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Home > About Queens College > Administration > Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

AT THE TIME OF THE VISIT

President
James Muyskens (PhD)

Chief Academic Officer
Evangelos Gizis (PhD)

Chair of the CUNY Board of Trustees
Benno Schmidt (PhD)

 

Insert statement of accreditation status here.

II. Based on the review of the self-study, interviews, and the certification statement supplied by the institution and other institutional documents, the team affirms that the institution continues to meet the Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education.

III. Based on a review of the self-study, certification by the institution, and other institutional documents, and interviews, the team affirms that the institution's Title IV cohort default rate is within federal limits.

IV. Evaluation Overview

Please see Appendix A (Self-Study Documentation Roadmap) and Appendix B (description of the evaluation team visit) for a full description of the Queens selected topics and the details of the evaluation team's visit. Standards 1 to 6 and 10 were validated by a document review undertaken during the preliminary visit and the final visit.

The following are important conclusions regarding the specific self-study topics which were partially or substantively addressed.

#7-Institutional Assessment—Quality data exist and have been used for assessment.

#8-Student Admissions and Retention—Queens has been a leader among CUNY campuses in meeting enrollment goals. There is excellent coordination of programs for first-year and transfer students.

#9-Student Support Services—Queens is clearly student-centered and this is best evidenced by the fact that thirty of the ninety members of the Academic Senate are students. Academic advising is a high priority and the College is seeking ways to involve more alumni with the current students.

#11-Educational Offerings—In addition to its internationally known music program, Queens offers numerous high quality programs consistent with its mission of preparing students to become leading citizens in a global setting.

#12 General Education—The recently adopted, still to be implemented, general education requirement is innovative and thoughtful. The new general education requirement appears to be fostering cross-disciplinary discussions and course development. The new general education requirement provides a unique and important opportunity for meaningful learning assessment and Queens is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

#13-Related Educational Activities—Minimal activity here, but the standard is clearly met.

#14-Assessment of Student Learning—Much remains to be done here, but much has been done and is underway. An academic review process is in place and there is evidence that this process is providing necessary data for appropriate instructional change in some departments and in selected schools. The review team commends Queens for its emphasis on developing an assessment-centered general education requirement which can serve as a national model when implemented.

V. Compliance with Accreditation Standards

A. Standards Addressed Substantively in the Selected Topics Self-Study: Standards 8, 12, and 14 follow.

 

Standard 8: Student Admissions and Retention

The institution seeks to admit students whose interests, goals, and abilities are congruent with its mission and seeks to retain them through the pursuit of the student's educational goals.

The institution meets this standard.

Summary of Evidence and Findings

Based on a review of the self-study; interviews with a wide range of students, administrators and staff; review of various admissions documents and publications; and a review of relevant sections of the college website, the team developed the following conclusions relevant to the standard on admissions and retention:

  1. The team congratulates the college for its efforts to remain true to its historic mission of providing access and opportunity to a richly diverse student population, while striving to increase the academic profile, retention and graduation rates of its entering student classes. The college appreciates that access and excellence are necessarily complementary rather than competing goals.

  1. The Admissions Office and Enrollment Management Committee have sufficient research to identify their primary freshman and transfer student markets and have established productive relationships with the feeder high schools and community colleges. They also use direct mail and the web to communicate with prospective students and to facilitate student interest in and applications to the college.

  1. The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices have sufficiently well-publicized, transparent and flexible admissions criteria and decision-making processes, as well as financial aid policies, to ensure access to a wide range of student abilities, cultural backgrounds, ages, life circumstances, and socioeconomic situations. The institutions admissions policies reflect and support its mission and goals, in large part by striving to create a good match between prospective students' abilities, interests, and aspirations and the particular strengths of and opportunities offered by the college.

  1. Realizing the range of needs and expectations of its student body, the college has in place a fairly seamless process that transitions new students from the admissions process, through orientation and advising and on to both honors and retention programs.

  1. The college understands the particular challenges facing transfer students and is improving the transfer credit evaluation and advising processes and experiences for this population.

  1. The college has implemented a wide range of student support programs and interventions and has recently coordinated many of those programs through the Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE) program to meet its goals of improving student retention and graduation rates.

