Strategic Planning at Penn State - An Update

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Quality Advocates: Here Comes Generation A: What Faculty Say About Adult Learners

The Penn State Commission for Adult Learners, composed of faculty, staff, and students from across the University system exists to increase enrollment of and improve the adult learner experience at Penn State. In In the fall of 2011 a total of 4,807 faculty members were invited to participate in a survey to gather information relative to (1) current attitudes toward adult learners at Penn State, (2) perceptions of the unique needs of adult learners, (3) the types of accommodations necessary for adult learners, and (4) identifying the needs of adult learners that are not currently being met. This panel will present the results of this survey, the background and methodology, and action steps that came about as a result. The panel will also focus on two specific initiatives – a joint effort with Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence to produce a faculty workshop that will inform and prepare faculty to better understand and work with adult learners and the Prior Learning Assessment Initiative.

Quality Advocates: Penn State’s Budget Planning Task Force

Penn State’s Budget Planning Task Force was appointed by President Erickson in April 2012, and charged with developing systemic recommendations on how the University can deal with “budgetary challenges that are without parallel in its modern history.” Task Force co-chairs Robert Pangborn and David Gray (Interim Executive Vice President and Provost, and Senior Vice President for Finance & Business, respectively) will discuss the work of the group.

Penn State Institutional Research Interest Group: Data Visualization: Making Your Data Speak

Panelists: John Cheslock, Director, Center for the Study of Higher Education, and Associate Professor; and Christa Kelleher, Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellow and doctoral student in Civil Engineering.

Presenting findings in a way that is easily understood by our audiences can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job for everyone who deals with data. As a faculty member in higher education with a specialization in advanced quantitative modeling and past director of Penn State’s Institutional Research Certificate Program, Dr. Cheslock has spent many years developing his skills in presenting data and in sharing them with his students. Ms. Kelleher, an emerging scholar in civil engineering, recently tackled this same issue from a disciplinary perspective in her 2011 Environmental Modeling and Software article, “Ten guidelines for effective data visualization in scientific publications.” Together, these two scholars will share some of their techniques for making your data speak.

Workshop: Facilitating Planning, Improvement, and Assessment Projects and Teams

This full-day workshop provides hands-on experience in the role of a facilitator working with a team addressing a planning, improvement, or assessment initiative. It also identifies the parallels between any of these approaches and classic project management, and the further considerations for the individual serving as both the group leader and facilitator.

Quality Team Highlights:  New Teams

The teams highlighted this month are:

Cost Saving Idea:  Printed Student and Faculty/Staff Directories Discontinued

The Penn State Student and Faculty/Staff Directories will no longer be printed, a decision based on sustainability efforts and user feedback from the University community. The information can be found online.

Support for Planning, Improvement, and Assessment in Your Unit

The Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment supports the University’s efforts to plan, assess, and improve programs and services. The Office is available, at no charge, to consult with units and use organizational change tools to help units assess their needs, develop strategic plans, improve key processes, and develop collaborative team environments. If you would like to discuss the planning, quality, or assessment needs of your unit with one of our consultants, please contact Mike Dooris, Executive Director, at 814-863-8721 or e-mail

The Quality Endeavors newsletter is published several times each semester. If you have any questions or comments about what you read here, or if you would like to suggest items for future newsletters, please contact Barbara Sherlock, Senior Planning and Improvement Associate, at 814-863-8721 or Read past issues on the Office’s Web site.

To subscribe, join our mailing list or contact the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment at 814-863-8721.

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