QUESTION 1: In no more than one paragraph, describe the central and distinctive elements of your mission and your institutional aspirations.
The Oswego educational experience is distinct in its breadth, balance, and commitment to academic excellence. SUNY Oswego’s central mission is to foster learning essential for our students to live productive and rewarding lives; to meet the challenges of a diverse and technologically sophisticated world; and to engage as responsible and effective members of society. Our mission is attained by providing both curricula and climate designed to help students assimilate deep levels of discrete knowledge in the disciplines and to also acquire intensified ability to synthesize information so that their learning can be more available to them in all of the functions of life. Comprehensive in its wide range of strong programs, Oswego State offers university like academic culture yet with a tradition of supporting teaching predominately by full-time teacher scholars who serve as dedicated mentors and who are also committed to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields. Through general education, students acquire skills essential to the pursuit of knowledge, begin to understand the inter relatedness of knowledge, gain an understanding of the implications and challenges of living in a diverse society, and acquire an appreciation for the extent of their interdependency as members of a world community. To best facilitate learning we provide an intense, coherent educational experience through integration of academic content, standards, location, delivery, and environment and thereby offer a compelling alternative to both the large and complex research-oriented institution and the small liberal arts college with a more limited program mix. Oswego State nurtures intellectual and personal growth and encourages a lifelong love of learning environments through diverse living and learning which introduce students to various perspectives and modes of inquiry. This year, we will move to ensure that all of our major programs provide students a capstone experience with an applied or research emphasis. As the regional center for graduate education, we are responding to the needs of our service area by proposing appropriate new graduate programs. We intend also to advance our existing comprehensive work force development program for the region. And, finally, in order to meet the educational and economic needs of the citizens of New York, Oswego will continue to explore demand in the areas of allied health, engineering, and environmental studies compatible with levels of our expertise in the arts and sciences, education, and business and consistent with our mission and our commitment to excellence.
QUESTION 2: What institutions, in terms of overall academic characteristics, do you regard as your current and aspirational peers?
Aspirational institutions include: The College of New Jersey and James Madison. We think of the University of New Hampshire as a peer.
QUESTION 3: Your current campus enrollment objectives (submitted in Spring 1997) call for an AAFTE of 7,250 by 2001-02; a recently received proposal reduces that to 6,900 AAFTE. Do you anticipate any additional changes in your overall enrollment objectives?
Our current baseline target through year 2002 is 6,666. We believe that we will continue to improve the quality of our enrolled candidates and improve retention; therefore, we expect to increase our AAFTE to the 6,800 or 6,900 level.
QUESTION 4: Do you anticipate any significant changes over the next five years in the mix of students or the demographic characteristics of your student body? (Such changes may include, but are not limited to, undergraduate/graduate, full-time/part-time, transfers/freshmen, residency.)
Our mix of new full-time freshmen and transfers will remain essentially at the currently targeted 1,300 freshmen and 700 transfers. Given the anticipated demographic shifts in the ethnicity of high school graduates, we believe an increasing proportion of our full-time undergraduates will be students of color. We also expect that our outreach efforts as the primary regional center for public graduate education will increase the number of part-time and graduate students drawn from the Central New York region.
Over the next five years we will seek to increase the number of full-time undergraduates who are international students and candidates drawn from adjacent states. In addition, we will increase the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who are domiciled more than 100 miles from the campus. Our success in these efforts will increase the number of resident students.
QUESTION 5: What aspects or features of your current academic programs are especially distinctive, and why?
Programs at Oswego State have unique and distinctive features derived from a tradition of academic excellence and inter-disciplinary course work. A number of programs offered on our campus are not available on any other four-year campus in SUNY or are available only at a small number of campuses. These include degrees in Broadcasting, Finance, Human Development, Human Resource Management, Information Science, Journalism, Linguistics, Mathematical Economics, Marketing, Meteorology, Philosophy-Psychology, Public Justice, Technology Education, Technology Management, Vocational-Technical Education, Zoology, Zoo Technology, and Writing Arts.
A strong feature of our campus is the inter-relatedness of programs. Multidisciplinary programs such as Public Justice, Information Science, American Studies, Linguistics, and Human Development require course work from a variety of departments and programs on campus, necessitating cross-disciplinary dialogues between departments. Our new general education curriculum is noteworthy for its inclusion of mandatory multidisciplinary course work which requires strong and consistent communication between departments. Additionally, the Oswego Honors Program integrates ideas and information from many fields, addressing concerns common to all disciplines and recognizing that there are no boundaries to thought and inquiry. It is one of the most successful honors programs in SUNY.
Partnerships with business, public and private elementary and secondary schools, two-year colleges, and the community have led to an awareness of local needs that is reflected in the development of new curricula and in changes to existing programs. These partnerships have increased the number of applied programs. For example, we have recently developed degree programs in Special Education, Journalism, Human Resource Management, and Technology Management. Other examples of applied programs of long standing include Public Justice and Broadcasting and programs within the School of Business. These programs can prepare students for specific careers while providing them with a firm base in the liberal arts. This combination provides students with skills and abilities that are needed to be successful in today's world. In addition, the integration of required internships in many degree programs assists students with opportunities to learn and work in the professional world.
Many programs benefit from our physical location on Lake Ontario. Programs in the Earth Sciences, particularly Geology and Meteorology, make excellent use of the distinctiveness of our terrain and climate. The Rice Creek Field Station is a unique resource for ecological and wetlands studies and is a well-integrated component of our Biology and Zoology degree programs.
Program distinctiveness is also reflected in Oswego graduates. Our Chemistry Department, for example, is ranked 18th in the country in producing certified chemistry BS graduates, and our Computer Science Department is the first in the world to adopt Java (a language that has become the standard for Internet use) in its core curriculum. Elementary and secondary education programs at Oswego produce students who achieve very high scores on national and state education exams. Additionally, our Writing Arts program is considered one of the most distinguished and most successful programs in the system.
