As the University of Iowa moves forward with the Board of Regents’ TIER (Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review) project, the UI TIER leadership team is committed to keeping the campus informed.
During this week’s Board of Regents meeting on the University of Iowa campus, recommendations from the Pappas Consulting Group on e-learning and enrollment management and from Ad Astra on space utilization and course scheduling were presented to the board.
Here are the latest developments on the academic business cases as part of the TIER project:
E-learning (formerly Distance Ed)
Data from all three Iowa universities show that a growing number of both distance and on-campus learners are taking advantage of online courses.
After reviewing the current state of e-learning activities at each university, Pappas recommended the UI, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa take steps to expand and coordinate e-learning opportunities across each of the three Regent institutions by:
- Establishing ambitious enrollment goals for online courses.
- Developing new online course offerings based on market research, while collaborating across institutions to avoid program duplication.
- Offering online versions of high-demand general education and core courses while expanding summer online course offerings.
- Increasing the marketing of online and distance education programs.
- Creating an “Iowa Online” e-learning portal for all three Regent universities.
Enrollment Management (formerly Time to Graduation)
Even though each Regent university incorporates orientation programs for first-time students and a range of academic support course offerings, data indicate the freshman retention rate and six-year graduation rate has remained relatively unchanged for the last five years. Because it costs more to recruit students than to retain them, Pappas recommends investing in enrollment management programs to help students succeed on campus and complete their degrees.
In order to reduce the time to graduation and improve student retention rates, Pappas recommends:
- Coordinating student success/academic support services in “one-stop” neighborhoods.
- Investing in academic support and counseling services to support student success.
- Establishing an Institutional Research function with the mission of building and maintaining institutional databases.
Space utilization and course scheduling
After analyzing facilities, section schedule, student, and faculty data from the three state institutions, Ad Astra has concluded there is no need for new, additional traditional classroom space on the University of Iowa campus.
This conclusion, however, does not speak to the need to renovate or replace existing space, or the space’s relevance to evolving pedagogy. New space may need to be constructed if older buildings with significant deferred maintenance are taken offline.
In order to make better use of classroom space on campus, Ad Astra recommends:
- Centralizing scheduling of classroom space currently scheduled exclusively by academic departments/colleges.
- Limiting the scheduling of classroom space outside of standard class start times.
- Creating a committee to monitor enrollment needs, better match pedagogy with scheduled classrooms, and review off-grid scheduling of classroom space.
The Board of Regents has invited campus to review the reports and provide feedback over the next month. They will reconvene in November to discuss the recommendations to determine next steps, which may include the opportunity for each Regents institution to submit self-implementation plans.
Lon Moeller, associate provost for undergraduate education at the UI, says the reports have given the UI an outline to address important efficiency issues on campus.
“These reports give us a framework we can work within to improve the student experience at Iowa and make better use of our facilities,” says Moeller. “Whether it’s better matching pedagogy to student needs or providing additional support outside of the classroom, we want to help our students graduate on time and without roadblocks.”
Moeller says committees are being established at the UI to review the reports in detail, and to make preliminary recommendations regarding self-implementation, if the university is afforded that opportunity.