Final Report and Feedback
After several months of work, the Task Force on the Future of Education at UND final report is complete.
Letter from President Armacost and Provost Link
In reviewing the final draft of the Task Force report, we felt the team’s work was of high quality, presented provocative ideas, and would be of great interest to the broad UND community. We are certain their recommendations will serve as a foundation for the upcoming revision to our UND strategic plan.
Prior to the public release of this report, we made it available to the UND community for their comments. We provided an assurance that all comments would not only be reviewed, but would be included verbatim in an appendix to the report. This is that appendix.
Our commitment to community input and transparency is vital to fostering an innovative and inclusive community with the spirit of civility and collegiality as a guiding force.
Final Report and Public Comment Survey Results
Task Force Solutions and Strategies
Solution 1.1: Increase diversity and retention among students, faculty, and staff.
- Evaluate UND’s Enrollment Management strategy and adjust it if it is having a disparate impact on students from underrepresented and/or under-resourced backgrounds or non-traditional aged students. (C1)
- Identify and lessen barriers throughout a non-traditional student’s higher education experience, from admissions to credentialing. (C3, C6)
- Assess the experiences of transfer students, student veterans, student parents, and non-traditional student populations in order to ensure that their introduction to the University is educationally valuable, and they feel part of UND’s broader academic community. (C5)
- Expand efforts to recruit, support, and retain faculty and staff across campus who are more representative of North Dakota’s future given national demographic trends. (C4, C7, C8)
Solution 1.2: Enhance student support services to better promote a sense of belonging to our community and academic success.
- Reassemble and grow the programs and support services at UND that are critical to the success of underrepresented and/or under-resourced student populations. (C1)
- Create or strengthen student support services for the specific needs of non-traditional students, New Americans, student parents, student veterans, and/or others who do not fit the model of a recent high school graduate. (C1)
- Offer students more individualized advising during their first-year experience that will help them find more personally meaningful course choices. (C5)
- Provide all students quality individualized mentoring by faculty throughout their academic career. (C8)
- Ensure that UND’s online student body has equitable access to student success and support services. (C1)
- Carefully consider what “student success” and “retention” mean for different student populations and enact differentiated policies and practices accordingly. (C2)
- Develop and offer a free online, asynchronous course for the parents, family, and/or student-identified community of each UND student to strengthen their support network, while also inviting their support network into the UND community. (C1, C5)
Solution 1.3: Restore strong and collaborative relationships with Indigenous Nations in what is now known as North Dakota and the region, including tribal colleges and universities (TCUs).
- Survey UND’s Indigenous faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as Indigenous partners to determine the ways in which we can better serve regional Indigenous communities. (C1)
- Partner with TCUs and Indigenous communities to create inter-institutional programs that will help increase local capacity based on Indigenous communities’ stated high priorities. (C1, C9)
- Rebuild and expand American Indian Studies (AIS) with strategic faculty/staff hires, prioritizing hiring Indigenous faculty members in a variety of disciplines. (C1)
- Reestablish the American Indian Center as a dedicated space for UND’s Indigenous community and fund onsite, dedicated student support services. (C1)
- Expand student services and create microsites at partner institutions according to local needs to address the challenges many Indigenous students face with family/community commitments (e.g., transportation, internet access, cohort building, childcare, support services). (C1, C9)
- Commission an Essential Studies task force--led by full-time faculty--to review program requirements and learning goals, as well as explore ways to encourage integrated course work, experiential learning, and other high impact practices across the Essential Studies program. (C5)
- More clearly articulate and align the language of a liberal arts education and Essential
Studies with what employers and students are looking for. (C2, C5)
- Acknowledge and support Essential Studies as the campus program through which we are best positioned to strengthen access to a liberal arts education for all.
- Create an undergraduate academic experience that fully integrates the liberal arts ethos across the entire university curriculum. (C5)
- Create a culture that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as courses
and curriculum that prepare students for the rapidly changing needs of the workforce.