QUESTION 6: What are your priorities for program building?
a. In light of those priorities, what program changes (e.g., new, reconfigured or discontinued programs, shifting emphasis on graduate v. undergraduate programs) do you anticipate over the next five years?
b. Would such changes require additional faculty or facilities?
Our priorities are grounded in eight principles which have guided us in the development of new programs:
1. insure academic quality;
2. determine program feasibility by assessing need and resources;
3. maintain consistency with the principles defined in our mission;
4. meet the needs of businesses and schools in our community;
5. contribute to meeting programmatic needs within the SUNY system;
6. meet the changing needs of students;
7. ensure access to programs for all eligible students in our region; and,
8. maintain consistency and compatibility with curricula offered at two-year schools to enhance the success of transfer students.
Our first principle, the need to maintain consistency with our mission, is clearly a prime focus of our new program development. The interface between technology and other disciplines has characterized our institution throughout its history. Our strong program in Technology Education and new, highly successful program in Technology Management are indicative of this tradition. Other examples include highly successful programs in Information Science, Computer Science, Broadcasting, and Journalism. Each of these programs combines curricular elements from traditional disciplines in the arts and sciences with advances in computer and other technologies. New programs follow in this strong tradition. Our program in Graphic Design, now a very strong track in our Art Department and awaiting final approval as a major at System Administration, combines the technological aspects of computer technology with the aesthetic principles of the arts to provide students with the skills to use computer technology effectively in the creation of artistic and commercial products. Also proposed is our program in Cognitive Science, which combines aspects of psychology, philosophy, anthropology, biology, and linguistics with computer science to develop sophisticated models of how humans and machines process information. At present, discussions are well on the way for the development of programs in Human-Machine Interaction, to teach students how to design new technologies with the user in mind, a program that would be a first for SUNY. Also being considered is a program in Publication Design, that incorporates elements from our strong programs in Art, Writing Arts, and Journalism, combining technology with issues of writing and design.
Also consistent with our mission is an emphasis on global issues and interdisciplinary studies. We already have a large number of area studies programs. This emphasis also is reflected in changes in our general education curriculum that require students to broaden their awareness of countries outside the United States by taking courses with a global focus and in the increased number of courses requiring students to integrate information across a variety of disciplines. Programs presently being developed in Language and International Trade, Liberal Studies, Native American Studies, the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Women’s Studies are consistent with this aspect of our tradition.
Our principles also indicate a commitment to determining and meeting the needs of our region. Many of our current programs have arisen out of discussions with the community. The new program in Management Accounting, currently awaiting approval at SUNY System Administration, arose directly from an acknowledged community need. In addition, the regional need for skilled workers with degrees beyond the baccalaureate level has led us to investigate the development of a greater number of graduate degree programs. We have developed the MAT in Art, unique to SUNY, to help students with non-teaching undergraduate degrees achieve certification. A similar program, the MAT in Chemistry, is awaiting approval at present; we are also completing work on the MAT in English. Additionally, we are also looking at certification programs for retraining displaced workers and others interested in pursuing careers in education, technology, and/or human services. We anticipate a demand for programs to enable practicing teachers to meet the professional development requirements outlined in the latest report from the Regents Task Force on Teaching. Further, we are actively pursuing the development of programs that link the MBA to relevant undergraduate degree programs, resulting in 3 + 2 programs that allow students to pursue their career goals in a timely manner.
Consistent with our desire to meet the needs of students and the work force are our proposed programs in Public Relations and Wellness Management, awaiting approval in Albany. Both of these programs are unique for SUNY and work well with existing programs or programs in development at two year schools. We have worked hard to ensure compatibility in these programs. Finally, our unique location, research opportunities, and resources make us an ideal campus for a degree in Environmental Studies. We address this in more detail in our answer to question 14.
Many of our new programs simply require a reallocation of existing resources with a small administrative expense. New programs with significant technological requirements obviously will require increased financial commitments. However, the great need and demand for programs in these areas more than justifies the costs. In addition, should these programs result in increased enrollments, human resources in the form of faculty lines and support personnel will be needed to meet the increased student demand.
QUESTION 7: How do priorities and anticipated program changes relate to the mission of your campus?
The mission of the college, as passed in the Faculty Assembly in Spring 1991, is to provide students with a program of study which:
1. is firmly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences;
2. encourages a lifetime commitment to continued education; and,
3. prepares graduates to live and work in a technologically sophisticated, culturally diverse world of changing opportunities.
All new program development is consistent with and flows from this mission and our long range plan, Engagement in Learning: A Profile of Aspiration. In fact, all new and existing programs at Oswego grow out of a commitment to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in their chosen careers and the ability to learn and change throughout their lives. Our focus on interdisciplinary courses and programs enhances their understanding of the inter-relatedness of knowledge and their commitment to lifelong learning. All new programs go through an intensive governance process ensuring that they are consistent with our mission. During this process, they are reviewed for academic quality, feasibility, and consistency with mission.
QUESTION 8: In recruitment of students and in academic program development, is there a particular regional or local focus to your efforts? If so, please explain.
