CHARACTER • CIVILITY • COMMUNITY
CHARACTER • CIVILITY • COMMUNITY
CHARACTER • CIVILITY • COMMUNITY
CHARACTER • CIVILITY • COMMUNITY
CHARACTER • CIVILITY • COMMUNITY
Raising the standards
for ourselves, students,
and introspective review
2002 HLC/NCA REACCREDITATION REPORT
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
Introduction from the President........................................6
1. Self-Study Overview....................................................10
Purposes and Audiences
Linking the Self-Study Process to Other University Activities
Organization of the Self-Study
2. Institutional Profile and History.................................14
Profile of the University of Central Oklahoma
Key Developments Since 1992
Response to the 1992 NCA Evaluation
4. Criterion One...............................................................31
Criterion One: "The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes
consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher
Campus Mission and Purpose
College and Unit Missions
Communication of Mission and Purposes
Opportunities for Improvement
5. Criterion Two...............................................................40
Criterion Two: "The institution has effectively organized the human,
financial, and physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes."
UCO Campus Administration
Freedom of Inquiry
Support for Student Development
Physical and Environmental Resources
Opportunities for Improvement
6. Criterion Three..........................................................................................75
Criterion Three: "The institution is accomplishing its educational and other purposes."
Academic Program Development and Review
Assessment of Student Learning
Mid-Level/General Education Assessment
Program Level Outcomes Assessment
Other Academic Assessment Efforts
Opportunities for Improvement
7. Criterion Four..........................................................................................106
Criterion Four: "The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen
its educational effectiveness."
Campus-Wide Strategic Planning
Academic Decision Making Process
Master Plan – Facility Planning
Human Resources Planning
Opportunities for Improvement
8. Criterion Five...........................................................................................123
Criterion 5: "The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships."
Communicating Policy – Handbooks and Publications
Resolution of Disputes
Fair and Accurate Portrayal
Community and Other Relationships
Supporting Diversity Through Policies and Procedures
Opportunities for Improvement
9. Special Emphasis.....................................................................................134
The Special Emphasis
From Self-Study to Continuous Improvement
Opportunities for Improvement
10. Future Thoughts and Request for Continued Accreditation..............152
A GIR (General Institutional Requirements)
B Special Emphasis Letter of Agreement
C Organizational Charts
D Virtual Resource Room Listing
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
HLC Self-Study Committee Structure.......................................................13
UCO Full-Time Faculty.............................................................................56
UCO Faculty, Full-Time and Part-Time....................................................58
UCO Employees by Classification............................................................59
Federal College Work/Study Program.......................................................60
UCO Budget by Source, 91-92 to 01-02...................................................62
UCO Funding Comparison........................................................................63
Externally Funded Grants..........................................................................67
Externally Funded Grants – Faculty Participation....................................67
New Construction and Major Renovation
(over $500,000) Since 1992..............................................................70
Institutional Effectiveness Model............................................................108
Alliance for Institutional Advancement...................................................116
Special Emphasis Vision..........................................................................135
LIST OF COMMON ACRONYMS
AAB Assessment Advisory Board
AAC Academic Affairs Council
AAEC Academic Affairs Executive Council
AAHE American Association for Higher Education
AAUP American Association of University Professors
ACBSP Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
AIA Alliance for Institutional Advancement
AQIP Academic Quality Improvement Project
BOROC Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges
CLASS Cooperative Learning for Achieving Student Success
CLPD Center for Learning and Professional Development
CMP Campus Master Planning
CSC Code of Student Conduct
CUR Council on Undergraduate Research
E&G Educational and General
ELI Edmond Language Institute
ExCom Executive Committee
FEC Faculty Enhancement Center
GA Graduate assistants
HERI Higher Education Research Institute
HLC Higher Learning Commission (previously North Central Association)
JCGSR&R Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate Studies and Research
MFT Major Field Test
NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association
NCATE National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
NSF National Science Foundation
NSSE National Survey of Student Engagement
OCAST Oklahoma Center for Science and Technology
OSRHE Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
PIPR Program Improvement Process Report
PSS Prospective Student Services / Scholarships
RA Research assistants
RAC Research Advisory Council
SCIP State Capital Improvements Plan
SCT Systems and Technology Corporation, Inc.
UCOSA University of Central Oklahoma Student Association
URT Undergraduate Research Team
USCARE Undergraduate Student Center for the Advancement of Research
USDOE US Department of Education
VRR Virtual Resource Room
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Character, civility, and community are the
articulated values of the University of Central
Oklahoma. Our goal is to integrate these values into
the fabric of university life.
UCO is a community of learners, striving each
day to be more effective in serving the needs and aspi-
rations of the faculty, staff, and, most importantly,
the students. UCO requires and encourages a
free-flow of information, ideas, and opinions in an
institution that fosters social justice, values diversity,
and demands the highest standards of ethical conduct,
mutual respect and strong character. UCO offers its
students an education to enable them to become good
citizens and responsible, independent adults who
embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor.
From humble beginnings as a teacher training
school meeting in the Edmond First Methodist Church
in 1890, UCO is today the oldest institution of higher
learning in Oklahoma. UCO has evolved into a vibrant
institution with nearly 15,000 students, 386 full-time
and 317 part-time faculty, and 557 full-time and 119
part-time staff as of the fall of 2001. Within its five
undergraduate colleges and its college of graduate
studies and research, the university offers degrees in
92 subject areas at its 210-acre Edmond campus,
located just 15 miles north of downtown Oklahoma
City. The university has the good fortune of being sit-
uated in the center of the state and near the center of
state government, making it convenient to business,
social, cultural, and entertainment opportunities.
6 - INTRODUCTION
UCO serves as the home for several recognized and unique programs not found at
any other institution in Oklahoma. UCO offers Oklahoma’s only master’s degree
in Forensic Science, which was launched in 2000. The state’s only undergraduate
Biomedical Engineering program was inaugurated at UCO in the fall of 2001. The
university’s College of Business Administration offers the only Professional Golf
Management major in a six-state region, and also was initiated
in the fall of 2001.
“MAN’S MIND, STRETCHED
UCO is recognized as one of the nation’s leading insti-
TO A NEW IDEA, NEVER
tutions offering a master’s degree in physics. The UCO
RETURNS TO ITS ORIGINAL
Master’s in Industrial and Applied Physics program ranks
among the top 20 in the U.S. according to the American
Institute of Physics/Sloan Report (Nov. 2000). UCO has been
identified by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) as an example of a
university that is leading the way nationally in building an excellent undergradu-
ate research program. For the past two years, students from UCO alone have
been selected from among all state institutions to represent Oklahoma at the
“Posters on the Hill” research symposium at the capitol in Washington, D.C.
“Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never returns to its original dimen-
sion.” This prophetic insight of former United States Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes resonates throughout the UCO community, and is
especially embraced by the hundreds of caring, passionate and dedicated faculty
and staff. Although daunting at times, UCO has successfully accepted the
challenge of attracting, developing and retaining outstanding faculty and staff
who hold dear to the principles of empowering and enabling students to achieve
their dreams and aspirations for the future. And the results are encouraging.
• In February 2001, UCO psychology student Melanie Fulton became
the top psychology student in the nation, winning first place in the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) national competition for
undergraduate and graduate students. As she accepted the award, Fulton shared
the limelight with Physics Nobel Prize winner Dr. Leon Lederman.
• In April 2002, UCO senior German major Shawna Savage became one
of 960 students worldwide to receive the prestigious Fulbright Grant for graduate
study abroad. Savage was the second UCO student in four years to be the recipi-
ent of a Fulbright Scholarship.
• Four students from the Department of Physics and Engineering present-
ed research papers at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.
INTRODUCTION - 7
Five research papers written by UCO students were
published in the meeting proceedings.
• The UCO Dance Program received the
high honor of being selected from among more than
30 competing colleges and universities in the
Southwest to perform at the National Dance Festival
held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
• The UCO wrestling team won the NCAA
Division II National Championship during a March
2002 meet in Kenosha, Wisconsin. UCO defeated
two-time defending champion North Dakota State,
winning its 13th national title, with the most recent
These are but a few examples of UCO stu-
dents, with the assistance and support of devoted
faculty, and staff reaching into the future and
achieving excellence by accepting the challenge of
stretching their minds to new possibilities.
As an intrinsic value, the pursuit of excellence through helping students
learn has led UCO, as an institution, to view quality as a natural progression in its
long-term, continuous improvement. A critical element of that progression is
UCO’s anticipated participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Process
(AQIP), and through that participation, the specific identification of strengths and
“opportunities for improvement” (OFIs) within the university. The use of the term
OFI represents more than terminology. It helps to clearly identify areas in which
UCO genuinely desires to improve, presenting the challenge to go another step
toward providing quality programs and services. AQIP gives UCO a quality frame-
work for self-evaluation, which presents a baseline for recognizing opportunities
to respond positively to change and to significantly improve the institution in the
UCO believes that in order to be effective, institutions must respond to
change while affirming their principles. The horrific events of September 11, 2001
brought that balance into sharp focus. The UCO response to the attacks was a
unique initiative called “UCO’s World Within – Campus Friendships for Global
Understanding.” As the public institution with the highest percentage of interna-
tional students of any campus in Oklahoma, UCO brought together hundreds
of students, matching an international student with a U.S. student and a member
of the local community, to participate in an event of understanding and support of
each other, and demonstrating the university’s core values of community,
character and civility. “World Within” attracted attention from across the country,
including inquiries from several colleges and universities and media coverage
both locally and nationally, together with a special report on NBC’s Nightly
News with Tom Brokaw.
Responding to changes and needs within the community, and as a reflec-
tion of UCO’s vision for the future, in 2001 the university established the
College of Arts, Media, and Design, and within this new college the UCO
School of Music. The recent completion of the university’s Jazz Lab is a natural
extension of UCO’s commitment to the arts. By day the Jazz Lab serves as the
home to the university’s Jazz Studies program and to three jazz ensembles. By
night it opens its doors to the public and offers some of the finest live music
performances in the state of Oklahoma.
Beyond the recent additions of a college, innovative new programs, and
the Jazz Lab, the face of the UCO campus continues its transformation. The
university strives for excellence through the improvement and addition of much
needed facilities. Yet, as new facilities emerge, UCO defines clear paths toward
the enhancement of the sense of history on campus and in the community.
Restoration of venerable Old North, the university’s first campus building
(1893), is currently underway. Renovations to Mitchell Hall, UCO’s historic
performing arts theater, are expected to begin this year. UCO recently purchased
property bordering Stephenson Park near the Jazz Lab, which will be trans-
formed to become UCO’s new lab theater. New campus housing in the form of
apartments and suite-style housing, the design of which was based on student
input, has been completed. Construction of a 60,000 square-foot Wellness Center
is well underway and is scheduled to be ready for use by students, faculty and
staff in January 2003.
Through community connectivity, a residentially centered campus, and
new educational and cultural venues, UCO is bridging the gap between history
and future, all while continually evolving as a comfortable, safe and friendly
home away from home for generations to come.
Character, civility, and community are the core values of the University
of Central Oklahoma. These virtues reflect a rich tradition in human history and
culture. We at UCO willingly accept our roles as stewards of learning and part-
ners in shaping Oklahoma’s future.
W. Roger Webb, President
INTRODUCTION - 9
CHAPTER 1. -
PURPOSES AND AUDIENCES
The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO)
began preparing its application for continued accredi-
tation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
of the North Central Association of Colleges and
Schools almost three years in advance of the HLC’s
projected fall 2002 visit. UCO was last accredited by
the HLC in 1992.
President Roger Webb, who began his tenure
at UCO in 1997, appointed Dr. Don Betz as vice pres-
ident for academic affairs (now provost) in January
1999. Working together they selected co-chairs for the
self-study and identified the self-study committee,
calling the first meeting in March of 2000.
The co-chairs presented a draft guidebook, goals, and
timelines to the self-study committee which they
refined as the self-study progressed. The self-study
committee has involved faculty and staff on a variety
of sub-committees and has maintained an active web
site since fall 2000 to encourage community partici-
pation. After completing the data gathering phase, the
self-study committee recommended follow-up actions
to Dr. Betz who has responded with a consistent focus
towards continuous improvement. From the begin-
ning, the intended approach of the self-study process
has been an action orientation; that is, as the commit-
tee identified opportunities for improvement they
would share the findings with appropriate university
10 - CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW
OF THE SELF-STUDY
The self-study committee structure was developed to facilitate communica-
tion within the university as a whole. While the majority of members represented the
academic functions of the institution, individuals representing other institutional
components were included to serve as resources and to
ensure that many perspectives were included.
The HLC Self-Study Committee has met at
UCO SELF-STUDY GOALS
regular monthly intervals since its formation. Sub-com-
• To present compelling evidence of UCO’s
mittees met to draft responses to different components institutional effectiveness and health to
of the self-study and to review and affirm second drafts. NCA (now HLC), so that continued
accreditation for a 10-year term will be
The role of the HLC Self-Study Committee has been to granted.
monitor the progress of the sub-committees and to • To provide for and encourage active par-
ticipation in the self-study by people
coordinate necessary interaction among those sub-com- throughout the university: faculty, staff,
ponents. Members of the HLC Self-Study Committee administration, board of regents, students,
chaired all of the sub-committees. The HLC Self-Study and other constituents.
• To develop and disseminate regular, clear,
Committee has been involved in each step of the self- and thorough communication with all con-
study development, and every effort has been made to stituencies about self-study activities and
keep them well informed particularly in the special • To determine UCO’s success in addressing
emphasis pilot process. the concerns and suggestions the last NCA
team provided and to review and evaluate
The HLC Self-Study Committee members’
the changes that have taken place at UCO
contributions, both in the meetings and as part of the since the last self-study in 1992.
communication process throughout the university • To utilize information gathered during the
self-study process to move UCO forward
community, were essential to the success of the to higher levels of quality.
self-study process. Members put aside their departmen- • To systematically create an atmosphere of
continuous self-renewal and growth that
tal perspective and adopted a broader, university-wide connects university internal and external
outlook. They have served as trusted members of the processes, including assessing, reporting,
UCO community and have personified the values of planning, and budgeting.
• To pilot the use of the Academic Quality
character, civility, and community articulated by the Improvement Project (AQIP) model and
president and embraced by the university. They are to to participate in the NCA (HLC)
Collaborative Quality Colloquia as means
be congratulated for their contributions. of growth and improvement methods for
The list below identifies the HLC Self-Study UCO.
Committee membership. The chart following presents
the structure of the self-study committee, the sub-com-
mittees involved in the self-study, the sub-committees involved with
studies that resulted from the process, and the special emphasis teams.
CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW - 11
LINKING THE SELF-STUDY PROCESS
TO OTHER UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES
The self-study committee and many others across the UCO campus
applaud the Higher Learning Commission for its vision in creating the Academic
Quality Improvement Project as a means of increasing the value of the self-study
process to the institutions. UCO wants to reap the full benefit from the self-study,
as it demands an exceptional commitment from a large number of faculty and staff.
The self-study prepared for the re-accreditation of UCO is linked to the Academic
Affairs Institutional Effectiveness model (see Criterion Four-Chapter Seven). The
self-study committee considers the self-study process an assessment process.
Special sub-committees reviewed
three elements of the self-study
SELF-STUDY COMMITTEE MEMBERS: process and developed separate studies
leading to recommendations and
Dr. Riaz Ahmad – College of Mathematics and Science
Dr. Chalon Anderson – College of Education
Ms. Lisa Antonelli – Alumni Relations
The special sub-committees ana-
Ms. Cindy Boling – Institutional Research lyzed results of surveys of faculty and
Dr. Kenny Brown – College of Liberal Arts students and forwarded recommenda-
Dr. Judith Coe – College of Education tions to the provost. Similarly, when a
Dr. Ed Cunliff – Academic Affairs concern was raised in the self-study
Dr. Lola Davis – College of Education process regarding adjunct faculty, the
Dr. Donna Guinn – Office of Academic Affairs university conducted a complete study
Dr. Bill Hommel – College of Arts, Media, and Design of adjunct faculty utilization on the
Dr. Clyde Jacob – College of Education UCO campus. The resulting recom-
Mr. Mark Jones – Office of Financial Services mendations have been sent to the
Dr. Pat LaGrow – College of Mathematics and Science provost.
Ms. Karen Maltby – Office of Assessment
The University of Central Oklahoma
Mr. Jarrod Marcum-Noftsger - Student Services
is utilizing the self-study process as a
Dr. Bill Radke – Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate
salient opportunity for growth and
Studies and Research
development and looks forward to
Dr. Jere Roberson – Faculty Senate
feedback from the evaluation team as
Dr. Marco Roman – College of Liberal Arts
another opportunity for continuous
Dr. Mike Shirley – College of Business Administration
Ms. Sandra Thomas – Information Technology
Dr. Stacia Wert-Gray – College of Business Administration
12 - CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW
HLC Self-Study Committee
General Institutional Requirements
Dr. Jere Roberson* - Chair
Dr. Melinda Henderson
1992 Visiting Team Report Dr. Clyde Jacob*
Sub-Committee Dr. Gayle Kearns
Dr. Bill Hommel* - Chair Dr. Chris Markwood
Dr. Chalon Anderson* Dr. KJ Tullis
Dr. David Bass
Ms. Judy Courtney
Dr. Robert Epstein Criterion One Sub-Committee
Dr. Riaz Ahmad* - Chair
Dr. Patti King Buxton
Ms. Lisa Antonelli*
Criterion Two Sub-Committee
Dr. Maryellen Epplin
Dr. Kenny Brown* - Chair
Dr. Bruce Lochner
Dr. John Barthell
Dr. Jim Watson
Ms. Betty Beall
Dr. David Bridge
Ms. Jamie Hooyman
Criterion Three Sub-Committee
Dr. Mike Shirley*
Dr. Lola Davis* - Chair
Dr. Jan Hardt
Dr. Bambi Hora
Criterion Four Sub-Committee Dr. Pat LaGrow*
Dr. Stacia Wert-Gray* - Chair Ms. Karen Maltby*
Dr. Terry Clark Mr. Jarrod Noftsger
Dr. Anne Gleason Dr. Paulette Shreck
Dr. Barbara Green Dr. Gary Steward
Dr. Olivia Hanson-Painton
Dr. Phyllis Thornton
Criterion Five Sub-Committee
Dr. Marco Roman* - Chair
Dr. Rosa Bird
Dr. Alexis Downs
Dr. Judith Coe* - Chair
Dr. Wanda Johnson
Ms. Cindy Boling*
Ms. Linda Lofton
Self-Study Ms. Sandra Thomas*
Dr. Donna Zanowiak
Committee Faculty Enhancement Team
Dr. Ed Cunliff* Dr. Brent Wendling - Chair
Dr. Steve Garrison Mr. Ray Clanton
Dr. Donna Guinn* Dr. Dan Donaldson
Mr. Charlie Johnson Ms. Janelle Grellner
Dr. Olivia Hanson-Painton
Dr. John Osburn
Dr. Tess Remy-Schumacher
Dr. Candy Sebert
HLC Special Emphasis Sub-Committee
Ms. Jane Taylor
Dr. Ed Cunliff* - Chair
Dr. Katherine Terrell
Dr. Donna Guinn*
Mr. Mark Jones*
Dr. Bill Radke*
Dr. Brent Wendling Undergraduate Research Team
Dr. Geoff Willis Dr. Bill Radke* - Chair
Dr. John Barthell
Mr. Bert Boquet
Dr. Joe Johnson
Dr. Sam Magrill
Adjunct Faculty Study Sub-Committee Dr. Doug Reed
Dr. Judith Coe* - Chair Ms. Jane Taylor
Ms. Cindy Boling* Dr. Pam Washington
Ms. Tricia Johnson
Dr. Pat LaGrow*
Dr. Mike Shirley* Faculty Survey Sub-Committee
Ms. Sandra Thomas* Dr. Mike Shirley* - Chair
Dr. Steve Black
Dr. Patricia Buxton
Ms. Marilyn Govich
National Survey of Student Engagement Dr. Peggy Guthrie
Sub-Committee Dr. Kevin Hayes
Dr. Pat LaGrow* - Chair
Dr. Donna Carlon
Ms. Jamie Hooyman
Ms. Karen Maltby*
Dr. Robert McGill
Dr. Youngtae Shin
Dr. Donna Zanowiak
*Denotes membership in the NCA Self-Study Committee
CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW - 13
CHAPTER 2 - INSTITUTIONAL
PROFILE AND HISTORY
On December 24, 1890, the Oklahoma
Territorial legislature established a Territorial Normal
School in Edmond. Undeterred by lack of facilities or
sparseness of population, the territorial legislature
nevertheless linked the founding of the school to the
following conditions: (1) Oklahoma County would
donate $5,000 in bonds; (2) Edmond would donate 40
acres of land within one mile of town; (3) the land
would be divided into lots, except for 10 acres for the
campus; (4) the lots would be sold and the proceeds
used for the benefit of the school. These conditions
were met, and the town of Edmond donated an addi-
tional $2,000 in bonds to assist in opening the new
On November 9, 1891, 23 students met in the
Edmond First Methodist Church, and the oldest state
higher education institution in Oklahoma began its
evolution toward what today is the University of
Construction of the first campus building, Old
North Tower, began in the summer of 1892, and class-
es were first held on January 2, 1893. The school
operated first as a normal school, with two years of
college work and a complete preparatory school. In
1897, the first graduating class of five men and
women was awarded normal school diplomas.
In 1919, 29 years after the founding of the
institution, its name was changed from Territorial
Normal School to Central State Teachers College. The
training program expanded to a four-year bachelor’s
degree in education. The nine members of the class of
1921 were the first students to receive
14 - CHAPTER 2 PROFILE & HISTORY
In 1939 the Oklahoma legislature approved changing the name from
Central State Teachers College to Central State College and authorized the
granting of both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees.
On March 11, 1941, the Oklahoma legislature, by constitutional amend-
ment, created the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education (OSRHE), composed of all state supported col- MORE THAN 90,000
leges and universities. Thus, Central State College became STUDENTS HAVE GRADUATED
FROM UCO. SINCE 1890.
part of a coordinated state system of postsecondary educa-
tion, joining other institutions with similar missions as a
“regional institution.” This constitutional amendment also created the Oklahoma
State Regents for Higher Education as the “Coordinating Board of Control” of
the state system, with emphasis in the areas of institutional functions, programs
of study, academic standards, and finances.
In 1954 the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education authorized
Central State College to offer graduate education leading to the master of
teaching degree, the first of which was awarded in 1955. The title of this degree
was changed to master of education in 1969.
When the Oklahoma State legislature passed the “CSU Bill” on April 13,
1971, Central State College became Central State University. In the two decades
following this name change, Central State University rapidly expanded its
enrollment and academic offerings, particularly in graduate education and busi-
ness administration. In July 1991, Central State University became the
University of Central Oklahoma, a name more appropriately identifying the
institution’s uniqueness in serving the people of central Oklahoma. Thus, in the
brief span of 100 years the institutional character has undergone a complete
metamorphosis. From its origins as a Territorial Normal School of 23 students
the University of Central Oklahoma has become a diverse-purpose, metropolitan
university of 15,000 students.
PROFILE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is located on a 210-acre
campus in Edmond, a northern suburb of Oklahoma City. More than 90,000
students have graduated from UCO. Fall 2001 enrollment exceeded 14,700.
The university consists of five undergraduate colleges and a college of graduate
studies and research, with day, evening, and weekend classes offered. UCO
awards nine bachelor’s degrees, offering 118 majors in 62 programs.
CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY - 15
Six master’s degrees are offered in some 48 majors in 26 programs. UCO also
offers two certificate programs: one in Funeral Service and, beginning fall 2002,
one in Emerging Technologies.
The UCO campus is located near the geographical center of the Oklahoma
City suburb of Edmond. UCO’s Old North tower is a well-known landmark in the
community. The green and flowered landscape provides a warm invitation to the
public to come visit and participate. Students appreciate the university best,
perhaps, for its small class sizes and accessibility of faculty. Full-time and
part-time students often cite the opportunity to get to know their instructors in
a small class setting as a major contributor to their success at UCO.
The university is known for its fine performing and visual arts programs.
UCO theatre productions, live musical performances, dance recitals, and more
serve as an integral part of Edmond’s cultural activities in the
community. There is also a wide variety of intellectually
“WOULD YOU RECOMMEND UCO stimulating programs regularly available to the community
TO A FRIEND?” 87% OF UCO
through the six colleges. The conference center also brings
STUDENTS ANSWERED, “YES”
people to the UCO campus, allowing for further development
of the relationship between the university and the
community. One day it may be a Social Science fair featuring the work of local
high school students or an undergraduate research symposium that attracts faculty
and students across the state. The next day there could be a famous lecturer on
campus participating in the Liberal Arts Lecture Series or an event sponsored by
one of the 160 student clubs and organizations. The university motto,
“ubi motis est” (loosely translated as “where the action is”), is an accurate descrip-
tion of life at UCO.
The university’s desire to be accessible to students has meant not only
technological changes involving web-based courses, but enhanced scheduling
flexibility as well. The time between semesters provides opportunities for
intersession courses, and weekend courses help the working student achieve his or
her educational objectives.
UCO’s library strives to keep up with rapidly changing information
technologies, serving students with multiple databases for research, providing a
comfortable place to study, and offering assistance to students needing help with
the available resources. The library is also a welcome alternative to people from
the community unable to find what they are looking for at the public library.
16 - CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY
Frequent student surveys provide UCO faculty and staff with important
feedback. For example, the recent use of the National Survey of Student
Engagement (NSSE) represents part of the university’s desire to use the HLC
self-study as an opportunity for growth and development. The results from that
survey are being analyzed by faculty and will promote discussions focused on
improving student learning.
One student survey question that is used regularly has become an internal
benchmark: “Would you recommend UCO to a friend?” More than 87%
answered, “Yes” on the 2001-2002 Graduating Student Survey. Other comments
that are frequently found in surveys include the following: “My professors have
made my experience at UCO a positive and learning oriented experience.”
“Classes here seem to have better teachers than at other schools I’ve attended.
Teachers are more friendly and available.”
CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY - 17
KEY DEVELOPMENTS SINCE 1992
Since the last HLC visit, significant changes made at UCO have resulted in
several notable “firsts” for the institution. Changes have occurred in almost every
aspect of university life. There is a new sense of vitality and community on the
campus reflected in student activities, facilities and, most importantly, in the
Some significant changes and distinctions are highlighted below,
with additional information provided in later chapters or in other forms of
• Two different presidents have led UCO since the last NCA comprehen-
sive visit. President George Nigh served the university from 1992 until
1997, and President Roger Webb has led UCO since 1997.
• There has been a significant turnover in administrative positions. Of the
president’s Executive Committee and the Academic Affairs Executive
Council, only one member was in his current position when the
strategic plan was developed in 1997.
Planning and Organizational Development
• UCO developed a new comprehensive, self-initiated, strategic planning
process, which directly involved more than half of the faculty and staff
and resulted in a renewed mission, vision, and broad long-range
• UCO is the first institution in Oklahoma to experiment with the new HLC
Academic Quality Improvement Project. Using the special emphasis
option, UCO is exploring the applicability of the process
to the campus.
•The Office of Academic Affairs imple-
mented an Institutional Effectiveness
model designed to link previously dis-
parate processes into a coordinated
process of continual improvement
• The Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of
Graduate Studies and Research has
undergone several re-organizations
since 1992 and is now operating
with higher and clarified standards
18 - CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY
of admission and increased faculty involvement. Emphases on under-
graduate research and grant writing have brought the college into a
position of prominence on campus and among institutions throughout
the state, garnering even some national attention.
• The College of Education re-organization has improved both the
management of its various departments and its educational programs.
• UCO recently began participation in the OSRHE (Oklahoma State
Regents for Higher Education) matching-funds program to support
endowed chairs. Thanks to this program four different UCO programs
now receive special support.
• The Office of Assessment has brought a sustained series of nationally
recognized speakers to campus in the past four years and has provid-
ed the opportunity for faculty to attend American Association for
Higher Education’s (AAHE) annual assessment conference since
1992. The UCO campus has begun to recognize assessment for its
program improvement contributions.
• In January 2001, UCO created the College of Arts, Media, and Design.
The university designed the college with sufficient size to create a
synergistic impact on the arts community.
• UCO initiated a new Master of Science in Forensic Sciences in 1999.
This new program, founded on UCO’s ten-year highly successful BS
program, serves a large regional area and meets a growing need.
• UCO’s new Master of Science in Wellness Management, started in
2001, prepares students for a growing occupational area and allows
both professionals in the field and undergraduate students a unique
opportunity for growth.
• A warranty for UCO students receiving their degrees in teacher educa-
tion is a first for the state of Oklahoma. It is a bold demonstration
of the university’s belief in its faculty and students.
• The first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to the
College of Business Administration has produced a certificate
program in Emerging Technology. This dynamic 18-hour certification
provides opportunities for students in all disciplines to gain knowl-
edge in technology and have the opportunity for internships.
• The UCO College of Mathematics and Science recently initiated a “liv-
ing laboratory,” The Selman Living Lab (VRR – Selman Living Lab),
which provides students with hands-on scientific experience.
CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY - 19
Instructional and Support Technology
• Two of UCO’s colleges have wired all of their classrooms to provide
multi-media presentations, while the other colleges are pursuing the
• Distance education and e-learning courses are possible due to a combi-
nation of hardware systems, full-motion video, H.323, and software
programs. Front-Page and WebCT are available to faculty.
• The Faculty Enhancement Center (FEC), now in its fourth year, has
succeeded in creating opportunities for faculty to hone their
instructional skills. Nationally recognized speakers have provided
key-note addresses for the first three annual Faculty Enhancement Day
activities, followed by faculty led concurrent sessions.
Facilities and Infrastructure
• After more than fifteen years without a significant building project, UCO
has constructed several new buildings and renovated others. With new
apartment and suite-style student housing, a new “Jazz Lab,” which
includes music classrooms and a performance venue, and a new
Wellness Center to open in early 2003, this construction exemplifies
UCO’s new sense of life and vigor.
• The telephone system has been replaced with the latest state-of-the-art
equipment, enhancing communications both on and off campus.
