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Criterion Three: The organization provides evidence of student by HC11111622595

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									    Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

Criterion Three: The organization provides evidence of student
learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling
its educational mission.


Core Component 3a: The organization’s goals for student learning
outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and
make effective assessment possible.
Metropolitan State College of Denver has been working on the assessment
of student learning outcomes for at least 20 years, but the attention given
to the effort has varied over the years. In 1985, the Colorado General
Assembly passed HB 85-1187 (The Higher Education Accountability Act,
C.R.S. 21-13-101), which required all Colorado institutions of higher
education to establish and measure student learning outcomes. The
Colorado Commission on Higher Education monitored compliance from
1989 until 1995 by requiring annual assessment reports from all colleges
and universities. Although all MSCD academic program faculty were
encouraged to develop student learning outcomes and assessment methods
for their programs as soon as possible, MSCD phased in the requirement,
linking it to the newly created program review process (which at that time
was a five-year process). By the time their program was being reviewed,
program faculty were to have determined the student learning outcomes
(earlier often called ―goals,‖ now called ―objectives‖) for their program
and methods for assessing students’ achievement of those outcomes.1 The
student learning outcomes and assessment methods were presented in
detail to CCHE staff, who reviewed the assessment plans and sometimes
required changes.
The statewide assessment reports did not provide legislators what they
wanted — a means of easily comparing Colorado institutions of higher
education. Therefore, in 1996, the Colorado General Assembly passed the
Higher Education Quality Assurance Act (HB 96-1219), which mandated
a statewide quality indicator system. The only quality indicator that
provided information about student learning was one that asked for
students’ achievement scores on nationalized exams. Other indicators
compared data on student success (retention and graduation rates) and
institutional expenditures. (See the Assessment Overview table later in this
section.) The QIS was implemented in 1997 and refined in 1999 by SB
99-229 (C.R.S. 23-13-104). The system was dropped in 2004, when the
Colorado General Assembly voted to require performance contracts.
Realizing the importance of measuring student learning outcomes and the
emphasis placed on the activity by the HLC, MSCD continued and still
continues to require that academic programs submit annual assessment

1
    HLC 3a:   Faculty determined (and continue to determine) the student learning
              outcomes and the methods used to determine if the outcomes are
              achieved.


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Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


reports. In the report, program faculty describe the following: any
changes in student learning objectives; assessment methods actually used;
results; interpretation of or conclusions drawn from the results; if and how
the activity was used for improvement; if and how the public was
involved, either as part of an assessment activity or in reviewing the
results; and, finally, possible anticipated changes in the assessment
methodology. The reports are submitted to the dean and the Associate
Vice President for Academic Affairs–Curriculum and Programs. Over the
years, the activity became routine and the deans and Associate Vice
President had other commitments that prevented their monitoring the
assessment activities of all programs annually. Consequently, there were
occasional lapses on the part of some programs, and not all programs
continued to develop, to improve, or to apply their assessment methods.
At the same time, other program faculty continued to review their
assessment activities and changed their student learning objectives and/or
their evaluation methods.
Although the assessment reports were not monitored yearly, the annual
assessment of student learning outcomes reports continued to be a part of
program review.1 The last two to three annual assessment reports are part
of the materials given to the program review consultant and the College
Program Review Committee. External consultants are asked if the student
learning outcomes are clear and reasonable, if the evaluation methods are
appropriate, if the results show that students have achieved the desired
outcomes, and if they have any recommendations for improving
assessment. The assessment methods and the reviewers’ comments are
summarized in the program review reports that are presented to the
Trustees. In 2004–05, a list of the assessment recommendations and
activities for all academic programs was compiled and, although dated,
will be available in the Resource Room.
The program review evaluation of an academic program’s assessment
activities is useful and of great benefit; but during the seven years between
reviews, changes in program requirements may necessitate changes in
student learning objectives and/or assessment methods. Changes in
assessment activities may occur and not be appropriate, or they may not
occur. MSCD realizes that to evaluate the changes and suggest possible
recommendations, it needs to monitor the annual assessment reports more
closely.
As part of the self study for reaccreditation, the HLC-NCA Steering
Committee recommended conducting a comprehensive review of the
student learning objectives and assessment methods used by all academic
programs. It also realized that because the assessment reports had become
routine, few newly hired faculty (not that there were many) had been

1
    HLC 3a:   Faculty and administrators routinely review the effectiveness and
              uses of the organization’s program to assess student learning.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


given a chance to review or take part in the creation of student learning
objectives or the assessment methodology. The Steering Committee
recommended the following activities. All were implemented either in the
spring of 2005 or during 2005–06:
 That all academic program faculty be provided an opportunity to
  review their program’s student learning objectives and methods used to
  assess the objectives at a program faculty meeting.1
 That all academic program faculty be encouraged to establish student
  learning objectives for their minor and certificate (both credit and non-
  credit) programs; some have done so. With respect to concentrations or
  areas of emphasis in the major, some program faculty created specific
  student learning objectives for each concentration at the outset or
  developed them later after it was recommended during program review.
  However, not all academic programs with concentrations had
  differentiated student learning objectives by concentration. The few
  that had not developed such objectives were encouraged to do so during
  2005–06.2
 That faculty assessment committees be formed in each school (School
  Assessment Committees). Faculty on the school committees were
  asked to review the student learning objectives of programs in their
  school to determine if the objectives were appropriate, current, and
  measurable. They were also asked to review the methods that program
  faculty used to measure students’ achievement of the objectives. If
  they found areas that needed improvement, they were encouraged to
  meet with the department chair and/or other program faculty to
  recommend improvements. The committees were advisory only; they
  did not have the authority to require faculty to make changes.
 That the General Studies Committee be asked to review the methods
  used to assess the General Studies Program.
 That Student Services staff also be encouraged to evaluate student
  learning in their programs. A Student Services Assessment and
  Accreditation Committee was formed and began investigating how
  other institutions were assessing student learning.
 That an Institutional Assessment Committee (IAC) be formed to keep
  abreast of the assessment activities across the College and propose new
  activities. The IAC includes members of the school assessment
  committees and the Student Services Assessment and Accreditation

1
    HLC 3a:   Faculty are involved in defining expected student learning outcomes
              and creating strategies to determine whether those outcomes are
              achieved.
2
    HLC 3a:   The organization’s assessment of student learning extends to all
              educational offerings, including credit and noncredit certificate
              programs.


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Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


  Committee, a representative of the General Studies Committee, and
  staff from IT and OIR, as well as a member of the Faculty Senate
  Academic Policies Committee.
Several faculty and staff on the IAC attended an HLC-AAHE Workshop
on Assessment in the spring of 2005 to determine if there were new
methods of assessment being discussed and to investigate new ways of
assessing the General Studies Program.
In April of 2006, two members of the IAC attended the HLC Annual
Meeting and heard a presentation on the peer review of assessment reports
by Dr. Rosemary Sutton, Director of Assessment at Cleveland State
University. Her peer review procedures were similar to what MSCD’s
school assessment committees had done during 2005–06, but were more
systematic, advanced, and had more potential for benefit. The IAC
recommended, and the administration supported, bringing Dr. Sutton to
the campus in October 2006. She worked with faculty and Student
Services personnel to refine their skills at reviewing assessment reports.
All 2005–06 academic program and Student Services division assessment
reports were reviewed by seven three-person teams of faculty and Student
Services personnel and recommendations made to various departments
and programs. This process revealed an array of assessment methods,
procedures, and recommendations. MSCD has found that it needs to
support this activity more with a Director of Academic Program
Assessment.
Levels and Measures of Assessment
The following table provides a synopsis of some important institutional
student learning goals, the levels of assessment at MSCD, and the
assessment measures used at various levels.

                           Assessment Overview
     Institutional Level       Program Level             Course Level

   Colorado Commission     Baccalaureate Graduation Rates
   on Higher Education     Freshmen Retention and Persistence Rates
   — Quality Indicator     Support and Success of Minority Students
   System                  Achievement Scores on Teacher Licensure Exams
                           Institutional Support Expenditures
   Quality indicators were Undergraduate Class Size
   not the same every      (Availability of General Education Classes)
   year.                   (Number of Credits Required for Degree)
                           Faculty Teaching Workload
                           Student Participation in Workplace Experiences
                              (MSCD selected)
                           Responsiveness to Diverse Populations (Noel
                              Levitz Survey) (MSCD selected)
   Program Accreditation American Chemical Society
   or Approval or          American College of Sports Medicine


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   Endorsement            Applied Science Accreditation Commission of the
   (Professional)            Accreditation Board for Engineering and
                             Technology (ABET)
                          Association of University Programs in Health
                             Administration
                          Colorado Department of Education
                          Colorado Department of Health, Center for
                             Addiction Studies
                          Colorado State Board of Accountancy
                          Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health
                             Education Programs
                          Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET
                          Council for Standards in Human Services
                             Education
                          Council on Social Work Education
                          Federal Aviation Administration
                          Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation
                             Commission
                          International Coalition for Addiction Studies
                             Education
                          National Association of Schools of Art and Design
                          National Association of Schools of Music
                          National Council for Accreditation of Teacher
                             Education
                          National League for Nursing Accreditation
                             Commission
                          National Recreation and Park
                             Association/American Association for Leisure
                             and Recreation
                          Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET
   Mission Goals          Prepare students for successful careers,
                          postgraduate education, and lifelong learning in a
                          multicultural, global, and technological society.
   General Studies        Graduates should be able to:
   Student Learning
                           Write and speak with clarity
   Goals
                           Read and listen critically
                           Draw conclusions from quantitative data
                           Recognize faulty reasoning
                           Organize ideas
                           Communicate with experts in other disciplines
                             and learn from them
                          Graduates should:
                           Have an open attitude toward different
                             approaches to problems
                           Have an informed awareness of the principal
                             human achievements in history, arts and letters,
                             society, and science
                           Be introduced to the basic methods, knowledge,
                             problems, or attitudes characteristic of a field



Chapter Five
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   Multicultural Course    At the conclusion of a multicultural course,
   Student Learning        students will be able to:
   Objectives               Define factors that lead to the formation and
                              continuation of one or more of the four groups
                              of color in U.S. society.
                            Present the customs, behavioral patterns, and
                              identities of one or more of the four groups of
                              color in U.S. society.
                            Delineate the effects of bias, prejudices, and
                              discrimination on one or more of the four
                              groups of color in U.S. society.
                            Describe the cultural similarities,
                              commonalities, and differences within or among
                              one or more of the four groups of color in U.S.
                              society.
                            Communicate how the acceptance and inclusion
                              of all groups of color enriches lives and
                              increases the creativity and performance of
                              everyone in U.S. society
   General Education       Educational Testing Services’s (ETS’s) Academic
   Assessment              Profile Exam
                           Employer Survey
                           Two-to-Five Year Alumni Survey
                           Senior College Experiences Survey
                           National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
                           Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)
   College-wide            NSSE
   Assessment              Employer Survey
                           Two-to-Five Year Alumni Survey
                           Senior College Experiences Survey
                           FSSE
                           Recent Graduates Survey
                           PLACE/Praxis Exam Scores
   Program Level —         Program Review (seven-year cycle). See Core
   Overall Assessment      Component 2c for description of the process and
                           data provided.
   Assessment of           Annual Assessment Reports
   Program Student         A component of program review
   Learning Objectives     Methods differ by program
   Course-level            Course/Instructor Evaluations
   Assessment


Institutional Level
MSCD’s goals for student learning at the institutional level are contained
in three documents. The College’s mission statement expresses the
overall student learning outcome desired. (See mission goals in the table
above.) Students’ entire course of study is needed to achieve this
outcome. Courses in the major and, if required, the minor, provide the