While most of our undergraduate programs are not designed to have a particular regional or local focus, we do try to meet the needs of our region in a variety of ways. Many of our graduate programs and all of our continuing education degree programs were designed specifically to serve the needs of place-bound students. Many courses in our graduate programs are taught in the evening and at a variety of locations across the region. For example, nearly all vocational-technical education courses at the graduate level are taught in the evening and in the Syracuse area or at area BOCES centers. Graduate courses offered by the departments of Educational Administration, Counseling and Psychological Services (which has some programs operating in Watertown and Fort Drum), and Elementary and Secondary Education are also held at times and locations convenient to regional students. Our MBA degree was designed specifically to meet the needs of local and regional students. Our evening degree programs in Business Administration, Accounting, Psychology, Public Justice, and Information Science can be completed by taking courses offered in the evening. In addition, the increasingly large number of students who enter our undergraduate programs as transfer students from community colleges are predominantly from this region of the state. We have worked effectively with the community colleges in our region to develop articulation agreements that help regional students complete their undergraduate degrees easily and efficiently. Finally, we have been exploring the development of certificate programs designed specifically to meet regional educational needs. For example, we have found that a certificate in gerontology is of great interest to nursing home personnel.
QUESTION 9: What do you see as the proper role and scope of baccalaureate programs at a campus which is seen as primarily a two-year institution?
The structural nature of SUNY suggests that two-year institutions should have very limited scope or role at the baccalaureate level. Just as four-year campuses should have very limited doctoral program offerings, two-year campuses should have very limited baccalaureate options. Of course, we will continue to develop articulations with two-year schools which will help establish well-integrated degrees and facilitate “seamless” transitions to upper-level study. Nevertheless, we feel strongly that our facilities, our faculty, and our expectations for faculty performance--including, but not limited to scholarly activity--are appropriate to courses of study at the advanced undergraduate level.
UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS SELECTIVITY
QUESTION 10: Attached to this document is a chart containing definitions of five different categories of institutional admissions selectivity.
a. Which category best describes your campus’ current selectivity?
b. If you aspire to move your institution to a different level of selectivity, what level do you wish to achieve?
c. What changes do you seek to make over the next five years in the admissions profile of your entering class in order to help you achieve your aspirations?
Based on a complete review of our regular entering freshmen cohort, Oswego falls on the selectivity line in the SUNY model that divides Group 3 and Group 2. The mean high school average for this group is of 86.2 (85.2 median); the mean SAT composite is 1080. Our goal is to increase our selectivity so that we are firmly established in Group 2. In order to achieve our goal, we will seek to increase our share of the B+ student market through the following approaches: promote effective class size and faculty/student ratios; create theme based living/learning centers in residence halls; enhance our academic reputation among our colleagues at peer institutions; improve student retention by focusing on student identification with the college; increase merit based scholarship aid to one million dollars; enlarge our Honors Program; revise Arts and Science programs to insure that all students participate in an intense research or applied experience as part of their major programs; develop new academic programs that respond to the needs of the citizens of our state; increase the personalization of our recruitment efforts; improve academic advisement; renew campus facilities including classrooms, library, laboratories, technology, and residence life accommodations; and, utilize our 45,000 alumni more effectively.
QUESTION 11: Against which institutions, both within SUNY and elsewhere, do you compete for undergraduate students?
Within SUNY, we compete quite heavily for accepted students with Albany, Buffalo (UB), Geneseo, Fredonia, and Plattsburgh; we do so to a lesser degree with Binghamton, Cortland, and Oneonta. In addition, our research suggests that among private institutions we compete quite heavily with Syracuse and RIT; again, to a lesser degree, we compete with Marist, Le Moyne, Elmira, and Ithaca. Among out-of-state institutions, we compete for students with Florida State and the University of Delaware.
QUESTION 12: How do your institutions’s undergraduate admissions practices contribute to the University’s objective of providing broad access to the citizens of New York?
Our admission practices include annual recruitment via personal visits to more than 400 of New York State's high schools and community colleges and direct mail to more than 20,000 juniors each year. We utilize print, video, and web-based recruitment materials that portray a wide range of opportunities and depict a broad range of ethnically diverse, traditional and non-traditional images.
QUESTION 13: Please describe the General Education offerings on your campus and the philosophy undergirding your approach to General Education. Are there ways in which you would like to strengthen your program (including, for example, any revisions based on the January 1998 report of the Joint Task Force on General Education of the University Senate and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges)?
Central to establishing and maintaining undergraduate education as the core of our mission is the new Oswego State general education program (in effect Fall 1998). The program mandates course work in five categories, each of which addresses one or more of the "skills" or "knowledge and inquiry domains" listed in the Joint Task Force report. Lower-division course work is required in the Basic Skills of writing, computer literacy, and critical thinking; in Knowledge Foundations that introduce the conceptions and methods of disciplines other than those of the student's major: Fine and Performing Arts; Humanities; Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences. Human Diversity courses may be taken at the lower-division or the upper-division level. Upper-division course work is required in the area of cross-disciplinary Intellectual Issues (Cultures and Civilizations; Explorations in the Natural Sciences; Self and Society). Finally, each student must take five writing intensive courses approved by his or her major department to fulfill our new Advanced Expository Writing requirement.
Philosophically, we assume that it is important for students both to understand academic (disciplined) approaches to knowledge and to apply disciplinary expertise to complex problems or questions: the core intention of the program lies not so much in any particular content as in its enhanced emphasis on processes of inquiry and intellectual versatility. In addition, we want our students to have the reasoning, communication, and computational skills to flourish as productive members of contemporary society. We assume that this "general" education should be both introductory and advanced, and internally coherent. Therefore, the new curriculum is a four-year program, beginning with Knowledge Foundations courses in the disciplines at the lower level, followed by multidisciplinary intellectual issues courses at the upper level.
The new program is our effort to strengthen general education in the light of many concerns we hold in common with the Joint Task Force. It is, first of all, a four-year curriculum instead of merely introductory. Second, it tightens the definition of distribution requirements, insisting that Knowledge Foundations courses be comprehensive introductions to disciplines. Third, it includes expanded skills requirements, including a five-course writing requirement embedded in the major program and elevated expectations for freshman level writing and computational skills. Fourth, we have clarified the rationale and expectations for Human Diversity courses. And, finally, the upper level issues courses are grounded in preparatory course work in both the academic disciplines and critical thinking.