• The information management system has been replaced with SCT’s
Banner System. Banner impacts every aspect of campus operations and
supports student interaction with UCO in areas of enrollment
• While finances are always a major challenge, these challenges have
accelerated since 1992. UCO has seen growth in its general operating
budget and its endowed areas. Alumni giving has increased, as has
giving from all sectors of the community.
• UCO commenced its first major fund-raising campaign in 1994 and
officially ended it in 1997, raising approximately $6,000,000. While
small in comparison to many institutions, this effort represented a new
mind-set for the campus.
• An innovative on-campus approach to fund-raising called the Alliance
for Institutional Advancement supports an entrepreneurial spirit among
the colleges and other areas. UCO believes that this new alliance will
improve the university’s fund-raising capabilities.
20 - CHAPTER 2: PROFILE & HISTORY
CHAPTER 3 – ACCREDITATION
UCO has held continual accreditation since
1921. Specialized accreditations have played a role
in the university’s efforts to improve its programs.
The current self-study process has been useful in
broadening the understanding on campus of the role
of accreditation as an opportunity for growth and
development. The provost and the HLC Self-Study
Committee have worked effectively to make the
current self-study process a vehicle for continuous
Specialized accreditations are an important
aspect of UCO’s quality processes. The accreditation
of programs, schools, and colleges supplies valuable
self-study information to the unit involved. UCO
and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education (OSRHE) find that the self-study for
accreditation is rigorous and serves well as a form
of program review. The following table represents
the current accreditations held by various organiza-
CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION - 21
1921 First accreditation by North Central Association as a teacher training institution.
1947 Accreditation continued.
1960 Accreditation to expand program to the master’s level with a revisit in three years.
1965 Accreditation continued following receipt of report requested by the 1963 visiting team.
1969 Accreditation continued at bachelor’s level and for the master of education degree with
the following limitations: (1) that a report be submitted in one to three years describing
limitations placed on the fields of specialization acceptable within the framework of the
authorized degree program; (2) that a progress report be submitted for two years outlin-
ing steps taken to reduce teaching loads and multiple course preparations;
and (3) that plans for faculty structure and participation outlined by the president to the
committee be developed as quickly as possible and a report on the results be submitted to
the Office of the Secretary within the next two years. Preliminary accreditation for the
M.A. English and the M.B.A. were denied.
1971 Preliminary accreditation granted for the M.A. English and the M.B.A.
1974 Accreditation continued and final accreditation given to M.A. English and the M.B.A.
1979 Accreditation continued with provision of a focused visit in three years.
1982 Accreditation continued following focused visit with a comprehensive evaluation in 1985.
1985 Accreditation continued with a comprehensive evaluation in 1992.
1992 Accreditation continued with a focus visit in 1997 and comprehensive evaluation in 2002.
1997 Accreditation continued with a comprehensive evaluation in 2002.
Program/Unit Accrediting Organization Last Accredited Cycle in
College of Business Administration Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs 1998 7
College of Education Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation 2001 5
College of Education National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education 2002 5
Speech-Language Pathology American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 1998 8
Family, Child and Human Development National Academy of Early Childhood Programs 2001 3
Nutrition and Food Management American Dietetic Association 1998 10
Dietetics American Dietetic Association 2001 10
Music National Association of Schools of Music 2002 5
Chemistry Committee on Professional Training
of the American Chemical Society 2000 4
Nursing National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission 2002 8
Nursing Oklahoma Board of Nursing 2000 5
Funeral Sciences American Board of Funeral Service Education 2002 7
22 - CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION
RESPONSE TO THE 1992
In its comprehensive evaluation of 1992 the NCA team voiced the
following concerns, each of which is followed by a description of the actions
taken by UCO in response:
(1) The team is concerned about the leveling effect of a rewards system,
for both salary adjustment and promotion in rank, that values time-in-
grade more heavily than demonstrated meritorious performance.
In certain select areas UCO has implemented market pay adjustments
and will implement others with the “salary card” as a base. This is the result
of administrative action and the work of a Market Pay Task Force that affirmed
the importance of the adjustments for staffing purposes. (See also Criterion Four)
(2) The university lacks adequate space
and has limited technological equipment
for both academic and administrative pur-
poses, compounded by continued growth in
enrollment and inadequate capital budget.
The university has undergone a tremendous
amount of new construction and major renovation.
The building program on the campus has resulted in
the addition of over 800,000 square feet, with over
one-third of this increase dedicated to academic
programs. Renovation and remodeling has occurred
in approximately 240,000 square feet. About
115,000 square feet have been retired.
Redistribution of courses throughout more of the day and evening has led
to a more efficient use of some rooms. The university has replaced the antiquated
and inadequate phone system, some laboratory and computer equipment, some
furniture and teaching aids, heating and air systems, and recently the information
system. The College of Business Administration and the College of Education
confirm that all of their classrooms are wired for multi-media.
Completion and furnishing of laboratories in the new science lab area is
occurring as funds become available. New construction projects include the
Wellness Center, Jazz Lab, and additional student housing.
CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION - 23
UCO is still under-funded, especially when compared to other institutions
of higher education in Oklahoma. Some “equity funding” has come from the
OSRHE to UCO, but it has been inadequate, and the university needs more.
Student enrollment rose, then declined, and is now rising slowly. There is a more
concerted effort to manage the enrollment and an effort to establish a more con-
sistent base of traditional students.
The Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Information Technology
have dedicated approximately $150,000 annually for faculty and staff technology
needs. This funding has made a significant difference in available technology and
associated professional development opportunities.
(3) Resources for support of faculty and professional development
needs are marginal.
There are several ways in which greater resources are supporting faculty
and professional development. Funds for faculty travel are available within the
colleges either through the deans’ or chairs’ offices. The Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and Research also supports faculty travel for those
actively involved in research and creative activities. The Faculty Merit-Credit
Program, launched in the 1994-1995 academic year, provides approximately
$16,000 annually to recognize achievement in teaching. Since the 1997-1998
academic year, the Office of Academic Affairs has annually funded approximate-
ly $30,000 for faculty development requests. Each year for the past four years,
the Office of Academic Affairs has also funded a group of faculty members to
attend the annual EDUCAUSE convention. For three years, the Office of
Academic Affairs has also funded faculty to attend the annual AAHE Conference
on Faculty Roles and Rewards.
The Faculty Enhancement Center
(FEC) was established in the 1998-1999
academic year with a half-time faculty coor-
dinator. It now provides significant
and diverse opportunities annually for faculty
The FEC fosters instructional innova-
tion, provides opportunities for teaching
faculty to discuss student learning, supports
faculty in their efforts to enhance learning in
24 - CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION
and out of the classroom, and brings research on teaching to the attention of
the university community. The annual Faculty Enhancement Day at the start of
the academic year has had over 70% of the full-time faculty voluntarily partici-
Hosted by the Assessment Office, numerous other activities, featuring
nationally recognized speakers such as James Anderson, Barbara Walvoord,
Susan Hatfield, and James Nichols, have also come to campus. These programs
have been intended to promote faculty development specifically as regards to
assessment activities. Along with the director of assessment, at least one faculty
member from each college attends the AAHE Assessment conference each year.
The Office of Academic Affairs also launched twice-per-semester profes-
sional development opportunities for chairpersons. “Roles and Responsibilities”
documents were developed to help guide chairs and deans. For example, noted
author Dr. Ann Lucas conducted a program on leadership and management
for department chairs and deans.
(4) Private investment in the institution has been virtually non-exis-
tent as the total value of the endowment of an institution more
than 100 years old is only $1.2 million.
Endowment holdings have now reached over $7,000,000. A permanent
development process is in place and continues to evolve to better serve the needs
of the institution. During the past five years, the number of alumni contributions
nearly doubled, and the funding amount increased by nearly 50 percent.
The creation of the Alliance for Institutional Advancement (AIA) in 2001
is the most recent innovative evolution in the external fund-raising efforts. It
effectively involves representatives from the whole campus and provides broader
support for annual giving, deferred giving, and major gift initiatives.
(5) The extremely high use of adjuncts remains a concern both
for its potential impact upon the perceived quality of instruction
and advising at UCO and its potential to mask the fact that the
university lacks adequate faculty resources to meet the educa-
tional needs of a growing student body.
It is important to understand the use of adjuncts within the context of the
specific institution. Nearly one quarter of the adjunct faculty at UCO are retired
full-time faculty members. Emeritus faculty bring a tremendous depth of experi-
ence and capabilities.
CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION - 25
Other adjuncts bring experience from outside the academy and thus broad-
en students’ perspectives and understanding. Adjuncts at UCO have an average
of five years experience with the institution. A survey of all department chairs
indicated that the adjunct faculty are as effective in the classroom as full-time
faculty. While it is understood that adjunct non-participation in committee work
increases the workload of full-time faculty, UCO believes its adjunct faculty make
a valuable contribution to the educational process. (Further discussion of adjunct
faculty occurs in Criterion Four and Chapter Nine-Special Emphasis on Quality
(6) Spiraling enrollment in the face of limited human and physical
resources calls for a choice between expending resources and
Enrollment decreased from 15,839 in 1992 to 14,195 in 2000. There was
also a decline in student FTE from 10,819 in 1992 to 10,593 in 2000. Faculty FTE
increased from 453 in 1992 to 493 in 2000. Full-time staff increased from 518 in
1992 to 534 in 2000. Enrollment has started to climb again, and resources will
continue to be stretched. The situation is exacerbated by the economic down-turn
anticipated in state funding. However, the university is taking a more proactive
stance and is considering a variety of responses.
(7) There is widespread student dissatisfaction with registration
procedures and the advising of students, both in their freshman
years and in their particular majors. This concern first surfaced
in the student surveys and was corroborated in conversation with
faculty and students during the team visit.
In 1995 registration procedures were streamlined with priority registration.
The combining of summer and fall enrollment periods serves the currently
enrolled student. Drop/add days have been added, but the time of late entry into
classes (now one week instead of two) has been shortened to enhance student
success rates. Advisement has been streamlined and expanded to include two
evenings per week. In 1995 drop/add fee and transcript fees were eliminated.
Since 1996 students can call an 800 number or connect via the UCO website for
grades. Schedules are available on the web. Enrollment management is centralized
and located in the Nigh University Center, providing convenience and a more
26 - CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION
accommodating atmosphere. The university implemented the SCT Banner system
for all its functional areas in Human Resources, Finance, and Student sections.
For the first time in April 2002, students were able to enroll for summer
and fall classes via the web and have been introduced to a whole array of infor-
mation services not previously available to them in web format. The registrar’s
office now determines registration priority time periods according to earned
credit hours rather than alphabetical distribution, thus providing more fairness
in access to high demand classes.
(8) The retention and the graduation rates for new entering
and transfer students seem low for a metropolitan institution.
UCO participates in the Center for Students Retention Data Exchange
(CSRDE) study of retention and
graduation rates. Retention rates of
first-time, full-time degree seeking
students fall within an acceptable
range when compared to those of
similar metropolitan universities.
UCO has increased its reten-
tion and student success activities.
The UCO Academic Support Center
operates as a separate unit and func-
tions to support students academically
during their general education. The
university has actively developed a
program for student orientation.
CLASS (Cooperative Learning for
Achieving Student Success) is a pilot
program for freshman transition into higher education. Title III and other grant
programs are now available on campus and provide additional support to specific
(9) Comprehensive long-term planning, a concern in the 1985 evalua-
tion report, does not yet integrate physical plant planning, student
assessment, program review, academic planning and budgeting,
and enrollment management.
CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION - 27
President Nigh had three main goals during his tenure, which began in
1992. First, construction and renovation of the campus; second, a focus on fund-
raising; and third, community/public relations. That sense of focus on campus
development was a major step forward in the integration of previously disparate
President Webb began his tenure by initiating a strategic planning process
that touched on all aspects of the institution, including facilities, academic
programs, fund-raising, and enrollment management. The resulting document
provides a revised mission statement and a vision for the future.
Academic Affairs is in the process of refining an institutional effectiveness
model that aims to fully integrate and link assessment efforts, program review,
planning, and budgeting. Since 1999, one of the objectives of UCO’s Long-Range
Plan was to tie the budget process to specific themes that were components
within the Long-Range Plan.
As do the offices of the other vice presidents, the Office of Academic
Affairs requires that deans and department heads tie budget requests to the long-
range planning themes.
(10) Graduate programs may be over-extended.
The Graduate College and Office of Research have been restructured and
combined. This combination has created a new synergy, as the Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and Research has targeted administrative efficiencies
and improved grant support for faculty, undergraduate research, and program
enhancements. Several outdated degree programs have been deleted, and several
relevant degree programs have been added. The Graduate Council reviews all
proposed modifications to graduate programs and courses.
The number of students admitted to graduate programs has increased
slightly, while there has been a reduction in the number of non-degree seeking
graduate students. Admissions requirements are now more rigorously enforced,
and standards are being elevated where appropriate. The overall number
of graduate degree programs has increased by two since 1992.
(11) The institution does not fully appreciate implications of the shift
of the funding model in the Office of the Oklahoma Regents for
Higher Education from one that is essentially enrollment driven
to one that is program driven.
28 - CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION
The university examines Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
allocation methodology each year while compiling system wide “budget needs”
to be forwarded to the Oklahoma State legislature. The newer methodology is
not strictly driven by programs, but also by peer funding, student FTE, and equi-
ty funding additions as funds are available.
The Office of Planning and Analysis and the Office of Financial Services
closely monitor the allocation methodology. Annual review includes such issues
as changes in program costs for UCO and other institutions, peer institutions,
and peer funding used for comparison of and between each tier, and changes
to the structure of each tier. In 2001-2002 the OSRHE began a partial perfor-
mance funding process that is receiving intense scrutiny from all state funded
(12) The team senses a perceived deficiency of communication
among the administrative levels, especially from above down,
which dates from the 1979-1982 reports to the present.
The quantity of communication has increased. The campus community
developed a long-range plan. Administrative teams at all levels hold regular
meetings. A professional University Relations staff has developed a “Univrel”
e-network. The university provides professional development opportunities to
deans, directors, and chairs.
There is increased recognition by administration of the importance of
Faculty Senate, American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and
other forms of shared governance. The president, provost, and other senior
administrative staff are increasing their attendance at department, program,
and college activities.
The university newsletter, “Centralities,” and the alumni relations’
publication, “Old North,” have seen significant enhancements, and a number
of divisions of the university have initiated their own newsletters. There are new
faculty and staff orientation programs. Web sites and e-mail are used extensively.
The president’s Executive Committee (ExCom) and the Academic Affairs
Executive Council (AAEC) meet regularly. Department chairs meet regularly
with their college deans as well as the provost. Opportunities for faculty and
staff at all levels within the university to work together have increased.
Examples include the strategic planning effort, committees such as the universi-
ty-wide Safety Committee, and task forces formed to examine specific issues,
CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION - 29
such as the Promotion and Tenure Task Force and the Globalization Task Force.
Under the provost’s leadership, examples of opportunities for dialog between
administration and faculty include meetings with the Faculty Senate executive
committee, AAUP executive committee and plenary sessions, and departmental
chairs, in addition to faculty lunches, Faculty Senate meetings, and college
(13) There appears to be disproportionate funding between men’s
and women’s athletic programs, in addition to the fewer opportu-
nities available to the female student population.
During the Title IX compliance audit in 1993, the university conducted an
extensive review of its men and women’s athletic programs. At that time efforts to
ensure equity were enhanced, and a women’s soccer program was added as a
varsity sport. All the budgets funded by the university in comparative sports have
been equalized along with other resources. The Regional Office of Civil Rights has
questioned a recent decision to terminate the track program based on financial
issues, but the university is responding to the questions and continues to affirm its
commitment to equity in women’s athletics.
30 - CHAPTER 3: ACCREDITATION
CHAPTER 4 – CRITERION ONE
CRITERION ONE: “The institution has clear
and publicly stated purposes consistent with its
mission and appropriate to an institution of
The University of Central Oklahoma meets
the requirements of Criterion One with its renewed
mission statement, its declaration of beliefs and
values, and its strategic plan. UCO actively commu-
nicates its mission through its actions and its external
and internal communications.
CAMPUS MISSION AND PURPOSE
The University of Central Oklahoma is a
comprehensive, metropolitan institution, classified
by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
(VRR – Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education) as a regional university. UCO is a
Carnegie Masters I institution that, by its student
headcount, is in the top 10% of the largest institu-
tions in the USA. It is a coeducational, multiethnic,
multicultural institution committed to a high quality
learning experience for both traditional and nontradi-
tional students. The university is dedicated to acces-
sibility, service, and respect for cultural diversity in
a global environment. It serves students through
traditional academic programs as well as nontradi-
tional curricular and extra-curricular activities. UCO
develops character, civility, and community in its
students, faculty, and staff.
CHAPTER 4: MISSION - 31
The university’s educational programs provide students with general
knowledge and an appreciation of traditional liberal arts, the skills and information
for mastery of a professional discipline, and the foundation for effective citizen-
ship. The university demonstrates its dedication to excellence with quality
instruction, student assessment, continuing
“The functions of the eight regional universities program development and review, and student
include (1) both lower-division and upper-divi-
sion undergraduate study in several fields lead- support services. The University of Central
ing to the bachelor’s degree; (2) a limited num- Oklahoma seeks to blend and balance education,
ber of programs leading toward the first-profes-
sional degree when appropriate to an institu- public service, and research efforts in addressing
tion’s strengths and the needs of the state; (3) the social and economic challenges of Oklahoma
graduate study below the doctor’s level, primar-
ily in teacher education but moving toward lim- and of a global society.
ited comprehensiveness in fields related to President Roger Webb initiated a campus-
Oklahoma’s manpower needs; (4) extension and
public service responsibilities in the geographic wide strategic planning process in September
regions in which they are located; (5) responsi- 1997. Approximately half of all faculty and staff
bility for institutional and applied research in
those fields of study related closely to their pro- were involved in a variety of committees, as were
gram assignments; and (6) responsibility for individuals representing the community at-large.
regional programs of economic development.”
OSRHE II-2-25 Business and government leaders, including the
mayor of Edmond, took part in a variety of activ-
ities and served as members of the University Planning Group. What emerged after
eighteen months of campus-wide candid deliberation was published in the form
of a booklet titled “Planning for the 21st Century: Achieving Human Potential at
the University of Central Oklahoma.” (VRR – Strategic Plan) During the planning
process the UCO mission statement was revised to read as follows:
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA MISSION STATEMENT
UCO exists to provide excellent
undergraduate, graduate and continuing education to enable students
to achieve their intellectual, professional, personal
and creative potential.
UCO must also contribute to the intellectual, cultural, economic
and social advancement of the communities
and individuals it serves.
32 - CHAPTER 4: MISSION
As important as the revision of the mission statement was, the
clarification of beliefs and values serves as the foundation for the future.
UCO BELIEFS AND VALUES
UCO’s fundamental responsibility is excellent teaching, which involves instilling and fostering in students the
joy of learning, the ability to think critically, and a desire to achieve their creative potential.
Our other major responsibilities include scholarly activities, research, and service to students, to other individ-
uals and to the larger community.
A college degree should represent an education that enables its recipients to become good citizens and respon-
sible, independent adults who embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor.
Great universities must require and encourage a free flow of information, ideas, and opinions in a community
that fosters social justice, values diversity, and demands the highest standards of ethical conduct, mutual
respect, and civility.
UCO as an institution, and all its constituents, must be committed to continuous processes of self-examination
and self-improvement that encourage innovation, receptiveness, and adaptation to change.
UCO must seek and maintain open and mutually beneficial relationships with its surrounding communities,
and must also view itself and its graduates as part of an increasingly interdependent global society.
The Academic Affairs division revised its mission during the process
The academic mission of the University of Central Oklahoma is to provide an educa-
tional environment that promotes the development of students, faculty, and society within the
global community. This environment bridges tradition and innovation, academic strength and
intellectual curiosity, individual pursuit and responsible citizenship.
The university offers an array of undergraduate programs and select graduate programs
designed to foster an atmosphere conducive to study, teaching, free exchange of ideas, ethical
inquiry, and the development of a personal philosophy. Additionally, all programs are
designed for an appreciation of social justice within the parameters of an ever-changing multi-
cultural and multi-ethnic milieu.
Essential to fulfilling this mission is the development of a teaching faculty who excel
in their roles as educators, creative scholars, and researchers, thereby benefiting the profes-
sion, the university, and society.
CHAPTER 4: MISSION - 33
Strategic planning resulted in nine themes that provide broad-based goals
within which the university operates. At the annual “Welcome Back to Campus”,
the president up-dated the UCO community on the progress in achieving these
goals. At the president’s annual retreat with his executive staff in June 2001, a
substantial part of the agenda focused on evaluating progress made toward each of
the goals presented in the strategic plan.
In another effort to maintain focus on the goals, academic departments, as
they request budget modifications, are required to reference the planning themes
and relate their budget requests to meeting strategic goals.
1. Students - Students are the reason for the
University of Central Oklahoma’s existence.
2. Faculty - A university can only be as good as
3. Staff - A qualified, effective staff is the engine
that enables an institution to run smoothly.
4. UCO and the Community - A university is an
integral part of the communities it serves.
Making positive contributions to the commu-
nities is an increasingly important part of the
5. Academic Programs - The content and quality
of academic programs are critical distinguish-
ing features of all great universities.
6. Facilities - Quality facilities at a university
enhance learning, add to efficiency, and
enhance aesthetic enjoyment.
7. Technology - Technology is changing every-
thing we do and the way we do everything.
8. Resources - Adequate resources are no substi-
tute for visions, plans, and dedicated people,
but they are indispensable to achieving excel-
lence in higher education.
9. Administration and Organization - For a uni-
versity to be effective it must be well orga-
nized; for a university to be responsive it must
be well managed.
34 - CHAPTER 4: MISSION
COLLEGE AND UNIT MISSIONS
Many of the colleges, departments, and other units within the
university had clear mission and goal statements prior to the strategic plan.
However, as part of the strategic planning process, even those that had mission
and goal statements were directed to review and update them. It was important to
ensure alignment of departments and colleges with the new university mission.
Some examples from the campus follow. The first example is presented
with the goal statement in addition, as it is from the newest college on campus
that was created as a result of the strategic planning activities.
College of Arts, Media, and Design
“Within a supportive atmosphere for scholarly and creative activity, the
College of Arts, Media, and Design is dedicated to exceptional, state-of-the-art
education programs enabling students to achieve professional craftsmanship,
artistic excellence, preparation for future professional pursuits, and leadership in
the arts and art education. Further, the College of Arts, Media, and Design is
committed to championing the study, understanding, and advancement of the arts
as a fundamental component of humanity and as a dynamic element of social,
economic, political, and cultural life in a changing world.
The College of Arts, Media, and Design:
1. Seeks to be a leader in developing arts education programs
and in preparing arts educators in and beyond Oklahoma.
2. Strives to be interdisciplinary in its academic programs,
pedagogy, and planning.
3. Serves the local and regional community by promoting cultural
awareness through the arts.
4. Aims to expand technology and innovation within artistic prac-
tices while preserving artistic heritage.
5. Works to educate students with a global vision and a broad sense
of cultural responsibility.
6. Seeks to develop arts entrepreneurship.”
“In support of the instructional and research mission of the University of
Central Oklahoma, the mission of the Chambers Library is to select, collect,
organize, preserve, and provide access to local and remote information resources.
Through its commitment to teaching information seeking skills and strategies,
the library promotes critical thinking and scholarly indepenence.”
CHAPTER 4: MISSION - 35
Student Financial Aid
“The Office of Student Financial Aid is committed to providing quality ser-
vice to students, prospective students, parents, and the community by facilitating
the acquisition of resources for all eligible applicants. UCO’s administrative com-
mitment is to continue the expansion of positive Financial Aid Services that will
assure accessibility to education for all interested parties.”
Division of Student Services
“The mission of the Division of Student Services is to provide a support-
ive, challenging, and enriching campus environment, which will facilitate
students’ personal development and enhance their academic experience in
preparation for meeting the challenges of a changing society.
Independently and in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff, we
contribute to the communities we serve by responding to the issues, ideas, and
needs of all students. We provide diverse programs and services designed to enrich
the collegiate experience.”
Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Culture Studies
“The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Culture Studies
teaches UCO students with a variety of professional and personal goals to become
proficient in other languages, to take a critical, comparative and sophisticated view
of cultures and literatures, and to become effective agents in a global society. We
are UCO’s primary portal to the world beyond Oklahoma.”
Communication of Mission and Purposes
The University of Central Oklahoma communicates its mission, beliefs,
and values to a variety of audiences and in a variety of formats. The most tradi-
tional of those formats are the catalogs, published for undergraduate and graduate
students. The catalogs are widely distributed to students, faculty, and staff and are
regularly used by members of the community.
The information is shared with faculty and staff through orientation
programs. At the New Employee Orientation program each individual is pro-
vided a copy of “Planning for the 21st Century” which is briefly introduced by a
presenter from the president’s Executive Committee. At the New Faculty
36 - CHAPTER 4: MISSION
Orientation, a part of the “Welcome Back To Campus” activities, those new to
UCO receive copies of the strategic plan. The “Welcome Back” programs
provide an opportunity for the president and provost to address the assembled
faculty each semester. This time is used to review the plan’s progress and to
highlight themes related to mission and beliefs.
Students are also exposed to the institutional mission and beliefs through
orientation held at the beginning of the academic year. As students listen and
interact with members of the university community who work to clarify the
university’s mission and purposes. Students experience the sense of community
and availability of faculty and staff.
Most of the university’s organizational units publish their own mission
and goals. Some departments publish their missions and publicly display them.
Other units utilize the web as a means of communicating mission and purpose.
Because today’s students and parents frequently employ the web as the primary
means of learning about an institution and available programs, electronic
communications are crucial. Brochures are more traditional vehicles, which
academic departments and units use to communicate their services.
To the world at large, the mission is most readily available via the web,
but traditional media also serve a vital role. News releases, informational broad-
casts on radio and television, and alumni and campus publications inform a large
number of current, future, and past students, parents, consumers, contributors
and other stakeholders. Local media carry general interest news about the univer-
sity. UCO’s campus information services contribute as well and frequently direct
information to specific audiences.
The mission and goals are best commu-
nicated through actions. UCO’s academic pro-
grams are designed to enrich students’ lives,
stimulate student learning, and furnish students
with skills necessary for successful lives in the
21st century. For example, the Master of
Science in Forensic Sciences, which obtained
approval from the Oklahoma State Regents for
Higher Education in June 1999, represents the
best in interdisciplinary cooperation among
several academic departments to provide
preparation for a growing career area.
CHAPTER 4: MISSION - 37
Responding to calls for reforms in teacher training, the College of
Education initiated a reorganization and developed a seven-point plan for quality
improvement. The initiatives included: (1) a warranty for students in teacher
education; (2) higher standards for teacher education (increased GPA from 2.50 to
2.75); (3) an endowed chair; (4) a Center for Teaching Excellence for fall 2000;
(5) strengthened partnerships with public schools (major GEAR-UP participant
with OKC Schools); (6) the adoption of Arcadia Elementary; (7) twenty-two ser-
vice learning projects in communities and the establishment of advisory boards for
Finally, UCO communicates its
mission through a variety of what might be
called “in-reach” efforts that bring mem-
“IN-REACH” ACTIVITIES bers of the community to the institution.
- The Department of Physics and Engineering This occurs when visitors come to campus
Advisory Board is composed of eleven central to participate in non-credit and entertain-
Oklahoma area industrial, technological, and
ment activities ranging from sports to fine
- The Department of Curriculum and Instruction arts programs. It also happens as members
uses a program advisory panel that is com- of the community are invited to participate
prised of public school personnel, students, in strategic planning, to serve on advisory
and other constituent members.
groups for specific programs, and to help
with the analysis of long-range environ-
mental scanning activities.
38 - CHAPTER 4: MISSION
The role of the university is clearly defined in state statute, and the university
has a long history of achieving its goals in light of its stated role.
The mission of the university and those of the units within the university
are clearly stated and fully support the overall university mission.
The university speaks through its actions and implements its mission
and strategic plan while emphasizing character, civility, and community.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The university would benefit from a sustained focus and a regular
re-visiting of the institutional vision and planning themes. Communication
with faculty and staff should move the
members of the institution forward
toward realization of its vision.
Administrators must regularly commu-
nicate to faculty and staff the progress
being made to achieve the institution’s
The challenge is to demonstrate
the exuberance and energy created by
the excellent students and faculty who
are the lifeblood of the institution. The
university must continue to communi-
cate with its constituents and listen to
their ideas and common concerns.
This communication process should
include citizens of the state, business
and industry, and other political
stakeholders. UCO must strive to be
recognized for the unique and produc-
tive role it plays within Oklahoma.
CHAPTER 4: MISSION - 39
“The University of Central Oklahoma has effective-
ly organized the human, financial, and physical
resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.”
The University of Central Oklahoma
accomplishes its purpose through organizational
structures directed by eminently qualified and
experienced administrators who facilitate policy
development and decision-making. The procedural
processes are well defined and understood by the
UCO constituencies. The result is an informed and
involved university community.
The University of Central Oklahoma operates
under a dual system of external control and
governance. The university is part of the Oklahoma
State System for Higher Education created by consti-
tutional amendment in 1941. The university is also
one of six other regional institutions governed by the
Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges (BOROC).
(There are two other institutions classified as regional
by OSRHE that are not under BOROC.)
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
The Oklahoma State System of Higher
Education was created in 1941 by a vote of the people
that amended the state’s constitution to provide for
such a system. The OSRHE is the statewide
coordinating board for the state’s 25 colleges and
universities, ten constituent agencies, and two higher
education centers. The OSRHE also manage 23
scholarships and other special programs.
40 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
There are nine members of the OSRHE appointed by the governor of
Oklahoma and confirmed by the senate. Members serve nine year overlapping
terms. Each has a strong interest in higher education, coming from such diverse
backgrounds as law, business, banking, and farming. Their chief executive offi-
cer, designated as Chancellor, implements and monitors the OSRHE operations.
The constitutional duties of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education are: planning and coordinating of all institutions as to function,
programs, standards, and degrees; determining the budget needs of each institu-
tion; and presenting to the state legislature a budget for the state system.
