University of North Georgia is compliant with this core requirement.
Consolidation Planning During 2012
The consolidation of North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) and Gainesville State College (GSC) was included in ongoing planning and evaluation processes at several levels — the governing board, the system office, and the institution.
As discussed previously in the Overview section of this document, the decision by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents to consolidate NGCSU and GSC was linked to the mission, vision, and strategic goals of the University System of Georgia. The Chancelor's guiding principles and the Board’s actions were heavily influenced by long-term and ongoing environmental scanning of past, current and prospective economic and governmental conditions as well as state-level and national concerns about key issues such as degree completion rates, educational attainment levels of the workforce, public demand for higher education opportunities, tuition costs, cutbacks in governmental expenditures, and increased governmental efficiency. Institutional data on students, faculty, staff, academic programs, finances, and facilities are submitted on a regular and ongoing basis by institutions to the System Office, and were available to the Board of Regents. The establishment of a Special Consolidation Committee of the Board to oversee and participate in the advancement of this new initiative and advise the Board in its related decision making is additional evidence of Regent involvement in ongoing planning and evaluation processes.
Following the January 2012 vote by the Board of Regents (BOR) to consolidate NGCSU and GSC, the Chancellor immediately took action to incorporate consolidation preparations into the ongoing planning and evaluation processes of the USG System Office and their counterpart processes at the institutional level for the eight affected institutions. Chief among those actions were the identification of a “Lead President” for each of the four expected institutional consolidations and the assignments of Shelley Nickel, Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation, and Steve Wrigley, Executive Vice Chancellor, to co-lead the institutional consolidation coordination efforts of System Office administrators in support of the presidents and administrative counterparts at the institutional level. The USO (University System Office) Consolidation Implementation Team was subsequently formed and was comprised of all lead functional area System administrators and other key USO individuals, led by Shelly Nickel. That working group met regularly throughout 2012 to review consolidation preparation progress and make plans for resolving consolidation problems and issues that required System-level attention. Examples of key activities of this group were coordinating with the US Department of Education for seamless transfer of financial aid accounts to the newly consolidated institutions in the period between the financial aid fiscal years in summer 2013; negotiating with Banner and PeopleSoft vendors for assistance in consolidating institutional student, financial and personnel databases on those systems; and coordinating BOR and USO approvals of institutional name and mission changes, re-organization plans, presidential appointments, and institutional budget allocations.
Concurrent with the work described in the preceding paragraph, consolidation preparations were incorporated into the planning and evaluation processes at the institutional level. The consolidation implementation process included broad participation across all academic and administrative areas by faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders at both institutions.
The Consolidation Implementation Committee (CIC) was appointed by USG Chancellor Huckaby and consisted of representatives from all constituencies at both institutions. Dr. Bonita Jacobs, President of NGCSU and President-Designee of the consolidated University of North Georgia, chaired the CIC, which was tasked with providing overall guidance for the consolidation process and making recommendations to the Board of Regents as needed. Using techniques to gather input from large numbers of people, the CIC developed the proposed mission statement and the name for the University of North Georgia, which were submitted to the Board of Regents for their approval.
To direct the day-to-day planning of NGCSU and GSC consolidation, Dr. Jacobs appointed the Executive Planning Team (EPT), which was composed of the vice presidents, SACSCOC liaisons, and chief information officers of each institution. The EPT met regularly throughout 2012 and was particularly active in developing admissions and tuition models that align with the multiple components of the mission of the University of North Georgia. As part of this work, external consultants were engaged to provide research findings on institutions with tiered tuition policies. In addition, EPT members guided more detailed workgroups for their areas of operation.
There were more than 70 workgroups of faculty, staff, and students that identified the best policies and procedures in all academic and administrative areas for the consolidated University of North Georgia. Each workgroup was co-chaired by a representative from each institution. Generally, there were 6 to 10 members in a workgroup with equal numbers from the two institutions. These workgroups included strong representation of faculty. The 19 undergraduate discipline curriculum workgroups within Academic Affairs were are composed entirely of faculty. Examples of their work included reviewing and aligning course listings (including course descriptions, prerequisites, and learning outcomes) and developing consolidated plans of study for degree programs. The 16 non-discipline-specific workgroups within Academic Affairs were composed largely of faculty members, and faculty were represented on many other workgroups outside of Academic Affairs. Curricular changes related to consolidation were reviewed and approved through the appropriate governance structures in the existing institutions.
