Strategic Goals & Initiatives

In 2010, Pennsylvania College of Technology developed an initiative-based planning model to provide ongoing, collaborative, and transparent review of strategic goals and initiatives over a three-year planning period. The planning model is mission-focused and ensures the institution's effectiveness, growth, and vitality. The planning process includes campus-wide input and annual reporting to employees and students.

Strategic Goals with measurable Initiatives guide decisions and operations, including budgetary considerations. Success Indicators connected to each initiative guide assessment by indicating the level of accomplishment. The indicators were crafted to complete the statement: "During our future assessment, we will consider the initiative complete if ..."

A summarized Status Report, reflecting actions taken in the most recent academic year, follow each set of initiatives.

Provide hands-on education, preparing students for careers in an evolving world.

  • Complete the major academic components of the Stage X building program, including construction, equipment acquisition, and relocation to permanent facilities. – RETIRED
  • Develop and implement targeted credit and non-credit curriculum modifications to support expanding career opportunities in the regional natural gas industry.
    • At least three Workforce Preparation Classes have been conducted for entry level industry workers.
    • NSF funding has been acquired for credit curriculum development and modification.
    • At least three Commercial Driver's License training sessions have been conducted.
    • Emergency First Responder training opportunities have been investigated.
    • The Renewable Energy Associate Degree Program has been open for enrollment as of Fall 2010.
    • The College will participate in activities associated with the ShaleNet grant.
  • Systematically review the entire degree portfolio to validate continued offerings, programmatic integrity, and learning outcomes.
    • The program review pilot has been assessed and an annual schedule developed.
    • A standard program review data collection model has been implemented.
    • Student placement data continues to exceed 90% in direct or related field of major.
  • Retrofit academic campus spaces vacated through Stage X construction.
    • Plans for academic space retrofitted have been finalized.
    • Project priorities have been established.
    • Budgetary impact statements have been developed.

2010-11 Status Report

Hands-on educational opportunities were enhanced through the completion of the Stage X building program, with all new facilities and equipment in place for the beginning of Fall 2010.

NSF funding for course development related to the regional natural gas industry helped support more than 100 classes serving more than 1,400 entry-level workers, seven CDL training classes for 46 drivers, and site preparation for a Emergency First Responder training site to be completed for Fall 2011 classes. Additionally, the first cohort of students in the Renewable Energy Technologies associate-degree major was enrolled for Fall 2010.

The College's new Program Review model was successfully implemented across all academic schools to ensure a systematic, cyclical review of the entire degree portfolio. When a fundamental shift in industry was identified by a program review, appropriate curriculum adjustments were made. In support of the College's new review model, the Office of Assessment, Research, and Planning collaborated on the development and implementation of a data collection system, which will allow for standardized reporting in 2011-12.

The Graduate Survey indicates an increased placement rate, despite weakening national, regional, and local economic conditions. The 2008-09 Graduate Survey indicated a 91% placement rate, while the preliminary data for 2009-10 indicate a projected placement rate of 92.6% .

Plans for retrofitting academic spaces vacated due to the completion of Stage X construction have been prioritized and approved. Those projects identified as top priority, including converting physics labs into space to support business majors and converting a masonry lab into work space for the new Renewable Energy Technologies major, are underway and scheduled to open for Fall 2011. Other projects slated to begin after the 2011-12 academic year await funding availability.

Foster a student-centered environment both inside and outside the classroom.

