Project Report on Effectiveness of Training Development in Paper Mills

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					              Mills College

        WASC Special Report
Prepared for Site Visit March 9-11, 2004

      Submitted January 9, 2004

          Marianne Sheldon
     Accreditation Liaison Officer

            Mills College
       5000 MacArthur Blvd.
      Oakland, California 94613
Mills College                                                                                                           WASC Special Report
                                                           Table of Contents

STATEMENT ON REPORT PREPARATION ................................................................................. 2

INSTITUTIONAL SUMMARY DATA FORM ................................................................................... 3

RESPONSE TO ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY THE COMMISSION .................................................... 4
       Planning .................................................................................................................................. 4
           Infrastructure for Integrated Planning ............................................................................................... 4
           Key Examples of Integrated Planning ............................................................................................... 5
       Financial Viability and Resource Development ...................................................................... 8
           Key Fiscal Initiatives ......................................................................................................................... 9
       Enrollment Management ....................................................................................................... 12
           Establishing Enrollment Benchmarks ..............................................................................................12
           Key Enrollment Management Initiatives...........................................................................................13
       Educational Effectiveness ..................................................................................................... 17
           Key Examples of Assessment of Educational Effectiveness at Mills ...............................................17
           Evaluation and Revision of the General Education Program ...........................................................20
           Library and Information Literacy at Mills ..........................................................................................22
       Ed.D. in Educational Leadership .......................................................................................... 23
           Student Enrollment ..........................................................................................................................23
           Support For Student Learning .........................................................................................................25
           Program Outcomes: The Dissertation..............................................................................................25
INSTITUTION FOR THE FUTURE................................................................................................ 26

HANDBOOK.................................................................................................................................. 26

CONCLUDING STATEMENT ....................................................................................................... 27

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS ........................................................................................................... 29

LIST OF HARDCOPY MATERIALS AVAILABLE IN THE TEAM ROOM ................................... 32

                                                          Figures and Tables

FIGURE 1. MILLS COLLEGE’S STRATEGIC PLANNING W EB PAGE ............................................................ 7
FIGURE 3. EXCERPT FROM STUDENT OUTCOME TRACKING TABLES...................................................... 18

TABLE 1. MISSION STATEMENTS FOR THE CAMPUS RESEARCH FUNCTION ............................................ 5
     COURSES TO FULFILL THE GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS ............................................ 22
TABLE 4. ED.D. ENROLLMENT GOALS AND ACTUAL ENROLLMENTS 1999-2003 .................................. 24
TABLE 5. ETHNICITY OF ED.D. STUDENTS ......................................................................................... 24
TABLE 6. HEADCOUNT ENROLLMENT BY LEVEL (FALL TERM) ............................................................. 29
TABLE 7. HEADCOUNT ENROLLMENT STATUS AND LOCATION (FALL TERM) ......................................... 29
TABLE 9. FACULTY BY EMPLOYEE STATUS (FALL TERM) .................................................................... 30
TABLE 10. KEY FINANCIAL RATIOS .................................................................................................... 31
Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

                                WASC Special Report
            Nature of the Institutional Context and Major Changes
Mills College was founded in Benicia, California in 1852 as a Young Ladies Seminary. In 1856
Susan and Cyrus Mills purchased the Seminary. The Mills’ moved the Seminary from Benicia to
its current location in Oakland—then Brooklyn Township—in 1871 and in 1885 Mills became the
first women’s college west of the Rockies when it was chartered as a non-sectarian college for
women by the state of California. In 1920, Mills expanded its traditional Liberal Arts offerings to
include graduate programs and a School of Education. Mills currently offers 38 undergraduate
majors and 23 graduate or certificate programs through five academic divisions: Education, Fine
Arts, Letters, Natural Sciences & Mathematics, and Social Sciences.
The Mills academic purpose is to educate ―. . .students to think critically and communicate
responsibly and effectively, to accept the challenges of their creative visions, and to acquire the
knowledge and skills necessary to understand the natural world and effect thoughtful changes in
society. The College encourages openness to experimentation and change in the context of
established academic disciplines. The curriculum combines the traditional liberal arts with new
educational initiatives that recognize the value of cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity.‖ (Mills
College Undergraduate Student Catalog 2003-2004, p.6).
Mills has encountered several shifts in key personnel at the senior administrator level since it’s
last accreditation review. In 1998, Ramon Torrecilha was hired as the Multicultural Program
Director at the College with the primary responsibility of overseeing the Multicultural Curricular
Enhancement Program. Dr. Torrecilha’s position as Multicultural Program Director was funded
for three years through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. At the end of those three
years, Dr. Torrecilha continued as a regular staff member at the College first in the capacity of
Vice President for Research and Multicultural Programs and then as Executive Vice President.
Dr. Torrecilha left Mills in the spring of 2003 to assume the position of Provost at Berkeley
College in New York; the position of Executive Vice President at Mills was not replaced. Also
hired in 1998 and departing Mills in 2003 was Dean of Admission Avis Hinkson. Ms. Hinkson
directed the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Mills for five years before resigning in order
to pursue her doctoral studies full-time. A search for a new Vice President of Enrollment
Management who will fulfill the functions of Dean of Admission as well as other enrollment
management responsibilities is currently underway.
With regard to academics, Mills has initiated several new programs and phased out two
undergraduate programs that were no longer self-sustaining. At the undergraduate level, Mills
established new majors in Biopsychology, Environmental Science, Intermedia Arts, and Public
Policy and launched the Institute for Civic Leadership and a new General Education Program.
Undergraduate majors in Dramatic Arts and German were discontinued due to combination of
historically low student enrollment and insufficient resources to support academic excellence in
those areas. At the graduate level Mills has instituted a new 4+1 BA/MBA program, and a 5-
year BA/MA program in Interdisciplinary Computer Science. Leading the academic enterprise at
Mills is the Provost and Dean of Faculty. After a 4-year period of turnover in this position, a new
Provost was selected in 2003 from among the College’s faculty ranks and that position is
currently held by a former Dean of Fine Arts, and 21 year member of the Mills community, Mary-
Ann Milford.
Mills entered the 2003-04 academic year with a new strategic plan resulting from two years of
intensive planning. The Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007 includes institutional priorities,
goals, and strategies that build on the College’s existing strengths, respond to emerging needs
and opportunities, and will foster the intellectual and personal development of our students. The
plan underlines the importance of Mills’ strategic direction with respect to its commitment to

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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

undergraduate women’s education through strengthening undergraduate majors and programs
and their intersection with expanded and enhanced graduate educational opportunities.

                          Statement on Report Preparation
This report was prepared with the help of many individuals at Mills College. Janet L. Holmgren
(President) and Marianne Sheldon (Associate Provost, Director of Graduate Studies, and
WASC ALO) provided leadership for the production of this report, and other College
administrators, faculty, and staff contributed to the development of specific responses to the
WASC Commission’s action letter.
Mary-Ann Milford (Provost) and John Brabson (Associate Professor of Chemistry) contributed
heavily to the portion of this report concerning educational effectiveness. Elizabeth Burwell (Vice
President for Finance and Administration) informed the portions of this report concerning
planning, enrollment management, and financial viability. Muriel Whitcomb (Vice President for
Student Services) informed the portions of this report concerning planning and enrollment
management. Sally Randel (Vice President for Institutional Advancement) informed the portions
of this report concerning planning and financial viability. Renee Jadushlever (Assistant Vice
President for Library and Technology) provided insights regarding the College’s data systems
and library and information literacy requirements. Joseph Kahne (Associate Professor of
Education) spearheaded the evaluation of the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership. Terra
Schehr (Director of Institutional Research and Planning) provided background data and
contributed to each section of this report. Robin Isenberg (Legal Counsel to the President &
Secretary to the Board) provided editorial oversight.
This report was provided to the campus community via the College Intranet. Feedback on drafts
was specifically solicited from the College Officers, the Faculty Executive Committee, Divisional
Chairs, Academic Department Heads, and the Board of Trustees.

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Mills College                                                                WASC Special Report

                              Institutional Summary Data Form

Institution: Mills College
President/COE: Janet L. Holmgren                        Date: January 9, 2004

1. Year Founded: 1852                                   2. Calendar Plan: July 1 – June 30
3. Degree Levels Offered:                                    Associate            X Bachelors
                                                         X Masters                X Doctorate
4. Sponsorship and Control: Independent

5. Current Enrollment:                           Headcount        % Minority         FTE
                A. Undergraduate                 735              35%                677.83
                B. Graduate                      475              31%                443.12
                C. Non-Degree                    0                0                  0
                      TOTAL                      1210             34%                1120.95

6. Current Faculty:       Full-time         96           % Minority         21%
                          Part-time         63           % Minority         21%

7. Finances:
    A. Annual Tuition Rate:             $23,000 Undergraduate            $15,300 Graduate
    B. Total Annual Operating Budget: $44 million            C. 30% from Tuition & Fees:
    D. Operating Deficits for Past 3 Years: 2003: $3,891,630
                                                 2002: $5,956,613
                                                 2001: $6,103,988
    E. Current Accumulated Deficit:                      0

8. Governing Board:             A. Size 40               B. Meetings per year 3
9. Off-Campus Locations: A. Number 0                     B. Total Enrollment NA
10. Library:                    A. Number of Volumes              224,059
                                B. Number of Periodical Subscriptions 3,160*
                                   *(includes bound and electronic full-text subscriptions)

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Mills College                                                                          WASC Special Report

                 Response to Issues Identified by the Commission

Following a site visit by a WASC evaluation team in February of 1999, the WASC Commission
provided Mills College with feedback in the form of a Report of a Reaffirmation Visit and an
action letter. This portion of the Special Report details the progress made on four key issues
highlighted in the action letter—planning, financial viability and resource development,
enrollment management, and educational effectiveness. Also included in this section of the
report is an evaluation of the newly accredited Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership.