Significant Accomplishments, Progress or Exemplary Practices

  1. The college has met or exceeded CUNY and college-specific enrollments goals in recent years, enrolling more students, while increasing the academic profile and diversity of the student body.

  1. The college has established an enrollment management committee that has gathered and analyzed relevant institutional data and made strategic marketing decisions based on this research.

  1. The college has earmarked specific feeder high schools and community colleges and has strengthened and deepened its working relationships with these institutions to include frequent high school visits, participation in college fairs, and hosting of student groups on campus.

  1. The college has recognized the special challenges that transfer students face when making the transition from one college to another and has developed extensive written materials (i.e., Transfer Student Guide and Program Planner) that make a difficult process easier for students. The college has implemented "Degree Works," and TIPPS to improve the transfer credit evaluation process and enable students to plan their transfer and curricular progress to degree.

  1. The Admissions Office, Advising Center and Academic Support Center, among other programs and offices, are increasingly coordinating efforts to offer new students an impressive array of programs and practices (i.e., First Year Initiative; Sophomore initiative, paid faculty advisors to advise students in Jan. and August) to provide students with academic and personal support from summer orientation throughout the critical first year. The Freshman Advising Handbook provides good evidence of the wealth of opportunities offered to new students to start the university with the information and guidance they need for success.

Suggestions for Improvement

  1. The college should consider redoing its Admissions and Financial Aid home pages on the college website to create a more dynamic, interactive look that might include opportunities for prospective students to ask questions and receive immediate answers, to communicate with admissions student ambassadors, to take a virtual campus tour, to read and respond to student blogs, etc. The college may also wish to email, as well as direct mail, prospects.

  1. The college should consider offering more frequent opportunities for students and family members to visit campus than the current once-a-week programs. This will be particularly important if a new residence hall creates an opportunity to recruit students from more distant geographic areas.

  1. As increased fund-raising efforts generate more money for merit-based scholarships, the college may want to provide a wider range of awards to more students, as well as the half- and full-tuition awards to honors students, given the psychological as well as financial benefit that admitted scholarship students realize. This strategy to increase yield will be particularly important, given the geographically limited student market from which the college draws its students. More aggressive tuition discounting will also help the college meet its goal of enrolling more well-qualified African-American students.

  1. The college should closely monitor the success of the CUE program, the Campaign for Student Success, the Black Male Initiative and other new interventions and programs that coordinate and strengthen the growing commitment to student retention and graduation.

Standard 12: General Education

The institution's curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education and essential skills, including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, and technological competency.

This standard has been met.

Evidence and Findings

At the time of the visit, the college was in the process of revising the general education requirements. The president had established a task force on general education. That task force completed its work in 2004 and the recommendations were adopted by the Faculty Senate and the college community to be implemented in 2009.

Because these new requirements are not yet in place, the team was not able to review them. On paper, this standard has clearly been addressed, but at this time it is not possible to evaluate the reality. (And the team did not think it was worthwhile to evaluate the general education program that would soon be replaced.) It is the assessment of the team that it if this plan is implemented, the institution will have an exciting and innovative general education program that clearly meets the standard.

The new general education requirements include Basic Competences, Areas of Knowledge and Inquiry, and Integration and Synthesis.

Basic Competences: Writing and Mathematics

Areas of Knowledge and Inquiry are addressed by courses in the following areas:

1. Areas of Knowledge and Inquiry:

Reading and Literature (2 Courses)

Appreciating and Participating in the Arts (1 course), Cultures and Values (1 course)

Analyzing Social Structures (2 courses)

Natural Science (2 courses)

2. Contexts of Experience (3 courses) United States

European Traditions

World Cultures

Note: There can be overlap in the above two categories.

3. Two additional requirements can be met through PLAS or other classes:

Pre-Industrial Society

Abstract or Quantitative Reasoning


At least some of the courses used to meet the Knowledge and Inquiry requirements are courses called Perspectives on the Liberal Arts and Sciences (PLAS)—these courses will address how, within a discipline (or disciplines), knowledge is acquired, data and evidence construed and questions asked and answered, how the discipline fits into the liberal arts and larger society. When appropriate, PLAS courses will be global or comparative in scope, consider issues of diversity, engage students in active inquiry, analyze change over time, and use primary sources and materials.

