OSUOklahoma State University


Acknowledgments and Thanks

Across campus, faculty, staff, students, and administration have supported the accreditation self-study. Many individuals made substantial contributions for which we express our sincere appreciation. The members of the Accreditation Steering Committee0.1 and many other individuals exhibited significant effort on a variety of tasks associated with the self-study and the site visit. We thank them. The university is honored to have the engagement of such individuals.

We are grateful for your participation,

Accreditation Core Team

Brenda Masters, Director

Support Group
Amjad Ayoubi
Brenda Brown
Gail E. Gates
Lee E. Bird
Pam Lumpkin
Doug Reed
Criterion Chairs
David S. Buchanan
Scott Gelfand
Jonathan C. Comer
Nigel R. Jones
Lowell Caneday
Larry Sanders


Oklahoma State University0.2 (OSU) welcomed this opportunity to assess its progress in carrying out its mission and achieving its many goals in preparation for this self-study report for OSU's Accreditation Review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Continued accreditation is necessary for OSU to maintain the eligibility of its students for federal grants and loans and for the university to continue to be recognized by employers, governmental agencies, professional licensing boards, and other institutions of higher learning as an outstanding university that provides excellent educational opportunities. We believe this report demonstrates that OSU meets and surpasses the Higher Learning Commission's criteria for accreditation,0.3 and we are pleased to share our findings with the OSU community, its constituents, and supporters.

In evaluating OSU's effectiveness and performance, we established the following goals for our self-study report:

The report contains in-depth descriptions, analyses, and assessments of OSU's effectiveness in meeting its stated goals and the Higher Learning Commission's requirements for accreditation. The report demonstrates that despite difficult economic conditions and the variety of challenges any university faces in a changing world, OSU is more than meeting its commitments and is making strides toward its goal of being recognized nationally as a premier research and academic institution.

Higher Education in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education0.4 (OSRHE) is the central policy and coordinating board for Oklahoma's system of higher education. The board prescribes academic standards of higher education, determines functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grants degrees, recommends to the state legislature budget allocations for each college and university, and recommends proposed fees within limits set by the legislature. OSRHE also manages 23 scholarship and special programs. In cooperation with the Office of State Finance, the board operates OneNet,0.5 the state's information and telecommunications network for education and government. OSRHE also oversees the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program,0.6 which guarantees loans made to students by the private sector. While the OSRHE is the coordinating board of control for all institutions in the State System of Higher Education, governing boards of regents and boards of trustees are responsible for the operation and management of each state-system institution or higher education program

Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges

The Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges0.7 (OSU/A&M) is the governing board directly responsible for the operation of OSU and its constituent budget agencies — the OSU Center for Health Sciences, OSU-Okmulgee, OSU-Oklahoma City, OSU-Tulsa, the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station, and the OSU Cooperative Extension Service. The OSU/A&M Regents also govern Connors State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in Warner; Langston University, Langston; Northeastern Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Miami; and Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell.

The board consists of nine members,0.8 one of whom is the president of the State Board of Agriculture. The remaining eight members are appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the state senate. Except for the president of the State Board of Agriculture, board members are appointed for eight-year terms to numbered positions representing congressional districts, with two at-large appointments.0.9

The OSU/A&M Board's powers to govern are constitutional and include, but are not limited to, those enumerated in Title 70, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 3412, and other laws and judicial decisions of the State of Oklahoma. Its functions are legislative in the establishment of all general policies affecting the institutions it governs and their relationship to one another and in the prescribing of rules and regulations needed to bring these policies into effect. Its judicial functions are limited to acting as a court of final settlement for matters that cannot be satisfactorily adjudicated by the presidents of the colleges. Its executive power is delegated in most instances to the presidents of the institutions and their authorized administrators.

Internal Audits

The OSU/A&M Regents' Department of Internal Audits0.10 is solely responsible to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents in the manner the board prescribes. Internal auditing headquarters are located on the OSU-Stillwater campus. The programs and scope of work conducted by internal auditors are prescribed and approved by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. All internal audit reports are submitted at the same time to the board and to the president of the institution involved. Institutional administrators provide written responses to all internal audit reports.

Overview of the University

The story of Oklahoma State University officially began on Christmas Eve, 1890, in the McKennon Opera House in Oklahoma's territorial capital of Guthrie when Territorial Governor George W. Steele signed legislation establishing an Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (OAMC) as a land-grant college in Payne County. 0.11

After much argument, Stillwater was finally selected as the location. The first students assembled for classes on December 14, 1891 even though there were no buildings, books, or curricula. Students attended classes in the Stillwater Congregational Church. The original campus consisted of 200 acres donated by four local homesteaders. After the college received title to the property, volunteers burned off the tall grass and used teams of mules and horses to plow the virgin land. Temporary buildings were soon constructed, but it became increasingly clear that OAMC needed a permanent facility.

Through the efforts of the town of Stillwater and many local and state residents, Stillwater was able to issue $10,000 in bonds for the construction of OAMC's first building. These funds paid for construction of the Central Building, now called Old Central,0.12 which was built at a cost of $14,998 and completed in 1896. The territorial legislature made up the difference in funds. In 1896, OAMC held its first commencement, with six male graduates. By 1918, OAMC had 16 brick buildings.

Though often referred to as the “agricultural” college, OAMC always focused on developing a well-rounded curriculum. In the beginning, the college offered a major only in agriculture, but specializations in engineering and other areas soon developed. By the 1910s, graduates were no longer limiting their careers to farming and business but were seeking professions as attorneys and medical doctors. Several organized schools of study existed, including engineering, commerce and marketing, education, science and literature, agriculture, home economics, and veterinary medicine. There was no graduate college, but students could continue their college careers by taking courses at the master's level.

By the mid-1950s, the OAMC community wanted to move to the “next level.” The college was ready for university status. In 1957, the institution was renamed the Oklahoma State University for Agriculture and Applied Science. During the next three decades, OSU would build academic programs0.13 to match its new status. Enrollment more than doubled from 10,385 in 1957 to more than 23,000 in the 1980s. OSU also would become a statewide university system as it added technical branches in Okmulgee in 1946 and Oklahoma City in 1961. A legislative act that took effect on July 1, 1980 officially changed the name to Oklahoma State University. The Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine, now called the OSU Center for Health Sciences, became part of the OSU system in 1988. In addition, OSU has a presence in all Oklahoma counties because of its Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service programs.

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State of Oklahoma Map showing location of 16 agricultural experiment stations and Cooperative Extension Offices that are located in every county in the state

Oklahoma State University is represented across the state with sixteen agricultural experiment stations and in every county through the Cooperative Extension Service.

In November 1998, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association approved OSU-Stillwater's request for an additional instructional site in Tulsa to provide upper-division and graduate coursework. Since 1999, OSU-Tulsa0.14 has experienced significant growth in enrollment (2,600 in Fall 2004), degree programs (more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs), and full-time resident faculty (48 in Fall 2004). Courses and degree programs are shared by OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa. Tulsa-based faculty members are appointed and tenured through their academic departments in Stillwater, and research initiatives are closely coordinated between the campuses. The institution, Oklahoma State University, comprises OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa. The OSU System0.15 includes OSU-Okmulgee, OSU-OKC, and OSU-CHS in addition to OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa.

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Bar Charts displaying the number of Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled at OSU from 2002 to 2004

Today, OSU is one of two comprehensive, research, and doctoral-granting universities in Oklahoma. Doctoral degrees are granted through the Graduate College,0.16 the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences,0.17 and the Center for Health Sciences. Enrollment at OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa currently averages about 23,000, with approximately 4,500 faculty and staff. System-wide enrollment is about 32,600. The OSU System had a record graduating class in 2004, with 5,000 degree candidates. The previous record for OSU was set in 1978-79, with 4,429 graduates. The Institutional Snapshot0.18 contains further institutional details.

Significant Achievements at OSU, 1995-2005

OSU has made significant gains in a number of areas during the past ten years. These include a successful fundraising campaign; partnerships with community colleges; increased graduation and retention rates; national recognition as a high-quality, but affordable, university; national rankings for several academic and research programs; development of a nationally recognized scholars program; improved evaluation processes; and the development of the university's first system-wide strategic plan.


The OSU Foundation0.19 began preliminary planning for a major capital campaign in early 1994. As part of the planning process, the various constituencies on the campus were consulted concerning their most pressing needs that could logically be funded through private funds. The major budget units of the university were then each assigned specific financial target amounts that they were expected to raise as a part of this campaign. After reviewing all of this input, it was decided to launch a campaign to raise $125 million.

By October 24, 1997, the initial campaign goal of $125 million had been exceeded and was increased to $206 million. The “Bringing Dreams to Life Campaign” officially closed on June 30, 2000 with commitments of $260,483,538, which represented over 200% of the original goal of $125 million. Campaign gifts had provided for 15 new endowed chairs, 12 new endowed professorships, 16 new endowed lectureships, 19 new Distinguished Presidential Scholarships, and five new Distinguished Graduate Fellowships.

Thirty-nine commitments involving pledges of $1 million or more were received during the campaign. More than 52,000 donors participated in the campaign with 23,835 of them being first-time contributors.

Partnerships with Community Colleges

During the past five years, OSU-Tulsa and OSU-Stillwater developed strong partnerships with Tulsa Community College (TCC) and Northern Oklahoma College (NOC). In spring 2002, TCC began offering courses on the OSU-Tulsa campus. OSU and TCC faculty developed numerous “2+2” agreements to allow seamless articulation between the two institutions.0.20 In fall 2003, NOC opened a facility adjacent to the OSU-Stillwater campus. NOC faculty offer developmental courses in mathematics, English composition, reading, and science for OSU students requiring remediation in these areas. Financial aid consortium agreements are offered for students who enroll at TCC, NOC, and OSU.

Students who are not admissible to OSU may enroll at community colleges, including TCC and NOC. In 2003, OSU and NOC signed an agreement for the Gateway Program, which allows NOC students to live in OSU housing and to participate with OSU students in a wide range of programs, services, and activities on the OSU campus. According to OSRHE policy, courses taken at NOC, TCC, and other community colleges transfer to OSU, and students who complete at least 24 hours of college credit and earn a 2.25 grade point average at community colleges may transfer to OSU. Regular meetings are held between OSU, TCC, and NOC administrators and faculty to coordinate activities.

Before the Gateway Program was initiated, some OSU faculty, particularly members of the Faculty Council, raised concerns about the extent to which courses offered at NOC would be of equivalent quality to similar courses at OSU and the measures that might be taken to ensure common standards for Gateway and general education students. Members of the administration and representatives from Faculty Council developed an acceptable agreement. Equivalency measures are indicated in the “Memorandum of Understanding.”0.21 Some faculty, however, have voiced concerns that some provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding between OSU and NOC regarding general education classes are not being implemented as the faculty understood them.

Scholar Development and Recognition

When OSU's first merit-based scholarship office was established in 1988, one of the many responsibilities involved the recruitment and mentoring of students who could compete for national and international scholarships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman. In 1999 OSU established a separate Office of Scholar Development and Recognition0.22 (OSDR). The philosophy of the office consists of two major tenets:

In the year 2000, OSU was recognized by the Harry S. Truman Foundation as a Truman Honor Institution for its efforts to cultivate academic and leadership skills among its top undergraduates. Over the past 11 years, OSU students won nine Truman Scholarships, ranking among the nation's elite in this competition (13 overall since 1978). OSU had two Goldwater Scholars in 2004, giving the university 12 Goldwater Scholars. Other recent successes include having two students named to the USA Today All-American first team in the last two years and having a student win the prestigious Pickering Scholarship in Foreign Affairs.0.23 Also, the OSDR director is a founding officer for the National Association of Fellowships Advisors and served two terms as president of the new organization. OSDR offerings include the following:

Honors College

The College of Arts and Sciences0.24 (CAS) inaugurated its honors program in the mid-1960s, and the first bachelor's degrees with honors were awarded in 1969. The University Honors Program was initiated in 1989 to provide enhanced educational opportunities to outstanding students from all of the six undergraduate colleges.

The University Honors Program became The Honors College0.25 in 2000 when final approval was given by the OSRHE.

The goal of The Honors College is to provide an enhanced and supportive learning environment for outstanding undergraduate students enrolled in OSU's undergraduate colleges. The Honors College relies on active involvement by faculty who are noted for their excellence in undergraduate teaching. They teach small honors sections of regular catalog courses, interdisciplinary honors courses, and special honors seminars and often offer opportunities for undergraduate research. Special honors advising is provided by faculty and professional staff who themselves have earned honors program or honors college degrees. OSU seeks to meet or exceed the criteria of the National Collegiate Honors Council0.26 (NCHC) for a fully developed honors program.

The number of active participants in The Honors College has increased significantly over the last decade. In the 2004 fall semester, the 869 active participants in The Honors College represented 162 Oklahoma communities, 23 other states, and 10 foreign nations.

OSU is recognized as a leader in the National Collegiate Honors Council, an organization with approximately 800 institutional members. The OSU Honors director served as 1998-99 NCHC president. Four OSU honors students and the assistant director have served on the executive committee in the past 10 years.

Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence

In January 2005, OSU combined Educational Television Services, the Audio Visual Center, and the Faculty Support Center to form a new Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence.0.27 An advisory board also was formed. It is envisioned that this new institute will offer workshops, seminars, a help desk, and one-on-one assistance from instructional designers for OSU faculty. Training and mentoring for new faculty as part of a teaching academy and professional development for continuing faculty who wish to improve their teaching skills are both functions of the new institute. It will provide software, equipment, and incentives designed to inspire and enable faculty to add technology to traditional classroom courses, add an online component to a course, and convert traditional courses to a format that can be delivered electronically. The institute will provide equipment, software, and training to prepare faculty to teach using team-based learning techniques that will enable students to work in groups to accomplish results that may not be realized by individuals. The institute will conduct research into faculty uses of distributed computing and new uses for Internet Two.

Other Highlights

The following achievements and recognition that have occurred since 2000 are just a few examples of the high level of academic achievement at OSU and the efficient and cost-effective services it provides to its constituents.

Top Value in America: Consumers Digest magazine named OSU as one of America's top 20 values in public higher education. The magazine reviewed 3,500 colleges and universities to rank 75 schools as the top values in the United States. The rankings, published in the June 2004 issue, are based on several attributes that validate or define the institution's academic prowess balanced against the annual cost of tuition and room and board.

Top Western School: The Princeton Review selected OSU as one of its Best Western Colleges for two consecutive years. The listing showcases the top colleges and universities in 15 western states.

Top 10 Program: U.S. News & World Report ranked the College of Education's Vocational and Technical Education program in the top 10 nationally. The top programs are selected by deans of education throughout the nation.

Math Department Recognition: OSU's Math Department has been recognized by the American Mathematics Association as one of four innovative programs in the nation. The department has produced five Sloan Fellows, comparable to the number from MIT.

Engineering Success: OSU's School of Industrial Engineering was the first such program west of the Mississippi and is home to two members of the National Academy of Engineers.

Good Chemistry: OSU's Chemistry Department boasts eight Oklahoma Chemists of the Year, eight Oklahoma Scientists of the Year, and four Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Medal of Excellence Award winners.

Physics Fellows: OSU's Physics Department has six faculty recognized as Fellows of the American Physical Society and three faculty who are Fellows of the Noble Research Foundation.

OSU Chosen for Senior Success Seminar: OSU's top seniors were invited to participate in the first “President's Senior Success Seminar” to be offered in the U.S. The January 2005 seminar featured Louis Blair, executive director of the Truman Foundation in Washington, D.C., and several former OSU scholars who advised the seniors about life and the educational world beyond OSU.

Tylenol Scholarships: OSU students Danielle Davies and Jacoby Dewald were two of only 10 college students from across the nation to receive the 2004 $10,000 Tylenol Scholarship for students in health-related fields.

Valedictorians: OSU is home to nearly 1,100 Oklahoma valedictorians.

A Repeat for All-USA College Academic Team: In 2005 for the third consecutive year, an OSU student was named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. OSU Student Government Association President Joe St. John, a senior business major, was selected. Cassie Mitchell was chosen in 2004 and Bryan McLaughlin in 2003.

Best Ag-Bio Engineering Student: The American Society of Agricultural Engineers honored OSU student Candice Johnson with its Student Engineer of the Year scholarship. This award is given to the outstanding agricultural/biological engineering undergraduate student in the United States or Canada.

The Highest Doctoral Honor: OSU zoology doctoral student Jerry Husak received a prestigious $10,000 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, the highest honor a doctoral student in science in the United States can receive.

International Engineering Prize: OSU School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students took first and second place in both the 2004 and the 2005 International Design, Build, Fly Contest. OSU is the only university to have back-to-back first and second place wins at the competition.

International Competitors: OSU's architecture students have won more national and international competitions than any other school in the nation except the University of Illinois.

Academic Achievement of Student-Athletes:

Best College Newspaper: Both the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Associated Collegiate Press recognize OSU's Daily O'Collegian as one of the top collegiate newspapers in the country.

Best Recreational Center: The newly renovated Colvin Center, which reopened in fall 2004, is one of the top recreational student facilities in the world.

Nationally Recognized Transit System: The OSU-Stillwater Community Transit System was the cover story in an issue of BusRide Magazine, a leading trade publication of the motor coach tour, charter, and transit bus industry.

Trading Floor Provides Rare Opportunity: OSU's Spears School of Business Trading Floor is one of only a few such facilities in the nation. The state-of-the-art trading floor gives students hands-on experience in managing information to assess financial risk.

New Student Housing: Since 2000, OSU has spent more than $150 million renovating and building new student housing that includes all modern amenities, high-speed internet connections, living rooms, kitchen areas, and private bedrooms and baths.

Championship Radio: KOSU, the campus affiliate of National Public Radio, has won more than 200 major broadcast journalism awards, including 11 national championships for broadcast journalism excellence. KOSU recently added a second broadcast facility to expand service to northeast Oklahoma.

Best Arena in the Nation: OSU's Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena was named the top collegiate basketball venue in the nation by CBS Sportsline.

Best Golf Facility: OSU's Karsten Creek Golf Course, designed by Tom Fazzio, is considered one of the best in the nation.

Championship Teams: OSU men's basketball won the Big 12 Championship and reached the Final Four in 2004. They won the Big 12 Championship again in 2005 and went to the Sweet Sixteen. The Oklahoma State Wrestling Team won the NCAA Championship in 2004 and 2005. Wrestling Coach John Smith was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and Wrestler Steve Mocco was named NCAA Player of the Year. OSU's Golf Team is also top-ranked in the country.

Largest Individual Gift: OSU's largest gift from an individual was a $70 million commitment from OSU alumnus Boone Pickens. Part of the gift was to complete funding for phase one of the football stadium renovation project, and part of the gift also created a trust that will result in a $15 million general university academic scholarship fund.

Largest Corporate Gift: OSU's largest corporate gift to date is a $6 million commitment from ConocoPhillips for the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and other campus priorities. The Alumni Center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2005.

Substantial Gift for College of Business: The OSU College of Business Administration was renamed the William S. Spears School of Business in honor of the man who gave the university a substantial academic gift of an undisclosed amount. Spears' multi-million dollar gift, much of which will qualify for state matching funds, will provide faculty chairs, fellowships, and endowments that will enable the college to retain and attract additional outstanding faculty.

Old Landmark Made New: The Atherton Hotel at OSU completed a $5 million revitalization that converted it into one of the finest hotels in the state. The funds were arranged through a partnership between Student Affairs and the Student Union. The hotel serves as a hands-on classroom for OSU Hotel and Restaurant Administration students. OSU is one of only five U.S. universities to offer hospitality students a hotel laboratory on campus. The Atherton is one of two hotels in Oklahoma selected for membership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation of Historic Hotels of America.

Portal Technology: OSU's Information Technology Division received a $1,087,000 grant from CampusEAI, in conjunction with the Oracle Corporation, to underwrite costs for a one-stop internet portal that gives students a single web access point to check grades, pay bursar bills, see class schedules, enroll in classes, drop classes, send and receive e-mail, see a calendar of campus events, sign up for services such as parking and All-Sports tickets, and even take online courses.

1995 Evaluation Report Concerns

The 1995 evaluation team focused the attention of the university community on six areas of concern, listed below:

  1. While OSU has taken a number of significant steps during the past year of transition, it has not yet fully developed a visible central core of clear institutional values, directions, and plans — with critical self-assessment — all linked to but transcending collegiate programs and goals.
  2. Faculty salaries continue to be very low, and although some ameliorative steps have recently been taken, the problem of salary compression remains.
  3. There is not as yet full understanding of, buy-into, and implementation of assessment as a means of program improvement.
  4. The library has a serious space problem, noted even in the NCA report of 1985-86, which has not yet been solved, though a temporary resolution is under way.
  5. The large unfunded liability in the state retirement system, and the projected move away from TIAA-CREF, are of serious concern to faculty and staff and may cause significant recruiting problems in the future.
  6. There is a pronounced under-representation of women and persons of color in middle and upper administrative positions and in upper faculty ranks, though a recent matching fund for minority faculty positions is a step in the right direction. The institution could be doing more to build pools of women and minority candidates internally for key positions.

Progress on Responses to 1995 Concerns

Values, Directions, Plans

In regard to the HLC's concern about the lack of a visible central core of clear institutional values, directions, and plans, it should be noted that during the last decade, all OSU entities developed mission and vision statements, goals, values, and/or strategic plans.0.28 Following the arrival of OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly0.29 in the spring of 2003, a system-wide strategic planning process was begun.0.30 A steering committee, composed of faculty, staff, and administrators from all of the OSU campuses, was appointed to oversee the process.0.31 The first step was a retreat with the OSU/A&M Board of Regents and all senior administrators in the OSU system in order to develop a first draft of the system mission and vision statements, core values, and strategic goals. The subsequent process included the entire OSU system, with plans for the system, the five campuses,0.32 all vice presidential areas and their component units, and all college and academic departments.0.33 A common set of core values was adopted for use by each unit, and each constructed its own mission and vision statements and strategic goals. Furthermore, each plan (278 in total) developed objectives and critical success factors.

The planning process occupied approximately 15 months before the documentation was submitted to the president for presentation to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. During that time, plans went through an iterative review process in which members of the steering committee and various task forces, composed of faculty, staff, and students, reviewed the plans and provided feedback to the various units. In addition, there was a series of town hall meetings in which the president presented the plan to all OSU employees and the public. Meetings were held for employees on each campus, and public meetings were held in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Stillwater. The Stillwater meeting also was broadcast to numerous sites around the state. Each town hall meeting included an extensive question and answer period. The plan also was posted on the OSU Homepage, and the public had an opportunity to provide feedback.

The final strategic plan was presented to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents for its acceptance during the September 2004 meeting. It also was announced at that time that a University Planning Council0.34 would be established in order to sustain planning as an ongoing process and to ensure that the university and each of its component units would be accountable to the plans as developed and revised.

Faculty Salaries

In an ongoing effort to address salary issues, OSU has continued to implement faculty raise programs ranging from three to six percent annually when possible, including special equity pools for faculty. Reductions in state appropriations totaling more than twelve percent in FY2003 and FY2004 made faculty raises impossible. In FY2004, however, the administration used a pool of $400,000 to give special awards to (1) bring all tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries up to a minimum of $40,000 and (2) to reward outstanding faculty. Additionally, a one-time supplement of $500 was given to all continuously employed faculty and staff in FY2004.

OSU continues to focus on raising salaries to the Big 12 average. The administration contracted with an outside consultant to compare each academic college with a selected peer group. Based on the results of this study,0.35 the administration identified the funds needed to fill faculty positions that were left vacant throughout years when OSU experienced cut-backs in appropriations, as well as to reward the current faculty, and to increase faculty numbers.

The “Restore, Reward, and Grow”0.36 initiative is a program developed under the leadership of President Schmidly. It began in FY2005 and will continue through FY2015. This program came about as a result of the OSU Strategic Plan and is necessary in order to accomplish the goals set by the plan. The intent of the program is to strengthen the faculty in terms of both quality and quantity.

The first phase will restore the 100 faculty positions left vacant as a result of state appropriation reductions in recent years. This phase was initiated in FY2005 when the Provost and Senior Vice President authorized 25 new faculty positions for recruitment. An additional 25 positions have been authorized for recruitment in FY2006 and authorization will continue through FY2007 and FY2008 at the rate of 25 new faculty positions per year for a total of 100 positions. The rationale for this phase is that current faculty-to-student ratios are not competitive with peer institutions. This situation has come about in the last decade because enrollment has grown at a rate three times that of the faculty.

The second phase will increase the average faculty salary at OSU over a period of 10 years to the level of the peer average. A recent consultant study recommended a $10 million adjustment to faculty salaries based on the difference between OSU faculty salaries and those of our peers. Funding will be added over and above an annual raise program to close this gap over the 10-year period so that by 2015, OSU faculty salaries are intended to be at the peer average. This phase began in FY2005 with an average raise of 5%, 2% above the rate of inflation. The rationale for this phase is that salaries have traditionally been less than competitive at OSU for many departments and disciplines. While there are many quality faculty members at OSU, it has become increasingly difficult to retain faculty who are recruited by other institutions.

The third phase, also beginning in FY2006, will increase the faculty size by adding 10 new positions for each of the next 10 years to grow the faculty by 100 positions. These positions will be linked to key goals identified in the OSU Strategic Plan. The rationale for this phase is that it has been determined that the current faculty size is, for the most part, producing as much as can be reasonably expected in terms of scholarly effort. If faculty scholarly effort is to increase, it must be realized through an increase in the size of the faculty.

Compression of faculty salaries within units is a current salary concern. The average salary for full professors is about 50% more than the average salary for assistant professors and about 30% more than the average salary for associate professors. However, in six units across campus, the mean salary at a lower rank is higher than the mean salary at a higher rank. Additionally, each department-rank combination mean salary was considered as a percentage of the mean salary of the peer group within other Big 12 universities. Salaries of full professors were 84% of the peer average with a range of 68% in Management to 108% in Nutritional Sciences. Salaries of assistant professors average 93% of the peer average with a range of 82% in Political Science to 115% in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. In more than two-thirds of OSU departments, the percentage of department-rank combination mean salary as compared to the mean salary of the peer group within the Big 12 universities is highest for assistant professors. That is twice the number that would be expected if no salary compression existed.0.37


There are many examples of progress since 1995 toward increased understanding of, support for, and participation in assessment to improve programs and provide accountability. For example, in May 2000, the General Education Assessment Task Force was formed by the Assessment Council0.38 and the Office of University Assessment and Testing0.39 (OUAT) to develop and implement a new plan to assess the effectiveness of OSU's general education program.0.40 Although general education and “mid-level” assessment methods such as standardized tests and surveys had been conducted intermittently at OSU since 1993, no sustainable approach to evaluating the general education curriculum had been established. The task force represented the first group of OSU faculty members who were paid to work on this university-wide assessment project and marked a renewed commitment to general education assessment at OSU.

Following the assessment standard of articulating desired student outcomes first, the task force started in 2000 by revising OSU's Criteria and Goals for General Education Courses 0.41 document and identifying “assessable” outcomes for the general education program. After studying general education assessment practices at other institutions, the task group developed guidelines for effective and sustainable general education assessment for OSU and agreed to initiate two assessment methods that were consistent with these guidelines: institutional portfolios and a course-content database. Institutional portfolios directly assess student achievement of the expected learning outcomes for the general education program. The course database contains information to evaluate how each general education course contributes to student achievement of those articulated outcomes. These methods were implemented in 2001.

In 2003, the Assessment Council and General Education Advisory Council approved the task force's name change to the General Education Assessment Committee. The committee is charged with continuing to develop and implement general education assessment, and it reports to the Assessment Council and General Education Advisory Council. Membership in these committees is intentionally overlapped. Committee members (faculty) serve rotating three-year terms, are extensively involved in undergraduate teaching at OSU, represent a range of disciplines, and are paid summer stipends for their work on general education assessment.

Outcomes Assessment Improved

The Assessment Council completed its third year of reviewing the assessment plans 0.42 and reports0.43 for academic units in spring 2003 and has now completed at least one review of all OSU academic programs. These reviews have resulted in greater communication and understanding of what outcomes assessment is about and what academic units should be doing. Almost three-quarters of all academic units have revised their assessment plans or otherwise demonstrated greater commitment to outcomes assessment in their programs as a result of feedback received from the Assessment Council reviews. In 2004, the schedule for Assessment Council review of Program Outcomes Assessment was modified to support its integration into the Academic Program Review process.

The Academic Program Review0.44 is the method by which the OSRHE and institutions of higher education in Oklahoma evaluate existing programs, as mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature. Informed decisions related to program initiation, expansion, contraction, consolidation, and termination, as well as reallocation of resources, are among those decisions that may result from information developed through analysis and assessment.

Increase in University-Wide Assessment Activity

OSU participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2000, and again in 2002. In spring 2003, the Assessment Council and OUAT invested considerable effort in reviewing, communicating, and developing recommendations from OSU's 2002 NSSE results. An extensive website has been developed to describe OSU's NSSE findings and how OSU has acted on those results.0.45 Several academic units have used a modified version of the NSSE for program outcomes assessment in years when OSU did not participate as an institution.

Since 2001, the OUAT has conducted an annual university-wide survey of OSU alumni, administering the survey to alumni of graduate and undergraduate programs in alternating years. The survey includes 17 questions that are asked of all alumni, and each academic program is invited to provide up to 15 program-specific questions to be asked of its alumni. Participation by academic programs in these annual surveys has increased since the project's inception. Results from these surveys have become a cornerstone of the assessment efforts for many academic units and provide valuable information about the career patterns of recent graduates and perceptions about program quality.

Increased Funding for Assessment

Increased funding has been provided to programs for Outcomes Assessment, General Education Assessment, and Assessment of Student Satisfaction. In FY2005, $290,000 was provided to academic units for Program Outcomes Assessment, an increase of $123,000 from FY2001 ($167,000). In FY2004, $70,500 was budgeted for General Education Assessment, about twice the amount ($35,000) spent in FY2001. Each student pays one dollar per credit hour that is earmarked for assessment.

Library Issues

The 1986 and 1995 NCA reports expressed concerns about library storage and patron space. The review teams suggested that some of the collection be moved to a remote storage facility to free up space. In 1995, the university administration was urged to address the pressing need for additional library space. It responded by acquiring a former supermarket building. The 50,000 square foot facility is located one mile from campus.

Funds were allocated to renovate approximately two-fifths of the building. Renovation of this building, known as the Library Annex, was completed on July 1, 2002, and transfer of materials began. Approximately 15,000 square feet of the annex houses lesser-used materials, back issues of journals, material now available online, items too fragile to repair, and certain items from Special Collections of the main and branch libraries. Items moved to the annex are noted in the OSU Library catalog. Library patrons needing materials from the annex can complete a web-based request form. Materials are retrieved and delivered on request, in most cases electronically.

The OSU museum, a closed collection for which the library has been caretaker since the early 1990s, occupies around 1,000 square feet in the renovated facility. The library's Electronic Publishing Center, established in 2002, occupies the remaining 500 square feet of renovated space.

