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|AQIP Systems Portfolio 2009|
CATEGORY 2: SUPPORTING OTHER DISTINCTIVE OBJECTIVES
WNMU places highest priority on allocating its scarce fiscal and human resources on educational programs identified in the Institutional Overview and Category 1. Other objectives growing out of WNMU’s mission and vision are provided in Figure 2P1.1.
WNMU works to see that pursuit of these objectives reinforce, wherever possible, efforts directed to Helping Students Learn. WNMU uses its decision-making cycle and its planning processes to identify distinctive objectives for non-instructional processes. The specific manner by which it pursues these objectives in the short- or medium-run varies depending on results of its SWOT analyses, economic and other environmental conditions in the region, political considerations and mandates, and most importantly, availability of resources after its first priority of helping students learn is addressed.
Governance activities, leadership visits to departments and department meetings, committees of the faculty and staff, Institutional Advancement Committee (IAC) and alumni meetings, student and employee surveys, and advisory boards to the academic and the vocational programs provide input into the selection of other distinctive objectives. Due to the fact that decision making is dispersed, many different processes are used to determine which other distinctive objectives a unit will pursue and how it will pursue it.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring professional conferences and workshops to the campus (scholarship and service) and know that support for their efforts will be forthcoming. As a result, a number of conferences have been or will be held on the campus. They include The Chicano Institute (annually since 2006), an Annual Counseling Conference, the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning’s annual One-Day University, and the Viva Verde Expo (2009). Quality New Mexico, in conjunction with WNMU, sponsors an annual examiner training workshop on the WNMU campus. A second example reflects the collaboration that often surrounds decisions. Students supported a fee increase (supplemented by University funds) to support classroom furniture renewal. Faculty and staff worked along with students to ensure that various policies were followed (such as purchasing) and that furnishings selected adequately met student needs. A more recent example occurred during the 2009 academic year when students voted to increase fees in order to fund IT upgrades.
The Athletics Department uses both student and faculty representation to design and operate the key processes that address NCAA Title IX compliance and the Equity in Athletic Disclosure Act (EADA). The Faculty Senate appoints members of the Faculty Athletics Committee and a faculty member, appointed by the President, serves as a part-time, permanent Faculty Athletic Representative. A Student Athlete Advisory Committee also provides input to the department. For example, NCAA recently identified the need for WNMU to develop gender equity and graduation success plans. With input from both student and faculty representatives, the Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations/Senior Woman Administrator is currently drafting a five-year plan with goals for correcting these imbalances and improving awareness and better representation of the institutional Mission.
The IAC determines objectives for external stakeholders through the strategic planning process. Feedback from stakeholders is collected in a number of ways, including: various surveys; soliciting ideas and concerns through the Alumni website and the WNMU Alumni Bulletin; event evaluation forms (e.g. the One-Day University); alumni chapter meetings; and listening at community forums such as Town & Gown.
Feedback is used in SWOT analyses to assist the IAC in determining strategic objectives, and in revising the WNMU Marketing & Controls Plan. All advancement objectives for external stakeholders must align with the Institutional Mission and strategic plan.
The Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations/Senior Woman Administrator, a full-time position since March 2007, has increased visibility of the Athletics Department and enhanced interactions with staff, faculty, and non-athletics students. This individual also serves on the IAC, providing necessary input on stakeholder expectations, marketing initiatives, RMAC compliance issues, and athlete alumni interests. In 2006, WNMU was re-admitted to RMAC; our affiliation with this conference drives many of the external stakeholder requirements of the Athletics Department. The new WNMU Athletics website also provides a mechanism for disseminating to and gathering information from external stakeholders, including prospective students, parents, alumni, competitor schools (both in- and out-of-conference), and the community. Goals and objectives aligned with the Mission, RMAC, and the WNMU Marketing & Controls Plan. Some recent objectives identified by Athletics speak directly to external stakeholder expectations, and include enhanced community involvement and role modeling of student athletes. Results for athlete citizenship initiatives are presented in 2R4.
