Progress Report on New Initiatives
(Updated December, 2016)
Listed below is an updated version of the President's Checklist incorporating many of the items discussed in the Opening Day Address this past August. We continue to make progress on moving forward on these many initiatives. I am now working on a full update of this list with the Strategic Planning Committee to be put in place by August of 2017. It will transition from the "president's checklist" to the University Checklist.
These initiatives are not necessarily equal in importance or urgency. Our most pressing concerns at present are our budget challenges, falling enrollment, and ensuring an open and transparent environment wherein all stakeholders can participate in the discussions necessary to move our University forward.
Please provide feedback directly to the President's Office on any of these items. We look forward to hearing ideas, initiatives, and questions. This list will be expanded as new ideas are recommended.
1. Raise Admission Standards
- Admission standards have been raised at KU helping to significantly raised the academic profile of our Freshman class.
2. Enhance the Honors Program
- Scholarships have been put in place for high achieving students which require honors participation.
- Administrators, faculty, and students asked to develop working group to identify ways to enhance the program and increase honors participation. Ongoing.
As a result of student group recommendation, Honors has been moved under "Academics" on website.
3. Established Scholarships for High Achieving Students
- Sesquicentennial Academic Honors Scholarship established - requirements: above 1350 SAT and 3.25 GPA. Award of $7,000/$28,000. Recipients must be members of the honors program and live in the residence hall the first 3 years.
- A second tier scholarship has been developed (above 1200 SAT, 3.25 GPA). Award is $1,000 ($4,000 over 4 years) plus additional support from the Kutztown University Foundation. Honors program required and must live in residence hall for first two years.
- Housing scholarships have been established for high achieving incoming freshman student athletes.
- Talent grants have been established for high achieving incoming freshman in the arts.
- Revised tuition rates for high achieving out-of-state students (150% of in-state tuition). Pending approval.
- Revised tuition rates for high achieving international students (150% of in-state tuition. Pending approval.
- All institutional scholarships have been reviewed and adjusted (see KU Scholarships).
- Funding is in place for KU-BEARS (Kutztown University Bringing Experiences About Research in summer); an initiative to support undergraduates (specifically freshmen and sophomores) working with KU faculty; undergraduates will be paid research assistants during the summer.
4. Carnegie Classification
- A high level inventory of community engagement efforts has been completed
- Individuals are being identified who can help us move forward on attaining Carnegie classification status.
5. Prepare for University Accreditation
- The Middle States Steering Committee charged with writing the self-study design and final self-study report is meeting bi-weekly.
- Working groups have been established to address the seven standards for Accreditation and Requirements for Affiliation.
- A working group has been formed to address the "Verification of Compliance with Accreditation-Relevant Federal Regulations."
- Initial visit by chief accreditor was very positive.
Expanding Educational Opportunity and Access
6. Increase Non-Traditional Delivery Methods through Distance Learning, Weekend Academy, and Evening Courses
Assigned to Provost and Deans to work with Chairs and Faculty to explore new opportunities.
7. Look at Non-Traditional Semesters and Clusters of courses that better serve the needs of students who hold Full-Time jobs
8. Extension Programs for Place-Bound Students that will need to have KU take courses to them
9. Establish additional certificates and specialized programs that address the needs of professionals in the work force
10. Offer courses for non-degree seeking students that meet their personal and professional needs
We are making progress with regard to these initiatives listed above. Our MBA has established a hybrid program. We are continuing to expand our distance education offerings. We will continue to explore the feasibility of certificate programs and extension programs for place-bound students. We have also reached out to students who have "stopped-out" - who have stopped registering for classes and have 30 hours or fewer to complete so that they can finish their degrees through distance learning.
11. Feasibility of increasing living/learning communities
- Numerous living/learning communities have been established and more are being considered.Enrollment Management and Student Success
12. Hire a Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
- Dr. Warren Hilton was hired in June, 2016 as our new vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. He comes with a great deal of experience in his field and is familiar with our state system and our region.