Plans for the remaining three-fifths of the building include a Special Collections remote storage facility. This phase of the project is dependent on outside funding. Renovation of the remaining space is a goal of the library's five-year fundraising plan.

Much has been accomplished in regard to addressing library storage and patron space. In the next 9-18 months, storage space will become available in Murray Hall and the basement of the library. This additional space will be adequate for at least three years. Discussion is underway regarding library expansion and additional study spaces on campus. The construction of a remote storage facility is a possible long-term solution during the next four to five years, and long-range plans call for basic library renovations.

Library Improvements

Many improvements to the main library have been made in the past few years. These include the addition of a wireless network to serve a floating computer lab, physical renovation in many areas, a coffee bar, new security gates, and refurbished group and silent study rooms.

Additional goals for future building improvements include the Library Plaza leading to the south entrance, the Reading Room, the Special Collections Facility, and the creation of the Student Success Center on the first floor.

Library Acquisitions

Acquisition of books and serials is a continuing problem in an era of rampant inflation in publishers' prices. Large shortfalls in materials budgets in the past few years have limited the library's ability to keep pace with all library user needs. User views on the sufficiency of the collection vary, depending on the discipline and degree of connectivity between the staff and faculty user. Overall, the consensus seems to be that the library is sufficient for undergraduate purposes, but needs improvement as a resource for graduate programs.

As projected in the 1995 report, it was necessary to cancel subscriptions to approximately 395 journals. But, by 2004, subscription access was reinstated to approximately 75% of these titles. A number of the remaining 25% have ceased publication, or have merged with other resources.

As of November 1, 2004, the library provides subscription access to 37,392 online journals, magazines, and newspapers. Although a single title may be available from more than one source, 23,709 of the total online titles are unique. OSU has benefited from participation in numerous consortia, enabling access to thousands of research journals at favorable costs per individual title. Access to electronic resources was expanded in fall 2003 when students began paying a fee that provides $1.5 million for electronic resources each year.

Monograph purchases continue to be of concern, although for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, the library has budgeted $1 million annually for monographs. The library now has 13 endowed collection funds, which have been established through private donations. These endowments generate approximately $125,000 annually. These funds are used for special purchases and to enrich specific areas of the collection.

The library's rank in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) index is expected to improve to 70 out of 113 libraries for 2003-2004, a significant change from the 1995 rank of 90.

Retirement Program

In 1995, OSU faculty and administrative/professional staff were required to participate in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS). OTRS required a member contribution that was scheduled to increase to 7.0% of pay and benefits, with OSU required to make an employer contribution that gradually increased to 7.05%. The transition to the above schedule for higher education, and especially the comprehensive universities within Oklahoma, was a difficult one. OTRS, a defined benefit system designed for common schools in Oklahoma, lacks the familiarity and portability desired among higher education faculty and staff. Recruitment of faculty was especially difficult with this primary component of OSU's retirement package.

OSU provided faculty and staff who had one year of service and had reached age 26 retirement contributions equal to 7% of the first $11,520 of pay each year and 11% of pay over $11,520. These OSU contributions were used to pay the mandated employee contribution to OTRS with the rest invested in an individual defined contribution account with TIAA-CREF. Faculty and staff were fully vested in the defined contribution account. In 2003, OSU contributions were increased to 11.0% of pay; and in 2004, contributions were increased to 11.5%.

After a decade of legislative attempts to remove the mandate for faculty and administrative/professional staff to participate in the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, OSU was successful in 2004 with the passage of HB2226. Any employee hired July 1, 2004, or thereafter, is able to choose to participate in OTRS (with OSU paying the current employee and employer contribution fees) or to participate in an Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) and receive 11.5% of pay in an individual defined contribution account. Funds in the ARP will be 100% vested after two years of continuous regular service with OSU. HB2226 also includes a provision by which existing members of OTRS may withdraw from OTRS and join the ARP. This provision is currently awaiting IRS approval. Once granted, individuals will have a full year in which to make a decision.

In addition, HB2226 increased retirement benefits for employees who joined OTRS prior to July 1, 1995, so that the retirement benefits for the two comprehensive universities became very similar to those of the rest of OTRS. Other changes to OTRS in the past 10 years have included a change in vesting from 10 to 5 years, increased interest on withdrawals, and extension of certain credits to members who joined after 1992.

The Flexible Compensation Benefits Committee, which developed many of the changes affecting OSU retirement, also recommended that OSU continue to increase contributions for the ARP. Once the university contribution reaches 12.0%, a total of an additional 2% would be added and would be matched by employees. OSU also has added 457(b) tax-deferred investment opportunities to the 403(b) plans, which have been available for some time. TIAA-CREF has continued to expand investment opportunities that OSU has made available to employees.

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Bar Charts comparing the number of minorities and women in Upper Administration, Upper Faculty and Faculty positions at OSU in the Fall 1995 and Fall 2004

The changes in the past years have been exceedingly well received by employees. In addition, the university has agreed to expand investment opportunities for retirement contributions and allow loans and hardship withdrawals for employees, as well as in-service withdrawals for employees who meet OSU's retirement criteria. Such changes will continue to enhance OSU's retirement program to retain existing employees and attract top-notch faculty and staff.


The representation of women in middle and upper administration at OSU has increased significantly in the last decade, from 25.6% to 34%. Furthermore, the institution gained its first female chief academic officer when Marlene I. Strathe was named provost and senior vice president in July 2003. The gain in percentage of associate and full professors who are women is not as great as the gain in administration, but the number has increased from 15.2% to 19.7% and when assistant professors are included, women comprise 25.1% of faculty. Minority faculty representation in the ranks of associate and full professors has also increased, from 8.1% to 9.7% and when associate professors are included, the percentage is slightly higher at 9.74%. However, the percentage of minority personnel in middle and upper administration at OSU has declined in the last decade, from 12.1% to 9.5%. The institution is addressing this challenge.

In addition to the OSU Affirmative Action Plan and Policies,0.46 concrete evidence of OSU's commitment to the improvement of its diversity response is demonstrated in several ways. For example, a vice president of institutional diversity has recently joined the OSU central administration. Campus-wide diversity issues will be focused on and action plans implemented through this office. Respect for diversity has the opportunity to evolve into a reality of diversity for the university community under the leadership of this new vice president.

The Faculty Council Diversity Committee deals with many aspects of diversity. One of the goals of this committee is to address diversity in the curriculum and recommend changes that might be needed. The Office of Student Affairs provides 40-50 cultural and diversity programs per year for the broad university community. Other groups across campus have promoted diversity; for example, the Women's Faculty Council has been the impetus in re-invigorating the Women's Studies program. Information about diversity in such areas as policies, recruitment, and hiring is available on the affirmative action website.0.47

As needed, faculty search committees contact the Office of Affirmative Action regarding hiring procedures and affirmative action. The department head also is sent a letter from the Office of Affirmative Action further reminding him or her of procedures, providing statistics of availability for minorities and women, and encouraging the administrator to advertise in places that can ensure a diverse applicant pool. The department head and the search committee also are informed about the affirmative action website, which provides recruiting information.

Diversity Recruitment

OSU has outlined strategies for recruiting minority faculty and staff members, but there is room for improvement in this area. Because the hiring process is decentralized, success or failure is assessed by the numbers of minorities and women who are hired. The Office of Affirmative Action assists departments in advertising in publications that reach minority populations. The affirmative action website also provides useful information for hiring committees.

The Self-Study Process

An institutional self-study was undertaken at OSU in preparation for the accreditation site visit from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association on September 26-28, 2005. Faculty, administrators, staff, and students studied the university in an effort to assess whether current policies, plans, and practices ensure fulfillment of the mission and the established accreditation criteria.

A director for the process was identified in late 2002. Early in 2003, representatives from major university areas, such as assessment, academic affairs, student affairs, institutional research, and enrollment management identified facuty leaders to chair the criterion groups. The HLC was developing new accreditation criteria, and it was essential to identify some primary steering committee members to study the new criteria and attend the HLC meeting in March 2003 to learn about the new criteria statements, core components, and patterns of evidence.

The Accreditation Steering Committee0.48 is a set of interactive teams0.49 engaged in the numerous tasks of the self-study process and report production. The core team of the steering committee consists of two groups: the representatives who provide support from major units and the faculty leaders who serve as criterion chairs. By early in the fall semester of 2003, the core team was in place, and membership in the various criterion teams was under consideration. The criterion teams, consisting mainly of faculty, were directed to study the criteria and identify examples of evidence to indicate that OSU satisfies the core components for each criterion. Care was taken to involve membership from many units over various colleges. A group was formed for each criterion, and two groups were formed for the broad criterion four. These criterion teams have interacted with the core team through the chairs of the respective criterion groups.

The main work of the criterion groups occurred within the academic year 2003-2004.0.50 They surveyed, interviewed, and gathered data to develop the evidence to indicate that the new criteria were fulfilled. The processes that the various groups utilized to develop the materials differed depending on the size of the group and the magnitude of the task. Criterion teams one and two were reasonably small groups with only five to six members, and their activities were parallel to the activities of the strategic planning process initiated through the Office of the President. Those two groups tended to work as units on their evidence gathering. The other criterion groups had more members and after initial discussions, tended to work in subgroups of two or three on specific core components.

Over the summer of 2004, writings, called Source Writings, developed from the groups and filtered through the chairs, were provided to the director. The source writings were circulated to other members of the steering committee and the self-study writer and were made available to the campus community through the accreditation website.0.51

During the second year of the self-study, the activities shifted to the writing of the self-study report itself. Three additional teams fulfilled specific needs during the writing process. A writing team with an appointed writer, web specialist, and design expert also included campus leaders from faculty, administration, and staff. A group of administrators, the Readers' Group, was organized specifically to incorporate administrative assistance throughout the development of the self-study report. Students were included on each criterion team to review the group's writing and participate in the preparation of the report and self-study events; these students were the initial members of the student team.

The task of writing the self-study report was organized into three preliminary drafts with a final draft to be presented to the HLC. At the beginning of the writing process, the Source Writings, the materials produced by the criterion teams, were disseminated to all teams of the steering committee and were placed on the website. Once the writer produced a first draft, questions, needs, and requests associated with that draft were circulated back to the core and writing teams. With input from those two teams, individuals were identified to respond to further information requests. The responses were returned to the director who then cycled that information back to the writer, the teams, and the website.

For each successive draft of the self-study report, the content and the presentation were discussed and adjusted through the process of multiple teams reviewing the material. The director served as a conduit for both communication and documents to facilitate effective interactions between and within the teams.

During the spring of 2005, the draft versions of the self-study report were available on the accreditation website. On- and off-campus constituents had the opportunity to read and respond to the report. Public events during this time, including lunches, receptions, and presentations, were used to generate discussion about the self-study, resulting report, and upcoming site visit. Listserv messages to faculty and staff informed the general university community about the accreditation process.

The last team added to the steering committee was the hospitality team. This group will provide hosts for the site visit and also provide a platform for student activities in the months leading up to the site visit.

Criterion One: Mission and Integrity

The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students.

As a land-grant university, OSU has a clear and distinct mission to pursue teaching, research, and extension outreach. Many university programs already carry out these priorities, and OSU's vision for the future allows the university to build on its legacy of educational quality and service, while addressing emerging challenges and opportunities. OSU's defined values are embodied in its organizational structures and policies and in the everyday work of students, faculty, staff, and administration. With input from all its constituents, OSU has established clear goals and core values, as well as highly effective evaluation systems to help ensure that the university's missions are carried out with integrity and accountability.

Core Component 1a

The organization's mission documents are clear and articulate publicly the organization's commitments.

The OSU Strategic Plan ensures that the system's mission statement and those of the various OSU entities are clear and articulate publicly OSU's commitments. OSU's system-wide strategic plan was developed to help the system reach higher levels of achievement and recognition in the fulfillment of its mission.

A System-wide Strategic Plan for OSU

Dr. David J. Schmidly1.1 became CEO of the OSU System and 17th president of Oklahoma State University on November 25, 2002, after serving as president of Texas Tech University. His title, “President of Oklahoma State University and CEO of the OSU System,” reflects the growth and complexity of what has become a genuine university system composed of more than the Stillwater campus.

Soon after becoming OSU's leader, President Schmidly began an unprecedented strategic planning initiative1.2 designed to elevate OSU to a position of prominence among the nation's top 75 research and academic universities.1.3 An initiative such as this had never been attempted at any university in Oklahoma.

The result has been 278 integrated strategic plans representing all of the campuses, areas, and units within the OSU System.1.4 Each plan focuses on strategic themes, such as academic instruction, research, outreach, educational partnerships, image enhancement, quality of life, diversity, and service to Oklahomans.

To achieve national prominence, the plan states that the OSU System must focus all its resources on strategic goals that have broad support. For this reason, the strategic plan was developed by the entire OSU System community, including faculty, staff, administrators, students, regents, alumni, friends, and the citizens of Oklahoma. The process was overseen by a steering committee that included representatives from the administration, faculty, and staff of each campus. The planning effort was also assisted by a consultant.


  • Excellence
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Integrity
  • Service
  • Diversity
  • Resource Stewardship

The planning process focused considerable attention on both OSU's internal and external constituencies. A series of town hall meetings led by Dr. Schmidly facilitated this process. The “top down and bottom up” process of gaining input also utilized task forces, retreats, and presentations to many constituents.

Each unit's plan defined the particular entity's mission, vision, core values, goals, critical success factors, objectives, and strategies within certain boundaries and definitions. As the individual plans were assessed, it became apparent that many of the units shared similar goals, objectives, and values. From this assessment, a set of common goals and values was adopted for the system and each campus.

The planning process resulted in the identification of six core values shared by the entire system: excellence, intellectual freedom, integrity, service, diversity, and resource stewardship.

In addition, five strategic themes for the system were developed from the plan. These themes are academic instruction, research, outreach through instruction, and partnerships; image communication; quality of life in the domains of healthy living, culture, and economic development; diversity; and human development of students, faculty, staff, and all Oklahomans.

Nine strategic priorities emerged from the planning process. These system-wide priorities are academic excellence in teaching, research, and outreach; quality of life/economic development; healthy living; synergy in the use of resources; partnerships/collaborations; image; student development; diversity; and human resources.

The final strategic plan strongly reflects OSU's land-grant tradition, priorities, and strengths in teaching, research, and outreach, and it outlines plans for building on that legacy. It also outlines the avenues through which the OSU System will continue to fulfill its mission while maintaining the highest levels of integrity.

The final plan was accepted by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents in September 2004.1.5 Shortly thereafter, the University Planning Council1.6 was formed to regularly review the planning documents and to evaluate progress and make necessary updates. All OSU strategic planning documents are available on the OSU website, www.okstate.edu.1.7

Mission Documents

New mission and vision statements were adopted for the OSU System and each entity of the system as part of the university's strategic plan. These statements are widely disseminated to various constituencies through the internet and publication in the University Catalog and through other OSU recruiting and marketing materials.

OSU System Mission Statement

Oklahoma State University is a multi-campus, land-grant educational system that improves the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation, and the world through integrated, high-quality teaching, research, and outreach. The instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, technical, extension, and continuing education informed by scholarship and research. The research, scholarship, and creative activities promote human and economic development through the expansion of knowledge and its application.

OSU System Vision Statement

The Oklahoma State University System will advance the quality of life in Oklahoma by fulfilling the instructional, research, and outreach obligations of a first-class, land-grant educational system.

OSU-Stillwater Mission Statement

Proud of its land-grant heritage, Oklahoma State University-Stillwater advances knowledge, enriches lives, and stimulates economic development through instruction, research, outreach, and creative activities.

OSU-Stillwater Vision Statement

Oklahoma State University-Stillwater will become one of the premier public universities in the United States and lead in the creation of a new Oklahoma.

To accomplish this:

OSU-Tulsa Mission Statement

In a metropolitan setting, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa advances knowledge, enriches lives, and enhances economic development through innovative instruction, research and creative activities, and outreach.

OSU-Tulsa Vision Statement

Oklahoma State University-Tulsa will be prized as the crown jewel of the city of Tulsa. By 2020, the 250-acre, 25-building campus will have 20,000 students enrolled in 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and:

Core Component 1b

In its mission documents, the organization recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituents, and the greater society it serves.

Because OSU recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves, diversity is a core value in the OSU System's strategic plan. The institution strives to create an environment of respect for all individuals by valuing other ethnic and cultural backgrounds, diversity of opinion, and freedom of expression.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy

OSU's policy explicitly states that it strives to be a complete equal opportunity university in all phases of operations, toward the end of fulfilling the university's basic mission and attaining its goals.1.8 Other aims of the policy are to:

Non-discrimination Procedures

The university has an affirmative action program to implement its official policies of equal opportunity employment. Statements are published regularly as to the official position of the university in regard to discrimination and equal opportunity employment. OSU's continuing policy is to actively and aggressively locate, recruit, place, upgrade, and promote members of ethnic minority groups and women at all levels at the university.

The responsibility for the recruitment of faculty is delegated to the provost and senior vice president in conjunction with the deans of the colleges. Responsibility for the recruitment of administrative and professional staff is delegated to the appropriate vice president in conjunction with the deans and directors within the colleges or other subdivisions of the university. Classified staff members are recruited by the Office of Human Resources (OHR) in conjunction with the college deans and directors and other university budgetary subdivisions. OHR is responsible for referring the names of qualified candidates to their potential supervisors. OHR also is responsible for disseminating job information through a variety of outlets.

A recruitment report form that accompanies payroll action forms for university personnel is used to implement the university's plan for affirmative action in regard to equal opportunity employment. This form indicates the number of persons considered for employment, their race and sex, and the reasons why the person selected was offered employment. These reports, tabulated on a regular basis, are reviewed by the Affirmative Action Office and the appropriate administrators. On the OSU-Stillwater campus, colleges and vice presidential units are responsible for working with the director of affirmative action to fulfill the equal opportunity responsibilities in their areas.

Each OSU employee, by performing his or her assigned duties, contributes to the instructional, research, and administrative activity of the university. Thus, the university subscribes to sustaining the dignity of the employee and endeavors to provide working conditions based on fair and equitable standards. OSU began Title IX comprehensive sexual harassment training in spring 2005; the sessions planned for administrators, faculty, staff, and students will continue several semesters. Any employee or group of employees has the right, without retaliation, to discuss with his or her supervisor(s), the assistant vice president of human resources, and/or the director of affirmative action the terms of his or her employment or working conditions. The affirmative action director is responsible for all matters relative to the university's equal employment opportunity/affirmative action program. The assistant vice president of human resources is responsible for application, conformity, and coordination of the personnel policies and procedures and for developing recommendations in conjunction with the affirmative action director, when applicable. Department supervisors are responsible for the administration and equal employment opportunity/affirmative action compliance of all personnel functions in conjunction with the affirmative action plan, as they pertain to employees under their jurisdiction.

Responding to Diverse Needs

Evidence of OSU's commitment to diversity is demonstrated by the practices of various OSU entities, such as the Office of Student Affairs,1.9 the Multicultural Student Center,1.10 the Office of Human Resources,1.11 the Affirmative Action Office,1.12 Student Disabilities Services,1.13 Undergraduate Admissions,1.14 International Students and Scholars,1.15 and the School of International Studies.1.16 In addition to designated policies and procedures, OSU's institutional view on diversity is expressed in many ways, including the development of classes about multiculturalism, the creation of study plans for enhancing diversity, and publication of clear statements about OSU's diversity goals in its catalog, faculty handbook, student informational publications, and many other materials. In addition, OSU recently completed a nationwide search for a vice president for institutional diversity that resulted in the appointment of Dr. Cornell Thomas to the position.

In addition, all OSU undergraduates are required to complete a general education course with an international dimension. Students in these courses critically analyze one or more contemporary cultures external to the United States to help students understand how international cultures relate to complex, modern world systems.

A number of special grant-supported programs for OSU students are aimed at increasing representation in fields in which minorities are underrepresented. Two of these are the Native Americans into Biological Sciences program in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the American Indians into Psychology program in the Psychology Department.

Recently, workshops have helped prepare minority students to compete for the Gates Millennium Scholarships. In addition, there is a strong presence of minority professionals on the OSU staff in the admissions and financial aid offices. The renovation of the university's Colvin Center also has allowed for the creation of new international sports clubs and activities. Campus Life 1.17 provides more than 50 diversity programs, and Residential Life1.18 has specific floors for members of ethnic groups who want to live in proximity and celebrate their heritages. Also a number of multicultural scholarships are available, as well as ethnic student organizations. The Sexual Orientation Diversity Association (SODA), located in the Student Affairs Division, has weekly meetings and educational programs, as well as panel discussions on bisexuality and gay marriage.

Core Component 1c

Understanding of and support of the mission pervade the organization.

OSU's strategic planning process involved every unit of the university and gave all employees an opportunity to better understand the university's mission and to have input into planning aimed at supporting the OSU mission. Many OSU students also were involved with the planning process, thereby gaining a better understanding of the university's mission and supporting its implementation. The mission lends stability to the campus by promoting a consistency of perception and action.

Fulfilling OSU's Mission

The strategic planning process provides a means for applying the university's various missions as the University Planning Council1.19 works to align mission and goals with changing needs and resources. Five-Year Academic Report Cards, called Academic Ledgers,1.20 summarize the major variables associated with enrollment, student profile, faculty, teaching, research, and financial information. The University Planning Council will review the Academic Ledgers for information to assist it in making planning decisions. This process, grounded in organized data presentation, promotes effective use of the university's resources to ensure fulfillment of the mission.

Each college has associate deans or directors for instruction, research, and outreach. To aid in the planning process, administrators in instruction and outreach serve on the Instruction Council and the Outreach Council. These councils make recommendations to the provost and senior vice president. The associate deans for instruction from each college serve on the Instruction Council,1.21 which is chaired by the associate vice president of undergraduate education. This group meets at least monthly to discuss all aspects of the instructional program including, but not limited to, curriculum quality and content, methods of course delivery, and enhancement of instruction. The council makes recommendations to the provost on policies, procedures, and regulations affecting the instructional program at OSU.

The colleges' outreach directors serve on the Outreach Council,1.22 which is chaired by the director of international education and outreach. The council meets monthly to facilitate communication, discuss mutual concerns, develop interdisciplinary programs, and recommend administrative policy and procedures.

Mission Infusion Across Campus

Because the OSU strategic planning process involved all units of every OSU campus, interaction between these units and central administration during the plan's development communicated broadly the university's mission. In addition, numerous meetings were held on the OSU campuses to explain all aspects of the strategic plan and its mission and vision. These materials also have been widely distributed through publications and placement on the OSU website. Every unit's plan is designed to reflect the university's overall mission, and employees of each unit are evaluated in light of the goals and objectives set for their units. Through the strategic plan, all employees will be working to implement the university's overall mission.

Mission-based Budgets

As the University Planning Council continues to monitor the success of the plan in meeting the university's mission objectives and identifying changing needs, the university's budgets will address these needs. A current example of a mission-based budget consideration is the university's “Restore, Reward, and Grow” initiative. Budget constraints have prevented OSU from competing nationally in paying salaries that would attract and retain top faculty. This initiative addresses this issue, which is vital to OSU's achievement of its mission.

The current administration contracted an outside consultant to compare each academic college with a selected peer group. Based on the results of this study,1.23 the administration has outlined the funds needed to fill faculty positions that were left vacant throughout years when OSU experienced cutbacks in appropriations, as well as to reward the current faculty, and to increase future faculty numbers.

The “Restore, Reward, and Grow” initiative began in FY2005 and will continue through FY2015. The program has come about as a result of the completion of the OSU Strategic Plan and is necessary in order to accomplish the goals set by the plan. The intent of the program is to strengthen the faculty in terms of both quality and quantity. The program has three simultaneous phases.

The first phase will restore the 100 faculty positions left vacant as a result of state appropriation reductions in recent years. This phase was initiated in FY2005 when the provost and senior vice president authorized 25 vacant faculty positions for recruitement. It will continue through the next 3 years at a rate of 25 faculty positions per year for a total of 100 positions.

The second phase will increase the average faculty salary at OSU over a 10-year period to the level of the peer average. The recent consultant study recommended a $10 million adjustment to faculty salaries based on the difference between OSU faculty salaries and those of its peers. Funding will be added over and above an annual raise program to close this gap over the stated 10-year period. It is intended that by 2015, OSU faculty salaries will be at the peer average. This phase began in FY2005 with an average 5% raise, 2% above the inflation index.

The third phase, beginning in FY2006, will increase the faculty size by adding 10 new positions for each of the next 10 years to grow the faculty by 100 positions. These positions will be linked to key goals identified by the OSU Strategic Plan.

As previously stated, the university has implemented faculty raise programs ranging from three to six percent annually when possible, including special equity pools for faculty. While reductions in state appropriations in FY2003 and FY2004 made faculty raises impossible, in FY2004, the administration used a pool of $400,000 to give special awards to bring all tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries up to a minimum of $40,000 and to reward outstanding faculty. Additionally, a one-time supplement of $500 was given to all continuously employed faculty and staff in FY2004.

Instances of salary inversion resulting from faculty salary compression are present on the campus. Hiring new faculty members at higher salaries than experienced faculty of a higher rank in the same department leads to low faculty morale and high turnover. The administration and OSU/A&M Board of Regents have committed to address the situation by bringing compensation up to the level of the Big 12 average and ongoing efforts are being made to achieve this goal.

Core Component 1d

The organization's governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.

The OSU/A&M Board of Regents' stated mission is to provide service that is characterized by the highest degree of cooperation and communication among system institutions; quality programs that meet or exceed the expectations of people seeking service of any kind at any tier of the system; efficiency of operations in order to focus resources in a manner that will best support the educational needs of the people served; and accountability to the people of Oklahoma through an appropriate array of high-quality educational opportunities in accordance with the constitution and laws of the State of Oklahoma.

Selecting Outstanding Leaders

Members of the OSU administration are hired through processes that involve a national search, and input from faculty members is required when upper-level administrative positions are being filled. As a result, appropriate qualifications and a national reputation are part of the process for hiring administrators. Similar processes are followed in hiring faculty members. As stated in other areas of this report, OSU is making significant progress in its ability to offer competitive salaries that attract top administrators and faculty. The university also has increased the number of endowed chairs and professorships, which helps attract and retain top-notch faculty members.

Collaborative Governance

OSU has active faculty1.24 and staff1.25 councils. Both organizations have been in place for many years, and shared governance is a reality at OSU. Representatives from these councils and from the undergraduate1.26 and graduate1.27 student councils meet monthly with the Stillwater Cabinet.1.28 Recommendations to the administration are negotiated through extensive interaction between the councils and appropriate administrative units. Recommendations frequently receive prompt responses from the administration. The input and active collaboration at all levels of the university help promote effective leadership.

Academic Structures

All academic programs are administered through the Office of Academic Affairs.1.29 Curricula are the responsibility of the faculty under the direction of departments and colleges. Several units in the Office of Academic Affairs assist with curriculum planning, assessment, and delivery. Research programs are administered through the Research Office, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer,1.30 and the associate deans and directors for research from the various colleges. The Office of University Research Services1.31 assists in these endeavors. These collaborative processes help OSU successfully fulfill its mission.

New Technology

New computer-based technological structures promote effectiveness in most processes at the university. Not only is efficiency enhanced, but transparency of processes and results also is dramatically increased. The use of the internet, e-mail, and electronically delivered classes as well as other technology has completely realigned the ways in which administrators, faculty, staff, students, and the public interact and communicate with the institution and with each other. These structural changes have significantly affected the process of teaching, the administration of teaching and management of classes, and the daily work of the institution.

Core Component 1e

The organization upholds and protects its integrity.

OSU has shown its commitment to integrity by including it as a core value in the OSU Strategic Plan (Integrity — We are committed to the principles of truth and honesty, and we will be equitable, ethical, and professional). This core value is evident in many policies and procedures that help ensure that all of the university's missions and practices meet the highest standards of integrity.

Lawful Practice

As a public university, OSU is committed to upholding the public's trust and to obeying all laws: federal, state, and local. Many of OSU's activities are subject to regular public scrutiny through the very public nature of the university's work and through the numerous policies, regulations, and laws that apply directly to the activities of the university. Compliance units are numerous. These include environmental health and safety compliance, research compliance, privacy compliance at the Center for Health Sciences, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and NCAA compliance. The Seretean Wellness Center and the University Health Services both have HEPA and FERPA compliance. In addition, budgeting and other financial affairs are handled with open discussion.

The members of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents also are required, by state law, to participate in training, including training in ethics, as applied to institutions of higher education. The regents also must follow specific state laws in matters such as the hiring of consultants, architects, and contractors, and other business-related practices.

The OSU/A&M Regents' Department of Internal Audits,1.32 headquartered on the OSU-Stillwater campus, regularly audits the institutions under the board's governance. These audit reports are presented to the leaders of the institutions. Institutional administrators provide written responses to all internal audit reports. This auditing process and other input by OSU's governing board help promote integrity and effective administration of the university.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty by either students or faculty members is not tolerated at OSU. Specific policies to deal with allegations of academic dishonesty outline the steps to determine if academic dishonesty has occurred and to allow the accused student or faculty member to state his or her case for consideration by committees made up of faculty members and students. Those found to have committed academic dishonesty face severe consequences. In 2002-2003, faculty members reported that 93 students received penalties for academic dishonesty. OSU's faculty members endorse the American Association of University Professors' 1987 “Statement on Professional Ethics.” OSU also is affiliated with The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI), a consortium of over 320 institutions. CAI's mission is to provide a forum to identify and affirm the values of academic integrity and to promote their achievement in practice. The mission is achieved primarily through the involvement of students, faculty, and administrators from the member institutions who share with peers and colleagues the center's collective experience, expertise, and creative energy.

OSU became a member of the CAI in the fall of 2003. In January 2004, a committee of faculty, staff, and administrators began discussions to revise the 1984 policy on allegations of academic misconduct and dishonesty and to promote academic integrity on campus. In spring 2004, the committee administered an on-line survey with Dr. Don McCabe from Rutgers University. The survey assessed OSU students,' teaching assistants,' and faculty members' perceptions of the academic environment, the extent of academic misconduct, and attitudes related to academic integrity. Dr. McCabe presented results to the campus community in the fall of 2004.

The committee is developing a new policy and simplified procedures for addressing academic dishonesty, a communication plan to inform students and faculty of the revisions, and an academic integrity seminar for students who violate academic integrity.

Academic Advising

OSU's academic advisors operate under the standards of the National Academic Advising Association1.33 (NACADA), the national professional organization for advisors. In regard to OSU's academic advisors, students probably offer the most effective local check-and-balance oversight. If an advisor does not do his or her job well, does not follow rules and regulations or policies and procedures, enrolls a student in an inappropriate course, or does not inform a student of important information and deadlines, the student generally reports the error(s) to the college director of student academic services or goes directly to other administrators. A council of student academic services directors, led by the assistant vice president for enrollment management, also meets monthly to discuss issues dealing with advisors and advising. Information from these meetings is shared with college and departmental advisors.