Expectations are communicated during conversations with faculty and staff during the evaluation processes and through Cabinet discussions. The former processes are described in more detail in Category Four; suffice it to say that a portion of the faculty’s evaluation for promotion and tenure rests on scholarship and service. The Strategic Plan and the planning process provide other means for communicating the importance of these distinctive objectives. Tying division/department operating plans to the Institutional mission and strategic plan is an ongoing process. Often new approaches or programs generate new ways of meeting these objectives; this was particularly evidenced by the collaboration, brainstorming, and environmental scanning that ultimately produced the WNMU Marketing & Controls Plan. The Plan is, in and of itself, a comprehensive communication of expectations, with short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. The new Athletics website is another example of how non-instructional objectives are communicated. Distinctive objectives are also included as a focus in:
§ New faculty and staff orientations
§ IAC meetings and strategic planning sessions
§ Cabinet and SEAT meetings
§ Staff, faculty and student standing committees (such as sabbatical leave, research, and assessment committees)
§ Assessment Convocation
§ WNMU website
Students, faculty, and staff have opportunities for input into the planning process directly and as individuals by participating in open forums, campus committees, surveys, the governance process, or their department meetings. Information gathered through such venues enhances decision quality and awareness and helps shape campus direction. More formal processes for communicating such information are discussed in Category 5.
Specific methods for assessing and reviewing non-instructional objectives include:
§ Advisory boards and community input (e.g. Group of Twenty; Town & Gown)
§ Needs assessments
§ Strategic Planning (particularly during the SWOT phase)
§ AQIP Action Project Teams (e.g. People First Team)
§ Governance groups (faculty, staff & student)
§ BOR meetings
§ Collective bargaining with AFSCME campus representative
§ Public Relations firm
§ Academic Council
§ President’s Cabinet
§ Student and Faculty Athletic Committees
§ Departmental and committee meetings
§ Student and community feedback
§ Alumni chapter meetings
The NCAA self-study process is another avenue for assessing and reviewing instructional as well as non-instructional objectives. This process provides a plan, with goals, for five years. WNMU’s next self-study is due in June, 2014.
Faculty and staff needs are driven by the University’s primary focus of Helping Students Learn. Other distinctive objectives presented in figure 2P1.1 are linked with activities to support faculty and staff in figure 2P5.1 below.
Needs related to compensation, new teaching tools, updated or new facilities, and professional and program development opportunities commonly rise through faculty channels. Staff channels identify needs related to work environment, work processes, compensation, and professional development. The IAC and WNMU Administration identify needs related to community affairs, alumni, donors, marketing. Facility and infrastructure needs often arise in conjunction with academic program growth and change, and with the changing nature of the student population.
The SPP provides an overall mechanism for incorporating faculty and staff needs. At the vice presidents’ level, operational plans for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Business Affairs, and Institutional Advancement communicate the specifics, in terms of actions for the coming academic year, for any readjustments.
Some objectives such as scholarship and service are assessed in the performance evaluation process, with academic chairs helping faculty and unit supervisors helping staff make adjustments necessary to support these objectives. The NL satisfaction survey provides feedback related to the learning environment, and growth in alumni chapters and membership provides an evaluative reflection of trust. In the area of community and economic development, adjustments are made with input from collaborators in the process. Some objectives, most notably those with special project funding by the legislature or HED, are subject to formal assessment processes either annually or on a triennial schedule. Other objectives, primarily those funded out of general legislative appropriations, do not undergo a formal assessment process; rather, their assessment is incorporated into the general budgeting processes.
Figure 2R1.1 provides information related to measures of other distinctive objectives. Those that are regularly collected are designated by a C, those regularly analyzed are designated by a D, and those that could be measured easily, but are not, are designated by an E.
As Figure 2P5.1 indicates WNMU collects results for a number of measures related to its distinctive objectives. Results for several of these are provided below; others are found in the other sections of this portfolio.