QUESTION 14: Environmental Studies/Environmental Science
a. How would the program you have proposed reflect and support distinctive elements of your campus’ mission?
b. Do you envision your Environmental program oriented toward professional training or the liberal arts? How so?
(a) The study of and research on the environment is a central and high profile activity at Oswego State. Our location on one of the Great Lakes and near a number of nuclear plants, toxic waste sites, and wetlands has encouraged the development of a number of unique programs on this campus. Our undergraduate Meteorology major is one of only five in the entire state, and it is the largest. Our Environmental Research Center is a significant location for research projects relating to the lake and other environmental issues. Another research unit, the Center for Neurobehavioral Effects of Environmental Toxins, is engaged in an internationally-recognized longitudinal study of the behavioral effects of ingesting toxins through lake fish. These research units are supported by strong science departments, including our ACS (American Chemical Society) accredited Chemistry Department and our Biology Department, which offers the only Zoology major in the state. Both the Department of Earth Sciences and the Department of Chemistry have recently added an Environmental track to their major programs, and Earth Sciences and Chemistry have recently hired environmental scientists: an environmental chemist, an environmental mineralogist, and an environmental geologist. Faculty and staff in these departments and research units are collaborating in an Environmental Issues course for our new general education program. Our proposed BA in Environmental Studies supports all three central goals of the mission of the college: the learning goals of "an understanding of environmental . . . issues," and "the basic scientific and technological knowledge and experience necessary to become informed and responsible participants in the 21st century"; the research goal to "provide an environment conducive to the growth and development of its faculty, students, and professional staff in both the established and emerging fields of knowledge"; and, the goal of service, specifically in making our intellectual resources available to the region. Similarly, our five-year strategic plan specifies that we will seek to "develop new undergraduate and graduate programs which address the needs of economic development in New York State and that support new and developing career fields regionally and nationally." An Environmental Studies program will support both the broad academic goals for all of our students, and our specific mission to provide graduates with expertise relevant to the region and the state. Our strategic plan also commits us to using "interdisciplinary clusters when possible to utilize fully the expertise and resources of the College." Our proposed BA in Environmental Studies emerges from a variety of collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts on campus, some of them grant supported.
(b) Our BA in Environmental Studies is a liberal arts program, and we regard this as one of its distinguishing characteristics. Its requirements include courses in a range of science disciplines as well as environmental courses, and it allows students the flexibility to choose science and other liberal arts courses that suit their individual needs. The BA in Environmental Studies submitted for approval was developed in accordance with the 1997 "Guidelines for the Development of Environmental Program Initiatives," which clearly designate programs in Environmental Studies as "Liberal Arts based programs which have a more generalized focus." This institution is well suited to serve students who wish to concentrate in Environmental Studies and at the same time receive a broad liberal arts education, with options for extensive course work and even double majors in the full range of arts and sciences and professional programs. We do not, therefore, compete with BS programs in Environmental Sciences, which appeal to students with a strong professional focus. Similarly, our planned articulation agreements in Environmental Studies with regional two-year colleges will enable us to serve another distinct student population.
QUESTION 15: Are there unusual and distinctive ways in which your institution provides undergraduate student support services to achieve your mission?
Student support services at Oswego promote student retention, graduation, and success in and out of the classroom. These services are designed to accomplish two main goals: 1) enhance the academic skills students need to succeed in college courses and 2) foster individual and social development within an academic community. Our support programs reflect the current understanding of these issues in the literature on student learning: students are most likely to stay in college until graduation if they are engaged in active learning in and out of the classroom and have access to groups and activities that support intellectual engagement.
At Oswego, academic support services include freshman orientation, career information and planning, internships, computer labs and workshops, math and writing skills centers, tutoring, and study abroad programs. A number of additional programs aim specifically to involve students in a purposeful intellectual community: an extended first-year experience program, living/learning centers in residence halls, an all-college honors program, an undergraduate research awards program, departmental clubs, a faculty-student scholarship symposium, and leadership development programs. Undergirding these programs is a focused academic advising and support system for the diversity of students to be served in New York State. In addition to campus-wide, department-based advisement, special advisement and academic support is provided for students who have not yet declared an academic major, students of non-traditional age, students with learning and other disabilities, students admitted through the educational and regional opportunity programs, student athletes, and those needing English as a Second Language instruction.
A number of support programs challenge students to aspire in their academic work. The Honors Program involves students in an interdisciplinary core program, demanding skills and distribution requirements, a senior thesis, and special advising and cultural activities. Through these classes and cocurricular services, the Honors Program creates a challenging academic environment for our most motivated and accomplished students. The Sheldon Leader Program, designed for freshmen who have demonstrated academic excellence and community leadership in high school, focuses on student leadership in community and campus service programs, and it encourages academic excellence as a key to success in leadership. Similarly, the Leadership Development Series invites faculty, business, and community presenters to share their leadership experience with students, and the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native American) Leadership Conference provides annual lectures and other events which focus on the leadership roles and issues in a multicultural and racially diverse society. The International Education Program provides both intensive and extensive services to both international students and U.S. students studying abroad. A strong campus recruitment and information outreach program shows our students the educational and vocational benefits of studying abroad. Of the 64 SUNY campuses, Oswego sends the third largest group of native (Oswego) students to study abroad each year.