  • Implement Stage X building program for Dauphin Hall.
    • Construction has been completed for Fall 2010 occupancy.
    • Staff have been hired and trained for new facility.
    • Furniture and equipment have been purchased and installed.
    • The facility has been fully operational as of the start of the Fall 2010 semester.
    • Learning communities are well established and resulted in greater connection to campus and student successes.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate new academic advising strategies based on research and best practices.
    • Portal sites (faculty and student) for advising have been instituted.
    • Ongoing professional development has been initiated for advisers.
    • Students have been surveyed to establish baseline ratings for advising services.
    • Strategies have been adapted to inform students of appropriate expectations of their advisers.
    • 100% of returning students have met with advisers prior to scheduling.
    • The 6-year graduation rate has improved from 49.0% to 54.0% for baccalaureate-degree graduates.
    • The 3-year graduate rate has improved from 30.5% to 35.5% for associate-degree graduates.
    • Fall to spring retention rates for first-time, full-time freshmen have been improved from 77.5% to 82.5% .
    • Fall to fall retention rates for first-time, full-time freshmen have been improved from 59.8% to 64.8% .
  • Retrofit non-academic campus spaces vacated through Stage X construction.
    • Planning for student support space retrofit has been finalized.
    • Project priorities have been established.
    • Budgetary impact statements have been developed.
  • Complete the development and implement the operation of a comprehensive program for academic support services that meets the needs of all Penn College students.
    • The College has, by academic year 2012, fully implemented all recommendations of the academic success proposal issued in Summer 2010.
    • Unduplicated headcount of students served has increased 25% over the 2009-10 academic year.
  • Explore NCAA affiliation and provide recommendation to the College outlining a potential timeline, possible level of participation (division level), costs and benefits, and impact on student-athletes.
    • A campus-wide task force, led by the Director of Athletics, has been named and has begun operations by March 1, 2012.
    • A final report has been submitted to the College for review and/or approval.
  • Create a comprehensive campus-wide awareness campaign focusing on sexual assault response and a parallel education campaign focusing on promoting a campus culture of personal respect and personal responsibility.
    • A comprehensive campus-wide awareness campaign focusing on sexual assault response is in place by Aug. 15, 2011.
    • An educational campaign focusing on promoting a campus culture of personal respect and personal responsibility around the issue of sexual assault is in place by May 1, 2012.

2010-11 Status Report

Enhancement of the College's student-centered environment continued with the completion of the new residence facility, Dauphin Hall, which was furnished, staffed, and opened to students for the Fall 2010 semester. To promote greater levels of academic success and satisfaction among residential students, four learning communities were established, with three more being developed for 2011-12.

An increased focus on academic advising has resulted in successful completion of a beta portal site for faculty, scheduled for full implementation in Fall 2011; a comprehensive professional development series scheduled throughout Spring and Fall 2011; improved advising strategies that respond directly to results of two student surveys; improved communication with students and advisers regarding the advising process and expectations; and implementation of scheduling access numbers, which students must obtain from their advisers in order to schedule.

Plans for retrofitted spaces to support student life are complete, prioritized, and budgeted. Plans include the expansion of College Health Services, creation of a Student Organization Center, relocation of the International Programs Office, and expanded office space for Student Activities. The first two are expected to be open for Fall 2011.

Academic support services were expanded significantly. The new Academic Success Center offered several new and refined services in Fall 2010, including the Writing Center, appointment tutoring, SupportNet (early alert system for use by faculty and staff), and mentoring. The 2010-11 headcount of students served increased by 3.7% over 2009-10. The percentage of unique students served (relative to FTE) by Academic Success Center is 36.5% .

Updates relating to graduation and retention rates will be provided as the data becomes available.

Implement approved Foundations of Excellence recommendations.

  • Identify and charge the Implementation Team to prioritize recommendations and develop an action plan for the Foundations of Excellence Report. – RETIRED
  • Implement the First Year Experience (FYE) course for all incoming students for the Fall 2011 semester. – RETIRED
  • Work toward becoming a more diversity-responsive institution by actively developing culturally sensitive students, faculty, and staff.
    • Revise the College's Mission Statement and Core Values to more directly highlight Penn College's commitment to diversity by January, 2011.
    • Establish a programmatic series of high-profile, diversity-related events beginning in the Spring 2011 semester.
    • Establish a position to coordinate campus-wide diversity initiatives and provide support to students from historically marginalized populations.
    • Appropriate curriculum changes/additions have been approved to increase student exposure to issues and concepts of diversity.
    • Provide on-going professional development activities related to diversity for faculty and staff. 
    • The programmatic series of high-profile, diversity-related events begun in 2010-11 has been formalized.
  • Provide ongoing professional development activities related to first year issues of concern for faculty and staff.
    • Implement professional development initiatives as recommended by the Implementation Team.
    • Formal professional development courses, experiences, and activities will be in place for faculty and staff at the beginning of the Spring 2011 semester.
    • Professional development initiatives have been expanded or refined as recommended by the First-Year Advisory Committee.

