2010 Self

2010 Self
From its normal school beginnings more than 150 years ago to its status today as a
multipurpose university, California University of Pennsylvania has focused on the Mission of
“Building Character, Building Careers.” In response to a recommendation in 2000 of a Middle
States reaccreditation team, the University’s Council of Trustees in June 2003 approved an
updated Mission Statement.
Many months of work preceded that approval. An ad hoc Mission Statement Committee and
the Administrative Council first drafted a Mission Statement. By January 2002, after focus group
and public meetings, members of the University community commented on key elements of the
Mission Statement during Mission Day III (Thompson, 2005, pp. 5-6). After that, University
staff conducted a survey, publicized the Mission Statement to the University community while
seeking further comment, submitted a revised draft to participants at Mission Day IV in February
2003, then submitted a revised Mission Statement to the University Forum. Forum members
discussed the revised draft and approved the Mission Statement in April 2003. Finally,
University President Angelo Armenti, Jr. presented the Mission Statement to the trustees, who
approved it on June 4, 2003. (See “Updating the University’s Mission Statement,” February 17,
2003, p. 4, for a more detailed chronology of the development of the Mission Statement.)
The Mission Statement is posted on the University’s Web site and found in many University
documents (“California University of Pennsylvania Mission Statement,” 2003).
The University community also approved a Strategic Plan, a Master Plan, a list of Goals and
Objectives, a list of Core Values, and a list of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities. All of these
documents are posted on the University’s Web site (“About Us,” 2009). The core values of
integrity, civility, responsibility, are vital components of the University’s Mission to build
character and careers.
Mission Statement: Updating It and Keeping It Aligned
The University’s Mission Statement is:
To advance its ultimate Mission of building the character and careers of students,
the University shall focus its efforts on three goals: Student achievement and
success, institutional excellence, and community service. These interrelated ends
will be facilitated by the following means: High quality faculty, students,
programs, and facilities. These means, in turn, will be funded through an energetic
program of resource acquisition and stewardship. (“California University of
Pennsylvania Mission Statement,” 2003).
The Mission Statement is reviewed every 10 years; however, it may be reviewed sooner, if
necessary. The University’s strategic planning process also involves regularly reviewing the
Mission. During the annual Mission Day, the University community examines how well the
University is adhering to its Mission and explores future directions. University governing groups,
such as the University Forum and Faculty Senate, regularly discuss issues facing the University
and how to solve them while staying committed to the University’s Mission. The Forum meets
once a month from September through April (at least six times each academic year) and is
composed of 12 students, 12 faculty, 12 administrators, five staff, two alumni, and one presiding
officer (“Constitution of the California University of Pennsylvania Forum,” 2000). The Faculty
Senate meets the first Thursday of every month (“Faculty Senate,” 2003).
As one of the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE),
Cal U strives to align its Mission with that of the state system. The state system’s Mission is to:
“increase the intellectual wealth of the Commonwealth, to prepare students at all levels for
personal and professional success in their lives, and to contribute to the economic, social, and
cultural development of Pennsylvania’s communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation”
(“Mission,” n.d.)
Cal U’s programs and departments align their Mission Statements with those of the
University and PASSHE through program reviews, accreditation visits, and approval by the
appropriate vice president. For example, in April 2007, the Internship Center conducted a
program review. The reviewers recommended that the relatively new Internship Center develop a
Mission Statement (True, 2007, p. 2). The Internship Center now has a Mission “to foster
relationships and internship experiences that assist students in building character and careers”
(“Cal U: Internship Center,” 2009). The Internship Center Faculty Advisory Committee and the
University provost approved the Internship Center’s Mission Statement.
Career Services also developed a Mission Statement that aligns with the University’s Mission
The office of Career Services supports the Mission of California University of
Pennsylvania in building character and building careers by providing services
and resources that facilitate the lifelong career development process. Using the Career
Advantage Program as a framework, we partner with our stakeholders: students, alumni,
employers, university faculty and staff, and parents to provide these mutually beneficial
services. (“Cal U: Mission Statement – Career Services,” July 14, 2008).
The Mission and the Academic Curriculum
Academic programs are aligned with the University’s Mission by focusing on student
achievement and success, institutional excellence, and community service. The General
Education program is one of many academic offerings aligned with the Mission. All
baccalaureate degree-seeking students are required to take 49-51 credits of liberal arts classes
California University of Pennsylvania believes that a liberal education is essential
for all students, regardless of the profession for which they may be preparing. The
goals, objectives, and courses that comprise the General Education program are
designed to provide students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills they
will need to pursue their careers and to lead productive and rewarding lives.
(“Cal U University Catalogs: General Education,” 2003).
Students take liberal arts courses in several areas, including critical thinking, public speaking,
social sciences, humanities, fine arts, multicultural awareness, values, and health and wellness.
The University also pursues its academic Mission by providing state-of-the-art classrooms.
Science and math teaching has become more hands-on. The Studio Physics lab, the Studio
Chemistry lab, and the Mathematics Computing lab in the New Science Building, were dedicated
on Sept. 23, 2008 (Wald, October 13, 2008, p. 2).
“Smart Classrooms” are provided in such classrooms as Keystone Hall 205, where the seating
is much like that in a movie theater, and where there are four screens, speakers, and a Smart
Board. There also are smart classrooms in Eberly Science and Technology Center, Duda Hall,
Manderino Library, the Learning Resource Center, Gallagher Hall, Hamer Hall, the Watkins
Building. President Armenti stated that he “wants to make as many Smart Classrooms as
possible in the next five years” (Rippel, 2009, pp. 1-2).
Through the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology, and the Department of
Defense-funded Robotics Initiative: National Center for Robotics Engineering Technology
Education (NCRETE), Cal U has become a center for robotics outreach, technology education
and promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) awareness.
Teacher training, robotics camps, and competitions are conducted in collaboration with regional
K-12 schools and industry sponsors. Cal U also offers one of the biggest technology education
programs in the country (“President’s Perspective,” Summer 2008, pp. 1-6).
Community Outreach: Experiential Education Ties to the Mission
Many University programs reach out to the community, offering opportunities for community
members to build character and career skills. The Office of Lifelong Learning, during two weeks
in summer, conducts the Summer Educational Enrichment for Kids (SEEK) program for students
in grades 1-8. Children participate in hands-on, interactive activities in such courses as
“Incredible, Edible Math,” “Crazy Chemistry,” and “Edible Biology” (“Cal U: Seek,” June 8,
Students from the Earth Sciences and Communication Studies departments sponsor the annual
StormFest program for elementary school students, in cooperation with the Carnegie Science
Center in Pittsburgh. Attendees take part in such hands-on activities as “Edible Landfills,”
“Lemon Battery,” and “Homemade Paper” (“StormFest 2009,” January 30-31, 2009).
Cal U students gain experience working in their desired fields through cooperative education,
field experiences, internships, practicums, and student teaching. Cal U student interns have
served at sites, such as the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Environmental Protection
Agency, “Late Show with David Letterman,” the Constituency for Africa, Nickelodeon, and
hundreds of other public and private sector entities.
The Career Advantage Program offered by Career Services helps students make career
decisions through a series of self-assessment activities. Cal U students are encouraged to build
resumes using such software as eDiscover, and have the opportunity to participate in career fairs,
mock-interviews, and job shadowing. Career Services collaborates with workforce development
boards to encourage employers to participate in University programs, on-site visits and
recruitment opportunities (“Cal U: About Career Services,” 2003).
Professional Development Ties to the Mission
The University encourages faculty and staff, as well as students, to grow professionally. The
Faculty Professional Development Committee (FPDC) offers workshops, financial awards, and
other help to faculty. The Mission of FPDC is to “promote and support teaching, scholarship,
service, appropriate use of technology, and the University's core values of civility, responsibility,
and integrity” (“Cal U: Faculty Professional Development Committee,” June 18, 2009). The
goals of the FPDC are to promote scholarly activity for faculty and provide small grants and
awards to assist in these scholarly pursuits. FPDC offers workshops each year on subjects
ranging from how to use Blackboard course management software to how to respond to students
in crisis.
The University provides training opportunities for staff and administrators, as well, and
frequently supports their attendance at professional development conferences. All fulltime
employees and their immediate families are eligible for tuition remission.
Assessing Alignment With the Mission
The University has many processes for assessing the effectiveness of programs and their
adherence to the Mission Statement. The Strategic Plan, for example, is continuously reviewed in
relation to the Mission Statement. Either can be revised if warranted. Assessment is conducted at
all levels of the university, including institutional, divisional, departmental and instructional.
(See Chapter 14 for additional information on student assessment.)
The vice presidents of the University are responsible for an assessment model in their
respective divisions and set goals and objectives in alignment with the University’s Mission.
The vice presidents submit a quarterly report of activities from their respective areas to the
Council of Trustees, addressing student achievement and success, institutional excellence, and
community service.
Under the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost, all academic
departments are responsible for Outcomes Assessment and provide this information to the
academic deans and provost. Twenty-one academic programs are accredited at Cal U. The
academic programs that have received accreditation have rigorous internal and external
evaluations to maintain the academic standards mandated by the accrediting bodies, as well as by
California University of Pennsylvania.
The Counselor Education Department is an example of an accredited academic program that
uses multiple methods of assessment. Two assessment tools are used in each of nine curricular
areas: professional identity, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, career
development, helping relationships, group work, assessment, research and program development,
and clinical experience. The two assessment tools used include the Counselor Preparation
Comprehensive Exam (CPCE), developed by the Center for Credentialing and Education, and
the Site Supervisor’s Evaluation of Student Counselor’s Performance Inventory, developed by
Cal U’s Counselor Education Department (California University of Pennsylvania Department of
Counselor Education Student Handbook, Fall 2007, pp. 7-12).
Service departments such as Student Development and Services also assess how well they
adhere to the University’s Mission by reviewing each of their 23 departments through an annual
end-of-year report that reflects the program’s goals and measurable outcomes (“Student
Development Divisional Assessment Model,” 2009). Each area submits an assessment plan that
requires it to demonstrate how its efforts trace back to the Mission. The departments are on a
cycle for program review every five years and use the Council for the Advancement of Standards
in Higher Education standards as one of their tools. Student Development and Services assesses
students’ needs, satisfaction, cultures and campus environments, and learning outcomes, as well
as programs’ alignment to national standards, cost-effectiveness, and comparisons to programs
of similar institutions (“Student Development Divisional Assessment Model,” 2009).
Communicating the Mission
California University of Pennsylvania uses many strategies to communicate its Mission
Statement to those inside and outside the University community. The Office of University
Relations includes the departments of Public Relations and Marketing and oversees the
University Web site, catalogs, press releases and television and radio commercials. All of these
media are used to state and explain the University’s Mission.
While the University’s Mission can be viewed on Cal U’s Web site, so can the Mission
Statements of many departments and programs. For example, the Mission Statement for the
Master of Science Program in Exercise Science and Health Promotion reads:
Aligned with the University’s core values of Integrity, Civility and Responsibility,
and the Mission of Building Character and Careers, the Master of Science degree
program in Exercise Science and Health Promotion provides a high quality
educational experience via online delivery using student-centered learning
methods. (“Health Science and Sports Studies, Global Online,” November 14,
Faculty, staff and students receive copies of the Mission Statement at twice-yearly
convocations and at the annual Mission Day. As stated in the 2005 “Executive Summary,” “Our
Mission Statement influences everything that occurs at California University of Pennsylvania.”
Faculty, staff and students also receive printed materials promoting Cal U’s Mission in the
University catalogs (both undergraduate and graduate studies), Cal U Review (a quarterly
magazine for faculty, staff and alumni), Cal Times (a weekly student newspaper), and The
California University Journal (a twice-a-month newsletter for faculty and staff). The Mission
Statement also appears on posters promoting the University, in student handbooks and
recruitment material, and on University letterhead and business cards.
Those not affiliated with the University learn about Cal U’s Mission Statement through
commercials, on the University’s television station (CUTV), on the University’s Web site, and in
brochures from the Admissions Office and graduate programs.
Some Evidence of Mission Success
California University of Pennsylvania has successfully pursued its Mission of building
character and careers by focusing on its goals of attaining student achievement and success,
institutional excellence, and community service.
Student Achievement and Success
The average SAT score continues to increase: The average SAT score, in 2000, was 962;
in 2005, it rose to 987; and, in 2008, it increased to 1028 (Kline, March 6, 2009, “Total”).
(See Chapter 2 for additional information on SAT scores.)
The University has a robust honors program with approximately 200 students enrolled
and a new director as of July 2008. As the Undergraduate Catalog points out, honors
students seek to “pursue intellectual and creative growth beyond the usual requirements
of their major field of study and intend to cultivate their individual and personal
aspirations to learn” (“Cal U: University Catalogs – Honors Program,” 2003). Honors
students take enriched honors courses. Scholarships are available for two Cal U honors
students to attend a summer abroad program sponsored by the Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education. Cal U honors students also participate in artistic, scholarly,
professional, and community service activities outside the classroom (“Cal U: University
Catalogs – Honors Program,” 2003).
Forty-nine students are enrolled in the Leadership Studies minor and participate in
leadership-building exercises, in addition to their classes. Students must earn 21 credits
for this minor, including an internship (K. Satifka, personal communication, 2009).
Institutional Excellence
Twenty-one programs are accredited. The Program Accreditation Reports reflect these
programs’ alignment with the University’s Mission.
More than three-fourths of the faculty hold doctorates or other terminal degrees
(“Applications Up,” January 2009).
Departments complete a five-year internal and/or external program review. The five-year
program reviews display evidence of student learning and an assessment of department
goals and objectives. The Provost’s Office keeps the Assessment of Student Learning
Year-End Reports, Department Annual Reports, and Five-Year Reviews. College deans
or other appropriate coordinators also keep these records. The Chancellor’s Office in
Harrisburg also receives copies of the Five-Year Reviews.
Academic departments submit Outcomes Assessment reports for General Education
classes they offer and for classes in their majors when the programs are undergoing
review. (See Chapter 14 for information on Outcomes Assessment.)
Cal U offers Seven Habits of Highly Effective People workshops and has trained 1,960
staff, faculty, administrators, students, corporation staff, and community members since
1999 (R. Paul, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U has been named to US News and World Report’s “Best Colleges” list (“Cal U
Named to Best Colleges List,” 2006, August 28). The Princeton Review also chose Cal U
as one of “The Best Northeastern Colleges” (“Cal U in the Princeton Review College
Guide,” August 26, 2005).
Cal U has received the highest ranking in Performance Indicators by the Pennsylvania
State System of Higher Education (“Performance Funding Allocations and Evaluations
by University and Sub-Measure, 2008-09,” 2009).
The University strives to increase the diversity of its student body and its employees.
The Frederick Douglass Institute and Multicultural Center promote understanding,
appreciation, and celebration of multiculturalism among the University community.
Community Service
Faculty members are evaluated on their community service during their tenure-track
evaluations, tenure, promotion and five-year evaluations. (See Chapter 10 for details on
tenure and promotion requirements.)
Staff report on their community service through the System Accountability Plan. The
Accountability Matrix measures the following: Serving the Common Good, Fostering
Citizenship, Social Responsibility, Diversity, and Practicing Stewardship
(“Accountability Matrix,” 2008).
Student clubs and organizations and their faculty and staff advisors serve the community
by participating in such organizations and events as the American Cancer Society’s Relay
for Life, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the
American Heart Association (System Accountability Report, 2008). Martin Luther King
Day has become a day of service at Cal U and University students, faculty and staff are
encouraged to provide service to others on that day (“System Accountability Report,”
The Mission Statement serves as the underpinning for all facets of university life,
including academics, extracurricular activities, service projects, and administrative decisions.
Its message is repeated in printed and electronic materials and communicated in classrooms
and offices. The Mission Statement is tantamount to a living document, as all faculty,
administrators, and staff are expected to help students build character and careers, as well as
lead by example.
All students, regardless of major, receive a well-rounded liberal arts education that
includes taking courses in values, multiculturalism, humanities, fine arts, and public
speaking. Students, upon graduation, have the skills necessary to do well in an increasingly
competitive marketplace. Programs, such as the one offered by Career Services, help students
by offering opportunities to fine tune resumes, participate in mock interviews, and attend job
California University of Pennsylvania is dedicated to helping students become productive
members of society who are imbued with a sense of civic duty.
Developing character and careers always has been a Mission of California University of
Pennsylvania. However, since 2003, when the Council of Trustees adopted the University’s
Mission Statement, Cal U has demonstrated in a myriad of ways its commitment to its Mission.
The Mission is a mantra that informs the work and lives of the University’s students, faculty and
staff. The University is starting to reap the benefits of its focus on realizable goals by attracting
students with higher SAT scores, faculty with outstanding backgrounds, and the respect of
accrediting agencies and others who judge the quality of education the University provides.
A specific method to evaluate character and careers must be institutionalized. Many
offices collect data, some of which is anecdotal, on building careers. There is some
evidence of this, such as Career Services programming, investments in smart classrooms
and technological equipment, and program accreditation; however, this information needs
to be quantified.
Similarly, there is anecdotal evidence of character-building, but this needs to be
demonstrated clearly and concisely.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
The underlying theme of everything California University of Pennsylvania does in planning,
resource allocation and institutional renewal comes from President Armenti’s paper, “Declining
Public Support for Public Higher Education” (April 7, 2008). The study asserts that because of a
significant cutback in state funding over the last 25 years, Cal U, a public institution, is “being
privatized without a plan” (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p. 1). There has been no public
acknowledgement of this problem and no statewide plan for privatization. There also has been no
relaxation of the state’s rules and policies that limit the University’s flexibility, and which
private institutions do not always have to meet. The administration has recognized these
problems, and committed the University to not simply surviving until it withers, but rather,
developing an institutional plan to allow it to compete and thrive.
The University is: (1) changing the way it operates, by becoming more productive, effective,
and entrepreneurial, (2) improving the campus’s physical appearance and following a master
plan that includes state-of-the-art residence halls, (3) striving to offer students a high-quality
education by pursuing accreditation for every eligible program, employing a high-quality faculty,
helping students to graduate in four years and to follow a Career Advantage program that will
help them find employment, and (4) pursuing additional resources, such as world-class partners
and committed donors. Following these strategies, Cal U is implementing a unique plan to thrive
while public higher education support continues to decline.
Strategic Plan/Planning
The University’s Strategic Plan for 2009-2012 is the result of a yearlong University-wide
study process. Members of the University community discussed the University’s opportunities
and challenges, strengths and areas for improvement. They also considered Stephen Covey’s
framework for developing a strategic plan, the “Four Disciplines of Execution” model. The four
disciplines that should increase an organization’s effectiveness include: (1) Identifying Wildly
Important Goals With Line of Sight throughout the organization and with partners, (2)
Determining and Acting on Lead Measures, (3) Keeping Compelling Scoreboards, and (4)
Creating a Cadence of Accountability throughout the organization. This framework can be seen
in the Strategic Plan, with its measurable goals/objectives and clearly defined and measurable
criteria for success.
Members of the University community were asked multiple times by e-mail and in other ways
to read and comment on drafts of the Strategic Plan. The various University governing bodies
also had a chance to make recommendations about the plan. The process, starting in July 2008
and culminating with the plan distributed and publicized in August 2009, is detailed in
“Chronology of California University of Pennsylvania Strategic Plan” (August 4, 2008;
September 6, 2008).
All seven of the major goals of the 2005-2008 plan continue “to incorporate continuous
improvement into all programs and activities, University-wide, to ensure competitive excellence”
(“Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009). Goal Four was modified slightly and a Goal
Eight was added to “foster civic engagement, that is, a commitment to accept and perform the
duties and obligations of belonging to a community, a Commonwealth, a nation, and the world”
(“Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009). Although the seven major goals were
retained, new activities/objectives were added for each as well as new success criteria. The new
University Strategic Plan is a roadmap for planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal
at Cal U as it strives to be recognized, as its Vision Statement says, “as the best comprehensive
public university in America” (“California University of Pennsylvania Mission Statement:
Vision,” June 4, 2003).
Members of the University community evaluated whether Cal U had met the goals and
objectives of its 2005-2008 Strategic Plan. This “report card” shows the University successfully
completed 94 percent of the goals and objectives in its 2005-2008 Strategic Plan (“Report Card
for the Strategic Plan for Cal U 2005-2008,” 2009). The completion rate was: Goal One –“to
increase University academic excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels” – 95
percent; Goal Two –“to continue to enhance the quality of student life” – 98 percent; Goal Three
– “to enhance diversity, as broadly defined, at California University” – 95 percent; Goal Four –
“[to] continue operation of a centralized Office of Continuous Improvement” – 75 percent; Goal
Five – “to continue to improve the infrastructure of California University of Pennsylvania – 100
percent; Goal Six – “to serve the region, the Commonwealth and the nation” – 96 percent; and
Goal Seven – “to enhance the use of existing resources and develop/increase new sources of
revenue” – 100 percent (“Strategic Plan 2005,” January 26, 2009).
“To be effective in planning, Cal U needs to align its Mission and goals with those of the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The Mission of PASSHE is “to be
among the nation’s leading systems of public universities, recognized for (1) excellence in
undergraduate education and (2) responsiveness to state, regional, and national needs through
quality graduate and undergraduate programs, research and service” (“Mission,” n.d.)
The Mission of Cal U is:
. . . building the character and careers of students . . . [by focusing on] student
achievement and success, institutional excellence, and community service. These
interrelated ends are accomplished by the following means: high quality faculty,
students, programs, and facilities. These means, in turn, will be funded through an
energetic program of resource acquisition and stewardship. (“California
University of Pennsylvania Mission Statement,” June 4, 2003).
Clearly, the two Missions are connected.
There also is a clear line of sight between the goals of PASSHE and those of Cal U. When
Cal U meets and completes its goals, the University helps PASSHE meet the PASSHE goals of
attaining: (1) Student Achievement and Success, (2) University and System Excellence, (3)
Commonwealth Service, (4) Resource Development and Stewardship, and (5) Public Leadership
(Leading the Way, 2003).
A few examples of the line of sight between Cal U’s and PASSHE’s Missions and goals
PASSHE each year evaluates the 14 state universities in the system using 23 Performance
Indicators. Universities are measured against their own baseline, or historical
performance; against a benchmark performance by five-to-seven similar, peer universities
from across the country; and against the system average. Some of the “Performance
Indicator” categories are: degrees awarded, second year persistence, graduation rates,
faculty productivity, employee diversity, personnel ratio, instructional costs and faculty
terminal degrees. Cal U met or exceeded its baseline for all these indicators for all
categories except four, which dealt with minorities’ persistence and graduation rates. Cal
U also did well against the benchmark universities, and against the PASSHE system
averages (Performance Funding Allocations and Evaluations by University and SubMeasure 2008-09 Report, 2009). Cal U received the highest level of performance funding
of the 14 system universities, even though five of the 14 are larger, some almost double
the size of Cal U.1
PASSHE has a goal of providing high quality academic programs in its system
universities and strongly encourages the universities to seek national accreditation for all
programs that are eligible. Cal U has the goal of getting 80 percent of its eligible
programs accredited by 2012 (“Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009, p. 8).
PASSHE wants to manage growth to ensure access. Cal U has an enrollment
management plan that has helped increase enrollment in the past four years. The
University also has committed significant resources (human and fiscal) to the
development of Cal U Global Online, a worldwide, Web-based distance education
program, serving the needs of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.
PASSHE wants to provide all students with opportunities leading to active citizenship,
social responsibility and lifelong learning. Goal Eight of the Cal U strategic plan
identifies methods to foster civic engagement, including such programs as the American
Democracy Project, Issue Expos, Campaign Watch, Election Analysis Forums, the
development of an Office for Community Service, and nationally recognized speakers on
such global issues as energy, the environment, health, trade, conservation, current events
and social responsibility.
PASSHE values and promotes diversity and so does Cal U. The University defines
diversity broadly to include not only race, ethnicity and gender, but also geographic
diversity. Goal Three of the Strategic Plan identifies the following methods of promoting
diversity: Expansion of study abroad opportunities; recruitment/retention of students and
faculty of diverse backgrounds; promotion of a culture of civility, tolerance and
inclusiveness; and expansion of programming in the new campus Multicultural Center.
PASSHE has a goal for Resource Development and Stewardship as does Cal U. The
University has a partnership with FranklinCovey to offer leadership development training
to organizations, with the proceeds going to create endowed scholarships for University
students. Moreover, the University kicks off its second Capital Campaign in June 2009,
with a goal of raising $35 million, just one part of a comprehensive fundraising/
friend-raising program. Cal U also ranks first in PASSHE for faculty productivity.
Public Leadership is another of PASSHE’s strategic goals. Cal U’s Goal Six in the
Strategic Plan aligns with PASSHE’s goal by identifying and partnering with such
world-renowned organizations as The Smithsonian Institution, The National Gallery of
Art, The National Building Museum, and the Library of Congress. The University also
helps with regional disaster planning, intends to use the new Convocation Center (to be
completed in 2011) as a site for regional, state, and national conferences and events, and
provides a professional speakers’ bureau list for regional, state, and national
organizations. Cal U makes available to the community the services of the University’s
Institutes for Homeland Security, Criminological and Forensic Sciences, Crime Mapping,
Child and Family Studies, and Tourism Research.
Maintaining and Improving the Quality
The drive to sustain and strengthen Cal U is because the Cal U administration believes the
University is “being privatized without a plan” and must create its own plan to not only survive,
but flourish. At one time, the state provided almost 100 percent of the budget to run the state
universities. Over the past 25 years, the dollars the legislature allocates to the universities has
dropped. Cal U received just 37 percent of its budget from the state appropriation in 2007-2008.
The rest of the revenue comes from tuition and other sources (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p. 4).
Thus, increasing enrollment, as well as private fundraising, are critical goals for Cal U.
SAT Scores
Although increasing enrollment is important, it is equally essential to Cal U to continuously
improve its quality. It would seem these goals are mutually exclusive; however, to increase
enrollments of higher quality students, it is necessary to increase both the number of inquiries
and the number of applications so there is a greater pool of students from whom to choose. From
2004 to 2008, the number of undergraduate inquiries increased by 33.5 percent, from 13,585 to
18,168. During this same time period, the number of undergraduate applications increased by 60
percent, from 3,968 to 6,342. The number of undergraduate acceptances increased by 34 percent,
from 3,064 to 4,103, and the number of undergraduate enrollments increased by 35 percent, from
1,629 to 2,202 (Hasbrouck, September 2008). Cal U has implemented an enrollment
management plan that is setting a higher bar for the minimum acceptable SAT score. From
2004-05 to 2008-09, enrollment increased 35.8 percent. During the same period, the average
SAT score for incoming freshmen enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program increased by 4
percent from 988 in 2004 to 1,028 in 2008. Since 1983, the average SAT score has increased by
13 percent from 907 in 1983 to 1,028 in 2008. The University Strategic Plan sets a goal of an
average SAT score of 1045 by 2012. The median SAT score for incoming freshmen enrolled in a
bachelor’s degree program increased by 3 percent between 2004 and 2008, from 970 in 2004 to
1,000 in 2008. Since 1983, the median SAT score has increased by 11 percent, from 900 in 1983
to 1,000 in 2008 (Kline, March 6, 2009, “Total”).
One measure of a university’s quality is the number of its programs that are accredited. Cal U
is committed to obtain national accreditation for all of its programs that are eligible for
accreditation. There is a plan to maintain accreditation for those programs that have it and to
develop a schedule for gaining accreditation for the remaining eligible programs (“Strategic Plan
2009-12, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009, p. 8). This includes finding the resources to pay for faculty, to
develop classroom and office space, to acquire equipment and appropriate technology, and to
obtain library materials. The University’s goal is to increase the percentage of eligible accredited
programs from the current 68 percent to 80 percent within the next three years, while
maintaining existing accreditations (“Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009, p. 8).
Faculty Terminal Degrees
Another measure of quality is the number of faculty with terminal degrees. The University
has made great strides in this measure. The PASSHE performance target is 90 percent. In Fall
1998, Cal U was at 61.18 percent of faculty having terminal degrees. By 2007, that number had
increased to 77.45 percent of the faculty having terminal degrees (N. Hasbrouck, personal
communication, 2009). The “Strategic Plan for 2009-2012” calls for the number of faculty with
terminal degrees to be 90 percent in 2012 (April 17, 2009, p. 11).
Strategies for Attracting Students
The University has worked hard to be more competitive with the private and state-related
universities in the state, as well as with the other 13 state system universities. For example, Cal
U’s enrollment was up 3.8 percent in Fall 2008 (“Cal U Enrollment Rises Again,” September 23,
2008), but the enrollment increase for the PASSHE schools overall was just 2 percent.
(“PASSHE Universities Report Record Enrollment,” October 22, 2008).
This growth has occurred even though tuition has increased yearly and the number of 18year-olds in western Pennsylvania is expected to fall. Nationally, the number of high school
graduates increased 7.1 percent from 2004 through 2008, from 2.91 million to 3.18 million,
while there was an estimated 3.8 percent increase in the number of Pennsylvania high school
graduates – approximately 5,476 graduates. However, the U.S. Department of Education
National Center for Educational Statistics predicts that nationally, from 2008 through 2014, the
number of high school graduates is expected to decrease 4.4 percent (from 3.18 million to 3.04
million), while the drop in Pennsylvania high school graduates will be much steeper during this
period, with an expected decrease of 11 percent from 146,529 to 130,517 (National Center for
Education Statistics, n.d.).
The Cal U administration, for many years, has been aware of this data and developed a
strategy to attract students from outside the traditional six-county region surrounding the
University. Cal U demolished its antiquated residence halls and built state-of-the-art housing
suites to attract students from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, as well as from the border states
of New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, where, the data indicate, there will be a double digit
increase in the number of 18-24 year olds over the next decade.
Freshmen surveyed. The University also surveyed 944 incoming freshmen in August 2007 to
determine why they believe students “should” and “do” attend Cal U. The top six reasons
include: (1) “The residence halls are new,” (1) “The campus looks beautiful,” (3) The
opportunity to pursue a specific major,” (4) “The school has a friendly environment,” (5) “The
campus is expanding,” and (6) “To get opportunities to meet new people” (Sweeney, November
6, 2007, p. 3).
College visits. An article, “Campus Visit Drives College Choice,” by Richard A. Hesel,
reports that a survey of students showed that 65 percent said campus visits were influential in
their application decision (January 29, 2004). This response was substantially higher than the
other categories that the prospective students identified as influential in their decision of where to
apply for college. The other categories identified by those surveyed were: advice from parents or
other family members (39 percent), current students or graduates of the school (33 percent), Web
sites of the colleges and universities (26 percent), and, catalogs, view books, and print materials
from schools (25 percent).
Based on these data, Cal U has implemented an aggressive campus beautification plan, in
accordance with its Campus Master Plan and Campus Landscaping Plan. The University makes
every effort to help students and parents feel that Cal U has a warm, friendly atmosphere and is a
visually appealing campus. The University is competitive with the state’s private colleges and
universities in this regard. Parents and prospective students attending the University’s Discovery
Days frequently say that Cal U “looks more like a private college” than a public university.
Targeting guidance counselors. In addition to developing an attractive mail stream of
marketing materials, the University also works with high school guidance counselors to inform
them of the positive changes happening at Cal U. These counselors play an important role in a
student’s selection of a college or university. With its “Guidance Counselor Postcard
Campaign,” Cal U provided guidance counselors across the state with updated evidence of the
growth and quality of the University in an attractive and easy-to-read manner. Another strategy
in the current University plan is to develop and implement a Guidance Counselor Portal on the
University Web site that will give counselors direct access to information about students from
their schools who have inquired or applied to Cal U. With this easy access to real-time data,
counselors should be able to do their jobs a little more easily. The University also is developing a
Parent/Family Web portal to engage and connect parents with the University, since parents have
considerable influence on where their students enroll.
Web site redesign. To increase and enhance its marketing/outreach efforts, the University is
upgrading and revamping its Web site by partnering with Barkley/REI, a Pittsburgh and
Philadelphia-based interactive media group. The administration recognizes that the Web site is
the most important media choice for reaching prospective students and will be a source of pride
for current students and alumni. In a related effort to meet potential students where they are, the
University is promoting itself via YouTube and Facebook and other social media sources.
Media campaign. To make more people aware of what Cal U is and does, the University has
initiated a media campaign to make Cal U more competitive in regional and national markets.
While continuing to maintain close ties with local news media, the University has shared some of
Cal U’s most compelling stories with readers far beyond southwestern Pennsylvania. In the past
18 months, news of Cal U has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Wall Street
Journal’s online MarketWatch, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News, just to name a few media
outlets. The University’s commercial, “Graduating with a Degree of Honor,” which emphasizes
the Mission of building character and building careers, aired on the pre-game show of the Super
Bowl in 2009. The University also was the only university in the world to be included in the
yearlong National Building Museum’s “Green Community” exhibition in Washington, D.C.
This exhibition will tour schools and communities across the United States.
High school students. Identifying, and marketing to new groups of high-quality high school
students, is also part of the University’s strategy to increase both enrollments and quality. These
targeted groups include Early Admit High Schools, Honors students, and Advanced Standing
students through the Cal U in the High School Program. From 2004 to 2008, the number of area
high school students participating in the Cal U in the High School program increased by 166
percent (from 1,615 to 2,682). In 1997, when the program began, 28 students enrolled in Cal U
in the High School and 50 percent (14) later enrolled at Cal U. By 2008, there were 2,682
students in Cal U in the High School and 209 of these students later enrolled at Cal U
(Crofcheck, February 20, 2009).
Nontraditional students. Cal U also reaches out to nontraditional students, those who are 25
and older. The number of undergraduate nontraditional students increased from 17.10 percent of
the overall enrollment in 2004 to 18.14 percent in 2008. Because the number of undergraduate
nontraditional students has increased just slightly over the past five years, Cal U is intensifying
its recruitment of these students. In 2008, the Office of Lifelong Learning hired a recruiter of
adult students who works with businesses and community colleges, among other sources, to
encourage nontraditional students to consider Cal U. Lifelong Learning operates on the main
campus from the Eberly Science and Technology Center and reports to the executive vice
president. It handles degree and nondegree and noncredit programming and provides
programming for people of all ages from small children through senior citizens. Evening
College, Summer College, Character Education, Conference Services, University Staff
Training/Development, and children’s programming is all done through the Office of Lifelong
Learning. The Southpointe Center is a separate entity and reports through the Provost’s Office.
Its primary mission is currently workforce development/training, although it also offers some
credit classes at the site (Kline, March 6, 2009, “Nontraditional”).
Summer School Web classes. The University’s Summer College also plays a role in
increasing recruitment and improving quality. Web classes were added to the Summer College
schedule in 2003 for both graduate and undergraduate students. Students can take classes from
their homes, which helps the students stay on schedule to graduate in four years, or even earlier.
The Web classes also reach a potentially new population of students from other colleges, some of
whom transferred to Cal U after getting to know Cal U through their summer Web class or
classes. The online summer class strategy enabled the university to increase enrollments by 13.8
percent in Summer 2006 over the enrollment of Summer 2005, and increase enrollment by 16.9
percent in Summer 2007, over Summer 2006. Enrollments in Summer 2008 were up 3.8 percent
(Gavazzi, February 20, 2009).
Cal U Global Online and GO Army. The University launched Cal U GO (Global Online) to
expand its potential student pool worldwide. Enrollments rose from 15 students in the Spring of
2003 to 1,485 students in Fall 2008 (technically, a growth of 9,800 percent). One of the largest
sources of potential students is through the GOArmy.edu portal, run by the United States Army.
This program allows active duty military men and women to pursue an education in a unique
way. Cal U is one of just 61 schools on this portal. Cal U was “onboarded” by GoArmy in the
Spring of 2009 and has seven approved programs of study available (S. Powers, personal
communication, Spring 2009; “Cal U GO Armed Forces,” March 15, 2009).
The Uniqueness of California University of Pennsylvania
Cal U is unique in many ways. The way it plans, the way it uses its resources, and the way it
functions is intentionally designed to promote uniqueness. In the words of President Armenti,
“We are not timid.” The University has set the precedent, and in many cases the bar, among the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools for new initiatives. The
administration practices the principles of Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly
Effective People,” which is unusual in higher education.
Among the 14 PASSHE institutions:
Cal U is the first to replace all of its residence halls in a unique public/private
partnership arrangement that not only provides state-of-the-art housing but also
generates scholarship dollars (“Selling Students on Sustainable Living,” Fall 2007,
pp. 12-13),
Cal U is a pioneer in the state system by investing $1.75 million in geothermal
technology in the new residence halls. Cal U’s incorporation of Green Concepts
and energy management into all its campus facilities operations, planning and
construction has made it unique. Cal U uses approximately 57 percent less energy
than the average PASSHE university and has saved more than $6 million in energy
– the equivalent of four years of free energy at the current rate of consumption –
allowing for these savings to be reinvested in additional new initiatives and
scholarships (“Cal U’s Energy Management Efforts Recognized in Green Report,”
Fall 2007, pp. 10-11).
Cal U is the first and only PASSHE institution to become a Smithsonian Institution
Traveling Exhibition Show (SITES) partner, which brings high quality exhibitions
to the University. The exhibitions are available to the University community, the
general public, and students and teachers from regional middle and high schools.
The Smithsonian program is linked to the Pennsylvania Department of Education
standards and includes lesson plans and activities that help area teachers turn a
class field trip into a meaningful educational experience. The Smithsonian
programs led to 10,000 visits to the Manderino Fine Arts Gallery in one year
(“More Than 500 ‘Squid Kids,’” December 1, 2008; “Booming Out,” August 17,
2007; C. Kindle, personal communication, 2009).
Cal U is the first to create a University Master Plan and planning process that the
Society of College and University Planners considered for a top award (J. Hanley,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U the first to develop and promote core values and Rights and Responsibilities
documents (J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U is the only one to develop a Character Education Institution and implement
FranklinCovey Leadership development training for all its employees and students
for free, as part of its mission of building character and building careers (J. Hanley,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U the first to provide corporate training and use the revenues to create
endowed scholarships for students through its partnership with FranklinCovey, an
international leadership development organization (J. Hanley, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U is the first to conceive and implement a 100 percent Gender Equity Plan in
Athletics, using the three-prong test of the National College Athletic Association, a
plan which will be fully implemented by 2011. This plan provides for enough staff
to generate the athletic scholarship dollars necessary to offer additional
opportunities for female athletes, while not taking away opportunities away from
male athletes (J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U is the first to implement a University-wide Mission Day, held yearly and
focusing on a high-priority issue related to the University’s long-term success (J.
Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U is the first to air live football broadcasts on Fox Sports Network (FSN),
allowing it to reach out to alumni and friends across the country. Cal U also was
the first state system school to partner with B2 Networks, allowing it to stream live
athletic contests from any of its athletic venues. Cal U alumni, fans and friends,
with Internet access, can now watch the schools’ teams from anywhere in the
world. In 2007-2008, five Cal U athletic teams won NCAA Regional
Championships. The combined grade point averages of the 323 athletes in the
Athletic Department that year was 3.0 (“Cal Football on FSN Pittsburgh,” 2009; R.
Kline, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Cal U is the only one to receive a Department of Defense multimillion dollar grant
to develop the nation’s first two-tier degree program in Robotics Engineering
Technology – an associate’s program that transfers into a bachelor’s degree in
Mechatronics Engineering Technology. This program is linked to a multimilliondollar emerging industry, in which Pennsylvania is playing a leading role
(“Multiyear Project,” Fall 2007, pp. 6-7; Rodi, February 19, 2009; S. Komacek,
personal communication, February 18, 2009, “Robotics Engineering Technology
Program Sheet,” n.d.).
It also has a “shovel-ready” plan for an Indoor Multi-Sport Field House that will
provide the only 300-meter indoor competition track in the state of Pennsylvania.
