these offices, additional resources in one or both of these offices could at least partially alleviate some of the problems/concerns listed by the other offices and departments concerned with career advising. Each of these two offices has requested two additional staff to fully accomplish their goals and objectives. We agree that additional staff is needed in order for the University to provide a first rate career advising program. It is recommended that funding for additional staff in the Office of Placement and Career Services should be provided.

2. It is recommended that the efforts to deal with undecided students be intensified, even if additional resources are not forthcoming.

3.  It is recommended that the Senate Academic and Career Advising Committee reevaluate its stated goals and objectives n light of its current efforts. This does not imply any criticism of the stated goals and objectives, nor of the current efforts of the committee; only a concern that the efforts of an organization should reflect its goals and objectives.

4. It is recommended that the efforts to publicize available career advising services be intensified.

III. Computing Resources and Services

A.  Mr. William Morscheck, Assistant Vice President for Computer and information Systems, and Professor Michael Sevilla, Chair of the University Senate Academic Computing Committee, were requested to complete a written questionnaire concerning academic computing resources and services. The questionnaire covered the following items- goals and objectives for academic computing services, services provided, means used to evaluate the effectiveness of services, assessment of the effectiveness of services, limitations preventing achievement of goals and objectives, recommendations for improving services with and without additional resources, campus-wide coordination of computing services, and academic computing services provided by other universities. Following receipt of their responses, Mr. Morscheck and Professor Sevilla were interviewed. Mr. Morscheck was questioned concerning the total computer resources on campus and university plans for development of computer resources over the next five years. Professor Sevilla was questioned on the role of the Academic Computing Committee in formulating and prioritizing the University's computer development plan and on the survey of computer needs and problems conducted recently by the committee. Copies of the responses from the Office of Computer Services and the Academic Computing Committee, along with the results of the Academic Computing Committee's survey of computer needs, are provided in the support file.

B. Principal Findings

1. The goals and objectives of the Office of Computer Services and particularly Academic Computing Services are:

a. To provide students with access to computers as part of their academic program.
b. To provide computer facilities to faculty as an instructional tool in the classroom.
c. To provide computer facilities to faculty for research.
d. To provide professional staff support to academic computing, both student and faculty.
e  To assist in the broader University goal of integrating the computer into all phases of the University.
f.  To continue to expand access to the mainframe computer system by increasing the terminals available when system upgrades can support the added load.
g. To use  talented staff members to teach seminars where
h. To make every effort to install state-of-the-art software to make the best possible use of time and effort for both the academic users and the computing
i. To provide counsel with respect to hardware acquisition as it affects academic computing.
j. To provide counsel and receive recommendations from the Academic Computing Committee.
k. To represent academic users in policy-making when computing is concerned.

2. Academic Computing Services is unable to achieve these goals and objectives due to severe limitations on numbers of staff and hardware and software resources.

3. The role of the Academic Computing Committee to recommend hardware and software purchases and to advise the Director of the Office of Computer Services with respect to services, schedules, and priorities for academic computing use in relation to total University computer use is appropriate.

4. The ability of the Academic Computing Committee to carry out this role requires a high degree of communication with the Office of Computer Services. Both parties see the need to strengthen present communications. An example of the consequences of this communication gap is the confusion experienced by the Academic Computing Committee and the Office of Computer Services when the School of Engineering and Computer Science provided these bodies with very divergent lists of needs. This was not discovered until the Academic Computing Committee was asked to review a five-year needs assessment by the Office of Computer Services.

 5. The justifiable needs for additional computer hardware and  software are beyond the share of University resources which can be devoted to upgrading computing services, thus mandating prioritization and selective acquisition.

6. The past practice of budgeting for major computer purchases with an item-by-item approach will not provide as much computer resources and services for fixed dollar allocations as would a systematic, rolling, long-range computer acquisition plan for the total University needs.

7.  Microcomputers in University microcomputer laboratories and in administrative offices should be part of the overall computer development plan. On the other hand, microcomputers dedicated to specialized laboratory uses should be selected by the users without the need to conform to the overall computer development plan.

C. Formal Commission Findings

The University has made a good start in the development of computer resources and services to support its academic programs. However, the University's computer resources and services today, like those f society in general, are in their infancy. In an area of such rapid technological advances, it is difficult to make any one-range projections. For the forseeable future, the University's computer resources and services will need continuous upgrading and expansion. It is essential that future development of computer resources and services be made within the framework of a long-range plan which itself is updated at least semiannually.

D. Recommendations

1.  Oakland University should develop a long-range plan for the  development of academic and administrative computer resources Band services. This plan should be updated at least semiannually. The plan should accurately reflect the judgments of the academic units on changes necessary to enhance the quality of their programs.

2. Oakland University should develop a mechanism to prioritize the expenditures for upgrading and expanding computing resources and services within the framework of a prioritization of total University resources and needs.

3. Oakland University should develop a mechanism for decision-making on computer resource development that insures broad review of alternatives. Due to the rapid technological developments in this area, special efforts are needed to avoid premature perceptions and excessive reliance on a few familiar sources. For example, prior to a decision to upgrade the mainframe computer, the question of long-term support for that computer and alternatives for dispersing  work from the mainframe to other computers which may nor may not be linked to the mainframe was considered. This should be considered again each time further upgrades are contemplated. 

4. Oakland University should establish budget procedures that contain annual funds for upgrading computer hardware. As an absolute minimum, the funds currently budgeted for payment of the Multics system should be continued when this system is paid off in 1986. To achieve a level of excellence in computing support for academic programs, a higher level of annual funding would be required.

The preceding four recommendations are ones of philosophy and fundamental principles which should be implemented as rapidly and as completely as possible. As part of the long-range plan for development of computer resources and services (recommendation i; and subject to the conditions set forth in recommendations 2-4 above, the following specific actions may be warranted.

5. Open microcomputer laboratories for extended hours.

6. Increase the number of microcomputer laboratories.

7. Offer seminars on interfacing of microcomputers with the mainframe computer or computer networks for transfer of data.

8. Provide for University-supported, plotting-graphics  facilities either as a complete mini-driven interactive graphics system with public graphics terminals or as part of  computer facilities.

9.  Upgrade the printing capacity and performance of University computer facilities.

10. Either upgrade the mainframe computer with additional memory, another communications processor, and more terminals, or provide for an alternative solution to the saturation of the present system when the period of saturation extends beyond end-of-term periods. 

11.  Add additional staff to Academic Computer Services.

 12. Upgrade the University facility for in-house maintenance of microcomputers.

13. Add one or several large minicomputers to provide access to  software and other features not available or not

14. Provide for access to the Merit Computer Network.

15. Provide additional training seminars on such topics as: advanced word processing, computer graphics, file maintenance, electronic spread sheets, and commonly used software packages.

IV. Financial Aid

 The financial aid and scholarship programs were not specifically included in the charge to the Commission. However, during early discussions by  the Commission it was realized that many of the topics being discussed had financial aid implications. The Commission further recognized the  financial aid and scholarship programs as legitimate academic-support systems that contribute to the quality of the University by permitting  and/or encouraging students with need or special abilities to enroll.

A. Methodology

Questionnaires were sent to all units providing financial aid  services (University Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial  Aid, Dean for Graduate Study, and Office of Financial Aid).  Responses were analyzed to extract information pertaining to the  charge. Additional questions were directed to the Director of  Financial Aid and the Director of Admissions to obtain needed data not included in the responses to the questionnaires.