The WASC Commission encouraged Mills to develop an integrated campus planning process to
guide decision-making. In doing so the Commission recommended that the College examine
how planning in various areas—institutional, financial, and academic/programmatic—could be
better-integrated and mobilized around campus priorities. Further, the Commission
recommended that the College identify the infrastructure necessary to foster the implementation
of planning documents.
Mills has made great strides in the development of an institutional research function that makes
possible and promotes the concatenation of research into planning processes across campus.
Fundamental to progress in this area has been developing the capability within the Mills College
Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) to participate in campus planning activities.
The outcome of this effort has been an integrated research agenda to support planning in all
areas of the College’s operations.

Infrastructure for Integrated Planning
As was recognized in the report issued by the WASC Commission following the College’s last
accreditation review, the development of a culture of evidence at Mills has been underway for a
number of years. This evolution has continued since Mills’ last review and significant milestones
in this endeavor have been reached in the past three years. Chief among these developments
has been a revision of the institutional research function at the College. Previously the
institutional research function at Mills served as a clearinghouse for institutional data with the
primary focus being responding to external data request. While the Office of Institutional
Research and Planning (OIRP) continues to perform this function, the mission of the office has
been reframed to encompass a greater emphasis on actionable research to support planning
across all areas of the College. This change has been supported by adjustments in the name,
the mission statement, and in the staffing of the OIRP.
Greater emphasis in planning across campus has been reflected in a name change for the
institutional research function—changed from Office of Institutional Research to Office of
Institutional Research and Planning—and further demonstrated through a revised mission
statement of the campus research function (see Table 1).1 Mills recognized that changes in
name and mission would not advance the agenda of research-based decision making without
sufficient staff capability. To ensure the success of integrated planning at Mills, the OIRP has
been staffed with a research professional who possesses experience in policy, opinion, and
marketing research. Although the name, mission, and staffing have changed, the OIRP
continues to report to the President. This location, at the strategic apex of the College, provides
the OIRP with the ability, and the legitimacy, to scan the entire organization thereby facilitating
integrated planning.

 In order to avoid confusion, this report will use the ―Office of Institutional Research and Planning‖ or OIRP to refer to
activities conducted both before and after the change in name from the Office of Institutional Research.
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Mills College                                                                WASC Special Report

Research conducted by the OIRP is made available to the campus community on the College’s
Web site and is also archived in the Mills College Collection, which is housed in the F.W. Olin

Table 1. Mission Statements for the Campus Research Function
  Office of Institutional Research and Planning Mission Statement - Effective 2003 (New)
The Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) at Mills College supports the College's
planning and decision making efforts so that the College can fulfill its larger mission. The office
shares responsibility with the President's Office for coordinating the strategic plan for
presentation to the Board of Trustees. The office responds to requests from constituencies of the
College in order to support decision-making, assessment, policy analysis, effective management,
projections, and planning. It also responds to requests for information from outside agencies and
other institutions and generates annual reports showing trends and comparisons with peer

The goals of the office are to ensure that reports and analyses are accurate, timely, and useful.
To this end, OIRP works with data custodians to ensure that benchmark files dealing with
student, curricular, financial, and personnel data are as accurate and consistent as possible.
           Office of Institutional Research Mission Statement – Effective 2000 (Old)
The Office of Institutional Research (IR) at Mills College is responsible for the collection and
analysis of data in order to inform campus policy making and planning processes. IR collaborates
with various campus departments, such as the Admission Offices, the Office of Student Life, and
the Provost’s Office, to determine the College's data requirements. Data collection efforts include
students and alumnae surveys, interviews, literature reviews, and comparisons to similar
institutions. IR responds to various inquires for data and outside surveys that are used for college
guidebook publications. The Office of Institutional Research is also responsible for the annual
publication of Facts and Trends.

Key Examples of Integrated Planning
                                           Strategic Planning
Mills recently completed a new strategic plan for the years 2003-2007. Many people contributed
to the strategic plan. Campus community members talked with each other and with campus
leaders, providing their thoughts and ideas through formal and informal channels. All members
of the Board of Trustees and senior members of the College administration, along with faculty,
staff, and student representatives, devoted many hours to meeting in working groups where
they applied their knowledge, experience, and other skills to structured thought on institutional
planning. The resulting strategic plan details institutional priorities and goals—along with
implementation strategies and indicators of success—in the areas of academic development;
finances and facilities; student recruitment and enrollment; student life; community life; and
technology and information.
The strategic planning process began in earnest in the summer of 2000. At that time, with the
end date of the planning document Moving Mills to 2002 approaching, the Mills College Board of
Trustees formed an Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning. Informed by presentations from
experts in higher education; a review of internal and external data on enrollment, student
satisfaction, and college finances and facilities planning; and discussions about the forces that
shape the College’s mission and level of success, the Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning
made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees that resulted in a resolution articulating broad
priorities for the College. The Board of Trustees approved this resolution in 2001 and directed
the College administration to formulate a plan to carry out the priorities that the Board had

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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

        Mills College Board of Trustees resolution—approved October 2001
        ―Reaffirm Mills’ dedication to undergraduate education for women and graduate
        programs for men and women as a continued strategic direction for the College,
        and endorse the recommendation by the Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic
        Planning to strengthen current graduate programs and to explore additional
        graduate programs designed for the advancement of women in positions of
        leadership in the community and in the professions.‖
In February of 2001, the College administration formed a Campus Strategic Planning Steering
Committee (CSPSC), which was charged with creating a detailed strategic plan to carry Mills
forward in a manner consistent with the Board’s resolution. The CSPSC—chaired by President
Janet L. Holmgren—was comprised of College Officers, members of the Faculty Executive
Committee, Academic Deans, the Associate Provost, the Associate Vice President for Library
and Technology, a representative from the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), the Institutional
Research Analyst, and undergraduate and graduate student representatives. Community
participation in the strategic planning process was further enhanced through the formation of
five working groups each of which was convened by a CSPSC member but included staff,
faculty, and student representatives that were not on the CSPSC. These working groups took
responsibility for conducting in-depth analysis and developing priorities and goals to be
considered for inclusion in the strategic plan relative to one of five vital areas of the College’s
operations—academic development; finances and facilities; student recruitment and enrollment;
student and community life; and technology and information. To assist in this process the
Institutional Research Analyst was a member of each working group.
In order to provide a common basis from which each working group could develop their
contributions to the strategic plan, all participants in the planning process were directed to read
the report Mills in 2002. This report, produced by the OIRP and available to members of the
College community via the Mills Web site, includes an evaluation of Mills College in 2002
relative to the agenda that was set out in the document Moving Mills to 2002. The report also
includes comparisons of Mills’ performance in various areas to that of a select group of women’s
colleges. Mills in 2002 not only served to assist those engaged in the College’s strategic
planning initiative, it also serves as a baseline from which to assess the College’s future
progress in key areas of operations.
Throughout the planning process, documents that were produced by the CSPSC were made
available to the campus community via the College Web site and an email account was created
to facilitate receiving feedback from members of the community (see Figure 1). Alumnae were
kept apprised of the strategic planning process through the President’s Letter that is a regular
part of the alumnae magazine the Mills Quarterly and through updates on the Alumnae
Association’s Web site. In addition to the Web sites and electronic feedback loop, town-hall type
meetings were held with various constituencies including students, staff, and alumnae during
which the College administration heard their feedback and provided answers to questions they
had about the planning process and outcomes.

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Mills College                                                        WASC Special Report

Figure 1. Mills College’s strategic planning Web page

                     Development of an Integrated Marketing Campaign
As indicated in the Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007, ―[t]he core values of the institution
and the uniqueness and value of a Mills education are identified in the College’s mission
statement, yet conversations with prospective students, their parents, and the public at large
reveal a limited knowledge of the strengths of the College. In order to increase the cohesion of
our brand, Mills will enhance our image, making it more congruent with the College’s mission‖
(p.11). With this as one of the stated goals of the plan, the College has a mandate to engage in
a renewed marketing effort.
Recognizing the interconnections of the College’s priorities for the next five years, Mills has
decided not to simply recycle and polish previously used marketing tactics and materials but
instead to entering into an integrated marketing initiative. We believe that integrated marketing
will help Mills overcome some of the typical redundancies and communication lapses
associated with decentralized organizations such as colleges. Moreover, this approach will help
the College leverage the intellectual capital and enthusiasm for our mission that exists across
the organization, instead of relying solely on those areas where marketing typically resides (i.e.
admissions and fundraising).
In order to assist the College in developing an integrated marketing strategy that will build
understanding about the College’s ―brand‖, improve campus communications, and raise the
visibility of the College in external markets, Mills has entered into a working relationship with
Arts & Science Group L.L.C. A team consisting of senior administrators—including two faculty
members, the College’s media relations consultant, and the Director of Institutional Research
and Planning selected this consultancy to work with the College after a series of day-long
meetings with five organizations and the review of their written proposals.