13. Create incentives for transfer students
- A $500 book award has been established for any student with an Associate Degree.
- Meeting with Community College leaders to collaborate on joint initiatives (met thus far with LCCC, RACC, and NCC).
- Created a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship for up to eight incoming transfer students who exhibit promising academic performance and ability to participate in Kutztown University's Honors program as evidenced by a 3.25 or higher transfer GPA.
- Additional scholarships are being proposed to attract high achieving transfer students to KU.
14. Establish recruiting initiatives to enhance number and quality of student bodyWe are re-organizing our admissions area and placing a full time recruiter in Philadelphia at the City Center.
We are working with the Allentown and Reading school districts to re-introduce special programs to entice more students from these important population centers. Scholarships have been established (see above). Other action items:
- Established free "bus passes" for students with need to travel to university.
- Math Placement pilot implemented for spring 2016; also used for incoming freshmen and transfer students in fall 2016.
- Completing online graduate assistantship process.
- Hired a Philadelphia Regional Admissions Recruiter Trained Alumni Board members to participate in college fairs and high school visitsAdditional recruitment and retention initiatives will be included in the 2017-2020 University Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (final plan will be completed and distributed in early 2017)
15. International Recruiting
We have established an advisory committee of international faculty and have received invaluable advice. There are possibilities being pursued in China and India. We have joined a State System consortium that will assist us in recruiting in India. We have proposed lowering tuition for high achieving students.
16. Departments and colleges encouraged to develop recruitment and retention plans
- Spoken with all departments on campus about the development of department recruitment and retention plans. Many departments are doing innovative things to bring in new students such as science days, outreach to high schools with our music ensembles and choir, career days, and other events to bring potential new students to campus. We will continue to make resources available, when needed, to help fund these initiatives. Training for faculty to participate in recruitment and retention activities will be scheduled beginning on December 6, 2016
17. Community Colleges to increase 2 plus 2 Programs
- Agreements are in place with regional community colleges.
18. Integrated Bac to Masters Programs
Through the planning process, departments and faculty governance committees will determine if feasible.
19. Review our First Year Experience Program
A symposium of those involved in FYE and retention initiatives took place in February and other discussions have been held at throughout the university and a number of suggestions have been put in practice as a result - core general education classes in math and English composition have had their class size reduced and our FYE class was expanded from 50 students to over 200 students this year (and will go up more next year), we will be making substantial additional investments to support FYE to include the hiring of a director to lead our efforts.
In addition, an important new initiative that will have a positive impact on retention will be our requirement that freshmen and sophomores live in the residence hall beginning fall 2017. We have vetted this initiative throughout last year and it has received broad support from many of our constituents. Data shows that there is a 14% increase in the retention rate between freshman/sophomores who live on campus vs. those who don't live on campus.
20. Review programs with low enrollments while at the same time, we must invest in growing programs
- The new planning process will examine status of programs.
- Effective winter 2016; a new study abroad program in Venice.
- Effective Spring 2016; the following new programs are in place:Minor in Business; Minor in Leadership; Minor in Secondary Education (grades 7-12); Visual Impairment Certification (Post Baccalaureate Certification)Effective Fall 2016; the following new programs will begin:Minor in Autism; Minor in Disability Studies; Minor in Forensic Studies; Minor in Homeland Security; Minor in Web Development; BFA in Applied Digital Arts; BA in Art History; MA in Arts Administration; M.Ed. in Music Education; BS in Biology: Allied Health Track; BA in Music: Commercial Music Track.
- The Ed.D. has been approved by the State System.
21. Work with student leaders on establishing a "Student Bill of Rights"
- Student government has authored a comprehensive Student Bill of Rights.
Support Faculty and Staff Professional Development
22. Increase initiatives in Grant Writing
- Grant writing fellows program for KU faculty will be in place for 2016-2017.