B. Principal Findings

1.  Oakland has a need-based financial aid program which includes grants, loans, and student employment. This program makes it possible for many students to attend the University who could not attend without financial aid or would take fewer credits per term. In 1983-84 grants totaled $566,964 with $343,467 in loans from federal funds. In addition $1,400,000 was awarded in federal Pell grants. The Financial Aid Office expects in 1983-84 to process 2000 guaranteed student loan and state direct student loan applications which will result in about 1,675 loans totaling approximately $2,930,000.   Between July 1, 1983 and March 19, 1984, 268 work-study students earned $206,532 and 1,180 students were employed on  the regular student labor payroll earning $848,586.

2. Oakland has an ability-based scholarship program used to help recruit and retain students with special abilities. Scholarships for 1983-84 totaled $717,614. The largest general fund scholarship programs were student life ($396,000) and athletics ($114,750).

3.  In 1982-83 the sources for need-base financial aid funds were: federal, 36%; state, 19%; private, 33%; university, 11%.

4.  In 1982-83 1,713 students of the 11,721 enrolled applied for need-based financial aid. The number of students receiving aid by categories of percent of need met is:

Amount of met need 0% 1-24% 25-49% 50-74% 75-99% 100%
No. receiving aid 13 21 116 139 106 1318


5.  Information available on the use of scholarships by other I universities for recruitment is: Wayne State University awards 375 full tuition scholarships ($2,000) each year which can be renewed; Eastern Michigan University awards 100 Regents scholarships ($1200) each year and another 100 Recognition of Excellence awards ($1000).  Of course these scholarships are only part of the total scholarships program of Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University.  Oakland's only scholarship program with large-scale recruitment emphasis is the Student Life program  Up to 180 Student Life Scholarships ($1000) are awarded to new students.  These scholarships are not available to commuters and thus do not have as wide-spread recruiting potential as Wayne's full-tuition scholarships.

6. The goals of the Financial Aid Office are:

a. To provide a comprehensive financial aid program to students who otherwise would have limited access to educational opportunities at Oakland University.

b. To provide supportive services for Admissions and other units in the Student Affairs Division, units in Academic Affairs Division, and the Finance and Administrative Affairs Division as requested.

c. To insure compliance with the regulations of the sources of funds comprising the resources available for financial aid awards and to insure fiscal responsibility in awarding the funds. To determine aid awards in compliance with the uniform methodology of needs analysis, using services of the College Scholarship Service.

d. To coordinate student-support funds from external sources with institutional programs so as to provide equitable awards to students and insure compliance with institutional, state and federal regulations.

e. To provide counseling service to students, including referral to other University units.

7. The level of funds available has been such that University policy has assigned priority for these funds to students enrolled full time. Federal (Pell) grants are available to students enrolled for at least six credits, as are guaranteed student loans. There are no scholarships for part-time students.

8. The Dean of Students reports that, "Oakland University can no longer say that it meets full financial need of students. Student employment opportunities must be significantly increased and financial aid programs reevaluated in light of this surge of unmet need." Total unmet need for 1982-83 was estimated as $641,000. This figure has increased from 1980-81 when unmet need was $15,000 and 1978-79 at $8,000. While federal aid has dropped. Social Security benefits have been eliminated, and loan restrictions have been increased; tuition, fees, and room and board expenses all have risen.

9. There are no firm figures available regarding levels of support by ethnic categories since the Financial Aid Office has neither the means nor the authority to collect racial/ethnic data.

10. The problem of confusion on the part of students regarding work eligibility vs work/study is being addressed in newly published materials as well as a revision of the wording in the award letters.

11.  The current level of funding of teaching assistantships, fellowships and tuition grants for graduate programs, although recently increased, remains insufficient to meet the goals of adequately complementing graduate study academic programs. The funding level is only two-thirds of the identified need.

12. The University Senate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee reviews the administratively developed policies and procedures relative to the operation of the financial aid system and advises the Director of Financial Aid on these matters. The Senate Committee also functions as an appeals board which hears disputes between the Office of Financial Aid and applicants for and recipients of financial aid and renders advisory opinions thereon.

13.  Annual federal and state audits assess the University's administrative capability for stewardship of federal and state funds.  There are, however, no established mechanisms to systematically measure the adequacy of available financial aid resources.

C.  Formal Commission Findings

1.   The financial aid program of grants, loans and student employment makes it possible for many students to attend the University and/or take higher course loads than would be possible without this program.

2.  The scholarship program is essential for the University to recruit many of its students with high academic or athletic abilities.

3. The decline in federal funds for financial aid in recent years is likely to have contributed to a condition in which many students are forced to take reduced class loads due to unmet financial need.

D.  Recommendations

1.  In light of the rapid growth in unmet financial need by Oakland students, the Division of Developmental Affairs, in conjunction with the Financial Aid Office, should intensify research and solicitation efforts to bring additional public and private funding resources to Oakland University to support the financial aid program.

2.  An Assessment form should be developed, the the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee in consultation with the Director of Financial Aid, to be given to financial aid recipients at the time of application for graduation, which will provide feedback regarding how adequately they think their needs have been met.

3. The University should consider, in its plans to strengthen and improve academic programs and to provide adequate support for all students, the advantages of having  a larger number of full-time graduate students. Any decision increase full-time graduate students will require additional graduate teaching assistantships, fellowships, and tuition grants since funds for such assistance do not even meet current needs.

4.  The Employee Relations Department,  (ERD) should establish a mechanism for notifying the Financial Aid Office of all part-time and temporary positions which become available prior to interviewing or hiring to fill these positions.  ERD should determine in a timely fashion if the open position could be filled by a student and if so, notify the Financial Aid Student Employment Office of the position.   Such positions should be filled by non-students only after ERD has determined the position is unsuitable for a student or no qualified student is available.

5 The Senate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee should report each year to the Senate on the distribution of scholarships and financial aid funds. The report should include an estimate of unmet need and  identify any scholarship and financial aid resources which were distributed or had an insufficient number of applicants. Any proposals to make significant redistributions of scholarship or financial aid funds should be discussed by the Senate committee and the Senate.

It is deemed feasible by the Commission that steps to initiate all  recommendations can be made by December 31. 1984.

V. Library Services and Resources

A.  Methodology

1. Questionnaires were distributed to the following:

a) Library faculty
b) Library Coordinators
c) Dean Pine regarding SHES-Resource Center
d) Questions on faculty survey
Questions on student survey
Questions on alumni survey

 2. Information from previous studies were reviewed including:

a) Library Survey of Students, 1979
b) Library Survey of Faculty, 1980

3.  Commission representatives met with library faculty to discuss responses, findings and preliminary recommendations.

 B. Principal Findings

1. A comparison of Kresge Library with libraries in 15  comparable institutions confirms local impressions that the  library is not adequately supported. Kresge's rank in each  category analyzed is noted below. Detailed statistics are  presented in the support file.

 Category Rank   Ratios Rank
         
Number of microforms 8th   Micro/Faculty 6th
Volumes held 9th   Vols/Faculty 8th
Staffing 10th   Micro/Student 10th
Total expenditures 11th   Vols/Student 12th
Materials expenditures 12th   Total expenditures/Faculty 12th
Serials holdings 14th   Total expenditures/Student 13th
      Materials expenditures/Faculty 13th
      Serials/Faculty 13th
      Materials expenditures/Student 14th
      Serials/Student 15th

2. The Library is not achieving stated goals and objectives  because of serious limitations of space, staffing, equipment  and especially collections. It is important to note here  that the Commission finds that deficiencies in the library  are not due to lack of library staff competencies or administrative inadequacies, but rather are due to lack of  sufficient resources as noted above.