Another group of programs, most focusing on first-time students, orient students to the expectations of an academic community and/or provide a living environment that supports academic success. The Johnson Hall First Year Residential Experience, winner of the Noel-Levitz Excellence in Retention Award for 1998, is a residence hall community structured around the integration of academic and social involvement, with on-site peer educators and faculty mentors. In the Hart Global Living and Learning Center, each resident registers for courses that emphasize international culture, politics, economics, or society, including an experiential course that requires attendance at campus events with an international focus, and a community service project each semester. Classes are taught in the center, and selected faculty and graduate students live and organize programs there. The Preceptor Program offers first-year students small courses with an emphasis on active learning, an introduction to a variety of modes of inquiry, and participation in the intellectual life of the campus. Preceptor courses also incorporate a basic orientation to academic life and to the services of the institution.
Oswego is distinctive in having centralized academic support services to all students through the Office of Learning Support Services. The Writing Center provides peer and professional assistance to students seeking to improve the quality of their written expression and to master the standards of written and spoken English. The Tutoring Center provides group and individual tutoring on a course and curriculum basis. The Learning Skills Center assists students in improving critical reading skills and in mastering techniques for independent learning. In the Math Center, professional staff and trained peer tutors help students master appropriate skills for all levels of mathematics. A National Science Foundation Course and Curriculum Grant (awarded to Math Center staff in 1995) has led to the publication of a two-textbook series focusing students' problem-solving and technological skills development on the Pre-Precalculus level.
QUESTION 16: What aspects or features of your current teacher education programs are especially distinctive and why? How would you characterize your campus’ niche in the teacher education market?
As a function of Oswego's diversified programs, students, and faculty, a number of distinctive features are evident. Teacher education programs are delivered in a rural setting within 65 miles of the cities of Syracuse and Rochester. These programs do not exist elsewhere in the area; in fact, the nearest similar programs are at least 80 miles away, some much further. Oswego has one of the largest technology education teacher preparation programs in the country. It is one of only three in New York and currently enrolls more than 160 majors who are extremely sought after throughout the state. Oswego's comprehensive Vocational-Technical Education teacher preparation program is one of only two in New York State. Many of its courses are offered via distance learning technologies to numerous diverse sites; its degree programs are delivered on campus and at nine sites across the state. Oswego's School Psychology program is nationally accredited, a claim that can be made by only nine other programs in the entire state, only one of which is another SUNY school.
Several partnerships distinguish the School of Education. Oswego's Urban Teacher Opportunity Corps (UTOC) is a unique collaboration between Oswego State, Syracuse City School District and Onondaga Community College. UTOC students are involved in school site experiences that prepare them to teach in urban settings, course work activities that promote greater awareness of how social issues impact urban education, and culturally diverse environments that enhance a consciousness of social responsibility. Oswego's Liberty Partnership Program, currently in its tenth year of operation, is the only rural based program of its kind in New York State. It provides a variety of services to at-risk youths in Oswego County, specifically in the districts of Central Square and Hannibal. Oswego's Project SMART (Science/Mathematics Applied Research for Teaching) is a school/business/university partnership among the Oswego County Schools and Teacher Center, the Syracuse City School District, area business and community organizations, and Oswego State to improve Math-Science-Technology teaching through an inquiry-based approach which emphasizes how school learning is connected to learning in the work place. Team Sheldon is a partnership of educational professionals from the college and the community, consisting of Oswego county's 10 superintendents, academic administration, and representative faculty members from departments within the School of Education. The dialogue among key professionals with vested interests in the process of education on myriad fronts has been instrumental in promoting learning opportunities such as the Sheldon Institute, a summer enrichment program for students in grades 3 through 12 that has just celebrated its twentieth year of existence. It is co-sponsored by the School of Education and Team Sheldon. Finally, networking between the President’s Native American Advisory Council, School of Education faculty, and members of various Native communities has led to the development of a new tutoring program at the Onondaga Nation School in Nedrow, New York.
The history of Oswego's teacher education programs adds to their distinctiveness and has helped define the market niche they occupy. Education innovator, Edward Austin Sheldon, established the school and promoted the use of the "object method" of teaching--resembling what we now call "hands on learning". This method formed the pedagogical foundation for what is now Technology Education, and serves as the cornerstone for many other programs, which emphasize practica and field experiences. Founded more than 135 years ago as a Normal School, Oswego officially established a School of Education in 1992. Three of the six departments within the School of Education prepare pre-service teachers, who typically obtain provisional certification in New York State. These departments include Curriculum and Instruction, Technology, and Vocational-Technical Education. Two other departments--Counseling and Psychological Services, and Educational Administration--offer graduate programs leading to certification.
QUESTION 17: Describe changes you anticipate during the next five years in teacher education at your institution. Include changes in size, scope, new programs or delivery methods, and populations served.
During the next five years, we will establish, embellish, or solidify relationships with partners from the internal/campus community and the external/educational and business communities. A dual certification program for special education, sciences, and second language acquisition; modification of the middle school program; inclusion of a TESOL program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; revitalization of the Early Childhood program; and the addition of a major in Family and Consumer Sciences (Home Economics) Education in the Department of Vocational-Technical Education represent new internal links and conceptualizations that build on existing strengths, are responsive to constituents' needs, and are consistent with our mission. Stronger collaboration with faculty in content areas is a resource that is just beginning to be tapped, as marked by a new appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences (Mathematics), designated to share responsibilities for teacher education with the School of Education.
Dramatic changes in demographics of the school-aged population are virtually assured and justify Oswego's plans to increase the emphasis on preparing teachers to work in urban settings, make greater use of distance learning technologies in order to reach a broader audience, and provide increased opportunities for pre-service teachers, counselors, psychologists, and administrators to experience diverse school settings (geographic, socioeconomic, racial, cultural). Because of large numbers of anticipated retirements and new State Education mandates for teacher certification, there will be an increased need to serve new teachers by exploring and developing five-year programs and MATs beyond those we currently have in Art and awaiting approval in Chemistry and English.