OSU has clearly stated policies and procedures that ensure that all the university's employees are treated fairly and with integrity.1.34 All areas of faculty members' employment are outlined in detail in the Faculty Handbook.1.35 Policies concerning students, including grievances and a code of conduct, are covered in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.1.36

OSU policy regarding all full-time and part-time members of the administrative/professional (A/P) and classified staff is also outlined. Any A/P or classified staff member who has a bona fide grievance (as defined by policy) that cannot be resolved informally may request the formation of a grievance committee, which will examine the issues and make recommendations to the appropriate administrator.

The policy recognizes three types of complaints defined as follows:

The Grievance Committee submits its preliminary report to the assistant vice president (AVP) of human resources in a non-discrimination case, or to both the human resources AVP and the director of affirmative action in a discrimination case. The AVP and director review the preliminary report for policy compliance. When the report is in compliance, it is forwarded to the appropriate vice president or to the appropriate senior administrator reporting directly to the president. The human resources AVP provides copies of the report to the grievant, the responding party, their counsel, if any, and to all members of the grievance committee. The human resources AVP keeps a copy in a permanent file.

The resulting action of the appropriate vice president or other senior administrator is reviewed by the university president. The full report from the Grievance Committee is made available for the president's review. The decision of the vice president or other senior administrator is considered final and binding after the review and with the concurrence of the president.

Conflicts of Interest

Members of the OSU faculty have as their primary professional responsibility their obligations to the university. OSU policy,1.37 however, states that it is important that employees be allowed to forge external relationships. The policy further states that while members of the OSU faculty are not prohibited from developing external relationships with industry and private entrepreneurial ventures, such relationships carry an increased risk of a conflict of interest and commitment between obligations to the university and private concerns. Faculty members are urged to be sensitive to the possibility that outside obligations, financial interests, or employment may affect their responsibilities and decisions as members of the university community.

OSU's policies were developed to ensure that the university complies with current federal regulations and to provide guidance for faculty members regarding external relationships. The policy is also intended to assure the faculty, the university, and the public that potential conflicts of interest have been examined and will be managed in a manner consistent with university and public values.

OSU policy states that a conflict of interest arises when an investigator compromises his or her professional standards in carrying out teaching, research, extension, or service activities as a result of an external relationship that affects the financial interests of the investigator, a family member, or an associated entity. Further, conflict may violate or compromise ethical standards and guidelines associated with professional actions, activities, or treatment, as in the case of the medical profession. Policies outline how much financial interest a faculty member may have with an entity that may be directly affected by the results of the investigator's current or proposed externally funded research or when results of the research could be influenced by the financial relationship with the entity. The investigator must disclose any potential conflicts of interest.

Scientific Misconduct

Scientific misconduct is defined by OSU as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Complaints of scientific misconduct directed at members of the university (faculty, students, or staff) may be made directly to the vice president for research and technology transfer (VPR) or referred to the VPR by the appropriate unit administrator. When an allegation of scientific misconduct is made, the VPR appoints a review committee to determine whether the allegation or apparent instance of scientific misconduct warrants a formal investigation. The VPR also consults with the OSU/A&M Board of Regents' Office of Legal Counsel prior to making a preliminary determination regarding such allegations. If it is determined that a formal investigation is warranted, the VPR must appoint an investigating committee.

Both the review and investigation committees are made up of three senior faculty members appointed by the VPR. These faculty members must hold academic rank at least equal to that of the person accused of scientific misconduct. Committee members must not have personal bias or a conflict of interest with the accused person, with the person making the allegations, or with any person who is called upon to give evidence in the initial inquiry. The accused, or respondent, has the right to protest the membership of an investigating committee.

The VPR fully considers all information received from all persons involved in the investigation and makes a final determination regarding the application of sanctions. Prior to making a final determination, the VPR also seeks appropriate faculty counsel from the respondent's department. The respondent has a right to appeal the imposition of sanctions.

When appropriate, the VPR must submit a final report of the investigation to the director of the Office of Scientific Integrity and any affected external funding agencies. In the event that scientific misconduct is determined to have occurred, the VPR may impose sanctions including, but not limited to, removal from a particular project, special monitoring of future work, written reprimand, probation for a specified period of time with conditions attached, suspension of rights and responsibilities for a specified period of time with conditions attached, or termination of employment.

Internal Audits

The OSU/A&M Board of Regent's Department of Internal Audits1.38 helps ensure integrity of operations in areas such as admissions, registrar, bursar, student aid, human and animal research, copyright issues, campus health and environmental safety, police activities, and facility building, maintenance, and renovation.

The Institute of Internal Auditors states: “Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. Internal auditing reviews the reliability and integrity of information, compliance with policies and regulations, the safeguarding of assets, the economical and efficient use of resources, and established operational goals and objectives. Internal audits encompass financial activities and operations including systems, production, engineering, marketing, and human resources.”

The OSU/A&M Board of Regents specifies that the Department of Internal Audits is solely responsible to the board in the manner the board prescribes. Programs or the scope of work conducted by internal auditors is prescribed and approved by the board. All internal audit reports are submitted at the same time to the board and to the president of the institution involved. Institutional administrators provide written responses to all internal audit reports, copies of which are presented to the board in the manner it prescribes. Such responses are submitted to the board over the signature of each of the respective presidents or a member of a president's management team.

The annual audit plan approved by the board each June is designed to provide broad audit coverage, while devoting sufficient time to major audit risk areas. While an emphasis has been placed on areas specifically requested by management, business risks exist across all operations of the institutions. It is important, therefore, for Internal Audits to assess and promote the institutions' understanding and use of sound business practices. Internal Audits evaluates risk exposures and effectiveness of controls relating to governance, operations, and information systems technology for:

  1. Reliability and integrity of financial and operational information;
  2. Effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
  3. Safeguarding of assets; and
  4. Compliance with laws, regulations, and contracts.

Internal Audit's current audit plan is primarily devoted to financial, compliance, information systems technology, and operational auditing, as well as management consulting services. The office also co-sources specialized expertise from professional information technology service firms in order to augment its existing in-house information technology audit resources. The unit also has co-sourced construction consulting services when reviewing and evaluating construction activities.

State law requires institutions of higher education to have an annual financial audit conducted, in accordance with OMB Circular A-133, by an outside public accounting firm.1.39 The external auditors are engaged by and report to the board. The Internal Audit Department works with the external auditors and considers the external audit coverage as it develops the internal audit plan to achieve maximum audit coverage.

Registrar Audits

OSU uses SIS Plus1.40 for its student information system. SIS Plus is an integrated system that allows the various areas on campus to share information and data. Security for each area is controlled by that area. The Bursar,1.41 Financial Aid,1.42 Residential Life,1.43 Human Resources,1.44 Admissions,1.45 and the Registrar's Office 1.46 manage their own areas and determine who has the ability to view data and who has the ability to update data. The registrar's office controls access to the academic information in the system.

The registrar's office works with Institutional Research and Information Management1.47 (IRIM) in setting security profiles and access to information. Security is granted to personnel based on their need to view increasing levels of detail and to update the system. All individuals on campus requiring access to academic information must fill out an SIS Access Request. These forms originate through IRIM, which verifies that the individual is currently employed and identifies his or her employment area. The form is sent to the associate registrar for final approval. Whether or not the person is given access to update information is based on the individual's job function. The screens containing information concerning the students' and instructors' PINS are blocked to everyone except a few employees in the Registrar's Office.

IRIM and the Registrar's Office monitor the system daily. The Registrar's Office runs a daily report listing any grades that have been changed, the day and time the grade was changed, and the operator ID of the individual making the change. This report is reviewed daily by the coordinator of academic records. The associate registrar also has access to this report for daily review. During enrollment, a daily report identifies any students who enrolled prior to their enrollment date and the individual who enrolled the student early. Prior to release of the “as of counts” at the beginning of the semester, several edit reports are run to verify the accuracy of the enrollment numbers. These reports are reviewed by the assistant registrar in charge of fee adjustments. A weekly visa status report identifies any student whose visa type does not coincide with his or her residency status. At the beginning of the semester, a faculty/staff fee waiver report compares the requests for the faculty/staff fee waiver to the individual's status as a full-time employee before the fee waiver is processed in the system.

IRIM daily monitors individual operator IDs, identifying individuals who are no longer employed by the university, in order to terminate their access to SIS. During enrollment, a daily report identifies students who were enrolled using the “permit” function in the system. The “permit” function overrides all holds in the system, which include closed sections, fire code, etc. Over-enrollments must be dealt with immediately and corrected by the Registrar's Office or the academic department.

Security profiles and access to the system are periodically evaluated and adjusted as necessary. As enhancements are made to the system and the web, IRIM personnel and the associate registrar review the profiles and make necessary adjustments.

Criterion One Conclusion


  1. The OSU System's mission statement and those of the various OSU entities, as well as the strategic plan, clearly and publicly articulate OSU's commitments and consider various constituents' input, ensuring widespread agreement and coordination of goals.
  2. The university strives to recognize the dignity and worth of each person in all phases of its operations making diversity a core value in its strategic plan, and evidenced especially by its Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action program; diversity-enhancing academics, publications, and scholarships; Committee for Campus Accessibility; and the director of affirmative action and vice president for institutional diversity positions.
  3. The university's governance structure and strategic planning process provide opportunities for collaborative decision-making among OSU's various constituents.
  4. The university has a commitment to meet the highest standards of integrity, evident in the OSU Strategic Plan, policies, procedures, and internal audits.

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Ensure implementation, appropriate assessment, and ongoing review of the OSU System Strategic Plan.
    ACTION: The University Planning Council, consisting of faculty, staff, and students from each campus, will review the planning documents, evaluate progress, and make necessary updates.
  2. Review efforts to enhance access to higher education through the OSU System to increase degree holders in Oklahoma and grow the OSU System to meet changing state demographics and gaps in educational attainment.
    ACTION: Implement the Restore, Reward, and Grow plan in order to increase efforts to hire, promote, energize, and retain excellent and diverse administrators, faculty, and staff to foster an environment that can recruit, retain, and graduate students from every cultural and socio-economic group in the state.
  3. Enhance the image of the OSU System to promote an institutional culture capable of achieving a more lofty ambition as delineated in the strategic plan.
    ACTION: Utilize image management and marketing strategies to play major roles in changing the perceptions of various constituencies.

Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future

The organization's allocation of resources and its process for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

OSU's planning documents provide evidence of the university's awareness of the relationships between educational quality, student learning, and the diverse, complex, global, and technological world in which the university and its students exist. OSU's strategic plan states that the university will educate students to be lifelong learners who are intellectually and ethically prepared to serve and lead in an increasingly complex global society. In addition, the university's vision statement makes it clear that OSU's culture will support diversity, academic freedom, high aspirations, and mutual respect. The OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa Strategic Plans2.1 and the strategic plans of the units within the system contain strategic goals, critical success factors, and objectives for addressing educational quality in a diverse, complex, and technological world.

OSU's planning processes involve internal constituents and, where appropriate, external constituents.2.2 During the strategic planning process, OSU's president presented the vision for the future success of OSU at town hall meetings throughout the state and solicited input from stakeholders, including community organizations and community members at large. This vision is articulated in key documents2.3 and addresses such issues as strategic planning, transformational culture, funding for the future, linking performance and budgeting, marketing, and messaging.

OSU's vision for the future is outlined in its strategic plan.2.4 Goals and objectives have been outlined at every level of the university. The University Planning Council2.5 is charged with overseeing the implementation of the plan and reporting on its progress. In addition, OSU has adopted well-established and effective evaluation systems that help the university community understand how and why some programs are succeeding and why some must be updated to meet changing needs and to fulfill the university's mission. Funding will be tied to strategic planning goals, which are aimed at meeting future challenges and developing and enhancing new opportunities.

Core Component 2a

The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.

OSU's various evaluation and survey processes, as well as data gathered from outside sources, help the university learn more about the needs of the society it serves. It learns what its students and potential students want from their college careers and the type of new or revised educational training they may need to be effective in their professional careers. For example, changes or special efforts may be made to meet the needs of students from underrepresented populations who are the first in their families to attend college or of adult learners who are reentering college classes for additional professional training. Or, more efforts may be made to raise scholarship funds for students with greater financial needs. In addition, data may indicate that the university should shift resources from one area to another, especially in tight budget years. Many units throughout the university are constantly monitoring changing societal and economic trends in order to respond effectively to future student needs and to continue to fulfill OSU's mission.

Addressing Multicultural Issues

OSU's strategic planning documents show careful attention to the organization's function in a multicultural society. The plan includes a core value that emphasizes respect for people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and for the value of diversity of opinion. To that end, university objectives encompass educating the OSU family, Oklahoma's citizens, and other society members about the importance of respecting and valuing diversity; increasing the number of underrepresented groups in the student body, staff, and faculty; and initiating, promoting, and mentoring diversity in employment, the curriculum, and university programs. OSU has a documented affirmative action program for students, faculty, and staff, and both college- and university-level scholarships are available to underrepresented groups. In addition, student government has a set-aside from student fees to fund multicultural programs that are focused on the goal of mentoring diversity.

In addition, many of the courses in the general education curriculum foster an understanding of a multicultural society, and undergraduates are required to take coursework that enhances their understanding of contemporary global cultures. The General Education Advisory Council2.6 (GEAC) continues to discuss how general education courses meet the needs of students. A lower-division course on diversity has been developed, and an upper division diversity course is in the planning stages.

Campus student organizations represent students from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The university study abroad programs2.7 offer opportunities for study in different cultures, while the Multicultural Student Center and the International Students and Scholars Office play a significant role in students' cultural support and awareness. In addition, OSU has a Multicultural Affairs Office, an Academic Minority Program, and a Women's Faculty Council. Extensive diversity programs are sponsored by the Student Union Activities Board (SUAB) and the Office of Student Affairs. These various entities work to promote and enhance multicultural opportunities and diversity at OSU and prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse society, while creating a more culturally sensitive and diverse climate at OSU and in the surrounding communities.

Changing Demographics

OSU's Enrollment Management and Marketing2.8 (EMM) area gathers demographic information and market-trend data from various sources, including the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Knocking at the College Door (2003), the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma State Department of Education, other state and federal government sources, College Board, ACT, and the OSU Student Profile,2.9 compiled by OSU's Office of Institutional Research and Information Management2.10 (IRIM). This information has not been transmitted to campus leaders in a consistent way in the past, except for distribution of the OSU Student Profile. With completion of OSU's Enrollment Management Plan, this information will be widely disseminated and available on the internet. It also will be updated annually.

Comparison of OSU's Minority Enrollment
with Oklahoma's Minority Population
OSU* Oklahoma**
African American 3.9% 7.6%
Asian 1.6% 1.4%
Hispanic 1.9% 5.2%
Native American 8.0% 11.4%
*2004 Student Profile **2000 U.S. Census

EMM uses recruitment communication strategies that take advantage of the internet. For example, students can enroll online, and admissions representatives correspond with many prospects via e-mail.

In the past, EMM has generally relied upon published sources, anecdotal information, and occasional focus groups in the design and development of recruitment publications and strategies. However, in the spring 2004 semester, EMM used the College Board's Admitted Student Questionnaire (ASQ) to gather information from students recruited in 2003-2004. EMM plans to continue with more formal research.

EMM has responded to demographic and population shifts by creating and expanding an OSU presence in the Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston, Texas areas in the past 10 years. OSU also is increasing its emphasis on recruiting in community colleges given data indicating that more Oklahoma students are beginning their college careers at the community college level.

Other new programs have been developed in the past 10 years to address changing needs. For example, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid2.11 has increased its outreach activities to meet the needs of underrepresented and first generation students. Workshops help minority students apply for Gates Millennium Scholarships, and more general financial aid workshops, held on site in public schools, assist prospective students and their parents. OSU's scholarship programs also have been modified to place a higher priority on students with demonstrated financial need in some award categories. OSU now uses the internet to communicate with students and counselors, but maintains paper-based materials for those without internet access.

While OSU's percentage of minority enrollment does not reflect the state's population, OSU has initiated several new programs and areas of emphasis to increase its minority enrollment. The university has developed off-site recruiting programs for the state's two metropolitan areas, including a program in each city focusing on superior individuals from under-represented groups. EMM has expanded its collaboration with OSU's Multicultural Student Center2.12 to create on-campus programs, and it also plans to enlist currently enrolled minority students to help with minority recruitment.

OSU's emphasis on addressing demographic shifts is strongly demonstrated by its OSU-Tulsa student body. OSU-Tulsa2.13 was created as a branch campus to meet the higher education needs of a large urban community. The student body reflects this community. In addition, new student housing facilities, and projects such as the renovation and expansion of the Colvin Center recreational facility, provide further evidence of OSU's commitment to meeting students' changing needs.

Changes in course scheduling and academic programming also provide evidence of OSU's attention to demographic shifts. For example, the university offers an increasing number of evening and weekend courses and distance learning opportunities in an attempt to meet the needs of non-traditional students.

Courses and/or programs with a component related to changing national and international demographics also can be found throughout the university. Other new programs developed in the past 10 years2.14 to meet changing societal needs include the master of science degree in the Fire and Emergency Management Program2.15 (FEMP), which addresses the growing need for managers in homeland security programs. In addition, the M.S. degree in international studies addresses the globalization of society, while the certificate program in geographic information systems2.16 (GIS) prepares students to analyze specialized geographic data. The Office of Student Affairs and the CHES have a program in which a student can earn a leadership certificate.

In addition, organizations such as the Off-Campus Student Association,2.17 the Native American Student Association, and the International Student Association2.18 help address the needs of the diverse student population.

International Involvement

An emphasis on globalization is implicit in the current university-wide and unit strategic plans. OSU's mission statement also contains objectives and critical success factors for globalization. OSU's commitment to addressing the needs and issues resulting from globalization are historic and ongoing. In 1950, OSU began a legacy of international involvement when President Henry G. Bennett was named director of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Administration, which administered President Harry S. Truman's famous “Point Four” program of assistance to underdeveloped nations. Part of this effort was the establishment of a university in Ethiopia. In the late 1980s, OSU established a campus in Kyoto, Japan, which was later discontinued.

Current examples of international involvement include establishment of the School of International Studies,2.19 an interdisciplinary program that represents the international interests of the university's colleges and departments. Other international initiatives include the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources' program associated with USAID and the Geography Department's involvement with the training of educators in Iraq. OSU also has multiple partnership agreements with universities outside the United States and a growing number of study abroad programs, both facilitated and sponsored by OSU. The Spears School of Business has an international business major and also offers study abroad programs in Toronto, London, France, and Monterrey, Mexico. Other study abroad information is offered on the OSU study abroad website.2.20 Finally, 8.6% of OSU students are international students, most of them in graduate programs.

New Research

In recent years, several research centers and institutes have been created at OSU.2.21 These centers, in addition to many long-standing organizational entities, are a response to emerging social, economic, and technological trends. The OSU sponsored research centers/institutes include the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences and the Food and Agricultural Products Center. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer also conducts seminars and training to assist faculty in identifying emerging areas of research.

Academic Changes

The Provost's Office, working through the Instruction Council,2.22 regularly reviews proposals for change and innovation in academic programs. It is important to note that the vast majority of these proposals originate from faculty and their related departments. These proposals range from course modification requests to new program requests. The process for evaluating these proposals considers the capabilities and redundancies within the university, as well as emerging social and economic trends. For example, OSU recently developed classes in Arabic to help meet the country's growing need for individuals trained in Arabic language and culture for work in the Middle East or on Middle Eastern issues.

Extension and Outreach

Fulfillment of OSU's outreach mission is accomplished through numerous service/outreach programs that respond to emerging challenges and the needs of the state, American society, and the world. Support for outreach activities is provided through a variety of organizational units in departments and colleges and throughout the university.

One of the most prominent of OSU's outreach programs is the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service2.23 (OCES), the outreach arm of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Cooperative Extension is represented in every county in Oklahoma. A good example of an OCES program was the Oklahoma Community Listening Program, which invited the state's citizens to define and discuss, their communities' current and future needs at forums held in every Oklahoma county. Information about the outreach services in each college can be viewed at the International Education and Outreach website.2.24

OSU's external planning processes include departmental/professional accreditations2.25 and external departmental reviews. Internal processes include a university-wide strategic plan; annual plans at the department, college, and university levels; budget plans; yearly college- and department-level appraisal and development processes (A&Ds); and the university master building plan. These processes are administered within an academic administrative structure.

OSU's planning processes include effective environmental scanning and needs analysis. Through a variety of university offices and departments, OSU vigilantly monitors potential changes in its political, academic, economic, and social environments. This monitoring occurs in, among other offices and units, the Intellectual Property Management Office,2.26 the Research Compliance Office,2.27 the Research Forum, the Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED), and the Federal Relations Office.

CIED's mission is to develop economic plans for north central Oklahoma by attracting new business and industry (preferably high-tech companies) to the state. The organization uses a variety of innovative ways to accomplish this goal. One important tool is the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park2.28 west of Stillwater. CIED offers OSU facilities at the park to attract out-of-state companies.

OSU also plays a large role in Governor Brad Henry's Economic Development Generating Excellence2.29 (EDGE) program, an economic development group that operates throughout Oklahoma. The EDGE initiative's four recommendations to move Oklahoma forward economically focus on (a) generating funds ($1 billion) to attract outside companies to Oklahoma, (b) making Oklahoma a healthier state, (c) improving Oklahoma schools, and (d) improving Oklahoma's business climate.

Assessment-based Planning

The program outcomes assessment process requires that degree programs measure each year the extent to which students are achieving the learning goals established for the program. Based on assessment results, changes needed to improve student learning are identified. Most programs have submitted annual assessment reports since the late 1990s. Since 2003, the five-year academic program review process requires programs to document assessment activity, results of assessment, changes made to improve the degree program, and recommendations for future program changes, based on assessment results. The review process also will provide information that determines budget allocations to degree programs.

Core Component 2b

The organization's resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.

Evidence indicates that OSU's resource base has been adequate to maintain educational quality over the ten-year period 1995 through 2005, but recent budget downturns have often placed additional burdens on already fully assigned faculty, staff, and administrators. For example, tight budgets have not allowed the university to fill some faculty and staff positions, and other employees have had to take on additional responsibilities to ensure that educational quality is maintained. Lack of funding also has not allowed the university to grow in some areas. OSU's strategic plan is designed to help the university use its future resources wisely to maintain, strengthen, and improve the quality of educational programs.

Assessment of Existing Resources

It is challenging to definitively measure the adequacy of resources to meet educational goals for a large comprehensive university such as OSU. An examination of institutional budgets, however, over the past 10 years indicates that resources have been adequate at the maintenance level in many areas. But, as previously stated, faculty positions in some areas have remained unfilled, placing additional burdens on other faculty members. These stresses may eventually erode educational quality. OSU's strategic plan and the university's “Restore, Reward, and Grow” plan for faculty addresses this problem.

In spite of the difficulties caused by reduced budgets and increased workloads, OSU's faculty, staff, and administration have maintained a high level of service and educational quality that is recognized throughout the state. Well-recognized indicators of educational success are the status of OSU in the Oklahoma higher educational system, funding relative to other institutions in the system, and educational funding for higher education in Oklahoma relative to other states. Educational and General Budgets Summary and Analysis, Fiscal Year 2005,2.30 from the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education provides information about various aspects of higher education budgets across the state.

Revenue trends for 1995 through 20042.31 reveal budget growth with a decided downturn in state-appropriated income near the end of the period. This downturn was mitigated by a change in state statutes allowing the OSU/A&M Board of Regents to increase tuition as needed to meet budget shortfalls.

OSU plays a prominent role in education, research, and outreach in the state and is recognized by the citizens of the state as an important and valuable resource. The commitment of 15-16% of the state's higher education budget to OSU is perhaps the clearest evidence of citizen support for the institution as expressed through the legislative and appropriations processes.

Undergraduate enrollment growth is another clear indicator that Oklahomans value the educational product OSU delivers and believe that the resource base provided has at least maintained, and in some areas strengthened, the quality of educational programs, despite severe budget restrictions for a few years.

Another indicator that OSU is maintaining its educational quality and value is the fact that the university was identified as one of America's top 20 “Best Values” in public education by Consumer's Digest. The magazine reviewed 3,500 colleges and universities to rank 75 schools as the top values in the United States. The rankings, published in the June 2004 issue, are based on several attributes that validate or define the institution's academic excellence balanced against the annual cost of tuition and room-and-board.

Relative to other states, Oklahoma ranks 34th in total educational funding for public higher education and 24th in funding per $1,000 of personal income. In FY2003, state and local resources for the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and OCES, important research and outreach agencies affiliated with OSU, ranked 21st among all states. OSU continually seeks to improve the budget base for strengthening educational quality and improving its position relative to similar institutions.

Despite decreased funding, OSU's record of success at program, department, and college levels in meeting and exceeding accreditation guidelines and maintaining accreditation indicates that the university has been able to achieve many of its educational goals. While resources are adequate for the achievement of the institution's broad educational goals, there are areas in which additional resources would result in significant improvements. A 10-year upward trend in enrollment, along with very rapid growth in certain academic programs and colleges, has been met with flat budgets over the past five years and with budget cuts in FY 2002 and FY2003. These conflicting trends have complicated OSU's ability to maintain and improve educational quality.

A decrease in the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty positions, currently estimated to be approximately 100 full-time-equivalents (FTEs), is the most telling result of flat and declining budgets. In addition, programs such as journalism/broadcasting in the College of Arts and Sciences and others in the Spears School of Business provide examples of programs seriously stressed by increased enrollment, coupled with budget declines.

OSU's planning efforts must address the need to increase funding if the university is to continue to meet its expanded educational goals. As previously cited, the newly implemented “Restore, Reward, and Grow” initiative for faculty is one step in this direction. The plan calls for filling faculty positions left vacant due to budget cuts, rewarding outstanding faculty, and adding new faculty.

Resource Planning and Allocation

OSU's past planning processes have been mixed in their flexibility to handle unanticipated needs for program reallocation, downsizing, and growth. In certain areas, plans for resource development and allocation have documented an organized commitment to supporting and strengthening the quality of education, but, overall, the development of plans at the university level was lacking prior to the system-wide strategic planning process.

The university has worked diligently in two arenas to prepare for the future. First, OSU was legally unable to control its tuition structure. To solve this problem, the university participated in a successful lobbying effort to revamp that law. Since the fall of 2003, OSU has been able to charge tuitions that have managed to offset a significant proportion of the budget reversion. Additionally, the central administration is evaluating alternative tuition structures, such as block tuition, that might give the university greater flexibility in tuition income sources while providing students an incentive to graduate earlier and save money. OSU also changed tuition structures to standardize tuition costs for upper- and lower-division courses.

OSU's second proactive stance, in terms of possible shortfalls in state appropriations, was triggered by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents' announcement of a new policy that across-the-board funding cuts are not acceptable. Therefore, the university has started to develop contingency plans in the event of further reductions in state funding. While no state appropriation shortfalls are envisioned in the next few fiscal years, this exercise gives additional impetus to strategic planning. One goal of the strategic planning process is to set university priorities and align funding with the priorities.

The university's budget development process makes yearly decisions about resource allocations for priority positions in teaching and educational facilities. The system calls for priorities to be developed at the academic department level, made part of the budget planning process at the college level, and then addressed at the university level. While OSU has this procedure for “bottom-up” requests, some faculty members and administrators believe that the procedure is not clearly understood across the university and that budgeting has often been “top-down,” regardless of “bottom-up” requests. Historically, the method that the central administration used to rationalize and prioritize college budget requests was described as opaque. The current strategic plan intends to make this process more transparent.

The student fee allocation process is already very transparent with administrators presenting prepared allocations for cultural events in front of student groups. Approximately one-million dollars annually are budgeted by students in this manner.

The OSU-Tulsa budget development, while a separate process, closely parallels that of the Stillwater campus. Mandatory cost increases in benefits and service contracts are calculated by the fiscal office in November of each year for consideration by the State Regents to seek legislative support for new funding. Beginning in January, approximately six months prior to the beginning of the next fiscal year, the fiscal office schedules individual meetings with department heads who have budget control to discuss the priorities of the department for the coming year. These priorities must have been articulated in the department's strategic plan in order to be included in the budget dialogue. Priorities from all departments are consolidated into an agency list for review and consideration by the appropriate vice president and president. Depending upon the availability of funding, priorities are included in the budget for the upcoming year to move the institution incrementally toward the completion of the institution's five-year goals as stated in the strategic plan.

Human Resources

OSU's policies for hiring new employees are outlined in the Office of Human Resources' policies and procedures,2.32 and it is generally assumed that by following these guidelines, the university is successful in hiring quality employees. The unit employing the new individual is expected to provide good initial direction and continue to provide direction and leadership through the appraisal and development (A&D) process. The A&D process requires faculty and staff members annually to document their achievements and, where possible, their quality. The final portion of the documentation relates to employee development plans for the upcoming year. Each employee meets with his or her direct supervisor to discuss the employee's A&D document. That document is passed to the unit head and, for faculty, on to the college dean. These A&D documents are part of the employee's record at the time of promotion or tenure. While policy states that the A&D process must be conducted annually, not all units follow these procedures. A few individuals who have been employed at OSU for many years have never completed an A&D document or met with their supervisor.

When the A&D procedure is followed, it is through this process that the faculty member has some foreknowledge as to his or her status in regard to reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT). The RPT process includes an elected advisory committee, the unit head, outside referees, a college advisory committee, the dean, and the provost.

In the OSU system, human resources are used more effectively through the system's ability to eliminate units and programs that are no longer viable or necessary. This type of action is rarely taken, but it has happened. For example, the speech communications degree program and department in the College of Arts and Sciences were eliminated. In this instance, the department was merged with the Psychology Department, and general speech communication classes are still taught by this department. To the credit of the OSU system, the elimination of programs has not been tied to sudden downturns in state funds.

Human resources are developed to meet future changes and needs. In the past several years, the institution has centralized and streamlined its personnel services into a human resources office. This move has benefitted the institution by greatly increasing the flow of information about human resources issues.

OSU also has made major inroads into staff development. The university's Human Resources Training Services,2.33 provides an impressive array of opportunities for developing and adapting human resources. Its services include leadership programs, performance appraisal training, and many other options. These programs are largely aimed at staff functions; however, faculty members certainly can and do participate. The Information Technology Division also offers a considerable number of sessions designed to help faculty and staff make better use of technology in their work.

As previously mentioned in this report, a new Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence was initiated in 2005. The institute will offer workshops, seminars, a help desk, and one-on-one assistance by instructional designers to help OSU faculty incorporate technology into new and existing courses. It also will provide salary support to faculty to prepare technology-aided courses to reach new and current learners and provide software, equipment, and incentives designed to inspire and enable faculty to add technology to traditional classroom courses. The institute also will research faculty uses of distributed computing and new uses for the internet.

In regard to faculty development, the OSU System will pay for up to six months of a sabbatical leave every seventh year. In a developmental sense, sabbatical leaves could be very useful for retooling tenured faculty in priority and cutting-edge areas. For dual career families with children, however, sabbatical leaves are problematic. Faculty travel is limited by the unit's maintenance budget, and the amount of support varies by unit.

