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					Memorandum of Understanding

Empire State College and the State University of New York

December 2000

CONTENTS

Market Niche/Distinctiveness .................................................................................................. 1

Projected Institutional Position and Benchmarks of Success .............................................. 1 1.0 Enrollment/Admission Selectivity.................................................................................. 2

1.1 Enrollment Growth............................................................................................................ 2 1.2 Student mix ........................................................................................................................ 3 1.3 Recruitment........................................................................................................................ 3 1.4 Level on selectivity matrix ................................................................................................. 4 1.5 Comparisons with selected benchmark institutions .......................................................... 5 2.0 Student Outcomes............................................................................................................ 6

2.1 Student life......................................................................................................................... 6 2.2 Retention/graduation rates................................................................................................ 7 2.3 Student/alumni satisfaction ............................................................................................... 7 2.4 Post-graduate success ....................................................................................................... 8 2.5 Employer satisfaction ........................................................................................................ 8 2.6 Assessment planning.......................................................................................................... 8 3.0 Faculty Development and Scholarship .......................................................................... 9

3.1 Faculty recruitment ........................................................................................................... 9 3.2 Faculty review, promotion and tenure ............................................................................ 10 3.3 Quality and quantity of scholarship ................................................................................ 10 3.4 Comparisons with benchmark institutions ...................................................................... 12 4.0 Intercampus Collaboration .......................................................................................... 12

4.1 Joint academic programs ................................................................................................ 12 4.2 Articulation...................................................................................................................... 12 4.3 Other cooperative activities ............................................................................................ 13

5.0

Academic Program Directions ..................................................................................... 13

5.1 Undergraduate ................................................................................................................ 14 5.1.1 General education ........................................................................................................ 14 5.2 Graduate.......................................................................................................................... 15 5.3 Responsiveness to local/regional/state needs.................................................................. 15 6.0 Infrastructure and Technology .................................................................................... 16

6.1 Facilities.......................................................................................................................... 16 6.2 Academic technology....................................................................................................... 17

Market Niche/Distinctiveness Campus Role within SUNY System

Empire State College was founded in 1971, under the sponsorship of Chancellor Ernest Boyer. Intended to focus on underserved populations and to act as a laboratory, it has traditionally provided a different model of education for adults, featuring flexible scheduling, options for individual study, and assessment of experiential learning for credit. Its alternative approach to post-secondary education makes it unique in the State University System. The College’s objectives have long been: To provide an extended range of associate and baccalaureate degree options appropriate to the goals of its students; To remove the educational obstacles of time and location; To recognize college level learning wherever obtained; To avoid duplicating existing SUNY plant and services; and To work collaboratively within SUNY. Empire State College enrolls approximately 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students (4,216 AAFTE) a term who participate at centers and units throughout New York State (at 45 locations), at sites abroad, and increasingly worldwide via the Center for Distance Learning. The breadth of the College's geographic reach—allowing students to enroll no matter what their location—allows Empire State to occupy a very special niche at SUNY. There are more than 33,000 graduates.

Projected Institutional Position and Benchmarks of Success SUNY Empire State College is recognized as an international leader in adult higher education. In accord with State Education Department, SUNY and College degree expectations, students design their own individualized associate and bachelor's programs based on their academic and professional goals. Master’s degree programs combine required courses and electives through weekend residencies, independent study, and, increasingly, online work. Students benefit from flexible, independent study guided by SUNY faculty, credit earned for learning gained in work and life, and affordable SUNY tuition. With 45 locations throughout New York, and the rapidly evolving distance learning options, ESC projects an image of an omnipresent and extremely flexible institution, serving large numbers of students who cannot easily find such opportunities elsewhere.

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The College recognizes that learning occurs in varied places and that different people learn in different ways. The use of individualized degree programs actively fosters the participation of each student in planning and designing his or her education. With mentor guidance, students plan and design studies to clarify their intentions and to acquire the competence, knowledge and awareness necessary to pursue their goals actively and independently. "Learning Contracts" between mentor and student describe specific learning activities to be undertaken toward that degree for each 16-week period of enrollment. While Empire State has long been a leading force in the development and dissemination of technology supported learning, the College acknowledges that it has been too-little known— both in the public arena and within the SUNY System—throughout its existence. It is hoped that among the more basic results of the Mission Review process will be a broader understanding of ESC, and of its role within the SUNY System.

