Long, Posler discuss data surrounding first strategic goal

Story by Sara

Since Baker University President Pat Long introduced her four-goal strategic plan at the Fall 2012 Convocation Sept. 18, members of the Administrative Cabinet have been working toward finding ways to quantify the future success of each goal.

Long and Brian Posler, executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college of arts and sciences, updated cabinet members Tuesday at the Collins House on ways the university anticipates to measure achievement of their vision.

The pair expanded upon the first goal Tuesday, which states, “Baker will achieve regional and national recognition and reputation for quality academic programs, faculty, staff and students.”

While Long and Posler both noted that providing statistical evidence of improvement for this goal might be difficult, they turned to the Cabinet for its input.

“We need to set realistic targets that we can actually hit, given the resources that we have,” Posler said. “And we need your help to set those accurate targets.”

Some of the possible forms of evidence Long and Posler suggested were college ranking lists, other specialized recognitions and student performance indicators/outcomes.

Posler presented a list of student performance on major field tests and professional licensing exams. Across Baker’s different campuses and through various academic programs, many students are scoring above the national average on these types of exams. The university will use these statistics to help determine the quality of its programs, faculty, staff and students through comparison of scores to other universities.

“Overall, I think we can feel really good about where we’re at,” Posler said. “But we can also use it to refine and try to improve the different areas and I think that is going to be helpful as a tool for us.”

Long said to achieve regional and national recognition, the university needs to “brag on Baker” more while having the evidence to back it up.

“That’s why these key indicators are here,” Long said. “So that we can really say with all surety ‘we are the best in this particular area, or we are not the best in this particular area, but here is the progress we’ve made over the last three years and this is where we are going.’”

Posler then asked the Cabinet whether the right things were being measured, what patterns they saw as they looked across time and what goals should the university have by next year and 2020.

Academic Records Assistant Debby Duncan suggested tracking the number of published articles written by faculty members so students will know their professors are nationally recognized.

Other ideas included looking at success of graduates, number of honors received by post-graduate scholars and comparing GPAs of student-athletes and number of Academic All-Americans to other universities.

The second strategic goal involves enrollment and retention. Data involving this plan will be discussed during the November Cabinet meeting.