2010-11 Status Report

An FoE Implementation Team completed an action plan for carrying out the recommendations stated in the Foundations of Excellence Final Report (May 2010). Oversight for implementation of that action plan and resulting initiatives now resides permanently with the First-Year Advisory Board, chaired by the Dean of Academic Services and First-Year Programs.

The actions taken in 2010-11 include the implementation of the First Year Experience (FYE) course for all incoming students, beginning Fall 2011. New FYE instructors were identified and trained. All curricula were updated.

In response to the recommendation to become a more diversity-responsive institution, an ad hoc committee suggested revisions to the College's Mission and Values, which were approved by the Board in April. In addition, high-profile, diversity-related events were held; an Assistant Director of Student Activities for Diversity and Cultural life position was created and filled; a plan for increasing student exposure to diversity topics was developed, to include inclusion in academic curricula; and a "Teaching Diversity" session was added to the FYE Professional Development Series, which has experienced participation by non-FYE faculty as well.

Professional development sessions relating to teaching first-year students have been attended by more than 75 faculty and staff. Topics include diversity, student development, and classroom pedagogy. In addition, the FYE Professional Development Series and a Staff Development Seminar are open to both faculty and staff.

Serve as a catalyst for community and economic development.

  • Develop and implement strategies to facilitate the expanding career opportunities in the regional natural gas industry.
    • Through the Marcellus Shale Education and Training Center, the College has become the recognized entity of choice for providing education and training to service the natural gas industry.
    • The College has been recognized as the lead institution for providing industry assistance.
    • The College has served as an umbrella entity to coordinate the efforts of the education community in serving the natural gas industry.
  • Develop and implement strategies to facilitate the expanding career opportunities in the green industries.
    • Two new academic programs associated with green technology have been implemented. Existing academic programs have been reviewed to ensure that appropriate green learning outcomes are included.

2010-11 Status Report

Through the MSETC (Marchellus Shale Education & Training Center) and ShaleNet programs and through the creation of a first-responder training site, the College has become a leading provider of technical training for the regional natural gas industry. The College works with a consortium of 20 school districts and The Pennsylvania State University to provide industry training.

The College's curriculum was expanded to create career opportunities in "green" industries with the addition of the Renewable Energy Technologies majors and the identification of "green" competencies within existing majors.

Foster relationships with institutional stakeholders to promote Pennsylvania College of Technology and its mission.

  • Expand articulation efforts with targeted colleges and universities in conjunction with expanded Pennsylvania Department of Education efforts related to PATRAC and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).
    • The number of articulation agreements has expanded by 10% .
    • The actual number of transfer students facilitated via articulation agreements has been documented and tracked.
    • Staff and students have increased their use of the course equivalency database by 15% .
    • The entire Student Information System course equivalency database has been integrated with Academy One national databases.
  • Evaluate the implementation of the Integrated Marketing Plan in years one and two (2008-09/ 2009-10) for continuing implementation within available resources for years three, four, and five (2010-11 / 2011-12 / 2012-13).
    • An annual audit has been conducted to capture the highlights of marketing planning activity.
    • The effectiveness of various marketing strategies will have been evaluated on an ongoing basis.
  • Establish a strategy for including students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, donors, and friends in College-wide celebrations of the 100-year anniversary in 2014.
    • The "Countdown to the Centennial" program has been formalized.
    • Stakeholder involvement has expanded each year as the centennial approaches.
    • Alumni contributors will have doubled the 2009 number by 2014.
    • Publications and online resources have been developed to share the College's 100 year history.
  • Increase business and industry relationships across all academic schools.
    • Scholarships provided by businesses and industries have increased by at least 7 per year.
    • Business and industry equipment and technology contributions have increased by 10% per year.
    • Faculty within each school have increased technical and professional development opportunities.
    • Student internship opportunities within each school have increased.
    • Program Advisory Committees in each school have increased participation and broad-based membership.
    • Classroom presentations and demonstrations by business and industry have increased in each school.
  • Conduct a campaign to support the College and Penn College Foundation scholarship programs.
    • The campaign will have raised $3 million.