Such examples are evidence that the institution needs to improve its development of its human capital. President Schmidly has committed the university to human resource development, saying that although OSU may be facing a time of financial challenges, it is rich in human capital. He is a strong advocate of programs to develop and attract high-performing team members, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends. The university-wide strategic plan should provide an avenue for developing human capital. A Faculty Council recommendation approved by the administration has greatly improved the conditions for sabbatical leave.

Core Component 2c

The organization's ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.

OSU's evaluation and assessment processes are widely recognized as providing reliable evidence of the institution's effectiveness. Outstanding student achievement in the classroom and the national awards students receive are indicators of the effectiveness of OSU's instruction. Another indication is the level of satisfaction that students and alumni report when surveyed about their educational experiences at OSU. In addition, many areas of the university enjoy accreditation by their respective accrediting organizations. Many of these organizations require that effective assessment be demonstrated before accreditation is granted.

Assessment and Evaluation

As its strategic plan outlines, OSU is committed to continual improvement in all its endeavors. The university fulfills this part of its mission through well-established, ongoing evaluation and assessment processes. These processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continual improvement.

Assessment and evaluation initiatives are conducted both internally and externally in several ways and are fundamental to determining progress toward established goals. Assessment is vital to the strategic planning process, effective human resource programs, and resource allocation decisions. The planning process and reporting mechanisms identify institutional, college, and departmental goals and measure progress toward those goals. Performance goals, objectives, and critical success factors are included in the OSU System strategic planning documents.

Evaluation processes require timely and reliable assessment data. The Office of Institutional Research and Information Management maintains a data warehouse of information that is summarized and published in various documents, such as the Student Profile2.34 and Faculty Salary Survey.2.35 These data are obtained principally from administrative databases such as the Student Information System (SIS) and the Human Resources System (HRS). Online access to these data is available to all colleges and units, and the data are used for program review and decision-making.

For faculty and other eligible academic appointees, a peer-review process at the department, college, and university levels is a prerequisite for promotion, tenure, and continuing appointment. The post-tenure review process calls for formal A&D every three years and informal discussions in years between; many unit heads evaluate tenured faculty annually based upon teaching, research, and service accomplishments. Employees who receive satisfactory performance ratings may be eligible for merit raises available for that review period. As previously mentioned, assessment and evaluation processes also are in place to measure human performance and the value of various university support services.

Assessment History

Throughout the past decade, OSU has engaged in a number of activities that have made evaluation and assessment processes increasingly important, and the university community appreciates the value of assessment to program improvement, student learning, and overall institutional effectiveness.

In 1991, the OSRHE mandated that all colleges and universities under its auspices provide assurance of program quality and accountability by documenting progress toward meeting instructional, institutional, and programmatic objectives. In 1992, OSU established the University Assessment Council2.36 (UAC), consisting of 15 faculty, staff, and student members, which developed an assessment program for the university. Students pay an assessment fee to support this activity. On July 1, 1994, the Office of University Assessment (OUA) was created to provide administrative and staff reports for the assessment plan implemented by the UAC. The OUA, now the Office of University Assessment and Testing2.37 (OUAT), is the primary assessment entity on campus, and it has a well-established assessment program.

Assessment Levels

Many assessments are conducted at the course level as a part of the overall assessment of student learning outcomes within degree programs. Examples of course-level assessment include capstone courses; internships or practicum; and course-embedded assessments such as projects, assignments, or examination questions that directly link to program-level expected outcomes and are scored using established criteria.

At the program level, degree programs use additional multiple methods to assess students' achievement of the expected learning outcomes. Documentation of course- and program-level assessment is provided through program assessment plans and annual reports. These documents include statements of expected student learning outcomes; descriptions of methods used to evaluate students' achievement of expected outcomes; results of assessment with interpretation relative to the expected outcomes; and documentation of changes made as a result of assessment for program development.

Institutional-level assessment includes alumni surveys and university-wide surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement. The College Student Survey also provides data for assessing students' achievement of expected outcomes. The Office of Student Affairs routinely surveys students about behaviors, including alcohol use, to guide responses and policies.

Assessment Reporting

During the past 10 years, outcomes assessment has become an important, campus-wide activity. All educational programs are required to submit and regularly update assessment plans, perform assessment activities, and write annual summary reports. OSU strives to implement curricular and programmatic changes based on assessment results and findings.

OSU maintains effective systems for collecting, analyzing, and using organizational information. Every OSU degree program, undergraduate and graduate, is required to have an assessment plan that describes expected learning outcomes and the methods used to evaluate achievement of those outcomes.2.38 Appropriate data and feedback loops are used throughout the organization to support continual improvement.

Each plan should include statements about how assessment results will be acted upon to improve academic and student programs. Additionally, each degree program is required to submit an annual assessment report2.39 that describes the methods used to evaluate student achievement, the number of individuals assessed (in each method), the results or findings, how results are interpreted, and specific examples of how assessment results have been or will be used for curricular or other program improvements.

Every three years, each degree program's assessment activities, as described in its assessment plan and annual reports, are reviewed by the UAC. The council provides feedback to the degree program area about ways to strengthen its assessment activities to improve student learning. OUAT financial records outline how the institution has provided financial resources for program outcomes assessment, thereby demonstrating how OSU values and supports assessment as part of continual quality improvement in academic programs. The Assessment Council Policy Statement2.40 documents the university's expectations for program outcomes assessment in all degree programs as part of efforts to develop and improve academic programs. The OUAT website2.41 is a general source of information about OSU's assessment activity at the university, college, and program levels.

Assessment and Academic Program Review

As mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature, the academic program review2.42 (APR) is the method by which the OSRHE and institutions of higher education in Oklahoma evaluate proposed and existing programs. Informed decisions about program initiation, expansion, contraction, consolidation, termination, and resource reallocation result from information developed through analysis and assessment.

Over the past decade, OSU has made significant progress in developing a culture that understands and values potential gains from assessment activities. Implementing assessment recommendations, however, has not been easy. The university's goals for the future remain focused on (a) expanding the number of academic programs that use assessment of knowledge, skills, and competencies to improve student learning, (b) building on initial efforts to systematically assess the effectiveness of the university's general education program, and (c) establishing a system-wide commitment to the value of assessment for continual improvement in student learning and satisfaction.

OSU has a well-established program review process that looks at academic programs on a rolling five-year basis. Programs are evaluated on various criteria, and reviews are conducted by internal (Academic Affairs) and external (OSRHE) constituencies. Special reviews also are conducted for provisional and low-enrollment programs. Beginning in the fall of 2004, academic units were assessed by a “report card” that includes a variety of productivity measures, such as the number of faculty, credit hours, and faculty salaries.

External Accreditation

Several programs within OSU colleges and departments are proud of being fully accredited by both national and state accreditation organizations. The listing of area academic accreditations that includes information about associations, accreditation length, contact person, and concerns stated from the last visit can be viewed at the margin link.2.43 Examples of area accreditations include the National Council for the Association of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation that informs the public that OSU has a professional education unit that has met state, professional, and institutional standards of educational quality. The College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Students also can be assured of high educational standards through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International's (AACSB) accreditation of the Spears School of Business (SSB). A number of other colleges and OSU programs such as interior design and forestry hold accreditation from their respective accrediting organizations.

In addition to program-level and college-level accreditation, many university departments undergo regular external reviews. One example is the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, which is currently undergoing an external review. These reviews examine many areas, including faculty competencies and degree requirements.

Internal Reviews and Planning

As previously stated, beginning at the departmental level, all tenure-track faculty and full-time staff are supposed to participate in annual A&D processes. Annual A&Ds reflect a self-assessment along with an administrative assessment. These assessments address issues related to current productivity and future goals.

At the department/program level, annual A&Ds include budget development. Although the processes for budget development vary among colleges, they generally include deans' solicitations of input from department heads and directors. Department heads and directors are expected to provide evidence of current capacities and needs, focusing on research, teaching, and service. At the college level, similar annual budget meetings take place. During the fall semester, deans provide a report and meet with the provost and relevant vice presidents to discuss current capacities and needs.

There also is significant evidence of planning and capacity assessment at the university level. The most comprehensive was the strategic planning process.2.44 This system-wide process provided interaction between all component parts of the OSU System and its constituents. The process, which is ongoing and comprehensive, requires all system programs to assess current capacities in order to establish achievable goals.

The Office of Budget and Asset Management2.45 holds monthly open meetings with administrators, deans, faculty, and staff representatives to present information concerning current budgetary conditions and constraints to help department and program directors in their planning. This information includes current and projected enrollment data, faculty productivity data, and financial information.

In addition, the Office of University Research Services2.46 conducted a university-wide task force study. The study made recommendations in the areas of recruitment of new faculty; faculty development; university professorships; business plan program training for research entrepreneurial activities; sabbatical leave; recruitment of graduate students; increased library budget; improved building and renovation activities; improved salaries and accommodations for dual career couples; the removal of bureaucratic barriers; and increased publicity for OSU research activities.

The university's master building plan for the OSU-Stillwater campus, maintained by the OSU Physical Plant, is referred to when major university construction is proposed. In addition, the Physical Plant maintains documents describing all campus facilities, as well as areas where buildings can be expanded or constructed. Currently, the university is updating the master plan2.47 for campus layout. Broad public discussions were held with on- and off-campus constituencies to gather input for the future use of the master plan. The OSU/A&M Board of Regents recently approved a new office to manage the bond monies that have been made available to the institutions in the A&M group for facilities improvements.

Utilizing Technology

OSU-Stillwater's and OSU-Tulsa's strategic plans reflect a strong commitment to the continued development and use of technology in the learning environment. As the plans are implemented and their effectiveness is evaluated, adjustments will be made to ensure continual improvement in this area. The university recognizes the need for technology-assisted learning in classrooms and the use of technology to deliver academic programs and coursework through distance learning media. The emphasis on technology is pervasive throughout the university community and includes the commitment of students, faculty, and administration.

The plan also emphasizes that academic excellence should be measured by using such critical success factors as an increased number of technology-supported classrooms; increased numbers of classes and degree programs delivered by distance learning; and an overall commitment to a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure. The university-wide IT plan2.48 also shows a sustained interest in applying technology to the university's diverse functions.


Each summer a joint task force from the OSU Provost's Office and the OSU Physical Plant evaluates all general classroom space to identify and prioritize improvements. During the past ten years, OSU-Stillwater has spent between $200,000 and $400,000 annually for these improvements. OSU also has enjoyed success in providing new facilities in key areas and major renovations in others to meet the university's needs. Many of these additions and improvements have had a direct positive impact on academic programs and the student experience.

The renovation of the Classroom Building and Willard Hall are excellent examples of major projects that directly helped improve the teaching and learning environment. While academic areas of the renovated and expanded Colvin Center only received a “facelift” of new paint and carpeting, other areas provide an outstanding facility for students, faculty, and staff to concentrate on the quality-of-life issues of fitness and health.

Other outstanding major facilities constructed at OSU-Stillwater to meet the needs of students and OSU researchers in the past few years include Engineering's Advanced Technology and Research Center,2.49 Agriculture's Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center,2.50 and the Student Services Center.2.51 The first two improve OSU's research capabilities tremendously, while the Student Services Center has improved overall recruitment, enrollment, financial services, and associated academic and business services for all OSU students. The need for these types of improvements is determined by input from OSU's students and faculty.

Many studies have indicated that today's students prefer living in apartments with amenities instead of traditional residence halls. Improvements to student housing have been a top priority at OSU-Stillwater. The OSU Department of Residential Life2.52 has partnered with private firms to build suite and apartment-style residential buildings. OSU-Stillwater's housing capacity for students is 5,200 beds as of July 2005. Twenty-one residence halls, more than 30 dining options, and seven family apartment neighborhoods provide alternatives to suit the needs of our diverse student populations. Affinity housing options, which are linked closely to academic disciplines and special interests, are available.

As on other campuses, problems associated with the physical facilities can be found. For example, OSU has at least one department with faculty offices in an older residence hall, and another is using a building slated for demolition. There also are still substantial large-classroom scheduling problems in prime mid-day class times.

In addition, several classrooms in buildings that were constructed in the 1950s, such as Agriculture Hall, the Physical Sciences Building, and Life Sciences East, have recently been renovated using funds from a new academic facilities fee. Even older buildings needing renovation, however, are generally serviceable and provide a good, if dated and cramped, working environment.

A higher education bond issue was passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2005. These funds will be used on the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses to improve facilities. In Stillwater, bond funds will be used to build new interdisciplinary science and classroom buildings. In addition, Murray Hall will undergo an extensive renovation and will become the new headquarters for the College of Arts and Sciences.

At OSU-Tulsa, construction is underway for the community's first Advanced Technology Research Center2.53 (ATRC). Scientists utilizing this 180,000-square-foot facility will focus on research important to industries in the region, which include aerospace, biotechnology, telecommunications, and manufacturing. In addition to the new educational opportunities that the ATRC will provide, the research center's financial impact could transform the state's economy by creating jobs and attracting industries to the region. The facility was funded by a city/county bond issue, indicating the support of Tulsans for OSU's efforts in the city.

Assessing Facilities

A number of measures, including enrollment and course needs analysis to match room size, capacity, and function, help to ensure that space is effectively assigned, classrooms are appropriately scheduled, and facilities are maintained in the condition necessary to provide long-term support for the programs.

The OSU Physical Plant2.54 supports the mission of teaching, research, and outreach. As with other flagship state universities throughout the United States, the duties of plant operations, maintenance, and capital improvements are delegated to a centralized unit operating under the chief business officer of the system. The assistant vice president for physical plant services serves as both the Stillwater campus operations officer and as the capital development officer for OSU and the A&M colleges throughout Oklahoma. The assistant vice president also serves as an ex-officio member of the Faculty Council Facility and Safety Subcommittee.

External reviews of physical plant operations are conducted on a continual basis. These range from subjective reviews to more rigorous reviews completed by both internal and external auditing committees and groups. Each year, the physical plant undergoes a routine audit of its business functions concerning labor and material matters, including a thorough review of stores operations, a systematic review of labor costs and utilization, equipment inventories, space inventories, etc. Recently, the physical plant's small job contracting program was audited. A critical review of jobs performed by force account labor and purchase orders also was conducted. It is anticipated that the physical plant will begin a systematic review of OSU's equipment salvaging and surplus methods and procedures in July 2005.

In total, the operations of the physical plant are routinely and systematically reviewed at many levels within the university. Furthermore, physical plant management embraces these reviews for the purpose of achieving continual improvement of its services. It should also be noted that various college-level accrediting groups look at an institution's physical facilities during their review processes. The major OSU physical plant improvements since 1995 can be viewed at the margin link.2.55

The OSU-Tulsa campus has the specific advantage of having been built within the last twenty years. Main Hall was dedicated in 1986, and the North Hall, Auditorium and Administration building were all dedicated in 1995. While the facilities are relatively new, a number of modifications have been made as a result of changes in enrollment trends, program expansion, and innovations in technology. These modifications are directly linked to faculty assessment of teaching facilities and equipment needs. In 2001, as a result of dialogue with faculty and assessing research facility needs, the Tulsa campus made a commitment to construct a $43 million engineering and research building. This facility is evidence of assessing and responding to the physical plant needs of the campus.

Resource Development

In certain areas, plans for resource development and allocation show an organized commitment to supporting and strengthening the quality of education. However, the overall development and documentation of comprehensive plans regarding resource development at the university level and below have been lacking until recently.

Deans and other unit heads are responsible for developing annual budget proposals to support academic programs. Guidelines for preparing budget proposals are provided by the president, provost, and vice presidents. These guidelines are based on probable legislative actions and subsequent allocations from the OSRHE. Deans and unit heads seek input from departments and respective faculty and staff to build their budget proposals. While college-level initiatives and plans may influence college-level budget proposals, there has not been a concerted effort to show how budget proposals are directly linked to the improvement of educational quality. The university's strategic plan should help address this issue.

Subsequent budget appropriations are initiated at OSU upon receiving a lump sum allocation of funds from the OSRHE. The central administration allocates money to the major administrative budgets and to the colleges. Each dean and department head is responsible for allocating, administering, and managing respective budgets.

Budgeting and Academic Quality

OSU's Strategic Plan outlines measurable critical success factors associated with the plan's goals and objectives for teaching, research, and outreach for each area of the university. This planning process represents an opportunity to better link resource development and allocation processes with OSU's priority educational goals and objectives.

Private Funding

Evaluation of future funding sources indicates that private funds donated by alumni, friends, foundations, and corporations will be increasingly important to help OSU meet its goals. To be successful, the university administration is working with the OSU Foundation2.56 and OSU Alumni Association.2.57 Both these groups were actively involved with the university-wide strategic planning efforts. This activity has already had tangible success. A private donor, Boone Pickens, gave $70 million to the university for athletic priorities and scholarships. Part of the gift was to complete funding for phase one of the football stadium renovation project, and part of the gift created a trust that will result in a $15 million general university academic scholarship fund. This is the largest individual gift ever to the university.

OSU's largest corporate gift to date is a recent $6 million commitment from ConocoPhillips for the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and other campus priorities. The Alumni Center is scheduled to open in the summer of 2005.

The OSU College of Business was renamed the William S. Spears School of Business2.58 in honor of the man who in 2004 gave the university a substantial academic gift of an undisclosed amount. Spears' multi-million dollar gift, much of which qualifies for state matching funds, will provide faculty chairs, fellowships, and endowments that will enable the college to retain and attract additional outstanding faculty. It also will allow the college to provide attractive scholarships to recruit business students from Oklahoma and around the country.

Early in 2005, Devon Energy Corp. presented the university with a $2.3 million gift that will create a world-class geological laboratory and establish scholarship programs in geology and engineering. The 3,300-square-foot Devon Energy Geology Laboratory will be located in the Boone Pickens School of Geology2.59 in the Noble Research Center on the Stillwater campus. The $1.5 million lab will become operational in the fall of 2005. The rest of the gift will fund graduate geology fellowships and undergraduate scholarships in geology and engineering.

In addition, OSU's immediate past president, Dr. James Halligan, emphasized educational excellence. The “Bringing Dreams to Life” campaign was the institutional hallmark of the 1990s. Through this rubric, excellence in teaching was encouraged and rewarded with increased merit pay. Several instructional awards, such as the Regents Distinguished Teaching Awards were also established. These awards are presented annually to eight faculty members from OSU-Stillwater's colleges and schools. Recipients receive a permanent $1,000 salary increase.

Achieving Goals

Overall, OSU has a history of achieving its planning goals. While system-wide comprehensive planning is a relatively new concept at OSU, it is clear that in many areas, plans have been developed and presented; resources identified, obtained, and allocated; and major advances made.

There is no doubt that OSU has evolved to become more proactive with its environment over the last decade. Although, there was no overall system for judging achievement, ample evidence suggests that planning goals have been largely met when proposed. Many of these examples have been previously detailed. OSU's current strategic plan provides methods to measure progress.

At an individual level, as faculty and staff members undergo annual A&D processes, accomplishments are reported and measured against the previous year's plan. At the unit level, unit heads have yearly budget and planning meetings with their respective dean or supervisory vice president. Basic unit efforts are directed, goals set, and, to the extent possible, resources are allocated as a result of this meeting. Each college dean meets and plans with the central administration.

OSU's success in planning and executing the major private funding campaign, “Bringing Dreams to Life,” which raised more than $260 million, was instrumental in the realization of component planning goals and objectives, including facility improvements, new buildings, improved technological capabilities, and newly established professorships and endowed faculty chair positions. Campaign gifts provided for 15 new endowed chairs, 12 new endowed professorships, 16 new endowed lectureships, 19 new Distinguished Presidential Scholarships, and five new Distinguished Graduate Fellowships.

Many excellent examples of the central administration's successful planning and achievement of important goals have been noted earlier. Many of these successes are the result of excellent leadership and salesmanship in particular areas. They also are the result of opportunities presented through special bond issues or other funding avenues; the accumulation of revenue through special fees and charges; or special legislative initiatives at the state and federal levels.

For example, President Halligan stopped 12 years of declining enrollments with student-centered programs and facilities. During this period, the university began a program to groom students for national scholarship competitions that has produced numerous national scholars in nine years, including a Rhodes Scholar. OSU also was named a Truman Honor Institution for its success in producing Truman Scholars.2.60

Financial Evaluations

OSU undergoes periodic evaluation by financial rating organizations and maintains specific bond ratings. OSU's credit rating is regularly monitored by Moody's Investor Services and Standard and Poor's, Inc. These companies provide an in-depth ratings analysis when the university issues bonded debt. For a debt issuance in March 2004, OSU received credit ratings of A1 and A+ by Moody's and Standard and Poor's, respectively.

Outreach Evaluations

Programs offered by the OSU outreach units, both credit and noncredit, are evaluated using instruments developed within each unit. Participants are asked not only to evaluate content, but also to rate physical facilities, amenities, and service rendered by outreach staff.

Because of the diversity of outreach programs, instruments are generally tailored to specific programs, and input is used for planning. In some cases, evaluative information is sought from advisory boards in order to meet specific needs.

Core Component 2d

All levels of planning align with the organization's mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.

OSU's strategic plan ensures that all levels of planning align with OSU's mission, which enhances its capacity to fulfill that mission. Coordinated planning processes center on mission documents that define vision, values, goals, and strategic priorities for OSU.

In the past, OSU's annual planning and budget process was loosely linked to the overall planning process. Although there was not a strong focus on a system-wide strategic plan, some colleges and/or divisions developed strategic plans that were used to direct programs in teaching, research, and outreach. For example, the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources developed a strategic plan in 1989 (published in 1992) that provided five-year programmatic planning for the division and its units. Progress measured against that strategic plan was documented in a report in 1996. An update of the division plan was developed in 1999. The 1999 Division Strategic Plan and the component plans of the division's units provided primary input to the system-wide strategic planning process.

The current strategic plans for the various colleges have been carefully developed to align with the university's strategic plan. All departments within the institution have strategic plans that align with the colleges' and OSU's missions. In order to link the operational planning process with the central mission of the university, the system-wide process was initiated in the spring of 2003. The OSU/A&M Regents accepted the report in September 2004. The institution strategic plans for OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa and plans for all colleges, agencies, and units of those institutions may be viewed from the margin link.2.61

As mentioned earlier, planning processes have been linked to budget development processes on an annual basis. With the university-wide strategic plan, both short- and long-term plans will be linked. At the department/program level, annual processes include budget development. Although the processes for budget development vary among colleges, they generally include deans' solicitations of input from department heads and directors who are expected to provide evidence of current capacities and needs by focusing on research, teaching, and service. Similar annual budget meetings take place at the college level during the spring semester when deans provide a report and meet with the provost and relevant vice presidents to discuss current capacities and needs.

Implementation of OSU's planning is evident in its operations. At the annual spring semester meetings for deans, the provost, and vice presidents, the deans provide performance planning documents that contain historical data, such as research productivity, retention and graduation rates, and student credit hours. One primary function of these documents is to generate discussion in order to ascertain whether units are heading in the right direction. The budget requests are evaluated in light of the information provided in the documents and the resulting discussions.

Although OSU historically has responded to changes on an annual basis, the university's current long-range strategic planning processes have been developed in such a way as to allow for reprioritization of goals when necessary because of changing environments. Recent decreases in state funding and increases in enrollment forced OSU to respond by reallocating money and downsizing to shift resources to meet student learning and research needs. For example, $2 million was removed from the University Extension, International and Economic Development (UEIED) budget, and some staff members were laid off in spring 2004 to allow money to be reallocated for student learning and research needs.

In order to encourage reprioritization, the current strategic planning process utilizes a University Planning Council2.62 of 14 members representing faculty, administrators, staff, and students from across the system. The function of the council is to ensure that units are meeting plan goals and modifying plans when appropriate. Importantly, the current process will require that plans be reviewed each year. The council will report whether the units are meeting their goals and recommend appropriate actions. During the first year of implementation (2004-2005 academic year), the council developed assessment guidelines for reviewing plans and evaluating the degree to which plans have been met. President Schmidly has stated his commitment that resources will be distributed based upon progress made toward meeting goals developed in the strategic plan.

Criterion Two Conclusion


  1. OSU plays a prominent role in education, research, and outreach within Oklahoma and continues to receive the strong support of its citizens.
  2. Units throughout the university constantly monitor societal changes and economic trends in order to effectively fulfill OSU's mission.
  3. OSU's strategic plan, based on assessment planning/budgeting, developed by all stakeholders and constituents within and, where appropriate, outside the organization, allows the university to effectively evaluate and review budgets to ensure fulfillment of OSU's mission.
  4. The university's evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of the institution's effectiveness.

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Increase the percentage of minority enrollment to more closely reflect the state's minority populations.
    ACTION:Continue the off-site recruiting in the state's two major metropolitan areas, focusing on high-achieving minorities. Enrollment Management and Marketing (EMM) has expanded its collaboration with OSU's Multicultural Student Center and plans to work closely with currently enrolled minorities to help with recruitment efforts.
  2. Increase diversity in upper administration, faculty, and staff.
    ACTION:The new OSU Office of Vice President of Institutional Diversity will develop a plan to address the continuing concerns of lack of diversity in upper administration, faculty, and staff.
  3. Ensure that academic programs continue to focus on improving their core strengths and serve their constituencies well.
    ACTION:Follow the recently completed Strategic Plans for all units and continue to monitor whether units are successfully achieving their goals. Respond to success or lack thereof in an appropriate, well-defined manner.

Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.

OSU has made clear progress in developing a culture of assessment in the past 10 years. The university has created review structures and learning goals that aid the academic review process. The results from teaching and learning assessment are used throughout the university to facilitate assessment-driven curricular and program changes. OSU also encourages innovative and effective teaching methods while it supports diversity and provides effective learning environments.

Core Component 3a

The organization's goals for student learning outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and make effective assessment possible.

OSU clearly delineates learning goals for its undergraduate and graduate programs by identifying the expected learning outcomes for each. These learning outcomes, developed by faculty members and department heads, are stated in several OSU publications and programs. Effective assessment is made possible when outcomes are examined in light of clearly stated expectations.

Differentiating Learning Goals

The university catalog3.1 contains brief descriptions of every college, department, and program on campus. In every case, this description includes an overview and/or definition of the academic unit, including the types of courses and degree plans that are offered, as well as expected employment outcomes. These descriptions are often very detailed as to how the degree prepares the student for life after the university or after that specific degree is obtained. Most descriptions include graduate school as a preparation path option.

For example, each department in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT) explicitly lists educational objectives for that major in the catalog3.2 as part of its documentation for the recent Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation. Most of these educational objectives lists are couched in terms of the bachelor of science degree (chemical, civil and environmental, mechanical and aerospace), although others are more general (biosystems and agriculture, electrical and computer, industrial and management, and architecture). However, all address the preparation that a student will receive for professional employment, as well as continuing education (graduate school) and academic employment.

The university's general education requirements cross all academic programs to ensure that students have a broad education and solid educational foundation upon which to build their specific careers.

The Office of University Assessment and Testing3.3 (OUAT) is OSU's primary assessment entity. Since OSU's last HLC accreditation in 1995, outcomes assessment has become an important, campus-wide activity.

Assessment activities at course, program, and institutional levels provide evidence of student learning throughout the university. Every OSU degree program, both undergraduate and graduate, is required to have an assessment plan3.4 that describes expected learning outcomes and the methods used to evaluate student achievement of those outcomes. Each plan states how assessment results will be acted upon to improve academic and student programs. Additionally, each degree program submits an annual assessment report3.5 that describes the methods used to evaluate student achievement of the expected learning outcomes, the number of individuals assessed for each method, the results or findings from the assessments and how results are interpreted relative to the program's expected student outcomes, and finally, specific examples of how assessment results have been or will be used for program development.

The Academic Program Review is the method by which the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and institutions of higher education in Oklahoma evaluate proposed and existing programs, as mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature. Information developed through analysis and assessment (from Policy Statement on Program Review) provides the basis for informed decisions about program initiation, expansion, contraction, consolidation, and termination, as well as reallocation of resources.

OSU's Academic Program Review process reviews each degree program every five years.3.6 One component of this process is the annual assessment report. Feedback from program alumni and documented achievements of program graduates also must be provided.

While OSU's strategic planning initiative had no direct mandate to incorporate expected student learning outcomes, in many cases, these plans include sections concerning the performance of undergraduate and graduate students. These include specifying how students will be assessed and setting goals for improved student learning based on assessment results. Perhaps most importantly, all units on campus have had to develop mission and vision statements, strategic goals, and critical success factors as part of the strategic plan. Thus, each unit has had to articulate its mission, making it possible to determine each unit's self-described educational mission. The accumulation of these statements provides a concrete basis on which to evaluate whether each unit is fulfilling its mission.

Changes are made when assessments show there may be problems with curricula. For example, indications from the assessment of students' writing, conducted through the general education assessment committee and supported by data from the National Survey of Student Engagement3.7 (NSSE), led the General Education Advisory Council to implement new, stronger writing requirements in general education courses and to more narrowly define the types of writing that are considered valuable in the assessment context. For departments and colleges that are individually accredited,3.8 outcomes for educational programs are assessed as part of the accreditation process.

Assessment Reporting Structure

Based on the reporting structure specified by the OSRHE, assessment at OSU usually occurs in four categories as follows:

  1. Entry-Level Assessment — Evaluation of Student Preparation for the Purpose of Course Placement.

    OSU makes heavy use of the ACT examination for admissions decisions, as well as remedial placement. ACT scores also are correlated with general education assessment results to determine if prior preparation affects writing, math, and science skills.

  2. Program Outcomes Assessment — Evaluation of Student Achievement of Expected Outcomes in the Major.

    As indicated earlier, all academic departments and degree programs must have an approved plan on file with OUAT, and regular reviews and updates are recommended. Each plan and annual report, organized by college, is available on the OUAT website. The OSU Assessment Council oversees the assessment program on campus and works with the OUAT director in an advisory capacity in regard to policy setting, assessment fee use, and review of program assessment plans.

  3. General Education Assessment — Evaluation of Student Achievement of Basic Skills Competencies and General Education Learner Goals.

    OSU also has instituted a general education assessment program in the last few years. This effort is focused on gathering random, anonymous artifacts of student work from various disciplines and courses across campus. These artifacts are evaluated based on rubrics3.9 that permit standardized scoring of diverse examples of student work. General education assessment has been most successful with respect to writing skills. Math and science rubrics are newer, having experienced several modifications, and OSU is just beginning to accumulate enough useable data from science and math classes to obtain meaningful results. A rubric for critical thinking was developed during the summer of 2004 and plans call for numerous artifacts to be assessed with this new rubric in the summer of 2005. The General Education Assessment Task Group was formed in 2000 to maintain and update artifact collection methods and evaluation rubrics, as well as to summarize the annual and long-term results of general education assessment data collection.

  4. Assessment of Student and Alumni Satisfaction — Evaluation of Students' Perceptions of Educational Experiences Including Satisfaction with Support Services, Academic Curriculum, and the Faculty.