1.0 1.1

Enrollment/Admission Selectivity Enrollment Growth

The College sees increased competition in the adult market coming from a number of sources. At the same time, however, current demographic trends point to a strong potential for market growth, especially with regard to distance learning-based courses and contract courses. ESC is reluctant to grow past its current 4,216 FTE, due to resource constraints. However, as illustrated in this chart, some growth—especially at the graduate level—is contemplated:
Fall 1999 (actual) Fall 2000 (approved) 142 667 1,213 2,022 5,008 7,030 25 295 320 7,350 4,216 Fall 2001 (planned) 141 664 1,207 2,012 4,970 6,982 30 328 358 7,340 4,216 Fall 2002 (planned) 141 664 1,206 2,011 4,960 6,972 34 362 396 7,367 4,235 Fall 2003 (planned) 141 667 1,213 2,021 4,984 7,005 37 407 444 7,449 4,285 Fall 2004 (planned) 144 680 1,238 2,062 5,083 7,145 40 436 476 7,621 4,385

Undergraduate
FT First FT Transfer FT Cont/Ret Total FT Total PT Total Undergraduate Graduate FT PT Total Graduate Total Headcount Total AAFTE 122 574 1,043 1,739 5,270 7,009 17 250 267 7,276 4,216

Note: Enrollment goals may be affected by external factors such as changing economic conditions, tuition increases, and fiscal constraints. Official enrollment targets that are the basis for the University’s budget model are set annually through dialogue between campuses and System Administration, and may differ somewhat from the above.

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•

The College will continue to develop and implement a cohesive growth plan, one that fully accommodates the projected growth of Distance Learning and graduate-level studies. Student mix

1.2

Empire’s typical student is an adult, with a mean age of 37. Most students reside in New York State, and 50 percent receive financial aid. Seventy-five percent of the students are part-time, a level predicted to remain constant for at least the next several years. ESC is the recipient of the largest amount of part-time tuition assistance among the state-operated campuses. There are few freshmen enrolled, based on the fact that transfers comprise 75 percent of the student population. Minority students make up 19 percent of the student body, and there are several hundred international students enrolled in ESC courses overseas. While graduate enrollment has been fairly steady in recent years, Empire State foresees an increase in graduate students based largely on the continued development of the distance learning/competency-based MBA which is just entering its second year. It is anticipated that this program, in addition to the undergraduate Web-based programs existing and under development, will increase the enrollment of foreign nationals in the College. Empire State College, the sponsoring organization for a major biennial disabilities conference, has supported special approaches for disabled students and is submitting a major grant proposal to further such services. 1.3 Recruitment

Underlying ESC’s recruitment efforts is the fact that it runs counter-cyclically to the economy, so when there is low unemployment and a solid base of business opportunity, Empire must work harder to find and retain students. Likewise, when communities are in economic distress many individuals tend to enroll at the College. In general, Empire foresees few changes to its basic approach to recruitment, i.e., offering a quality product, the availability of which is made known to a select audience of interested users. A recruitment plus is the fact that the recruitment/admission process is extremely individualized and personal, and brush-up skills development is available. In spite of the personalized attention, however, attrition has been a problem for the College; 34 percent of new students drop out after the first learning contract. There is a continuing need to better explain the content and process of the Empire State program to potential students. Likewise, Empire is only beginning to track accepted students who choose not to attend utilizing newly hired student services professionals at each of its centers as well as alumni. Further, its new computer system will make it possible for ESC to track its enrolled students and to relate learning experiences to retention; a senior faculty member is currently conducting retention research using this new system. • The results of this research will be shared at an early date.

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The College recognizes that it is vulnerable in the area of marketing. In this era of intensified activities in publicizing institutions of all types, Empire is aware of its need to focus more on getting the word out about its quality and value to many more parts of the community, i.e., beyond those targeted in the traditional recruitment program. • Empire will, both individually and in conjunction with System Administration, develop a more aggressive public awareness/recruitment program, and develop an enhanced marketing plan and supplement electronic image and information resources. Level on selectivity matrix