2010-11 Status Report

The College has expanded its relationships with colleges and universities, adding 20 post-secondary articulation agreements, which brings the total to 68. Improved methods for tracking students who have transferred via articulation agreements are being discussed.

Tracking of access to the Transfer Equivalency website indicates more than 5,000 external visits since its inception in May 2010 (overall visits exceeded 8,200). The College's course equivalency database has been synchronized with the Academy One/college transfer site, of which PA TRAC (Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Center) is a sub-site. The database is updated weekly.

First- and second-year audits of the Integrated Marketing Plan (2010 and 2011) are accessible to the College community via the Marketing department portal site.

The "Countdown to Centennial" was launched in 2009 with an exhibit in The Gallery at Penn College. The countdown was announced through media releases, One College Avenue (print and online magazine), and banners in the campus entranceway. A Were You There: The Evolution of a College Campus publication and a special Centennial website provide additional information and a means for sharing information. The Were You There theme carried through for the 2011 Penn College Fund and alumni campaign as well as for Homecoming 2011. The "Countdown to Centennial" plan for Homecoming 2011-2014 includes activities and events that engage current students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, donors, and friends. The activities are promoted widely through both print and online mechanisms.

College reunions and events, the Penn College Fund Appeal, and the phone-a-thon have generated 572 alumni donors in 2010-11, an increase of 151 over the 2009 base year. This number is on pace to meet or exceed the goal of doubling alumni donors by 2014. The Penn College Scholarship Campaign to raise $3 million in scholarship support for Penn College students will begin in phases, beginning with select constituents in 2011-12 and then publicly by 2013.

Seven new scholarships from business and industry were started in 2010-11: Susquehanna Health, PA Gas Directory, Schramm United Concordia, Marcellus Measurement, John Deere, and New Jersey Machine & Tool Assoc. In-kind contributions totaled $807,813, which represents a 12.7% increase over year 2009-10.

Faculty participation in on-campus professional development activities has increased since Employee Relations assumed responsibility for this service. Many offerings are targeted or dedicated to faculty needs. All schools report significant participation by faculty in discipline-specific professional development, many of which are directly related to emerging topics in industry and are often sponsored by industry partners.

The number of internship opportunities varies across schools, though most indicate progress. Two of the smallest schools indicate significant growth: Natural Resources Management with 35 new internship opportunities in the past year, and the School of Hospitality with 22. Despite increased opportunities, student participation is up only slightly in most areas.

All schools report that program advisory groups are active and contributing to programs. New members are actively recruited from across the region. In 2010-11, 49 new members were added across all advisory groups.

All schools report increasing participation by industry representatives. Many act as members of advisory boards and many employ our graduates. Industry representatives have participated in classroom lectures, equipment and work demonstrations, master classes (e.g., Visiting Chef Series), and field trips.

Optimize the use of College resources to support the institution's mission.