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


main contributions to students’ potential for a successful career or
postgraduate work. The General Studies student learning goals and the
multicultural course student learning objectives are institution-wide goals
designed to contribute to students’ ability to engage in a life of learning
and to be successful in a changing world. Although the General Studies
goals are linked to the General Studies requirements and General Studies
courses (see Chapter One, response to Concern #4), students’ entire
academic program contributes to achievement of the desired outcomes.
MSCD uses various methods to assess students’ achievement of the
student learning goals. CCHE’s Quality Indicator System has already
been described, but most of the QIS data were external accountability
measures and not student learning measures.
MSCD uses the direct measure of ETS’s Academic Profile (AP) exam,
now called the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP)
exam, to measure seniors’ achievement of many of the General Studies
goals. At the recommendation of the Faculty Senate in the early 1990s,
each year seniors in selected senior experience classes are asked to take
the AP exam. Faculty teaching the courses selected are encouraged to
include taking the exam as a requirement for the course. Years ago a
faculty committee picked the Academic Profile exam as a way to measure
students’ general education knowledge after pilot-testing several other
exams. In 2005–06, the General Studies Committee was asked to review
this direct measure. Although not completely satisfied with the AP/MAPP
test, General Studies Committee members recommended continuing with
the exam and supplementing General Studies assessment by implementing
an additional writing measure. The committee is currently discussing
revisions of the General Studies Program and plans to study other
assessment measures. Committee members will be attending an
Association of American Colleges and Universities’ conference on
General Studies and Assessment in March 2007. Assessment will also be
a focus when the committee brings in outside consultants.
In the past, MSCD has been able to obtain only a general view of its
performance — whether or not MSCD test takers were significantly
different from other test takers. (They were not.) The College is now
entering several years of test data into Banner so that more studies can be
conducted. If the results can be analyzed for each academic program, the
information might be more useful because the College could use the data
during program review.
Starting in 2001–02, state policy required that each institution test its
teacher licensure students’ general education knowledge. MSCD requires
all teacher education students to take the AP/MAPP exam. The results for
the education majors are kept separate from the results of other seniors to
enable MSCD to report on the preparation of its education students.




Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


A second direct measure, completed after students graduate, is MSCD’s
employer survey. It was designed to provide information about the
majority of MSCD’s General Studies student learning goals and aspects of
the College’s mission statement goal. Graduates are asked to give the
survey to their immediate supervisor, an individual who should be aware
of the graduate’s abilities and who should be able to evaluate his or her
abilities. Supervisors are asked to rate their employee’s ability in several
areas. For example, MSCD has the following results from approximately
630 employers. (The number of responses varied by question.)
Sample Employer Survey Results

 Please rate your employee with           % Excellent or       % Average
 respect to his or her ability to:        Above Average
 Write clearly                                  80%                18%
 Use and interpret numerical data               67%                23%
 Solve problems                                 83%                16%
 Work effectively with others                   85%                12%
 Preparation for job                            82%                16%
 Learn new skills                               88%                11%
Because the employer surveys are conducted as part of the program
review process, the results are used to encourage changes in the
curriculum to address areas of concern.
MSCD uses the indirect measures of graduate and senior surveys to
determine the College’s contribution to graduates’ and seniors’ skill and
knowledge development. On the Senior College Experiences Survey,
seniors are asked to describe their abilities in certain areas both before and
after attending MSCD. For example, the responses of approximately
1,300 seniors to some of the questions are shown below; these indicate
that, at a minimum, MSCD increased students’ confidence in their skills.
Sample Senior College Experiences Survey Results

                                           Before MSCD         After MSCD
 How would you describe your
                                           % High or Very       % High or
 abilities in the following areas?
                                               High             Very High
 Write clearly                                 50%                 85%
 Use and interpret numerical data              33%                 69%
 Solve problems                                58%                 90%
 Work with others                              60%                 86%
Graduates receive several surveys. The Two-to-Five Year Survey (called
that because it is sent out two to five years after the student graduated)
provides both direct and indirect measures, depending on the question.
The following questions do not ask graduates to self-evaluate their
abilities, but rather ask about graduates’ perceptions of MSCD’s
contributions to their abilities. In addition to asking about MSCD’s
contribution to their ability to learn on their own, the survey asks


Chapter Five
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graduates about the degree to which their experiences at MSCD increased
their interest in lifelong learning (74% responded ―high‖ or ―very high‖,
19% said ―moderate‖1).
Sample Alumni — Graduate Survey Results
    Please indicate the degree to which
                                              % High or Very
    your experiences at MSCD increased                            % Moderate
                                                  High
    your ability to:
    Write clearly                                   69%               26%
    Use and interpret numerical data                48%               36%
    Learn on your own                               74%               22%
    Work in a technology-based society              44%               36%

National Survey of Student Engagement and Faculty Survey of Student
Engagement
MSCD’s surveys provide valuable information during program review.
However, the surveys do not provide comparative information indicating
how seniors at other institutions would respond to the same questions, nor
do they provide any information from first-year students. To meet this
need, MSCD administered the NSSE in 2002, 2004, and 2006. In the
2006 spring semester, 3,500 first-year and 3,500 senior undergraduate
students at MSCD were selected through a random sampling process to
receive the NSSE through the Internet. The overall response rate for
MSCD was 20%, which was lower than both the Urban Consortium rate
(28%) and the national NSSE 2006 response rate (35%). The group of
MSCD students that responded to the survey contained proportionately
more female students than MSCD’s general student population (66.3%
versus 55.2%) and more students who worked full time (70.1% versus
58.8%). Given the fact that 70% worked full time, the College has reason
to believe that the results to questions that involve activities outside of
class may be skewed. Along with the results for MSCD, the College is
provided comparison data from three groups: the Urban Consortium,
Carnegie Peers, and all NSSE 2006 responses. The latter contained
1,160,000 students from nearly 1,100 participating colleges and
universities. All survey results will be available on MSCD’s HLC website
and in the Resource Room.
In addition, in 2006 the College also conducted the Faculty Survey of
Student Engagement to determine the learning activities that are important
to faculty. The FSSE was sent to 1,192 full-time and part-time faculty,
and 375 responded, a 31% response rate. One hundred and forty-six (146)
used a lower-division class for their response and 195 used an upper-
division class. (Other classes were missing the course level or other
information.) Of the faculty teaching upper-division courses, 57% were
tenured or tenure track and 70% were full time. Sixty-three percent (63%)
1
    HLC 4b:   Learning outcomes demonstrate effective preparation for continued
              learning.


Chapter Five
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had a doctorate or professional degree. Of the faculty teaching lower-
division courses, 28% were tenured or tenure track and 41% were full
time. Forty-one percent (41%) had a doctorate or professional degree, and
95% had at least a master’s degree.
Program Level
The evaluation of MSCD’s academic programs has two main components,
program review and annual assessment reports, both of which have been
described earlier (program review under Core Component 2c, annual
assessment reports at the beginning of this section). The assessment
reports focus on measuring students’ achievement of the student learning
objectives or goals, but the surveys mentioned above plus two other
surveys specifically designed for the major also provide information about
student learning. The survey results are collected by academic program.
For instance, the survey of employers of biology graduates provides
information about biology graduates’ ability to write, to work with
quantitative data, and so on. As mentioned before, the College compares
the results of each academic program with the results of all other programs
to determine if there is a significant statistical difference. If there is a
significant difference, questions are posed and strategies for improvement
discussed. Each program receives this information at least once every
seven years.
The strategies used to measure student learning vary by program, and they
also may vary from one year to the next for the same program if program
faculty either make a routine revision of their assessment methods or are
not satisfied with the methods they are using.
Several programs use national tests: biology (ETS’s Biology Major Field
Achievement Test [MFAT] and the Medical College Aptitude Test
[MCAT]); political science (Political Science MFAT); finance (Business
MFAT); computer information systems (Information System Analyst
[ISA] certification test for college graduates); and teacher education
(Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators [PLACE]
and Praxis). Nursing and health care management use the Watson-Glaser
Critical Thinking Appraisal for pretesting and posttesting. For several
years, history and economics faculty used the appropriate MFAT for their
programs, but both have dropped the test. Economics faculty may switch
back to a test called Test of Understanding of College Economics (TUCE),
which they used before experimenting with the MFAT.
Some programs create their own exams: sociology, history, criminal
justice, and meteorology.
Some programs use portfolios: art, philosophy, industrial design, and
teacher education.
A number of programs, especially professional programs, use the ratings
of supervisors of students’ practica or internships: nursing, health care



Chapter Five
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management, human performance and sports, human services, and
criminalistics.
Some programs convene a committee of faculty members who know each
senior completing the program and have them rate each senior’s
achievement of the student learning objectives. The ratings are then
averaged to provide a composite result: mathematics and physics.
Some programs use multiple methods: biology, history, teacher education,
and marketing.
There are several programs that have not yet succeeded in effectively
assessing the learning of their students at the program level, although the
faculty have received recommendations and been offered help. MSCD
expects that the peer evaluation of assessment reports will provide the
faculty an additional perspective in determining what they need to do.
Because the deans are well aware of the importance of assessment, they
will continue to work with the programs, as will Academic Affairs.
Readers are encouraged to read some of the assessment reports, which will
be available on MSCD’s HLC website and in the Resource Room.
As listed in the table at the beginning of this chapter, a number of MSCD
programs are accredited by discipline-specific accrediting agencies. These
accrediting agencies often specify student learning outcomes and mandate
assessment plans and evidence of using assessment to improve the
program.
Course Level
For many years, MSCD has had a standard form for course syllabi. One
of the required components of a syllabus is a list of Behavioral Learning
Objectives. These objectives describe what students will learn by the end
of the course. Another required component is a description of the
evaluation methods that will be used to determine achievement of the
student learning objectives. Curriculum committees are expected to check
that the evaluation methods enable faculty to determine if the behavioral
learning objectives have been met. Faculty who teach the course are
expected to follow the syllabus and evaluate students as specified. To
verify this, the School of Professional Studies Curriculum Committee has
conducted audits of course syllabi versus course handouts for all sections
of SPS program courses for the last two years, with follow-up on those
courses where discrepancies were found. In addition, program review
consultants are sent copies of all the syllabi to review as part of their
evaluation.
An additional evaluation of the course itself is provided by the
Instructional Assessment System (IAS). Although the IAS is mostly an
instrument for the student evaluation of teaching, two questions ask
students about the course: ―The course as a whole was . . ..‖ and ―The
course content was . . . .‖. To date, the information has been used only in


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


the evaluation of individual faculty, but the College may start
summarizing the responses to the two questions by course across all
instructors so program faculty will have some information about students’
perception of the course, irrespective of the instructor.
At least one program is using course assessment as part of a total package
of program assessment to improve students’ performance in the senior
experience course. Electrical engineering technology faculty have
implemented a ―course assessment plan (CAP).‖ Carefully designed and
specified course assessment tools are explicitly aligned with the course
student learning objectives, and connections between the course objectives
and the program objectives have been explicitly made. Students’
achievement of student learning objectives in one course is compared with
students’ achievement of similar student learning objectives in subsequent
courses. Information gained from this activity provides faculty an
opportunity to affect students’ performance. Some outcomes of this
assessment method are described in Core Component 3c under
―Improvement in pedagogy.‖ Mechanical and civil engineering
technology faculty are discussing this method but have not yet
implemented it.