1.4

Since the selectivity matrix is built on the premise of First Time Full Time students, it is not meaningful for Empire. The College is not open admissions; rather, it admits students capable of undertaking college-level study based on its capacity to meet the goals and needs of the student. Additionally, the criteria for judging candidates are different from those embodied in the matrix. Empire State enrolls principally adult students, who are often in need of intermediate credentials. There is a process of “rolling enrollments,” since new individual programs can begin weekly during the 48-week school year. Prospective students submit requisite applications, engage in detailed discussions with College representatives, and, at the time of orientation, provide a writing sample. Upon agreement on the person’s ability to do the called-for work and that the person’s academic interest is in a field available through ESC, enrollment takes place. Persons who need more than an updating of basic skills are referred to community colleges or to a specialized SUNY program. The typical baccalaureate student arrives with 50 credit hours of prior college study, and about 20 percent earn Empire State associate degrees as well as a bachelor’s. ESC enrollments are driven, to a large extent, by financial aid (which is received by 50 percent of the students). Where appropriate to the program of study, recognition of students’ previous college level learning is also possible through: transcripts from accredited institutions; standardized tests; recognition of nationally credit-evaluated training programs; and portfolio assessment of demonstrable prior learning. • Empire will develop a process to examine its selectivity that is analogous to the selectivity matrix and will establish a profile based on a set of quantitative factors and benchmarks. Serious study should be done on the issue of high early dropout rates based on data collected through the College's review process so that student success can be appropriately related to student entry characteristics.

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1.5

Comparisons with selected benchmark institutions

Empire State is recognized as a leader in adult learning. For instance, the American Productivity and Quality Center/Council for Adult and Experiential Learning in 1998 selected ESC as one of six "Best Practice Partners" in the national APQC/CAEL adult learner institution benchmarking study. Published as Best Practices in Adult Learning, this study sought information from dozens of institutions in higher education to identify outstanding programs for adults. Of the 63 institutions identified and 34 studied, six institutions were identified as having a “rigorous and principled approach” and are “as deeply rooted in adult learning theory as they are responsive to their student clientele.” Last year, an extensive set of ESC programs were included in the book Lifelong Learning at Its Best, Innovative Practices in Adult Credit Programs, by William Maehl (Jossey Bass, 1999). The Mission Review process has typically facilitated the comparison of SUNY campuses with a range of other (benchmark) institutions, using quantitative indicators. The following matrix presents the potential data set for comparisons of ESC and ten comparable institutions— named by Empire State and APQC.
U. Maryland University College Regents College Thomas Edison School for New Learning/DePaul Regis U. - School for Prof Studies Antioch University Athabasca University Sinclair College Marylhurst College College of New Rochelle - School of New Resources

Established # Undergrad Students # Grad Students # Faculty # Degrees/year # Degrees offered # Online programs Did Not Finish SAT (25/75 Percentile) High School GPA Acceptance Rate Full-Time Enrollment Student-to-Faculty Ratio Freshmen Retention Graduation Rate

While similar displays created for other SUNY campuses are typically data-rich, there has been a consistent inability within the Mission Review process to fill these cells, due, in large part, to the unusual nature of the institutions. • Recognizing the importance of having accurate benchmarking data, the System’s and Empire’s Institutional Research departments will continue to gather and array data within this chart. This will enable the College to work to develop a benchmarking process to evaluate admission and graduation figures.

The College feels that, in its 30-year history, it has always been sufficiently different from other SUNY institutions that it should not be judged in competitive terms. At the same time, it

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feels that it is neither a competitor to other campuses in distance learning nor that other SUNY institutions have, during ESC’s twenty years of offering distance learning, seriously competed for ESC’s students. Among the prime reasons for this belief is that distance learning has been, elsewhere, both a recent undertaking and generally delivered as a service to the institution’s own students. ESC stands out with its different approach to the process. Also higher education history demonstrates that non-traditional education cannot be a small part of a traditional campus, but rather must be a central pillar of an institution’s activities to survive. While ESC has collaborative arrangements with every other SUNY institution, other campuses do not always share these beliefs and see a competitive relationship with ESC. • ESC and the System will jointly work to develop quantification and evaluative tools that are able to span the gaps in operation and organization between Empire State and other campuses to help gauge the College’s effectiveness. ESC will develop specific benchmarks of success in terms of application acceptance and yield rates—as well as its ability to attract targeted markets.

•

2.0 2.1

Student Outcomes Student life

While the elements of “student life” one sees at a traditional college are only minimally present, there is a marked esprit de corps present among ESC’s students. In the student opinion survey, the college ranks at the top of all SUNY institutions in academic areas, and shows solid scores in other areas of relevance. ESC provides good (and improving) academic support services, which are increasingly being networked. Also, the College is actively creating the components of a virtual campus to meet the needs of its students everywhere. Examples of the elements of this include: Virtual Student Center; Writers’ Complex; Mentorspace; and the Virtual Bookstore. One problem ESC faces because of its dispersed nature and the extent of part-time students’ other commitments is the difficulty in getting students involved in institutional governance and student life, in general. • • • Empire State will work to provide more student interaction and support at the early stages of a program of study. ESC will make better use of its sophisticated electronic networks to “take the pulse” of the student body at frequent intervals and develop responses as appropriate. ESC will enhance its program of localized publicity and outreach so that students at all centers will feel they are a part of a local, as well as statewide campus.