Therefore, all annual budgetary requests and requests pertaining to academic
programs must be submitted for approval to the Oklahoma State Regents for
Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges
Whereas the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education set and
coordinate general, statewide, broad policies, the immediate governing board
of the University of Central Oklahoma is the Board of Regents of Oklahoma
Colleges (BOROC). Created by the Oklahoma constitution in 1948, this board
hires the presidents and oversees the campus policies of UCO and five other
institutions that also originated as normal schools and have evolved into
multifaceted universities. The governor appoints eight members to the BOROC.
The ninth member is the state superintendent of public instruction, an elected
official. Like the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, members of the
Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges come from a variety of distinguished
backgrounds and professions.
The BOROC normally meets eight times each year. This board has super-
vision, management, and control of the six regional universities. It determines
policies necessary to govern each institution, employs personnel, has custody of
records, and administers the academic programs and budgets
allocated and approved by the OSRHE. The BOROC maintains
active committees: audit and finance, personnel, policy and
procedures, buildings, and academic affairs. It is important to
note that while the BOROC governs the universities under its
control, its powers and duties are limited by and subject to the
authority expressly delegated by law to the OSRHE.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 41
Coordinated External Governance
For the University of Central Oklahoma, this dual system of control and
governance means the president, as chief executive officer, may communicate
institutional priorities either to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
or the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Colleges or to both. These communications
generally revolve around two functional groupings. One cluster, termed coordina-
tion, consists of the Oklahoma State Regents’ responsibilities for mission,
programs, data, and state appropriations. The second cluster, termed management,
embraces the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Colleges’ concerns over personnel,
institutional budgets, and policies and procedures for the day-to-day operation of
the institution. Through this dual system, the two boards retain ultimate responsi-
bility for all university matters, though they delegate responsibility for daily
operations to the president. This system of governance establishes administrative
responsibility in carrying out the university’s mission and purposes.
This system has worked well for the institution in terms of daily opera-
tions. However, in terms of resolving certain issues that are unique to UCO, such
as its history of chronic under-funding relative to its sister institutions, it has not
had a significant impact. The idea of a separate board for UCO as the unique, met-
ropolitan institution that it is has arisen occasionally but has never been formally
UCO COLLEGES W. Roger Webb, as president of
College of Arts, Media, and Design UCO, is the chief executive officer.
College of Business Administration President Webb began his tenure with
College of Education UCO in 1997 after serving for 19 years as
Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and Research president of Northeast Oklahoma State
College of Liberal Arts University. The president is responsible
College of Mathematics and Science for seeing that all activities of the univer-
sity meet high standards of quality,
ensuring effectiveness and efficiency.
42 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
One of President Webb’s first acts on campus was to announce a long-
range, strategic planning effort that has impacted all aspects of operations. It was
a renewal of mission and vision and altered the administrative framework. The
president works primarily through the president’s Executive Committee
(ExCom), consisting of six key positions:
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Administration
Vice President for Student Services
Assistant to the President/Vice President Information Technology
Director of University Relations
The president meets regularly with the president’s Executive Committee
to formulate strategies necessary to accomplish short and long-range goals of the
institution. These meetings also serve as a forum for the executive officers to be
informed and advised on academic, administrative, and student initiatives or
The president also holds annual retreats with the president’s Executive
Committee, usually in the early summer. The last such retreat was devoted
primarily to a review of the strategic plan. At the fall 2001
“Welcome Back to Campus” meeting, the provost, the vice
president for administration, and the president all reported
on issues connected to the strategic plan. The administrative
organizational charts may be found in Appendix D of this
The provost and vice president for Academic Affairs,
Dr. Don Betz, is the chief academic officer of the institution
and facilitates all academic efforts of UCO. Dr. Betz has had
an outstanding academic career and has served with President
Webb at Northeastern Oklahoma State University. He came
to UCO in 1999 as vice president for academic affairs and, in 2000, became
executive vice president. This additional title was an expansion of the position
and an identification of the Office of Academic Affairs as a focal point for opera-
tions and a commitment to academics first. Dr. Betz’ title was changed again in
January 2002 to provost and vice president for academic affairs.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 43
This position is ultimately responsible for the administration of academic
policies and programs and for providing the leadership necessary for the institu-
tion to achieve its academic mission. Within the Office of Academic Affairs are the
provost, an associate vice president who manages the daily operations and through
whom other staff report to the provost, and four assistant vice presidents dealing
with personnel, enrollment management, planning and analysis, and policy. There
are six deans who provide leadership for the academic colleges and the graduate
and research area. The Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate Studies and
Research is different from the other colleges and serves to oversee graduate
curriculum issues through the Graduate Council, manages graduate admissions,
monitors the use of graduate assistants, and works to facilitate research
In each of the other colleges, the dean is the chief academic officer and is
assisted in the administration of the college by an assistant dean and by chairper-
sons of each academic department within the college. Surveys conducted with
faculty and chairpersons as part of the HLC self-study consistently indicated that
decisions at the departmental level are made with considerable input from the
faculty. A majority vote of the faculty decides most important academic issues
within each department. Each college has slightly differing organizational
structures but most have actively functioning academic, assessment, technology,
and other committees.
The Academic Affairs Executive Council (AAEC) consists of the provost,
associate vice president and assistant vice presidents for academic affairs, deans,
assistant deans, and executive director of the library. This body meets regularly
to address matters pertaining to academic issues. Additionally, the provost con-
ducts several meetings with the chairpersons of the academic departments every
semester. The university also holds annual university-wide faculty meetings to dis-
seminate information to the faculty and administrative staff. University Relations
sends daily electronic communications to the university community via the insti-
tutional network, providing immediate notification of key university announce-
44 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
The vice president for Administration is the chief fiscal and business
officer of the institution and manages the business operations of the campus,
including the physical plant, public safety, human resources, and affirmative
action. This position also plays an important role in representing the institution
to external organizations, including the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Mr. Steve Kreidler, who joined UCO in 2001, serves the institution as
vice president for administration. In his previous position as director of the
Edmond Economic Development Authority, Mr. Kreidler had worked closely
with UCO on several projects and had served on the University Planning Group,
the central body for the strategic planning effort.
The Alliance for Institutional Advancement (AIA), formed in January
2002, is co-directed by the provost and the vice president for administration,
though organizationally the staff report to the vice president for administration.
This alliance coordinates the external fund-raising efforts for the institution.
Efforts of the alumni relations office, the UCO Foundation, and the KCSC radio
station come together through this new initiative. UCO does not have a lengthy,
successful history in external fund-raising and is also challenged by the competi-
tive efforts of the research institutions in the state that frequently vie for the
same external resources.
The vice president for Student
Services, Dr. Kathryn Gage, is responsible
for the recruitment of students, support ser-
vices for students, campus life activities,
leadership/service opportunities, and
career placement services. UCO’s strategic
plan emphasizes the need for an enhanced
student life environment to encourage
improvements in student socialization,
intellectual growth, career development,
and greater sensitivity to issues of diversi-
ty. The vice president for student services
provides the leadership to help the univer-
sity move toward those quality improve-
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 45
Dr. Gage began her service to UCO in 1993 as director of Career
Development and Placement. President Webb appointed her to the position of vice
president for student services in 1997. Dr. Gage’s commitment to UCO, and to
serving students, has been a great asset to the institution and has been an excellent
match with the university’s increasing emphasis on student life.
Information Technology is under the leadership of the assistant to the
president/vice president for infomration technology, Dr. Cynthia Rolfe. The role of
Information Technology is to coordinate for the university community an up-to-
date technology infrastructure, application support, and technical support in a
timely, service-oriented manner. Information Technology is a service division
helping students, faculty, staff, and community meet technology needs. The chief
technology officer is responsible for the major systems implementation, now
underway, that will impact every facet of the university from student enrollment to
Dr. Rolfe joined UCO in 1997 and was one of President Webb’s first
personnel hires. Her role as assistant to the president involves her in many areas
outside the realm of information technology. She often serves the institution in
special project efforts and frequently represents the institution with external orga-
The president’s Executive Committee (ExCom) is completed with Dr.
Doug Fox and Dr. Bill Wiseman. Dr. Fox has served the institution in a part-time
capacity as executive-in-residence since President Webb came on campus. Dr. Fox
was the primary facilitator of the strategic planning effort. As a lawyer with
extensive business experience, Dr. Fox is uniquely qualified to provide guidance
to the institution regarding the recent construction efforts. Dr. Wiseman served
UCO as a consultant in public relations beginning in 1997 and became full-time
director of University Relations in 1999. He has been instrumental in the
improvement of media recognition of UCO activities and achievements.
Faculty and student involvement in UCO’s decision-making processes
is important and is illustrated by the fact that the OSRHE make use of a Faculty
Advisory Committee and a Student Advisory Committee at the state level.
46 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
UCO Faculty Governance
The UCO Faculty Senate (VRR- Faculty Senate), consisting of members
from each of the academic colleges, operates in an advisory capacity. There are
three administrative staff members that also are elected and serve the faculty
senate. Faculty senate proposals are presented by members, assigned to appropri-
ate committees, and then considered by the full senate. The senate then submits
them to the academic administration for consideration. The administration
honors senate recommendations and frequently accepts them.
The president and the provost meet separately each month with the exec-
utive committee of the faculty senate. The president of the faculty senate meets
more frequently with top administrators as the need arises. The senate’s input is
advisory, but the president frequently approves formal acts of the faculty senate.
Many issues of lesser import are dealt with informally. The campus generally
perceives this level of communication between administration and faculty as
Non-faculty administrative staff serve on the faculty senate as well.
This arrangement is part of a faculty desire to allow for input and to enhance
communications. The faculty senate does not, however, purport to represent
non-faculty staff. There is no current body that represents staff. The administra-
tive staff discussed this issue during President Nigh’s tenure, but there was no
expression of need or interest in such a body because many of the issues facing
this group are managed by the office of Human Resources.
Although the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is
quite active on the UCO campus, it is not a collective bargaining agent for the
faculty. The faculty senate is the officially recognized body representing faculty.
However, the provost meets with the president and executive committee of
AAUP on a regular basis and considers their proposals. This communication
provides another opportunity for expanding perspective and building community.
The university has three permanent academic councils: Academic Affairs
Council, Graduate Council, and Council on Teacher Education. The elected
members of each council direct their attention to policies and procedures on aca-
demic programs, courses, and requirements.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 47
The University of Central Oklahoma Student Association (UCOSA)
consists of a bicameral legislature and an executive committee. The two bodies of
the legislature are the House of Representatives and the Senate. The senate
consists of students representing all of UCO’s recognized student organizations.
Student organizations select their own senators. The house of representatives con-
sists of students elected to represent each of UCO’s five colleges. The number
of representatives is divided among the academic colleges based upon enrollment.
The executive committee consists of four officers: president, vice presi-
dent, senate president pro tempore, and the speaker of the house. Elections are held
for the offices of president and vice president in the spring. All students may vote
in this election. The senate selects the president pro tempore, and the house of
representatives selects the speaker.
Representation of the students and allocation of student activity fees are the
two main functions of UCOSA. The house and senate pass legislation that is
forwarded to the UCO president’s office. This legislation serves as student recom-
mendations to the UCO administration. UCOSA allocates student activity fees to
recognized UCO student organizations in two ways. Student organizations apply
for annual funding that is allocated in the spring for use during the following
fiscal year. Organizations and individuals may also apply for one time funding to
be used on projects not funded during the general spring allocation.
The UCOSA Executive Committee also attends monthly meetings with the
president and vice president for student services. These meetings create an
invaluable understanding between students and administration.
48 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
FREEDOM OF INQUIRY
Freedom of inquiry is part of the UCO culture. Freedom of inquiry is
inherent in the “Three C’s” to which the president frequently refers: “Character,
Civility, Community.” There is reference to the concept of academic freedom in
the strategic plan as one of UCO’s Beliefs and Values:
“GREAT UNIVERSITIES MUST
REQUIRE AND ENCOURAGE A
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION,
IDEAS, AND OPINIONS IN A
COMMUNITY WHICH FOSTERS
SOCIAL JUSTICE, VALUES
DIVERSITY, AND DEMANDS
THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF
ETHICAL CONDUCT, MUTUAL
RESPECT, AND CIVILITY.”
The following comments were taken from responses to a survey of deans
and department chairpersons who were questioned about the philosophy and
practice of freedom of inquiry. These responses illustrate how the concept is
embedded in the culture of both students and faculty at UCO.
History and Geography: “Freedom of inquiry is part of the fundamental
belief system in the disciplines of history and geography. It is a deeply ingrained part of
our value system. If any disagreement or problem arises in this regard, individual facul-
ty approach the chair to resolve it. The frequent departmental meetings also serve as a
forum for discussing such issues, and our college-wide meetings among the chairs serve
as an additional safeguard.”
Chemistry: “The unit promotes critical thinking and analysis skills, especially
in upper division courses, which involve research papers and critical laboratory reports.
The department also encourages students to participate in research projects through the
Directed Research course. The department also offers practicum and internship opportu-
nities for students.”
Finance: “Faculty members are open to interaction with students, both in and
outside class. Independent Studies are offered as resources permit. These allow the stu-
dents to investigate topics using a more thorough approach. Local companies offer
internships to qualified and interested students. Faculty members supervise the intern-
ships, interacting with both the students and the company contacts.”
Humanities and Philosophy: “The faculty of this department are specifically
tasked with getting students to think. Humanities and Philosophy is about freedom of
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 49
SUPPORT FOR STUDENT DEVELOPMENT
The University of Central Oklahoma provides comprehensive services to
students in order to facilitate their achievement of educational and life goals. The
geographical location of the university attracts a diverse population of traditional
and non-traditional students pursuing a wide range of goals. The challenge of
helping those students is shared by an array of support systems working together.
Student Demographics and Patterns
A sufficient number of students are enrolled to meet the institution’s stated
educational purposes. University of Central Oklahoma’s student population has
fluctuated during the past ten years, but there now appears to be a leveling of
enrollment. There has been discussion of what might be the optimum enrollment.
Several demographic trends have emerged during the last ten years. For the
seventh straight year, first-time freshman enrollment has exceeded that of the
preceding year. In fall 2001, the number increased by 124 for a total of 2,179 first-
time freshmen, representing more than 17% of the total undergraduate population.
The mean age of the UCO student in 2001 was 25, compared to 28 ten years ago.
The percentage of full-time students has increased from 53% in 1991 to 64.5% in
fall 2001. The number of sections offered has doubled, and the number of student
enrollments during the afternoon hours has almost doubled. In fall 1991 only 734
freshmen took the ACT, with a 20.5 average score. The number of entering
freshman who have taken the ACT in fall 2001 has increased to 1,125, with an
average score of 21. During the same time frame, first year retention has increased
steadily, from 47% to 50%. The six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time
degree seeking students has increased from 22.4% for the 1987 cohort to 27.22%
for the 1994 cohort. All of these trends point towards the development of an
increasingly “traditional” student body on campus, providing a more stable, more
engaged student population (VRR – UCO Factbook).
The OSRHE review enrollment and degree productivity at all
FOR THE SEVENTH public institutions for “low productivity” programs as they are defined
in state policy. UCO has no programs currently identified by the
THE FIRST TIME
OSRHE in this category. The deans constantly monitor program
MENT HAS EXCEEDED productivity within each college. Productivity review is also a compo-
THAT OF THE nent of the program review process. All current programs have ade-
quate student enrollment and degree activity to support continuation.
50 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
The student population also represents the increasingly diverse nature of
the global community in which it exists. In fall 2001 UCO had students from
109 countries, 38 states, and 76 of 77 Oklahoma counties. Over the past few
years there has been an increase in African American, Asian, Native American,
and Hispanic students. The number of non-resident international students has
also continued to rise.
F 1991 F 1993 F 1995 F 1997 F 1999 F 2001
White 12,408 12,817 12,009 10,678 10,457 10,647
Black 1,012 1,024 872 847 976 1,028
Asian 225 277 332 346 390 414
Hispanic 165 209 263 301 332 400
International 754 1,059 1,355 1,390 1,580 1,652
American 374 470 540 526 554 632
Student Support Services
The Student Services Division (VRR – Student Services Division) has
responsibility for the largest portion of the co-curricular experience of students.
The vice president serves as a student advocate and a liaison to the president and
other members of the president’s Executive Committee in matters of student life.
The division supports student learning by providing quality and engaging student
The university has recognized the critical role of student life in support-
ing student academic success. The provost and the vice president of student ser-
vices collaborate on keeping the vital connection in clear focus. Student
Services is sensitive to the diversity of UCO students and provides services to
new, continuing, transfer, and nontraditional students in areas including personal
and career counseling, health services, housing, and recreational activities.
Services are also available for the large international
student population, helping to make these students feel more
comfortable while away from home. International students are
often faced with issues concerning their visas, language UCO HAS THE SIXTH
challenges, and cultural issues that require special treatment
STUDENT POPULATION OF
and knowledge. The International Office helps students with ANY MASTER’S INSTITUTION
living arrangements and contact with the community. The suc- IN THE UNITED STATES.
cess of our international students validates the sufficiency of the
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 51
support that the International Office provides them. A new program, created after
the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in
Washington, D.C., is the World Within program (VRR – World Within), which
matches international students with a support group consisting of a local family
and a UCO student. Though still in its early stages, the program appears to be ben-
efiting both students and the community.
Enrollment Management had organizationally been part of Student
Services until 1998, at which time most of the unit was transferred to the division
of Academic Affairs. The unit operates under an assistant vice president for
academic affairs/enrollment management and has brought admissions and
advising in close contact with faculty and academic processes. Faculty have a
good understanding of administrative processes and are able to work collabora-
tively with admissions and advisement staff. The unit also provides the basic
functions of the registrar’s office, including keeping records, performing degree
audits, and maintaining NCAA compliance. Wherever possible the unit has
advanced technological services and provided centralized and coordinated ser-
vices, acting as a “one-stop shop.” Student enrollment, advising, and financial aid
services are all centrally located in the Nigh University Center, where students can
instantly receive official transcripts from a kiosk.
Academic Support Services
UCO provides a variety of academic support
services for students. The Academic Support Center
(VRR – Academic Support Center) is located in
Thatcher Hall, adjacent to the Nigh University Center
in which enrollment management offices are housed.
The Academic Support Center offers entry-level
placement and tutoring related to general education.
Staff members work with the academic departments to
inform students of the services. They also provide
special activities for international students, such as the
“Campus Conversation,” which engages international
students with future teachers from the College of
Education in dialogues designed to improve English
conversation skills and teaching skills. This experi-
52 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
ence has proven to be useful from the perspective of both the US and the interna-
Several academic departments, such as
mathematics, also provide tutoring directly. UCO THE “CAMPUS CONVERSATION”
has also recently received several student support ENGAGES INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
WITH FUTURE TEACHERS FROM THE
grants, such as TRIO, Title III, Upward Bound,
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION TO IMPROVE
GEAR UP, and McNair Scholars, which provide ENGLISH CONVERSATION SKILLS AND
educational services for high school and college TEACHING SKILLS.
students. These grant-funded programs expand
UCO’s ability to aid those who would seek a college education and are often at a
disadvantage in their educational pursuits. Though in the early years of opera-
tion, these programs are already having a positive impact on students entering
the university and on their progress after admission.
As a Division II, NCAA institution, UCO offers a variety of athletic
opportunities for students (VRR – Athletics). UCO made the change from NAIA
to Division II in 1988, as the result of lengthy discussions about the role of
athletics at UCO. Those discussions included the president and his team, current
students, alumni, faculty, and staff. The athletic program was identified as one
means of enhancing student life and learning and supporting the image of the
university within the community.
UCO participates in the Lone Star Conference, with active programs in
football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, baseball, golf, softball, wrestling, and
soccer. These programs provide excellent services to the athletes and to the
community at-large. Attendance of both students and off-campus individuals
has increased in every sport during the past several years.
The UCO athletic program was reviewed in 1993, as were the athletic
programs at many institutions across the country, with respect to issues of
gender equity. After several years of effort the program has reached a state of
balance. In 2000-2001, UCO was proud to have its young women’s soccer team
finish the season by winning the Lone Star Conference Championship, ranking
sixth in the NCAA Division II poll and reaching the quarterfinals in the national
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 53
Nigh University Center
The University Center underwent major changes in 1997, when
approximately 111,000 square feet were added, more than doubling the amount of
space available. The expansion created much needed meeting rooms, a large 500
seat auditorium, and centralized enrollment management operations. In October
2001 the name of the facility was changed to the Nigh University Center, honor-
ing former UCO President and Oklahoma Governor George Nigh and his wife
Donna Nigh. President Webb refers to the center as “The Living Room of the
Campus.” As such, it serves both traditional and non-traditional students as the
home for more than 150 student organizations, a food court, the campus bookstore,
a recently opened cyber café, and several lounges. The center is also the location
for enrollment management services, the Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate
Studies and Research, parking services, a restaurant, ballrooms, post office, and
UCO’s Nigh University Center also serves as a conference center for the
metropolitan area. Balancing this dual role requires a tremendous amount of
coordination between the Student Service offices and the Auxiliary Services. The
conferences and off-campus groups that come to campus frequently provide added
value for the UCO community as those groups, experiencing the quality of the
facility and the UCO students, often make donations or provide internships and
other career opportunities that assist students in achieving their goals.
UCO housing is now one of the more exciting and visible signs of student
support and of the university’s commitment to creating a positive learning
environment. Until four years ago, student housing at UCO was suffering from a
community-wide perception of the university as a commuter school. Campus
housing received little attention. A new president and a new vision in 1997 saw the
beginning of change.
UCO has closed one of its old, cell-style dorms and has, through an
innovative funding approach, built two new student housing complexes:
University Suites, which has added 302 beds, and University Commons, which has
added 384. Even with the recent decision to tear down the old East Hall and the
demolition of married student housing, there has been a net gain of 379 beds.
The new apartment and suite-style complexes allow greater privacy and conve-
nience for students in a desirable, campus-centered environment. Every bit as
important as the new facilities is a revitalized emphasis on residence life under the
auspices of the Student Services division.
54 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
The University of Central Oklahoma accomplishes its objectives through
the committed action of highly qualified faculty, staff, and student employees.
F 1991 F 1993 F 1995 F 1997 F 1999 F 2001
Faculty (FT) 362 395 392 386 401 386
Staff (FT) 498 535 548 545 517 557
& Staff (PT) 351 426 424 452 442 436
Student (PT) 589 680 656 518 618 658
UCO is fortunate to have a highly qualified faculty. In fall 2001 UCO
employed 386 full-time faculty and 317 adjunct faculty, teaching approximately
2,350 sections. Over 73% of the full-time faculty hold terminal degrees, as well
as over 19% of adjuncts. Faculty have recently received state and national
awards, including “Outstanding Science Educator of the Year,” “Art Educator of
the Year,” “Oklahoma Special Educator of the Year,” and “Director of the Year”
from the Oklahoma Association for Bilingual Education. Faculty members also
have achieved recognition through the publication of books, performances—both
in music and theatre— and more than 75 gallery exhibitions during 2000-2001.
In addition, many faculty have provided leadership to raise their programs to
national prominence. For example, the UCO MS in Physics program has been
identified as one of the Top 20 such programs in the nation by the American
Institute of Physics, and UCO was named a Top Five Undergraduate Research
Program by the National Council of Undergraduate Research.
A commitment to faculty quality and performance is visible in a new
tenure and promotion policy that became effective in fall 2001. Developed by a
faculty task force after a lengthy and highly collaborative period of review, the
policy standardized the tenure and promotion process across campus, clarified
previous ambiguities, and promoted
shared governance. This innovative pol-
icy focusing on equity with account-
ability was highlighted in the publica-
tion, Dean and Provost, in June 2000.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 55
UCO student accomplishments are perhaps the best testimony of faculty excel-
lence. Within the past year a UCO student won first place in the American
Association for the Advancement of Science competition and was also named the
Outstanding Oklahoma Undergraduate Student. Members of the UCO Forensics
Team won State Championships in three separate categories at a statewide com-
petition. Six students participating in the Ron McNair Scholarship program were
selected to present results of their research at the Texas McNair Research
Conference at the University of North Texas. A former basketball player recently
signed with a professional team, and another UCO student ranked among the Top
20 nationally in women’s gymnastics. Over the past ten years, approximately 85%
of all UCO students who are granted an interview with a medical school have been
accepted. Three different teams of UCO journalism students won awards in the
2002 Oklahoma Energy Resource Collegiate Journalism Competition and earned
a total of $5,750 in prize money. During the past four years, more than 90% of
graduating students polled by the Graduating Student Survey have agreed or
strongly agreed that UCO has provided a positive environment for their personal
development, and that UCO has provided a high quality educational program in
their major field.
UCO Full-Time Faculty
F 1991 F 1993 F 1995 F 1997 F 1999 F 2001
Full-Time Faculty 362 395 392 386 401 386
% with Terminal
Degree 65% 69% 71% 75% 75% 73%
Rank Professor 113 109 113 116 122 127
Assoc Professor 51 58 61 86 101 87
Asst Professor 139 167 165 137 124 107
Instructor 59 61 53 47 54 52
Lecturer * * * * * 13
# with Tenure 208 204 213 254 260 240
* Full-time lecturer position did not exist prior to fall 2001.
Though confidence in faculty quality is unwavering, there are issues that
continue to rise to the surface. The university has a long-standing practice which
states that faculty members are paid the same by rank, regardless of their
department. This “salary card” system has allowed for one or two exceptions in the
past. The result has been that while salaries in some departments at UCO are
competitive in terms of market, other department salaries are not. This translates
into recruitment and retention challenges for the underpaid disciplines. In 2001
56 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
UCO began to take some action in this area by adding a market adjustment in
some areas (further discussion in Chapter 7, Criterion Four).
The percentage of full-time ethnic minority faculty (12%) is slightly
below the percentage of ethnic minority students (17%). Results from both
faculty and student surveys suggest that UCO supports and
provides a positive atmosphere for cultural diversity. In the OVER TWO-THIRDS
OF THE FACULTY ARE
2000-2001 Graduating Student Survey, 89% of respondents
INVOLVED AT LEAST AN
agreed that they had gained a better understanding and HOUR A WEEK IN
appreciation of cultural diversity. This finding is supported by COMMUNITY
the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement OR PUBLIC SERVICE.
(NSSE), in which more than half of the freshmen and seniors
who responded indicated that UCO contributed to their understanding of people
of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. (The survey is designed for freshman
and seniors.) The faculty survey, conducted as part of the self-study, also indi-
cates that campus diversity is supported by the institution.
The use of adjunct faculty remains an issue of discussion at UCO, as it is
at many campuses across the country. Adjunct faculty are frequently lauded for
their knowledge of the real world. The full-time CPA, entrepreneur, judge, or
school superintendent brings tremendous credibility and a very practical perspec-
tive to the classroom. At the same time, adjunct faculty
are often only available to students during the general IN THE 2000-2001
time frame of their classes and do not serve on university GRADUATING STUDENT SURVEY,
committees. In some cases, adjunct faculty provide a 89% OF RESPONDENTS AGREED
THAT THEY HAD GAINED
large percentage of the instruction in a specific field. In
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
fall 1991, 80% of the undergraduate sections were taught AND APPRECIATION
by full-time faculty and 86% of the graduate sections. In OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY.
fall 2000 the percentage for undergraduate classes taught
by full-time faculty had dropped to 66% and to 81% for graduate classes. Some
of this drop can be attributed to funding issues tied to salary increases and a
In fall 2001 full-time faculty taught 61% of undergraduate sections
and 79% of graduate sections. One response to the use of adjuncts has been the
implementation of a new temporary lecturer position, which allows a dean to
hire a person for a full-time position for an academic year. This benefits the
lecturer with security for the year (though not full faculty status) and provides
the students with greater access to the instructor than they typically have to
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 57
adjunct faculty. These instructors also are available to serve on faculty committees,
giving them experience they may need for their own future development as well
as providing a different perspective and some relief to full-time faculty regarding
Early in the self-study process, as a result of the continued discussion about
the utilization of adjunct instructors on campus, the provost worked with the self-
study committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the demographics and
practices regarding adjunct faculty. That study was completed in November 2001
and included several recommendations to the provost. After an initial presentation
to the HLC Self-Study Committee, the report was forwarded to the provost for
action (further discussion in Criterion Four and Chapter Nine-Special Emphasis on
UCO Faculty, Full-Time and Part-Time Staff
F 1991 F 1993 F 1995 F 1997 F 1999 F 2001
Full-time Headcount 362 395 392 386 401 386
Part-time Headcount 223 290 316 315 309 317
% Under Graduate
Sections by FT 80% 76% 73% 75% 72% 62%
% Graduate Sections
by FT 86% 80% 83% 84% 85% 77%
Degree 22% 24% 22% 20% 21% 19%
UCO staff numbers have remained relatively consistent during the past few
years, though there has been a decrease in total numbers due primarily to
out-sourcing. The out-sourcing, as in house-keeping services, has been an
effective process, resulting in cost savings for the institution while quality of ser-
vice has either improved or remained constant. Job classification and re-classifi-
cation due to changes in definitions account for some of the variance in the staff
numbers, but they also reflect changes over time due to the needs of the institution
and enhancements in technology.
58 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
UCO Employees by Classification
F 1991 F 1993 F 1995 F 1997 F 1999 F 2001
Exec/Admin/Mngr 32 42 43 30 31 38
Professional 73 92 109 134 171 153
Secretarial 154 168 165 148 138 146
/Paraprofessional 83 83 99 112 106 154
Skilled Crafts 50 49 48 50 49 44
Service 106 101 84 71 22 22
As stated previously, UCO staff are not represented by any organization.
There is a recognized concern with low pay levels, particularly in the secretarial
and clerical areas. Some units are distressed by what appears to be a disparity
of pay within the institution, thus encouraging employees to move from one
department to another as the only means of getting a raise. These concerns are
recognized and are being addressed, within resource constraints, by the new vice
president for administration. Since his arrival at UCO, the institution has
conducted its first comprehensive turnover analysis, and long-range plans are
being developed to provide some relief.
