External Environmental Scan –Preliminary Bullets by dlas32


									       Environmental Scan
       Draft 3 for university community feedback
       October 3, 2008
       To provide feedback on this draft Environmental Scan, please email your comments to Accreditation@uaa.alaska.edu by Wednesday, October 15th.

Line      Type of factor                  Environmental factor                                  Impact on UAA                     Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                   Area of
1       Natural/Physical   Alaska is large, relatively isolated and sparsely     The state geography has led to the formation UAA must continue to support the community campuses as            Access
                           populated.                                            of a distributed educational system, with local well as “main” campuses, despite the higher operating costs at
                                                                                 campuses in major communities.                  the remote locations.
                                                                                 To better serve students from across Alaska,    UAA must enhance on-campus multi-cultural strategies as well Student
                                                                                 faculty and staff at UAA must understand the    as cross-cultural education and exchange programs (e.g., the Success
                                                                                 peoples and cultures of the state. Geographic   Rose Urban Rural Exchange) to educate the different parts of
                                                                                 distance complicates the implementation of      the state about each other.
                                                                                 best practices and multi-cultural strategies.
2                          Recent increases in transportation costs further      Higher transportation costs will affect         UAA needs to continue to increase and diversify distance            Access
                           exacerbate the apparent geographical distance         commuter students’ ability to attend UAA.       education offerings and the availability of residential capacity.
                           between Alaskan communities.
3       Demographic        The city of Anchorage is home to an increasingly      Students from minority groups have              UAA must address student success for an increasingly diverse Meet the needs
                           diverse population (including diversity of race,      additional needs (language, cultural, social,   student population, including strategies such as diversity and of the state
                           culture, age, more first generation college students levels of preparation).                          learning communities.
                           etc). This diversity is found in the labor market, as
                           well as in the Anchorage School District.
                                                                                 Young people from some minority groups          UAA must employ multi-cultural recruitment strategies.              Access
                                                                                 lack role models and support networks that
                                                                                 would direct them to seek higher education
                                                                                 and to persist to success.
4                          An increasing number of students come to UAA          UAA loses a significant number of students      UAA needs to develop ways to better communicate college             Access
                           underprepared for college. The number of students     (49%) during their first year. This has         readiness standards to future students. Closer partnerships
                           graduating in the bottom half of their high school    adversely affected retention and graduation     with K-12 will be crucial in helping students understand and
                           class that come to UAA has increased 11% in the       rates.                                          achieve these standards.
                           past 10 years.
                                                                                 UAA has seen particularly low success rates UAA must improve and expand its existing advising and
                                                                                 among several minority groups (most notably placement programs for new and continuing students.
                                                                                 among Alaska Native men).
                                                                                                                             UAA must continue to develop learning communities, a key
                                                                                                                             factor in the retention and success of all students, but in
                                                                                                                             particular for students from minority groups.

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Line    Type of factor                  Environmental factor                                   Impact on UAA                        Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                    Area of
5      Economic          Alaska economic growth will continue, but              UAA’s student pool and the state needs UAA UAA should continue to focus on securing more reliable                      Sustainability
                         uncertainty about the future of world oil and gas      serves are both tied to widely fluctuating      funding sources that are not tied to commodity prices.                 of the mission
                         markets makes it impossible to estimate the rate of    natural resource prices, which are difficult to
                         growth.                                                predict.
                                                                                                                                   UAA must continue to train graduates that can easily move           Meet the needs
                                                                                                                                   among different jobs as the needs of the economy shift.             of the state
6                        The cost of living in Alaska is increasing at an ever A larger share of UAA’s operating budget            UAA needs to secure funding that can adapt to increasing            Access
                         faster pace, in part due to large increases in utility needs to be allocated to utilities, leaving even   utility costs or that is sufficiently large to accommodate future
                         costs. Alaska household income growth is failing to less money available for other needs.                 increases in these costs.
                         keep pace with the increase in the cost of living,
                         and the increased cost of higher education, in                                                            UAA needs to continue to focus on sustainable facilities, to
                         Alaska and elsewhere.                                                                                     reduce its dependence on utility prices.
                                                                                Many of UAA’s students and potential               UAA must take additional steps to accommodate students with Access
                                                                                students might have trouble affording an           financial needs.
                                                                                education as utility costs take an increasing
                                                                                share of their incomes.
7                        Alaska is ranked last among US states for the level An increasing share of Alaska households              UAA will need to seek additional sources for financial aid, as      Access
                         of financial aid to students. Legislation to increase will be unable to afford the cost of higher         well as to explore new ways to make education more
                         financial aid has been hampered by the fact that      education.                                          affordable.
                         Alaskans receive substantial PFD checks every
                         year, which ostensibly could be saved for                                                                 UAA must also continue to educate legislators about the
                         educational expenses.                                                                                     economic realities that prevent many students from saving
                                                                                                                                   PFD funds (especially in subsistence areas of the state).