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•

With SUNY System assistance, ESC will continue to build solid links with neighboring SUNY campuses to ensure that its students have access to physical amenities available to other SUNY students, e.g., libraries, and athletic facilities.

2.2

Retention/graduation rates

SUNY campuses, as part of the Mission Review process, are being studied for first-year retention rate, four-year graduation rate, and six-year graduation rate—currently and for threeand five-year goals. Statistical requirements have prevented a meaningful evaluation of Empire State across the board, but some data are available. At Empire State there is a 34 percent loss of students after the first learning contract, a figure acknowledged by the campus as too high. The problem may be poor preparation and awareness, and plans are being made for contact with these students to learn more about the underlying issues. The six-year graduation rate at Empire State is about 40 percent. While this figure is below the SUNY norm, the College has found that six years is too short a timeframe for the College to use, due to its unusual student profile. A higher percentage of its students graduate in eight years. • Empire will work with System Administration to devise a statistically valid means of comparing retention and graduation rates with other campuses as described in the first paragraph above. Empire will take concrete steps to lower the attrition rate and to analyze why it has been a problem. Specific reviews will be done to investigate the use of SAT, GPA, or other indicators more appropriate to adult learners, in the admissions review process. Empire will create a set of benchmarks relating to an aggressive program of increasing retention rates. These benchmarks will be in place, as approved by System Administration, by January 2001. Student/alumni satisfaction

•

•

2.3

The results of the 1998 SUNY Alumni Outcomes Survey, which sampled 50 percent of the classes from 1991 and 1994, reveal a high level of satisfaction among responding Empire State graduates. Their overall rating of the College of 4.49 on a five-point scale is very positive, and compares favorably to the average for all SUNY university colleges of 4.19. The College fared well both on an absolute scale and in comparison to system means in many areas, including the quality of academic programs, cost, diversity, infrastructure support, and opportunities for student/faculty interaction. As would be expected from the statewide nature of the College, responses were less positive with regard to campus-specific parameters. Perhaps the most telling response overall, though, is the fact that 96.8 percent of the responding alumni would recommend Empire State to someone else.

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2.4

Post-graduate success

While indications are that there is good post-graduate success for ESC alumni/ae, data are nonetheless sparse (less than 600 responses in the 1999 ACT SUNY Alumni Outcomes Survey (2/2/00) from 33,000 graduates). Because of this, many planning efforts are therefore not optimal. The College should work with the College Board and other information sources to learn more about this issue. System Administration should play a role in this. • 2.5 The College will develop a more sophisticated system of surveying alumni and gathering information. Employer satisfaction

The high regard employers have for ESC is apparent in several ways. Paramount among these is the degree to which firms support the educational programs of their employees at the College. This support is found on an individual basis, a programmatic one (integration in FORUM program), and one of long-range planning (e.g., the design of the MBA program). • As part of its overall assessment of institutional effectiveness, ESC should systematically gather information from employers of its students and graduates. This is done in contract courses and these methodologies, where relevant, can be productively replicated. ESC will provide information on its relationships and interactions with employers to be used as possible best practice tools. Assessment planning

• 2.6

In the area of assessment planning, the College is planning a number of Periodic Area of Study Reviews (first carried out in 1988-89), in which there is assessment of student work by faculty and outside reviewers, and an ongoing review of program quality. Milestone Surveys are under development, which build on various recent institutional surveys and focus groups regarding students' experiences with a number of aspects of the ESC program (e.g., the first contract, degree planning and portfolio review). The College now plans a much more systematic approach involving a series of related surveys to be conducted on a rotating basis. Also under development is research on student tracking—part of a College-wide adoption of new administrative software (Datatel) and a Lotus Notes-based application created at ESC (DocPak). Together, these tools allow the processing and transmittal of narrative student academic records. Student outcomes can be tracked from enquiry to graduation (and beyond), curricular choices can be described and analyzed, and research can be conducted on the impact of such variables as learning modality or the timing of educational planning on student outcomes.