Integration and Syntheses is addressed by upper-division courses that integrate knowledge across at least two liberal arts disciplines.

Significant Accomplishments

This new approach to general education has generated cross-disciplinary discussions among faculty and some say has started bringing down some of the silos that now separate disciplines. The courses that have been proposed to date promise to generate student interest in the liberal arts.

The intent to concurrently develop assessment for this process is admirable.

The Academic Senate, which approved this plan, includes 33% student representation. In the experience of the team, their involvement is unique and imitable.

Suggestions

Implementing these new requirements will take substantial curricular development. Departments will have to develop new courses sufficient to serve students entering in 2009, while maintaining courses for students enrolled under the current system. (There is some overlap between the two.)

The student population of the college is very diverse, representing many cultures. It is important that education at the institution celebrate and articulate that diversity. This is not explicitly addressed by the PLAS requirements, although the expectation is that diversity would be incorporated as appropriate. In reviewing PLAS, the college should ensure that all students will be exposed to learning related to cultural diversity in the US.

The assessment of general education should be incorporated into a university-wide assessment plan. Since planning for assessment is being incorporated into the planning, it might provide a model for the rest of the university.


Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning

Assessment of student learning demonstrates that, at graduation or other appropriate points, the institution's students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional and appropriate higher education goals.

The institution meets this standard.

Summary of evidence and findings

Based on reviews of the self-study, program reviews and related documents, and interviews with faculty, staff, students and others, the team developed the following conclusions relative to this standard:

  1. There is a great deal of assessment interest and activity within the academic departments, supported and encouraged by the institutional leaders. This is particularly true for programs with external accrediting agencies.
  2. Goals and learning outcomes exist at the program and course level for many departments, although it does not yet appear to be universal. As more programs cycle through the 2002 academic program review process, it is likely that, with guidance, defined learning outcomes aligned at the program and course level will become commonplace.
  3. Similarly, as new general education requirements take shape for implementation in 2009, the definition and alignment of general education outcomes and course outcomes will likely become more clearly defined.
  4. There is evidence that assessment results have provided some assurance that the institution is achieving its mission and goals.
  5. While follow-up seems to occur primarily in meetings, there are numerous examples of decisions and improvements based on assessment results.
  6. Although faculty resistance to assessment appears minimal, the knowledge of appropriate outcomes assessment methods and use of results does not appear widespread among faculty.
  7. Implementation of the recommendations in Chapter 5 of the Self-Study would advance the outcomes assessment process.

Significant accomplishments

  1. An academic review process is in place with current guidelines from 2002 clearly requiring that the department's mission relates to the mission of the college, and the contribution to the liberal arts and sciences goals of the division are outlined. The methods of assessing the outcomes of the courses and programs and the use of assessment data for change are to be described. The reports conclude with an analysis of strengths and weaknesses and plans for the next five to seven years. The self-study is to be supplemented by external reviewers.
  2. The Middle States Assessment Committee 2006 Final Report provides evidence from a survey of department chairs that many departments have, as a result of student outcome assessment, modified course content, added new courses, increased fieldwork, adjusted sequences of courses, developed new specializations, and increased meaningful applications of knowledge. They report having used a variety of techniques, including embedded assessments, standardized tests, self-report, portfolios, and capstone projects to assess cumulative learning, growth, knowledge and cognitive abilities, and physical skills,
  3. Progress on defining general education outcomes is encouraging, and the stated intent of making general education assessment centered is to be commended.

Suggestions

  1. Use the development of the General Education requirements as an opportunity to develop a model outcomes assessment process.
  2. Continue the comprehensive academic program review cycle with emphasis on the articulation of outcomes, alignment with program goals, and useful assessment strategies.
  3. Continue to complete the assessment cycle by using the assessment results to implement needed change, and to inform decisions and the developing strategic planning process.
  4. Provide faculty with support in developing an array of assessment measures for 'triangulation' of outcomes including the many methods described the Middle States Assessment Committee 2006 Final Report, as well as the use of untapped data already collected by the college. Some level of support can come from existing resources within the college. For example, the Office of Institutional Research web page has links to many sites with good examples of assessment in a variety of disciplines, and locally developed faculty expertise can be shared as part of faculty development.