Additional Assessment Activities
Interim President Raymond Kieft established a Task Force on Student
Learning Assessment in September 2004. It was charged with the
following:
 Listing, reviewing, and evaluating the effectiveness of existing student
   learning assessment activities
 Determining where MSCD was not assessing student learning
 Recommending instruments and assessment activities that would
   provide a comprehensive program of student learning assessment
   across the College.
A copy of the report of the February 2005 task force will be on MSCD’s
HLC website and in the Resource Room. According to the task force, the
following were areas that were lacking in comprehensive assessment:
service learning, information and computer literacy, the effectiveness of
remedial/preparatory education, the ―value-added‖ aspect of MSCD’s
General Studies Program, student assessment of MSCD’s Honors
Program, the effectiveness of online instruction compared with classroom
instruction, and academic advising. More information on their findings
will be found in other parts of this Self-Study Report.
The task force also noted that there was little assessment of student
learning in the Student Services area. In April of 2005, a Director of
Student Services Research and Development was appointed. The position
was vacated in the summer of 2006 when the person became Assistant
Registrar. A new position of Director of Student Services Technology and
Assessment was filled in November of 2006 by a faculty member.


Chapter Five
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Information on the accomplishments of these two directors is contained
under Core Component 3c.


Core Component 3b: The organization values and supports
effective teaching.

The most-often-quoted part of MSCD’s role and mission statement is
―Excellence in teaching and learning is MSCD’s primary objective.‖

Valuing Effective Teaching
Metropolitan State College of Denver demonstrates the value it places on
effective teaching in its hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions and in the
awards made for excellence in teaching.
The College is committed to hiring and retaining qualified faculty who are
effective teachers. Qualifications for hiring faculty and for faculty rank
are explicitly stated in Appendix A of the Handbook for Professional
Personnel, and exceptions to Appendix A are rarely made when hiring
faculty for permanent positions. The MSCD 2006–07 Catalog lists
tenured and tenure track faculty and their academic qualifications.
As noted under 1997 Past Concern #7 in Chapter Two, exceptions to
Appendix A have been made when hiring part-time faculty. Granting
exceptions to Appendix A has stimulated discussions about Appendix A
and its possible interpretations among Trustees, faculty, and the
administration. Plans are being made to review it during the spring of
2007.
Potential for excellence in teaching is an important criterion in the
selection of new faculty. During the interview process, candidates are
frequently asked to demonstrate their teaching abilities by making a
presentation to students and faculty.
At least 50% of the weight of the annual evaluation of faculty, described
in Chapter V of the Handbook for Professional Personnel, must be given
to teaching responsibilities, with advising, professional development, and
service making up the remaining 50%. The evaluation of teaching
includes:
 An evaluation of the currency of the faculty member’s course
    materials and whether or not the course materials contained desired
    learning objectives for students
 A determination that the faculty member conducted an appropriate and
    thorough assessment of student progress
 An evaluation of the faculty member’s contributions to curriculum
    review, revision, and creation and to the incorporation of technology
    into the curriculum when appropriate



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


   Student evaluation of teaching (IAS) and evaluation by a peer
    observer.
Professional development related to teaching is encouraged:
       Professional development includes scholarly or creative endeavors,
       pedagogical research, participation in professional activities or sharing
       expertise with other than students, so long as such activities enhance
       teaching or otherwise contribute to the faculty member’s growth in his or
       her discipline or assigned responsibilities. (Handbook, p. 23)
Teaching effectiveness is also an important component of tenure and
promotion:
       Contributions to teaching and advising will be the most significant
       factors in evaluating faculty for tenure [and for promotion], but
       outstanding teaching and advising will not be sufficient to justify tenure
       [or promotion]. (Handbook, pp. 67 and 72)
Outstanding teaching is recognized with special awards. Golden Key
Excellence in Teaching Awards and the Faculty Senate Teaching Award
are awarded at the fall convocation, providing the entire College
community an opportunity to celebrate effective teaching. Other student
groups in addition to the Golden Key National Honor Society give
teaching awards (e.g., Psi Chi Psychology Honorary Society); all three
schools present annual teaching awards, and some departments give
teaching awards. MSCD was extremely proud to have one of its
marketing faculty named Marketing Educator of the Year for 2005 by the
National Marketing Educators’ Association.

Qualified Faculty Determine Curricular Content
Academic program graduation requirements and permanent courses are
almost always developed by tenured or tenure track faculty in the
academic program. Occasionally, temporary faculty become involved in
determining curricular content, but that occurs only when there is no one
at the College with the necessary expertise and MSCD has intentions of
developing that curricular area and supporting it with tenured faculty as
soon as possible. Before becoming permanent, courses and requirements
are vetted through the curriculum approval process described in the
College Curriculum Guidelines, Policies, and Procedures, a process that
includes substantial faculty involvement. Temporary and part-time faculty
may teach an omnibus (experimental) course of their own design on
occasion, but it is assumed that the chair has verified that the faculty
member is qualified to teach that particular course. In addition to the
chair, the omnibus course must also be approved by the dean and the
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs–Curriculum and Programs.
Course syllabi describe the curricular content, and part-time and
temporary faculty are asked to follow the syllabus when teaching the
course.



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


Programs and Services that Support Effective Teaching
MSCD provides support for effective teaching through mentoring
programs, the Center for Academic Technology (CAT), the Adventures of
the American Mind (AAM), and moderate funding for professional
development.
To help new faculty adjust to the College, two of the three schools have a
mentoring program for new faculty; the third school (the School of
Business) assigns mentors but does not have a mentoring program. Some
of the topics covered in the mentoring sessions are the creation of course
syllabi and course handouts and support services available to students,
e.g., the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, the Academic Advising
Center and other aspects of advising, human subjects review policies,
grading policies, and the tenure process.
Dossiers prepared by faculty for their second- and fourth-year
reappointment reviews and tenure and promotion reviews provide
information about their teaching effectiveness and an opportunity for
department faculty and others to offer suggestions. With respect to
teaching, the dossiers must contain their philosophy about teaching and
learning, how their achievements show a record of effectiveness in the
classroom, a description of how they assess student academic progress,
their contributions to curriculum development, teaching evaluations by
students, and classroom observations by peers. The dossiers, especially
the second- and fourth-year dossiers, provide an opportunity for chairs,
faculty on the school reappointment, tenure, and promotion committees,
deans, Faculty Senate Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Committee
members, and the Provost to make recommendations and provide
guidance on any improvements that might be needed. Sample dossiers
will be in the Resource Room.
The Center for Academic Technology primarily serves faculty who are
planning to teach online. However, it also assists faculty who want to use
web resources to supplement their on-site class materials. The CAT has a
technology trainer, specialists in online course design and development,
and a specialist in media production. It offers workshops for faculty who
plan to teach online, and CAT staff will work closely with faculty who
request assistance in reformatting a course for online delivery. Lately,
CAT staff have been helping faculty create podcasts.
The Adventures of the American Mind-Colorado (AAM) is a federal
Library of Congress program that MSCD is spearheading in Colorado.
MSCD’s program is part of a national AAM program that involves nine
other colleges and universities. The goals of the program are to train in-
service and pre-service classroom teachers, faculty such as librarians,
media specialists, and educational support personnel, and college faculty
to access, use, and produce curricula using the Internet and digitized
primary source materials from the Library of Congress collections.


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Although the resources made available have been designed primarily for
K-12 school teachers, college faculty may also participate in workshops
and use the resources. More information about the AAM-Colorado
program can be found at http://aamcolorado.mscd.edu/index.htm.
MSCD’s Director of the program was formally recognized by James H.
Billington, the Librarian of Congress, for her participation in the AAM
program.
From 1995 until 2004, MSCD had an Academy for Teaching Excellence
that provided faculty resources to support enhancement of teaching. Its
activities and the audiences it was designed to serve varied over the years.
For a number of years, it organized a Fall Faculty Conference just prior to
the fall semester. Most conferences concentrated on a special topic, e.g.,
assessment or advising, and featured a nationally recognized expert.
Faculty and staff with expertise in the topic gave presentations.
The New Faculty Mentoring Program was initially run by the Academy of
Teaching Excellence; now it is run by the three schools. In addition to the
Fall Conference and the Mentoring Program, the Academy frequently held
workshops on a variety of topics including technology, active learning,
cooperative learning, effective lecturing, syllabi construction, classroom
management, team-teaching, diverse learning styles, and peer observation.
Experienced faculty conducted the workshops for other faculty in the
institution.
In 1998, MSCD received a five-year, $1.85 million Title III Strengthening
Institutions’ Programs grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Activity Two of the grant provided funding to the Academy to support
professional development opportunities for adjunct faculty (both part-time
and full-time temporary/contract). The grant activity focused on training
adjunct faculty to advise students and provided workshops for adjunct
faculty, similar to the workshops mentioned above, that enabled them to
enhance their technological and pedagogical skills. The Title III grant
continued until 2003, and the Academy was able to continue on a limited
basis until the middle of 2004, when it was discontinued. Some activities
of the Academy still continue but are offered by different areas of the
College, e.g., the New Faculty Mentoring Programs. A Center for
Teaching Excellence is being created as part of the Teacher Quality
Enhancement Grant mentioned in the Introduction. It will primarily serve
faculty and students interested in teacher education.
MSCD realizes it needs to recreate a center to support teaching and
learning, and $100,000 was set aside during 2006–07 to establish such a
center. The design and the name of the proposed faculty development
center are still under discussion. A draft proposal for a Center for
Instructional Development has been made, and the online task force has
recommended creation of an Instructional Resource Center, which would
provide some of the same development opportunities. An update on this
activity will be available in the Resource Room.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching



Support for Research on Teaching and Learning
MSCD encourages faculty research on teaching and learning and
participation in professional organizations as described in the Handbook
for Professional Personnel, p. 23. The funding for professional
development is discussed in detail under Core Component 4a, where
MSCD’s support for professional development in general is described.
The annual reports of the academic departments contain information about
faculty members’ professional development and professional service
activities. They will be available on MSCD’s HLC website and in the
Resource Room. Below are at least two examples from each school,
chosen from different programs to show the wide variety of activities of
MSCD faculty.
Presentations on Teaching and Learning
   ―Factors that Impact Student Performance in an Advanced Business Statistics
    Course,‖ Proceedings of the International Business & Economics Research
    Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 3–7, 2005. Computer Information
    Systems faculty
   ―Methods for Using ACS [American Chemical Society] Standardized Exams
    to Measure Strategic Learning Outcomes,‖ 230th American Chemical
    Society, 2005. Chemistry faculty
   ―Creativity and Early Childhood Education: Socio-technological,‖ Society
    for Information Technology and Teacher Education International
    Conference, during 2005–06., Art faculty
   ―Rethinking Mathematical Content Coursework for Preservice Elementary
    Licensure Candidates,‖ Mathematical Association of America Annual
    Conference, January 2005. Mathematics faculty
   ―Student-Driven Experiential Exams,‖ Annual Conference of the Marketing
    Educators’ Association, San Francisco, California, 2006. Marketing faculty
   ―A Cooperative Model for the Delivery of Therapeutic Recreation
    Professional Preparation,‖ Therapeutic Recreation Educators Conference,
    Itasca, Illinois, and National Therapeutic Recreation Society, Reno, Nevada,
    2005–2006. Leisure studies faculty
   ―Unsuccessful Student Teachers: Identifiers, Intervention and Program
    Implications,‖ Association of Teacher Educators Conference, Atlanta,
    Georgia, February, 2006. Teacher education faculty

Participation in Professional Organizations in 2005–06
   An accounting faculty member has served on the Accounting Education and
    Careers Committee of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants
    since 1996.
   A faculty member from the English Department is on the Editorial Board for
    the journal The Writing Instructor.
   A human services faculty member is Treasurer — and also serves on the
    Board of Directors — of the National Organization of Human Services.



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   A health care management faculty member chaired the Association of
    University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) review team for the
    recertification of the Auburn University undergraduate health administration
    program. She also served on the Planning Committee for the AUPHA Panel
    Reviewer Training Session.
   A computer information systems faculty member served on the editorial
    boards of the Journal of Information Technology Management and the
    Journal of International Technology Information Management.
   A history faculty member is on the Advisory Committee of the Board of
    Directors of the Association of Chinese Historians in the United States.
   A land use faculty member is a cartographic consultant for the National
    Council for Geographic Education.