Student employees play a critical role at UCO. In many cases they
provide important support to the operation of departments and make possible
what full-time staff do not have time to accomplish. Clerical assistance and
technical support provided by students are invaluable. In other cases graduate
students are involved with faculty in graduate assistantships or in classroom
The Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and
Research (JCGS&R) has primary
responsibility for the 58 graduate
assistants (GA) and 18 research assis-
tants (RA). The school determines the
pay scale for the students and is
responsible for the implementation of
policies related to their employment.
In 2001 the number of full-time
Graduate Assistants and Research
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 59
Assistants fell slightly, in order to adjust salaries and work loads to a more
reasonable level. The JCGS&R monitors the academic progress of these students
and works with the deans of the other colleges to ensure that standards are
Approximately 35% of the 658 student employees in fall 2001 were
involved in the Work-Study Program. In all cases students are benefiting from
the opportunity to learn as they work and to work close to where they study.
Unlike students employed off- campus, less time is spent commuting to work,
and relationships with faculty are enhanced through the contact with strong role
Federal College Work/Study Program
Fiscal Yr. 91-92 93-94 95-96 97-98 99-00
Awards 257 308 230 290 218
Amount $348,701 $418,565 $318,387 $435,838 $365,428
60 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
The University of Central Oklahoma derives its major source of revenues
to support Educational and General (E&G) expenditures through state appropria-
tions (VRR – UCO Factbook). The second largest portion comes from student
tuition and fees. Other avenues of financial support include grants, contracts,
gifts, and other sources.
The Budgeting Process for Higher Education in Oklahoma
As a state system, Oklahoma presents a mixed financial picture.
According to the OSRHE “Fiscal Year 2000-2001 Oklahoma Higher Education
“Oklahoma ranks 29th in the nation in two-year growth in state support,
and 14th in the nation in 10-year growth. From fiscal year 1997-1998
to 1999-2000, Oklahoma’s support of higher education increased 11
percent, compared to 14 percent nationally. From fiscal year 1989-1990
to 1999-2000, Oklahoma increased state support by 63 percent, compared
to 45 percent nationally.
However, total funding per student – including state appropriations,
tuition, and fees – is still only 66 cents on the dollar when compared to
peers in other states.”
The major source of funding for the University of Central Oklahoma is
derived from state appropriations. Appropriations are not made directly to the
institution, but rather to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
(OSRHE) as a lump sum for all state system institutions. In turn, the OSRHE
allocate these appropriations based on a needs formula for each institution.
Each year the OSRHE obtains essential budget information from all high-
er education institutions in order to present budget needs to the governor, legisla-
ture, and other public officials. The state regents’ methodology used to make
this determination includes components of university programs, student FTE,
peer funding, and funding equity additions as funds become available.
Enrollment numbers are considered in the process, but are calculated in such a
way as to prevent sudden changes to an institution’s enrollment from having
immediate impact on the allocation. Until fiscal year 1995-1996, new funds
were generally distributed to the institutions using a percentage increase for each
level of institution. Since fiscal year 1996-1997, the state regents have made
three minor equity adjustments with student FTE in mind.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 61
Educational and General Budget
The University of Central Oklahoma’s Educational and General (E&G)
budget has increased 73% over the past decade, while state appropriations went up
by only 62%. Student tuition and fees increased 93% and other income increased
130%. The following table shows that, since fiscal year 1991-1992, state appro-
priations have not increased as fast as tuition and fees.
UCO Budget by Source, 1991-1992 to 2001-2002
Fiscal Year Total Budget State Tuition / Fees Other Income
1991-1992 42,439,957 28,485,562 13,164,156 790,239
1993-1994 47,898,531 28,655,205 18,618,076 625,250
1995-1996 51,835,881 28,831,289 21,369,246 1,635,346
1997-1998 60,613,460 38,112,351 21,332,210 1,168,899
2001-2002 73,466,000 46,292,366 25,355,788 1,817,846
In fiscal year 1991-1992, state appropriations accounted for 67% of the
total E&G budget. State appropriations declined to 56% by 1995-1996 and rose
back to 63% by 2001-2002, but still remained 4% less than the 1991-1992 share.
Support from student tuition and fees increased from 31% in 1991-1992 to 35%
by 2001-2002. While support from other sources showed some fluctuation, this
area of the budget has remained fairly constant during the past decade. Though
these sources represent a small portion of the budget, they do provide important
discretionary funds for program improvements.
The first two years following the 1992 North Central visit were a hardship
for UCO, with state appropriations actually decreasing due primarily to steady
state funding levels and the loss of one-time allocations. Fiscal Year 1996-1997
saw the first major increase in several years for higher education funding, with
$71.4 million in new funds appropriated to
Oklahoma higher education.
UCO leadership continually advocates
IT IS ESTIMATED THAT IF UCO HAD
RECEIVED FUNDS AT THE AVERAGE STATE equity funding to reach parity with other state
ALLOCATION CALCULATED PER STUDENT institutions, because UCO students pay a
FTE FOR THE OTHER REGIONAL greater percentage of the E&G budget than the
UNIVERSITIES, THEN UCO WOULD
students at other regional institutions. The
HAVE RECEIVED APPROXIMATELY $50
MILLION DOLLARS MORE DURING THE leadership advocacy has resulted in UCO’s
DECADE OF THE 1990’S receiving an additional allocation of new
funds and equity adjustments totaling $5.5
million in fiscal year 1996-1997, $4.9 million
62 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
in fiscal year 1997-1998 and $1.8 million in fiscal year 2001-2002. While the
UCO average student contribution to E&G has ranged from 31% in fiscal year
1991-1992 to 41% in fiscal year 1995-1996, it has leveled off to approximately
35% from fiscal year 1997- 1998 to 2001-2002. Despite these adjustments, UCO
students continue to pay a greater percentage of the costs than the state regents’
target of 33%.
UCO Funding Comparison
FY 1991 FY1993 FY1995 FY1997 FY1999 FY2001
Avg. Regional Allocations per Student FTE
$2,886 $3,081 $3,078 $3,709 $4,278 $4,820
UCO Allocations per Student FTE
$2,479 $2,549 $2,345 $3,075 $3,803 $4,034
Avg. Regional % of E&G Paid by Student
25.5% 27.7% 28.6% 28.6% 27.0% 27.1%
UCO % of E&G Paid by Student
30.9% 35.7% 39.0% 36.7% 33.6% 33.8%
The OSRHE have made “equity adjustments” to UCO amounting to $2.2
million in fiscal year 1996-1997, $990,000 in fiscal year 1997-1998, and
$300,000 in fiscal year 2001-2002. These adjustments have not been consistent,
nor do they resolve the budget inequities experienced by the institution. The
OSRHE allocation formula, while well intentioned, has resulted in continued
under-funding of the institution. It is estimated that if UCO had received funds
at the average state allocation calculated per student FTE for the other regional
universities, then UCO would have received approximately $50 million dollars
more during the decade of the 1990’s.
UCO leadership has persistently sought equity in other areas of state
allocation, including Teacher Preparation Professional Development, Section
13/Section 13 Offset funds, scholarship fee waivers, and operational costs related
to bond funded facilities. This is an on-going and unresolved issue for UCO.
The impact of tuition and fee change is directly related to enrollment.
The 8% decline in enrollment that began in the fall 1996 had little impact on
income, as the international student enrollment increased 18% and the fees
levied on international students helped to compensate for declines in other areas.
Two specific fees that have helped the university since 1992 are the assessment
fee (1991) and the student technology fee (1994). The assessment fee of $1 per
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 63
credit hour has provided more than $300,000 per year to assist in efforts at
improving programs directly affecting students. The activities occur at four
levels: entry-level placement, mid-level, outcomes, and general student satisfac-
tion. The university submits an annual report to the OSRHE documenting the use
of the funds and the progress made in each of the areas.
The student technology fee is $4 per credit hour, producing more than $1
million each year. The funds received through this fee have enabled the universi-
ty to make improvements in student administrative services, college services for
students, library services, and general educational support services such as e-mail
accounts and training.
The University of Central Oklahoma maintains a reserve fund, used only
for one-time or emergency circumstances, such as the recent funding of a two-year
early retirement incentive program for faculty members. The BOROC
recommends that regional institutions maintain a 1/12 or 8.3% reserve. The “Net
Current Assets” from UCO’s recently concluded audit (dated 6/30/01) tallies at
$6, 490,917 or 9% of the fiscal year 2001-2002 budget. UCO, therefore, maintains
an adequate reserve for operational purposes.
Capital projects at UCO are funded from a variety
of state and university-generated funds. As a means of
improving university facilities, the institution has used
bond funding as a means of supporting necessary pro-
jects. Current indebtedness is approximately $41 million.
Each of the bond projects is funded by revenue sources
that were deemed adequate at the time of issuance of the
bonds, and the payments are being met in each of the pro-
jects. The impact to faculty and students has been in the
form of special fees, such as parking, facility and well-
ness center fees, and space rentals from external and
internal users of the Nigh University Center. Even with
the current economic problems within the state, there is sufficient enrollment and
usage of the facilities to ensure payment of the debt.
The economic downswing has impacted the UCO budget, as well as those
of other campuses around the state and nation. The fiscal year 01-02 budget was
cut 2.35%, and it is anticipated that fiscal year 2002-2003 will see a decrease in
funding of approximately 3%. The university managed the (fiscal year 2001-2002)
cuts with minimal impact on academics and student support programs. It managed
64 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
the cuts with additional revenues related to increased enrollment, salary savings
from unfilled positions, downward adjustments in utilities, space rental and
certain special project reductions. As the self-study is being written, the various
administrative and academic vice-president’s divisions are developing a plan for
fiscal year 2002-2003 that will have as minimal impact as possible on students
and the institution.
Developing the UCO Annual Budget
The Educational and General (E&G) budget is the principal operating
budget of UCO and as such includes the primary functions of instruction,
research, public service, and related supporting activities. The E&G budget is
distinct from the capital budget and auxiliary enterprise budget. The capital bud-
get is normally funded from revenue bond proceeds, special appropriations, and
dedicated monies, and includes expenditures for new construction, major repairs
or renovations, and major items of equipment. Auxiliary enterprise functions
provide services necessary to the educational process, such as housing, food ser-
vice, and the university bookstore. They are funded through user/consumer fees
and are self-supporting operations.
The state of Oklahoma operates on a fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.
UCO has a comprehensive budget development process that is used to access
the needs of the UCO community for the next fiscal year. One of the objectives
of the long-range plan is to tie the budget process to specific themes. Beginning
with fiscal year 2000-2001, the Office of Financial Services began implementa-
tion of this concept.
The Office of Academic Affairs
manages the development of the academic
budgets. Each unit or department develops
its budget within guidelines that are a
combination of university and academic
affairs items. Academic departments submit
their requests to the appropriate dean, who
then develops a college budget request. The
dean, usually with the help of the assistant
dean and other administrators responsible
for the budget, presents the college and area
requests to the provost and appropriate staff.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 65
The provost is then responsible for the final development of the request to
the president. This hierarchal approach is in contrast to the process that existed
during the last HLC visit. At that time, department chairs and faculty would pre-
sent budgets to the vice president of administration, and the Office of Academic
Affairs was not involved. The current system gives a more systematic and
integrated academic approach to budget development and is both efficient
Administration and Financial Resources
The division of administration and finance, under the direction of the vice
president for administration, is responsible for performing the functions that
support the budget priorities. The Office of Financial Services oversees the
university’s fiscal resources and monitors all financial policies and procedures to
ensure accountability. The university’s current fiscal condition is stable, and the
outlook for the future indicates funding will be adequate to carry out its mission.
The University of Central Oklahoma’s fiscal records undergo an annual
audit by an external certified public accounting firm. External auditors have con-
sistently reported no material weaknesses in internal controls. According to the
most recent audit, September 28, 2001:
“WE NOTED NO TRANSACTIONS ENTERED INTO
BY THE UNIVERSITY DURING THE YEAR
THAT WERE BOTH SIGNIFICANT AND UNUSUAL,
AND OF WHICH,
UNDER PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS,
WE ARE REQUIRED TO INFORM YOU,
OR TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH THERE IS A LACK
OF AUTHORITATIVE GUIDANCE
UCO is currently in the process of replacing its Advantage Financial
System with an integrated information system (Banner), a product of the Systems
and Computing Technology, Inc. (SCT). The finance and human resources
modules went “live” on July 1, 2001 with additional modules, including student
receivables, student enrollment management, financial aid, endowment manage-
ment, and budget development scheduled to be “live” by July 1, 2002. Banner,
when fully operational, will allow all areas within the university community
greater access to information.
66 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
A number of UCO faculty and staff write proposals and receive grants.
These resources, obtained from external sponsors, have enabled the university to
expand operations related to the mission of the university. As illustrated in the
following two tables, since 1992 the University of Central Oklahoma has
increased external grant and contract revenue significantly. The university has
more than doubled the number of faculty involved in grant activities, with many
serving as project directors responsible for these funds.
Externally Funded Grants
FY 1992 FY 1994 FY 1996 FY 1998 FY 2000 FY 2001
$0 $0 $73,117 $0 $0 $649,267
$127,716 $115,788 $57,288 $86,302 $514,212 $167,956
$0 $17,869 $37,059 $36,565 $39,315 $41,515
Mathematics & Science
$101,576 $207,984 $134,437 $168,197 $289,618 $572,986
Ctr Learning / Prof Dev
$113,886 $561,702 $631,335 $84,130 $198,368 $4,310
$155,150 $181,970 $242,035 $264,006 $610,103 $688,729
$498,328 $1,085,313 $1,175,271 $639,200 $1,651,616 $2,124,763
Externally Funded Grants – Faculty Participation
College 91-92 93-94 95-96 97-98 99-00 00-01
Business Administration 0 0 1 0 0 8
Education 2 4 4 11 19 9
Liberal Arts 1 2 1 6 3 2
Mathematics & Science 3 10 9 11 11 9
Ctr Learning / Prof Dev 0 7 11 1 1 0
Other Areas 0 0 11 4 8 8
Total 6 23 37 33 42 36
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 67
The Dr. Joe C. Jackson College
of Graduate Studies and Research
(JCGS&R) is responsible for overseeing
the research and grant functions at UCO
and has been successful in leading the
university’s efforts to expand these
activities. New resources are available to
support continued grantsmanship,
research, creative and scholarly activity,
and curriculum developments. The
university has hired a grant writer to
assist faculty members with writing
proposals. UCO now offers faculty
incentives for publications and
UCO has received grants from
federal, state, and private organizations. In the past few years, the university was
successful for the first time in obtaining two major five-year awards from the US
Department of Education Trio Program (USDOE). In fiscal year 2000-2001 UCO
was awarded a five-year USDOE Title III award and four multi-year National
Science Foundation Awards. Within the past two years, UCO has received several
Oklahoma Center for Science and Technology (OCAST) internship grants that
match a state grant with a private industry grant. These programs provide
undergraduate/graduate students with the opportunity to obtain valuable research
experience that cannot be obtained on campus.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education support research
programs at state institutions by providing matching funds to be used to obtain
research grants. Between fiscal year 1996-1997 and 2000-2001, UCO has been
awarded $537,096 in matching funds. Unfortunately, the OSRHE matching
program no longer includes the regional institutions as of fiscal year 2001-2002.
The UCO Foundation is an integral part of the institution’s fundraising
strategy. The UCO Foundation contributes resources in support of UCO through,
but not limited to, student scholarships and fundraising efforts. One on-going pro-
ject is the Presidential Partners campaign. The foundation also supports the
endowed chairs’ activities that involve matching funds from the OSRHE. At the
current time UCO has endowed positions in education, business, and the arts.
68 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
UCO is improving its ability to raise funds from alumni and other private
sources. During the past ten years the membership in the alumni association has
increased, as has the number of alumni contributing. The number of alumni
donors increased from 514 in calendar year 1996 to 654 in 1999. Donations
during that period increased by more than $100,000, reaching a total of
$342,583. In addition, UCO had its first outside campaign in 1995, which raised
more than $6,700,000.
Colleges are also being encouraged to be more self-sufficient. A recently
designed mechanism called the Alliance for Institutional Advancement (AIA)
has been formed to coordinate all fund-raising efforts (further discussion of the
Alliance is in Criterion Four). It is anticipated that with this new approach
external funding will continue to increase.
PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES
The university is situated on a 210-acre
campus located in Edmond, north of Oklahoma City.
UCO is Oklahoma’s only public, four-year institution
whose primary facility is located in a metropolitan
area, and it is positively influenced by this
environment. The university has 48 buildings,
with approximately 1,650,000 square feet.
As on many campuses in Oklahoma and
throughout the country, there was a large amount
of construction between 1960 and 1980 at UCO.
Then, in the early 1980’s, Oklahoma was economical-
ly devastated by the “Oil Bust,” and campus construction ceased. Since then,
it has been a long road to economic recovery in Oklahoma.That fact, paired with
severe under funding at UCO, has put a strain on buildings that have experienced
over-crowded classrooms, deferred maintenance, and general signs of aging.
Deferred maintenance alone has been estimated at a cost in excess of $10 mil-
lion. Beginning in 1992, the university has been actively involved in a campus
revitalization program, an ongoing process that has had its share of successes as
well as challenges. Recently, UCO initiated an effort to reduce campus energy
costs by working with Johnson Controls, a leader in the area of energy
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 69
New Construction and Major Renovations
When President George Nigh took office in 1992 he initiated a construc-
tion and re-building process that is still underway with President Roger Webb.
Over the past ten years more than 700,000 square feet of new building space has
been added, while several older buildings have
either been destroyed or taken out of use. The
OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS UCO HAS new space serves to benefit both direct academic
ADDED MORE THAN 700,000 SQUARE
functions as well as co-curricular life.
FEET OF NEW BUILDING SPACE
The tables below illustrate the most
visible facility changes that have taken place at
UCO. The first identifies new construction and major renovations that have
occurred since 1992, and the second identifies those buildings that have been
retired during the same period of time.
New Construction and Major Renovation (over $500,000) Since 1992
Project Year & Month Total Square Total Cost Usage
of Completion Footage Classes Offices Labs
Business Connector Feb. 1997 10,832 $ 1.3 M 5 6 0
Central Plant May 1996 6,370 $7M 0 1 0
Communication Feb. 1997 5,077 $ 743,000 3 2 6
Education May 1996 48,503 $ 4.5 M 41 5 3
Howell Hall Science Lab March 1997 51,044 $ 7.2 M 0 0 32
Library June 1997 79,961 $ 10 M 2 106 1
Mitchell Hall Feb. 1997 5,344 $ 1.1 M 2 2 3
Old North June 2001 28,421 $ 1.75 M 14 63 0
Nigh University Center July 1997 218,591 $ 16 M 3 110 0
University Commons Aug. 2000 185,751 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Club House Aug. 2001 2,624 N/A 2 N/A N/A
University Suites Aug. 2001 83,544 N/A N/A 1 N/A
Jazz Lab March 2002 11,000 $ 1.2 M 2 6 5
The most recent construction project is the UCO Jazz Lab, completed in
January 2002. Construction of the Jazz Lab was financed largely by a $1.2 million
bond issue by the Edmond Economic Development Authority. The Jazz Lab has
already demonstrated its ability to add to the sense of community by bringing the
campus and citizens of Edmond closer together. It provides quality entertainment
and is readily accessible to students, even those who travel by foot. The Jazz Lab
includes several offices, classrooms, a recording studio to be used by students
during the day, and a performance club and restaurant open to the public
in the evening.
70 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
In addition to the new construction, two existing structures have been
added to UCO’s facility inventory. The first is a home donated by a local busi-
nessman that now serves as the President’s House. The residence, including a
guesthouse, has more than 7,000 square feet and is located within a mile of the
campus. The second structure, purchased by the university, was an existing
church located conveniently between the university campus and the new Jazz
Lab. This structure, currently referred to as the Stephenson Park Theater, pro-
vides almost 3,600 usable square feet that will be primarily used for small
performance activities for theatre, music, and possibly dance.
The following graph illustrates buildings that have been demolished or
retired since 1992. While approximately 115,000 square footage of space has
been retired, some only temporarily, there is still a significant net gain in usable
space for both academic and support services.
Building Date of Demolition Total Class-Rooms Offices Labs
Industrial Safety Sept. 2001 5,074 3 5 0
Buildings Sept. 2001 3,783 2 3 0
Print Shop Sept. 2001 5,135 0 2 0
Industrial Arts Aug. 1998 30,304 2 8 11
East Hall Pending 83,630 0 2 0
One element of particular interest and support from students is the
Wellness Center, scheduled for completion in early 2003. The approximately
60,000 square foot facility will feature cardio and aerobic areas, weight/strength
training areas, a gym, two full basketball courts, an indoor track, one classroom,
offices for center staff, and the student health center. The center is being con-
structed to allow for expansion as funds become available. It is conveniently
located near student housing, which helps support the goal of creating
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 71
American Disabilities Act of 1990 Compliance Plan
In July 1992 UCO adopted a comprehensive plan for addressing the
Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law on July 26, 1990. This plan
intended to make the entire campus accessible to every student who has the skill,
aptitude, and desire to pursue a higher education at UCO. Physical modifications
included the expansion of internal doorways, the installation of handicap-accessi-
ble external doorways, and the construction of elevators. More than $4 million
was spent, resulting in a campus that exceeds standards for accessibility.
The increased use of technology and the rapid rate of technological
advancements continue to drive the need for new equipment. The student technol-
ogy fee and a dedicated budget item for technology needs have helped in this area.
The Graduating Student Survey of 2000-2001, however, shows that students are
less likely to agree that equipment to support their academic work is adequate
when compared to 1997-1998 figures. This is one of several issues for which there
is no immediate solution. The Alliance for Institutional
Advancement, discussed in Criterion Four, represents an
important and innovative way in which the institution is
more aggressively seeking external funding, but this will
take time to develop.
Technology in the classroom is in a constant state
of flux and improvement. Less than ten years ago the
dominant technology in the classroom was a blackboard.
Today, two colleges have all of their classrooms wired for
PowerPoint presentations and for Internet access. The
other colleges are making progress toward this goal, ham-
pered only by funding. Technology in the science labs is greatly improved. Labs
that were simply framed during the construction of the laboratory building are
being completed as funds become available.
Classroom buildings are wired for Internet access, and the intranet system
is now operational. Faculty have necessary technological resources in their offices.
They also have available technical educational opportunities and support systems.
Computer technology fees have aided in funding on-campus computer labs. The
fiber optics wiring for the university is largely complete.
72 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
There are 42 computer labs available to students located throughout
every major building on campus. Three labs are maintained by the Office of
Information Technology, including one in the library and one in the Cyber Café
in the Nigh University Center. Each college also maintains computer labs with
assistance available to students. Student surveys indicate that students are gener-
ally satisfied with computer labs and access to those labs, though there is room
for improvement (satisfaction of 4.8 on a 7 point scale). Surveys also indicate
that 68% of seniors report that UCO has positively contributed to their computer
• Student learning is the central focus at UCO. The recently conducted
National Survey of Student Engagement identifies areas where UCO is doing
well and areas that provide the university opportunity to improve. UCO is and
will remain strongly focused on student learning.
• UCO has created an attractive and welcoming campus environment.
The addition of new buildings, the demolition of deteriorating facilities, and
the creation of major student walkways and attractive landscaping are now a
source of pride for the university and the Edmond community.
• Communication between faculty senators and the administration is
good. A clear chain of communication is in place throughout the university,
through departments, deans, and upper administration. The administration has
initiated extra efforts to build positive interaction with faculty.
• UCO has a highly qualified and dedicated faculty with outstanding
professional credentials. The UCO faculty receive numerous internal and
external awards and honors.
• UCO has a large and diversified student body. Standards have been
raised over the past decade, resulting in improvement of entrance exam scores
for the student population and increased retention.
• There has been a significant increase in grant money. The UCO founda-
tion has grown and the new Alliance for Institutional Advancement is receiving
strong, favorable response in its first months of operation.
CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO - 73
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Inadequate funding from state resources has been a challenge for the
university for several decades. The particular history of UCO, with its
unprecedented growth in the 1960’s and 1980’s and incremental funding increas-
es, resulted in a per student FTE under-funding of approximately $50 million
dollars during the 1990’s. Since 1995, funding of several capital projects with
bonds has also impacted the cash flow in a negative manner. The current and
previous administrations have made efforts to rectify the situation, but gaps in
funding persist. UCO will continue to present a clear and unrelenting message to
legislators and regents as well as continue to actively pursue external resources on
Funding-related issues persist with equipment and deferred maintenance.
Science labs remain unfinished, heating and cooling systems break down, and
roofing on many of UCO’s older buildings continues to be a challenge. These
problems are being vigorously addressed by the current administration.
Weaving part-time faculty into the fiber of the academic process and
helping them to be as productive as possible is a challenge that the university
accepted. Adjunct faculty are an integral part of UCO and will be appropriately
The university recognizes the need to examine the status of its staff from
multiple perspectives. Issues related to retention, development, and morale pre-
sent opportunities for the institution to demonstrate that it values its people.
74 - CHAPTER 5: CRITERION TWO
CHAPTER 6 – CRITERION
“The institution is accomplishing its educational
and other purposes.”
The University of Central Oklahoma is
accomplishing its educational and scholarship
purposes with exceptional quality. The institution has
established faculty-driven organizational structures to
ensure excellent academic programs, ongoing assess-
ment, adherence to national and state standards, and
responsiveness to student and constituency needs.
Its commitment to continuous improvement based
upon student assessment is also reflected beyond the
The University of Central Oklahoma’s role is
clearly reflected in its mission statement, vision, and
planning. The university recognizes that achieving its
mission is not a one-time event, but rather a system-
atic process of continually assessing, analyzing, and
acting in a manner that constantly improves the
learning community. UCO recognizes that constant
improvement and commitment to purpose is not the
goal of a single unit, but rather the common objec-
tive and continuing practice of every component of
The institution is organized to accomplish its
purpose through faculty-driven structures designed to
ensure quality educational programs. The organiza-
tion and ownership of general education and academ-
ic programs are faculty-based. Faculty have an
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 75
active role in curricular issues, review, assessment, and oversight of curriculum
through departmental, college, and university level committee responsibilities.
Faculty ensure quality curricula and adherence to program requirements based
upon systematic assessment feedback.
The commitment to continuous improvement manifests itself throughout
the university. Though assessment processes are strongest in the academic
division, both student services and administrative services have assessment initia-
tives. For example, the budgeting process is slightly modified as feedback suggests
improvements. The budgeting forms and the process have been simplified to more
directly mirror the organizational structure. The university conducts student
surveys regarding different activities such as student orientation. Student
evaluations of orientation resulted in the development of Stampede Week, held
during the first week of classes and consisting of a variety of activities designed to
welcome and connect students to the campus and each other. Staff and faculty are
relentless in their pursuit of excellence and improvement for student learning.
ACADEMIC PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND REVIEW
Program and course changes, additions, and deletions undergo a compre-
hensive review process at several levels. Proposed changes or additions are initi-
ated within the academic department that houses the program or course. In the case
of an interdisciplinary proposal, departments collaborate in proposal design. The
department chair signs the proposal authorizing that it be forwarded to a college
curriculum committee. If the college curriculum
committee supports the proposal, it is forwarded
to the Office of Academic Affairs and assigned to
either the Academic Affairs Council (AAC) for
proposals related to the undergraduate curriculum
or the Graduate Council for proposals relating to
graduate curriculum. The councils address any
issues of appropriateness, then forward their
recommendations to the Office of Academic
Affairs. At the same time proposals are being
reviewed by the council, staff is reviewing
proposals for implementation issues. The Office
of Academic Affairs either immediately
76 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
orchestrates the implementation of the changes
or, when necessary, forwards the request for change to the OSRHE for approval.
The Academic Affairs Council consists of the five academic deans or assistant
deans, representation from each of the academic colleges, faculty senate, student
associations, and several ad-hoc non-voting staff members.
More than ninety percent of UCO’s academic programs have been in
place for at least ten years, but new programs have been introduced and
approved within the past three years, and programs are modified based on pro-
gram review and assessment. Some discussion of those two processes will add to
the understanding of on-going outcomes assessment by the departments.
The process for adoption and implementation of new programs is subject
to guidelines established by the BOROC and the OSRHE.
These governing boards focus primarily on program
demand, duplication, cost, and quality. The procedure and
forms used by UCO are designed to ensure that programs
submitted for consideration meet or exceed their
requirements. The procedure and format are maintained
in the university enrollment schedule, in the deans’
offices, and the Office of Academic Affairs.
The time required to approve and implement is
determined by the academic year, the timelines for
university publications, and the approvals required by
both the BOROC and the OSRHE.
Internally, the process begins with an idea generally originating through
cooperative work of the faculty, chair(s), and dean(s) of the appropriate areas.
A preliminary draft of critical elements progresses through the department to the
dean, usually with review by a college level curriculum committee. External cri-
teria in disciplines that track particular accrediting bodies (e.g., American
Chemical Society or the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher
Education) are considered during program and course development. The draft
then goes to the Office of Academic Affairs. An initial evaluation of the program
in terms of its congruence with the university strategic and financial plans occurs
and the provost shares it with the president. After this evaluation, the provost (or
his representative) may invite the department to complete the proposal.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 77
The department completes the proposal and shares it with the appropriate
academic council for comment and feedback. At the same time, academic affairs
staff review and comment after a final review by the president, and the proposal
goes to the BOROC and then to the OSRHE. If approved, the program is then
implemented the following academic year.
Key components of the proposal include the following:
A. Centrality of the program to UCO’s strategic and academic plans
C. Academic standards
E. Support resources
F. Demand for the program
G. Unnecessary duplication
H. Cost and funding
I. Program review and assessment
The process works well for the institution and for the departments. It is
clearly defined, and staff support is available to assist departments in the develop-
ment of proposals. The university is working to forward fiscally viable programs
that support state goals as well as its strategic plan. In the past ten years several
new programs have been created, including the BA in Dance, MS in Forensic
Sciences, MS in Wellness Management, and BS in Biomedical Engineering. Two
of the other programs that are modifications or realignments of existing programs
include the BFA’s in Theatre Arts and in Design, both of which were developed to
support the new College of Arts, Media, and Design.