B. Standards Addressed Partially in the Selected Topics Self-Study—Standards 7, 9, 1l, and 13 follow.


Standard 7: Institutional Assessment

The institution has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and its compliance with accreditation standards.

The institution meets this standard.

Summary of evidence and findings

Based on review of the self-study, institutional documents provided, and interviews with faculty, staff, students and others, the team developed the following conclusions relative to this standard:

  1. There is a great deal of assessment activity throughout the institution; however, it is unclear that the activities are systematic, consistent and pervasive throughout the institution.
  2. There is evidence that assessment informs decisions with some regularity, but it is not clear that it is standard practice.
  3. Although data is used to great effect in some areas, there appears to be significant untapped potential for the data currently available.
  4. As the institution develops and implements a strategic planning process, the information developed through the assessment of institutional effectiveness will be a useful, if not essential, component of the process.
  5. Nevertheless, when we consider whether the institution knows if it is fulfilling its mission and achieving its goals, we think the answer is yes.

Significant accomplishments

  1. The University Performance Management Process provides a comprehensive platform for developing college goals, objectives, indicators and targets as evidenced in the Queens College documents examined, and many of the key indicators are provided centrally by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis.
  2. There is a plethora of data generated by the CUNY Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, and by the Queens College of Institutional Research.
  3. Numerous divisions routinely conduct assessment of their effectiveness.

Suggestions

  1. The college would have a more consistent ability to use assessment data for institutional improvement and strategic planning if an institutional framework for assessing effectiveness is developed and implemented. Such a framework need not be overly prescriptive, but should contain some common elements that allow the institution to determine whether it is fulfilling its mission and achieving its goals. Many elements of the academic program review could provide a model for the broader institution.
  2. Allocating some resources for developing analytical reports of little used data could provide some important information to the assessment process. For example, the data collected in the National Survey of Student Engagement could provide critical information if subjected to critical analysis in context of student retention at the college.

Standard 9: Student Support Services

The institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable each student to achieve the institution's goals for the students.

The institution meets this standard.

Summary of Evidence and Findings

Based on a review of the self-study, interviews with 20 to 25 students (including many student leaders).

  1. Recognizing its student needs and characteristics, the college is justifiably proud of its very student-centered approach to the curricular and co-curricular life of its students. Many administrators and faculty reported that their commitment to the college was based on their satisfaction in adding value to the lives of students for whom a higher education was not taken for granted or achieved without personal sacrifice and hard work.
  2. The college realizes that many factors (commuting student body, need to work, family cultural values, adult responsibilities, etc.) conspire to create a challenge both for students and college faculty and staff to connect students to the campus outside of the classroom. The students cite "lack of student involvement and school spirit" as one of the things they would like to change about the college, and the college has been forthright about acknowledging this challenge and taking steps to improve it.
  3. The college offers students an impressive range of social, cultural, intellectual and recreational activities and events, attended by a fairly good number of students, especially for a commuting student body, many of whom work or have family responsibilities away from campus.
  4. The college has given the student body an unusually large voice in campus governance; for example, one third (30 of 90 members) of the Academic Senate are student representatives. Students also sit on most other college committees. While the students would like more regular interaction with the faculty outside the classroom, they seem to feel a sense of empowerment and appreciate the close relationship they have to many social life and student support service professionals in offices that include Counseling, Advising, Student Life/Activities, Career Placement, Athletics, PEER, and many others.
  5. The college realizes that its students face ongoing problems that compromise their ability to more fully engage in campus life, including practical issues like communications, transportation and parking. They are working with students to strategize about how to overcome these difficulties (cell phone text messaging, adding stories to current parking lot, shuttles from subway, etc.).