Initial Work – Summer 2012
The strategic planning consolidation workgroup, with representation from NGCSU and GSC, began initial work in summer 2012 on developing a strategic planning model and processes for implementation in the consolidated UNG. Development and execution of the planning process is under the leadership of the Vice President for Executive Affairs with support from the Institutional Effectiveness Office. The creation of a new strategic planning process for UNG by the strategic planning consolidation workgroup included a review of the accomplishments and lessons learned during the previous strategic planning cycles at each institution, as well as an extensive literature review. That group identified a number of key characteristics necessary for a successful strategic planning process in the new institution.
Environmental Scanning – Fall 2012
In September 2012, an Environmental Scan Task Force (ESTF) was created, comprising a broad mix of twenty-four faculty and administrators across all of UNG’s academic colleges and campuses. The ESTF was charged with collecting secondary data from institutional, state, federal, and other sources to predict trends in specific areas (e.g., demographics, economics, higher education, public policy, etc.) pertinent to UNG over the next 10 to 15 years. The ESTF used this information to conduct an analysis of UNG strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The ESTF produced the 70-page Environmental Scan, which will inform subsequent phases of strategic planning.
Visioning Fall 2012 and Spring 2013
Throughout fall 2012 and spring 2013, 22 focus groups were convened, representing community leaders, faculty, staff, and students from all campuses. These groups provided input on their current views and future hopes for UNG. A trained facilitator led these sessions. Participants took part in a one-time, one-hour session that used the first two steps of the Appreciative Inquiry process to Discover what faculty members currently value about UNG, and then to Dream about what their vision for the campus would be ten years from now. The focus for each question was on the institution's identity and activities (i.e. what it is/what it will be and what it does well and what it would ideally be doing). The sessions took place in conference rooms, and the agenda for each involved introductions, an explanation of purpose and product, a brief explanation of Appreciative Inquiry, and then the Discover and the Dream activities. Participants were told that the product would be aggregated from all groups and forwarded to the group that would Design the vision statement and strategic plan, and that everyone would be part of the Do process. This work resulted in a draft document containing possible vision statement, core values, and theme areas.
Summer 2013 Task Force on Strategic Planning
During summer 2013, a task force of a dozen people representing all four UNG campuses, was convened to do preliminary work on mission analysis; to review and identify any gaps in environmental scanning and visioning data; and to develop the detailed planning process and timeline. The work of the Summmer Task Force is to lay the groundwork to more fully engage the university community in the development of the strategic plan and to ensure that faculty and staff can swiftly transition into the planning process following the start of the fall 2013 semester. The Mission Analysis Team examined the UNG mission in light of planning documents from the University System of Georgia and other organizations pertinent to UNG to identify implied tasks and actions. The Process Action Team recommended a process beginning in fall 2013 for fully developing the strategic themes identified by the Summer Task Force into goals and actions.
As part of its work during summer 2013, The Process Action Team recommended the establishment of a Strategic Planning Steering Committee in fall 2013. Among the responsibilities of this group will be to provides oversight of strategic plan development and implementation, including the synchronization of operational plans (i.e., actions to achieve the goals in each theme) and the ongoing cyclical planning process.
Procedures for Systematic Evaluation
The Institutional Effectiveness Office oversees, coordinates, and facilitates institution-wide assessment of the strategic plan; educational programs; and academic, student, and administrative support services.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will be developed as the UNG strategic plan takes shape. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee will be responsible for monitoring progress toward the KPI, which will be the primary means of assessing accomplishment of instituional mission via the strategic plan. Additionally, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee will use an implementation matrix to evaluate the progress made in implementing aspects of the strategic plan.
As part of the consolidation process, the Core Curriculum workgroup created new general education outcomes along with related courses to reflect the mission of the consolidated institution. In addition to including substantial faculty feedback at each step, the curriculum approval process for each institution was followed and the USG Council on General Education has approved the UNG general education outcomes.
The General Education Committee, with representation from instructional departments involved in teaching the core curriculum, along with the Institutional Effectiveness office, will oversee the implementation and assessment of the core curriculum. Existing course-level assessments related to general education outcomes will be modified accordingly. Assessment of general education outcomes is being implemented on a three-year cycle that begins with the implementation of the consolidated core curriculum in fall 2013. Student proficiency in general education outcomes will be assessed through embedded rubrics, with data collected and processed using Tk20, an assessment software package.
