9. Implementation

Chapter 8 presented a vision with a strong external orientation, but it will require an immense amount of internal planning, development, and change in order to accomplish it. This chapter presents a set of goals, objectives, and strategies as a basis for implementation of the vision.

This extensive set of goals, objectives, and strategies constitute an internal management and accountability document. Even it is not complete, as it does not generally show responsible persons, measures of success, or timelines. In some instances one strategy must be completed or one objective accomplished before another can be undertaken, and these management issues are not addressed here.
Given this chapter’s predominant internal orientation, a reader who is an external stakeholder in the university, although invited to read every word of it, could reasonably choose to read selected parts of it and then move on to Chapter 10, the final chapter. Chapter 10 concludes this planning report with seven pledges to the university’s external stakeholders, each pledge a strategic commitment by UALR for the years ahead.
Goals One through Five are directed at the core mission of the university—teaching, research, and public service. Goals Six through Eight address the means for accomplishing Goals One through Five.

Goal One

UALR will provide programs of study that will educate students to live, work, and lead in the complex, technological, diverse world of the 21st Century.

Objective 1: The university will ensure the quality of its educational programs.

Strategies:

  • The university will develop a set of performance measures, appropriate to a metropolitan university, that provide the basis for quality assurance and quality improvement.
  • The university will develop and implement a plan to maintain momentum and improve the strategies for assessing student learning outcomes in preparation for the comprehensive review by the North Central Association in 2010.
  • The university will strengthen its commitment to cultivating global awareness among students through such initiatives as the possible expansion of the study abroad program, the reorganization of the functions and units related to international students and international studies, the possible addition of an International MBA program, and the infusion of an international focus throughout the curriculum.
  • The university will develop and implement a plan for encouraging and supporting interdisciplinary teaching and research efforts of faculty.
  • The university will strengthen the internal system of academic program review.
  • The university will consider implementing a Writing Across the Curriculum Program, charging a faculty-led task force to research existing models at other universities and design a program which meets the unique needs of UALR students.
  • UALR will strengthen the Donaghey Scholars Program, a premier honors program, and will add more broad-based honors programs open to a larger number of students.

Objective 2: The university, in accord with its mission, will graduate students who understand the roles they can play to make a difference in society.

Strategies:

  • The university will maintain and strengthen its programs (American Humanics, Friday-Sturgis Fellows, service-learning courses, etc.), which engage students in public service, and will expand service-related and community related components in the undergraduate curriculum.
  • The university will increase the number of internship and externship opportunities for UALR students.

Objective 3: The university will give priority to new academic programs which promise the greatest impact on meeting the needs of Arkansas in such areas as economic development, health care, education, and social welfare.

Strategies:

  • The university will develop a process to evaluate new program proposals using the categories of need, demand, institutional mission, resource requirements, and duplication.
  • The university will expand engineering offerings as CyberCollege programs in Systems Engineering and in Information Science mature.
  • The university will consider additions of programs in such areas of emphasis as the Life Sciences (healthcare, biotechnology, toxicology, etc.), automotive industry engineering support, non-profit management, hotel and restaurant management, and innovative entrepreneurship.

Objective 4: The university will increase the number of certified, K-12 teachers it graduates by 40 percent in five years.

Strategies:

  • The university will partner with public school teachers and administrators, among others, to eliminate any internal barriers to increased production of K-12 teachers
  • The university will strengthen and increase access to nontraditional teacher licensure opportunities.
  • The university will study the feasibility of establishing an honors program, with generous scholarships and a study abroad component, for students planning to become K-12 teachers.
  • The university will pursue a substantial increase in the number of privately funded, endowed scholarships to support teacher education students.
  • The university will give specific attention to recruiting students into the teaching profession in content areas where shortages are acute, including science, mathematics, foreign languages, special education, and middle childhood education.

Objective 5: The university will increase the number of nurses it graduates by 100 percent in five years.