 3. Deficiencies in the library's collection, especially lack of  journal holdings, is the most often cited concern of library users

 4. There appears to be no universal agreement on any aspect of  the library, and for a number of areas there are diametrically opposing opinions, e.g., merger versus separation of Performing Arts Collection, circulation of  journals, shorter versus longer faculty loan periods,  more/less faculty involvement in collection development, etc.

 5. There is lack of agreement on the appropriate role of librarians in the University community. Faculty status for librarians and amount of time librarians spend on activities not directly related to delivery of library services (e.g., membership on University committees) are areas of concern.

 6. There is a lack of adequate communication between the library and the rest of the University community.

C. Formal Commission Findings

In considering issues relating to the excellence of a university the quality of the library is of primary importance and a central i area of concern affecting virtually all academic programs. Oakland  University cannot achieve a level of excellence unless the library achieves a level of excellence.

The relative youth of the University, combined with years of underfunding and uneven funding, and lack of long-range planning and support for the library all have contributed to the current  problems and concerns regarding the library. 

What is lacking in the information on this, derived from a number of studies, surveys and interviews, is any clear articulation of an institutional concept regarding the role of the library as a basis for the development of a collection policy and for the identification of the level of service needed to support 1) the University's academic and research programs and 2) University commitments which extend beyond the boundaries of the campus.

It is important that steps be taken to move beyond generalized criticisms regarding inadequacies, to the identification in quite specific terms of the kinds of collections and services that are needed.

The library serves many constituencies, and it is recognized that each have certain unique and distinctive needs not universally shared. A "balancing" of interests in allocating limited library resources is a difficult responsibility under any circumstances, and the absence of clearly articulated goals and objectives, priorities and plans further complicate this task.

The recommendations noted below are meant to provide Oakland with strategies for moving forward in defining the problems in operational terms, and in developing specific projects and activities to address these concerns. This effort should involve representatives from the University community working with the library faculty and staff to develop a plan of action.

D. Recommendations

1. Role of the Library

University agreement on concepts of what kind of a library Oakland needs are of fundamental importance for library planning and development. The library's Role and Mission Statement and statements of goals provided by the library should be reviewed by the library faculty, the Library Council, the University Senate and University administration to determine if they adequately reflect institutional philosophy regarding library services. If so, these statements should be used by the dean with advice of the Library Council as a basis for developing by December 1, 1984 more specific library objectives regarding types and levels of services to be achieved, and priorities for strengthening the library over a period of time.

12. Collections
Based on goals and objectives identified in 1 above, high  priority should be given to the planning and implementation  of a collection analysis program conducted by the library  faculty which will not only identify collection strengths and  deficiencies, but will provide guidelines and criteria for  collection development in the future. The plan should also  include provision for better, faster access to materials not  held locally.  Following from 2 above, increased funding should be provided  in order to strengthen the library's collections. A three-to-five year plan should be formulated to bring the library's holdings up to the level defined in 1 above.

 4. Staffing
Our findings suggest that the library is not adequately staffed to meet the information needs of the University community. An analysis of the organization and staffing of the library which is currently underway should be completed  in 1984 with particular attention to appropriate roles/areas of expertise and activities for library faculty. As a basis for the analysis. University information needs and desired service levels should be identified as suggested in 1 above. University funding for additional library staff to achieve , the desired service levels should be provided.

5. Space
The Commission recognizes the University administration' s commitment and current efforts to increase the size of the current library building. While current planning should continue to focus on strengthening our centralized system, longer-range planning should include consideration of some decentralization, involving the establishment of a limited number of specialized libraries.

6. Equipment
Funding for a library integrated automation system should be a high priority for the University, including the placement of terminals around the campus to facilitate users' communication with the library and consultation of library files (e.g., on-line catalog). In addition, as part of the planning for a University computer and information system. provision should be made for the purchase of microcomputers to enhance the role of the library as part of a University communication network.

Electronic linking of the University Library with other libraries should be an important component of planning for library automation.

7. Finding
Recommendations 3, 4 and 5 above indicate a need for increased funding to strengthen library resources for collections, staffing and equipment. Following from this the Commission recommends that General Fund Revenues for the library be increased to enable the library to provide quality services needed at Oakland.

In addition, the library administration should work with various University departments to develop plans for external fund raising, with a view to increasing general endowed funds as well as identifying sources of special funding for collection development and enhancement of services.

8. University-Library Relationships
Greatly increased communication and coordination of planning and program development is needed to insure that library services are responsive to the University s need for information. In addition to strengthening the role of the Library Council, as the official University advisory body to the library, other opportunities and mechanisms are needed to facilitate this communication and coordination. Library representatives should work with the units in scheduling regular meetings to discuss areas of concern and planning for the future.

Formal liaisons should be established for continuing advice and task force and committee mechanisms should be instituted as appropriate to work on special projects and problem areas.

Regular reports, both written and oral to the University community regarding library activities are encouraged and again, opportunities should be created to facilitate such reports.

E.  SHES-Resource Center

1. Formal Commission Findings

The SHES-Resource Center submitted a statement to the Commission regarding their goals and objectives, services provided, evaluation mechanisms and assessment, and constraints and concerns relating to goals and objectives. Documentation provided suggests the SHES-Resource Center has developed well-defined concepts of their services and are eager to cooperate with others in strengthening their role in the University community.

SHES-Resource Center statements regarding their goals and services were reviewed and compared to responses received from the Kresge Library and the Instructional Technology Center (ITC). Viewed in isolation, the statements of the SHES-RC would appear to reflect a very useful program with commendable goals and appropriate  services. However, viewed in relation to the goals, programs and  services offered by the KL and ITC, the appropriate type and level  of services and division of responsibility between these units  become less clear.

The SHES-RC/KL Joint Committee is addressing important areas for coordination of efforts between these two units, particularly in regard to collection development. The many references in the SHES-RC response relating to instructional technology activity and expanded service to the non-SHES community suggest there may be a duplication of technical services that is undesirable, given limited resources.

2. Recommendations

a. The Commission recommends that planning should occur to define an appropriate scope of activity for the SHES-RC vis-a-vis related services offered by the ITC and others.

1) The Commission recommends that the role of the SHES-RC should continue to focus on developing collections of instructional materials used in school and community programs for area school districts and human service agencies.

2) In addition, the SHES-RC has an important role as an audio-visual learning laboratory. This activity should continue to be available on a self-instruction basis for SHES clientele, providing them with access to equipment typically found in school and agency settings.

3) Planning between the Kresge Library and SHES-RC should continue, including exploration of areas beyond collection development which might be coordinated. For example, it may be that some efficiencies could be realized if certain acquisitions and cataloging functions now performed independently in the two units were combined, allowing the limited staff at SHES-RC to concentrate more on service activities and less on technical processing and records management functions.

4) Similarly, better coordination of audio-visual/instructional technology activities of the SHES-RC and ITC should be explored. SHES has indicated a need to add an educational media technician to its staff to assist SHES clientele in preparing instructional materials and maintaining equipment. Since the ITC has staff which provide these services for the rest of the University community, discussions should be held between the ITC and SHES staff  to determine what additional support ITC could provide to help meet the needs of SHES.

b. The SHES-RC recommendation for an instructional computing lab should be incorporated into a review of a university-wide plan for computing services and facilities.

c. The CAMP report recommended "Greater interaction with units outside of SHES should be encouraged." However, the exact nature and scope of this interaction was not defined, perhaps resulting in some confusion regarding the appropriate role of the SHES-RC beyond meeting the immediate needs of the school.

