At his very first convocation in 1990 as CSUF's new president, Milton Gordon described his vision of the electronic network that would link the campus community. First, a high bandwidth infrastructure had to be put in place. A fiber optic network would be needed to handle the volume and speed that would link each office on campus to every other and the campus would need its own digital private branch exchange (PBX). Next, the campus would need to agree on a standard platform to replace the medley of incompatible PCs, Wangs, Apples and esoterica that were housed in our offices. Finally, the campus would need to find the money to install new computers for everyone. It seemed an impossible dream.
President Gordon utilized a bold strategy to set his dream in motion. We were scheduled for a new phone switch--long overdue--and President Gordon was able to persuade state finance officers to fund the installation of a campus-wide fiber optic network as a capital outlay. The change from an analog to a digital phone system would enable a fully integrated communication system, linking electronic and voice communication.
Initial plans were formulated by Gene Dippel, who headed the computer center. Dr. Michael Parker became the university's Acting Technology Officer when Mr. Dippel retired, and Dr. Parker, President Gordon and Chief Financial Officer Sherri Newcomb developed a strategic plan to install new computers throughout the campus. Together, they created "The Committee to Implement a Standard Computer Work Environment" and charged it with the following:
determining the most feasible networked workstation standard for all full-time staff
announcing an RFP for the equipment and installation;
determining an employee workstation/e-mail training program for all employees;
removing previous workstations and redeploying fairly up-to-date computers to part-time staff, faculty and to student labs;
providing guidance to Newcomb and Parker.
The committee was also charged with keeping the campus community informed. To date, seven newsletters have been circulated to the campus.
By Spring, 1997, with the infrastructure complete, plans were in place. The RFP was awarded to Titan Shops to work with subcontractors Dell and Apple. Wareforce (to install the machines), and JCM Facilities Planning and Management to manage the project. Using Computer Center and Library staff, a pilot project "rolled out" computers to the Library and Computer Center in December. The rollout of new computers to the rest of the campus began in January, 1998 and the first rollout was completed in mid-June with more planned for new and returning employees in the fall. At the height of the rollout, 110 machines were installed each week, confounding early estimates that the roll out would take about two years. In all, 1,394 computers and 1,111 printers were installed with 200 more planned.
Obtaining new standardized equipment was the first step, but as President Gordon made clear to the campus, new machines would be pointless without training. The committee had selected Microsoft NT 4.0 as its network platform, and Microsofts Office 97 productivity suite as the standard software. Now it became concerned with training the campus community. The carrot was the new machine; the stick was that people would not receive their new machines until they were trained in Outlook, the communications software that supported e-mail and scheduling functions. Training was coordinated by Robin Innes and Naomi Goodwin in the new staff development office. Courses in Outlook, Windows NT, Excel, Word and PowerPoint were offered, and by May, 1998, 1,186 staff and faculty had received Outlook training. (Some were exempt because they were already expert with Outlook.) A grand total of 2,890 attended various software training sessions from December to May.
New computers in student labs also meant new opportunities for students to learn. All students were provided with free email accounts, and as faculty began integrating the technology into their classes, students received more training. In Fall, 9,623 students, and in Spring, 10,082 students completed computer-based courses.
What remains to be done? As Dr. Parker says, this is a process that will never end. Shortly, the full integration of phones and computers will be complete. Voice mail messages (from the phones) will be accessible as e-mail on the computers and the phone directory, updated daily, will be online, capable of dialing telephone numbers at the click of a mouse. Future resources have been allocated to provide ongoing replacement as machines and software become outdated. President Gordons technology vision, outlined in 1990 before the recession, has been realized. And the campus environment for learning, as faculty and staff utilize more and more of the networks capabilities, as been upgraded to a technological state of the art.
We havent conducted a survey yet, but our sense is that most users on campus think the rollout was not only a success but also that the increased opportunities for easy communication, and increased expertise in computer usage as a result of training has met a real need. Not all of the support of learning functions on campus operate so smoothly.
The WASC Self Study gets an office: a horror story
Initially, support for the Self Study Team was based in Associate Vice President Klammers office, but once we got rolling, we needed space for our clerical assistant, our graduate assistant, and the volumes of material we were gathering. Finding the space was not all that hard. The Vice President for Academic Affairs had a spare office in that complex, and since it was so centrally located, and visible, the team was happy to house our clerical assistant there. And Dean Castro loaned us two rooms that the Anthropology Department vacated when it moved to its new digs in McCarthy Hall.