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Mills College                                                                              WASC Special Report

To be clear, Mills has been actively engaged in marketing the College. This engagement has
been narrowly focused on the specific goals of those generating/promoting the marketing
materials. With the new integrated marketing campaign Mills is adopting a philosophy of
generating strategic solutions not just tactical responses to the marketing needs of the College.
                                 Creation of a Budget Management Committee
Recognizing that every activity engaged in by the College includes a fiscal element and that
achieving the goals set forth in the Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007 will require efficient
use of resources, Mills has established a Budget Management Committee. This committee—
which includes the Vice President for Finance & Administration, the Provost & Dean of Faculty,
and the Vice President for Student Services—reports directly to the College President. The
committee is responsible for the management of the operating budget—including budget
reductions, budget planning to support the implementation of the new strategic plan, and
continuing to promote the College’s commitment to diversity.
One example of the way in which the College has considered fiscal realities in planning has
been the phasing out of two undergraduate academic programs—German and Dramatic Arts.
German has been phased out as a result of continual low enrollment. In the past ten years Mills
College had fewer than five declared majors in German at any one time. Such sustained low
enrollment caused the program to be too costly to support in the environment where the overall
student to faculty ratio is 10-to-1. Dramatic Arts had somewhat better enrollment with ten or
more declared majors in five out of the last ten years. However, the overhead associated with
the program is substantial and the College lacks the additional resources that are necessary to
elevate the quality of the program and bring it into parity with the excellence of Mills’ other
academic offerings in the Fine Arts.
In 2002-03 the College began the process of reducing expenses in the operating budget in
accordance with a directive from the Board of Trustees.2 The Budget Management Committee
will continue the planning necessary to make these reductions while achieving minimal impact
on student services and the normal business operations of the College.

Financial Viability and Resource Development
The WASC Commission commended the Mills administration and Board of Trustees on their
commitment to maintaining the financial base of the College. In effort to preserve the
institution’s financial security, the WASC Commission encouraged Mills to continue monitoring
its budgetary and investment procedures. In particular, the Commission recommended that the
College continue to examine enrollment and budgetary trends and grow its non-tuition sources
of revenue. These activities would have the effect of helping the College address other
Commission recommendations concerning the early detection of potential financial difficulties,
the incorporation of fiscal controls, and the enhancement of financial reserves. Further, the
Commission recommended that the administration educate the campus community about the
College finances.
As is the case across the higher education landscape, the recent national economic decline has
affected Mills College. In the spring of 2003—based on endowment losses in the stock market
and static undergraduate enrollment—the Moody’s Investors Service adjusted Mills’ bond rating
capacity from A2 to A3. Though this was a downgrade, the College retained an A-level bond
rating on the strength of its financial planning—including a three-year budget plan, close
monitoring of endowment performance, and the expansion of non-tuition revenue sources. With
a renewed emphasis on fiscal accountability that was brought on by the declining economy, the
Mills community has become more aware of the College’s financial position and community
members have participated in planning efforts intended to restricting growth in expenditures

    This directive and the College’s action are detailed in the section of this report concerning financial viability.
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Mills College                                                                  WASC Special Report

over the next several years. As is evidenced in the Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007, the
central aim of financial planning at Mills is to maintain fiscal responsibility that also advances the
Colleges’ academic mission.

Key Fiscal Initiatives
                             Development of a Three-Year Budget Plan
Institutional budgets can be dynamic planning tools. In order to take full advantage of the
operating budget as a planning tool Mills has shifted from the development of budgets for one
fiscal year at a time to the development of a budget to cover a rolling three-year period. This
three-year budget plan enables the College to model the effects, in upcoming years, of various
fiscal scenarios based on historical trends and current operating results. The three-year plan
also incorporates a mechanism for mid-year assessment, budget corrections, and recalibration
of the assumptions underlying the budget projections of out-years. This information allows Mills
to be proactive in developing specific strategies to mitigate the effects that fluctuations in
income and expenditures will have on fulfilling the College’s academic mission.
Tuition and endowment pay-outs have been the primary source of operating funds at Mills.
Coinciding with the new budget plan, Mills has modified its approach for forecasting these
revenue sources. With regard to forecasting tuition, Mills adopted a new multi-dimensional
enrollment projection model. This model—constructed by OIRP—takes into account student
type and status, class level, and varying rates of retention across types and class levels at the
undergraduate level and varying retention across programs at the graduate level (see Figure 2).
The model provides the ability to project enrollment across multiple years and was developed to
be conservative, consequently erring towards an undercount, not an overestimation, of
students.3 The model was used for the first time to project continuing enrollment for 2003 and
was accurate to within <1% of actual enrollment.

  During development of the forecasting tool, a retroactive validation of the model showed it to be accurate in
predicting continuing student enrollment to within -3% of actual enrollment.
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Mills College                                                          WASC Special Report

Figure 2. Excerpt from the multi-dimensional enrollment projection model

With regard to endowment income, Mills continues to monitor the performance of our
endowment funds in the marketplace. The College works with the Investment Committee of the
Board of Trustees and an external investment consultant to refine asset allocation and
investment strategies to promote endowment growth. These working groups also assist the
College in identifying the endowment spending rate that will maximize the utility of the funds.
Along these lines, a newly formed sub-group of the Investment Committee has begun to
formulate strategies that, when implemented, will allow the College to reduce the endowment
spending rate and to discontinue the use of quasi-endowment funds to support operations by
fiscal year 2005.
One example of how the current budget process is supporting Mills’ long-term planning has
been the identification of funds that will be made available within the next three years as a result
of faculty and staff reductions. Awareness of these funds at an early stage in time has allowed
the College to identify specific initiatives from the College’s new strategic plan—such as
revamped faculty and staff compensation plans—as implementation priorities that can be tied to
actual monetary amounts and the funding sources that will be necessary for their execution.
This new approach to budgeting was developed under the leadership of the Vice President for
Finance & Administration with various campus constituencies contributing to individual areas of
the budget. For example, the Finance Committee of the Faculty Executive Board worked with
senior administration to develop a faculty and staff reduction plan. Once completed for the
three-years ending in fiscal year 2006, the plan was reviewed and approved by the Mills College
Board of Trustees.

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Mills College                                                        WASC Special Report

                        Expansion of Non-Tuition Revenue Sources
Noted previously, tuition is the primary source of operating revenue at the College—with the
endowment providing the second largest portion of operating funds. While Mills plans to reduce
the use of endowment to support operations, the College does not expect additional tuition
revenue to supplant those funds. Accordingly, Mills has made it a priority to increase non-tuition
revenue sources.
Mills has long had an active and successful Conference Department that works to attract and
host external groups on the campus. After covering its own costs of operations, this function has
typically provided about 6% of the College’s operating revenue and Mills sees this as a key area
to be mined for revenue enhancement. In 2001 Mills College completed a Campus Master Plan
that included an audit of facility usage. This audit showed that although the majority of
conference activity takes place during the summer break, the College could accommodate
additional conference activity during the academic year. In view of that, the Conference
Department at Mills is relocating in 2003 from a facility that sits of the edge of the campus to
one that is more centrally located. This central location coupled with the ability to house
approximately 100 conference participants together in one residence hall facility will support the
development of a sizable academic year conference program resulting in additional conference
income to support College operations.
The same facilities audit revealed that many of the College’s special facilities could be used
more fully during the summer months. Efforts to maximize the use of these facilities include
leasing some of the College’s computer facilities to community groups during the summer and
scheduling more athletic camps to maximize the use of the Mills tennis courts, swimming pool,
and playing field.
While Mills has a successful history of repeat contracts with individual organizations, individual
conferences are generally an annually renewed source of revenue and as such are subject to
fluctuation. Consequently, the College has endeavored to establish contractual relationships
with organizations that not only serve to increase the overall contribution of non-tuition revenue
into the operating budget but that are also predictable and assured over the long-term. To this
end, Mills has entered into a multi-year contract to house the Julia Morgan School for Girls
(JMSG) on the Mills campus beginning in 2004. Accommodating the JMSG—an intermediate
school with an enrollment of approximately 160 girls—on the Mills campus will not only result in
an approximately 12% increase in conference revenues during the first year but we feel that it is
also consistent with our mission of providing first-rate educational opportunities for women.
In addition to increased conference activity, Mills is exploring ways to build other non-tuition
revenue sources. In keeping with the effort to maximize the use of our special facilities and
infrastructure, Mills is increasing the number of fee-paying site users on the College’s
telecommunications monopole. Mills is also exploring ways to engage in increased grant-writing
and expanding the role that grant funds play in supporting the academic mission of the College.
In addition, the College is committed to continuing its successful long-term fund raising
strategies to support major operating budget categories—for example, raising funds to establish
endowed chairs to support instructional costs or establishing endowed scholarships to support
student financial aid.
                                Involvement of the Community
Over the past several years the Mills community has become more involved in thinking about
finances and planning at the College. This involvement has been both necessary and desirable
as the College developed a new approach to budgeting and a new strategic plan.
Mills has roughly 50 middle-level managers, including faculty and staff, who supervise
departmental budgets. These budget managers have been actively engaged in developing the
new three-year budget plan by working with senior administration to plan the budget and
establish mechanisms to monitor and correct overages in individual departmental budgets. In
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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