OUAT regularly conducts five major student surveys, which are described on the OUAT website. Every year, the OUAT conducts alumni surveys. In even numbered years, alumni of undergraduate programs are surveyed. In odd numbered years, alumni of graduate programs are surveyed. This telephone survey targets alumni who received their OSU degree one and five years prior to the year they are surveyed. The survey provides data on alumni careers, continued education, and general satisfaction. Many academic programs add program-specific questions for their alumni that often include self-assessments of learner outcomes. Results are reported for the entire institution and for each participating academic unit.

Direct and Indirect Measures

OUAT encourages departments to use multiple direct and indirect assessment methods to measure student learning. Direct assessment methods require students to demonstrate knowledge and skills and provide data that directly measure achievement of expected outcomes. These methods include:

Indirect assessment methods, such as surveys and interviews, ask students to reflect on their learning in and outside the classroom. Following are some examples.

College assessment and accreditation requirements are varied as follows:

Information Availability

Results of assessment of student learning are available to appropriate constituencies, including the students themselves. All assessment plans and reports are available on the OUAT webpage, as well as in the annual university report that includes an executive summary3.10 for the whole campus.

Faculty are becoming increasingly aware of the value and presence of on-going assessment activities. For example, each year more faculty participate in providing samples of student work for general education assessment and more are involved in the process themselves as reviewers. In 2004-2005, faculty also participated in a series of professional development sessions on the general education assessment process, development of rubrics for that process, assessment results, and curricular changes based, in part, on these results. Faculty also participated in a series of workshops on improving program outcomes assessment plans and annual reports, including discussion on writing clear statements of student learning outcomes, designing rubrics as methods of assessment, and interpreting assessment results within the context of the program's learning goals. All of these activities have increased awareness of how assessment is being used to improve programs and has led to “cross-over” applications — for example, the rubric that was developed to assess students' written communication skills has been modified by some faculty members for use in individual courses. Rubrics have also been developed for program-specific learning outcomes. Faculty are having more success in conducting assessment activities that can also provide information for program or school accreditation.

Although direct feedback to students is implicit because program or course changes occur from assessment results, the student body has not been widely aware of the overall outcomes of assessment beyond the specific activities in which they participate (i.e. surveys or exit interviews). This situation was addressed in the fall of 2004 when a graduate student intern working with OUAT developed a presentation about the assessment program at OSU and the role of assessment in accreditation. A second intern presented the PowerPoint presentation to various student groups in the spring of 2005 to inform them about how their assessment fees are spent and describe the role of assessment in improving programs and providing accountability, as well as to discuss with them the role of assessment in accreditation.

OUAT prepares an annual assessment report3.11 in compliance with the OSRHE's “Policy Statement on Assessment of Students for the Purposes of Instructional Improvements and State System Accountability.”3.12 In accordance with these policies, the report provides responses to specific questions about entry-level assessment, mid-level assessment, program outcomes assessment, assessment of student and alumni satisfaction, and assessment of graduate programs. These reports, in part, influence the OSRHE's policy decisions, resulting in annual evaluations of the performance of the university and providing opportunities to examine both strengths and weaknesses and take appropriate action, if necessary.

Uses of assessment results reported by OSU academic programs include:

Program-specific examples of assessment information providing valuable feedback to a variety of audiences follow:

External Accountability

OSU uses assessment data (e.g., graduation rates, licensing exams passage rates, placement rates, and transfer rates) for purposes of external accountability. Examples of the assessment methods include licensing or certification exams; portfolios reviewed by faculty or outside professionals; professional juries or evaluators who evaluate student projects, papers, exhibits, performances, or recitals; and intercollegiate competitions that demonstrate knowledge or skills related to expected student outcomes.

Also, as previously mentioned, the OUAT prepares an annual assessment report that provides vital information to the OSRHE for decision making. The Academic Program Review (APR), mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature, reviews each degree program every five years. As one component of the review process, each degree program is required to provide information from its Student Outcomes Assessment Plan and Annual Reports.

Faculty Involvement

OSU faculty members are involved in defining expected student learning outcomes and creating the strategies to determine whether those outcomes are achieved. Each degree program has identified an assessment coordinator. Some coordinators serve for undergraduate and graduate level programs, some for multiple programs within a department, and in the College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES) and SSB, one coordinator is identified for the college. Of sixty coordinators, fifty-two (87%) are faculty members, and eight are staff members (six of these eight are academic advisors). Faculty involvement is indicated in many assessment plans and reports that often, in a general way, describe how assessments are conducted, and how results are distributed and used for decision making. Faculty members also are responsible for making sure that relevant assessment recommendations are implemented.

Faculty involvement is required by the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Teachnology's (CEAT's) accrediting agency, ABET. Faculty must identify constituents for each program, provide assessment data and objectives/outcomes to them, and seek their input. Based on this information, faculty members define or redefine educational objectives, student learning outcomes, and strategies for achieving the outcomes and objectives. For architecture accreditation, NAAB expects full faculty involvement.

The CHES facilitates assessment leadership efforts through its HES Faculty Assessment Committee, which has faculty representatives from each department/school. Both graduate and undergraduate student representatives also serve on the committee along with an administrative liaison, the associate dean for academic programs and services. The committee meets monthly. Faculty representatives serve as the assessment coordinators in their respective departments/school. A graduate assistant supports CHES assessment efforts.

Geography Department faculty members annually use information gathered via assessment to improve undergraduate instruction. The Undergraduate Committee uses assessment as a primary means of gauging student satisfaction with the program, reporting to the faculty as a whole and implementing recommended changes. Each year, the assessment coordinator drafts the departmental assessment annual report. This draft is then circulated to all faculty members for editorial review as well as dissemination of the overall results of departmental undergraduate assessment. Each year in August, the department conducts an all-day planning conference, and the Undergraduate Committee has a permanent agenda position for reporting on the status of the undergraduate program. At this meeting, the advisor/coordinator reports on assessment results and encourages open discussion of the findings of the annual report disseminated earlier in the summer.

In the School of Architecture, all assessment results are analyzed and reviewed by the school's assessment committee. The assessment committee is charged with identifying areas of concern and recommending courses of action. In keeping with the philosophy that academic affairs should be managed by the faculty acting as a committee-of-the-whole, the school has no standing curriculum committee. Therefore, general results are referred to the faculty for review and implementation into the curriculum. More specific results may be discussed privately with selected faculty for implementation into specific courses.

The General Education Assessment Committee and the Assessment Council3.13 provided a series of professional development sessions for faculty and assessment coordinators in fall 2004. Sessions titled “Developing and Assessing Critical Thinking,” “Using Portfolios for Outcomes Assessment,” “Effective Departmental Outcomes Assessment,” and “Regional Accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission” were well attended and resulted in good exchanges of ideas and practices. Sessions in spring 2005 focused on the process and results of general education assessment since its inception in 2000 and effective outcomes assessment for graduate programs. In addition, the Assessment Council provided additional funding to support faculty travel to conferences and workshops on assessment for 2004-05.

Reviewing Assessment Effectiveness

The Assessment Council periodically reviews assessment plans and reports submitted by degree programs. This past year, the schedule for these reviews was modified to support the Academic Program Review process. Since documentation of the use of assessment results for program development is now requested for the APR process, the Assessment Council reviews and provides feedback on outcomes assessment one year in advance of the program's participation in APR. This schedule modification allows for feedback from the Assessment Council well in advance of the APR.

Past assessment reviews have resulted in greater communication and understanding of outcomes assessment and what academic units should be doing. Almost three-quarters of the academic units have revised their assessment plans or otherwise demonstrated greater commitment to outcomes assessment in their programs as a result of feedback from the Assessment Council Reviews.

Information from general education assessment is presented annually to the General Education Advisory Council,3.14 Assessment Council, Instruction Council,3.15 and Faculty Council.3.16 The process has focused attention on student learning, general education outcomes, and the issue of how individual general education courses provide opportunities for students to develop general education knowledge and skills. Four years after implementation, these assessments are yielding interesting results and influencing change at several institutional levels.

Core Component 3b

The organization values and supports effective teaching.

Despite budget constraints, OSU provides support and rewards for effective teaching. The university emphasizes the assessment of teaching methods, development of quality curricular materials, teacher training, and rewards for outstanding teaching and innovation.

Enhancing Teaching Skills

A number of teaching enhancement programs are available to the entire university community. These include the Training in the Professoriate3.17 program, a series of 90-minute seminars delivered by OSU faculty and staff. These seminars, which are available to all faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students, provide insight into the work of university faculty. Graduate students may earn one hour of credit for attending the seminars and writing about the experience. Recent seminars have covered subjects such as advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, classroom diversity, and tips for professional presentations. As previously mentioned, the Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence also provides learning opportunities and facilities for faculty. Information Technology (IT) staff present many seminars designed to help teachers improve their technological skills in a variety of areas including distance learning and classroom technology.

In addition, the College of Education (COE) teaches EDUC 5993 Instructional Effectiveness Training Program, an online mediated course. The course, designed for teaching assistants in all areas, examines the many aspects of teaching in higher education. The course includes both theory (e.g. traditional instructional design) and practical applications (e.g. how to create a lecture). Development of classroom climate, understanding and assessment of students, classroom practices, teaching materials creation, and development of support systems are all addressed.

The newly created Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ITLE) will provide faculty development in three areas: new faculty, continuing faculty, and technologically facilitated instruction. The faculty advisory board will develop a series of workshops for instructional improvement beginning in the 2005-2006 academic year.

Other programs to facilitate professional development as it relates to teaching vary by college. Some colleges have their own programs, specific committees for effective teaching, retreats, orientation seminars, workshops, and assistant deans with responsibilities in this area, while other colleges rely on university-wide programs.

Specific examples include the English Department, which conducts required seminars for new teaching assistants. In addition, CHES offers a year-long faculty scholars program the first year of a new tenure-track faculty member's employment, and only CHES has a college-wide mentoring program, although other colleges have formal and informal department-level mentoring arrangements.

Assessing Teaching Performance

The university course evaluation form is the most widely used method of evaluating teacher performance. Exit interviews with students, classroom visits, and peer review of syllabi are other methods. Outcomes assessment is not used for evaluation of teacher performance; it is used to assess student learning.

University policy requires all instructors to participate in student evaluation of their courses at least once a year using a student survey of instruction. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR), CHES, and the Spears School of Business (SSB) require evaluations every semester. The format of the student survey of instruction may vary by department, although a standard form is provided by the university. Some departments implement other programs for evaluating instructional effectiveness of teaching assistants or candidates for tenure and promotion. These may include classroom visits by experienced teaching faculty, peer reviews of syllabi, self-evaluations of teaching performance, and exit interviews with students.

Teaching Awards

The Regents Distinguished Teaching Award3.18 (RDTA) is the primary teaching award for most colleges, although some colleges have teaching and advising awards supported by private funds, departments, or organizations. Other university-wide awards include the Sigma Xi Lecturer and the Merrick Foundation Teaching Award.

In addition to RDTAs, the College of Arts and Sciences' (CAS) Student Council and individual departments make awards for teaching excellence. CASNR has a strategy for formally recognizing teaching and advising, and college departments/disciplines also stress teaching quality and awards. CHES promotes the RDTA process within the college and encourages students to nominate faculty for the award. The faculty member who is selected for this award receives a $750 stipend for professional development, a college plaque, and recognition at the annual CHES Celebration of Excellence scholarship event. Also, a large photograph of the winner is displayed within the central corridor of the CHES Building.

SSB teaching awards include the Greiner Award for Teaching Excellence, which is awarded at the graduate and undergraduate level, the RDTA, and various departmental and organizational awards, including Outstanding Faculty Advisor, Outstanding SSB Professor, Award for Excellence for Advisement, Faculty of the Month, Academy of Marketing Science Teaching Excellence Award, Outstanding Marketing Teaching Award, Chandler Freitz Teaching Award, Manuel M. Davenport Spirit of Wakonse Teaching Award, and the Outstanding MBA Faculty Award.

In addition to university awards, CEAT offers two teaching awards funded by the Halliburton Foundation and an advising award. Some of the student or pre-professional organizations and honor societies in CEAT's academic units identify outstanding instructors and/or advisors each year. Most professional organizations have national teaching awards. The American Society for Engineering Education has a substantial list of teaching and advising awards both at the regional and national levels.

Identifying Ineffective Teaching

Promotion decisions are based partly on teaching effectiveness for all faculty, whether the appointment is teaching and/or research. However, some administrators report that it is possible for a faculty member with few teaching responsibilites to be promoted, even if he or she is less effective as a teacher. CAS reports that promotion decisions are based partly on teaching effectiveness and are designed to prevent ineffective teachers from receiving tenure. CEAT reports that while there are several criteria for reappointment, promotion, and tenure, a faculty member does not have to contribute strongly in all categories.

Department heads are responsible for identifying less-than-effective teaching and for taking action to remedy the problem. Problems are identified through exit interviews with students, by reviewing student evaluations of the instructor, and by advisors hearing from students. Problems are addressed with the faculty member as part of the annual appraisal and development (A&D) process. Remedies may include not rehiring ineffective adjuncts, not reappointing faculty, adjusting appointments, and mentoring.

Innovative Teaching Methods

The development of innovative teaching methods is encouraged and often rewarded across the OSU campuses. For example, CAS department heads and school directors may recommend larger raises or equity adjustments in salary for faculty members who demonstrate innovation. In addition, CAS faculty members who are effective and innovative teachers are more likely to receive summer teaching assignments when they request them.

CEAT reports that for some faculty, the primary reward for innovation is the satisfaction of accomplishment and the thrill of seeing improved student learning. For some innovations, CEAT provides public (internal or external) announcements. Substantial innovative projects may be externally funded and/or produce refereed publications. If the requirements for scholarship are accomplished in the innovation, it contributes toward reappointment, promotion, tenure, pay raises, and faculty awards just as would any other scholarly activity. In the reappointment, promotion, and tenure process, instructional innovation can enhance either the teaching or the scholarship part of the evaluation. CEAT also provides grant-seeking support, attempts to waive or bend policies when necessary and appropriate to accomplish the innovation, and provides institutional support for innovative programs when necessary.

Regular CHES faculty retreats focus on topics that engage participants in considering innovative practices. For example, in January 2004, a creative consultant provided strategies for identifying innovative approaches to teaching and other work issues. The previous January, a panel of CHES and CASNR faculty reported on and provided handouts about innovative active learning and team-oriented instructional practices that they had tested in their classrooms. Faculty teaching practices are often highlighted in the CHES annual magazine distributed to faculty, staff, students, students' parents, alumni, associates, and friends of CHES. Faculty members also are encouraged by department heads to establish annual instructional goals that involve innovative practices. Thus, these innovative teaching practices are part of the annual Appraisal and Development (A&D) process, which is directly linked with promotion and tenure.

SSB faculty members are encouraged to incorporate state-of-the-art technologies and innovative practices to enhance learning. Numerous examples of innovative teaching methods may be found on the SSB website.3.19

Technology in Teaching

Over the past decade, OSU has supported effective teaching by ensuring that technology has been incorporated into most aspects of teaching for virtually all faculty at OSU. The way material is presented in class, the manner in which extra materials are provided to students, the communication techniques between teacher and student, or the teacher and the class as a group have all changed due to technology. The university and the colleges have responded vigorously to provide the technology and the necessary support for effective use. More than 100 computer labs with almost 2,000 stations, extensive multimedia centers, and many technology-based classrooms have been constructed to support teaching. Colleges reported through surveys how they have incorporated technology in teaching.3.20

Most colleges rely on IT staff for assistance, seminars, and workshops, but some departments have their own information technology staff. Also, individual faculty members share their expertise within departments by holding seminars. Events such as Tech Tuesday,3.21 which feature a faculty member discussing his or her technology expertise at a weekly lunch for a broad campus audience, ensure that skills are shared and experiences are enhanced through interaction. This event and others are sponsored by the Faculty Support Center3.22 that is part of the Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence. In addition, the center provides technology training in formal hands-on group sessions, which are scheduled throughout the semester, and also in personal training through phone conversations, e-mail messages, or casual walk-in visits to the center. Initial efforts in the use of technology were led by faculty members who were involved in distance learning courses and developed innovations to meet the needs of students at numerous remote sites. SIS training for advisors is provided to new faculty. Numerous faculty members completed training supported by the colleges through the Teletraining Institute3.23 to assist professors in developing and delivering courses at a distance. For the past two years, the provost has provided partial summer support for faculty who are willing to prepare courses for on-line delivery.

IT and audiovisual staff maintain instructional equipment (computers, video projectors, DVD players, etc.) in classrooms. The Student Technology Fee Committee approved more than $400,000 to upgrade and create additional multimedia classrooms across campus in summer 2005. Most colleges replace faculty computers on a regular basis, provide excellent technical support for software and hardware problems, and use network management and servers for classroom materials and instructional aids. The students' technology fees support many computer laboratories across campus and provide a wide range of software and extensive printing opportunities.

Several CAS instructors are pioneers in the field of distance learning and still offer distance courses in subjects such as French, algebra, chemistry, physics, geography, and political science. SSB reports that video-streaming applications were used early in the Telecommunications Management program and became a dominant delivery mode for a few semesters before CD-ROMs and the internet replaced them. The SSB also is home to the unique Trading Floor laboratory, which simulates the New York Stock Exchange Trading Floor. The university operates numerous distance-education studios in Stillwater and Tulsa that are equipped with two-way video, audio, and digital recording.

CEAT also has a substantial involvement with distance education. In the last few years, the college has facilitated the distance delivery or reception of 90-100 courses per year. These courses are delivered by two-way video, streaming video, CD, and video tape. CEAT Distance Education Outreach supports the faculty member with all scheduling, course approval, transmission, recording, delivery and receipt of course materials, and negotiations with receiving or transmission sites.

The Human Development and Family Science Department has an ongoing contract with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide courses, via distance education, to DHS professionals. CHES is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance3.24 (Great Plains IDEA), which delivers totally online masters programs in Family Financial Planning, Gerontology, and Merchandising. Courses are delivered from various alliance campuses, including OSU, and course enrollment includes students from all alliance campuses. The COE Technology Group has been involved with grants associated with Oklahoma State Legislative Bill HB1815 that supports public school teachers in becoming more technologically literate.

Curricular Content

OSU values and supports effective teaching by making sure its curricular content is designed by qualified faculty members. Strategies for instruction also are designed by faculty members to promote effective teaching. In all colleges, content is usually decided by individual faculty and/or faculty committees at the departmental level, and proposed changes are then forwarded to a college-level curriculum committee. While individual faculty members are often responsible for the content of the courses they teach, there is an expectation that they will keep in mind teaching objectives set by curricular committees, advisory boards, and accreditation requirements. Curricular content of multi-section courses is determined by the faculty members involved with the courses or, in some instances, by departmental committee.

Instruction Council also must pass proposed curricular changes. This ensures that changes that affect programs across colleges are adequately reviewed by all faculty members. Instruction Council is composed of academic associate deans from the colleges who provide input and direction to the Division of Academic Affairs3.25 in the administration of academic policies and procedures, curricular requests, issues related to delivery of instruction, and an array of other academically focused concerns.

Copyright Concerns and Technology

In November of 2002, the TEACH Act expanded the scope of educators' rights to perform and display works and to make the copies integral to such performances and displays for digital distance education, making their rights closer to those of teachers in face-to-face teaching. In order for faculty to take advantage of the TEACH Act and lawfully use copyrighted materials in distance education, the institution must meet certain conditions. These conditions include having published copyright policies in place, technological safeguards (such as limited reception and downstream controls), and systematic mediated instruction. If any of these components is missing, faculty cannot take advantage of these important provisions. OSU is not in compliance with these conditions because it does not have an adequate published copyright policy in place. The university's copyright policy deals only with ownership of intellectual property created by OSU personnel. The university needs to develop a comprehensive computer software copyright policy.

Professional Organization Membership

Most faculty members participate in professional organizations in their disciplines. This participation helps faculty members keep current in their fields and enables them to network and conduct research with colleagues at other institutions, which gives them a broader knowledge and experience base that can contribute to more effective teaching. Most colleges report limited availability of funds for attendance at professional meetings, so faculty often have to finance their own travel and participation in professional organizations.

Core Component 3c

The organization creates effective learning environments.

Inside and outside the classroom, OSU emphasizes programs, develops facilities, and promotes attitudes that support effective learning environments. Various programs offered through Residential Life,3.26 Student Union Activities Board,3.27 multicultural organizations, and numerous other OSU and student organizations promote effective learning in diverse settings. The staff members of these organizations enhance learning environments by producing events and activities that bring together a variety of students. Student engagement is the life of the university.

Respect for Diversity

As evidenced throughout OSU's Strategic Plan, OSU adopts a broad view of diversity in order to encourage an inclusive, supportive, and open environment for all learners. Effective learning environments are created when students feel safe and respected. Interaction between those of diverse backgrounds also enriches the OSU community.

Data provided by the Office of Budget and Asset Management3.28 is instrumental in assessing progress toward a more widely diverse community of learners. OSU's Student Profile3.29 contains the status and trends in the diversity of the institution's student enrollment, by gender, residency, ethnicity, and alternative admission.

Organizationally, OSU has recently undergone changes to enhance the visibility and effectiveness of institutional diversity. A new vice president for institutional diversity position was created, and after a national search, the new vice president begins work at OSU in the summer of 2005. This position takes the place of a previously existing associate vice president for multicultural affairs position. Additionally, the Multicultural Student Center3.30 operates within the Division of Student Affairs. The focus of this center is to counsel individual students and to develop programs/services for students of African American, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian American ethnicity.

Diversity and inclusion are practiced through a myriad of opportunities for students to interact informally and to become meaningfully engaged in out-of-class organizations and activities involving persons of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and interests. Opportunities for student leadership development are plentiful through participation in various multicultural student organizations, such as:

Other opportunities are provided through multicultural programs and services such as:

At OSU-Tulsa the following opportunities are available:

The institution's Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities3.31 protects and assures the rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly as applied to campus organizations, programs, and activities. These protections encourage and require openness, inclusiveness, and freedom of thought, expression, and exchange among all members of the community and enhance the learning environment. In all, there are more than 300 student clubs and organizations associated with the university.

A number of examples of programs to enhance an environment of support for all learners and the diversity they bring are located within Academic Affairs. Some of these include:

Academic Advisement

OSU advising systems focus on student learning, including the mastery of skills required for academic success. The Stillwater campus does not subscribe to a centralized system of advisement. Rather, each college is responsible for advising its students, generally through the colleges' respective offices of academic student services. Thus, there is some variance among the colleges as to how advising is provided. OSU-Tulsa maintains a central office where advisers are assigned to students from a specific college. In addition, OSU-Tulsa provides advisers on the Tulsa Community College campuses for students who want to transfer to OSU.

Generally, academic advisement is provided both by professional advisers and faculty. In some colleges, but not all, faculty members are provided “release time” for this responsibility. The Office of University Academic Services is responsible for advising first-year students admitted under special conditions. CAS enrolls undecided students.

Students began paying a fee to enhance student academic services in fall 2003. The revenue generated by these fees has allowed colleges to hire additional advisers and expand advising services. Some colleges (CHES and CEAT) have used fee revenues to create Student Success Centers. The mission of the new Becky Steen McCaskill Center for Student Success within the College of Human Environmental Sciences is to elevate academic advising, the first-year experience, leadership development, and career development through highly engaging, purposeful, and integrated programming that educates students to become intentional learners.

In the past two years, an Adviser Training Committee, sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs, planned and delivered professional development opportunities for advisers. Adviser workshops offered in spring 2005 included an update on regulations for student-athletes and suggestions for advising students from diverse backgrounds.

Learning Outside the Classroom

OSU is committed to a comprehensive and holistic approach in preparing all students, both inside and outside the classroom. OSU's Strategic Plan calls for educational, social, cultural, and recreational opportunities that extend the formal curricular experience in ways that develop engaged, healthy, and productive citizens. Students are encouraged to participate in programs that enhance their leadership skills, encourage volunteerism and service, teach respect for cultural diversity, and promote civic engagement. In addition, OSU is committed to providing its students opportunities to participate in internships as a part of their career development experiences, and to helping students transition into the world of work as smoothly as possible.

Examples of departments, programs, and services that contribute significantly to this vision of student development include:

To elaborate on some of these examples, the university supports study-abroad activities to enhance students' learning outside the classroom. The OSU Study Abroad Office3.35 maintains 61 different foreign institutional linkages to help students from every field of study to learn within foreign settings. Also, the academic colleges, through their outreach units, provide insights into study-abroad opportunities in field-specific areas of business, engineering, agriculture, education, and others. For example, a COE program in Costa Rica supports student teaching in that foreign setting to provide insights into the needs of a changing demographic profile in the United States. In addition, CHES's School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration provides study opportunities in Switzerland and Italy to reflect the demand for international cuisine.

OSU creates and supports a culture of service and opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Many clubs and organizations, including Greek Life3.36 , require community service as a fundamental element of their organizations. This service is monitored and recorded on the students' activity transcripts.

The Student Government Association (SGA) serves the local community by offering two major service days in addition to the hundreds of hours students normally spend involved in community service. These two programs are “The Big Event” and “Into the Streets.” Approximately 2,000 students, faculty, and community members participate in these annual projects. Hundreds of letters from community members express praise and thanks for student service in the community. OSU also participates in civic engagement through such organizations as “Vocal Oklahomans in Civic Engagement” (VOICE) and “Campus Compact.” Service learning opportunities also are provided in every college. In addition, the Student Affairs Division is launching service opportunities dealing with local and area disaster response, and division representatives regularly meet with neighborhood associations, police, and city council members to discuss various issues and concerns.

New Technology for Student Learning

OSU Library's Digital Library Services3.37 was created in 1999. The Digital Library Services facilitates access to electronic information, print materials, and library services to ensure that the information needs of OSU students, faculty, and staff are met, regardless of their location. This mission is accomplished through state-of-the-art technologies, library instruction, and document delivery services. In spring 2005, the unit began a pilot project to provide digital copies of library materials for graduate students and faculty members.

OSU students pay two fees to support the library. The Library Resource fee pays for the purchase, upgrade, maintenance, and replacement of computer hardware and software to support the changing and expanding electronic environment and the personnel needed to run the library systems. The Library Electronic Resource fee supports the purchase of software, site licenses, and personnel to support student access to the library and provide more information sources.

The Division of Student Affairs is currently developing a comprehensive website for university services that focuses on student success. The vast array of information from a variety of OSU sites about study skills, learning techniques, time management, stress-control, life organization, and other topics related to student success will be identified and organized on the new website to enhance student access to such information.

Also, outreach units in the colleges, the Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence, and The Center for Instructional Technologies at OSU-Tulsa assist in the delivery of distance-learning courses.

Core Component 3d

The organization's learning resources support student learning and effective teaching.

A university-wide survey indicates that many learning resources, including computer labs with technical support and specialized software, library resources and services, and learning partnerships, are available to and utilized by students and faculty to enhance learning and teaching.

The funds generated from the Academic Facilities Fee will be used to support maintenance, renovation, and construction of academic and other facilities, such as computer laboratories. The need for additional academic space is a function of increased enrollment. The funds from this fee will not only allow for new space, but also ensure that the existing classroom space will continue to provide a positive environment for student learning and effective teaching.

Technology Availability

OSU's numerous computer labs and library are available many hours a week to ensure access to resources that support learning and teaching. Computer laboratories are generally accessible for student use every day of the week. On weekdays, computer labs are accessible an average of 15 hours per day, and some labs are open 24 hours. On weekends, computer labs are generally accessible for longer periods on Sundays than on Saturdays.

Special learning centers and research laboratories are accessible during the week generally when buildings are open, which is typically from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Many are accessible to students and faculty beyond these hours and on weekends for those who have authorized access.

Learning Resources Evaluation Methods

Efforts are being made, using both formal and informal means, to provide administrators with insight regarding learning resource utilization. A common formal method of gathering such data is through evaluation forms for courses that use learning resource facilities.

In the SSB, satisfaction surveys provide insight into learning resource utilization. CEAT reports that laboratory usage is monitored in terms of seats occupied by the time of the day and night. CHES utilizes Senior Exit Surveys that include questions regarding the use of learning resources such as computer labs and other spaces.

Additionally, the use of learning resources is included in program accreditation reviews. For example, the director of the OSU Writing Center3.38 annually assesses its use. Informal methods of evaluating learning resources include visiting with students and faculty to gain feedback and periodic observations of activity. In two cases, it was reported that no resources or efforts had been made to evaluate resource use. One reason for this lack of evaluation was that personnel were already “stretched to the limit,” and thus, the funds necessary to evaluate resource use had not been allocated.

The effectiveness of learning resources is commonly assessed via efforts by a college committee composed of students and faculty. Examples include SSB's Technology and Instructional Resource Committee and the student technology fee committees in COE, CEAT, CHES, and CAS. At some facilities such as the OSU Library, a suggestion box provides a means to gather information regarding effectiveness. Data are also gathered via formal course evaluations, workshop evaluation forms, and senior exit surveys/interviews, as well as some satisfaction surveys.

Helping Students, Staff, and Faculty Use Technology

Preliminary analysis of survey data reveals that learning resource facilities provide individualized sessions, special courses, workshops, half- and single-day training sessions, and specific orientations in using their technology. COE's Educational Technology Center,3.39 in conjunction with the college faculty development committee, has sponsored a series of faculty and staff workshops and seminars regarding the use of particular computer hardware and software and internet course management programs. Specialized support for students, faculty, and staff has been provided for specific learning resource facilities. For example, a one-hour photonics course in the use of Raman spectroscopy technology was offered to faculty and students.

IT provides ongoing training for faculty members and their graduate assistants in using technology for teaching. Examples of software and groupware applications addressed include Blackboard, WebCT, Streaming Video, and Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft FrontPage and Dreamweaver for web page development. This center provides one-on-one tutoring (at the request of the faculty member) and group workshops. Notice of available training is e-mailed to all faculty members on the OSU-Stillwater campus. Surveys are periodically conducted via the internet to identify training needs and preferred training formats. It can be preliminarily concluded that the organization is implementing activities that support students, staff, and faculty in using technology effectively.

Support for Learning Resources

Preliminary data analysis reveals mixed results in regard to whether computer labs, research labs, libraries, and other learning resources are adequately staffed and supported. The size of the facility seems to make a difference in whether effective staffing and support is provided. Users of smaller laboratories reported being satisfied with staffing, while users of larger facilities reported a need for either more staff or more funding to increase staffing hours. However, the amount of data regarding this question was limited.

The implementation of the Student Technology Fee has seemingly made a positive impact in the degree of support for learning resource facilities. However, several survey comments expressed a need for greater support for staffing, maintenance and repair of equipment, and more space to provide certain services. More data are needed to arrive at more reliable conclusions regarding whether OSU is providing effective support for its learning resources.

Learning Partnerships

Many systems and structures at OSU enable partnerships that enhance student learning and strengthen teaching effectiveness. For example, in CAS, grants with the Undergraduate Division of the National Science Foundation have equipped facilities in Zoology, Chemistry, and Geography, thereby enhancing teaching effectiveness. In addition, the School of Journalism and Broadcasting has secured equipment gifts that benefit students via industry partnerships.

CASNR, with the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), sponsors regional and national teaching improvement workshops.