The School of Education will continue on several trajectories, recently charted, that are consistent with our mission. For example, we are scheduled for review by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and will continue to promote our candidacy for accreditation. We plan to expand the newly initiated Superintendent Development Program, and to establish a Statewide Center for pre- and in-service vocational education, research, and innovation. We expect to be a primary agent in the establishment of Professional Development Schools (Sites) with three primary missions: (1) professional development of pre-service, beginning, and veteran school personnel; (2) inquiry into and refinement of effective practice; and (3) maximization of student achievement.
QUESTION 18: For each of the last five years, what percentage of students from your campus who receive a Certificate of Qualification obtain jobs in education or are continuing their education?
Collected each year by the Career Services Office are data related to the numbers and percentages of graduates of the School of Education's four undergraduate teacher certification programs (Elementary, Secondary, Technology, and Vocational-Technical Education) who obtain teaching positions or continue their education at the graduate level. Graduates from the five-year period of 1992-1996 indicated that 71 percent of respondents were either teaching (52 percent) or enrolled in graduate programs (19 percent). See Table 1-18 and Figure 1-18.
In addition to these undergraduate certification programs, there are numerous programs that have a certification option and/or process at the graduate level. Students with baccalaureate degrees in areas other than education who seek initial certification use these alternative certification routes. The wide variety of backgrounds, goals, and time limitations that these students bring to the certification process make it virtually impossible to "track" them accurately, beyond reporting that over the past five years, their numbers have ranged from 10 to 30.
Graduate students admitted to programs in School Psychology, School Counseling, and Educational Administration also seek initial certification. Follow-up studies are conducted periodically by individual departments or programs. Each of these advanced degree programs requires an extensive field-based internship, which has historically provided fertile ground for employment options. Most graduates find employment under the title for which they have just trained within weeks of graduation. Within about a six month-period, placement stands at virtually 100 percent for each of these programs.
GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
QUESTION 19: What are the defining characteristics of graduate and professional education at your campus?
Our leading graduate and professional programs are student oriented in that they are responsive to the individual needs of our students, while supporting the undergraduate program. Instruction is provided by committed full-time faculty who monitor program development and provide consistent advisement that aligns program objectives with accepted national standards for professional development. Embodied in their academic programs are multiple opportunities for students to participate in closely supervised field-based experiences.
QUESTION 20: In your leading graduate and professional programs, what institutions do you compete against for faculty, students, and sponsored research funds?
Our competition for faculty comes mainly from institutions that offer smaller teaching loads and more research opportunities. We are unable to identify particular schools. The university centers and private institutions that have supportive research environments conducive to grant preparation are our main competitors. Our leading competitors for students (in order of competitive strength) are: Syracuse University, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Brockport, LeMoyne College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY Buffalo.
QUESTION 21: What are your priorities for promoting increased activity and distinction in research?
At Oswego, faculty research activities are integrally related to teaching and service to our community: we believe that research, scholarship, and creative activities enrich and sustain our academic offerings, and address critical issues and provide cultural opportunities in the region. Specifically, students benefit from faculty research, scholarship, and creative work through innovative pedagogies and current course offerings, as well as opportunities for participation in collaborative research and creative projects. We are committed to increasing research, scholarly, and creative activity among the faculty. As recommended in the long range plan, we have supported these activities through pilot project grants, faculty development seminars, library resources including interlibrary loan and document delivery, undergraduate research assistantships, and special support for junior faculty as they develop as teachers and scholars. As a result of these support mechanisms, we have observed a steady increase in scholarly and creative activities, and in 1998 approximately 20 percent of such activities have been performed by faculty who have not previously participated in the process.
Our two research units deal with regional environmental issues, and they also provide a focus for faculty research and undergraduate programs, especially in the natural and behavioral sciences. The Environmental Research Center (ERC) receives federal, state, county, and private funding to conduct research in such areas as: solid and hazardous waste management; the environmental distribution of persistent contaminants; and biological and chemical remediation of environmental toxins. Its Undergraduate Fellowship Program, funded through ERC grants, provides opportunities for students to perform environmental research. The Center for Neurobehavioral Effects of Environmental Toxins (CNEET) conducts research on the effects of exposure to environmental pollutants on human and animal behavior. Its Oswego Newborn and Infant Development Project is internationally recognized. CNEET has established collaborative projects with scientists at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Rochester, and SUNY Albany, and it also involves Oswego faculty and undergraduates in its research.
QUESTION 22: What internal mechanisms does your institution have to support such research priorities? How do you assist faculty in securing external support for such research?
We assist faculty with their research in the following ways: Our faculty evaluation criteria, in keeping with the criteria spelled out in the Policies of the Board of Trustees, support the importance of ongoing research, scholarship, and creative activities in the context of a comprehensive college. Recently, the academic deans and the faculty Professional Development Committee have initiated campus-wide conversations aimed at reinforcing our commitment to research and other activities, and at the same time describing and defining the role of research at a teaching institution. This summer, we received a major NSF grant, which undertakes to increase campus understanding and recognition of the scholarship of pedagogy.
We have coherent mechanisms to support and recognize research, scholarship, and creative works. Our Faculty Enhancement Program offers small grants for research and grant writing, and curriculum development projects; we also offer campus-wide Student Research Awards. The Center for Teaching and Innovation offers faculty development programs relating to research, grant-writing, and teaching, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Scholarly and Creative Activity (CISCA) identifies grant opportunities and mentors faculty who are preparing grant proposals, particularly proposals that draw on faculty from more than one discipline. Faculty and student research are recognized at Quest, an annual campus-wide academic conference, and Penfield Library’s Display-to-Archive-Program where faculty publications are exhibited year round, recognized at an annual reception, and cataloged for permanent location in Special Collections.
