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Penn College Maps Strategic Vision for 2004-09

Determining the optimal size for the institution and implementing a College-wide outcomes-assessment plan are among the objectives of a Strategic Vision for 2004-09 approved by the Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors.

The document, which includes a dozen goals to be pursued, provides a road map for the direction of the College over the next five years. It continues a process begun when College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour was selected to lead the institution in 1998.

“It answers the questions, ‘Where do we want to be, what do we want to be, and how do we get there?'” she said. “It sets the stage for the future.”

Discussions for the Strategic Vision which is not meant to replace the College’s well-established long-range planning process began in October. The plan was reviewed and endorsed by the College’s Corporate Advisory Board in February. College Council (part of the Internal Governance System at Penn College) gave its approval last month.

Dr. Gilmour said that, when it became time to renew the previous Strategic Vision, the College administration resolved to refine the planning document?s focus and clearly define its scope.

“It’s more aggressive, it’s more measurable, it’s more specific,” she said of the plan adopted today by the Board.

One of the most important objectives of the new Strategic Vision, Dr. Gilmour said, is to determine an optimal size for the College, which has achieved steady enrollment growth in recent years. The Fall 2003 enrollment (6,255) established yet another record.

“We want to determine an optimal size one that allows us to maintain the culture, the environment and the quality that make Penn College special,” Dr. Gilmour explained.

Another significant goal of the Strategic Vision is to gauge effectiveness by implementing a College-wide outcomes-assessment plan. One example, the president said, would be evaluating whether a student on academic probation improves his or her performance after required intervention measures take place.

The complete list of objectives in the Strategic Vision 2004-09 follows:

  • Increase the number of accredited and certified majors.

  • Add work-based experiences to a broader set of majors.

  • Implement a comprehensive institution-wide outcomes assessment plan.

  • Expand faculty/programmatic involvement with professional and educational associations, business and industry.

  • Increase the percentage of out-of-state enrollees to 15 percent of the student population.

  • Increase the number of scholarships by 25 percent while also increasing the average award.

  • Improve retention rates, graduation rates and consistently achieve a 95-percent positive placement.

  • Generate $5 million in annual contributions.

  • Implement the 2004-09 Penn College Site and Facilities Master Plan.

  • Determine an optimal size for Penn College to allow quality, mission and vision to flourish.

  • Assess the work processes and the staffing levels in all areas of the College.

  • Double the use of College facilities during the summer months.

Increasing the out-of-state enrollment percentage to 15 percent would double the current total. Dr. Gilmour said the Admissions Office has one staff member working solely on out-of-state recruitment, and efforts to market Penn College in neighboring states are being expanded.

Doubling the use of College facilities for summer-month activities such as career camps will expose more students to the College and its academic offerings, she added.

Assessing work processes and staffing, the president said, will improve performance and, ultimately, enable the College to satisfy its educational mission.

“The institution has undergone rapid growth,” she said. “We must evaluate whether we are doing things as efficiently as we can, examining all offices on campus to ensure they are efficient with resources both human and financial.”

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