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Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Review

April 8, 2009

HLC Steering Committee Meeting

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

College Eye Room, Maucker Union
  1. Welcome - Bev
  2. April 2, 2009 meeting notes – Shirley
  3. FoE Diversity Dimension Report – Susan Hill & Melissa Payne
  4. Discussion of Criterion 1 draft – Inez & Jim
  5. Discussion of Criterion 2 draft – Jan & Shashi
  6. Committee Updates - all
  7. For the good of the order
HLC Steering Committee

Meeting Notes
April 8, 2009 – 3:15 p.m.
College Eye Room-Maucker Union

Present: Agee, Arthur, Buse, Chatham-Carpenter, Cutter, Hanish, Hays, Kaparthi, Kopper, Licari, Martin, Morgan, Murtha, Neibauer, O’Connor, Uehle, Upah, Vinton, Wilson

Absent: Patton, Pease

  1. Welcome – Bev
    Committee members introduced themselves to guests Susan Hill and Melissa Payne.
  2. April 1, 2009 meeting notes – Shirley
    Minutes will stand as distributed.
  3. Foe Transitions Dimension report – Lex Smith and Kristin Woods
    • Susan and Melissa indicated they felt limited by the performance indicators of this dimension. They are looking forward to the results of the Campus Climate survey in the hope they may explore other avenues related to diversity. Susan said we can teach, talk and model good behavior but it’s difficult to determine whether people absorb what is taught. The Diversity committee felt that a lot of positive things are happening at UNI but there is nothing intentional.
    • Committee members asked the following questions and provided comments/suggestions.
      • What are the learning outcomes and how would these be measured?
      • Diversity committee recommended three action items but it’s unclear how these items can be measured.
      • Everything discussed in the report goes back to the question, “What is the definition of diversity?” Hard to plan without a clear definition.
      • The Diversity Council is working on a definition of diversity for the campus.
      • A pamphlet distributed at the CME reinforces stereotypes of women that we have been trying to break down.
      • The FoE student survey suggested that we are doing well regarding the issue of diversity but the Diversity committee didn’t believe the results. We don’t know what the students were thinking when they answered the questions on the survey. Their definition of diversity might be skewed because of their background.
      • Diversity Committee recommended a grade of D because the performance indicators asked to what extent do we structure and assure experiences for first year students. We may offer services/programs but we don’t necessarily assure anything for first year students.
      • In trying to infuse diversity into the curriculum…using the word “required” when it comes to certain courses may not be the best way to approach the issue because students like the freedom of choice.
      • Regarding diversity in Humanities courses…including a different world view, discussing different cultures…many faculty don’t include these topics in their classes. If you want to create a culture of diversity, you have to expand people’s thinking about what diversity encompasses. There are ways to enhance diversity such as talking to faculty about how they frame issues, discuss certain text books, etc.
      • Melissa stated that diversity is challenging – it makes people uncomfortable. The reason why students may resist requirements is because they are personally challenged and they don’t want to deal with the challenge. Certain requirements are never popular but students benefit from personally challenging themselves.
      • Required courses in the LAC builds up resistance. Capstone started out as a conscious attempt by the university to graduate students with pro-environmental values but students resisted. This led to faculty resistance; this is why we now have several capstone choices.
      • We do not have to have a diversity course – faculty can discuss diversity within the context of their classes.
      • Bev asked Susan and Melissa to share their discussions about JumpStart and orientation.
      • The housing of JumpStart students is a good model that was highlighted.
      • Since UNI has a Carnegie classification of Community Engagement, should we remove the statement in the report that states, “…the committee could not identify many opportunities for first year students to encounter individuals from differing backgrounds outside the institution…”. Susan indicated this is common and is not something the committee was overly concerned about.
  4. Discussion of Criterion 1 draft – Inez & Jim
    • Jim admitted their report is a work in progress.
    • Jim realizes we need to do a lot of housecleaning on our website – it’s badly organized.
    • Mission statements were discussed – there are a lot of departmental mission statements that are not linked to the institutional mission. Many times department mission statements are embedded and may not be on their home page.
    • Every program has been challenged by the academic program review process to link to their mission statements.
    • Ginny mentioned that she has been involved in accreditation at another institution and has worked on Criterion 1. The HLC will check to see if we have publicly articulated our mission, see if it is visible for people on and off-campus and, determine whether we make decisions based upon the mission.
    • Is the current mission statement the one that we should be marketing? Once the Board of Regents has their new strategic plan completed, we will be working on a new mission and strategic plan.
    • We are in a difficult spot because we have an outdated mission statement, the president has discussed his three priorities and our strategic plan ends in 2009.
    • Maybe it’s a good thing that people don’t know our mission statement – we shouldn’t promote it if it’s going to change.
    • Ginny indicated that this is a process to find out what needs to be addressed and develop a plan for improvement.
    • We need to educate people on how the strategic planning process works.
    • There are a lot of good value statements in the current strategic plan but it is not a guide for our future – it doesn’t assist us with making decisions.
    • Is there a way of having wholeness – show the direct relationships between our smaller units’ mission statements and the mission statement as a whole. Is there something in the mission that none of the units are doing?
  5. Discussion of Criterion 2 – Jan & Shashi
    • Bev questioned having numbers on both sides of charts (p. 5 & 7). Shashi indicated the charts were copied from existing reports.
    • Are we going to standardize the years on charts and graphs? Do we want a common start year? Depending upon the topic, it may be important to include years other than the past ten to demonstrate a pattern.
    • There is inconsistency between text and chart regarding our workforce. The chart shows we don’t have a very diverse workforce so maybe the text should recognize that our workforce is not as diverse as it should be. Part of the lack of diversity could be attributed to the pool we draw from. There are data as to the composition of interview pools. Since the text was written by an employee in the office of Compliance and Equity Management, it could be the viewpoint of that office.
    • Could look at what the percentages have been – but a low percentage of success does not mean there hasn’t been a commitment.
    • Donna indicated there is a lot of overlap between Criterion 2 and Criterion 3 which she is working on with Barry. Members suggested she leave everything in for now – sections may be removed later.
    • Include United Faculty under University Governance and Planning – Ginny volunteered to write a section for United Faculty.
    • The M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies is administered through the CSBS in addition to what is mentioned in the report (p. 31).
    • Should NISG be included under the University Governance and Planning section?
    • Also under the University Governance section…are there some current issues or accomplishments that could be highlighted? Maybe indicate what has happened since the last self-study.
  6. Committee Updates – all
    • Bev suggested we not have updates from committees today in view of the ongoing committee reports.
    • Bev distributed a HLC/FoE visual that will be used as part of a poster for the HLC Annual meeting in Chicago. Bev asked for comments and there were a few suggestions for change.
  7. For the good of the order
    • April asked about the layout of sections for each core component. Ginny suggested members refer to the HLC evaluative writing handouts written by Dr. Appleson.
    • Bev, Barbara, Donna and April will be attending the HLC Annual Meeting April 17-21 and they have a 30-minute meeting scheduled with Dr. Appleson. Send suggestions for questions they may ask him to Shirley.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, 2009; Presidential Room