Core Component 3c: The organization creates effective learning
environments.

Assessment Results Inform Improvements
Faculty and staff at Metropolitan State College of Denver are continually
considering ways to improve what they offer to students and making
changes based on those considerations. Many of these considerations and
changes are not part of formal assessment activities and, consequently, are
often not reported in assessment and annual reports. The improvements
mentioned below are from those reported as part of formal assessment
activities, and they are only examples of activities of the type described.
Reviewers are encouraged to examine the assessment reports for a broader
view of programs’ assessment activities.
Improvement in Curriculum — At Least One Example from Each School
   Philosophy faculty have further refined their student learning objectives, and
    that refinement has resulted in the project of curriculum revision that started
    in fall of 2005 and continues.
   History and biology faculty reported that changes they made in 2001 seem to
    have led to higher test scores. In 2001, history faculty restructured their
    requirements to channel students into a narrower range of courses, and they
    reported that in 2005 students did better on the PLACE test required for
    secondary licensure students than students did several years earlier.
    Similarly, biology faculty, in response to program review suggestions, shored
    up their offerings in cellular and molecular biology. This year the MFAT
    scores were higher than in previous years.
   Finance faculty are concerned that their students are not recalling material
    from previous classes as they should. The faculty are implementing two
    changes to address this problem, one a pedagogical change and the other a
    curriculum change. They plan to make a concerted effort when introducing a
    new topic of discussion that builds on material covered in a previous course
    to draw and emphasize an explicit link to the old material. They also have
    changed their curriculum to require that students pass prerequisite courses




Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

    with a grade of at least a C to ensure a higher level of mastery of the
    prerequisite material.
   The 2004–05 program review of the Criminal Justice and Criminology (CJC)
    Program called for major changes in the curriculum. In 2005–06, the CJC
    faculty did a thorough curriculum review and approved a revised curriculum
    that was for the most part in line with the recommendations of a national
    accrediting authority. In 2005–06 they reported that students were weak in
    the area of criminological theories, and they have proposed adding a course
    in criminology.
Improvement in Pedagogy — At Least One Example from Each School
   Electrical engineering technology faculty made changes in the laboratory
    portion of a basic DC circuits laboratory to reinforce the theoretical content,
    with the result that more students have succeeded in the course. They have
    also systematized their evaluation of laboratory reports in all courses beyond
    the introductory level, which has resulted in a ―dramatic improvement in the
    quality of the laboratory reports.‖
   Marketing faculty found that merely highlighting students’ grammatical
    errors but not penalizing students for their mistakes was not working. They
    have decided to penalize students for poor grammar and for not proofreading
    their work. They also noticed that their students showed a tendency to stop
    when they found one good solution without examining all possibilities to
    determine if a better solution existed. Marketing faculty will caution
    students about this behavior.
   English faculty determined that secondary education English students needed
    more work in the teaching of reading and grammar. They plan to attempt to
    have more grammar review in ENG 2010, a course required of all
    English/secondary education majors.
Improvement in Instructional Resources
Program review reports usually mention resources needed by the program
being reviewed. During the lean budget years, MSCD did not have the
funds to address the concerns raised in the reports. Shortly after his
arrival, President Jordan allocated $3.0 million dollars for capital
equipment and renovations, with the highest funding priority placed on
items identified during program review. Over $2.0 million went to capital
equipment items or renovation needs flagged during program reviews.
The remaining funds were used to replace obsolete equipment and to
improve program quality. Some program review reports were five or six
years old, and the equipment needs had changed by the time the funds
became available. In some circumstances the needs were updated and
appropriate funding was allocated.
Improvement in Services to Students — New Programs
Attention given to retention rates has resulted in the creation of new
programs to increase retention; the initiatives are grouped under the
umbrella title Transition Services. As mentioned under Core Component



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1b, the Equity Scorecard Task Force brought to the College’s attention the
fact that African American and Native American students have the lowest
retention rates from the first to second year. The following data illustrate
the problem: 23% of the Fall 2005 incoming class did not return for the
Spring 2006 semester; of the students who returned in Spring 2006, 25%
were on academic probation or academic warning status; 17% of Hispanic
students were in that group; and finally, 38.8% of the degree-seeking
freshmen who entered in Fall 2004 did not return in Fall 2005. Although
MSCD offered some services to help students during their first semester,
e.g., a First Year Seminar and special summer orientations, it did not have
others, e.g., learning communities. In addition, the number of students
involved in the programs was limited. The College is in the process of
building a package of four retention approaches called Transition Services.
The four approaches are Reece learning communities (named after a
former administrator), general learning communities, services specifically
designed to address the retention of students in their sophomore year, and
services designed to help transfer students. When creating the budget for
2006–07, funds were set aside for this program under Goal One. The
Chair of the General Studies Committee is involved in the development of
the learning communities. An update on the progress of implementing
Transition Services will be available in the Resource Room.
Assessment of Student Learning in Student Services and Results
For some time, Student Services departments had mission statements and
purposes framed in terms of programmatic goals. Their annual reports
listed the measures the departments used to determine their effectiveness
in achieving their programmatic goals, but the reports did not contain the
results of the measures or an indication of how the results were used to
make improvements. Except for staff in a few departments, Student
Services staff did not consider how they contributed to student learning.
Starting with the appointment of the Director of Student Services Research
and Development in April 2005, a Student Services Assessment and
Accreditation Committee was formed. The committee formed a work
group of directors from across the division that helped Student Services
departments create assessment plans tied to student learning. The plans
contained student learning outcomes and a list of assessment tools that
would be used to measure students’ achievement of the outcomes. Most
departments created a matrix showing which tools would be used to assess
a student outcome. The plans were followed for the 2005–06 academic
year and reports were submitted. The Student Services assessment reports
are available on MSCD’s website and copies will be in the Resource
Room.
Results: A number of departments discovered that their assessment
methods needed to be refined or changed. For example, Career Services
found that its evaluation forms and employer feedback surveys did not ask
the right questions. Most of the planned ―improvements based on results‖


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


in the 2005–06 Student Services assessment reports are improvements to
the methods used to measure achievement.
Many Student Services departments noted the lack of support for
surveying their constituents. Departments do not have the expertise to
develop good survey questions; some are not sure how to administer
surveys, and most departments needed support in compiling and
interpreting survey results. To address this need, MSCD has contracted
with StudentVoice, a web-based survey tool that can help departments
develop surveys, collect data, and analyze the data for whatever purpose
MSCD’s departments may need. The contract will run from February of
2007 to June of 2008.
In a number of cases, a better assessment method would be to track
students and record what happens. MSCD’s progress on developing
tracking systems is discussed later in this chapter.
Some departments made changes. For example, an ―intended outcome‖
for the Office of Financial Aid is ―Students will understand the correlation
between their academic actions and successes and their ability to finance
and complete their education.‖ Financial Aid staff tried making contracts
with students for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to help them
understand the correlation. This strategy did not work and has been
discontinued in favor of a more ―hands-on‖ approach. Financial Aid staff
state that it is too early to tell about the success of the new approach.
After a brief hiatus caused by the transition in assessment directors, the
Student Services Assessment and Accreditation Committee began meeting
again in December of 2006 to reassess the effectiveness of the first round
of activity, produce an integrated appraisal of assessment activity,
prioritize division-wide needs for resources, and spark the second round of
assessment activity.

Sources of Information about MSCD’s Learning Environment
Data from a variety of sources are used to provide information about the
College’s learning environment. The surveys conducted for program
review have questions that pertain to the learning environment because a
need for change, if it exists, can be detected more accurately at the
program level and appropriate changes can be made. The NSSE and
FSSE surveys provide useful comparative data from other institutions.

Small Classes and Active Learning
MSCD’s small class sizes play a crucial role in creating an effective
learning environment and enabling active student learning. The following
table shows the size of classes in Fall 2005. The majority of classes have
29 or fewer students.




Chapter Five
        Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

           Class Size        2–19        20–29       30–39          40–49      50–99           100+
           % of Class
                            31.9%        38.7%       17.2%          6.0%           6.2%        0.0%
           Sections
           Common Data Set                  Total # of classes = 2,375
        Small class sizes encourage active student learning, as is verified by some
        of the results from the NSSE survey. In that survey, students were asked:
           In your experience at your institution during the current school year, about
           how often have you done each of the following: 1 = never, 2 = sometimes,
           3 = often, 4 = very often.

                                                           MSCD            Urban      Carnegie        NSSE
Asked questions in class or contributed to class
                                                             2.93        2.78***          2.66***     2.78***
discussions (Fr)
Asked questions in class or contributed to class
                                                             3.16          3.08**         2.95***     3.06***
discussion (Sr)
Worked with other students on projects during class
                                                             2.60           2.57          2.49***     2.51**
(Sr)
Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare
                                                             2.38        2.63***          2.72***     2.76***
class assignments (Sr)
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with
others outside of class (students, family members, co-       2.86        2.65***          2.68***     2.68***
workers, etc.) (Fr)
Participated in a community-based project (e.g.,
                                                             1.50        1.62***          1.63***     1.69***
service learning) as part of a regular course (Sr)
        * p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001 (2-tailed) — indicates statistical significance. Shaded
        items are items where MSCD is significantly lower than the comparison group.
        Note that some of the responses are from seniors, while others are from
        first-year students. In many cases there was no statistical difference in the
        responses. The responses of MSCD seniors to questions about how often
        they made class presentations, worked on a paper or project that required
        integrating ideas or information from various sources, or wrote papers
        over five pages long, were in general not significantly different from those
        from the NSSE comparator groups.
        Questions similar to those on the NSSE are asked on the senior
        experiences program review survey. Seniors are asked how often during
        their last 18–24 credit hours they
         Gave an oral presentation (The mean of 1,377 students was 3.66
            times.)
         Spent five hours or more on a written assignment (mean = 4.58)
         Submitted a written assignment of two or more pages in length (mean
            = 5.18).
        During program review, if seniors from the program responded that they
        wrote fewer papers than expected or gave fewer presentations than
        expected, then program faculty are asked about the responses and
        encouraged to require their students to give more oral presentations or
        write more papers.



        Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


The two areas shown in the NSSE table above where MSCD students do
not have the same educational experience as the comparison groups are
activities that take place outside of the classroom. Given that MSCD is
located on a commuter campus and that 70% of the survey respondents
worked full time, the result is not surprising. In the future, the presence of
some housing units near campus will provide an environment where
students can work with each other outside of class to prepare class
assignments. Another factor that might change this statistic is the
availability of technology that enables students to work together remotely.
A number of MSCD courses require students to participate in a
community-based project. Some are described in Core Component 5b. In
addition, the College’s Cooperative Education Internship Center places
students in public and community service positions for which they earn
academic credit under the supervision of faculty in their major or minor
program. In 2005–06, Cooperative Education made 309 service learning
placements. However, the College is not satisfied with this statistic.
MSCD’s goal is to increase the number of opportunities that students have
to participate in a community-based project. Some view MSCD as an
urban land-grant college, an institution whose purpose is to work with the
community to find solutions to problems. To address this statistic, the
College recently created a Service Learning Committee that will make a
proposal to the campus during the spring of 2007.