support of the campus-wide emphasis on fiscal accountability, the Controller’s Office has
developed a training program in budget management and monthly Manager’s Meetings where
budget managers are informed about and discuss budget and planning issues at the College.
The recently completed strategic planning initiative at Mills provided an opportunity to involve
the entire campus community—not just budget managers—in thinking about the fiscal
operations and health of the College. Through committee meetings, town-hall type gatherings,
and informal group discussions, faculty, staff, students, and alumnae joined the senior
administration in discussions about how to strengthen the College’s financial position in order to
advance the Colleges’ academic mission. Mills intends to maintain community dialogue on
these issues through the Manager’s Meetings, ad hoc brown bag lunches, and regular meetings
sponsored by the Staff Advisory Committee as well as through print publications such as the
President’s Newsletter and the Mills Quarterly.

Enrollment Management
In their action letter, the WASC Commission indicated that it was concerned about declining
undergraduate enrollment and relatively low first-to-second year retention and graduation rates
at Mills College. The Commission encouraged the College to establish reasonable
undergraduate enrollment and retention benchmarks—while being mindful of the balance
between undergraduate and graduate enrollment—and to develop strategies to advance the
College toward meeting its benchmarks.
Enrollment management is a dynamic enterprise and Mills has engaged in a number of activities
aimed at bolstering recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students. The
College’s experiences with various enrollment management strategies were taken into account
during the creation of the Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007, when careful consideration
was given to the College’s enrollment goals.

Establishing Enrollment Benchmarks
Moving Mills to 2002, the ―blueprint‖ developed to guide the College through the 1990s and into
the next decade, included aspirational enrollment goals of 1,000 undergraduate and 400
graduate students by the year 2002. While graduate student enrollment increased steadily since
the publication of Moving Mills to 2002, undergraduate enrollment continued to decline
throughout the late 1990s. As the College fell short of its stated enrollment goals, the
organization learned a difficult lesson: the goals that were developed to inspire the organization
became sources of discouragement. As a result of this experience, the administration has been
careful to calibrate new goals against the College’s most recent enrollment trends.
Reflection on enrollment issues at Mills resulted in the articulation of an overarching priority to
―maintain a level of enrollment and a balance of student constituencies to support the College’s
mission‖ (Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007, p.10). As a benchmark, Mills plans to enroll at
least 800 undergraduate students and 550 graduate students by the year 2007.
Meeting the graduate student enrollment goal of 550 students will result from leveraging the
existing elasticity in Mills’ graduate programs while extending the College’s growth trend in
academic offerings at the graduate level. It should be noted, however, that care has been taken
to lay the groundwork for an infrastructure that will build graduate enrollment in ways that will
serve the College’s commitment to promoting women’s leadership and undergraduate women’s
education. This expectation is articulated throughout the document Mills College Strategic Plan
The undergraduate enrollment goal of 800 students reflects recent modest growth in both new
student recruitment and retention. The College expects to extend this growth trend by
increasing new student enrollment goals by an average of 10 students each year and increasing

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Mills College                                                                       WASC Special Report

the first-to-second year retention to 83%.4 This increase in retention would result in an increase
in six-year graduate rates, which the Mills expects to be at or above 70% by the year 2007.

Key Enrollment Management Initiatives
                                The Enrollment Management Committee
In the fall of 2000, the senior administration of Mills College revived the Enrollment Management
Committee (EMC). Reflecting the College’s philosophy that student enrollment is influenced by
myriad factors, this group was comprised of individuals from not only the core enrollment-
influence areas—admissions, financial aid, and student life—but also included were multiple
representatives from the senior administration, the faculty, and the student population, along
with a representative from institutional research. While effective in serving the information needs
of the stakeholders sitting on the EMC, it was thought that the large size (~20 people) of the
Committee prevented it from being as action-oriented as was envisioned. Consequently, in the
summer of 2003, the EMC was re-configured to include fewer than 10 members. The members
of the EMC include key representatives from admissions, financial aid, student life, academic
records, and institutional research. Thus far, the streamlined EMC has been very effective in
facilitating initiatives aimed at enrollment growth. The Committee meets monthly with a general
agenda that emphasizes dialogue with the purpose of identifying threats to achieving enrollment
goals, refining or developing new strategies to mitigate threats and promote enrollment, and
reducing redundancies that may occur across the operations of various departments. Faculty,
students, and other members of the campus community are engaged in the work of the EMC as
members of special teams that focus on emerging issues on an ad hoc basis.
Accomplishments of the EMC include the following:
   Identified a lack of procedure for developing and revising articulation agreements as a
    potential weakness for the College. This issue was incorporated into the Mills College
    Strategic Plan 2003-2007 and the EMC has consulted with the Provost’s Office in increasing
    and updating articulation agreements with local community colleges.
   Development of a master calendar that provides an at-a-glance summary of enrollment-
    related processes by month and location (admissions, student life, M-Center) in order to
    facilitate coordination across departments.
   Continued collaboration with a higher-education consultant group on a distribution plan for
    merit-based financial aid in effort to increase student yield and build diversity within the
    undergraduate student population.
   Identification of academic advising as a challenge at the College and consultation with the
    Provost’s Office on this issue.
                                   Undergraduate Student Recruitment
The process of recruiting undergraduate students is under constant examination at Mills
College. In addition to assessment within the Office of Admission, undergraduate student
recruitment issues are regularly discussed by the Mills College Officers, the Board of Trustees,
and the Enrollment Management Committee. With the departure in 2003 of the Dean of
Admission who had been at the College since 1998, Mills has engaged in a thorough audit of
our admission process. While the College searches for a new Vice President for Enrollment
Management, the Office is being guided by the Vice President for Student Services along with
assistance from an admission expert from the higher education consultant group
Hardwick~Day. Refinements to programs for prospective student and guidance counselor

  Because student retention figures at Mills are subject to fluctuation based on small changes in the actual number of
students who are retained, Mills uses a blended three-year historical average when setting and measuring progress
toward goals.
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Mills College                                                                       WASC Special Report

visiting days; admission publications and the timing of admission mailings; and the admission
portion of the College’s Web site that have resulted from the ongoing appraisal of recruitment
efforts are too numerous to provide in full detail. Exemplars worth note, however, include
changes in the admission cycle, implementation of a territory management system in the Office
of Admission, and the use of data to inform admission processes including the increased and
strategic use of search.5
A review of the admissions processes at other women’s colleges revealed that rolling
admissions cycles were uncommon among the most competitive schools. In order to build and
support the image of Mills as being within the same peer group of competitive women’s
colleges, in 1999 Mills discontinued its rolling admissions cycle. At the same time the College
began an early action program to further attract academically competitive students who might
be interested in Mills.6 To further attract these students, Mills expanded its cycle in 2003 to
include a ―priority‖ deadline in early spring for those students who want to be considered for
merit aid.
Following the recommendation of an enrollment management consultant, in 2001 Mills adjusted
its assignment of admission officers (AOs) to prospective students from an alphabetical system
to a territory management system. Under the territory management system, each AO is given a
territory that includes various states and a segment of California. The territory management
system allows AOs to develop personal relationships with individual institutions and guidance
counselors and increases the continuity of Mills’ presence in individual communities. An added
enhancement of this system has been the development of specific targeted institutions within
territories. These targets are based on the number of applications and the yield on those
applications from high schools and community colleges within each territory. AOs use these
market segments to inform their outreach efforts and travel schedules within territories to
maximize the return—in terms of applications and yield—on their recruitment efforts. The
progress of student recruitment within the territory management system is tracked weekly by
comparing data on number of inquires, applications, and matriculation deposits at any one time
to the prior year-to-date and year-end data.
Since the WASC Commission’s last visit, Mills has increased the extent to which it analyzes
data to assist in planning for student recruitment. Some studies—such as The Mills Admission
Yield: Who Enrolls—have resulted in little or no changes while others have resulted in
substantial shifts in process. With the admission yield study, Mills sought to distinguish
indicators of student enrollment that could be identified at the application stage. It was hoped
that a predictive model of enrollment could be developed and subsequently used to identify
segments within the applicant pool for selective targeting of admissions activities. This study
revealed little ability to predict future enrollment based on data collected at the application stage
and consequently resulted in no change in admission procedures. On the other hand, an
analysis of the introductory contact with prospective students resulted in a significant shift in the
College’s recruitment process. Traditionally, Mills’ introductory mailing to prospective students
was a multi-page color brochure. In 2000, the Office of Admission conducted a study to
determine whether to continue using the brochure as the initial recruitment contact piece. During
this admission cycle, 80% of prospective students received the brochure and the remaining 20%
received an introductory letter. The difference in the number of inquiries or responses from
prospective students resulting from this initial contact was less than 1% between the group that
received the letter and the group that received the brochure. As a result of this study, Mills now
uses the introductory letter—at a significant cost savings—and has reallocated the funds
previously associated with mass mailing the brochure into other areas of operations such as
expanding the number of high school student names purchased through search.

