Review and Redesign of College-based Support Programs
Colleges can free up resources to enhance student learning and better support faculty work by redesigning how their basic services are provided, looking for opportunities to cooperate, share and innovate with other colleges or divisions. Long-held assumptions about place, process, and participants should be re-examined. Opportunities to fund activities with non-general fund dollars should be developed.
Two categories of college support programs, faculty development and student advising, must be enhanced with new funds:
- The university increased significantly the expectations for faculty scholarship over the past decade, but the funds for faculty travel and research initiation have remained unchanged. Travel to conferences and professional meetings must be supported more to allow faculty to meet expectations of scholarship. Faculty need larger grants to initiate scholarly projects over and above what is available from Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) funds. Because faculty scholarly activity increases grant and contract funding, the committee would invite the CPP Foundation to fund these increases.
- The university is investing too little in effective student academic advising. The Advising Task Force, which has been effective in improving advising on campus, should develop a proposal for additional investment. This proposal should be tied to improvements identified as needed by advising assessment activities.
Implementation Process - Apart from faculty development and student advising, this recommendation can be implemented by colleges working together to change how service is delivered to create the funds to enhance the level of service provided. Some specific starting points are the following:
- The Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Science share the need to maintain expensive, sophisticated equipment used by large numbers of students in the classroom. These colleges should examine how they can enhance this support by sharing resources, expertise and costs (including service contracts).
- Each degree program has a specific approach to assessing its learning outcomes. But all must collect assessment instruments, analyze them, and store examples for review by accreditation teams. Shared resources and/or centralized support should streamline clerical and analytical aspects of assessment, giving faculty more time to use their departmental assessment process to enhance the curriculum.
- Colleges and enrollment services need a new model for collaborating on student recruiting. Reallocating resources and redeploying people should allow us to better meet the university’s enrollment goals. For example, it may be more effective if the National Student Exchange program in Student Affairs were housed in the International Center in Academic Affairs so that students interested in either national or international study would have one point of contact.
- Colleges allocate little money to staff development programs. A prime candidate for investment in this area is development of techniques for assessing service quality. Better informed staff can help redefine how we deliver administrative services.
- The structure of technology support in the colleges depends on how technology is supported campus-wide. The committee will make a specific recommendation on technology support programs in the next section.
While this recommendation applies to college support programs, the committee wants to be clear that the same recommendation applies to analogous programs in other divisions. College programs are singled out because the support programs in each are very similar. But every unit on campus should reexamine how it delivers service and free up resources of money, time and space to reinvest in improving the quality of its program. All divisions have the responsibility to ensure that services are provided efficiently with minimal duplication.