Enriching Educational Experiences
Metropolitan State College of Denver provides a variety of enriching
educational experiences:
Culminating Senior Experience: The College requires a senior experience
course that is designed to be the ―culmination of the undergraduate
experience, allowing students the opportunity to use the knowledge gained
from their undergraduate studies to synthesize, using critical analysis and
logical thinking.‖ Many academic programs use the senior experience
course in their program to assess their students’ achievement of the
student learning objectives. According to the FSSE responses, 88% of the
faculty teaching upper-division courses considered the senior experience
―very important or important.‖
Practica, Internships, Field Experiences, Co-op Education Experiences,
or Clinical Assignments: Whenever possible, MSCD encourages
academic programs to provide opportunities to participate in workplace
experiences. For several years MSCD had as a performance indicator the
percentage of the previous year’s graduates who had had a workplace
experience, i.e., who had an internship, practica, field experience, or co-op
education experience. The last time the data were compiled was 2002–
2003, and at that time approximately 45% of graduates had that
experience.



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


Independent Study and Self-designed Majors: The College provides both
of these opportunities. There is a special independent study syllabus that a
faculty member must complete and both the faculty member and student
must sign, as well as the chair, dean, and Associate Vice President of
Academic Affairs–Curriculum and Programs; all must approve the
independent study. Because ―seat time‖ cannot be measured with an
independent study course, the independent study course activities and
products, e.g., papers, must be clearly specified so that the number of
credit hours given can be determined to be appropriate.
MSCD has an Individualized Degree Program (IDP) that allows students
to design their own major or minor. In 2005–06 the program had 56
graduates; in Fall 2006 there were 164 declared IDP majors. The program
is reviewed under the program review process as an academic program
and just recently completed its review. Reviewers found the academic and
administrative support inadequate; the program was severely affected by
the budget cuts and has not returned to its former staffing. As a result of
the cut in support, the IDP Director has developed a network of faculty
liaisons who mentor IDP students. Faculty throughout the College seem
to be supportive of the program. The outside consultant found the
oversight and quality control of each student’s program by faculty and
administrators to be exceptionally high. Reviewers also noted that
students who did not have approved degree plans were not retained at the
rate of students who did. Faculty mentors will be encouraging students to
develop their degree plans as early as possible. Advisors for the IDP are
located in the Center for Individualized Learning at
http://www.mscd.edu/~cil/. The Center staff also provide advice and
guidance on how students can get credit for prior learning.
Study Abroad: MSCD offers study abroad opportunities to Mexico at the
University of Guadalajara and London (London Semester) on an annual
basis. Approximately every other year, anthropology faculty lead students
in field research in Peru, and French, German, and Spanish faculty offer
study abroad opportunities in France, Germany, and Spain. Hospitality,
meeting, and travel administration faculty frequently conduct study abroad
courses as part of their travel program. They offered an opportunity to
study eco-tourism in Borneo, and last year students studied cruise ship
operations in the Caribbean. Art, biology, and African American studies
faculty have also recently created study abroad courses. Study abroad
programs must be approved by School and College Committees on
International Education, the Provost, President, and Trustees. The
proposal must contain information on how students will be evaluated, and
how they will be provided an opportunity to evaluate the course.
Faculty-Student Research: Approximately 70 students have been
involved in research with faculty in the last eight years, not counting those
involved in the archaeological research mentioned under study abroad.
Psychology faculty routinely offer a variety of research opportunities to


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


students. Additional opportunities are provided less frequently by faculty
in biology, marketing, speech communication, physics, chemistry, and
several other programs. Science faculty are committed to an
undergraduate research program if the College can provide adequate
laboratory space and funding for faculty to offer the research opportunities
during the academic year and in the summer. With limited space on
campus, the summer is an ideal time to conduct research activities. The
lack of adequate laboratory space may be addressed with the remodel of
and addition to the Science Building.
MSCD’s interest in undergraduate research has been consistent, but has
not involved many faculty or administrators. The College has been a
member of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) for a decade,
and faculty regularly attend CUR’s national biennial conferences and
annual regional meetings.
Because opportunities for undergraduate research will contribute greatly to
MSCD students’ preparation for careers or for graduate study, steps are
being taken to encourage more undergraduate research. A group of
faculty and administrators is currently preparing a proposal for an office of
undergraduate research to be funded by the U.S. Department of
Education’s McNair program. This national program funds scholarships,
activities, and the infrastructure to promote undergraduate research. If
funded, the project will offer classes, seminars, monetary support, travel,
mentoring, and other services to students. The program will promote the
diversity goal of the College and encourage qualified students to enter the
science, mathematics, engineering, and technology fields.
Learning Communities: MSCD is just starting to use learning
communities; further development of them will take place under the
Transition Services program. The College plans to hire an Assistant
Director of Transition Services to implement learning communities and
ensure that the goals and objectives of the learning communities are met.
To support first-year students, each section of the revised First Year
Seminar will be part of a learning community. In Fall 2007, learning
communities will be required of all provisionally admitted students.
Eventually, the College plans to expand the number of learning
communities and make them available to all students. The General
Studies Committee is investigating the use of learning communities
nationally and is discussing including them in the new General Studies
Program under development.
Paired Classes — Reece Learning Communities: In Fall 2006, MSCD
conducted a pilot project of paired classes called Reece Learning
Communities. One hundred provisionally admitted students were placed
in smaller classes (20 students each) that were paired together. The
classes shared a syllabus so that students could apply the skills that they
learned in one class to the other class. A Rowdy Break, a time in the
middle of the day when students had a break and could listen to a guest


Chapter Five
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speaker, was also scheduled. Speakers discussed health topics, time
management, study skills, money management, scholarships, and financial
aid. Ninety-six of the 100 students registered for the spring term, which is
above the usual retention rate. Forty-four faculty are committed to
working on paired classes in Fall 2007.

Advising
General advising at MSCD is provided by professional advisors in the
Academic Advising Center, and academic-program-specific advising is
provided by faculty and staff in academic departments. Other units on
campus also provide some advising. First-time freshmen and transfer
students 19 years of age or younger are required to attend an on-campus
orientation between the time they are admitted and the time they register
for classes. Older transfer students have the option of taking an online
orientation. Information about student services, academic requirements,
and campus resources is provided at the orientations. The MSCD Catalog
is readily available on the College’s website.
Required Placement Tests
Before students can register, they must take assessment tests in English,
mathematics, and reading unless their scores on the ACT or SAT exams
exempt them from the tests. Transfer students must also take the tests
unless they have successfully completed a college preparatory or
equivalent course. First-time students are not allowed to register until they
have attended orientation, have taken the placement tests, and have seen
an advisor in the Academic Advising Center.1 Advisors in the Academic
Advising Center have on hand a list of courses recommended for first-time
students interested in one of the majors the College offers. In some cases,
students interested in a particular major are referred directly to the major
department. Placing first-time students in Level I General Studies courses
is given the highest priority, and additional sections are added if there is a
need. Students who do not score high enough on the placement tests are
required to take a developmental course or courses at a community
college. Colorado policy requires that students address their remediation
needs within the first 30 credit hours. For this reason, MSCD IT staff
created a Banner job that blocks students with unresolved remediation
needs after 30 hours from registration until they meet with an advisor.
Checking Prerequisites
The Banner information system is able to check prerequisites, and this
feature is used to prevent transfer students from registering for Level I
General Studies courses if they do not have sufficiently high scores on the
placement tests and have not taken the required developmental courses.
Faculty in most academic programs try to ensure that students have the
1
    HLC 3c:   Advising first-year students takes into account the mastery of skills
              required for academic success.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


knowledge and skills required for success in a course by enforcing
prerequisites. Some enforcement is done at the time of advising; some is
done the first day of class. More and more, faculty are asking that course
prerequisites be enforced by Banner. Some faculty are reluctant to do so
because most MSCD students are transfer students, and Banner may not
recognize transfer coursework that is equivalent to a prerequisite and
consequently may prevent students from registering. Students enrolled in
a prerequisite course are allowed to register for the subsequent course
before completing the prerequisite course, but they are not automatically
removed from the class roster if they do not successfully complete the
prerequisite course, which occasionally causes a problem if it is not
noticed. With Banner, faculty are able to obtain information about
students’ satisfaction of the prerequisites.
Academic Advising Center
The Academic Advising Center works primarily with first-time-to-college
students and students who have not yet decided on a major. A substantial
part of their advising is informing these students, as well as students who
have decided their major, of the General Studies requirements and the
Multicultural Requirement. (As mentioned earlier, in some cases, students
interested in a particular major are referred directly to the major
department.) In addition to helping with course selection and registration,
advisors help students with long-term degree planning. If their time with
the student permits, the College’s advisors are interested in providing
individualized developmental advising, assisting students in the
clarification of their life and career goals, and developing educational
plans for the realization of these goals.
Part of the 1998 Title III grant supported an ―Undeclared Student
Advising Project.‖ For that project, each of the eight full-time advisors in
the Center was randomly assigned a cohort of 50 students who had not
declared a major. The advisors maintained regular communications with
the students, monitored their progress, and provided in-depth
developmental advising to them during their first year. The retention rates
and rates of declaring a major for the selected students were modestly
higher than those of a control group; the highest increase in the retention
rate was 7%, and the highest increase in the rate of declaring a major was
13.7%. An activity started as part of the grant is a Majors Fair, a day and
time when some faculty from each academic department gather in one
location, making it easy for students who have not decided on a major to
talk to faculty from different academic programs. The Fall 2006 Majors
Fair was attended by approximately 500 students; 160 faculty and staff
were there to answer questions.
During high peak times, some faculty assist with advising in the Advising
Center, which increases their understanding of General Studies and other
college requirements. They also participate in a training session on the
use of Banner and other advising tools.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


The Advising Center asks students to complete evaluation forms at the end
of their advising session, and the responses are reviewed and monitored.
A flaw in this method is that students may report satisfaction when they
leave the Center, but the advice given may be incorrect, a fact that
students may not discover until a year or two later. MSCD is working on
creating a tracking system, described below, to help determine the quality
and accuracy of advising as well as to improve advising. Because
advising is provided not only by the Academic Advising Center but by
program faculty and staff, survey questions about advising need to be
worded carefully to have some certainty that the results can be attributed
to the appropriate group. Program review surveys ask seniors to rate their
satisfaction with advising on General Studies and Multicultural
Requirements. Of 1,374 students, 57.5% were ―satisfied or very
satisfied.‖ Another 23.4% had ―no opinion.‖ Even though it is highly
probable that the students’ advisor was in the Academic Advising Center,
it is not certain. A survey of students about advising was conducted in the
fall of 2006 by the HLC Task Force on Advising and Transfer Issues, and
the results have not yet been studied by the College community. Of 476
respondents who considered the question ―applicable,‖ 73.7% rated the
service they received from the Academic Advising Center on General
Studies ―very helpful or somewhat helpful.‖
Curriculum Advising and Program Planning
In the spring of 2000, MSCD launched its most powerful and useful
advising tool, the Curriculum, Advising, and Program Planning feature in
Banner, the student information system. The CAPP program is a
computerized degree audit program.1 Given a student’s major,
concentration (if required), and minor (if required), the CAPP program
matches courses the student has completed or registered for with degree
requirements and provides the student with a printout of the degree
requirements he or she has completed and those yet to be completed.
Students who have not decided on a major but who have taken a number
of courses can experiment with various majors to determine the major for
which they have completed the most requirements. Advisors can quickly
determine the requirements yet to be met by students, and so CAPP
facilitates their advising. If necessary and appropriate, adjustments can be
made to the program for individual students. The College’s IT staff
created an attractive, reader-friendly version of the CAPP report,
sometimes called the ―official‖ report. Although the official CAPP report
can be run by any faculty member, staff, or advisor on campus, many find
running it cumbersome, and faculty frequently ask their department
assistants to run the report. It is much easier to run a WebCAPP report;
students and faculty can do it off campus. However, the WebCAPP
format is not as easy to read as the customized program. Samples of

1
    HLC 3c:   MSCD employs new technologies that enhance effective learning
              environments for students.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