The facility also will generate additional revenue sources for athletic scholarships
and enable the athletic department reach its goal of 100 percent gender equity, by
providing locker room facilities for all of its sports teams. (“Athletics Master
Plan,” September 17, 2007”; J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Covey Theory and Planning
The University leadership has a strong commitment to working in “Quadrant II” (Q2), a
Stephen Covey description of the need for preparation and planning (J. Hanley, personal
communication, Spring 2009). Although working in this “quadrant” is critical to the core mission
of an organization, some organizations do not always value working in this area, and instead,
concentrate on putting out “fires” and handling crisis events, activities that Covey says occur in
Quadrant I (Q1). The theory is that if an organization spends its time in crisis management (Q1),
handling only the most urgent and seemingly most important activities, it will not have time to
spend planning and preparing (Q2) the activities that allow the organization to move forward. By
refusing to spend time in Quadrant IV (Q4), which includes not important/not urgent activities
and spending less time in Quadrant III (Q3), which are urgent/not important activities, an
organization creates more time for planning/preparation (Q2). Furthermore, if an organization
makes more time to plan and prepare, it automatically reduces the amount of time it spends in
crisis management.
Most of the initiatives the University has developed and implemented to make it unique were
not projects that happened overnight. They required long-term planning and a commitment to
resource planning and allocation, even during difficult financial periods. Administrators attended
weekly Q2 meetings to provide “a cadence of accountability” and to make sure there was
progress (J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Renewing the Vision; Continuous Improvement
The University’s Mission Statement and three-year Strategic Plan inspire and drive the efforts
to acquire and allocate resources. Planners focus on goals and objectives that are critical to the
core of Cal U’s Mission. Because the University’s administrators recognize that public support
for higher education continues to decline, they know that developing new resources is paramount
to the University now and in the future. They also know that flexibility and agility are key to
future success.
Budgeting, Finding Resources
The University’s budgeting systems are flexible and allow managers to place their dollars
where the need is the greatest and where those dollars will produce the greatest return on
investment, such as program accreditation, and changes to facilities to increase productivity and
The University has developed a University Endowment Fund through careful budgeting.
Despite many lean years when the University would begin the fiscal year in the red and have to
“catch up” throughout the year, Cal U has started its past three budget years in the “black”
through planning and through new programs that are earning revenue beyond expenses.
Performance Indicator Funds
The Department of Art and Design is an example of how flexibility in using resources at Cal
U has been effective. An accreditation and self-study team identified areas the Art and Design
Department should upgrade to earn accreditation. The department submitted a full-scale proposal
to the administration to upgrade facilities and the administrators were able to give the department
$200,000 of Cal U’s state Performance Indicator funds (J. Hanley, personal communication,
Spring 2009; R. Pandrock, personal communication, Spring 2009). By continuously monitoring
faculty Fulltime Equivalencies and Student/Faculty Ratios, Cal U consistently ranks No. 1 on the
state’s performance indicator for faculty productivity. The Cal U departments then receive a
portion of performance funding for their special projects, which, in turn, improves teaching and
Cal U Global Online
Cal U Global Online is a new revenue source that is earning a profit because of significant
enrollment increases over the last five years. Although there was an initial investment to develop
and launch the program, Cal U Global Online has paid for itself.
A study of Cal U’s capacity to plan for and conduct a capital campaign led to the
reorganization of the University Advancement area, splitting University Advancement into
University Relations and University Development, each with its own vice president, and a
number of new staff to effectively conduct a full-scale fundraising program, like the Capital
The University has increased staff in the Office of Contracts and Grants and, in turn, there has
been an increase in grant activity and funding. For Fiscal Year 2007-08, there were 92 projects
totaling $3,706,395. This represents a 7 percent increase in the number of grants/contracts,
compared to Fiscal Year 2006-07. During Fiscal Year 2007-08, 69 faculty and staff submitted
proposals and administered grant-funded projects. Of these participants, 27 were first-time
applicants at the University (“Office of Grants and Contracts,” 2008, p. 2).
Cal U for Life
Another new plan to raise funds, “Cal U for Life,” was instituted in Fall 2009 with the goal of
increasing alumni and student philanthropy. It is important that students learn early how essential
it is for them to “pay it forward.” This program will educate students about institutional funding,
donor participation and its impact on them, and how they can contribute time, talent and treasure
to the University now and over their lifetimes (“Creating a Culture of Student Philanthropy”
workshop, January 23, 2009).
Renewing, Improving Physical Resources
The University started, in 1992, to develop and implement a Master Plan for the campus,
which includes a separate Landscape Plan. The last piece of the original Master Plan will be
completed with the Convocation Center in 2011. A new Master Plan has been developed and
approved through 2023. As part of the development of the physical campus, the University has
partnered with corporations and the federal government to be a test site for a Magnetic Levitation
transportation system (Maglev). This $250-million project will transport students, employees
and the public from the stadium and upper campus to the main campus (“Cal’s Maglev Fits
Stimulus Plan Criteria,” January 19, 2009; J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Parking is an issue on most campuses and a significant one for Cal U because there is little
unused land available. In 2007, the University hired a consulting firm to do a parking study. The
consultants found that the overall supply of parking is adequate now but that improvements are
needed if there is future development. The University’s Council of Trustees voted that Cal U
may seek a bond issue, not to exceed $20 million, to expand parking options. A plan to improve
parking starts in Summer 2009 and will be completed in 2010 (Chance Management Advisors,
January, 2008; J. Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Technology is key for both the learning that takes place at a University and for administering
the University. Thus, Cal U has a new vice president of Information Technology, who fills a
newly created position. He is developing a three-year strategic plan to address “smart”
technology in all University classrooms and to set up a way to acquire and replace resources.
Developing Human Resources
The human resources of the University also need to be renewed on a regular basis and this is
done through staff training and development programs. The University funds the Faculty
Professional Development Center, which holds workshops for faculty each semester that cover a
range of topics. The bronze marker in front of the Natali Student Center detailing the Rights and
Responsibilities of all members of the University community is but one example of the
importance and value the University places on everyone at the University having the opportunity
to live up to his or her potential.
Using Data to Manage
Cal U is a data-driven organization. Organizations that are not effectively measuring
themselves are not effectively managing themselves. The University uses both “lead” and “lag”
measures and scorecards, to know where it is at all times. Feedback from the campus community
is important to know what Cal U is doing and how well it is doing it.
The Office of Continuous Improvement administers the American College Testing (ACT)
program’s survey of student opinion to all Cal U undergraduate students who have earned 30 or
more credits at Cal U. The survey seeks students’ ranking of various programs, services, and
aspects of campus life. The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement asks faculty for feedback,
and the National Survey of Student Engagement seeks feedback from first-year and senior-year
students. The data from these surveys allow the University to know how it compares to other
universities since the surveys are nationally normed. Cal U administrators review the data and
decide what needs to be remedied. The data show Cal U has improved in all areas surveyed over
the last several years (ACT Surveys Folder, 2009; NSSE-FSSE Folder, 2009).
Electronic Suggestion Box
The University has an electronic suggestion box to solicit comments and suggestions about
things concerning the University community. This is another method to continuously improve
the University. All comments are reviewed by the president, who assigns each complaint to
someone in his Cabinet to handle. Everyone submitting a suggestion receives a response or
resolution to the issue (S. Sarra, personal communication, 2009).
California University of Pennsylvania is a school that makes every effort to adhere to its
Mission, be guided by its Strategic Plan, and use data when making decisions. Knowing that
enrollments were likely to drop unless it took action, the University administration developed
many strategies to attract students, including beautifying the campus, increasing marketing
efforts, and developing such new programs as Cal U Global Online. The efforts have paid off
and enrollment continues to climb while incoming freshmen’s SAT scores continue to rise.
Cal U distinguishes itself from other schools by offering state-of-the-art residence halls that
are heated with geothermal energy, hosting traveling Smithsonian exhibits, broadcasting its
football games on Fox Sports Network, committing itself to true gender equity in athletics,
developing a robotics program at the associate’s and bachelor’s level, and committing itself to
the FranklinCovey “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” program, among other
distinctions. The University consistently scores near the top in receiving state Performance
Funding and regularly comes in first for faculty productivity.
California University of Pennsylvania is committed to continuous improvement. Its
management style is flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions. By adhering to the
University’s Mission and Strategic Plan, the administration has increased enrollment and become
more selective in admitting students. The University seems poised to compete in a larger
academic arena. The current planning, resource allocation, and institutional renewal plans have
enabled the university to produce unprecedented growth and success. It is recommended that the
university continue to follow the course of action it has set in its Strategic Plan, Enrollment
Management Plan and Master Plan.
The Strategic Plan and Middle State Self-Study should be combined into one process.
There should be one person responsible for collecting and archiving outcomes assessment
data for the entire university. He or she should work closely with Institutional Research,
but be responsible for managing the Middle States Self-Study.2
The latest PASSHE Performance Indicators may be found in Appendix 2A.
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Even though public support for public higher education in Pennsylvania has steadily declined
over the last 25 years, California University of Pennsylvania has maintained its commitment to
its Mission of building characters and careers by making the most of existing resources while
finding new revenue sources. President Armenti outlined the problem in a paper, “Declining
Public Support for Public Higher Education in Pennsylvania,” which he presented, in April 2008,
at the national conference of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining and the
Professions. It has become increasingly important that Cal U become more productive and more
efficient in carrying out the University’s Mission.
The Problem: Decreasing State Funding
In President Armenti’s paper, he discussed how “California University of Pennsylvania is
being privatized without a plan” (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p. 1) and that public financial support
for public higher education has dropped over the last 25 years in Pennsylvania. In 1984, the state
funded 64 percent of universities’ budgets, compared to 37 percent in 2008. At the same time,
tuition, fees, and other revenues as a percent of state universities’ budgets increased from 37
percent in 1984 to 64 percent in 2008 (Armenti,” April 7, 2008, p. 4). Cal U and other state
universities now are asking students to pay more than half of the universities’ budgets. However,
the official Mission of PASSHE is “to provide high quality education at the lowest possible cost
to the students” (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p. 9).
The state budget priorities have shifted and the state now pays more for Medicaid and
correctional facilities than previously. Public higher education has suffered, with a 43 percent
decline in funding from seven percent to four percent over a 16-year period (Armenti, April 7,
2008, p. 7). There is no evidence this trend will improve.
As the effects of declining state funding became clear and began to directly impact the
operating revenue and capital funding at California University of Pennsylvania, the
administration realized that educational quality would suffer and academically qualified, but low
income students, would be denied a college education. Therefore, it was imperative that Cal U
and similar schools “begin functioning more and more like private universities” (Armenti, April
7, 2008, p. 10). Cal U administrators and staff have worked hard to increase operating revenues,
scholarship money, and capital match dollars. Cal U has aggressively marketed itself. It has
expanded its Web-based academic offerings, resulting in increased enrollment and operating
funds. Yet, because the state universities are “state agencies,” they face restrictions in what they
do with their money. For example, they cannot offer discounted tuition in the form of a
scholarship (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p. 10). As President Armenti concluded, “We can only hope
— before we become totally privatized, i.e., reach zero state funding, that the ‘state agency’
restrictions that deny us desperately needed flexibility will be lifted” (Armenti, April 7, 2008, p.
State Funding; Traditional and Performance-Based
Each year, the Pennsylvania State Legislature appropriates money to the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE). From the base “Educational and General” allocation,
the PASSHE Board of Governors sets aside a percentage – 8 percent in 2008-2009 and 8 percent
in 2009-2010 -- to award to the 14 state universities based on each school’s performance (Board
of Governors, October 23, 2008). The universities receive money from this Performance Funding
Allocation based on how many Performance Indicators they meet or exceed. Cal U’s base
“Educational and General” appropriation from the state has remained consistent with the 13
other state schools. However, Cal U’s share of the Performance Funding Allocation has steadily
increased. In fact, for Fiscal Year 2008-09, Cal U received the most money of any PASSHE
school, $5,248,598. Cal U received $3,936,466 for educational and general purposes and
$1,312,132 for library materials and accreditation efforts (Cavanaugh, September 8, 2008). The
educational and general purposes amount was $184,000 more that the next highest performer,
West Chester University, which is a significantly larger school. West Chester received total
funding of $5,003,381. Cal U achieved this financial advantage over the competition because of
increased productivity and more efficient use of resources, two Performance Indicators that are
part of the Performance Funding Allocation formula (“PASSHE Formula Appropriation,” 2008).
Cal U cut its personnel costs over the three years ending in 2007-2008 by 4.32 percent. The
personnel cost, as a percentage of Cal U’s Educational and General budget, was 73.35 percent in
2005-06, 72.12 percent in 2006-07, and 69.03 percent in 2007-08. At the end of the 2006-2007
academic year, Cal U led the State System in faculty productivity with a 24.52 student/faculty
ratio. The next most productive university had a 20.75 student/faculty ratio. Cal U also led the
State System with a student/personnel ratio of 10.01. The next most productive school had a ratio
of 8.98 (R. Kline, personal communication, Spring 2009).
By committing itself to being more efficient and productive, Cal U is dealing with the everdecreasing level of state funding while make sure it receives the largest amount of money
At the same time, the University has launched an aggressive marketing campaign, built new
state-of-the-art student housing, and added many Web-based classes to its Cal U Global Online
program. As a result, enrollments have increased dramatically, yielding increased operating
revenue. The University thus is able to meet its Mission and goals and to funnel revenue into
areas needing more funding – such as SMART classrooms, campus beautification, and new
academic programs that keep pace with a changing economy.
Cal U Global Online
Enrollments in the Cal U Global Online program have significantly contributed to the
school’s increased operating revenue. The revenue from this program not only helps fund
existing operations across the University, but also supports new initiatives.
An analysis was done for the Fall and Spring semesters of Fiscal Year 2006-07 and 2007-08
to track the “break-even point” and determine an estimated “net profit” for each of the Global
Online programs (“Global Online Break-Even Cost Analysis, Fall 2006 and Spring 2007”;
“Global Online Break-Even Cost Analysis, Fall 2007 and Spring 2008.”) The report shows an
estimated net profit of $3,350,953 for Fiscal Year 2006-2007, and $4,914,926 for Fiscal Year
2007-2008. This is not just revenue generated from tuition and fees from the Cal U Global
Online programs. It is the estimated net profit from this revenue, less operating expenses
associated with each of the programs.
Office of Grants and Contracts
The Office of Grants and Contracts pursues external funding for sponsored projects and thus
produces revenue for the University. The office provides support to faculty and staff pursuing
grants. There is a link listing grant winners during 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 on the office’s
Web page (“Laude, 2007; “Laude, 2008,” January 28, 2009). Grants support such innovative
activities as Robotics Technology Training and state grants for customized job training. All of
these activities enhance the Mission of the University and produce revenue.
Comparison to Peer Institutions
The majority of Cal U’s funding is generated through tuition revenue, unlike its peer
institutions, which receive a greater percentage of funding from a state appropriation. Table 3.1
indicates that in Fiscal Year 2006-2007, Cal U was the only school among its peer institutions to
receive more funding per Fulltime Equivalent from tuition revenue than from appropriation.
See “CA Peer Institution Comparison” for a comparison of the peer institutions since
2000-2001 (2009).
Table 3.1
2006-2007 Comparative Data on Appropriations and FTE Funding
Univ. of PA
State – MD
SUNY Cortland
Source: G. Coleman, Manager of Budget Planning and Analysis, PASSHE Office of the
Receiving Funding Input
The University Forum
The California University Council of Trustees created the University Forum at its meeting
December 6, 2000, as a means of sharing governance among the members of the California
community and to help ensure that Cal U’s resources are used to support the institution’s
Mission. (California University Council of Trustees, 2000).
The Forum has “senators” representing faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni
with “the power to recommend University policy in University-wide matters” (“Constitution of
the California University Forum,” December 6, 2000, p. 3).
Specifically, Article III, Section 3 of the Forum Constitution calls for the formation of the
Forum “Budget Committee,” which “shall have a role in the formulation of the annual budget,
and the California University Forum shall have authority to review and comment upon the
University budget prior to its submission to the Office of the Chancellor of the State System of
Higher Education” (“Constitution of the California University Forum,” December 6, 2000, p. 4).
Under Article VIII, Section 4, the composition of this committee is outlined, along with a
detailed description of the committee’s duties and responsibilities (“Constitution of the
California University Forum,” December 6, 2000, p. 14). The president, his cabinet, his
Administrative Council, and the Forum Budget Committee are to ensure the University uses its
resources wisely and with the University’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan in mind.
Mission Day
For the past 10 years, the University has held its annual Mission Day to bring the University
community together to discuss issues involving the University’s Mission. Participants have an
opportunity to suggest how best to align the University with its Mission, including how best to
use the University’s resources.
Other Groups, Meetings
There are many venues in which members of the University can propose how best to use the
University’s resources. During University Forum, Cabinet, Administrative Council, Deans’
Council, Provost’s Council, and other group meetings, participants are encouraged to discuss
their area’s need for facilities, infrastructure, and equipment so that the president, his cabinet,
and the Administrative Council can determine and set priorities in accordance with the Master
Plan, Mission, goals, and Strategic Plan of the University.
Keeping the Budget Aligned With the Strategic Plan
In 1998, the Strategic Planning Committee recommended linking strategic objectives to
allocations and budgeting to resource allocation. The process works by first having the president
and the Administrative Council, which includes the vice presidents, associate vice presidents,
deans, associate deans, and pertinent managers, develop program initiatives.
They do this after receiving input from department chairs, faculty and managers, who work
through their area dean or vice president. Once those developing budget plans decide an
initiative is valid and that it promotes the University’s Mission and Strategic Plan, the president
may approve the initiative and it is incorporated in the annual budget process.
Using budget guidelines from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Cal U’s
budget director compiles an annual budget request in September of each year for the next fiscal
year. This request is based on those programs that have been linked to the Strategic Plan,
mandatory expenses for personnel, maintenance, utilities, and other expenses, as well as on the
University’s estimated revenue from all sources, including tuition, fees, investment income,
projected legislative appropriations and performance funding.
PASSHE prepares its budget request to the Pennsylvania State Legislature, based on the
requests of the 14 state universities. PASSHE presents this request to the legislature’s
Appropriation committees in March every year. The Pennsylvania governor presents his budget
proposal to the legislature, usually in late spring, and the legislature approves the state budget
around June 30 of each year. When PASSHE learns how much money it is receiving from the
state budget, it asks the PASSHE Board of Governors for a tuition increase (or decrease) for the
upcoming academic year. The Board of Governors usually sets the tuition rate in July (R.
Pandrok, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Once the University knows how much money it is receiving from the state budget
appropriation and what the tuition rates are, Cal U’s budget director begins rebudgeting to
accommodate expenses based on the revenues the University actually will receive. The president
approves this rebudgeting plan and the money is distributed where it needs to go. The budgets
are in place no later than September 1. The budget director also submits periodic budget reports
to the president and PASSHE for review (R. Pandrok, personal communication, Spring 2009).
After the budget is finalized and approved, staff enter budget allocations into the SAP
financial software program. All departments, programs, and other areas that are considered “cost
centers” can access their budget information at all times. Staff are trained to use the SAP system,
and training sessions continue so that all who need to are able to track the budget and
expenditure activity in their cost centers. Data are live and current, eliminating the need for
monthly budget printouts. Printouts are available, as well as other information, as needed. (A
copy of the “Budget Control System Training Manual” is on Cal U’s Middle States computer
drive, “SAP,” November 2008).
Since 1984, the state of Pennsylvania has decreased the percentage of support it gives the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. In 2008, Cal U received just 37 percent of its
budget from the state’s annual allocation. The remainder of the budget came from student tuition
and fees, outside revenue, and other sources. To adjust to the changing financial picture, the
University has adopted a vigorous marketing plan and beautified the campus to help increase
enrollment by constructing new dorms and other facilities. The University has built its Cal U
Global Online program, which has brought new students to Cal U. As the program’s financial
success helps support other campus initiatives, it is important to create additional online niche
programs and increase student enrollments.
Cal U’s challenge, not unlike what other colleges and universities are facing, is to find outside
revenue sources through grants and private donors.
The University links the Strategic Plan with budgeting through SAP computer software. It is
important that Cal U continue to hold SAP training sessions at least once or twice per semester
so every department, program, and other areas that needs to access the budget knows how to
obtain pertinent information, including how to process “paperwork.”
President Armenti and his staff recognize that the state universities are being “privatized
without a plan” because of state budget cutbacks. Cal U has responded by developing its own
plan to add Web programs, heavily marketing the campus, beautifying the campus to attract
more students, pursuing state Performance Funding dollars so Cal U earns the most money it
can, and seeking private donors. The University is adapting to changing conditions and not only
is staying in the game, but winning some of the Performance Funding and enrollment contests.
Continue staff SAP training on a biannual basis.
Develop a task force, which includes representatives from administration, faculty, staff,
students, and alumni to brainstorm initiatives to acquire funding and support
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
In 2000, with the goal of giving more members of the University community a voice in how
the University is run, the University’s Council of Trustees approved a shared governance plan
and created the California University of Pennsylvania Forum. Specifically, the Forum was
instituted in order “to enable greater participation in the decision-making process of the
University for faculty members, students, administrators, staff and alumni” (“Constitution of the
California University of Pennsylvania Forum, December 6, 2000, p. 3). Although there are many
other groups representing the various campus constituencies, the Forum is the one group that
represents, as a whole, the workers, students, and alumni who are not among the primary
decision makers, but who nevertheless have a deep interest in the University’s affairs. Although
the Forum’s goal is grounded in the tradition of grassroots American democracy, its
accomplishments have been mixed. The Forum has created new avenues for voices to be heard
and should be commended for this. However, Forum members have yet to develop the most
effective way for those voices to count.
Role, Composition, Competition
The Forum is an advisory group. It makes recommendations to the president and Council of
Trustees on academic issues that affect more than one college and that are not already bound by
collective bargaining agreements. It also makes recommendations in areas of student life that
affect the University as a whole (“Constitution of the California University of Pennsylvania
Forum,” December 6, 2000, pp. 4, 17). The Forum may make recommendations on the budget,
on long-range goals, on construction priorities, on priorities for fundraising, and on areas of
“safety, social concern and sensitivity” (pp. 4-5). It may make recommendations on athletic
policy, on the University’s core values, and on any matter of interest to the University
community (p. 5); however, the Constitution makes it clear that the Forum cannot take action
that legally binds the University, and that the Council of Trustees and president retain their
authority to act independently (p. 3). The Forum Constitution states that “policy implementation
shall remain the sole prerogative of the administration” (p. 17). After making a recommendation,
the Forum sends its resolution to the president who has 30 days to “acknowledge, accept, accept
in part, or reject in entirety the resolution in question” (p. 18). Thus, the Forum’s power is that of
In addition to the faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni who have seats on the
Forum, emeriti faculty sit on the Communication, Core Values, and Safety/Social Equity
committees (“Constitution of the California University of Pennsylvania Forum,” December 6,
2000, pp. 14-15). Representatives of the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME), Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties
(APSCUF), President’s Cabinet, Administrative Council, Academic Affairs Council, APSCUF
Executive Council, Faculty Senate, Chairs Forum, and Curriculum Committee also hold seats on
the Forum. These groups are listed in the “2000 Self-Evaluation Report” (2000), which was
prepared when the Forum was created. Sometimes their agendas may not coincide with those of
the Forum’s.
There are other campus governing groups, including councils in each of the colleges,
University-wide committees and boards (e.g., the General Education Committee and Institutional
Review Board), APSCUF University-wide committees (e.g., Tenure, Promotion, Sabbatical, and
Grievance), Faculty Professional Development, and Student Government.
Since its inception, the Forum has passed 82 motions; of those, the University administration
has implemented 74 for a 90 percent success rate. Those motions resulted in 45 policies created
or revised (“History of Motions Passed,” 2000-2009). (See Appendix 4A for a summary of the
number of motions passed.)
Of the 82 motions, six were referred to the Council of Trustees. Five of the six involved
constitutional amendments and one was a specific recommendation, which had to be reviewed.
The Trustees approved all six motions (“History of Motions Passed,” 2000-2009).
Although the numbers imply that the Forum plays an important role in University policy
making, it nonetheless faces several challenges.
The structure of the group can make it difficult for any one point of view to prevail. This is
both a strength and weakness. With equal representation of faculty, administration, and students,
a smaller amount of representation of staff, and even less for alumni, the Forum has a structure to
ensure that no group dominates and that all groups have a voice. Although the structure creates a
good check-and-balance system, the many competing constituencies have the potential to create
gridlock. At times, it is difficult to get work done, as majorities are needed to take action.
Moreover, members of some of the constituent groups have inconsistent attendance; in fact,
some Forum meetings have been canceled for lack of a quorum. (See Appendix 4B for the
composition of the Forum committees and 4C for a tally of Forum attendance.
Biennial Review
According to the Forum’s Constitution, the Executive Committee has “the authority and
responsibility” to review the Forum, which may be done on a biennial basis (“Constitution of the
California University of Pennsylvania Forum,” December 6, 2000, p. 11). In March 2006, the
Executive Committee approved conducting a formal review (“California University Forum
Executive Committee [minutes],” March 7, 2006); and, later that year, the Forum approved the
action (“History of Motions Passed, 2000-2009,” p. 25). President Armenti responded by writing
that the Executive Committee had the power to conduct the review, and returned the motion to
the Executive Committee (“History of Motions Passed,” 2000-2009, p. 25). The minutes indicate
that the group agreed to contact an external review consultant in February 2008; however, the
review process remains in limbo.
Fall 2002, a Forum ad hoc committee was formed to suggest amendments to the Constitution,
which were subsequently approved. The amendments appear to make the Forum more
functional. (See Appendix 4D for a record of the efforts to conduct an internal/external
evaluation of the Forum, and Appendix 4E for a list of the amended sections of the Forum’s
Collective Bargaining
Because the Forum’s Constitution prevents it from recommending policy in areas covered by
existing collective bargaining agreements, discussion sometimes is curtailed or cut short when
faculty, staff, and others have legitimate concerns about certain issues. Two examples illustrate
this problem.
At the Forum’s October 1, 2002, meeting, a motion was introduced for the University to
support domestic partner benefits, “even though it cannot now provide those benefits.” Another
motion recommend that the administration “communicate its support of domestic partner
benefits to the State System of Higher Education” (“California University Forum Approved
Minutes,” October 1, 2002, pp. 5-6).
The minutes reflect that Senator Burrell Brown responded by distributing a memo stating the
proposal was a “contract issue and to permit the Forum to make recommendations on a contract
issue would be a violation of both the Forum and APSCUF procedures” (“California University
Forum Approved Minutes,” October 1, 2002, pp. 5-6).
Forum Chairman Douglas Hoover, when asked for clarification, cited the Constitution,
which provides:
Appropriate agenda items for the California University Forum shall include
University-wide matters on any subject and academic issues that involve more than
one college, provided that these matters and issues are not already covered by an
existing collective bargaining agreement to which the University is bound.
(“California University Forum Approved Minutes,” October 1, 2002, pp. 5-6).
The Forum then voted to postpone the items indefinitely.
On December 7, 2004, Dr. Nick Ford asked the Forum to consider granting faculty
administrative access to their office computers. Faculty are prevented from downloading
software, installing printers, and doing other similar tasks on their office computers. Computer
technicians, represented by AFSCME, perform these functions.
The Forum’s Technology Committee met and discussed the topic several times. At the
February 24, 2005, meeting, Rebecca Nichols, the University’s computer systems manager,
handed the committee a letter stating that she viewed the issue as a potential conflict with
AFSCME collective bargaining unit work. At the September 23, 2005, Technology Committee
meeting, Debra Cochran, the Forum’s AFSCME representative, said she believed AFSCME
would view the matter as a collective bargaining issue if faculty installed software. The
Technology Committee decided it had no choice but to suspend discussion on the matter. Loring
Prest, who chaired the Technology Committee, wrote a memo to the Forum stating, “We believe
that the Forum is constitutionally unable to consider Dr. Ford’s request” (Prest, October 20,
The University community may learn about decisions made by the University leadership,
including the Forum, in the print sources the University publishes, on the University’s Web site,
and on the University’s television station. (See Appendix 4F for a list of several print and
electronic sources that cover Cal U news. See Appendix 4G for an analysis of whether the source
is a push technology (initiated by the publisher) or is a pull technology (requested by the
reader/viewer). Students say they do not receive information direct from the source on a regular
basis, and would like to have a sophisticated system to receive RSS feeds (D. Hoover, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
California University of Pennsylvania has made strides in providing a voice to many groups
that comprise the Cal U community; however, some voices are not always heard due to
structural, constitutional, collective bargaining, or other impediments. For example, the virtual
ban on discussing collective bargaining issues has prevented debate on several topics of interest
to various constituent groups in the University community. Many voices are not heard due to
spotty attendance. Instituting and enforcing an attendance policy may help correct the situation.
As important, the Forum can only recommend policies, not prescribe or implement them.
Shared governance should provide a broader basis for making decisions.
The University president decides the outcome of most of the Forum’s recommendations.
Records indicate that the president takes only those Forum motions to the Council of Trustees
that members are required to see, namely, constitutional amendments and related motions. He
has not exercised his discretionary power to take other Forum resolutions to the Trustees
(“History of Motions,” 2000-2009). Most matters originating in the Forum may be too particular
for the Council of Trustees to decide, as the Trustees oversee the University Forum in a
somewhat distant capacity; thus, the Trustees’ level of involvement in Forum decisions seems
appropriate. The decision making structure, itself, works well.
Most problem areas can best be addressed through a formal review of the Forum.
The University Forum, which was established in 2000, provides a place for many
groups – faculty, staff, students, administrators, and alumni – to work together for the good of
the University. The Forum is a relatively new group, created to provide a way for various
constituencies to share in governing the University. Although structural, constitutional, and other
problems sometimes mute these voices, the Forum has been the catalyst for 45 policy changes,
which may not have occurred without the Forum. The Forum serves an important function within
the governing structure, and has the potential to be an even greater recommending body if all
members fulfilled their obligations by attending meetings and impediments for discussing certain
concerns were removed.
Institute an attendance policy.
Consider moving the Forum meeting time to Common Hour to facilitate and increase
Address restrictions on the discussion of issues that may encroach on collective
bargaining turf.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Under the leadership of California University of Pennsylvania President Angelo Armenti, Jr.,
Cal U has increased its enrollment by 45 percent in a decade (B. Schackner, June 21, 2009). It
was the first of the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to replace
its traditional dorms with state-of-the-art residential suites. It has developed the rapidly growing
Cal U Global Online program, which has 27 Web-based offerings, including 15 leading to
masters of arts and master of science degrees (Schackner, June 21, 2009). New liberal arts and
science buildings have been constructed and new science labs have been added to existing
facilities. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Convocation Center is set for early August
2009. In 2008-2009, the University led the 14 state schools in receiving state “performance
funding” ($5.2 million), based in great measure on faculty productivity (“Convocation
Highlights Success,” January 26, 2009). The president’s salary ($220,670) is second only to that
of Dr. Tony Atwater, president of the largest university in the state system, Indiana University of
Pennsylvania (Staff and Wire Reports, November 12, 2008). Cal U is the fifth largest school in
the state, up from ninth largest a decade ago (Schackner, June 21, 2009).
These data suggest that Cal U’s president and administration are making astute decisions.
They are paying attention to the University’s Mission to build character and careers, especially
by focusing on the goals of building institutional excellence; helping students achieve success by
providing new academic programs and an aesthetically pleasing campus; and, serving the
community by not only offering more educational opportunities than in the past, but also by
attracting more attention to southwestern Pennsylvania.
Although it is difficult to find fault with Cal U administrators, especially given the
University’s performance in challenging economic times, there is, at least, one questionable
practice that needs mention. National searches, with the exception of a few new hires, have not
been conducted for several top management positions; however, balanced against the
administration’s stellar record, the practice seems to not have any significant impact on policies
and procedures.
The Administration
Since 1992, President Armenti has served as the chief executive officer of California
University of Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics at Villanova
University; a master of arts degree in physics with a specialization in special relativity, from
Temple University; and, a doctor of philosophy degree in physics with a specialization in general
relativity from Temple University. He served at Villanova University for 20 years in various
capacities: professor of Physics, chair of the Physics Department, dean, and director of planning.
His book, The Physics of Sports, was commissioned by the American Institute of Physics.
The administrators who report to him directly and are responsible for the day-to-day
operations of the University are: (1) Dr. Joyce Hanley, Executive Vice President, and five vice
presidents, (2) Ms. Geraldine Jones, Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs, (3) Dr. Lenora
Angelone, Vice President of Student Development and Services, (4) Mr. Eric Larmi, Interim
Vice President for Administration and Finance, (5) Dr. Charles Mance, Vice President for
Information Technology (a newly created post), and ( 6) Ms. Angela Burrows, Vice President for
University Development/University Advancement. These individuals also serve as the
President’s Cabinet. Also reporting directly to the president are the Athletic Development, Office
of Continuous Improvement, the Office of Social Equity, and University Forum. (See Appendix
5A for an organizational map of Cal U’s administrative structure. Please note that the Office of
University Development/University Advancement and Office of Information Technology are
currently undergoing changes.
Responsibilities of Vice Presidents
Executive Vice President Hanley serves as President Armenti’s lead liaison to the University
community. Cabinet members report directly to the president, but also meet with the executive
vice president. The Character Education Institute and Office of Lifelong Learning report directly
to the executive vice president.
University Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs Jones oversees the 44 academic
departments of the University, as well as Academic Records, Admissions, the American
Democracy Project, Articulation and Transfer Evaluation, the Calling Center, Career Services,
the Faculty Professional Development Center, the University Honors Program, the Internship
Center, Louis L. Manderino Library, the off-campus centers of Somerset and Southpointe, the
Student Retention/Placement Testing Center, the University-Wide Peer Mentoring Program, the
Welcome Center/Student Orientation Programs, and the Office of Women’s Studies. Twentyone individuals, who supervise a total of 100 employees, report directly to the provost. The 44
academic departments have 37 department chairs who supervise 459 employees (R. Klein,
personal communication, May 2009).
Serving under Provost Jones are Dr. Michael Hummel, dean of the College of Liberal Arts,
Dr. Kevin Koury, acting dean of the College of Education and Human Services, Dr. Leonard
Colelli, dean of the Eberly College of Science and Technology, Dr. John Cencich, acting dean of
the Graduate School, and Mr. Douglas Hoover, dean of Library Services. Department chairs
serve under the deans and the faculty under the chairs.
Vice President of Student Development and Services Angelone oversees Athletics, Wellness,
the Counseling Center, International Student Services, Multi-Cultural Affairs, Student Health
Services, the Office of Students with Disabilities, the Women’s Center/P.E.A.C.E.
Project/Student Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Team, Veteran’s Affairs, Housing and Residence
Life, University Conference Services, the Student Association, Inc. (SAI), AVI Food Services,
Cal U Bookstore, SAI Web Development, Student Government, Vulcan Village, the Student
Center and Operations, and Recreation Services. The vice president has two deans, four
associate deans, and three assistant deans. She has 19 people reporting to her who supervise 118
employees (R. Klein, personal communication, May 2009).
Interim Vice President of Administration and Finance Larmi supervises the Office of
Accounting, University Bursar, Environmental Health and Safety, Financial Aid,
Personnel/Human Resources, Inventory and Fixed Assets, Informational Technology and
Computing Services, Networking Systems, Payroll, the Physical Plant, Public Safety,
Purchasing, Central Receiving/Storeroom, the Mailroom, and the Switchboard/Copy Center.
Fourteen employees directly report to the vice president and there are 153 employees (R. Klein,
personal communication, May 2009).
Vice President of University Development/University Advancement Burrows is overseeing a
reorganization of her office. The office is to strengthen relationships among the University and
alumni, friends, the general public, policy makers, business people and students. In addition,
Burrows oversees the University’s marketing and public affairs efforts, alumni relations, the
Government Agency Coordination Office, and the Office of the Webmaster. The office also
works with the University Foundation. The vice president has 15 people directly reporting to her
and 33 employees (R. Klein, personal communication, May 2009.
Vice President of Information Technology Mance started his newly created job on March 17,
2009, and is to develop a plan to meet the technology needs of students, faculty and staff,
according to a University press release. The number of people who report to him is in flux
(“California University Names Vice President for IT,” March 18, 2009).
The Administration’s Avenues of Communication to the University Community
The administration communicates to the rest of the University community through a number
of vehicles, including: (1) mass meetings and forums, (2) University publications and the
campus radio and television stations, (3) other University electronic systems, including e-mail,
text messages, and the University Web site, and (4) a “chain of command” reporting system, in
which Cabinet members inform those employees who report to them, and those employees
inform their staff.
Mass Meetings and Forums
The president conducts at least three forums for the University community each semester,
including the Faculty Convocation, Staff Convocation, and Student Convocation. Each is held
early in the semester and serves as Cal U’s version of the State of the Union Address. President
Armenti discusses recent campus happenings and gives his views of the University’s future. The
president entertains questions at the end of the sessions. In addition, a member of the cabinet or
the president attends the monthly meeting of the University Forum.
Campus Publications and Campus Radio and Television Stations
The administration attempts to keep employees, students, and alumni informed through
information published in campus publications and broadcasts on the campus radio and television
stations. The California University Journal is a weekly publication that each employee receives.
Published by the Office of Communications and Public Relations, The Journal contains
information about recent campus events, policy changes, employee achievements, and campus
recognitions. The Journal also publishes minutes of the University Forum.
The weekly student newspaper, The Cal Times, frequently publishes University press
releases similar to those that appear in The Journal. The student-staffed campus radio and
television stations receive the same press releases so often repeat the information.
“Under the Towers” is a monthly e-mail that Cal U alumni and friends of the University
receive. It contains information similar to what appears in The Journal, but emphasizes alumni
Employees and alumni also receive the quarterly Cal U Review, a polished magazine
highlighting campus developments and the achievements of employees and alumni.
Other University Electronic Systems
The administration, as well as faculty and staff, use the campus e-mail system to send
announcements to University employees and students about upcoming events, policy changes,
and other information.
The Cal U Web site has links to the University’s programs and departments, as well as to the
University Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog and the Faculty Handbook. Campus
policies are posted on the Web site. The home page highlights current events on campus. The
University catalogs, both print and electronic versions, are updated each year and also contain
University policies. The University, some departments and faculty, and various programs reach
targeted audiences, especially current and prospective students, via YouTube and Facebook.
Since the Virginia Tech shootings, Cal U has offered an emergency text messaging alert
system, Cal U Alerts, which is available to anyone on the campus e-mail system who signs up
for the service. The alerts are sent to users’ computer e-mail systems, as well as to their cell
phones. Cal U Alerts also informs employees and students when there is a snow day. This
information also is posted on the University’s Web site.
Chain of Command/Meetings
State policies and Council of Trustees’ actions. When the Pennsylvania State System of
Higher Education Board of Governors, the chancellor of the state system, or the California
University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees approve policies, President Armenti and his
Cabinet send the policies to the appropriate vice president for analysis and implementation. For
example, a policy dealing with fees is sent to the vice president of Administration and Finance,
who, in turn, works with the Bursar’s Office and other appropriate offices.
Meetings. Probably everyone who works at Cal U attends more meetings than he or she
would choose; nonetheless, meetings are one vital way that administrators and employees
communicate. For example, under the provost, there is a Provost’s Council, the Administrative
Council, councils for each of the academic colleges, an Academic Affairs Committee, the
General Education Committee, the Faculty Professional Development Committee, and more.
Most of these groups have subcommittees. Each academic department as well, as other campus
departments, has its own staff and committee meetings.
Additional Methods by which the Administration Receives Input and Feedback
The administration makes many efforts to hear from the University community through
meetings, the campus media, and the chain-of-command organization with the top staff from
each major campus area directly reporting to the president. Other structures, such as APSCUF
Meet-and-Discuss (the faculty union), also facilitate the flow of information upward. However,
similar to many large organizations, there are those who perceive a breakdown in
communications at the top level. Some of the criticism may be the result of information
technology whereby “breaking news” is the norm.
The Office of Continuous Improvement
The Office of Continuous Improvement surveys the University’s faculty, staff, students,
alumni and others to help in decision-making. The office also analyzes University work
processes and procedures to improve efficiency, performance, and user satisfaction. The office is
directed by Norman Hasbrouck, Special Assistant to the President, who reports directly to the
president (“Office of Continuous Improvement,” April 16, 2009).
Electronic Suggestion Box
The Office of Continuous Improvement also administers the Electronic Suggestion Box, by
which faculty, staff, students and others can e-mail a suggestion about how to improve a
University policy or procedure (“Electronic Suggestion Box,” April 9, 2009). The information is
shared with the president, and contributors receive a timely response to their input. It is not
unusual for the president to answer e-mail, particularly those ideas generated by students.
