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Leveraging Success Factors to Increase Collaboration Across College and Campus Boundaries

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Presenter(s)
David E Stone (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Julie E. Lang (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Jacqueline Ritzko (Penn State University, USA)
Amy Roche (Penn State University & Northampton Community College, USA)
Session Information
October 16, 2015 - 10:45am
Track: 
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Blended Program/Degree
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Oceanic 5
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Session: 
Concurrent Session 10
Abstract

Recommendations of essential features, key performance indicators, and support mechanisms for shared degree programs will be addressed as a result of an in-depth investigation.

Extended Abstract

Context:
Penn State University, as a large research institution, has a tremendous capacity to engage students and communities via the many campuses and colleges that constitute this one university, geographically dispersed. Leveraging strengths of faculty, students, and staff as well as institutional capacity has lead to unique learning experiences for students as the next generation of academic programs are being built. By offering academic programs in a shared structure across campuses and colleges we are providing new opportunities for students, who may not otherwise have had access to a larger student and faculty community. Faculty can also benefit from engagement with each other in discipline communities, degree programs, or interdisciplinary groups. Shared programs also offer new capabilities for the University to partner with local communities and regions. By working within the contexts of the campuses and colleges we are identifying opportunities for collaboration among degree programs and shared resources that will strengthen access to the full capacity of the University as a whole.

Problem:
Penn State has been delivering shared academic programs for decades with a multi-campus Baccalaureate Registered Nurse (R.N.) to Bachelor of Science degree beginning in 1973. Recently developed shared programs include the Administration of Justice, as well as Biology, and Corporate Communication. These programs have been designed to provide access to degree programs for students who are either location bound, or prefer to complete their study at one of the campuses. With each subsequent program lessons learned have been incorporated into the design of new programs. Building on years of experience with shared programs, it was necessary to develop operational support to continue their support within Penn State. In order to determine the success factors, an investigation of past and current shared courses/programs was needed. To address the gap in definition and to formally capture the expertise developed as part of the ongoing evolution of shared programs, a university-wide Task Force was identified to research, interview, and recommend best practices that addressed the following questions:
* What are the essential features of a successful shared academic program?
* What are the key performance indicators that can be used to measure the success of a shared academic program?
* What are the support mechanisms necessary to run a successful shared academic program?

In addition to the task force, best practices of current shared programs and lessons learned were identified to use in setting the precedent for new shared program development.

Approach and Results:
From September 2014 through February 2015 the task force, consisting of instructional designers, faculty members, and campus administrators worked together on items including but not limited to:
* interviews of campus faculty and staff who have worked with shared programs and courses
* interviews of program assessment experts
* literature review of shared academic degree programs and shared courses
* review of selected surveys from students in previous shared degree programs

A formalized definition of shared academic programs was produced. Within the report, the following definition of a "successful shared academic program" was written:

A successful shared academic degree program operates as one program across academic partners and is delivered across geographic locations. The curriculum is evaluated based on standards applied to all academic programs, and learning outcomes are the same for shared and stand alone programs.

Shared programs are aligned with the vision, mission and strategic goals of the partners. These programs are designed to leverage resources to provide seamless, consistent, and efficient student and faculty experiences. Shared programs are cost effective.

Shared academic programs are a way to provide students with access to more majors, and provide an expanded capability for students to become engaged with faculty across campus locations. These programs provide faculty with the opportunity to teach a wider range of classes and the resources to engage a larger student body through innovative technologies and engagement strategies.

Key highlights of the report include definitions for the following areas:
* Unique features of shared programs
* Essential features needed to have a successful shared program
* Program evaluation and performance indicators
o Curricular evaluation
o Administrative evaluation with examples of evidence
* Support
o Program data
o Administrative Support
o Program communication and marketing
o Technology Support
o Course development
o Faculty professional development

The formalized report is currently being distributed throughout the University. It has already been highly regarded by upper administration and will be utilized as the framework for shared programs going forward.

During the 2014 - 2015 academic year, in addition to the task force, faculty, instructional designers, and staff members involved in shared degree programs, have been identifying best practices, workflows, course design documents, and strategies to work effectively in developing programs shared across campuses. Their work has also focused on how to best deliver course in various formats (online, blended, and resident) shared between multiple campus locations.

Session Information:
This session will begin by focusing on defining shared programs and the benefits and challenges they present. The session will then move on to sharing the lessons learned during the current implementation of shared programs and conclude with a discussion on the formalized recommendations of the task force based on the Penn State context, as well as some generalizable concepts. Finding such as essential features, key performance indicators, and support mechanisms for shared degree programs will be shared.

Attendees will:
* learn about one definition of shared degree programs in a geographically-dispersed University.
* hear about lessons learned through the implementation of the current shared degree programs
* discuss recommendations for shared degree programs including: essential features, key performance indicators, and support mechanisms
* Participate in small group and/or audience-wide discussion to brainstorm:
o feedback on the previously identified recommendations,
o best practices / additional recommendations, and
o strategies to adopt and implement the recommendations in a University setting.

Results of the brainstorming session will be available to all participants after the session.

Lead Presenter

Dr. David Edwin Stone is the Director of Collaborative Programs in the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses at The Pennsylvania State University. In this role he oversees the strategic development and delivery of a broad portfolio of academic programs at the commonwealth campuses. Specifically, he is working to enable sharing of academic programs, courses, and course content across Penn State campuses including the World Campus. David previously held the position of Director of Strategic Initiatives at Southern Polytechnic State University where he provided vision, leadership, expertise and creativity in the support of online learning and teaching with technology. David has conducted research, published and presented on large scale higher education change in the area of online learning and has conducted international research on the use of virtual learning environments for foreign language instruction in China.

David holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University where he also earned a Masters in Instructional Technology. He earned a BachelorÕs of Science in Computer Science from Southern Polytechnic State University. David is a member of the Sloan Consortium and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.