  • Implement the new financial system to improve the management of the College's financial resources through timely and relevant financial reporting which supports the financial decision making process.
    • Financial statements have been generated in compliance with the requirements of the annual audit.
    • Training for appropriate staff has been provided as part of the implementation strategy.
  • Measurable objectives and policies to cost-effectively maximize energy efficiency are developed.
    • An energy audit with the intent of developing strategies for ongoing operating efficiencies in terms of energy use has been completed.
    • Implemented a plan to reduce its carbon footprint.
    • The College employs electronic forms as the preferred mechanism of communication.
  • Implement new staffing, programs, and services, through College Health Services, that provide a greater level of health care to both students and employees.
    • New programs and services for both students and employees have begun by August 15, 2011.
    • A comprehensive plan for new programs and services have been finalized by July 1, 2012.
  • Implement and evaluate an Ombuds Program to provide employees and supervisors with alternate modes of problem solving/dispute resolution.
    • Within initial three-year period, 50% of College employees and 75% of College supervisors have attended professional development on conflict resolution and conflict management.
    • Assessment indicates that 75% of employees and supervisors who attended professional development on conflict resolution/conflict management state they are actively using those skills to resolve work issues.
    • Employee Relations’ records reflect that at least 90% of issues brought to College Ombudspersons are “resolved.”
    • By the end of the initial three-year period, there will be a 10% increase in the number of issues brought to the Employee Relations Office through the Ombuds Program and a corresponding decrease in the number of formal discipline incidents and formal grievances filed.
  • Implement and evaluate on-boarding program to accelerate new employee productivity, efficiency, and engagement, and to promote effective communications/interactions with internal and external clients.
    • Pre-arrival resources page on Penn College website is complete by December 2011.
    • Orientation sessions are scheduled for College supervisors on New Employee Learning Path and other components of On-boarding Program during Fall 2011.
    • HR records reflect 95% of employees serviced by the On-boarding Program successfully complete their New Employee Probationary Period.
    • Assessment reflects that 80% of supervisors and employees serviced by the On-boarding Program indicate that they are more productive, efficient, and engaged on the job as a result of the On-boarding Program.
    • Mentoring programs are finalized by December 2011 and implemented during Spring 2012.
    • Focus group responses confirm that mentoring programs are meeting the needs of the various employee groups.

2010-11 Status Report

A new financial system was implemented, including general ledger, purchasing, receiving, accounts payable, payroll, and human resources functionality. In addition, new financial reporting software allows Financial Operations to generate varied financial reports for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Staff have been trained on the new system; however, system setup and workflows continue to be refined. Additional training/professional development opportunities are planned.

Although an energy audit has not yet been completed, steps to reduce the College's carbon footprint have included Single Stream recycling, which is being piloted in several areas across campus. Steps toward reducing the use of resources such as paper have included the adoption of electronic forms to replace paper forms where possible.

Embrace a culture of assessment and data-driven decision making.

  • Finalize and implement the College-wide outcomes assessment plan.
    • Assessment Plan components implemented in Fall 2010.
    • Complete first set of Student Learning Outcomes by Fall 2010.
    • Student Learning Outcome process assessed Spring 2011.
    • Subcommittee established for the assessment of core goals.
    • The Office of Assessment, Research and Planning established as the central repository for program accreditation/licensure/certifications.
    • Assessment and the related reports, practices, documentation and data are transparent to all institutional stakeholders.
  • Develop a data warehouse/data mining system to support campus planning and assessment initiatives.
    • Data warehouse/data mining system has been created and made available for querying and custom reporting.
    • Data dictionary with data definitions has been completed.
    • Data warehouse(s) have been designed (student, employee, financial) and populated with data from EIS/SIS.
    • Select campus administrative staff have been trained on the tools to access, query, and build custom reports.
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education action on self-study and team visit has affirmed re-accreditation, by June 2012.
    • Final Design Document has been submitted to Middle States, by April 2010.
    • Draft reports with analysis and recommendations have been completed by study groups, by February 2011.
    • College community has been updated on status of revised draft and given opportunity for last input before final report, by August 2011.
    • Board of Directors has reviewed the Self-Study draft by October 2011.
    • Self-study has been sent to Middle States, by February 2012.
    • Middle States team visit has occurred, by April 2012.
  • Fully implement the initiative-based strategic planning process and finalize the appropriate documents in support of this new approach.
    • Planning Process has been approved by all appropriate College parties.
    • Planning Manual has been revised.
    • The Sourcebook and Cumulative Update documents have been modified to reflect the new process.

