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University Checklist

Progress Report on New Initiatives

(Updated August 2017)

Listed below is an updated version of the University Checklist incorporating many of the items discussed in the Annual State of the University address in August 2017. We continue to make progress on moving forward on these many initiatives.

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.

Academic Excellence

1. Raise Admission Standards 

    • Admission standards have been raised at KU helping to significantly raise 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 groups to identify ways to enhance the program and increase honors participation.
    • As a result of student group recommendations; Honors has been moved under "Academics" on the KU 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 reduction for qualified out-of-state students (150% of in-state tuition).
    • Revised tuition reduction for qualified international students (150% of in-state tuition.
    • All institutional scholarships have been reviewed and adjusted (see KU Scholarships).
    • KU Academic Excellence Scholarship established - requirements: above 3.5 GPA and financial need.  Award of $1500 or half tuition per year for four years.
    • 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

    • All Middle States Working Groups have submitted chapter drafts to the Middle States Steering Committee charged with writing the self-study design and final self-study report.
    • The Steering Committee is developing the final draft of the self-study and it is to be completed by August 31.
    • Evaluation Team Chair Preliminary visit is scheduled in October 2017.
    • Evaluation Team visits campus in March 2018.

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.
    • A new living/learning community for freshmen Board of Governor's scholarship recipients will be established beginning in the Fall 2017 semester.

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.
    • Signed an agreement with American Honors, a selective honors program offered at community colleges across the U.S.

14. Establish recruiting initiatives to enhance number and quality of student body

    • Re-organized our admissions area and placed a full-time recruiter in Philadelphia at the City Center.
    • Established free "bus passes" for students with need to travel to university.
    • 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).
    • Received a $1.3 million Upward Bound grant with the Allentown School District.
    • Math Placement pilot implemented.
    • Completed online graduate assistantship process.
    • Hired a Philadelphia Regional Admissions Recruiter.
    • Trained Alumni Board members to participate in college fairs and high school visits.
    • Additional recruitment and retention initiatives are included in the 2017-2020 University Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

15. International Recruiting

    • Established an advisory committee of international faculty and have received invaluable advice. 
    • We have joined a State System consortium that will assist us in recruiting in India.
    • Revised tuition reduction for international students (150% of in-state tuition).
    • Signed an agreement with American Honors, a selective honors program offered at community colleges across the U.S. International students represent a sizable percentage of the American Honors population.

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. 

17. Community Colleges to increase 2 plus 2 Programs 

    • Agreements are in place with regional community colleges.
    • Revised our Dual Admissions agreement with RACC and working on establishing a Dual Admissions with several other 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 and other discussions have been held 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 our new FYE Director, Ms. Sharmon Bryant 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 Spring 2017: Minor in Integrative STEM Education; B.A. in Music: Performance Emphasis; M.Ed. in Music Education: Certification Option
    • Effective Fall 2017: Minor in Fitness Administration; Minor in Performance and Storytelling; B.S. in lnformation Technology; B.S. in Social Media Theory and Strategy; BSBA Finance: Personal Financial Planning Track; Ed.D. in Transformational Teaching and Learning
    • Effective Spring 2018: Minor in Art Education; Minor in Case Management; Minor in Studio Art
    • Proposal under review: M.Ed. in Multicultural Education; B.A. in Public Relations; M.A. in Museum Education; Major -Supply Chain Management 

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 has been established.
    • Reassigned time for faculty PI on Federal Grants has been established.

23. Recognize Faculty and Staff

An Employee of the Month program was implemented in 2016 for staff with the Employee of the Year being revealed at the Faculty & Staff Convocation & Celebration. 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.
    • Increased funding for faculty professional development; funding available through the Faculty Professional Development Committee.
    • Hosted a reception at President's House for new faculty.

25. Faculty/Staff Development programs

    • Faculty Seminar in Higher Education Leadership is a professional development opportunity led by the Provost.  Faculty participants will be attending seminar discussions and will have the opportunity to have real conversations with university leadership.
    • Faculty Grant Proposal Writing Fellows program is continuing.
    • Expanding the opportunity for faculty to apply for AWA as Assistant Deans in each college; CLAS has implemented the opportunity for 2017-2018; the other colleges will be able to move forward with this opportunity through Strategic Budget Initiatives for 2018-2019.

