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Campus Symposium, January 12, 2007

Report

The Office of Academic Affairs held a campus symposium on January 12, 2007, entitled: "Confirming Portland State's Leadership Position and Defining Academic Priorities." The symposium, an annual campus discussion that has traditionally occurred in the fall, was delayed in order to use the occasion for expanding discussions begun this fall at several administrative retreats. Just under 300 faculty and staff joined the discussions in the SMSU Ballroom--more than twice the average number of participants in past symposia.

President Dan Bernstine opened the day with a welcome to the audience and emphasis on the administrative commitment to the priority setting process and the use of the symposium as an effective means for expanding the fall retreat discussions. Roy Koch, provost, presented his reflections on the reasons that the president, vice presidents and members of the Council of Academic Deans (CADS) view the work as critical to the future of the institution and how it will focus institutional vision, identity, and guide the allocation of resources. Provost Koch described how the facilitators, Thom Walters and Rob Fenty from the Coraggio Group, have helped the retreat participants attain this focus by leading administrative discussions in identifying a core leadership position to guide the setting of priorities. After careful and repeated reviews and discussion of the established institutional mission, vision and values, the Provost reported that they built consensus that engagement genuinely defines us as an institution and is at the core of what we do. The Provost spoke about the retreat's work to understand what engagement means to Portland State as an institution and the characteristics of engaged learning and engaged scholarship. He also described the four priorities that emerged from the fall discussions. An initial four CADS working groups were formed to begin work on the priorities and will be expanded this month to include additional campus members. These four working groups will be asked to develop specific objectives, decision criteria and metrics for each of their priorities.

Vice President Lindsay Desrochers then took the podium and spent a few minutes talking about how other institutional planning, including budget, physical infrastructure, and development, will be developed to align strategically with the four academic priorities.

The remaining morning at the symposium was devoted to break out discussions on the core leadership position of engagement and the emerging set of priorities. The break-out participants were encouraged to give careful consideration of the four academic priorities and their meaning for PSU. Brief responses by the break-out groups were reported during the symposium. Their feedback is being collated into themes that will help the working groups.

Campus community members interested in joining one of the priority working will have the opportunity to submit their names through an online process moderated by the Faculty Senate. Look for an email this week from Faculty Senate Presiding Officer, Kathi Ketcheson.

For reference to the core leadership position, the four priorities, and the themes that emerged from the break out sessions, please see the page on setting academic priorities. A timeline is also there that projects the activities to be accomplished by the end of spring quarter.

Distillation Brief from the Discussions at the Symposium

Engagement

Why

  • Engagement is a quality, a way of being that adds relevance to the doing
  • This is who we are; it is the way we do things, not just what we do
  • People see the purpose behind what they are doing, studying
  • Students leave PSU conversant in how the world works and what it means
  • Connecting theoretical and practical
  • Ensures 2-way dialogue and diversity of thinking
  • The community thrives and PSU thrives through engagement and it creates learning
  • Educating the whole person
  • Through engagement the community, region and state is shaped, the student is shaped and PSU continues to be shaped
  • Developing the understanding of integration of all aspects of life (critical thinking is stimulated through engagement)

Evidence

  • Continued and growing working relationship with the community
  • Internships that benefit business and the student
  • University Studies reform
  • Number of graduates in the community
  • Partnership with community colleges
  • Capstone
  • We are known more outside Oregon than in it
  • The outside region continues to grow its connection to PSU
  • Graduates continued connection to PSU
  • Students who become leaders and influencers in the region
  • Students involved internationally
  • The only school of Social Work
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Foreign Language options not found elsewhere
  • National impression
  • Students partner with start-up business
  • Increase in student participation on local and regional issues
  • Increase in corp. partners and international students
  • Adjunct faculty who come from the professions in the disciplines
  • Professional schools are involved in community practicums
  • PSU is thought of when needing an intern
  • More older and working students change the face of experience on the campus

Ideas about the future

  • Continue to work on the clarity points that make engagement real, relevant and valuable
  • Be clear about the points of intersection that makes engagement real
  • Research and stay abreast of what areas of engagement are most relevant
  • Funding around engagement can also be driven by what the larger community wants
  • Really care for the partners for whom we want a sustainable relationship (survey partners to really understand what they value)
  • Stronger interdisciplinary connections
  • Students involved globally and outside the region
  • Looking for intentional ways to create sustainable link before a person leaves the university
  • Step up the leadership around connecting to the community and the region
  • Working (engage) with students to have them own their education
  • Projects with other organizations (other kinds of partnerships)
  • Improved and expanded internship programs
  • Increased partnership with high schools
  • Improving research skills
  • Align approach to engagement to be culturally relevant to different disciplines
  • Use community facilities to bring services and classes versus having them come to the campus

Selected Program Advancement

Why

  • Anything that raises the whole university should be a priority
  • Focused national recognition will enhance the whole university
  • Creates solid framework and platform for PSU globally
  • Gives us clarity around tradeoffs
  • Focus will raise the bench and make us more responsive around change
  • Money will follow the focus, clarity and commitment