The Commission feels the role of the SHES-RC as suggested in a 1) and 2) above is appropriate, given limited resources and services provided elsewhere in the University. Focusing on the information needs of the SHES community, the goals and objectives and services outlined in the SHES-RC statement are also appropriate.

Beyond these, to the extent that the SHES-RC offers distinctive and unique services relevant to non-SHES clientele, an evaluation should be made of the extent to which these services should be encouraged and expanded.

d. The Library and SHES should continue exploratory talks with representatives from the Oakland Intermediate School District to set up cooperative agreements regarding reciprocal services and sharing of resources, as appropriate.

VI. Skill Development

A. Methodology

The Commission initially defined skill development activities as any activity which helps students obtain skill levels normally found in graduates of high quality high school college preparatory programs. During its study the Commission realized that university skill development activities cannot be limited to entry-level skills but legitimately include development of academic skills to college proficiency levels.

The Commission requested the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to design a study of current skill development activities which would as a minimum: (1) identify the goals and objectives of each activity, (2) identify how students are selected for the activity and provide a profile of student performance, (3) identify the evaluation methods used for each activity, (4) review the evaluations, (5) identify limitations on activities, (6) recommend improvements, and (7) evaluate placement accuracy. These questions were distributed within the college by the dean and to other schools by the Commission. A similar study request was made of Cleveland Hurst, Director of Special Programs on activities related to the Academic Support Program. The Commission requested the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee to conduct studies of skill development programs of other universities offered through their Student Affairs Division and Academic Affairs Division respectively. The Commission itself requested information on the extensive skill development program of  the CUNY Instructional Resource Center.

Information on Oakland skill development activities was received  from the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Human and Educational Services, the Director of Special Programs, the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Senate  committee. The Arts and Sciences materials contained responses  from the Departments of Mathematical Sciences, Rhetoric,  Psychology, Art, Physics, and Sociology. A copy of the 1983  Grossman report on "Pro-College Level Mathematics at Oakland University was provided. Additional information on the various skills courses in Rhetoric was obtained from its chair. A  preliminary report by an Advisory Committee for the Skill Development Center to the Vice President for Student Affairs was reviewed. Information on skill development programs at other  universities was included in the reports of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee and the Director of the CUNY Instructional Resource Center. The comments  page of the faculty questionnaire provided many suggestions and  criticisms related to skill development.

B. Principal Findings

1. A comprehensive study of the current skill development activities at the University has been made only for Mathematics.

2. The Department of Mathematical Sciences has developed and is implementing a systematic series of responses designed to address the weaknesses found in its previous approach to mathematics skill development.

3. Rhetoric offers a series of courses numbered RHT OXX. (No more than 16 credits of courses numbered 000 to 099 may count
toward graduation requirements.) These courses are designed for students who do not meet the University's admission standards, students lacking certain skills necessary for  survival in college, and older returning students wishing an easier readjustment to academic pursuits. Courses in this category are: RHT 060-061 (Supervised Study), RHT 063 (Tutorial in English for Foreign Students), RHT 075 (Developmental Writing I), RHT 076 (Reading Skills), RHT 080  (Developmental Writing II), RHT 090 (Grammar and Composition for Foreign Students) and RHT 091 (Reading English for Foreign Students.)

4.  Rhetoric offers four other entry-level skills courses at the 100 level: RHT 100 (Composition I), RHT 101 (Composition II), RHT 103 (Effective Study Skills) and RHT 105 (Efficient Reading)

 5- The pattern of placement of students in RHT 075, RHT 100, RHT 101 or exemption from writing courses does not appear to  show a correlation with ACT English scores available on about  80% of FTIACs or with the number of years of high school  English such students have taken.

 6. Rhetoric faculty in 1983 held a "Writing Across the Curriculum" workshop to set in motion an ongoing program to  develop common teaching principles and expectations among all  faculty members about our students' communication skills.  During the workshop faculty members identified specific and  practical methods for improving students' writing skills in  their content courses. The workshop will be held this year on May 17-19.

m 7. The Departments of Mathematical Sciences and Rhetoric make m extensive use of part-time instructors for their skills courses.

8. The Department of Special Programs sponsors an Academic  Support Program designed to provide special support services  to students not normally admissible to Oakland University.  An eight-week Summer Support Program provides parallel  support seminars and tutoring for a writing, a mathematics  and an elective course. Academic year support is provided  for remediation of academic deficiencies and support of course work in the Academic Development Center. The Department of Special Programs evaluates the success of the Academic Support Program by the retention rate of students in the program. 89.3% of the students in the 1982 program completed the 1983 Winter Semester with 61.3% in good academic standing. The percentage of all freshmen in good academic standing at the end of the 1983 Winter Semester was 83-84%. Those students completing the 1983 Winter Semester had completed 83.3% of the courses taken and had a GPA distribution of: 17% ≤ 2.0, 66% 2.0-2.6, and 17% ≥2.6. If the retention rate for Academic Support Program students is I examined for subsequent years the following results are noted as the percentage of students enrolled during the Fall  Semester for the years after the summer program: 1st year 99%, 2nd year 59%, 3rd year (no data), 4th year 34%, and 5th year 15%. Retention rates of Fall FTIACs are: 2nd year 69%, 3rd year 51%, 4th year 42%, and 5th year 20%.

 9. Tutorial services at Oakland University are offered by  several departments with no overall coordination and minimal  Rhetoric, and Psychology. Mathematical Sciences has tutors  available for 25 hours/week; Rhetoric operates a Writing and  Reading Center; and Psychology hires a teaching assistant for its statistics course.

10. Many universities have established centralized programs or  departments for skill development. As an example. Western  Michigan University has an Intellectual Skills Development  Program whose activities include: orientation, skills  assessment, faculty, staff, and student communications,  Writing Across the Curriculum Institute, and a non-credit  academic support service housed in its Center for Educational  Opportunity (CEO). CEO's programs include tutoring, writing  laboratory, study skills, critical thinking and content  reading international student communications, basic  mathematics, and a spelling laboratory. WMU places students  in appropriate level writing, reading, and mathematics courses based upon ACT scores and local tests.

 11 Many universities have established two-tier competency  standards for writing, reading and mathematics. In many  cases entry level standards must be achieved before other  courses can be taken. A higher college level proficiency  requirement must be achieved in these areas at some point  prior to graduation—usually during the junior year.

 12. Comments on the faculty questionnaire included:  establishment of a junior-year writing proficiency requirement, having all faculty grade the mechanics of writing, having smaller classes if courses require extensive writing or discussion, reducing loads for writing instructors, requiring reading courses for students who score low on placement exams, providing no credit for high school level work. and having all upper level courses require a research paper or its equivalent.

13. The decline of learning within the K-12 school system noted in recent federal and state studies has in areas such as mathematics been coupled with an increase in skills required by college programs. The Department of Mathematical Sciences estimates that 60% of Oakland students are in programs requiring calculus while thirty years ago the corresponding national figure would be less than 15%.

14 Community education programs of local school districts can  receive reimbursement from the state for remedial education courses offered to adult students. Several school superintendents have expressed the desire to work with the University to offer such courses.