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A more sophisticated assessment of basic skills upon entry into college is also getting underway, comprising: 1) student self-assessment of academic skills, and 2) direct assessment of these skills. This will support early diagnosis of and attention to skills development needs of students, as well as providing baseline data for later outcomes analysis. All of these present great potential as models, due to ESC’s wide geographic reach. • The College will, to the greatest degree possible, integrate these functions and create a model assessment and planning system, one well integrated with the data and program processes of the SUNY System. This process will be delineated and described at an early date. As part of the overall assessment plan, ESC will include a comprehensive review of all academic programs on a five-year cycle. The College will institute more quantitative indicators of learning success, such as grades or their equivalent.

• •

3.0

Faculty Development and Scholarship

At the time of ESC’s response to Mission Review (1999), it had 143 full-time and 113 parttime faculty. Adjunct faculty are typically retained on an ad hoc basis, usually from other campuses. About 900 credit hours are budgeted per faculty FTE, and there is a 48-week faculty contract (with August off for reading and research). The typical member of the faculty has 30-45 advisees. Currently 87 percent of the faculty have terminal degrees. 3.1 Faculty recruitment

The recruitment of faculty is an important issue for ESC, as 75 percent of its professional employees are now eligible to retire (being 50 or over). Of the full-time faculty, 40 percent have been at ESC for more than 20 years, and 51 percent for more than 15 years. As the faculty changes there will be great challenges to maintaining equity statewide. The College, directly and through its Mentoring Institute, continues to assist an increasing proportion of its current and newly appointed faculty to expand their skill bases. Areas of emphasis include the use of educational technology, as well as coordinated development of program and contract components and delivery, that enhance student options within the institution. • The College must endeavor to hire faculty who are skilled in the areas of academic and computer technology, as well as in the more non-technical areas of mentoring and non-traditional instruction.

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3.2

Faculty review, promotion and tenure

The traditional modes of faculty review for promotion and tenure are in place at Empire State, with heavy reliance on teaching and mentoring/advisement abilities. Peer level review is done, but it is not external—implementing external evaluations of teaching would be a problem as traditional teaching is not a hallmark of ESC. The College is open to explore its use, but has no models with which to compare. At Empire State College, faculty may self-nominate for promotion, though no action is taken by the College without a full review by the Center faculty, and administration and by the college-wide Academic Personnel Committee. Over the past ten years, an average of six or seven faculty have been promoted each year with an average of 12 or 13 standing for promotion. Regarding tenure, the College makes every effort to ensure that those faculty standing for continuing appointment bring appropriate credentials and College contributions to that consideration. During the past ten years, of 44 eligible faculty members, 40 were granted tenure. In each such promotion and tenure matter, the final College decision is made by the President after consultation with the Academic Vice President. A number of issues pertaining to faculty service and consequent review criteria are being redefined. Some of these relate to the varied roles which are undertaken by individual faculty in the College—in both graduate and undergraduate teaching, in both mentored and Distance Learning, in both development of and instruction in courses and programs. Furthermore, recognition of the need to reconsider scholarship as an aspect of faculty expectations is underway, with the Mentoring Institute taking a lead role in discussions across the institution. • Empire State should establish a creative, precedent-setting faculty review system as soon as practicable, and make it part of the recruitment effort. Such a system will focus, in part, on the needs of Distance Learning and other technology-based academic processes, as a best practices theme. The College is asked to consider incorporating the use of student evaluations of teaching effectiveness in its review of faculty for promotion and tenure. Regarding external-to-the-College peer review of faculty scholarship, ESC will actively study the possibility of incorporating it into faculty promotion and tenure decisions. System Administration applauds these efforts.

• •

3.3

Quality and quantity of scholarship

Empire State's annual total research expenditures more than doubled between 1992 and 1998—with expenditures rising to $536,000. When compared to its sister comprehensive colleges, ESC fares well (as noted in the table below) particularly in dollars per full-time faculty member. During the same period of time, annual Sponsored Activities, as reported through the Research Foundation, grew five-fold from $573, 000 in 1992-93 to $2.6 million in 1998-99.

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Empire State ranks high within the comprehensive colleges of SUNY in terms of research dollars per faculty member, a result of the many research-supporting structures and programs in place.

