Strategic Plan - Goal 4

Strategic Goal: Develop select graduate programs with a focus on regional needs.

Success indicator:

  1. Graduate 100+ students per year with master’s degrees or post-baccalaureate certificates by year five.  Achieve Carnegie Foundation approval as a post-baccalaureate professional (education-dominant) institution. 

  Timeline, Reports, Team Members.                    Task Force Findings.                   


Action Step One:  Increase investment in graduate education.

  1. Hire one new faculty line per graduate program no later than the second year of a new program or as may be required for specialized accreditation purposes.
  2. Fund the maximum allowable number of graduate assistantships per academic year.
  3. Compensate graduate program directors at an appropriate rate.
  4. Report on the financial viability and impact of graduate programs on the university’s budget.

Action Step 1 Assessment: Establish baseline of faculty in graduate programs and monitor number of faculty in new programs, as well as graduate assistantships awarded.


Action Step Two:  Ensure meaningful graduate educational experiences.

  1. Create a set of expectations for rigorous, meaningful graduate education.
  2. Require faculty development in teaching strategies and expectations for graduate education.
  3. Create coursework and program structures that are targeted toward specialized accreditation.
    • Clarify faculty workload.
    • Elucidate the expectations of program faculty in teaching and research/scholarly activity.
    • Provide support for data collection by programs, especially data focused on assessment of learning outcomes.
  4. Create quality program assessments.
  5. Provide focused, intensive training in pedagogy, research and/or service for students serving as graduate assistants.
    • Communication skills
    • Research skills
    • Teaching skills (grading, tutoring, mentoring)
    • Our unique institutional culture and how it can be supported

Action Step 2 Assessment: Obtain specialized accreditation for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program and the Master of Business Administration program and seek specialized accreditation for other new programs that may be developed in the future.


Action Step Three: Implement best practices in graduate support services.

  1. Identify best practices in graduate education through conference attendance.
  2. Develop a matrix of best practices (including admissions, retention, degree completion, recruiting, advising, policies).
  3. Improve the quality of advising.
  4. Establish a mentoring program for graduate students.

Action Step 3 Assessment: Establish baseline data in recruitment, retention, and degree completion; survey student satisfaction with degree programs.


Action Step Four:   Improve services to working adult graduate students.

  1. Perform regular assessments (which might include surveys and/or focus groups) of curriculum, programs, advising, and services for this particular student population.
  2. Explore the use of cohort groups and specific advisors/communication methods for working adult graduate students.
  3. Expand availability of support services.

Action Step 4 Assessment: Survey student satisfaction with curriculum, programs, advising, and services for working adult graduate students.


Action Step Five:   Expand graduate education opportunities.

  1. Perform an external needs assessment involving alumni, regional employers, and potential students to identify desired graduate certificates and programs and begin offering new graduate degree programs or specialties and additional post-baccalaureate certificate programs.
  2. Evaluate and invest in resources needed (technical and faculty development) for the delivery of effective online programs.

Action Step 5 Assessment: Attain the Southern Regional Education Board institutional classification of “Four-Year 4” defined as institutions awarding at least 30 master's, education specialist, post-master's, or doctoral degrees with master's, education specialist, and post-master's degrees distributed among at least 5 CIP categories (2-digit  classification).