                                                                                                                                   UAA must also educate citizens of the state about the value of
                                                                                                                                   education and about the potential benefits of saving for
                                                                                                                                   educational needs.
8                        The Alaskan economy continues to suffer from           UAA will face increased demand for                 UAA will need to continue to play an active role training       Meet the needs
                         current and anticipated shortages of skilled workers   programs that address the need for new             students for high demand job areas, to train graduates that can of the state
                         in key areas (high demand jobs areas, including        workers to fill replacement openings as well       change jobs as the economy needs shift, and to recruit more
                         health care, engineering, and education). The          as jobs added as the economy grows.                students from out of state, training them for local job
                         problem is due to a combination of factors,                                                               opportunities and enticing them to remain in the state after
                         including rapid growth in certain areas, the                                                              graduation.
                         relatively low population density in the state, the
                         relative isolation and the large number of
                         employees nearing retirement age.
                                                                                                                                   While funding growth in high demand areas, attention and            Sustainability

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Line     Type of factor                   Environmental factor                                     Impact on UAA                      Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                   Area of
                                                                                                                                     resources must also be given to growth in key foundation           of the mission
                                                                                                                                     areas that support the high demand degrees and certificates,
                                                                                                                                     in particular general education requirements.
10                         UAA is a relatively young university with a modest       Growth in endowment funds are limited in         UAA needs to continue to increase its efforts to reach out to      Sustainability
                           alumni base.                                             part by the modest alumni base.                  and connect with its alumni at all campuses.                       of the mission

11                         Alaska’s industry is heavily focused on resource         The state workforce and UAA’s workforce                                                                             Meet the needs
                           extraction.                                              development programs struggle to keep pace                                                                          of the state
                                                                                    with the cyclical aspect of resource
13     Social and Cultural (Local) South central residents recognize the value South central residents rate UAA as a priority        Despite recent progress in marketing itself, UAA must become Meet the needs
       (Political)         and contribution UAA makes to the local and state second only to K-12 education.                          even more visible in the community.                          of the state
       (Economic?)         economy.
                                                                               The economic contribution of the university to        Continue to educate the public and the legislature on the need
                                                                               the local and state economy is high.                  for a locally trained workforce.

                                                                                    The municipality of Anchorage has issued
                                                                                    resolutions to the state legislature to fully
                                                                                    fund the regents’ and governor’s budget for

                                                                                    Kenai Peninsula Borough supports UAA’s
                                                                                    Kenai Peninsula College through funding the
                                                                                    Jump Start program (for high school seniors
                                                                                    to take courses at a reduced tuition rate) and
                                                                                    other special funding programs.
14                         (State) The state legislature recognizes that            Political support for UAA remains limited by     Continue to educate the public and the legislature on the need Meet the needs
                           investing in the university is investing in the state,   absence of a clear understanding of the role     for a locally trained workforce.                               of the state
                           its citizens, and its workforce.                         of the university in human resource
                                                                                    development and economic development.            UAA needs to continue to focus on securing stable funding          Sustainability
                           The state legislature demands accountability and                                                          sources and becoming truly competitive for research funding.       of the mission
                           evidence of performance in high demand job areas. Although legislative funding has increased
                                                                             over the past several years, the state still            UAA is challenged with moving important programs from soft
                                                                             imports vast human resources.                           money to general fund (particularly in health programs).