Other Forms of Feedback
As mentioned in Chapter 4, the president ultimately decides on resolutions that the University
Forum approves. A member of the President’s Cabinet sits on the Forum. During Mission Day,
faculty, staff and students gather to discuss an element of the University’s Mission and to
brainstorm ways for the University to improve. (See Chapter 1 for a discussion of Mission Day.)
The president and administration review this information, and report at the next Mission Day
which recommendations were implemented (“Report Card From Mission Day 2007,” October
21, 2008).
The administration also participates in and receives feedback during collective bargaining
negotiations, as well as when grievances and other union issues arise. The administration
receives information and input from the state University system’s Board of Governors, the
University’s Council of Trustees, the Student Association, Inc., Student Government, the
University Foundation Board, the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and the Emeriti
Faculty Association. The administration receives informal counsel from the Board of Presidential
Advisors, a group of business leaders (“Cal U Honors,” March 26, 2008).
Furthermore, the administration asks students to participate in the annual national Student
Opinion Survey, conducted by the American College Testing (ACT) service, and in the National
Survey of Student Engagement, conducted by Indiana University-Bloomington. Faculty are
surveyed in the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (See “ACT Surveys” folder, 2009, and
“NSSE and FSEE” folder, 2009).
Performance Reviews
PASSHE Performance Indicators. California University of Pennsylvania, and hence the
administration, is judged against its own data, the performance of the other 13 schools in the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), and peer institutions. PASSHE
awards bonus money when state schools meet or exceed state “performance funding indicators”
in categories ranging from “Numbers of Bachelors’ Degrees Awarded,” to “Number of
Enrollments in Internship Classes.” (See, for example, “CA Without SPTs 2008” August 22,
2008, and “System Accountability Report: Performance Outcomes: 2007-2008,” 2009.) As
mentioned previously, Cal U led the 14 state schools in 2008-2009 when it received $5.2 million
in state “performance funding.” For a list of the non-PASSHE schools against which Cal U is
benchmarked, see “CA Peers 2008” (2009).
Presidential Leadership Review. After Cal U’s Council of Trustees conducts an annual
Presidential Leadership Review, the members decide whether to extend the chief executive
officer’s contract. In September 2008, after conducting the review, Council Chairman Leo
Krantz said, “It’s phenomenal how far we’ve come.” He continued: “Nine years ago when I got
involved with the Trustees, it was like a packet of problems. . . . It is not a packet of problems
anymore; it’s simply a packet of accomplishments that is overwhelming” (“Trustees Review
President’s Contract,” Sept. 15, 2008).
Administrators’ Performance Reviews. The president reviews top administrators’
performances. Many middle managers are represented by the State College and University
Professional Association (SCUPA) and include offices, such as assistant and associate directors
of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Student Activities. Their performance is evaluated under
terms contained in their collective bargaining agreement (“Who Is SCUPA?” December 13,
It seems the number of Cal U staff is adequate to support the University’s Mission, although
there have been many personnel changes in Academic Affairs and the colleges during the past
four years. There have been four provosts and six deans, all of whom have been promoted from
the faculty ranks. Nevertheless, or perhaps, because of, these changes, the administration seems
to have stayed focused on the University’s Mission.
Five-Year Program Review: Diversity and Synergy Issues. The Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education requires its 14 state universities to submit a Five-Year Program Review.
Those Cal U administrators who write Cal U’s report apply standards from the Council for
Advancement of Standards in Higher Education when they show, in the report, how Cal’s
programs promote diversity (L. Angelone, personal communication, April 2009). Cal U, like
other schools, reports the number of faculty/staff employed by sex, race and other categories to a
number of state and federal agencies. For example, in Fall 2000, female constituted 31.85
percent of fulltime faculty. By Fall 2007, the number increased to 43.01 percent (“CA With
SPTs 2008,” p. 23). Of the executive vice president and five vice presidents in the President’s
Cabinet, four are women, one of whom is black.
As reported in Chapter 2, Cal U offers such synergistic opportunities as free Stephen Covey
workshops for students, faculty, and staff. By attending this training, participants learn ways to
resolve problems and improve the University. Martin Luther King Day has become a day of
service, in which students, faculty and staff volunteer in the community. Mission Day is a day
when the entire campus comes together to reflect on ways to improve the University and further
its Mission. Participants learn to look beyond each others’ differences so that all can reach shared
goals to improve themselves, the campus, and the community.
The University has many success stories, but to help it remain competitive in an era of
dwindling resources, the administration decided to reorganize the Office of University
Development/University Advancement and add a vice president to oversee informational
technology issues.
The vice president of University Development/Advancement will oversee the design and
implementation of even stronger efforts to market and “brand” Cal U, increase contributions to
the University, and build student, staff, and alumni loyalty. She also charged with encouraging
businesses to lend their expertise to the University. She, along with the vice president for
Information Technology, is overseeing a transition of Cal U’s Web site domain name from
cup.edu to calu.edu so it corresponds to the existing “nickname” for the school. The Web site is
being redesigned to better appeal to prospective and current students (A. Burrows, personal
communication, May 13, 2009). This reorganization should help Cal U’s marketing and fundraising efforts.
The addition of a vice president for Information Technology should help Cal U grow with the
times by having someone responsible for all aspects digital technology: computer network
security, staff computer training, computer labs and facilities, uniform and integrated computer
and other digital purchases, trend-watching, and other matters.
The administration communicates with the campus community in many ways. Much
information flows at Cal U, which is commendable; however, the flip side is information
overload. The Provost’s Council discussed the issue at a recent meeting. Administrators, midlevel managers, and faculty, spend hours each month in meetings. Attendance at the University
Forum is often low, which results in postponing discussions and decisions due to the lack of a
quorum. Sometimes, mid-level meetings, such as the Provost’s Council and college council
meetings, are canceled because members have overlapping commitments. As a result,
communications often get garbled or break down as ideas and information get passed up and
down the ranks for lack of a structured discussion and a record that documents it.
Perhaps creating work groups or ad hoc committees to study a problem and report to the full
committee would alleviate some of overload. Prioritizing action items for mid-level meetings
could help facilitate the resolution of pressing issues. Similarly, a more prudent use of universitywide e-mails should be discussed, although placing limits on them may be counter to the
University’s policy of making information easily available.
Finally, although there are faculty and student handbooks, there is not an equivalent
publication for staff. A publication spelling out University policies and procedures, especially as
they apply to these employees, would be useful.
Cal U’s administration, managers and professional staff, by all counts, are doing exemplary
work; however, it is unclear how they are evaluated in their periodic reviews.
Given the turnover in some positions, knowing the indicators would shed some light on these
decisions. It also would provide individuals who aspire to administrative posts an idea of the
expectations associated with job.
President Armenti continues to find ways for the University to remain competitive and grow
during a period of budgetary constraints. The president is reorganizing two of his top posts to
better respond to new challenges facing higher education. Although some question the practice
of promoting from within for several top management and administrative positions, it is difficult
to argue with success. Several recent high level appointees, such as the vice presidents of
University Development/University Advancement and Information Technology were hired
through a competitive search process. New perspectives are essential to the health of an
organization, as is the ability to “hit the ground running.” Cal U appears to have a good mix.
Create a work group or ad hoc committee to study an issue relevant to specific
administrative meeting rather than a hold continuous discussion.
Prioritize action items for mid-level meetings to facilitate the resolution of pressing
Develop a more prudent use of university-wide e-mails, specifically as they pertain to
Develop and distribute a staff handbook. A publication that spells out University policies
and procedures as they apply to staff would be useful.
Provide and post a transparent evaluation process with regard to how managers are
evaluated in their periodic reviews.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
In 1991, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education urged the system’s universities
to make values a priority in a report, “Emphasis on Values.” California University of
Pennsylvania responded by developing, in 1995, a Character Education Institute:
1) to provide character development training for regional organizations, 2) to
serve as a resource to the University’s colleges, departments, and student
organizations as they contribute to the moral development of California
University students, 3) to provide a resource center to help prepare education
majors for their unavoidable role as character educators, and 4) to provide
assistance to school districts and local organizations that seek to contribute to the
moral development of the citizens in their communities. (Character Education
Institute, January 8, 2009).
By January 1998, the John Templeton Foundation named Cal U to its 1997-1998 Honor Roll
for Character-Building Colleges. In Spring 1998, a Cal U Character Education Institute Task
Force identified “integrity,” “civility,” and “responsibility,” as the University’s core values,
which the Council of Trustees subsequently approved (Huffman, 1998).
The definition of these values may be found position paper by Burns and Lackner (1997).
“Integrity,” for example, is defined as a value that “involves reflections on moral principles in
order to discern what is right and wrong. But it also requires a careful analysis of our emotions
and our conscience, as guided by official moral and legal standards” (Burns and Lackner, 1997).
On June 4, 2003, the Council of Trustees adopted Cal U’s Mission Statement of “Building
Character and Careers.” Both the Mission Statement and core values are included on the
University’s stationery, Web site, and promotional materials; however, they are more than just
slogans. Many academic programs, classes, and support services make this focus on character
and values central to their mission.
There also is a list of Student Rights and Responsibilities posted on the University’s Web
We have the right to safety and security.
We have the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of others.
We have the right to be treated with respect.
We have the responsibility to treat others with respect.
We have the right to expect the best.
We have the responsibility to give our best.
We have the right to be treated fairly.
We have the responsibility to treat others fairly. (“Rights and Responsibilities,”
January 26, 2009).
Academic Areas
In the Classroom
Faculty teach integrity in their classrooms and state their academic honesty policies in course
syllabi. Some departments, such as Special Education and Counselor Education, have a
departmental statement on academic integrity placed in department handbooks, on syllabi, and
on departmental Web pages. For example, the academic integrity policy of the Elementary/Early
Childhood Education Department is:
We, the faculty of the Elementary/Early Childhood Education department, expect
our students to do their own work, and to do it well. Cheating on exams, written
assignments, portfolio documentation, or class activities is not tolerated. The
department recognizes as cheating the behaviors listed below; however, this list is
not exclusive:
Copying in part or whole someone’s work without proper citation and/or
permission (plagiarizing).
Including handouts from coursework in your portfolios or other academic work
without giving proper credit to the author of the handout.
Forging signatures.
Cheating on exams.
Turning in samples of children’s work that have been “written” by someone other
than the child or children with whom you worked.
Misrepresenting any part of your work.
Evidence of cheating will result in the following disciplinary action taken by the
First offense: Student is reprimanded verbally and in writing, and fails the course
in which the behavior occurred. A copy of the reprimand letter will be placed on file in
the Elementary Education/Early Childhood office.
Second offense: Student is dismissed from the certification program, and may not enter
the Services program. Additionally, the student is referred to the University Provost for
possible dismissal from the university. (“Figure 2 Academic Integrity Policy,” 2009).
The College of Education and Human Services is the only college at Cal U that has its own
“Ethics Policy.” It defines how “integrity,” “responsibility,” and “civility” apply to education
students, and spells out how students can resolve and appeal professors’ academic integrity
decisions (“Figure 1 Education Ethics Committee, 2009). The College of Liberal Arts, the Eberly
College of Science and Technology, and the Graduate School and the departments within these
units rely on academic integrity policies specified in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
Many professors include these statements in their syllabi. The Undergraduate Catalog states:
Truth and honesty are necessary prerequisites for all education, and students who
attempt to improve their grades or class standing through any form of academic
dishonesty may be penalized by disciplinary action, ranging from a verbal
reprimand to a failing grade in the course or dismissal from the University. If the
situation appears to merit a severe penalty, the professor will refer the matter to
the appropriate dean or to the provost. The student may appeal the penalty as
outlined above, with the Academic Integrity Committee hearing appeals above the
level of dean. (“Cheating and Plagiarism: Academic Integrity,” 2003).
The Graduate Catalog’s statement on “Cheating and Plagiarism” is similar (November 25,
2005). The Graduate School also has a policy on “Cohorts’ Rights and Responsibilities” that
states students in a “cohort’’ (a group of students admitted to a program at the same time) have a
responsibility to take courses in a prescribed sequence, while the University has the
responsibility to offer the classes in a timely fashion (“Cohorts – Rights and Responsibilities,”
November 29, 2005).
Classes That Address Integrity, Ethics, and Responsibility
Many courses are offered that deal in whole or part with ethics issues. The classes range from
“The Philosophy of Professional Nursing” (NUR 450) to “Ethics in Sport Management” (SPT
305). (See the Middle States Standard 6 hard-copy syllabi binders for examples).
Undergraduates are expected to take one “Values” class among the required 49-to-51 General
Education credits. Approved courses range from “Global, Economic, Social, and Ethical Issues
in Computing” (CSC 352) to “Press Law and Ethics” (ENG 306). (“Values 3 Credits,” 2003).
Students in professional training are expected to abide by the ethics codes of their respective
professions. Students in Counseling Education, for example, are expected to know and
understand “the ethical standards of ACA [American Counseling Association] and related
entities, and applications of ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling”
(California University of Pennsylvania Department of Counselor Education Student Handbook,
(Fall 2007, p. 7).
Teacher education programs in the College of Education and Human Services assess teacher
candidates for “professional disposition.” All teacher candidates, by the time of licensure, are to
demonstrate the following:
1) Integrity – Demonstrates truthfulness to one’s self and to others, demonstrates
professional behavior and trustworthiness.
2) Civility – The ability to honor, value, and demonstrate consideration and regard to
one’s self and others.
3) Responsibility – Acts independently and demonstrates accountability, reliability, and
sound judgment.
4) Professionalism/Maturity – Demonstrates situational appropriate behavior, and
5) Professional Development and Lifelong Learning – Demonstrates a commitment to
professional development and to lifelong learning. (“Appendix G: Candidate
Professional Disposition Instrument, 2008-2009,” p. 27).
The source in which Appendix G is found also contains a copy of “Pennsylvania’s Code of
Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators” (“California University of Pennsylvania
Teacher Education Program,” 2008-2009, pp. 33-34).
First Year Seminar, Summer Orientation and Other Educational Avenues
Academic deans first introduce the concept of academic integrity in summer orientation
sessions for incoming students. Students also learn about academic integrity in First Year
Seminar classes. In freshman composition classes and other introductory courses, they are taught
and repeatedly warned about the pitfalls of plagiarism. (Samples of English Composition syllabi
are located in the “English Composition Syllabi” folder on the Middle States dedicated computer
drive.) When conducting research that needs Institutional Review Board approval, students must
take an online ethics training course offered by the National Institute of Health. The Student
Handbook also specifies what academic integrity involves.
Specialized Academic Integrity and Character Education Venues
The California University Character Education Institute. The Institute offers Stephen Covey
training to community businesses and organizations, as well as to Cal U faculty, students, and
staff. Since 1999, Cal U has trained 1,960 employees, students, and community members in
Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” The Institute also offers character
education resources on its Web page (Character Education Institute, January 8, 2009). Its
Character Education Library is housed in Manderino Library.
The Character Education Institute also raises student scholarship funds. During 2007-2008,
the Institute raised $90,000 in scholarship money, an increase of 543 percent from the previous
year. At the end of the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the Institute had raised $134,000 in scholarships
through organizational partnerships (R. Paul, personal communication, 2009).
The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources. Teacher candidates and in-service
teachers are trained to use Library of Congress online sources many ways, including methods to
supervise activities associated with some aspect of American culture. The questions raised
during the activities frequently lead to discussions about integrity, character building and ethics.
Information about the program is on its Web page (“The Library of Congress Teaching with
Primary Sources,” June 4, 2009).
Special events. Faculty in the College of Education and Human Services obtained a small
grant in 2008 from the University’s Faculty Professional Development Committee to host a
Multicultural Learning Community (“2007-2008 Academic Excellence Learning Community
Awards,” May 9, 2008, p. 4). In April 2008, the learning community conducted a miniconference associated with Academic Excellence Days, featuring guest speakers and breakout
sessions on diversity, professional responsibility, and integrity. In March 2009, a second
workshop was offered. The Special Education faculty received funding for day-long autism
conferences in Spring 2008 and Spring 2009. (“Intermediate Unit 1,” May 28, 2009). Education
and health science students who attended the conference enhanced their knowledge about acting
with integrity when working with the autistic.
Departments in the College of Liberal Arts sponsor many events that provide opportunities
for inquiry and dialogue. For example, faculty in the Department of History and Political Science
assist in designing and coordinating events under the American Democracy Project (ADP)
umbrella. The campus ADP is housed in Academic Affairs and operates under the auspices of
the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Programming includes annual
events, such as Constitution Day and topical issue forums. Its goal is to help imbue students
with a sense of civic responsibility (“National Experts to Discuss Election Outcomes,” October
28, 2008).
Through the ADP, the History and Political Science Department, as well as Cal Campaign
Consultants, College Democrats, and College Republicans, also sponsored Debate Watch,
Campaign Watch, Election Watch, candidate debates, and election analysis forums. Each year,
the Department of Justice, Law, and Society sponsors a conference on Corporate and Homeland
The Women’s Studies Program sponsors the annual Audrey-Beth Fitch Women’s Studies
Conference, and the Frederick Douglass Institute and Multicultural Center collaborate on a
month-long series of events marking Black History Month. Many outstanding speakers have
visited campus in recent years, including Coretta Scott King, Kweisi Mfume, Thomas Friedman,
Juan Williams, Naomi Tutu, Mary Frances Berry, Donna Brazile, Tommy Smith, and Robert F.
Kennedy, Jr. Some speakers come as part of the Noss Lecture Series and others through
Frederick Douglass Institute and American Democracy Project funding.
Cal U has 21 accredited programs. A Strategic Plan goal is to seek accreditation for every
program eligible for the recognition (Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3, April 17, 2009).
Accreditation of programs contributes to the University’s reputation for academic excellence.
Also, programs generally need to address an ethical dimension to meet professional accreditation
Other Resources
Faculty Professional Development Committee
The Faculty Professional Development Committee (FPDC) mission is to “promote and
support teaching, scholarship, service, appropriate use of technology, and the University’s core
values of civility, responsibility, and integrity” (Faculty Professional Development Committee,
n.d., “Mission and Objectives”). Faculty development “is a process in which faculty members
try to:
improve teaching and learning
add to their discipline’s body of knowledge
enhance the quality of life through community outreach
integrate the three developmental activities (Faculty Professional Development
Committee, n.d., “Philosophy”).
The FPDC further holds that faculty development at Cal U “may be thought of as individual
professional growth that is consistent with personal goals, departmental goals, University
missions, and the state system's 2000 document, ‘Imperatives Affirmed’” (Faculty Professional
Development Committee, n.d., “Philosophy”). FPDC sponsors the annual Academic Excellence
Days, which is a three-to-four-day event highlighting what faculty, students, and staff have been
studying and creating. FPDC also offers faculty workshops on many topics and provides travel,
study, and other grants. It gives annual Merit Awards to faculty members in the areas of
teaching, service, research, technology, and grants.
Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) “is responsible for ensuring that the rights and welfare
of human research participants are protected,” the board’s Web page states (“Frequently Asked
Questions,” February 12, 2009). Any research involving human subjects must first be cleared
with the board. The failure to get prior IRB review “will be considered serious misconduct,
subject to sanctions, including possible recommendations for termination of faculty appointment,
student enrollment, or other affiliation with California University of Pennsylvania” (“Frequently
Asked Questions,” February 12, 2009).
Office of Social Equity
The director of the Office of Social Equity serves as the University’s ombudswoman and
investigates harassment complaints. The office is responsible for making sure the University is in
compliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations, including
how it conducts faculty searches. Its mission includes “fostering a learning environment in which
all rights are respected” and promoting “understanding, tolerance, and respect for others” (Office
of Social Equity, n.d., “Mission”).
Faculty Publications
College of Education and Human Services faculty have produced over 50 publications,
workshops, or grant proposals on subjects, such as character development, student integrity,
diversity, gender equity, codes of ethics, integrity in online learning environments, and student
support: Department of Applied Engineering and Technology (3), Department of Counselor
Education (7), Department of Educational Administration and Leadership (6), Department of
Elementary/Early Childhood Education (8), Department of Health Science and Sports Studies
(12), Department of Social Work (8), and Department of Special Education (9) (“California
University of Pennsylvania College of Education and Human Services Faculty Publications,
2005-2008,” 2008). Information from the other University colleges for similar publications,
workshops, and grant applications is not immediately available.
Faculty Awards
In addition to the Faculty Professional Development Merit Awards previously mentioned,
there is the Vargo Award, which recognizes faculty who have served at Cal U for at least 10
years and are judged “outstanding” in at least two of the three areas of teaching and learning,
scholarly growth, and service and service learning. Winners must demonstrate “significant
achievement” in the other area (Faculty Professional Development Committee, n.d., “The Vargo
Award”). There also are Presidential Gala Awards for exemplary Teaching, Research, and
Service. An annual Lillian M. Bassi Core Values Award is given to an alumnus or alumna who
embodies the three core values: integrity, civility, and responsibility.
The first College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Alumnus Award was presented in April 2008.
The College of Education and Human Services presents an Alumnus Award, as well.
Student Clubs and Organizations
Many student clubs and organizations help socialize students to the ethics of their desired
professions and provide opportunities for students to serve their communities. More than 100
clubs are listed on the Student Association, Inc.’s Web page. Additional clubs, such as honors
and Greek societies, also give students many opportunities to develop leadership skills and
provide service to others. An informal survey of some of the group’s names indicates that many
are dedicated to the University’s core values: 7 Habits Club, Best Buddies, Cal Campaign
Consultants, H.E.A.R.T. (Health Education Awareness Resource Team), Habitat for Humanity,
the Law and Justice Society, Men Against Violence, and the Peace Studies Club. There are
campus chapters of professional organizations, such as the Public Relations Student Society of
America, the Social Work Association, Society of Professional Journalists, the Student
Counseling Association, the Student Marketing Association, the Technical Education
Association of California, the Student Nurses Association, and many more (“Clubs and
Organizations – Complete Listing,” 2004).
Student Workers
Work-study students are trained in ethics and integrity. Community assistants, who work in
residence halls, receive values and ethics training. They, in turn, encourage residents to develop a
personal value system. Students in the Counseling Center and Health Center are trained about
confidentiality and about patient rights and responsibilities.
Student Leadership
The Student Leadership Department offers workshops to emerging student leaders primarily
during their freshman year. Students practice public speaking, team-building, goal-setting, and
event-planning skills:
Programs are designed to promote an understanding of leadership theory and research,
skills and competencies that support leadership effectiveness, a more fully developed
code of personal ethics, and an enhanced sense of lifelong commitment to social
responsibility and citizenship (“Student Leadership Development,” 2003).
Many departments keep in touch with their alumni and welcome them back to campus to
speak. For example, Jim Lokay, a traffic reporter for KDKA in Pittsburgh, and Thea Kalcevic, a
production assistant for Worldwide Pants (the production company for the David Letterman
Show), are alumni of the Communication Studies Department and have spoken to students about
their career success. Many other alumni serve as guest speakers in classes and forums. Several
more recent graduates hold area public offices, including the California Borough mayor, the
Washington County district attorney, a Connellsville city councilman, and the Robinson
Township city manager. Three have spoken to students about public service.
Enforcing Academic Integrity
Perhaps the best way to learn about integrity is through role-modeling. If civility and
responsibility are not demonstrated to students on a daily basis, there is not much instructors can
do to teach them to be civil and responsible. Some professors say they are explicit about their
expectations for civility in the classroom. One history professor, for example, tells his survey
course that the students may express any opinion they wish, as long as it is put forth politely, in a
civil manner.
Academic Integrity Committee
Sometimes a professor’s, administrator’s, or staff person’s best efforts are not enough to
prevent incivility, dishonesty, or cheating in the classroom, office, or elsewhere on campus.
Many infractions among employees can be handled through disciplinary measures spelled out in
collective bargaining agreements. However, when the problem is between a professor and a
student, or another employee and a student, the matter may be handled through the Academic
Integrity Committee. If the problem is serious enough, it may be handled by campus or local
If a professor decides a student should be penalized for plagiarism, he or she may assign the
student an “F” for the course. If the student disputes the grade, the procedure is for him or her to
first speak with the instructor, next the chair, and finally, the dean of the appropriate college. If
the student is still disagrees with the decision, he or she may appeal the matter to the Academic
Integrity Committee.
In 1998, the Academic Integrity Committee adopted a document that defines academic
integrity and describes how academic integrity appeals are handled. The document is more
detailed than the academic integrity statements in the college catalogs (“Academic Integrity
Policies and Procedures”). In 2002, the committee passed several recommendations, one of
which suggested that both students and faculty receive more uniform training in academic
integrity (“Academic Integrity Committee Recommendations,” 2002). The committee also
recommended that the committee play a more active role in academic integrity cases. The
recommendations have yet to be implemented.
Software, such as Turnitin, is available to faculty for checking for plagiarism. Some
professors are concerned that the software can produce too many false positives, but for students
to know that the software is available may be a deterrent against plagiarism.
Additional Codes of Conduct
Although the college catalogs and student handbook specify what academic integrity is and
the penalties for when students cheat, plagiarize, or otherwise violate the University’s core
values, some campus departments also have spelled out the behavior they expect of students and
the penalties for infractions. The University Library, for example, has developed the “Manderino
Library Code of Conduct.” The code’s purpose is to ensure that “all patrons of the Manderino
Library experience an environment that fosters integrity, civility, and responsibility” (February
11, 2009, p. 1). The code discusses disruptive behavior, misuse of library property, drugs and
alcohol, and unsupervised electronic use by minors. It states that penalties may include “verbal
warnings from library staff, removal from the building, loss of library privileges, referral to the
Office of Student Conduct, police involvement, and/or legal action” (“Manderino Library Code,”
February 11, 2009, p. 1).
Although statements regarding academic integrity and information about the University’s
core values are on the Web site, in the Student Handbook, in course syllabi – seemingly
everywhere – the College of Education and Human Services is the only college with a collegewide ethics policy. Similarly, only a few departments have specific academic integrity policies.
It would be worthwhile for all colleges and departments to follow suit. A centralized approach
could be counterproductive; however, an academic integrity policy statement that is inserted into
all syllabi, much like the policy statement regarding students with disabilities, may reinforce the
message that values undergird the Cal U experience.
Many classes are offered that provide ethics discussion and training. Requiring undergraduates to take a “Values” classes as part of their General Education preparation not only
complies with the Board of Governor’s policy, but is an essential part of any college education.
Students can see by perusing the courses on the “Values” menu that ethics training cuts across all
Cal U has a plethora of specialized educational offerings that provide training in character
building and integrity. The Character Education Institute, Frederick Douglass Institute, and
American Democracy Project provide a wealth of opportunities for all members of the
University community to learn how to become contributing members to the community writ
Cal U’s core values underlie the work done at the University. Faculty receive grants and
awards in recognition of their dedication to the University’s Mission. Students join clubs that
give service to the community, or join a leadership program that helps them develop a lifelong
commitment to be socially responsible. The University should maintain a database of the events,
projects, and service, highlighting some the activities on its Web site. This also would provide a
means to demonstrate its commitment to character building, as well as archive information for
Students, faculty and staff at California University of Pennsylvania have a bounty of
opportunities to develop their characters. The University’s focus on its core values of integrity,
civility, and responsibility, is evident in the classroom, in leisure activities, and in the
University’s publicity material. By developing a stronger Academic Integrity Committee and
more uniform academic integrity policies, the University will be fully in sync with its Mission to
build character and careers.
Have a fully functional Academic Integrity Committee.
All colleges should adopt an academic integrity policy, which is specified in its materials.
Departments should consider including academic integrity statements on all syllabi.
Consider instituting a university-wide “Civility Project.”
Document events, programs, publications, and organizational work that contain integrity
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
The collection and evaluation of data is an ongoing process, as the University gauges the
extent to which it is meeting its own goals and those set by the Pennsylvania State System of
Higher Education. The Office of Continuous Improvement, under the supervision of Mr. Norman
Hasbrouck, also conducts surveys to help assess how well the University is meeting its
objectives. The administration plans its work, taking into consideration the University’s strategic
plan and the state’s directives. Each year, President Angelo Armenti, Jr. asks the University’s
Council of Trustees to approve Cal U’s institutional goals, and gives the trustees quarterly
updates on how well the University is meeting select ones.
Strategic Plan
California University of Pennsylvania’s institutional assessment begins with continuous
monitoring of the University’s Strategic Plan.
Cal U’s Strategic Plan is aligned with the Strategic Plan of the Pennsylvania State System of
Higher Education. The goals and objectives of the state’s strategic plan are: (1) Student success
and achievement, (2) Excellence in educational quality, (3) Service to the Commonwealth, (4)
Resource stewardship, and (5) Public leadership (“Leading the Way: PASSHE’s Strategic Plan,”
The eight goals of Cal U’s Strategic plan for 2009-2012 are:
Goal One: To continue to increase academic excellence at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels.
Goal Two: To continue to enhance the quality of student life.
Goal Three: To continue to enhance diversity, as broadly defined, at California
Goal Four: To continue to incorporate continuous improvement into all programs
and activities, University-wide, to ensure competitive excellence.
Goal Five: To continue to improve the infrastructure of California University of
Goal Six: To continue to serve the region, the Commonwealth, and the Nation.
Goal Seven: To continue to enhance the use of existing resources and develop/
increase new sources of revenue.
Goal Eight: To foster civic engagement, that is, a commitment to accept and
perform the duties and obligations of belonging to a community, a
Commonwealth, a Nation, and the World. (“Strategic Plan 2009-12, Draft 3,”
April 17, 2009).
Some of the efforts the University is making to reach these goals include:
seeking and maintaining national accreditation for every academic program for
which accreditation is available,
expanding Cal U Global Online to provide revenue,
fundraising in the community to generate money for scholarships, and
fundraising in the private sector for money to help pay for capital projects. (J.
Hanley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Performance Indicators, System Accountability Plan, Baselines, Benchmark
Since 2000, universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have been
assessed on how well they perform on a set of standardized indicators and are rewarded on how
much they improve and how well they do. The schools submit Performance Funding Reports, as
well as information for the System Accountability Report to the state system each year. There are
17 Performance Indicators, and the state system considers performance in eight of the areas
when distributing system performance funding. (See Appendix 7A for a list of the 17
performance indicators; See System Accountability Report: Performance Outcomes 2007-2008
for details on how Performance Funding works; also, “PASSHE Measures Performance,” n.d.)
In 2008-2009, Cal U won the most performance funding ($5.2 million) of any state school
(“Faculty Convocation,” January 26, 2009). Performance funding accounts for approximately
eight percent of the state’s appropriation to the state universities (“PASSHE Measures
Performance,” n.d.)
Cal U administrators judge the institution’s success on how close it comes to reaching the
state system’s “targets” and on how well it does in receiving performance funding, as compared
to the other state schools. The administration also compares Cal U to the institution’s own
historical trends (“baselines”). (See “CA Baseline Dashboard 2007-2008,” 2008, in
“Performance Funding Reports” folder on Middle States dedicated computer drive for an
example.) The University also is compared against schools of similar size and makeup across the
United States (“benchmarks”). (See “CA Peers 2008” in “Performance Funding Reports” folder
on Middle States dedicated computer drive for a list of institutions against which Cal U in
Surveys, Continuous Improvement Efforts
Among the surveys that the Office of Continuous Improvement oversees is the American
College Testing Service’s “Student Opinion Surveys,” which Cal U students take each year. The
data may be compared over time, using Cal U’s historical data, or it can be compared with
national statistics. (See the “ACT Surveys” folder on the Middle States dedicated computer drive
for examples of the surveys.) The Office of Continuous Improvement, responding to student
needs, helped the Office of Articulation and Transfer expand its role to provide timely services
(N. Hasbrouck, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The University also has assessed and responded to student needs in many other ways,
including: (1) moving the Math Lab, Writing Center, and Advising and Placement-Testing
Center into one building, (2) enhancing the role of Student Orientation leaders by creating links
between Student Orientation and the Student Mentoring program and giving Student Orientation
a key role in the University’s new Welcome Center, and (3) encouraging the Student Success
Committee to create plans to help students develop academic and career goals.
These examples are cross-campus efforts to better use existing resources through
collaboration, integration, and synergy. Academic programs, meanwhile, engage in their own
version of continuous improvement through annual Outcomes Assessment of the courses they
offer on the General Education menu. They also assess classes in their majors during program
reviews. (See Chapter 14 for further discussion of Outcomes Assessment.)
Program Reviews
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education requires academic and student support
programs to conduct five-year reviews. The University administration also uses these reports in
assessing how all the parts of the University are performing and in making adjustments. These
reports are sent to the state Chancellor’s Office. (See the “Program Review Summaries” folder
on the Middle States dedicated computer drive for examples.)
Middle States
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education decides every 10 years whether to
reaccredit California University of Pennsylvania. The University analyzes its performance over
the past decade and prepares a self-evaluation report for the Middle States assessment team.
Mission Day
During the annual Mission Day, faculty, students and staff gather to brainstorm ways to
improve the University. The administration implements many of the suggestions and issues an
annual scorecard of the changes that result from the suggestions. (See Appendix 7B for the 2007
Scorecard those attending Mission Day 2008 viewed.)
National accrediting groups in academic and program disciplines periodically decide whether
Cal U’s programs deserve to be accredited or reaccredited. (See Appendix 7C for a list of the 21
programs accredited at California University of Pennsylvania of the 32 that are eligible to be
Decision-Making, Advisory Groups, Data
The President’s Cabinet includes the executive vice president (a new position in 2007),
and vice presidents for Administration and Finance, Student Development and Services,
University Advancement (an office undergoing reorganization), Academic Affairs/Provost, and
Informational Technology (a new position in 2009). The Cabinet meets regularly, and its
members advise the president about developments in their respective areas, on annual goals, and
on results from assessments.
The Administrative Council is a 32-member advisory board to the president and helps
develop annual institutional goals and reviews reports that assess the goals.
The University Forum is another advisory group, representing faculty, administration, staff,
students, and alumni. Although the president has the authority to accept or reject the Forum’s
recommendations, 90 percent of all referrals have been instituted (“History of Motions Passed,”
2000-2009). (See Chapter 4 for a detailed discussion of the University Forum and Appendix 4A
for a summary of the number of motions passed.)
Other groups that make recommendations or advise the administration include: the Academic
Affairs Council, college councils, Graduate Council, Faculty Senate, Student Government,
unions, campus-wide committees, such as the University-Wide Curriculum and General
Education committees, and many other bodies. The University’s Council of Trustees and various
groups in the State System of Higher Education, including the Chancellor’s Office, also advise
the administration.
Although many people advise and help the administration with decision making, most of the
decisions rely on data to assess how well programs are performing and what needs to be done.
Since 2004, the University’s “Data Group” has been collecting and analyzing data and advising
the president. Mr. Norman Hasbrouck, special assistant to the president for special projects and
director of the Office of Continuous Improvement, heads the data group. Members include the
director of institutional research, the internal auditor, a representative from the Office of the Vice
President for Administration and Finance, the registrar, a representative from informational
technology, representatives from payroll and personnel, and the director of Cal U in the High
Communicating Assessment Results
As discussed in Chapter 5, the administration has many effective ways for sharing information
with the University community. Campus-wide e-mails, The Journal articles, as well as other
campus media, press releases, and the Web site are just some of the ways the administration
disseminates information.
The Campus-Wide Intranet System (CWIS), especially the “Public Folders” portion of it,
another place with information about the University. It has minutes of the University Forum,
some program review and performance measures, a version of the Strategic Plan, information
from the Curriculum and General Education committees, a list of topics and actions from
previous Mission Days, and other information. Budget information, other than that in the
Strategic Plan or in performance measures, is not available. However, the information in CWIS
is not methodically updated.
The administration at California University of California relies on the University’s Strategic
Report, as well as many other reports and data, and many groups to make decisions. The
University’s effectiveness is reported in such documents as “Performance Funding Reports” and
the information that Cal U submits to the state for the System Accountability Report. In 20082009, Cal U received the most Performance Funding ($5.2 million) of all the 14 schools in the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The state system has rewarded Cal U for
operating effectively and showing improvement on measures that promote the state system’s
Several adjustments may help Cal U perform at an even more efficient level than it does at
present. It is sometimes difficult for those not involved to know who is responsible for collecting
data, what is available, and where to find it. It would be advisable for the University to develop
an institutional assessment structure, both operationally and on paper, similar to the
organizational charts found in the Faculty Handbook. The structure and charts would integrate
and depict institutional assessment activities, links and relationships.
The Campus-Wide Intranet System does not seem to be updated on a regularly scheduled
basis. All the information on the system should be reviewed and updated or removed twice a
year. However, the University may want to rethink the usefulness of the Intranet System,
especially Public Folders, as the best place to keep campus information and communicate with
the Cal U community. Web pages may be a more effective way to communicate. A directory of
the University’s Web pages also would be a useful tool in tracking down campus information.
Comprehensive budget information is not easily accessible to casual inquirers. Budget
decisions are made at the Cabinet level and the four academic deans are included in the Cabinet’s
budget discussions. The University Forum has a Budget Committee, but it is not actively
involved in budget analysis, deliberation, and recommendations. As competition, both externally
and internally, for shrinking funds becomes more acute, it becomes advisable for more members
of the University community to have access to budget information. (See Chapter 3 for a
discussion pertaining to accessing budget information.)
Twenty-one Cal U programs are accredited. It would be advisable for the University to
develop a central database of accreditation reports of the accredited programs, of those going
through accreditation, and of those applying for reaccreditation.
The administration at California University of Pennsylvania runs a fairly tight ship. The State
System of Higher Education has rewarded Cal U for its efficiency and continual improvement
with more performance money than any other state system school received in 2008-2009. By
tightening up a few areas, like the way information, especially budget information, is made
available to the University community, and clarifying who is responsible for the record-keeping,
Cal U can continue to lead the state system as an efficient, effective institution.
The University should develop an institutional assessment structure, both operationally
and on paper, similar to the organizational charts found in the Faculty Handbook. The
structure and charts should integrate and depict institutional assessment activities, links,
and relationships.
The University should develop, maintain, and appropriately staff a central repository that
would house, collect, evaluate, analyze, and integrate all university-wide assessments.
The Campus-Wide Intranet System does not seem to be updated on a regularly scheduled
basis. All the information on the system should be reviewed and updated or removed
twice a year. The University should consider the usefulness of the Intranet System,
especially Public Folders, as the best place to keep campus information and communicate
with the Cal U community. Web pages may be a more effective way to communicate. A
directory of the University’s Web pages also would be a useful tool in tracking campus
As competition, both externally and internally, for shrinking funds becomes more acute,
it becomes advisable for more members of the University community to have access to
budget information.
Develop a central database of accreditation reports of the accredited programs, of those
going through accreditation, and of those applying for accreditation.
The pool of southwestern Pennsylvania high school graduates continues to dwindle;
nonetheless, enrollments are up at California University of Pennsylvania. As important, the
University has attracted more students while, at the same time, raising the minimum
requirements. Average Grade Point Average (GPA) and standardized test scores of new students
continue to increase. Through planning, persistence, and focusing on the University’s Strategic
Plan, Cal U’s admissions, retention, and marketing staff, as well as top administrators, have
worked together to meet challenges.
Goal One of the Strategic Plan is to “Increase University academic excellence at both the
undergraduate and graduate levels” (“Goal One,” March 26, 2007). One way to achieve this goal
is “to [f]oster increasingly higher admissions criteria, academic quality and scholarly
expectations” (“Goal One,” March 26, 2007). The University has done just that.
Student Enrollment Increases
In Fall 2004, before the University implemented its Strategic Plan, 1,095 entering freshmen
were counted on the sixteenth day of the semester, the day traditionally used for reporting
enrollment. There were 526 transfer students that fall, bringing undergraduate enrollment to
5,455 (“Fall 2004 – 16th Day of Class,” September 21, 2004).
By Fall 2008, there were 1,395 entering freshmen and 683 transfer students, for a total
undergraduate enrollment of 6,925 (“Sixteenth Day Enrollments – Fall 2008 [System Census],”
2008.) Thus, there was a 27.4 percent increase from Fall 2004 to Fall 2008 in entering freshmen;
a 29.8 percent increase in entering transfer students; and, a total enrollment increase of 26.95
Admissions Criteria: Grade Point Averages and Standardized Test Scores
In Fall 2004, before the University implemented its Strategic Plan, it admitted students based
on a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, a minimum SAT score of 840 (critical
reading and math only), an ACT composite score of 18, a paper-based Test of English as a
Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 450, or computer-based TOEFL score of 133. (See
Appendix 8A for Fall 2004 undergraduate admissions categories.)