But the rooms needed painting badly, and floor polishing and general cleaning up. First, though, we couldnt get an appointment for the move. When the movers finally arrived, they didnt have a screwdriver with them (and/or it wasnt their job) so they couldnt unbolt the bookshelves from the wall to move them. It took us seven weeks to get an estimate for the painting (we thought the cost was outrageous!) and we waited another month before the painting occurred. Finally, we were up and functional, thanks to a rather speedy installation of our computer (the rollout worked for us!) although it took us two weeks to get our phone hooked up (and that cost $180!).
Being of an inquiring mind, we had to find out why this all took so long. It seems everyone wants painting done during the summer, and everyone picks the summer to move. We understand. Painting and moving are disruptive and so its better to do them during the quieter moments. But, we couldnt help wondering, if this happens every year, why cant we anticipate and plan more effectively?
We asked Task Force member Melinda White of Physical Plant to explain. Is this the way to promote a campus environment that supports student-centered learning? What has happened? Melinda responded, "I wholly agree that services (or the lack thereof) that the WASC Task Force experienced definitely contribute to our campus environment. Lack of these services has a compounding effect in that, if not available, or not readily available, the efficiency, effectiveness and even morale of the requesting department can be affected."
Melinda explained that during the budget crunch that occurred from 1991 to 1993, the University established priorities so that support for academic programs superceded all other University needs. These cuts resulted in the loss of many support positions, including custodians, grounds keepers, trades, and our only welder. The "academic side of the house" stayed pretty much intact so that students could get the classes they needed and no tenure-track faculty were laid off. But on the "administrative side of the house," positions were lost and maintenance suffered.
Melinda reports that a "re-prioritization" is taking place. "The purse strings have finally loosened for the care and feeding of our campus physical plant," she says, with new funds being allocated for elevator maintenance, classroom refurbishment, and deferred maintenance such as the facing on McCarthy Hall that was recently completed. Melindas hope is that new positions will mean alleviating delays so that her ability to service the community, and thus improve the campus environment for learning, will increase substantially.
Getting reimbursed: another horror story
In April, four members of the WASC task force were asked to attend "best practices" presentations on assessment at schools located around the country. Since we were given pretty short notice, we were asked to make our own travel arrangements and then be reimbursed.
State law says that reasonable employee business expenses must be reimbursed within 30 days (but of course that applies only to the private sector; the public sector isnt covered by the statute). And, youve guessed it, by mid-August, four months later, three of us had not yet been reimbursed.
We know why. Travel reimbursement is handled by one person. One person, who does reimbursement for all 2500 employees. (Linda Osburn reports that she gets occasional student assistant or temporary help). Linda tries to get reimbursements processed within a six week time frame, but if something goes wrongand something always seems to go wrongthat time expands. Here was a problem for one of us. She flew on "ticketless" travel, ordering her ticket over the Internet and receiving a reservation, but no ticket. Chancellor Office and Finance Office guidelines say that an original ticket is required for reimbursement. But there was no ticket. Shed been in the pile for the usual six weeks, but now she had to file an explanation as to why she couldnt produce a ticket. And, of course, her reimbursement claim went back to the pile for another six weeks.
Conclusion: Both our "horror" stories exemplify a campus climate that is distinctly non-supportive of its employees. We are not trying to single out Terry Jarmon in Property, or Linda Osburn in travel, or Melinda White in Physical Plant. We know they are as frustrated in trying to deliver their services as we are when we request them. We point out that part of the SWOT analysis has some real poignancy for us, that part that talks about the slow and inefficient bureaucracy. But we also take heart, along with Melinda, that the priorities of the University were always clear: academic programs were "protected" even though that meant a temporary postponement of other necessities.
Preparation for Phase II A Campus-Wide Forum
Working with the University Planning Committee, the WASC Self Study Task Force will host a campus wide forum on November 13 to receive input about its Phase I draft and to plan both for Phase II and for greater integration and collaboration on various initiatives. Among the subjects for discussion will be the "marks" of a Fullerton student and graduate, the "Cornerstones" project of the CSU, and plans for increasing assessment about student learning. The whole campus will be invited to participate in the Forum; however, selected groups of students will be specifically invited, including students in courses that are concerned with organizational effectiveness and assessment practices.