15. There are several models for basic skills programs, each  subject to modification. One radical approach involves setting up a separate one or two year track of courses to prepare students for college-level work; essentially, the university (Boston University, for example) runs its own junior college, although it does so at the cost of discouraging many students who see themselves as making no progress toward their long-term academic and career goals.  The more familiar and much more common model consists of  placement tests followed by developmental courses (assisted, very likely, by a tutoring center). A combination of these two approaches is used by several local institutions; specifically, they use community colleges to deliver some basic skills courses.

C. Formal Commission Findings

1.  The  University's support systems for academic skill development with the exception of the Academic Support Program have been developed by individual academic units as partial solutions to perceived problems. Most present support systems have not had sufficient resources nor widespread support to achieve their limited goals. No thorough systematic university-wide assessment of academic skill development needs has been made nor has a coherent plan to address long-range needs been developed.

2. Although individual academic units have devoted limited resources to improvement of academic skills, the University has not devoted significant resources to this area. From the data available to the Commission, other Michigan public colleges and universities (UM, WSU, WMU, EMU, CMU, FSC, SVSC, and LSSC) have initiated much more comprehensive programs to help their students acquire necessary academic skills.

3. Although Oakland allows up to 16 credits of courses numbered 000 to 099 to apply to the graduation requirement, most Michigan public universities either award no credits for such high school level courses, or award credits which do not apply toward graduation requirements for such courses.

4. The previous remedial mathematics program did not succeed in taking students who lacked basic arithmetic skills to a level needed for mathematics courses required for many majors (MTH 121 or 154). The Department of Mathematical Sciences has initiated a new program to overcome part of this problem and has recommended that certain minimal skills be required prior to admission.

5. It is impossible to determine using current information the effectiveness of the present writing skills program culminating with RHT 100-101. Several faculty commented on the faculty questionnaire that many students who have received good grades in these courses do not have college-level writing skills.

6. The present Academic Support Program has not fully achieved its goals for a large percentage of its students. The percentage of Academic Support Program students not in good academic standing, the lower retention rate than other students, and the GPA distribution for these students are indications of the need for a much more extensive program.

 7. Skill development is a matter of widespread concern in all  institutions of higher education. Many programs exist: many  studies have been conducted or are now in progress. Oakland  University would be remiss in not taking advantage of  experimentation elsewhere to provide guidance in our efforts  to strengthen intellectual skills among all our students.

 8. It is necessary to distinguish between programs designed to instill "competency" (achievement of skills associated with a good high school education) just after matriculation and "proficiency" (junior/senior-level collegiate skills) at graduation. Skill development needs exist at all levels of college education, not just at entry. Although institutions almost universally feel obligated to accept transfer courses to satisfy mathematics and rhetoric requirements, those that are establishing graduation proficiency standards find it necessary to include transfer students in skill testing programs.

D. Recommendations

1. The University cannot expect to increase with a few courses the academic skills in mathematics, writing and reading to college-level for large numbers of students with substantial deficiencies in several areas. The University should carefully consider the minimal skills levels above which it can properly support necessary further development. Such consideration may result in use of community college or community school adult education programs to raise potential students to the identified minimum skill levels. For political and social justice reasons, the University may wish to retain and significantly improve and strengthen its Academic Support Program. (See recommendation in Chapter I.)

2. The Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost should appoint a Writing Skills Development Task Force charged to;

(a) assess the effectiveness of RHT 100-101 in developing  college-level writing proficiency,

(b) study writing skill programs of other universities and recommend appropriate improvements for Oakland's program,

(c) determine if RHT 100 and RHT 101 are appropriately numbered (see recommendation 3 below),

(d) recommend a writing evaluation and placement mechanism  that is consistent with ACT English scores of entering students,

 (e) establish norms and guidelines for meeting the college writing proficiency standard recommended in Chapter II recommendation C, and

(f) establish an entry-level reading standard and recommend I an evaluation and placement mechanism to place students  not meeting the standard in an appropriate RHT 0XX course.

The Task Force should be appointed by July 1, 1984 and charged to complete its study and file a report with  any recommendations by May 1, 1985.

3.  Courses numbered 000 to 099 should be credit courses whose credits do not count toward the total credits required for graduation but whose grades are included in students' GPA.  Legislation to achieve this objective should be presented by  the appropriate University Senate committee in the Fall, 1984  in order for this policy to appear in the 1985-86 catalog and  take affect in the 1985 Summer session.

 4. The following courses should be renumbered for the 1985-86  catalog using numbers less than 100: MTH 101, MTH 102  MTH 111, MTH 112, RHT 103, and RHT 105.

 5. The University should restrict the enrollment in the basic  skill development courses (MTH 101-102, RHT 060-061, RHT 075,  RHT 076, and RHT 080) to students who are part of the highly*  structured Academic Support Program.

6. The University should establish a Center for Academic Skills  Development whose responsibilities would include:

(a) A University tutorial program including coordination of a mathematics laboratory, a writing laboratory, and a reading laboratory. Supervision of these labs should be shared with designated faculty or staff from the  Department of Mathematical Sciences, Rhetoric and the reading area of SHES, respectively. General tutorial assistance should also be available in areas of known need such as the natural sciences, engineering, and accounting.

 (b) Workshops, seminars and other non-credit presentations  on a regularly scheduled basis on such topics as:  library skills, study skills, and time management.

 (c) Articulation with primary feeder high schools  concerning levels of preparation in mathematics,  writing, and reading necessary for students entering  Oakland. The possibilities for opening the services of  the Center for Academic Skills Development for  instructional laboratory experiences for local high school teachers and counselors should be pursued.

The Center should be a centralized all-university center with strong ties to both the Academic Affairs Division and the Student Affairs Division. The Center should be provided adequate space, staff, and operating funds to fulfill its charge. Although most tutoring should be by trained and supervised students, permanent Center staff will be necessary. In addition each of the three main skills laboratories should be under the direct supervision of a faculty member from the respective department who has a minimum half-time reduced load for this assignment.

VII. Academic Support Systems: Summary

In the previous sections the Commission has reviewed the status of the various academic support systems and made recommendations for improving them. Those that would require the allocation of additional resources have been validated in the context of the particular support system under discussion. However, each such recommendation should be considered in the light of overall University priorities. While the Commission strongly supports setting such priorities, many of our recommendations are not in sufficient detail to yield accurate financial estimates. As a result we have not recommended priorities at this time. This should in no way imply that areas of urgent need have not been identified. Further comments on the overall question of resource allocation are contained in Chapter VI.

CHAPTER V --Faculty Development

The fifth item of the Commission's charge was:

to assess the University's program of continuing faculty development so as to assure that the faculty have opportunities to remain scholastically and
professionally up-to-date within the limits of available resources.

I. Methodology

Questionnaires were sent to the Office of Research and Academic Development, the Senate Research Committee, and the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee inquiring about: goals, means of accomplishing goals, criteria for evaluating effectiveness, and recommendations for improving effectiveness with and without additional resources.

Questionnaires also were sent to the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost, deans and faculty regarding the adequacy of current means of faculty development and suggestions for improvement. Specifically, they were asked to comment upon leaves, grants, travel to professional meetings, training seminars, and opportunities to teach outside one's primary area.

In addition, questionnaires were sent to the FRPC, CAPs, deans and department chairs regarding the influence of the review process on faculty development.