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 been 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 below 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 System Responsive University Website Home Page
    • MyKU PeopleSoft Delegated Access project
    • Completion of the university Academic Classroom Wireless "WiFi" Initiative
    • Personal Computer Cyclical Replenishment Project
    • In 2017-2018 we will be installing a new centralized ticketing program for use across the University to provide tickets to all events.  To include: KU Presents!, Athletics, ACE events, Commencement, etc.
    • The University recently funded a software purchase to provide major improvements to its billing & collection system.  This will make these processes much more friendly for students & parents.

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 complete.  Ologie, 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.   In the Fall semester of 2017 we will launch a completely revised newly branded advertising campaign to enhance our recruitment efforts.  It's Good To Be Golden campaign was launched first on campus and now into our primary recruitment markets.

28. Enhanced Webpage Design

University Relations directed the development of our new, responsive, attractive homepage which was completed in the spring of 2016.  The homepage was honored by CUPRAP with a 2017 Bronze CUPPIE Award in the Electronic Media-Website category.  The full screen site has enhanced stories and photos - which are updated quarterly - as well as news and additional links.  The balance of the website will receive a responsive re-design in 2017-18.

29. Social Media

Also under the direction of University Relations, the Social Media Strategy/Implementation Team continued developed strategies to grow our overall social media presence.  Social media continues to grow - currently, we have 30,449 Facebook followers, 10,900 followers on Twitter, 4,900 followers on Instagram and thousands more on other sites.  We also started university and intercollegiate athletic accounts for SnapChat, which is extremely popular with prospective students.

Social Equity and Diversity

30. Increase Student Diversity

We have increased our overall diversity from 19 to 21% and our freshmen class cohort from 19 to nearly 26%.  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 (See KU Scholarships).
    • A pilot overnight visit program for admitted students from diverse backgrounds occurred in the Spring 2017 semester.  The program resulted in approximately 70% (n=36) of the participants submitting a deposit to enroll at KU.  The average GPA and SAT scores of program participants was higher than the incoming freshmen class averages.

31. Diversify our Faculty

We will continue to devote resources to sponsor the Frederick Douglas Institute Visiting Scholars Program.

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. 

The Cabinet continues its ongoing review of all position replacements.  Detailed review of new funding requests occurs throughout the year to ensure that all programs are offered in an economical manner.  Funding requests are only considered if they are in support of university priorities as stated in the Strategic Plan.

34. Reprioritize budget to fund new initiatives arriving out of new planning process

The Cabinet has recently completed a review of Strategic Initiative requests for the 2017-18 academic year.  The funding source for the bulk of the allocations was identified through the gainsharing program.  This program allowed the university to redistribute surplus funds in places across many university departments to areas of strategic priority.  Approximately $500,000 was redistributed as part of this program.

35. Identify Savings 

The University has focused on reducing its budget over the past several years in many areas.  For the 2017-18 academic year; the University has identified savings in four major categories:

  • Retirement savings - Approximately $1 million has been identified due to retirements of faculty and staff.
  • Position eliminations - A total of $463k has been saved through the elimination of several vacant positions.
  • Bad debts expense - The university has greatly improved its billing and collection practices over the years, which has reduced the amount of uncollectable student accounts by $100k.
  • Deferred maintenance - The university has reduced the budget associated with facility maintenance and repair funds by $1 million.
  • A 1.25% reduction in the budget of all VP areas occurred resulting in $1.6 million dollar savings.

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 managers who supervise three or more employees was implemented.

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...

    • Endowed Scholarships and other support in math, athletics, business, and other areas
    • A $2.4 million bequest from retired Allentown teacher and proud KU alumna
    • Alumni events across the country.  College alumni advisory committees established.  The 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 $5,561,795 (+7.2%)
    • 5,346 Donors (+5.5%)
    • 26% Graduating Seniors Donated to Class Gift 

Transparency, Openness, and Consultation with Faculty and Staff

45. Visit all units and constituencies on campus

    • Done

46. Establish roundtable/advisory groups

    • President's Faculty advisory group established.
    • Provost Faculty advisory group established.
    • Marketing Faculty & Staff advisory group established.
    • Human Resources advisory group established.
    • International Programs Faculty advisory group established.
    • President's & First Lady Town & Gown Councils established.

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.