- Formulate an undergraduate interdisciplinary program with offerings that encompass Essential Studies requirements. (C5, C7, C8)
- Construct interdisciplinary course offerings that use high-impact practices, making clear the connections between college and life after university. (C5)
- Encourage a more integrative Essential Studies education, in which faculty from across
campus could work together to more intentionally provide interdisciplinary courses
for students. (C5)
- Create Essential Studies courses that are right sized for student learning and implementation of best practices. (C5)
- Create opportunities through Essential Studies courses to productively explore new disciplines, topics, and ways of thinking. (C5)
- Incentivize departments to collaborate rather than compete in developing innovative educational and credentialing opportunities. (C3, C6)
- Rethink administrative practices like the contractual distribution of effort and tenure/promotion policies to better promote and encourage interdisciplinary efforts across colleges to develop courses and programming to meet societal needs and encourage multidisciplinary thinking about issues. (C2)
- Identify and work with faculty willing to experiment with and incorporate innovative pedagogical approaches in their courses across all modes of delivery. (C4)
- Increase faculty training in online pedagogies and methods to ensure that distance learners--including those in asynchronous, blended or hybrid courses--have quality, successful educational experiences and feel connected to the campus, as well as other online students. (C4)
- Collaborate with UIT to update and regularly upgrade classroom technology based on faculty pedagogical needs.
- Provide faculty with increased professional development opportunities and ongoing support related to course delivery approaches and the use of various educational technology. (C4)
- Form inter-institutional partnerships in the state, the region, and beyond to create new flexible postsecondary education experiences and pathways to a degree/credit attainment to meet the needs of the partners. (C9)
- Initiate/invite partnerships with K-12 school districts, tribal colleges and universities, community colleges, regional industries and local businesses, government agencies, international organizations and universities, to name a few. (C9)
- Create micro-sites to engage and collaborate with these partners to provide on-site education, student support, incremental credentials, dual-enrollment, and/or shortened paths to a degree-attainment, and convenience, flexibility, and reciprocity. (C1, C2, C3, C6, C9)
- Develop joint educational programs with tribal colleges and universities, as well as community colleges and other universities, such as 2+2s (or 2+2+1s leading to a non-thesis M.S.), and programs that provide a bridge and pathway from high school to college and possibly to graduate or medical school. (C1, C9)
b. Build inter-college and inter-departmental partnerships to create innovative and flexible degrees, micro-credentials or certificates that deliver the quality of learning to the partners. (C9)
- Create flexible degree programs and credentialing to provide unique and customizable opportunities to students who may have specific career or educational goals that do not conform to existing, traditional disciplinary majors. (C1)
- Design flexibility into curriculum and programs to normalize incremental credentialing of degree completion and allow customization of degrees. (C7, C8)
- Provide a faculty-approved framework or template for allowing students to combine core elements of divergent degrees to create a customized hybrid degree which appeals to their specific interests and career goals. (C3, C6, C7, C8)
- Expand part-term course offerings to allow students to build a semester schedule that allows them to focus on one or two courses at a time. (C7, C8)
- Limit prerequisites. Where prerequisites are needed, establish uniform, alternative options for students to demonstrate readiness to enroll in next level courses. (C7, C8)
c. Encourage revision of the restrictive four-year plans to allow for expanded student choice in ES course selection. (C5)
d. Provide flexible, individualized pathways within accreditation limits for students to bypass or validate course or other requirements based on their prior training or life experiences. (C3, C6)
- Incentivize and credit faculty for innovation in course creation, design, instruction, and assessment. (C7, C8)
- Ensure contacts and comprehensive evaluations accurately document faculty work and reward those who demonstrate contributions to increased learning, recruitment, and retention. (C7, C8)
- Train faculty, chairs, and deans in teaching-evaluation best practices and the interpretation of student evaluations. (C7, C8)
- Incentivize the use and documentation of scholarly teaching practices as part of the formal evaluation of teaching. (C7, C8)
- i) Establish improvement strategies with clear expectations and rewards for those with teaching challenges (for example, high DFW rate courses). (C7, C8)
b. Provide greater employment stability and reward mechanisms for non-tenure-track faculty to recognize their contributions to student learning and retention. (C7, C8)
c.Recognize and reward service at the department, college, and university levels which leads to improvement in instruction, student recruitment and student success. (C7, C8)
- Support faculty and student exchanges with TCUs to promote impactful professional development and culturally educational opportunities for UND faculty, students and TCU partners. (C1)
- Systemically implement pedagogical methods that create an inclusive learning environment and discuss fields and disciplines from multiple, intersectional perspectives. (C1)
- Facilitate first-year experiences that promote academic engagement, intellectual exploration, and community building. (C5)
- Assess students' first-year educational experiences at UND in order to ensure that their introduction to the University is educationally valuable, and they feel part of a larger academic community. (C5)
- Encourage the teaching of the mission and history of public higher education institutions in order to help students better understand the value of a broad, liberal arts education. (C5)
d. Increase student access to high impact educational practices and engagement with experiential learning.