Strategies:

  • The university will implement and grow its partnership with St. Vincent Health Care Systems to underwrite scholarships and instructional costs for nursing students.
  • The university will implement an 18-month accelerated RN program option to facilitate more rapid entry into the workforce.
  • The university will seek the means to sustain the nursing program at Benton.

Objective 6: The university will expand its cultural programs to contribute to the quality of life in central Arkansas.

Strategies:

  • The UALR Music Department will add a track in music theater in support of Central Arkansas’ theater and opera communities.
  • The UALR Art Department will add a track in Applied Arts both in support of Central Arkansas’ visual arts community and in deference to the craft fields from which applied arts disciplines evolved.
  • Dance will be reactivated as a major on campus.
  • The Public History Program will expand its partnerships with regional and national museums and archives.
  • UALR will consider expanding offerings in the field of film.
  • The university will provide additional support to UALR Public Radio.

Objective 7: The university will increase the number of baccalaureate degree graduates by 20 percent in five years.

Strategies:

  • The university will create a leader position for student recruitment in order to use and coordinate recruitment efforts of all University units.
  • UALR will focus increased recruitment efforts on transfer students from both two-year and four-year campuses.
  • The university will use existing merit-based scholarships more effectively in recruiting students.
  • UALR will aggressively recruit minority students and will work with advocacy groups and the state legislature to make it easier for recently-arrived Latinos to enroll without penalty in the state’s public colleges and universities.
  • The university will work with state officials and private donors to increase the number of both need-based and merit scholarships.
  • The university will place shared personnel on site at Pulaski Technical College to facilitate the transfer of students from one institution to the other.
  • UALR will increase the leadership role of the institution’s academic departments and faculty in recruitment and retention activities.
  • UALR will recruit more aggressively from the two-year colleges using the online completer degrees.
  • The university will continue to support the Benton Center or a successor center in Saline County, expanding programs as demand appears sufficient to support the additional programs.
  • UALR will continue to explore expanding access through non-traditional delivery formats, additional sites, and expanded use of non-traditional course offering times.
  • The university will review its policies, procedures, and practices against the standard of convenience to students in light of the importance of convenience to the educational progress of UALR students, who often are employed and have family responsibilities.

Objective 8: The university will be the high-tech campus in Arkansas where relevant technology is prominently available and used extensively by students, faculty, and staff.

Strategies:

  • UALR will create a deanship to coordinate and supervise extended programs and the use of technology-enhanced instruction and will charge this dean with creating a streamlined and efficient structure for these initiatives.
  • The university will enhance the integration of technology into the core curriculum in support of the new core competency related to technology.
  • UALR will provide a clear set of technology competencies by major and a plan for ensuring graduates in every major are technologically proficient.
  • The university will offer existing undergraduate majors in liberal arts, criminal justice, and mathematics in an on-line format and expand into others as the courses are developed.
  • The university will continue to expand the use of information technology to increase access to higher education in innovative ways such as the partnership arrangement with Wal-Mart and Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Goal Two

UALR will provide a student-centered educational environment.

Objective 1: The university will organize its operations and shape its practices, policies, and procedures to be as student-centered as possible, as evidenced by increased student satisfaction and success.

Strategies:

  • The university will provide training so that all university personnel demonstrate a service-oriented attitude to all university constituents, and will provide a measure of accountability to ensure that this positive attitude becomes part of the university culture.
  • The university will establish a welcome center for students and consolidate student service offices into a “one-stop” site.
  • The university will consider the feasibility of providing child-care services through a partnership arrangement with a private provider.
  • The university will follow the recent installation of consistent external signage across campus with accurate and consistent internal signage in campus buildings.
  • The university will shape its services to meet the needs of its students, responding to the particular challenges which confront such specific groups as transfer students, single parents, on-line students, weekend students, and minorities.
  • The university will review policies on parking with the aim of making the campus more convenient for all students and providing more close-in parking for evening students.
  • The university will examine all of its policies and procedures in order to identify and remove bottlenecks to student progress toward graduation.