Questionnaires were received from the Office of Research and Academic Development, the Senate Research Committee, the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee, the Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost, 7 deans and directors, 7 CAPs, the FRPC, 17 department chairs and 223 faculty.

II. Principal Findings

A. Office of Research and Academic Development (ORAD)

1. No formal evaluation of effectiveness has been conducted by the ORAD. The office plans to obtain some objective measure of its activity by counting the number of proposals submitted and the departments of origin.

2. Newness of staff in the ORAD makes evaluation of effectiveness premature. Some measure of increasing faculty interest in office-sponsored seminars is indicated.

3. Effectiveness of the ORAD is constrained by the lack of funding for faculty development. In its own estimation, the office now offers minimal service in faculty development. The office would like to offer more workshops to assist faculty in how to write research proposals for particular sources of funding.


B.  Senate Research Committee (SRC)

No formal evaluation of effectiveness is done by the SRC, but informal indications of effectiveness are:

a. increasing number of applications for funds;
b. variety and balance in types of projects funded;
c. requests for summaries of completed funded projects;
d. yearly review of committee procedures in light of feedback amply and regularly supplied by faculty.

2. The SRC is limited in its activity by the lack of mechanisms for:

a. targeting funds specifically for research development of new and junior faculty;
b. funding faculty research which does not lend itself to specifications of a formal proposal;
c. continued funding of projects which are not likely to receive external support.

3. Constraints on the effectiveness of the SRC are:

a. reliance on contract-based faculty dollars to drive internal research;
b. lack of clear articulation of University expectations for research productivity;
c. severe limit on providing fellowships to a broad range of faculty due to lack of funds.

4. Effectiveness of the SRC would be increased by:

a. additional funding for internal research beyond the base provided by the contract;
b. increased support of ORAD's assistance to faculty in proposal preparation;
c. alternative source support for computer use to reduce faculty demand for this purpose from SRC funds;
d. alternative source support for faculty use of machine and electronic shops in research to reduce demand for this purpose from SRC funds;
e. increased time for faculty research beyond traditional spring/summer session;
f. increased institutional reward for and recognition of faculty research productivity.

C.  Senate Teaching and Learning Committee (STLC)

1.  Apparently, no formal evaluation of effectiveness is conducted by the STLC but informal indications of effectiveness are:

a.  the number of Educational Development Fund (EDF) grant requests received:
b.  the results of specific investigations by EDF recipients;
c.  the number of nominees for the Teaching Excellence Award;
d. participation in and informal feedback from organized seminars.

2. Constraints on effectiveness are:

a. lack of committee membership continuity due to turnover every two years;
b. lack of funding for the sponsorship of seminars, consultants, development and distribution of resource
c. lack of University administrative assistance to the STLC parallel to the role of the ORAD to the Senate Research Committee.

3. Effectiveness of the STLC would be increased by:

a. reducing committee membership turnover through reappointment or longer terms of service;
b. increased funding for expanded EDF grants, sponsoring seminars, disseminating materials, and providing the Teaching Excellence Award;
c. designation of a University administrator to work consistently with the STLC;
d. improved follow-up process for EDF grant recipients, including the publication and distribution of results to the faculty;
e. increased alternative funding of library and computer material, requests for which the EDF cannot meet.

D. Evaluation of Means of Faculty Development by Deans and Provost

1. Leaves (sabbaticals, research, retraining)

The Senior Vice President for University Affairs and Provost and deans are evenly divided in their estimation of the adequacy of leaves at Oakland. One-half consider leave opportunities at Oakland as equal to or better than opportunities at similar institutions. The other four see need for improvement in one or more of the following ways:

a. in understaffed faculties, the current collegial system over-burdens remaining faculty when leaves are taken:
b.  the advantages of year-long sabbaticals are insufficiently realized due to inadequate University inducements; i.e. 1/2 pay:
c.  research leave opportunities are seldom granted, except as spring/summer fellowships from the SRC:
d.  Long-range effectiveness of sabbaticals depends on their "fit" into a more systematic, continuous concern for developing faculty as persons as well as scholars.

2. Grants (research, teaching and learning)

A majority (5 of 8) see grant opportunities as insufficient to have much impact. Several (3) think grants should be targeted specifically for new investigations. One school (SEM) offers its own grants for untenured faculty research.

3. Travel to Professional Meetings

All but one consider current funding for travel inadequate, i.e., incommensurate with the importance of attending and/or participating in professional meetings. The current range of support ($175 - $250) is much less than sufficient to pay the expenses of even one out-of-state meeting, thus discouraging faculty from taking full advantage of important opportunities for keeping scholastically and professionally up-to-date. One school (SEM) supports instate attendance at professional meetings from other funds. Several suggest that there may be considerable inequity in disbursement of travel funds under the current system.

4. Training Seminars

A majority (5 of 8) consider training seminar opportunities adequate but perhaps under-utilized by faculty. Incentive is limited by a lack of funding and/or released time for training, especially in the Library and School of Nursing. Several (3) target opportunities to learn and use word processing as inadequate.

5. Teaching Outside Primary Area

A majority (5 of 8) consider opportunities for cross-over teaching to be adequate, but several (3) think that more use of such opportunities would be beneficial; e.g., in the teaching of lower-level mathematics courses by faculty with mathematics background.

6. Suggested Improvements:

a. establish a faculty development center to systematically organize institutional support of faculty development;
b. pool travel funds into one account to increase critical mass and disperse funds according to a single set of guidelines;
c.  increase support for ORAD, the SRC and the STLC grants, travel, school-sponsored "seed" research, retraining leaves, released time and additional faculty in understaffed departments, especially when faculty are on leave;
d.  use veteran grantsmen as mentors to help the inexperienced choose worthwhile topics, prepare proposals and publish results.


E" Faculty Evaluation of Current Means of Faculty Development

 Summary of Ratings  Good-Excellent Adequate Inadequate  N
a. Leaves 7% 82%  11%  95
b. Grants 18% 56% 27% 79
c. Travel  3% 33% 64% 123
d. Training Seminars  35%  50% 15% 86
e. Other Teaching 27%  48% 25%  69

N = the number who responded as having used this activity at some time.

2. Suggested improvements regarding:

a. Leaves: offer full-year sabbaticals at full pay (4) or 2/3 pay (1)
b. Grants: more funding (9); less red tape (3);
c. Travel: increase allocation (22); monitor use (2);
d. Training Seminars: release time for (3);

3. Recommended increases in:

a. money for travel (22), grants (4), research (4), skill development (6);
b. faculty interaction (club, pub) (4)
c. released time (9);
d. incentives for faculty development (6);
e. outside speakers, visiting scholars (7);
f. exchange professorships with schools and industry (9);
g. seminars, lectures on research and teaching (9); courses for faculty including funding of coursework outside the University (6);
h. information on research and other faculty development (3);
i. opportunities for computer and word processing training and use (3);
j. clerical support for research (2);

F. Influence of the Review Process on Faculty Development

1. Summary of Reports by Deans and Provost:

a. A majority (6 of 7) see the review process as influencing faculty development, but half see the impact greatest pre-tenure and a need for a more effective post-tenure influence. Several (2) saw the review process as having negative influence, motivating by threat or discouraging excellence in any one category.

b.  A majority (6 of 7) see the influence of the review process as prospective, but 5 think the process should have more prospective influence. Suggestions for improvement include:

 (1) development of a mentor system, linking experienced senior faculty with junior faculty, emphasizing preparation of dossiers, team teaching, classroom visitation, released time for research, and co-authorship of articles.
(2) annual face-to-face review of all faculty, including self-evaluation, peer review, department-head review and annual reports.
(3) clearer, more concrete communication of review criteria, not just in the circulation of written documents but in discussion, especially with new faculty, spelling out expectations for future reviews.

c. Constraints most frequently mentioned:

(1) entire process too cumbersome and time-consuming;
(2) mandated reviews have little effect on tenured
(3) full professor promotion not equitable across the University;
(4) failure of Oakland to clearly state its criteria standards and priorities;
(5) superlative development in any one area (especially teaching or scholarship) limited by need for balance.

d. The major recommendation for more effective use of the
review process was to simplify it by:

(1) reducing and informalizing probationary reviews before the C-4 level by confining them to department and school;
(2) reducing paperflow and use of people's time, not just in reviews but in committee work in general.