Proposed data collection
The Higher Education Research Institute (UCLA) has invited CSUF to participate in two surveys, one directed to incoming freshmen and one for all faculty. The costs to participate are reasonable, and the final sample will provide us a nation-wide comparative base. We have the option of adding questions to meet local interests to both surveys, and we have done that.
Each WASC Self Study Subcommittee is also planning to collect additional data. The faculty and staff subcommittee is looking for a survey tool to be distributed to staff members, and the Subcommittee on the Environment for Learning is planning a classroom needs survey. For our data portfolio, which will be a part of our campus self study for WASC, we have several initiatives underway. They include:
1. The first-ever university-wide Fact Book will be published (hard copy first) by the end of Fall, 1998. Funded as a University Planning Initiative, it is a collaboration among Analytical Studies, Public Affairs, and the Presidents Office to bring together information about CSUF from all three offices, as well as from Business and Finance, Student Financial Aid, Sponsored Projects, and the like, all in one book. The Fact Book will serve as the official information guide for all campus members, and will also be sent to our various community/regional business, K-12, and other partners. The Fact Book will be structured as closely as possible to our Mission and Goals, with the main criteria of organization being "call it what they will understand, and put it where they will find it". This is the "umbrella project" for all others described below.
2. We will develop the Common Data Set, integrating our IPEDS data (which is completed
by the system office) with our campus external survey completion, making clear choices on
what constitutes "official data" and streamlining the process of completing
external surveys (all of which are done by the campus, save IPEDS).
3. We will develop a standard package of data for SCOPE visits [Statewide Capital
Outlay Program], which while intended originally for the purpose of monitoring capital
outlay projects, have increasingly become annual comprehensive exams on trends in
headcount majors, graduation rates, trends in ethnicity, applications/admits/yields, etc.
For the last SCOPE visit in November 1997, a 74-page handout with accompanying
presentation was so well received that it will now become the standard, but we can no
longer develop such massive amounts of "evidence" in an ad hoc manner.
4. Analytical Studies Statistical Handbook and its trend data "Plus"
section will be fully migrated from mainframe/SPSSX analyses to MS-Access start to finish.
The new system provides the basis for data base warehousing and sharing across the campus.
5. A number of retention and graduation studies will be updated and expanded. Many
departments are now clamoring for data about their own students, for use in Program
Performance Review and professional accreditation. Analyses with broad interest will be
published in the Fact Book, while the most detailed program information will be warehoused
for department/program use.
6. Starting Spring, 1999, the design and implementation of web pages directly linked to
the CSUF official home page will be launched. Essentially, the goal is to put the entire
Fact Book online.
7. In combination with item #6, an intranet system accessible by those who need to use
detailed data (Deans offices, department chairs) will also be designed and
implemented. The best example of use of these types of data is the "Managing
Resources and Faculty Recruitment Planning" project in Academic Affairs. The Deans
need a decision support system, for their use in monitoring the effects both within and
across their departments and programs of alternative, hypothetical reallocation and new
resource allocation decisions at the school level. What we have in mind is a
sophisticated, public website, which permits key campus offices to "drill down"
to their own data and analysis tools.
While a completion date for the website and intranet cannot be known at this time, we do expect to have completed all other parts of this mega-project well in time for submission of our data portfolio to WASC, and whatever is available on the internet will be shared as well.
Phase II: The Culture of Evidence
Assessing the effectiveness of programs is a critical component for compiling the culture of evidence that we seek in our Self Study. What does it mean when we say that CSUF is a student-centered learning community? How do programs know when they are contributing to student learning? What evidence do they have?
In 1997-98, the Division of Student Affairs conducted an intensive self-study review. What follows is the "Executive Summary" of the findings of that self study. The full report will be included as an appendix in our final version of Phase II. Robert Palmer is the Vice-President for Student Affairs.
