STRATEGIC PLANNING DOCUMENT
DATE: March 1, 2003
ACADEMIC UNIT: English Department
CHAIRPERSON: Dr. Stephen E. Meats
The English Department provides bachelors degree programs in literature, technical/professional
and creative writing, and the teaching of English, and masters degree programs in literature,
professional writing and rhetoric, and community college teaching. The Department serves the
University’s overall academic program by offering support courses in technical writing and
general education and by providing faculty and students with a variety of teaching and learning
programs, services, and activities beyond the classroom. The Department also provides and
supports programs that offer educational and aesthetic enrichment opportunities for public school
students and teachers and for members of the Pittsburg community and the Southeast Kansas
region. All Department programs and activities are consistent with the mission of Pittsburg State
University as a comprehensive regional university.
The Department is committed to offering degree programs of high quality, including appropriate
use of media and instructional technology. The Department is also committed to the growth of
these programs in a manner consistent with the mission and resources of the University and its
leadership role in the Southeast Kansas higher education community. To meet its commitments,
the Department strives to develop programs in literature, language, and writing that provide
students with optimum opportunities for intellectual development; aesthetic, creative, ethical,
emotional, and social growth; enhanced gender, ethnic, and multicultural awareness; enhanced
technological knowledge and skill; career preparation; and freedom of expression. To provide
these opportunities, the Department engages in a continuous process of assessment of educational
programs and student outcomes with the purpose of improving student learning. The Department
also strives to support the efforts of its faculty in their pursuit of excellence in teaching,
scholarly/creative endeavor, and service to the University, to the profession of English studies,
and to society at large.
How This Unit Supports the Academic Mission of the University:
The Department offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs and services in its areas of
specialty to the citizens of southeast Kansas and to others who seek them. Excellence in teaching,
supported by important research and service initiatives, is the primary focus of the Department.
The Department also encourages and supports the efforts of its students, staff, and faculty to
achieve their potentials for personal and professional development and for multicultural and
Goal 1. To decrease the department’s need each year to recruit part-time instructors from
a small and declining pool.
Objective 1.1. To add one full-time master’s level lecturer position to teach
three sections of Technical Writing and one section of General
Strategy 1.1. To demonstrate to the Dean and VPAA that a full-time lecturer in
Technical Writing will both decrease dependence on part-time
instructors and help maintain the quality of the program.
Performance measure 1.1. The Dean and VPAA will approve the temporary full-time
technical writing instructor position.
Progress: The Dean and VPAA have been made aware, but we have made no
additional progress toward creation of this position. However, we
have made progress in the past two years toward reducing the
Department’s need for part-time instructors by reallocating part-
time funds to increase graduate assistant stipends so that we could
increase the teaching load of graduate assistants from two courses
each per year to four. Because this goal is also closely tied to an
increase in the number of graduate teaching assistantships, see
Objective 2.1 below.
Goal 2. To enhance the size and quality of the English graduate program.
Objective 2.1. To increase the number of graduate teaching assistantships
allocated to the Department by two (from eight to ten).
Strategy 2.1. To demonstrate to the Dean and VPAA that an increase in the
number of graduate assistants is possible through additional
reallocation of part-time salary money in a way that will further
reduce the Department’s dependency on part-time instructors.
Performance measure 2.1. The Dean and VPAA will approve an increase in the
number of English graduate assistantships.
Progress: The Dean and VPAA have been made aware, and we may be close
to accomplishing this goal. Reallocation of part-time funds to
graduate assistant positions has already been used to increase the
graduate assistantship stipend and can also help fund these two
additional assistantships. The only remaining obstacle is to cover
the additional cost of remission of tuition for these two positions.
Objective 2.2. To implement an aggressive plan for recruiting graduate
Strategy 2.2.1. To make mail and telephone contacts with regional English teachers
and colleges and with colleges from which we have successfully
recruited students in the past.
Performance measure 2.2.1. The number of applicants for graduate assistantship
positions will increase.
Progress: The Department contacted all recent graduates of our own program
suggesting the possibility of pursuing a masters in English. The
number of applicants for assistantships increased slightly in 2002,
which reversed a trend of steady decline over the past five years.
Objective 2.3. To improve the quality of the masters program by revising the
preliminary and comprehensive graduate examinations.
Strategy 2.3.1. To devise preliminary and comprehensive examinations that
integrate closely with the knowledge bases of the three areas of
emphasis in the English masters program.
Performance measure 2.3.1. Students will better perceive the relationship between their
chosen courses of study and the system of graduate examinations.
Performance measure 2.3.2. Faculty in all areas of instruction will participate equally
in devising and grading graduate examinations.
Performance measure 2.3.3. Student performance on graduate examinations will
Progress: The Department completed a thorough redefinition and
restructuring of its reading lists and comprehensive examination
procedure. Except for Performance Measure 2.3.3., we consider
this objective accomplished. The Department will begin assessing
progress on the final Performance measure when the first masters
students take exams under the new system in Spring 2003.
Goal 3. To enhance departmental outreach programs.
Objective 3.1. To develop stronger relationships with area community colleges
to facilitate the English masters program emphasis in
Community College Teaching and to improve recruiting of
Strategy 3.1.1. To initiate a series of visits to area community college campuses by
the Department community college liaison and/or chairperson to
discuss teaching internship possibilities and academic program
Performance measure 3.1.1. Teaching internship agreements will be established with
community college departments and undergraduate transfer
concerns will be addressed and revised as needed.