Objective 2: The university will strengthen the sense of campus community through expanded on-campus student housing, specific academic offerings, strengthened extracurricular programs, and selected faculty activities.

Strategies:

  • The university will build additional on-campus student housing, assuming financial feasibility, to accommodate a minimum of an additional 700 students.
  • The university will explore the possibility of fully implementing learning communities as a means of developing cohorts of successful students.
  • The university will continue strengthening intercollegiate and intramural athletics programs to enrich campus and community life.
  • The university will work with fraternities and sororities to strengthen their role on campus and, in concert with the institution’s master planning initiative, to plan for a physical presence for the institution’s Greek community, including residential houses as possible and appropriate.
  • The university will host an annual lecture series featuring leading scholars in various academic disciplines to provide external perspective and focus on the world around us.
  • The university will give attention to integrating the faculty and students of the law school and the main campus.
  • The university will promote social interaction among new faculty as part of its new faculty orientation programs to provide them with an early sense of belonging to the UALR community.
  • The provost will host occasional gatherings of faculty and staff from across the university whose teaching, research, and service interests are similar.

Objective 3: The university will implement research-based strategies for increasing persistence (retention) and graduation rates of UALR undergraduate students by 20 percent in five years.

Strategies:

  • The university will place emphasis on undergraduate research as a means to strengthen learning.
  • The university, because of the positive effects on student retention, will substantially shift academic advising to the academic departments.
  • The university will build a self-supporting program of developmental courses which provides sufficient sections of such courses for all students who need them before they enroll in higher-level courses.
  • The university will begin a phased process of increasing admission standards.
  • The university will consider requiring all freshmen and transfer students to enroll in a First Year Experience course to increase the probability of retention and student success and satisfaction.

Goal Three

UALR will continue to expand its graduate offerings to address regional and state needs.

Objective: The university will expand graduate offerings, particularly those that address regional and state needs and those that contribute significantly to the economic development of the state.

Strategies:

  • The university will develop a process to evaluate new graduate program proposals using the categories of need, demand, institutional mission, resource requirements, and duplication.
  • The university will implement proposals for three joint doctoral programs, one needed in the state as a result of changes in professional licensure standards and two in response to the application of information technology to medical research and to the burgeoning health-care industry:
    1. Ph.D. in Communication Sciences (with UAMS and UCA)
    2. Au.D. (Audiology) (with UAMS)
    3. Ph.D. in Bioinformatics (with UAMS)
  • UALR will explore adding a material science track to the Ph.D. in Applied Science.
  • UALR will explore adding a Ph.D. or graduate-level certificate in technical writing.
  • UALR will continue to propose masters and doctoral-level programs which respond to demonstrated regional and state needs.
  • UALR will initiate certificate programs to meet the varying, limited-scope, educational needs of Arkansas citizens.
  • UALR will maximize other opportunities with the health care community and UAMS, including the addition of a public health law concentration in the J.D. curriculum of the William H. Bowen School of Law.

Goal Four

UALR will expand its research capabilities to support UALR’s academic mission and to strengthen regional and state economic development plans.

Objective: The university will increase its commitment to research.

Strategies:

  • The university will build upon the nanotechnology infrastructure funded by the governor and General Assembly to strengthen research and development activities at UALR and will include other universities as partners to support and expand technology-based businesses in Arkansas.
  • The university will increase both the number of grant submissions and the dollar amount of grant awards by 25 percent in five years.
  • UALR will build on its strong foundation in graduate programming and research by creating the position of Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School and reorganizing the graduate and research programs to meet the institution’s graduate and research goals.
  • The university will consider adoption of an incentive policy that would permit faculty members who apply for and win external grants to supplement their salaries.
  • The university will reevaluate its management of intellectual property, patents, and copyright.
  • The university will explore applying for accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs in order to ensure that the institution has the process and procedures in place to support the sophisticated level of research which its faculty and students undertake.
  • The university will work to find ways to provide research start-up funds for new faculty as needed.
  • The university will give a high priority to support for the Ottenheimer Library for the purchase of materials, periodicals, and technology to support faculty and student research.
  • The university will strengthen the Archives and Special Collections unit of the Ottenheimer Library as well as the Sequoyah Research Center in order to provide increased access and use of their unique holdings.
  • The university will increase the number of graduate assistants and their level of pay.
  • The university will implement an initiative to create endowed graduate student stipends in all graduate programs.
  • The university will increase opportunities for students, both undergraduate and graduate, to participate in research.
  • The university will ensure that its research focus, codified in documents defining faculty roles and evaluation, is broadly defined to value all forms of scholarship defined by Boyer (discovery, integration, application, and teaching), thus achieving a resonance with the institution’s traditional and continuing commitments to teaching and community engagement.

