Audience Questions/ Comments from USAC Open Forum

June 17th, 2008

 

Robert J. Sweeney, Executive Vice President for Planning, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Finance Professor in the Raj Soin College of Business facilitated a discussion on "Progress at Wright State University: Moving Toward Our Campus Goals.”

 

§  Is there funding available to assist departments in developing program evaluation tools or are there existing evaluative tools/ benchmarks available to help departments assess  if a program is working?

o   There is a pot of money for strategic initiatives

§  Need short-term benchmarks

§  Will measure against expectations

§  Need to make process known and that assessment will be part of every proposal

 

§  Regarding articulation agreements with community colleges, is there a way to better develop these agreements so that students are assured that ALL earned credits will transfer to WSU?

o   Clark State is currently working on a 2-year associate’s degree that will fit right into our early childhood program

o   We hope to work on similar agreements with other 2-year schools so students can be more efficient with their time and money

 

§  Is there more that WSU can do to provide additional support for first year students who are having academic difficulties so as to decrease the drop-out rate of first year students?

o   Clark State is collaborating with us to help students who are having academic problems here.  We will continue to build relationships with them and other 2-year schools.

 

§  What efforts are being made for providing additional transportation options for students coming to campus to offset parking space shortages, high fuel costs etc.?

o   Possibility of providing bikes for use on campus and to apartments/dorms

 

§  Wright State should take on the innovative spirit of the Wright Brothers to be more creative in our approaches

o   A master’s degree in uses of alternative fuel has just been approved

o   One staff member suggested that we do a better job than just about anyone, but we don’t communicate our efforts well enough.

 

§  What is the timeline for completion of the Huffman Dam extension of the bike path? What is WSU doing to expedite plans for this extension? 

 

§  Are any plans in the works to develop more community space and gathering places for students and activities on campus, particularly outdoors?

o   Parking with be taken out of the Woods, giving students in dorms more open space to gather.

o   There will also be space in the Newmann Center for students to gather

 

§  The university needs to do a better job of promoting its successes on campus

 

§  New channels of communication need to be developed on campus to foster a more collaborative environment. There is a perception that most units/staff are unaware of what other units/staff are doing

 

§  How can staff be more involved?

o   We need to do a better job communicating committee openings and other opportunities for  interested staff to become more involved

o   Peer coaching—talk to staff leaders and ask how they got there.

 

§  What is the state specifically doing to help universities hit projected goals for enrollment, affordability etc. to put Ohio on par with other states?  

o   There will be a different funding model that will be based on achievement rather than enrollment.

 

§  The university needs to do a better job working with area high schools in communicating the real costs to attend Wright State and developing financial aid and other programs to attract more students.   We’re very dependent on federal resources, but this year we lost several million dollars.  In addition, students and parents find out they can’t afford to come to Wright State during orientation.  We need to reach out earlier to students and parents at a younger age—build relationships while students are still in high school.  We can’t do that now because of a lack of resources.

o   A lack of foresight is worse than a lack of resources.  The message has got to be different.

o   Orientation is now changing, and will change again next year. We’ll just keep refining it.

 

§  There are many programs at Wright State that prepare students for advanced degrees in fields for which Wright State does not offer advanced degrees (e.g. Pre-Health program). Greater recruitment efforts for these programs are needed and it could provide an enrollment boost.  

o   We need to educate students in high school that they can come here even if they are interested in dentistry, pharmacy, etc., to get pre-health degrees.

o   Service learning could help

o   Use alumni to help spread the word.  They are an under-utilized group who could be our best advertisers.

 

§   Is the university developing a review process for determining if program funding initiatives are achieving the desired outcomes?

 

§  Are greater efforts underway regarding class scheduling and availability to ensure students are able to graduate within four years? This is a source of complaint among students.   

o   When we move to semesters we need to look at policies and procedures and coordinate efforts across the university.

 

§  Is Wright State looking at what other universities are doing to find solutions to current problems we are encountering here? Are we looking at successful programs on our campuses to find solutions for programs that are struggling?

o   We have great cooperation on campus, and work well together.  A relatively new staff member pointed out that we don’t realize how special we are, and that we have many positive things going on right now.

§  What do students do after graduation?

o   Career Services would have the answer to that.

 

§  Wright State is only 40 years old—do we look to other universities for best practices?

o   Yes, and we’re also looking at best practices internally.

 

 

Send any suggestions to Robert J. Sweeney:  robert.sweeney@wright.edu