Old Westbury

Buffalo State

Plattsburgh

New Paltz

Brockport

Purchase

Fredonia

Cortland

Geneseo

Potsdam

Oneonta

Oswego

Empire

1997-98 Total Research Dollars (x1000) 1997-98 Dollars per Faculty FTE

536

609 1,157

55

118

475

332

777

161

716 1,133

172

165

4,030 2,197 2,788

267

576 1,931 1,272 6,876

770 2,387 4,606

860 1,557

Source: Research Dollars, FT Faculty and Research Dollars per FT Faculty for the Years 1991-92 through 1997-98, SUNY Institutional Research

The identification and securing of research-related grants from outside sources are facilitated by the Office of Grants Administration. Additionally, there is some College-generated funding to individuals to help with research. Grants are often in the area of non-traditional education, and research at ESC is less likely to be discipline-based than at other SUNY colleges. Faculty and student research and scholarly product is showcased at the All College Conference each year, and the College puts out an annual special report on the professional accomplishments of faculty and staff. Additionally, it produces a newsletter called All About Mentoring which includes scholarly articles on this instructional approach, and a refereed journal entitled Management Development Forum which highlights new theory and practical knowledge that will enhance management training. Among other ongoing initiatives carried out by the College that support scholarship are: the operation of the Management Development Forum; the hosting of the National Center for Adult Learning; and the hosting of the Mentoring Institute. ESC and System Administration recognize that the unusual character of some of the grants obtained in the last three years, combined with the College's increasingly active grants program, make the setting of hard-number goals difficult. Nevertheless, ESC is committed to aggressively pursue increased external funding and sees the following goals as achievable: • ESC will work to increase its research base in pursuit of a goal of becoming one of the world’s premier sources of scholarship on non-traditional education, and will strive to secure a place as a focal point for such research within the SUNY System. ESC will increase its annual research expenditures to $600,000 by 2005. ESC will increase its annual total sponsored activity to $3,000,000 by 2005.

• •

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•

ESC will maximize its external funding by reporting all sponsored activity, where appropriate, through the SUNY Research Foundation, thereby enriching its research enterprise with SUNY research-match dollars.

For that reason, it is agreed that three- and five-year goals on research dollars per faculty FTE will be established within six months, but they will be acknowledged to be "working" numbers and subject to modification as more comparative data becomes available. 3.4 Comparisons with benchmark institutions

Research comparisons with benchmark institutions are, with the exception of the dollar/faculty SUNY data cited earlier, virtually non-existent. The College, with the assistance of System Administration, should work to create a system of benchmarks and goals to support the early growth of a program to advertise and disseminate data and information on research activities and products, allowing for public comparisons among institutions. • As a first step, Empire State will explore active use of the new SUNY NewsWire and SUNY Newsmakers resources maintained by the System Administration Office of External Affairs at the SUNY Web site.

4.0

Intercampus Collaboration

In general, collaborative efforts involving the College and other units of the SUNY System are strong. For instance, 20 campuses now host ESC centers. 4.1 Joint academic programs

One example of a joint academic program is under development between Empire State and the University Colleges of Technology (UCT), in which the College would offer distance learning courses for almost-graduates. Here ESC gets the FTE, and the UCT gets the graduate number. Cross registration is more difficult due to current funding mechanisms, however. • The College needs to aggressively seek out new models of joint programs, based on the new paradigms evolving at ESC (such as the blended resource model combining mentoring and distance learning), and apply them throughout the SUNY System. Articulation

4.2

Overall, there are articulation agreements between Empire State and all SUNY two-year colleges, as well as some others. The agreements are constantly being updated and expanded, and there is a parallel effort to expand the scope of the agreements to include joint degrees. Throughout the System, Empire consistently ranks at the top of lists of upper division campuses in terms of the number of transfers received from community colleges.

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In the area of General Education, discussions are underway with several institutions about setting up focused articulation agreements. The use of the World Wide Web as a course and/or material distribution mechanism is under review. • 4.3 ESC should work to develop a program of seamless linkages relating to articulation with other SUNY campuses, including the application of Web-based solutions. Other cooperative activities

Other cooperative activities of Empire State include: Provision of the services of its Manhattan site to the Cortland partnership in urban teacher education; Albany Semester Program; Metro New York Photojournalism Program; Prior Learning Assessment for students at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State; and the Cortland Kenya grant project. These are all potentially significant programs and should be nurtured and grown. • • The College should identify financial impediments to cooperation and seek to resolve them at the System level. ESC should recognize its potential for assuming a special role in the System as a unique resource, and endeavor to link with as many campuses as possible in cooperative ventures.