Goal Five

UALR will provide exceptional service through partnerships and outreach activities.

Objective 1: The university will build mutually beneficial partnerships with community institutions and organizations.

Strategies:

  • The university will offer joint degree programs with UAMS, will provide support to the research and development (R&D) efforts of UAMS, and will develop research programs complementary to those of UAMS.
  • The university will work to expand the mutually beneficial relationship with its neighbor, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, beginning with a Memorandum of Understanding that will lead to a sharing of resources in as many areas as feasible, such as the fitness center, computing services, library, public safety, and a greenhouse.
  • The university will expand its relationships with Pulaski Technical College, the Clinton Presidential Library and the UA Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Winrock International, Heifer International, Central Arkansas Libraries, public schools, and area cultural organizations.
  • The university will strengthen its ties with the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, Arkansas Capital Corporation, and other organizations and state agencies working to speed the economic development of the state and region.

Objective 2: The university will continue to offer its services as an honest broker and a neutral convener in efforts to address community issues and problems.

Strategies:

  • The university will strengthen its mediation and conflict resolution capabilities in order to play its role as honest broker and neutral convener.
  • The university will strengthen its capacity to assist governmental units striving to accommodate a larger citizen voice in decision making.
  • The university will provide leadership in regard to race relations through an annual survey of racial attitudes in the community as the cornerstone of widening efforts to address issues of race.
  • The university will host an annual summit focused on regionalism as the cornerstone of widening efforts to speed the development of cooperative approaches to issues within the central Arkansas region.

Objective 3: The university will offer its services to the community through campus units which have community-focused missions.

Strategies:

  • The university will enhance processes to allow better accessibility of its intellectual resources by the community through such bridging organization on campus as the Institute of Government, the Institute for Economic Advancement, the Arkansas Small Business Development Center, the Law Clinic, and the Office of Community Engagement.
  • The university will create a directory of programs focused on community needs for use by organizations needing information about UALR.
  • The university will move proposals forward for the following centers:
    1. Center for Stuttering Research and Treatment;
    2. Center for Nonprofit Organizations;
    3. Center for Public Health Law;
    4. Center for Reading Recovery;
    5. Center for Presidential Studies.
  • The university views four proposed centers—Entrepreneurial Studies, Educational Policy, Public Conflict Resolution, and Mathematics Recovery (in conjunction with the Center for Reading Recovery)—as on a “watch list” and will determine with study whether or not to move them forward.
  • The William H. Bowen School of Law will consider the creation of two institutes: The Arkansas Law Institute and the Appellate Practice Institute.
  • The university will propose new centers and institutes in response to demonstrated regional and state needs.

Objective 4: The university will be an integral player in the cultural life of central Arkansas.

Strategies:

  • UALR will strengthen all of its arts programs.
  • UALR will publicize its cultural offerings through appropriate media for the benefit of the citizens of central Arkansas.
  • UALR will initiate a public art program for the campus with the Arkansas heritage as a possible focus.
  • The UALR Music Department will form strong partnerships with Wildwood Center and Parkview High School.
  • The UALR Theatre Arts and Dance Department will forge a close working relationship with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
  • UALR will enhance the role of the literary arts in the cultural life of the campus and the community through guest, faculty, and student poetry and fiction readings; and through Equinox, Pixels and Quills, and the annual Shakespeare scene festival.
  • UALR will seek a permanent endowment for Artspree.
  • UALR will develop a close working relationship with the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and the Arts.