- Strategically embed an integrated series of high impact learning experiences across the curriculum and throughout students’ time at UND – upon entry and up to graduation. (C2)
- Partner with local and regional employers to increase applied learning experiences and internship opportunities for students to help align university training with post-degree employment. (C2)
- Provide “real world” educational experiences that focus on pressing social needs and issues that ask students to apply their knowledge and exercise meaningful skills, which can also be included on a resume. (C2)
- Shift the responsibility for finding and accessing experiential learning from student to the institution through individualized advising and mentoring, in addition to improved marketing. (C2, C5, C8)
Solution 8.1: Improve the role of faculty in governance.
- Ensure adequate representation of instructional perspectives on search committees. (C7, C8)
- Create greater transparency, trust and participation in fiscal decision-making through better communication and more meaningful engagement with faculty at the university and college levels. (C7, C8)
- Restore funding to Standing Senate Committees on Faculty Instructional Development and Scholarly Activities and, with them, faculty voice in internal funding decisions surrounding institutional investments in research related to improving teaching at the university. (C7, C8)
- Create a dedicated office for Essential Studies, directed by a faculty member with tenure-track or tenured status, to engage faculty from across the UND academic community, helping the whole campus feel a shared commitment to the program. (C5)
Solution 8.2: Adjust the current budget model to better promote instructional effectiveness and innovation.
- Provide fiscal support to instruction-related activities appropriate to the primacy of teaching to UND’s mission. (C7, C8)
- Optimize instruction-related budget “levers” to better incentivize intercollege collaboration in order to develop more effective courses and programs to meet societal needs and promote interdisciplinary thinking. (C2, C3, C6, C7, C8)
- Allow for flexibility in faculty contracts to reflect the time and effort associated with teaching innovation and excellence (Step 1: remove the standard 10% per course. Permit departments to negotiate percentages based on effort and outcome). (C7, C8)
- Change UND’s mission statement to explicitly acknowledge the pursuit of excellence in teaching. (C7, C8)
Solution 8.3: Improve institutional research on teaching and learning and student success.
- Establish a research arm of the Teaching Transformation and Development Academy dedicated to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). (C4)
- Evaluate student and instructor needs and provide recommendations on how to meet those needs. (C4)
- Test contemporary education technologies to determine pedagogical efficacy and use findings to inform inclusion in UND classrooms and equipment purchases. (C4)
- Study effectiveness of alternate course delivery models, and instruction designs on student learning, engagement, and satisfaction. (C4)
- Explore student success in variable time-based delivery of courses, (e.g., full semester courses, 7-week courses, J-term courses, self-paced enroll anytime courses). (C4)
- Research impact of course changes, as well as implementation of micro-credentialing, and use results to revise and improve UND’s curricular structure, offerings, onboarding and off-boarding practices, and overall student educational experiences. (C4)
b. Measure the effectiveness of course and program requirements to achieve stated competencies or outcomes and apply those measures to assess and validate comparable prior learning. (C3, C6)
c. Systematically assess high impact practices to best serve the range of students served by UND and to maintain relevance vis-a-vis emerging issues. (C2)
d. Develop nimbler, faculty and pedagogically driven institutional assessment procedures to regularly check in on how students (as well as faculty and staff) are doing and what their needs are. (C2)