SSB hosts several events with its partners that enhance student learning. During “CEO Day,” CEOs of major corporations spend a day with students and faculty. SSB Associates regularly visit classes as guest speakers, and SSB Outreach works with partners to sponsor the Tulsa Business Forum and the Oklahoma City Executive Management Briefing series for faculty and students. SSB provides internship classes for students in most fields, especially in accounting, finance, and marketing. Among SSB graduate programs, the MBA, TCOM, and MIS graduate programs emphasize internships.

In CEAT, examples of internal partnerships are oversight committees for courses taken by students from various disciplines. ENSC-prefix courses have an oversight committee with membership from all programs whose students take those courses. This approach is used for math, chemistry, physics, and statistics courses. Faculties from the departments offering these courses meet with the committees periodically to discuss methods for improving the effectiveness of the courses. Similarly, faculty members work with faculty from other higher education institutions to ensure course content is appropriate for transfer credit.

In CHES, external industry internships have been established with partners for all undergraduate students. Service learning community projects are required in several courses. The College Alumni Board provides input for enhancing instruction, and various advisory boards provide external partnerships. Internship scholarships help students complete internships at distant locations, including with international partners. Endowed professorships allow for distinguished visiting professors to work with students and faculty. The college's Outreach Office and the Gerontology Institute3.40 co-sponsor the annual Partnerships in Aging Conference in Tulsa that brings together faculty, students, and external audiences. A grant from the National Science Foundation, with matching funds provided by OSU, allowed purchase of industry-grade textile testing equipment to upgrade the science-based textile curriculum within the Department of Design, Housing, and Merchandising.

COE's Education Technology unit works in partnership with the Faculty Support Center to provide training and services for faculty. The college's Star Schools Program brings together COE and CAS faculty with officials from the Oklahoma Department of Education to enhance educational opportunities for practitioners.

Preliminary data indicate that OSU's systems and structures enable partnerships that enhance student learning and teaching effectiveness. Survey data also show that many current innovations enhance student learning and strengthen teaching effectiveness through systems and structures that result in internal and/or external partnerships. For example, the SSB Trading Floor3.41 provides a state-of-the-art computer facility that simulates the New York Stock Exchange and exposes students to the latest models and software in risk management. COE's Science Education program partnered with NASA to provide a live link-up with astronauts on the International Space Station to give students personal contact with space science and enhance their learning. CAS's Crystal Growth Lab3.42 is one of the few crystal-growth operations in the United States. It greatly aids the Department of Physics and both internal and external collaborators in acquiring external funding for graduate and undergraduate research and education. It has worked directly with government laboratories, private industry, and other universities. The Statewide NMR Facility3.43 (housed in the Chemistry Department) also works with professionals from 24 Oklahoma colleges, the University of Oklahoma, and other scientific groups.

OSU's outreach efforts also exemplify its commitment to student learning and effective teaching. Outreach units deliver on-going learning opportunities to non-traditional students through weekend and distance programs. OSU's external constituents have said that they want educational programs delivered via the latest technologies. OSU has responded by implementing these technologies and providing training for faculty users. Numerous distance learning academic graduate and undergraduate courses are available to OSU's constituents.

It can be preliminarily concluded that OSU's systems and structures enable innovations that enhance student learning and teaching effectiveness.

Budgets Reflect Teaching, Learning Priorities

Survey data indicate that the improvement of teaching and learning holds priority status in most OSU colleges. Most colleges report that approximately 40% of their budgets are expended on activities related to teaching and learning. The general university and each college expend student technology fees to enhance learning resources. College budgets vary widely in regard to the amount of money being allocated toward the improvement of teaching and learning, but all colleges report a priority in this area

Criterion Three Conclusion


  1. OSU has made major strides in campus-wide assessment since the last accreditation cycle, and assessment has a very strong and growing presence.
  2. Under the guidance of the Assessment Council, faculty members are primarily responsible for establishing, implementing, and evaluating assessment.
  3. Despite short- and long-term budget issues on campus, OSU provides excellent teaching due to numerous factors, including self-motivated faculty members.
  4. OSU has strong student union and campus life organizations that provide a wide array of curricular and extra-curricular activities to develop students into complete people.
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The OSU seal's three symbolic sides represent the instiutution's mission: instruction, research, and extension

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Attain 100% participation in the annual assessment cycle.
    ACTION: Demonstrate the importance of meaningful program review including the review of assessment results when making budget allocations.
  2. Continue to improve resources for faculty members to ensure adequately compensated teachers.
    ACTION: Focus public attention on the academic needs of the campus and cultivate funding sources that are not directed to athletics.
  3. Upgrade classrooms to make technology available in all classrooms.
    ACTION:Use Student Technology Fee monies for projects that directly impact the classroom and effective teaching and learning.
  4. Overcome the widely held and anecdotally supported belief that great teachers cannot be promoted without equally strong research, whereas research “stars” can rise through the ranks regardless of teaching quality.
    ACTION: Demonstrate that teaching has an equal footing with research in tenure and promotion decisions.
  5. Maintain the balance among the three symbolic sides of the OSU seal — instruction, research, and extension.
    ACTION: Do not allow budget pressures to prioritize research to the detriment of the other two activities.

Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

OSU's commitment to a life of learning is clearly articulated in its mission and planning documents and practiced on a daily basis. All members of the university community have the opportunity to participate in a variety of studies and activities that broaden outlooks and contribute to well-rounded and educated citizens.

In addition to traditional classroom work, both undergraduate and graduate students are involved in research, creative projects, travel, internships, and any number of cultural and community service experiences. These experiences, in addition to coursework, help students become lifelong learners and help them apply their knowledge. OSU's faculty and staff also provide excellent examples of lifelong learners as they pursue ongoing scholarly and professional development, research, creative endeavors, and community involvement.

Core Component 4a

The organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learning.

The university's board and administrators work to ensure that students, faculty, and staff have various opportunities to pursue a “life of learning.” These opportunities encompass general education, scholarships, internships, study abroad programs, academic honor societies, and extracurricular activities. Opportunities for staff and administrators include professional development and the possibility of pursuing an OSU degree with reduced tuition. Faculty opportunities include support for teaching, travel, and sabbaticals in addition to honors and awards, such as Regents Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards, college teaching awards, Regents Professorships, and endowed chairs. In addition, the entire university community enjoys many opportunities for a life of learning through the wide variety of speakers who are brought to campus and the many cultural and artistic activities.

Strategic Plan Supports Broad Knowledge

OSU System CEO and President David L. Schmidly states in the university's “Achieving Greatness” Strategic Plan4.1 that OSU must stress the humanities so students have the ability to think creatively and imaginatively about life and the world in its fullest dimensions. He also says students must be placed in a positive, achievement-oriented environment of excellence that will fully develop their intellectual and leadership potential.

Institutional Commitment to Scholar Development

OSU has demonstrated its commitment to the development of scholars and the programs to support them. This commitment has yielded national and international recognition. Over a 10-year period, students from OSU have been recognized with Rhodes, Marshall, Udall, Goldwater, Gates, Rotary, Fulbright, and a total of eight Truman Scholarships,4.2 leading to OSU's recognition as a Truman Honor School. These scholars are important and notable. Others who have become successful graduate students, employees, citizens, and complete individuals through study and service at OSU are just as important.

OSU's central effort in student scholar development is coordinated by the Office of Scholar Development and Recognition4.3 (OSDR). This office is charged with promoting and expanding OSU students' records of success in selected national scholarship competitions and with managing the resources of the multi-faceted Lew Wentz Scholarship Fund. OSDR seeks students who are highly motivated in both academics and public service. High-achieving individuals who enjoy debating issues and reading widely and who thrive on research and travel opportunities are ideal candidates for the scholar development program.

Discovery of knowledge is specifically the focus of undergraduate research programs, including the Freshman Research Scholars Program,4.4 the Lew Wentz Scholar Program,4.5 the Niblack Scholars Program, and Louis Stokes Scholarships.

OSU encourages graduate student research through the administration of three competitive research programs. Each year, 15-20 $2,200 Distinguished Graduate Fellowships are awarded to support students' education and research. A total of 10-12 $2,000 Robberson Fellowships are awarded to graduate students to conduct research during summers each year. Finally, three $1,000 Nancy Randolf Davis Fellowships are awarded.

The Graduate College4.6 and the Graduate and Professional Student Government Association4.7 (GPSGA), provide travel expenses to allow graduate students to present their research at professional conferences.

OSU's commitment to the development of scholars and the discovery of knowledge is further demonstrated through the establishment of The Honors College.4.8 Although an honors program has been in place for many years, the establishment of The Honors College enhances opportunities for students to study, conduct research, and exchange ideas in a challenging and supportive academic environment. The honors program began in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and now includes participation throughout the university.

Honors sections typically are limited to 22 students. Honors sections are taught by faculty from the six undergraduate colleges, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Honors College does not have separate faculty lines, but it funds interdisciplinary honors course sections and most special honors seminars through released-time arrangements with academic departments. The Honors College also funds “overflow” honors sections of departmental-prefix courses once a departmentally funded honors section has reached its enrollment capacity, and it also on occasion provides “seed money” to offer an honors section of a departmental-prefix course. Approximately half of the honors sections are funded from academic departments' own budgets, while The Honors College provides funding for the other half. The availability of an adequate number of honors sections thus is the responsibility of both The Honors College and the six undergraduate colleges.

Most academic departments in OSU's colleges include some graduate programs, but the Graduate College is the hub of advanced study and research at OSU. Teaching and research assistantships are common across the university, and several fellowships are available. All graduate programs include an emphasis upon research and scholarship.

The Graduate College is organized into six graduate faculty groups based on discipline. These groups have responsibility for quality control and policies related to programs, qualifications for graduate faculty membership, and curricular review at the graduate level. These graduate faculty groups are represented on the Graduate Faculty Council,4.9 the governing body for graduate education at OSU.

OSU annually recognizes significant graduate student research as demonstrated in master's theses or doctoral dissertations. Research that has been nominated and selected is recognized during the graduate commencement ceremony.

OSU recognizes outstanding research among faculty members. Each year one faculty member is selected for the Eminent Faculty Award, the highest and most prestigious faculty award. This award comes with a $10,000 cash prize. The award recognizes a faculty member who has made sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching, and service. In addition, approximately 40 faculty who maintain a world-class reputation for research success have been named to the honorary title of Regents Professor. OSU also recognizes faculty members for research success in its Regents Distinguished Research Awards program. Each year, eight faculty members receive this award (one in each college except CAS, which has two). Each winner earns a permanent $1,000 salary increase.

Colleges Encourage Scholar Development

Several colleges have implemented specialized programs to encourage scholar development. These include the leadership development program for undergraduate scholars in the Spears School of Business4.10 (SSB) and the Scholars and Research Scholar Program in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology4.11 (CEAT). The College of Human Environmental Sciences4.12 (CHES) awards four freshman research scholarships and has developed an alliance between chair positions and students as research scholars. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources4.13 (CASNR) also offers undergraduate research scholarships and awards for graduate student dissertations and faculty career research. The Research Experience for Undergraduates, funded by the National Science Foundation and housed in the CAS, allows undergraduates to work with OSU's faculty on research projects in the summer.

Internships and Related Activities

Internships, field experiences, and other practical training opportunities allow students to broaden their education and gain skills necessary in the workplace. OSU does a good job of supporting programs for those students who wish to participate in them.

Opportunities for internships and similar experiences vary widely. Undoubtedly, OSU's location outside a major metropolitan area limits the number of internship possibilities during the fall and spring semesters, and internship programs are more applicable in some disciplines than others. However, many students participate in internships. For example, all students in CHES complete an internship and many CEAT students participate in the college's Cooperative Engineering Education Program.

Although many internship opportunities exist, and it is becoming the norm for a student to do an internship, the NSSE data indicate that the percent of OSU students who have an internship is less than at peer institutions.4.14

Study Abroad Programs

OSU offers a reasonable number of study abroad programs supported by scholarships. These programs are centrally coordinated through the Study Abroad Office.4.15 Approximately 10-20 OSU specific scholarships are offered annually.

Several college-specific programs are also available. These include the Bailey Family Memorial Scholarship Program, housed in CAS, which supports students' study abroad and the annual CHES School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration (HRAD) program offered each summer in Montreaux, Switzerland.

Academic Honor Societies

Primary support of academic honor societies is provided at the department level, and individual departments support these activities. Nearly every department on campus has one or more honor societies in addition to campus-wide societies such as Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and numerous others. A Phi Beta Kappa chapter is not currently established at OSU; however, establishment of a chapter remains a topic of discussion.

Library Aids Life of Learning

As a centralized university-wide entity, the OSU Edmon Low Library4.16 has as its primary mission to provide high-quality resources, services, and gateways to information to meet the needs of OSU's diverse instructional, research, and outreach programs. In accordance with the university's land-grant mission, the library also serves as an information resource for all the citizens of Oklahoma through direct access to its extensive collections and special services and by sharing these resources as needed with other libraries in the state. As the academic heart of the university, the library responds to the needs of its constituents, emphasizes cooperative arrangements with other libraries, and maximizes the application of state-of-the-art technology to facilitate speedier and ever-wider access to needed information.

Extracurricular Activities

Support of clubs and professional societies is spread across the university with virtually all departments reporting at least one, and in many cases, more student organizations.

There has been a concerted effort to involve students in extracurricular activities and to foster awareness of available programs. A good example is the YOU network4.17 through which students can find information about organizations, activities, or current campus events.

Faculty Scholar Development

Scholar development efforts among the faculty emanate from the respective “appointment, reappointment, tenure, and promotion” (ARPT) documents representing each academic unit. These documents show a consistency in expectation in compliance with OSU Policy and Procedure Letter 2-0902.4.18 Among those consistencies across academic units that demonstrate that a life of learning is valued is a progressive, sequential increase in expectations by rank and years of service. Each academic unit prepares the requirements expected for the sequential and progressive development of its scholars.

There is a high degree of diversity between and within colleges with respect to research performance and culture. At the unit level, research is emphasized by promotion and tenure documents, merit raise algorithms, and the criteria for determining both teaching loads and summer support. Recently, the SSB implemented a program to award a monetary prize for publishing in a field's best journal and the dean of the College of Education (COE) established and funded a faculty development series, which is coordinated by a faculty member. CHES has a Faculty Scholars program for new faculty. All CHES faculty members attend sessions during their first year to help them acclimate to the faculty role. As part of this program, a research proposal submission is required, and faculty members are taken to Washington, D.C. and to state agencies to discuss research and outreach possibilities.

Sabbatical Leave

The university's sabbatical leave policies indicate that OSU supports and values a life of learning through the use of sabbatical leave. CAS and SSB regularly support sabbatical leave for eligible faculty members, but faculty members in CHES and COE have not participated in sabbaticals in recent years. Some faculty members prefer to participate in short-term faculty development activities such as the Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Program.

OSU's sabbatical leave policy was reworked in 2003-04 to make sabbatical leaves simpler to obtain and utilize. The university administration agreed to several changes recommended by the Faculty Council.4.19 Changes will include a central fund to be used to cover teaching needs with adjunct faculty members when faculty take sabbatical leaves.

Support for Professional Development and Research

Institutional support for individual faculty members in professional development and research efforts varies widely between and within colleges. Some colleges and academic units have supported professional development with international travel, substantial “start-up” funds to encourage research, cutting-edge technology, and other resources.

Through the Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer4.20 (VPR), OSU endorses the principle that research income should be reinvested to allow research to become self-sustaining. OSU funds a research start-up program for new faculty researchers to set up their laboratories and purchase research equipment and supplies. In FY2005, this program received $2 million in funding. The actual use of these start-up funds for support of faculty research varies tremendously by discipline and academic unit. In general, OSU also provides cost-share funds to support laboratory renovation and other core research facility upgrades.

Some feel that OSU should concentrate fundraising efforts on enhancing research through sponsorship of endowed research professorships and chairs, graduate student research support, and additional research facilities. Some also think that OSU needs more partnerships with the public and private sectors and with other universities in the conduct of joint research collaborations. Many also think the importance of identifying development efforts for scholarly/creative activity should be emphasized.

Departmental Support for Travel

It is evident that OSU's departmental budgets for travel vary greatly across and within colleges. The crucial factor seems to be whether individuals have access to travel money from grants. In those departments without considerable grant dollars, funding for travel is restricted. Generally, faculty members are required to support travel from research or personal funds.

Professional Development for Staff

A number of training opportunities are available to staff through the OSU Human Resources Office,4.21 which sponsors numerous classes in a variety of subjects each semester. In addition, OSU policies allow full-time staff members to pursue college-credit courses with reduced tuition costs.

While everyone supports the notion of staff development, much seems to depend upon the availability of offerings, money, time, and individual interest and motivation. Various levels of commitment to staff development are found across the university. Some departments report that they encourage staff members to upgrade their skills in support of the department, and departments sometimes pay for either on-campus or off-campus short courses and training seminars for staff. Some departments even require staff members to attend training sessions. Annual appraisal processes for staff include appraisal in the area of professional development, although there is often no other strong incentive (monetary or promotion) for professional development. One department reports that its technical staff, most of whom have Ph.D. degrees, are given the opportunity to attend one national scientific meeting or workshop and at least one local meeting.

Many staff members pursue degrees while employed at OSU. Support for their efforts is varied. Release time for staff to take classes or pursue degrees is permitted according to university policies and procedures, and full-time staff members pay only one-half of the normal tuition. Some departments and units not only encourage staff members to pursue degrees, but even help them financially. Others report that they are too short-staffed and under-budgeted to encourage employees to take time from their duties for classes. Some report that they are most receptive to staff members taking classes that directly relate to their job performance.

Communication about Learning Opportunities

The promotion and communication of learning opportunities and achievements is accomplished through a variety of avenues. These include listings on scrolling calendars shown on flat-screen monitors displayed in offices throughout the campus, publicity in such publications as the OSU Accomplishments4.22 (created for OSU's Regents), the OSU Magazine (the alumni magazine), other Alumni Association materials, various university outreach materials, the Daily O'Collegian campus newspaper,4.23 the Stillwater NewsPress, the Daily Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, statewide newspapers, campus signs and bulletin boards, electronic media such as the university website, e-mail headlines, radio and television announcements, and other means.

Core Component 4b

The organization demonstrates that acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational programs.

University-wide expectations in general education and research demonstrate the integral nature of a breadth of knowledge and skill, as well as the exercise of intellectual inquiry at OSU. Units within OSU encourage interdisciplinary inquiry through such programs as the Wentz Scholarships for Research, the Freshman Research Scholars, research collaboration between disciplines and with other institutions, special programs at the college level, national and international travel, student clubs and organizations, and cultural events.

Research at OSU

OSU's commitment to the acquisition of knowledge is amply demonstrated by the work of the university's many dedicated researchers. Much of OSU's basic scientific research helps expand the universal knowledge-base and contributes information that could eventually lead to many valuable applications. Other OSU research starts with the basics and leads to the development of prototypes that have more immediate application. Almost all of these projects involve the work of graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to knowledge gained in lectures, students are able to learn science “hands-on” by working alongside experts in their fields.

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Research Expenditures, 1996-2004

Bar chart displaying annual research funding in millions of dollars from 1996 to 2004

Intellectual Property

Bar chart displaying number of patents granted to OSU from 1996 to 2004

Intellectual Property

Bar chart displaying number of licences yielding income to OSU from 1996 to 2004

Intellectual Property

Bar chart displaying income from licences received by OSU from 1996 to 2004

An overview of the university's research expenditures reveals a more complete picture. Expenditures increased from $106 million in FY2003 to $108 million in FY2004, a record high for OSU. In the area of intellectual property, licensing income increased from $649,000 in FY2003 to $770,000 in FY2004. It is anticipated that license income from intellectual property will approach $1 million in the near future. As the numbers indicate, the university is moving forward in achieving its research goals.

The pioneering work of an OSU botanist provides an excellent example of a researcher's work that contributed to the world's knowledge of plants. The botanist advised an international team that completed the first complete plant genome sequence.4.24 Knowledge gained from this project is being applied by scientists around the world in devising easier ways to grow plants in adverse conditions and in helping make edible plants healthier.

Sensor development has been a high profile research priority at OSU for a number of years. A group of OSU physicists developed a small sensor badge that can be worn on a person's clothing to detect radiation. This technology was taken into the marketplace by a major corporation. These physicists and others were part of a team that sent radiation sensors into space for testing on board the Shuttle and the Space Station. Other physicist-developed sensor badges include one to measure ultraviolet light.

OSU researchers also are working on, or have developed, sensors to detect harmful pollutants and biological warfare agents in water, to easily detect lethal gases, and to detect harmful agents in food. Other OSU scientists are developing ways to neutralize bombs and to make munitions manufacturing more environmentally safe. Agricultural scientists have developed devices that allow farmers to apply exactly the right amount of chemicals to their land through sensor-guided machinery. OSU engineers also developed sensors to detect ice on bridges and to activate built-in melting devices.

A research group in CHES' Nutritional Sciences Department is studying the health benefits of supplements that may affect millions of people with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, cholesterol problems, and hormone deficiency. In a three-month clinical study, soy protein benefited patients with osteoarthritis symptoms, and the group also observed that soy protein may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, particularly those not on hormone replacement therapy. They also found that soy supplements may be beneficial in the reduction and formation of cholesterol in postmenopausal women.

Other CHES scientists are working with the Naval Research Laboratory and a private contractor to develop body armor systems4.25 that provide protection against ballistic damage to the arms and legs, while minimizing heat stress and weight. The prototype suits are made of multiple layers of a commercially available ballistic cloth that offers protection from shrapnel thrown by grenades or improvised explosives. The latest prototype model includes a cooling system to keep soldiers from suffering thermal exhaustion and allows them to stay on duty longer.

OSU chemists and engineers also are working in the new field of nanotechnology, which may lead to innovations in many areas from electronics to medical treatments. OSU's engineering researchers are involved in a wide spectrum of other research. The areas include manufacturing processes, bioengineering, thermal systems, logistics and distribution, web handling, electronics, renewable energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, robotics, speech and audio processing, and ultra pure water.

Veterinary medicine researchers are studying issues that relate to the health and welfare of animals and humans. Some of these scientists are developing vaccines for tick-borne diseases. One scientist developed a vaccine for anaplasmosis, a blood parasite that invades the red blood cells of cattle and creates acute anemia in cattle, which can be disastrous to the cattle industry. Others have contributed valuable research to the equine industry, and still others are finding better ways to treat problems common to companion animals.

OSU's Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center4.26 also provides a major facility for the development and testing of new food products for humans and animals. Entrepreneurs work with the center to develop new products, and many have been well received by consumers.

The previous examples are only a small sampling of the outstanding OSU intellectual inquiry that contributes significantly to a breadth of knowledge and skills valuable in the OSU community and the wider scientific, academic, and public arenas. Publications such as Vanguard4.27 that focus on research, scholarship, and creative activity at OSU provide a current glimpse of OSU research from across the system for on- and off-campus audiences.

While OSU already has many significant research initiatives, the university is making a concerted effort to expand its research programs by investing in new facilities and trying to attract the nation's top scientists. Plans are underway for a new five-story Science and Technology Center, which will dramatically improve research capabilities by providing state-of-the-art laboratories and other research space. Existing laboratories that are vacated when scientists move into the new center will be renovated. OSU-Tulsa will build an Advanced Technology Research Center that will focus on the development of next generation composites and materials for aerospace, biotechnology, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries. OSU also plans to become part of the Lambda Rail System, the nation's new high-speed communication network for scientific researchers.

General Education

OSU is committed to producing graduates who have a depth of knowledge in their major fields of study and a breadth of general knowledge to address issues in a complex society. OSU's general education program also fosters lifelong learning and personal growth experiences for its students. With a commitment to breadth in general education, the following philosophy was adopted in 2001:

“General education at Oklahoma State University provides students general knowledge, skills, and attitudes conducive to lifelong learning in a complex society. The breadth of general education requirements stimulates intellectual curiosity, original thought and expression, the capacity for critical analysis and problem solving, and the ability to make conscious value judgments consistent with personal needs and the public interest. General education helps graduates function in and appreciate the human and natural environment.”

The General Education Advisory Council4.28 (GEAC) is composed of representatives from each college and ex-officio members: the director of University Assessment and Testing (OAUT) and the director of Arts and Sciences Student Services. The associate vice president for undergraduate education chairs the group. GEAC is responsible for the general education goals, area designation criteria, the review of new courses applying for general education designation, and the five-year review of courses requesting continued general education designation. A General Education Assessment Committee, composed of faculty members, was formed by the Assessment Council and the OUAT.

The most important action taken by the GEAC in recent years has been the adoption of new criteria and goals for general education courses.4.29 In the summer of 2000, the General Education Assessment Committee reported to GEAC that OSU documents did not provide adequate information about the expected learning outcomes from the General Education Program. Two members of the assessment committee, who are also members of GEAC, drafted new “General Education Course Area Designations - Criteria and Goals.” The area designations remained, but the criteria and goals were radically changed. The draft document was presented to the GEAC, the Council of Deans, and the Assessment Council in the fall of 2000. After some changes, the new criteria and goals were adopted by GEAC.

The General Education Assessment Committee also developed an internet-based form that faculty use to submit requests for new general education designations and five-year reviews. This has allowed for the development of a database of general education courses.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) mandates that every student who receives a baccalaureate degree must complete general education courses in four content areas: analytical and quantitative thought (A), humanities (H), social and behavioral sciences (S), and natural sciences (N). In addition, OSU students must complete an international dimension course (I) and a course that includes a lab component with scientific investigation (L). These area designations are described in the Criteria and Goals document linked above.

GEAC noted that its reports and the results from the National Survey of Student Engagement and institutional assessment of writing indicated that OSU students needed more writing experiences.4.30 Therefore, in February of 2004, the committee approved the addition of writing requirements for “H,” “S,” and “I” courses, effective for new courses in August 2004 and existing courses at the next five-year review. Faculty who teach “A,” “N,” and “L” courses will be asked to describe writing assignments that are appropriate to the discipline. GEAC plans to continue developing the general education database and web-based information, forms, and application process.

In regard to transferring general education courses from other institutions, OSRHE Policy and Procedures require that “If a student has completed general education... the receiving institution will recognize general education for all courses in which a reasonable equivalency... exists.” While institutional assessment results have not demonstrated a significant difference in performance of “native” and transfer students, GEAC plans to continue monitoring the performance of transfer students. Some assessment data indicate that OSU students may benefit from the addition of a diversity course in the general education curriculum. GEAC plans to begin reviewing this data after all the social and behavioral science “S” courses are reviewed in 2005. The review will indicate the number and type of approved general education courses that include an emphasis on issues related to diversity.

In summary, survey and assessment data indicate that OSU currently has a specific weakness in the general education program in terms of required writing, and improvements are being made in offerings for certain colleges. In addition, many believe that students must have more formal writing assignments in classes; therefore, the general education criteria and goals were changed to require more writing.

Discovery of Knowledge

All of OSU's graduate level academic programs include components that demonstrate that the discovery of knowledge is integral to educational programs. OSU faculty members are committed to a variety of research methodologies, plans for intellectual inquiry, and other aspects of the acquisition of knowledge. All graduate students are required to produce evidence of their intellectual inquiry through dissertations, theses, creative components, or reports.

All students and faculty are served by the OSU Edmon Low Library as it strives to provide the best services, strongest collections, and state-of-the-art information technologies for faculty, students, and staff. Over the past five years, the library has moved aggressively to provide desktop access to research tools and scholarly literature. Web-based interfaces provide “anytime, anywhere” access to more than 23,000 periodicals and approximately 200 indices and databases. The library's collections serve as the gateway to global research and scholarship as well as to a rich diversity of opinions and human experiences. The library supports faculty and student work by helping them integrate digital tools, such as electronic text and data support, and digitization of images and text. In addition, the library has undertaken projects to digitize many university materials to be of service to faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

OSU's Division of Student Affairs4.31 also participates in the development of breadth of knowledge and skills through encouragement of service learning, community service opportunities, staff development, and leadership development programs. The division encourages intellectual inquiry from participation in Camp Cowboy and ALPHA Week to involvement with student organizations and activities throughout a student's undergraduate career.

Travel Opportunities

Because OSU supports the acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and intellectual inquiry, there are many opportunities for students to travel and learn in varied settings and cultural situations. Departments across the OSU campus offer opportunities for or require travel locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. For example, the School of Architecture conducts field trips regionally and nationally, and the SSB offers opportunities for students to spend summers studying on the East Coast. Other university entities make funds available for students to travel to scientific and professional conferences.

The National Student Exchange, administered through the Study Abroad Office, is a domestic reciprocal exchange program operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Canada. During the 2002-2003 academic year, 30 students participated in the program (20 outbound OSU students, 10 inbound students from other institutions).

OSU academic colleges offer summer and short-term faculty-led international courses that may last from two to eight weeks. Study abroad opportunities include CAS-sponsored literature classes at Oxford in England and art study in Italy, Spain, London, Paris, Rome, and Florence. CASNR students can study various agricultural and horticultural subjects in Scotland, London, Paris, France, Japan, Honduras, and Italy. SSB students can travel to London, Canada, and Mexico for study, while COE students can participate in a summer program in Costa Rica. CEAT offers courses in Japan, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, and CHES sponsors a program in Switzerland.

International study opportunities are offered and administered through the Study Abroad Office with assistance from the International Admissions Office. In the 2002-2003 academic year, 350 OSU students participated in international programs administered through the Study Abroad Office. In the same academic year, 446 students participated in reciprocal exchanges with 15 countries worldwide.

Core Component 4c

The organization assesses the usefulness of its curricula to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society.

Every OSU graduate and undergraduate program is assessed through plans developed by faculty and staff, incorporated into university-wide assessment, and designed for feedback into program development. The overall assessment plan includes entry-level, general education, program outcomes, and alumni components.

Assessment Methods

As explained in other areas of this report, the Office of University Assessment and Testing (OUAT) oversees programs in four primary areas of assessment: entry-level, general education, program outcomes, and student and alumni satisfaction.4.32 Assessment at OSU occurs at all levels within the institution, from hundreds of assessment projects at the individual college and program levels to assessments focused on the entire student body, or on issues of concern to the central administration.

The associate vice president for undergraduate education oversees OSU's assessment program, by chairing the faculty's Assessment Council,4.33 supervising the director of OUAT, and communicating assessment information to campus leaders. The Assessment Council guides university-wide assessment efforts and monitors the use of student assessment fee money to support assessment initiatives at the university-, college-, and academic program-levels and coordinates annual reporting and dissemination of assessment information. The Office of Institutional Research and Information Management4.34 works closely with OUAT to administer entry-level assessment and provide data for all other assessment areas. The Division of Student Affairs coordinates assessments within student affairs units and service areas. Office of Undergraduate Admissions4.35 and the OSU Bureau for Social Research4.36 also assist in collecting assessment data at the university level.

At the program level, administrators and faculty members within each academic unit assess student achievement of expected program outcomes. For purposes of program outcomes assessment, an academic unit may refer to a college, school, department, or degree program. Each OSU academic unit has an outcomes assessment plan and a faculty assessment coordinator who is responsible for guiding outcomes assessment. Each academic unit submits annual assessment reports, which are included in the OUAT's annual report to the OSRHE.