Objective 5: The university will be a leader in efforts to revitalize the University District.

Strategies:

  • The university will lead the development of a vision for revitalizing the area surrounding the campus, known as the University District, involving area residents, businesses, churches, government, and community leaders in the process.
  • The university will coordinate, with key business and government agencies, the establishment of a community development organization in the University District.
  • The university will study the feasibility of a university business incubator in the University District to support the development of new and expanding companies in sectors such as biotechnology, information technology and other industries related to research niches of the campus.
  • The university will design a signature facility on the location of the recently purchased University Plaza Shopping Center, which will serve as a focal point in the revitalized University District.
  • The university will support efforts to protect the Fourche Creek wetland area at the south end of the University District, including creating innovative approaches to enhance and protect Coleman Creek as an important tributary feeding into the wetlands.
  • The university will initiate partnerships with community organizations in the University District to enhance the quality of life for District residents by improving the area’s public schools, cultural institutions, and recreational areas.
  • The university will commit to use its resources, within regulations governing a public institution, to add to the economic base of the University District, including purchasing from local vendors, recruiting employees from the area, encouraging faculty and staff to live in the neighborhood, and creating new programs to increase the number of students enrolling at UALR from the immediate area.

Goal Six

UALR will support and strengthen its human resources.

Objective 1: The university will support faculty, its key human resource, by providing expanded professional development opportunities.

Strategies:

  • The university will initiate an orientation and mentoring program for new faculty, including special programs for international faculty.
  • The university will seek additional funding to support faculty development, travel, and other professional activities of faculty.
  • The university will review faculty roles and rewards to ensure that expectations of faculty and the ways in which faculty are rewarded are aligned with the roles which faculty must play in a metropolitan university.
  • The university will review promotion and tenure criteria to respond to the faculty roles and rewards study.
  • The university will review consistency of policy and of use of reassigned time by faculty.
  • The university will review the roles and status of non-tenure track faculty and of part-time faculty.
  • The university will review and revise policies and practices to encourage and support enhanced efforts in recruiting a strong and diverse faculty.

Objective 2: The university will reward the faculty appropriately as evidenced by faculty salaries at or above Southern Regional Education Board averages.

Strategies:

  • UALR administrators will work with state officials to increase funding for faculty salaries to enable the campus to compete in the national market for the best talent available.
  • UALR will pursue endowments and private funding to enhance faculty compensation.
  • Within resources available, the university will address salary equity issues on campus.
  • The university will keep fringe benefit programs under review in an effort to strengthen this source of compensation for faculty.

Objective 3: The university will continue to provide professional development opportunities and to reward staff appropriately as evidenced by salaries at the appropriate market rate and by the satisfaction level of staff.

Strategies:

  • UALR administrators will work with state officials to increase funding for staff salaries to enable the campus to continue to compete for talent in the regional market.
  • Within resources available, the university will address staff salary equity issues on campus.
  • The university will seek additional funding to support staff professional activities and development.
  • The university will develop current, separate handbooks for classified and non-classified staff.
  • The university will review and revise policies and practices to encourage and support enhanced efforts in recruiting a strong and diverse staff.
  • The university will keep fringe benefit programs under review in an effort to strengthen this source of compensation for staff.

Goal Seven

UALR will provide the institutional infrastructure necessary to achieve its educational mission.

Objective 1: The university will be a model of responsible stewardship of the physical resources of the campus.

