Johns Hopkins University
From its founding in 1909, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education (SPSBE) has a distinguished history of serving adults who seek to advance themselves while fulfilling work and family obligations. Throughout its nearly 100 year evolution, SPSBE has served regional needs for workforce development in the areas of business, information technology, public safety leadership, and P-12 education through innovative academic programs and partnerships with the school systems, corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations of the Baltimore-Washington community.
Many of SPSBE's innovative programs, designed to meet regional needs, have emerged as national models for best practices in university-community partnerships. Across the years, SPSBE has achieved significant milestones for Hopkins: it was the first Homewood School to admit women as undergraduates; the first to offer Hopkins degrees for working professionals enrolled on a part-time basis; and the first to extend Hopkins' reach across the region by opening off campus centers.
The Undergraduate Experience
In 1997, SPSBE reconfirmed its commitment to the adult undergraduate through the establishment of the Division of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) headed by an Assistant Dean to advocate for the unique needs of adult undergraduates. This division monitors the undergraduate experience and recommends supportive policies and procedures. The Division of Public Safety Leadership (PSL), established in 2002, houses its own undergraduates while maintaining a close relationship with the UGS to ensure consistency among admissions for all SPSBE undergraduates. The two divisions share a common admissions advisor and work cooperatively to assure the success of adult undergraduates.
These divisions provide standards-based programs in applied disciplines, often targeted to workforce needs and delivered in flexible and accommodating schedules, locations, and formats. Their faculty blend research and expert practice in educational experiences that students can apply immediately to the issues in their workplace.
The faculty serving adult undergraduates consists of full-time faculty and faculty associates who together are involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum. Full- time faculty serve as the Program Directors for the major discipline areas: Business and Management, Information Systems, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Police Executive Leadership. They represent the needs of undergraduates on the Academic Policy Council and the Academic Council. In addition, they expend considerable effort and resources to forge and strengthen an engaged adult undergraduate learning community that participates in the academic and social life of the School and the University.
Standards-based Learning Outcomes
The Divisions of Undergraduate Studies and Public Safety Leadership strive to provide a rigorous, integrated, outcomes- based academic experience grounded in standards (when available) and measured through authentic assessment processes. The faculty are engaged in a multi-year process that involves the development of undergraduate competencies in general education, the identification of unique professional standards and indicators, and a program monitoring/evaluation system for continuous program improvement. It is the School's intent that the Undergraduate Competencies define the adult undergraduate experience, regardless of major, and serve as the hallmark of its graduates.
Faculty have been trained to redesign their courses from an assessment perspective. Many have designed and aligned their syllabi to center on learning outcomes and are creating varied assessments to serve as indicators of successful student learning. They also are examining their instructional strategies to strengthen the relationship between instruction and outcomes. The next step in this process will be the integration of a portfolio assessment process that will illustrate student- learning outcomes and will be defended before a panel of faculty and expert practitioners.
Flexible Delivery of Instruction
Undergraduate programs are available in either the traditional 15-week semester format or a cohort format (at the upper-level) depending on the specific program. In response to demand, programs are located at five campus locations throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and at partnership sites. All programs and sites are supported with academic advising and student services. Undergraduate programs have both internal (SPSBE and the University) and external (businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations) partnerships.
UGS has focused on building the cohort format to facilitate the educational goals of adult undergraduates. By its nature, this format requires students to be stronger academically at admission and to garner the support of family and employers. Students in the cohorts receive extensive advising. Students commit to a prescribed 30-month program of study with a set schedule and program plan. The students form a bond of support that encourages completion (94% graduation rate) and often remains long after graduation. SPSBE's approach to undergraduate education has been included in a University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) pending publication on models of excellence in adult undergraduate education.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards
Faculty and staff from the Division of Undergraduate Studies and the Division of Public Safety Leadership formed a working group to engage in a self-study of the undergraduate experience in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. They created a matrix of the evidence that addresses the Fundamental Elements and, where relevant, the Optional Analysis and Evidence within the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Accreditation Standards 1, 8 through 12, and 14 (Appendix 5-A). The narrative below provides additional information on initiatives and identified needs in relation to the matrix.
SPSBE Core Values
SPSBE has a clearly articulated mission aligned with the mission of the University.
SPSBE seeks to improve the quality of life in the Baltimore- Washington region — and beyond — through the creation of exemplary models for university support of business and educational institutions and activities.
A group representing a cross-section of SPSBE constituencies developed the Vision 2009 document that established the core values of community, learning, scholarship, creativity and innovation, diversity and civility, collaboration, financial responsibility, and continuous improvement. Vision 2009 guides faculty, staff, and governing bodies in determining priorities and resources for activities within the School. Faculty and staff regularly use it to determine priorities for undergraduate initiatives.