                                                                                    UAA still lacks sufficient funding for           On the upside, UAA is enjoying a few notable successes this
                                                                                    infrastructure and program improvements          year with Federal proposals, including Title III and NIH grants.
                                                                                    sufficient to train Alaska’s workforce.

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Line     Type of factor                  Environmental factor                                 Impact on UAA                      Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                   Area of

                                                                               The state legislature demands accountability
                                                                               and evidence of performance in high demand
                                                                               job areas. The state still imports many
                                                                               workforce resources.
14                        The UA Scholars program is producing more            More local students are attending and            Continue to support and promote the UA Scholars program in         Meet the needs
                          Alaska high school graduates who attend the          completing degree programs. Ninety-eight         UAA’s marketing, college readiness, and legislative                of the state
                          university as well as higher retention degree        percent of UA Scholars graduates are living      communications.
                          completion rates.                                    and working in Alaska.
                          (Federal/national) Federal congressional attitude  Shifting congressional attitudes contribute to     UAA needs to continue to focus on securing stable funding          Sustainability
                          toward higher education has been shifting over the the lack of stable funding from federal dollars.   sources and becoming truly competitive for research funding.       of the mission
                          past several years, from a severe lack of
                          confidence in the effectiveness of the voluntary                                                      On the upside, UAA is enjoying a few notable successes this
                          accreditation system to a restored confidence                                                         year with Federal proposals, including Title III and NIH grants.
                          based on institutional defined missions and
                          outcomes, and accountability measures as the core
                          of self-assessment and accreditation.
                          (International) International trade plays an         Increasing internationalization in the Alaskan   UAA needs to organize and expand internationalization and          Meet the needs
                          increasingly important role in Alaska.               economy leads to greater demand for              inter-cultural programs to prepare our students to think, work,    of the state
                                                                               language and cross-cultural skills in            and serve in a world being transformed by integration and
                                                                               employees and trade, tourism, and other          globalization. Some possible strategies include study abroad
                                                                               industries.                                      and partnerships with foreign institutions and organizations.

                                                                               This also provides an opportunity for UAA to
                                                                               become an international resource to the
15     Technological      A general increase in broadband connections          UAA is constrained by the available              UAA needs to support a variety of distance education options       Access
                          nationally has enhanced the public’s expectations    broadband and other technology in many           and to support Alaskan communities in their funding requests
                          of UA’s distance education.                          Alaskan communities.                             to the state to support enhanced technical capabilities.
16                                                                             Increasing distance education opportunities      In expanding distance education offerings, UAA needs to            Access
                                                                               require greater expenses in refreshing           consider the impact on budget and human resources to
                                                                               training and equipment.                          provide adequate training and equipment.
19     Education          Although more Alaskan high school graduates          UAA could face declining enrollments, which      UAA needs to consider out-of-state recruitment strategies.         Meeting the
                          remain in Alaska and attend UA campuses, the         could challenge planning based on                                                                                   needs of the
                          total pool of high school graduates is decreasing.   programmatic need.                                                                                                  state
19                        The rate of Alaska’s high school graduates going to The rate of college bound high school             UAA needs to consider out-of-state recruitment strategies.         Meeting the