All of these mechanisms encourage the pursuit of external funding for research and other activities. In our evaluation of faculty, we accept successful grant-writing as a scholarly activity, and the direct funding through Faculty Enhancement Awards as well as the support available through the Center for Teaching and Innovation and the Center for Interdisciplinary Scholarly Activity are explicitly intended to increase external funding at Oswego. Finally, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs offers comprehensive support for grant-writing, from identifying grant opportunities for faculty, through the final preparation and submission of grant proposals.
SPECIALIZED MISSION COMPONENTS
QUESTION 23: Other than broadly-based “traditional” undergraduate instruction and research, what specialized mission-focused components does your institution have?
Oswego State is engaged in several projects that extend beyond traditional undergraduate instruction and research. To meet the education needs of broader audiences, Oswego offers five evening degree programs, actively participates in an educational consortium in the North Country with other SUNY institutions and the Army (SUNY Colleges in the North Country), delivers graduate courses and programs in Education and Business off-campus, offers credit and non-credit courses at Oswego State’s Education Center in Phoenix, New York, and has the ability to deliver courses in at least three distance learning modes. One of our evening degree programs is a cooperative educational partnership with Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, the region’s largest private employer. Designed for working adults, this program delivers all degree course work in Business Administration and Information Science at the company’s facilities. In support of Business and Education programs, many Arts and Sciences courses are also offered off site.
The Center for Business and Community Programs serves the education needs of business and the community by offering professional development courses, customized training, personal development, and by facilitating community access to the College. Through its Sheldon Roundtable Programs, the Center for Business and Community Programs brings forward for discussion issues of importance to the community, such as economic development, health care, and welfare reform.
The Center for Community Journalism serves the professional journalist as well as students in our academic programs. Teleconferences, seminars, and workshops are offered.
WRVO, a National Public Radio affiliate, offers a wide variety of news and informational programs to the surrounding communities. It also provides access to cultural resources.
Meteorology faculty collaborate with the National Weather Service on mutually beneficial projects. One collaboration is made possible by the Cooperative program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET). It resulted in a jointly developed computer program that helps predict lake effect snow.
Penfield Library serves the education needs of the community by allowing circulating privileges for a nominal fee. Access to resources in the library is free. The library serves the region’s congressional district as the depository library for U.S. government publications. The library is also the Local Public Documents Room for access to information on nuclear power plants.
In addition, Oswego State efficiently and effectively utilizes the natural resources that surround the campus. Rice Creek Field Station provides instruction for students and the community, including children, teachers, and other interested groups. Sea Grant and the Energy Institute are excellent examples of grant partnerships.
QUESTION 24: What special needs or requirements do these components impose?
In many ways, the programs outlined in question 23 require resources similar to other college programs. Those resources include staffing, appropriate funding, administrative services, access to library resources, and integrated marketing communications, i.e., public relations. In addition, a new understanding of faculty roles must also occur to encourage faculty to teach in off-campus programs, increase their participation in community groups, and incorporate student recruiting into more activities. WRVO’s audience reach should be expanded in a westerly direction toward Rochester to better serve those communities by adding another repeater station.
QUESTION 25: Are there distinctive ways in which institutional and faculty service to the local community, region and state are linked to and supportive of your campus mission?
One of the most important relationships is in the area of economic development. Successful regional economic development also brings stronger enrollment potential for both full and part-time students. Industry, community agencies, and government cooperate by providing internship placements for students and research opportunities for faculty. Access to education is one of the primary roles of the institution. Providing access builds an important bridge between the community and campus for support of projects, funding, and other needed resources. One example of this relationship is Sithe Energy's sponsorship of an international energy conference. Sithe's interaction with Oswego State offers faculty and students an opportunity to attend (at no cost) this international forum addressing the issues of economics, marketing, and international trade related to various types of energy. In addition, Sithe is a major sponsor for one of our college's largest fund raisers to support scholarships, the Fall Classic. Another example is our relationship with Welch/Allyn. Oswego State delivers course work on site to Welch/Allyn employees. The company also supports the School of Business at Oswego and actively participates as a member of its advisory board. Students have opportunities for internships, and faculty have access to key managers for training and development as well as potential research.
QUESTION 26: How do you assess the quality of your academic programs?
Ongoing assessment of program quality is mandated in the institutional five-year plan, which identifies "improving the quality of programs and service" and "renewing curriculum" as two of five critical issues. Resource implications, a timetable for implementation, and primary responsibility for each aspect of the plan have also been identified. All academic units at Oswego are engaged in formal and ongoing program reviews that respond to both programmatic goals and external standards. As part of the candidacy of the School of Business for AACSB accreditation, our business programs are assessed by AACSB appointed teams. The School of Education is a candidate for NCATE accreditation, and Elementary and Secondary curricula have been submitted to national disciplinary organizations for review and a majority of its degree/certification programs have been submitted to specialized professional associations for review. As a result, Oswego’s Special Education program is now accredited by the Council for Exceptional Children, and its Reading Program is accredited by the International Reading Association. Its Science Education program is accredited by the National Science Teachers Association, and its School Psychology program is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The College of Arts and Sciences has begun a comprehensive five-year cycle of program evaluations which culminate in reviews by outside consultants. Although accreditation is not widely available in Arts and Sciences disciplines, the Department of Chemistry is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Department of Music by the National Association for Schools of Music (NASM). The Department of Art is a candidate for NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accreditation. All program reviews and accreditation processes address important quality factors: the faculty, curriculum, library resources and facilities, and student outcomes. Program reviews have in several recent instances resulted in program revisions. (See question 27 below for discussion of assessment of student outcomes.) Finally, a number of innovative academic programs and projects have undergone assessment: our freshman-year programs and living/learning programs, to cite two.