2. Summary of Reports by Department Chairs

a. A majority (11 or 65%) see the review process as contributing positively to faculty development. Several (5) see the effect diminishing post-tenure and suggest a need for some means to continue encouraging development of full professors.

b. A majority (13 or 76%) see the influence as prospective but the degree of influence varies according to the different means used by departments to communicate criteria, e.g., between simply circulating written documents versus annual discussion and review of criteria by department faculty.

c. Chairs are evenly divided over whether or not the review process should have more influence; some think it has too much already or that the influence is more negative (demeaning, dehumanizing, too time-consuming, danger of too much uniformity) than positive.

d. Major constraints on having a more positive prospective influence:

(1) unclear definition of Oakland's criteria;
(2) inconsistent application of criteria by the 4 review bodies;
(3) overemphasis on scholarship to neglect of teaching or other professional talents;
(4) cumbersome nature of the process, especially in documentation of dossiers;
(5) insufficient communication in early reviews of what is expected in later reviews;
(6) weak or no effect on those who already have tenure.

e. Only 2 chairs personally conduct an annual review of all department faculty, but a majority (10) assess teaching of all faculty and review scholarship and service for determining personal factors for merit pay.

f. In 10 departments, faculty see results of teaching assessments (or have the opportunity to do so); in only 3 are comparative results published. However, annual reports and/or personal factor determinations give faculty in 9 departments some knowledge of performance of colleagues.

g. Most frequent suggestions for more effective use of review process:

(1) streamline process, especially in early reviews; possibly eliminating one review committee;
(2) give departmental decisions more weight;
(3) give more support to junior faculty, possibly by a more effective mentor system.

3. Summary of Reports by FRPC and 6 CAPS

a. A majority (5) judge the review process as contributing positively to faculty development. Several (2). are critical of the process as limiting creativity and rewarding balance rather than excellence in any one area.

b.  A majority (5) believe criteria are adequately communicated prospectively but one (FRPC) sees this responsibility as mainly departmental.

c. A majority (4) think the review process should have more prospective influence. Suggested means for doing

(1) more rapid feedback, especially for new faculty;
(2) more continuous monitoring process, perhaps by senior mentor, for each new faculty appointment;
(3) more informal discussion of criteria and reassessment of current criteria for promotion.

d. Constraints most frequently mentioned are:

(1) Oakland's nebulous criteria;
(2) lack of mentorship;
(3) process viewed as time-consuming for reviewers and reviewed;
(4) mixed signals from different review bodies (due, in part, to changing memberships on review bodies);
(5) difficulty of making judgments about standards in evolving disciplines;
(6) time bind for nurses appointed without Ph.D. who must finish doctoral study while meeting other tenure standards.

e. Suggestions for more effective process:

(1) clearer written definition of Oakland's expectations;
(2) revised timeframe from initial appointment to tenure review for nursing faculty to facilitate doctoral preparation and reduce turnover.

III. Formal Commission Findings:

A. Currently the University offers no organized assistance in faculty development. Some centralized location in an administrative office for the sponsorship of such activity would be very beneficial.

B. It would be premature to evaluate the effectiveness of the ORAD, given the brief tenure of the current staff, but no mechanism for systematic evaluation is currently in place. The effectiveness of the office does seem to be limited by insufficient funding, especially for faculty development. .

C.  No mechanism is in place for formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the SRC.  Informal means of assessment indicate indicate a significant level of activity is taking place in faculty applications for and reception of grants, limited by the availability of funding for all worthwhile applications, support services, faculty time for research and institutional recognition of research productivity.

D. No mechanism is apparently in place for the formal evaluation of the STLC. Informal means of assessment indicate a significant level of activity is taking place in applications for and reception of EDF grants, limited by a lack of funding for development activities, lack of consistent administrative assistance and a rapid turnover of committee membership.

E. Sabbaticals appear to be an effective, valued means of faculty development, but the effect is limited by the burden created in understaffed faculties when leaves are taken without provision for temporary replacements. The advantages of year-long sabbaticals seldom are realized due to a lack of institutional inducements. Research leaves, outside of spring/summer fellowships, are valued opportunities but, in fact, seldom have been granted.

F. Travel funds are grossly inadequate for the support of faculty attendance at and participation in professional meetings in a manner which is commensurate with the importance of such activity or equivalent to the level of support for travel in allied professions. Current means of disbursing travel funds result in inequities among faculty in the level of support received depending on the school or college in which the faculty are located.

G. Training seminar opportunities are generally adequate but may be under-utilized due to constraints on faculty time for such activity. Demand for more opportunity is focused primarily on access to computer terminals and word processors.

H. Opportunities for teaching outside home departments are sufficient to meet the current interest of most faculty, but the administration perceives more potential benefit from extending these opportunities; e.g., in computer literacy and lower level mathematics courses, where current demand for instruction is high. Extension of this activity must scrupulously avoid the dangers of coercion of faculty or using insufficiently trained faculty in new areas of instruction.

I. The review process primarily influences faculty development at the pre-tenure level and is weakest in effect on full professors. Effectiveness of the review process on faculty development is constrained by:

a. lack of clear statement by Oakland of its criteria;
b. insufficient discussion and revision of criteria by some departments;
c. lack of mentor assistance to junior faculty in most departments;
d.  complex, time-consuming nature of the process which wearies the reviews and the reviewed;
e. the "negative effect" experienced by many faculty of being in a review process which motivates by threat, demands balance rather than superlative development of a chosen talent, and offers minimal collegial assistance and encouragement.

J. Most departments conduct annual assessments of teaching, but few conduct regular discussions with all faculty regarding the full scope of their professional activity, including plans for individual development, except for that which takes place in the determination of personal merit factors.

IV. Recommendations

A. Office of Research and Academic Development:

1. develop means for regular, systematic evaluation of effectiveness of the office;
2. increase funding for and expand scope of office for faculty development activities which, in cooperation with the SRC and the STLC, will enhance and reward not just research but all areas of faculty development.

B. Senate Research Committee:

1. develop means for regular, systematic evaluation of effectiveness of the committee;
2. increase funding for additional grants, some targeted for untenured faculty.

C. Senate Teaching and Learning Committee:

1. develop means for regular, systematic evaluation of effectiveness of the committee;
2. establish a consistent administrative responsibility in the STLC with budget to assist in sponsorship of development activities in teaching and learning, including publication and distribution of EDF grant results;
3. request that the Senate Steering Committee evaluate extending or staggering terms of membership on this committee and other Senate committees.