5.0

Academic Program Directions

The College’s Five Year Master Plan priorities are: Continued innovation in instruction to create additional opportunities for learning; and the full utilization of Empire State College faculty skills, as well as collaboration with other institutions, to enhance access to learning for all students in the institution, regardless of location. These priorities will be met through exploration of additional concentrations in existing programs, i.e., business entrepreneurship, health systems administration, information systems, fire service administration; and implementation of the new competency-based MBA. The College anticipates the doubling of graduate enrollments—to generate approximately ten percent of total enrollments—in the next five years. The MBA is expected to grow to the level of 200 enrollments per term. There will be development and dissemination of a full roster of technology-mediated courses and programs offered by fully trained mentors, and the College anticipates that the use of such learning will intensify through the emphasis of Web-based courses in undergraduate programs and in the MBA and other graduate programs. The College is supporting networked learning opportunities for students wherever they may be located. This approach uses resources from across the College, not only in technology-mediated learning, but also across all academic activities, student services and research. Also, it will expand on-site service to the corporate/business and government sectors by providing higher education and workforce development programs to employees.

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Central to the Empire State planning process is the blended resource model (mentored and online). Thus, the Center for Distance Learning (CDL) is an increasingly important part of ESC’s academic activities. The CDL currently carries 21 percent of the annual undergraduate credit load. There are 70 online courses of 16 weeks—with discussion underway regarding alternative term lengths. The Center also provides print-based distance learning utilizing course guides and tutors. 5.1 Undergraduate

All of the following programs at the baccalaureate level are registered by SED for on-site or distance delivery: The Arts; Business, Management and Economics; Community and Human Services; Cultural Studies; Educational Studies (no teacher certification); Historical Studies; Human Development; Labor Studies; Science, Mathematics and Technology; Social Theory, Social Structure and Change; and Interdisciplinary Studies. Within these registered areas, ESC can develop specific concentrations appropriate to educational needs. The College does not, at present, plan to seek programs in licensure areas. The existing program registrations permit the College to develop program concentrations appropriate to the changing educational needs of students and employers. Any academic programs the College develops in the future will be reviewed for consistency with mission, demonstrated market need, and evidence of academic quality. As the College adds new programs it will continue to review existing programs for relevance and enrollment strength. When appropriate, the College will consider deactivation and/or discontinuance of programs. 5.1.1 General education

There are no serious impediments to the implementation of General Education at Empire State, but the fact remains that it is a change in approach by the College. To cite one issue, there are few freshmen at ESC, with a resulting shift of course requirements to higher levels. It should be noted that the idea of Empire State providing General Education courses to other campuses in a Distance Learning format has been under discussion. ESC has submitted its plan to incorporate the General Education requirements into both its distance learning and its mentored learning programs. The plan offers Center for Distance Learning course materials and sample learning contracts, and describes the approach to prior learning evaluation, thus demonstrating how this process would address General Education expectations. • ESC should stake out a position as a primary Web-facilitated linkage and source of resources in the General Education arena throughout the System.

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5.2

Graduate

Empire State offers the following graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Business and Policy Studies; Master of Arts in Labor and Policy Studies; Master of Arts in Liberal Studies; Master of Arts in Social Policy; and Master of Business Administration. Current projections are for a shift in enrollments into the graduate programs. The four MAs are built around three-to-five core courses and short residencies and independent study. • The core course and residency process presents an interesting model for a nontraditional type of graduate program, and should be replicated.

While the MBA program was developed to meet accreditation standards, it is currently unaccredited, as traditional views by accrediting bodies require a differently configured undergraduate program. Empire State College feels strongly that its non-departmental structure and its commitment to transfer opportunities for SUNY community college graduates are important, but, at present, the principal bodies grant accreditation to all institutional programs or to none. • ESC will work with System Administration to develop the appropriate steps and processes to secure accreditation for its MBA program. The temporal goal will be the obtaining of such accreditation as soon as practicable. Responsiveness to local/regional/state needs

5.3

The College has long been responsive to local, regional, and state needs with a wide range of specially developed programs, often using distance learning, and non-credit Continuing Education programs. In its non-credit work, typically it acts as a packager of training activities, not an employer of trainers. A number of these educational activities have been developed to meet the needs of specific employers. Some of the major programs thus conducted are: the Bell Atlantic Corporate College Program of Empire State College; the Department of Social Services; the American Institute of Banking training evaluation and articulation program; and initiatives for AARP, Lucent Technologies (joint union-management program), United Steelworkers, and AT&T (joint union-management program). Non-credit activities are carried out through the Center for Workforce Advancement, a provider of custom designed, on-site training programs throughout New York. Recent examples are: Corporations: Bell Atlantic, GE Plastics, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories, Owens Coming, and Key Bank.

