The Spring, 2015 semester has begun and a comparison of enrollment reports indicates that we are 145 students larger than Spring, 2014 on the first day of the semester. The four trends to look for in our August, 2014 post continue to remain unchanged – accelerated pathways to Graduate School, technology, internationalization, and prior learning assessment. Recent rankings news of our online degree programs are relatively favorable and help provide momentum for strong program demand. Additional programming trends to watch for in the coming years are: addition of doctoral programs, increased admissions selectively, and possibly increased tuition. As the state of Kansas enters a new period of austerity in terms of state general fund expenditures for higher education, the coming months will be a challenging time for us to continue to offer access to affordable quality graduate programs.
Fall, 2014 notes
The Fall, 2014 semester is now in the history books. The Graduate School continued to be a point of pride for the university in several traditional indicators including: enrollment, learner outcomes indicators, new programming development, and innovative partnerships.
Fall, 2014 20th day graduate enrollment reached the 2,182 student mark which represents a growth rate of 8.67% over Fall, 2013 20th graduate enrollment. This is the fourth consecutive year of enrollment growth in the Graduate School and five of the last seven years have produced enrollment growth. Fall, 2014 application growth was 7.2% over Fall, 2013 growth. Applications to our graduate programs have increased annually for six of our past seven years for a mean annual growth rate of 8.46%.
Learner Outcomes Indicators
Learner Outcomes data from the Spring, 2014 semester have now been compiled and analyzed. We now have longitudinal data from two academic years for Learner Outcome #1 to compare and baseline data for Learner Outcomes #2 and #3.The three learner outcomes for 19 programs housed in the Graduate School are…
Each graduate student will:
1. demonstrate advanced disciplinary knowledge, skills, and abilities,
2. demonstrate introductory scholarship skills that fit within the FHSU definition of scholarly activities, and
3. demonstrate professional written communication skills.
We now have some longitudinal data for each learner outcome analyzed. Students are assessed on a 5-point Likert scale rubric. Learner Outcome #1 is gathered from faculty committees at the point of comprehensive examination. Our Graduate School rubric defines each value as:
1 = emerging – student has not progressed significantly beyond undergraduate expectations in the discipline
2 = developing – student is beginning to develop advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities in the discipline
3 = advancing – student alternates between advanced and undergraduate level expectations inconsistently
4 = mastering – student displays advanced level disciplinary work in most examples
5 = practicing – student displays advanced level disciplinary work consistently
Learner Outcome #1 – academic years 12-13 and 13-14
Learner outcome #1 data are reported on the comprehensive examination report form. The error bars representing two standard deviations include 95% of these data. Between 14-19% of our end-of-program students are performing below expectations (<=3). The sample size is 1,012 students for this period.
Learner Outcome #2 – academic year 13-14
Learner outcome #2 data are reported on the Admission to Candidacy form. With a mean of 4.15, only 9% of our end-of-program students are failing to meet our research learner outcome goal expectation (<=3).
Learner Outcome #3 – academic year 13-14
Learner outcome #3 data are reported on the Admission to Candidacy form. With a mean of 4.14, only 9% of our end-of-program students are failing to meet our writing learner outcome goal expectation (<=3).
These data demonstrate the tremendous value the 19 FHSU graduate programs add to their students from the point of admission to the point of matriculation.
New Program Development
FHSU is pursuing its first doctoral program – the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Nursing faculty and several administrators at FHSU have been working hard this fall working through the approval and review steps necessary to be able to offer this program on the Hays campus. The Kansas Board of Regents have officially approved our statement of intent to develop this program and we have submitted our complete degree program proposal. Internally, the Graduate Council made history by unanimously approving the DNP degree program proposal at it’s January 28, 2015 meeting. A site visit from external consultants is being coordinated for February, 2015. Documentation required for a program change of this nature has been submitted to our accrediting agency – the Higher Learning Commission. A final decision about the program approval is expected in June, 2015.
Our EdS to EdD partnership with Lamar University in Educational Leadership continues to attract students. This doctoral pathway program is a great value to those seeking online EdD credentials at an affordable price.
Our EdD partnership in Educational Leadership with Baker University also continues to attract students interested in a blended program delivery option.
A 3+2 BA/BS Political Science to MPS program in Campaign Management was signed with Emporia State University. We look forward to see this example of collaboration between two Regents institution grow and be considered for other professional degree opportunities in the future.