The primary purpose of program review is to regularly enhance the
quality of UCO’s academic programs. Beneficiaries of program review are not
only the students who take the courses but also the taxpayers of Oklahoma who
provide some of the resources that sustain the university. The concepts of quality,
value, outcomes, and effective use of resources are fundamental issues addressed
by the program review process.
A department will review all of the programs in its area within a five-year
cycle to allow for concentrated effort and to provide a departmental perspective.
In cases where a program undergoes specialized accreditation, the department
chair may make a request to the Office of Academic Affairs that the timing of its
program review be coordinated with the timing of its accreditation and that its
self-study be used as its program review. In the 2001-2002 academic year the
Department of Nursing, the Department of Funeral Sciences, and the School of
78 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
Music became the first units to use the specialized accreditation report for the
program review in this way.
Program review elements are defined both by the OSRHE and the institu-
tion. Six program components are reviewed: centrality, curriculum, structure,
resources, productivity, and efficiency. The department also makes program rec-
ommendations based on its self-study. A program review progresses from the
department to the dean’s office and then goes to the Office of Academic Affairs.
The development of the feedback process is continuing to evolve.
Currently, there are two readers external to the university and two internal read-
ers. Some of the departments have voiced concern
about internal readers, who are generally faculty from SPECIALIZED
other departments and colleges. They have questioned
SUBSTITUTED FOR TRADITIONAL
whether those individuals have the knowledge of the PROGRAM REVIEWS FOR THE FIRST
field of study upon which to base comment. The TIME IN ACADEMIC YEAR
sense at this time is that the use of internal reviewers 2001-2002 IN THE DEPARTMENT
OF NURSING, THE DEPARTMENT OF
is consistent with other academic procedures that
FUNERAL SCIENCES, AND THE
utilize campus-wide faculty committees, the SCHOOL OF MUSIC.
Academic Affairs Council, and the Graduate Council.
The internal reviewer process promotes collegiality, educates faculty about fields
outside their own, and while it does not provide content specific feedback, it
does provide feedback from a stakeholder, someone invested in the success of
the institution and its programs.
External reviewers have been used for the past four years. These are
professionals, usually outside the state, with reputations and capabilities valued
by the department. During academic year 2001-2002 there were two external
reviewers for each program as well as two internal reviewers. The departments
appreciate the use of external reviewers so much that they have requested an
expansion of this part of the process. Some departments have asked that it be
made possible for external reviewers to come to campus. That would put the
program review on the level of the specialized accreditations. Budget constraints
have inhibited this type of expansion of the process.
Assessment results, which are part of the program review process,
occasionally provide benchmark comparison with nationally normed examina-
tions, but such data are not available in all areas nor would they be appropriate.
For making baseline comparisons and setting “stretch goals,” benchmarks are
becoming an integral part of the assessment and program review processes.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 79
After the feedback from both internal and external reviewers is shared with
the departments, the reviews from the university are forwarded to the OSRHE as
required by state policy. The OSRHE do not provide any feedback to the institu-
tion, though their staff develops a summary that appears in the informational sec-
tion of the OSRHE board agenda.
The review process works well in most cases, especially when perceived
as an opportunity for self-assessment and growth. When perceived as a bureau-
cratic process, it serves a very limited role. Efforts to improve the process contin-
ue. The Program Improvement Process Report, discussed in the next section, is
one enhancement to the process that is currently being piloted, with encouraging
initial results. The university will also pursue the use of benchmarks and expan-
sion of the use of external reviewers. Also under consideration is the expansion of
the program review process to a “self-study” process, one that would be inclusive
of departmental efforts beyond programs. Deans and faculty involved in the
review process hold meetings at least twice a year and allow for feedback regard-
ing the process itself and for its continual improvement.
Program Improvement Process Report (PIPR)
The College of Mathematics and Science is piloting a model to tie assess-
ment and program review to the planning and budgeting processes. Departments
prepare a report, the Program Improvement Progress Report (PIPR), that ties the
outcome goals to the program review goals and includes assessment activities,
findings, and recommendations for curriculum changes. The items on the report
are tied to a budget requested to support the recommendations. The pilot appears
to have been effective in “closing the loop” on using assessment data for curricu-
lar and/or program changes.
Though this model is in its early stage, the general findings are positive. It
helps identify priorities both in curriculum and budget. It is data driven,
demonstrates needs appropriately, and fosters a commitment to on-going improve-
ment. Concerns center on the amount of time required, the lack of inclusion of
non-program related elements (those activities such as special exhibits that depart-
ments maintain), and a sense that a quick budgetary response to identified needs
cannot happen in a negative budget year and will not, therefore, affirm the process.
The administration deems the process productive enough to be continued a second
80 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
The integrity of the programs is complemented by an organizational
structure that allows for flexibility and oversight of initiatives and educational
purpose. Although authority is vested in the dean’s office of each college,
the governance is facilitated through consensus. College level committees are
directly involved in meeting its educational purpose.
Each college has a college level curriculum committee. Some of the
colleges have program level curriculum committees, while others have
department curriculum committees. The structure varies with the scope of the
programs offered within a department. The faculty teaching in each program
has the responsibility to design an academic program
of integrity and rigor. For programs with national or THE INTEGRITY OF PROGRAMS IS
state standards, the curriculum must meet the compe- COMPLEMENTED BY AN
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE THAT
tencies of the standards. The program or department
ALLOWS FOR FLEXIBILITY AND
curriculum committee prepares the program reviews; OVERSIGHT OF INITIATIVES AND
it also submits revisions and recommends program EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE
and course curriculum changes to the college curricu-
lum committee. There is a representative from every department on the college
curriculum committee. Some of the colleges have two curriculum committees,
one for their undergraduate and one for their graduate programs. The college
curriculum committees ensure integrity, rigor and quality of programs; study
curriculum reviews and recommendation issues; and conduct curriculum, course,
and program revision to meet current professional standards and market trends.
The college executive committee, or chairs’ council, is comprised of the
dean, assistant dean, and all department chairs. Some colleges also have
representatives from the college curriculum committee(s) and directors of
interdisciplinary programs, such as the MBA Program. The chairs’ council
discusses university policies and issues and makes college policy decisions.
Some colleges have a college honors and scholarship/awards committee
that not only selects students to be recognized for outstanding academic achieve-
ment but also identifies distinguished faculty in teaching and scholarly work.
Students and faculty are honored at an annual awards ceremony.
The university collects a technology fee to address the academic
technology needs for student learning. Each college has a technology committee
to oversee the expenditures of the college allocation and to identify and prioritize
the technology needs of the college.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 81
Department and college assessment committees coordinate assessment of
student learning. The college committee has a representative from every depart-
ment and is responsible for setting the annual agenda for assessment initiatives,
overseeing the submission of plan revisions and annual reports to the university
Office of Assessment, and approving budgetary request. A student fee funds the
assessment program, with a portion of the funds allocated to the college assess-
ment committees for distribution to departments for assessment of student learn-
ing. In some colleges the college level assessment committee conducts the analy-
sis of centralized assessment practices and prepares the annual report. The assess-
ment committees work closely with curriculum committees in using assessment
data for curriculum improvement.
The college committee structure is the formal avenue for faculty to com-
municate their academic needs.
ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
In October 1991 the vice president for academic affairs appointed an
Assessment Task Force to develop an assessment plan for the university. Based on
the task force recommendation, an Office of Assessment was formed and a direc-
tor of assessment was hired in December 1991. A mission statement was formu-
lated to guide the activities of the office:
Institutional Assessment Mission
The University of Central Oklahoma Assessment Program institutes
program-focused assessment in all areas of university life. The collection
and analysis of information on student performance enables the decision-
makers to measure the effectiveness of the academic curricula and support
services for continuous improvement.
Between the formation of the Assessment Task Force and the hiring of a
director, the OSRHE created a policy that mandated assessment at all public
institutions and allowed for the implementation of a one dollar per credit hour
assessment fee. The collection of the fee has enabled UCO to develop a strong
assessment effort. The OSRHE also categorized areas of assessment that have
provided structure to the UCO program. Four categories were identified:
entry-level, mid-level (or general education), outcomes, and student satisfaction.
This section of the self-study addresses those four areas as well as related systems
that support improvement of the teaching/learning environment.
82 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
One of the strengths of the assessment program is the committee
structure. In addition to the Assessment Advisory Board (AAB), the academic
colleges have assessment committees with representatives from every
department. The committee oversees outcomes assessment results and the
college assessment budget. Each college has unique characteristics in its
assessment program. The current structure allows each college to express
its uniqueness with appropriate assessment systems.
The AAB has representatives from each of the college assessment
committees, student representatives from each college, and a representative
from student services. The AAB makes recommendations on policies and
practices. Special committees that branch from the AAB address university
assessment issues such as entry-level placement and satisfaction measures.
In the academic year 2000-2001 each academic department completed
the HLC Levels of Implementation questionnaire as a means of evaluating
UCO’s progress in assessment. The questionnaire allows faculty to reflect on the
degree of progress their departments have made in assessing their program(s).
Categories include department culture, department mission, shared faculty
responsibilities, shared administrative responsibilities, institutional support,
departmental support, and efficacy of assessment. The department chair,
assessment coordinator, and in some departments the full-time faculty responded
to the questionnaire as a benchmark of the success of the department’s
assessment efforts. The deans’ offices have used the HLC Level of
Implementation rating as an effective tool to discuss the status of assessment
in individual departments and to improve the assessment efforts.
The purpose of entry-level assessment is to determine students’ academic
readiness for college-level courses after they have met minimal admissions
criteria. It is intended to ensure that they have the necessary background to be
successful and to assist in placing them in the appropriate classes. At UCO this
process is predominately coordinated by enrollment management and assessment
administrators. Faculty, students, and administrators were involved in designing
the assessment method.
The OSRHE assessment policy stipulates that the ACT score is the first
component of the entry-level assessment. The students who do not meet the ACT
criteria must complete the secondary placement test administered in the
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 83
Academic Support Center. In addition to review of ACT scores, student’s college
transcripts are also evaluated for equivalent remedial or college level courses. The
purpose of the placement policy is to place students in courses for which they are
academically prepared. Placement subjects are English, mathematics, reading, and
science. The same placement policy pertains to all students admitted, including
first-time freshmen, readmitted, adult, transfer, and international students. The
International Office processes the assessment of international students, while the
Office of Admissions assesses the others. Since international students do not take
the ACT, their transcripts are evaluated for college level
courses in English, mathematics, reading, and science to
determine whether they need secondary placement testing.
Based on the secondary placement test scores,
students are either placed in college level courses, in reme-
dial English, reading, or one of four levels of remedial
mathematics. In 1995, in response to an effort to effective-
ly utilize available resources and to comply with OSRHE
policy, UCO requested Rose State College to offer the
remedial courses on the UCO campus. Rose State College
has worked effectively with Enrollment Services as well as
the UCO Academic Support Center and academic
departments to provide support for students placed in remedial courses.
The entry-level assessment is fulfilling the purpose of its design. Faculty
teaching in the discipline fields of mathematics, English, and science are general-
ly satisfied with the placement effort in the foundation courses. One area of
concern, however, is the readiness of international students for college level
courses. There has been some inconsistency in the process of referring interna-
tional students for secondary placement testing. Limited data has inhibited
analysis of this issue, but the new Banner computer system should remedy the
problem. Studies of the effectiveness of entry-level assessment have focused on
college level mathematics and English course grades.
MID-LEVEL/GENERAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENT
A university education provides a well-rounded, liberal education. The
curriculum offered at the University of Central Oklahoma for a baccalaureate
degree has lower division (one and two thousand level courses) and upper division
courses (three and four thousand level) courses. A bachelor’s degree generally
84 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
consists of courses within three major components: general education, major, and
The general education component of the degree focuses on foundation
skills, knowledge, and values common to all program areas. Skills and knowl-
edge in the general education curriculum are applied in the major component,
courses designed to prepare students for their disciplines.
The OSRHE mandates specific components be
included in general education curricula for all A UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
Oklahoma public higher education institutions. PROVIDES A WELL-ROUNDED,
This includes a minimum of 30 designated credit
hours as the common-core and ten credit hours in
liberal arts and sciences courses for all degree programs. UCO exceeds the
OSRHE minimum in all programs. A few programs have general education
requirements unique to the discipline. For instance, the teaching degrees require
a communication course, which is not specified as a requirement in the universi-
ty core but required for teacher certification in the state of Oklahoma.
Because it is a metropolitan university, many students transfer to UCO
with part or all of their general education requirements completed. This phenom-
enon contributes to the challenge of evaluating the general education as a holistic
experience. An OSRHE articulation policy stipulates that credit hours are
accepted as transfer credits by Oklahoma public higher education institutions.
General Education Mission
The mission of the general education curriculum, adopted by the
Academic Affairs Council of UCO in 1996, is global in concept.
“The University of Central Oklahoma offers a general education program
whose mission is:
To provide students with a common educational experience and to
foster a sense of the interdependence of knowledge, action, and values.
A successful university education should prepare an individual to
think critically, write and speak persuasively, act with self-respect, and
strive for personal excellence while remaining aware of the world. Students
preparing for the future must have specialized expertise enhanced by a
holistic perspective. The excellence and breadth of academic challenges at
the University of Central Oklahoma are designed to bring the big picture
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 85
During the strategic planning process, UCO’s “Beliefs and Values” were
clearly articulated. The first statement connects well to the general education
UCO’s fundamental responsibility is excellent teaching, which involves
instilling and fostering in students the joy of learning, the ability to think
critically, and a desire to achieve their creative potential.
The general education curriculum goals adopted in 1996 are:
• To provide students with an understanding of the universality of the
human experience and the common goals and needs that drive that
experience through a multicultural and global perspective.
• To instill communication and information management skills
necessary for participation within society.
• To instill skills of analytical thinking, information processing,
reasoning, and research necessary for personal and professional
• To develop an understanding of the cumulative human experience
from historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives.
• To appreciate humanity’s creative talents and to understand
the effect of these endeavors on social, economic, philosophical, and
• To understand humanity’s place in and responsibility to
the natural world.
• To guide students in the exploration and appreciation of moral
and ethical concerns common to all.
Implementation of General Education
The Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, and Math and Science offer core
general education courses. The general education curriculum is faculty-driven and
reviewed to ensure professional degree requirements, including coherence, rigor,
and relevance of the curriculum to university goals.
The role of general education, as evidenced by the seven university goals
outlined in the section on general education mission, is to strengthen students’
familiarity with and understanding of their social, scientific, and cultural heritage.
The institution’s goals emphasize student interactions, global/cultural perspective,
analytical and problem-solving skills and competencies, intellectual, professional,
and creative potential, as well as other skills in the common-core of courses. The
General Education Assessment Committee oversees the design and implementa-
tion of assessment in general education courses. The committee is comprised
86 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
of the faculty coordinators for the assessment of general education courses in the
following departments: Communications, English, History, Political Science,
Humanities and Philosophy, Kinesiology and Health Studies, Biology, Physics
and Engineering, and Mathematics and Statistics.
Assessment of General Education
When a student reaches 60 credit hours the Oklahoma State Regents for
Higher Education mandates assessment of general education and encourages the
use of normed, standardized tests. The General Education Assessment
Committee designs the general education assessment methodology. Their first
effort included the use of a commercial test, but it was not successful, primarily
because the general education curriculum is not structured in a way that allows
administration of a commercial standardized test in class; therefore, students
were going to be required to test on their own time. The committee now is using
course embedded assessment to measure the general education goals. The
committee determined which courses address each general education goal. The
faculty assessment coordinator from the department offering the course works
with the faculty to design and implement assessment of the goal. Results of the
assessment are submitted to the General Education Assessment Committee for
Assessment practices used to measure the goals stated in the mission
section include pre/post instruments, primary trait analysis (rubrics) for specific
course assignments, student surveys, analysis of essays,
focus groups, and critique of presentations. During the
design of the measures, some departments initiated pro-
ductive discussions on uniformity of material taught in
each section of a course. For instance, the Department of
Biology found that although the Biology 1114 General
Biology course taught ecology concepts, there was not one
consistent concept taught in all sections. To assess this
component the department first agreed on a specific ecolo-
gy component to be presented in all Biology 1114 sec-
tions. The department expanded this discussion to look at
uniformity of other concepts and courses.
Focus groups are conducted with students each spring semester to gather
the student’s perspective on components of the general education curriculum.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 87
To assess student English and writing skills a locally developed English pre/post
test is administered to students enrolled in the English 1113 Grammar and
Composition courses, and an assessment team collects and evaluates essay arti-
facts as well. The Department of Communication administers to its most common
general education course a pre- and post-instrument measuring student’s anxiety
toward public speaking. The assessment plan and annual assessment report
describe assessment implemented in other general education courses.
The department faculty first analyze results of the assessment, then the
department level curriculum committee processes curricular changes related to
skill/knowledge development. Findings are reported to the general education
assessment committee for consideration of overall general education
The Graduating Student Survey includes questions regarding student per-
spective on general education goals. Students report that their basic knowledge in
the liberal arts has increased and that the university has provided a positive envi-
ronment for their personal development. They agree that they have gained a better
understanding and appreciation of culture diversity.
Useful assessment data is collected on individual subjects offered through
the general education curriculum. However, a holistic assessment of student com-
petencies upon completion of the general education curriculum does not exist;
therefore the university does not measure the overall effectiveness of the integra-
tion of general education courses. Discussion to resolve this issue is focusing on a
cornerstone course that would collect student artifacts tied to curriculum goals.
The cornerstone course would be taught at the junior level where instructors can
collect assignments that reflect the competency areas of general education.
88 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
The focus of assessment and retention efforts is student academic suc-
cess, which includes the successful transition of first-time freshmen. An experi-
mental approach to assist first-time entering freshman that links general educa-
tion courses is called CLASS (Cooperative Learning for Achieving Student
Success). Briefly, this new program takes first-time, full-time, degree-seeking
students who volunteer for the program and places them in cohort groups of 25.
The cohorts are then placed together in three linked general education courses
for their first and second semesters. These general education courses apply
towards all undergraduate programs offered by UCO. Faculty strive to integrate
assignments within and between classes, thus functioning in an inter-disciplinary
manner. Student support staff is also involved in CLASS through an early-warn-
ing system, special advisement, and career development opportunities. While this
approach carries with it additional costs, there is an anticipated return on the
investment in terms of student retention and progression
toward degree completion. This pilot has been in opera-
tion for one year, and initial findings show success in stu-
dent progression, GPA, and academic and social integra-
In 1996 the Academic Affairs Council revised
UCO’s general education goals. In fall 2000 a General
Education Task Force reviewed the curriculum design and
recommended changes. The provost determined further
study was needed.
The provost has asked a general education task
force to look at curriculum structure for general education. Meeting during the
spring of 2002, the task force was charged to review; (1) the recommendations
of the task force from the previous year, (2) the best practices of other institu-
tions with regional/national reputations for excellence in general education, and
(3) interdisciplinary opportunities. It was also charged to determine the possible
component structure and design of a general education curriculum and to identi-
fy components of an effective freshman orientation course.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 89
The gathering of information on student satisfaction of services and
academics seldom provides surprises but often reinforces administrators’, staff,
and faculty perceptions of strengths and areas of concern. This is the fourth
category of assessment required by the OSRHE. Because surveys and focus
groups provide information useful in setting priorities for services and programs,
UCO has consistently administered a student satisfaction survey on an annual
basis since 1990 using both the ACT Student Opinion Survey and a locally devel-
In the fall1999, the Office of Assessment chose the Noel-Levitz Student
Satisfaction Inventory in an effort to measure overall student satisfaction in
several areas. The Noel-Levitz instrument provided an opportunity to gain a
different perspective on student satisfaction by including a section titled “level of
importance.” The results of student surveys are shared with the president, provost,
vice presidents, and deans. When possible, college specific information is sorted
and forwarded to the deans. Efforts to validate utilization of these reports have not
been very successful, but anecdotal reports suggest that the information is used to
modify programs and services.
UCO takes pride in the responsiveness of its students to student surveys,
with the average return rate at about 60%. The university takes particular pride in
the response to the question: “Would you recommend
UCO to a friend?” Over the past several years respons-
STUDENTS SAY THAT UCO es have consistently been between 85% and 90% posi-
PROVIDES A SMALL CAMPUS FEEL,
tive. Additional student comments suggest that one of
WITH FACULTY ACCESSIBLE AND
RESPONSIVE TO THEIR NEEDS. the great assets of UCO is its small campus feel, with
faculty accessible and responsive to student needs.
PROGRAM LEVEL OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT
The strongest part of the assessment process, outcomes assessment is
designed and implemented by the faculty in each department. Each college
allocates funds specifically for assessment for the purchase of materials, office
supplies, and travel. The assistant vice president for planning and analysis and
staff in the office of assessment oversee the distribution of assessment funds. The
college assessment committees determine the budget allocations for each depart-
ment based on need.
90 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
Departments submit an annual report which measures the success of
accomplishing the previous year’s goal and which states the upcoming year’s
goals. The annual report reviews issues at the university level and components of
the report are forwarded to the OSRHE in the Institutional Annual Assessment
Report. Following are examples of assessment within each college.
College of Arts, Media, and Design
The College of Arts, Media and Design has a distinct mission focus-
ing on arts education, interdisciplinary studies, and technological
integration. The college emphasizes statewide leadership in arts
education and outreach as well as development of Oklahoma
Center for Arts Education. Students in the college benefit from
current technology and its application to the arts as well as
academic programs and practical educational experiences
supported by state-of-the-art technology. Individuals and student
groups have been consistently recognized for excellence in the
The departments are experienced at assessing individual performance
and are making much progress at the program level. The college
assessment committee works consistently to move all of the
departments forward in their assessment efforts.
To ensure that students at all skill levels are assessed, the departments
are embedding assessment in capstone and/or critical content
courses. For example, the Department of Art focuses on student
work exhibited in the senior show, while the School of Music uses
a standardized juried form of assessment for student perfor-
mances. One example of program improvement based on assess-
ment is the stronger emphasis now placed in the art capstone
course on preparing art exhibits and displays.
College of Business Administration
The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
(ACBSP) accredits the undergraduate and MBA graduate
academic degree programs at UCO. The course work is compre-
hensive and aligned to standardized achievement assessment
and reflection of current industry needs. The UCO College of
Business Administration has a core curriculum designed to give
all business administration students a foundation of general
business knowledge and to support the major specific courses.
Beginning in 1995 the College of Business Administration instituted
the Educational Testing Service’s Major Field Test (MFT), com-
pleted during the business administration capstone course.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 91
This tool provides information to use in curricular evaluation, depart-
mental self-study, and end-of-major assessment data. The MFT is
one indicator of instructional effectiveness in the college’s depart-
mental assessment plans. Student satisfaction is assessed through
the College of Business Graduating Senior Survey.
In addition to the college level assessment, some departments have
subject-focused assessment of their programs. For example,
accounting, finance, and management use common finals as a way
to assess program goals. The Department of Accounting incorpo-
rates specific test questions directly tied to program goals in their
midterms and finals for Accounting I (ACCT 2133) and
Accounting II (ACCT 2113) courses. Accounting also administers
the Achievement Test for Accounting Graduates (ATAG) during
their last year and monitors CPA pass rates for UCO graduates.
Other departmental assessment activities include capstone courses,
comprehensive exams, internships, and research activity.
Another example of how the loop has been closed is in the Department
of Finance. Based on the common final data, the department deter-
mined that students need a statistics course prior to the
Fundamentals of Business Finance course (FIN 3653). The
Accounting I and II courses were redesigned in terms of curricular
sequencing of topics and materials. The evidence of student learn-
ing improvement has been visible in the common exam results.
College of Education
The University of Central Oklahoma’s establishment as the Territorial
Normal School in 1890 provided a rich heritage upon which the
College of Education (COE) builds its programs. Curriculum,
instruction, and assessment in the teacher preparation unit of the
College of Education are guided by the unit’s conceptual
framework. The theme of the conceptual framework is to prepare
outstanding professionals who are “Reflective, Responsive,
Resourceful” throughout their professional careers.
Program faculty are primarily responsible for ensuring that the acade-
mic programs are clearly defined, coherent, and intellectually rig-
orous. Each program has a curriculum coordinator and committee
responsible for the quality and sequencing of courses within the
program. An extensive review of the curriculum was conducted in
2000 when the College of Education restructured its departments.
Curriculum committees continue to conduct a yearly review of syl-
labi and make recommendations for changes when needed. Official
course or program changes initiated at the program level are
processed through the approval committees at the college and uni-
In February 2000, UCO became the first Oklahoma teacher education
92 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
program to offer a warranty on its graduates and their competence
in meeting Oklahoma’s 15 General Competencies for Licensure
and Certification. Oklahoma requires first-year teachers to partici-
pate in the Residency Teacher Program. This program provides a
committee consisting of a school administrator, a teaching peer,
and a university person to work with the beginning teacher
throughout the year. The committee also makes a recommendation
regarding certification at the end of the year. Teachers can be
recommended for standard certification or for an additional resi-
dency year. At no cost to the student or school district, UCO will
provide additional training and remediation for
any candidates not recommended for full certifica-
UCO BECAME THE FIRST
tion at the end of their residency year. In addition,
any candidates who do not pass the certification
EDUCATION PROGRAM TO OFFER
tests for the area in which they were prepared will
A WARRANTY ON ITS GRADUATES
also be given additional training and/or remedia-
IN FEBRUARY 2000.
tion. In May 2000, the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education embraced the UCO-initiated
warranty concept, and it is now in place for all state institutions
Assessment of the conceptual framework takes place at the college
level. Questionnaires are distributed to the public school adminis-
trators and teachers interacting with UCO students in field
experiences, student teaching, and residency year teaching.
Reports are prepared in summary format for the college and
teaching program areas.
All teacher education majors seeking initial certification must be
admitted to teacher education and take the professional teacher
education core sequence of courses provided by the College of
Education. Instruction is performance based to increase candidate
competency. UCO students compile a folio with five to seven
artifacts designed to demonstrate competency of program goals.
The certification testing consists of three examinations. The peda-
gogical examination focuses on the teacher preparation core
courses, while the subject area examination addresses the
discipline courses. The third examination is on the general
education competencies defined by the Oklahoma Commission
for Education. Faculty use the pass rates and subject area scores
as part of their program assessment.
Non-teaching programs are not included in the centralized assess-
ment teacher certification assessment efforts; however, assessment
measures are utilized. The Department of Psychology uses com-
mercial standardized tests to measure student’s cognitive skills.
Students in the Human Environmental Sciences programs compile
portfolio presentations in their practicum course. External ass-
esors critique the portfolios presented at the student symposium.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 93
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
(NCATE) accreditation visit occurred in spring 2001. The College
of Education was fully approved for continued accreditation. All
the standards were met, with two cited weaknesses. The
Assessment System and Unit Evaluation had weaknesses identi-
fied in 1) involving the professional community in the develop-
ment of the Performance Assessment Plan and 2) lack of a com-
prehensive and integrated set of evaluation measures used to mon-
itor candidate performance. The field experiences and clinical
practices standard had a weakness regarding the policies to assure
candidates in advanced programs a field experience in diverse set-
tings. The College of Education views the challenges identified by
the accreditation visit as an opportunity to improve and is
addressing them directly.
College of Liberal Arts
The vision of the College of Liberal Arts provides the foundation for its
educational mission. The mission is thus defined: “to provide an
environment that promotes the development of students, faculty,
and society within the global community. In order to foster an
atmosphere conducive to study, teaching, and free exchange of
ideas, ethical inquiry, and the development of a personal philoso-
phy, the College of Liberal Arts will provide both broad-based and
specialized education for all students and help instill in them the
creative, utilitarian, and life enriching aspects of a liberal arts edu-
cation. Essential to fulfilling this mission is the development of a
teaching faculty who excel in their roles as educators, creative
scholars, and researchers, thereby benefiting the profession, the
colleges they serve, and the global community.”
The College of Liberal Arts continuously strives to fulfill its mission to
students, faculty/staff, university, and the local and global commu-
nity. The current administration of this college has sparked a resur-
gence in faculty enthusiasm. Faculty enhancement, student partic-
ipation in scholarly and creative activities, international focus, mul-
ticultural awareness, and the implementation of technology in the
classrooms are areas that the college pursues. There are obvious
challenges, but the strength of the college resides in the common
resolve of the administration and faculty to provide a quality edu-
Students currently have the opportunity to participate in a full range of
academic, professional, and creative activities. This is evident in
symposium activities, journalistic opportunities, independent stud-
ies, the study abroad program, senior and graduate theses, and a
myriad of academic and professional student organizations.
94 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
The College of Liberal Arts was the first to form a college assessment
committee, and it manifests the importance it places on assess-
ment in policy statements, the work of its college assessment
committee, and assessment updates in departmental meetings.
When the departments completed the HLC Levels of
Implementation questionnaire, the average ranking in the college
put them in the position to move past the “implementation stage”
to the “evolving stage.”
One highly successful college level assessment practice is the Liberal
Arts Student Symposium. The symposium, in
its thirteenth year, is held in April and showcas-
es student presentations, debates, and creative THE LIBERAL ARTS STUDENT
work. The college faculty assess student SYMPOSIUM IS A UNIQUE ASSESSMENT
performance for communication effectiveness ACTIVITY THAT SHOWCASES STUDENT
and critical thinking. College level focus groups PRESENTATIONS, DEBATES,
are conducted for students and faculty on topics AND CREATIVE WORK
identified by the college assessment committee.
The student focus groups are held annually
during the symposium, while the faculty sessions are held every
Many departments use course embedded methods to perform
assessment, including assessment rubrics, pre/post tests, locally
developed tests, and commercial standardized tests. The
Department of Sociology has used the Educational Testing
Service Major Field Test (MFT) for six years. The Department
of Communication administers a public speaking anxiety
inventory as a pre and post measure in its foundation course.
The Department of English collects portfolio artifacts, administers
a pre/post test in English 1113, Grammar and Composition,
and tests students in a sample of sections with an English subject
area test. Other departments have completed transcript analysis
as a foundation for their assessment plans.
The Department of English bases its program restructuring on the
results of assessment activities. The department administers a
subject area test measuring student knowledge level in a range
of literature courses and writing skills. The results indicate that
the curriculum requirements were so loose that students were not
taking a satisfactory variety of literature or writing courses.
