GSW Strategic Plan 1997-2002

Priority One

In order to sustain continuous improvement of academic programs, Georgia Southwestern must implement recruitment and retention strategies to increase student enrollments during the planning period.

Goal 1. Overall enrollment will increase 3.4 percent each year through the year 2001.

Outcome Assessment: Enrollment growth has averaged approximately one percent per year over the last four years. Enrollment growth has been negatively affected by the increase in admission standards and the conversion to the semester system. In addition, the population in the primary service area is not increasing and is declining in a number of counties. The primary service area includes some of the most economically depressed counties in Georgia.

Goal 2. Student recruitment efforts will result in a decrease in minimally qualified students and an increase in the number of students with outstanding academic credentials.

Outcome Assessment: Recruitment efforts have been successful in attracting an increasing qualified student population. Average SAT scores have increased approximately 60 points and the number of Governor’s Scholars has increased. The number of well-qualified scholarship applications has increased over the last four years and traditional age developmental studies students are no longer accepted.

Priority Two

The future of Georgia Southwestern depends on a commitment to academic programs based on the current knowledge base and effective instructional practice.

Goal 1. The university will continue to offer an appropriate array of academic programs that will follow national patterns of excellence and will meet the standards of regional and national accrediting agencies.

Outcome Assessment: Program reviews by the National League of Nursing and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education have been successfully completed in the last four years. The five-year review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was successfully completed. The School of Business has been accepted to candidacy status by AACSB. Preparation for a ten-year review by SACS is well underway in preparation for a site visit in November 2002.

Goal 2. Instruction will be augmented by and delivered with state-of-the-art instructional technology.

Outcome Assessment: The campus optical fiber network has been installed and computers distributed to all faculty desktops. Most academic programs use the campus network to deliver instruction or instructional support materials. A number of courses are delivered by videoconferencing and enrollment in online instruction accounts for approximately 7% of the total headcount enrollment. Computer labs have been added in most academic programs and a computer lab has been installed in the Library. The Academic Skills Center has been established and provides a computer lab as well as technology enhanced classrooms for campus-wide use. Career Services includes a number of software packages to assist students and also participates in USG job search and student resume listing services. A master plan for the development of information technology services has been completed and is being implemented. The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee has been established as a standing faculty committee and is responsible for conducting on-going assessments of academic program needs for technology hardware, software, and services.

Priority Three

As a residential campus, the social and physical environments, including programming, services, facilities, and infrastructure, are critical to the academic environment at Georgia Southwestern.

Goal 1. The university will develop and maintain positive human relations, supportive student services, and appropriate physical facilities that will contribute to a stimulating and challenging living and learning environment.

Outcome Assessment: Student services offices provide expanded hours of operation during peak use periods. The Health Center has adopted a wellness model with special clinics for women and men students. An increased variety and number of student programs have been developed and facilities for intramural sports have been improved. The new Student Success Center, to be constructed over the next two years, will greatly enhance opportunities for student programs and activities. There are a greater number of opportunities for student internships, part-time positions, community service, and shadow experiences. The Human Relations Council has been established to monitor and to enhance human relations on campus. The Council provided leadership in the development of a campus diversity statement that was adopted by the faculty in 1999. The Council, through campus-wide forums, has been instrumental in encouraging and facilitating campus discussions of human relations issues.

Goal 2. The campus infrastructure will be augmented by and delivered with state-of-the-art instructional technology.

Outcome Assessment: The campus network has been expanded to include all campus facilities including the residence halls. Major operations software have been installed to support the student and academic affairs information systems with significant improvements in information access for academic advising and registration (BANNER). A site license was purchased for WebCT and training programs established to provide all faculty access to software to support online instructional delivery. The Academic Skills Center has been established to provide all students and faculty access to advanced instructional technologies. The Instructional Technology Center has become an important resource to the campus community, providing technical assistance and training in the use of Powerpoint, WebCT, and related technologies. Campus-wide technology access has been achieved by the implementation of a wired and wireless network, including all residence halls.

Priority Four

Achieving the goals in each of the priority areas will depend on an aggressive program to increase grants, contracts, and charitable contributions to augment state allocations and student tuition revenue to Georgia Southwestern.

Goal 1. A comprehensive university relations program, including traditional strategies and media, as well as the innovative use of emerging media, will be developed and implemented to communicate the mission, goals, programs, and accomplishments of the university.

Outcome Assessment: The quality and attractiveness of University publications has increased over the last four years. The University has updated the home web page and a new web page is under development. The Breeze, the intracampus newsletter is now in an electronic format that is user friendly. Most academic programs and student affairs offices have web pages. The University has used television, radio, and print media to communicate more effectively to various constituencies. Student application and registration is now possible online. Expanded programming on TV8, the public access cable channel, has provided another means of strengthening relationships between the campus and the community.

Goal 2. External funding will increase at a rate greater than the rate of growth in student enrollments through grants, contracts, and endowments to support student scholarships, purchase of equipment, capital development, and academic programming.

Outcome Assessment: External funding has exceeded the growth in student enrollments. Grant and contract support has increased approximately 70% and annual giving has doubled in the last four years. The University is now preparing for a major gifts campaign to support a number of programs, facilities, and institutional needs.

Priority Five

Student, faculty, and staff involvement in the campus community will be encouraged and supported to enrich and maximize the learning environment.

Goal 1. To develop a campus-wide commitment to building an involved and engaged learning community.

Outcome Assessment: The campus is making significant progress in this area and examples of campus-wide initiatives include Campus Pride Day, Move In Day, Student Appreciation Day, and Community Connections (a community service initiative). Student organizations have demonstrated increased engagement, particularly noted are efforts by Students In Free Enterprise, the International Students Association, the Campus Activities Board, and the Habitat for Humanity Chapter. It was observed that there is more peer tutoring among students and more diversity among student workers on campus to include international students.

Goal 2. To develop means of increasing interaction among key groups on campus, e.g., student/student, student/faculty, faculty/staff, faculty/faculty, and student/staff interaction.

Outcome Assessment: The Student Government Association has initiated a program to encourage students to take faculty members to lunch. The Teaching Circles program has encouraged more faculty to be engaged in discussing instructional issues. The Springfest program has been expanded to include activities throughout the semester and to involve a greater number of academic programs. Preview Days, Accepted Students Day, and Homecoming activities involve a greater number of faculty and staff. The tennis scholarship fundraising event was noted as an example of faculty/staff involvement in support of student programs.

Goal 3. To develop instructional approaches that encourage student engagement and involvement in learning.

Outcome Assessment: Important achievements include the increased use of student presentations in class, greater student involvement in peer tutoring, the use of capstone or senior seminar courses, and a greater emphasis on internships and practicum experiences. The revision of UNIV1000 to emphasize student engagement and the addition of a Freshman Advocate were seen as important outcomes. Outcomes also included the development of a career planning course as an elective for students that encourages greater interaction with faculty and alumni. All faculty committees now include student representatives.

Goal 4. To develop academic as well as extra-curricular activities that facilitate the transition and inclusion of new students to the campus community.

Outcome Assessment: The First Year Experience Residence Hall and related programming, including Move In Day and the faculty mentoring program, were seen as an important accomplishment. The Academic Skills Center and the Freshman Advocate were noted as valuable additions in this area. Most academic clubs now sponsor welcoming events during the fall semester. Some academic clubs also sponsor student scholarships as well as community service projects to engage new students.