CAPP reports will be available in the Resource Room. Results from the
student Advising/Transfer Survey conducted by the task force show that
55% of the 713 respondents checked or ran their CAPP report at least once
a semester; another 21.8% do so once a year. Of the 563 respondents who
found the question applicable, 92.5% found the CAPP report ―very
helpful‖ or ―somewhat helpful.‖
Faculty and Departmental Advising
Advising is considered an important faculty responsibility. Tenured and
tenure track faculty are required to establish, post, and keep a minimum of
five office hours per week when the College is in session Faculty must
also be available to meet with students by appointment for an additional
five hours during the week. Faculty are expected to advise students who
have a major or minor in their program. The results from a faculty
Academic Program Advising Survey conducted as part of the Self Study
reveal that faculty advise primarily about the requirements for the major or
minor and about graduation requirements, and they frequently provide
information to prospective majors and minors. All academic departments
are expected to have formal advising plans in place.
Advising is a specific component of a faculty member’s annual evaluation,
and must be given a weight of 10–20%. (See Handbook for Professional
Personnel, pp. 18, 27, and 30.) The College is currently trying to find a
satisfactory way to evaluate advising. Many faculty have students
complete an evaluation form at the end of their advising session, but this
method has drawbacks, as mentioned before.
Evaluation of program faculty advising as a whole is done during program
review. Graduates and seniors are asked to rate their degree of satisfaction
with ―faculty advising on course selection and degree program.‖ The
overall results are:
 Of 1,735 graduates, 54% responded ―high or very high,‖ 31%
    responded ―moderate.‖
 Of 1,372 seniors, 56% responded ―high or very high,‖ 29% responded
    ―moderate.‖
Graduates are also asked to rate their satisfaction with ―faculty or
department information about possible careers‖ (34% responded ―high or
very high,‖ 41% ―moderate‖). Seniors are asked slightly different
questions. These questions provide an opportunity to evaluate advising at
the program level during program review and to recommend changes.
In some departments, department staff also advise students, and some
department staff have student advising as part of their job descriptions.
Staff provide answers to ―frequently asked questions‖ and usually can help
students in the early part of their academic career.
One difficulty faculty face is that many students do not want to come in
for advising. Departments send out letters and e-mails encouraging
students to come in for advising, but students do not come. The College is


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


now addressing this phenomenon proactively. The School of Business
recently started Banner-enforcing a requirement that students come in for
advising once they have completed 60 credits, and business faculty have
found that this requirement benefits students. Several academic programs,
e.g., psychology and mathematics, are now placing registration holds on
students who try to enroll in a gateway course in the major, forcing the
students to come in for advising. The HLC Academic Program Advising
Survey asked the chairs and directors of academic programs if they would
be in favor of required advising at a fixed point in time and 82% of those
who responded, responded affirmatively. To meet their needs, IT has just
completed its development of a software program in Banner that will
enable faculty in any academic program to Banner-enforce a requirement
that students come in for advising at 30, 60, and 90 hours.
Of 727 students who answered the question on the student
Advising/Transfer Survey designed by the HLC Task Force on Advising
and Transfer Issues, 59.6% sought and received advising from their major
department at least once per semester; another 28.5% did so once a year.
Survey results show that seeing the same advisor each time affected the
usefulness of the advising. (The number of respondents to the following
survey varies because the responses of students who considered the
question not applicable were omitted.) Of those respondents who saw the
same advisor each time, 91.2% found the advising ―very helpful‖ or
―somewhat helpful;‖ of those who saw different advisors, the percentage
dropped to 78.4%. Over 86% of the respondents thought it would be
helpful to be assigned a permanent advisor.
A number of academic programs have special advising activities, such as
new student orientations, career nights, graduate school nights, and
advising handbooks. These are described in the 2005–06 annual reports.
Tracking the Advice Given to Students — Maintaining an Advising Record
Because most students discuss their academic plans with several advisors
during the time they are enrolled at the College — including one from the
Academic Advising Center, one or more from their major program, and
one from their minor program — many faculty and staff would find it
beneficial to know what others have told the student being advised. The
English Department took the initiative and created an excellent database
system to track the advice given to English majors, but the majority of
academic departments still maintain paper files. In either case, the advice
given to the student from outside the department is usually not part of the
department’s record. Ideally, MSCD would like to have a tracking system
that would record all advising contacts and the advice given. The HLC
Academic Program Advising survey found that 80% of the academic
programs that responded would find it helpful to know what others have
told their advisees. Colorado Revised Statute 23-13-104 (1) requires that
institutions create and maintain advising records for each student. One
record would be better than three or four.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


In 2000, both Student Services and Academic Affairs began initiatives to
build tracking systems in-house. Student Services wanted to track
contacts with students as part of a desire to do persistence studies.
Academic Affairs wanted a system that could record advising contacts and
the advice given. Information Technology contracted with an outside
consultant who was familiar with MSCD to develop a tracking system for
Student Services. It was completed and in use by the end of 2000. Later
features were added to it that took into consideration some of the faculty
and Academic Advising Center advising requirements.
The tracking system was adopted by some of the Student Life and Student
Academic Success areas of Student Services and usage has been ongoing,
but sporadic, by office. The central core areas of Student Services,
Registrar, Financial Aid, and Admissions have not implemented the
system. The system did not include enough of the required logging
information for the Advising Center to adopt. Faculty began using the
system, but only on an individual basis, not by department or school, until
2004–05, when the Dean of the School of Business required that it be used
for tracking all advising contacts. During less than five years of use, 170
advisors and office staff have entered over 55,000 student contacts.
The use of the tracking system has not been widespread because the
current tracking system has a number of shortcomings that are described
in the report of the HLC-NCA Task Force on Advising and Transfer
Issues. Because of these shortcomings, many Student Services
departments have implemented their own solutions to contact and
persistence tracking. Although some of these are quite sophisticated in
their tracking and data-warehousing capabilities, such as the system in the
Tutoring Center and Student Support Services, information is still not
being shared between departments.
To address these issues, IT staff began rewriting the system in the winter
of 2006 to fix some of the shortcomings and to add some additional
features. IT hopes to have a ―soft‖ startup of the new application by the
end of March 2007. Although the future direction of the system is not yet
clear, the following general plan has been made. Information Technology
staff have already recreated most of the functionality in the original
system, and they are working to determine the priorities for additional
functionality. Creating functionality for ―check-ins‖ at offices will be in a
second phase. In a third phase, a student self-service function will be
added to review contact information and possibly make appointments with
advisors and tutors online. A revised tracking system will be a good
method of recording advising contacts as other advisors can see who a
student saw previously, what was discussed, and what advice was given.
Discussions on the adoption of a truly integrated Constituent Relationship
Management system that would track all contacts between students and
the various sectors of the College have been started by the new Director
for Student Services Technology and Assessment, the Department of


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


Enrollment Services, the Alumni Relations Office, Information
Technology, and other campus stakeholders. From the standpoint of
assessing the effectiveness of MSCD’s programs in all areas of the
College, the full integration of tracking and Banner would allow for the
generation of statistics to aid in determining indicators of persistence and
success. Its value for assessment activities would be immeasurable.
NSSE Survey Results on Advising
The NSSE survey asks students the following question: ―Overall, how
would you evaluate the quality of academic advising you have received at
your institution?‖ Only 15% of MSCD’s first-year students who
participated in the survey found it ―excellent,‖ another 47% stated it is
―good,‖ giving a combined total of 62%. MSCD’s result was lower than
those of all three comparison groups: 69% for Urban Universities, 72% for
Carnegie Peers, and 76% for NSSE 2006. These results are statistically
significant. Implementation of learning communities and the revised First
Year Seminar may help MSCD improve in this area.
The results were more positive from seniors, with 21% reporting that
advising was ―excellent,‖ and 42% that it was ―good,‖ for a combined
total that rounded to 64%. This percentage was higher than for Urban
Universities (61%) and for Carnegie Peers (63%), but not for NSSE 2006
(70%). The first two were not statistically significant differences, but are
positive for MSCD. The College has opportunities to improve advising
for students as described above by requiring advising at fixed points in
students’ careers and by further developing its tracking system.

Supportive Environment
Supporting Academic Success
Student academic success at MSCD is supported by a variety of programs.
In addition to the First Year Seminar, Academic Affairs supports a
Writing Center and a Mathematics Peer Study Program. The latter is a
noncredit program comprised of small group Peer Study sessions held for
one hour twice a week during the entire semester. The Peer Study groups
support students in all sections of three General Studies Level I
mathematics courses. In 2004–05, 39.2% (or 970 students) of the total
number of students enrolled in the three courses participated in the
program.
Student Services has several programs designed to increase the success
and retention of students, including the following: the Metro Bridge
Program, Student Support Services (SSS), Tutoring Center, Immigrant
Student Services, Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), High School Upward
Bound (HSUB), the Access Center, and Student Intervention Services.
Two of the programs are for potential students and are designed to
encourage participation in higher education.



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

 The Metro Bridge Program is an intensive eight-week summer program
  designed to facilitate the transition of students graduating from high school
  and entering college. Development of both academic and social skills are
  emphasized.
 Student Support Services is one of five federal TRIO programs funded by the
  U.S. Department of Education to provide academic support for low-income,
  first-generation students and students with disabilities. It also offers
  individual and group training in computer usage, including word processing,
  database work, spreadsheet development, and Internet exploration. In their
  assessment report, they stated that 86% of the SSS participants had a 2.0 or
  better cumulative GPA at the end of the Spring 2006 semester, and the Fall-
  to-Spring retention rate was 92%.
 Veterans Upward Bound and High School Upward Bound are the other two
  federally funded TRIO GED/college preparatory programs. The VUB
  program is designed to provide refresher training and academic advising to
  qualifying veterans who are pursuing a GED certificate and/or are preparing
  to enter postsecondary education. Students in the VUB program are not
  obligated to attend MSCD, and the staff noted in their assessment report that
  their assessment activities are hindered by not having access to students’
  performances at other institutions.
 High School Upward Bound is designed to generate the skills and motivation
  necessary for success in and beyond high school for youths who are low-
  income, first-generation, college-bound students. Students are recruited at the
  start of their sophomore year in high school from five target-area high schools
  located in Denver County. The HSUB program provides intensive academic
  instruction during the school year and a six-week summer session. Upon
  completion of their high school studies, program participants are enrolled in
  the Upward Bound Bridge Program prior to pursuing their full-time
  postsecondary studies at an institution of their choice and ability level. These
  students are also not obligated to attend MSCD.
 The Tutoring Center provides group and individual tutoring for most General
  Studies core courses and for specific discipline courses. Tutoring Center staff
  strive to foster an environment that assists and encourages students to become
  independent learners. During 2005–06, 100% of the tutors were trained and
  evaluated on their understanding of strategies to use when tutoring students to
  help the students become independent learners. According to the Tutoring
  Center’s assessment report, 88% of students who used the Center in the fall of
  2005 were retained by the College. Tutees responding to a survey question
  about the impact of the Center on their understanding of course material gave
  a 6.52 out of 7, with 7 being the most positive. Online tutoring is provided by
  SmarThinking.
 Immigrant Student Services/English as a Second Language provides support
  services and tutoring assistance to students who have immigrated and may
  have learned English as a second language.
 Student Intervention Services/Early Warning provides specialized services to
  students whose GPA falls below a 2.00 on a 4.00 scale. Students’ academic
  progress is usually reviewed mid-semester, so there is time for intervention.



Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

 The Access Center provides assistance to qualified students with disabilities
  and arranges for reasonable accommodations to afford the students an equal
  opportunity to participate in MSCD’s programs, activities, and services. It
  has sophisticated and up-to-date adaptive technologies to ensure that students
  have the opportunities they should have.1 The creation of the Center was
  supported by the Title III grant, and because of the grant, the Kenneth King
  Foundation donated $200,000 to the Center for additional equipment. The use
  of the Access Center by students with disabilities rose 83% in four years.
Supporting Success Socially and in Other Areas
Several of the programs mentioned above also help students address other
areas of their lives. The Bridge Program works to develop the social skills
students will need, whereas Student Support Services is designed to help
students overcome social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Immigration Services helps students understand their personal obligations
and cultural and language-learning barriers.
 Metro Scholars provides academic support services, leadership development,
  and enrichment activities to scholarship students.
 The Counseling Center assists students in the accomplishment of tasks that
  are essential to the students’ personal and educational development.
 The Office of Financial Aid offers students personal budgeting and finance
  training and counsels students and parents on financial aid issues. It also
  provides hands-on instruction in the use of technology for the financial aid
  and scholarship processes.
 Career Services assists student in identifying career options and developing
  strategies for seeking a job. It has developed a web-based recruitment system.
 Student Activities provides opportunities for student development and
  learning through a variety of cocurricular activities, including service learning
  activities and leadership development. Many of these will be described under
  Core Component 4b.
Under the terms of its performance contract, MSCD is required to submit
a report that describes the programs and services that it provides to address
the retention and success of ―underserved students‖ and those programs
and services it would like to provide for underserved students, as well as
the cost of implementation of those services. An ―underserved student‖ is
one who meets at least one of the following criteria: low income (the
income level required to receive a federal Pell Grant), member of an
ethnic or racial minority group, male, or first-generation college student.
Most of the programs described in this Core Component were listed in
MSCD’s 2005–2006 performance contract report, which will be available
in the Resource Room.



1
    HLC 3c:   The College employs new technologies that enhance effective
              learning environments.


Chapter Five
    Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


    Other Student Services programs that support students socially are Student
    Activities, Student Organizations, the Student Health Center, and Campus
    Recreation. Some of these will be discussed under Criterion Four.
    NSSE Results on Supportive Environment
    The NSSE report includes evaluation of MSCD in a category called
    ―supportive environment,‖ which is one of NSSE’s five benchmarks of
    effective educational practice. NSSE calculates this particular benchmark
    rating based on student responses to a group of six questions:
    1. To what extent does your institution emphasize providing the support you
       need to help you succeed academically?
    2. To what extent does your institution emphasize helping you cope with your
       nonacademic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)?
    3. To what extent does your institution emphasize providing the support you
       need to thrive socially?
    4. How would you rate the quality of your relationships with other students?
    5. How would you rate the quality of your relationships with faculty members?
    6. How would you rate the quality of your relationships with administrative
       personnel and offices?

Mean responses of seniors                             MSCD Urban             Carnegie NSSE
Providing the support you need to help you succeed
                                                        2.75       2.75         2.76       2.87***
academically
Helping you cope with your nonacademic
                                                        1.81       1.80         1.84       1.91***
responsibilities
Providing the support you need to thrive socially       1.83      1.99***     2.09***      2.14***
Relationships with students                             5.26      5.45***     5.51***      5.61***
Relationships with faculty members                      5.36        5.31       5.23**        5.42
Relationships with administrative personnel and
                                                        4.23       4.33         4.38       4.50***
offices
    * p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001 (2-tailed) — indicates statistical significance. Shaded
    items are items where MSCD is significantly lower than the comparison group.
    The College is most successful in the quality of seniors’ relationships with
    faculty. It is least successful in providing support for students to thrive
    socially and in helping them build positive relationships with other
    students. Freshmen were less positive in their responses overall; they
    were most positive about their relationship with faculty members.
    On the FSSE survey, faculty were asked to indicate how much MSCD
    emphasizes the following. The percents shown are the percentage of
    respondents who answered ―very much‖ or ―quite a bit.‖
     Providing students the support they need to help them succeed academically
      — 75%
     Helping students cope with their nonacademic responsibilities — 47%
     Providing students the support they need to thrive socially — 27%.
    It is clear that the College does not provide support for students’ social
    life. This may change for a few students with the opening of private
    housing units near the campus.


    Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching



Core Component 3d: The organization’s learning resources
support student learning and effective teaching.

Metropolitan State College of Denver has learning resources that support
student learning and effective teaching. Although some programs have
excellent learning resources, the resources of other programs are not ideal.
The College has obtained some resources from grants and from working in
collaboration with others. As mentioned earlier in this chapter (p. 123),
approximately $3.0 million was earmarked by President Jordan last year
for capital equipment and needed renovations that improved programs’
learning resources.

Shared Resources
Auraria Library
Because the Auraria Library serves three institutions, one being a
university, its collections are more extensive than each institution could
support on its own, which is a benefit to MSCD students, faculty, and
staff.1 The Auraria Library is operated by the University of Colorado at
Denver and Health Sciences Center and is one of the busiest in Colorado.
Over 750,000 users enter the library building each year, and every year the
Auraria Library’s web pages record over five million hits.
The library building houses over 1,000,000 print and media items,
including 600,000 books, 3,000 print journal titles, and 260,000
government documents. Perhaps more important is that the Library is
especially rich in online resources, including over 150 databases, 20,000
electronic journals, and 39,000 online government publications.
The Auraria Library was a Colorado pioneer in providing an integrated
online catalog system and continues as a leader in improving and
expanding access to web-based information resources. It is a charter
member of Prospector, a statewide online catalog that provides web access
and three-day delivery to over 90% of the books in Colorado. A single
search allows the user to identify and borrow materials from the
collections and have them delivered to the local library. Recently, the
Rapid Access Processing and Information Delivery (RAPID) system was
added to Prospector to enable direct delivery of journal articles to users’
e-mail accounts.
The Library has been enhanced by cooperative ventures in services,
technology, and collection building with the HSC Denison Library, the
other CU libraries, and the 12 academic and public libraries of the
Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries.

1
    HLC 3d:   MSCD’s structures enable partnerships that enhance student
              learning.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


The Auraria Library has extensive guidance for online users at
http://library.auraria.edu/. On that site, students can find Learn Enjoy And
Plan (LEAP), which is an interactive tutorial designed to help students
develop and practice online information literacy. In addition, the Library
posts faculty ―class guides‖ connected with individual classes that provide
guidance to students doing online research in their discipline, increasing
students’ information literacy in that discipline.1
The Auraria Library has assigned staff that serve as liaisons with MSCD
faculty, aligned by academic program, who keep faculty informed about
library activities in their discipline. The liaisons routinely solicit faculty
opinions about purchases and maintenance of collections.
Program review surveys ask seniors to rate their degree of satisfaction
with the Auraria Library’s resources. Of 1,379 who responded, 87%
reported they were ―satisfied‖ or ―very satisfied.‖ A little over 7% had no
opinion. If there is dissatisfaction, the matter is investigated.2 External
program review consultants for MSCD’s programs frequently tour the
Library and make comments, which are subsequently relayed to the library
staff. The survey also asks seniors how many times in their last 18–24
credit hours they ―used a library to obtain information for a paper or
project.‖ The average of 1,376 seniors was 4.7 times; however, it should
be noted, the Auraria Library was not specified in that question.
During 2004–05, UCDHSC conducted an Academic Program Review of
the Auraria Library using both a three-member External Review Team and
a three-member Internal Review Team. The reviews will be available in
the Resource Room. Both reviewers recommended that the Library be
open more hours. UCDHSC has a goal of becoming a top-ten urban
research university; however, the Library was found to be underfunded by
$4 – $5 million a year to meet that aspiration. In addition to
recommending an increase in funding, the review teams recommended
that the Auraria Library be designated the University of Colorado at
Denver Library and that UCDHSC write a contract for services for MSCD
and CCD, which, if it happens, might affect the library services available
to MSCD students and faculty. UCDHSC has established an Academic
Master Planning Library Task Force to decide the steps that will be taken
in response to the reviews and to plan for the future. The College has a
representative on the planning committee. Representatives from the three
schools are discussing making the Auraria Library a digital repository in
an effort to move away from print documents.
Classrooms
There are 215 smart classrooms on the Auraria campus. Most are shared
by MSCD, UCDHSC, and CCD, and are under the direct control of

1
    HLC 3b:   The organization supports students, staff, and faculty in using
              technology effectively.
2
    HLC 3d:   MSCD assesses the effectiveness of its learning resources.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


AHEC. In each of these classrooms there is a data projector, VCR,
document camera, overhead projector, DVD player, stereo, and cassette
recorder. There is also an interconnect panel that allows faculty to
connect portable playback devices and computers to the projection and
sound systems. All rooms have Ethernet connections; most have wireless
access as well. Microphones, slide-to-video converters, film-to-video
converters, and document cameras are available for use in these and other
rooms by reservation from Media Equipment Services.
In each lecture hall there is a document camera, audio CD player, and
audio cassette deck. All lecture halls also have 35-MM slide projectors;
some have 16-MM motion picture projection capability. In lecture halls,
the podiums have the interconnect panel mentioned above. Wireless
microphones and wireless hearing-assisted systems are installed in some
classrooms.
A user’s guide is available for faculty to learn how to use the equipment.
In addition, there is a faculty training facility in the Auraria Media Center
where faculty can practice operating the equipment and test their
computer’s compatibility. Help is also available from Media Center staff.1
MSCD’s Information Technology also helps support the smart classrooms.
With respect to the shortage of classrooms, MSCD has been able to offer
the classes needed by carefully managing the schedule of classrooms and
working with AHEC, CCD, and UCDHSC. In addition, it has adopted two
strategies to address the shortage: online courses and 2 + 2 agreements
with community colleges.
Performance Spaces
As mentioned in Chapter Two under 1997 Past Concern #1, MSCD now
shares the Kenneth Kendall King Performing Arts Center with CCD and
UCDHSC. At the time of the last HLC visit, MSCD did not have a
performance space, and the resources in the Performing Arts Center have
been of great benefit to MSCD’s music and theatre programs. The Center
houses the following: six performing spaces, four of which are available
to MSCD: a production studio permanently assigned to MSCD; a 200-seat
Recital Hall; a 520-seat Concert Hall; and a 275-seat Courtyard Theatre.
There are dressing rooms, a green room, recording studio, lighting lab,
music electronics lab, classroom space, box office, scene shop, paint shop,
costume shop, and dance studio. See also
http://www.kennethkingcenter.org/main/venues.html.
In the summer of 2007, the entire MSCD/UCDHSC music complex
containing administrative offices, faculty offices, and teaching studios on
the second floor in the Arts Building will be remodeled into suites
containing an administrative office and faculty studio offices. This
renovation will also address the sound transmission problems between

1
    HLC 3d:   The organization supports faculty in using technology effectively.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


instructional spaces that have existed since the building was constructed in
1976. One of the remodeled suites will be designated as MSCD’s and the
other will be designated as belonging to UCDHSC. Because renovation of
this entire music area will provide the best design, MSCD has agreed to
support the renovation of the UCDHSC space with an expectation that the
funds for the renovation of the UCDHSC space will be repaid. In addition
to this renovation, which will yield sound-isolated studio offices, over
$57,000 was spent in the spring of 2006 to purchase new instruments for
MSCD’s Music Program.

Sharing Resources at Auraria
The situation of the music studio offices highlights one of the challenges
of managing learning resources at the Auraria Higher Education Center.
Some resources, such as the Concert Hall, are shared on a daily or weekly
basis, and MSCD faculty and staff have to schedule collaboratively with
UCDHSC and CCD. In other cases, such as the studio offices, each
institution has control over its learning resource of that type, e.g., studio
office, and can equip it and schedule it as appropriate. Sharing these
resources depends on arrangements between department chairs. In these
situations, renovations desired by one institution may affect the resources
of another institution; thus, renovations may be delayed until agreement is
reached among the institutions.