California State University, Fullerton
Student Affairs Self-Study Review
From September 1997 through February 1998, the Division of Student Affairs at Cal State Fullerton conducted a Self-Study designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in the division and its units. The outline used to perform the self-study is contained in the Book of Professional Standards 1997, published by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). The CAS standards consist of 24 sets of standards by which units in Student Affairs can measure their performance. Each set of standards utilizes the same 13 categories to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular program or service in Student Affairs. These 13 categories are:
4. Organization and Management
5. Human Resources
6. Financial Resources
7. Facilities, Technology, and Equipment
8. Legal Responsibilities
9. Equal Opportunity, Access and Affirmative Action
10. Campus and Community Relations
13. Assessment and Evaluation
The CSUF Division of Student Affairs created a committee, the Self-Study Committee, which decided to use 18 of the 24 standards by which to measure performance in the division. There were also 6 units in the Division for which CAS standards were not available. These 6 units wrote their own set of standards based on the CAS outline. The combined 24 sets of standards and the units which utilized them are as follows:
CAS Standard - Unit Investigating the Standard
Campus Activities - Office of Student Life
Career Planning and Placement - Career Development Center
College Union - Titan Student Union
Counseling Programs - Career Development Center
Disability Services - Disabled Student Services
Financial Aid Programs - Financial Aid
Fraternity and Sorority Programs - Office of Student Life
Housing Programs - Housing and Residential Life
International Student Programs - International Education and Exchange
Judicial Programs - Office of the Vice President, Housing and Residential Life, Office of Student Life
Leadership Programs - Office of Student Life
Minority Programs - Office of Student Life
Student Orientation - Office of Student Life
Outcomes Assessment and Program Evaluation - Testing and Research Center
Women Student Programs - Womens Center
Additional Standards Created for the Self Study
Adult Re-entry Program
MESA Engineering Program
Each unit responsible for investigating a set of standards performed the following actions:
Each unit/principal investigator came up with their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses relative to each set of standards (see sections to follow for details). When viewed in the aggregate, certain items seemed to emerge for Student Affairs as a whole. Following are the areas which need improvement across the entire Division:
Many units, if not all, felt a need for a more coherent, consistent evaluation and assessment plan for their unit and for the division as a whole. Most units are collecting some data but without much consistency. There is no consistency of data collected across units. In addition, very little assessment of learning outcomes is being performed.
While most units felt they had a coherent mission, many did not feel that their "audiences" knew or understood the intent of their mission. Some units felt a need for more distinctive or purposeful mission statements and it seemed to be the consensus of the group that the division as a whole needs to broadly distribute the division mission statement.
Some units found that a lack of physical space and technology (including hardware, software and support services) was contributing to a lower level of service than should be provided.
Two or three units found that a lack of adequate clerical and support staff was hindering the service provided. Number of clerical staff is the problem in some units while inadequate training emerges in other areas.
A number of departments found that the outreach to and relationships with other campus units (especially those not in the division of Student Affairs) could be improved. Some departments found that outreach to entities off-campus could also be improved.
V. Future Directions for Self Study, Evaluation and Assessment
Ongoing assessment efforts are continuing in each of the Student Affairs units. The annual report process includes an assessment data collection and analysis component and is an assessment project in and of itself. Student Affairs is very involved in the WASC related campus self study happening in 1998-99. It is recommended that a Student Affairs division-wide self study be conducted each 3-5 years, with staff involved in each cycle reviewing the work from the prior cycle.
Appendix I-A: Mission, Goals and Strategies
Mission, Goals &Strategies*
California State University, Fullerton
California State University, Fullerton
... where learning is preeminent
Learning is preeminent at California State University, Fullerton. We aspire to combine the best qualities of teaching and research universities where actively engaged students, faculty, and staff work in close collaboration to expand knowledge.
Our affordable undergraduate and graduate programs provide students the best of current practice, theory, and research and integrate professional studies with preparation in the arts and sciences. Through experiences in and out of the classroom, students develop the habit of intellectual inquiry, prepare for challenging professions, strengthen relationships to their communities and contribute productively to society.
We are a comprehensive, regional university with a global outlook, located in Orange County, a technologically rich and culturally vibrant area of metropolitan Los Angeles. Our expertise and diversity serve as a distinctive resource and catalyst for partnerships with public and private organizations. We strive to be a center of activity essential to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our region.