The curriculum was changed to specify that students must take
a course in world literature, old English literature, grammar,
linguistics, history of English language, and literature criticism.
The specified hours increased from 24 to 43 credit hours.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 95
College of Mathematics and Science
One component of the mission of the College of Mathematics and
Science is to be a major scientific and technical resource. This goal
is evident through a variety of avenues, one of which is communi-
ty support for the college. The Selman Living
Laboratory is one example of a unique education
resource for the study of the environment, flora,
and fauna. The excellence of the college’s pro-
grams is reflected in the varieties of accreditation
status held by many departments. Chemistry is
accredited by the American Chemical Society
and prepares students for graduate studies and/or
industrial positions. Funeral Service is accredited
by the American Board of Funeral Service
Education and approved by the state board of
licensing agencies. Nursing is accredited by the
National League for Nursing Accrediting
Commission and approved by the Oklahoma
Board of Nursing.
The college has taken the lead in becoming the first higher education
institution in the nation to offer a Funeral Service B.S. degree. One
of the department’s highly valued community services is its
training of enucleators for corneal transplantation. Another innova-
tive initiative was the creation of an interdisciplinary M.S. in
Forensic Science, with coursework from the criminal justice,
nursing, biology, and chemistry departments.
In the fall of 2001 the College of Mathematics and Science piloted the
Program Improvement Process Report (PIPR), which ties assess-
ment data to program decisions and budget considerations. The
pilot reinforced equipment and staffing needs for student learning.
Outcomes assessment in the College of Mathematics and Science
shows evidence of the strengths of student and faculty relation-
ships. The Department of Biology has 60% of its graduating seniors
take the Area Concentrated Assessment Test (ACAT) outside the
classroom on their own time. Nursing faculty interact with gradu-
ates as part of the evaluation of program effectiveness. The nursing
program made a major change in their assessment procedure in
1999 by developing a new performance test to measure specific
skills at various points in the student’s tenure. The new testing
instrument offers a wide range of study guides in addition to test-
ing that correlates with the NCLEX-RN examination. Test results
and student and faculty opinion were the basis for the change.
96 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
UCO is one of the largest graduate studies and research institutions in
Oklahoma. To better serve the mission of graduate studies and
research programs, two separate entities, the Graduate College
and the Office of Sponsored Research and Grants, were re-con-
ceptualized into the College of Graduate Studies and Research as
of July 2000. The graduate council, the Research Advisory
Council (RAC) and issues dealing with animal care and human
subjects are all coordinated through the Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and Research (JCGS&R). Faculty
serving on departmental curriculum committees have initial
responsibility for identifying curricular issues. The graduate coun-
cil serves as the university approval body for curriculum issues.
The JCGS&R has assessed itself and identified the need for modifica-
tion. Recently, admission to graduate programs at UCO was a
two-step process. First, students were admitted to the university
if they met the general graduate admission standards. Students
then had to apply to their individual departments
for admission. The result was a university-based,
rather than a department-based admissions process.
This was a problem for those programs with higher
admission standards. To address this issue the
JCGS&R now requires students seeking admission
to have a signed “permission to enroll” form from
a departmental advisor before being admitted to
One of the challenges that the JCGS&R still faces
with its admission process concerns international
students. The International Office admits interna-
tional students to the university and evaluates their
academic transcripts. The JCGS&R often must
admit students that the International Office believes are qualified,
even if the JCGS&R feels that those students do not meet UCO’s
graduate admission standards. Academic standards of graduate
programs are being tightened. Students on probation, suspension,
or probationary admission must see an advisor for an academic
progress check prior to enrolling.
A final effort made by departments to distinguish their graduate
offerings has been the use of capstone experiences, which require
a thesis, a capstone paper, a comprehensive exam, an independent
project, a portfolio, or some other type of final project. Graduate
students are expected to engage in independent research and/or
produce a significant piece of scholarly research. This is essential
if the master’s degree is regarded as a research degree.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 97
During the last NCA comprehensive visit in 1992-1993, ten of the 24
graduate programs required some form of capstone experience, and
three incorporated a thesis option. Today, there are 32 graduate pro-
grams at UCO, and over half of them require a capstone experience.
The thesis format has been streamlined and conforms to program
standards approved by the graduate council. As of fall 2001 stu-
dents must present a public defense of their theses to their commit-
tee, a representative from the graduate council, and JCGS&R.
Graduate programs are assessed primarily through course embedded
methods and capstone experiences. The College of Education
teaching programs are assessed in the same manner as undergradu-
ate programs (standardized tests and folio), but based on standards
tied to the program goals. The master of business administration
maintains a database on student performance. Plans are to use the
database to derive a student profile of successful students in the
MBA program. The faculty in the academic departments coordinate
graduate level assessment.
The operating code of the JCGS&R makes it very clear which faculty
members have the honor of serving as graduate faculty. Only full-
time faculty “with an earned doctorate who are active in scholar-
ship, creative endeavors, pure and applied research, and who are
dedicated to the professional enhancement of themselves and their
students” have the qualifications to apply for membership as grad-
uate faculty. Two exceptions are granted to this under the operating
code: 1) faculty in the performing arts will be considered an excep-
tion to the earned doctorate requirement if they possess an MFA
degree and 60 graduate hours in the teaching field; 2) a similar
exception is granted for music, where 75 total graduate hours with
60 graduate hours in the teaching field will be required. In the two
latter cases, deans and chairs must determine the equivalence to the
terminal degree. The graduate council membership committee has
final approval of graduate faculty.
The JCGS&R administration has improved academic standards by
strengthening admission requirements, thesis requirements, proba-
tion policies and monitoring of course rigor. Continued assessment
of academic issues will set the foundation for other adjustments in
the graduate program.
OTHER ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT EFFORTS
The OSRHE’s four categories of assessment provide an excellent base for
the assessment of UCO’s success in reaching its educational purposes. There are,
in addition, other activities that demonstrate the commitment and development of
98 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
Academics and Research
The university has stated as a primary focus the expansion of scholarly
research in the curriculum. Although this is related to an area of the special
emphasis, highlights of the effort are presented here.
Culminating experiences are commonly used at the senior level. Students
work on independent research projects, as well as serve as interns or practicum
students in professional settings. Each college has presentation platforms for
students to either present or experience research based projects. The Colleges of
Liberal Arts, Education, and Arts, Media, and Design host student symposiums,
which showcase student research projects and creative works.
The College of Mathematics and Science strongly encourages student and facul-
ty participation in the Regional University Research Day, which is held on
campus. The College of Business Administration coordinates the Southwest
Business Forum, where faculty present research
papers. Students are strongly encouraged to attend. RESEARCH DAY FOR REGIONAL
UNIVERSITIES IS A CONSORTIUM
Distance Learning and Correspondence EFFORT, WITH UCO LEADERSHIP,
Study Courses THAT BRINGS TOGETHER STUDENTS
Many academic departments offer courses AND FACULTY FROM AROUND THE
through correspondence study and/or electronic STATE TO SHARE AND CELEBRATE
distance learning opportunities. A number of colleges
are offering technology-enhanced courses on campus.
These courses mix the classroom lecture format with electronic based learning
Distance learning courses include web based and interactive video
courses. One challenge in trying to assess distance learning is the diversity in
coordinating the course implementation. The deans approve the course offerings,
but the technological coordination of offering the course may be handled through
the Office of Distance Learning or through college support offices.
A questionnaire is administered to students enrolled in distance learning
courses. The questionnaire focuses on course delivery method and academic
effectiveness. Student response to the questionnaire has been very positive for
the correspondence study, web based, and interactive video courses. For web
based and interactive video courses, more than 90% of the student respondents
felt that the distance learning courses were as rigorous as other courses taken in
a traditional classroom setting. They also stated that time convenience was the
primary reason for taking the course, while less than 60% indicated that distance
from the UCO campus was the reason.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 99
The Office of Correspondence Study maintains a relatively consistent
enrollment of 2,100 students. When students complete the course they are asked
to respond to the questionnaire. Student responses indicate a high level of satis-
faction with the administration and structure of the course. One interesting note is
that the majority of the students completing correspondence courses are seniors.
This may be a way that they complete needed hours for graduation.
Assessment of student learning in the distance learning courses is an evolv-
ing process, but results, to this point, are positive.
To aid in identifying the needs for professional development of faculty,
staff, and administrators, two surveys were administered as part of the HLC self-
study process, the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE) and the
Faculty Survey (from the Higher Education Research Institute-HERI).
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) was administered in
spring 2001. It was distributed to first-year students and seniors. The survey
focused on student engagement in the classroom with faculty, staff, and other stu-
dents. More than three-fourths of the respondents indicate that they would enroll
at UCO again if they were to start over. Two-thirds said
that UCO contributed to their speaking skills.
Two-thirds also stated that they were satisfied with
MORE THAN THREE-FOURTHS OF
THE RESPONDENTS INDICATE THAT academic advisement. One area that had results below
THEY WOULD ENROLL AT UCO the norm was the number of written papers required. A
AGAIN IF THEY WERE TO START committee of faculty members has analyzed the results
OVER. NSSE SURVEY
and presented the strengths and concerns with recom-
mendations to the provost. The primary focus of
attention is on the area identified as “academic
challenge.” All of the colleges are examining ways to enhance student engagement
in the classroom, and faculty enhancement activities for the coming academic year
will support these efforts.
The Faculty Survey (HERI) was conducted in fall 2000. A faculty com-
mittee reviewed the results and identified three global strengths: faculty career
commitment, teaching mission commitment, and technology commitment.
Although these are areas of strength, the committee made recommendations for
enhancement. The concerns include: teaching support issues, stress/working con-
ditions issues, and administrative relationship issues. Another concern is the
100 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
availability of technology and equipment necessary to enhance the learning envi-
ronment. The committee recommends that procedures be streamlined and the
faculty be asked to clarify policies and procedures.
Faculty enhancement is one of the components being addressed by the
special emphasis study. Noted here is a brief summary of current offerings with
more detail in the special emphasis section, Chapter Nine.
The university has many faculty development opportunities that are
available in-house. The Faculty Enhancement Center (FEC), newly developed in
1999, provides a variety of offerings. Many of the learning opportunities are led
by current university faculty, while others utilize well-known speakers from
off-campus. Classroom teaching and technology areas have been the current
emphasis. Participation has been good, and application of new teaching con-
cepts and/or techniques are being tracked. The FEC has strong support from the
provost/vice president of academic affairs.
Each year, the Office of Assessment sponsors a nationally known assess-
ment speaker. Meetings are also held with the presenter and the university, and
college assessment committees. Each summer the assessment office sponsors an
individual from each college to attend an assessment conference, often the
American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) conference on assessment.
Many of the programs implemented in departments and colleges are directly
related to faculty attendance of the
assessment conference. Use of rubrics
for course embedded measures, imple-
mentation of critical thinking assign-
ments, design of focus groups for stu-
dent input, and development of course
portfolios are some examples of assess-
ment practices implemented by faculty
who attended the conference. But most
of all, faculty come back with renewed
enthusiasm, a better understanding of
the scope of assessment, and a clearer
perception of the status of their depart-
ment in relation to other institutions.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 101
UCO offers technical training for faculty, staff, and administrators through
the Office of User Services, Technology. Faculty, support staff, administrators, and
students can enhance their skills through hands-on training with the UCO standard
application software packages. Faculty have the opportunity to learn how to use
WebCT to incorporate technology in their teaching. The university has a site
license for all faculty to use WebCT. The training for the Banner computer system
is coordinated through this office. Training is required for access to files dealing
with personnel, budget, and student records. The training presentations and
resource manuals are comparable to commercial training centers, but with campus
based examples for easier transition of skills.
Student service offices strive to provide diverse programs and services
designed to enrich the collegiate experience. The student population at UCO has
made a clear transition from a commuter campus to a commuter/resident campus.
Between fall 1998 and fall 2001 the resident student population increased 51%.
The student service departments are adjusting their programs to effectively serve
The Student Services division at UCO is typical of
many throughout the country and does not include the
areas of admissions, registration, bursar, and financial aid.
The departments providing student services, whether
housed in the divisions of academic affairs or student ser-
vices, work closely together to provide a seamless envi-
ronment for students.
In 1998, the Division of Student Services began a
reorganization process in an effort to maximize resources
and increase quality of services to the student body. Some
offices were consolidated into a Department of Campus
Life, including Greek life programs, multicultural programs, and student organi-
zations. Other offices were moved into separate departments, such as Departments
of Career Services and the Student Counseling Center, Testing Services, and
Disability Support Services.
The transition of students from high school to the university is a primary
focus of UCO retention efforts. The student orientation program conducted at the
start of every academic year serves more than 1,000 new students and more than
102 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
600 parents. Eighty-seven percent of new students attending New Student
Orientation in the fall 2000 returned for classes in the spring 2001. The student
orientation program is complemented with a week of welcome activities during
Prospective Student Services/Scholarships (PSS) is typically the first
point of contact for prospective students and their parents. PSS provides a wide
range of services and written resources to guide students in their decision to
attend UCO. The 7% increase in freshmen enrollment since 1999 is an indicator
of the effectiveness of PSS.
The Department of Housing has evolved over the past few years from an
entity that seeks to provide primarily a place to sleep, to a theory-based opera-
tion that seeks to play a collaborative role by educating the whole student in a
living/learning environment. New facilities have been built to encourage residen-
tial student development and to further the academic classroom experience. To
this end, the department offers a multitude of programs that encourage faculty
involvement in residential learning and individual social development.
“UCO must also contribute to the intellectual, cultural, economic and
social advancement of the communities and individuals it serves.” This second
part of the UCO mission statement identifies a com-
mitment that extends outside the classroom and is
reinforced by one of the themes of the strategic plan A UNIVERSITY IS AN INTEGRAL PART
OF THE COMMUNITIES IT SERVES.
regarding UCO and the community:
MAKING POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS
The Center for Learning and Professional TO THOSE COMMUNITIES IS AN
Development (CLPD) oversees the majority of non- INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT PART OF
credit programs designed to meet the needs of profes- THE UNIVERSITY ’S MISSION.
sionals seeking certification, executive leadership
training, community education offerings, and event
planning. UCO faculty teach many of the courses offered, and qualified instruc-
tors from the community are used for other courses.
UCO has six museums, including the Donna Nigh Gallery, named in
honor of the wife of UCO’s 18th President, Governor George Nigh. The
Chambers Library is available to the community for research. A university
Christmas party provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to support children
in need. The World Within Program groups international students with a UCO
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 103
student and a local family as a supportive unit. The recently opened Volunteer
Center coordinates opportunities for students to work with the community. These
are examples of campus wide outreach programs.
One particular outreach program focusing on both cultural and social needs
of the community is the Broadway Tonight series. President Webb initiated the
program that brings New York based Broadway shows to UCO. Attendance and
support from the community has been high.
Listed below are other examples of outreach activities:
• National Computer Educator’s Institute (up-to-date professional
education in information technology, offered for 26 years)
• More than 100 P-12 Partnerships with public school institutions
• Great Expectations program for K-12 teachers
• Studies Abroad Program mentor training and teaching programs
• Educators’ Leadership Academy (VRR – Educators’ Leadership
• Central Oklahoma Regional Science and Engineering Fair
• Oklahoma Council on Economic Education (resources to teach
stock market concepts to grades 4th-12th)
• Training for diverse groups through partnerships, including the
• International Humor Studies Institute
• Physics and Engineering Day for students in grades 7th-12th
• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
• Language Challenge for high school students
• Oklahoma Junior Academy of Science
• Regional Universities’ Research Day
• Canterbury Arts Festival
• KCSU television and KCSC classical radio station (voted the num-
ber one classic music station in the state)
• Performing Arts presentations, including plays, concerts, exhibits,
104 - CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE
Academic program development, growth, and renewal systems are in
place and are supported by faculty driven committees. Faculty are actively
involved in the development and revision of the curriculum.
A centralized assessment office serves as a resource for consultation
and provides faculty development opportunities in assessment. It also compiles
reports for external audiences and coordinates multi-disciplined assessment
efforts for entry- and mid-levels, as well as levels of satisfaction measures.
The assessment program is funded through a dedicated student fee.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The general education assessment effort has focused on course-embedded
assessment. The focus can be improved upon through the implementation of a
holistic measure. The assessment advisory board will explore the feasibility of
several options, including a standardized test instrument and a “cornerstone
The feedback loop concept needs to be strengthened to enhance curricu-
lar improvement. A plan is in place to incorporate assessment results in academic
decisions at the university level. The Program Improvement Process Report
(PIPR) is being piloted prior to being implemented university wide. The belief
is that the PIPR will strengthen the continuous improvement process at the
Currently, the majority of the academic programs offer some type of
capstone experience. Best practices suggest that capstone experiences should be
expanded to all programs.
A systematic approach to the utilization of faculty, student, and staff
survey results needs to be established to ensure that the feedback leads to
improvements. Administrative processes should be reviewed for opportunities
to improve quality, enhance efficiency, and streamline operations.
CHAPTER 6: CRITERION THREE - 105
CHAPTER 7 – CRITERION FOUR
CRITERION FOUR: “The institution can con-
tinue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its
The University of Central Oklahoma is struc-
tured to fulfill its mission while remaining flexible to
change in a global environment. The university has
the resources, planning structure, decision-making
processes, and assessment procedures to accomplish
its purposes now and in the future.
CAMPUS-WIDE STRATEGIC PLANNING
Under the current president, university-wide
planning has assumed and maintains a place of
substantial prominence on campus. This long-range
process started from the bottom up and includes
individuals from various constituencies, including
faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the business
community. Many academic departments have their
own planning committees, which develop missions
and plans. Each department has a representative on a
college committee that helps to develop long-range
planning for each college.
A university committee (the University
Planning Group) comprised of members elected from
each college as well as all of the deans, representa-
tives from Faculty Senate and AAUP, administrators,
and community business leaders, worked tirelessly to
develop the university’s mission statement and overall
long-range plan. Innovation and change was
encouraged at all levels and across departments and
functional units. The process took approximately
eighteen months and involved virtually the entire
106 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
The nine themes that resulted are identified in Chapter Three on Criterion
One. Monitoring progress lies with the president and his executive staff. Ideally,
the progress and changes made in the existing plan are communicated to the
campus community. This works better in some areas than others. As might be
expected, the participation and communication that was very intense during the
strategic planning process has dissipated. Communication regarding implementa-
tion of the long-range plan and its relationship to the budget is emerging as an
The most notable result of the strategic plan in the academic division is
the creation of the College of Arts, Media, and Design (CAMD). The strategic
plan targeted a School of Fine Arts, a planning committee explored possibilities,
and a decision was formed to create a college that incorporated existing depart-
ments and programs and that worked to make certain traditional elements of the
fine arts more technologically current. The new college provides a means to
strengthen widely recognized departments and programs and enhances UCO’s
interaction with the community. In addition, CAMD has had a major influence
on external support, with the recent donation of the 4.1 million Melton Art
Collection as an example.
Technological developments have taken place on every campus in the
country, and UCO is no exception to that trend. Another significant change
resulting from the strategic planning process is the implementation of the SCT
Banner system. This system will affect every aspect of campus life. UCO will
be in the final stages of Banner implementation at the time of the HLC visit.
Web-based applications for enrollment and admission processes have been
implemented. Payroll and other human resource processes are also being
streamlined. Though the change to the new system is not without challenges,
the goal is a fully integrated system in the near future.
Another highly visible change resulting from the strategic planning
process is the increase in student activities and campus life in general. UCO
boasts more than 160 active clubs and organizations that support the curricular
and personal development of students. Student housing has improved, not only
in regard to the physical setting as mentioned previously, but also in terms of the
residence life and support system in the dorms and suites. Opportunities abound
for watching NCAA Division II athletic events, as well as for participating in
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 107
Quality improvement was a driving force behind the strategic planning
process. That quality thinking has served the university as an excellent background
for the AQIP principle.
As a result of this planning process many changes have been made and
resources have been reallocated. For example, a lab fee has been instituted for lab
courses that pays for small equipment and supplies for science labs as well as
needed maintenance on older equipment. UCO has initiated a coordinated adver-
tising campaign with billboards and other media exposure in the local area. The
Department of Prospective Student Services/Scholarships (PSS) has added some
much needed staff. An institutional commitment was also made to increase the
recruitment of college-bound students at local high schools, with encouraging
Within the academic arena, space was reallocated to better meet increasing
demand and existing needs. In addition, many revisions to curriculum were insti-
tuted. One example of curricular changes was a new program in forensic science.
This multidisciplinary and innovative program fills a gap in this important field of
The academic planning process impacts those areas reporting directly to
the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. It is in all ways consistent
with and is a direct result of the university strategic plan. In addition to the inter-
nal process, the OSRHE require annual submission of an academic plan. The plan
submitted to the OSRHE and the internal plan on campus reflect the same mission
The academic plan is developed through the Office
of Vice President for Academic Affairs and continues to
evolve. Two significant developments are the conceptual-
ization of an institutional effectiveness model and the incor-
poration of quality improvement principles into the framing
of the goals and objectives.
The Academic Affairs Executive Council, consisting
of the provost/vice president, associate and assistant acade-
mic vice presidents, the deans and assistant deans of the col-
leges, and the library director, is directly involved in the
academic planning process. Faculty and staff are involved
108 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
through interaction with their appropriate dean or director. The Institutional
Effectiveness Model “closes the loop” by using assessment, program review, and
other stakeholder input in the planning and budgeting process. The model
emphasizes a long-range vision of three to five years and is still in the develop-
To improve the institutional effectiveness model and the relationship
between the different elements, the Office of Academic Affairs is experimenting
with a Program Improvement Process Report (PIPR), which links the activities
of assessment and program review, as they relate to student learning, directly to
the planning and budgeting process. This process is designed to integrate the
concepts formulated in strategic planning with the results of efforts to assess stu-
dent learning. The PIPR is currently being piloted within the College of
Mathematics and Science and will be evaluated after the budget process for
Assessing Student Learning Budgeting
Program Review Implementing
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 109
Current Academic Planning Priorities
The following briefly presents those priorities that are fully described in the
Academic Plan 2001-2002.
I. Helping Students Learn – identifies the shared purpose of higher education
organizations and is accordingly the pivot of any institutional quality analysis
- College of Arts, Media, and Design – implementation of the new college
- Undergraduate Research – providing additional learning opportunities
- Student Success – UCO’s CLASS Project and Title III activities focusing
on various elements of student success
- General Education – process and content targeted for review
II. Valuing People – allows the higher education institution to demonstrate its
commitment to the development of the talents of its faculty, staff, and
administrators, as the efforts of all are required for institutional success
- Leadership Training – participation in several leadership programs
(e.g., Educators’ Leadership Academy)
- Faculty Development – one of the Special Emphasis pilot areas
- Adjunct Faculty – a comprehensive, university-wide review
III. Understanding Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs – examines ways a
quality-driven institution, knowing it will ultimately be judged by external and
internal individuals and groups that have a stake in the institution’s success,
works actively to understand its stakeholders’ needs.
- Accessibility of Programs and Courses – off-campus learning opportunities,
- Partnerships and Advisory Councils – learning from other external agencies
and working to meet their articulated needs
IV. Measuring Effectiveness – examines the information system the institution
employs to collect and use data to responsibly manage itself and to drive per-
formance improvement. Planning Continuous Improvement – examines ways
an institution aligns what it hopes to do with what it actually does
- Policy and Procedure – clarifies Faculty Handbook and academic
- Information System – implements major system affecting all aspects of
campus management including academic areas
- Higher Learning Commission – facilitates re-accreditation and moves towards
AQIP, significant activities involving much of the campus
- Institutional Effectiveness Model – systematically reviews and coordinates
key academic processes
110 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
Academic Faculty Planning
Planning for faculty positions is a difficult task under the best of
circumstances. The limited budgetary climate combined with increasing
enrollment makes this issue particularly challenging at UCO. The challenge is
addressed differently in terms of reallocation of positions and demands for
The strategy of faculty-position reallocation has become increasingly
important. The retirement or resignation of a faculty member gives our
undergraduate deans the opportunity to recommend reallocating the vacated
position to another department within their college. The deans recommend, but
the provost/vice president of academic affairs reallocates faculty positions from
one college to another. That has been done, consistently, over about the past five
years. Reallocations at any level are based on such trend-data factors as
credit-hour production, number of students and graduates, and adjunct ratios.
Other factors include appropriate support for new programs or programs
The development and recruitment for a new faculty position is,
minimally, a year-long process which begins early in the fall semester one
academic year prior to actually hiring. The first step is to systematically obtain
the prioritized “needs” input from each academic dean, based on specific
guidance from the Office of Academic Affairs. Once collected, normally no later
than October 1, all requests, for either replacements or new positions, are
analyzed and weighed against
the needs of the university as
well as each college, in that
order. Criteria used are the same
upon which faculty-position
reallocation decisions are made.
Critical to the process is the
current and projected budget
situation. Sustaining existing
faculty positions is the highest
priority; second is establishing
new positions. The latter
requires either “new money”
or faculty-position reallocation.
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 111
Following approval by the provost, the advertising and recruiting process for the
coming academic year commences. It starts with a one-time display ad in the
Chronicle of Higher Education and appropriate regional print media. Thereafter, a
rigorous and highly defined screening and selection process occurs, culminating in
appropriate hiring actions.
A number of academic departments have historically been “under market”
for faculty salaries, due in part to the use of a faculty salary card that has been
applied across the range of disciplines. This factor has contributed to chronic
recruitment problems and impacted faculty retention. Consequently, market
adjustments have been implemented for three departments: Information Systems
and Operations Management, Management, and Computer Science. Each full-
time, non-temporary faculty member in these departments receives, or will
receive, a market adjustment to their annual salary. The first such adjustment was
applied to Information Systems and Operations Management in academic year
1999-2000. The adjustments for the other two departments started in 2000-2001.
Implemented over a two-year period, the adjustment was based on two principal
criteria: first, market salary levels at comparable universities, and second, afford-
ability. The current adjustment does not establish parity, but it does represent
movement toward it and demonstrates good-faith effort by administration. While
a number of other departments are still under market, currently available resources
preclude a definitive time line for implementing additional adjustments.
The effective use of adjunct faculty is also a planning issue. Adjunct fac-
ulty have traditionally been used for two purposes: first, to bring “real world”
experience into the classroom, and second, to allow student access to classes that
could not otherwise be taught by full-time faculty given appropriate teaching
loads. While a recent survey of deans and chairs indicated that they believe adjunct
faculty provide quality instruction, there is still a sense that more steps need to be
taken to ensure support for and quality of adjunct faculty. That issue is discussed
further in the section on the special emphasis as an example of UCO’s current
activities in continuous improvement.
Tenure and Promotion
As part of the faculty planning efforts, the president has recently approved
a set of new promotion and tenure guidelines developed by the Promotion and
Tenure Task Force, empowered by the provost/vice president for academic affairs.
The criteria are determined in each college. These new procedures tighten guide-
112 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
lines for promotion and tenure, help make the criteria more consistent, and help
ensure that these actions are fair to all faculty members. The new policy includes
a pre-tenure and a post-tenure review and supports continuous improvement of
faculty. The university promotion and tenure guide-
lines allow each college to devise additional require- UCO FACULTY PRESENTED THE
ments and goals relative to their various disciplines. NEW TENURE AND PROMOTION
Faculty in each college voted on and approved the MODEL AT THE AAHE FACULTY
guidelines in spring and summer 2001. Other institu- ROLES AND REWARDS CONFERENCE
tions have identified the UCO tenure and promotion IN JANUARY 2002
policy as a potential model for adoption. UCO faculty
presented the model in a workshop at the AAHE Faculty Roles and Rewards
Conference in January 2002.
The impact of budget shortages on tenure and promotion has been nega-
tive. Until the academic year 2000-2001, the administration limited associate
professors to 35% of full-time faculty and full professors to 30% of full-time
faculty. The resulting difficulty in attaining promotion discouraged faculty, some
of whom moved to other institutions. There is now a temporary, two-year
moratorium on the limits of positions for promotion to address a backlog created
in previous years by board-mandated and suggested caps. This moratorium will
become permanent if the faculty can maintain adequate and consistent quality
standards for promotion decisions as outlined in the new Tenure and Promotion
ACADEMIC DECISION MAKING PROCESSES
The University of Central Oklahoma’s decision-making structure is three
tiered and is functionally strong. The first component of this structure involves
the ways in which administrators are chosen. The faculty within a department
select a candidate for department chair by majority vote and forward that
recommendation to the college dean. The recommendation is then processed
through the dean and the provost to the president. The dean, provost, and presi-
dent almost always accept the recommendation of the departmental faculty.
The provost appoints the deans with the approval of the president.
However, when there is a need to choose a new dean, a search committee is
formed with members from the college, faculty senate, and, where appropriate,
the business community. This committee does the initial screening of applicants
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 113
and interviews the finalists. In addition, the committee hosts an open forum so that
the members of the academic community can evaluate the candidates. The com-
mittees make recommendations to administration. Other administrative positions
are filled in a similar manner.
Another component of the decision-making structure concerns the compo-
sition of standing college wide and university committees, and how and when new
committees are formed on campus. All colleges have a curriculum committee with
members from each of the departments in the college, as well as a technology com-
mittee and other committees as needed.
At the university level, the Academic Affairs Council handles undergradu-
ate curricular issues. This committee consists of elected representatives from all
colleges, elected Faculty Senate representatives, and appointed student represen-
tatives. The Graduate Council addresses issues concerning graduate curriculum.
Representatives from each college’s graduate faculty are elected for three-year
terms. Representatives from Faculty Senate serve on both councils. There is also
a university technology committee with students and faculty members from all
Other standing committees exist with representation from all colleges.
Special task forces are formed as needed to evaluate and make recommendations
on areas of special concern or interest. These committees are usually formed with
wide representation from all colleges and the Faculty Senate. Some examples of
special task forces include the Promotion and Tenure Task Force, the Retention
Task Force, the Globalization Task Force, and the General Education Task Force.
The president or provost forms other task forces at any time to deal with unantic-
ipated problems or areas that need special attention.