  Search refers to the purchase of high school student names and addresses from organizations such as The College
Board. These students are included on the College’s admission mailing lists.
  Early action allows students to apply to the College and receive an admissions decision early in their senior year of
high school.
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Mills College                                                            WASC Special Report

Mills has used data not only to guide processes but also to inform the content of our admissions
outreach activities. One example of this effort has been Mills’ use of the Admitted Students
Questionnaire-Plus. Mills has administered this survey for a number of years and analyzed the
data in ways to allow the College to understand its image in the marketplace. This information is
used to refine the messages to prospective students that are incorporated in College
publications, the Web site, and personal contacts. Message development is also informed by
focus groups. In the spring of 2003, the Office of Admission held three focus groups to help
hone the ways in which Mills representatives describe the College when interacting with
prospective students.
                                Undergraduate Student Retention
As is the case with recruitment efforts at Mills, student retention programs are evaluated and
honed for maximum effectiveness on an ongoing basis. Among the many programs at the
College that are focused on student retention, three major initiatives have occurred since the
last WASC visit. These initiatives include adjustments to new student advising, engaging in a
comprehensive study on attrition at the College, and launching the Freshwoman Retention
Interview Project.
Mills has long recognized that incoming students often require special social and personal
advising in addition to academic advising as they adjust to college life. Traditionally, social and
personal needs have been the purview of staff in the Office of Student Life (OSL) while
individual faculty members provided academic advising. This decentralized or silo system puts
much of the onus of finding the appropriate person to render needed support on the student.
Recognizing that new students may not have the institutional knowledge or interpersonal skills
to make the correct connections for advising, the OSL and the Office of the Provost developed a
comprehensive advising program for new students. Under this program, each new student is
assigned to an advising team that consists of an OSL staff member and a faculty person. While
the roles of these advisors are little changed from the previous system, the structured
collaboration between OSL and faculty partners promotes a holistic and more proactive
approach to student advising. An additional element in new student advising has been the
designation of a Dean of first-year students. This Dean position—newly established in 2001—is
located in the OSL and serves as a point-person for all first-year student needs.
In effort to better understand the causes of student attrition at Mills, the Office of Research and
Planning conducted a comprehensive study of the issue using all available relevant data
sources. This study, completed in 2003, included an analysis of student academic records,
responses on the CIRP Freshman Survey, responses on the ACT Withdrawing/Nonreturning
Student Survey, and information gathered by OSL during exit interviews with students taking
leaves of absence or withdrawing from the College. Specifically, student demographics,
academic records, and CIRP data for all students who entered the College since between1995
and 2000 were analyzed in effort to identify any patterns in the data that might help explain
student attrition and to create a statistical model to predict attrition. After careful analysis it was
determined that these data have very limited utility to identify students who are likely to attrit.
While these data were not useful in helping to develop an unobtrusive early-detection model for
attrition, the absence of predictive ability itself provided important information in that it
essentially removed academic underpreparedness from the list of potential causes of attrition at
Mills. Exit interviews and survey responses on the Withdrawing/Nonreturning Student Survey
have helped in the identification of the leading causes of attrition as reported by students after
they stopped/dropped out of the College. According to these students, financial problems,
isolation, and academic boredom are issues for Mills. The results of this study, provided to the
community in the report Student Attrition at Mills, are being used by the EMC and the senior
administration in the revision and development of programs aimed at minimizing attrition.
One of the most significant innovations on the retention front at Mills College has been the
Freshwoman Retention Interview Project. This project—launched in 1998 following the advice of

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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

a student retention consultant—includes a paper-and-pencil survey and individual face-to-face
interviews between first-year students and an OSL staff member. The interviews are conducted
midway through the fall semester with the objective of fostering student retention by creating a
connection between students and OSL staff. Moreover, these interviews allow OSL staff to
assess how well each student is integrated into the life of the College and to plan follow-up
support for students who appear to be poorly attached. The surveys—administered immediately
prior to the interviews—serve as a needs assessment that informs co-curricular planning and
program development.
                                Graduate Student Recruitment
Recruitment and retention of graduate students has not been a significant challenge for Mills.
Still, the College does assess the effectiveness of graduate admission processes and some
improvements have been made since the previous WASC visit. Two key improvements include
streamlining the admission decisions process.
Graduate student recruitment is a decentralized process with recruitment activities and
admission decisions taking place within individual departments that offer graduate programs.
The Graduate Studies Office supports these departments by coordinating the production and
dissemination of print publications, attending graduate student fairs, acting as an information
and referral clearing house, conducting the initial review of applications before distributing them
to departments, and managing the budget of graduate financial aid. By ensuring that the
applications received by departments are complete and actionable, the Graduate Studies Office
has enabled admission decisions to be completed in a two-week turnaround period. In effort to
maximize student yield, the Graduate Studies Office provides graduate departments with
periodic audits of admitted students’ status that allow follow-up contacts to be targeted to
students who have been admitted but have not committed to attending the College.

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Educational Effectiveness
The WASC Commission recognized Mills College’s commitment to educational quality
improvement and induced the College to build upon its growing ―culture of evidence‖—using
data to inform improvements in teaching and learning—by integrating assessments of
educational effectiveness and student learning throughout the institution. The Commission
encouraged Mills to continue the development of an infrastructure that would provide
coordination and focus for assessment activities and foster the assessment of academic
program effectiveness in helping students achieve the learning objectives of various programs.
Specifically, the Commission recommended that the College clarify what it means by ―the
epistemological meanings and implications of women-centered education, interfaced with
multicultural values and perspectives‖ and evaluate the effectiveness of its General Education
Program and library and information literacy requirements, particularly as they relate to
preparing students to do research.
Central to the mission of Mills is the education and development of people who will become
leaders in society and their chosen fields. We recognize that such leadership requires the ability
to engage in critical thinking. By offering a curriculum that is imbued with women’s and
multicultural perspectives we are encouraging students to be contrarian in the questions that
they ask and the approaches they use to investigate those questions. By framing research
questions and methods in ways that acknowledge differences and allow them to emerge,
students begin to question the value-neutrality of research and critically evaluate the issues that
they are presented with in their studies and by extension in their lives.
As noted in the section on Planning in this report, Mills has made advancements in the
infrastructure to support planning. While much of the emphasis on evidentiary planning has
been devoted to capacity issues, forays into using assessments of student outcomes to guide
curricular and co-curricular development have occurred and Mills intends to build on these

Key Examples of Assessment of Educational Effectiveness at Mills
                                        Student Results
Student retention and graduation rates—disaggregated by ethnicity—are a baseline component
of the College’s evaluation of educational effectiveness. These data, shown in Figure 3, are
shared with the College community in various ways and help form the context necessary to
move from assessment to evaluation of the College’s effectiveness in achieving its academic

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Mills College                                                                       WASC Special Report

Figure 3. Excerpt from student outcome tracking tables

                                                 Student Surveys7
Mills is a member of the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium and consequently
takes advantage of the Senior Survey that it offers. This survey, administered to graduating
seniors in the spring of their last year at Mills includes questions about skill enhancement and
academic experiences. Student responses on these items are analyzed using importance-
performance (IP) analysis—as shown in Figure 4—and are included in a report that is discussed
with senior administration and made available to the College community. These data give some
indication as to how well the College is providing services—including educational services—to
students who persist to graduation. Longitudinal changes in student satisfaction will be used as
one means by which to measure the effectiveness of targeted improvement programs.

    Complete reports summarizing the data collected on the surveys discussed here will be available in the team room.
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Mills College                                                       WASC Special Report

Figure 4. Excerpt from the report Satisfaction Among Seniors at Mills: Class of 2002

Alumnae are another source of information relevant to the College’ effectiveness and Mills has
explored various ways to incorporate alumnae feedback in the assessment of our educational
effectiveness. One such attempt was the College’s participation in the 1999 ―Collegiate Results‖
study sponsored by the Knight Higher Education Collaborative and the National Center for
Postsecondary Improvement. As a participant in this study, Mills used the Collegiate Results
Instrument (CRI) to survey its alumnae who graduated in 1991 through 1994. The data resulting
from this survey showed that Mills alumnae place a high personal value on arts/culture,
civic/community engagement, and life long learning—all of which are core to the academic
mission of the College. Mills has been unable to locate information on future administrations of
the CRI and as a result is investigating other means by which to gather data about the important
issue of the value-add of a Mills education.
                               Academic Department Review
Under the auspices of the Provost, each academic department at Mills undergoes a review on a
five-year cycle. The review process is designed to assess program quality, facilitate
improvements, foster cooperation among academic units, and assist in achieving the best use
of institutional resources. Among other areas of quality and distinction in the academic
departments, the review includes an examination of the quality of the educational program,
including an assessment of student outcomes.
In 2002, Mills adopted new self-study guidelines that emphasize student outcomes and the link
between the mission of the department and that of the College. An excerpt of the self-study
guidelines illustrating these important goals is included in Table 2. Since adopting the new
guidelines the department of English has completed its self-study.