Alignment of Undergraduate Competencies
The SPSBE Undergraduate Competencies (UGC), developed by the undergraduate faculty, are outlined in the 2003-04 academic catalog. The UGC are aligned with the mission statement of the CUE Final Report, with the SPSBE core values, and with the individual program goals and course objectives.
The Undergraduate Competencies describe expected outcomes for student learning. They include: oral and written communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, human relations, leadership and change, value-based decision-making, technology proficiency, historical and global perspectives, aesthetic appreciation, a sense of lifelong personal and professional development, and information literacy. The UGC are derived from the continuous dialogue and research by the faculty to ensure that students have an effective and comprehensive educational experience. They are regularly measured against guidelines from professional associations, similar programs and academic disciplines to continuously improve the Hopkins adult undergraduate experience.
The UGC are integral to the general education requirements and the major concentrations within each program. They are integrated throughout the individual courses of each program. Faculty are engaged in an instructional design process to develop learning outcomes-based programs and courses based on the UGC, national professional standards, and workforce trends.
Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 1 is found in the SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A). This evidence includes information garnered from course midterm feedback and IDEA Form Evaluations. It also includes policies and procedures, council and committee minutes, and division agendas.
Additional evidence includes a diverse student body and a 94% graduation rate. The Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society provides orientation services and tutoring to fellow students. Qualitative evidence exists in graduate school acceptances, senior projects, and job advancements and promotions. The five year SPSBE Student Satisfaction Survey and the new Alumni Survey provide feedback on the students' experience. Additional mechanisms to gather quantitative evidence of student learning include the new Undergraduate Experience Survey, the senior and community-oriented student projects, and the initiatives of the student honor society.
Moreover, initial efforts to create a community of learners among adult undergraduates and faculty show promise. National figures from the business field speak at a funded, annual undergraduate symposium. An annual networking event, honor society installations, and an annual recognition ceremony provide the opportunity for social interaction and relationship building.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education admits students whose goals and abilities are congruent with its mission and whose interests align with business and management, information systems, interdisciplinary studies, and police executive leadership. A noted strength of the undergraduate programs is the service provided to potential and enrolled students by academic advisors.
Each applicant to a SPSBE undergraduate program has an admissions interview with an advisor and a review by the appropriate Program Director. Advising services during the admissions process include a review of prior academic work and educational goals, and an inventory of personal time commitments and support systems. The services also include extensive explanations of the programs, academic requirements, and the Undergraduate Competencies. During graduation exit interviews, students consistently report the value and helpfulness of these services.
Information is available to students on the School's website, in the academic catalog, in brochures, on admission and program worksheets, and on information sheets. Examples of senior projects are available for review by prospective students.
The adult undergraduate student population contributes to the diversity within the School and the University with 28% representing African-American, Asian, and Hispanic populations and 64% women. In addition, a large number of Hopkins employees enroll in courses at the undergraduate lower-levels. Current efforts to support the success of these students and to prepare them to matriculate into degree programs need to be expanded.
Faculty and Advisors
Students have access to an assigned advisor and Program Director. Consistency in advising across divisions is ensured through the use of a common advisor in the admissions process.
Pre-admissions advising and support are available to students who intend to transfer into Hopkins. Advising for admissions is regularly available onsite at partnership programs. Feedback from the SPSBE Student Satisfaction Survey, administered every five years, indicates that students are satisfied with their advising experience.
Applicants are admitted into programs designed specifically for adults, if they meet admission criteria that include the completion of at least 15 academic credits. Applicants for cohort programs must meet more rigorous criteria including the need to provide evidence of family and employer support. Entry into the Police Executive Leadership Undergraduate Program (PELP) is only by nomination of a superior officer. Articulation agreements have been developed and are regularly revisited with regional community colleges to maximize a smooth transition into the discipline specific programs.
Applicants present transcripts, essays, and resumes as evidence of proficiency levels in the competencies to be used to create appropriate academic program plans. Applicants for the traditional format and those for cohort formats receive an academic program plan or schedule. Advisors and faculty members work together to ensure appropriate advisement and support throughout the students' tenure. Programs are kept small to facilitate student-faculty interaction.
Matriculated students tend to remain in school and make progress. Sixty-six percent of admitted students graduate within three years. Adult undergraduates who enter the cohort programs have a graduation rate of 94%. Cohort classes form virtual support groups for their members. These support systems are strong, effective, extend into students' personal lives, and in many cases continue beyond the tenure of the programs. Upon completion of their undergraduate studies, students pursue graduate school, earn job promotions, seek new careers, or explore new personal interests.