By Fall 2005, the University increased the minimum requirements for SAT results for
entering freshmen to 850. The scores for the other standardized tests stayed the same, as did the
GPA minimum requirement, which stayed at 2.0. (See Appendix 8B for Fall 2005 undergraduate
admissions categories.)
For Fall 2006 and Fall 2007, Cal U increased the minimum GPA to 2.3, from 2.0. The
University also raised the minimum SAT score to 890, from 850 (in critical reading and math
only). The minimum ACT composite score increased to 19, from 18, and the paper-based
TOEFL increased to 500, from 450. The computer-based TOEFL increased to 173, from 133,
and the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) was set at 61. (See Appendix 8C and Appendix 8D for Fall
2006 and Fall 2007 undergraduate admissions categories, respectively.)
By Fall 2008, the minimum SAT score was bumped up to 910 (critical reading and math
only); however, the minimum GPA stayed at 2.3, the minimum ACT composite score stayed at
19, the minimum paper-based TOEFL score stayed at 500, the minimum TOEFL computerbased score stayed at 173, and minimum TOEFL Internet-based score stayed at 61. (See
Appendix 8E for Fall 2008 undergraduate admissions categories.)
The average entering freshman SAT score in Fall 2004 was 988. By Fall 2008, the average
entering freshman SAT score was 1,028 (R. Kline, personal communication, 2009).
Decreasing Numbers of High School Graduates
The western counties of Pennsylvania will start experiencing drops in high school graduates
by 2009; and, by 2016, nearly every county in the state will have fewer high school graduates
than in 2008, according to the Fact Book, 2007-’08, published by the Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education (p. 6). For example, Allegheny County is within the University’s local
recruitment territory and, in 2004, 13,541 students graduated from high school there. The
number of high school graduates projected for 2016 is expected to drop to 10,560, a 22 percent
decrease (Fact Book, 2007-’08, Table A.2, p. 12). With the exception of Fayette County, which
is expected to experience a 6 percent increase of high school graduates, from 1,343 graduates in
2004 to 1,425 in 2016, (Fact Book, 2007-’08, Table A.2, p. 12), other counties that have
traditionally contributed students to Cal U are expected to have fewer high school graduates. The
figures show that Greene County is expected to have a 22.4 percent decrease, from 455 high
school graduates in 2004 to 343 in 2016; Washington County, down 7.7 percent, from 2,148 in
2004 to 1,983 in 2016; and, Westmoreland County, down 14.5 percent, from 4,311 in 2004 to
3,684 in 2016 (Fact Book, 2007-’08, Table A.2, pp. 12-13).
Cal U’s Response to Decreasing Numbers of High School Graduates: Add Programs,
Increase Recruitment, Improve Retention
The state system’s Fact Book projects that to respond to the expected enrollment drops, the
state schools “will need to increase the recruitment of nontraditional populations (including
transfers), distance education enrollments, and/or increase retention to offset the loss of
traditionally aged students” (p. 6).
Cal U’s administration has been mindful of the enrollment projections. In 2005, the
University’s Council of Trustees adopted Cal U’s Strategic Plan, which addresses some ways the
University can adapt to the state system’s suggestion to pay more attention to nontraditional
Goal Three of the Strategic Plan calls on the University to enhance diversity by recruiting and
retaining a “talented, diverse and highly motivated student body” (“Goal Three,” August 10,
Objective III.1 of the plan is to “Enhance Geographic Diversity,” and the methods for doing
that are:
Method A: Continue to expand California University in the High School
throughout the five county area and beyond, and specifically, to Philadelphia.
Method B: Investigate the use of distance learning for high school students.
Method C: Recruit students world-wide to courses on Cal U Global Online.
Method D: Increase the number and percentage of out-of-state students.
Method E: Add programs in which students can receive degrees or certification
by attending classes entirely during weekends or evenings.
Method F: Increase the number and percentage of international students. (“Goal
Three,” August 10, 2005).
Adding programs. The University has developed and continues to develop programs in the
above areas. The Cal U Global Online program is particularly successful. Launched in 2005, the
program now has 1,355 students, 27 offerings and 15 master’s degree-programs (Schackner,
June 21, 2009, pp. A1, A12).
Increasing recruitment efforts. The Admissions Office has expanded its recruitment territory
to include the eastern portion of Pennsylvania, as well as New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.
The four assistant directors of Admissions each schedule a minimum of 80 high school visits
every fall. The assistant directors also attend national college fairs and college day/college night
programs. The assistant directors return to campus with completed inquiry cards.
Many students seek information about Cal U via the Web. The University receives
approximately 16,000 inquiries a year. It sends seven recruitment brochures on an eight-day
mailing cycle to those who inquire about the University (W. Edmonds, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
The University also has 10 large and 88 small billboards promoting its Discovery Days and
Open House programs, as well as “image” billboards at Route 51 and Interstate 43, and at the
exit of the Liberty Tunnels in Pittsburgh. Twenty posters are placed at bus and transit shelters.
Discovery Days are sponsored by the Welcome Center and introduce prospective students to
campus, take them on tours, let them sit in on classes, and give the students information about
Cal U (“Cal U Welcome Center: Fall Discovery Day,” January 9, 2009).
The Welcome Center and Student Orientation. The Welcome Center and Student Orientation
provide such programs to prospective and accepted students as Spring Open House, Fall
Discovery Days, Accepted Student Receptions, Monday through Friday individual tours, PreSenior Open House, Honors Open House, and Summer Registration.
The Welcome Center, which was dedicated in Fall 2003, has been expanding its programs
and the number of students with whom it has contact. It also tries to individualize tours so
visitors get the information they need and talk to the people who most can help them. As an
example of how its programs have grown, in 2004, the Welcome Center conducted three Spring
Open Houses and welcomed 597 prospective students. By 2008, the center welcomed 766
prospective students during Open Houses, an increase of 28.4 percent since 2004. The number of
visitors the center has welcomed has increased 83.2 percent, from 738 student visitors in 2004 to
1,352 student visitors in 2008 (K. Eggleston, personal communication, Spring 2009).
In Summer 2007, the Welcome Center and Office of Student Retention and Success teamed
up for student orientations. This gave Student Success staff a chance to inform students about
academic challenges, support systems, policies and procedures in a uniform manner.
Beginning in Summer 2009, the orientation was extended to four days.
Communicating with prospective students by using technology. Typically, a prospective
student begins the enrollment process by completing an inquiry card. Students may complete the
inquiry card on paper or on the Web. In Fall 2004, the total inquiry count was14,858 (“Fall 2004
Student Profile Data Final”); in Fall 2005, 16,316 (“Fall 2005 Student Profile Data Final”); in
Fall 2006, 19,135 (“Fall 2006 Student Profile Data Final”); in Fall 2007, 16,727 (“Fall 2007
Student Profile Data Basic”); and, in Fall 2008, 14,200 (“Fall 2008 Student Profile Data,”
August 25, 2008).
The number of inquiries on the Web was 731 for Fall 2004; 1,491 for Fall 2005; 1,385 for
Fall 2006; 1,345 for Fall 2007, and 1,262 for Fall 2008 (SIS FOCEXC Am INQCOUNT Report,
March 2009). This amounts to a 73 percent increase in Web inquiries from Fall 2004 to Fall
Cal U is using electronic scanners at national college fairs to capture inquiries. They were
used for the first time, in 2009, at the Pittsburgh National College Fair, a site that the National
Association of College and Admissions Counselors chose to introduce this technology. At
Pittsburgh National College Fairs, from 2004 to 2008, Cal U captured an average 592 students
using paper inquiry cards. In 2009, the ShowLeads Portable Scanner captured 1,156 inquiries for
Cal U and the University also received 203 paper inquiries (W. Edmonds, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Using the Web to apply for admission. Since Fall 2004, students have been able to apply
online for admission to Cal U. By Fall 2008, the University had received more Web applications
than paper applications. In Fall 2004, the University received 391 Web applications and 3,340
paper applications; for Fall 2005, 1,445 Web applications and 2,886 paper applications; for Fall
2006, 1,870 Web applications and 2,832 paper applications; for Fall 2007, 2,404 Web
applications and 2,473 paper applications; and, for Fall 2008, 3,164 Web applications and 2,308
paper applications. The increase of online applications from 2004 to 2008 is 709.21 percent (W.
Edmonds, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Admissions Web site also can be used to pay the application fee and check on the
application status. Plans are underway to target students by using Facebook, blogging, podcasts
and Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging. The University also put a link on the
Articulation and Transfer Web page to PA TRAC, a service that helps students evaluate which of
their courses will transfer to any PASSHE school. (The online service also includes
Pennsylvania state-related universities and private colleges, which have opted into the program.)
Southpointe and Admissions. Cal U offers some programs at its Southpointe Center in
Canonsburg. Because of low enrollments, the RET site in Pittsburgh closed on July 1, 2009.
Distance education programs and most of the faculty for Cal U Global Online are based at
Southpointe (Hanley, personal communication, July 15, 2009). Most of the students who attend
classes at Southpointe are nontraditional students. Cal U’s policy is that two years after high
school graduation, the ACT/SAT admissions policy is waived. Those fitting this nontraditional
category are evaluated based on their high school transcript, or, in many cases, a college
Southpointe offers undergraduate bachelor of science degrees in Nursing and Business
Administration and master of science degrees in Business Administration and Elementary
Education (with certification) (“Programs,” June 15, 2009). The RET site’s programs were
online and will continue through Cal U Global Online.
Cal U’s Response to Decreasing Numbers of High School Graduates: Beautify Campus
The administration also has recognized the need to beautify the campus to attract and retain
students in the traditional age group who want to have a traditional educational experience living
in a residence hall and attending classes on campus. The University has built six state-of-the art
residence halls that can accommodate approximately 1,500 students. There also is an apartment
complex approximately one mile from campus; Vulcan Village can house about 800 students
(“Housing and Residence Life,” June 12, 2009). The Herron Recreation Center was recently
renovated into a modern fitness center. In 2007, the University dedicated the new Duda Hall with
its “smart classrooms” (“Building for the Future: Cal U Welcomes a State-of-the-Art Duda,”
April 23, 2007). In 2008, it dedicated the Studio Physics, Studio Chemistry, and Mathematics
Computing labs (“Classrooms Made for Hands-On Teaching,” October 13, 2008).
In January 2009, the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education approved funding for a $54 million Convocation Center, which will include a 6,000seat arena – the largest indoor performance and activity site between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
and Morgantown, West Virginia – as well as smart classrooms and athletic facilities. The center
will be able to accommodate conferences (“PASSHE OKs Convocation Center,” January 26,
2009). A campus parking garage also under construction.
Student Retention
Retention Results
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education evaluates its 14 universities for
performance funding on many measures, including how well they retain students. According to
Table 3.5 of the System Accountability Report for 2007-2008, the number of first-year students
who continued into their second year at Cal U was 78.5 percent, meaning Cal U exceeded its
“baseline” or historic performance, exceeded its “benchmark,” or comparison to similar
universities, and met its state performance “target.” Although Cal U performed well in the
majority of retention areas, one of the areas in which it did not reach its target was in retaining
black students (System Accountability Report, Table 3.5, January 6, 2009, p. 72).
Office of Student Retention and Success
The Office of Student Retention was created in October 1996, and an associate provost was
appointed to help implement a “Five-Part Plan for Student Retention.” Each year, the office staff
develops a “Retention Initiatives” statement, declaring how they will maintain and improve
student retention. Some of the main ways the University tries to keep students in school until
they graduate are:
First Year Seminar. This one-credit course, required of all new students and transfer students
with fewer than 24 credits, helps students with such topics as: time management; campus life
issues; library use; writing, reading, math and study skills; financial aid; academic and career
plans; health issues; and help for individual issues. The University’s Curriculum Committee has
approved a syllabus for the course. Yearly enrollment has been: 2000 – 1,012; 2001 – 1,166;
2002 – 1,035; 2003 – 1,129; 2004 – 1,169; 2005 – 1,352; 2006 – 1,447; 2007 – 1,422; and, 2008
– 1,519 (R. Kline, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Office of Student Retention and Success conducts student evaluations of First Year
Seminar sections each semester, and for Fall 2008, 95 percent of the student respondents said
they knew “a great deal about this topic” or “something about this topic” after taking First Year
Seminar (“FYS Pre- and Post-Evaluation Manual” 2008).
Academic Scheduling and Placement-Testing Center. The Academic Scheduling and
Placement-Testing Center oversees: placement testing, the College Level Examination Program
(CLEP), and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). The center also helps entering
and existing students develop their schedules; monitors how students in developmental classes
are doing; and, oversees such procedures as the Early Warnings messages sent to students who
are not performing well in their classes and the system for putting students on a Needs List for
blocked or filled classes. The office also supervises the Midterm Grade Report system, presents
orientations and workshops, and operates the Web Advisor whereby students can ask advice
about academic or other matters. The office has about 12,000 student contacts annually. The
annual figures for student placement-testing activity are: 2000 – 871; 2001 – 867; 2002 – 1,018;
2003 – 849; 2004 – 934; 2005 – 1,013; 2006 – 1,139; 2007 – 1,098; and, 2008 – 1,016 (H.
Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Probationary Assistance Program (PASS). Students who are on First Academic Probation, as
well as students who have been dismissed for academic reasons but, subsequently, are
readmitted, are required to meet weekly for a half-hour with a graduate assistant. These PASS
sessions are to reinforce life/academic goals, and help students develop time-management and
study skills, learn about campus resources, learn about their responsibilities in seeking academic
advice, and help them with the registration and appeal process. Students take pre- and postsurveys that evaluate the program. About 100 students who graduate each year have participated
in the PASS Program during their time at Cal U. Annual student enrollment figures for the PASS
Program are: 2000 – 608; 2001 – 567; 2002 – 525; 2003 – 549; 2004 – 586; 2005 – 510; 2006 –
609; 2007 – 570; and, 2008 – 549 (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Learning resources. The University offers many opportunities for students to strengthen their
academic skills.
The Office of Academic Development Services. Students can seek tutoring in many entry-level
courses through the Office of Academic Development Services. (See Standard 9 for a more
detailed discussion of the Tutoring Center.) Tutors review lecture notes with students, check and
review the students’ knowledge of textbook and course materials, and offer individual and group
study sessions. Supplemental instruction is also offered in selected courses. The number of
tutoring sessions from 2001 to 2007 is: 2000 – 635; 2001 – 650; 2002 – 738; 2003 – 830; 2004 –
857; 2005 – 809; 2006 – 1,237; and, 2007 – 1,424 (M. Sally, personal communication, Spring
2009). Students also can get help from the following campus sites:
Writing Center. The Writing Center provides free, individualized, supplementary help to
students, staff, and faculty who request assistance in composing and revising written texts.
Student tutors are trained in a collaborative method. Since 2001, Dr. Kurt Kearcher, an English
professor, has directed the center. The number of tutoring sessions is: 2001 – 695; 2002 – 741;
2003 – 858; 2004 – 702; 2005 – 545; 2006 – 842; 2007 – 546; and, 2008 (Fall) – 435 (K.
Kearcher, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Mathematics Lab. The Math Lab offers personal tutoring, Web-based tutoring, video tutorials,
and help with math anxiety. Dr. Paul Williams, a math professor, has directed the lab since 1986.
He completes an annual report, “Math Lab Activity.” The number of tutorial sessions at the math
lab is: 2000 – 1,195; 2001 – 1,159; 2002 – 986; 2003 – 1,062; 2004 – 903; 2005 – 589; 2006 –
937; 2007 – 995; and 2008 (Fall) – 661 (P. Williams, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Reading Clinic. The Reading Clinic offers free, one-hour tutoring sessions to all students.
and is staffed by a faculty member and two work-study students. Patricia Johnson, the director,
helps students improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary. The Reading Clinic also
helps students prepare for PRAXIS exams and improve their reading speed. The numbers of
students participating do not necessarily reflect the need for the services. The staff is limited and
hours abbreviated. The number of tutorial sessions is: 2000 – 245; 2001 – 216; 2002 – 196; 2003
– 207; 2004 – 240; 2005 – 230; 2006 – 195; 2007- 499; and, 2008 – 562 (P. Johnson, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Developmental education. All new freshmen who are attending college for the first time and
some transfer students may take placement tests before they first register for required English
Composition and Math classes. Students who do not perform at what is judged “college level”
must enroll in developmental courses. These courses, English Language Skills (ENG 100), and
Introductory Algebra (DMA 092), are preparatory to the beginning college level courses; thus,
the credits earned in the development classes do not count toward graduation credit nor can these
classes be used to fulfill General Education requirements. However, the grades from these
classes are computed into the student’s Grade Point Average, class standing, eligibility for
financial aid, and eligibility for participation in co-curricular activities. The numbers for the two
courses are: Introductory Algebra, 2000 -- 385; 2001 - 364; 2002 – 390; 2003 --321; 2004 -- 264;
2005 -- 308; 2006 -- 322; and, 2007 – 338 and English Language Skills, 2000 -- 393; 2001 -399; 2002 -- 295; 2003 – 199; 2004 – 260; 2005 – 323; 2006 -- 369; and, 2007 – 466 (R. Kline,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
Assistance also is offered through the Office of Student Retention and Success. Staff help
students who “need information and/or general assistance, or who encounter difficulties with
processes, procedures or personalities on campus” (“Ombudsperson,” September 6, 2007). About
60 of the ombudsperson contacts each year will result in multiple meetings and some
intervention (L. Angelone, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Office of Student Retention and Success developed a series of goals based on the results
of the program review completed in 2003. Three priority goals are to: (1) move the Reading
Clinic, Writing Lab, and Math Lab into one building, (2) develop online advising/ mentoring,
and (3) create an online First Year Seminar (“Office of Student Retention’s 5-Year Program
Review,” 2003). The next five-year program review, done in 2008, documented the progress on
the goals: The two clinics and one lab are now housed in one building; online
advising/mentoring is in place; and, the creation of an online First Year Seminar is in the
developmental stage (“Office of Student Retention’s 5-Year Program Review,” May 2008).
California University of Pennsylvania has responded to the decreasing numbers of traditionalaged high school graduates and the potentially negative effects this trend could have on
enrollment by intensifying recruitment methods and student retention efforts, and by developing
new programs. At the same time, it has raised admissions standards to stay aligned with its
Strategic Plan of improving academic excellence. Because of its many-pronged efforts,
enrollment has grown.
Some of the ways the University has enhanced recruiting include expanding Cal U’s
traditional recruitment territory; improving advertising, marketing, and technology to reach
potential students; opening a Welcome Center to help personalize students’ orientation to
campus; and, beautifying and modernizing the campus by building six state-of-the-art residence
halls and new classroom buildings, refurbishing the fitness center, and winning approval to add a
Convocation Center, which will have a 6,000-seat arena, large enough to attract major speakers,
sports activities and performers. The Convocation Center also will be available for conferences.
Once students are enrolled, the University has many methods to help them stay in school and
succeed. The Office of Student Retention and Success oversees the First Year Seminar program,
placement testing services, tutoring activities, Outcomes Assessment and the Student
Ombudsman program, all of which strive to help students perform and succeed in college-level
classes. The University also offers development classes in mathematics and English to help
students prepare for college math and English composition classes.
Cal U has exceeded its historic performance (baseline) and the performance of similar
universities (benchmarks) in retaining students and having them graduate. It has met the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s target for student retention; however, Cal U
has not met its target in retaining black students. It will need to work harder in retaining black
students, and having them graduate. (See Chapter 9 for further discussion on some of the efforts
the Division of Student Development and Services is making to retain a diverse mix of students.
California University of Pennsylvania has taken a proactive approach to counter the trend
of fewer students graduating each year from southwestern Pennsylvania schools. It is reaching
out to new groups of students, it is beautifying its campus, and it is working hard to keep the
students it has, enrolled. It must increase its efforts to learn to do what it needs to do – and then
do it – to help minority and other nontraditional student groups succeed. If a University has the
courage to increase its admissions standards, as Cal U did, while the pool of traditional students
grows ever smaller, then it must have the will to develop ways for all of its students, at least
those who want to, to succeed.
Develop a task force comprised of administrators, faculty, staff and students to address
the projected decline in traditional college age student enrollment. Brainstorm
recruitment and program structures that will facilitate the recruitment of nontraditional
students and develop programs that will address their needs.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
The Office of Student Development and Services oversees many programs that help round out
a student’s academic experience, such as student organizations, student recreation, and
multicultural offices and groups. Academic support programs, many of which fall under the
jurisdiction of the Office of Academic Affairs/Provost, provide academic advising, tutoring and
mentoring for students. Other programs, like Career Services, also under the provost’s
supervision, provide support services for students, as well.
The Division of Student Development and Services
Student Development and Services, similar to other divisions at the University, is committed
to the University’s Mission of building character and careers. The programs supervised by the
vice president include: Athletics, Wellness, the Counseling Center, International Student
Services, Multicultural Affairs, Student Health Services, the Office of Students with Disabilities,
the Women’s Center/P.E.A.C.E. Project/Student Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Team, Veteran’s
Affairs, Housing and Residence Life, University Conference Services, the Student Association,
Inc. (SAI), AVI Food Services, Cal U Bookstore, SAI Web Development, Student Government,
Vulcan Village, the Student Center and Operations, and Recreation Services. A full list of the
programs and departments is on the University’s Web site (Student Development & Services,
n.d. “Departmental Directory”).
The division’s Web page notes that the focus of Student Development and Services is: “the
personalization of the University experience, with concern for individual intellectual
development and personal, social, leadership, and physical development. The division is
committed to recognizing and assisting in the full realization of student potential” (“Student
Development and Services: Our Mission,” n.d.). To that end, the Office of Student Development
and Services and the Student Association, Inc. participate in Open Houses, Discovery Days,
Registration and Orientation events.
The Department of Academic Development Services office oversees First Year Seminar,
which, in part, is used to remind students of the services that are available to them. It maintains a
Web page (http://sai.cup.edu/index.jsp) and has brochures for its individual areas. The Web site
is used extensively by University community members to find the information about Student
Services programs. In a 2007 survey, 56.8 percent of the respondents found the Web site to be
good, very good, or excellent for ease of use and navigation; however, some respondents said
they would like an easier way to find student services and SAI information, with easy links to
clubs and organizations, easy access to the Cal U Bookstore, a First Year Seminar link, a portal
for parents, a new name for the Office for Students With Disabilities and an easier link to it,
Gold Rush menus, and other items. Of those who responded, 65.3 percent were students; 10
percent were staff; 9.4 percent were faculty; and, 5.5 percent were alumni (“Web Site 2007
Survey,” December 14, 2007). It is being redesigned under the direction of Cal U’s vice
presidents of University Development/University Advancement and Information Systems.
Students, faculty, and staff also receive e-mail announcements about events, programs, and
support services, and students are reminded about student services at various campus events and
activities. For example, the student group BACCHUS (Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning
the Health of University Students) runs the Thursday night coffee house at the Underground
Café. BACCHUS members use the café to provide drug and alcohol information to students, as
well as information on Counseling, Wellness and Health Center services (L Angelone, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Student Activities Transcript
Cal U awards students an activities transcript that recognizes participation and service in
campus and community groups and events. Students update their own transcripts, entering
information about their “extracurricular activities, accomplishments, and learning experiences”
(“University Catalogs, Activities Transcript,” 2003). The information is verified by the faculty
advisor for the program. Students can include copies of their activities transcript with their
resumes and academic transcripts when applying for employment or graduate school
(“University Catalogs, Activities Transcript,” 2003).
Student Development and Services’ Focus on Multiculturalism
According to data from Fall 2008, 5.56 percent of Cal U students are black; .22 percent are
Native American; .49 percent are Asian; 1.17 percent are Hispanic; 74.74 percent are white;
16.53 percent are unknown; and, 1.28 percent are nonresident aliens. (See Appendix 9A for
further details.) The vice president of Student Development and Services charged the division
with making diversity a divisional goal in 2008-2009 (L. Angelone, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
The Multicultural Center. The University’s Multicultural Center opened in Fall 2007,
bringing together under one organizational roof the Women’s Center, Black Student Union, the
Hispanic Student Association, the Safe Zone, and the International Club. Each of these areas
works independently; however, sometimes the groups collaborate on programming. The center is
guided by the principle of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” and tries to promote
greater awareness and understanding of the cultures that comprise Cal U (L. Angelone, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
When the Multicultural Center opened, LaDonna Harris, founder of Americans for Indian
Opportunity, spoke at the dedication (“LaDonna Harris Shares Her Values With Cal U
Community” (September 17, 2007). The Multicultural Center is one of the sponsors of the Day
of Service, held on Martin Luther King Day. The Day of Service is a time when Cal U students,
faculty, and staff participate in service activities (“Cal U Sponsors Day of Service,” January 28,
2008, p. 1).
The Multicultural Center’s member groups are heavily involved in planning annual events,
such as Black History Month activities (Black Student Union), Women’s History Month
activities (Women’s Center), and the International Club Dinner.
Before the Multicultural Center opened, multicultural programming had been done piecemeal,
with different areas in the University addressing certain issues or staging events, but with no real
coordination among the groups. Bringing the groups under one umbrella should help promote
synergy among the groups. During the summer of 2008, staff members from the Office of
Student Development and Services, and the Student Association, Inc., attended a day-long
training on multiculturalism.
The Multicultural Affairs Office, the International Student Advisor, and Admissions Office
staff are seeking financial support to develop a retention program for multicultural students. The
goal is to retain 100 percent of the 50 freshman students receiving a Board of Governors’
Scholarship (L. Angelone, personal communication, Spring 2009).
For the Board of Governors’ Scholarships, each campus in the Pennsylvania State System of
Higher Education may waive basic fees or tuition for up to two percent of the school’s fulltime
equivalent enrollment and grant at least some of the scholarship aid to students from
“underserved school districts” (“PA State System of Higher Education Board of Governors,”
January 11, 2001). The scholarships are to go to help fulfill “desegregation plan commitments,”
“academics,” “leadership, and performing arts.” They also may go to “minority students”
(Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors, January 11, 2001).
The vice president of Student Development and Services also established as goal for Fall
2009, the retention of all 10 freshman International Students who enrolled in Fall 2008 (L.
Angelone, personal communication, Spring 2009).
In 2008-2009, the Office of Multicultural Affairs petitioned President Armenti for its own
department budget and he agreed to partial funding. The University already supports the
Frederick Douglass Institute, which promotes the hiring of visiting minority faculty, sponsors
lectures featuring distinguished minority leaders, and also promotes programs during Black
History month.
The Black Student Union. The Black Student Union is a student organization funded by the
Student Association, Inc., and stresses that it is open to everyone. BSU stands for “Building
Student Union” (“Black Student Union” n.d.) Some of the events it recently helped sponsor
include an African dance workshop, a formal dance, a brown bag lunch during Black History
month, and a picnic. The Student Association, Inc., granted the Black Student Union $27,500 in
2008-2009 (Student Association, Inc., 2009).
The Hispanic Student Association. The Hispanic Student Association, also funded by SAI,
stresses that it is open to all students. Its mission is to offer “support, cultural activities and a
sense of community to all students interested in Spanish and Latin American cultures”
(“Hispanic Student Association,” n.d.) Members have taken a trip to Central America, dined in
Spanish/Mexican restaurants, attended a performance of the Ballet Folklorico do Mexico, and
participated in other activities. SAI allocated the Hispanic Student Association $8,500 in 20082009 (Student Association, Inc., 2009).
The International Student Services Office. In addition to providing space to the International
Student Club, the Multicultural Center also houses the International Student Services Office. The
office helps the approximately 50 to 60 international students who annually attend Cal U. The
office assists with immigration and enrollment questions and problems. The assistant dean who
advises international students also is advisor to the International Club.
Approximately 75 percent of the international students receive significant financial assistance,
and most receive full tuition waivers while they are in school. The waivers are granted by the
University president. International students are required to maintain a grade point average of 2.5,
work 10 hours per week on campus, and actively participate in the International Club (J.
Watkins, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Nearly all international students earn degrees at Cal U, save for one or two who exit the
University prior to completing their studies. The Fall 2008 Grade Point Average for international
students was 3.29 (J. Watkins, personal communication, 2009).
The International Club. The International Club hosts an annual dinner for the University
community that is planned and promoted by the international students. Club members take trips
to various spots around the United States and design a T-shirts that promote the international
orientation of Cal U. Although the majority of the 60 to 70 club members are international
students, some American students also participate. SAI allocated the International Club $7,000
for 2008-2009 (Student Association, Inc., 2009). In addition to SAI funding, the University
president grants the club $2,000 to $4,000 annually (J. Watkins, personal communication, Spring
The Women’s Center. The Women’s Center’s objectives are: “advocacy, empowerment,
educational programming, collaboration with existing groups and leadership” (“University
Catalogs, Women’s Center,” 2003). Although mostly women participate in its programs and
activities, all students are welcome. The Women’s Center provides advocacy and support for
women, books, magazines, and videos. It welcomes drop-ins. During new student orientation,
members of the Women’s Center inform students about issues of sexual harassment, sexual
assault, relationship violence, and stalking. The center provides advocacy for victims of violent
crimes and has conducted educational programming for the University community on such issues
as breast cancer, heart disease and eating disorders.
The director of the Women’s Center is also director of the P.E.A.C.E. Project. The P.E.A.C.E.
Project (Prevention, Education, Advocacy, for Change and Empowerment) is a program funded
by a U.S. Justice Department grant to raise awareness about sexual assault, relationship violence,
and stalking (“The P.E.A.C.E. Project,” January 21, 2009).
Fall 2009, the Women’s Center director has plans to conduct a “campus climate survey” for
women to identify students’ needs. The director also would like to seek funding for a program to
mentor minority women, and to create an “emergency fund” for nontraditional female students
(M. McClintock-Comeaux, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Women’s Center was housed in the Natali Student Union before the recent move to the
Multicultural Center. Faculty, students, and staff interviewed at the center said there is not a
place to “hang out” in the new offices, which makes them less likely to go there. Those
interviewed said the offices are inadequate to provide privacy for victims of sexual assault or
relationship violence (Posa, McClintock, and Trynock, May 2008, p. 8). In 2008-2009, SAI
allocated the Women’s Center $14,750 (Student Association, Inc., 2009).
A program review team noted, in 2008, that the Women’s Center has not had a “consistent,
transparent operating budget from Student Development,” a budget that does not rely upon
funding from the Student Association, Inc. The center is a student service, not a student group
(Posa, McClintock and Trynock, May 2008, p. 7).
The Safe Zone. The Safe Zone also is housed in the Multicultural Center, and provides
support and visibility to Cal U’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Members make presentations during freshmen orientation, as well as to First Year Seminar
classes, and in a few classrooms. The related student organization is the Rainbow Alliance. The
Safe Zone conducts annual workshops for faculty, administrators and staff interested in
providing “safe zones” for students. The Safe Zone also sponsors guest speakers, brown-bag
lunches and forums. In 2008-2009, SAI allocated the Rainbow Alliance $5,500 (Student
Association, Inc., 2009).
The Safe Zone does not have a dedicated budget, although the Student Development and
Services budget has funded brochures, speakers, conference attendance, and purchase of
documentaries, movies, and books. The Safe Zone director also works full time as the
University’s residence hall director and director of residence hall publications (S. Webb,
personal communication, Spring2009).
Women’s Studies. Women’s Studies is an academic department, not part of the Multicultural
Center. Its director is a faculty member in the Department of Law, Justice and Society (“Dr.
Marta McClintock-Comeaux,” March 21, 2008). The program sponsors events and activities of
interest to women, as well as the greater Cal U community. Its signature event is the AudreyBeth Fitch Women’s Studies Conference, a one-day program of panel discussions, educational
sessions, cultural events, and evening lecture. Women’s Studies generally offers brown-bag
workshops once a month during the year and once a week during Women’s History month. Each
year, two undergraduate students attend the weeklong NEW Leadership Pennsylvania program
of the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy at Chatham University in
Pittsburgh. The Office of Academic Affairs pays the students’ tuition (M. McClintock-Comeaux,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
In Fall 2007, the program had only two minors; a year later, it had 22 declared minors (K.
Satifka, personal communication, Spring 2009). The program has been revised; and, for the first
time, in Spring 2009, a 400-level Women’s Studies course was offered. The inaugural class,
which had 19 students, was taught previously as independent study. (R. Kline, personal
communication, Spring 2009). The possibility of offering a Women’s Studies major is being
explored (M. McClintock-Comeaux, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Women’s Studies has an advisory board; however, the director functions as the “chair” of the
one-person program. She is responsible for all reports and administrative tasks, finding and
writing grants, and running the annual conference. In addition, she teaches three classes.
Women’s Studies has a graduate assistant to help with tasks, such as coordinating events and
confirming guest speakers.
Academic Support Services
Student Advisement
Academic advising is done by faculty, and Academic Scheduling and Placement-Testing
Center assists in the process. In addition to the assistant director and three Student Success
Facilitators (schedulers), a management technician tracks student progress. Since 1997, Student
Retention and Success, which oversees the Academic Scheduling and Placement-Testing Center,
assists new students with scheduling. Students are first introduced to advising and scheduling
during Summer Orientation, then learn more about advising and scheduling during First Year
Seminar. Faculty Professional Development offers advising workshops for faculty; however,
many do not take advantage of the opportunities (P. Pathak, personal communication, Spring
The Tutoring Program in the Department of Academic Development Services provides free
tutoring services in a large number of academic areas, including business, fine arts, humanities,
mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences. It also offers tutoring in study skills, and notetaking (P. Johnson, personal communication, Spring 2009). Evening hours for tutoring sessions
are available.
Tutors are junior and senior work-study students with a Grade Point Average of 3.5 or higher.
They are trained by a tutorial coordinator, who is certified with the National Tutoring
Association. The student tutors continue to be trained throughout the semester. Tutors for
Organic Chemistry, U. S. History, and Chemistry for the Everyday World receive supplemental
instruction. Tutors attend class with their “tutees,” and meet with them three times a week to go
over information, answer questions, emphasize study skills, reinforce study guides provided by
the professor, and share helpful suggestions provided by the professor. The state-of-the-art
Tutoring Center is in Manderino Library 430 (P. Johnson, personal communication, Spring
2009). The Tutoring Program is evaluated at the end of each academic semester by those
receiving tutoring and the tutors themselves. The Fall 2008 evaluations indicate that students
were satisfied with the service (P. Johnson, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The coordinator of the Tutoring Center is conducting research on exemplary tutoring centers
in higher education, and will use the findings to help decide what improvements are needed at
the Cal U Tutoring Center. The Department of Academic Development Services offers some
online tutoring, and the Office for Student Retention is exploring the possibility of offering
online tutoring services (P. Johnson, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Mentoring Program
The University Mentoring Program (1,000 students and 700 peer mentors) supports the
Tutoring Center. Mentors recommend their “protégés” to seek tutoring services in the Math Lab,
Writing Center, Reading Clinic, or Tutoring Center when deemed necessary. A peer mentor is a
junior or senior who is assigned a first-semester student with the same declared major.
According to the program’s Web page, the mentor serves as a “support and resource person who
provides information, encouragement and guidance during a student’s first year at Cal U. It is the
goal of the mentoring program that the mentoring relationship will enhance the new student’s
transition to the University” (“Peer Mentoring,” June 8, 2009).
Cal U freshmen who have mentors move into their second year of college at a 10 percent
higher rate than those freshmen without mentors (Posa, 2008). In October 2008, the protégés
were surveyed about their mentors and 93 percent were satisfied with them. Those who were
unhappy with their mentors were contacted and assigned new mentors (Posa, 2008).
Office for Students With Disabilities
The Office for Students With Disabilities does not operate a formal program of services but
works to make sure that students with disabilities have appropriate equal access to and
participation in University academics and life. The office assists with providing accommodations
for disabled students who participate in on-campus classes, Blackboard or Cal U Global Online
computer activities, or at off-campus sites, like the Southpointe Center. The office also provides
training for faculty and staff on disability issues.
The Office for Students With Disabilities has much basic information on its Web page, as
well as “starter” forms (“Office for Students With Disabilities,” March 3, 2009) The office
usually offers at least one registration meeting after hours each semester. During the summer,
registration with the office is scheduled on an individual basis for all students. The office has an
e-mail account that is checked throughout the day ([email protected]). The office arranges
conference calls on specific days and at specific times with students.
Sometimes, the Office for Students With Disabilities teams with another office to provide
services to students with disabilities who take evening classes or classes at Southpointe. For
example, the Office for Students With Disabilities has worked with Public Safety to drop off and
pick up materials. Web-based students provide some challenges for the office. Working with
these students often involves much collaboration with campus technology employees or with
faculty who may not be on campus regularly.
One indication that the Office for Students With Disabilities is succeeding is that no disability
discrimination reports were filed through the Office of Social Equity from 2000 to 2008 (L.
Angelone, personal communication, March 27, 2009).
Transfer Students
The Office of Student Retention and Success helps transfer students with 24 credits or less
(approximately 36 percent of the transfer student population each semester) to schedule for
classes. The advising and scheduling needs of the remaining 64 percent of the transfer students
may not always be met because faculty are not in their offices during semester breaks or during
the summer. When needed, the Office of Student Retention and Success will help those transfer
students with over 24 credits to develop schedules (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring
2009). .
The state requires the Office of Articulation and Transfer to maintain accurate information in
a variety of electronic formats that are not compatible with each other. Therefore, each transfer
equivalency system has to be maintained separately, which takes more time away from student
customer service. On occasion, if credits are not entered into the Student Information System
computer system, students are scheduled for similar courses to those they already took and for
which they later will receive credit. Sometimes, these problems are not noticed until the semester
when the student would like to graduate (B. Smith, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Office of Student Retention and Success is moving toward using a computerized “degree
audit” that updates students’ progress toward their degrees automatically, instead of relying on
paper advisement sheets. These audits will be available for faculty and secretaries to view, as
well as students, and should help in the advising process.
The Commuter Center
The Commuter Center provides commuters with a place to study or relax and offers lockers,
computers, printers, a microwave and refrigerator, a water dispenser, and a television.
Students learn about the Commuter Center during Summer Orientation and First Year Seminar.
Cal U Global Online
Cal U Global Online students have specialized needs. Some students are in different time
zones. Some are overseas. They need such information about how to be admitted and enrolled,
apply for financial aid, add and drop classes, get transfer credit, pay tuition and fees, log into
classes, and obtain information about Web classes. The Global Online Web page has much of the
information students will need, and there is a link for potential students to try a “test run” in
either the eCollege or Blackboard software platforms. Global Online has a direct e-mail account,
as well as phone numbers, including a toll-free number with voicemail (California University of
Pennsylvania Global Online, July 2, 2009).
The Global Online staff keeps a computer log of all contacts with students. When a staff
member works with student, he or she can view all previous communication. The Global Online
staff meet frequently with top University administrators and the marketing staff to make sure
there is a collective decision on how best to meet students’ needs and keep focused on the
University’s Mission (M. Rodriguez, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Orientation of On-Campus Graduate Students
Graduate students who attend classes on campus do not receive much information about
student services available to them. A graduate student orientation was phased out several years
ago because of low attendance. Graduate students recently have brought this need to the attention
of Student Development and Services, and plans are under way to develop a graduate student
Web site with much helpful information and links to other Cal U programs and services (L.
Angelone, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Career Services
Career Services is defined by the Career Advantage Program, which is a comprehensive plan
that helps students and alumni discover a career path best suited to their skills, interests, and
values. The University’s Mission of building character and careers undergirds the training
provided by the service (“Goal Two, Objective II.6, Student Personal [Career] Success, Method
A; August 11, 2005).
Personalized services for students include help choosing a major even before the freshman
year begins via career assessments and career planning resources, individualized appointments
with Career Services staff, informational interviews and networking with Cal U alumni and
employers via the CAL U Career Network and other networking events, job-shadowing and
company tours, Co-op (paid career-related experience) and internship opportunities (Internship
Center); job/resume postings online (College Central Network), job fairs and workshops, and
mock Interviews and Resume Reviews. (Career Services, n.d.).
Students learn about the Career Advantage Program at Student Orientation and in First Year
Seminar. First Year Seminar students take the Strong Investment Inventory, a career interest
assessment/test funded by the Office of the President (Gifford, personal communication, Spring
Career Services provides lifelong services at no cost for alumni who are job seekers via an
Alumni Career Counselor (services are listed above), and is increasing alumni and employer
connections via an Employer Development Coordinator and an Employer Relations Coordinator
(1/2 time).