Progress: The Department community college liaison officer visited with
English faculty at three community college campuses in Spring
2002. In Fall 2002, community college faculty came to P. S. U. for
two workshops on teaching in the community college for masters
students in that areas of emphasis. The community college liaison
officer has scheduled visits to several area community colleges in
Objective 3.2. To improve relationships with English teachers at area public
schools and to enhance opportunities for students to have
contact with the Department and the University.
Strategy 3.2.1. To establish a program of workshops on the use of computers in the
teaching of writing to be offered at area public schools as an in-
service professional development opportunity for teachers.
Performance measure 3.2.1. Computers-and-Writing workshops for teachers will be
offered to and held at area public schools.
Strategy3.2.2. To improve the program for the annual High School English
Festival to attract more participation by area schools.
Performance measure 3.2.2. Participation of area schools in the annual High School
English Festival will increase.
Progress: English Education faculty have become more active in visiting area
schools. One faculty member devoted his sabbatical in Fall 2002 to
interviewing graduates of our program, cooperating teachers, and
principals to find out ways department-school relations can be
improved. The English Festival for high school students was
reinstituted in Spring 2003 after a one-year hiatus. Eleven area
schools registered to participate. Two English faculty received
faculty development grants for 2002 to research and develop a grant
proposal for a summer workshop in which area high school and
community college teachers would learn to use local history,
literature, etc., in their schools’ curricula. This grant proposal was
submitted to a national grants organization but no result has been
received yet. No further computer workshops have been offered.
Objective 3.3. To encourage students to participate in educational,
enrichment, and service activities outside the classroom.
Strategy 3.3.1. To establish relationships with campus and community
organizations that could offer opportunities for internships and other
types of student participation.
Strategy 3.3.2. To offer financial support to students for travel to and participation
in professional conferences and other similar activities.
Performance measure 3.3.1. The number of students participating in educational,
enrichment, and service activities outside the classroom will
Progress: Internships with campus and community organizations have become
a standard feature for undergraduates and graduates in
technical/professional writing. We are still seeking to develop
internship opportunities for graduate students in community college
teaching. English Education students volunteered for national
library day at a local high school. A number of undergraduate and
graduate English students delivered papers at state, regional, and
national professional conferences. Women’s Studies students in
Fall 2002 volunteered in several community service organizations,
activities, and projects. International students in English classes
were taken on field trips in the local area, Kansas City, and
locations in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington, D. C., and
Goal 4. To continue to develop and enhance departmental computer capabilities.
Objective 4.1. To develop computer-enhanced components to existing and new
Strategy 4.1.1. To offer incentives to faculty in annual performance appraisals for
developing computer components for their classes.
Performance measure 4.1.1 The number of faculty developing computer components
for their classes will increase.
Objective 4.2. To provide for the maintenance and replacement of current
departmental instructional equipment facilities (computers).
Objective 4.3. To establish a second computer classroom in Grubbs Hall.
Objective 4.4. To provide networked computers in the Writing Center to
support its expanding role in the WAC Program and student
activities (new in 2003).
Strategy 4.2 & 3.1. To demonstrate to the Dean and VPAA that an instructional
equipment support fund be established and funded, either through
student fee, state appropriation, or other sources, to provide for the
cost of maintaining and replacing existing departmental
computers/printers/scanners/instructional software, and also to
establish a second computer classroom, which is needed, first, to
accommodate the increasing demands of the heavily computer-
intensive Technical Writing program and the large number of
regular composition courses, and second, to provide more open
computer lab accessibility for Arts & Sciences programs and
Performance measure 4.2 & 3.1. The Dean and VPAA will agree to find a way to fund
the maintenance and replacement of instructional equipment and the
establishment of a second computer classroom.
Progress: One faculty member set up approximately a dozen web sites as
enrichment to her classes. These web sites have registered
thousands of hits not only from students in her classes but from
teachers and students across the country and around the world. She
has received dozens of emails praising the web sites. One of her
web sites won a national award for literary/historical/artistic web
sites dealing with the 1920s. One graduate student set up a web site
for use by her composition students. The Department is modifying
its web sites to meet standards of ADA accessibility. No progress
has been made toward establishing a second Grubbs Hall Computer
Goal 5. To assess Department degree programs and student outcomes for the purpose of
improving student learning.
Objective 5.1. To revise the senior capstone course, ENGL 699.
Strategy 5.1.1. To devise assessment methods that accurately reflect student
achievement in satisfaction with departmental B. A. and B. E. Ed.
Strategy 5.1.2 To enhance the career component of the course to increase students’
knowledge of and preparation for the job market.
Objective 5.2. To gather information that reflects the effectiveness of
departmental programs in preparing graduates for careers.
Strategy 5.2.1. To conduct an annual survey of graduates regarding how well
departmental programs prepared them for their careers.
Performance measure 5.1 & 2.1. Assessment information from the capstone course and
the annual survey of graduates will be regularly used in revising
departmental academic programs to meet the needs of students.
Progress: Two Department faculty received assessment grants for Spring
2003, one to study ways to improve assessment methods for ENGL
699, including the electronic portfolio, and the other to study the
application of portfolio assessment methods to literature classes.
The annual survey of graduates conducted for the past five years
shows that English graduates report being satisfied with their
educational experiences at PSU and well-prepared for their careers.
Information from ENGL 699 exit essays and the annual survey of
graduates has been helpful in shaping majors and minors to meet
the needs of students.