Students who qualify for admission to a program that has insufficient space are placed on a wait list. Applicants who, matriculate are at the lower undergraduate level, mostly Hopkins employees, are guided through general education requirements.
Applicants receive extensive advising and support from the SPSBE financial aid office. SPSBE is in the process of increasing its endowment to make more scholarship funds available to students, 31% of whom are on financial aid. Within the last five years the amount of scholarship funds has increased substantially, but there remains a large gap between available funds and qualified applicants. As part of the new Baltimore Scholars Program, SPSBE will provide full tuition to Baltimore city residents (with three years of residency) who graduate from Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and meet the criteria for admission into the undergraduate programs.
Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 8 is found in the attached SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A). Feedback from a periodic review of the admissions process guides modifications to the process and content. Anecdotal data indicate that a more lucrative financial aid package is often a factor that contributes to accepted candidates attending other institutions.
A major premise of Hopkins' adult undergraduate programs is that flexible and responsive formats can be developed and used successfully without compromising the quality of the academic experience. Given that many adult undergraduate programs sacrifice quality for expediency, SPSBE programs are beginning to attract the attention of experts in the field. The systematic study of this model and its impact is a new focus within SPSBE. Initial efforts are underway to examine the conditions that motivate enrollment and maximize success in adult undergraduate students. Key members of the undergraduate division and the Dean's Office have met to discuss plans for a Center of Adult Learning and have included its establishment in the current development campaign.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education offers strong and continuous support to its returning adult undergraduates through its admission, advising, enrollment management, and other student services. Academic advisors provide advising support from the point of inquiry through graduation. Undergraduate faculty provide advising services in relation to program requirements. Advisors and faculty work closely together to address student needs and are regularly accessible both electronically and in person at times and locations accessible to students. Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 9 is found in the SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A).
Undergraduate students have regular access to academic and support services throughout their academic tenure. The advising process is flexible yet timely to meet the needs of working adult students at multiple locations. Qualified professionals with advanced degrees and extensive experience serve as advisors. They review transcripts, facilitate credit transfer, assist with course selection, suggest academic skill preparation, explain program demands, and guide general education course selection. Advisors also educate potential students regarding the rigors of the program and urge them to seek the support of their employers and families. Advisors act as advocates for students and help design student-centered policies and procedures. Finally, advisors assist students during personal crises. Issues that require expertise beyond that of the advisors and faculty are referred to the Office of Student Services.
SPSBE's academic advisors as well as its Office of Enrollment Management maintain advising records in locked files. Admissions and advising records are secured and available to authorized personnel and are signed out when removed from the files. Records of graduates are secured in an archive and are available to authorized personnel through written request. Discarded records are shredded before being disposed. The Office of Enrollment Management has policies and procedures for safe and secure maintenance of student records. Student support services are assessed continuously under the direction of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
The Center for Teaching and Learning
The SPSBE Center for Teaching and Learning provides undergraduates with online learning resources, a learning resource library, online Blackboard platform support, and the contact for the Tutorial Referral Network.
Student Complaints, Grievances, and Code of Conduct
The policies and procedures for addressing complaints and grievances are published annually and are designed with multiple appeal layers to ensure that students' needs are given all due consideration. A student code of conduct has been developed to supplement the academic code of conduct. Issues that arise are addressed first through discussion with the involved parties. If not resolved, they are then referred to the Program Director with appeals to the division director and finally to the Dean of the School. Appeals to the Dean are addressed through an appeals committee. Student misconduct is addressed in a similar fashion. Records of student complaints or grievances are kept secure in the Dean's Office.
Consistent with the thrust of the CUE recommendations, the Academic Policy Council (APC) has recently engaged in serious review of the issues of cheating and plagiarism. APC has developed appropriate policies and commissioned the creation of an online tutorial on cheating and plagiarism, currently being piloted, to ensure that the SPSBE community has a common understanding of appropriate behavior. One suggestion under consideration, proposed by an undergraduate student representative on the Council, is currently being piloted the creation of an honors board to address such issues.
Student Services works in conjunction with the academic units to create a responsive system to address the various needs of returning adult undergraduates. These offices advocate for students within the School and the University community at large. Student Services encompasses Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar, International and Disability Services, and Career Services. These offices process admissions applications, offer a menu of financial support, provide records and registration related services, support students with special needs, assist international students, and help students and alumni with all phases of career development. Student services also supports student organizations and provides opportunities for students to network and socialize.
The Registrar designs systems to accommodate various calendars and schedules associated with diverse and dispersed academic programs that vary by term, format, location, and partnership arrangement. Qualified professionals with advanced degrees and extensive experience serve as providers and supervisors of student support services.
