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Previous NCA Reports

In 1991 the University of Northern Iowa faced different circumstances from today's. Ten years ago the NCA visitation team reported two concerns requiring progress reports: (a) resource allocation, implementation, and evaluation of the new general education program initiated in 1988; and (b) progress and further development of the affirmative action policies and procedures. Each of these two concerns is discussed in greater detail below along with institutional responses to them. Additional, less-emphasized comments raised in the 1991 site visit report but not requiring progress reports are discussed in the following section.

General Education

The NCA staff analysis of the 1991 Team Report summarized concerns for the UNI General Education program in the following respects:

" . . . inadequacy of the resources allocated to the general education program and the resultant failure to implement the full program. Specifically, the team noted that requirements such as courses in writing and oral communication skills had been deferred, and a capstone course had 'apparently been implemented only in mathematics.' The Team also noted a 'backlog for other required courses.' Additionally, the Team report cited the absence of provisions for monitoring and evaluating the general education program"
(Cecilia L. Lopez, Staff Analysis of Institutional Report, August 29, 1994, p. 1).

This same staff analysis report noted the following University comments to the resource allocation and implementation concerns for general education:

1. A detailed description of the General Education Requirements, which includes a total of 47 semester hours distributed across courses in the social sciences, non-western cultures, fine arts, philosophy and religion, natural sciences and technology, and economics. The common core of 22 semester hours consists of courses in humanities, writing, oral communication, mathematics, personal wellness, and a two-credit Capstone course entitled "Environment, Technology and Society," which requires junior standing.

2. A plan to implement the General Education program fully in fall 1994.

3. A plan for mandated, internal, periodic reviews of each of the six areas of the curriculum, with each area reviewed once every six years. The purpose of these reviews would be to apprise the General Education Committee of the program's operation, to promote collective adherence to the philosophy of general education, and to identify areas of concern.

The August 29, 1994, staff analysis report requested UNI to submit another report in one year and (1) provide data showing increased funds specifically allocated to the General Education program, (2) clarify what individual or group is charged with conducting the periodic reviews of the General Education program, (3) state the standards to be used in evaluating General Education courses in each area, (4) provide information regarding the results of reviews already implemented, and (5) address how expected outcomes for student learning in General Education will be measured.

In a report dated May 30, 1995, the University responded to each of the five items identified above. A brief summary of the types of information presented for each of these responses follows:

1. The number of faculty and funds allocated to General Education in the three Colleges of Humanities and Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

2. The General Education review policy and procedures used by the General Education Committee, a standing committee of the University Faculty Senate.

3. The questions (standards) used in the review of each of the six components (areas) of the General Education program.

4. The results of four of the six component reviews completed as of spring 1995 and the schedule of upcoming reviews.

5. A list of goals and competencies associated with each of the six components of General Education and a range of course syllabi reviews, student interviews and questionnaires, faculty interviews, and graduating senior surveys for assessing the General Education outcomes.

The May 1995 General Education report was accepted by the NCA, and no further reports were required prior to the 2001 comprehensive evaluation.

Since 1995, progress on General Education has continued. All categories are fully implemented. Programs are reviewed periodically, and the faculty has developed innovative pedagogies, ranging from experiential learning to use of new technologies. (See also the discussion of General Education in Criterion III.)

Affirmative Action

The staff analysis of the 1991 Team Report summarized the following concerns about UNI's affirmative action policies and procedures:

"The Team report requested 'progress and further development of affirmative action policies and procedures.' It noted that despite 'an elaborate affirmative action committee structure' and clear expectations from the Board of Regents, total number of minority hires over previous years 'show little change.' The Team called for stronger efforts to improve minority faculty retention and to improve 'the campus and university environment for both students and faculty'"
(Cecilia L. Lopez, Staff Analysis of Institutional Report, August 29, 1994, p. 3).

This same staff analysis report also acknowledged (p. 3) that: "the University is to be commended for the evidence of its efforts to increase minority faculty and to improve diversity and human rights on its campus. Data were provided revealing steady progress since the 1991 team visit in the recruitment of minority faculty and students. . . . " The NCA staff report also pointed out the following two weaknesses in the University's responses to the recommendations of the visiting team:

"Since the University did not provide data on the total new faculty hired nor the total continuing minority faculty retained, it is not clear what factors account for the nearly 2 percent increase in minority faculty over a two-year period. Additionally, the University did not respond to the Team's call for stronger efforts to improve the campus and community environment for both minority students and minority faculty"
(Cecilia L. Lopez, Staff Analysis of Institutional Report, August 29, 1994, p. 3).

This same staff analysis report noted the following University responses to other affirmative action concerns:

1. steps to improve conditions for physically challenged persons on campus.

2. attempts to provide simple and useful means of handling charges of sexual misconduct.

3. adoption and clear articulation of policies and grievance procedures addressing sexual harassment and consensual relationships, including "an ambitious training program" regarding harassment and discriminatory behaviors.

In a report dated May 30, 1995, the University noted two goals in its strategic plan to strengthen the commitment to affirmative action: (1) the recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty with special support for minority and women faculty; and (2) the encouragement of minority students by developing programs supporting the students' unique educational objectives. Specifically, the University identified progress in:

1. minority student recruitment o campus accessibility for faculty, students, and staff with disabilities

2. improvement of all services to the campus community

3. distribution of a brochure, "University Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment," throughout the University

The May 1995 affirmative report was accepted by the NCA, and no further reports were required prior to the 2001 comprehensive evaluation.

Significant progress has been made in recruiting and retaining minority students, faculty and staff over the last decade. Current minority student enrollment is a record high of 4.84 percent, greater than that of the state's population but less than our goal of 8.5 percent. Minority faculty and staff employment exceeds the targets set in our performance indicators. (See also the discussion of Affirmative Action in the following section, in Criterion V, and in Appendix E-1;
Additional information is available in the NCA Report Appendix. Print copies are available for review at UNI's Rod Library).


Criteria I
Criteria II
Criteria III
Criteria IV
Criteria V
Summary &
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