General Education Assessment

OSU's general education assessment program4.37 has been developed under the direction of three faculty groups: the General Education Assessment Committee, the Assessment Council, and the General Education Advisory Council. The program uses three tools to evaluate student achievement of the expected learning outcomes for general education and the effectiveness of the general education curriculum: institutional portfolios, a general education course content database, and university-wide surveys. General education assessment is guided by the university's mission statement and the purpose of general education as articulated in the OSU catalog.

The institutional portfolio represents a holistic approach to general education assessment. The assessment is not aimed at individual courses, departments, or faculty. Rather, it evaluates work (artifacts) produced by students in their OSU courses to gauge students' success in achieving the institution's general education learner goals. The student work has no identifying information, so the process protects student anonymity. The process is minimally intrusive to faculty, is transparent to students, and utilizes work that is already produced in general education courses and other courses throughout the undergraduate curriculum. Groups of faculty members evaluate the work in each portfolio relative to the learner goals using standardized scoring rubrics. The results measure the extent to which students are achieving OSU's general education competencies.

Separate portfolios are being developed to evaluate each general education learner goal. The portfolios developed to date assess students' written communications skills (data collection in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005), math problem-solving skills (data collection in 2002, 2003, 2005) science problem-solving skills (data collection in 2003, 2004, 2005), and critical thinking (data collection 2005). Data collection, as well as the development of rubrics to assess additional skills, is ongoing. Assessment of students' understanding of and respect for diversity in people, beliefs, and societies will be addressed in the coming years.

The General Education Course Database4.38 is a tool for evaluating how each general education course aligns with the overall expected learning outcomes for the general education program. Instructors submit their course information online via a web-based form, and the General Education Advisory Council reviews the information during regular course reviews. The course information includes the general education learning goals associated with the course, the opportunities the course provides for students to achieve these goals, and the methods for assessing student achievement. When completed, the database will provide a useful tool for holistically evaluating general education course offerings and the extent to which the overall general education goals are targeted across the curriculum.

University-wide surveys, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the College Student Survey, and Alumni Surveys, provide indirect measures of the extent to which students have achieved general education competencies; this information supports evidence from the institutional portfolios. For example, OSU's NSSE data, which revealed that OSU seniors wrote fewer papers than seniors at peer institutions, corroborated results of the written communication skills institutional portfolio and contributed to the decision to increase the standards for writing assignments in humanities, social science, and international dimension general education courses.

In addition to these university-level assessments of general education learner goals, many individual academic programs incorporate general education or mid-level assessment of writing, mathematics, science, problem solving, and critical thinking skills into their program outcomes assessment.

Program Outcomes Assessment

All OSU degree programs, undergraduate and graduate, must have an outcomes assessment plan.4.39 Assessment activity for each degree program is described in an annual assessment report.4.40 Assessment plans and reports may be submitted by colleges, schools, departments, or individuals depending on the organizational level that faculty members have chosen to use for assessment. The Assessment Council reviews all assessment plans and reports on a three-year cycle. Academic units use a broad range of assessment methods, which are described in detail in Criterion Three.

Student and Alumni Satisfaction Assessment

Student and alumni surveys evaluate participants' perceptions of academic and campus programs and services and allow students to report their use and perception. These surveys complement program outcomes assessment by providing feedback for use in continuing quality improvement.

The Graduate Student Satisfaction Survey is conducted in alternate years by the Graduate College. The target population is all OSU graduate students who are enrolled during the semester the survey is conducted. In fall 2004, from a 3,919 person target population, 2,537 graduate students participated in the survey (65% response rate). The survey included 31 questions and was administered as a telephone interview by the Bureau for Social Research.

OSU Alumni Surveys are conducted every year, with undergraduate and graduate program alumni being surveyed in alternate years. The purpose of these surveys is to identify institutional strengths and areas for improvement, to track the careers and continuing education of recent OSU graduates, and to assess achievement of learning outcomes as perceived by alumni from individual academic programs. These surveys target alumni who are one and five years post-graduation. They include common questions that cover employment and career issues, continued education, and general satisfaction. They also include program-specific questions for the purpose of assessing program outcomes, as well as alumni satisfaction. OUAT coordinates the alumni surveys. The OSU Bureau for Social Research conducts the surveys through telephone interviews with alumni.

Results of alumni surveys are widely distributed to faculty and administrators at the college and university levels. Specific changes resulting from the surveys are discussed in outcomes assessment reports for individual academic programs. All OSU programs have begun to use results of the annual alumni surveys in the five-year academic program reviews coordinated by Academic Affairs and, where applicable, as part of professional accreditation self-studies and reports. For many academic programs, the alumni surveys are now a cornerstone of their outcomes assessment efforts, and results are regularly used in curriculum planning.

The NSSE obtains information about participation in programs and activities provided for learning and personal development. Results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. The NSSE enables comparison between OSU and peer institutions in areas of academic challenge, student involvement in active and collaborative learning, student interaction with faculty, educational experiences, and campus environment. The NSSE also includes items related to student satisfaction. OSU participated in the NSSE in 2000, 2002, and 2005.4.41

The 2000 and 2002 NSSE survey results have stimulated a great deal of conversation among OSU leaders and faculty groups and an unprecedented amount of action resulting from a university-wide survey. One reason is that the NSSE succinctly targets academic quality issues of great concern to faculty members and issues that can be directly tied to program-level curriculum planning. The NSSE also provides data on areas of interest for program accreditation.

CHES and COE are taking steps to collect more NSSE survey data from their students to have sufficient sample sizes to evaluate student engagement at the program level and to make program-level changes as needed. COE, for example, included additional NSSE-type questions that probed more deeply into diversity issues, an area of concern for that college's NCATE accreditation. SSB conducted a similar local version of the NSSE in spring 2004. These colleges developed faculty working groups to examine their college-level results from the 2000 and 2002 NSSE survey. These groups also developed a local version of the survey to meet their programming concerns and analyzed results from these locally administered surveys. In addition to these college-level responses, a few individual academic programs, such as those in the Zoology Department, are integrating NSSE survey questions into their existing senior surveys to obtain larger sample sizes and more meaningful results on topics of particular concern.

The Noel-Levitz, Inc. Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) is administered each year on the OSU-Tulsa campus because of its rapid growth in enrollment. This survey provides an effective means for monitoring students' perceptions of programs and services and for incorporating their feedback into the development of programs and services on that campus. The SSI measures student satisfaction using 12 composite scales: academic advising effectiveness, campus climate, campus life, campus support services, concern for the individual, instructional effectiveness, recruitment and financial aid effectiveness, registration effectiveness, responsiveness to diverse populations, safety and security, service excellence, and student centeredness. The results enable comparison with other institutions and year-to-year comparisons within the institution.

Assessment is funded through a per-credit-hour fee. Each academic unit within the university may request internal funds to support its assessment efforts. In many cases, this assessment has included research assistantships for students working with faculty members to conduct the various elements of assessment.

Implementation of program improvements based upon assessment is the responsibility of the unit managing the assessment plan. Program directors can learn about assessment methods being used effectively by other programs by reviewing published outcomes assessment reports.

Criterion 4d

The organization provides support to ensure that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.

Various OSU administrative units assist in creating an environment that encourages the responsible discovery, acquisition, and application of knowledge through efforts to make faculty, staff, and students aware of the values of such an environment. All of these units maintain websites that are regularly updated with information about OSU policies in regard to such issues as scientific misconduct, intellectual property rights, use of human subjects, use and care of animal subjects, plagiarism, sexual discrimination, and disability services. In addition, these offices provide printed documents, seminars, and consulting services.

Institutional Support for Applying Knowledge Responsibly

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President4.42 distributes information concerning intellectual property in the form of the Faculty Handbook,4.43 which summarizes policies relating to patents, copyrights, and charges of academic misconduct/dishonesty. Students are made aware of the policies on academic integrity (including proper citation of work) in the Student Rights and Responsibilities document. The Office of Academic Affairs also distributes a syllabus attachment4.44 with a brief summary of policies and encourages all faculty members to include it, or similar statements, in every syllabus.

In spring 2004, the Provost appointed a Committee on Academic Integrity to revise the policy on academic integrity and to plan educational campaigns for faculty, staff, and students to raise awareness of the responsibility for academic integrity. A survey of faculty, teaching assistants, and students documented behaviors and perceptions related to academic integrity. Results were shared with a variety of constituents, including Faculty Council, the Council of Deans, Student Government Association, and other student groups.

Research compliance has been centralized as a separate department within the Division of Research, and resources have been provided for staffing and providing administrative support to the individual compliance committees. OSU's Office of University Research Compliance4.45 (OURC) is responsible for promoting integrity in several research-related areas. Among these are management of conflicts of interest issues, use of human subjects, use and care of animal subjects, and management of research using biohazardous materials, radiation, and research lasers. The Conflict of Interest4.46 policy requires that investigators submit conflict of interest documents only when they apply to federal programs requiring evidence of this disclosure. The individual colleges' research offices ensure that their faculties are aware of this responsibility. The focus is on appropriate disclosure and management of conflicts. Timely disclosure of conflicts and the development, implementation, and oversight of a plan to manage these conflicts are essential. It is expected that a draft of a revised conflict of interest policy will be completed and accepted in 2005.

As required by OSU Policies and Procedures Letter 4-0125,4.47 an investigation was recently conducted into the allegations of scientific misconduct against a faculty member. The initial inquiry and subsequent formal investigation were conducted according to the policy and within the time frame required by the policy. The details of the reports of the inquiry and investigation committees are confidential. The faculty member is no longer teaching at Oklahoma State University.

Responsibility in acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge is further demonstrated in policy related to patents and copyrights. In 1995, the Oklahoma State Legislature authorized revenue sharing with the creator of patented inventions, copyrighted publications, and sales of equity shares in the sale of companies established as a result of inventions and copyrights. OSU's intellectual property policy allows researchers to receive 50% of the royalties earned from inventions and copyrights. Twenty-one patents have been issued since 1999. The patenting process is facilitated through the Office of Intellectual Property Management4.48 (IPM).

IPM assists college research offices and the Office of University Research Services4.49 (OURS) in reviewing intellectual property clauses in sponsored research agreements and confidentiality agreements. Assistance may include conversations with staff and/or principal investigator(s) involved in a research project, as well as rewriting and/or negotiating intellectual property clauses on behalf of OSU. In addition, IPM has presented seminars to familiarize faculty, staff, and students with their rights and responsibilities. For example, OSU's outside patent counsel presented a two-part intellectual property seminar. The first part addressed, “Considerations in the Patenting of University R&D,” and the second part addressed, “Strategies in the Commercialization of University R&D.” IPM also provided a seminar titled, “Hot Topics in Intellectual Property and University R&D,” in April 2004. A fall 2004 seminar addressed confidentiality issues with respect to university research and development. IPM plans to present at least two of these types of seminars annually. As part of OSU Research Week each spring,4.50 IPM also participates in a public forum, which entails a group of activities sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer.

OSU's Office of University Research Compliance4.51 oversees several committees whose responsibilities are dictated by federal legislation and university policy. Human subject research is overseen by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Animal care and use is governed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Centralizing the burdensome administrative functions has freed the IRB and IACUC chairs and committees to be much more involved with the investigators as they develop and research protocols. The review process has been streamlined through the use of information technology. The overall philosophy of the OURC is that compliance is an integral feature in the responsible conduct of research. The OURC helps investigators understand their compliance responsibilities and the steps to accomplish them. Information is disseminated in a variety of ways. OURC sends letters to department heads at least annually offering to make presentations in individual classes or departmental meetings. Training modules have been developed in-house and are linked via the internet to quality programs offered by the oversight entities and other universities.

A number of actions have been taken to improve OURC's effectiveness. The compliance budget has been increased each year for the past five years. Currently, both the IRB and the IACUC are engaged in a self-study in preparation for accreditation. The OURC and CAS paid to have a course developed in the “Responsible Conduct of Research.” Modules can be used as a full course or individually. Core areas such as data ownership, conflict of interest, and scientific misconduct are emphasized, and other existing training about using human subjects and animal models is included. The course has been well received and serves as a model course in the responsible conduct of research. The OURC also has employed experts from other universities to present seminars to faculty, staff, and administrators on the rights and responsibilities of research using humans and animals. Currently, OURC's staff is benchmarking other universities' IRBs for best practices.

The Student Conduct Office4.52 publishes Student Rights and Responsibilities (R&R) Governing Student Behavior, which summarizes the OSU Academic Misconduct and Dishonesty Policy.4.53 The dishonesty policy includes a definition for plagiarism. The R&R document is distributed to students through the Daily O'Collegian, and copies are placed in the college student academic services offices across campus. The office also distributes a brochure regarding academic dishonesty for students and one for faculty. Presentations about academic dishonesty are made to freshmen orientation classes in several colleges.

Support for Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

Support for the responsible acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge can take a variety of forms, including policy, funding, personnel, assigned or released time, technology, and more.

As stated earlier, OSU's excellent undergraduate Wentz Scholarship program allows students to compete for funds to undertake a research project with a faculty mentor. In addition, several other support programs exist for students to acquire and discover knowledge.

The Graduate College conducts Training in the Professoriate Seminars4.54 (TIPS) each year for faculty and graduate assistants, one component of which addresses research topics and publication. In addition, the OURS seminar titled, “Research Fundamentals for Faculty,” is geared toward new faculty and describes OSU research policies and procedures.

In 2004-2005, the VPR hired a consultant for a two-day seminar to train new researchers, both faculty and students, in proposal preparation. In addition, a semester-long workshop was offered to about 30 researchers nominated by college deans. Each participant was required to prepare a research proposal.

Some colleges have added to these centralized programs. For example, COE has internally funded a faculty development series during several recent years. These programs have primarily offered seminars for less experienced faculty members or graduate students and have had varying success in meeting faculty needs. Records indicate that faculty and students from several colleges and other units attended these developmental sessions.

Early in their academic careers at OSU, students are introduced through orientation programs to the library and its range of services. Similarly, new faculty scholars are provided training on library services. The library strives to be a place where everyone is free to pursue knowledge without fear of disclosure or censorship. The library collaborates with faculty to facilitate long-term preservation of their scholarly output and its availability to scholars worldwide by addressing issues of copyright, compliance with electronic publishing and archival standards, and evolving technology. At the same time, emphasis is placed on educational efforts concerning copyright and other intellectual property issues. Library faculty members have a substantial record of participation in state and national initiatives addressing library and information issues.

By OSU policy, work loads are determined at the departmental level within the general guidelines of Policy and Procedure Letter 2-0110.4.55 That workload is defined as including (1) teaching, (2) research, and (3) service. However, there is tremendous variation in individual workloads. In some units, it is common to find faculty members who teach three or four regular courses per semester, while faculty members at the same rank in other units may have no assigned teaching loads. Within the framework of Policy and Procedure Letter 2-0110, all faculty members are expected to participate in the acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge.

In recent years, the university announced a seed-grant program. Several investigators spent a substantial amount of time developing proposals. Although some proposals were approved for funding, and the respective scholars notified, funding for all these projects was subsequently cancelled because of budget cuts.

Some colleges provide internal competitive monies to assist with research. As an example, COE and CHES include offices of research support to provide management and accounting services to faculty involved in grant and contract programs. In addition, COE has offered a competitive incentive grant program to faculty. This program has varied in funding levels and participation over the past several years, but has excluded salary support for faculty.

The Dean's Incentive Grant (DIG) program in CAS is more than 20 years old and provides limited funds (currently $3,000) to new faculty members in their first two years at OSU as start-up funding for their research programs.

Going beyond incentive programs, the CAS Summer Research program provides one month of summer salary for research activities (collecting preliminary data in advance of writing a grant proposal, preparing a grant proposal, finishing manuscripts, etc.). This program is open to any CAS faculty member, and awards are made based on a short proposal. A companion program provides an additional $1,000 for research-related travel.

One indicator of inadequate support for scholars in acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge has been the limited funding for graduate research assistants. Funding for graduate assistants, whether for teaching or research, has fared similarly to funding for faculty salaries. Currently, many programs at OSU are finding that graduate assistant stipends and related benefits are between 50-60% of those packages available for graduate assistants at peer institutions. In some colleges, research assistants have been funded only through grant programs. If a faculty member has not been successful in acquiring grant and contract funds, no graduate research assistance is available.

The OSU administration acknowledges that there are many challenges across all colleges. These include the need to enhance fellowship dollars and assistantship monies. The administration hopes to address these needs as more funds become available.

Criterion Four Conclusion


  1. OSU is committed to the scholarly development of students, staff, faculty, and administration and to the provision of programs that promote that development.
  2. National and international recognition for numerous scholarly activities span the spectrum from advanced faculty research to student engagement in general education.
  3. Strong scholar support for students is shown through the Office of Scholar Development and Recognition.
  4. The Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence provides support for a variety of scholarly activities that promote excellent teaching and learning effectiveness.

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Improve aspects of the general education courses identified through general education assessment.
    ACTION: Use the faculty governance structure involving General Education Assessment Committee, Assessment Council, and Faculty Council, to work in conjunction to increase funding for and promote improvement in general education courses.
  2. Increase the effectiveness of programs that provide opportunity for scholarly activities for students, including study abroad programs and participation in internships.
    ACTION:The Study Abroad Office and Career Services should dedicate the time, effort, and money necessary to the programs that support these experiences so that these activities become the norm at OSU.
  3. Locate the necessary funding for the scholarly network essential to support and produce excellent research.
    ACTION:Set as a high priority investment in the support of scholarly activities, such as competitive stipends for graduate assistantships and expansion of the library's collection and subscriptions.

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service

As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.

As a land-grant university, OSU serves the common good through its commitment to broadly educate students and constituents, support worthwhile research, and disseminate useful information to the public. OSU serves its constituency in diverse ways, ranging from the multifaceted offerings of its fine and performing arts programming to innovative research that positively affects human health. Planning efforts are driven by its mission, core values, and a dedication to understanding changing social, demographic, economic, and technological factors that affect the university and its constituents.

Core Component 5a

The organization learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations.

OSU's many entities continually evaluate their effectiveness in meeting their constituents' needs. When it is found that these needs are not being met in the most effective way, changes in existing programs and services are implemented, and innovative ideas for new programs are developed.

Mission and Resources

From its birth more than 100 years ago, OSU has been charged with and supported in its interaction with the state's citizens in a very broad context. Ownership by the people through tax support and private funding, along with the direction provided by the university's land-grant mission and responsibilities, ensure that all capital entrusted to the university provides direct support to the constituencies and communities of Oklahoma.

Identifying Constituencies

While it may be simplistic to say that OSU's constituency base is “everyone,” it does cross a wide and diverse spectrum. It includes, but is not limited to, enrolled students; the Oklahoma public; the larger public; nongovernmental agencies (NGO); local, regional, and international educational and business entities; alumni; donors; faculty; staff; Oklahoma youth; and future generations of all of these users. OSU's institutional mechanisms that connect with and draw on these groups reflect their diversity and OSU's commitment to engage and serve its constituents in meaningful ways.

Listening to Constituencies

OSU exhibits evidence of strong, meaningful relationships with its constituencies and an ongoing evaluation of its capacity to respond to their needs and expectations. Throughout the university, advisory committees and user groups provide input that is used to assure that the distinctive nature of OSU's land-grant mission is connected to the people, focused on learning, and future-oriented. A well-organized and effective assessment program provides a wealth of information to use in determining whether learning goals and objectives are being met. Faculty members engage in strategic planning, development, and revision of individual and unit mission and vision statements. Programs are maintained, updated, and created to respond to constituents' preferences and anticipated needs. In addition, faculty professional development and recruitment evolves as existing and future needs are identified. Donor recruitment and counsel also are integral to determining constituent needs.

Needs assessments have been conducted by OSU units in such diverse areas as community economic development, diabetes education and research, healthy living, estate planning, small business strategies, student enrichment, junior college faculty professional development, international programs development, art appreciation, social foundations, and public education programs and systems. Program advisory boards and assessment data are available to be used to improve outreach and extension programs, as well as to improve the relevance of undergraduate and graduate instruction and research. Many units periodically survey constituents, including graduates, alumni, employers, and users of OSU products in governmental and NGO agencies and organizations. Many faculty members also serve on public and NGO boards and planning committees.

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs5.1 provides an example of a unit that serves the needs of many different constituents. Student Affairs' primary constituent group is students, but the office also serves students' families, faculty, staff, and community members. The Student Affairs mission speaks to student development, which includes academic support and success, cultural enrichment, leadership development, and service to others. Its programs serve the specialized and unique needs of all students, including minority and underrepresented students, international students, off-campus students, students with disabilities, and others.

Student Affairs' arts, cultural, recreational, social, and other programs reach wide constituencies of the university and surrounding communities. Student Affairs also uses student advisory groups to help plan, organize, and facilitate meaningful events, such as “Orange Peel,”5.2 a student-run extravaganza featuring nationally known musicians and comedians that is held every year prior to the first home football game. “ShowDown,” a similar event started in 2005, is held during the spring. Both of these events are open to the public and draw huge crowds from around the state and beyond.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service5.3 (OCES) is based in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources5.4 (DASNR) and the College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES). OCES conducted public listening sessions in all 77 Oklahoma counties. Major issues identified by most counties include community and economic development, family and home issues, schools and education, infrastructure, and community services. This input, along with comments from county program advisory committees, has been shared with professional staff, faculty, and the state legislature. The input also has been analyzed and is the basis for a comprehensive review of OCES and DASNR, with focus on the current and future needs of Oklahomans across the state.

In addition, the following groups provide ongoing assistance in the OCES planning processes:

OCES's agriculture educators, area agronomists, and state specialists continue to deliver a variety of educational opportunities through extensive field demonstrations, field scouting, educational meetings, printed materials, grower meetings, websites, and other delivery techniques.

OSU's International Education and Outreach5.5 (IEO) unit also is mission-oriented. Its activities focus on engaging with state, national, and international communities to fulfill compelling educational needs and advance the development of the state. To further this goal, IEO's international bureaus work with state and federal governments and private partners to support the Oklahoma International Strategic Plan to promote international trade and investment, education, and global awareness. IEO also promotes study-abroad programs. OSU has reciprocal exchange agreements with 61 institutions in 29 countries. In addition, the university participates in the National Student Exchange, making it possible for OSU students to receive credit for studying at another U.S. institution for a semester or academic year.

College departments and units throughout the university identify constituents, determine their needs, and convert this information into appropriate unit or program objectives. After changes are made, they decide whether objectives satisfy constituent needs. As an example, the School of Chemical Engineering5.6 (CHENG) identified the constituents of its undergraduate programs as being students, alumni, employers, citizens, and faculty. CHENG constituents are engaged through the following means:

CHENG classifies needs according to who does (or should) have control and responsibility for implementing needed actions. Narrowly defined needs that can be addressed through textbook or class assignment changes are implemented by instructors. Broader needs that may have to be addressed through curriculum sequence changes and the learning objectives of core CHENG classes are addressed by CHENG faculty. The broadest needs that will affect issues such as program outcomes or school priorities are under the control of the entire constituency.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) receives feedback from its constituents in several ways. CAS Associates (alumni and friends of the college) assist by providing recommendations concerning a variety of initiatives and activities. Advisory boards are used in numerous areas, such as the Star Schools HBL4U project, a five-year online educational venture involving selected CAS, College of Education (COE), and Spears School of Business (SSB) faculty members in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education. CAS Outreach programs provide evaluation forms to participants to collect feedback, including recommendations for improving existing programs and new programming topics. The unit also periodically visits businesses and corporations throughout the state to gain input about their training and development needs.

OSU's distance education efforts began in the 1920s with the establishment of correspondence courses and extension radio programs. Now, each year, OSU offers 200 electronic distance education courses that generate 2,000 enrollments. Another 2,000 distance-learning students enroll in the print-based correspondence study courses. Eleven degrees are offered through distance education. More than 300 individuals have completed degrees delivered solely by distance-education technology. Many other students have used distance education credit courses to complete portions of their degree work or simply to gain knowledge in a certain area. On a daily basis, OSU staff members work with companies such as Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, OG&E, Goodyear, MerCruiser, Boeing Company, Seagate Technology, Southwestern Bell, Integris Health Center, Frontier Electric Systems, Kerr McGee Corporation, and Sun Microsystems to deliver distance-education degree programs. In addition to Oklahoma students, outreach staff deliver distance-education programs to students in Kansas, Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Virginia, to name a few. Outside the United States, students in India, Japan, Canada, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom have enrolled in OSU courses.

Support Services Meet Constituent Needs

OSU's University Counseling Services5.7 (UCS) and Student Disabilities Services5.8 (SDS) meet the needs of a variety of constituents. The units design workshops and presentations based on the needs of constituents. The primary focus of UCS is to provide one-on-one counseling for students to assist them in areas that include the transition from home to college and identifying a purpose and direction in their lives. USC also provides crisis response teams and critical incident stress debriefing. SDS reviews and revises its computer-based resource list and its web page in order to meet user needs. In addition, SDS collaborates with other postsecondary institutions to share information and establish consistent standards of practice, and it partners with other disability organizations to address common issues.

The Student Conduct Office5.9 in compliance with the FERPA guidelines responds to requests from faculty and staff about the issue of student behavior, including academic dishonesty and disruptive student behavior in the classroom. Feedback from Student Conduct Committee members (faculty, staff, and students) about the training programs and the education committee members is positive. The office also responds to requests for discipline information about students who are applying for professional programs, study abroad programs, and employment with the federal government.

OSU's Multicultural Student Center5.10 (MSC) responds to community needs with outreach programs, including diversity training and the supervision of student programming. Data gathered through internal and external surveys indicate that MSC's activities are well received.

Constituent needs also are the top concern for Career Services and the Career Resource Center. Career Services5.11 assesses career needs to develop new programs and services. The center responds to the expressed needs of constituents by providing individual services and outreach programs. Staff members participate in professional continuing education programs relevant to the services they provide. Career Services also collaborates with other colleges and universities through reciprocal career services agreements. The connection of Career Services staff to individual colleges is clear since the personnel are half-time at the university level and half-time at the college level. To help colleagues at other universities, Career Services negotiated internet subscription services that lowered the expenses for all Big 12 institutions. OSU Career Services also is the established leader in the state in reaching out to employers and providing them with a connection to OSU graduates. An example of this effort is the website, HireOSUGrads.com, and the OSU 1000 initiative.

The Career Resource Center5.12 organizes an annual open house to link faculty, advisors, and services to aid in the career development of students. In addition to current students, prospective students and alumni have free access to the Career Resource Center to explore possible majors and careers.

Student Union and Campus Life services and programs are evaluated through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), focus groups, and website feedback. Also, two academic classes (Marketing 4373 and Agricultural Research 6223) are reviewing services and benefits offered through the OSU Volunteer Center. One of the Volunteer Center's projects was hosting a “Youth Listening Conference” aimed at junior and senior high students and their perceptions of crisis issues and how to best address them. The center worked with local youth services organizations and public school officials. Also, Student Union and Campus Life activities and recognition involve the following:

OSU's Campus Recreation unit5.13 reports that the desires and needs of its constituency determine the makeup and design of its facilities and the types of recreational equipment it provides. The constituency includes such diverse populations as young adults, mature adults, and seniors. OSU's recreational offerings range from high impact workouts to aquatic, competitive, and outdoor recreation. Needs for recreation are met through a wide variety of facilities and recreational fields both on- and off-campus. Additionally, external community needs are met through OSU's alumni eligibility program, special events, and the extension of outdoor recreation and education to Camp Redlands.5.14

OSU's Wes Watkins Center5.15 is a state-of-the-art conference facility that helps foster interaction between the OSU community and its various constituents for the enhancement of economic development, international trade and education, and extension/outreach programs and activities. The center can accommodate multiple events and is well-suited for events with combined needs, such as product demonstrations and exhibitions or other services planned in conjunction with conferences, meetings, workshops, or training seminars. The conference and meeting services staff is on site to assist in planning events and handling details that make for successful meetings. Annually, over 300 events involving more than 40,000 individuals are held in the facility.

University Health Services5.16 (UHS) peer educators and health educators actively participate in orientation and informational programs and cooperate with the Northern Oklahoma College Gateway program to insure that all members of the university community have the opportunity to become aware of health issues and services. UHS also has been a leader in the development of policies and procedures to comply with federal and state laws and regulations, including HIPAA and Oklahoma immunization requirements. In addition, UHS led campus preparations, and coordinated with county and state health departments, in preparation for a possible SARS outbreak.

Impact of State Funding Reduction

State-funded support of OCES and other outreach activities was reduced significantly in recent years. Units have made adjustments to continue the extension/outreach mission of the university. Fortunately, state support for OCES has been partially restored and most outreach units have become self-supporting.

A recent change is that faculty and staff involved with extension and outreach activities are now required to emphasize the generation of extramural funds. With that, the goals, objectives, and targeted audiences also will likely change. How that will change the future orientation of the university's outreach and extension efforts deserves community discussion that has not yet taken place.

Core Component 5b

The organization has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities.

OSU serves its constituents through a philosophy of engagement, a two-way relationship in which the university is open to learning from those whom it serves. As a university with a well-established land-grant tradition, OSU has in place many systems that give it a unique capacity to identify, interact, and serve its many constituents.

Engagement and Service

The expectation that OSU will be closely engaged with people throughout the state is as firmly held as the expectation that its faculty members will be engaged with peer professionals in their disciplines. Part of OSU's heritage is the belief that constituent input and peer input are both vital as programs are designed and improved.

The university maintains a connection with the people of Oklahoma as individuals, but also as communities, governmental units, nongovernmental organizations of various types and interests, and workers and managers of units providing goods and services to the state. For example, all of the colleges can point to an array of programs for people in state and county government who deliver services. These include elected officials, county clerks and appraisers, and local government technology managers. Colleges have degrees and outreach programs which respond to the direct needs of these constituencies, for example telecommunications management, fire and emergency services management, health care, telemedicine delivery, food technology, new product development, and manufacturing extension services. Outreach partnerships often exist between OSU and the public through faculty members who are doing applied research involving community members, internship programs, and newly hired graduates who help transfer new knowledge into the workplace. In addition, there is an impressive list of endowed chairs and professorships generated as a result of donors understanding the advantages of ongoing linkage with the expertise of college faculty and staff members.

Nearly every campus unit surveyed reports having one, and in many cases, multiple advisory boards involving alumni, industry experts, and others from whom the unit seeks input on strategies, new directions, and other issues that will shape the programs it offers.

Key aspects of OSU's philosophy are collaboration with and recognition of the value of a variety of partnerships in strengthening its engagement with internal and external constituencies. One example of OSU's engagement is provided by the School of International Studies. It plays a leadership role in negotiating and designing numerous reciprocal programs with other countries, including educational and environmental programs in Italy, educational programs in Mexico, and small business programs in Brazil. The programs are delivered by OSU's colleges.

