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Goal 1 - Academic Excellence

Kutztown University will promote, enhance, and recognize excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, scholarship, and research.

Objective 1.1

Increase overall degrees conferred by 3.5%.

In 2012-13, the university awarded 2,113 degrees. Due to declining enrollments over the last two years, which translate into smaller graduation classes, it will be challenging to meet the future year targets as defined in this objective.

2013-14 Actions
• The Department of Academic Enrichment, with support from the Office of Assessment, will complete analyses of the impact of previous and current academic support services on degree completion, and then use the results to propose improvements in support services.
• Implement university-wide early warning and intervention systems that support student success.

Prior year results:
2011-12 was a remarkable year for KU in terms of degrees conferred, as we graduated the largest class over the last five years. Overall degrees conferred showed a positive result, despite declining slightly during 2012-13 and missing the target by 8 degrees.


Objective 1.2

Improve baccalaureate degrees awarded per FTE endergraduate enrollment to 25.27%

The actions that the university will undertake to improve the degree completion rate will take several years to yield results. In addition, degree completion rates of 25% or higher would indicate an average time to degree of four years. This is much higher than the university and National averages.

2013-14 Actions
• The Department of Academic Enrichment, with support from the Office of Assessment, will complete analyses of the impact of previous and current academic support services on degree completion, and then use the results to propose improvements in support services.
• Implement university-wide early warning and intervention systems that support student success.

Prior year results:
In 2012-13, although the university graduated a larger percentage of undergraduates than the prior five years it was not sufficient to meet this year's target, falling short by 2%. This is a challenging objective, and the university will continue to strive to meet the targets through the duration of the plan.


Objective 1.3

Decrease the Achievement Gap for Pell Recipients by 10%

The university has prioritized the improvement of its retention practices and will implement measures to enhance retention for all students. These measures will take time to identify, implement, and positively impact retention. Since strategies to retain students are being evaluated, and implemented, it is unlikely that substantial program improvements will have an impact on improving retention or degree completion in the 2013-14 year.

2013-14 Actions
Implement university-wide early warning and intervention systems that support student success.

Prior year results:
The university was successful in closing the freshmen achievement gap for Pell recipients, as we surpassed the goal of 18.43% for the Fall 2006 cohort class with an actual gap of 16.24%. This equates to 5 degrees awarded above the target of 93 additional degrees awarded to Fall 2006 Pell recipient students.


Objective 1.4

Decrease the Achievement Gap for underrepresented minority students by 10%

The university has prioritized the improvement of its retention practices and will implement measures to improve retention for all students. These measures will take time to identify, implement, and positively impact retention. Since the improvement of retention is in the beginning stage, it is unlikely that substantial program improvements will be implemented to have any impact on improving retention or degree completion in the current year.

2013-14 Actions
Implement university-wide early warning and intervention systems that support student success.

Prior year results:
The university was successful in closing the freshmen achievement gap for underrepresented minority students, as we surpassed the goal of 18.43% for the Fall 2006 cohort class with an actual gap of 8.87%.This equates to 39 degrees awarded above the target of 128 additional degrees awarded to Fall 2006 underrepresented minority students.


Objective 1.5

Increase number of STEM degrees conferred by 10%

The university has recently implemented programs to recruit and retain students in STEM disciplines. These programs will take several years to impact graduation numbers and as such will not impact degree completion in the current year.

2013-14 Actions
• Assess the impact of the STEM related scholarship programs (KU Promise, NSF S-STEM grants) on recruiting and retaining students in the STEM disciplines.
• Expand the scholarship programs devoted to recruiting and retaining students in the STEM disciplines.
• Provide support for a measurable increase related to student participation in undergraduate research.

Prior year results:
The university surpassed the 2011-12 target by eight students, a 15% increase over the prior year, and will continue efforts to increase degree completion in STEM majors.


Objective 1.6

Increase continuation rate to 68%

Improving the continuation rate is a high priority objective for the university. Improvements are expected to be attained over several years.

2013-14 Actions
• Implement university-wide early warning and intervention systems that support student success.
• Implement changes to the housing freshmen retention programs to improve the retention of on-campus resident freshmen students to 73%.

Prior year results:
The university experienced a decline in the continuation rate for Fall 2012 compared to previous years due to a variety of factors. Because of this decline, the university established this objective to improve student success. Although the continuation rate improved at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, the target of 68% was not achieved. The university has implemented recent improvements to its retention programs and will establish new continuation rate targets after future enrollment targets have been reviewed by the Vice President of Enrollment Management.


Objective 1.7

Achieve the mean score in all five areas of engagement of the NSSE U.S. Descriptive Statistics

Measures of academic quality are difficult to identify and collect. The NSSE survey provides information that is useful in identifying ways to improve a student's academic experience.

2013-14 Actions
• The learning goals of General Education Goal 3 (to inculcate a sense of personal and social responsibility that is anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real world challenges) will be assessed and findings used to enhance students' educational experiences.
• Design and implement co-curricular student engagement programs to achieve increased levels of student engagement.
• Adopt a community-wide mentoring program.
• Create a student success center that provides tutoring, academic advising, supplemental instructions, math and writing labs for targeted student segments.

Prior year results:
The university achieved the scores in the chart below for the NSSE when it was administered in 2011. The results associated with the most recent administration of the test will be available in the Fall 2013 semester.