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A beautiful tree-lined pathway leads to Eberly Hall.A beautiful tree-lined pathway leads to Eberly Hall.

Goal One

To continue to increase University academic excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


From the Mission Statement of California University of Pennsylvania, 2003.

  • Sustain a reputation for the University’s academic excellence, its daring and entrepreneurial spirit, and the integrity, success, and loyalty of its graduates.
  • Foster increasingly higher admissions criteria, academic quality, and scholarly expectations.
  • Instill not just learning but the love of learning;
  • Be widely known as a center for thought, inquiry, dialogue, and action in matters of character and leadership.
  • Reflect a special mission in science and technology through programs in science, technology, and applied engineering, as well as through emphasis on technology and information literacy across the curriculum.
  • Be widely known for high quality undergraduate and selected masters level graduate programs.
  • Recruit and retain a distinguished faculty who challenge and mentor students to attain their fullest potential.
  • Maintain a learning community known for its academic excellence, intellectual rigor, and civil discourse.

Objective 1.1:

Create, implement and evaluate a comprehensive Academic Plan to advance University-wide academic excellence.

  • Method: This plan will be developed in the 2009-2010 academic year, implemented in the 2010-2011 academic year, and evaluated in the 2011-2012 academic year, with recommendations for continuous improvement forwarded to the University President by May 2012.
  • Method: This plan will address faculty resources, student needs, academic programs, facilities/equipment, the assessment of student learning, the academic organizational structure, academic support services, academic integrity policies, and the integration of academics with business, industry and the community.

Success Criteria: A comprehensive Academic Plan to advance University-wide academic excellence will be created, implemented and evaluated by May 2012.

Objective 1.2:

Work to obtain national accreditation for all academic programs that are eligible for accreditation.

  • Method: Develop an implementation plan and schedule for the remaining unaccredited programs; provide/sustain funding and resources to achieve/maintain accreditations (such as faculty complements, fiscal resources, classroom and office space, equipment/technology, library materials, etc.)

Success criteria: The percentage of accredited programs will increase from the current 68% to 80% within the next three years, while existing accreditations are maintained.

Objective 1.3:

Implement training (Quality Matters/Blackboard/eCollege) for all faculty who teach online classes in order to ensure quality instructional delivery; provide orientation programs for online students in order to ensure academic success in the online delivery format.

  • Method: Create and implement a University policy for teaching in online programs.
  • Method: Create an online orientation program for all students enrolling in an online course/program.

Success criteria: All faculty teaching an online course, or teaching in an online program, will be required to complete certification in Quality Matters, Blackboard or eCollege. All students will complete an online orientation tutorial at the beginning of an online course.

Objective 1.4:

Increase the number of undergraduate applications for admission.

  • Method: Implement the New Jersey recruitment strategy for undergraduate students.
  • Method: Continue the Guidance Counselor Postcard campaign and other outreach activities, such as adding a Guidance Counselor Portal to the University website.
  • Method: Design and implement a new four-year cycle of marketing materials for undergraduate recruitment.
  • Method: Redesign the University website in order to better assist with recruitment efforts, as well as develop web portals for guidance counselors and parents.

Success criteria: Undergraduate applications will increase by 5% per year for the next three years.

Objective 1.5:

Increase the average SAT score for the undergraduate federal cohort.

  • Method: Develop and implement a recruitment strategy for the Honors Program.
  • Method: Continue special marketing campaigns and orientation days for high school students with high SAT scores and/or grade-point averages.

Success criteria: The average SAT Math/Verbal score for first-time, full-time students will increase from 1028 to 1045 by 2012.

Objective 1.6:

Continue to recognize/reward excellence in teaching, research and service.

  • Method: Implement a broader marketing/communication initiative so as to increase the nomination rate for these awards.
  • Method: Increase recognition of achievements in publications and department literature, Cal U Review and Cal Journal, as well as reports to the Chancellor and the Board of Governors.
  • Method: Expand the scholarly activities publication to include the three undergraduate colleges and the School of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Method: Increase the monetary amount for recipients of all excellence awards beginning with June 2009.

Success criteria: The nomination rate for awards will increase from 7% to 10% by 2010. The award amount will increase from $1000 per award to $2000 per award by June 2009.

Objective 1.7:

Develop an Enrollment Management plan that includes recruitment, retention and new program development at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

  • Method: Create a “graduation task force” that would explore effective programs to help students graduate in four years by utilizing On Course, Dante, CLEP, PLA Advising, course cycles and other available resources; identify ways to integrate the Career Advantage program into the academic curricula; explore effective programs that allow students to graduate in four years with the skills that employers seek (Building Careers).
  • Method: Design and implement a Parent Portal Program to enlist parental support in helping undergraduate students graduate in four years and to enhance communication.
  • Method: Utilize institutional data to effectively build class schedules that offer courses students need to complete their programs of study in accordance with the four-year graduation plan.
  • Method: Build a summer session schedule that allows students to accelerate the time needed to graduate and/or to obtain courses they need to graduate in the appropriate time frames.
  • Method: Continue to develop the Student Success Facilitator and Mentoring programs; seek student input on ways to enhance advising; explore online systems to conduct advising and improve communication with students.
  • Method: Design, market and implement an online undergraduate completion program through the University’s Evening College by 2012 in order to serve the nontraditional population regionally and nationally.
  • Method: Expand the Global Online graduate programs to appropriate niche markets.
  • Method: Implement the initiative for selected programs.
  • Method: Develop an Academic Program Plan for the identification of new graduate and undergraduate programs of study, as well as the continuous improvement of existing programs, including an improved graduate admissions process that is faster and more student-responsive.

Success criteria: The four-year graduation rate will increase from 30.5% to 32.5% by 2012; the rate of first-year student retention will increase from 78.75% to exceed the State System target of 81.5% by 2012; enrollment in the Global Online program will increase by 10% by 2012; the response time for the graduate admission process will be reduced to one week or less.

Objective 1.8:

Complete a successful 10-year Middle States Review.

  • Method: Identify an Institutional Self-Study Committee and subcommittees; create a document repository; submit all materials; host the review team.

Success criteria: The University will have a successful review team visit and be awarded full accreditation by 2010.

Objective 1.9:

Continue to increase the number of faculty with terminal degrees.

  • Method: Include a terminal degree requirement in all advertisements for new faculty hires; provide incentives for current faculty to obtain terminal degrees.

Success criteria: The number of faculty with terminal degrees will increase from 78% to 90% by 2012, as reported to PASSHE for the Performance Indicators.

Objective 1.10:

Be recognized as a University with high-quality graduate programs.

  • Method: Review the criteria and work with the graduate faculty to identify potential Fulbright Scholars; provide academic and administrative support to qualified candidates from the University who make application.
  • Method: Submit data for National Institutional Surveys on graduate education.
  • Method: Conduct annual surveys of graduates from the Global Online cohort programs and their employers to assess student learning and obtain feedback on the quality of our graduates.

Success criteria: At least one graduate student will be named a Fulbright Scholar within the next three years; at least one graduate program will be listed in the “best” category in a National Institutional Survey; data obtained from institutional surveys will be utilized to assess graduate programs and prepare proposals for continuous improvement of these programs.