BGSU RLC Program Review 2004-2005
This report is divided into two major sections. The first part gives an overview of the self-study. It explains the contextual framework of program review, and the institutional background. In addition, it describes residential learning communities (RLCs) at Bowling Green State University, their origins, unique traits, and contributions to the institution. The second part is comprised of individual self-study reports from each residential learning community at Bowling Green State University.
I.A: Purpose and Description of Program Review
Program review is an important mechanism for monitoring the effectiveness and continuous improvement of programs and for identifying their future directions, needs, and priorities. It is inextricably linked to strategic planning, resource allocation, and other decision-making at all levels—program, department, school, college, and university. The intended outcome of program review is an explicit action plan for program improvement within a specific time frame that considers enhancements that can be implemented with existing resources. The plan may also make recommendations based upon identified extramural sources of funding. Thus with respect to RLCs at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), the overall purpose of the program review is to assess the contributions of RLCs towards BGSU’s institutional mission and their effectiveness upon the campus.
While some of the RLCs have conducted their own independent program evaluations, this is the first time that all of the RLCs have participated in a collective review. The Honors Program recently completed a separate program review and therefore is contributing self-study on its residential component only. The program review process begins with a self-study of each individual residential learning community that is prepared by the respective RLC Director. Each RLC is assessed within the context of its particular mission. There is also an evaluation of the impact of the collective residential learning community effort.
The individual self-study reports were compiled by the Learning Communities Coordinator who was responsible for drafting an overview of this collective and for producing a coherent document. The Learning Communities Coordinator was assisted in this process by two other members of the Learning Communities Advisory Committee (LCAC) who together formed the LCAC Program Review Self-Study Subcommittee. The completed report was submitted for review to individuals who will visit the BGSU campus and conduct an external review of all of the RLCs. The Reviewers will then compile their own findings in a report that will be distributed among the program review participants. A University response will be prepared by other LCAC members who comprise the LCAC Program Review Ad Hoc Subcommittee. The learning community directors as a unit will also supply a response. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Student Affairs will render final responses and conclusions thus ending the self-study phase of the program review. Subsequent steps in the process include implementation of agreed-upon strategies and evaluation of their success.
I.B. Institutional Background of Bowling Green State University
Founded in 1910 as a teacher's college, Bowling Green State University has matured as a regional, state-assisted, doctoral-research intensive university. We are committed to excellent undergraduate programs with emphasis on select academic programs at the graduate level. Over 20,000 students are enrolled in the University’s six undergraduate colleges, its graduate college, and the University’s regional college (BGSU Firelands) located in Huron, Ohio. Approximately 7,000 students live on-campus; most of the remainder live in apartments within the city of Bowling Green. All students at BGSU Firelands commute to campus from within a six-county region. Ninety-three percent of the undergraduate student population comes from within the state of Ohio; forty percent of the undergraduate student body are first-generation college students.
At the core of the university’s learning environment is a broad range of curricular offerings, including associate, baccalaureate, and graduate programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate specialist and certificate programs. Instruction is provided through the schools, departments, and programs of seven colleges: Arts and Sciences, BGSU Firelands, Business Administration, Education and Human Development, Health and Human Services, Musical Arts, and Technology. At the undergraduate level, 13 associate degrees, 24 bachelor’s degrees, and several one-year certificates are available, representing more than 200 different programs of study (http://www.bgsu.edu/catalog/majors_minors.html). All baccalaureate students, as well as those in associate degree programs at BGSU Firelands, are provided with a liberal education base through the BG Perspective curriculum, which is designed to give students an understanding of the multiple realities of a complex and culturally diverse world. The Graduate College supports 15 master’s degrees in over 60 fields, 2 specialist programs, and 16 doctoral programs.
There are a number of external and internal events or circumstances that have shaped the University’s development in recent years. One external factor affecting the institution is that state support for higher education has not kept pace with the inflationary and enrollment pressures faced by the University and other public institutions within the state, forcing fee increases and highlighting the need to diversify revenue streams. Another factor is the statewide review of doctoral programs initiated in 1995 to eliminate duplicative programs within Ohio, thus re-directing significant energy to protect the university’s selective investments in doctoral education. A third variable is the termination of a generous early retirement and supplemental retirement program, resulting in the loss of a large number of senior faculty members. Consequently, we have been and continue to be actively engaged in hiring large numbers of new faculty to replace those lost to retirement. Therefore, the profile of the faculty is relatively young.
Internally, in 1995, the University experienced a change in leadership when its Board of Trustees named Dr. Sidney A. Ribeau as the ninth President of Bowling Green State University. Under his direction, a number of projects and initiatives have been undertaken.