The SPSBE Office of Financial Aid works closely with the academic units to identify all possible financial aid support for which individual students are eligible. In emergency situations the Financial Aid Office works in conjunction with the Registrar's Office and the academic units to provide all possible support to students.
In addition to federal aid, SPSBE has sought to increase the number and amount of available grants and scholarships and instituted more flexible payment plans to support undergraduates. To this end, SPSBE has made a major effort to grow its endowment. The newly established Decker-Gabor Scholarship provides full financial support for an outstanding student with financial need. The Offices of Development and Financial Aid work with the academic divisions to help provide funds for high quality students with demonstrated financial need. Moreover, SPSBE has made a payment plan available for students. The creation of an emergency loan fund remains a high priority.
The Office of Career Services offers a variety of services, mostly online, to accommodate the demanding schedules of SPSBE students and alumni. Individual career counseling is available by appointment in Baltimore, D.C., Columbia, and Montgomery County and is supported by various career and personality inventories as well as a career library. All job and internship listings are managed via E-Recruiting that also contains targeted resume books, a SPSBE Networking System, and an Employer Contact Database. Other services include a newsletter, expert panels, career information services, job search workshops, and resume development and interview support.
Issues and concerns regarding the effectiveness or need for change for student support services are addressed as identified and appropriate solutions are developed, approved, and implemented through the Academic Policy Council and other groups.
SPSBE conducts a Student Satisfaction Survey every five years that includes questions aimed at gathering data on the effectiveness of the services available to students. These surveys reflect high satisfaction levels among graduates. An Alumni Survey was conducted in spring 2003 to gather data on the experience of alumni and the impact of their education on their professional lives. Advisors conduct Exit Surveys as part of the graduation process. There is a need for the consistent tracking of graduates of the undergraduate programs in SPSBE that is being addressed by the Undergraduate Experience Survey.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education's instructional, research, and service programs are devised, monitored, and supported by faculty and other professionals qualified for the positions they hold, with roles and responsibilities clearly defined and sufficiently numerous to fulfill those roles appropriately. Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 10 is found in the attached SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A).
The full-time faculty are recruited and selected through a rigorous process that involves a national search, extensive minority recruitment, a teaching demonstration, and multiple interviews by faculty and senior administrators. Quality of teaching is a critical component of this process.
Part-time faculty are selected by appropriate Program Directors from expert practitioners in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area. The process includes the selection of candidates from recommendations, encouragement of minority candidates, the review of the candidate's curriculum vita, and an extensive interview process. The candidates' credentials and a list of appropriate courses for assignment are forwarded to the Division's Faculty Review Committee for approval. Faculty are required to submit a syllabus for each of their courses and an updated CV each year.
Qualified faculty and other professionals design, maintain, and update educational curricula. Changes to courses and programs are made from a systemic perspective to address effectively identified needs within the discipline. Faculty meetings are devoted to the review and, when deemed necessary, the revision of curriculum. The Academic Policy Council recommends proposed program changes that are approved by the Academic Council. New programs or those with substantive changes are forwarded to the University's Committee on Part-time Education for an internal University-wide review and then to the Maryland Higher Education Commission for final approval.
Within the Division each instructor receives feedback from students through a midterm course evaluation form and an IDEA Survey form. The results of these are used to monitor the effectiveness of teaching and to alert the departments to instructor/course issues. The effectiveness of the current midterm feedback process is being enhanced through the implementation of an electronic delivery and dissemination system that will be piloted in classes during the spring 2004 semester.
Full-time faculty engage in professional growth activities. They have budgeted funds to support their attendance at conferences and meetings for the purpose of sharing their expertise and providing service to their profession. Scholarship is a topic of discussion at all division and department meetings, and part- time faculty meetings include faculty professional development activities.
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) provides continuous support for instructors and conducts faculty development activities throughout the academic year. The CTL hosts a faculty website that includes resources for effective teaching and professional development. Through a grant-funded initiative CTL trains selected faculty to design instruction from an assessment perspective using the principles of Understanding by Design. These faculty in turn serve as guides on assessment-based instructional strategies to other faculty.
Each year, a faculty associate is selected from the undergraduate division and recognized by the University to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award. This award includes a cash gift provided by the alumni office and awarded at a formal dinner celebration as well as recognition in an extensive article in The Gazette (the University newspaper). Faculty associates are included in faculty meetings and faculty development initiatives with the full-time faculty.
SPSBE recognizes the appropriate linkages among scholarship, teaching, student learning, research, and service. The faculty promotion process addresses four criteria: teaching and advising, program development, scholarship, and community service. Each year full-time faculty submit the Faculty Activity Report to reflect their work in these areas. The standards and procedures for faculty and other professionals' appointments, promotions, grievances, discipline and dismissal are based on principles of fairness with due regard for the rights of all persons.