2010-11 Status Report

The College's assessment plan, developed by the Quality Through Assessment (QTA) Committee, was fully implemented in 2010-11. Student learning outcomes were gathered for both semesters, and for programs currently under review, the outcomes were assessed and reported as part of the Program Review model. All programs, regardless of review status, assessed key outcomes. Data from the outcome assessment was collected; the data and the assessment process are being reviewed by QTA.

A Core Goal subcommittee of QTA developed a three-year plan for assessment of the ten core curriculum goals. The subcommittee assessed the first three of these goals in Spring 2011 and reported their findings.

The Office of Assessment, Research, and Planning has taken on the role of repository of accreditation, licensure, and certifications; a portal site is under development to provide access to this information.

Outcomes assessment data for all programs are key components of the Program Review model and accreditation reports. Summaries of approved Program Review reports will be made available to the public.

A data warehouse system has been implemented for financial and human resources data, allowing for querying and reporting. The data dictionary has not been completed; however, the data warehouse has been populated with student, employee, and financial data. Appropriate staff have been trained to access the system, query for data, and build custom reports.

The Middle States Self-Study document design was completed and approved by the College's Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) liaison. First drafts of the study group reports were submitted in March to the Steering Committee. The review and revision process continues, with the intent to integrate the drafts into a single document in June 2011.

An initiative-based planning process and revised manual have been approved by all appropriate parties and implemented. The Sourcebook will be included in the data warehouse. The Strategic Planning portal site includes provisions for archiving completed initiatives and annual reports, thus eliminating the necessity to publish a paper Cumulative Update.

Increase College enrollment.

  • Expand both outreach and on-campus recruitment activities.
    • Increase high school visits/college fairs by 10% over a three-year period.
    • Add at least one new major recruitment activity for each summer over the next three years.
    • Continue to refine Open House in Fall and Spring to increase participation and matriculation.
    • Expand out-of-state enrollment to 15% by 2015.
  • Review new academic program possibilities on a two-year cycle.
    • Research and report upon programming possibilities by March 1, 2011, and in alternating years thereafter.
    • Assess program opportunities and add development mechanisms as part of budget development to begin July 1, 2011.
  • Expand opportunities for transfer students in order to increase enrollment for that group by 10% .
    • Coordinate secondary and postsecondary articulation agreements and recruitment activities to ensure that both are maximized for transfer enrollment and expand articulation agreements where possible.
    • Review existing academic policy to ensure that transfer students are provided with ample opportunity within the College without sacrificing academic and programmatic integrity.

2010-11 Status Report

Admissions representatives made 631 visits to high schools and college fairs in 2010-11, a 10.9% increase over the previous year. In 2010, Admissions also launched "Senior Visit Day," bringing new seniors on campus for a uniquely designed program. In Spring 2011, four off-site Accepted Student Receptions were held (Rockway, NJ; Lancaster, PA; Allentown, PA; and Indiana, PA). Open House continues to be refined to provide maximum exposure. Out-of-state enrollment in 2010-11 was 662, which represents 10% of total enrollment (an increase over the 2009-10 rate of 9.9% ).

The Office of Assessment, Research, and Planning performed preliminary research of trends in high-demand occupations and of emerging educational programs. The results are expected in September 2011. An assessment of the current curriculum portfolio, aimed at identifying potential additions, will take place in 2011-12. Funds for program and curriculum development have been identified. Results of the curriculum portfolio review will guide their use.

Activities aimed at increasing transfer enrollment include off-site activities in which deans and staff carried information related to all types of students, for all majors. Other strategies and recruitment activities include making contacts with faculty and counselors at area schools/community colleges and events that focus on nontraditional career paths, career exploration, and other topics relevant for secondary and post-secondary students.

Articulation efforts noted previously promote program integration and academic integrity. A review of all academic policies, including those relevant to transfer students, is underway. A redesign of college and school web pages focuses on communications to potential transfer students. In particular, a new transfer page provides clarity and directs prospective students as to the "next action."

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