Alumni visit campus to recruit for their organizations, participate in the mock networking
reception and etiquette dinner, and conduct classroom presentations. Alumni are asked to provide
job shadowing experiences, and to network with students via the CAL U Career Network and
CAL U Linked In alumni site (R. Gifford, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Over the past five years, participation in the Cal U Career Network has grown from 20 to 224
volunteers; and, the number of alumni registered on College Central Network has increased from
25 to 998 (R. Gifford, personal communication, Spring 2009). (See Appendix 9B for figures on
the number of participants in Career Services programs during 2007-2008.)
Career Services sees a steady flow of students as a result of a variety of marketing efforts via
faculty and student leaders, during orientation programs and classes, and a variety of advertising
media. In 2007-2008, the department had 114,349 Web site hits and more than 1,700 student
appointments (in person and via e-mail). There were 497 students who registered for the Career
Advantage Program, 2,046 students who registered with the College Center Network (a
job/resume bank), and 146 students who attended a mock networking reception/etiquette dinner.
The Career Services staff gave 151 presentations or workshops. (See Appendix 9B for a detailed
California University of Pennsylvania offers an impressive array of services to students to
take care of their academic, social, career, and physical needs. There are many ways students
learn about these services, including all forms of media. Some of the most effective means seem
to be through the University’s Web site, Student Orientation and First Year Seminar.
By creating a Multicultural Center and housing the various programs that provide
multicultural services under one roof, the University has established a site that should lead to
interesting, synergistic programming and services. The Multicultural Center is just two years old
and its member groups still are providing much of the same services as they formerly did,
without coordinating much other member groups or the center. This is likely to change as the
center develops its own identity. In order for this to happen, clear, direct method of funding
needs to be established. On the one hand, it is refreshing that the Student Association, Inc., has
the foresight to provide funds to the Multicultural Center’s member groups. On the other hand, it
would seem departments such as the Women’s Center and International Student Center, the Safe
Zone Program, as well as the Multicultural Center, itself, should be line items in the Division of
Student Development and Services budget. Perhaps, with budget shortages, receiving funding
both through the University administration and Student Activities maximizes the amount of
money available. Nevertheless, without a solid commitment from the administration, it seems
these programs are looked upon as less significant than others, when they are essential for
responding to the needs of the increasingly diverse student body. As the Women’s Studies
program continues to grow, additional staff will be needed. Finally, more space needs to be made
available so students feel comfortable dropping in at the Multicultural Center and have places to
hang out with friends, as well as private spaces where they can speak with staff. Students need to
feel this is their space, their home-away-from-home.
The Academic Scheduling Center, under the auspices of the Office of Student Retention and
Success, does an admirable job advising students with few staff. Another staff person would be
desirable. Although many faculty do not attend advisor training sessions, faculty are responsible
for advising students, according to their Collective Bargaining Agreement. There are few
incentives for faculty to make advising a priority, and they have many other tasks to perform.
Perhaps an accurate, fully operational, computerized degree audit system would make advising
easier. Some faculty who were informally interviewed say they find that the degree audit from
Student Retention and Success and the advisement sheets that departmental secretaries and
deans’ offices maintain do not always correspond. Getting everyone to agree on a student’s
record is a first step toward effective advising. Another problem with advising, faculty say, is
that it is not mandatory that students see an advisor in most programs. Faculty do not necessarily
want it to be mandatory, and students like to be able to register for classes by themselves without
having to seek permission from faculty. However, the system creates problems when students do
not register when they should for classes that are offered only infrequently. It is not unusual for
departments to offer independent study classes to these students, when better advising would
have prevented the problem. Perhaps a committee of faculty and members of the Office of
Student Retention could brainstorm some methods to make advising more effective.
The Tutoring and Mentoring programs seem to function well to help retain students and help
them succeed. Offering free tutoring for a broad spectrum of classes and providing mentoring
“buddies” to new freshmen seem to be methods by which the University demonstrates it has
integrity, cares about students, and truly wants them to succeed.
Transfer students do not always have the easiest time at Cal U. Although the efforts of the
Office of Student Retention and Success are directed toward helping students who transfer with
24 credits or less, as well as new students, the office will help those students with over 24
transfer credits. Because transfer students are some of the last to register, they often find that
courses they would like to take are filled. Faculty are not available during the summer to advise
them. Again, a committee representing faculty and the Office of Student Retention and Success
might consider some ways to improve advising services to transfer students. There also should
be more staff in the Office of Student Retention and Success to advise transfer students.
The Cal U Global Online staff have pulled off a minor miracle by getting their programs up
and running and winning positive evaluations from the majority of students. A more efficient
campus-wide computer system to process “paperwork” and make it easily available to all who
need to see it is essential. More ways to reach out to graduate students and make them aware of
all the University services open to them is needed. An information technology employee who
specializes in adaptive technologies for disabled students also would be most helpful. As Cal U
Global Online grows, more staff in several different areas will be needed.
Career Services goes the extra mile to reach students. By teaming with Alumni Relations and
counting on alumni to help Cal U students gain job shadowing, mentoring, and other job-related
experience before they graduate, Cal U is ensuring that its graduates are at the starting line, and
probably yards down the track, when they leave the University. The advantage of the partnership
is that many graduates never will entirely “leave” the school but will continue to help Cal U
students and the University grow and prosper. Career Services, like many other departments,
could be even more effective if more money were available.
California University of Pennsylvania has found many ways to support and personalize
students’ experiences at Cal U. Help for academic and personal problems, activities for one’s
leisure time, and friendships are available in many forms. By developing a Multicultural Center,
the University is demonstrating it values diversity. The new center has the potential to become a
strong recruiting tool for the University as it tries to attract more diverse students. Although
many of the support programs could use more staff, they are offering many caring and innovative
ways to help students feel at home at Cal U.
Retain solid commitment from administration with regard to mission and budget for such
programs as the Women’s Center, International Student Center, the Safe Zone Program,
and the Multicultural Center. It seems these programs are looked upon as less significant
than others, when they are essential for responding to the needs of the increasingly
diverse student body.
Secure additional staff for the Women’s Studies program to match its growth.
Provide more space needs to be made available in the Women’s Center for students to
interact with friends and to converse privately with staff, when needed. Students need to
feel this is their space, their home-away-from-home.
Consider the addition of a staff position whose responsibility would include continuous
advisement so that students who are unable to meet with their assigned faculty advisor
could readily access a knowledgeable scheduling facilitator.
Improve the accuracy and function of the computerized degree audit system. Some
faculty who were informally interviewed say they find that the degree audit from Student
Retention and Success and the advisement sheets that departmental secretaries and deans’
offices maintain do not always correspond. Getting everyone to agree on a student’s
record is a first step toward effective advising.
Offer free tutoring for a broad spectrum of classes and providing mentoring “buddies” to
new freshmen. These seem to be methods by which the University demonstrates it has
integrity, cares about students, and truly wants them to succeed.
Develop a committee representing faculty and the Office of Student Retention and
Success to consider methods to improve advising services for transfer students as they are
often some of the last to register and often find that courses they would like to take are
Develop a more efficient campus-wide computer system to process “paperwork” and
make it easily available to all who need to see it is essential.
Provide more ways to reach out to graduate students and make them aware of all the
University services that are open to them.
Employ an information technology employee who specializes in adaptive technologies
for disabled students.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Faculty at California University of Pennsylvania and at the 13 other schools in the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are represented by the Association of
Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). Thus, many of the policies and
procedures regarding faculty are spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA)
between APSCUF and the state system. Other policies, such as how faculty searches are
conducted and who is hired, are informed by federal equal opportunity, disability, and veterans’
guidelines. Faculty at Cal U enjoy salaries slightly higher than those at other master’s level
institutions but lower than the average fulltime professor’s salary for all schools (June, April 27,
2009). Cal U faculty teach four classes during the fall and spring semesters and are paid over a
40-week period, although they can choose to have their pay spread over the full year. Summer
teaching assignments are available for some, and faculty are paid an additional amount for these
courses. Cal U faculty hold degrees from universities from across the country and world,
including the University of Jordan, University of Delhi, University of Calgary, University of
California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Nebraska, Lincoln,
Texas A&M University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Purdue University, University
of Minnesota, University of Southern Mississippi; University of Kentucky, University of
Tennessee, University of South Florida, and Yale University. Many others hold degrees from
surrounding schools, such as West Virginia University, The Ohio State University, University of
Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Robert Morris University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania,
and Penn State University. A fair share earned undergraduate degrees from Cal U. The faculty
teach in about 60 baccalaureate-degree-granting programs, as well as in graduate programs,
associate degree programs, concentrations within majors, and in General Education and
developmental classes. They are a diverse group.
The Makeup of the Faculty
According to Cal U’s director of Institutional Research, the number of tenure-track faculty
with terminal degrees has grown from 71 percent in 2000 to 78 percent in 2008. The numbers
are: 2000 – 71 percent; 2001, 72 percent; 2002 – 70 percent; 2003 – 70 percent; 2004 – 70
percent; 2005 – 71 percent; 2006 – 73 percent; 2007 – 76 percent; and, 2008 – 78 percent (R.
Kline, personal communication, Spring 2009). (See Appendix 10A for a list of faculty terminal
The percentage of female and minority tenure-track professors also has increased. In 2000,
there were 169 male professors and 82 (33 percent) female. In 2008, there were 159 male and
120 (44 percent) female professors (R. Kline, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The number of minorities increased slightly, from 17 black (6.8 percent) 7 Asian (2.8
percent), 2 Hispanic (1 percent), and 225 white professors (89.6 percent) in 2000, to 19 black
(6.8 percent), 10 Asian (3.8 percent), 4 Hispanic (1 percent), and, 247 white (88.2 percent)
professors in 2008. (See Appendix 10B for a year-by-year breakdown of professors by gender
and race.)
Recruiting and Retaining Faculty
When a department receives approval to conduct a faculty search, it follows a University
timeline for forming a department hiring committee, advertising the position, screening the
candidates, interviewing the candidates, and recommending a candidate (“Faculty Search Process
for Fall 2006 Tenure-Track Hires,” September 12, 2006, p. 72.)
The timeline is followed for posting ads, taking out ads in relevant journals, and for all the
steps up to offering a position to a candidate. The University’s “Guide to Tenure-Track Faculty
Searches” contains the steps to be taken (August 27, 2008).
Efforts are made to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups. The Office of Social
Equity lists on its Web page an array of media sources aimed at general and specialized
audiences (“Advertising Resources Available to Search Committees,” April 6, 2009). Some
disciplines may have women and minority organizations to which ads can be sent.
Tenure-track positions are advertised at the rank of assistant professor. However, the
president has the authority to determine the candidate’s rank, and the provost decides the step in
the pay scale at which the candidate is hired (“FAQ Regarding the Tenure-Track Hiring
Process,” April 6, 2009).
Whether a doctorate is required is decided by a department hiring committee in consultation
with the department and the college dean and provost. Should the department decide a doctorate
or terminal degree is required, the wording for the job announcement will be: "Ph.D. (or listing
of the appropriate terminal degree) required." When it is decided that a terminal degree is not
required, the announcement will state: “Masters required, Ph.D. (or listing of the appropriate
terminal degree) preferred." Or, "Ph.D. (or listing of the appropriate terminal degree) preferred,
ABD acceptable if candidate actively involved in the completion of dissertation" (“FAQ
Regarding the Tenure-Track Hiring Process,” April 6, 2009).
The final applicant pool for each job posting will contain three names and, ideally, five
candidates will be interviewed for each position. The appropriate dean and provost, as well as the
departments, interview the candidates (“FAQ Regarding the Tenure-Track Hiring Process,” April
6, 2009).
Use of Temporary Faculty
California University of Pennsylvania relied slightly more on temporary (part-time) faculty in
2008 than it did in 2000. In 2008, 82 percent of the faculty were fulltime-equivalent, tenure-track
faculty, down from the 84 percent who were fulltime-equivalent, tenure-track faculty in 2000.
The numbers of fulltime-equivalent tenure track faculty for 2000 through 2008 were: 2000 –
250.5 (84 percent); 2001 – 250.50 (86 percent); 2002 – 255.5 (82 percent); 2003 – 241.50 (80
percent); 2004 – 243.5 (78 percent); 2005 – 257.5 (80 percent); 2006 – 265.5 (79 percent); 2007
– 278.5 (80 percent); and, 2008 – 279.5 (82 percent) (R. Kline, personal communication, Spring
Under the APSCUF collective bargaining agreement, “the fulltime equivalent of temporary
and regular part-time faculty shall not exceed 25 percent of the fulltime equivalent of all faculty
members employed at that University as of October 31 of the previous year” (“Agreement,”
2007, p. 21). Cal U is observing the collective bargaining agreement in keeping under the 25
percent limit.
Faculty Involvement in New Program Development and Improvement
When a department or individual faculty member wants to develop a new program, the
proposal must win approval at both the campus and state system level. To get courses or
programs approved at the campus level, the faculty member gets his or her department to
approve the proposal then takes it through his appropriate college council, the University
Curriculum Committee, the provost, and the president (“Part III,” 2008, p. 62).
The University-Wide Curriculum Committee requires the professor to provide, among other
things, course syllabi, a list of who will be teaching the courses, and an estimate of cost
(“California University of Pennsylvania Guidelines for New Course Proposals,” February 26,
2006, pp. 63-64). The professor also will have to identify the core curriculum and electives, and
coordinate the program with general education and upper division credit requirements.
Once all involved at Cal U approve a proposed program, the professor then notifies the state
system’s Academic and Student Affairs office that he or she is submitting a new program
proposal. The state is not notified if the professor is only adding a new course. The state’s chief
academic officers discuss the proposal when they meet and then Academic and Student Affairs
notifies the professor if the program was approved or not. If the program is approved by
Academic and Student Affairs, the state system’s Board of Governors then votes on the proposal
(“New Academic Program Proposal Process,” October 28, 2002).
Faculty Professional Development Workshops are offered each year on how to propose new
courses and topics that may improve existing courses, for example, “Integrating Technology into
the Classroom,” “Problem-Based Learning,” and “Teaching Millennial Students.”
According to University-Wide Curriculum Committee minutes from Fall 2004 to Spring
2009, the committee approved five of seven new programs, three of which were graduate-level
programs. The committee approved the one program revision proposal it received. Changes to
advisement sheets -- the sheets that spell out the classes needed in a major, minor, or
concentration -- were approved 134 of 137 times, and 48 of 51 revisions to advisement sheets
were approved. Four of four proposed online graduate level programs also were approved (“Cal
U: University Curriculum Committee,” June 10, 2009). It appears the system is responding to
professors’ desires to update the curriculum.
The process for getting Web-based programs and course proposals approved is the same.
Additionally, Web-based faculty must be certified by either eCollege or Blackboard to teach
Web-based classes. There are 208 Cal U faculty who are certified in at least one of the platforms
(S. Powers, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Faculty Professional Development
One of the duties and responsibilities that faculty are expected to meet, as specified in the
collective bargaining agreement, is “keeping current in their academic disciplines through
continuing scholarly activity” (“Article 4: Duties and Responsibilities of Faculty Members,”
2007, p. 5). Faculty also are evaluated for tenure and promotion in the areas of teaching,
research, and service.
Travel Awards
A way to remain current with developments in one’s field is by attending professional and
scholarly conferences. The provost gives money to each dean to support professional
development and travel. Each dean handles the funds differently. The dean of the Eberly College
of Science and Technology includes the money as part of each department’s budget. (These
professional development figures are unavailable.) However, the deans of Liberal Arts and
Education and Human Services require departments to prioritize faculty requests for travel. The
deans review the lists and notify their departments about which travel requests are funded and for
how much. The two deans give priority to new, untenured faculty.
The College of Education and Human Services provided data only for the travel that was
approved. That college approved $20,541 for travel in 2005; $24,378 in 2006; and $21,406 in
2007. It can be assumed more money was requested than was awarded.
From 2004 to 2007 in the College of Liberal Arts, faculty travel requests increased from
$43,467 to $104,117 (a 140 percent increase), but the amount of money awarded for these
requests only increased from $16,650 to $29,730 (a 79 percent increase, as shown in Figure 10.1.
In 2006, however, the College of Liberal Arts awarded more funds, $35,748, than in 2007.
Figure 10.1. Dollar Difference between Funding Requests and Funding Approval
for the College of Liberal Arts for the Years 2004 – 2007
2004 2005
Source: Data for Figure 10.1 provided by the Offices of Liberal Arts.
Note: The table reflects the amount in real dollars requested and subsequently granted by the
Dean of Liberal Arts.
During this same period, requests to the Faculty Professional Development Committee
(FPDC) for travel funding also increased.
Tables 10.1 and 10.2, respectively, summarize the two forms of FPDC support for faculty
travel: Irene/O’Brien Awards and Travel Awards. Because only the interest from the Irene
O’Brien principal can be used, that award money is spent quickly. FPDC raised the amount of its
general travel awards from $250 to $750 over the past four years, although it scaled back the
award in May 2009 to $600 and no longer will cover conference registration fees and materials.
FPDC also increased the amount budgeted for travel awards from $40,000 to $60,000 annually,
starting July 1, 2009 (P. Pathak, personal communication, May 7, 2009). Faculty requests for
FPDC travel funds have increased rather dramatically the past few years. Table 10.2 shows that
FPDC made 14 travel awards in 2004 and, by 2007, had made 47 awards. As of April 1, 2009,
FPDC has made over 80 awards for the 2008-2009 academic year for more than $50,000
(“California University of Pennsylvania, Faculty Professional Development Center, 2008-2009
Annual Report,” 2009).
Table 10.1
Irene O’Brien Travel Fund Requests and Allocations in Dollars
Number of
Amount of
Total Awards
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005,
2006, and 2007.
Table 10.2
FPD Travel Grant Fund Requests and Allocations in Dollars
Number of
Amount of
Total Awards
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005,
2006, and 2007.
The faculty from the Eberly College of Science and Technology have been leading the
way in receiving FPDC travel awards, as shown in Table 10.3.
Table 10.3
FPD Travel Grant Awards by Undergraduate College between 2004 and 2007
Number of Requests by
faculty in Science and
Number of requests by
faculty in Education and
Human Services
Number of Requests by in
faculty in Liberal Arts
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Note: The table reflects the number of individual awards by college.
Small Grants
Faculty also can apply to FPDC for up to $1,000 from the small grant program to cover the
expenses of scholarly activities. Although the amount of money for small grants is not large, the
number of faculty applying for the grants is not large either. In 2003-2004, four small grants
were awarded and, by 2007-2008, five were awarded. More grants were awarded between these
times, as shown in Table 10.4.
Annual Internal Grants
Since 1998, FPDC has sponsored an annual internal grant program mirroring an annual grant
program sponsored by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The number of grants
and the amount spent varies year to year, but generally, the amount spent per project is between
$4,000 to $6,000. Since 2004, 27 annual grants have been awarded, totaling over $128,000
(“California University of Pennsylvania, Faculty Professional Development Center, 2003-2004,
2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008 Annual Reports”). The number of grants from
2003-2004 (four) to the number of grants in 2007-2008 (six), are shown in Table 10.5
Table 10.4
Small Research Grants Awarded between 2003 and 2008
Research Subcommittee 0
Teaching Subcommittee 3
Grants Subcommittee
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Note: The table reflects the number of individual awards by subcommittee.
Continuing Excellence Award
Faculty who need support for scholarly activities that exceed a year in length or faculty who
have multiple-year professional commitments other than research that require continued support
may apply to FPDC’s Continuing Excellence Fund. This is a fairly new program and faculty
have yet to tap it resources. Table 10.6 shows two faculty applied for Continuing Excellence
funds in 2003-2004, but in 2007-2008, no one applied.
Table 10.5
Internal Annual Grants Awarded between 2003 and 2008 by College
Liberal Arts
Eberly College
Education and Human
Student Development
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Note: The Table reflects the number of individual awards by college.
Table 10.6
Continuing Excellence Fund Awards between 2003 and 2008 by College
Liberal Arts
Science and
Education and Human
Student Development
Source: Faculty Professional Development Annual Reports 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Note: The table reflects the number of individual awards by college.
During the academic year, FPDC sponsors an array of faculty-taught workshops for other
faculty. (See Appendix 10C for a list of workshops from 2003 to 2007,) The data show the
number of workshops ranged from 40 in 2003-2004 to 50 in 2007-2008. There has been an
increase in workshops focusing on online classes, classroom technology, and pedagogy.
In 2008, FPDC sponsored a new program, encouraging cross-discipline faculty collaboration:
interdisciplinary-based Learning Communities. Learning Communities can receive up to $5,000
in funding. The FPDC approved three learning communities in 2007-2008, and three more in
Academic Excellence Week
Academic Excellence Week offers a chance for faculty to showcase their teaching, research
and service projects and learn what other faculty are doing. Most of the Academic Excellence
events are sponsored by Faculty Professional Development.
Other Campus Opportunities
Throughout the academic year, faculty have the opportunity to attend many campus events
(lectures, panel discussions and workshops) sponsored by academic departments and programs.
Committees as the Tenure, Promotions, Curriculum, and General Education committees sponsor
workshops, as do the Office of Student Retention and Success, Manderino Library, and Student
Counseling Services. Campus-wide events include the activities for Black History Month,
Women’s History Month, the Audrey Beth Fitch Women’s History Conference, the Noss Lecture
Series Program, and the American Democracy Project, as well as many performing arts and
sports events.
Faculty Duties and Responsibilities
According to information in the CBA and tenure and promotion guidelines, faculty are
responsible for, and evaluated in, three areas: teaching, research and service. The teaching
responsibilities include:
a. Keeping of students records, grading student material and reporting final grades,
as well as reporting in a timely matter any other grades that the University or its
Special or Athletic programs require.
b. Maintaining and keeping student records for at least one semester after the
completion of the course; incomplete grades must be maintained for one year.
c. Maintaining grade books and student records and delivering them to a faculty
member’s college dean upon any leave or retirement from the University.
d. Meeting with classes during the assigned time and at the designated location.
Any change in location must be indicated to the department and college.
Notifying the department chairperson when classes are cancelled and notifying
students if a replacement faculty member is not available.
Ordering course materials, including texts and other required materials.
Maintaining current syllabi and providing a copy to the department and college;
copies of syllabi also are kept in the Manderino Library.
h. Using the most effective teaching resources, including technology; to this end:
1. Faculty are provided up-to-date computers and software, but do not have
administrative privileges.
2. Smart classrooms have been added throughout University academic
3. Many student/faculty academic support resources are centrally located in
Noss Hall and the library.
4. Faculty can borrow laptops and other technology from FPDC to support
classroom, travel, and research efforts.
5. Other instructional services are provided through FPDC and the
i. Advising and consulting with students, although students are responsible
for their academic progress.
j. Keeping a minimum of five office hours per week during at least three days
of the week. The office hours are to be clearly posted.
k. Being responsible for high quality and current course content, for being
familiar with effective pedagogical strategies, and for evaluating and
assessing students.
l. Serving as research and service mentors to students (not required, but
m. Developing new courses or programs if they see fit.
n. Creating assessments that contribute to the department’s Outcome Assessments.
(“Agreement,” 2007; “California University of Pennsylvania University-Wide
Tenure Committee, Criteria for Tenure,” 1993; “California University of
Pennsylvania Statement on Promotion Policies and Procedures,” May 11, 2006).
The Faculty Professional Development Committee and Office of Grants and Contracts
support faculty members’ travel to conferences and workshops, and their need for materials and
other items. There is no formal method at Cal U for collecting information about the research
and service that faculty do. Faculty members sometimes volunteer the information to the public
relations staff, and non-tenured staff report their activities in annual reviews they prepare. Those
applying for tenure or promotion also document their research activities in their dossiers.
The Office of Grants and Contracts works with faculty to identify potential funding sources,
as well as to help faculty craft portions of grant proposals, such as budgets. The office also
regularly e-mails announcements to faculty about possible funding opportunities. According to
the office’s annual report for 2005-2006, 52 faculty and staff submitted grant applications. Of
these, 18 were first-time applicants. During 2005-2006, there were 95 grants or contracts,
totaling $3.4 million. (“OCG Annual Reports, Annual Report 2005-2006, February 10, 2009).
By 2007-2008, 60 faculty and staff submitted and administered grant proposals, and, of those,
27 were first-time applicants. There were 92 grants/contracts, totaling $3.7 million. (“OCG
Annual Reports, Annual Report 2007-2008, February 10, 2009).
Faculty also are expected to give service to the University, to the greater community, and to
their profession. According to the CBA, and tenure and promotion guidelines, faculty are to:
a. Engage in community and University service that promotes the Mission of the
b. Represent the University in accordance with the University Mission and the three
core values of integrity, civility, and responsibility. (“Agreement,” 2007; “California
University of Pennsylvania University-Wide Tenure Committee, Criteria for Tenure,”
1993; “California University of Pennsylvania Statement on Promotion Policies and
Procedures,” May 11, 2006).
Similar to faculty research activities, no formal process for documenting community service is in
place. Faculty generally include information about their service projects in promotion and tenure
Recognition of Exemplary Work
The University honors outstanding faculty work through the annual Faculty Professional
Development Merit Awards, which recognizes faculty for outstanding teaching, research,
service, the use of technology, and grantsmanship. The monetary awards may be used for travel,
research materials, or other academic purposes. The annual President’s Gala Awards also
recognize three faculty members for excellence in teaching, research and service.
Tenure and Promotion
Every year, some faculty at California University of Pennsylvania win tenure, promotion, or
both by following the guidelines in the CBA and in two guidebooks: “California University of
Pennsylvania University-Wide Tenure Committee, Criteria for Tenure” (1993) and “California
University of Pennsylvania Statement on Promotion Policies and Procedures” (May 11, 2006).
Faculty with no fulltime teaching experience at the college level apply for tenure after
completing five full years at Cal U. Without previous teaching experience, faculty may apply for
promotion after completing six full years of teaching at Cal U. The tenure and promotion
process, thus, are separate. Someone who is hired as an assistant professor and wins tenure could
remain an assistant professor for his or her entire time at Cal U if the professor never applied for
promotion or was denied promotion.
Applying for tenure is mandatory in one’s fifth year, unless one applies earlier. Those with
previous teaching experience may apply early for tenure upon winning the recommendation of
the department and approval of the president (“Agreement,” 2007, p. 34). Faculty with previous
teaching experience also can apply early for promotion. For example, an assistant professor with
at least five years teaching experience, of which at least two were spent at Cal U, could apply to
be an associate professor (“California University of Pennsylvania Statement on Promotion
Policies and Procedures” (May 11, 2006).
Mentoring Professors Through the Tenure and Promotion Process
Each year, both the University-Wide Tenure Committee and the University-Wide Promotions
Committee, working with the Faculty Professional Development Committee, offer workshops on
tenure and promotion. New professors also are assigned mentors or faculty who know some of
the “ropes.” Departments are free, as long as they stay within the collective bargaining
agreement guidelines, to mentor new professors, as well.
Evaluating Faculty for Tenure and Promotion
The process and qualifications to achieve tenure and earn promotion are specified in the
CBA, specifically “Article 12: Performance Review and Evaluation,” “Article 15: Tenure,” and
“Article 16: Promotion” (“Agreement,” 2007, pp. 23, 33, and 37).
All tenure-track faculty follow the same process. Each semester, peers (other faculty) observe
and evaluate new faculty. Students in their classes complete questionnaires about teachingrelated matters, such as knowledge about the subject and respect for differing viewpoints. New
faculty also write a self-review each year. A department evaluation committee and the chair of
the department write evaluations of the professor’s teaching, research, and service, as does the
college dean. Each year, the president sends a letter to the new professor, stating whether his or
her contract will be renewed.
In the fifth year, (or earlier in some cases), the candidate applies for tenure in a process
spelled out in “California University of Pennsylvania University-Wide Tenure Committee
Criteria for Tenure” (1993). The department Tenure Committee, department chair, and college
dean review the candidate and make separate recommendations to the University-Wide Tenure
Committee. The University-Wide Tenure Committee then reviews the candidate’s record, and
makes its recommendation to the University president. The president makes the final decision on
whether to grant tenure.
All faculty applying for promotion go through the process, which is outlined in the
“California University of Pennsylvania Statement on Promotion Policies and Procedures”
(2006). The department Promotion Committee, department chair, and college dean do
independent reviews of the candidate then make their recommendations to the University-Wide
Promotions Committee. The Promotions Committee reviews all candidates, ranks them, and
makes its recommendations to the president. The president then decides whether to grant
Members of both the Tenure and Promotions committees are tenured faculty who serve twoyear terms. (See Appendix 10 D for a list of the procedures the University-Wide Tenure
Committee follows in evaluating tenure applications. See Appendix 10E for a list of the
procedures the University-Wide Promotions Committee follows in evaluating and ranking
candidates.) While observing the guidelines, departments are free to determine the makeup of
their department Tenure and Promotions committees and to decide when and how the
committees will meet.
Faculty Pay
In 2007, the average nine-month salary for faculty of all ranks in the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education was $71,986.00 (Office of the Chancellor, State System of Higher
Education, 2008). The average nine-month faculty salaries for each rank were: instructors –
$43,987; assistant professors – $60,108; associate professors – $74,804; and, full professors –
$93,756. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the average nine-month salaries for
California University of Pennsylvania faculty (AY 2007-2008) were: instructors – $44,100;
assistant professors – $61,800; associate professors – $75,600; and, full professors – $94,700.
California University of Pennsylvania faculty were compensated at slightly above the mean
salary for PASSHE faculty in the designated ranks.
When compared with Carnegie Classification Category IIA institutions on a national basis,
the PASSHE schools, in 2007, were at the 73rd percentile when assigning the weighted average
salary across all faculty ranks (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and full
professor). The weighted average is computed by taking the average salaries reported by the
PASSHE to the AAUP and weighting each rank according to the current Full Time Equivalent
(FTE) of faculty at each rank. Full professors’ salaries rank in the 80th percentile, and associate
professors place in the 83rd percentile. Assistant professors and instructors ranked at the 71st and
53rd percentiles nationally (APSCUF, 2007; AAUP, 2007). When comparing the weighted
average salary of California University of Pennsylvania to Category IIA institutions on a national
basis, the average salary across all faculty ranks was slightly higher at the 81st percentile. Full
professors and associate professors were compensated at the 84th and 83rd percentiles,
respectively. In addition assistant professors were compensated at the 83rd percentile whereas
instructors were compensated at the 48th percentile.
Differences in mean annual salaries between California University of Pennsylvania and the 13
other PASSHE faculties, when compared to comparable Carnegie Classification Category IIA
institutions, may be attributed, in part, to the collective bargaining process between APSCUF and
the PASSHE system whereby faculty salaries at each faculty rank are contractually set for a fouryear time period. The current contract runs from 2007 to 2011. Additional factors that impact
on salary differences include the state of the economy, political involvement, and job availability
at the time the contract is negotiated.
A recent American Association of University Professors survey found large gender pay
disparities at many public universities. In 2008-2009, the national figures for public institutions
were: instructors (men – $45,542 and women – $44,188; assistant professors (men – $65,490
and women – $61,206; associate professors (men – $77,271 and women – $72,194); and, full
professors (men – $107,728 and women – $95,344) (“The Faculty, What Professors Earn,” April
17, 2009). For the same time period, Cal U faculty salaries by gender were: instructors (men –
$46,800 and women – $46,400); assistant professors, (men – $64,900 and women – $63,200);
associate professors (men – $78,900 and women – $77,300); and, full professors (men – $98,500
and women – $93,200) (“Facts & Figures, AAUP Faculty Salary Survey, 2008-2009”). Cal U
women faculty at all ranks, with the exception of full professor, earn above the national average
but less than their male counterparts do. The salary gap within the university is greatest at the full
professor rank. This most likely can be attributed to men having longer tenure than women.
Faculty are evaluated in the areas of teaching, research, and service for promotion and tenure.
Most faculty are pressed to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies in order to better serve
students. A Technology Task Force of the University-Wide Curriculum Committee
recommended the adoption of a five-year plan that projects the technological needs of faculty
and students. Creating an instructional technology and design team under the new vice president
for Informational Technology is certain to help faculty with unfamiliar and complex applications
(“Technology Task Force Curriculum Committee Report,” January 2009).
The Faculty Professional Development Committee (FPDC) and the college deans provide
money for faculty travel to conferences, workshops and other professional development sites.
FPDC also funds small grants to purchase supplies or pursue research, and annual grants provide
up to $6,000 for larger projects. There is more competition for travel money than there is money
available. The University should be commended for supporting faculty through the Faculty
Professional Development Committee, the faculty mentor program, and the Office of Grants and
Contracts; however, additional funding for research and travel, such as attending professional
meetings and workshops, would be helpful.
FPDC also sponsors faculty workshops on a wide range of topics, such as online teaching
and student advising.. The Office of Grants and Contracts assists faculty by identifying funding
sources and helping them write grant proposals.
Cal U faculty are unionized, similar to faculty at the other 13 state universities. The salaries,
although competitive, may impact future recruiting efforts. The gender gap for wages is greatest
for full professors, and can probably best be explained by length of employment.
The faculty represent a mix of disciplines, geographic areas, and races. The largest group of
minority professors – blacks – accounts for 6.8 percent of the faculty; 44 percent are women;
and, 78 percent have terminal degrees. The University should continue its efforts to recruit more
women and minority professors, and faculty with terminal degrees.
The faculty union contributes to the competitive wage structure and uniform evaluation
standards for tenure and promotion. However, the campus-wide unionization of most staff
creates some dissension, as evidenced by the controversy pertaining to whether faculty can have
at least some administrative control over their office computers. (Chapter 4 addresses the
situation.) Nonetheless, the University is trying to meet increasing faculty and student needs in
the area of technological information and delivery systems.
The administration is supportive of faculty, particularly in terms of providing funding for
professional development. Other ways it demonstrates support for faculty include merit awards,
special recognition in University publications, and the willingness back innovative programming.
Increase efforts to recruit women and minority faculty with terminal degrees.
Attempt to make faculty salaries more competitive.
Continue encouraging faculty to develop new programs and revise curricula to meet
marketplace needs.
Continue mentoring new faculty through the tenure and promotion processes.
Document information regarding faculty research and service.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
California University of Pennsylvania, like many universities, is adjusting to a rapidly
changing environment in higher education by increasing its online offerings, training more
faculty to use technology, and deciding what courses to offer and how to most effectively teach
them. The University trains students with skills and deep discipline knowledge that they can use
in today’s marketplace, as well as provides them with a solid general education that prepares
them to be lifelong learners and lovers of learning. The foundation will help graduates adjust as
the global economy continues to place new demands on workers. Cal U currently offers 12
associate degree, 64 baccalaureate degree, and 17 graduate degree programs that cover a wide
range of disciplines in education, health sciences, natural sciences, technology, and liberal arts.
Courses Support Cal U’s Mission
It is unlikely to find a course at Cal U that does not serve the University’s Mission of building
character and careers. Twenty-one programs are accredited and others are undergoing
accreditation. These programs must keep their standards high, not only to retain their
accreditation but to serve their students by providing them solid skills and knowledge, and
competitiveness in the job marketplace.
Councils representing each of the colleges, as well as the University’s Curriculum and
General Education committees, meet frequently to evaluate and assess course and program
offerings to ensure they are aligned with the University’s Mission.
Cal U students not only experience the University’s core values of integrity, civility and
responsibility in their areas of specialization, but also in General Education classes. The
Undergraduate Catalog states that Cal U:
believes that a liberal education is essential for all students, regardless of the
profession for which they may be preparing. The goals, objectives and courses
that comprise the General Education Program are designed to provide students
with the knowledge, understanding and skills they will need to pursue their careers
and to lead productive and rewarding lives. (“General Education,” 2003).
Students at Cal U must take at least one course from each of the following General Education
categories: First Year Seminar, Composition, Humanities, Fine Arts, Natural Science, Social
Science, Critical Thinking Skills, Public Speaking, Mathematics, Multicultural Awareness,
Values, Technological Literacy, and Health and Wellness. Students also are required to take a
class with a Lab Component and two Upper Division Writing Intensive classes. (“Goals and
Objectives,” 2003).
The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education requires that
at least 40 percent of a bachelor’s degree be general education classes, and that 40 percent be
upper division coursework “to assure that at least two-fifths of a student’s studies occur at the
junior/senior level of difficulty” (“Policy 1990-06-A, Academic Degrees, October 18, 1990, p. 2)
By adhering to these state standards, Cal U guarantees its students will be competitive in their
chosen careers.
Similarly, Cal U follows the established standard of Pennsylvania’s Transfer Advisory
Oversight Committee that at least 80 percent of the requirements for courses accepted for
transfer must be equivalent to a Cal U course (B. Smith, personal communication, 2009). Cal U
thereby guarantees that all its graduates have the opportunity to get similar educations.
The University’s Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog list course offerings and
course descriptions, outline the sequence of course offerings, and list program requirements.
Career opportunities are listed for each program. The Office of Career Services publishes an
annual report listing how Cal U graduates fared at finding jobs (“Career Services Class of 2008
Graduate Survey,” 2008).
Keeping Current
California University of Pennsylvania makes many efforts to bring its students, including
those who are traditional, nontraditional, online, undergraduate and graduate, the most current
information in the field, and to create ties for the students to community events, groups,
businesses, services, and people. Some of these curriculum, career, and outreach efforts include
advisory boards.
Business/Industry Advisory Boards
The University has advisory boards at the University, college and program levels. These
boards help the administration and faculty learn if Cal U’s programs are aligned with the needs
of employers.
Board of Presidential Advisors. The board is a group of alumni, business leaders and friends
of California University who offer informal counsel on issues and challenges facing the
University. The group meets twice a year, in April (during Cal Pride Weekend) and in
Career Advantage Advisory Board. The Office of Career Services established board to
increase student participation in the Career Advantage Program and to improve the quality of
cooperative education, internships, the job shadowing program and other career programs for Cal
U students and employers. The board’s goals are to: (1) identify and implement five ways to
integrate the Career Advantage Program into students’ experience, (2) build relationships with
30 new employers by June 2010, and (3) identify and implement three ways to use the Career
Advantage Program to assess student learning outcomes (R. Gifford, personal communication,
Spring 2009). The advisory board helps Career Services identify ways to get students to
participate in the Career Advantage Program, helps faculty and administrators gain a better
understanding of the skills employers seek, and helps employers better understand the University
Services Advisory Board. Career Services has a second advisory group composed of
approximately 75 employers, faculty, staff and students (about 40 attend the meetings). The
board meets twice a year to advise the University about campus, career, and community issues
(R. Gifford, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Faculty Internship Advisory Committee. The committee includes faculty from the three
undergraduate colleges and graduate school, and meets twice a year to make recommendations to
ensure that Cal U internship programs are academically sound, follow University policies, and
meet the best interests of students. The group recently has helped draft academic and
administrative standards for internships, has contributed to the internship center’s marketing
plan, and has helped develop an Internship Award scholarship fund (K. Primm, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Teacher Education Advisory Board. The board includes school district administrators,
teachers, and University faculty and administrators who meet the first Wednesday of October
and the first week of March to discuss teacher education at Cal U. The College of Education and
Human Services uses this group as a “sounding board” for new programs, or to discuss mandates
from the Pennsylvania Department of Education or the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education. (K. Koury, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Professional Development School Governance Board. This is a smaller group of the
Teacher Advisory Board that oversees professional development programs in the California,
Charleroi, Belle Vernon, and Uniontown Area School Districts. This board also monitors the
work of the California University of Pennsylvania Network for Accomplished Teachers, which
supports teachers through the National Board Certification for Teachers Program.
Program-level Advisory Boards. Many academic programs, particularly those accredited or in
the process of earning accreditation, have program-level advisory boards that include Cal U
program graduates and representatives of businesses and industries that employ Cal U program
graduates. The board members usually help with the development of new programs, such as the
associate of science program in Robotics Engineering Technology, or help with the revision of
outdated programs like the bachelor of science degree in Information Technology that changed
to a bachelor of science degree in Computer Information Systems (L. Colelli, personal
communication, Spring 2009). The board members also help existing programs revise program
goals, develop continuous improvement plans to assess student learning, help with facility
upgrades, supervise interns, help evaluate student projects, hire graduates, and evaluate the
strengths and weaknesses of Cal U graduates and programs.