- Reassigned time for faculty PI on Federal Grants in place for spring 2016.
23. Recognize Faculty and Staff
Established an employee of the month and employee of the year award. There are a number of special awards for faculty, and we will do all we can to give special attention and recognition to those honored. We are working with our advisory groups to identify other ways to recognize our faculty and staff.
24. Incentives, as the contract allows, for such things as research money, travel, and support of new faculty transition into the university and Kutztown community
- Will continue to solicit feedback from administrators and faculty advisory/governance groups. Ongoing.
- Increased funding for faculty professional development; funding available through the Faculty Professional Development Committee.
- Hosted a reception at President's House for new faculty, cabinet, and deans.
25. Faculty/Staff Development programs
Provided funding for academic department chairs to attend a professional development conference last year and we hope to develop other such initiatives for our chairs; a program has being developed for our physical plant employees wherein individuals can "shadow" a tradesman for the purpose of professional advancement; we have agreed to release time being allowed for non-teaching employees to attend special training sessions; also, we have put in place funding to support the professional development of non-faculty employees in a number of areas.
26. Appropriate technology available
Listed above are just a few examples of the progress our IT department has made in this past year. Of note, is the CRM project which will be able to help us track applicants to KU and lead to better yield rates, and of course, our computer replenishment program which is bringing state-of-the-art computers to our labs, classrooms, and faculty/staff offices.
- MyKU Mobile App for SmartPhones and Tablet PC's
- Expanded Usage of the Hobson's Radius Customer Relationship Management SystemResponsive University Website Home Page
- MyKU PeopleSoft Delegated Access project
- Completion of the university Academic Classroom Wireless "WiFi" Initiative
- Personal Computer Cyclical Replenishment Project
Marketing and Public Relations
27. Develop new Marketing Campaign
University Marketing made modifications and enhancements to our marketing campaign. Programs of Distinction were highlighted by showing our own students participating in learning experiences. This campaign utilized cable TV, programmatic/digital formats, Facebook, outdoor billboards, newspaper education guides and YouTube gaming platform. An independent campaign was also developed to promote all of the Sesquicentennial programming. This campaign also included the development of the "Difference Makers" campaign appearing on our homepage of our website.
The next phase of marketing programs is well on the way to development. A nationally recognized Higher Education marketing and brand development agency was contracted to conduct a complete internal and external brand research project. The company conducted an intense research project involving more than 3,283 faculty, staff, alumni and other internal respondents. They also conducted an outside survey of numerous people from our surrounding counties and states. From this messaging platform will come all new advertising, printed materials and talking points that will enable the university to better tell our story.
28. Enhanced Webpage Design
University Relations directed the development of our new, responsive, attractive homepage which was completed in the spring. Feedback from key campus constituents was gathered in fall, 2015 resulting in a full screen site with enhanced news items and photos and additional links. We have begun the process to redesign the balance of the website.
29. Social Media
Also under the direction of University Relations, a Social Media Strategy/Implementation Team was created with representatives from university relations, admissions, marketing, student life, academics and the KU Foundation. This team developed strategies to grow our overall social media presence, and began soliciting feedback through focus groups. Currently, we have over 27,000 Facebook followers, 10,000 followers on twitters, and thousands more on other sites.
Social Equity and Diversity
30. Increase Student Diversity
We remain constant at approximately 19-20% minority enrollment. This places us among the more diverse universities in the state system. We have expanded our efforts to recruit in urban areas and have scholarship opportunities for high achieving students of diverse backgrounds. A pilot overnight visit program for admitted students from diverse backgrounds is planned for Spring 2017.
31. Diversify our Faculty
Last year we participated in the Frederick Douglas Institute Visiting Scholars Program. We also created a new program, connected to the institute, to bring in scholars with diverse backgrounds and give them an opportunity to join our faculty.
32. Ensure diverse students, faculty, and staff are supported on campus and in the community
- Joint university/community committee in place to discuss ways to support diverse populations in the community.