The Institutional Effectiveness Office supports the regular reporting of the general education outcomes assessment results. The General Education Committee is responsible for the review of the data and subsequent recommendations to the Provost's Council and the Academic Affairs Committee, which are the academic policy and curricular approval bodies at UNG. As some of the general education outcomes and threads span multiple disciplines, these bodies will work with the individual disciplines in determining which recommendations to enact that improve the general education program across the institution.
In addition to the General Education Committee, assessment coordinators have been identified for each degree program. These individuals collaborate with the Institutional Effectiveness Office to ensure that each academic program has appropriate student learning outcomes, is collecting and analyzing pertinent assessment data, and is making program and learning improvements based on those data. Assessment coordinators are responsible for engaging faculty support for the process and ensuring that appropriate recommendations for improvement emanating from assessment results are implemented.
At the program level, and in compliance with section 2.3.6 of the USG Academic and Student Affairs Handbook, a comprehensive program review (CPR) schedule for UNG is being created to assess the quality, productivity, and viability of each degree program. CPR policies and procedures have been in place for more than a decade within the USG and continue to be modified and improved over time. The UNG Institutional Effectiveness office, in collaboration with assessment coordinators and program coordinators, will oversee the implementation of the CPR process. Also, program reviews to maintain disciplinary-specific accreditations is an important continuing priority at UNG to ensure program quality.
Academic Support Services, Student Support Services, Administrative Services
In addition to assessment of academic programs, the UNG Institutional Effectiveness office oversees assessment of administrative units. The Institutional Effectiveness staff includes the position of Coordinator of Administrative Unit Assessment. This individual works with each administrative unit across all four campuses to support the refinement of goals and measurements as well as methods of assessment within the three-year cycle. This includes working with the Director of Institutional Research, who is located within the Institutional Effectiveness Office, in the continued implementation of survey cycles using internal and standardized surveys as appropriate to inform units on areas of strength and needed improvement.
Though not yet implemented, it is envisioned that UNG will have an administrative assessment committee with representation from all campuses who will work with the Coordinator of Administrative Unit Assessment in increasing awareness of the institutional effectiveness process and supporting the use of assessment results to improve the administrative units.
Examples of Connecting Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee will review Key Performance Indicators and other institutional and program-specific data to evaulate progress on the strategic plan and to make recommendations for funding priorities. It is anticipated that the budget and strategic planning cycles will be synchronized so that strategic planning data will be reviewed prior to funding allocations.
Research on faculty salaries was conducted by the NGCSU Institutional Effectiveness office early in the consolidation planning process in 2012. Initial analysis showed that not only was there considerable difference in faculty salaries between NGCSU and GSC (approximately $10,000 on average), both insitutions ranked low compared to others in the same Carnegie classifications and located in the same geographical region. This led to a much more detailed analysis by rank and discipline, which was presented at the March and April 2013 UNG Faculty Senate meetings. This research-based evaluation of faculty salaries was incorporated into the UNG budget planning process for FY2014, and was presented at the system-level budget hearings as a priority for UNG. As evidenced by Dr. Jacob's Presidential Update in May, the first phase of a 3-year salary equity plan has been funded for implementation in FY2014.
Complete College Georgia
UNG is part of the USG Complete College Georgia (CCG) initiative to improve the retention, progression, and graduation of students. As part of the consolidation planning process in 2012, a team of representatives from both NGCSU and GSC developed a comprehensive CCGA Plan that established goals, objectives, assessment tools, and strategies for implementation and feedback to improve the retention, progression, and graduation rate of students. The CCG assessment plan will be integrated into the institutional assessment plan. The CCG goals included in the UNG plan are outlined below.