The Faculty Appointments and Promotion Committee evaluates the credentials of the full-time faculty and makes recommendations to the Academic Council for initial rank and promotion of the faculty. This committee also provides technical support and guidance to faculty preparing promotion portfolios.
SPSBE has carefully articulated equitable and implemented procedures and criteria for review of all individuals who have responsibility for the educational programs of the institution. Faculty and Program Directors have clearly articulated job descriptions that assign them responsibility for the success of their students and the growth of their programs. In addition, they meet regularly with their division directors who meet regularly with the Dean of the School. Moreover, faculty and Program Directors complete Performance Reviews or Faculty Activity Reports that are reviewed by their division directors.
There are extensive procedures for the appointment, supervision, and review of effective teaching for full-time faculty and faculty associates. SPSBE engages expert practitioners as faculty associates to prepare effectively students for their chosen disciplines. These faculty associates are integral members of their programs and engage in the development and monitoring of the student learning. They are selected through a process that includes a curriculum vita/resume, an interview by the Program Director, a formal approval of their credentials by the Undergraduate Faculty Review Committee, and a clear indication of the courses that they are approved to teach.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education provides rigorous and coherent undergraduate programs for adults based on national discipline standards and trends; they are offered in flexible and responsive formats for the working professional. SPSBE undergraduate programs for adults are designed to foster a coherent learning experience and to promote a synthesis of learning. Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 11 is found in the attached SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A).
Program Directors and expert practitioners prepare students for professional advancement or graduate study. For each of the disciplines, advisory committees consisting of faculty and expert professionals regularly advise Program Directors on the design and evaluation of programs from the professional viewpoint. In addition, professional associations provide advice on program content and format during the development process. The School's Academic Policy Council reviews and recommends approval of new programs or concentrations within programs. The Academic Council provides approval from SPSBE before the program is submitted for final approval to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Faculty integrate the Undergraduate Competencies and individual program goals through a combination of general education with discipline knowledge and skills. The course outcomes are aligned with the program goals and the UGC. Courses are sequenced to build on previous learning experiences. Through a final project or capstone, students address a real life business issue or conduct a research project.
Program goals are stated in terms of student learning outcomes. Faculty align discipline standards, undergraduate competencies and program goals with specific course objectives from an assessment perspective. Faculty meetings, advisory committees, midterm feedback forms, IDEA course evaluations, periodic Student Satisfaction Surveys, informal student-faculty conversations, alumni feedback, and class observations are used to continuously monitor progress toward achieving the UGC and program goals.
The co-curricular activities for SPSBE undergraduates create community, celebrate achievements, and provide opportunities for community service while responding to the unique needs of the working professional. SPSBE has an active chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), an honor society for adult undergraduates. Focused on scholarship, leadership, and service, ASL members provide tutoring services, host lectures, and engage in student recruitment. In addition, SPSBE works closely with Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, to encourage students to become part of this lifelong network of students and alumni.
The Division of Undergraduate Studies annually hosts three critical events that bring students from diverse disciplines and campus locations together to create and sustain a single learning community. The annual fall networking event brings students, faculty, alumni, and friends together. The spring symposium with a leading business leader as a speaker expands the intellectual community beyond the confines of the classroom. The Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony at graduation provides the opportunity for students and graduates to celebrate their achievements with their families, friends, and faculty.
Facilities, Technology, and Library Support
SPSBE undergraduates benefit from excellent facilities designed for professionals at the School's multiple campus locations. Food service is available through small cafes at each SPSBE site, and as one result of the CUE recommendations, the dining services at Homewood have extended meal hours to accommodate adult undergraduate students.
Students have access to state-of-the-art technologies and library support. Each campus site has facilities with open lab time for technology-based classes. In addition, off campus sites have "smart classrooms" that are equipped with wireless technology access. Grant funds targeted to technology support for undergraduate information systems programs supported much of this development (MAITI). All courses are supported by the Blackboard platform, and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers Blackboard training to faculty. Both students and faculty access technical support for Blackboard through CTL.
Currently the UGS is collaborating with six universities in the United States and Europe in the EUMAX Partnership to provide an international dimension to adult undergraduate business programs. Should this initiative receive funding, a high-speed Internet connection will connect students in real time across the two continents to exchange information and discuss ideas related to international business.
Librarians, assigned to each campus, are available to assist SPSBE students and faculty in identifying and securing appropriate resources for courses and projects. Librarians provide class sessions and tutorials on use of the library and the virtual library from the perspectives of different disciplines. All materials at the Sheridan Libraries are available free of charge to remote sites with many full-text resources available online.