D. Sabbaticals:

1. encourage year-long sabbaticals by offering 3/4 pay;
2. use residual funds from sabbatical leaves to fund part-time replacements in those faculties which are understaffed as a result of the sabbatical leave.

E. Research and Training:

1.  institute released-time programs for research, possibly by reducing teaching load of faculty applicants in lieu of outright grangs;
2.  establish a program for providing released time and funding for training seminars here or elsewhere;
3.  increase opportunities for training in and access to word processors and computer terminals;
4. foster more active exchange programs with other universities and industry, perhaps through the ORAD.

F. Travel to Professional Meetings:

1. increase current General Fund travel allocations (at least double current budget) for out-of-state professional meetings;
2. charge the Provost's Office with review of current means of distribution of travel funds to correct perceived inequities of distribution, possibly by placing all travel funds in a single University pool to which all faculty apply, and develop a single set of guidelines governing eligibility and degree of reimbursement.

G. Review Process:

1. ask Oakland to clarify in writing its criteria;
2. ask departments to conduct annual discussions to clarify and communicate its criteria;
3. ask departments to consider mentor sponsorship of junior faculty by experienced senior faculty and recognize such service during reviews and/or determination of merit of senior mentors;
4. simplify the process by all appropriate means.

H. Annual Assessment of Faculty Development:

All faculty should meet annually with department chairs or deans to discuss the full scope of their professional activity, including plans for individual development, with respect to the criteria of that department or school. The purpose of these discussions should be to assist and nurture rather than review or judge. Merit evaluations should also be used more effectively, especially in review of tenured faculty, in linking professional development to tangible rewards.

 CHAPTER VI --Other Areas for Review

The seventh item of the Commission's charge was:

to recommend other areas of review which the Commission believes have a direct impact on academic quality.

As was implied previously in the Introduction, this chapter will be brief ace all of the effort was directed to dealing with the six specific issues the charge. However, as these items were dealt with, several common themes urged. They will be the focus of this chapter.

L. Budgetary and Planning Processes

As the Commission analyzed the materials received and prepared its responses to the six specific charges, the topic of budgets appeared central to most efforts for achieving excellence. The budgetary decisions of the University are considered to be one of the most important indicators to the faculty, administrative staff, and total University community of the commitment to achieve excellence. These decisions show on a continuous basis the true priorities of the University. At the present time, the University's budgetary process is not well known. The University community is generally unaware of what information serves as the basis for decisions, from whom the information is sought, and by whom the priorities are set. In such a situation, opportunities to set directions and focus community energies can be missed. The Commission recommends that a well defined and widely-publicized budget building process be established. This process should provide all appropriate parties opportunities for input and should contain mechanisms to develop the recognition that all significant needs have been considered and that budget decisions are made on the basis of a commitment to achieving and maintaining excellence.

While the budgetary process is the instantaneous barometer of the direction and emphasis of the University, a visible and productive planning process provides the long-range view. The need for conscientious planning appeared in many areas of the Commission's studies such as admissions policies, academic skill development, development of library and computer resources and the on-going monitoring of academic programs. The Commission recommends that the planning role of the Senate Academic Policy and Planning Committee be given greater emphasis. Furthermore, we recommend that a long-range planning committee be established at the Presidential level. Its activities should be as visible as is possible.

II. Information Patterns

Information, or rather the lack thereof, was another common issue that emerged in the Commission's studies. In a sense, this was a self-generated observation because of the operational definition of quality that had been adopted. Simply put, our task was to determine if  we, as an institution, told the truth. To paraphrase President Champagne, do we do what we say we're going to do. In applying this guideline in our studies three versions of the question developed: what is happening here; what is supposed to happen here; and what is happening elsewhere.

There are a number of cases where the lack of widely known answers to particular versions of these questions have caused difficulties. An inadequate student records system has helped to obscure a problem in our current admissions policy for 2-year transfer students at the freshman-sophomore level. As an example of the question about what is supposed to happen here, consider the University Library. It has problems that have been a source of frustration both for librarians and non-librarians alike. Perhaps much of that frustration results from our never having engaged in a process of role definition and subsequent institutional ratification of that definition for the library. Finally consider the fact that, through unawareness of what is happening elsewhere, we have become virtually isolated in our lack of an admissions requirement to submit ACT or SAT scores. How many talented students may we have discouraged by that unintended and inaccurate signal?

The investment in maintaining accurate, easily accessible records on what is happening here is way overdue. Without them, problem identification is delayed and problem resolution made more complex and costly. More clearly defined objectives would increase the productivity of most units. The quality of both our debate and of our solutions would be improved by better information about how other institutions deal with issues similar to ours.

We strongly believe that if these information patterns were more fully developed, more self-correcting actions would naturally take place throughout the University. If this were so, the expenditure of time and money associated with an exercise such as this Commission's probably could be avoided.

III. Space

The common topic that is the easiest to state and probably the most difficult to fully resolve is space. Again and again our deliberations on possible, desirable instructional changes ran against this issue. Repeatedly, potential classroom space did not appear sufficient. Space not only affects future directions, but has had a considerable influence on past choices as well. Perhaps just as many of our high enrollment classes result from space available as result from active departmental decisions. Another aspect arose in the comments section of the faculty survey. An unexpected number raised concerns about the physical conditions in which they had to teach and their students had to learn.

The Registrar, Lawrence Bartalucci, reports that Oakland is making more efficient use of its existing space than other institutions within the State. Typical usage rates are approximately 50% of the space capacity, while at Oakland the rate is closer to 65%. Oakland's large numbers of  commuter and part-time students appear to make a significant increase in this rate difficult. A concern raised by Mr. Bartalucci, which the Commission endorses, involves the conversion of existing classroom space to meet non-instructional needs. If the complete analysis of the faculty survey validates a high correlation between competency development activities and class size then we must accept that actions which result in a net decrease in instructional space are done so at the expense of instructional quality.

Of course, a university's demand for more buildings has been so common that it is practically a cliche, but for Oakland University it is a very real issue. Any improvements would have direct benefits to the instructional role of the institution and other objectives as well.

IV. Summary

In conclusion, we note that whenever recommendations are made as a result of an exercise such as this, it is only realistic to assume that they will soon speak for themselves and be free of any interpretation that their original proposers may have placed upon them. These are no different. The proposed revisions of policy suggested here may be viewed in the historical context of our time. This is a period of rising standards as opposed to a period of relaxing standards like that when many of these policies were set. Consequently one might say that these recommendations are just a part of that current pattern. There is probably a large degree of truth in that.

We, the members of the Commission, also would like to suggest that the issue of quality through information has strongly influenced us. The generation of information, its deliberate consideration, and responsible reaction to it are common elements of all our recommendations. This extends from the foundational aspects of the planning process, through the pivotal act of budget allocation^ all the way down to how a freshman is doing in her first General Education course. We believe it to be the supplement that can move us from excellence pursued toward excellence obtained.


References

1.  Michigan Commission on High Schools, "Striving for Excellence: Strengthening Secondary Education in Michigan," submitted to the Michigan State Board of Education, December, 1983.

2.  Michigan State Board of Education, "Better Education for Michigan Citizens: A Blueprint for Action," January, 1984.

3.  National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, Washington, D.C., 1983.

4.  Astin, Alexander W., "Excellence and Equity in American Education," Paper commissioned by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1982.

5.  COMP is the College Outcome Measures Program of the American College Testing Program. COMP was developed in 1976 and is used by many institutions (500) to measure the effectiveness of their General Education Program.