- Goal 1.1: Expand Efforts to Increase the Regional College Participation for Underserved Populations
- Goal 2.1: Improve Access for the Economically Disadvantaged By Increasing the Number of Pell Eligible Students Who Apply To College
- Goal 2.2: Increase the Number of Students in Each Underserved Population (African American, Hispanic, Asian, Veteran and Military Personnel, and Adult Learners) Through Targeted Recruiting
- Goal 2.3: Provide Support for Completion to Underserved Populations
- Goal 3.1: Identify and Eliminate Barriers to Completion
- Goal 3.2: Decrease Excess Credits Earned at Degree Completion through Enhanced Early Intervention Protocols
- Goal 4.1 Expand Online Courses and Programs
- Goal 4.2: Expand the Use of Supplemental Instruction, Particularly in STEM and Gateway Courses to Improve Completion
- Goal 4.3: Expand the Implementation of High Impact Practices
- Goal 5.1: Identify and Eliminate Barriers to Remediation Completion
- Goal 5.2: Established Enhanced Non-Credit Remediation Programs
- Goal 5.3: Provide Multiple and Flexible Pathways to Satisfy Remediation Requirements
In June 2013, UNG submitted a progress report on CCG efforts to date. Evaluation of some initial CCG projects in areas such as remediation and supplemental instruction has led to UNG allocating funds for expansion in FY2014.
Planning and evaluation processes at UNG are ongoing. Planning and evaluation began prior to consolidation. Strategic planning, as well as evaluation of student learning and assessment of support services, is underway and will continue on a cyclical basis.
Planning and evaluation processes at UNG are integrated. The Institutional Effectiveness office has a key role in integrating these systematic processes across the institution. Various structures are in place to assist in integrating diverse efforts related to planning and evaluation. The Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, who has been involved in the Environmental Scanning Task Force and the Summer Task Force, will be a member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee that will be formed in fall 2013. The Institutional Effectiveness office is represented on the General Education Committee, Complete College Georgia Team, and First Year Experience Advisory Group. All of these groups make important contributions to planning and evaluation, and representation by the Institutional Effectiveness office helps to keep these processes integrated, and not in silos or vacuums. In addition, staff from the Institutional Effectiveness office provides guidance to departmental assessment coordinators and encourages diverse assessment methods, but requires a standardized approach to assessment (identifying outcomes, selecting appropriate measurement methods, reporting results, and using results for improvement) and reporting it in TK20 -- the university-wide assessment database.
Planning and evaluation processes at UNG are institution-wide. The strategic plan will encompass the entire institution. It is being developed with representation from all campuses, and input is sought from all areas of the university. Evaluation processes go across the institution and encompass academic areas as well as student support and administrative units.
Planning and evaluation processes at UNG are research-based. The use of focus groups for visioning, data for environmental scanning and salary analysis, metrics for space utilization, and nationally normed surveys to obtain information about the first year experience are some examples of the research tools use for planning and evaluation.
A systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes has provided the foundation for strategic planning as evidenced by the work of the Environmental Scanning Task Force and the Summer Strategic Planning Task Force.
UNG has demonstrated the foundation for continuing improvement in institutional quality and the effective accomplishment of its mission. The BA in Human Service Delivery Administration received initial accreditation in May 2013 from the Council for Standards in Human Service Education. This brings the total to 10 discipline-specific bodies that have accredited programs offered by UNG. UNG's commitment to these accreditation processes is one example of the institution's continuing commitment to quality. UNG has committed $25,000 for the programming and schematic design of modifications and expansion to the John Harrison Hosch Library on the Gainesville campus, which will align needs with facilities and services. The focus of this library master plan will be to identify the long-range strategic goals of the library, quantify these goals into space requirements and then develop a building space plan to achieve these goals through renovation and addition projects. This master plan should identify phases that will allow UNG to meet its long-range goals as funding becomes available. Also, requests for two capital projects recently submitted to the Board of Regents lay the groundwork for improving institutional quality -- adding classroom and office capacity to the Oconee campus and a 5000-seat Regional Center for Business and Innovation in Dahlonega. As the only comprehensive public university in northeast Georgia, UNG recently created the North Georgia Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) Task Force, which is a collaboration between educational and community leaders to identify opportunities and the necessary resources for preparing an educated workforce to sustain economic vitality for our region and state. UNG hosted three collaborative meetings in June and July across the northeast region of Georgia. Community, business, and education leaders shared insights, ideas, needs, and opportunities for ensuring a thriving and educated region. The findings and recommendations from the task force meetings will be presented at a REED summit, which is scheduled for September. The REED meetings and the fall summit support an orientation of engagement and institutional improvement, and complement work done as part of the Complete College Georgia initiative. In turn, this leads to accomplishment of institutional mission as measured by retention, transfer, and graduation rates.