MSCD’s Resources
Science Laboratories
In the last year, considerable funds have been allocated to update
equipment in MSCD science laboratories and make minor, but needed,
renovations. For example, over $160,000 was allocated to biology and
over $124,000 to chemistry. The money was allocated based on program
review recommendations made a few years before. Faculty have also been
able to obtain equipment using their connections with local laboratories.
As mentioned under Core Component 2b, MSCD does not have sufficient
student science laboratories to require that every student complete a lab-
based science course as part of its general education program, a
requirement that many faculty would like to put in place. In addition,
space for student-faculty research in the sciences is not readily available.
The Science Building is aging, and because of the increase in students, it
now has much higher usage than originally planned. In the fall of 2005,
safety concerns were brought to the forefront, and the organic chemistry
laboratories had to be closed for a time due to ventilation problems.
MSCD has joined forces with CCD and UCDHSC to obtain a new Science
Building. During the summer and fall of 2006, the architectural firm of
Anderson, Mason, and Dale examined current usage and projected
programming needs that must be taken into account in designing the


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


building. At the present time, the program plan for the building has been
completed, and the building has been placed in Tier One Priority for
capital construction funding. Under the present plan, MSCD will have 13
additional teaching laboratories and 19 additional offices. The Biology,
Chemistry and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Departments will gain
shared conference rooms. The Biology and Chemistry Departments will
add undergraduate research laboratories, and the Earth and Atmospheric
Sciences Department will gain a GIS classroom and computer laboratory.
Meanwhile, MSCD faculty collaborate with other institutions and
laboratories to be sure students have access to the learning experiences
they need. For example, MSCD does not have the laboratory facilities or
equipment to teach some cellular and molecular biology laboratory
courses. Faculty have arrangements with the Community College of
Aurora for students to take the courses there. Criminalistics faculty place
students in nearby crime laboratories to provide them with the appropriate
laboratory experience.1
The College provides some staffing and support for its learning resources,
but this is an area in which MSCD could do more. The increase in the
number of students has resulted in an increased need for lab technicians.
For instance, the Biology and Chemistry Departments each have one
laboratory technician, but a second one is needed by each department.
The Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) Department has global
information system (GIS), meteorology, and geology computer
laboratories, but no laboratory technician. Faculty do all the laboratory
work.
Studio Art Facilities
MSCD’s Art and Industrial Design Programs are accredited by the
National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and MSCD has
improved the resources of these programs to make accreditation possible.
However, there are some health and safety concerns connected with the art
ceramics studio, part of which needs a roof, and which also needs better
ventilation. During the fall of 2006, AHEC began to take steps to address
the ventilation problems; those renovations are still under way. The
roofing project is on the state’s Controlled Maintenance list for
consideration during the spring 2007 legislative session. If funded, the
renovations will take place during the 2007–08 academic year. The
needed renovation affects both MSCD and UCDHSC space.
Art students can exhibit their work in a small gallery and in exhibit cases
in the Arts Building, in a small gallery in the Library, in the Emmanuel
Gallery, and in the Center for Visual Art (CVA), which is leased space in
Lower Downtown Denver. Except for the small gallery in the Arts
Building and the CVA, the exhibition spaces are shared. Events and

1
    HLC 3d:   MSCD’s partnerships enhance student learning.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


workshops are also held at the CVA. Students’ work is also exhibited
online at the Art Department’s website:
http://clem.mscd.edu/~art_cs/practice.htm.
Aerospace and Engineering Technology Laboratories
The aerospace science and engineering technology programs also had their
learning resources upgraded during 2005–06. Over $770,000 was spent
on new simulators for the aerospace science programs; civil engineering
technology received over $90,000 in improved equipment; electrical
engineering technology, over $230,000; and mechanical engineering
technology, approximately $195,000.
The Overall Picture
The above is not an exhaustive list of the capital and renovation
expenditures that MSCD made in the last year, but they provide an
indication that MSCD believes it is important to provide the resources
needed for student learning.
Internships, Clinicals, and Practica
MSCD is fortunate to be located in the heart of downtown Denver because
it is easily able to provide internships, clinicals, and practica appropriate to
an academic area. Faculty select the sites and work with students’
supervisors to ensure that the experience is a learning opportunity for the
student. Additional information about internships is provided in Criterion
Five.

Technology
Academic Computer Labs
Metropolitan State College of Denver’s 22 academic computer labs and
classrooms provide over 700 computers (PC and Mac) equipped with the
newest technology available, and multiple software packages for student
and faculty academic use. Software in the labs varies from specialized
engineering, art, and music software to the more general and popular
software. All labs are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.
A laboratory is maintained in the Tivoli Student Union for the
convenience of students.
The labs are open during the semester from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during
the week, including Saturdays, and serve over 13,000 students per
semester. A smaller number of labs are open for limited hours on Sundays
and during semester breaks. The labs generally close between semesters
for equipment and software maintenance.
The Academic Computer Lab Advisory Group provides guidance to IT
regarding the operations and management of the labs. The group is
comprised of faculty, student, and IT staff representatives and meets on a
monthly basis to discuss and address lab issues.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


Additional information regarding the lab spaces, equipment, and software
can be found at the computer labs’ website: www.mscd.edu/~complabs.
Knowledgeable work study students are available in the laboratories to
provide assistance to students.
In a number of cases, MSCD faculty have created specialized computer
laboratories with grant funds. For example, the Title III grant mentioned
in the Introduction enabled three academic departments to create computer
laboratories: Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Earth and
Atmospheric Sciences, and Art. In addition, the faculty were able to
leverage additional funds and software donations to increase the value of
the Title III funding. In the EAS laboratory, for example, the grant
enabled the purchase of a Petra software license worth $230,000 for only
$400 for 20 workstations. The Colorado Institute of Technology donated
$280,172 to the mathematics and computer science laboratory. Among
the positive results directly attributed to the new computer science
laboratory was a jump in student success rates (i.e., a grade of C or better)
from 55% to 77% in designated computer science courses.1
Specialized computer laboratories created by the use of grant funds are
usually not supported by IT staff, which means that faculty must support
the laboratory or a technician must be hired by the program to support the
laboratory. Information Technology will support specialized computer
laboratories under certain conditions.
Citrix Systems
The Department of Computer Information Systems (CIS) is working with
Information Technology to pilot test the use of technology from Citrix
Systems to enable students, faculty, and staff to remotely access statistical
and application development software from their homes or other sites off
campus. That is, they are creating a ―virtual‖ lab with 70 ―virtual‖ seats.
Four CIS classes used the technology during the Fall 2006 semester; in
Spring 2007, all CIS students will have access. Faculty and staff are
gathering data to determine future steps.
Desktop Replacement
Information Technology has a desktop replacement program that applies
to the entire College to ensure that faculty and staff have the computing
resources that they need. In deploying computers, consideration is given
to the needs of the users so that those who need high-powered computers
have them. In 2005–06, Academic Affairs accelerated the replacement
schedule by spending $600,000 on desktop replacements and other
computer and printer needs. Information Technology is encouraging the
use of laptops and wireless networks.


1
    HLC 3d:   MSCD assesses the effectiveness of its learning resources to
              support learning and teaching.


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


Support for Using Technology Effectively
Several ways that MSCD supports students, faculty, and staff in using
technology have already been mentioned in this chapter. Other support
exists. Information Technology holds regular training sessions for staff on
how to use various programs in Banner. The schedule of training sessions
is posted on IT’s website. IT maintains a Help Desk that provides help
online, by phone, and in person to faculty and staff. The Help Desk will
assist students on campus.
The Center for Academic Technology also provides assistance to faculty
and students in the use of technology, with emphasis given to faculty and
students involved in online education.
Survey Results
Program review surveys of seniors ask the following: ―Do you believe you
have been exposed to the appropriate computer software in your major?‖
Again, this is asked at the program level, where it is clear what action
should be taken. Seventy-six percent (76%) of 1,333 seniors responded
―yes‖ with the rest responding ―no.‖ Seniors were also asked how often
they used the computer for school-related activities; 67% of 1,381 students
reported ―almost daily‖ with another 29% responding ―weekly.‖ Finally,
seniors were asked their degree of satisfaction with the ―computing
facilities‖; 83% were ―satisfied‖ or ―very satisfied.‖

Conclusion
Faculty, administrators, and staff make effective teaching and student
learning a top priority. Faculty have stated what they want students to
learn and are using a variety of methods to determine if learning is taking
place. Improvements in the learning environments and learning resources
of the College have been made to increase learning and make teaching
more effective.
Strengths
1. MSCD’s faculty, Trustees, and administration all value excellence in
   teaching and learning.
2. Many academic programs have nationally recognized discipline-
   specific accreditation or approval.
3. The College and most programs have clearly stated goals for student
   learning. A variety of assessment measures are being used and
   changes made based on the results.
4. Advising has been enhanced by the use of the CAPP and WebCAPP
   reports, the use of registration holds, and the initial use of tracking
   systems.




Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


5. MSCD’s small classes encourage active student learning, and the
   learning resources of many academic programs have been improved.
6. Student Services is committed to the education of students and has
   worked to determine student learning goals for its activities and to
   assess the achievement of those goals.

Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement
1. The College needs to increase its support for faculty to enhance their
   teaching skills and their ability to measure student learning. (See also
   the Challenge under Criterion Four.)
   Action: The Faculty Senate and Academic Affairs have established a
      committee that has made a proposal on the design and organization
      of a faculty development center.
2. Advising at the College would be improved if there were a tracking
   system used by all advisors. Faculty and staff could contribute more
   to student success if they could easily share information about student
   contacts. The ideal is to have access to information about student
   contacts with College personnel, from recruitment to admission to
   advising and student activities, that is integrated with the student
   information already in Banner.
   Actions and Recommendation: Information Technology is
      developing an improved tracking system. Its use by all who advise
      students needs to be encouraged. In addition, the purchase of an
      extremely powerful tracking system to accomplish the integration
      mentioned above is being discussed.
3. Student Services units need assistance with their assessment activities,
   especially with the creation, administration, and interpretation of
   surveys.
   Actions: A Director of Student Services Assessment and Technology
      has been hired and a contract written for StudentVoice.
4. A Director of Academic Program Assessment needs to be hired to help
   with the review of academic programs’ assessment reports and support
   and facilitate the assessment of the General Studies Program.
   Action: An interim position has been created for the Spring 2007
      semester. The College plans to have a person in place within a
      year.
5. MSCD’s low retention rate and NSSE survey results indicate that the
   current environment does not adequately support entering students,
   even though the College has a number of retention services available
   to them.
   Action: Several steps have been taken. A type of learning community
      was pilot-tested in the fall of 2006, and changes are being made for


Chapter Five
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching


       Spring 2007 to strengthen the program. MSCD plans to continue
       to develop different types of learning communities to support first-
       and second-year students. The Tutoring Program now assists and
       encourages students to become independent learners. The results
       of the NSSE survey provide information that should be helpful in
       making changes.

Issues for the Next Three to Five Years
1. Admission requirements to Colorado colleges and universities will be
   changing starting in 2008 and will change again in 2010. At that time,
   high school students will have to meet specified academic course
   requirements to be accepted into four year programs; one of the
   requirements is four years of mathematics at the Algebra I level or
   higher. Three years of a foreign language will be required by 2010.
   For MSCD, these requirements will affect only incoming first-time
   students who are 19 years old or younger and students with less than
   30 college credits. Students without the correct high school
   coursework will have to be admitted through the window that allows
   for exceptions, and MSCD may not be able to admit all who formerly
   would have been admitted. On the other hand, older students may find
   it easier to be admitted to MSCD than to other institutions. The
   changes may have an impact on enrollment at MSCD and the
   characteristics of the student body.
2. The Library may become a digital repository, changing the use of the
   Library by students, faculty, and staff. All users will need to possess
   the technological literacy needed to access digital resources.




Chapter Five

								
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