November 5, 2004
Arkansas State University - Jonesboro
This First Friday report continues themes that emerged in the Higher
Learning Commission report of 2003. The HLC report is available through
First Friday archives and the ASU website, and may be a useful reference
to the material that follows. This report will address conclusion of the
strategic planning process, the start of enrollment management planning,
and progress in shared governance planning.
Strategic Planning Process
The strategic plan writing team has
produced final drafts of an ASU-Jonesboro mission statement, core values
statement, and vision statement along with a condensation of the more
lengthy strategic planning narrative. The points identified as strategic
directions now have coalesced into a group of institutional priorities.
That material has been reported previously in First Friday issues.
Constituents were asked to provide responses to the planning material.
Written and verbal reactions were given to and considered by the writing
team, which now has provided final drafts for integration with unit-level
The writing team has finished its essential work. It is appropriate to
insert here an expression of institutional gratitude to members of the
writing team. Theirs has not been an easy chore: They have been asked to
recall, consider, discuss, and sometimes translate hours of commentary and
pages of notes from the campus and civic community planning meetings. They
have struggled to unite divergent viewpoints, and they have debated the
most precise wording and phrasing to convey intentions of the planning
participants. The writing team has produced an elegant summary of a year’s
activity, thought, and discussion and they have expressed our university’s
ambition. It is a good product. We are grateful to have received it.
The material from the team has gone to the vice presidents, to the deans
and to division directors in order for each level of organization to
define how it will actualize the strategic plan in their own activities.
These separate and very different interpretations will serve to animate a
plan that otherwise would be static. It is to be hoped that the plans
would be internalized not only at the unit level, but at the personal
level as well, so that each person may take ownership and responsibility
for success of the plan.
Over the next month, these separate plans will be reviewed, questioned,
changed, strengthened, and integrated into a final document. That
compendium of the campus-wide effort will be presented to the Board of
Trustees in December and, assuming their concurrence and encouragement to
proceed, will be posted in the First Friday report in January 2005, a year
before the Higher Learning Commission team returns expecting to see the
plan in place and operational.
Enrollment Management Planning
Following discussion about enrollment
issues in the First Friday reports that preceded this one, Dr. Jim Black
has been hired through a competitive process to provide expert counsel for
our development of a strategic enrollment plan. Concepts of this effort
were presented recently to the University Planning Committee, and a
campus-wide task force now has been created. The co-chairs, Vice
Presidents Allen and Stripling, and task force members will work with Dr.
Black to identify a series of issues regarding our enrollment situation,
strategies for improvement and assessment methodologies. Dr. Black will
provide for the president and task force several written audits:
admissions office functions; financial aid policies and distributions;
advising and counseling activities; the process that is used to define
enrollment goals; and an environmental scan of our current situation.
These audits will result in a final report from Dr. Black to be produced
in early spring 2005.
This report and additional information reviewed by the task force will
form the basis of an enrollment plan to be produced in the spring 2005 and
made operational during the 2005-06 academic year. While some positive
results from the planning activity will be seen with fall 2005 enrollments
(the recruitment for which is currently underway), the full impact will be
realized in the fall 2006 and beyond. This is so because an enrollment
plan unfolds over the course of several years, as targets for enrollment
are defined by academic leaders, as university recruiters cover their
territories throughout the year, as faculty and staff develop personalized
contacts with prospective enrollees, as scholarship and housing
arrangements are finalized, as we go through a series of preview days and
orientations, and finally through the process of accommodating students in
academic courses and student support programs.
When the Higher Learning Commission team returns, it will want to see a
plan that has produced the specific students we would want to enroll at
ASU, in addition to the many other students who would want to come for the
excellent educational opportunities we provide. The development of that
plan will begin with Dr. Black’s visit on November 8.
The strategic planning process also has identified the priority to study
and refine the university image, as it is perceived inside and outside the
institution. Using materials developed and organized through the
enrollment management study, we may proceed into an image study that would
lead to a new concept of “branding,” or how we would freshly present
ourselves to many constituents. Again, this process would extend over the
course of the next year.
Shared Governance Planning
For the last decade, at the least, ASU has
struggled with the concepts of shared governance, and many legitimate
concerns have been raised about whether the process we employ is actually
shared, or whether it actually is governance. The importance of a shared
governance system is appreciated differently among constituents inside and
outside the university, with some individuals and groups caring
passionately about the process, and some caring not at all. The ASU shared
governance system has been criticized as being ineffective, and there has
been confusion and uncertainty about how the shared governance system
works, and how issues are resolved and results made known. The Higher
Learning Commission rightly identified shared governance as an area that
needs attention, and one that will be reviewed by the visitation team in
A shared governance task force, composed of interested faculty members,
has been meeting over the last year to provide a clear conceptual basis
for a shared governance system, and the subsequent definition of a process
through which the concepts may be expressed in practice. Professor Julie
Isaacson has led the task force that recently released the draft report of
University Governance System, included here as attachment. Commentary
is invited and sought in response to the draft, which includes:
Guidelines of University Governance, including:
Major areas of
procedures for the implementation of university governance
A listing of
governance committees and institutional governance committees also is
included in the attachment.
As a draft, this material is open to commentary, revision, and any
necessary refinement to make the university governance system one we all
can support, use, and in which we may participate. Please take time to
review the draft and send your thoughts about it to Professor Julie
or to me. Some version of this draft will find its way into policy, so
please offer comments during this period of development.
This report has attempted to relate the progress our campus is making to
respond to the observations of the Higher Learning Commission, but more
importantly the collaborative effort that has been, and will be joined by
many persons to make ASU a better university. Progress is being made,
thanks to all of you who have contributed time, effort, and energy, which
is too briefly summarized in this short report.
If you have comments about this material or any aspect of Arkansas State
University, I would welcome your communication to
(Microsoft Word document)
Academic Governance and Institutional
Governance Committees (Microsoft Word document)
First Friday Archive
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