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Action Project


Institution:

University of Saint Mary

Submitted:

2006-01-18


 

Timeline:

Planned project kickoff date: 2005-01-01
Target completion date: 2005-01-01
Actual completion date:

A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:

Expand USM's Capacity to Provide Distance Learning

 

B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:

USM’s goal is to provide broadened access to educational/training opportunities for students in the corporate sector and to those traditional and non-traditional students that we currently serve.  To accomplish this, our tactic will be to engage in a partnership with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Hospital System (SCLHS) to provide distance learning opportunities.  Generally, these will be online.  The process of creating and delivering this initiative will provide USM with additional revenue to develop the infrastructure needed to support additional distance learning initiatives.

C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:

Primary Category: Helping Students Learn

D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

A group of key administrators and faculty identified this opportunity, as part of an effort to position the University for ongoing growth.  Essentially this project is an extension of our developing nursing program which is being supported by the SCLHS and other hospital systems.

E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

The partnership of USM and the SCLHS is logical given that both of these organizations are sponsored works of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.  These distance learning offerings will provide the opportunity for SCLHS employees to increase their knowledge/technical base which will benefit them through increased effectiveness in their positions.  It will help the SCLHS as they move toward a system-wide plan for leadership training and succession planning.  USM’s experiences with implementing this project will also provide the basis for expanding learning opportunities to our current student base by offering a broader range of products across a larger geographic area.  Overall, this will help support the mission of the SCLs by broadening their works to additional students.

F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:

The three key organizational processes focus on online campus setup, infrastructure, and academic policies and procedures.  Online campus setup works with the IT department, eLearning architects and EdTek Services.  Committees have been formed to change or improve organizational processes.

G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):

The online action project team is working with a consultant to develop a timeline that will support quality implementation in the initial phase.  This project will be implemented fall 2006.  This will provide the necessary time for planning, training, process changes and development that are needed.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:

Weekly reports are being utilized to monitor progress on this action project.  The consultant is responsible for developing these reports.

I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:

USM has developed draft financial targets for this action project; the success of this project will be measured against these preestablished goals.

J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):

A marketing plan is being developed in conjunction with the Advancement/Marketing department to achieve the goals developed from the collaborative research done with SCLHS.


Last Action Project Update: 2006-09-13


 

A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

The University of Saint Mary’s (USM) goal for this Action Project is to enhance/broadened access to educational/training opportunities for students in the corporate sector and to those traditional and non-traditional students that we currently serve.  To accomplish this, our tactic was to engage in a partnership with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Hospital System (SCLHS) to provide distance learning opportunities.  Generally, these experiences will be online.  The process of creating and delivering this initiative will provide USM with the opportunity to develop the infrastructure needed to support additional distance learning initiatives.

A strategic plan for developing our online capability was developed and implemented in January of 2006.  The primary objectives of this plan was to develop our technological and human capacity to deliver online learning by the fall semester of 2006 and to develop and offer an RN-BSN and a Health Care Management certificate online. We decided on these two programs by surveying the 9 hospitals in the SCLH system, Cushing Hospital (local), and the VA (which sits across the street from us). The infrastructure is in place, curriculum developed, faculty trained and marketing plan launched. After studying various platform options, we made the decision to partner with Ed Tek, a subsidiaryof eCollege.

B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

As mentioned in the previous question, USM utilized broad-based that gathered the people from across the university to represent their areas and coordinate the project.  Virtually each member was responsible for activities within their areas to support this project.  Progress toward the implementation of this project was shared with this group on a weekly basis and periodic updates on the project were provided to the University at-large and the Board of Trustees.  Through various communications, President Steele has been quite clear with the committee and the USM community in general how important the Distance Learning Action Project is to the University’s future.

C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

This action plan has been completed except for successfully developing and implementing best practices for marketing and recruitment. The next major effort is to determine what classes and/or programs in addition to what we are currently offering should be offered in the future.  We are currently scheduling meetings to review this issue with our president, academic vice-president, and vice-president of the Overland Park campus, online coordinator and external consultant.

D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

.  As part of this Action Project, several “effective practices” were developed to enhance the University’s capacity to offer distance learning (online) classes and programs.  Specifically we developed: academic policies; an online instructional class for faculty that develop and/or deliver online courses; course development schedules; electronic contracts for course developers and teachers and various online forms including applications, drop/add, etc. The project also forced us to examine all of our internal processes related to registration, payment on-line, etc. What we learned building the on-line infrastructure has helped identify areas for improvement for the on-ground processes.

E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

Our current long distance program (Master of Arts in Teaching) which we have had for 9 years is in partnership with Pearson Achievement Solutions: we run the academic side and they do the marketing and recruiting. Therefore,learning and implementing best practices for marketing and recruiting as well as forcasting student enrollment  for on-line programs are areas in which we need to improve. We just launched the first two classes and their enrollment fell short of what we thought was a modest goal.

F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

We would be grateful for help in identifying and implementing best marketing and recruiting practices for on-line. Please contact Sr. Diane Steele, President