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Mills College                                                                WASC Special Report

Table 2. Excerpts from Academic Department Self-Study Guidelines
1. Briefly describe the unit under review. This description should include a statement of the unit's
mission, role, and scope.
3. What are the major goals of this academic unit? If these have changed over the past 5 to 7
years, provide a summary of the changes? How are they expected to change in the future?
4. How do these goals relate to the mission of the College?
4. Describe how the program responds to emerging issues in the discipline and changing student
5. Describe how the program has incorporated multicultural and international perspectives into
the curriculum.
1.e. What efforts are made to involve students actively in their learning through such opportunities
as internships, practica, work-study, or seminars? Indicate whether service learning, internships,
independent study and research opportunities are available to students.
4.b. In what manner, and how well, do students demonstrate their overall command of the field?
Describe student accomplishments as evidenced by research or creative awards/ efforts,
graduation with honors, admission to programs of further education, and employment. How does
the quality of students graduating in this unit compare with student quality in similar units
4.f. How do alumnae of the program view their educational experience? What methods are used
to solicit their views? Describe efforts to contact alumnae and involve them in program activities.
Describe how their occupations relate to the program.
1. What are the intended student outcomes; that is, what students should know, understand, and
be able to do at the conclusion of a course or series of courses?
2. Specify how student outcomes are related to the mission and goals of the program and the
3. Describe how the faculty is involved in the development and implementation of student
outcomes measurement.

Evaluation and Revision of the General Education Program
Mills responded to the recommendations of the WASC Commission related to our General
Education (GE) Program with an evaluation of the existing Program. This evaluation was
contextualized not only by the Commission’s feedback, but also by the evaluation of the grant-
sponsored Multicultural Enhancement Program and the adoption of a revised College mission
statement—both of which occurred in 1998. This evaluation resulted in the development of a
new GE Program, which was officially launched with the incoming class of 2003.
In 1999 a General Education Task Force was formed. The Task Force—appointed by the
College’s Faculty Executive Committee—included seven faculty members and one senior
administrator as an ex-officio member. This Task Force was given the following charge.

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Mills College                                                          WASC Special Report

        Charge from the Faculty Executive Committee—April 26, 1999
        ―The Task Force is charged with undertaking a systematic review of the College’s
        present General Education Program. The review will explore national trends in
        general education and discuss their relevance to the Mills curriculum. After
        reviewing a wide range of possible models of general education, including core
        curricular programs, thematic programs and ones designed around distribution
        requirements, the Task Force will draw up a set of recommendations to the
        Educational policy Subcommittee of the Faculty Executive Committee, aimed at
        improving the College’s current General Education Program.‖
The Task Force’s review of the Mills GE Program brought to the fore the weakness of the
existing distribution requirement system that required students to take two courses in each
academic division. While this approach to GE provided ample student choice in designing their
academic experience, it did not accurately reflect the College’s commitment to an integrative
and coherent approach to delivering liberal arts education. Once this gap between the College’s
philosophy and the practice in place at the time had been articulated, the Task Force began
researching GE models in use across the nation and applied for a grant from the William and
Flora Hewlett Foundation to support the development of a new GE Program at Mills.
Mills did receive a grant of $400,000 to support the College’s work on GE development over a 4
year time period. During this time, Mills narrowed its interest in external programs to those in
place at Pomona College and Hamilton College. The work of the Task Force resulted in a
refocused approach to GE at Mills from a 20-year old model that was based in satisfying
divisional needs for equity and administrative simplicity, to one that is characterized by a more
integrated, intellectually stimulating learning experience that is coherently linked to students’
academic majors. This approach is reflective of the College’s mission while retaining significant
levels of flexibility.
The Task Force worked with the faculty to develop a list of ―content areas‖ of learning
experience to be considered for integration into the new GE Program. This list began as 17
objectives in the year 2000 and was refined to 10 objectives that were adopted in the final
Program. The learning objectives fall into three categories: skills, perspectives, and disciplines.
Within skills a student gains proficiency in written communication, quantitative & computational
reasoning, and information literacy/technology. Through perspectives students gain insight into
interdisciplinary perspectives, women & gender, and multiculturalism. Out of coursework in
disciplines students come to understand creation & criticism in the arts, historical perspectives,
natural sciences, and human institutions & behavior.
The Task Force also developed two potential implementation plans for the Program. One
implementation plan coupled the learning objectives with the development of student electronic
portfolios. In this model students would work with a faculty advisor to develop a GE plan and
track their progress towards fulfilling their goals by using portfolios of their work. In addition to
the novelty of using portfolios, this model also recognized multiple ways of learning and included
alternatives to traditional coursework such as guided lecture series, roundtable series, and
January-terms for achieving GE goals. The second implementation model was a course-
centered approach whereby a student would consult with her faculty advisor to identify her goals
within the GE Program’s learning objectives and select a set of courses that would help place
her work in her major into a larger context and gain exposure to knowledge beyond her major. A
survey of faculty participants at a GE retreat in the fall of 2000 found that there was strong
interest among some faculty members in the portfolio-based model while others questioned the
complexity of record keeping and the amount of faculty time required to assess student work
recorded in portfolios. Consequently, faculty adopted the course-based model as the mean by
which to implement the GE Program.
Having completed their charge of curricular review and formation of recommendations in the
spring of 2002, the leadership in GE development was shifted from the Task Force to a newly

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Mills College                                                                WASC Special Report

formed Faculty Committee on General Education. This Committee was—and still is—
responsible for reviewing and endorsing proposals from faculty who wished to have their
courses included in the GE program.

Table 3. Excerpt from The Guidelines For Proposal And Approval of Courses To Fulfill
The General Education Requirements
Courses proposed to fulfill General Education Requirements should promote the achievement of
a broad, liberal base for the specialized work in the student’s major(s), and help her to achieve
the skills essential to success in her undergraduate education. In order for a course to be
approved to fulfill a specific General Education Goal, it must be consistent with the Rationale and
show a strong likelihood of achieving the Student Outcomes for that requirement. Both lower-
and upper-division courses may be proposed in order to meet the needs of traditional and
transfer students. It is essential, however, that a sufficient number of lower-division courses be
offered in this program.

Each proposed course will usually satisfy no more than two General Education goals. New
courses, revised courses, and existing courses may be proposed to fulfill General Education

Central to the successful transformation of the GE Program was the emergence of a critical
mass of faculty members who were concerned with the quality of general education, and who
were willing to provide leadership to make changes in the College’s fundamental philosophy as
it related to GE. This was important because it prevented the new Program from being cast as
one person’s agenda. The willingness of the entire faculty to consider the various proposals
without losing faith in reaching a workable outcome was likewise essential to final success.
Flexibility in the nature and description of the educational goals of the Program and the method
of implementation also contributed to the final adoption of the changes. A singular focus on
creating a better GE experience, retaining a desirable degree of flexibility, and perseverance
made this achievement possible.
With its emphasis on clearly articulated educational outcomes, the new GE Program provides
Mills with the impetus to engage in substantive analysis of student learning outcomes. As is
apparent from the examples of educational effectiveness assessment included in this report, a
comprehensive analysis of student learning outcomes will be a new endeavor for the College
and will enhance our current knowledge base on this subject. Funds from the Hewlett grant will
support exploration of approaches that can be used in a broad-based evaluation of student
learning related to GE.

Library and Information Literacy at Mills
As mentioned above, Information Literacy/Information Technology is included as a skill to be
acquired or enhanced through the College’s new GE Program. In identifying the specific
competencies that students should possess in this area, Mills has referred to the Association for
College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards and guidelines.
To ensure that our staff is prepared to facilitate faculty teaching and student learning in this
area, library staff have participated in two ACRL online seminars. The first seminar, Best
practices in information literacy in undergraduate education, focused on criteria for developing,
assessing, and improving information literacy programs in undergraduate education, and
identifying categories and case studies of best practices. The second seminar, Assessing
student learning outcomes, provided an opportunity for the library staff to acquire the skills to
create assessment tools to measure student information literacy.
Assessment of information literacy within the GE program will compliment existing assessments
of this competency. Currently, faculty from across the College request assistance from the

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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

library staff with course-specific bibliographic research instructional sessions. During these
sessions librarians discuss emerging electronic resources and introduce students to the
traditional print resources in their area of inquiry. To assess the effectiveness of these sessions
a pre-post test of library skills was administered to student participants in the fall of 2000 and
the spring of 2002. These assessments showed that students’ competency in this area
improved as a result of the instructions provided by library staff. For example, 63% of students
were able to correctly identify how to find periodical articles by subject after the bibliographic
research lecture whereas only 18% had been able to do so before the lecture. Moreover,
students’ overall confidence in using library resources and asking for help rose from 20% to
90% following a bibliographic research lecture.

