Academic Visioning lays groundwork for future meetings

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

Workgroup no. 8, focused on academic visioning, drafted their goals for the first week and defined what their mission is at their preliminary meeting Monday.

Jeff Stowell, the chairman for the committee, reiterated the charge or purpose of the workgroup, and said members should be thinking about new or modified programs, completion programs, signature programs and micro degree programs.

“Today my goal is to discuss the process, what our charge is and begin thinking about what our questions are for sources of data,” Stowell said. “If you have questions, please ask.”

Amy Rosenstein, a Workgroup member, brought a list of suggestions to the table she found would be useful for the group to look into based on the Workgroups’ charge.

Rosenstein said the Workgroup should look at the majors and minors offered on campus and then look at some of the other regional institutions and community colleges to see what they might offer that Eastern does not.

Rosenstein said this idea is not a matter of just stealing students from other locations but to think about some other options being offered at different institutions that are exciting for students.

Rosenstein used the art department as an example, saying that though it is an amazing department with many options offered, there is not a graphic arts program as of right now.

However, though there are the graphic arts major and minor that will be offered next spring, which was brought up during the discussion by member Nora Pat Small, Rosenstein said it then would make sense to think about what is already in the works.

“Then how do we think about (the new major) in terms of major programing and how it relates to what is offered at other places so that we can hone in on some of that,” Rosenstein said.

She also recommended the workgroup not only look at undergraduate students but non-traditional students and graduate students as well when considering different programs.

“We need to consider making our programing something that is enticing to all age ranges and all students,” Rosenstein said.

Renee Kidd Marshall said after looking at a report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education it said 61 percent of the workforce in Illinois has a professional degree in collaboration between the state universities and the community colleges.

Kidd Marshall said looking at reports and identifying the trends is also important.

Britto Nathan, a workgroup member, agreed with Rosenstein and said it is important to create programs that will follow those trends across the country.

Small also recommended that since members will be looking at several trends that will eventually tie into new or existing programs, then they should look at Eastern’s signature programs and how those fit in the equation.

“We want to build on what is already successful, in part at least and we need to move out from there,” Small said.

Kelly Miller added that members should also know what the new programs being proposed are and Stowell offered to ask Eastern’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Blair Lord for the list of programs.

Ryan Hendrickson, a Workgroup member, offered to help get the information for the new programs in the works as well as the data (at the graduate level) detailing what the big enrollment interest is and what are the majors that people want.

“I think for us, this is very important to see what areas of interest are strong out there I would almost start there because it would allow us to not only go back to our signature programs but also would say are we not doing something that is really needed,” Hendrickson said.

Members were given different tasks revolving around the goals they created through discussion and will present their information at the next meeting that has yet to be announced.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]