According to the 2008 WNMU Equity in Athletics survey required by the United States Department of Education and the NCAA, 145 men participated in five sports, and 69 women participated in six sports during 2007. During that year, the WNMU men’s programs spent $221,672 in operating expenses (includes game day expenses) and $1,506,346 in total expenses (including athletics-related student aid, operating expenses, and recruitment expenses). The expenses averaged to $10,388.59 per male student athlete. The women’s program spent $141,203 in operating expenses and $1,026,526 in total expenses. With 69 student-athletes, this averaged out to $14,877.19. Survey results also revealed that men received $489,448 in athletics-related student aid in 2007, whereas women received $331,680. Each male student athlete, as a result, received $3,375.50 in scholarships. Each female student athlete received $4806.96. Under gender equity, NCAA requires equal treatment in the provision of (1) equipment and supplies, (2) scheduling of games and practice times, (3) travel and daily allowance, (4) access to tutoring, (5) coaching, (6) locker rooms, (7) practice and competitive facilities, (8) medical and training facilities and services, (9) publicity and promotions, (10) recruitment of student athletes, and (11) support services. Overall, WNMU is fulfilling gender equity except for the equitable opportunity to participate. The Athletics Department has created a Gender Equity Committee on campus to address a gap in equitable opportunity to participate, to identify other possible issues, and to prevent further inequity from occurring.
WNMU’s efforts to provide classrooms and a work environment supportive of learning and other distinctive objectives led to new furnishing in classrooms, appropriate updating of technology for offices and employees, improvement to heating, ventilation, and cooling infrastructure to provide predictable internal temperatures, and a master plan that supports a consistent campus architecture. Capital improvement funding levels that helped support some of these objectives are presented in figure 2R2.2. Capital funds used for new buildings and building renewal and renovation also support community involvement and services. The most recent renovation and expansion program is currently underway in the Juan Chacon Building. Once completed, this facility will provide “one-stop shopping” for all student services, including Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, the Academic Support Center, Student Health Services, Residence Life, Special Needs and Career Services.
Reconnecting with alumni has been a major undertaking in the Office of Institutional Advancement. With the establishment of the WNMU Call Center in 2007, IA staff members and volunteers were able to contact nearly half of the 12,000 alumni on the original database, addressing the long-term and costly problem of Alumni Bulletin mailings being returned at a rate of approximately 85%. Expanding from part-time to full-time the position of Director of Alumni Affairs has also assisted in reconnecting and building trust with WNMU graduates. Improved communications and marketing of WNMU has resulted in increased gifting to the University, as is illustrated in figure 2R2.5.
Figure 2R2.6 provides a snapshot of WNMU’s current quality practices as well as awards and recognitions over time. The Office of Institutional Advancement is in the process of applying for the 2010 QNM Roadrunner Recognition.
Cultivating relationships with Mexico is a strategic priority at WNMU, and supports Other Distinctive Objectives in terms of recognizing diversity and promoting economic development. The NAFTA Institute has seen tremendous growth since its creation in 2005, as figure 2R2.7 illustrates.
The WNMU Museum is known for housing the world’s most complete and comprehensive collections of prehistoric Mimbres pottery, basketry, and other artifacts, attracting national and international visitors, researchers, and scholars. The University Museum’s holdings of prehistoric Mimbres pottery and artifacts, prehistoric southwest New Mexico and northern Chihuahua, Mexico pottery and artifacts, and historic Maria Martinez pottery are extensive and unique for a museum of this size.
Figure 2R2.10 indicates WNMU Museum Shop patron totals per fiscal year (July-June). The drop in visits during FY 2006-07 was due to an eight-month museum closure for electrical and lighting renovations. The WNMU Museum reopened March 2007 and has suffered declining visitation from out-of state groups and individuals outside of the region, despite its unique holdings and exhibits, as a result of the economic downturn and recession.
Internally, comparative data is collected longitudinally; externally, it is collected against other NM public colleges and universities. The latter is made available, to a limited extent with respect to this category, in the annual Performance Effectiveness Report of New Mexico’s Universities, compiled and published by the Council of University Presidents (CUP). Data for diversity in the 2008 CUP report shows that WNMU has the second highest percentages of Hispanic faculty and first-time freshmen among all of the state’s universities, and the highest percentage of female faculty.