Another element of the decision-making foundation of the campus
involves policies found in the faculty, student, and employee handbooks. Policies
of the university are included in appropriate publications. Policy recommendations
come from a variety of groups across campus. A major policy recommendation is
generally developed by a task force or committee, then reviewed across campus.
Reactions and input from the campus community may be requested in a variety of
formats depending on the nature of the policy. For major changes, the format
114 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
most frequently utilized is an open forum or series of open forums. After final
approval at the appropriate level, changes are implemented in the appropriate
handbook and communicated to the campus community.
Other decision-making vehicles exist throughout the campus. Many
issues are resolved through the academic hierarchy. Most student or faculty
issues are addressed at the level of the department chair. However, if not
resolved at this level, they may progress to the level of college dean, and, if
necessary, proceed up the hierarchy. There are specific procedures in place
for a student to appeal a grade, for a faculty to file a grievance, for an instructor
to document academic dishonesty, and for employee evaluation. All of these
processes are described in detail in the appropriate publications. When it is
determined that changes in procedures are needed, generally, a committee
representing the affected stakeholders in the process develops recommendations
for procedural changes.
In the curriculum arena, changes in courses and
programs are initiated at the departmental level, proceed-
ing through a college curriculum committee, the college
dean, the Academic Affairs Council for proposals for
undergraduate courses/programs or the Graduate Council
for proposals for graduate courses/programs, to the Office
of Academic Affairs for final approval and implementa-
tion. The process is reviewed and altered to improve
efficiency and effectiveness.
The institution has moved the budget processes
toward a true budget plan as opposed to a spending plan and also toward a more
proactive and less reactive approach. The thinking has a longer range focus,
using a three year rather than an annual perspective. Strategic planning drives its
The University of Central Oklahoma is taking appropriate action regard-
ing its under-funded status. Administration makes every effort to work with the
OSRHE and the state legislature to share with them the impact of the current
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 115
funding levels. The OSRHE appear to recognize the problem and have made some
equity adjustments, but they are faced with a state level of funding that is approx-
imately 40% lower than that of surrounding states. The president is very active
with legislative units in an effort to educate and to seek assistance from them.
Alliance for Institutional Advancement
UCO formed the Alliance for Institutional Advancement (AIA) in October
2001. This group is co-directed by the vice president for academic affairs and the
vice president for administration. The AIA is a university-wide initiative charged
with the responsibility of fundraising for the entire university.
The new alliance addresses the present and future development needs of
the university and constitutes a team of diverse departments and individuals.
Initially, the AIA includes representatives from the president’s office, auxiliary
enterprises, academic affairs, the UCO Foundation, UCO alumni, the athletic
department, the academic deans, and other individuals with strategic insights and
skills. An attempt to re-energize fundraising for UCO, the AIA is creating the
consciousness that fundraising is everybody’s business every day.
This innovative approach replaces the tradition-
THE NEW ALLIANCE ADDRESSES al development office, in which fund-raising was
THE PRESENT AND FUTURE perceived as the job of one individual or one office.
DEVELOPMENT NEEDS OF THE The AIA announced within a matter of weeks after its
UNIVERSITY AND CONSTITUTES
inception a new athletic facility fund-raising effort.
A TEAM OF DIVERSE DEPARTMENTS
There appears to be a new sense of ownership and
enthusiasm for university fund-raising.
116 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
Technology was identified as one of nine major themes in the university’s
long-range plan. Four overarching technology goals include:
1. To enhance learning, teaching, research, and service activities
through the use of instructional technologies.
2. To increase access to information by students, faculty, staff, and
community members through easy to use, responsive
3. To strengthen the university community by facilitating commu-
nications among students faculty, staff, and community
4. To create an efficient and effective information system
There is evidence of continuing progress in all of those areas.
In the past four years, the university has used capital monies to provide a
state-of-the-art telephone system, network infrastructure, and information sys-
tem. Funding for the new telephone system demonstrates UCO’s overall com-
mitment to technology.
The university information system replacement has progressed to the
point of staff training and pilot implementations. Certain parts of the system
“went live” in summer 2001, and different components will be added throughout
the next two years. The three-year project will replace the campus wide comput-
ing system with an integrated information system.
Students can electronically submit financial aid applications and search
for scholarship opportunities as well as print schedules and transcripts.
The Student Technology Fee has been a major source of funding to allow
the institution to maintain current technology. An annual infusion of more than
$1 million provides technology for students. The fee supports numerous comput-
er labs across the campus, updates library reference material access, and
enhances classroom technology. Student lab computers are recycled to faculty
offices. Most faculty members have access to current technology both in their
office and their classrooms. A “cyber-café,” housed in the centrally located Nigh
University Center, has expanded computer access for students in a comfortable
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 117
With support from the university, faculty are increasing their use of tech-
nology in the learning/teaching process. New web-based courses and web-
enhanced courses enrich student learning in the subject areas as well as in tech-
nology. Totally web-based courses have increased from seven during the 1998-
1999 academic year to 37 during academic year 2000-2001. The number of stu-
dents enrolling in those courses has increase from 57 to 523 during the same time
period. Students seem to prefer web-based courses to the interactive video cours-
es that peaked in academic year 1998-1999 at 21 courses with 231 enrolled
UCO is a partner with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
to participate in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Common
Market Classroom, as well as the Online College of Oklahoma. Full-motion video
and Internet Protocol compressed H.323 capabilities are available, and the institu-
tion has adopted the use of WEB CT as the primary tool for web-based and
web-enhanced courses. The College of Education is
using H.323 as a means of creating partnerships with
INTERACTIVE VIDEO COURSES schools across the state to assist them in their teacher
USING FULL-MOTION VIDEO AND
H.323 HAVE REACHED OVER 20
SITES AROUND THE STATE.
Through distance learning technology, UCO
also reaches out to sites around the state. Interactive
Video (ITV) technologies currently support two
programs and will help many more students by providing classes they have not
been able to access in person. The challenge for the institution is to know which
classes have the greatest opportunity for success, given resources and demands of
students currently on campus. The institution is excited about the opportunities for
collaboration with other state institutions.
The Faculty Survey (HERI), conducted fall 2000, gives some data regard-
ing UCO’s use of technology as it relates to teaching/learning. It indicates that
about 40% of the faculty is using technology to place and collect assignments on
the Internet. Instructors use it to communicate with students and others and
encourage student research. They are also using computer technology to conduct
scholarly writing, conduct data analysis, and create presentations. A growing
number are using technology to participate in on-line discussion groups, both for
themselves and as a means of supplementing student interaction. The National
Survey of Student Engagement, conducted spring 2001, suggests that UCO
118 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
students are using technology to discuss and complete assignments, communicate
with professors and other students, and perform standard computing processes.
Instructional technology, however, needs continued support and encour-
agement. On-going faculty development, one key to continuous improvement, is
receiving focused attention from the Faculty Enhancement Center and the IT
Training office. Expanded help desk services have increased desktop computing
assistance to faculty, students, and staff. Information Services and Technical
Support professionals coordinate a monthly technical user group that brings
together technical support people from the colleges and administrative depart-
ments. The Title III grant also supports faculty development in instructional tech-
MASTER PLAN – FACILITY PLANNING
The campus facility planning process is intertwined with the capital bud-
geting process coordinated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
for the legislature and the governor. Projects listed with the OSRHE are updated
on an annual basis, and this list, or parts of the list, are included in the State
Capital Improvements Plan (SCIP). The SCIP will serve as the basis for
statewide bond issues to support higher education, prisons, highways, and other
major capital expenditures.
The new vice president for administration will review and, perhaps,
restructure UCO’s campus master planning (CMP) process, which will then
serve as the basis for requests and justifications for state funding both for facili-
ties and programs.
Currently, the process works as follows. The colleges develop internal
long-range plans for changes and development of curriculum, including facility
needs to support them. The strategic plan and plans from the colleges are
considered together, then the administration develops a long-range plan includ-
ing housing needs, campus services and staffing, and all needs driven by institu-
tional vision for the future, including facilities. Items considered within the plan
include the development of the campus as a whole, construction options, support
needs, site development, utilities and technology infrastructures, access and
parking changes, land acquisitions, campus security, landscaping, lighting, and
signage. During this development, the university established a funding plan to
support the construction program and staffing. When this is accomplished and
the process to meld all voices has been completed, accepted, and approved; then
a formal document is prepared.
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 119
These items are prioritized and presented to the BOROC, then to the
OSRHE, then to the State Capital Master Plan Committee (through the legislature)
to be put on the lists for possible future state funding. Higher education in
Oklahoma has not faired well in capital funding. UCO has, therefore, been innov-
ative in its approach to funding capital expenditures. Current plans focus increas-
ingly on external funds for major capital expenditures. At this point there have
been no critical successes, but there are possibilities.
A formal CMP exists only in the form that is sent to the OSRHE. An
expanded CMP that is a part of the comprehensive fund-raising effort is under con-
struction. Facilities are addressed within the strategic plan and current attention
centers on enhancement of existing facilities, expansion of facilities directly serv-
ing student life, and adequate space for the new college.
HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING
Human resource planning has been sufficient to maintain the institution,
although the new vice president for administration has instituted continuous
improvement. The human resource department does an excellent job of job
placement and manages employee disputes well. Recently the department has
completed the first comprehensive “Turnover/Cost Analysis Survey,” a first step
towards broadening their scope of study. A best-practice review to establish target
benchmarks of excellence is underway.
The financial constraints on the institution, worsened by the events of
September 11, 2001, and subsequent economic issues in the country and the state,
prevent an easy resolution to some of the concerns in the human resource area that
could be resolved by finances. However, the processes are beginning to be
reviewed and will be improved.
From the beginning of his tenure at UCO, President
Webb has worked to improve the university’s Student
Services division. The immediate results of this commit-
ment included the hiring of a new vice president and addi-
tional recruitment staff and a strategy to improve life in the
dormitories. Student services, like all other university
units, were actively involved in the strategic planning
120 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
They have been and are committed to providing “a supportive,
challenging, and enriching campus environment, which will facilitate students’
personal development and enhance the academic experience in preparation for
meeting the challenges of a changing society.” The unit is currently focused on
Create a vital campus life.
Master the recruitment of future UCO students.
Maximize the ability to respond to students’ needs.
Enhance the UCO residential living experience.
Increase the retention rates of UCO students.
In an effort to achieve its goals of service to students, Student Services
has undergone a significant re-organization. Staff is working with students and
faculty to ensure progress in all the areas defined.
The unit is an integral part of the total institution. The vice president,
sitting on the President’s Executive Committee, has weekly meetings with the
provost as a means of enhancing communications and cooperation.
Recently the unit has enhanced its assessment efforts in order to further
examine means of improving services to students. Though Student Services has
always been involved with the selection of student surveys, there is a renewed
sense of cooperation between the division and the Office of Assessment, whose
focus is usually considered to be primarily academic.
CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR - 121
The planning and decision-making processes of the university are reason-
ably strong. Driving these processes are individuals, faculty and staff, committed
to providing quality education to students.
UCO has a strong academic program improvement process. The program
review, assessment efforts, and existing curricular committees support student
learning and faculty involvement.
The university supports quality improvement. The president and the
provost provide the base from which the organizational climate will grow and the
commitment will spread.
The tenure and promotion system has undergone a revitalization that sets
it apart both internally and externally as a model program.
The technology plan is in place and making notable progress.
The infrastructure as well as the integration of technology into the teaching/learn-
ing paradigm is progressing well.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The UCO strategic plan has helped to move the institution forward during
the last few years. The flow of communication related to the current implementa-
tion of the plan, particularly the relationship of the plan to the budget, must reach
all of the stakeholders who were involved in its development. A clear sense of how
and when the plan will be up-dated and how it will mesh with continuous improve-
ment processes is important for future success.
The university plans to improve human resource planning and manage-
ment in several areas. Some issues that will be addressed include: (1) the need to
improve integration of part-time faculty (2) the faculty “pay card” (3) the need to
respond to market issues (4) the need to ensure that faculty and staff salaries are
more in alignment with state and regional norms.
Benchmarking is occurring in some departments. The expansion of the
process will help UCO reach its vision. The benchmark model that UCO
encourages is not the peer practice model that has dominated the state higher
education funding process, but a “best practice” model that will involve setting
high standards and searching for innovative ways to reach or surpass
122 - CHAPTER 7: CRITERION FOUR
CHAPTER 8 – CRITERION FIVE
CRITERION FIVE: “The Institution demon-
strates integrity in its practices and relationships.”
The University of Central Oklahoma
exemplifies integrity in its relationships with
students, faculty and staff, and the communities it
serves. The commitment to “Character, Civility,
and Community” is a pivotal theme at UCO.
“Character, Civility, and Community” are
core values at the University of Central Oklahoma.
These values specifically relate to the process of
community building that occurs on campus. An
insistence upon civility is prerequisite for any dis-
course. That discourse, through its interchange of
facts and opinions, agreements and disputes, leads to
the models of value-driven behavior and perfor-
mance described as character. Finally, the networks
of insight and understanding that emerge in the
struggle to build character become the basis for com-
munity. The process is inherent and continuous, and
it helps define UCO.
This section of the report will support UCO’s
emphasis on “Character, Civility, and Community”
as it relates to the HLC criterion of integrity. This
chapter will include a brief sampling of handbooks
and publications that demonstrate the university’s
efforts to communicate policies and that describe its
commitment to integrity in relationships with
students, faculty and staff. Additionally, there are
samples of published statements and advertising that
demonstrate the University of Central Oklahoma’s
understanding of the role it fulfills in academics and
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE - 123
Also included is a description of published
policies and practices for the resolution of internal
disputes and an overview of policies and practices
related to equality, nondiscrimination, and the
building of a culturally diverse academy.
Examples of policies and procedures regarding
UCO’s ethical relationships with other educational
institutions, government agencies, businesses, and
contractual partnerships are also included.
COMMUNICATING POLICY - HANDBOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS
In its determination to establish a fair set of rules in its dealings with
students, faculty, administration, and staff, the University of Central Oklahoma
makes available to the public a variety of resources that clearly define the univer-
sity’s policies and procedures. These documents are revised on a regular basis by
university committees and reviewed by members of the administration. In an effort
to improve accessibility and flexibility, many of these publications are now on the
Communication to Students
Primary resources available to students regarding UCO policies are: the
Code of Student Conduct (VRR – Code of Student Conduct); the Undergraduate
and Graduate Catalogs; the University of Central Oklahoma International
Handbook; the UCO Recruitment video; and the websites of the Department of
Campus Life, the Student Counseling Center, Testing Services, and Disability
The Code of Student Conduct is a document produced by the Division of
Student Services. The Code of Student Conduct “codifies and specifically clarifies
the rights and responsibilities of student members of this academic community.”
This document is updated and distributed annually.
The Undergraduate Catalog (VRR – Undergraduate Catalog) and the
Graduate Catalog (VRR – Graduate Catalog) are available in print and on-line.
These catalogs clearly explain grade appeal procedures and academic retention
standards. Both catalogs are updated annually and involve multiple offices in their
124 - CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE
The Office of Minority Student Services, under the direction of the
Department of Campus Life (VRR – Campus Life), provides educational, cultur-
al, social, and counseling services to UCO’s ethnic minority population (African
American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic American), with a prima-
ry goal of increasing retention and graduation rates. Information about
their services can be found on the Department of Campus Life website and vari-
The Disability Support Services website (VRR – Disability Support
Services) provides students with disabilities a list of services available to them. It
also outlines the necessary documentation for proving need for such services.
Academic policy requires faculty to reference disability support services in their
The Student Counseling Center is a place where students can learn to
deal with personal concerns or situations, such as divorce or a break-up, anxiety,
depression, academic difficulties, and adjustment to college life. Services are
available free of charge to qualifying, currently enrolled students at the
University of Central Oklahoma.
The University of Central Oklahoma International Handbook is directed
at a very important body of students with special needs and concerns. The publi-
cation of this guide helps to facilitate the international student’s time in the US
and, more specifically, at UCO.
The UCO Recruitment Video is an information and recruitment movie
that provides some basic facts about the university, faculty, and student body.
Communication to Faculty and Staff
A number of resources are available to faculty, administrators, and staff
in reference to matters of policy, procedure, and professional expectations.
The Faculty Handbook and Academic Policy Manual (VRR – Academic
Policy Manual) outline expectations in matters of professional conduct and pro-
vide regular mechanisms for the resolution of disputes. The Faculty Handbook
has been undergoing extensive revision during the past three years in an effort to
update it and improve accessibility. The Academic Policy Manual is in its second
year of development. Many of the practices that were not well codified are being
put into a standard format after extensive review.
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE -125
The Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of Graduate Studies and Research has ini-
tiated a variety of ways to support faculty research through recognition, internal
research awards, and assistance in seeking external funding. An intellectual prop-
erty policy (VRR – Intellectual Property Draft), currently under final review, will
help the university better fulfill this mission.
The Human Resources website provides a listing of select policies with ref-
erence to specific articles in the UCO Employee Policy Handbook (VRR –
Employee Handbook). The Employee Policy Handbook offers a clear description
of employment stipulations and privileges in accordance with federal, state, and
other regulations (VRR – Human Resources Policy Manual).
The Compliance Office website provides information to academic, admin-
istrative, and student services staff, as well as to other departmental management
and staff, in order to ensure compliance through education and review of depart-
mental operations. The office conducts operational, procedural, and performance
reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of controls, financial records, and operations,
and adherence to university and regents’ policies/procedures and federal, state, and
other regulations and statutes.
The Faculty Senate Constitution (VRR – Faculty Senate) states in its pre-
amble that, in order “to involve the faculty as the university progresses toward the
solution of its problems and accomplishment of its goals [it has] with the encour-
agement of the administration and Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges estab-
lished the University of Central Oklahoma Faculty Association and its Senate.”
The Faculty Senate maintains an accurate and current web site that provides rele-
vant information to all faculty and staff.
RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
Student Dispute Resolution
The freedom of individuals to inquire, study, evaluate, and gain new under-
standing and personal growth is essential and protected. However, the protection
of these freedoms requires order and stability. The Code of Student Conduct (CSC)
serves as the core of the university’s policy in matters of governance of student
conduct. This policy, nonetheless, does not replace civil or criminal laws but
serves only to govern the normal activities of the university.
The Office of the Vice President for Student Services publishes the Code
of Student Conduct and distributes it to all faculty in a revised edition at the begin-
ning of each academic year. It is also available on the website for Student Services.
126 - CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE
While guaranteeing adherence to such federal laws as the “Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act,” the university deals strictly with the following infrac-
tions of the Student Honor Code, as stated in section I-B of the Code of Student
Conduct: cheating; violating the integrity of examinations; plagiarism; knowing-
ly furnishing false information; forgery; and alteration, damage, or misuse of
official university documents, records, or identification cards.
An important recent example
of the university’s equitable handling
of such infractions occurred when it
was discovered that a group of tempo-
rary employees hired to work in the
registrar’s office had tampered with
student grades after being paid to do
so by other students. Following intense
and detailed review and strict applica-
tion of the procedures published by the
university, the university dismissed the
individuals. As a result of this incident,
and in an effort to ensure integrity in
the workplace and in academic conduct,
temporary employees must now provide
a record of any prior criminal activity.
Procedures for handling violations of policy are outlined in section III-B
of the Code of Student Conduct, which states: “Generally, reports of academic
misconduct are dealt with through the faculty chair of each academic depart-
ment.” When the chair requires assistance, matters are submitted to the assistant
to the vice president for student services, who serves as the conduct officer for
the university. Again, the Code of Student Conduct serves as the core document
in student disputes and in the resolution of procedures involving sexual, racial,
and ethnic harassment, as provided in sections VI and VII. This document safe-
guards individual rights guaranteed by federal law and printed in all official uni-
versity handbooks, including the Undergraduate Catalog and the Graduate
Catalog, as well as brochures published by various offices.
The University of Central Oklahoma Faculty Handbook encourages the
resolution of grade disputes through informal discussion between the student and
faculty member or department chair. However, when this is not possible,
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE -127
the Code of Student Conduct Section II, the Undergraduate Catalog, and Graduate
Catalog provide the rules that govern grade appeal, establishing a hierarchy of
progression from the department level to the college level to the university board.
The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act is observed throughout the process.
Faculty and Staff Dispute Resolution
Faculty, administrator, and staff procedures for resolution of disputes
comply with federal law. The university insists in its documentation that all
employment or academic decisions at UCO must be made purely on the basis of
ability and qualifications related to job and academic performance. Just as the
Code of Student Conduct serves as the central document for resolution of disputes
for students, the Faculty Handbook and the Employee Handbook are the primary
references for the resolution of internal conflict for these constituencies.
The Faculty Handbook provides clear procedures for the resolution of
disputes regarding the tenure process for faculty. The Faculty Handbook contains
sections that deal with Procedures for Administering the Tenure Review and Vote
(section 2.5), Dismissal or Suspension of Tenured Faculty (2.10.1), The Right of
Appeal of Tenured Faculty (2.10.6), and details such actions as the creation of the
Appellate Committee (2.10.7).
In the fall of 2001, the university instituted a post-tenure review that sup-
plements the policies in the Faculty Handbook. This additional document, entitled
“Amended Faculty Handbook Tenure and Promotion Sections,” outlines reasons
for dismissal and provides steps for recourse in the case of unsatisfactory perfor-
Faculty who encounter serious conflict with deans
or chairpersons are provided with a means of reviewing or
recalling the occupancy of that position through the proce-
dure outlined in the Faculty Handbook, section 18.104.22.168
and 22.214.171.124. The Employee Handbook lists
“Employment/Termination Policies” (pp.19-25) and
provides “Grievance Procedures” (pp.46-48) for disputes
at the staff and administrator levels.
In 1997, the university made a conscious effort to
revise its sexual harassment policy so that it is clearer,
more understandable and protective of the interests of all
faculty, staff, and students. This revised policy is Appendix D of the Faculty
Handbook and in Exhibit Five of the Employee Policy Handbook.
128 - CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE
FAIR AND ACCURATE PORTRAYAL
The University of Central Oklahoma states in its mission that “[it] exists
to provide excellent undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education to enable
students to achieve their intellectual, professional, personal and creative poten-
tial. UCO must also contribute to the intellectual, cultural, economic, and social
advancement of the communities and individuals it serves.” The university
sponsors a variety of faculty development activities through the Faculty
Enhancement Center, the Assessment Office, deans’ offices, and the Office
of Academic Affairs. UCO provides continuing education through the large
number of classes it offers at night, on weekends, during the summer, and
during intersession periods. Through the Center for Learning and Professional
Development, nontraditional students and local, metropolitan community
members can take advantage of a wide array of courses for personal enrichment.
Furthermore, a number of departments offer abbreviated courses and workshops
that contribute to professional development, particularly with regards to profes-
sional teacher development.
UCO serves as Oklahoma’s premiere institution of higher learning
for the training of professional teachers. To that end, the university offers
students and professionals a wide variety of opportunities for growth. One
example is the Educators’ Leadership Academy (VRR – Educators’ Leadership
Academy) that states as its mission: “to prepare and challenge education leaders
to take an active role in continually improving the quality of education and
UCO also assists in the intellectual achievement of its students by
furnishing remediation through the Academic Support Center and the UCO
Writing Lab for students experiencing difficulty with their academic work.
As described in the Faculty Handbook (section 3.15), UCO has instituted a
system of mentorship by which faculty in each department advise students
within their programs, work with students on future career plans, and generally
provide support and encouragement as the students advance in their studies.
President Webb has reminded faculty of this charge at every annual fall faculty
meeting since the beginning of his tenure at UCO.
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE -129
In its student life programs UCO seeks to provide a supportive, challeng-
ing, and enriching campus environment in order to facilitate students’ personal
development and enhance the academic experience. This mission is accomplished
through the Office of the Vice President for Student Services, the division of the
university that coordinates all aspects of student life—from student organizations
to disability support services.
With more than 160 student organizations on campus, UCO students are
exposed to a highly stimulating environment. The International Office provides
foreign students with support and extracurricular activities through its 23 cultur-
al/ethnic organizations. The 15 organizations within the Greek system at UCO
state that they strive to provide “emotional support” while teaching students the
importance of working together. All of these organizations are required to operate
according to the by-laws outlined in their constitutions. In addition, the equity and
diversity of these organizations are ensured by the Department of Campus Life.
Additionally, UCO provides campus activities that promote personal
development through the exploration of its students’ heritage. Such events include
the regular celebration of Black Heritage Month, Indian Heritage Week, American
Indian Pow-wows, Asian Heritage Activities, Hispanic Heritage Activities, Martin
Luther King Day Celebrations, the Miss Black UCO pageant and the Miss
Hispanic UCO pageant. These events are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog and
in brochures published by the Multicultural Student Services office that sponsors
these events, and are advertised in the student newspaper, The Vista.
COMMUNITY AND OTHER RELATIONSHIPS
UCO maintains accreditation by the following organizations: the National
League for Nursing, the American Chemical Society, the Educational Standards
Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the National
Association of Schools of Music. The university has established affiliation with
these institutions: the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education,
the Association of Teacher Education Institution, the American Association of
University Women, the American Council on Education, the North Central
Conference on Summer Schools, and the State Board of Education. UCO’s rela-
tionship with each of these entities requires the university to adhere to their stan-
dards and demonstrate ethical practices, two tasks accomplished under
130 - CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE
the supervision of the related departments and colleges and the Office of
The Downtown College Consortium represents a group of local colleges
that share facilities and resources to provide educational opportunities by bring-
ing education to students. Located in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City,
consortium allows students to complete an associate degree or work toward a
bachelor’s degree. The institutions of higher learning participating in this part-
Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
City, Redlands Community College, Rose State College, and UCO.
Authorized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the
Edmond Language Institute (ELI) is located on the campus of the University of
Central Oklahoma and based in Thatcher Hall. UCO works closely with ELI in
welcoming qualified students and helping them to obtain conditional I-20’s
described in the ELI national brochure.
UCO participates in all standard federal financial aid programs. These
include PELL, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Perkins Loan,
Federal Family Education Loan, and Federal Work-Study, as well as state grant
programs such as the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant. A review of the fiscal year
2000-2001 audit report indicates that the university has complied with auditors’
findings and recommendations. For example, after the auditors recommended
that the university revise procedures to ensure that Perkins Loan cancellations
are calculated correctly, the Bursar’s office instituted procedures for the consis-
tent calculation of cancellation amounts. In an effort to comply with all federal
and state regulations, the Office of Student Financial Aid (VRR – Student
Financial Aid) publishes several brochures and leaflets that clearly outline the
policies and procedures of these financial aid-granting institutions. The financial
aid default rate has fluctuated between 6.9% in fiscal year 1996-1997 and 4.3%
in fiscal year 1997-1998. In fiscal year 1999-2000 the default rate was 4.9%.
The university upholds United States Immigration and Naturalization
laws and maintains a check on student visa status through a regular review of
files in the International Office. The university employs two individuals who act
as immigration advisors.
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE -131
UCO also cooperates with state agencies that ensure fair treatment of
students with disabilities. The university regularly disseminates information that
reminds all its constituencies of their responsibility to fairness. The Oklahoma
Disability Etiquette Handbook, published by the governor’s Committee on
Employment of People with Disabilities, is just one example of such information.
In concert with the State Health Department, which provides services for students
with visual disabilities, UCO has ensured that students obtain needed facilities,
equipment and services to help them succeed in their studies.
Businesses and Contractual Partnerships
A review of the Audit Report for 2000-2001 found that oversight process-
es for monitoring contractual agreements are sufficient. UCO maintains several
business and contractual partnerships through University Auxiliary Services. The
Nigh University Center provides food services through companies such as Chick-
Fil-A and Starbucks. It also contracts with Barnes and Noble to provide its
bookstore services. The integrity of these partnerships is maintained through the
establishment of such committees as the University Bookstore Committee that
addresses concerns about pricing and stock. Legal counsel for UCO reads all
contractual agreements. This new position demonstrates the university’s continued
interest in promoting integrity in external relationships.
SUPPORTING DIVERSITY THROUGH POLICIES
The University of Central Oklahoma stands in good faith when it comes to
policies and practices related to equality, nondiscrimination, and the building of a
diverse community. The log of student complaints maintained by the
Equity/Affirmative Action Officer contained no complaints for the academic year
2000-2001. All of the official handbooks identified earlier in this chapter contain
either mission statements or statements of administrative policy that speak of
UCO’s willing compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the
Because UCO values its relationship with international students and is
committed to creating a diverse community, the university instituted a program
entitled “UCO’s World Within—Campus Friendships for Global Understanding.”
This program brings international students together with local students and
members of the Edmond community, creating a new “family.” The goal of the
program, as stated by promotional brochures, is to explore new ideas, experience
new perspectives, and enjoy new friendships.
132 - CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE
To address concerns of students with special needs, all university faculty
publish syllabi with an ADA statement. When students express a special need,
the coordinator of Disability Support Services provides the equipment or
acquires equipment for loan from other state agencies. The university has also
formed an ADA committee that makes recommendations on physical accessibili-
ty to campus facilities. In an effort to maintain integrity of academic programs,
the Disability Support Services and Equity Action Officer have created a seven
point check test. This test is designed to help instructors balance a student’s spe-
cial needs, especially regarding attendance considerations, with the integrity of
The university attends to accuracy and timelines in its communications
through publications, electronic media, and verbal exchanges within the chain of
Communication with external stakeholders has improved greatly over the
past ten years. UCO has sent a consistent message about the identity of the uni-
versity and its ideals and goals. The university recognizes the importance of con-
sistent effective communication and is committed to it.
The systems in place for managing disputes and complaints have been
tested and have proven to be effective and reliable.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Stakeholder evaluation of publications and electronic communications
would likely prove to be valuable step in the development of these documents.
CHAPTER 8: CRITERION FIVE -133
CHAPTER 9 – SPECIAL EMPHASIS
ON QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
“A ‘special emphasis’ self-study is an option
for accredited, established, well-functioning institu-
tions that are willing to commit serious attention to a
select group of critical issues in order to contribute to
institutional improvement and education excellence.”
