Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Strategic Plan 2005-2010

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Report Brief

Returning to Our Roots

Executive Summaries of the Reports of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities

PURPOSE

In 1995, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges was convinced that the United States and its state and land-grant institutions were facing structural changes as deep and significant as any in history. Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, a multi-year national commission was established to rethink the role of public higher education in the United States. The national commission produced this series of reports that focused on the student experience, student access, the engaged institution, a learning society, and campus culture.

KEY POINTS FROM THE REPORT

The Student Experience

  • We must maintain our legacy of world-class teaching, research, and public service. At the same time, in a rapidly changing world, we must build on our legacy of responsiveness and relevance.
  • Our institutions must become genuine learning communities, supporting and inspiring faculty, staff, and learners of all kinds. Our learning communities should be student centered, committed to excellence in teaching and to meeting the legitimate needs of learners, wherever they are, whatever they need, whenever they need it.
  • Our learning communities should emphasize the importance of a healthy learning environment that provides students, faculty, and staff with the facilities, support, and resources they need to make this vision a reality.
  • Independent learners are active, not passive. We must insist that students take responsibility for their own learning and introduce more of them to research, as collaborators with faculty and graduate students and as seekers and inventors of new knowledge in their own right.

The Student Access

  • Access to our institutions will become one of the defining domestic policy issues in coming years. Access alone is not the real challenge. "Access to success" is. Access at the front end is simply an empty gesture.
  • Three challenges complicate our efforts towards access to success: the issue of price; the challenge of diversity; and the opportunity represented by modern technology and the development of a "wired nation" practically overnight.
  • Some of our flagship institutions are trapped in a zero-sum game in which they are unable to offer admission to all qualified students.
  • Our traditional concepts of access need to be rethought for the future.
  • The full force of the challenge of maintaining the diversity of our institutions has yet to be felt.

The Engaged Institution

  • Engaged institutions are institutions that have redesigned their teaching, research, and extension and service functions to become even more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities, however community may be defined.
  • Seven guiding characteristics define an engaged institution. They are -- responsiveness, respect for partners, academic neutrality, accessibility, integrating engagement into institutional mission, coordination, and resource adequacy.
  • An engaged university can enrich the student experience and help change the campus culture.
  • The engaged institution must accomplish at least three things: it must be organized to respond to the needs of today's students and tomorrow's, not yesterdays; it must enrich students' experiences by bringing research and engagement into the curriculum and offering practical opportunities for students to prepare for the world they will enter, and it must put its critical resources (knowledge and expertise) to work on the problems the communities it serves face.

A Learning Society

  • Key elements of a learning society are:
    • Values and fosters habits of lifelong learning and ensures that there are responsive and flexible learning programs and learning networks available to address all students' needs.
    • It is socially inclusive.
    • It recognizes the importance of early-childhood development as part of lifelong learning and develops organized ways of enhancing the development of all children.
    • It views information technologies as tools for enriching learning by tailoring instruction to societal, organizational, and individual needs.
    • It stimulates the creation of new knowledge and research for the benefit of society.
    • It values regional and global interconnections and cultural links.
    • It fosters public policy that ensures equity of access to learning, information, and information technologies and recognizes that investments in learning contribute to overall competitiveness and the economic and social well-being of the nation.

Toward A Coherent Campus Culture

See recommendations for practice under this heading.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

The Student Experience

  • Reinforce our commitment to undergraduate instruction, particularly in the first two years.
  • Address the academic and personal development of students in a holistic way.
  • Strengthen the link between education and career.
  • Improve teaching and educational quality while keeping college affordable and accessible.
  • Define our educational objectives more clearly and improve our assessment of our success in meeting them.
  • Strengthen the link between discovering and learning by providing more opportunities for hands-on learning, including undergraduate education.

The Student Access

  • Transform land-grant and public universities by creating new kinds of programs and services, and if need be, new kinds of institutions to meet the needs of traditional and non-traditional learners.
  • Build new partnerships with public schools by working with specific secondary schools and their feeder schools to increase the number of students matriculating on campus, and also by improving our teacher preparation programs.
  • Validate admissions requirements by insisting on meaningful correlations between requirements and subsequent student success, and searching for new ways of judging merit and identifying potential.
  • Encourage diversity by including a broad array of attributes in the admissions process.
  • Clarify course-credit transfer and articulation agreements by improving inter-institutional transfer of credit and simplifying student progress toward their degree.
  • Renew efforts to contain costs and increase aid by studying and adopting improved management practices, re-allocating savings to undergraduate teaching and learning, and seeking the assistance of public officials, friends, and alumni in maintaining the university's financial support.
  • Focus on what students need to succeed by improving student support services and academic programs to insure that all students have a better chance of success, and by encouraging faculty engagement in the task of meeting the diverse needs of students from different backgrounds.

The Engaged Institution

  • Institutions transform their thinking about service so that engagement becomes a priority on every campus, a central part of institutional mission.
  • Institutions encourage interdisciplinary scholarship and research, including interdisciplinary teaching and learning opportunities.
  • Institutional leaders develop incentives to encourage faculty involvement in the engagement effort.
  • Academic leaders secure stable funding to support engagement, through allocation of existing funds or the establishment of a new Federal-state-local-private matching fund.

A Learning Society

  • State and land-grant universities need to reaffirm their public character and public mission by making lifelong learning part of their core mission. Access must be broadened, partnerships must be formed, state systems of public education need to differentiate institutional missions to use resources effectively and efficiently, and accrediting associations must be engaged in discussion of standards for lifelong learning and appropriate expectations for institutions in programs they offer through distance education.
  • Each institution should aim to equip its students with the higher-order reasoning skills they require for lifelong learning, while providing faculty members with opportunities and incentives for professional development so that they can acquire the pedagogical skills needed to create active learning environments.

Toward A Coherent Campus Culture

  • In the place of well-intentioned calls for unity, academic leaders need to focus on strategic approaches that promise to help restore institutional cohesion.
  • The Kellogg commission believes eight key strategies can help academic institutions move forward toward a coherent campus culture. They are-- start with values and mission, foster institutional coherence, reinvigorate academic governance, develop administrative leadership, redefine the nature of acceptable scholarly work, reinforce the integrity of tenure, align athletics and academics, and end with values: put learning first.

REFERENCE

National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. (2001, January). Returning to our roots: Executive summaries of the Kellogg commission on the future of the state and land-grant universities. Washington, DC: Author.

Submitted by R.M. Johnson, March 2004 This is a report summary and excerpts are quoted directly from the text.

The campanile

Iowa State was the first chartered land-grant institution.