Specific examples of service through engagement include the following:

Another striking example of engagement and collaboration can be found at the OSU Library. Library staff members in the Electronic Publishing Center5.17 (EPC) have offered their expertise to organizations such as the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences and the Oklahoma Historical Society to electronically publish and make available, at no cost to the public, volumes of material. These materials include the full text of the Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Oklahoma, an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. In addition, the OSU Library serves a wide constituency with its Patent and Trademark Library, the only U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Library in the state. The OSU Library also houses the Digitized Indian Affairs Laws and Treaties data file, which is the primary source of U.S. treaties, laws, and executive orders pertaining to Native American tribes. This freely available online source, created by the EPC, is used by Native American tribes, as well as by lawyers, journalists, and scholars around the world.

OSU engages with its constituents through many forms of communication within its community. Examples of highly effective communication abound at OSU:

Core Component 5c

The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.

OSU continually develops and improves its capacity and commitment to respond to the needs of its constituency. University faculty and staff members understand that as a land-grant university, OSU serves the needs of citizens of all economic levels and many diverse personal circumstances and interests.

A Culture of Service

OSU creates and supports a culture of service. Many clubs and organizations, including Greek Life,5.18 require community service as a fundamental element of their organizations. This service is monitored and recorded on the students' activity transcripts.

Across the university, faculty members are expected to serve on boards from the local to international level and to become involved in other service-oriented endeavors. Creative collaborative relationships that match faculty expertise with identified community needs also are supported. Faculty involvement with public entities, such as the SSB faculty's work with the Governor's International Team and District Export Council, lends scholarly expertise to these groups and brings the groups to the campus. This interaction increases opportunities for discovery of new areas of mutual interest that often lead to new partnerships in service and research.

Other examples include the following:

The Student Government Association (SGA) serves the local community by offering two major service days in addition to the hundreds of hours students normally spend involved in community service. These two programs are “The Big Event” and “Into the Streets.” Hundreds of letters express praise and thanks for student service in the community. Approximately 2,000 students, faculty, and community members participate in these annual projects. OSU also participates in civic engagement through such organizations as “Vocal Oklahomans in Civic Engagement” (VOICE) and “Campus Compact.” Service learning opportunities also are provided in every college. In addition, Student Affairs is launching service opportunities dealing with local and area disaster response, and division representatives regularly meet with neighborhood associations, police, and city council members to discuss various issues and concerns.

Responding to Constituent Needs

The essence of successful planning for outreach and service is the anticipation of and innovation in meeting constituents' future needs. This requires looking ahead not only to the next program or presentation, but to the completion of the current operational cycle and beyond to future-oriented analyses of trends and alternative scenarios.

As previously noted, OSU's extension and outreach units regularly plan, implement, and evaluate programs with direct and frequent consultation between those who use those services and those who develop them. Continual objective, research-based evaluation of needs, along with projections by those involved with the university's research and education mission, ensures that programs will serve as foundations for future learning and will improve and adapt as the social and economic environment changes.

Faculty and administrative professionals routinely assess their units' and the system's capacity to respond to current and long-term needs. Professional development, reorganization, faculty and staff recruitment, and budget requests are based on these assessments. Strengths and weaknesses vary by unit and program. Cooperation, communication, and dedication among faculty and staff members reduce the adverse effects of short-term uncertainty as changes are made to address weaknesses and to respond to high priority challenges.

One of OSU's most distinctive commitments is its ongoing connection to the state's rural and non-metropolitan populations even in an increasingly urbanized society. Evidence of this commitment is provided by OCES's implementation of the “Initiative for the Future of Rural Oklahoma,”5.19 which provides leadership and skill-building training in selected communities. This outreach effort is aimed at developing community-level and county-level leadership training programs in rural communities. The goals of the program are to enhance the effectiveness of community leaders and extension educators in addressing critical issues in the community and county, especially issues relating to leadership and community economic development, and to demonstrate the full range of assistance available from OCES. The program also provides a long-term commitment to selected communities in order to help implement development efforts, thoroughly evaluate the impact of pilot projects, and set the stage for ongoing programs.

DASNR, CHES, and other colleges also develop educational programs in-house for requesting businesses, corporations, and entrepreneurs, as well as industry-focused programs. Most OSU colleges have partnered with international institutions to develop and deliver programs to support international trade, education, and development, as well as international awareness. In addition, DASNR has partnered with the Local Government Technology Council (LGTC) to provide initial and continuing training to local and county officials.

OSU responds to constituents' needs by making curriculum changes in response to information gained from those constituents. For example, many DASNR departments, such as Forestry and Agricultural Economics have reshaped programs and curricula as a result of input from alumni, businesses served by these units, and employers of graduates. Many units have capstone courses that help students integrate their knowledge and apply it to a “real world” problem. The environmental science capstone is one example. Student teams have worked with the city of Tulsa on air quality standards and with farmers and communities on waste management issues. Community leaders and farm and business managers who have received the results of these efforts have high praise for the students and the insights or resolutions the students provide.

CHES also works to address community issues. Examples include the video tape mentioned earlier, “Initiative for the Future of Rural Oklahoma,” and collaboration with other education sectors through its “21st Century” and other after-school programs.

As part of its responsive approach, OSU recognizes that workforce development education can exist alongside classical general education. For example, in addition to traditional academic classes, CEAT provides outreach programs in industrial management and manufacturing, and CHES supports advanced research in nutrition (often working with members of the community) and the latest in textiles designed to protect emergency workers and military personnel. In addition, the SSB supports the budding inventor or innovator who is trying to bring a new product or service to the marketplace. These types of services make OSU unique and distinctive.

Globalization and diversity are important to OSU's many constituents. The majority of the university's units respond to these issues through a general acknowledgment of their importance and through very specific components of courses and programs. While OSU's master's degree program in international studies is one of the most intensive and obvious components of the global focus, there are many other contributions. Examples include the development of a database known as OKSource5.20 for international businesses; multiple college-organized credit courses and foreign experiences in international education; nationally recognized speakers brought to campus to speak about current international topics; and formal cooperative relationships and exchanges with universities in other nations.

Extension and outreach activities are integral to OSU's ability to respond quickly and effectively to constituent needs. The units that provide these services strive to educate everyone who wants to learn and to provide options for those who learn best through innovative approaches. Their students often are at very different stages in life than the traditional college student, and they may be located in another area and/or have little time to learn. Their reasons for wanting to learn and exchange ideas also may differ. While large numbers of traditional programs are presented annually by the OCES and college outreach divisions, these programs are fine-tuned and improved by constant evaluation and feedback from constituents. Resulting innovations help ensure a learning-focused attitude. One example is the OSU Library's projects mentioned earlier, to bring the latest in digital services to the people of Oklahoma, as well as to the OSU community. These projects address the special interests of diverse groups, such as the Native American population. The library received the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award from the American Library Association, the only U.S. academic library to be so honored in 1997 and 2004, for its outstanding efforts to promote its collections and physical resources to the university and the larger statewide community.

Other examples of responsive and learning-focused innovations include an array of leadership programs for both OSU staff and community members. Life experiences, exchanges with professionals, and travel all enhance the traditional descriptive and analytical teaching processes for these adult learners. Integrative experiences, perhaps best exemplified by the senior-level “capstone” course required in many majors, also have influenced outreach and service programs. Enriching experiences, such as national and international travel, internships, and knowledge gained by faculty members who have taken sabbaticals, all reinforce OSU's goal of providing multiple methods of learning for diverse audiences.

All areas of OSU are responsive and accountable to their constituents. For example, representatives from the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre, which receive funding from the Student Activity Fee, meet annually with a student committee to justify their programs and present future budgets. The committee decides to continue, decrease, or increase funding for the following year. The committee also provides feedback and recommendations on constituency representation and, occasionally, on programming.

In 1997, OSU's administration decided to institute a university transit system to meet constituent needs. The university now provides bus transportation around the OSU-Stillwater campus and the Stillwater community and a shuttle service to the OSU-Tulsa campus and to locations in Oklahoma City. Transit usage has increased tremendously since the service began and schedules and routes have been adjusted to address constituent needs. The Parking and Transit Services website5.21 provides full information about parking and transit, including bus schedules, parking lot maps, and purchase of parking permits.

The OSU Child Development Laboratory5.22 (CDL) has a rich tradition of excellence in early childhood education. The CDL was established in 1924, and the present $2-million facility opened in 1983. Today, the CDL is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children5.23 and is rated as a three-star facility by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The CDL exemplifies OSU's mission of instruction, research, and service, by training students and facilitating faculty research in early childhood education, human growth and development, social interaction, language development, cognitive development, and early childhood curriculum. In addition, the CDL offers community service in the form of quality child care, parenting programs, and in-service teacher education.

OSU's Ethics Center,5.24 sponsored and operated by the OSU Philosophy Department, is the only college or university ethics institute or center in the state. It does not seek to dictate values, but is committed to promoting moral reflection and deliberation in personal, professional, community, and civic life. The Ethics Center attempts to facilitate discussion of ethical questions facing society by organizing and promoting workshops, symposia, conferences, and other forums where professional ethicists, faculty, students, and the general public can study and discuss relevant topics. The Ethics Center is committed to building a bridge between the academy and the general public and to providing a valuable service to constituents.

OSU's Fire Service Training and Fire Service Publications have long provided training for the fire service profession, as well as public fire-safety education. In the wake of 9-11, these entities play an even more critical role in training first responders. OSU's fire service publications and training professionals are in demand worldwide. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently funded OSU's development of two new public fire safety programs for the most at-risk segments of the population — people with disabilities and children three to five years of age. The project will involve faculty from OSU's School of Fire Protection and Safety Technology and ABLE Tech, an OSU Seretean Wellness Center program that provides assistive technologies information and services to disabled Oklahomans statewide.

OSU's sensor and sensor-related research and technology transfer also have received wide recognition in regard to homeland security efforts. OSU plans to build on its reputation and establish a national and international presence in sensor and sensor-related research by expanding research efforts beyond the university. Through these efforts, OSU plans to stimulate economic development, encourage innovation, and create jobs. OSU also plans to grow a knowledge-based economy through the creation of sensor and sensor-related technology companies in the state and to support the state's EDGE economic development initiative to create the “Research Capital of the Plains.”

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, OSU is the safest campus in the Big 12 Conference, thanks to the efforts of OSU's Police Department.5.25 OSU's police force is one of the best in the nation and was the first police force in the state to receive accreditation from the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police. OSU's “Blue Light Emergency Phone System,” which instantly connects someone needing immediate assistance to a 911 operator, has served as a model for systems at universities across the country. The department is always ready to respond with a full range of police resources, which include area patrols, criminal investigations, crime prevention, facilities security analysis, and event planning as well as parking management and enforcement. In addition, members of the department serve on university and community committees, provide training and specialized presentations to campus organizations and living groups, participate in the design and installation of safety and traffic control devices, and act as special advisors to all campus departments and administration. OSU police officers also provide protection, lake patrol, and water rescue operations at OSU's Lake Carl Blackwell and surrounding recreational areas.

OSU's Center for Science Literacy (CSL) is helping public school students by educating teachers across the state in the best methods for teaching science. CSL is Oklahoma's leader in implementing systemic reform in science and math teaching by using inquiry-based methodology. CSL also sponsors professional development for K-12 science teachers and development of cutting edge, web-based resources for classroom teachers. CSL strives to serve the public by helping provide a meaningful science experience for all students, regardless of age and geographic location.

The Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers,5.26 headquartered at OSU-Tulsa, was established to recognize one of our country's richest resources, its extended community of internationally known writers. The center also is dedicated to providing opportunities for aspiring writers. The center hosts the Celebration of Books, which brings nationally known writers, artists, and musicians to the OSU-Tulsa campus and provides an outstanding cultural experience for the OSU community and the citizens of the state. To encourage literary efforts, the center also presents awards to authors and sponsors the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. In addition, the center maintains a literary archive of original manuscripts by Oklahoma authors. The executive director, Teresa Miller, also hosts a weekly television show, “Writing Out Loud,” on Oklahoma's public television affiliate. The show features interviews with nationally recognized writers such as Amy Tan, Tony Hillerman, and David McCullough. It also is rebroadcast through the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

OSU has developed several programs in response to the fact that Native Americans are underrepresented in certain fields. One example is the Native Americans into Biological Sciences (NABS) program in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, which has funding of $2 million. The program will strive to interest students early in their careers in pursuing graduate studies and research. To entice students, new courses are being developed in scientific communication, bioethics, and scientific writing. Another example is the American Indians into Psychology program, designed to train students to deliver psychological services in their communities.

Another recent example of responsiveness to constituency needs was the formation of the OSU Parent's Association,5.27 initiated by OSU First Lady Janet Schmidly in 2003-04. Faculty, staff, administration, students, and students' parents all participate in the program. One of the services is free checkups for students' automobiles prior to breaks when students take to the roads.

Responding to Diverse Needs

OSU's mission is unambiguous in regard to diversity. It clearly states that the university must be accountable, self-reflective, and committed to improvement in meeting the needs of diverse constituents. The ways some OSU entities are addressing diversity issues follow:

The renovation of campus recreation facilities and development of diverse recreational and educational programs is in direct response to surveys completed by the Campus Recreation (CR) unit's constituents and CR's desire to meet its constituents' needs. The recreational facilities are a “melting pot” for diverse university and external community members. Bridges of understanding are built through shared recreational, leadership, and educational experiences.

As these examples clearly indicate, OSU responds to the needs of its constituents and continually initiates new programs and courses to address those needs.

Cultural Events, Programs, and Opportunities

OSU provides, sponsors, or encourages many activities, performances, and events that enrich the lives of students, faculty, and staff. For example, the popular and well-supported Allied Arts brings a variety of performers to the OSU campus. Performances have been presented by such well known groups as “The Capitol Steps,” and “The U.S. Army Field Band.” The OSU Speaker's Series has brought a wide spectrum of celebrities including Actor/Comedian Bill Cosby and former First Lady Barbara Bush. The Unseen Cinema series, sponsored by CAS, the School of International Studies, and the Department of English, brings international films, rarely seen in Oklahoma, to the OSU campus.

During the Christmas season, Madrigal Dinners held in the Student Union Ballroom feature the talents of many OSU students. Other OSU cultural events include the Theatre and Music Departments' performances and special showings of various types of art and architecture in the Gardiner Art Gallery and the School of Architecture Gallery. In addition, international student organizations sponsor international fairs and cultural nights to give students a greater awareness of other cultures. The Student Union Activities Board also offers a range of performances and events, and a performance series is presented at the Stillwater Community Center.

KOSU, the university's public radio station, is well supported and offers award-winning local, regional, and national news, special programming, and classical music. However, budgetary considerations and expansion plans, some believe, have lessened the intellectual quality of offerings over recent years.

Core Component 5d

Internal and external constituencies value the services the organization provides.

OSU is committed to providing all its constituents with services they find valuable. This commitment spans OSU's academic and support units and benefits not only OSU's external constituencies, but also its students, faculty, and staff members.

Constituencies Value Interaction with OSU

OSU's constituents demonstrate that they value OSU's services in many ways. They do this by continuing to attend classes, sending their children to OSU, maintaining contact with OSU as alumni, and availing themselves of lifelong learning and cultural opportunities provided by OSU. They also support the university financially. Whether through sold-out theatre, musical, or athletic performances or full classes and requests for specialized training, the university's constituents demonstrate that they value OSU's offerings.

OCES administrators regularly receive communication from extension users about particular programs they value, and each year, more than 200 community leaders visit the Oklahoma State Capitol to talk with legislators about the importance of OCES programs. In addition, nearly 75 4-H program participants hold an annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol to visit with their legislators about the value of the 4-H program.

As previously mentioned, OSU's students regularly provide volunteer services to the community, and community leaders praise their work. OSU's faculty and staff members also regularly donate their time and expertise to countless projects and organizations. While the recipients of these services are grateful, OSU's volunteers report that they receive much satisfaction and enjoyment from their volunteer work.

OSU's external constituents have said that they want educational programs delivered via the latest technologies. OSU has responded by implementing these technologies and providing training for faculty users. As previously noted, in the distance learning arena for business managers, the SSB and CEAT deliver course lectures through CD-distribution and asynchronous learning. The COE delivers programs directly to clustered sites of educational institutions. CAS works closely with K-12 school systems to bring music, art, and speech students directly to the OSU campus. OCES county extension educators are located throughout the state in proximity to its primary constituents to provide on-site assistance in agricultural production areas, health, family and child development, and other areas. Such services are available either individually and/or through seminar and workshop delivery. Constituents demonstrate that they value these innovations by using these services and by often asking for additional services.

Other off-campus services that constituents value include the SSB's Business Speaker Series, which includes the Executive Management Briefings in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Business Forums, which attract more than 7,500 participants annually.

The OSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 18 teams that many members of the community, state, and region enjoy supporting. Strong evidence exists that constituents value these sports experiences. Financial gifts to support athletics have increased 300% over the past five years and the number of donors who contribute $10,000 or more annually has increased by more than 300 during the last three years. A major football stadium improvement initiative has generated gifts, pledges, premium seating amenities, and dedicated student fees of more than $84 million. Football season tickets sales have increased by 28% in the last three years and in each of the past two seasons OSU set all-time season ticket sales records. Men's basketball continues to have sell-out crowds (13,811) with nearly 13,000 season tickets sold annually. The OSU Posse Club, one of the largest athletic booster organizations in the Big 12, boasts nearly 7,000 members who contribute more than $5 million annually in donations, donor seating, and auctions proceeds.

Criterion Five Conclusion


  1. OSU's commitment to engagement and service is broad-based, involving many entities and a wide range of external constituents. When needs are not being met, changes in existing programs and services are implemented and/or new programs developed.
  2. Engagement involves open discussion between the university and those whom the university serves. Nearly every campus unit has one or more advisory boards composed of alumni, industry experts, and others from whom the unit seeks input.
  3. OSU creates and supports a culture of service. Through new programs, courses and services, the university continuously develops and enhances its capacity and commitment to respond to the diverse needs of its constituency.

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Evaluate the social and economic impact of service to external constituencies, enhance the impact and efficiency of service and engagement activities, and assess service-oriented endeavors of students and student organizations through information feedback.
    ACTION:Develop and implement a more systematic approach to assessment for measuring and evaluating these activities.
  2. Identify collaborative relationships that match faculty expertise with changing and increasingly diverse needs of the community and external constituencies.
    ACTION:Develop additional strategies to recognize and track specific needs and utilize disciplinary approaches to effectively meet the diverse needs of OSU's constituencies.
  3. Engage undergraduates in opportunities to incorporate service-learning and civic leadership.
    ACTION:Incorporate to an even greater extent undergraduate student involvement in the university's service and engagement efforts and activities.


As a land-grant university, OSU has a clear and distinct mission to pursue teaching, research/scholarly activity, and outreach/extension priorities. The university has many programs that carry out these priorities, and OSU's vision for the future allows the university to build on its legacy of educational quality and service.

Institutional improvement is an important goal of this accreditation self-study report. Faculty, administrators, staff, and students have studied OSU to assess whether current policies, plans, and practices ensure fulfillment of OSU's mission and the established Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association's accreditation criteria. Through this process, challenges to and opportunities for the institution have been identified. Broad discussions are now focused on how the inherent strengths of the institution can be used to meet challenges and benefit from opportunities.

This self-study report documents many significant accomplishments since OSU's last accreditation process: increased graduation and retention rates, national recognition as a high-quality but affordable university, national rankings for several academic and research programs, development of a nationally recognized scholars' program, improved evaluation and assessment processes, and development of the university's system-wide strategic plan.

The self-study also identified some areas of continued weakness and future challenges. Low faculty salaries and salary compression have a negative effect on building an excellent, stable faculty base. Although the percentage of women at the rank of associate and full professor has increased, the percentage of minority administrators in positions of director and above has declined over the last decade. OSU faces the challenge of effectively implementing the strategic plan to strengthen the institution, address known weaknesses, and efficiently contend with other issues faced by the institution.

This summary provides a brief overview of OSU's self-study report findings and addresses them in regard to four crosscutting themes that each span the HLC criteria: the future-oriented organization, the learning-focused organization, the connected organization, and the distinctive organization.

OSU is a Future-Oriented Organization

OSU's vision for the future is outlined in the university's strategic plans. These documents contain strategic goals, critical success factors, and objectives for addressing educational quality in a diverse, complex, and technological world. OSU's strategic plans were developed to help the system reach higher levels of achievement and recognition in the fulfillment of its mission. The plans will help the university use its resources wisely to maintain, strengthen, and improve the quality of educational programs.

The university has demonstrated that it is future-oriented through careful implementation of several university-wide key initiatives. These include modernizing university business functions, purchasing new technology for student and classroom use, investing in modern housing and new teaching and research facilities, growing the faculty, and ensuring that OSU aligns key research areas with national resources and priorities.

In the last five years, OSU has invested more than $100 million in state-of-the-art campus housing. OSU also has invested heavily in computer software and technology to enhance the classroom experience. The university's Microsoft Campus Agreement provides students with free access to millions of dollars worth of software. OSU also has strived to constantly improve its e-mail and internet-based communication systems to serve students, faculty, and staff. The university's payroll system, reporting of grades, bursar bills, and other business functions are now conducted via e-mail or through the internet.

OSU is making a concerted effort to grow its research program by investing in new facilities and trying to attract the nation's top scientists. Part of a recently passed Higher Education Bond Issue will fund the first phase of a new Science and Technology Center. The five-story center will dramatically improve OSU's research capabilities by providing state-of-the-art laboratories and other research space. Existing laboratories will also be renovated and updated. At OSU-Tulsa, a $14 million Advanced Technology Research Center (ATRC) will focus on the development of next generation composites and materials for industries such as aerospace, biotechnology, telecommunications, and manufacturing. OSU also plans to become part of the Lambda Rail System, the nation's new high-speed communication network for scientific researchers.

OSU is investing in new classroom facilities for the future. Plans call for using $8.8 million in bond issue proceeds to help restore and renovate South Murray Hall. The $16.8 million project will create additional teaching space, classrooms, computer laboratories, and new auditorium lecture halls. A new classroom facility, in partnership with Northern Oklahoma College (NOC), is planned on the north side of campus. NOC has pledged $3 million for the building, and OSU will use $1 million from the bond issue and $3 million from other sources for the project. The building will contain a 250-seat auditorium, numerous lecture halls, computer labs, and other facilities. The building will provide much-needed classroom space for OSU, and a portion of the facility will be used by NOC, which is contributing nearly half the cost. The modern classrooms in this facility that will be used by both institutions reflect the importance of the OSU-NOC Gateway partnership, which allows students who do not meet academic requirements at a comprehensive university to take courses at NOC, and then transfer to OSU.

The “Restore, Reward, and Grow Program,” currently being developed, is one example of a response to current and future needs addressed as a result of the strategic plan. The program is intended to strengthen the faculty, both in terms of quality and quantity, in order to accomplish goals set by the plan. The program will restore 100 faculty positions that were cut as a result of state appropriation reductions in recent years. Current faculty-to-student ratios are not competitive with peer institutions because in the last decade, enrollment has grown at a rate three times that of the faculty. Other aspects of the program will increase average faculty salaries at OSU and increase the number of permanent of faculty members.

In addition, OSU's various internal assessment and evaluation processes, as well as data gathered from outside sources, help the university learn more about the needs of the society it serves. These processes monitor changing societal and economic trends to help OSU respond effectively to future student needs and continue to fulfill its mission.

OSU is a Learning-Focused Organization

Serving the educational needs of OSU's many constituents is central to the university's land-grant mission. These constituencies include OSU's undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the general public who depend on OSU's outreach and extension programs to provide them with valuable information and educational opportunities.

University-wide expectations in general education demonstrate the integral nature of a breadth of knowledge, skill, and intellectual inquiry at OSU. Beyond the academic requirements, units within OSU encourage interdisciplinary inquiry through such programs as the Wentz Research Scholarships, the Freshman Research Scholars, special programs at the college level, national and international travel, student clubs and organizations, and cultural events.

Every OSU graduate and undergraduate program is assessed through plans developed by faculty and staff, incorporated into university-wide assessment, and designed for feedback into program development. The overall assessment plan includes entry level, general education, program outcomes, and alumni components that help ensure students are achieving learning goals. The results from teaching and learning assessment are used throughout the university to facilitate curricular and program changes. Outstanding student achievement, student and alumni satisfaction with their educational experiences, and the accreditation of specific discipline areas within the university all provide evidence of OSU's effectiveness.

Inside and outside the classroom, OSU emphasizes programs, develops facilities, and promotes attitudes that support effective learning environments. Programs offered through residential life, student union activities, multicultural organizations, and numerous other OSU and student organizations promote effective learning in diverse circumstances. Facilities such as the Campus Life Center enhance learning environments by sponsoring events and activities that bring together a variety of students.

Despite budget constraints, OSU supports and rewards effective teaching. The university emphasizes assessment of teaching methods, development of quality curricular materials, teacher training, and rewards for outstanding teaching and innovation. The newly organized Institute for Learning and Teaching Excellence will assist faculty in creating even more effective learning environments. Continual technological advancements in the classroom have contributed to greater learning effectiveness. Assessment results give OSU vital information about improvements in curricula, pedagogy, instructional resources, and student services that promote improvements in learning environments.

In addition to traditional classroom work, undergraduate and graduate students are involved in research, creative projects, travel, internships, and cultural and community service experiences. These experiences help students become lifelong learners and help them apply their knowledge. OSU's faculty and staff also provide excellent models of lifelong learning as they pursue ongoing scholarly and professional development, research, creative endeavors, and community involvement.

Because OSU recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves, diversity is a core value in the OSU strategic plans. The institution strives to create an environment of respect for all individuals by valuing other ethnic and cultural backgrounds, diversity of opinion, and freedom of expression.

OSU is a Connected Organization

As a state-supported, land-grant university, OSU interacts with many constituencies and provides them with services they find valuable. This interaction spans OSU's academic and support units and benefits all OSU's constituencies, including students, faculty, staff, and the general public. In addition to its Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, OSU also is connected throughout Oklahoma with a presence in each of the 77 counties through its Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES). OSU serves its constituencies through engagement, a two-way relationship through which the organization is open to learning. OCES provides one excellent example through its “listening sessions” that were held throughout the state. These sessions allowed OCES to learn about its constituents' needs and desires and to adjust programming accordingly.

OSU also has many connections with city, county, state, and federal government, as well as with foundations and industries that support and benefit from OSU research and hire its graduates. The university also engages with public school systems to help train teachers in innovative teaching methods and participates in educational arrangements with two-year colleges to give students greater opportunities to earn higher degrees at OSU. In addition, OSU faculty, staff, administrators, and students are connected with their colleagues at other institutions through research and professional organizations.

OSU's Center for Local Government Technology offers professional development and required training for local and county officers. The College of Education offers continuing education for the state's teachers and administrators. OSU is involved in partnerships with business and industry to provide continuing education, professional development courses, and internship opportunities for students. The OSU Center for Professional and Executive Development in the William S. Spears School of Business offers the state's business community a variety of training and development opportunities. It also sponsors the Tulsa Business Forums and Executive Management Briefings, which bring internationally known leaders to Oklahoma for talks and to interact with the state's business community.

OSU is known for the loyalty of its alumni, and the OSU Alumni Association is seeking to further strengthen those ties. Recently, the university and the association announced a closer working and managerial relationship that will focus on increasing alumni participation, strengthening fund-raising efforts, and improving OSU's Legislative and Congressional relations. Such a move bodes well for the university to acquire additional resources for its academic and public service missions.

The OSU community has a long tradition of volunteer service to the local community, as well as at state and national levels with professional organizations and advisory groups. Each year, large numbers of students, faculty, administrators, and staff members volunteer their services for such community projects as “Into the Streets” and “Make a Difference Day,” and for causes such as fundraising for the United Way. These efforts have a tremendously positive effect on the community and provide services that would otherwise be unavailable to local residents.

OSU also engages with constituencies on and off campus through various magazines, brochures, the general media, the internet, and electronic messages. The university, the OSU Alumni Association, the OSU Foundation, and other units and departments stay in constant contact with university constituents.

OSU is a Distinctive Organization

Oklahoma State University draws its distinctive nature from its land-grant heritage, with an historic mission of serving a statewide constituency. OSU's roots in the state's rural traditions, enriched by an urban campus community, emphasize hard work, a strong competitive nature, and a dedication to providing students with a solid foundation that emphasizes enduring American values such as loyalty, leadership, volunteerism, and academic achievement. The university's central mission includes a commitment to serve the common good. OSU does this in diverse ways, ranging from helping educate the state's population to providing academic, cultural, and entertainment opportunities for the university community, as well as the general public.

OSU is known as an institution that is student-centered and focused on student success. The university devotes significant resources to recruiting and retaining the state's brightest students, regardless of economic, social, or racial background. Its Valedictorian Scholars Program has resulted in top students from every county in Oklahoma matriculating and graduating in record numbers. Currently, more than 1,100 Oklahoma Valedictorians are enrolled. Its friendly, supportive, and success-oriented environment sets OSU apart from other institutions. The partnership with Northern Oklahoma College ensures that students who enroll will be academically ready to succeed at the comprehensive level. The university emphasizes leadership and scholastic success. OSU's Scholar Development Program has resulted in OSU being named a Truman Honor Institution. OSU emphasizes leadership and real-world experience through university-wide intern partnerships with business and industry. On campus, students are encouraged to participate in any of the more than 350 student organizations and in student-run events such as “Orange Peel,” “Speaker's Bureau,” and “ShowDown.”

OSU's student-centered approach extends to the physical well-being of its students. The university's Seretean Wellness Center promotes healthy living and exercise as life-long goals. The newly renovated and expanded Colvin Center is one of the top collegiate recreational centers in the nation and is heavily utilized by students, as well as faculty and staff.

OSU's Residential Life Department focuses on student development and academic achievement. Every year, the department wins national awards for residence hall programming. Its residence halls feature the latest in amenities and technical advances to help students succeed. The department also offers students various types of “affinity” housing arrangements that group students of similar academic interests. Stout Hall features several floors just for students in OSU's Honors College.

Finally, OSU's status as a distinctive organization is reinforced and strengthened by its strategic plan, which was derived through the first system-wide comprehensive planning effort accomplished by an Oklahoma institution of higher education. The plan's mission and core values and a dedication to understanding changing social, demographic, economic, and technological factors that affect the university and its constituents help assure that OSU will continue to be a distinctive organization.


The self-report process has given the Oklahoma State University community an opportunity to reflect on its strengths, its weaknesses, and its plans for the future. We believe this report domonstrates that OSU is an outstanding land-grant research university with a proud heritage and many significant achievements. Despite budget constraints of the past several years, the university has maintained a high level of quality in its programs and continues to provide the type of service its constituents have come to expect. While there are always challenges, overall, we believe this report demonstrates that OSU is a strong, vital organization that accomplishes its mission and satisfies or exceeds the HLC accreditation criteria for institutions of higher learning. Therefore, based on the information provided in this self-study report, Oklahoma State University formally requests continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.



Criterion One

Criterion Two

Criterion Three

Criterion Four

Criterion Five


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Thanks


The Self-Study Process

Criterion One: Mission and Integrity

Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future

Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service




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