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
A new program in Educational Leadership was authorized to begin in September of 1999. As
this Doctorate in Education (Ed. D.) program represents the College’s first foray into instruction
and degree confirmation at the doctoral level, the WASC Commission requested that Mills
demonstrate the effectiveness of the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership as one
component of this Special Report.
As outlined in the substantive change report that was submitted to WASC for accreditation of
the Ed.D., Mills envisioned a program that would serve accomplished practitioners and prepare
those individuals for professional leadership positions within the educational system and related
organizations. This objective is especially relevant to the mission of Mills College given the
statewide shortage of well-trained principals and superintendents combined with the paucity of
Ed.D. programs in California that would prepare individuals to be successful in those roles. The
establishment of the Ed.D. program at Mills—built out of already successful programs in teacher
education and other specialties in education—is a clear example of Mills’ fundamental
commitment to academic excellence and the development of students who will be well-prepared
to serve as change agents in society. Consequently, enrollment in the program has been strong
and five students have completed their degrees.

Student Enrollment
Given the College’s focus on preparing people to lead in a multicultural environment, we sought
to recruit a diverse and talented student population to the Ed.D. program. With regard to
enrollment, the College aspired to admit ten new students per year to the program for a total
growth of 2% between 1999 and 2003. As seen in Table 4, Mills has exceeded this goal and the
Ed.D. program has grown by 8% since its inception.

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Mills College                                                                      WASC Special Report

                Table 4. Ed.D. Enrollment Goals and Actual Enrollments 1999-2003
                                      Year                 Goal            Actual
                                    1999-00                 10                5
                                    2000-01                 19               18
                                    2001-02                 27               40
                                    2002-03                 34               309
                                    2003-04                 34               45

Not only do the numbers of enrolled students reflect our success in providing a desirable
academic program that meets the needs of students interested in educational leadership, the
diversity of our students reflects the overarching goals of the program. Over 50% of our
students self-identify as being persons of color (see Table 5) and the student population
includes a diverse range of academic and professional accomplishments.

                                   Table 5. Ethnicity of Ed.D. Students
                                           Ethnicity                 Percent
                                  African-American                     33%
                                  Asian/Pacific Islander               11%
                                  Latina/o                              7%
                                  White                                40%
                                  Other/Unknown                         9%

Students admitted to the Ed.D. program have studied at top academic institutions such as
Brown and Stanford and at less prominent institutions. Students in the program cover the range
from classroom teachers to district level administrators; from directors of youth development
programs to nursing educators; from community college administrators to provosts and senior
level officials from the University of California. What these students have shared is a deep
curiosity and commitment to education.
The newness of the Ed.D. program and the length of time that students have to complete their
dissertations prevents us from being able to specify student retention rates at this time. Clearly,
though, helping students graduate is a program priority and is something that is monitored and
facilitated through the student advising process. In general, it has become clear that outside
pressures have limited the progress of several students. Much of this is to be expected as
students who assume new occupational roles—moving from being classroom teachers to being
principals or assistant principals, for example—understandably reduce their work on the
dissertation. At the same time, we want students to finish—and in a timely manner. Thus, in

 Assumed loss of some doctoral students through attrition.
 Odd jumps and dips in enrollment numbers reflect a shift in categorization of students who applied to both the
Masters and Doctoral programs. Beginning in 2003-04, this system has been recalibrated so that students who have
been accepted into the doctoral program are recorded as doctoral students even if they are currently working on their
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Mills College                                                         WASC Special Report

addition to the extensive individualized support and one-on-one student advising, the
department is working to develop structures to support students who have completed their
coursework and are working independently on their dissertations.
To date, five students have graduated from the program—four from the 1999 cohort and one
from the 2000 cohort—and ten students who have started the program are currently on leave.

Support For Student Learning
The Education Department at Mills is supported by 10 full-time and 11 part-time faculty
members. The Ed.D. program has a core of four faculty members but courses in the program
are taught by members from across the department and, in one case, by the President of Mills
The vast majority of current course offerings are the same as those outlined in the substantive
change report that was submitted to WASC in 1998. Over the last several years we have found
that these courses align with the program’s goals and with the department’s principles in the
ways that were anticipated in the original WASC proposal. Still, the Ed.D. program is evaluated
on an ongoing basis through discussions once a semester at the department’s Educational
Leadership meetings. At these meetings, faculty in the Department engage in conversation
about the curriculum, teaching strategies, and student learning. These meetings are augmented
by yearly open forums that enable students to express concerns that they may have about the
In addition to these internal mechanisms for formative evaluation, the Education Department
has assembled an advisory board of notable educational leaders such as superintendents,
principals, esteemed faculty members, and alumni from the community. This board advised the
Ed.D. program development and, after having a brief hiatus for the past two years, will be
convened annually to assist the Department in assessing and improving the curriculum and the
quality of student work.
To support students’ research needs, improvements have been made to the quantity and quality
of the education-related monographic materials in the College’s Library collection. In 1999, Mills
held 4,208 titles in the Dewey areas that support the College’s education curriculum, however
that collection was fairly dated with 49% of the monographs having been published prior to
1972. At this time the collection includes 5,705 titles—only 34% of which pre-date 1972—so,
great progress has been made in expanding the holdings and in making them more current and
pertinent for the research and curricular needs of the students. Additionally, students have
access to 88 different education-related print periodicals and thousands of abstracts and full-text
articles through various online databases.

Program Outcomes: The Dissertation
As described in the Educational Leadership Handbook, the program requires the equivalent of
three full years of course work followed by completion of a doctoral dissertation. Because of the
program’s emphasis on research that informs and is informed by practice, dissertation
committees must include at least one individual with practice-based expertise and leadership
experience related to the topic being studied.
The requirement to have a practitioner on the dissertation committee has enriched students’
experiences by broadening their exposure to experts to individuals outside of the Education
Department and in some cases outside of the College. For example, Paul Schulman, Wert
Professor of Government at Mills, is on the committee of a student whose dissertation concerns
the social construction of college identity and the political pressures that surround that process.
The senior minister of the largest church in Oakland is on the committee of a student who is
designing and studying a church-based educational program to stop elder abuse in nursing

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homes. Other dissertation committees include practicing superintendents, principals, and
community college presidents.
Completed dissertations include:
       Beyond National Board certification: How National Board certified teachers continue to
        engage in reflection and collaboration
       Latinas in higher education: Using "multiple marginality" to succeed in the academy
       Reflective inquiry and mentoring: A case study in reciprocity between early childhood
        educational leaders
       Supports and constraints of caring in nursing: Imparting the spirit of caring through
        embracing the health of community
       Counseling immigrants under welfare reform: On becoming a culturally skilled and
        culturally competent counselor
As indicated by the topics of these five dissertations, student’s interests are quite broad. Future
cohorts will also study a broad range of topics, however, our most recent cohorts appear to be
more interested in K-12 issues than in higher and adult education. Students are doing high
quality work and a selection of dissertations and dissertation proposals will be available for
review in the team room.

                Identification of Other Changes or Issues Currently
                     Confronting the Institution for the Future
The primary elements that form the context in which the College is functioning and moving into
the future are described elsewhere in this report.

                Institutional Plans to Address the New Expectations
                                of the 2001 Handbook
Many of the ways that Mills College has evolved since its last accreditation review serve to
position it well for addressing WASC’s new expectations. Indeed, the core commitments and
associated standards articulated in the WASC 2001 handbook are synchronous with Mills’
emphasis on financial and institutional sustainability as necessary conditions for the
advancement of the College’s educational mission—to expand the avenues to leadership that
are available to women.
As noted throughout the substantive sections of this report, Mills has strengthened its
commitment to evidence-based planning and decision-making. Moreover, the College has
created an infrastructure to support putting that philosophy into practice. Mills’ use of a central
relational database system (Banner) enables the College to easily access data related to issues
of institutional capacity. This ready-access to institutional data coupled with the analytical
expertise in the OIRP—which is made available to the entire campus—support Mills’ ability to
evaluate institutional capacity from a holistic perspective and engage in integrated planning.
With much progress having been made in the area of planning for and sustaining institutional
capacity, Mills is beginning to more fully engage in issues of student learning outcomes.
Currently, the College has no systematic institution-wide practice of assessing student learning
outcomes. We have, however, piloted several efforts on this front and we continue to explore
means by which to evaluate educational effectiveness. One very exciting possibility on this front
is the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Knowledge Media Laboratory
(KML). Mills is one of only two higher education sites currently working with the KML to beta-test
their software that guides users through the process of creating an online portfolio of their work.
The current focus of the KML is for teachers and faculty to create portfolios and share their
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Mills College                                                                               WASC Special Report

pedagogical insights with others. Professors in the Education Department at Mills are engaged
in this activity, but additionally, Mills is evaluating the feasibility adapting the KML software to
support student portfolios.
To be sure, student learning has been the core of the enterprise at Mills. Perhaps because it is
so central to what we do, we have taken for granted our successes in this area and have not
invested the necessary resources and thought into how to move beyond anecdotal accounts of
effectiveness into more substantive body of knowledge on this issue. Key to making this shift at
Mills is the desire to establish an assessment mechanism that not only generates data for
external reporting purposes but instead is primarily driven by the desire for data that is
instructive and actionable within the College. Also crucial in this endeavor is to create or adopt
an assessment mechanism that will garner broad-based institutional buy-in so as to ensure its
longevity in the organization. With these two elements in the fore—internal utility and
acceptability—Mills is engaged in the process of more fully integrating learning outcomes into
our culture of evidence and becoming more adept at using that evidence as we shape our
educational offerings and processes.