In addition, resource librarians and the information systems faculty have developed and piloted an information literacy project targeted to technology students. Plans are for this project to expand to SPSBE business and interdisciplinary studies undergraduate programs. In conjunction with this project, the Program Directors have developed information literacy components in the communication sequence for the majors.
SPSBE designs programs and policies that are rigorous, yet flexible to support the unique needs of adult undergraduates. There is no content and quality difference among programs offered at different sites, or between those offered in traditional (Homewood only) or accelerated formats. Courses are scheduled to include time for examinations and final papers. Students are able to take similar courses scheduled at different locations. Faculty teach at multiple sites and in both traditional and accelerated formats. Students who apply for programs in accelerated format are expected to demonstrate higher academic performance and committed support from their family and workplace.
Transfer Policy and Practice
The majority of the students in the undergraduate programs transfer from other institutions. Transfer policies and practices are designed to be flexible and accommodating while ensuring that students have sufficient preparation for the rigorous demands of the major. To maintain consistency, the admissions director in consultation with Program Directors makes transfer decisions with written rationales for any variations.
New processes are being developed to collect additional student outcomes data. A pilot of the Undergraduate Experience Survey has been conducted, and the results are being used to make final modifications.
The undergraduate full-time faculty in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education developed, implement, and continuously renew the Undergraduate Competencies, which guide the undergraduate general education experience. The list of UGC is the result of extensive discussion and analysis of what constitutes the hallmark of the SPSBE undergraduate experience. The UGC are met through learning experiences in both general education and the major. To ensure engaging intellectual interactions between faculty and students, the undergraduate general education courses are held to limited enrollments. Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 12 is found in the attached SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A).
The UGC integrate and promote students' critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, ethical decision-making, information literacy, technical skill and analysis, human relation skills, global awareness, historical perspective, civility, and continued professional and personal development. The UGC provide the students with a broad exposure to varied ideas and deep understandings of academic skills and ethical dispositions.
Program Directors meet monthly to discuss approaches to integrate more fully the UGC throughout the undergraduates' educational experiences with special emphasis on the major. Faculty development activities assist faculty associates to incorporate the UGC into their course objectives.
Most students transfer into the degree programs at the upper- level and fulfill their general education requirements through transfer of credits. Students (mainly Hopkins employees), who complete the majority of their lower-level coursework within SPSBE, experience a program centered on the UGC. Both groups are required to have 30 credits in general education. In addition, both groups experience the integration of the UGC through specific required courses and learning experiences in the major.
Because a majority of students transfer into the degree programs, a challenge facing SPSBE is to ensure that these transfer students achieve the UGC. The Program Directors have worked together to design an approach to address this need effectively. It involves a sequence of courses that are anchored by a writing and research course at the beginning of each major course of study, a professional communications course at the midpoint of the major, and an applied or research project as a capstone. The first and last courses of the sequence were developed three years ago. The professional communications course was added for the current year in response to feedback on the annual program reviews.
Currently, the faculty are reviewing detailed descriptions of the competencies to assist in the process of clearly identifying and measuring outcomes. These will then be integrated into the course outcomes to illustrate integration across the undergraduate academic experience. These descriptions will serve as the indicators for a student portfolio development and defense process that is in the planning stages and will be used to more fully demonstrate students' achievement of the UGC competencies.
A major initiative in SPSBE is a renewed emphasis on ethics. Specifically, a tutorial addressing plagiarism and cheating has been developed and is being piloted with the members of the Academic Policy Council. The business and information technology faculty reviewed this pilot and have made plans to incorporate it into their courses.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education prepares professionals for initial career preparation and/or advancement. Faculty develop programs and courses that focus on the assessment of student learning demonstrated in the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of its graduates. Evidence for the achievement of MSCHE Standard 14 is found in the attached SPSBE Middle States Accreditation Standards Matrix (Appendix 5-A).
The Undergraduate Competencies from SPSBE served as a foundation for the new mission statement for undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins, as indicated in the CUE Final Report. SPSBE undergraduate divisions have examined their programs through the lens of the CUE Final Report and have developed initiatives based on its recommendations.
The CUE and MSCHE self-study processes coincide with the faculty's efforts and plans to expand current qualitative and quantitative data-gathering and analysis from a student outcomes perspective. Full-time faculty and faculty associates are restructuring their courses from an assessment perspective focused on student learning outcomes. They are aligning their course outcomes with program goals that, in turn, are being aligned with the SPSBE Undergraduate Competencies, the SPBE core values, and the CUE mission dimensions. Program Directors are beginning to develop matrices to illustrate the alignment of specific course outcomes with program goals and the Undergraduate Competencies.