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Unions: (typically working through joint labor-management committees) CSEA, PEF, Communications Workers of America, Glassblowers, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers. State and Local Agencies: HESC, New York State Insurance Dept. IDORT/Brazil, Department of Social Services, and NYS Children and Family Services. Among other important activities the College carries out with community benefit are: the FORUM management program (employer-supported baccalaureate); the Albany Semester Program (governmental internships for SUNY students); and the Studio Semester and Photojournalism Workshop (NYC arts programs). Non-credit continuing education activities are widespread, one of the newest among them being the Academy for Learning in Retirement. Also, the College maintains extensive collaboration with community colleges to serve multi-site corporations in New York. • • 6.0 ESC should play a more active (and even a leadership) role in statewide initiatives involving community and economic development. ESC will provide more information on programs that can offer best practices models.

Infrastructure and Technology

Infrastructure and technology at Empire State are key to the College’s efforts and are well supported, both internally and externally. 6.1 Facilities

Empire State College is truly a state-wide institution, operating in 45 distinct locations as well as the headquarters complex in Saratoga Springs. These facilities span a broad range of categories relating to size, sophistication, location, and ownership status—from small suites in commercial complexes to some of SUNY's most state-of-the-art technology facilities, such as the Solomon Center (which includes offices, meeting rooms, studios, laboratories, training facilities, and archival/library space). The form and function of the College's physical plant are intimately tied to numerous important elements of the planning process and daily operations. While the most basic of facility-related operations and decision making need to be undertaken as an integral part of core planning (e.g., technology utilization, relations with individual campuses), others can be addressed independently. Examples of these are the augmentation of signage and related actions to increase the visibility of ESC facilities, and the continuous and scheduled upgrading of the computerization and interconnectedness of all of the College's facilities. In the non-brick and mortar area, Empire's new computer system enables a wide range of processes—both academic and administrative. Online registration is already used by distance

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learning students, and the resources available in the Center for Learning and Technology have made that unit an important component of the System’s technology-based programs. On the other hand, some of its centers and units lack capabilities available in the Coordinating Center. • The College should early on make its resources available to other campuses and System Administration and leverage such usage to become a focal point for technology-based activities. The College should also develop the capacity of center and unit faculty to employ educational tools such as those available in the Saratoga headquarters. The College should prepare briefings for System Administration on its resources and plans. Academic technology

• • 6.2

The development of technology-based academic programs has been evolving at high speed at Empire State. The Center for Distance Learning runs five terms per year, and last year had a total of more than 8,000 enrollments (a figure that increases each year). ESC has recently received a Federal grant for online programming, and now offers 60 Webbased courses. • Development of the projects that will flow from this grant should involve cooperative activities with other campuses to the maximum degree possible.

The advent of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN) has stimulated the development of a new paradigm of distance learning within the SUNY System. In the SLN program, campuses play one or more of three roles (course developer, course producer, or course user) and financial or administrative costs and rewards are allocated by formula. Thus, program usage is now truly System-wide. • ESC will develop a niche within the SLN system, e.g., as a producer of programs as well as an originator and adopter, that will ensure minimal intercampus competition in distance learning.

As noted above, the College is currently making a major transition to a new administrative software system (Datatel) and a Lotus Notes-based application created at ESC (DocPak) which enables the College to create, process and transmit narrative student academic records. Together, these developments provide—for the first time in the College's history—the infrastructure needed to: 1) systematically and comprehensively track student outcomes from inquiry to graduation and beyond; 2) describe and analyze student curricular choices; and 3) conduct research on the impact of such variables as learning modality or the timing of educational planning on student outcomes.

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•

Empire should closely track the rollout and use of these tools and should prepare a replicable “tool kit” for dissemination as a best practices resource.

ESC has created a range of potentially important tools in the field of academic technology, including the Virtual Bookstore, the Virtual Student Center, Mentorspace, and the Writers’ Complex. The College is a member of the Library Automation Implementation Program (LAIP) and has expressed interest in joining the SUNYConnect initiative. The College can now begin planning its participation since a vendor for the project has been selected. Other technology-based innovations include college-wide online communication and knowledge database support, increased video conferencing, and links to the Virtual Library. • Likewise, these resources, alone and in combination, could well serve as models for other SUNY campuses, and their evolution should be closely monitored by the College to gauge effectiveness

* * * *

This Memorandum of Understanding was developed jointly by Empire State College and the State University of New York System Administration to provide guidance for planning the campus’ future and a framework for gauging the achievement of its goals. Recognizing that individual institutions and the State University as a whole must be able to respond to changing circumstances, both Empire State College and System Administration will work together to realize the goals and objectives articulated in this document.

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Description: MOU Empire State