Of the 93 degree programs at Cal U, 17 (18 percent) have advisory boards. The boards
represent: the bachelor’s and master’s of Social Work, the bachelor’s of Geography in GIS
Emergency Management, the bachelor’s in Parks and Recreation Management, the associate’s
and bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering Technology, the associate’s degree and
bachelor’s degrees in Computer Engineering Technology, the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees
in Computer Science, the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Computer Information Systems,
the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Graphics/Multimedia Technology, the associate’s and
bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Technology, and the associate’s degree in Computer Aided
Drafting/Design (L. Colelli, personal communication, Spring 2009; K. Koury, personal
communication, Spring 2009; M. Hummel, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The 19 elementary and secondary education programs, as well as two graduate programs (the
master of arts degree in Teaching, and the master of education degree in School Administration),
follow the standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the National Council for
Accreditation of Teacher Education (K Koury, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Assessment of Performance of Teaching Candidates and Adjustment to Conditions
Cal U can judge how well its courses are preparing education students from the results of the
standardized Praxis I and Praxis II tests. To be admitted to the Teacher Education program,
students must pass the Praxis I exams (Reading, Writing and Mathematics). Table 11.1 shows
the University’s 2006-2007 Praxis I results.
In order to be recommended for student teaching, students must pass Praxis II exams. These
exams measure the content knowledge in a candidate's certification area. Candidates not passing
the exam may seek a degree in their subject area or a bachelor of science in General Education;
however, in neither case will the students receive Pennsylvania Department of Education
certification. Table 11.2 shows Cal U’s results on the Praxis II exam for 2006-2007.
To assist in program improvement, each department receives a detailed Praxis report. In
addition to the Praxis report, the Praxis coordinator meets with each department chair to discuss
the Praxis scores of the department's education majors. They discuss possible strategies to
improve Praxis test scores, including using Praxis data to modify curriculum and to develop
assessment plans to relate to Praxis topics. In addition, departments are encouraged to offer
Praxis review workshops. Departments are to develop action plans to improve the Praxis test
scores in their content area (K. Koury, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Table 11.1
Praxis I Results (Cal U) 2006-2007
Number of National
test takers mean
Cal U
Cal U %
PPST Writing (PA pass score 173)
Paper – Based
Computer – Based
PPST Mathematics
(PA pass score 173)
Paper – Based
Computer – Based
PPST Reading (PA pass score 172)
Paper – Based
Computer – Based
Fundamental Subject:
Content Knowledge
(PA pass score 150)
Source: California University of Pennsylvania Teacher Education Program: Cal U Pass, Praxis I
report 2002-2007, p. 7. Report prepared by D. Joseph Zisk.
Table 11.2
Praxis II Results (Cal U) 2006-2007
of test
l mean
Cal U
Cal U
% Pass
Art -PA pass score 161
Biology -PA pass score 147
Chemistry -PA pass score 154
Communications -PA pass score 530
Early Childhood -PA pass score 530
Earth and Space Science
-PA pass score 157
Elementary -PA pass score 168
English -PA pass score 160
French -PA pass score 170
Mathematics -PA pass score 136
Physics -PA pass score 140
Special Education -PA pass score 136
Social Studies -PA pass score 157
Spanish -PA pass score 166
Technology Education
PA pass score 620
Source: California University of Pennsylvania Teacher Education Program: Cal U Pass report
for Praxis II 2003-07, p. 3. Report prepared by Dr. Joseph Zisk.
External Workforce/Educational Organizations
The University collaborates with regional economic and workforce development
organizations, such as the Fayette and Washington County Keystone Innovation Zone sponsored
by the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council and the Redevelopment Authority of
Washington County. Keystone Innovation Zones are zones in areas with colleges or universities
that are :
… designed to foster innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities. In the zones,
business leaders, academic researchers and economic development officials are
encouraged to blend their talents and resources to foster the success of new companies.
Partnerships will involve institutions of higher education, private business, business
support organizations, commercial lending, venture capital groups, angel networks and
foundations (“Fayette/Washington Keystone Innovation Zone,” n.d.)
Cal U recently submitted a $400,000 “Innovation Grant” to the zone to create a Science,
Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Institute. If awarded, the funds will be used to
hire a tenure-track faculty member in a technical area that has been identified as a workforce
need, namely Mechatronics Engineering Technology, and develop a Mechatronics Certification
Training Facility to provide technical skills and knowledge for regional business and industry. A
noncredit certification program and credit-bearing concentrations at the associate’s and
bachelor’s level would be offered. The STEM Institute also would serve as an incubator for
academic/business alliances. For example, faculty from Cal U’s Marketing, Computer
Information Systems, and Graphics/Multimedia Technology programs could oversee student
interns in the development of a Web-based retail division of a wholesale specialty product
printing firm.
Cal U also participates in such organizations as the Business and Education Stakeholders in
Technology Industry Partnership and the Mon Valley Community Council, which have similar
goals of aligning academic expertise and programs to industry needs.
Program Accreditation
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education asks on the form for new academic
programs that the applicants state their plan for seeking accreditation, if appropriate (“Format for
New Academic Programs,” January 11, 2008). Cal U’s Strategic Plan also states it is a
University goal that “all eligible programs achieve and maintain national accreditation” (“Goal
One, Objective 1.1., March 26, 2007).
Twenty-one of the 32 academic programs eligible for accreditation are now accredited (65.6
percent of eligible programs). Of the 22 accredited programs recognized by the Pennsylvania
State System of Higher Education, 16 (72.7 percent) are accredited. Most accreditations require a
plan for continuous improvement that includes follow-up surveys of graduates and employers of
graduates. Table 11.3 is a list of accredited programs:
Table 11.3
Cal U Accredited Programs
Computer Engineering Technology – BS *
Electrical Engineering Technology – BS*
Industrial Technology – BS*
Communication Disorders – MS*
School Counseling – M Ed*
Community Agency Counseling – MS*
Computer Science – BS*
School Psychology – MS
Social Work – MSW*
Theater – BA*
Travel and Tourism – Geography-Tourism Studies - BA
Parks and Recreation and Management – BA*
Athletic Training – BS*
Athletic Training - MS
Sport Management - BS
Physical Therapy Assistant– AAS*
Nursing – BSN*
Social Work – BSW*
Applied Sociology – BA
College of Education and Human Services – BS Ed* & M Ed*
Source: California University of Pennsylvania, Complete List of Programs Eligible for Accreditation,
*Accredited programs recognized by PASSHE.
Graduate Follow-Up Surveys (Employee and Employer)
Accredited programs survey graduates annually or every other year. Graduates answer
questions about how closely their jobs align to their academic programs, about their salaries, the
job location, how pleased they are with what they studied at Cal U, their opinions about strengths
and weaknesses in their Cal U program, and their recommendations on how to improve the
program. Employers respond to similar questions about the effectiveness of Cal U graduates,
their strengths and weaknesses, and the employers’ recommendations for how to improve the
programs. The academic departments and program advisory boards use this data to decide
whether to make changes or not as part of their attempts to continuously improve.
Career Services Survey
The Office of Career Services Office does a phone survey, starting in January each year, of
graduates of the preceding year. The graduates are asked whether they are working, if the work is
related to their field of study, the name of their employer, job title, salary and whether they are
continuing their education and where. They are asked if they found their job because of an
internship. About 50 to 75 percent of the graduates who are contacted respond. Every five years
when Career Services does a program review, it usually surveys employers about their needs.
Career Services last did this survey in Spring 2008. Employers are asked to compare Cal U
graduates against those from other universities (R. Gifford, personal communication, Spring
Cal U Global Online
Cal U Global Online surveys graduates every semester. They are asked service provided and
software/platform-related questions, about the interaction with the instructor and timing of
feedback, about program objectives and whether they were reached, and about their employer,
whom Cal U may contact to gather the employer’s perception of the graduates after completing
the Cal U programs (M. Rodriquez, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Other Means for Staying Current
Some faculty use less formal means to keep abreast of developments in their fields. For
example, Social Work faculty developed an alumni association to help keep in touch with
graduates. Technology Education faculty hold an annual alumni reception at their state
professional association conference each November in Harrisburg. Usually, over 150 alumni and
guests attend. The faculty of the Applied Engineering and Technology Department hold an
annual Spring Technology Conference, in April, and invite alumni to participate in workshops,
presentations, and demonstrations. As a recruitment tool, the department encourages alumni to
bring students, friends, and spouses to this conference.
Grants/Contracts from Government, Private Foundations, and Business Collaborations
Some Cal U professors and departments have received grants and contracts to help develop
curricula that respond to employers’ needs. In 2006, for example, the Claude Worthington
Benedum Foundation awarded Cal U a $68,000 grant to certify two faculty (one from Computer
Information Systems and another from Electrical Engineering Technology) as Cisco trainers.
Cisco Systems, Inc. provided networking for the Internet (“Fact Sheet, Corporate Overview,”
2009). The professors and others, in turn, provide free training as Certified Cisco Network
Associates to Greene County interested parties.
This experience led Cal U to develop four Cisco credit-bearing classes, one of which is
required for the core curriculum in the bachelor of science program in Computer Information
Systems. The others are electives in the program. Those supervising the program then asked
President Armenti for a $45,000 match to the Benedum grant to renovate space in the Eberly
Science and Technology Center to create a Cisco Systems networking facility for teaching these
classes. This facility is now fully operational. Cal U students may be certified as Cisco Network
Associates, as well as receive their university diploma (L. Colelli, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
In 2006, Cal U received a $1 million contract from the Department of Defense to collaborate
with the Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center to develop four agile
robotics classes, a related agile robotics certificate, and an associate’s degree in Robotics
Engineering Technology, which will launch in Fall 2009 (L. Colelli, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
Cal U has since received more than $3 million for the project and, subsequently, has created
outreach programs to train public school teachers and military personnel in agile robotics. Work
also is underway to develop a bachelor of science degree in Mechatronics Engineering
Technology. These programs should serve as a pipeline to provide the technical workers needed
to help the military reach its goal that 30 percent of its land-based vehicles will be unmanned –
controlled remotely – by 2015 (L. Colelli, personal communication, Spring 2009).
As of this writing, teachers have been trained to provide agile robotics instruction at the
middle and high school levels at Beattie, Connellsville, McKeesport and Mercer to 77 students.
The University is working on agreements with the schools to provide advanced standing to their
students in Cal U’s degree programs (L. Colelli, personal communication, Spring 2009).
STEM Institute
As mentioned previously, the University also submitted a $400,000 grant proposal to the
Fayette-Washington Keystone Innovation Zone to create a Science, Technology, Engineering
and Mathematics Institute that will assist regional companies with contracts from the Department
of Defense to produce the unmanned military vehicles. The Institute will help train their workers,
in addition to helping other companies that produce products or provide services using
automated manufacturing processes. It also plans to work with those involved in finding ways to
use the large amount of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Field, a geological area covering
western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Ohio and southern New York (L. Colelli, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Nanofabrication Facility
Cal U also has developed a partnership with the Pennsylvania State University
Nanofabrication Facility at Penn State’s main campus in State College. The Penn State
University Nanotechnology Manufacturing program is to prepare technicians and technologists
for careers in pharmaceutical, biomedical, micro-electromechanical, opto-electronic, sensor,
power electronic, and microelectronic industries (L. Colelli, personal communication, Spring
Four of Cal U bachelor’s degree programs (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Industrial
Technology) have been approved to offer optional 24-credit-hour Nanotechnology
concentrations. Students in these concentrations pursue a six-course, 18-credit hour, hands-on
“Nanofabrication Capstone Semester” at the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility at their
convenience during the fall, spring, or summer term. Cal U students pay for the classes at the Cal
U rate. Students receive financial assistance for room and board from grant programs provided
by Penn State. When the students return to Cal U, they complete a six-credit nanotechnology
internship in industry or a nanotechnology research project under the guidance of a Cal U
professor trained at Penn State in nanotechnology techniques.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has pursued additional grants to pay for
Cal U to acquire such nanotechnology instruments as an atomic force microscope, a tissue-grade
visual and ultraviolet-fluorescence microscope with electro-optic data capture and AI-based
tracking software, UV-visual spectrometry hardware and analysis software, and ultrasonic,
thermal, and UV-based sample preparation equipment. (L. Colelli, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
Professional Association Memberships
Most academic programs have faculty who hold memberships or participate in leadership
roles in state, national, or international discipline-related professional associations. Through
these memberships, reading associated journals and newsletters, and participating in professional
meetings and conferences, faculty learn about developments in their fields and about changing
workforce needs.
New Programs Seek Job Outlook Projections
When new academic programs are proposed, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education asks those promoting the new programs to project the need for, or workforce demand
for, the graduates of the proposed program. Program advocates include in their program
application materials, such as state and regional labor reports, the Job Outlook Survey produced
by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, high priority occupation forecasts
produced by county Workforce Investment areas and economic development organizations, and
the results of market analysis studies conducted by such professional market analysis agencies as
Paskill, Stapleton & Lord, and Eduventures.
Before faculty begin work on developing new program proposals, President Armenti asks
them to a complete the “Preconditions” statement. The standards that must be met include:
I. The program must be capable of being offered with a high degree of academic quality in
a web-based environment;
II. There must be high demand for the program—both for entering students and for
III. The program must be capable of being offered with a high degree of student satisfaction
in a web-based environment;
IV. The program must be capable of being offered at economically viable student/faculty
ratios—approximately 30 students/cohort, and
V. The program must be a ‘niche’ program having few or no real competitors.
(“Preconditions For Developing New Web Based Programs,” n.d.).
Academic programs are not approved until the “preconditions” are met and the “need” is
satisfactorily demonstrated.
Addressing the Needs of Nontraditional and Online Students
A number of tools have been developed to address the needs of nontraditional and online
Accelerated Formats
Cal U offers accelerate courses in 10-week, eight-week, and five-week rotations, such as the
bachelor of science programs in Legal Studies, Business Administration, and the master of
science programs in Business Administration, and in Law and Public Policy/Homeland Security.
The University also offers evening and weekend course rotations for degree, such as the bachelor
of science in Nursing, and the bachelor of science and master in science in Business
Web-based Asynchronous Instruction
Through Web-based asynchronous programs, students can earn undergraduate degrees in
areas such as Industrial Technology and Sports Management Studies, and graduate degrees in
Business Administration and Legal Studies.
Advanced Standing Credit
Students who receive advanced standing credit through programs, such as Cal U in the High
School, Tech Prep, Prior Learning Assessment, or other types of articulation agreements (e.g.,
the associate of science degree in Industrial Technology, the associate’s and bachelor’s of
science degree in Graphics Multimedia Technology, the associate’s and bachelor’s of science
degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, the associate’s degree in Technical Studies, the
bachelor’s of science degree in Science and Technology, and the bachelor’s of science degree in
Nursing), are often able to earn baccalaureate degrees in a shortened timeframe.
+2 BS Completion Programs
The +2 BS completion programs allow similar associate degree programs to apply as the
initial two years of the baccalaureate degree, including the bachelor of science degrees in
Nursing, Industrial Technology, Legal Studies, Electrical Engineering Technology, Computer
Engineering Technology, Graphics and Multimedia, and Science and Technology.
Flexible Degree Programs
Flexible degree programs include the associate’s of science degree in Technical Studies, the
bachelor of science degree in Science and Technology, the bachelor of science degree in General
Studies in Education, and the associate’s and bachelor’s of arts degrees in Liberal Arts.
Students pursuing Technical Studies and Science and Technology degrees can apply life
experience workforce credits, which are received for experiences and technical skills that do not
match existing courses. “Flex” programs allow students to respond to industry needs or pursue
specific interests. (See Chapter 13 for a detailed discussion about flexible degree programs.)
Guaranteeing Parallel Content between Online and Traditional Classes
The University is concerned that students in all classes, whether taught onsite or online, take
similar, and equally as rigorous, courses. Cal U has procedures for evaluating online course
delivery, as well as traditionally taught classes. Outcomes Assessment results should indicate if
there are differences between onsite and online delivery if departments collect comparative data.
(An evaluation process for online classes is in place, and comparative data will be available
Once a course is approved by the University-Wide Curriculum Committee, its content
remains standard, whether it is taught online or in a physical classroom. To get a course
approved, a professor clears the proposal with his department, the college council, and the
Curriculum Committee. The provost has final approval rights. Any course, which will be taught
online, must have the teaching methodology and method of assessment spelled out in the
syllabus. If there is a corresponding onsite class, the teaching methodology, manner of
assessment, and supporting materials differ.
One way the University assures that traditional classes are rigorous is through peer
observation. According to Article 12 of the collective bargaining agreement, non-tenured faculty
are observed twice a semester by a department’s Evaluation Committee and once a year by the
chair. Tenured faculty are observed once a semester every fifth year by the department’s
Evaluation Committee and once every fifth year by the chair. Temporary faculty are observed
every semester (“Agreement,” 2007, p. 25, pp. 29-30). Many Cal U online courses are evaluated
by a Quality Matters peer review team. Quality Matters is a program sponsored by
MarylandOnline, which many universities use for evaluating online courses (“Quality Goes the
Distance,” Winter 2009, p. 7).
Student Surveys
At the request of President Armenti, Cal U Global Online students are surveyed about their
satisfaction with the program. Select results are:
Sport Management: Health and Wellness Track
Registration Process: 100 percent at Good or Excellent
Advisement: 92 percent Good or Excellent; 8 percent Fair
Interactive Capabilities: 100 percent Good or Excellent
Delivery Technology: 100 percent Good or Excellent
Online Library Resources: 69 percent Good or Excellent; 31 percent Fair or No
Overall Online Learning Experience: 100 percent Good or Excellent
Constructive Feedback: 92 percent Good or Excellent; 8 percent Somewhat
Interaction with Instructor: 77 percent Good or Excellent; 23 percent
Somewhat Disagree
Enhanced Student Knowledge: 85 percent Good or Excellent; 15 percent No
Contribution or Neutral. (“Survey of the Sports Management Program,” 2008).
Legal Studies
Registration Process: 100 percent at Good or Excellent
Advisement: 76 percent Good or Excellent
Interactive Capabilities: 100 percent Good or Excellent
Delivery Technology: 94 percent Good or Excellent; 6 percent Fair
Online Library Resources: 88 percent Good or Excellent; 12 percent No
Opinion or Fair
Overall Online Learning Experience: 100 percent Good or Excellent
Constructive Feedback: 88 percent Agree or Strongly Agree; 12 percent
Somewhat Disagree or No Opinion
Interaction with Instructor: 82 percent Somewhat Agree or Strongly Agree;
18 percent Somewhat Disagree or No Opinion. (Survey of the Legal Studies
Program, 2008).
Outcomes Assessment
All programs (majors and minors) and General Education courses must submit annual
outcomes assessment reports to the Office of Student Retention and Success, in addition to fiveyear program reviews. According to the Outcomes Assessment Committee’s “Facilitator Guide”
(2004), this process, “is a key determinant of whether or not the program makes the desired
difference in student learning” (p. 1). Outcomes Assessment is performed on both traditional
and online classes. The quantitative and qualitative measures gauge the success of students in
reaching program and course goals. (See Chapter 14 for detailed discussion of outcomes
assessment.) The General Education Committee began collecting data approximately two years
ago for courses on its menus. (See Chapter 12 for a detailed discussion of the process.)
Faculty Development and Training
Faculty teaching online classes must be certified on either the eCollege platform or
Blackboard platform. There are currently 201 Cal U faculty certified to teach in this format (S.
Powers, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Faculty Professional Development Committee (FPDC) offers a variety of training
opportunities. Through FPDC, faculty can “request consultation regarding their personal
professional development needs through classroom visitations, a personal interview, as well as a
classroom videotaping” (“Faculty Development Resources,” June 9, 2009).
Encouraging Students to Use a Variety of Information and Learning Resources
Many faculty incorporate assignments into their courses that require students to use library
resources. Librarians will scan a limited amount of reference material to be used as an electronic
reference link. Although there is not a full course devoted to library research, each new student at
Cal U with less than 24 credits must attend First Year Seminar. Visiting the Manderino Library
is one of the components of the class. Library staff have developed a new curriculum for their
portion of First Year Seminar to ensure that all seminar students receive the same “building
blocks” of instruction. Several faculty schedule their respective liaison to speak with individual
classes about using electronic databases, such as JSTOR and Lexis/Nexis, and print references.
Cal U’s Library of Congress/Teaching With Primary Resources Program staff visit classes to
teach students about using Library of Congress materials.
All Cal U students, unless they have taken the classes elsewhere and have received transfer
credit, or if they are allowed to substitute “Scientific and Technical Writing” for Composition II,
are required to take English Composition I (ENG 101) and II (ENG 102). According to Dr.
Madeline Smith, Department of English chair:
ENG 102 takes freshmen through the research process and instructs students in
how to write and document papers and/or reports. As part of their course activity,
students are given bibliographical instruction (either by library staff or by their
composition instructor), are taught how to access library materials (in-house and
online) and are mentored in how to produce well-supported, cogent, and (one
hopes) grammatically sound term papers. (M. Smith, personal communication,
July 10, 2009).
Dr. Smith said instructors in ENG 101 may introduce students to the research process;
however, the course protocol syllabus for ENG 102 calls for students to successfully complete a
10-page research paper or the equivalent. English Department composition instructors have
asked librarians to provide library instruction for their classes since, at least 1987, said Ms.
Marsha Nolf, recently retired chair of the library and professor emeritus (M. Noff, personal
interview, June 18, 2009). (See “English Composition Syllabi” folder on the Middle States
dedicated computer drive for examples of English Composition syllabi.)
Assessment records indicate that many departments have explicit research goals and
objectives in their outcomes assessment plans. For example, the Department of Philosophy sets
the goal that students will be able to use library and Internet resources successfully. The
Department of History and Political Sciences measures the extent to which majors are able to
research and use a variety of primary information sources (M. Slavin, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
The University keeps pace with technical needs, replacing computers on a three-year,
purchasing new software and, most recently, hiring a vice president of Information Technology.
Since 2001, students’ responses to American College Testing (ACT) surveys show a six percent
increase in favorable opinions and University facilities and laboratories and a three percent rise
in favorable opinion about library facilities and computer services (N. Hasbrouck, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
General Education Technology Requirement
The University requires that students take two courses (six credit hours) from the General
Education Technological Literacy menu (2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog, 2008,
“Technological Literacy,” pp. 82-83). There are 44 courses on the menu mostly in Computing
Sciences, Geography, Graphics and Multimedia, and Technology Education.
Other Technological Opportunities
Blackboard is used for most online courses, although professors may choose to use a Learning
Management System (LMS). Professors can provide students with course materials, discussion
boards, a virtual chat spot, online quizzes, links to the library, and other resources by using a
LMS. The degree to which a LMS is used in an onsite course varies widely, as some professors
stay with more traditional forms of disseminating materials (e.g., printed handouts and library
reserve). The Faculty Professional Development Committee also offers Blackboard workshops,
as well as other technological training, every semester.
The Instructional Computing Facility on the second floor of Noss Hall is the main location for
students who want to use campus computers. Generally, the labs are open seven days a week
during fall and spring semesters and five days a week during summer sessions. There are 111
computers available. Many departments have microcomputers for student and staff use. There
are 1,130 computers in departments throughout the University. The Multimedia Access Center
in the Natali Student Center, which is operated by SAI, has nine desktop computers and one
laptop. The Commuter Center in the Student Center has 10 computers for students (R. Nichols,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
All Cal U teacher education candidates are required to purchase a LIVETEXT account. This
software is an online portfolio that allows administrators at school districts to view information
about graduating candidates. The Department of Secondary Education offers intensive training to
students and faculty on using LIVETEXT.
The Office of Lifelong Learning has a STARS program, Student Technical Assistance
Resource Staff, who provide tutorials for faculty, staff and others who have questions about
Microsoft products.
Since Spring 2008, the Student Success facilitators in the Office of Student Retention and
Success have offered On-Course Degree Audit workshops for students. On-Course Degree
Audit is an automated program that compares degree requirements with a student's actual and/or
projected course of study.
Integrating Internships Into the Disciplines
The Internship Center began collecting data on student placements a year after it opened in
2004. Figure 11.1 shows the growth in experiential activities, including practicums, co-ops,
internships, and student teaching.
Figure 11.1: Total Experiential Learning: Breakdown by PASSHE Academic Year
Source: Primm, K., (2009). Cal U Internship Center Report.
Varieties of Experiential Programs
Some programs require students to work individually or in teams to complete a capstone or
research project. For example, many of the science disciplines require junior or senior students to
apply the scientific method in a research study supervised by a faculty member or another
student. Students may do field research, collect data, and then analyze it.
Technology disciplines often require senior projects that apply computing, project
management, or engineering methods. Small teams of students plan, build, and test software
applications or physical products designed to solve specific problems. For example, Computer
Information Systems students worked with the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh to develop a
database for films from the Westinghouse Corporation. Computer Science students worked with
the Mon Valley Hospital as a temporary expanded pool of help-desk operators when the hospital
recently replaced a paper data retrieval system for physicians and staff with a system-wide digital
database information retrieval system.
Human service disciplines may require students to provide services, such as athletic training
with local school districts or nursing and physical therapy assistant clinicals at hospitals. Arts
disciplines may require students to participate in theatrical productions, display their work at art
shows, or participate in musical productions, such as chorus, marching band, or symphony
performances. Education disciplines require students to observe at schools in a variety of settings
to gain a better perspective of their field of study before student teaching. All disciplines may
require extracurricular public service activities.
The Internship Center administers internships and helps place students by keeping them
informed about resources and deadlines. The two-person staff prepares them for what to expect
from an internship and helps them navigate the University system.
Faculty in academic departments approve, in consultation with the onsite supervisor and
student, a description of duties and responsibilities for the student, keeping focused on the
internship’s learning objectives. The professor stays in touch with the student and the onsite
supervisor. The professor contacts the supervisor a minimum of three times and does at least one
onsite visit, if possible. At the end of the internship, the faculty member assigns the grade for the
internship, based on contacts with the supervisor, the student’s reports, and the supervisor’s
reports. Many departments require students to submit a journal that describes their duties and
accomplishments on a day-by-day basis, a reflective essay in which the student demonstrates that
the internship experience helped in achieving the learning objectives for the internship, and a
professional portfolio of work produced as part of the internship. In each of these documents,
the faculty member is looking for a clear demonstration that the student has achieved career and
character development through the internship. Although each academic department has the
freedom to structure the internship and to create its own evaluation tools, all internship courses
include a course syllabus with clearly defined learning outcomes, and all internships require
employer, student and faculty evaluations to measure success (K. Primm, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Employers give overall positive reviews of Cal U’s students (California University of
Pennsylvania Continuous Improvement Committee, 2008). Several success stories may be found
on the Internship Center’s Web page (http://www.cup.edu/current/index.jsp?pageId1580830010421175181985681).
Although every course at Cal U, in some way, advances the University’s Mission of building
character and careers, it may be worthwhile to require a statement in all syllabi that describes
how the course meets the University’s Mission and Goals.
There are established procedures for proposing courses and programs that everyone is
expected to follow. Those who propose online courses follow the same basic course development
procedures as those proposing onsite classes. If there is an onsite parallel of an online class, the
content of the two classes is similar; usually just the method of delivery, means of assessment,
and course materials differ.
Although it seems Cal U online and onsite classes are parallel in structure and rigor, no
outcomes assessment has been done for the graduate programs. The dean of the School of
Graduate Studies and Research announced, in January 2009, that outcomes assessment will be
conducted in each graduate program, as well as in the undergraduate Global Online programs,
which fall under his jurisdiction.
Cal U faculty and administrators use a myriad of methods for staying current with
developments in their disciplines and the needs of employers, including consulting advisory
boards, doing surveys, attending professional conferences, and many other methods. There may
be a real benefit to establishing advisory boards for the undergraduate colleges and graduate
school. More program-level advisory boards also may be helpful.
An Employer Development Program could be launched to find more employers with whom to
build relationships. Career Services has set a goal of adding 30 new employers to Career
Services’ bank of employers with whom the University has a relationship. The Internship Center
director makes personal calls and visits to area businesses, seeking internship opportunities for
Cal U students.
The Manderino Library staff plays a critical role within the University community. Efforts
are made to introduce students to library resources and services, including how best to use them.
New students learn about library services in the First Year Seminar and various classes. Library
staff seek academic departments’ input on developing the library’s collection, and many do
guest lectures for professors whose students need to polish their research skills for major papers
and projects. It would be helpful if the library maintained a record of individual class
presentations rather than rely on anecdotal information. Perhaps brief evaluation forms could be
given to students at the end of the sessions to determine what did and did not help. The data
could be used for multiple purposes: division reports, accreditation reports, librarians’ dossiers,
and student feedback.
Cal U provides many technical services to faculty, staff, and students, and has outfitted a
large number of buildings and classrooms with state-of-art equipment. The new vice president
for Information Technology, Dr. Charles Mance, explained that his goal “is to build a cohesive
information technology department capable of providing a quality service to the University
community.” He also is committed to creating “a secure technology environment” (“California
University Names Vice President for IT, March 18, 2009). There would be great benefit to
opening an Office of Instructional Technology for the purpose of providing the University
community with advanced training and support.
College deans noted in interviews that internships in accredited programs are more likely to
meet National Society for Experiential Education’s Standards of Practice if there are orientation
and training, reflection, and assessment and evaluations (“Internship Center Program Review,”
2007, p. 9). The Internship Center requires students to complete a series of online modules on
topics, such as work ethics and personal security, prior to starting the job; however, there is no
formal assessment of student learning with the exception of the faculty advisors’ evaluations
(grades) of students’ work experience and course assignments. Career Services added questions
to its survey of Cal U graduates, asking whether they completed an internship and, if so, whether
helped them find their current job.
California University of Pennsylvania’s educational offerings come in many forms. The
University is involved in some exciting new ways to expand its traditional system of delivering
classes. Through online courses and partnerships with local business innovation development
zones, among many programs, Cal U is exploring ways to remain the leader in providing
educational opportunities relevant to the lives of the people of southwestern Pennsylvania and
Graduates of all programs, not just accredited ones, should be surveyed to ascertain if the
training and skills students received benefitted them in the job market or in graduate
A record of faculty professional memberships should be maintained.
Procedures for evaluating and comparing student learning in the onsite and online
versions of identical courses should be instituted.
All syllabi should indicate how the course meets the University’s mission of building
character and careers.
Student learning should be assessed in all graduate and Global Online programs.
Establish advisory boards for all undergraduate disciplines and graduate programs.
Launch an Employer Development Program to identify firms with which to build
Establish an Office of Instructional Technology to provide the university community with
advanced technological training and support services.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Members of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
declared that 40 percent of the credits that students earn toward their bachelor’s degrees be
General Education courses in the humanities, fine arts, communication, social and behavioral
sciences, mathematics and natural sciences Another 40 percent of coursework is to be upper
level, advanced work, beyond the sophomore level (“Policy 1990-06-A: Academic Degrees,”
October 18, 1990; revised, July 18, 1991, and April 11, 1992). The Board of Governors added
“critical thinking,” “information literacy,” and “multicultural” understanding to the General
Education policy in another action (“Policy 1993-01: General Education at State System of
Higher Education Universities, January 21, 1993, pp. 3-4).
California University of Pennsylvania complies with the Board of Governors’ policies by
requiring Cal U students to take 49 to 51 General Education credits. Except for two, upperdivision writing intensive classes in the major, and three required General Education classes at
the 300-to-400 level, most General Education classes are for freshmen and sophomores.
Cal U’s General Education classes and the number of classes in each category are: First Year
Seminar – 1; Critical Thinking – 88; Public Speaking – 4; Mathematics – 16; Multicultural
Awareness – 84; Values – 62; Health and Wellness – 12; Humanities, 84; Fine Arts – 51;
Natural Sciences – 33; Social Sciences – 96; Technological Literacy – 44; and, Laboratory – 30.
Students also take two upper-division Writing Intensive classes in their majors (Advisement
Sheets, 2008).
From the General Education menu, students must take: First Year Seminar, one Public
Speaking class, Composition I and II (some can take Scientific and Technical Writing in place of
Composition II), two Natural Science classes, one Laboratory course (this does not have to be in
a Natural Science discipline), two Technological Literacy classes, one Mathematics class, two
Social Science classes, one Humanities class, one Fine Arts class, one Critical Thinking class,
one Multicultural Awareness class, one Values class, one Health and Wellness class, and the two
upper-division Writing Intensive classes in their major (“Goals and Objectives,” 2003).
The University Undergraduate Catalog and University Web site describe the General
Education menus and requirements. A survey of advisement sheets shows that all program
advisement sheets – sheets that list requirements for majors -- list the General Education
The committee consists of five faculty representatives from each college of the University, as
well as a representative from Student Services. The undergraduate college deans and provost are
ex officio members. The General Education Committee votes on additions to the General
Education menu, and makes its recommendations to the provost who has the authority to accept
or reject them.
Students learn about General Education classes at Student Orientation, First Year Seminar,
during academic advising and when using the Academic Degree Audit program.
Registering for General Education Classes
During registration each semester, approximately 35 courses are blocked to juniors and
seniors, most of which are General Education courses targeted at freshmen and sophomores. The
classes are blocked to discourage upperclassmen from taking, as general electives, lower division
classes they do not need. Juniors or seniors who must have the blocked classes to graduate can
petition to schedule the class. There also is a Needs List. When students find classes are filled
that they need for graduation or to progress toward graduation, they can add their name to a
Needs List, and thus petition to have the class added to the University’s class schedule. If enough
students petition, the class may be added (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
There also are Late Start classes, which often are General Education classes that help students
who are having trouble in one or more classes. Without adding the Late Start class, the students
would fall below fulltime status after dropping their problem class or classes. The Late State
classes help them prevent this (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Assessment of General Education Classes
In 2006, the General Education Committee created an Ad Hoc Outcomes Assessment
Subcommittee, which fashioned a plan to assess a sample of General Education courses each
semester, starting in Fall 2007 (Minutes, General Education Committee, 2007-2008).
The Outcomes Assessment plan calls for 20 percent of the courses offered on each General
Education menu to be randomly selected for Outcomes Assessment each semester.
Each of the 12 menus of classes on the General Education Menu has goals and objectives, as
established by the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
For example, the goals for General Education “Public Speaking” classes are for students to “have
the ability to develop and present ideas. Communication skills include both ‘those required for
effective reading, writing, speaking and listening,’ and an ‘awareness of the challenges of crosscultural communication’” (“Public Speaking,” 2003)
The objectives for students taking Public Speaking classes are:
To be able to demonstrate the theory and application of public speaking;
To construct and arrange arguments, evidence, information and appeals in
speeches designed to accomplish informative and persuasive communication
To demonstrate the use of language in speeches designed to accomplish
informative and persuasive communication goals;
To prepare and deliver effective communication with audiences in the
presentations of speeches; and
To make critical and ethical evaluation of public speeches. (“Public Speaking,”
When departments are notified that one or more of their courses on the General Education
menus have been selected for General Education Outcomes Assessment, they submit Interim and
Final Outcomes Assessment reports by specified dates. For each course selected, the department
chooses at least two of the objectives from the pertinent General Education menu and the
department creates two measures to assess how successful students in the course were at meeting
the objective. One of the measures may be subjective. The Interim Report states which objectives
will be assessed and which measures will be used. The Final Report summarizes the data
collected and how the department will use the results for continuous improvement (P. Hettler,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
First Year Seminar and Composition classes follow their own, separate, Outcomes
Assessment plans.
During 2007-2008, the General Education Committee received complete Final Outcomes
Assessment reports from 47 percent of the courses selected for assessment. At least six courses
were sampled from all of the menus except Natural Sciences, Fine Arts, and Health and
Wellness. Data are still being collected for the 2008-2009 academic year. The 2007-2008 data
show that faculty chose a wide variety of measures to assess student achievement. Nearly all
reports indicate that students met or exceeded the assessment standards chosen.
First Year Seminar has been evaluated through two, Five-Year Program Reviews for Student
Retention and Success. It has received positive comments from internal and external reviewers.
During 2007-2008, the Office of Continuous Improvement conducted a student survey of the
effectiveness of First Year Seminar. The results were positive (H. Langley, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
In 2008-2009, Composition launched an Outcomes Assessment process that so far has been
completed for one semester. The process included collecting and assessing many student
compositions. The projected outcomes were: One, “Students will demonstrate a capacity to
carry out the planning, drafting, revising, and editing stages of the writing proves,” with 85
percent of the students’ portfolios to score 15 or higher. Two, “Students will produce prose that
is clear (clarity), coherent (unity and coherence), convincing (effectiveness), and correct
(conventions),” with 85 percent of the portfolios to score 12 or higher. Sixteen sections of
Composition turned in materials for review, or 47 percent of the sections that semester (M.
Smith, personal communication, July 11, 2009). The Composition Outcomes Assessment
program is new and did not get underway until the semester had started, making it difficult for
some professors to comply with the terms of the assessment (M. Smith, personal communication,
July 11, 2009). It is expected compliance will be higher when the program is fully operational.
Assessing the General Education Program
Cal U’s current General Education plan has been in effect since 1999. The General Education
Committee is undergoing a Program Review and exploring alternative categories for the General
Education menus. As previously noted, the compliance rate for General Education’s Outcomes
Assessment in 2007-2008 was 47 percent. That was the first year outcomes assessment was done
for General Education classes. Another reason the compliance rate was somewhat low was that
at the moment, there is no quick way to discover which General Education classes are offered in
any given semester. It is necessary to search “by hand” through each semester’s course offerings
to find the General Education classes being offered. Thus, some departments were not notified
that some of their General Education classes were undergoing outcomes assessment until after
the semester had started (P. Hettler, personal communication, Spring 2009)..
One major change the General Education Committee made in recent years was adding a
requirement that nine credits of General Education be 300-to-400 level classes. This responds to
the Board of Governor’s requirement that 40 percent of the overall bachelor’s degree be in upper
division classes. The General Education Committee also added a foreign language “wild card” so
there now are foreign language classes on many of the General Education menus (P. Hettler,
personal communication, Spring 2009).
Last year, the 2008-2009 General Education menus had 294 upper-level classes. Each menu
had 300-to-400-level General Education classes, except for Public Speaking (Advisement Sheets,
There were 99 program sheets listing course requirements. Of those, 30 sheets specified
which 300-to-400-level courses in General Education their students needed to take. The other 69
sheets required upper division General Education classes but did not specify which of those
classes students needed to take. Most of the required General Education classes are in the
College of Education and Human Services, where 26 of 29 program sheets require specific
courses. The College of Liberal Arts does not have a single program that requires specific
courses in General Education. All program sheets list the 300-to-400-level requirement
(Advisement Sheets, 2008).
Eighty-two of the 99 programs have identified and approved writing intensive courses
(General Education Writing Intensive List, 2008).
Fifty-seven of the 99 programs require students take courses in their major that are listed in
the General Education portion of their program advisement sheets. These include 28 of the 29
programs in the College of Education and Human Services; 29 of 34 programs in Science and
Technology; and no programs in the College of Liberal Arts (Advisement Sheets, 2008).
There are 607 classes listed on the General Education menus; however, some are listed on
multiple menus, making the number of unique classes lower. Nonetheless, students have many
classes from which to select in fulfilling their General Education requirement. The Board of
Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has mandated that students at
the 14 state schools select 40 percent of the courses for their bachelor’s degrees from General
Education classes. Cal U is in compliance with the Board of Governors’ policy.
Sometimes, General Education classes fill quickly and students have trouble getting into the
ones they would like to take. There is a process of petitioning to be admitted, and one for getting
on a Needs List; however, not every student is successful using these methods. The blocking of
classes, petitioning, and Needs List process has become more essential with the University’s
increasing focus on faculty productivity and its monitoring of the numbers of classes or sections
offered each semester. This monitoring often means that General Education classes are the first
ones cut when departments are asked to sacrifice a course for efficiency’s sake. The result is
larger class sizes for the remaining General Education classes. The larger classes may offset the
smaller sizes of many upper division classes within a major.
General Education’s Outcomes Assessment program is two years old and still working out
some of the kinks. The General Education program is undergoing a Program Review and is
looking at changing some of the menus and making other changes. One change expected is that
each department will provide a five-year plan to assess General Education objectives of all the
courses they offer on the General Education menu. This plan will be required before courses are
accepted for the menu. Failure to comply may result in courses being removed from menus. One
of the problems with the existing assessment plan is that it is difficult to know which General
Education classes are being offered each semester without a “hand” search. Thus, some
departments are not notified their classes are to be assessed until after the semester starts.