Benchmarking data for Institutional Advancement are more difficult to obtain due to the fact that this division is only three years old, and obtaining viable alumni information is in its beginning stages. Best practices and national benchmarking data from well established development offices are available through the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), of which WNMU is an active member. The University of Arizona’s Office of Institutional Development has, for the past two years, mentored WNMU’s IAC. Valuable best practices that we have modeled under the U of A’s mentoring include use of a call center and various enhancements to the database for capturing more detailed and useful alumni information. Beyond this, WNMU is only beginning to identify ways to build benchmarking relationships that enable it to collect data from peer institutions outside NM.
Out-of-state and non-Grant County patrons continue to spend on average $4.32 per person at the WNMU Museum, which exceeds national averages.
WNMU’s other distinctive objectives strongly support its teaching and learning activities by reinforcing and/or providing opportunities for curricular and co-curricular learning experiences. Its regional mission makes it imperative that WNMU reach out to its surrounding communities, including those in Mexico. WNMU’s efforts to expand the student, faculty, and staff horizons beyond what is close to home; this enriches our knowledge base and helps the institution identify new and challenging opportunities. Outreach to the regional community also reinforces classroom learning by making the theoretical real and bringing external factors into classroom activities. All of these practices influence enrollment and retention, encourage interactions between students, employees, alumni, donors, and the community, and provide educational opportunities for the citizenry.
WNMU’s credibility with the region and community is largely determined by its interactions with employers, educational institutions, business and industry, and other community individuals and groups it serves. In many cases people settle in this remote community because of the University’s presence. Distinctive objectives encourage collaborative relationships, expand library and technology resources available in the community, result in additional state capital and programmatic dollars coming in to the area, build a skilled workforce, and improve the quality of life. Put another way, in addition to Helping Students Learn, WNMU provides many educational and service needs for the community. For example, a recent goal of the Athletics Department is to encourage students to be more involved in the community. These efforts have resulted in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee’s participation in the Make-a-Wish Foundation fundraiser; “Take a Kid to the Game” day; and a clothing drive for the Lordsburg Christian Mission. The intended outcome is to make athletes better citizens in the community and role models after graduation. With these efforts, and improved public relations in general, the University is more than ever visible and active in its service region. In return, general obligation bond elections are strongly supported, literacy rises, and cultural arts are encouraged.
The most significant improvements in Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives were driven by the systematic strategic planning process. From the SPP and its regular cycle of environmental scanning, WNMU leadership was able to identify gaps in non-instructional services and opportunities for improvement. Recent improvements are presented throughout this category and include:
WNMU uses strategic planning, President’s Cabinet, and SEAT meetings as the primary means of identifying where needed improvements related to other distinctive objectives are warranted. Other ideas for improving these objectives come from various Councils and governing bodies across the campus. Cabinet members, faculty, and staff are active in community and service organizations and in meetings with community and state leaders. The feedback they receive is brought directly or indirectly to Cabinet and other planning sessions. Listening to the needs, desires, and problems from users, adjustments are made to fit what is learned. Regular staff meetings, such as those held in the library, Extended University, Institutional Advancement, Athletics, and in other departments and units identify processes needing improvement based on formal and informal patron or user feedback. Projects and programs are reviewed periodically for useful learnings, particularly with respect to the implementation process. New programs and projects incorporate these learnings. Additionally, the experiences of early adopters are reviewed for useful techniques and guidelines.
In many cases, only general improvement targets are identified—do better than you did the time before. In other cases, specific targets are set by the unit(s) providing programs and activities related to other distinctive objectives.
Prioritization occurs at the annual strategic planning process; however, priorities may also change in response to a shift in the economic, social, cultural, or political environment of the region. A primary example of this occurred with the displaced miners. Current priorities include economic development activities, technology based programs that benefit the community and region as well as the University, enhancing the quality of the internal working environment, increasing grant and foundation funding, complying with NCAA rules and regulations, and expanding multicultural opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community.
Communication of current results and improvement priorities occur through a variety of channels, most of which are discussed in detail in Category Five. They include internal committees, councils and publications, strategic and operational plans, Mustang Express, student and community newspaper articles, public announcements, external community involvements, web site updates, Alumni Bulletin, reports to governing and advisory boards, and presentations both on and off campus.
PO Box 680 Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6149 Fax: 575-538-6243