Cleveland State University [d] NCA 2000 Self-Study Report [d]

   
   

Final Self-Study Report Chapter 4: 15 Aug 2000

OVERVIEW OF ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENTS

Several important changes and developments have occurred since the last review. The Faculty Senate voted to change the University’s academic calendar from the quarter system to the semester system. The change was undertaken when Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State’s main source of transfer students, announced that it was changing to semesters. The planning process began in 1995 and culminated with implementation of the semester calendar in Fall 1998.

At the heart of the changeover was an extensive review of program requirements and curriculum throughout the academic sector. In each College, a thorough review was conducted of all academic programs. Curricula were rethought and redesigned, and individual courses were modified, merged, or dropped. The redesigned programs and courses went through the regular channels for review and approval — departmental and college curriculum committees, and the University Curriculum Committee when appropriate. Quarter credit-hours were multiplied by two-thirds to convert them to semester credit-hours. The conversion formula was applied both to credit-hour requirements for programs and credit hours earned by a student, thereby making the conversion credit-hour neutral. Any fractional or decimal differences were always rounded in favor of the students — up for hours earned, down for hours remaining.

To ensure a smooth transition, conversion manuals and materials were printed and widely distributed to students, faculty, and staff, and students were extensively and carefully advised about making the transition. Under the guarantee of credit-hour neutrality, students were given the option to complete quarter-program requirements with semester courses, or apply quarter-course credits to semester requirements. Many courses in the converted curriculum remained at the four-credit-hour level, which helped to keep the transition course-load neutral for students and workload neutral for faculty.

Concurrent with the calendar change, the University implemented a new set of General Education Requirements (GenEd) to replace the previous University Curriculum Requirement (UCR). GenEd is similar in overall objectives and retains the strongest features of the UCR, including Writing Across the Curriculum and Cleveland State’s signature diversity requirements; but it is more straightforward and less complex. As with academic program requirements, students were given a choice between using GenEd courses to complete the UCR or vice-versa. An extensive inventory of equivalent courses between old and new graduation requirements was compiled, published, and distributed to all advising offices. The inventory of courses assisted students and their advisors in choosing the best way to complete graduation requirements. The inventory was also reproduced electronically for direct access by students on the Semester Conversion site of the University’s homepage on the Internet.

Thanks to a very high level of professionalism and cooperation among all members of the University community, the transition to semesters occurred smoothly and with minimal inconvenience for the students. Colleges and departments prepared written guides for completing academic degree requirements and advised their students individually on how to complete them most quickly and expeditiously. The University monitored the transition and intervened quickly to manage the few problems that emerged. The University believes that it fulfilled its "hold harmless" pledge to its transitional students. They will spend no more time or money to complete their programs under semesters than they would have under quarters. The change has been viewed positively by faculty, students, staff, and administrators.

Befitting the situation with enrollments and funding, new programs have been developed selectively and incrementally on the foundation of existing academic programs. Befitting the University’s urban mission, program development has also focused mainly on meeting the educational needs of urban professionals and people who work in technical fields. New graduate degree programs have been started in Business Administration (Accelerated M.B.A.), Education, Environmental Science/Studies, Environmental Engineering, Health Sciences, Nursing, Psychology (Diversity Management and School Psychology), Physical Therapy, Public Health, Social Work, Spanish, and Urban and Regional Planning. At the undergraduate level, a weekend degree in Business Administration and a major in Urban Services Delivery are now offered, along with a number of new minors, including Accounting, Computer Science, Finance, and Criminal Justice. Undergraduate majors in Computer Engineering and Women’s Studies were just approved this year.

The number of certificate programs has expanded. These programs are tailored to provide occupationally relevant knowledge and skills for working adults by packaging 12 to 21 hours of course work in specific areas. Demand for certificate programs has been strong. The University now offers a wide range of certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels in such areas as Arts Management, Finance and Accounting, Computer and Information Management, Health Care Administration, and Urban Geographic Information Systems. Because certificate programs use existing courses, credits that are earned can be applied toward a degree should a certificate student choose to continue as a degree-seeking student. Certificate programs are viewed by the University as an increasingly important way to fulfill its educational mission to the community by offering University-level courses to people who need them, but who may be too busy to enroll in a degree program, or already have a degree and just need the additional knowledge that the certificate provides.

Some programs have expanded their off-campus offerings and activities. Business Administration, Nursing, and Allied Health fields have found this a particularly important way of meeting needs in the community that cannot be met through on-campus programs alone. In addition, the University has moved selectively but significantly into Interactive Video Distance Learning (IVDL). The Master’s in Social Work is a joint program with the University of Akron offered entirely through IVDL, the only such accredited program of its kind in the country. The new Master’s in Health Sciences is available entirely on the Internet, except for a 10-day intensive seminar that must be taken on campus. In the 1999-2000 academic year, 67 courses were offered through IVDL, and another 10 on PBS and the web. Recently the Ohio Board of Regents awarded two Distance Learning grants worth more than $725,000 for projects initiated by Cleveland State that will partner the University with other community institutions and organizations in developing and using digital media in health care, communication, and education.

In other developments, the Departments of Biology and Geology were merged into the Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences to facilitate offering new master’s programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. Doctoral programs in Regulatory Biology and Clinical Chemistry, and the Biomedical specialization in the Engineering doctoral program were significantly strengthened through partnership arrangements with the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. In Fall 2000, the University and the Lerner Research Institute will begin to collaborate in a new program specialization in molecular medicine.

In these and other ways, the last decade can be described as a period of strategic development in selected program areas and of consolidation and maintenance in others. As an indication of sustained quality and excellence, all of the University’s professional programs continued to receive full accreditation/licensing by their respective external accrediting and/or licensing agencies. The University continues to meet the strong demand for evening programs by offering a full range of undergraduate and graduate courses. Demand is particularly strong at the graduate level, but undergraduate students can also complete a degree program in selected fields in the evening. Only two programs were discontinued: the undergraduate major in German, because of low enrollments, and the Audiology specialization within the Master’s in Speech Pathology and Audiology, because of revised accreditation standards.

More than 100 degree programs are offered through the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (including First College), Business, Education, Engineering, Law, and Urban Affairs. These programs include 62 bachelor’s degrees, 37 master’s degrees, three specialist degrees, six Ph.D. degrees and the Juris Doctorate. In addition, three joint Juris Doctorate/master’s degrees are offered between the College of Law and the Colleges of Business Administration and Urban Affairs.


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