Faculty Development for the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes The process of aligning course activities and assessments to identified outcomes is integral and continuous for all programs and faculty. To facilitate the shift to a student learning outcomes perspective, the undergraduate business Program Director and two faculty associates assessed and modified their courses through participation in a School-wide pilot outcomes- based instructional design process. They shared their findings with the SPSBE deans, full-time faculty, and faculty associates.
Based on the results of the pilot, undergraduate Program Directors are guiding their faculty associates in the redesign of syllabi and courses based on student learning outcomes. Through workshops and individual sessions, faculty learned to examine their courses from an assessment perspective by establishing course goals and their respective indicators. They then used these to identify specific learning objectives, assessment strategies, and instructional techniques. The target date for the conversion of all business syllabi to the outcomes approach is the end of the spring 2004 semester; all information systems and interdisciplinary studies syllabi will be converted by the end of fall 2004.
Faculty and Course Evaluation
A midterm evaluation and the IDEA form are administered at the midpoint and end of each course to help Program Directors monitor the quality of the students' educational experiences.
Midterm Feedback Forms were developed by the faculty to provide an interim process for receiving information regarding the student's perceived experience so that adjustments could be made as needed. Program Directors and division directors review all Midterm Feedback Forms and provide indicated guidance and/or support to the faculty. A database summary of each group of evaluations is kept on each course and instructor and used to determine future faculty development initiatives.
The IDEA form is administered at the end of each semester. It allows the instructor to rate a list of criteria in order of their importance to the course. This rating is compared to the students' experience in the course. Program Directors and division directors review each IDEA report and share the results with their faculty members. Program Directors intervene directly or by referral to the Center for Teaching and Learning to assist faculty whose performance indicates a need for improvement. A database of faculty performance on the IDEA form is maintained and used in faculty development and hiring decisions. Future faculty development activities are being planned to more closely align the UGC and the IDEA form faculty rating system.
Capstone Experience and Portfolio Plans
The senior project serves as the capstone experience in the SPSBE undergraduate major. As such, undergraduate faculty ensure that students are able to integrate general education competencies, discipline knowledge and skill, and professional dispositions appropriate for each major. To accomplish this, faculty have instituted major changes over the last three years to prepare students effectively and to provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate their learning. Faculty have modified the requirements of the programs to include additional writing, professional communications, and research learning experiences.
Senior projects place emphasis on the proposal development process and the components of a research project including, if necessary, approval of the JHU Institutional Research Board for use of human subjects. Sponsors are carefully selected for their interest in and ability to support the students throughout the entire research process. In addition, regular seminars are held under the direction of a coordinator to provide support and ensure consistency in the students' experience.
At present, faculty are developing plans for a portfolio process and have created the Undergraduate Experience Survey to enhance the data-gathering process needed to demonstrate students' knowledge, skills, and dispositions consistent with identified student learning outcomes. Once the portfolio process is implemented, students will defend their accumulated undergraduate experience before a panel of faculty and expert practitioners. This will provide authentic feedback to the students in relation to their future professional development and to the Program Directors in regard to program development efforts.
Student and Graduate Surveys
Currently, SPSBE conducts a Student Satisfaction Survey every five years. The results of the last survey were shared among the SPSBE leadership and used as a catalyst for change in the students' experiences. A new Alumni Survey has been developed and administered in spring 2003 to recent SPSBE graduates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Results from this survey are being analyzed to determine potential areas for change.
Faculty, staff, and advisors have recently developed an Undergraduate Experience Survey to provide additional feedback regarding the students' experiences and their impact. The survey was sent to May 2002 and 2003 graduates. Additional versions of the survey will be administered to students at program entry, after the completion of 90 credits, at graduation, and at both two years and five years after graduation.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education serves returning adult undergraduate students with family and work responsibilities. The two divisions that provide undergraduate education, Undergraduate Studies and Public Safety Leadership, work together to provide a quality academic experience in a flexible and supportive environment.
The Commission on Undergraduate Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education self-study processes provided the opportunity to examine the undergraduate experience through a set of external lenses. The self-study process affirmed efforts and faculty development activities within SPSBE to focus instruction on the assessment of student learning outcomes. It also served as a catalyst to accelerate the instructional development initiative designed to accomplish that goal.
In the self-study process members of the SPSBE undergraduate community identified strengths, current initiatives, and new challenges in relation to the 34 CUE recommendations as indicated in the SPSBE Status Implementation of CUE Final Report recommendations found in the SPSBE Document Resource File.