Evidence

  • More viable funding model
  • The university will be a leader in the region
  • Increases in publication and funded research
  • Shifts in expected learning outcomes, high academic standards
  • Student and attraction and retention
  • Faculty: desire to identify with PSU
  • Students: higher enrollment and retention and clarity of goals
  • University: ability to evolve with new needs, stronger connection to community
  • We have the support of students, excellent faculty, and international recognition

Ideas about the future

  • Qualities and attributes of programs that map to PSU's vision
  • We must be clear about the benchmark (innovation, creativity)
  • Focus on sustainability is critical regionally, nationally and internationally
  • We need to resolve tension around access if we want quality over quantity
  • Professional schools need coordinator roles to work with CAE and community to up-level faculty's engagement
  • Focus programs with existing national recognition and those with economic input
  • Our approach needs to be unique and relevant, avoid the bandwagon
    • Themes to focus on
    • Sustainability
    • Creativity
    • Health care
    • Urban and international
  • These clusters or leaders are integrated and raise credibility for all other programs and the university
  • We will need to be critical focused on quality, that is where the reputation will be sustained
  • We need to be able to do the tradeoffs, manage the tension with this focus
  • Coordinate efforts across depts
  • Interdisciplinary approach, blend disciplines
  • Outside partners are critical and need continued building

Opportunity

Why

  • This is an important topic, what do we mean when we say opportunity?
  • Through opportunity is real learning and engagement
  • The university is about partnering to create opportunity
  • It is the way we open doors for individuals' ability to participate fully in society

Evidence

  • Larger numbers of a diverse population seeing themselves able to get an education
  • More diverse delivery systems of learning (on-line, eve classes, 2+2 program growth, co-admission)
  • Achievement of quality and access and don't trade one for the other
  • PSU is noted for the quality of education, experience of learning while doing it through increased opportunity

Ideas about the future

  • Resolve the tension that lives around quantity and quality. Define the tradeoffs that come with opportunity, access and the institution's reputation
  • Opportunity must be integrally partnered with student success objectives
  • Advisory/coordinating roles for each department that can connect with the community
  • Understand the uniqueness of a returning student, 1st generation student, and align opportunity accordingly
  • PSU could really track how success is created around opportunity

Scholarship

Why

  • We have been moving in this direction and must continue, it is a differentiator
  • Scholarship is critical it provides the traction to engagement
  • Students value it, as it is relevant and applicable
  • Attracts both students and partners
  • Strengthen partnerships to focus on important issues facing region and globe
  • It keeps teaching alive and students inspired
  • If we can't do this we are really struggling, it is what we are about
  • Cross-disciplinary connections and community engagement will support innovation
  • Increases credibility as community relations are built through scholarship
  • Increases recognition, which in turn increases funding
  • Hiring process should focuses on scholarship (faculty who are engaged and connected)
  • Validity of efforts, measurable impact and affirmation from the community
  • Promote collaborative publishing and research (cross disciplinary)

Evidence

  • Surviving the P&T experience
  • Trans-disciplinary approach, all our competencies brought to focus on an issue
  • Potential to graduate students at a higher rate
  • Pulling students from around the world to attend the renowned programs
  • Known for research and published works
  • Government and private sector value the relevance and will invest financially
  • Efforts started at PSU become spin-off organizations started by students and faculty
  • PSU is a leader in instructional technology
  • PSU is invited to present at national and international conferences

Ideas about the future

  • Need real clarity around "innovative scholarship"
  • Publish faculty involvement with community (scholarpedia.com)
  • Utilize multiple venues for community-based scholarships that connect to community relevance

Student Success

Why

  • Everything we do should resonate around this priority
  • Retention, graduation and career connection are motivators
  • Coherence in engagement is one the critical factors to student's commitment to their education
  • Need to have some definitions of success that represent the multiple layers of success (student satisfaction, graduation, program success, continued education)
  • Need to offer definitions of engagement to show the diversity of how engagement works; students must be able to see themselves in the picture being successful

Evidence

  • Undergraduates who continue to grad programs
  • Student impression of their connection to PSU
  • Alumni involvement in PSU (time talent offered back and attendance at events)
  • Number of scholarships related to community engagement
  • Alumni return for advanced degrees
  • PSU's growth in community involvement
  • PSU students are highly competitive in their chosen field
  • PSU's impact on community/regional issues
  • Regions impression of PSU evolves

Ideas

  • Individual education plan that maps to students vision
  • Link rewards for faculty to student outcomes
  • Students partnered and engaged in their own learning
  • Understand diversity of successful students (there are multiple factors)
  • Engage students in activities besides their academic curriculum (life interests)
  • Campus is critically involved (engaged) with students in advising, leadership and employment
  • Grow capstone
  • Pedagogical issue
  • Really understand the non-traditional connection points for urban students