with Chancellor Shepard:
January 9, 2002
Will we pursue on-line degrees?
The Chancellor talked about the huge growth rate in Oregon w/regard to on-line degrees. They are great revenue-producing programs. It's important to integrate into the community.
We’re within a few courses - collaborative degree (interdisciplinary model) - of offering on-line courses. There is a procedural problem with regard to NWTC students completing their degrees (i.e. pre-nursing, Gen Ed) - they are unable to enroll here - they need to re-apply to be our students.
At the academic staff meeting, you mentioned growing to 7500 students. What are the objectives? Increased revenue? Reduce fixed costs/overhead?
The Chancellor stated that distance ed should be run on the tuition support model. Re. growth, do we want to be larger - he's encountered some enthusiasm for growth and some opposition. Went into the diseconomy of scale story: from 5200 to 7500 - administration is in place, shift resources from some overhead to academic programs and student support services/student life. If we were larger, there would be opportunities for more intellectual stimulation/collaboration among faculty, richer curriculum, more vigorous student life, course offerings to better accommodate student schedules, and so on.
We're now struggling with faculty resources. How do we address that?
The Chancellor stated that we're under funded by $1 1/2 million on the instructional side. We received $500,000 for the Learning Experience. We missed out during the last biennium - comprehensives received $9200 on average per student; we received $5200 for each; thus the comprehensives received a $4,000 profit per student.
Are adjunct professors a solution?
Vice Chancellor Pollis replied that adjuncts could be used effectively in certain programs (i.e. distance ed).
Did you follow a model in Oregon - lead instructor? combinations?
The Chancellor stated that they tried, but there were no takers. Faculty were paid on overload - so much per head count. He'd like to see regular faculty involved (quality control aspect), but to be competitive, may need to use some adjuncts in distance ed. On campus, however, we need more courses - prefers tenure/tenure track positions.
Our program prides itself in on-campus faculty teaching their programs. It's definitely a quality major. Re. distance ed, faculty have developed programs and teachers are approved by Unit Chairs.
Our students are asking for a nontraditional masters program. A survey was done recently on "what brought you to extended degree?" The UW degree speaks for itself - flexibility, UW reputation, an location in the region. Half of our students live within 50 miles. Some drive 4 hours on Saturday for a 3-hour class. Issue: How do we fit in with other parts of the University? We’re unique yet we're the same - we deliver our services in a different way and that makes extended degree and our students unique. It costs us more to provide services. We could probably do a better job of internally marketing extended degree.
The Chancellor talked about quality in several dimensions - course competency (the goal we should shoot for) and being effective (how do students feel about their experience). The campus as a whole would need to decide the direction it wants to go.
People who teach in programs don't question quality; those who don't teach in programs do.
Vice Chancellor Pollis mentioned that there is no internal mechanism now to address distance ed - the previous administration didn't want to pursue distance ed.
A lot of people are doing web advanced courses.
The Chancellor replied that we may want to look at extending degrees - UWS/Wisconsin initiatives, etc. - but not a coordinated effort to bring them all together. Vice Chancellor Pollis replied that there is none.
The Technology Council has 2 faculty members; extended degree has never been part of that council.
Vice Chancellor Pollis talked about looking at the organizational structure in light of goals. the EGOL Initiative (covers WI on-line courses/Regents directives on collaboration) was passed by the Regents 7-1-01.
The Chancellor mentioned that students will pay a premium for flexibility. A $40 on-line orientation course was required in Oregon. That course helped address some issues. The course was required before enrolling in distance ed. Here, we would set our prices at what the market will bear.
The Chancellor went on to say that should we decide to grow, we would rely on growth from which we recover costs (i.e. through partnerships so we don't bear all of the costs) and would need to address State funding.
In order to serve the region, we need to look at needs.
Vice Chancellor Pollis mentioned that we’ve had no proposal from faculty outside of extended degree to develop on-line courses. We're on the verge of looking at new ways.
The Chancellor talked about per credit as opposed to plateau-based; forming partnerships so we don't cover all the costs; and charging one fee rather than add-ons. Quality sells - need to be flexible (but don't give up quality to be flexible) - people will pay a premium for this.
In Wisconsin, the State allows faculty to do 2/9ths - overload is a tough issue.
Re. advertising and internal marketing - I'm the Director of Extended Degree - I'm academic staff, but most faculty think I'm faculty.
The Chancellor stated that there is a bit of fear with faculty re. distance ed (i.e. not working with students face to face) and concerns about quality. With regard to expand programming, could hire part-time people in regions to work with distance ed students face to face on academic support issues (admission, financial aid, …). Might share with NWTC.
The Phoenix example was mentioned whereby faculty and students meet face-to-face the 1st and last week of class, in between it done on-line.
We wear various hats - recruiting, advising, teaching, curriculum development. What aggravates older students is lack of advising and student support (i.e. lost transcripts, etc.).
We will look at Early Childhood articulation agreements. UW-Milwaukee has taken over UW Colleges (Wm. Messner) - we need to look at that.
The Chancellor asked if we have the opportunity to provide credit for experience?
The reply, "yes."
On-campus nontraditional student advisors were eliminated some years ago. I hope that trend changes as evening courses are popular with nontraditional students.
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