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Nature and Scope and Intended Outcomes of the Self-Study

SUNY Genseso is in a period of transition as it begins work on its Middle States self-study. Dr. Carol Long, our new Provost, is heading a re-constituted College Strategic Planning Group that is exploring how to fulfill the college's mission and strategic plan in a changed environment. Over the past several years a number of task forces have submitted recommendations that have not yet been fully implemented. In addition, the college has created a new campus facilities master plan, completed an academic space study, and created a Sustainability Task Force. In the past two years the college has suffered significant reductions in state funding which is not likely to be restored.

In 2008-2009 Geneseo became part of the Leadership Coalition of the national Bringing Theory to Practice project. The Leadership Coalition is composed of "those institutions which are committed to providing successful models of how a campus culture focused on actively engaging students in learning, and evaluating their success in doing so, can address the full dimensions of the intellectual, emotional, and civic flourishing of students." The college seeks to accomplish this through "comprehensive, integrated, systematic, campus-wide approaches," that integrate academic learning, civic engagement, and personal/social development and that educate the whole student. This approach to educating the whole student is sometimes referred to as transformational learning.

The college's focus on transformational learning has been accompanied by substantial budget reductions due to state financial problems. Last year the college developed six strategic directions and assigned a task force to each to explore their potential for advancing transformational learning while addressing the budget reductions. These strategic directions, known as the Six Big Ideas, include: (1) Bringing Theory to Practice; (2) Rethinking the Student Course Load; (3) Expanding Educational Delivery; (4) Creating a Center for Collaborative Research; (5) Creating a Center for Strategic Community Partnerships; and (6) (Creating Innovative Five-Year Professional Programs.

The task forces forwarded their final reports to the College Strategic Planning Group in December, 2009. The Strategic Planning Group is now determining which of recommendations made by the task forces are most important and how to implement them. The Middle States self-study will facilitate this process by collecting additional evidence and examining the potential of the recommendations from the Six Big Ideas for achieving the college's goal of advancing transformational learning in a context of reduced resources. The self-study will also pull together and consider recommendations from earlier task force reports that have not yet been fully implemented. These include the Advisement, the Faculty Roles and Rewards, and the Curriculum Task Forces.

The self-study provides the college with an opportunity to consider the implications of these various discussions and recommendations in a comprehensive and holistic manner. Consequently, we have chosen as our Self-Study Model a comprehensive report with emphasis on the issue of transformational learning.

The Intended Outcomes of the self-study are:

  1. an assessment of what we currently do to support transformational learning and how an increased focus on it can improve the college's ability to achieve its vision and mission
  2. an integrated summary of the conclusions and recommendations submitted by task forces since the last self-study
  3. evidence and recommendations to support the next phase of college strategic planning
  4. demonstrated compliance with Middle States standards