                                             Concluding Statement
Mills moved forward from its last accreditation review with the action letter of the Commission as
a resource to assist the College in framing its challenges.
The Commission’s recommendations to inform, and in some cases incorporate, the larger
College community into various aspects of the College’s operations has been brought to life
through the various planning processes that have occurred since 1998. Most notably, the
College’s new strategic plan was born out of the efforts of the entire community and the current
integrated marketing initiative and articulation of the institutional brand is being conducted with
the input of members from across the College.10
Importantly, Mills has made strides toward establishing the infrastructure to support integrated
research-based planning. Much of the planning and projection models that have been
developed are dynamic and include mechanisms for mid-course evaluation and re-calibration to
account for changes in assumptions or the environment. At the same time, benchmarks and
goals—while scalable—have been set at realistic and achievable levels.
Leveraging the connections between various aspects of the College has occurred with great
success in the academic programs. For many years undergraduate students in the Fine Arts,
English, and Science have benefited from the vitality and talents that are brought to the College
as a result of strong graduate programs in those areas. Graduate students in those disciplines
have, in turn, benefited from their experience in an environment built on the undergraduate
mission of the College that places a premium value on teaching and leadership. This integration
of undergraduate and graduate education is a central strength of the College. Building on this
strength, Mills has instituted two new joint bachelor-masters programs since its last
accreditation review. The BA/MA in interdisciplinary computer science and the BA/MBA program
in economics are two exemplars of the integration of Mills’ undergraduate and graduate
programs. These programs are examples of how the College works to strengthen both
undergraduate and graduate education. They are also an acknowledgment of students’ growing
desire for graduate training and how offering high-quality graduate opportunities at Mills can act
as a financial stabilizer for the College. Moreover, they are in keeping with the College’s mission
to expand the ways to advance women’s leadership. For all of these reasons, expanding the
4+1 BA/MA model into other areas of the curriculum is a focal point in the College’s new
strategic plan.

     Both of these initiatives are described in detail in the Planning section of this report.
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Mills College                                                        WASC Special Report

Attention to the issues raised in the Commission’s action letter has resulted in many successes
as described in this report, but some challenges still remain. Mills continues to work to increase
non-tuition sources of revenue and to maximized the utility of financial resources in achieving
the College’s mission. In addition, the College continues to work through enrollment
management challenges to build undergraduate enrollment and increase student retention while
simultaneously increasing academic excellence and student achievement. We believe that the
accomplishments made in other areas, will facilitate success in these aspects of operations and
also allow the College to devote greater attention to existing gaps in the assessment of
educational effectiveness.

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Mills College                                                                                                                       WASC Special Report

                                                             Required Documents

Table 6. Headcount Enrollment By Level (Fall Term)
 Year         Total               First-Time,                     Other                   Graduate Headcount              Total FTE
            Headcount              First-Year                Degree Seeking                                               Enrollment
            Enrollment          Undergraduate                Undergraduates
                                  Headcount                     Headcount
                                 N            %               N           %                    N             %
1999            1122            116         10%              611        54%                   395           35%             1066.00
2000            1059            113         11%              571        54%                   375           35%              992.33
2001            1176            113         10%              629        53%                   434           37%             1106.00
2002            1206            137         11%              626        52%                   443           37%             1134.67
2003            1210            115         10%              620        51%                   475           39%             1132.67
Source: IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey
Notes: Beginning in 2000, the IPEDS survey no longer requested undergraduate enrollment by year level that would allow for the creation of lower- and
upper-division categories. Data provided here is consistent with the manner in which IPEDS request information about undergraduate enrollment.
At the graduate level, the IPEDS survey does not provide for a distinction between students pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate and graduate-degree
seeking students. Mills students studying in post-baccalaureate certificate programs are included in the graduate student headcount.
FTE is calculated using the formula required by WASC; there may be some differences between this FTE and the true FTE that is calculated by the College
for internal record keeping.

Table 7. Headcount Enrollment Status and Location (Fall Term)
 Year         Total                 Full-Time                     Part-Time               On-Campus Location              Off-Campus
            Headcount                                                                                                      Location
                                  N            %              N               %               N              %
1999            1122            1038          93%            84              7%              1122          100%                NA
2000            1059             959          91%            100             9%              1059          100%                NA
2001            1176            1071          91%            105             9%              1176          100%                NA
2002            1206            1099          91%            107             9%              1206          100%                NA
2003            1210            1094          90%            116             10%             1210          100%                NA
Source: IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey

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Mills College                                                                                                                       WASC Special Report

Table 8. Degrees and Certificates Granted by Level (Academic year)
  Year           Total        Less Than       Associate         Bachelor            Post-            Master        Doctorate          Other
                Degrees         2-Year                                          Baccalaureate
1998-99           331             NA              NA                194               27               110             0               NA
1999-00           438             NA              NA                245               64               129             0               NA
2000-01           343             NA              NA                201               49                93             0               NA
2001-02           385             NA              NA                198               64               119             4               NA
2002-03           330             NA              NA                168               38               123             1               NA
Source: IPEDS Completions Survey

Table 9. Faculty by Employee Status (Fall Term)
 Year         Total                 Full-Time                       Part-Time                   Total Faculty
             Faculty                 Faculty                         Faculty                        FTE
                                 N             %               N              %               N               %
1997             155             78           50%              77            50%            103.67           67%
1999             155             89           57%              66            43%            111.00           72%
2001             153             88           58%              65            42%            109.67           72%
2002             186             95           51%              91            49%            125.33           67%
2003             159             96           60%              63            40%            117.00           74%
Source: IPEDS Staff Survey
Notes: Prior 2002 the IPEDS Staff Survey was conducted on a biannual basis. In 1999, in error, Mills reported no PT faculty; those data have been supplied
here based on the internal report Mills College Facts & Trends 1999-2000.

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Mills College                                                                                                WASC Special Report

Table 10. Key Financial Ratios
                                                                                Fiscal Year Ending
                                                           1999         2000           2001        2002         2003
Return on Net Assets
change in net assets / total assets at beginning of FY     2.65%        4.88%        -3.87%      -8. 02%       -3.67%

Net Income Ratio
unrestricted net assets / total unrestricted revenue        4.15         3.83         3.60         2.62         2.38

Operating Income Ratio
operating income / total expenses                           1.15         1.17         1.06         1.08         1.14

Viability Ratio
expendable net assets / long term debt                      5.91         6.32         5.64         3.90         3.43

Instructional Expense per Student                        $10,139.74   $10,161.17   $13,220.76   $12,049.52   $11,801.23

Net Tuition per Students                                 $9,848.91    $9,295.37    $9,775.24    $9,983.08    $10,640.42

Source: Mills College Annual Financial Reports

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Mills College                                                                     WASC Special Report

                List of Hardcopy Materials Available in the Team Room

Standard Materials
Mills College Annual Financial Report 2002-2003
Mills College Budget FY2004
Mills College Facts & Trends 2002-2003
Mills College Graduate Student Catalog 2003-2004
Mills College Graduate Student Handbook 2003-2004
Mills College Organizational Chart 2003-2004
Mills College Undergraduate Student Catalog 2003-2004
Mills College Undergraduate Student Handbook 2003-2004
Mills College Self-Study 1998 – Submitted to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Additional Documents in Support of The Section on Planning
OIRP Report - Mills in 2002
Strategic Plan - Mills College Strategic Plan 2003-2007 & Expanding Avenues to Leadership
Vita of the Director of Institutional Research and Planning, Terra Schehr

Additional Documents in Support of The Section on Financial Viability and Resource
Mills College Campus Master Plan
Moody’s Bond Rating Report

Additional Documents in Support of The Section on Enrollment Management
College Blueprint - Moving Mills to 2002
EMC Master Calendar
OIRP Report – First-Year Student Survey
OIRP Report – The Mills Admissions Yield: Who Enrolls
OIRP Report – Student Attrition at Mills

Additional Documents in Support of The Section on Educational Effectiveness
Academic Program Review Self-Study Guidelines
Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) – Characteristics of programs of information
literacy that illustrate best practices: a guideline
Dance Department Academic Program Review Report
English Department Academic Program Review Report
Guidelines For Proposal And Approval of Courses To Fulfill The General Education Requirements
OIRP Report – Satisfaction Among Seniors at Mills: Class of 2002
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Mills College                                                                      WASC Special Report
OIRP produced student outcome tracking tables
Report of the 1999 ―Collegiate Results‖ study provided by the Knight Higher Education Collaborative and
the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement

Additional Documents in Support of The Section on Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
Course Syllabi
Educational Leadership Handbook
Vita of core faculty

January, 2004                                                                                       33

Description: Project Report on Effectiveness of Training Development in Paper Mills document sample