If each department submits a five-year plan, it will be easier to keep track of when courses are
to be assessed. A permanent General Education subcommittee should oversee the assessment
process, and the committee’s graduate assistant should spend much of his or her time collecting
and organizing the Outcomes Assessment data.
Not every program is in compliance with the Writing Intensive requirement and efforts should
be made to get all programs to comply.
The University also may want to more closely evaluate whether transfer students are in
compliance with the requirement that nine credits of General Education be in 300-to-400-level
classes. Some transfer students may get General Education transfer credit for completing most,
or even all, General Education coursework at the 100-to-200 level.
Traditional programs and professional programs have taken different approaches to General
Education. Professional programs, such as teacher education programs, and some programs in
the sciences, require students to take prescribed General Education classes, often to meet the
needs of accreditation. Students in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are
expected to complete 120 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. Because 48 credits must be General
Education classes, students in some accredited programs cannot complete all required courses
within the 120-credit limit unless some classes are placed on the General Education menus.
Thus, some General Education classes are specific to certain majors and not available to all
students at the University, although the classes do meet the objectives for inclusion on the
menus. It may be advisable to assess student learning as it applies to General Education to gauge
if requiring specific General Education classes affects student learning.
The administration has supported General Education by approving a graduate assistant’s
position to help with clerical matters, a job that has been filled since Fall 2008. However, it
would be helpful if a faculty member served as a General Education “quasi-administrator” and
receive a workload reduction. The members of the General Education Committee then would
have less of an administrative burden and would be able to spend more time educating faculty
about General Education requirements, overseeing the Outcomes Assessment process, analyzing
data and performing other duties.
It may be advisable to reduce the General Education curriculum to the minimum-mandated 48
credits to ease some of the pressure on accredited programs. Committee members should
seriously consider how to revise the program to meet changing conditions at the University.
California University of Pennsylvania has a robust General Education program, which is
currently undergoing a program review. General Education Committee members already have
plans to modify the outcomes assessment process and get more programs to participate. General
Education classes sometimes pay the price of productivity pressures. Those involved in the
General Education program, however, seem to have embraced the University’s objective to
maintain an ongoing system of self-evaluation and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Institute a timely procedure for notifying departments which of their General Education
courses are due to be evaluated.
All departments should submit five-year plans to the General Education Committee in
order to facilitate the selection of courses to be evaluated.
All programs need to comply with the two-course Upper Division Writing Intensive
Component requirement.
A faculty member should receive a workload reduction to serve as a quasi-administrator
of the General Education Committee in order to free committee members from
performing many administrative tasks.
The General Education Committee may want to make a recommendation to the provost
to reduce the General Education curriculum to the minimum-mandated 48 credit hours to
ease pressure on tightly structured accredited programs.
Courses must meet General Education criteria to be included on the menu, but the
Committee has yet to assess whether the courses actually meet student learning
The Committee should evaluate existing data as it is received.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Learning is not limited to the physical classroom on the main campus. The University, in
response to varied needs of a diverse student population, instituted a number of programs to
provide educational opportunities in venues other than the main campus. It also established
several ways to monitor the academic progress of students who come to Cal U underprepared for
college-level work.
Helping Underprepared Students
The University has a number of programs to help underprepared students before arrival, upon
arrival, and after their first semester.
Before Arrival
During Academic Discovery Days and Open House Days, Student Success Facilitators from
the Office of Student Retention and Success inform prospective students and their parents of the
services offered through the Office of Student Retention, such as tutoring centers for reading,
writing, and mathematics and assistance for students on academic probation.
Students with low SAT scores are urged to take placement tests to help identify appropriate
level classes in writing and mathematics. The Office of Student Retention and Success staff work
with students to develop tentative schedules based on their SAT scores, placement scores,
proposed majors, and other factors. Faculty advisors may review these schedules and propose
During Summer Orientation and registration, students meet with staff from Student Retention
and Success, at which time they may revise their class schedules, re-test, explore other course
options, and confirm their schedules for the fall term. Students soon learn that Noss Hall is the
center for academic support.
Upon Arrival
The Academic Scheduling Center staff assist students with selecting and registering for
courses if they have not declared a major. Students who have declared a major are encouraged to
consult with an advisor in their discipline, although Academic Scheduling staff are also available
to help.
All new students take First Year Seminar, which serves as an extended orientation to the
University and covers topics, such as developing life goals, doing academic planning, managing
one’s time, getting involved in extracurricular activities, learning about academic resources (e.g.,
the Math Lab, Reading Clinic, Writing Center, and Tutoring Center), applying for financial aid,
and career planning.
Student Progress Reports
The Office of Student Retention and Success asks faculty to verify their class rosters soon
after the semester gets underway. Those students who have poor attendance receive an “Early
Warning,” and are told that the staff will help them drop or add classes, contact instructors, or
take other appropriate action. Faculty are encouraged to notify the office if students are not
attending class or are having difficulty. These students are sent an “Early Warning,” indicating
the problem. Faculty are required to submit midterm grade reports for students. Those who are
earning below a C receive an “Early Warning” from Student Retention with an offer to help. The
University publicizes the deadline to drop classes both on its Web site and via e-mail
announcements, and some faculty include the date on their course syllabi.
The University offers Late Start classes as a means to help students who are failing and must
a drop class, but by so doing, would jeopardize their fulltime enrollment status.
After the First Semester
Students on probation are required to participate in the Probationary Assistance Program
(PASS) in which they meet in small groups with graduate assistants who help them with study
skills, time management, and other problems.
Student Retention offers Degree Audit workshops so students learn how to monitor their own
progress toward fulfilling degree requirements. The information is particularly valuable for
students who choose not to meet with their faculty advisers on a regular basis.
The Office of Student Retention and Success also maintains a database that can track entire
cohorts. Information includes students who: (1) did not complete 15 credits per term
successfully, (2) did not earn a 2.00 grade point average for a specific term, and (3) did not
register early for the following semester or return to campus. Based on this information,
University staff can intervene in an attempt to keep students on track for graduation (“5-Year
Program Review of the Office of Student Retention,” 2003; “Four Year Graduation Plan –
Continuous Improvement,” 2006; “New Course Proposals for Exercise Program,” 2005; “New
Course Proposal for Health Program,” 2005; “2007-2008 5-Year Program Review of the Office
of Student Retention,” 2008).
Aligning Certificate Programs with the University’s Mission and Assessing Student
An overview of certificate program information indicates that program goals, objectives, and
expectations of student learning are clearly stated, program requirements and curricular sequence
are explained, a support system is in place, there are links to campus support services, and
successfully completed courses may be transferred to degree programs.
Materials from select undergraduate and graduate certificate programs (i.e., post-Bachelor of
Science in Nursing, Crime Mapping, Wildlife Biology, Geographical Information Systems,
Facility and Event Management, Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, Advanced Study in
Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sports Counseling, and Exercise Science and Health Promotion
(three tracks) indicate:
 The credit-based certificate programs go through the same review process as degree
programs. This includes winning approval by the department, college council,
University-Wide Curriculum Committee, and provost.
 Each new course proposal for certificate programs includes an advisement sheet, which
lists classes required for the certificate, clearly articulated course objectives, a catalog
description, a course outline, a synopsis of teaching methodology, a recommended text,
well-defined assessment activities of student performance in the classroom, and a
statement about accommodating students with disabilities.
 Students in degree-seeking programs and students in certificate programs take the same
courses and are taught by the same professors. Thus, it is not necessary for departments
to further oversee whether the certificate classes will transfer into the degree programs.
They do, as they are one and the same.
The University adopted a new plan that all non-degree graduate certificate program proposals
are to be reviewed by colleagues in the undergraduate colleges. Previously, all graduate program
proposals (certificate and degree) went from the relevant academic department to the Graduate
Council and then to the University Curriculum Committee. With the new process, the program
proposal goes through the appropriate undergraduate college, both as a matter of courtesy and to
ensure that experts in the field (including the dean), will have the chance to examine the
documents and, thus, guarantee that all certificate programs are consistent with the University’s
The School of Graduate Studies and Research recently announced it will become more fully
involved in academic Outcome Assessments for all graduate degree and certificate programs.
This had not been the case previously, and the rate of completion of outcome assessment plans
was not as high as it might have been. As this process develops, the Graduate School also may
ask that program learning goals with national criteria be incorporated, when applicable (“New
Course Proposal for Crime Mapping Certificate,” 2001; “New Course Proposal for Wildlife
Biology Certificate,” 2001; “New Course Proposal for School of Nursing Certificate,” 2005;
“New Course Proposal for Exercise Science Program,” 2005; “New Course Proposal for Health
Program,” 2005; “New Course Proposal for Facility and Event Management,” 2007; “New
Course Proposal for Intercollegiate Athletic Administration,” 2007; “New Course Proposal for
Advanced Study of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” 2007; “New Course Proposal for Sports
Counseling Certificate,” 2008).
Experiential Learning
Cal U awards credit for life learning through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
and the military version of the test DSST (DANTES). Some of the earliest standards for this
process were developed, in 1980, by the Department of Nursing. This process is still in place in
the nursing program and involves a portfolio review. The student is awarded credit for General
Education and for the clinical aspects of the program by the presentation of a formal portfolio,
which is evaluated by department faculty.
In 2003, Cal U also instituted a Prior Learning Assessment program with the assistance of a
consultant from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The program consists of two
tracks: One, a student may receive life experience equivalency credits for courses listed in the
University Undergraduate Catalog. Two, a student may earn life experience equivalency credits
for experiences or technical skills that do not align with courses in the catalog. In the latter case,
the University may award Workforce Development Special Topics credit. These may not exceed
30 credit hours, and students may apply them toward an associate of science degree in Technical
Studies or a bachelor of science degree in Science and Technology. These two degrees often are
referred to as flexible (flex) degrees that allow students to essentially design their own degree
programs to better meet specific interests or needs of business or industry. The Eberly College of
Science and Technology offers these degrees and also has programs to award Workforce
Development credits for various industrial certifications.
In addition to awarding credit through CLEP/DSST (DANTES) and other challenge
examinations, certifications, apprenticeships, and similar programs may count toward a degree.
This also holds for portfolios that demonstrate competencies equivalent to course objectives. In
both cases, a faculty member or department chair evaluates the materials and the college dean
determines if credit will be given. To date, the University has awarded credit for some
certifications and, in two cases, has awarded credits for portfolios that demonstrated competency
equivalent to course objectives.
One person applied for graduate credit through the Prior Learning Assessment process. That
application was turned down, because the policies in effect did not include graduate credit.
However, it was recommended that the person’s prior experiences be compared to national
standards. The matter will go before the Academic Affairs Council. The Academic Affairs
Council may make a policy recommendation, which would be referred to the University Forum
and then to President Armenti (“Prior Learning Assessment: Report,” 2004; “Prior Learning
Assessment,” 2008; Council for Adult Experiential Learning, 2003).
Noncredit Offerings
The University provides a number of noncredit opportunities through the Office of Lifelong
Learning, Character Education Institute, and Southpointe Center. Individuals with relevant
education, training, and experience oversee these programs, which are consistent with the
University’s Mission and Goals.
One program offered through the Office of Lifelong Learning is the SEEK (Summer
Educational Enrichment for Kids) Program. The SEEK Program offers courses, during July and
August, to students in Grades 1 through 8. The enrollments are highest in the lower-level grades.
In 2005, SEEK data indicate that 80 courses were scheduled initially but only 60 were held. In
2008, 96 courses were offered but only 84 ran. Enrollments for the two years were 244 and 350
students, respectively. Average enrollment per class was 3.64 students, in 2005, and 4.17 in
2008. The program, which has generated a profit each year, is tuition-driven and self-sustaining
(“Reports,” 2009; “Summer Educational Enrichment Program for Kids,” June 26, 2009).
The Office of Lifelong Learning and Character Education Institute cooperate in providing
training in Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” to the Cal U community.
Over 1,000 students, faculty, and staff have attended free “Seven Habits” workshops. In Summer
2006, more than 60 employees from Monongahela Valley Hospital attended a reception at the
Kara Alumni House to celebrate their completion of Covey training. Mon Valley Hospital
subsequently sent 25 employees to Covey training, in 2007, and 22 in 2008. The hospital, in
return, awarded the University a grant that became the Mon Valley Hospital Endowed
Scholarship. Six other training sessions were held in Spring 2008 for 129 people from outside the
University. These sessions provided an additional $71,000 for the scholarship endowment.
Fall 2007, 1,600 individuals, including those from the surrounding region and campus
community attended a Stephen Covey seminar and expert presentations at no cost. October 2007,
DeVerl Austin, a senior consultant at FranklinCovey, conducted a leadership session for the
Administrative Council and for the “Seven Habits” facilitators. Mr. Austin also led the
Administrative Council and Cabinet through a session of “The Four Disciplines of Execution”
(“Character Education Institute,” January 8, 2009; “Reports,” 2009). July 29-30, 2009, Stephen
Covey headlined “Education Summit 2009” for area educators, which included presentations by
several “Seven Habits” experts.
Lifelong Learning also oversees Summer School, as well as software training for staff, and
helps non-degree-seeking members of the community register for University classes. It formerly
offered non-credit classes for adults but has not done so, since 2000, because the nearby Center
in the Woods offered similar programming.
The Character Education Institute oversees a resource collection of character education
materials in Manderino Library, and works with school districts that want to establish character
education programs
Off-Campus Sites Offering Credit and Noncredit Classes
Until July 1, 2009, Cal U had two off-campus sites: one in the Regional Enterprise Tower
(RET) in downtown Pittsburgh and the other at the Southpointe Center in Canonsburg. The
centers were consolidated at Southpointe, because the RET programs transitioned from onsite
classes to online delivery. Moreover, it was cost-effective to consolidate the separate operations.
The offices for Cal U Global Online also relocated from California to Southpointe.
Regional Enterprise Tower (RET)
The Cal U Pittsburgh site, which was located in the Regional Enterprise Tower at 425 Sixth
Avenue, Suite 430, was established to conduct training and other educational activities to those
pursuing upper level or graduate studies or who were employed professionals seeking additional
education. RET offered both credit and noncredit classes and programs through traditional and
distance education or online formats to serve working adults. There were a computer classroom,
multimedia lab, and videoconferencing classroom/meeting space.
The master of arts degree programs offered through the Pittsburgh location, which evolved
into mostly online programs also available through the main campus, included: a master of arts
in Social Science, master of science in Legal Studies, Law and Public Policy, and. a K-12
Administrative Program for principals with a master’s degree in Education. There also were
three certificate programs, including a Certificate in Homeland Security, Superintendent Letter
of Eligibility Program, and K-12 Administrative Program for Principal’s Certification. Cal U
Executive Vice President Joyce Hanley said no programs will be cut as a result of closing the
RET campus and moving operations to Southpointe (J. Hanley, personal communication,, July
14, 2009).
Fall 2002, RET began offering customized job training through the state-sponsored
WEDnetPA program (Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania), which
helps employers train workers for free (“WEDnetPA,” 2006). Over 10,174 individuals enrolled
in classes to enhance worker performance. Ninety percent of those classes were at employee
work sites throughout southwestern Pennsylvania and represented over 50 companies (“Report
on Support to RET, 2002-2007, 2009).
Southpointe Center
Southpointe Center, located at 135 Technology Drive in Canonsburg, opened in January 1997
to reach adult learners. It offers programs geared to the needs of area residents and businesses.
Master of science programs in Business Administration and Elementary Education with
Certification are offered at the site.
The site has three computer labs, a library with electronic accessibility, and fiber optic
connections for distance learning and video teleconferencing. Over $100,000 of distanceeducation equipment is in use.
Southpointe also offers tailored training to workers through the WEDnetPA training program.
Twenty to 25 companies participated in the program at Southpointe in each of the last four years.
The number of classes increased from 68 in 2004-2005 to 355 classes in 2006-2007. The
numbers dropped in 2007-2008 to 163 classes and 1,582 participants. Grant funding for the
program was cut during 2007-2008.
January 2008, Southpointe introduced 11 classes in an Executive Training Series. The
program grew to 63 classes by Fall 2008 with an enrollment of 178 students. The total
enrollment for the Building Instructor Training Program was 106 over a four-year period (2004
to 2008). Only one person participated in online Linux training” (“Report on Support to
Southpointe,” 2009).
Clarion University Partnership Through Interactive Television (ITV)
Clarion Athletic Training students can attend their own University, while completing 25
credits from Cal U through Interactive Television. The students complete a degree in Athletic
Training through Cal U that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic
Training Education, but earn a bachelor of science degree from Clarion. The 2008-2009
academic year was the ninth in which all enrolled students successfully completed the Board of
Certification exam in Athletic Training. Clarion and Cal U share the tuition for these courses, but
all other resources are separate.
The University’s Office of Student Retention and Success has developed a strong plan for
helping underprepared students succeed at California University of Pennsylvania. The Office of
Student Retention and Success plans to develop an umbrella, “upfront” program tailored for
students who are identified at risk. This program will be available during the first semester an
underprepared student is at Cal U. It would be noncredit and require graduate assistants or workstudy students to help it succeed. A program like this deserves support. Student Retention and
Success also is considering expanding the Probationary Assistance Program to include anyone
who does poorly at the midterm. This deserves exploration.
Cal U’s certificate programs are aligned with the University’s Mission and appear to be
rigorous, as many of the courses are the same that students in traditional undergraduate programs
The University’s policies for awarding experiential credit seem to be working well; however,
it has been a number of years since the policies were implemented. It may be time to review the
entire process to ensure that Prior Learning Assessment credits are supported by credible
evidence and awarded according to published policies and procedures.
The Summer Educational Enrichment for Kids Program is an innovative mean to get children
comfortable with being on a college campus and learning new things. An assessment of the
classes should be offered and an analysis conducted to determine future offerings.
Southpointe offers many training programs through the WEDnetPA program, and its new
Executive Training Series appears to fill an important need in the business community; but, the
site needs to work even harder to provide additional training and noncredit courses for
corporations. Its location near Pittsburgh makes this feasible. Southpointe ought to explore
offering noncredit classes for the nearby community to fill the gap left when they were no longer
offered on campus. Moving the RET program to Southpointe seems sensible and economical, as
the RET program had evolved into an online program.
The Character Education Institute should continue providing character education training and,
perhaps, should explore finding other outside participants for its services.
Finally, the administration should study the needs of contemporary adult noncredit learners
who live in Cal U’s geographical vicinity.
California University of Pennsylvania has made many strides to retain underprepared students
and is considering other measures. This demonstrates the University’s commitment to its core
values of integrity, civility, and responsibility. It also shows the University is aware that in this
time of economic uncertainty, every student is valuable. Retaining students is both the
economically prudent and the ethical thing to do.
While the University’s administrators, faculty, and staff focus on helping potential new and
current students, there also is a need to develop programs that appeal to adult workers, people
interested in noncredit classes, and those not in close proximity to campus. The University has
developed many ways to reach these markets, including Cal U Global Online and Southpointe,
the latter of which serves business needs for training employees and also helps adult learners get
the education they need; however, it must continue to be innovative and visionary.
Establish programs that appeal to adult workers, such as those for which they can receive
continuing education units.
Develop noncredit courses for individuals seeking personal enrichment, but not college
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
Assessment of student learning at California University of Pennsylvania is essential in
providing students with a rigorous, competitive education and in measuring whether Cal U is
fulfilling its Mission by building character and careers. The administration, faculty, and staff are
committed to using student performance results to improve academic courses and programs, the
General Education program, co-curricular programs, and other educational offerings.
The Roots of Cal U Assessment Plan
In 1989, the College of Science and Technology was the first to investigate Assessment of
Student Learning (ASL). By 1990-91, a University-wide committee, after evaluating assessment
on campus, concluded not enough was being done to measure what students learned or could do
after taking classes or participating in other educational experiences. With the help of a small
State System of Higher Education grant, the academic colleges met in 1992-1993 to design
program-level assessment models. Those models included educational philosophies or mission
statements tied to the University’s Mission Statement, educational goals (outcomes) and
measurable educational objectives. Dr. Donald Farmer, a nationally recognized consultant in
course-embedded assessment of student learning, evaluated the plan. The associate deans of the
three undergraduate colleges initiated and monitored the assessment program.
Dr. Gail Ditkoff, appointed interim provost in 1996, was to promote and advance the
assessment of student learning. At the same time, the Board of Governors of the State System of
Higher Education adopted its own policy, Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (Board of
Governors, January 16, 1997) and Ditkoff worked with faculty to develop Cal U’s plan, based on
the state plan. Cal U hosted a system-wide workshop on program-level assessment, and later, the
University incorporated into its assessment strategy a model that Dr. James Nichols presented at
the workshop.
Cal U’s Institutional Plan for Assessment of Student Learning included a Coordinating
Committee and subcommittees for Undergraduate Academic Majors (programs), Graduate
Programs, Developmental Skills in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing, General Education, and
Co-Curricular Programs. By the end of the first year, the Undergraduate, Developmental, and
General Education committees had results. Ditkoff returned to the faculty, however, and was not
replaced. She recommended that a coordinator be named to oversee Cal U’s assessment plan and
that the person have power to enforce compliance with the plan. She said a budget was needed
to fund the program and reward participants. The associate provost for Student Retention, who
was appointed in October 1996 and responsible for a new student retention policy, now also was
to oversee assessment.
From 1997-2000, Undergraduate and Developmental Academic programs participated in
student assessment. In 1999, General Education introduced a new program after a review.
Some graduate programs did program-level assessments. Student Affairs, with the associate
provost for Student Retention, developed an assessment model that a Middle States Visiting
Team of 2000 praised. Although commending some academic and nonacademic departments for
their assessment strategies, Middle States evaluators found that Cal U’s assessment plan was in a
development stage.
The University’s Committee on Institutional Effectiveness and Outcomes submitted a
Periodic Review Report, responding to issues arising in the 2000 Middle States report in
Standard 14, Assessment of Student Learning. The report discussed the progress made between
2000-2005 and also described the assessment plan’s organizational structure. Plans for 20052010 were to integrate the Assessment of Student Learning with Five-Year Program Reviews, to
publicize the use of data from the Five-Year Program Reviews, and to make these available to
the University Community through Mission Days and the University Forum, which would help
in setting annual institutional goals. The plans also called for the University Forum Budget
Committee to link assessment data to the budgeting process. The University was to produce a
University Fact Book annually to distribute to the University Community.
In a communication dated June 29, 2007, The Middle States Commission asked for
documentation of progress in: (1) implementing a cohesive plan for Assessment of Student
Learning, (2) using assessment results to improve student learning, and (3) linking planning and
assessment to budgeting. Cal U’s response stated that: (1) the University had developed a plan
to tie in with the Board of Governors’ assessment policy for the State System of Higher
Education, (2) courses and curricula were adjusted because of assessment results, and (3) there
was a proposal, which was described, to integrate program and student learning data with the
budget process (Helldobler, 2007).
As described above, the Institutional Plan for Assessment of Student Learning involves five
major groups:
A. The Developmental Studies Committee, consisting of the directors of the Mathematics
Laboratory, the Reading Clinic and the Writing Center, as well as the associate provost for
Student Retention and Success.
B. The Graduate Committee on Program-Level Assessments, which originally consisted
of the Graduate School Council and the dean. There have been five deans since 1997. There
also has been an increase in graduate programs and enrollment, with much of this growth
because of the new Cal U Global Online program. All faculty teaching online have to be
certified by either the eCollege or Blackboard course platform providers that the instructor
knows how to develop course content. The Global Online faculty have surveyed program
graduates about the quality of the programs and teaching. Since Spring 2008, the Graduate
School has used software (Course Eval, Academic Management Systems) to conduct student
evaluations of faculty. In 2007-2008, the new dean reemphasized the importance of determining
what students learn (J. Cencich, personal communication, Spring 2009). (See Appendix 14A for
an evaluation of Graduate Program Reports).
C. The Undergraduate Committee on Program-Level Assessments consists of the college
coordinators representing each undergraduate college and the associate provost for Student
Retention. The associate deans, who first were responsible for implementing program-level
assessment, were phased out in 1997-1998, requiring appointment of college coordinators. At
first, the college coordinators received three-credit workload equivalencies for their assignments.
Later, they lost the workload equivalency; however, each was allocated $3,500 per year from
Faculty Professional Development funds. Each program has an Outcomes Assessment facilitator
who works with the college coordinators to ensure compliance with Assessment of Student
Learning (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Each year, the associate provost publishes guidelines with a timeline for program-level
assessments (Langley, September 12, 2008). Information also is available on the Campus-Wide
Intranet System.
A policy of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors
requires the 14 state system universities to complete a Five-Year Program Review (Board of
Governors, July 15, 1986; rev., October 17, 1991; rev., October 9, 1993). The plan was revised
in 1993 “to include more emphasis on assessment data” (Middle States Periodic Report, 2005, p.
45). Cal U is now integrating the annual and five-year program reviews (Outcomes Assessment
Committee, February 2, 2005).
An electronic report form guide is available to explain the process and help new department
facilitators (“Undergraduate-Graduate Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes Report Form,”
2006, Revised, September 12, 2008).
Each year, the associate provost for Student Retention and Success provides a summary
document that rates the academic program-level Assessments of Student Learning. The provost,
college coordinators, and deans are among those who receive the ratings. (See Appendix 14B
for the ratings of program assessments from 2000-2001 to 2007-2008.)
D. The General Education Committee is randomly sampling courses from the General
Education menus to determine if the courses demonstrate student learning tied to the objectives
of General Education. Several years previously, a General Education Subcommittee on
Assessment tried to evaluate student learning.
E. The Co-Curricular Committee no longer exists, but the associate dean for Student
Development and Services and his staff monitor program assessments and Five-Year Reviews
for the departments in Student Development and Services.
Academic Assessments
Courses That Count Toward Graduation
The University-Wide Curriculum Committee approves all courses. They must have a
protocol syllabus that lists the course objectives and assessment activities tied to the learning
objectives (“California University of Pennsylvania Guidelines for New Course Proposals,”
February 27, 2006). The deans’ offices keep copies of the syllabi, as do the departments. Some
departments, like the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, post syllabi on their Web
Professors give students a syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Some professors require
students to sign statements that they have read and understand the syllabus. Others give quizzes
on the syllabus or incorporate quiz questions about the syllabus into other exams.
All non-tenured faculty are observed by peers each semester and by the chairperson once a
year, and students evaluate them every semester. Every five years, tenured faculty are observed
by a peer each semester, and evaluated by students in one class each semester (Agreement
Between Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and the
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, 2007, p. 25).
Developmental Courses
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the University administration decided to reduce the number
of developmental courses. Developmental courses carry University credit, but the content is
below college level. The credits do not count toward graduation.
Developmental Mathematics. In the late 1990s, a Developmental Math Committee in the
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science monitored the courses, an arithmetic class
(MAT 098), Introductory Algebra (DMA 092), and Intermediate Algebra (DMA 094). In 1997,
the department dropped MAT 098 from the schedule. Today, students who need help with basic
arithmetic – the equivalent of fifth grade mathematics – must seek remedial help in the Math
Laboratory before they can take additional math classes. In Fall 2001, the department also
dropped DMA 094, a voluntary class for students who did not make sufficient progress in DMA
The department now offers just DMA 092. The mathematics faculty have developed a
common syllabus and a common exit examination. The director of the Math Laboratory
annually reports the assessment results for DMA 092. The course has been offered online since
Fall 2003. Tutorial services are available through the Office of Student Retention. Data show
students do as well or better in the online courses compared to the in-person classes. The
University usually offers one late-start DMA 092 course for students having trouble with an
online DMA 092 course (“Final Report-Outcomes Assessment for Introductory Algebra e.g.
Algebra,” Fall 2006).
Developmental reading. Through Fall 2002, Cal U offered one developmental reading course,
Reading, Studying and Listening Skills (EDE 100). After the administration decided to reduce
developmental offerings, the reading faculty developed a college-level, three-credit class,
Critical Thinking and Reading (EDU 110). The class is for those students who need help in
reading, but the course also satisfies a General Education requirement for a class from the
Critical Thinking Menu. EDU 110 was first offered in Fall 2003, and two classes per fall and
spring semesters are offered. Students who need help with reading skills may visit the Reading
Clinic on a noncredit basis. The director of the Reading Clinic teaches EDU 110 and assesses
the course using the Nelsen Denny Reading and Vocabulary standardized assessment. The
director collects data about the number of students the Reading Clinic serves and the help they
Developmental writing. There is one developmental writing course, English Language Skills
(ENG 100). In the late 1990s, the director of Freshman Composition assessed student learning in
ENG 100, 101, and 102. The current director of Freshman Composition also is director of the
Writing Center. The assessments had not been done for awhile, but resumed in Fall 2008.
According to a General Education Program Self-Study, “We know of no instance in which these
two functions have been successfully combined under one director” (2004, p. 27).
Academic support. The Mathematics Laboratory, Reading Clinic and the Writing Center
provide students with support to succeed and even excel in coursework. For example, students
who want to earn top grades in calculus, or in composition or literature courses, are encouraged
to use the Math Lab or Writing Center, respectively. The centers also are prime sites for
The Academic Scheduling and Placement Testing Center is responsible for placement testing,
scheduling of new students, and scheduling of students who haven’t declared a major. The center
monitors student progress and helps students with their academic planning. In December 2006,
the Math Lab, Reading Clinic, and Writing Center moved into offices in the Noss Building. This
move was based on a plan, Consolidation of Learning Resources (2001). Each area is to assess
its services annually.
Academic Development Services, which is located on the fourth floor of Manderino Library,
runs the Tutoring Center where students can get help for specific classes. The services are
evaluated every year.
Program-Level Assessments
The administration has encouraged departments to link assessment with their Five-Year
Program Reviews, which many are doing. By early December, the Assessment of Student
Learning facilitators in each department meet with their college coordinators and, if appropriate,
the associate provost for Student Retention and Success.
Programs that link their assessments to their Five-Year Program Reviews do not need to file
Interim Reports. Those that have not, are required to file Interim Reports by mid-December. The
Interim Reports include items a-e on the following list; Year-End Reports also include items f-h.
Thus, Final Reports include:
a. The academic department and program being assessed.
b. The departmental philosophy and a list of three to five learning goals. All goals must
be evaluated.
c. A list of 6 to 12 learning objectives clearly linked to the goals.
d. A list of two objectives to be assessed in each academic year. All objectives are to
be measured at least once in a five-year period.
e. Two means of measuring each objective. One is to be an objective measure of student
learning, producing data on what students learn as the result of a class or what they
can do.
f. Year-End Reports are due in September for the previous academic year.
g. The report must show evidence the department decided how to use the assessment
h. The Year-End Report must identify at least two objectives for the forthcoming year.
i. The college coordinators receive the reports and evaluate them.
j. The college coordinators and the associate provost then reach group decisions on the
k. The evaluations are shared with departments, deans, and the provost.
Figure 14.1 shows how Outcomes Assessment works at the program level.
Figure 14.1. The Program-Level Model in Summary
I. Departmental or program
educational mission statement
IV. Assessment Record
Recommendations for:
* no change
* follow trend
* collect more data
* change
II. Educational goals (3-5)
IV. Assessment Record cont.
d. Use of Results: Department
or program-level review of
Assessment Cycle
IV. Assessment Record cont.
c. Assessment Results
collected and analyzed for
each means of assessment
for each objective
Source: Office of Student Retention and Success.
III. Learning objectives (6-12)
Linked to Goals, e.g. Obj. 1,
Goal II
IV. Assessment Record
Two means of assessment
for each Objective
Criteria for success stated for
each means of assessment
Supporting Materials
Departmental facilitators receive, by e-mail, guidelines, a report form and a sheet for listing
their five-year assessment plan. Other Assessment of Student Learning documents are available
on the Campus-Wide Intranet System. They include: (1) a calendar and annual guidelines, (2)
examples of verbs linked to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning (knowledge, comprehension,
application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation), (3) department examples, (4) frequently Asked
Questions and the Mission Statement, (5) a tutorial on completing the form, (6) guidelines for
preparing a Five-Year Program-Level Outcomes Assessment plan, (7) examples of measuring
tools, (8) other tutorials, and (9) a list of the college coordinators and others in charge of
Assessment of Student Learning and a description of what the departmental facilitator does.
Job Duties for Outcomes Assessment
Undergraduate College Coordinators. The coordinators work with the department facilitators
to provide advice, editorial comments, and other help. They also work with the Undergraduate
Committee on Assessment of Student Learning to approve departments’ Interim or Five-Year
Assessment Plans. In addition, the coordinators assist facilitators to interpret or use results, and
assess each Year-End Report in their college. A committee, consisting of the three coordinators
and associate provost of Student Retention and Success – The University Committee on
Program-Level Assessment of Student Learning -- can challenge or approve the proposed
ratings. The coordinators give the ratings reports to their respective deans, and the associate
provost of Student Retention sums the findings and gives the results to the provost.
Undergraduate Department Facilitators and the Graduate Coordinator. In 2006-2007, there
were 37 departmental facilitators: six for the College of Education and Human Services, 12 for
the College of Liberal Arts, and 19 for the College of Science and Technology. There were 20
Graduate Program coordinators. These people are responsible for working with the faculty in
their programs to provide Interim, Annual, and Five-Year Assessment Plans. They oversee data
collection and how the data are used to improve the program. At the undergraduate level, the
facilitators seek help from their college coordinator. At the graduate level, the coordinators seek
help from the undergraduate college coordinator or dean of the Graduate School.
University Committee on Program-Level Assessment of Student Learning. This committee
of the college coordinators and the associate provost for Student Retention and Success prepare
final ratings of the Year-End Assessment reports. The ratings are:
Approved. The reports have acceptable educational philosophy statements that are related to
the University’s Mission of building character and careers. The educational goals are welldeveloped and stated appropriately. The educational objectives are measurable, stated
appropriately, and linked to the goals. The measures of assessment and criteria for success are
well-developed with the means of assessment clearly identified and the criteria for success
clearly stated. At least one measurement must be a direct measure of what students have learned.
The results are presented clearly. The numbers are identified. Where percentages are used, a
number must be specified. There is an analysis of the data. There is evidence that the faculty in
the department or program made a collective decision to: (1) make no changes, (2) watch for the
trend over the next year, (3) accumulate more data, or (4) make program changes.
Needs Improvement. The Year-End Report contains all the components, although at least one
area is deficient and does not meet all the criteria of an “Approved” rating. For example, the
measures of assessment are not clear, the criteria for success are not stated or are not clear, the
data are not presented or analyzed, or the way the results were used is not specified.
Making Progress. The department or program has made a legitimate attempt to implement
the model; however, two or more areas lack substance. In some cases, there has been
improvement over previous attempts.
No Progress. The department or program’s Year-End Assessment has not improved since the
previous submission. There is no apparent progress and little or no evidence that the department
considered previous recommendations.
Not Submitted. The Year-End Report was not submitted.
Not Evaluated: If there were no graduates from a program or if the program was phased out,
there is no report to evaluate.
Of the 45 undergraduate programs subject to evaluation in 2006-2007, 29 submitted Year-End
Reports. Of the 29 submitted, the ratings were: Approved – 17, Needs Improvement – 3,
Making Progress – 7, and No Progress – 2. In 2007-2008, there were 46 programs subject to
evaluation. The ratings were: Approved – 15, Needs Improvement – 16, Making Progress – 2,
and No Progress – 2 (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009). (See Appendix 14B
for the undergraduate program ratings from 2000-2001 to 2007-2008.)
On the whole, the graduate programs have lagged behind the undergraduate programs in
submitting Year-End Reports. A few areas, like Counselor Education, submitted completed
reports each year (See Appendix 14A for a summary of the assessment reports that graduate
programs submitted from 2001-2002 to 2007-2008.)
Since 2000, 31 undergraduate programs received at least one “Approved” rating and another
12 have received at least one “Needs Improvement” rating. Until recently, only a few programs
such as Nursing and Technology Education have consistently received “Approved” ratings.
Consistency correlates positively with accreditation. Those programs that have accrediting
agencies that emphasize assessment of student learning are more likely to receive consistent
ratings from one year to the next. Some programs assess all learning objectives every year, such
as Nursing and Counselor Education (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Some departments did not complete the Year-End Reports. Reasons include: (1) there are no
real penalties for not doing the assessments, (2) there are modest and inconsistent rewards for
completing the process satisfactorily, and (3) department facilitators change frequently and often
are the most junior of faculty for whom the task is daunting.
Return of Assessment
Early on, those who supervise Assessment of Student Learning planned to establish an
assessment process and fold it into the Annual and Five-Year Reports. The data would provide
an ongoing evaluation of the process and effects of changing the curricula. The goal was to use
the data to improve student learning. However, the Annual Reports were discontinued for
several years. In 2007-2008, the Annual Reports were reintroduced. Once again, the
Assessment of Student Learning data from the Annual Reports is supposed to inform assessment
analyses for the Five-Year Reports (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Program Level Assessments – Teacher Certification
Four departments in the College of Education and Human Services that are responsible for
Teacher Certification have common methods for assessing student learning. The methods
comply with discipline accrediting agencies, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher
Educators (NCATE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Seven-Step Assessment System. The Initial Teacher Certification program and the Advanced
Teacher Education programs use a seven-step assessment system. The students and professors
collect and prepare data for this system throughout the year and the information is summarized
and analyzed once a year. The LiveText system is software that allows data to be collected
continuously and individual reports prepared (Jones, 2008).
The Initial Certification Program uses this seven-step assessment system:
1. Praxis Series
a. Pre-Professional Skills Test – Reading
b. Pre-Professional Skills Test – Writing
c. Pre-Professional Skills Test Mathematics
d. Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge
e. Praxis II
2. Conceptual Framework Survey
a. Level 1
b. Level 2
c. Level 3
3. Grade Point Average
a. Overall Grade Point Average
b. Content Grade Point Average (Secondary Education Majors)
4. Candidate Professional Disposition Index
a. Level 1
b. Level 2
c. Level 3
5. Common Portfolio
a. Performance Principles
6. Student Teaching
a-g. Seven Categories and Overall Rating
7. Specialized Program Association Requirements
a. These vary by program.
Each program earns national recognition after review by a Specialized Professional
Association. Table 14.1 lists the Specialized Program Associations.
As teacher education students move through the certification system, they reach certain
“transition points” when their learning is assessed. Table 14.2 shows the transition points for
students in Initial Certification Programs:
Table 14.1
Specialized Professional Associations (SPA)
National Art Education Association
Early Childhood
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Association for Childhood Education International
Foreign Language
American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Special Education
Council for Exceptional Children
Technology Education
International Technical Education Assoc./Council on Tech. Teacher Education
National Science Teachers Association
National Science Teachers Association
National Council of Teachers of English
Earth and Space
National Science Teachers Association
National Council of Teachers of English
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
National Science Teachers Association
Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies
Source: Compiled by the College of Education and Human Services.
As teacher education students move through the certification system, they reach certain
“transition points” when their learning is assessed. Table 14.2 shows the transition points for
students in Initial Certification Programs.
Table 14.2
Assessment Transition Points for Initial Certification Programs
Decision Point
1. Admission
GPA of 2.80, Completed 48 to 65 credits; Passing PRAXIS I exams (Reading,
Writing and Mathematics); Act 34, Act 114, and Act 151 Clearances; Completed
Speech & Hearing Test, Introductory course with a C or better, 6 credits of
college level mathematics with a C or better, and 6 credits of
composition/literature with a C or better; Attended 3 seminars or 1 conference,
the Conceptual Framework Survey-Level 1, and the Self Rating Candidate
Professional Disposition Instrument-Level 1; have a professor complete the
Candidate Professional Disposition Instrument: Level 2; and have another
person complete the Candidate professional Disposition Instrument: Level 2.
2. Entry to clinical practice
Passing score on Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge PRAXIS exam (not
required if seeking 7-12 certification), Passing score on the PRAXIS II Subject
Assessment exam (s), Attended 6 seminars or 2 conferences, earned a C or
better in all required courses in the major, possesses a 3.00 GPA, possess a
passing score on the Performance Principles Portfolio Review on LiveText,
Possess Act 34, 151, 114 Clearances that are valid through the end of the
student teaching experience, and must have a $1,000,000 liability insurance
3. Exit from clinical practice
Passing score on the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student
Professional Knowledge and Practice (PA-430 form) with a score of “1” or higher
in each category, receive a “Met” or higher rating on the Candidate Professional
Disposition Instrument-Level 3, and pass a department exit interview.