The assessment and support of quality in our academic programs is implicit in our personnel processes, our faculty development programs, our protocols for developing and revising programs, and our resource allocations. The terminal degree, effective teaching, and ongoing scholarly and creative accomplishment (usually documented by peer review) are essential for tenure and promotion at Oswego. (Evidence of teaching effectiveness is required for all candidates for contract renewal, continuing appointment, and promotion.) We offer support for these activities in a number of ways: Faculty Enhancement grants are available for scholarly or curricular activities; the Center for Teaching and Innovation supports a variety of faculty development activities; local faculty awards are offered for scholarly and creative activities, advisement, and grant writing; and, CISCA, a center that supports interdisciplinary collaborations, assists with faculty mentoring. Similarly, the consultative process for program development and approval ensures academic quality within departmental and institutional parameters. Annual budget allocations are driven by all of these factors--the need to attract outstanding faculty, to support the faculty's ongoing professional growth, and to respond to resource needs identified in program review and accreditation.
Finally, in addition to formal program review, individual programs and the college as a whole seek formative evaluation by alumni and other stake holders. The Schools of Business and Education and the Departments of Biology and Communication Studies consult advisory boards composed of field professionals for programmatic recommendations. The School of Business receives feedback from recruiters, and the School of Education annually surveys the employers of its students--administrators, teachers, and in some cases business and industry representatives. The college administers an alumni survey and makes the results available to individual departments, and it participates in the ACT Student Opinion Survey, an instrument that includes questions relating to courses and academic services.
QUESTION 27: In addition to assigning grades for course work, how do you currently assess student learning on your campus? Are there methods that you are not now using that you would like to use?
In addition to performance on exams, term papers, team projects, portfolio presentations, and performance in internships, the assessment of student learning is based on a variety of assessment methods. For the purpose of new program development and the improvement of existing programs, student learning outcomes are assessed at both the institutional level and the program level. Student learning outcomes are assessed through analysis of institutional data, including academic profiles (disqualification, academic warning, Dean/President List, etc.), retention rates, graduation rates, surveys of alumni, and the ACT Student Opinion Survey. These data are routinely used by departments to identify aspects of program offerings that need improvement. They are also used by institutional committees charged with improving the quality of both academic programs and student service programs: for example, the Retention Task Force, the First-year Experience Committee, and the Advisement Committee.
Student learning outcomes are also assessed as a part of our institution-wide Academic Program Assessment. Our "Campus Guidelines for Assessment," developed in September of 1993, require each academic program to submit an assessment plan that specifies and defines operationally the main objectives of the program in terms of student outcomes (knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes). The plan should also specify the assessment tools (tests, observation, and student report) to be used to assess the outcomes. Collectively, these programmatic plans include the full range of assessment strategies: standardized tests; campus-designed tests; portfolio review; course embedded assessment; and surveys of students, alumni, and faculty. This is a goal-oriented assessment model that focuses on program improvement. Program assessment activities are decentralized: the plans are developed and implemented by faculty and faculty "own" the data. However, assessment activities are coordinated by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), which provides technical assistance and some financial support for departments' assessment activities. Periodically, OIRA also conducts a Survey of Assessment in Academic Departments. The purpose of the survey is to collect information regarding the changes in assessment plans, progress made in the implementation of the plans, and programmatic changes that have occurred as a result of assessment activities. In addition to support provided by OIRA, a small group of on-campus assessment consultants, comprised of faculty who have expertise in assessment, provide assistance to those who may need help in advancing their assessment programs.
Regarding methods that we are not currently using but would like to use, we anticipate two significant developments in student outcomes assessment. First, because the recently implemented revision of our general education program mandates assessment of all components of that program, we will develop a centralized assessment of student learning in the basic skills areas, as well as in the requirements in knowledge foundations, intellectual issues, and human diversity. For example, although the expository writing requirement is embedded in departmental curricula, the effectiveness of the departmental writing programs will be measured through an all-college mechanism. Second, in the context of ongoing program reviews in all three of the academic units, we will ask departments to review their assessment plans and revise them where necessary. Working within the principles of the "Campus Guidelines for Assessment," we will ask that departments focus on a primary assessment mechanism, perhaps tied to capstone courses, practica or performances, or exit examinations, that will provide information about the impact of advanced study in our majors. This effort relates to our desire to increase the professionalism of our graduates and better prepare them for work or graduate school, or service to their communities. (See question 28 below.)
QUESTION 28: What steps would you like to take to maintain or raise academic standards?
We understand academic standards to be those benchmarks against which we measure our students' performance, or the resources that we provide them, whether they be courses, faculty, academic curricula, or the support of a residential academic community. We also recognize that our standards correspond to both the widely accepted standards of the academic professions and our local mission. (See our discussion of program reviews, accreditation, and assessment in question 26 and question 27 above.) In the largest sense, the maintenance and improvement of academic standards is the goal of most of our activities; furthermore, we believe that aspiring to higher standards of performance is fundamental to academic inquiry in any setting. Nevertheless, several ongoing campus initiatives represent explicit efforts to raise academic standards at Oswego.
First, our recently revised general education program raises expectations in existing basic skills requirements, tightens curricular guidelines for courses approved for General Education credit in all categories, and mandates outcomes assessment for General Education. This program replaces a two-course writing requirement with a requirement for five writing-intensive courses beyond freshman composition; it enforces a "floor" expectation in mathematics for students to proceed in collegiate mathematics; and it adds, requirements in computer literacy and critical thinking. In addition, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Business and Education are developing freshman courses intended to communicate to our incoming students high academic expectations and the strategies and skills necessary to function in a challenging academic environment.
Like many similar institutions, we also recognize that student awareness of academic expectations and their active involvement in their education are crucial to the maintenance of academic standards. In a comprehensive effort to define and reaffirm standards of