Goals and Strategies
I. To ensure the preeminence of learning, we will
A. establish an environment where learning and the creation of knowledge are central to everything we do.
B. integrate reaching, scholarly and creative activities, and the exchange of ideas.
C. assess student learning collegially and continually use the evidence to improve programs.
D. affirm the university's commitment to freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech.
E. recruit and retain a highly-qualified and diverse staff and faculty.
F. develop and maintain attractive, accessible, and functional facilities that support learning.
G. integrate advances in information technologies into learning environments.
H. develop a strong library which provides rapid access to global information and serves as a nexus for learning.
II. -To provide high quality programs that meet the evolving needs of our students, community, and region, we will
A. support undergraduate and graduate programs in professional and preprofessional studies and-in the arts and sciences.
B. integrate knowledge with the development of values, professional ethics, and the teamwork, leadership, and citizenship skills necessary for students to make meaningful contributions to society.
C. develop a coherent and integrated general education program.
D. provide experiences in and out of the classroom that attend to issues of culture, ethnicity, and gender and promote a global perspective.
E. offer continuing education programs that provide retraining and meet professional certification and other community needs.
F. capitalize on the uniqueness of our region, with its economic and cultural strengths, its rich ethnic diversity, and its proximity to Latin America and the Pacific Rim.
G. provide opportunities to learn from external communities through internships, cooperative education, and other field activities.
H. provide opportunities for students to participate in a competitive intercollegiate athletics program.
I. provide opportunities for recreation and enhanced physical wellbeing.
III. To enhance scholarly and creative activity, we will
A. support faculty research and grant activity that leads to the generation, integration and dissemination of knowledge.
B. encourage departments to reconsider the nature and kinds of scholarship within the discipline and to create a culture conducive to scholarly and creative activity.
C. encourage departments to implement a plan and personnel document supportive of scholarly and creative activities consistent with collegial governance and the University's mission and goals.
D. cultivate student and staff involvement in faculty scholarly and creative activity.
E. provide students, faculty, and staff access to and training in the use of advanced technologies supportive of research, scholarly, and creative activity.
IV. To make collaboration integral to our activities, we will
A. create opportunities in and out of the classroom for collaborative activities for students, faculty, and staff.
B. leverage our membership within the largest university system in the United States to advance the University's mission.
C. encourage, recognize, and reward interdisciplinary and crossunit collaboration.
D. promote collaborative and innovative exchanges with other educational institutions at all levels to maximize the efficient use of resources and enhance opportunities for all learners.
V. To create an environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed, we will
A. develop an innovative outreach and simplified admissions system that enhances recruitment of qualified students.
B. ensure that students of varying' age, ethnicity, culture, academic experience, and economic circumstances are well served.
C. facilitate a timely graduation through class availability and effective retention, advisement, career counseling, and mentoring
D. provide an affordable education without sacrificing quality.
E. provide an efficient and effective financial aid system.
F. maximize extramural funding and on-campus employment to defray students' educational costs.
G. provide an accessible, attractive and safe environment, aid a welcoming campus climate.
VI. To increase external support for university programs and priorities, we will
A. increase the proportion of campus resources generated by private giving.
B. strengthen links with our alumni that optimize an on-going commitment to the success of the University.
C. increase our effectiveness in obtaining grants and contracts, consistent with university mission and goals.
D. convey a clear message to the public that we are essential to the cultural, intellectual, and economic developmentof the region.
VII. To expand connections and partnerships with our region, we will
A. develop mutually beneficial working partnerships with public and private sectors within our region.
B. serve as a regional center for intellectual, cultural, athletic and life-long learning activities.
C. develop community-centered programs and activities, consistent with our mission and goals, that serve the needs of our external communities.
D. involve alumni as valued participants in the on-going lifeof the university.
VIII. To strengthen institutional effectiveness, collegial governance and our sense of community, we will
A. assess university activities and programs to ensure that they fulfill our mission and to identify areasof needed improvement, change, or elimination.
B. create simplified and responsive decision-making structures that reduce fragmentation and increase efficiency.
C. strengthen shared collegial governance in order to build community and acknowledge our collective responsibility to achieve the University's goals.
D. provide a good work environment with effective development and training programs that assist employees in meeting their job requirements and in preparing for advancement.
E. ensure our reward systems are compatible with our mission and goals by reviewing the multiple rolesof faculty and staff through the various stages of their careers.
F. integrate advances in information and communication technologies into work environments.
G. enhance a sense of community to ensure that faculty, students, and staff have as a common purpose the achievement of the overall goals of the University.
*The goals and strategies are not in any priority order. The Roman numerals and letters have been added as reference points.