Strengths in Relation to the CUE Recommendations
In summary, SPSBE's strengths in relation to the academic experience include: an assistant dean position that advocates for undergraduates and is part of the Dean's leadership team; capstone and/or senior project experiences in all undergraduate programs; small group formats for all programs; and an emphasis on integrity in conduct and academics. Other strengths include excellent teaching facilities at sites beyond the main campus and rewards for good teaching that include a significant emphasis on teaching for promotion and the Excellence in Teaching Award. Moreover, enrollments are targeted to match resources, and schedules and formats are consistent and designed to meet student needs.
Strengths in regard to advising and career support include: an excellent and accessible advising support system that involves assigned professional advisors and faculty; the centralization of the admissions and graduation advising processes; an Office of Career Services that is housed in Columbia but accessible to all SPSBE students; employment support for undergraduates; and a regular process for student feedback.
In reference to the CUE recommendations on diversity, SPSBE has a substantial number of undergraduate students representing minority groups. The graduation rate for SPSBE students enrolled in the cohort programs is 94% with two thirds of them graduating within three years. Each year, the curriculum is reviewed from a diversity perspective and revised, if indicated, based on information from evaluations, surveys, workforce trends, professional standards, student feedback, advisory group suggestions, and faculty discussions. SPSBE funds an annual undergraduate spring symposium to enable students to interact with national business leaders. Lastly, the composition of the staff in SPSBE includes representation from minority populations.
In relation to student life, SPSBE has created or has available facilities for informal student-faculty interaction and group projects at all of its sites. These sites all offer appropriate food services. The academic administrators, including the Dean of the School, interact regularly with the students at all campus sites to gather feedback regarding the undergraduate experience.
Initiatives in Response to the CUE Recommendations
With respect to the current efforts that advance the undergraduate academic experience, the CUE and the MSCHE self- study processes have provided impetus to the efforts to expand and refine data-gathering processes in regard to program reviews. These initiatives include the SPSBE Alumni Survey; the new SPSBE Undergraduate Experience Survey with its multiple data-gathering points; and the refinement of the approach to gathering evidence of student learning in relation to the undergraduate competencies and program goals. There remains the constant challenge to identify opportunities to reward faculty for good teaching. Finally, the EUMAX partnership with three American and three European universities, if funded, would add an international dimension to the SPSBE undergraduate experience.
In regard to teaching and advising, the CUE and MSCHE processes have encouraged faculty to continue to engage extensively in student advising. They have served as the catalyst to initiate the scheduling of regular meetings between the two divisions serving undergraduates in order to share successes and to address common needs and issues. The Office of Career Services has begun to focus efforts on the unique employment needs of undergraduates. Technical facilities at Homewood are being enhanced, and the SPSBE facilities in addition to Homewood are continuously updated. The data gathered from the SPSBE Alumni Survey and the new SPSBE Undergraduate Experience Survey will enhance efforts to track graduates and improve advising and career support.
In relation to the CUE recommendations addressing diversity, SPSBE is preparing to implement the Baltimore Scholars Program that will provide full scholarships to qualified graduates of Baltimore City Community College. Also, SPSBE continues its concerted effort to recruit qualified minority faculty to both full-time and faculty associate positions. Lastly, in reference to student life, the CUE recommendations have resulted in extending the Homewood campus food service hours in the evening to better accommodate adult undergraduate students.
Through engagement in the Commission on Undergraduate Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education self-study processes, SPSBE administrators, faculty, students, and staff have grown in their knowledge and understanding of the adult undergraduate experience. These processes provided the opportunity to reflect upon the selected topic (in this case, undergraduate education) and to reinforce and expand existing continuous quality movement efforts. Moreover, these processes require extensive interactions of the entire SPSBE community in order to gather data, share successes, design new initiatives, and prepare the reports. The momentum gained from this effort will continue to fuel efforts to enhance the SPSBE undergraduate experience.
The CUE and MSCHE self-study processes served to bring the positive characteristics of the adult undergraduate more fully into the consciousness of the Hopkins community. Through CUE, students and faculty across the five Hopkins schools were able to share experiences, discuss challenges, and address issues around common needs of undergraduates. These processes facilitated the sharing of the extensive professional accomplishments of SPSBE undergraduates and the quality of their educational experiences. The accomplishments of many SPSBE undergraduates give testimony to the value of Hopkins effort to provide a second chance for a first class education for these students. As a direct result of the CUE and MSCHE self-study processes, there now exists a deeper understanding and a better appreciation across the Hopkins undergraduate community for the potential and contributions of the SPSBE adult undergraduate who, though different, is nevertheless an asset both to SPSBE and the Johns Hopkins University.
Go to Middle States Commission on Higher Education Self-Study Report
Go to Johns Hopkins University Reports
Go to JHUniverse
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