Significant Accomplishments, Progress, or Exemplary Practices

  1. The college has implemented several initiatives to improve the quality of academic support and campus life for students, including the Campaign for Student Success, the Committee on Undergraduate Education, and the Black Male Initiative.
  2. The VP for Student Affairs annually conducts two external reviews of departments (most recently Career Development and Disabilities) to identify and address areas for improvement.
  3. The college has significantly improved the physical look of the campus and created several new spaces in the library, on the mall and elsewhere where students are congregating and socializing together.
  4. The college has encouraged and facilitated the many different student clubs and organizations to coordinate their efforts and realize a student body that is not only very diverse, but also integrated.
  5. The college has recently added four new academic advisors to the Advising Center, realizing that good advising is the key to student retention and graduation. It remains committed to its strong FYI and PEER advising programs.
  6. The college is creating new opportunities for students to study on different campus around the country (National Student Exchange) and the world (several new Study Abroad programs), as well as providing service learning in New Orleans and other places.
  7. The college has been working more with its alumni, finding ways to draw them back to campus, which the students indicated has made them feel more pride in the college as they see how alumni still feel that pride.

Suggestions for Improvement

  1. The college may want to invest additional resources in the Financial Aid office, including a Call Center to ensure that students transacting business on the telephone at peak times can do so as efficiently as possible.
  2. The college might take a closer look at the 2005 National Survey of Student Engagement and perhaps purchase the option which enables students to be tracked by major, class and other characteristics to see where students are more or less engaged.
  3. The college should continue to improve its online student services and encourage students to take full advantage of self-help for financial and other business transactions. While some students complained about the "administrative runaround," the solution is probably a more robust and user-friendly online approach, rather than relocating offices into a physical one-stop shopping center.
  4. The college should continue to find ways and means to facilitate student-faculty interaction beyond the classroom, perhaps by incentivizing both groups in some ways.
  5. The college should find ways to create "instant traditions," and other opportunities for students to feel an increasing sense of pride, belonging and commitment to the college.

Standard 11: Educational Offerings

The institution's educational offerings display academic content, rigor, and coherence that are appropriate to its higher education mission. The institution identifies student learning goals and objectives, including knowledge and skills, for its educational offerings.

The institution meets this standard.

Summary of evidence and findings

  1. The college offers an array of high-quality programs consistent with its mission of preparing students to become leading citizens in a global society. Graduates successfully pursue advanced study and go on to successful professional careers.
  2. All academic programs are reviewed by the Academic Senate and subjected to a comprehensive internal and external review every five to seven years. Outcomes of formal program evaluations and of ongoing evaluation at the departmental and course levels are used to revise requirements and the content and format of course offerings.
  3. Given the diversity of the student population at this commuter campus, programs are offered both during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends, making it possible for adult working students to earn their degrees.
  4. The needs of transfer students, who compose more than half of new students at the college, are continuously evaluated and addressed.
  5. Incorporation of information literacy and information technology into the curriculum is accomplished through ongoing collaboration of the library faculty, instructional faculty, and campus technology services.
  6. A culture of assessment is beginning to be established on the campus, with the lead being taken by professional programs subject to external professional accreditation. The extent to which departments and programs identify student learning outcomes for courses and programs is uneven, however. This should resolve itself once the institution has a comprehensive student learning outcomes assessment plan in place.

Accomplishments

The college's music program is internationally renowned.


Standard 13: Related Educational Activities

The institution's programs or activities that are characterized by particular content, focus, location, mode of delivery, or sponsorship meet appropriate standards.

Findings:

This standard has been met.

The university's related educational activities are minimal. The college offers graduate certificate programs in library studies, schools administration and supervision, school psychology, and post-baccalaureate certificates in early childhood, childhood education, and secondary education. The college also provides general adult continuing education and English as a Second Language and has an English Language Institute and The Center for Unlimited Enrichment. All programs are consistent with the university's mission and fully meet appropriate standards.

CUNY four-year institutions are not allowed to offer remedial instruction.


C. Standards Reviewed via Documentation—Based on the review of documentation, the team has determined the institution meets the following standards:

  1. Mission and Goals
  2. Planning and Resource Allocation
  3. Institutional Resources
  4. Leadership and Governance
  5. Administration
  6. Integrity
  1. Faculty

VI. Summary Recommendations Requiring Follow-Up Action and Requirements

See the specific suggestions which are part of each standard's summary. There are no suggestions or requirements which require action prior to the reaccreditation decision.

 
 

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Elizabeth Hendrey
Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
elizabeth.hendrey@qc.cuny.edu


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