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Line   Type of factor                 Environmental factor                                  Impact on UAA                      Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                 Area of
                        college is among the lowest in the nation.            graduates impacts UAA’s enrollment and                                                                            needs of the
                                                                              tuition revenues.                               UAA will support partnerships with the Department of              state
                                                                                                                              Education and local school districts that will increase the rates Student
                                                                                                                              of college attendance among high school graduates by offering Success
                                                                                                                              programs such as summer campus, career awareness, and
                                                                                                                              early testing, assessment, and placement. Such efforts are
                                                                                                                              expected to introduce more high school students to UAA and
                                                                                                                              to the value of higher education. These efforts will also
                                                                                                                              strengthen communication between UAA and high school
                                                                                                                              students to assure better transition from high school to college.
19                      While improving, the retention rate for full time first Low retention rates are disruptive to         Part of UAA’s vision is to promote student success. To          Student
                        time freshmen at UAA is low.                            enrollment management, planning for student   improve retention rates and completion of educational goals, it Success
                                                                                accommodations, classroom scheduling,         is important for UAA to improve the student experience in
                                                                                athletic programs, and faculty recruitment.   transitioning from high school to higher education. Retention
                                                                                                                              strategies begin in high school with early testing, assessment,
                                                                                                                              and placement. Offering the option to earn college credits
                                                                                                                              while in high school can help retention rates. To help students
                                                                                                                              succeed, UAA will provide an active learning environment and
                                                                                                                              assist students with academic advising, mentoring, tutoring,
                                                                                                                              and student health services. Faculty trained in diversity and
                                                                                                                              best practices in teaching and learning also improve retention.
                                                                                                                              UAA will adopt the Office of Institutional Research, Model of
                                                                                                                              Student Goal Progress/Attainment as its standard metric tool
                                                                                                                              for student success.
20                      UAA has evolved through a process of complex          There exists a unique tension between the       UAA must honor its broad mission while looking to develop  Meet the needs
                        self-organization from the 1986-87 decision (taken    flexibility and willingness to address the      advanced graduate degrees. It must seek adequate resources of the state
                        in response to a major fiscal crisis) to merge four   changing needs of UAA’s diverse                 to meet these diverse expectations.
                        community colleges and one small urban university     constituencies and the challenge to                                                                        Sustainability
                        into one institution. Since then UAA has matured      adequately resource all aspects of UAA’s                                                                   of the mission
                        into a complex organization serving many different    dynamic programs in a way that leads to
                        constituencies.                                       student success.
                                                                              As new needs and priorities have emerged, UAA must ensure adequate resources to guarantee the                    Meet the needs
                                                                              UAA has created and revised institution-wide success of these new structures to meet their missions and          of the state
                                                                              organizational structures such as the        serve the broader university community.
                                                                              University Honors College, Graduate School,                                                                      Sustainability
                                                                              Office of Community Partnerships, Center for                                                                     of the mission
                                                                              Community Engagement and Learning, and
                                                                              Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence.

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Line     Type of factor                 Environmental factor                                    Impact on UAA                         Actions Taken or Recommended In Response to Factor                  Area of
21                        UAA is a component of the Statewide UA system.         UAA’s ability to fulfill its mission is sometimes                                                                     Sustainability
                          As UAA has grown and developed, the interaction        facilitated and sometimes constrained by the                                                                          of the mission
                          between UAA and UA system administration has           Statewide framework.
                          become an ongoing challenge to both
                                                                                 Statewide has promoted a strong focus on     UAA must continue to educate Statewide on its diverse                    Meet the needs
                                                                                 the university’s impact on economic          mission and assert its priorities in shaping budget processes.           of the state
                                                                                 development and workforce preparation. The
                                                                                 benefits of liberal education, educating for                                                                          Sustainability
                                                                                 citizenship, and basic research may be                                                                                of the mission
                                                                                 struggling for recognition.
22     Financial          For most of the nineties, UA (and UAA) suffered       Although significant program reductions did          UAA must continue to review its effectiveness with an eye         Sustainability
                          from financial constraints so serious that the period not occur, the results of actions taken to deal      toward student success and to work to enhance resources in        of the mission
                          is referred to as the “fiscal desert.”                with the crisis years (Retirement Incentive          order to respond to student needs. Increasing the visibility of
                                                                                Program, reductions in classified staff, and         its accomplishments is one strategy to attract increased          Meet the needs
                                                                                reorganization) are still felt. Reduced staffing     financial support from alumni, the business community, the        of the state
                                                                                resulted in poor response to student,                state legislature, and the statewide university system.
                                                                                institutional and community needs.

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