Strategies:

  • The university will seek expert advice in the preparation of a campus master plan for optimal use and development of campus facilities and grounds in alignment with the institution’s mission and goals.
  • The university will implement a tree replacement program and take other measures to conserve the natural assets of the campus.
  • The university will implement an expanded recycling program.
  • The university will establish standards of cleanliness and maintenance for campus facilities.
  • The university will introduce more space that encourages student and faculty community in academic buildings when constructing new or renovating old buildings.
  • The university will study “green building standards” and incorporate an appropriate level of them into UALR’s Construction Methods and Materials Guidelines.
  • The university will explore the possibility of a design/build department within Physical Plant Department.
  • The university will describe opportunities for donors to support a number of campus beautification projects, such as Coleman Creek.
  • The university will develop and implement a well-informed campus-wide policy on retention and disposal of office records and files.
  • The university will develop and implement a plan, consistent with state regulations, for the regular disposal of computing equipment no longer in use.

Objective 2: The university will continue to expand the information technology resources of the campus to ensure effective and efficient use of technology.

Strategies:

  • The university will maintain Internet2 status as a user of advanced network applications and expand into more advanced technology applications as feasible, including but not limited to the National Lambda Rail.
  • The university, to strengthen centralized planning for information technology, will reform existing advisory committees so that there is one to coordinate information technology issues and solutions and another that addresses instructional technology concerns of faculty.
  • The university will provide training opportunities for faculty and staff to enable them to make effective use of the available information technology of the campus.
  • The university will develop and implement a campus-wide “waterfall” procedure for redistributing computers that are being upgraded or replaced.
  • Fully depreciated computers will be offered to public schools and other state agencies (i.e., prisons and juvenile homes) within applicable laws and regulations controlling the disposal of state property.
  • The deans will develop a plan to use technology fees for systematic replacement of information technology.

Objective 3: The university will consistently engage in benchmarking and in process improvement efforts to make the functioning of the institution more efficient and user-friendly.

Strategies:

  • The university will constantly assess its performance in comparison with peer metropolitan universities and with appropriate Arkansas institutions in all areas in which acceptable data make comparisons possible.
  • The university will develop a web site for policy statements for ease of reference by all constituents.
  • The university will develop a web site for all forms, all of which one will be able to complete on-line.
  • The university will create a web site to provide orientation for new department chairs.
  • The university will create a web site to provide orientation for new University employees.

Goal Eight

UALR will develop a strategy to enhance resources to accomplish its mission.

Objective 1: The university will develop a funding strategy that will align potential sources—such as internal reallocations, state appropriations, tuition, fees, grants, contracts, foundation awards, federal earmarks, private donations, local tax support—with appropriate goals.

Strategies:

  • The university will strengthen the staff of the Development Office.
  • The university will commission a professional study to determine the feasibility of a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • The university will train and will involve academic officers more extensively in private fundraising efforts.
  • The university will consider increasing the number of colleges with their own development officers, who would have a dual reporting relationship with the dean and with the director of development.
  • The university will strengthen fundraising strategies that expand the donor base through such initiatives as “1,000 at $1,000,” the annual fund, and the campus campaign.
  • The university will continue to strengthen alumni involvement, increasing the number of registered alumni by 50 percent in five years and building a comprehensive, up-to-date alumni database.
  • The university will seek funding for endowed professorships and chairs.
  • The university will aggressively pursue a scholarship matching program.
  • The university will pursue private funding of scholarships for student-athletes in all sports on a phased basis.
  • The university will increase the number of endowed scholarships, both need based and merit, by 20 percent in five years.

Objective 2: The university will vigorously communicate who it is and what it does for the people of Arkansas in order to increase understanding and support at local, state, and Federal levels.

Strategies:

  • The university will work with and through the Arkansas Congressional delegation and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities to increase understanding and support of metropolitan universities at the federal level.
  • The university will communicate more vigorously the accomplishments and contributions of UALR students and faculty.
  • The university will develop and implement an integrated marketing plan.
  • The university will continue to improve its website using consistent formats, systematically reviewing and updating all departmental websites on a regular basis.
  • The university will communicate a consistent message of UALR as an academically strong institution of higher education.
  • The university will enforce conformity to campus standards for look and sound.