(Handbook of Accreditation, p. 79) UCO first
received information regarding the Academic Quality
Improvement Project (AQIP) before the HLC Annual
Conference in 2000. Prior to receiving that informa-
tion, UCO’s president and vice president for academ-
ic affairs discussed quality processes and were, there-
fore, greatly interested in the new process. At the HLC
2000 conference, when AQIP was officially unveiled,
UCO staff met with their HLC liaison and discussed
the idea of using a special emphasis as a means of
piloting AQIP at UCO.
Because the vice president for academic
affairs was new to the institution, several deans’ posi-
tions were changing, and the time for UCO’s next
evaluation was drawing near, the administration real-
ized that the timing was not right to attempt a full
commitment to AQIP as UCO’s accreditation method-
ology. UCO requested permission to pilot AQIP as a
special emphasis in addition to conducting a tradition-
al self-study. HLC AQIP staff had not anticipated such
a request for what might be termed “partial entry,” and
the negotiation was not completed until July 2001.
When the self-study process was initiated, two
goals directly related to the AQIP process were iden-
tified by the self-study committee. Those goals have
been a constant focus of the committee and have
134 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
received continual support from the vice president for academic affairs and the
president. Those goals are:
(1) To systematically create an atmosphere of continuous self-renewal and
growth that connects the internal and external processes of the university,
including assessing, reporting, planning, and budgeting;
(2) To pilot the use of the Academic Quality Improvement Process model
and to participate in the HLC Collaborative Quality Colloquia as means of
growth and improvement methods for UCO.
The self-study process has led to actions directly and indirectly related to
AQIP. Numerous activities conducted during 2000-2001 helped move the institu-
tion further along the path towards AQIP.
THE SPECIAL EMPHASIS
The UCO special emphasis concept is the result of a collaborative effort
by the vice president for academic affairs and the UCO president, as well as the
HLC Self-Study Committee chairs, the deans, and other faculty and staff. The
concept involves identifying a limited number of areas in which quality princi-
ples can be applied, allowing for a two-year exploration before the HLC visit. It
was anticipated that within a year of the visit the institution would decide to
request entry into the AQIP process or to stay with the traditional model of
Special Emphasis Vision
The vision, the special emphasis Emphasis agreement with the HLC is:
“UCO’s vision ofas stated in the Specialis to continually enhance the quality
of student learning and of the UCO learning environment.”
This statement is consistent with the UCO Strategic Plan. There are two
areas that the university initially targeted related to this broad vision: undergrad-
uate research and faculty enhancement. The Dr. Joe C. Jackson College of
Graduate Studies and Research was undergoing re-organization at the time UCO
determined that undergraduate research would be a component of the special
emphasis. New initiatives in that office had been identified during the strategic
planning process. The area of faculty enhancement had also been discussed dur-
ing the strategic planning process and identified as an area in which UCO would
like to place greater emphasis. The university had committed limited resources to
faculty growth and development, and there were frequent requests for more
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 135
The articulated goals follow:
I. To expand the critical thinking skills of undergraduate
students by providing opportunities for basic research,
applied research and creative activities in and out of the
II. To provide enrichment experiences for faculty that
result in improvements in teaching/learning at the uni-
Continuous Improvement Activities
The first step toward continuous quality improvement was taken when the
vice president for academic affairs, along with the self-study co-chairs and other
UCO representatives attending the HLC Annual Meeting, met with Dr. Robert
Appleson, the HLC staff liaison, to discuss AQIP possibilities for UCO.
Dr. Appleson’s assistance, encouragement, and support of the special emphasis in
AQIP have been important from the very beginning.
The HLC Self-Study Committee immediately formed a “special emphasis”
sub-committee consisting of the self-study co-chairs and two additional self-study
committee members, one of whom was to lead the effort in undergraduate
research. Rounding out the sub-committee were the Faculty Enhancement coordi-
nator and a faculty member with expertise in quality processes. In addition, an
off-campus consultant was also hired to conduct a training session for the sub-
committee. Two teams were formed, one for each of the areas of emphasis, and
work began in April 2000. Two training programs were held during the first year
(2000-2001), one on “Quality Processes, AQIP, and the Goetsch Davis Model,”
conducted by our external consultant, and another entitled “Quality Tools,” led by
the faculty member serving on the HLC AQIP Sub-Committee.
UCO also joined a Collaborative Quality Colloquia. That group (UCO,
Illinois Valley Community College, Northwest Technical College, Purdue
University-Calumet and Rose-Hulman Institute) had communicated via e-mail
prior to meeting at the HLC Annual Meeting in April 2001. Then in June, the two
UCO self-study co-chairs met with colloquium members and the HLC AQIP staff
in Calumet, Indiana. The June meeting focused on institutional approaches to and
success with the AQIP processes. HLC staff reviewed national and international
interest in AQIP and sought input regarding support needs. The communications
established at that meeting continues as staff of the various institutions consults
with each other via e-mail.
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Members of the HLC AQIP Sub-Committee have also participated in
national workshops. Three members attended the AQIP pre-conference workshop
in March 2001. Materials from that meeting and all the AQIP sessions attended
by sub-committee members were compiled and shared with several campus lead-
ers. The two team leaders and a research analyst assigned to HLC and AQIP
processes also attended the “Leadership for Quality in Education,” held in May
UCO has established a relationship with its closest AQIP neighbor, Fort
Hays State University, in Kansas. Early discussions with Ft. Hays centered on
their experience regarding the process, the strategy forum, and the pros and cons
of participation. In April 2001, Drs. Rob Scott and Diane Pfeifer visited UCO
to discuss AQIP in general and their experience
with implementing the process. While here they
met with three groups: HLC AQIP sub-commit-
tee (and the two AQIP teams); the HLC Self-
Study Committee; and the vice president for
academic affairs and the executive vice chancel-
lor from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education, Dr. Cindy Ross. Three months later,
eight members of the two teams, and the vice
president for academic affairs traveled to Fort
Hays and reviewed their progress on AQIP at
The special emphasis agreement with the
HLC was finalized in July 2001. At that time,
the HLC asked that outcomes be identified for both areas of emphasis. The time
of the request from the HLC was in early summer when many faculty were not
available, so the coordinators, the self-study co-chairs, and the vice president for
academic affairs agreed to use national benchmarks as a starting point (a study
of national benchmarks had already been conducted), recognizing that there
would be adaptations along the way and further discussion when faculty returned
in the fall.
The benchmarks for faculty enhancement were chosen from the
Hesburgh Award criteria. Benchmarks for undergraduate research came from
the Council on Undergraduate Research. Utilization of these national bench-
marks has helped the two teams clarify their direction.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 137
Special emphasis activities are an ongoing process at UCO. The president,
with the assistance of the provost, conducted a focused discussion of the process
at the president’s retreat during the summer 2001. Two members of the special
emphasis sub-committee presented the AQIP model and its meaning to UCO at the
Faculty Enhancement Day in spring 2001. The Academic Affairs Executive
Council (AAEC) and the self-study committee have reviewed copies
of the agreement.
As part of the on-going effort to become better acquainted with the
continuous improvement processes, UCO staff have attended American Society
for Quality workshops as well as programs conducted by other state agencies.
Plans exist to bring speakers to campus in order to reach larger audiences and
further incorporate the concept into the campus climate.
The two teams remain active independent of the special emphasis
sub-committee. In fall 2001 they met with Dr. Ann Benson, director, Oklahoma
Department of Career Technology Education, to discuss their activities in quality
initiatives and to seek future opportunities for cooperation.
UCO is working cooperatively with other local institutions
as well. In August 2001, Dr. Jay Bonstingl, a quality improvement
advisor, spoke at the Francis Tuttle Career Technology center in
Oklahoma City. UCO staff, including the provost, attended an
open presentation and then a follow-up workshop conducted by Dr.
Bonstingl for classroom teachers. UCO also works with the
Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation and the Center for Non-Profit
Management to learn and aid in continuous improvement efforts.
In October 2001, Dr. Susan Engelkemeyer, a Baldrige
examiner from Babson College, came to UCO to assist in the UCO educational
Quality Training program. Dr. Engelkemeyer presented to five primary groups.
She discussed AQIP and Baldrige in general with the HLC Self-Study Committee
and then worked with the two special emphasis teams on their benchmarking
process. Academic chairs were given the opportunity to discuss their perspective
on AQIP, as were faculty in general, at an open forum. She spent half of her last
day on campus with the president, the provost, Academic Affairs Executive
Council (AAEC), the vice president for administration, and the chief information
officer in a workshop format. They reviewed the criteria, conducted a mini self-
assessment using Baldrige criteria, and took an elementary look at
138 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
A special element of the visit with Dr. Engelkemeyer was the develop-
ment of a listing of “Quality Friends,” those from other institutions in the state
and local area that are interested in quality processes. These associates were
invited to a public presentation by Dr. Engelkemeyer and more recently to a
program with Dr. John Dew of the University of Alabama. In February 2002,
Dr. Dew presented to two faculty groups, the self-study committee and the
AAEC, and at a retreat for about 70 UCO administrators hosted by President
Webb. Dr. Dew’s presentation at the retreat ensured that key leadership was
informed about quality processes in general and given a demonstration of the
president’s and provost’s commitment to the continuous improvement processes.
At the end of March, two deans, the executive director of the library, and
the assistant vice-president for planning and analysis began training as
Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation examiners. The assistant vice president for
planning and analysis has also been admitted to the AQIP Corps and began train-
ing in May 2002. In addition, representatives from UCO will attend the annual
conference of the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher
Education in July. The participation in all of these activities should strengthen
the understanding of the university’s leaders of the quality concepts.
The university community has perceived faculty enhancement as a need
on campus for several years. While the focus has primarily been on the need
for improved funding for faculty travel to discipline conferences, there has also
been a need expressed for faculty enhancement in terms of the art of teaching
In fall 1997, the Office of Academic Affairs chartered a faculty task force
to consider the creation of a center at UCO to provide assistance and support for
faculty development. Based on input and investigations campus-wide, the task
force developed the following mission statement: “The mission of the Faculty
Enhancement Center (FEC) is to provide the facility, resources, programs, and
focal points for enhancing professional development opportunities for full-time
and adjunct faculty at UCO.” While the mission statement has been modified
since then, the conceptual foundation has remained. The programs and services
offered are designed to encourage growth and professional development among
faculty members and to have a positive impact on student learning.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 139
The first meeting of the Faculty Enhancement Advisory Team was con-
ducted on October 4, 2000. The goals of AQIP were discussed and so was the
process as it might be applied to faculty enhancement. AQIP is now a part of all
faculty enhancement processes.
Benchmarking Faculty Enhancement
The Faculty Enhancement Team selected aspects of the criteria of the
Hesburgh Award to provide benchmarking tools, direction, and analysis of the sig-
nificance of the Faculty Enhancement program at UCO. Specifically, the Hesburgh
Criteria indicate that the significance of an institution’s faculty development pro-
gram will be demonstrated by the extent to which it:
“Addresses an important undergraduate teaching challenge on the campus.
Represents a fresh direction beyond conventional response.
Displays a concept of design with a potential for far-reaching impact.”
The FEC’s proven success and impact will be demonstrated by:
• Evidence of systematic change in teaching effectiveness and sus-
tained faculty commitment to professional development, including
formalization of the program and integration into its educational
• Documented improvement, with objective data, in undergraduate
learning outcomes and student advancement and retention.
• Results of self-evaluation of the program’s impact on the academic
community and emulation of adaptation by others.
The Faculty Enhancement team is looking to further its benchmarking
activities by identifying specific institutions for comparison. Those institutions
include: California State University Sacramento, Boise State University Idaho,
Southwest Missouri State University, Towson University Maryland, University of
Arkansas Little Rock, University of Kansas, and University of North Carolina
Specific Faculty Enhancement Goals
The approach to faculty enhancement must be multi-faceted. This area
of emphasis includes a large number of programs and resources. Some of the
major programs are briefly presented below.
• Faculty Enhancement Day: A one-day event held each academic year
in August when regionally and nationally known presenters come to campus to
offer current research about learning and teaching to the entire faculty.
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• New Faculty Orientation: An annual event in August designed to
introduce new faculty to UCO’s mission/vision philosophy, offices, individuals,
places, and procedures that will facilitate their entrance into UCO and the greater
Central Oklahoma community. Many UCO offices—including the offices of the
president, the provost, and many others—show their strong support by being
involved in this event.
• New Faculty Luncheons: A monthly opportunity for the faculty who are
new to UCO to meet with members of their cohort group to socialize over lunch,
to learn about the experiences of others settling in at UCO and central
Oklahoma, and to gain knowledge about various aspects of UCO.
• Support for New Faculty: An ongoing series of informal meetings in the
fall semester. Organized around themes, each meeting is designed to acquaint
new faculty with campus services, individuals, and offices pertinent to the
• External Scholar Appearances: Visits to UCO by scholars recognized
in their fields. Such addresses may be campus-wide or designed for focused
• Symposiums and Workshops: Small workshops intended for specific
target audiences (departments, areas of interest, fields of study, etc.) by request
of departments, deans, and/or groups of faculty.
• Resource Center: A center maintained by the FEC that provides current
information on a variety of teaching and learning
issues to faculty. Faculty can peruse current arti-
cles on a wide variety of issues related to their
teaching in a comfortable atmosphere. The
Resource Center includes several support
functions, including a website, a reading room
for faculty, and an annual publication about
• Instructional Consultation: Conferences
held in a supportive, confidential atmosphere with
colleagues regarding individual instructional situa-
tions that arise in class settings.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 141
The benefits of a vibrant undergraduate research program have been well
outlined and documented by the Council on Undergraduate Research (VRR –
Council on Undergraduate Research). Undergraduate research serves one of the
primary objectives of higher education by preparing students to become indepen-
dent, life-long learners. In addition, undergraduate research provides students the
ability to make original contributions to the knowledge base in their fields and sets
the stage for an active learning environment that is at the core of undergraduate
research and investigative studies. In this environment students embark upon jour-
neys of discovery that may occur in a research laboratory, the library, on the
Internet, in studios, or in other venues. Students work one-on-one with faculty
mentors. The junior-senior colleague relationship provides the stimulus for stu-
dents to become independent learners and creators of knowledge. The relationship
also provides the faculty member with energy gained from the association with the
student and provides opportunities for the faculty to pursue something that they
might not have the time for otherwise.
The campus-wide undergraduate research program goes beyond the
enhancement of an active learning environment. Through pursuit of new knowl-
edge and expression of creative work, students confront issues of academic hon-
esty and respect for the work of others in a personal way. This is accomplished at
a depth that cannot be achieved in a more passive learning environment.
Two examples will help exemplify the concept. One project, titled “An
Ecological Study of the Spring System at Roman Nose State Park, Oklahoma,”
involved a student investigating a little-studied fresh water spring in Oklahoma.
The study, which is relatively unique, should provide new information about
Oklahoma’s fresh water springs and add to the knowledge about types of organ-
isms that live in the springs.
Another example of a study that creates a special opportunity for student
and faculty interaction is called “A Very Special Orchestra.” A student assessing
children with severe disabilities will attempt to determine if they are able to play
and enjoy music. The concept is similar to that of the Special Olympics and may
show that even children with severe disabilities can enjoy music.
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Student learning becomes the central focus of an undergraduate research
program. Therefore, it is not research versus teaching but research as an integral
part of teaching and learning. Undergraduate research is a student-faculty
collaboration to examine, create, and share new knowledge in ways commensu-
rate with practices in the discipline. Just as the diversity among disciplines and
types of institutions enriches the higher educational
landscape, so it is that a broad, inclusive undergradu-
ate research initiative enriches student learning. An IT IS NOT RESEARCH VS. TEACHING,
BUT RESEARCH AS AN INTEGRAL
intellectually vibrant campus depends in some mea-
PART OF TEACHING AND LEARNING.
sure upon the level of scholarship across departments,
with professors and students engaged in discovery.
Though the concepts of AQIP are simple and elegant, the process of
establishing a quality initiative is not. To help the AQIP Sub-Committee and the
Special Emphasis Teams better understand the process, several activities have
been conducted. The Undergraduate Research Team (URT) began its organized
activities by first defining research. After some consideration all members agreed
upon the following: “Research is an analytical process, guided by a mentor,
where the results are not initially known and where the results are presented
or documented in a coherent fashion.” The team members also agreed to use the
broadest possible definition to include basic research, applied research, curricu-
lum development, and creative and
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 143
Benchmarking Undergraduate Research
Team activities then moved to internal and external benchmarking. The
URT conducted an internal survey to review current UCO activities and was
pleased to find more activity than had been anticipated. In late spring 2001,
the team adopted the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) outcomes as a
starting point for the special emphasis document. Those outcomes have since been
modified, as the URT has taken time for further discussion and understanding of
AQIP process requirements.
The following represent the current benchmark information.
Many undergraduate research activities are already in place
on the UCO campus. These include composition projects, recitals,
art exhibits, case studies, senior projects, research courses,
independent study, senior thesis, historical reenactments, intern-
ships and externships, practicums, and many more.
Many of the undergraduate research activities not associat-
ed with the classroom are promoted and supported by the
Undergraduate Student Center for the Advancement of Research
and Education (USCARE) housed in the Dr. Joe C. Jackson
College of Graduate Studies and Research (JCGS&R).
The URT considered peer institutions and institutions that
UCO might aspire to emulate in the area of undergraduate
research in its external benchmarking process. These institutions
were generally similar to UCO in mission and student population.
However, the URT also profiled some exceptional institutions
with a long and outstanding history of undergraduate research.
For many institutions, such as Fort Hays State University, UCO
was well ahead in promoting and supporting undergraduate
research by providing financial support for students and incen-
tives to faculty. Missouri’s Truman State University is ranked as
the number one “Public Midwestern University” and ninth among
universities in the Midwest. This university is highly selective
but appears to have an undergraduate research program similar to
that of UCO. One small liberal arts university does not hold sum-
mer classes but requires students to engage in research, creative,
and scholarly activity with a faculty mentor.
144 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
Not all useful information comes from peer institutions or those UCO
aspires to emulate. Discussions regarding the application of experiences obtained
from Research I Universities to our undergraduate research goals have also been
Specific Undergraduate Research Goals
The URT has established the following goals
for 2001-2002 and beyond.
Goal I: To establish a major center, the Undergraduate Student
Center for the Advancement of Research and Education
Objective: A center designed for students that will coordinate col-
laboration with other universities and industry.
Goal II: To increase the number of faculty and
students engaging in research and reward UCO HAS BEEN EXTENDED SPECIAL
faculty and students involved in research. INSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION
Objective 1: Increased faculty incentives for BY THE COUNCIL ON
research. Objective 2: Additional graduate UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
and research assistant positions and increased FOR ITS LEADERSHIP IN
stipends to attract top students. UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH.
Goal III: To promote collaboration among acade-
mic departments and colleges in the university,
as well as collaboration with the community, other universities,
business, and industry. Objective: A Research Day for Regional
Universities established to enable students and faculty from other
universities to gather and present papers and posters along with
UCO students and faculty.
Goal IV: To bring more external grants to UCO.
Objective 1: Incentives to encourage external grant writing.
Objective 2: Additional personnel to help faculty locate funding
sources, assist with grant proposal preparation, and facilitate the
process of routing the proposal.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 145
The URT has developed a working document containing outcomes and
assessment measurements. In this, it has reworked the outcomes to pair each with
an assessment measure. The working document is different in organization from
the original proposal but is not changed in the basic outcomes and assessment
measures. The ability of the program to enhance undergraduate research and schol-
arly and creative activities is demonstrated by the extent to which it:
1. Facilitates creative and critical thinking skills
of undergraduate students
2. Leads to increased student satisfaction;
3. Fosters more thorough involvement of students
in UCO curricula
4. Increases the academic productivity of students
5. Enhances post-graduate success
6. Enhances our academic role and reputation among
FROM SELF-STUDY TO CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
At the unveiling of AQIP, UCO was in the midst of extensive personnel
changes that suggested the timing was not right to fully enter the AQIP process.
The times have changed, and the provost is honoring the commitment he made to
the self-study committee by working on issues identified in the self-study process.
A brief description of three such issues follows.
Several HLC review cycles have cited UCO for excessive dependence on
adjuncts. Though the HLC provided no specific guidelines, the general sense was
that while employment of adjuncts for academic purposes was a positive, the use
of adjuncts strictly for financial reasons was a negative. During the data-gathering
phase of the self-study, results of surveys identified the use of adjuncts as a con-
cern. The full support of the provost allowed the self-study committee to move for-
ward with a further study that would culminate in recommendations and actions.
Some self-study committee members and support staff from institutional
research formed a study group with the following objective:
“To study the integration of adjunct faculty into the fabric of the institution
through examinations of demographics and interviews.” The study was to report
trends regarding utilization of adjuncts and uniformity of integration procedures
within the departments, and also to identify best practices on the campus. It is
the first comprehensive study of adjuncts on the UCO campus and includes inter-
views with all department chairs and deans.
146 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
After about four months of study, six recommendations came from the
sub-committee. Their ideas have passed through the self-study committee and
are being sent to the provost for review and subsequent action. While financial
constraints will limit the institution’s ability to move forward with some of the
proposals, others present issues more dependent on policy than finances. The
provost has initially decided to promote the development of an adjunct orienta-
tion or continuing education effort to better connect adjuncts with UCO and to
facilitate their classroom activities (VRR – Adjunct Study).
During the past decade Institutional Research has conducted student
surveys annually. Different forms were used for different purposes, and except
for one year, the surveys were national instruments, thus providing possible
benchmarks. Faculty and staff surveys were conducted twice, utilizing locally
developed instruments. The use of the survey information was difficult to docu-
The self-study committee felt that it was neces-
sary to conduct both a student survey and a faculty sur-
vey as part of the data-gathering process. Various sub-
committees utilized the initial data as the HLC criteria
were reviewed. The challenge, however, was to make the
best use possible of the information.
The committee found a model for the use of
stakeholder surveys in the for-profit educational sector,
adapted the model, and presented it to the provost, whose
support has led to additional use of the information.
The faculty survey made use of the Higher
Education Research Institute (HERI) form. A sub-com-
mittee formed of faculty from each college and led by a self-study committee
member, reviewed and analyzed the information, then made recommendations.
The report was presented to the self-study committee and forwarded it to the
provost for discussion and action.
A similar process has begun with the National Survey of Student
Engagement (NSSE). The sub-committee reviewing the information consists of
faculty and staff linked to the self-study committee by the sub-committee chair.
Their final analysis has also been presented to the self-study committee and then
to the provost for discussion and action.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 147
Keys to the Process
Three elements are key within these actions. First, there is a commitment
to continually use the information to help the institution improve and to develop a
data driven management system. Second, there is consistent support and action
from executive level leadership. Leadership is easy to put into words, but faculty
and staff must sense commitment and experience the results of the process.
Third, the institution’s continuous improvement process includes ongoing
education. There is a need for members of the community to understand how con-
tinuous improvement occurs on the campus, and how one step leads to another. It
must not become “another thing we do” but must be the systematic process of
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT MUST
NOT BECOME “ANOTHER THING WE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
DO,” BUT MUST BE THE SYSTEMATIC The adoption of the special emphasis approach
PROCESS OF DAILY RENEWAL has allowed the institution to examine itself in relation-
ship to the concepts inherent in continuous quality
improvement. From the university’s perspective this examination has been a suc-
cess. This is not to say that the university has established itself as a “best practice”
model in faculty enhancement or in undergraduate research, but there is potential
to do so in both areas. The university has found its way, and the commitment to
continuous academic improvement exists and will move UCO to enhanced
opportunities for student learning.
The university currently plans to move forward in three phases. Phase One:
from the current moment until the completion of the reac-
creditation visit. Phase Two: an overlapping time period
that includes the present but will more clearly signify to
external stakeholders that UCO is entering into a continu-
ous improvement mode. Phase Three: the institutionaliza-
tion of the process.
It is important that UCO complete the self-study
process and use the HLC visit as a developmental oppor-
148 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
tunity. The university hopes to receive useful ideas during the visit to further its
continuous improvement processes and trusts that those ideas will help to serve
as launching points. The first step is to complete the self-study process and learn
from the visiting team.
On-going faculty and staff development is critical. A cultural shift must
include a strong educational component and institutional commitment. The uni-
versity is planning visits to other institutions and speakers for the future.
The Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation offers a rich field for further
education for faculty and staff. As indicated earlier, four administrators are
attending the examiner training. Their training will assist the institution by
enhancing networking opportunities with business and industry around the state.
UCO is also considering inviting the foundation staff on campus to train a large
number of individuals in the examiners’ processes and in the utilization of quali-
ty process tools. This training has the potential of creating a large reservoir of
expertise on campus.
UCO’s leadership must carry the quality message to all the university’s
stakeholders. The president and the provost are committed to doing so. Looking
for opportunities to “do things better” has been a theme of President Webb’s
since he came to campus. It is noteworthy that after Dr. Englekemeyer’s presen-
tation the chairs from the College of Liberal Arts sent a message to the provost
in which they recognized the potential value of AQIP and identified several areas
in which they believe the process might be useful as the quality efforts are
expanded. An evaluation after Dr. Dew’s presentation showed a majority of those
in attendance ready to move forward. It also provided information regarding the
concerns of others that can now be more readily addressed.
The Academic Affairs Executive Council (AAEC) serves as the primary
vehicle for communication between the provost and the faculty. In addition, the
provost makes multiple personal presentations to the American Association of
University Professors (AAUP), the colleges, faculty, Faculty Senate, the deans,
and the department chairs. Also, a UCO AQIP (VRR – UCO Continuous Quality
Improvement) web site has been developed which is tied to the “HLC” site used
by the self-study committee and serves as an internal and informational network-
ing mechanism. Several institutions nationally have developed excellent web
sites, and UCO will draw from their examples.
UCO will also continue to network to identify model processes for con-
tinuous improvement and to educate and train faculty and staff. Identification of
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 149
additional institutional units that are interested in embracing continuous
improvement is an integral part of the process. Other units, such as the library
and the administration division, have declared an interest in moving in this direc-
tion, as well. The concept is also inherent in program review and can readily be
incorporated in this existing process.
The current focus in relationship to the HLC is on the self-study and the
visit. However, at the completion of the visit and the reaccreditation process, and
with the recommendations from the visiting team, UCO will seriously consider
formally declaring for AQIP.
Part of the intended plan is to identify a “quality facilitator” to serve as
staff support for the formation of a continuous quality improvement council. The
UCO quality council is to be instituted by the provost in the near future. It will uti-
lize some of the individuals from the self-study committee who are now very
familiar with multiple aspects of the institution. This council will also draw new
members from the university community and perhaps stakeholders from beyond
the campus. UCO is networking with groups like the Oklahoma Quality Award
Foundation and the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher
Education and learning from other institutions best practices in forming this coun-
Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Council Moves Forward
Whereas current efforts are tied to the self-study committee and the Special
Emphasis sub-committee of the self-study committee, in the third phase of the cur-
rent plan the Quality Council will have primary responsibility for quality initia-
tives after completion of the reaccreditation process. The institution has already
benefited from participation in the Quality Colloquium, and the consultative and
developmental aspects of the AQIP process are very desirable. UCO will decide
whether to compete at the entry level for a state quality award. The state quality
award has three levels of participation and participation in the process would rein-
force the value of feedback.
150 - CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS
The educational process has exposed the faculty leadership to continuous
improvement processes and to AQIP. The educational component is strengthen-
ing the institution’s understanding and abilities to move forward.
UCO has demonstrated its willingness to enter into new areas that will
improve its ability to serve students and stakeholders. The special emphasis
teams have been especially open to experimenting and learning as the processes
have become clearer.
UCO executive level administration has demonstrated through its actions
that they are committed to continuous quality improvement.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Further focused discussion of the institution’s move into a quality mode
will enhance understanding and commitment. These discussions may include the
Faculty Senate, the BOROC, the Graduate Council, the Academic Affairs
Council, and other student and stakeholder groups.
Communication throughout the institution will be critical. The use of
electronic media and in-person approaches can maximize the effectiveness of the
It is vital that the shift in culture be as seamless as possible and that qual-
ity processes are built into existing systems.
CHAPTER 9: QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS - 151
CHAPTER 10 - FUTURE
THOUGHTS AND REQUEST FOR
The University of Central Oklahoma has made
a strategic commitment to quality improvement. As
Aristotle counseled us all centuries ago, we now strive
to make excellence in learning a community habit and
will not be content with a process consisting of
isolated, random acts of fleeting inspiration. As an
institution dedicated to learning, we embrace the
responsibility to model for one another what we
espouse to our students and our community. We rec-
ognize and confidently accept the community build-
ing role and responsibility that UCO is destined to fill
for the state of Oklahoma.
We are sustaining this commitment through
planning and purposeful action. President Webb and
Provost Betz are providing a clear vision and are
actively involved in continuous improvement learning
opportunities convened both on and off campus.
Members of the president’s Executive Committee and
the provost’s Academic Affairs Executive Council
have participated in quality improvement programs.
The deans are openly in accord, and four members of
the AAEC are undergoing training as Oklahoma State
Quality Examiners in order to amplify UCO’s exper-
tise on quality and to send clarion messages to others
at the university that this pursuit of excellence is inex-
tricably intertwined with the fulfillment of UCO’s
vision and mission. Chairs, directors, and others on
campus have requested the extension of the current
special emphasis experience to their realms
152 - CHAPTER 10: FUTURE THOUGHTS
UCO is openly accepting its multiple challenges as genuine opportunities
to collect its bountiful human resource skills, experience, and insight in order
to build and sustain a vital learning community for all involved that eclipses
previous models. We see no acceptable alternative for UCO than to embrace
quality as the institution’s chosen lifestyle. We have built our reputation on our
collective passion for teaching and learning, on our historic dedication to
community and service, and on our unshakeable belief in one another and the
contributions we will make to the future of Oklahoma and beyond through our
students. We publicly proclaim that we will strive in unison to achieve our final
goals, and we will remain steadfast in the pursuit of the promise expressed in the
institution’s virtues of character, civility, and community. Our primary focus is
towards the growth and development of students and the career-long advance-
ment of our faculty.
For the good of all we serve and in honor of the legacy of 112 years
of distinguished service, we are on a collaborative journey toward excellence.
In order to move forward with our quest, the University of Central Oklahoma
respectfully requests that the Higher Learning Commission grant it ten-year
CHAPTER 10: FUTURE THOUGHTS - 153