|UW-Eau Claire||News Bureau|
|Schofield Hall 218|
|Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
MAILED: Jan. 13, 1997
EAU CLAIRE - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's five-year plan reflects the successes highlighted in the UW System's fourth annual accountability self-assessment, Chancellor Larry Schnack said.
"The UW report measures things such as progress in access, affordability, student learning, diversity, and satisfaction of students and alumni," Schnack said. "Those are the same indicators the University Planning Committee continually addresses in UW-Eau Claire's five-year report."
UW-Eau Claire's planning document, which was first created in 1989, also serves as the university's accountability report to the UW System. The System's annual self-assessment began as a recommendation of the 1992 Governor's Commission on UW System Compensation.
"The plan for UW-Eau Claire, which is endorsed by the University Senate Executive Committee, has guided the development of policies and initiatives affecting admissions standards; student recruitment; faculty and staff recruitment, retention and evaluation; and changes in the baccalaureate degree," said Schnack, who chairs the planning committee.
UW-Eau Claire's five-year plan, most recently published in September 1996, focuses on six areas for planning during the next five years to ensure that the level of satisfaction among its students and alumni remains high. The areas addressed are students, curriculum, faculty/staff, technology , budget and facilities.
While curriculum will be continually modified in response to assessment and to changes in society and the professions, UW-Eau Claire's select mission is not expected to change much in the next five years, the committee stated in its report. The university also does not anticipate any significant changes in the makeup of its student body.
"The university will work to continue to attract students who as a group consistently rank at the top of those attending public universities in Wisconsin," the committee stated. "Special efforts will be made to recruit promising students who will diversity the student body and university community."
If there are significant budget cuts in the next five years, UW-Eau Claire should respond with reductions in enrollment to maintain the quality of its programs, the report stated. "The university will fund priority programs and services rather than making across the board cuts," Schnack said.
The plan stated that faculty/undergraduate student research collaboration will continue to be a hallmark of UW-Eau Claire's undergraduate degree. The university will increase support for interdisciplinary studies and develop ways to increase support for interdisciplinary courses, the committee stated. In addition, colleges and schools will work to increase opportunities and support for internships.
Quality in all programs offered by UW-Eau Claire will be maintained and enhanced through internal assessment processes such as program reviews and through external evaluations such as student and alumni surveys, the committee stated. On a departmental level, meeting service learning course obligations must be a priority, members stated.
And to maintain UW-Eau Claire's tradition of offering quality courses in a small class size environment, the university should increase the number of class sections taught rather than increase the size of sections, the committee recommended.
Teaching combined with research and scholarly or creative activity will continue to be required of all faculty, the plan stated. A special effort will be made to better define and quantify faculty workload, particularly those activities which occur outside the traditional classroom setting, the committee stated, noting that the effort will include finding ways to communicate to the public the value of faculty work.
Also, faculty and student interaction, such as individualized instruction and research collaboration, will continue to be a high priority. And the university will plan for enhancing the role of faculty in academic advising for students, the report stated.
Additional funds from the differential tuition rates, which will begin with the 1997-99 biennium, will be used to enhance UW-Eau Claire's new baccalaureate degree. The university will not seek approval to charge differential tuition rates at the program level, and students will be charged special fees only when there is no other way to pay for the service or activity.
Retention rates at UW-Eau Claire are consistent with those of other public institutions in the country, but the gradual decline in retention is a matter of concern, the committee stated.
"In order to meet our enrollment targets and maintain the academic quality of the student body, the university must enhance its efforts to improve retention," the plan stated.
Toward that end, the university will develop a comprehensive program to enhance retention for undergraduate students, set retention goals for undergraduate students, and continue efforts to retain and graduate minority students proportional to the retention and graduation rates for majority students.
Recruitment and retention of quality students will depend, in part, on their ability to find employment or gain acceptance to graduate schools, the report stated. The most recent placement figures show 99 percent of those alumni responding to the survey indicating that they were employed or enrolled in a continuing education program. Given those numbers, the committee stated the university will continue to provide career planning and advising services to its students.
According to the plan, the university also must better serve the increasing number of nontraditional students. Consideration will be given to providing more early morning, evening and weekend classes; keeping offices and support service units open from early morning to late evening; increasing summer session offerings; increasing education opportunities; and using distance education technology.
UW-Eau Claire has developed an extensive campus fiber-optic network which allows access by all students, faculty and staff to electronic mail and a broad range of Internet services. More than 900 networked computers are available at no charge for general student use in laboratories, classrooms, residence halls and the Information Technology Resource Center.
In the next five years, work should continue on the fiber optic system, and colleges and departments must develop plans to fund technology upgrades and maintenance, the plan states.
In addition, the university will continue to provide incentives for development and use of instructional technology, and technology instruction programs for faculty, staff and students will be enhanced.
UW-Eau Claire has been a leader in the development of distance education technology. During the 1995-96 academic year, 24 courses were offered to more than 200 students at 28 sites. But because distance education and other instructional technology is labor-intensive and expensive, the university will assess the quality and cost-effectiveness of such programs, the committee stated. UW-Eau Claire will expand its use of distributed learning systems and distance education as funding is available. Distance education programming will be built in response to local, regional and state needs.
UW-Eau Claire also will upgrade the facilities on its 333-acre campus. Several building projects are planned as funds are available. Plans include a $10.6 million Phillips Science Hall upgrade, a $2.5 million campus school project, a $3.6 million Hibbard Humanities Hall project, and a $3.4 million Fine Arts Center project.
As funding permits, classrooms will be modified to accommodate new technology and different modes of instruction such as faculty/student research collaboration and distributed learning systems. "The university will continually work to improve efficiency in the use of space," the report states.
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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 22, 1997