- Regularly meet with many constituencies on campus to discuss this initiative.
- Sponsored nationally known speakers of diverse views to campus for speeches and other programs.
Administration and Finance
33. Ensure all spending is essential and based on planning process.
34. Reprioritize budget to fund new initiatives arriving out of new planning process
35. Identify Savings
New Strategic Initiative Planning Process in place that allows all units on campus to request resources based on unit and institutional objects. Gainsharing in place that allows the recovery of unused funds for reallocation and a plan for all funds remaining in units.
36. Identify new funding sources
- Efforts continue to be made to identify new funding sources through grants, corporate giving, and efforts of the foundation.
37. 360 Degree Evaluation System for Administrators who manage units
- 360 Degree Evaluation process for all manager who supervise three or more employees was completed in summer, 2016.
Fundraising and Alumni Relations
38. Colleges and other divisions to develop fundraising plans and initiatives
39. Increase Corporate giving
40. Initiate major Capital Campaign
41. We will have a dynamic alumni events calendar with activities around the country
42. We will identify "opinion leaders" among alumni and, out of their loyalty to KU ask them to serve as KU ambassadors
43. We will enhance our efforts to get alumni to come back
44. We need to recognize alumni through awards, talk about them in newsletters, etc.
We have had many accomplishments and advances with the work of our Foundation and Alumni Relations. Below are a few examples of action items...
- New Endowed Scholarships and other support in math, athletics, business, and other areas
- A major donation to support entrepreneurship initiatives by our studentsA number of naming opportunities in our facilities (Nancy/multipurpose room)
- The "88 Key" club to support our new All Steinway Piano statusPresidential Medals to Ryan Vogelsong and Doc Jones
- Alumni events across the countryCollege alumni advisory committees establishedThe Foundation Board is studying the feasibility of a major capital campaign
These many initiatives and others resulted in some significant increases in our fundraising and the participation of our alumni. As of June 30th, the numbers look like this as we visited many top donors and alumni:
- Total Raised $3,406,880 (+7.2%)
- Unrestricted Annual Fund Raised $187,194 (+6%)
- 5,092 Donors (+10%)
- 1,750 New Donors (+37%)
- 3,072 Alumni Donors (+13%)
- 5.2% Alumni Participation Rate
- Faculty and Staff Giving Up 22.8%
- 300+ Graduating Seniors Donated to Class Gift
Transparency, Openness, and Consultation with Faculty and Staff
45. Visit all units and constituencies on campus
46. Establish roundtable/advisory groups
- Faculty advisory group established.
- Staff advisory group to be established by December 1, 2015.
- Provost has also established a faculty advisory group.
- Marketing has established advisory group.
- Human Resources has established an advisory group.
47. Meet with local/regional community and government leaders
- Meet regularly with Mayor.
- Have met with local legislative leaders.
- Numerous meetings have occurred with area leaders in business and other professions.
- President has been appointed to the following Board of Directors: Hawk Mountain, Berks Encore and Burn Prevention Network.
48. Reinstitute a joint University/Kutztown Committee
- Committee established.
49. Meet regularly with faculty and employee governance leaders and groups as well as student leaders and groups
- Meetings scheduled and ongoing.
50. Continue the strategic planning process and make sure it is completed this year
- A new strategic plan has been established to run through 2019.
51. Learn the State System and develop a strong relationship with the Chancellor, his staff, the Board of Governors, and the other 13 presidents in the system
- Attend regular meetings in Harrisburg with PASSHE personnel and meet regularly with 13 presidents in system.
52. Visit top donors and alumni
- Numerous events have occurred allowing me to interact with top donors and alumni.
Examples of other initiatives
53. Hire a permanent Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- Selected Dr. Anne Zayaitz as our provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. Her 30 years of experience, sound advice, and love of KU will prove invaluable as we move this agenda forward.