4. Program completion
Complete all required courses, graduation requirements, and the PDE 338C and
PDE 338G forms.
5. After program completion
Complete a recent program completer’s survey and have their employers
complete a survey.
Source: Compiled by the College of Education and Human Services.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education sets the Grade Point Average, professional tests,
and coursework requirements. The College of Education and Human Services requires seminar
attendance, surveys, and disposition assessments to meet the recommendations of the Specialized
Professional Associations, NCATE and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The college
has remediation plans for students who do not meet the requirements.
The Advanced Certifications follow the seven-step assessment system. Each program has
unique assessments. Table 14.3 shows the transition points for those seeking advanced degrees
or certifications:
Table 14.3
Assessment Transition Points for Advanced Degree and Certificate Programs
Administration Principal
3.00 GPA, Letter of Endorsement, copy
of all certifications held, statement of
career goals and objectives.
Completion of
Portfolio, Evaluation Maintain GPA,
of Internship.
Praxis II.
Administration –
3.00 GPA, Letter of Endorsement, copy
of all certifications held, statement of
career goals and objectives.
Completion of
completion of
Reading Specialist
3.00 GPA, Act 34, 151, and 114
Clearances, PA Teaching Certificate.
Completion of
Completion of Case
3.00 GPA, 15 credit hours in Psychology,
letters of recommendation,
autobiographical essay, Miller's Analogy,
3.00 GPA in
Faculty Interview,
Experience Logs,
Supervisor Rating,
Praxis II, Portfolio.
Diversity Project, 4
Satisfaction Surveys.
3.00 GPA, letters of recommendation,
Pyscobibliography, Miller's Analogy,
Skills Test
Reading, PreProfessional Skills
Test Writing,
Skills Test
Mathematics, 6
credits of college
mathematics, 6
credits of English
and composition.
600 hours, Portfolio,
5 Reaction Papers,
Mid-term and Final
Evaluation Forms.
School Counselor
Exam, Pass Praxis
Praxis II,
Passing score on
Exam, All required Employer
completed, Pass
Praxis II.
Speech Language
3.00 GPA, B.S. in Speech
Disorders, GRE Score, letters of
Act 34, 151, and
114 Clearances,
Completion of
400 ASHA supervised
GPA of 3.00
Maintain GPA
Certification 9 month OTJ
Education with
3.00 GPA, ACT 34, 151 and 114
Completion of
Clearances and passing score on PRAXIS I coursework
Completion of
Education Noncertification
3.00 GPA, Act 34, 151, and 114
Completion of
Completion of
Education Noncertification
Teacher Certification.
Completion of
Coursework, IRB
Thesis approval,
Advanced Survey.
Education NonCertification
Bachelor's degree, 3.00 GPA.
Maintain GPA
Surveys 1 year
after completion
Surveys 1 year
Source: College of Education and Human Services NCATE Report 2008.
The administrators and faculty of the Teacher Education program rely on a variety of external
assessments to manage and improve the program. For example, reviews by the Pennsylvania
Department of Education, the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Educators, and the
accrediting bodies of national discipline-related associations may comment on field experiences,
programs, or other matters.
Administrators and faculty use advising and course evaluations to improve the individual
programs, as well as the overall program. Because of their concerns about fairness, accuracy,
and consistency of assessment instruments, they: (1) use multiple assessments for each
standard, (2) use analytical rubrics, (3) use multiple raters, and (4) provide training in using
assessment instruments (K. Koury, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Assessing Co-Curricular Programs
Student Development and Services
The Division of Student Development and Services assesses in the following areas: tracking,
needs, satisfaction, culture and campus environment, learning outcomes, national standards, costeffectiveness, and comparisons to programs at similar universities. To comply with polices of
the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, departments do
five-year internal reviews and 10-year external reviews. Departments also complete annual
plans and End-of-Year Reports as part of the Program Review process. These documents tie
together the departments’ assessment efforts, program review findings, and mission. The goal is
ongoing improvement (P. Fazio, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Documents Used
Departments use the following documents to guide their assessment plans: (1) the Initial
Department Assessment Proposal, used to draft the plan, (2) the Department Assessment Plan,
which is the final, approved plan, and (3) the Assessment Summary Form, a two-to-three-page
summary of the findings.
Divisional Assessment Plan
The various components of the divisional assessment plan include:
Tracking. The Division keeps track each year of the numbers of programs offered and the
numbers of students served. The division also describes the students by gender, race, ethnicity,
age, university class standing, residence, and other demographic variables.
Needs Assessment. The Division staff try to determine the kinds of services, programs, and
facilities that students and others need, based on student and staff perceptions, institutional
expectations, and research. For example, a needs assessment of the educational programs
offered in the residence halls could determine if the programs met residents’ needs and suggest
the kinds of educational programs to offer. Needs assessment is part of the Five- and 10-Year
Program Reviews.
Satisfaction Assessment. The division surveys those who use its services and tries to
determine their level of satisfaction. It attempts to discover what they view as strengths and
weaknesses of a program, service or facility. For example, a satisfaction study of those who use
recreational facilities may indicate whether the hours the facility is open are the hours when the
users have discretionary time. Satisfaction assessment is part of the Five- and 10-Year Program
Student Cultures and Campus Environment Assessment. The Division may survey students
and others to determine opinions on questions such as: What is the climate for women on this
campus? What is the academic environment, both inside and outside the classroom? What is the
overall quality of life in residence halls? What is the climate for students of color? Student
Cultures and Campus Environment assessment is part of the Five- and 10-Year Program
Learning Outcomes Assessment. A Division may survey students who use a program’s
services and facilities, to find if there is any effect on their learning, development, academic
success or other student-learning outcomes, particularly when compared to nonusers. It also
wants to know the effects of what the Division offers and if these are the intended ones.
Learning Outcomes Assessment is part of the Five- and 10-Year Program Reviews.
National Standards Assessment. The Division may research how its programs, services, and
facilities compare to accepted national standards. The division uses Council for the
Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) standards and guidelines to measure if
departments meet minimal standards for their mission, goals, policies, funding, programs,
services, and other items. A CAS Self-Study is part of the Five- and 10-Year Program Reviews.
Cost Effectiveness. The Division prepares a cost-effectiveness template to analyze the costs
and benefits of its programs, services, and facilities. Cost effectiveness assessment is part of the
Five- and 10-Year Program Reviews.
Comparable Institution Assessment (Benchmarking). The Division may research how its
services, programs, and facilities compare with the “best-in-class” comparable institutions. The
key is to choose universities that have good assessment programs, rather than rely on anecdotal
or reputation information.
Sharing Assessment Information
The departments in the Division of Student Development and Services give Division deans
copies of mission statements, goals, strategic plans, and assessment plans in Annual End-of-Year
Reports. The deans review this information with the departments and give them direction for the
next year. The annual plans are aligned with the University Strategic Plan.
Reports are stored in the office of the associate dean for Student Development and Services
who coordinates the Five-Year Program Reviews for the departments in the Division and all
assessment efforts. (See Appendix 14C for the Student Development and Services Program
Review Timetable; Appendix 14D for a schedule of when Division departments conduct
assessments; and, Appendix 14E (“Framework”) for results of departments on a “Desirable
Student Learning and Development Outcomes” Assessment that the departments have used since
2006-2007 to assess student learning.) More emphasis needs to be placed on the Assessment of
Student Learning component.
General Education
The current General Education curriculum was first offered to students in Fall 1999. The
General Education Committee reports to the provost, and because the majority of the classes on
the General Education menu are in liberal arts, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts serves as
the liaison between the committee and the provost. The Colleges of Education and Human
Services and Science and Technology deans serve as ex officio committee members. Students
are required to take 49 to 51 General Education credits.
In Fall 2003, the General Education Syllabus Review Subcommittee started screening course
syllabi of General Education classes to see if they complied with the goals and objectives of their
menu area. The first Five-Year Program Review reported that 134 of 504 courses were
reviewed. Of those, 85 percent were in compliance (“General Education Program Review,”
The Outcomes Assessment Subcommittee of the General Education Committee developed an
assessment plan for 2004-2009, and attempted to assess mathematics and writing. The attempts
were not successful, and the 2004 “General Education Program Review” pointed to “the
overwhelming logistics” involved in doing these assessments (p. 10).
The subcommittee also proposed an Action Plan (December 2004) to develop a set of
learning outcomes and a process for implementing assessment. The plan was to: (1) develop a
five-year assessment plan (done in 2005-2006), (2) measure the impact of General Education on
student achievement (done in 2006-2007), and (3) implement an annual process for Assessment
of Student Learning with a review of appropriate measurements (done in Fall 2007) (“Academic
Program Review Summary Form,” 2009).
Currently, courses from the various menus are selected by a random sampling method. Data
were collected in Fall 2007 and Fall 2008 and await collation and analysis (P. Hettler, personal
communication, 2007, 2008). Managing the assessment process is time-consuming, and no one
on the General Education Committee has release time to devote to the process.
First Year Seminar is the one course that has been evaluated annually since its start. A
faculty member oversees instruction and course content. There is a common syllabus for all who
teach the class, as well as an instructor’s handbook. There is a new faculty orientation,
mentoring of faculty who need help, a textbook designed for Cal U, and opportunities for faculty
to have input in the class. Students take pre- and post-tests to assess what they believe they have
learned. Students comment on what they think worked best and what they liked least, among
other items. Table 14.4 displays the results of pre- and post-tests for First Year Seminar in Fall
The Office of Continuous Improvement surveyed students on the effectiveness of First-Year
Seminar in 2007-2008. The results were positive. Five questions asked students how they felt
about what they learned from the course, and average responses ranged from 3.79 to 4.27 on a 5point scale. When asked whether they would recommend the class to others, 88.4 percent
answered, “Yes” (N. Hasbrouck, personal communication, 2008; H. Langley, personal
communication, 2008).
Building Character and Careers
California University of Pennsylvania’s Mission is building character and careers. In Fall
2007, the provost called a meeting of the Performance Indicators Group on Student Persistence
to discuss four-year graduation rates. The group chose three goals to pursue: (1) Building
Character, (3) Building Careers, and (3) graduation in four years (a Performance Indicator for
Performance Funding from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education). The group
listed activities to accomplish for each goal (“Performance Indicators Group on Student
Persistence, November 14, 2007).
In Fall 2008, the new provost reconvened the group who decided that the Division of
Academic Affairs, including Admissions, needed a comprehensive academic plan (“Strategic
Plan, 2009-2012, Draft 3,” April 17, 2009).
Building Character
The University’s core values of integrity, civility, and responsibility, promote the building of
character. The University also has a list of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities that also
addresses character issues (“Rights and Responsibilities,” January 26, 2009).
Table 14.4
Evaluation of First-Year Seminar Topics, Fall 2008
Pre A
In %
A = I know a great deal about this topic
B = I know something about this topic
C = I do not know anything about this topic
Numbers and Percentages
Post A
Pre A & B
In %
In %
(1) Academic Policies &
(2) Health & Wellness
(3) Time Management
(4) Campus Life Issues
(5) Manderino Library
Post A & B
In %
N = 1,073
Campus Resources for
(7) Financial Aid
(8) Career Options
(9) Academic Advising
(10) Scheduling, Registration
Academic Programs
Academic programs specify how they build character in their mission statements, educational
philosophies, and student learning goals and objectives. There also are programs that place a
major emphasis on character development.
Leadership minor. The College of Liberal Arts offers a Leadership Minor, consisting of 21
credits, including an internship and portfolio.
School Psychologist and Counselor Education graduate programs. Students are assessed in
the following area: (1) “Professional Identity,” using the ethical standards of the American
Counseling Association (2) “Social and Cultural Diversity” on, for example, “cultural context of
relationships, issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society,” and (3) “Helping
Relationships” by demonstrating counseling processes. Students also develop counseling skills
by completing a 750-hour supervised clinical experience (K. Koury, personal communication,
Spring 2009).
Teacher Certification programs. All prospective teachers take the Candidate Professional
Development Instrument, Level 1, which measures one’s disposition. Categories measured
include: “Integrity,” “Civility,” “Responsibility,” “Professionalism/Maturity,” and “Professional
Development and Lifelong Learning.”
The Annual Academic Report for the Department of Secondary Education for 2007-2008
(Department of Secondary Education, 2008) shows the results for education students who took
the Conceptual Framework Survey, Level 1. Students also took Level 2 of the Candidate
Professional Development Instrument.
Values menu. Students are required to take a three-credit “Values” class from the General
Education menu.
Academic integrity policy. The University’s Academic Integrity Committee wrote a policy
statement, in 1998, that covers students’ academic integrity including cheating in various forms.
The Council of Trustees approved the policy, which states:
Truth and honesty are necessary prerequisites for all education, and students
who attempt to improve their grades or class standing through any form of
academic dishonesty may be penalized by disciplinary action, ranging from
a verbal reprimand to a failing grade in the course or dismissal from the
University. If the situation appears to merit a severe penalty, the professor
will refer the matter to the appropriate dean or to the provost. The student
may appeal the penalty as outlined above, with the Academic Integrity
Committee hearing appeals above the level of dean (“Cheating and Plagiarism:
Academic Integrity,” 2003).
From 1998 until Fall 2000, the committee that helped develop the plan served as its enforcer;
however, no cases came before it. The committee became inactive, but it was reconstituted and
expanded, in 2002, with Student Government leaders, faculty from each of the colleges, and a
dean from Student Affairs joining the committee.
The committee followed the Academic Integrity Assessment Guide from the Center for
Academic Integrity at Duke University. In November 2002, the committee surveyed 41 classes,
and 819 students took an Academic Integrity (AI) survey. Dr. McCabe from Rutgers University
tabulated the results. Based on the results, the committee drafted recommendations that the
committee submitted to the provost. A few of the recommendations were implemented, e.g.
Student Retention and Success developed a brochure about Academic Integrity. New students
receive the brochure in Orientation materials.
First-Year Seminar instructors cover academic integrity, including cheating and plagiarism,
during the ninth week of instruction (2006 First Year Seminar Instructor’s Guide).
The AI Committee was dormant for awhile then, in 2009, the new provost reactivated it with
a charge to bring recommendations to her for implementing the educational component of the AI
Policy (G. Jones, personal communication, Spring 2009), (“AIC Recommendations.doc,” 2003).
Student Development and Services
Student Code of Conduct. The Undergraduate Planner, given to all incoming students, as
well as the Vulcan Adventure Student Handbook, available on the Cal U Web site, list and
explain the Student Code of Conduct. Among the items included are: “Students’ Rights and
Responsibilities,” a definition of the University’s core values, an explanation of pertinent laws,
and a description of what happens for breaking campus policies or municipal ordinances (The
Vulcan Adventure Student Handbook 2008-09; Undergraduate Planner, 2007-2008).
Emerging Leaders Program. The program is offered to freshmen to “encourage growth in
decision-making, planning and fulfillment of career and life goals; and to enhance the quality of
the student experience with the University setting” (Undergraduate Planner, 2007-2008, p. 15).
Student Association Inc. The Undergraduate Planner also describes the history and role of
the Student Association, Inc. (2007-2008, pp. 74-79).
Cal U Activities Transcript. Any student is able to document his or her extracurricular
activities, including job shadowing, internships, and co-op experiences. The transcript includes:
leadership activities, professional and educational development, honors, awards, recognition,
participation, and community service. An organization representative must validate each activity
(“Cal U Activities Transcript,” n.d).
Clubs and organizations. More than 100 clubs and organizations provide opportunities for
students to get involved, learn something new, lead a group, and participate in recreation
(Undergraduate Planner, 2007-2008, pp. 97-99).
Other areas. In addition to academic and student development programs, other areas help
students develop their characters, including:
Character Education Institute. The Institute is responsible for training the campus
community and surrounding area in FranklinCovey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People,” and in other Covey material. The “Seven Habits” training is free to all faculty, staff,
and students. During 2007-2008, there were 151 participants in Covey workshops, including
three percent staff, seven percent faculty and 84 percent students. September 2007, Dr. Stephen
Covey visited campus, and spoke to more than 1,600 people. He headlined another workshop on
campus in late July 2009. In October 2007, the members of the Administrative Council
completed “Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results.” In September 2008,
members of the Administrative Council completed “Leading at the Speed of Trust.” Fourteen
faculty and staff members are certified facilitators for “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People.” Five people are certified to teach “The Four Disciplines of Execution,” and five are
certified to teach “Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results” (Paul, 2008).
Office of Social Equity. The Office of Social Equity is responsible for Cal U’s Affirmative
Action Plan. During Student Orientation, students learn how to recognize sexual harassment,
and how to handle various situations.
Orientation. Among the information students receive during Student Orientation, they learn
about the University’s Mission, Core Values, and students’ Rights and Responsibilities.
Institutional Review Board. The Institutional Review Board evaluates all research project
proposals that involve human subjects. All projects that require, for example, surveys,
interviews, testing, and observation, must be approved prior to collecting data and information.
Instructors who assign class projects using human subjects must apply for get prior IRB approval
(“Institutional Review Board,” February 12, 2009).
Building Careers.
All academic preparation leads to careers or admission to graduate and professional schools.
Students have ample opportunity to take advantage of the many career-related services offered
by the University.
Career Advantage. In the mid-1990s, the Office of Career Services developed a Career
Advantage Plan, which is a model for career assessment, exploration, and implementation. The
challenge has been how to integrate the plan into the University curriculum and encourage
students to develop individual plans.
In 2002-2003, staff from the Office of Career Services worked closely with those from First
Year Seminar. The Administrative Council and other councils were informed of the progress.
The result is that First Year Seminar instructors now use Career Advantage material. A Campus
Life Issues component has been restructured. Students now take the Strong Interest Inventory,
and learn about the “Skills Employers Desire” and the Activities Transcript. Some of those
involved in this project made a presentation at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education Student Affair Conference in May 2005 (Langley, Delverne, Gifford, et al., May
Students first learn about the Career Advantage plan through recruiting letters and orientation
material. Academic scheduling focuses on selecting a major and includes placement testing, an
introduction for students to the scheduling process, and scheduling of the first semester classes.
Students may call upon Student Success Facilitators throughout the year.
First Year Seminar emphasizes life planning, time management, and campus life issues,
including organizational involvement to build skills, the Organization Fair for student clubs, and
the Activities Transcript. The seminar also covers career exploration, including interpretation of
the Strong Interest Inventory, the Career Advantage Plan (enrollment is tracked through the
Activities Transcript), and academic plan development and preparation for early registration the
next term.
Faculty in academic departments meet with majors and other students to explain course and
program requirements. Faculty advisors help students register for classes, co-ops, and
internships. They also encouraged students to join discipline-related student organizations.
Students who are undeclared majors receive advising and scheduling assistance from the
Academic Scheduling Center. Students are encouraged to take Career Exploration (XCP 194), a
one-credit class that is designed to help them investigate interests compatible with their abilities.
The Office of Career Services surveys graduates each year to find out what job offers they
receive or whether they attend graduate school. The results are published on the Career Services
Web page (Career Services Class of 2006 Graduate Survey). Career Services also files an
annual report that shows the number of students taking advantage of Career Services and other
The Internship Center. The director makes personal contacts with area businesses, nonprofits,
and government offices to pinpoint internship opportunities for students. The two-person staff
makes daily updates to its listing, and sends targeted e-mail to faculty who may have students in
mind for particular jobs. For example, Department of History and Political Science faculty
receive announcements for county government and political campaign internships. Students are
encouraged to visit the center for assistance in finding internships and completing paperwork.
All internships must be approved by the faculty advisor, the onsite person supervising and
evaluating the student, the department chair, and the college dean. The Internship Center, similar
to other programs, prepares a Five-Year Program Review. The center’s review from 2007
outlines a plan for reviewing the quality of internships and for assessing what students learn
through their experiences (K. Primm, personal communication, Spring 2009).
Communicating about the Assessment of Student Learning
Communicating about the assessment of student learning is necessary to create a “culture of
Courses -- Faculty
The University-Wide Curriculum Committee approves new courses and changes to existing
ones. The Curriculum Committee chair generally conducts an FPDC workshop on writing
protocol syllabi and navigating the approval process. A syllabus template may be found in the
Public Folders, along with information about proposal submission deadlines and other pertinent
information. The committee makes sure that a course’s learning objectives are tied to measures
of assessment. The California University of Pennsylvania Faculty Handbook serves as a guide
to faculty about academic expectations, policies and procedures (rev., 2009).
Professors who seek to have a course placed on a General Education menu submit a
department-approved syllabus, which confirms the Curriculum Committee’s guidelines. The
objectives of each General Education course must be aligned with the objectives of the specific
General Education menu in which the course will be listed.
Courses – Students
Students learn about course expectations through the course syllabus. All protocol syllabi for
a course are approved by the appropriate department and the University-Wide Curriculum
Committee. During Student Orientation and registration, Academic Scheduling Center staff
inform students about course expectations. The University catalogs also describe these
expectations. The Vulcan Adventure Student Handbook (2008) describes academic policies.
Mission Day 2007 was devoted to course-level assessment of student learning. Data from the
first National Survey of Student Engagement indicate that Cal U students are less engaged in a
“culminating senior experience” and spend less time “preparing for class” than their counterparts
nationally (“NSSE 1,” 2005; “NSSE 2,” 2005). The survey was to be administered in Spring
2009 to determine if emphasizing academic expectations during Orientation and class scheduling
had an effect.
Courses – Staff
Staff learn about course expectations through department meetings, printed media, the
University Forum, the Staff Convocations, and Mission Day.
Programs – Faculty
Faculty in disciplines with accrediting bodies learn about program-level expectations through
accrediting agencies, and all faculty are given copies of the California University of
Pennsylvania Faculty Handbook (rev., 2009). Groups that have accredited Cal U and its
undergraduate programs are listed on the “Accreditations” Web page of the University
Undergraduate Catalog (2003). Accredited graduate programs may be located by following the
individual program links on the School of Graduate Studies and Research’s Web page (n.d.),
“Program Information.” Each department develops program-level assessments of student
learning using either accrediting agency guidelines or department-generated measures that are
reviewed by the Assessment of Student Learning Committee. Departments and faculty are
expected use assessment data to improve programs, course content, and instruction.
Programs – Students
Students learn about program expectations during Orientation and then during academic
advisement in their departments. All departments have printed “advisement sheets” that list the
courses required for a specific course of study, such as a major, minor, concentration, or
certificate program. The college catalog and student planner also help students review program
expectations. First Year Seminar also helps in this review. Extracurricular organizations
associated with majors help to reinforce program-level expectations. Academic Scheduling
Center staff provide program-level information during scheduling of new students and
registration of continuing students. Seventy-seven percent of first-year students rate the quality
of academic advising as good or excellent (“NSSE 1,” 2005; “NSSE 2,” 2005). On the
American College Testing Service’s “Student Opinion Survey from 2005, students rated the
value of information provided by an adviser as 3.72 on a 5-point scale (ACT 05 Responses – 30
Local Questions, 2005).
Programs – Staff
Staff learn about program-level expectations through department meetings, printed media,
University Forum, Staff Convocations, and Mission Day.
Institutional Level – Faculty
Faculty learn about institutional-level expectations through New Faculty Orientation, the
Faculty Handbook, each department’s accrediting organization and the General Education
curriculum. The Faculty Professional Development Committee sponsors workshops during the
academic year to help communicate to faculty about teaching and learning, research, service,
grants, and technology (Faculty Professional Development Center home page, July 23, 2009).
Institutional Level – Students
Students learn about institutional expectations during Orientation and the admissions process.
The college catalog and Student Handbook outline what is expected of students. First Year
Seminar covers academic policies and procedures, career exploration, advising, and developing
academic plans. Students learn about General Education requirements from Academic
Scheduling Center staff during summer scheduling, and current students are counseled about
General Education requirements during registration. Degree Audit workshops help students stay
on track with General Education and major course requirements (“On-Course Degree Audit,”
May 22, 2007).
Institutional Level – Staff
Staff learn about institutional-level expectations through department meetings, printed media,
Staff Convocations, Mission Day, and University Forum. (Appendix 14F displays in chart form
the ways the University informs students about the course, program and institutional
expectations of learning. (Appendix 14G displays in chart form the ways that faculty and staff
learn about the University’s expectations of student learning at the course, program and
institutional levels.)
Mission Day
President Armenti approves the topic for the annual Mission Day, which is a time when
administrators, faculty, staff, and students gather to reflect about an aspect of the University’s
Mission. In Fall 2006, Alan Guskin presented a view of the future of higher education that
included larger class sizes and increased faculty workload, which led participants to discuss ways
to improve the lives of faculty, administration, staff and students (“Dr. Alan Guskin Addresses
Mission Day Crowd,” October 30, 2006). Participants emphasized the importance of assessment
to maintain quality as the University develops alternative means to aid instruction. In Fall 2007,
Anne Fay, director for the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University,
presented information about the assessment of student learning at the course level. Participants
discussed ways to improve course-level assessments. (“Mission Day X,” October 15, 2008).
University Forum
The University Forum represents various campus constituencies, including faculty,
administrators, staff, students, and alumni. Although it is a recommending body, the majority of
its policy recommendations have been instituted. (See Chapter 4 for a detailed discussion of the
Using Student Assessment Data
Student data are assessed at the course, program and institutional levels.
Course Level
At the course level, objectives are tied to assessment measures, and assessment measures are
tied to grades. Faculty use assessment data to evaluate how effective the instruction is and what
students learn. Students do student evaluations of professors and courses. Many professors use
the quantitative and qualitative information to make adjustments to their courses.
The Faculty Professional Development Committee and its Subcommittee on Teaching and
Learning help faculty improve teaching through workshops and grants.
The Office of Student Retention monitors students’ midterm and final grades. The office
notifies students who have at least one grade below “C” at midterm about the academic support
they may receive. Supplemental tutoring instruction is available in courses in which there are a
high percentage of final grades below “C.” For students who are placed on probation, there is
the Probationary Assistance (PASS) Program. The program was designed, in 1997, to offer
students assistance with such things as goal-setting, study skills, and time management. In 2008,
the program was redesigned, and students now receive small-group instruction in which the
facilitators use constructivist teaching methods. The groups average 6 to 10 students each.
Teacher Education programs identify students who do not have the expected grades and grade
point averages that the programs require. These students are counseled through a remediation
plan or advised to change their majors to non-certification areas.
Program Level
Assessment data help improve programs, the methods in which course material is delivered,
and the emphasis on certain learning outcomes. Data have been used to justify hiring faculty
members with special expertise, buying equipment, or supporting applications for accreditation.
Assessment data also are used in annual reports, Five-Year Program Reviews, and program
accreditations (See Appendix 14H for the ways some program data have been used.)
Institutional Level
The University administers several national surveys on a rotational basis. The American
College Testing programs Student Opinion Survey, been given every other year since 2001.
Students take the National Survey of Student Engagement every four years, and faculty take the
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement every four years. The data help University
administrators decide if positive changes are occurring. The data also are sent to PASSHE,
which uses it in calculating universities’ performance on the Performance Indicators and for
evaluating the presidents of the state system. Every three years, the University also supervises
the Cooperative Institution Research Program survey, in cooperation with the State System of
Higher Education (N. Hasbrouck, personal communication, Spring 2009).
The Office of Continuous Improvement surveys student, faculty and staff perceptions of
campus services and issues to determine their level of satisfaction. Since 2001, the office has
conducted 225 surveys, including those for other programs (N. Hasbrouck, personal
communication, Spring 2009).
Effectiveness of Assessment Models Used in Academic Affair and Student Services
Members of the University Committee on Assessment of Student Learning, in addition to
materials on the Campus-Wide Intranet System, help faculty with assessment. External
consultants, such as Dr. Donald Farmer in 1993, Dr. James Nichols in 1997, Dr. Alan Guskin in
2006, and Dr. Anne Fay in 2007, as well as a number of program and unit consultants for
national accreditation, have brought new ideas and perspectives to the assessment process (See
Appendix 14I for a list of the assessment methods used at Cal U).
In general, the assessment tools provide valuable information to faculty and staff; however,
more help and new methods are needed to help them respond to the changes in and expansion of
the University’s assessment programs. Staff are responding to more students who require
academic support services, and many faculty would like assistance in the design and
administration of surveys, as well as the collation and analysis of data.
The slightly more than 10 percent increase in the second-year persistence rate among students
(65.66 percent in 1995-1996 to 74.97 percent in 2004-2005) may be attributed, in part, to using
information from various student assessments. Since 1998-1999, the second-year persistence
rates have been above the national level of 70.5 percent (“Performance Funding Reports” folder,
The University has improved its four-year completion rate for institutions with similar
admissions standards from 13.75 percent in 1994-1998 to 27.05 percent in 2001-2005. The sixyear graduation rates have increased from 39.94 percent from 1993-1999 to 46.45 percent from
2000-2006 (“Performance Funding Reports” folder, 2009). While the data are not readily
comparable, the national five-year completion rate for institutions with Cal U’s admissions
criteria is 35.8 percent (“ACT Institutional Data File,” 2007). Career Services conducts annual
surveys about job placements and employer satisfaction with graduates. Overall, the survey
results have been positive. (See Chapter 9 for a discussion of Career Services.)
At the program level, many programs and departments have submitted acceptable annual
reports and Five-Year Reviews. Twenty-one of 32 potential programs are nationally accredited.
Every department is required to submit a Five-Year-Report, and programs that deal with student
learning must include segments on Assessment of Student Learning in their Five-Year Reports.
The reviews are sent to the Office of the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher
Education with recommendations for program continuance.
Assessing Student Learning: Requirements and Recognition
Departments were required to complete annual reports until the late 1990s. They had to
summarize assessment of student learning results, including the way the results were used. The
data were to aid deans and the provost in making decisions about budgets, equipment, the faculty
complement, and other areas. However, because of the time it took to complete these, the
provost discontinued them. Since 2007-2008, however, the reports have been reinstituted. A
section in the annual report asks for data on assessment of student learning outcomes. Programlevel assessment data can be used for the annual reports (Barnhart, 2009).
Since 1986, the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
requires every department at the University to do a Five-Year Program Review. The Board of
Governors’ policy states: “The review process must be integrated with strategic-planning and
budgetary processes, with regional and specialized accreditation processes, and with student
learning outcomes assessment” (1986, rev. 1991, rev. 1993, p. 1). In 2003, the policy was
amended with an “Administrative Procedure” that states: “Reviews of academic programs shall
include analyses of data pertaining to the following criteria: Student Learning Outcomes –
Describe the knowledge and skill outcomes and how they are assessed” (October 9, 2003).
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education expects that each academic program
with a nationally recognized accrediting agency secure accreditation; in addition, most national
accrediting agencies require effective assessment of student learning. Program-level assessments
have helped secure accreditation; conversely, when accreditations are required, program-level
assessments are done well, independent of other extrinsic rewards. The departments have
aligned their program-level assessments of student learning with the expectations of the
accrediting agencies (“Student Learning Objectives: An Essential Component of Accrediting,”
March 25, 2003).
There are intrinsic rewards in assessing learning. Faculty may initially oppose what seems to
be an intrusion into their domain, although often realize that a well-developed assessment
program of student learning at the program or institutional level gives coherence to the
curriculum and improves student learning.
There are extrinsic rewards, as well. When departments take assessment seriously, they have
reliable data to include in their annual reports, Five-Year Reports, and accreditation applications.
There also are financial incentives for doing assessments. In the early 1990s, academic budgets,
already modest, were cut 50 percent. By 1998, the funds were partially reinstated. The associate
provost for Student Retention and Success received $2,500 to help departments purchase
standardized tests and other material. Since 1998, the academic deans or provost has given
money to some programs that successfully complete assessment plans, especially those receiving
ratings of “Approved” or “Needs Improvement” (H. Langley, personal communication, Spring
In the last several years, the University has fared well in meeting its Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education Productivity Targets, receiving productivity funding as a result.
Some of the productivity money is used to help accreditation efforts, and some is given to
programs based on assessment of student learning. For example, the dean of the College of
Science and Technology set aside $13,449.42 for Student Learning Assessments in 2006-2007
and of that, Applied Engineering and Technology received $3,586.51; Nursing – $1,793.26;
Math and Computer Science – $1,793.26; and, Earth Sciences – $6,276.39. In 2007-2008, the
Science and Technology dean had $23,245.35 that he gave to eight departments, ranging from
$858.13 to $3,575.85 (Colelli, 2007-2008; Colelli, 2008-2009).
The University recognizes achievement in assessment of student learning, but the “awards”
depend mainly on Performance Funding from the state system.
In addition to the financial incentive, each year, the Institutional Assessment Committee
evaluates the program-level assessments and shares the results with the deans who then
recognize the standout departments at the respective college Councils. The associate provost for
Student Retention and Success has also recognized the programs and faculty who have done
exemplary assessment work by holding awards ceremonies in the spring of 2002 and 2009. Each
area presents its assessment model and how it uses the data.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors’ policy on
assessment guides California University of Pennsylvania’s assessment efforts. Assessment data
help improve instruction and student learning at the course, program, unit and institutional levels.
The support for assessment has been modest in tough budgetary times, as much effort has been
focused on marketing programs, retaining students, and improving student graduation rates.
The emphasis on getting programs accredited has positively affected assessment of student
learning. Programs with accrediting agencies that emphasize student learning have developed
model assessment processes and effectively demonstrated how assessment data can be used to
improve teaching and learning.
Data on assessment of student learning are available and located in a number of offices across
campus. Although there is no central repository for data on assessment of student learning, the
program-level assessments get summarized in both annual Year-End reports and Five-Year
Program Reviews. The Five-Year Program Reviews should serve as a compilation of assessment
of student learning.
Assessment of Student Learning plans must align with University’s Mission and state
directives; valid measurements are necessary to gauge student learning; and, departments and
programs need to use the results to strengthen their delivery (courses and services) to help ensure
student success. Figure 14.2 shows the way assessment results flow.
Figure 14.2. Flow of Use of Results of Assessment of Student Learning
Academic Courses
Developmental Courses
Program-Level content
All Academic Programs
Year-End Reports on
Assessment of Student Learning
Annual Reports
Five-Year Program Reviews
Co-Curricular Assessments
General Education
National Accreditations
Character Education Institute
Career Services/Internships
Continuous Improvement
Middle States Ten-Year Review
Source: Office of Student Retention and Success
The University responded to a Middles States communication, from 2007, by detailing a
process to distribute funds based on Assessment of Student Learning results and their use
(Helldobler, 2007).
Basically, a University-Wide Assessment of Student Learning Committee should be
redesigned so it has representation from the following areas so it can be truly University-wide:
Academic Affairs, the General Education Committee, Student Development and Services (cocurricular programs), undergraduate and graduate deans’ offices and faculty, the Character
Education Institute, Career Services Offices, the Internship Center, the Office of Institutional
Research, the Office of Continuous Improvement, and the Division of Informational Technology.
The president should empower the committee, and the committee should report to the provost or
the provost’s designee.
The Assessment of Student Learning Committee should have a budget and a means to
effectively monitor, evaluate and reward areas for exemplary practices of assessment of student
learning. It also should ensure as much as possible, that measures of success and rewards for
success are equitable. The committee should oversee the Institutional Plan for Assessment of
Student Learning and help identify resources that can be shared and those resources still needed.
An Assessment Resource Center research service could help faculty and staff design
appropriate assessment methods for developing, administering and analyzing discipline-specific
surveys, including alumni surveys, as well as create and analyze course-specific and programspecific research studies on student learning. The center would serve as a repository for data on
student learning at all levels.
Teacher Education programs effectively monitor student progress in the programs. The
LiveText tool should be explored to see if all academic and student development programs could
use it to track student progress. LiveText might be combined with the Activities Transcript, and
thus there would be one tool for monitoring students’ progress in building character and careers.
The faculty need assistance with instructional design, the effective use of technology in
teaching and learning, and opportunities to enhance instructional skill in cooperative learning,
collaborative learning and other innovative instructional methodologies: The emphasis should be
on improving the effectiveness of instruction and quality of student learning. Effective
assessment of student learning ensures that changes in teaching methodology and delivery, in
response to a variety of external forces, improve what students know and can do. These
resources could be housed in the Assessment Resource Center, the Faculty Development Center
or the library or a combination of these.
Much is being done to support the ultimate mission of the University. However, more
emphasis needs to be placed on alignment of the various activities and efforts. More emphasis
needs to be placed on actual measures of what students know or can do as a result of exposure to
a myriad of educational experiences, particularly in the area of character development.
Mission Day is an annual opportunity for all members of the University to share ideas and
concerns for the University. Emphasizing assessment of student learning at the course, program
and institutional levels, and showcasing exemplary on-campus efforts, would help encourage,
recognize and reward assessment efforts.
Annual reports and Five-Year Program Reviews should have well-defined components that
require evidence of assessment of student learning. There should be an emphasis on using the
results to improve teaching and learning. A “Plan of Action” should include the costs estimated
for using the results. Five-Year Program Reviews also should include evidence that the results
actually were used. When appropriately structured, annual reports serve as a key step in
developing Five-Year Program Reviews. Within each Program Review there is an Action Plan
for the next five years. The action plan should be linked to budgetary projections for faculty and
staff complement, facilities, equipment, and operational funds. This budget information then
would be available to the deans, the president and his Cabinet.
California University of Pennsylvania has come a long way since 1989, when the College of
Science and Technology was the first to investigate Assessment of Student Learning (ASL). The
institutional Plan for ASL is based on the BOG’s Policy of the State System of Higher
Education: Annual ASL plans are linked to Five-Year Program Reviews for all academic
departments. The General Education Committee has been assessing General Education courses,
since 2007, and is revising the way it operates, in part, to improve assessment of student
learning. Student Development is re-focusing on ASL within its assessment model. Information
about ASL is available from many sources. Strong ASL, aligned to the University’s Mission and
goals, helps the University realize its essential educational objectives, and retain students,
provided that instructors and departments make effective use of the results. The University
receives Performance Funding for retaining and graduating students. Thus, administrators and
faculty are recognizing that assessment of student learning is a key component in retaining
students and in the drive for continuous improvement. ASL, however, requires time, skill and
money. Most areas of the University recognize the need for strong ASL, and now there needs to
be a serious commitment to move assessment to the next and more structured level of excellence.
Redesign the Assessment of Student Learning Committee to make it truly Universitywide by adding representatives from the General Education Committee, Student
Development and Services (co-curricular programs), undergraduate and graduate deans’
offices and faculty, the Character Institute, Careers Services office, Internship Center,
Office of Institutional Research, office of Continuing Improvement, and Division of
Informational Technology. The president should empower the committee, which would
report to the provost or provost’s designee.
The Assessment of Student Learning Committee should have a budget and means to
monitor, evaluate, and reward areas for exemplary practices of assessment of student
The Assessment of Student Learning Committee should oversee the Institutional Plan for
Assessment of Student Learning.
An Assessment Resource Center research service could help faculty and staff design
appropriate assessment methods for developing, administering, and analyzing disciplinespecific and program-specific studies on student learning. It also could serve as a
repository for data on student learning.
Live Text could be considered as a tool for academic and student development programs
to track student progress. It could be combined with the Activities Transcript to monitor
students’ progress in building character and careers.
Provide faculty with assistance in instructional design, the effective use of technology in
teaching and learning, and opportunities to enhance instructional skill in cooperative
learning. These services could be provided through the Assessment Resource Center
(#4), the Faculty Professional Development Program, the library or a combination of
Much is being done to support the University’s Mission, Building Character, Building
Careers. However, more emphasis needs to be placed on alignment of the various
activities and efforts.
Periodically, Mission Day could be used as a vehicle to emphasize the assessment of
student learning at the course, program, and institutional levels. Exemplary on-campus
efforts should be showcased.
Annual reports and Five-Year Program Reviews should contain well-defined components
that require evidence of assessment of student learning. An emphasis should be placed
on analyzing and using the results to improve teaching and learning.
A Plan of Action (within the Five-Year Program Review) should include the estimated
cost of implementing the assessment recommendations. For example, action plans
should be linked to budgetary projections for faculty and staff complements, facilities,
equipment, and operational funds. The information would be shared with the deans and
the president and his Cabinet.1
The Recommendation Progress Report/Action Plan is contained in the cover letter.
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