During five Town Halls held across San Antonio campuses, 100 questions were received. While questions touched on many subjects across the University, major themes emerged with the three biggest question areas being master planning, infrastructure and enrollment.
After consolidating topics, questions regarding individual areas were forwarded to the relevant vice presidents and other key administrators. Many questions about planning and future processes will be addressed in ongoing task forces and working groups.
Below, please find principal questions asked and their answers.
What improvements are being considered for student mentoring?
The Retention Committee is recommending a University-wide mentoring program that works across offices, colleges and student organizations. The proposal calls for mentor training for self-selected administrators, staff and faculty across campus to serve as mentors. There will be trained mentors in key offices, as well as in academic programs and student organizations. Mentors will be embedded strategically across the University in order to facilitate maximum availability for students. During the summer before their first semester or during their first semester, incoming students will be placed in learning communities taught by faculty who are trained mentors. These classes will also include social and service opportunities. In addition, this mentoring framework requires infrastructure. A mentoring center with a full-time director and staff will provide oversight and coordination for the mentor cohort and serve as a physical and organizational hub for students to ask questions and receive guidance. While we are seeking grant funds for this program, we are encouraging the UIW administration to review how to begin the implementation as soon as possible.
How can we better promote individual programs?
The core of our excellence is rooted in the strength of our academic programs. It is vital that we highlight the benefits and unique aspects of each one through multiple channels including our website, in social media, in enrollment materials and through advertising messages. Research conducted this fall by Hanover Research shows that students depend on online resources to evaluate their admissions decisions. With the launch of the new UIW website we will have an enhanced platform to serve as the foundation for promoting programs.
How can UIW increase our online offerings to reach a wider variety of students?
While the bulk of our online offerings are provided through the School of Professional Studies (SPS),
in recent years SPS has collaborated with the Broadway campus to develop online offerings to help serve the needs of our traditional students and athletes. While current rules state that a main campus student can only take SPS classes with permission and only under certain conditions, administration is going to explore utilizing the expertise of SPS to deliver online classes and increase online offerings for main campus populations.
Are we competing with ourselves with comparable programs in the School of Professional Studies (SPS) and on the Broadway campus?
UIW has successfully analyzed and developed programs that meet the needs of two very different populations. Adult students who wish to take part in an accelerated program online or on-ground are served by SPS
. The degree offerings are limited to what most adult students are looking for when they return to school. The variety of modalities are reflective of the need for adult students looking for convenience and flexibility. In order to further separate the populations, individuals can only enroll in SPS if they are five years past high school graduation and have been working full-time for at least three years. Additionally, we have contracted with a leader in academic research, Hanover Research, to develop a questionnaire directed at current and prospective students, alumni and many employers to determine if there is confusion between SPS and traditional Broadway campus programs. The survey clearly shows that all populations understand the differences between both, finding that SPS was clearly more flexible and convenient, and that they appreciated the quality faculty and academic programs found on main campus.
What are current strategies for recruitment, potentially in new territories, and scholarships?
UIW is currently working with Education Advisory Board (EAB) to increase our enrollment funnel for both main campus undergraduate admissions and the School of Professional Studies (SPS)
. EAB is the recognized leader in providing data-driven solutions for finding and enrolling right-fit students for an institution. EAB is doing market assessment and developing trend analyses. Additionally, they are analyzing past successful students and developing a right-fit student profile. By using search lists of prospective students and application campaigns we are already seeing our student funnel and applications markedly increasing.
To promote One Word will administrative consolidation be considered?
Work is currently being done to provide the best possible service, not only for our students, but all members of the UIW community. Cross-training plans are being established so that members of our service offices are prepared to answer questions and understand processes. Work is currently being done to research and plan for “generalists” in each of our main service offices to work together in a “one-stop-shop”. Additionally, we are looking at the use of student “gurus” to help be first line responders to help other students in need.
Meanwhile, the health professions schools are looking at ways to cooperate with each other and the Admissions Office to find efficiencies in their recruiting and admissions processes.
Several comments and ideas were offered regarding a video created by Elliance. Will this be utilized or shared further?
Many throughout our community have offered valuable feedback to the video provided by Elliance, a digital and marketing agency, that was shared during the Town Hall meetings. The University has partnered with Elliance to develop a new website and brand insights to help us move forward with a unified vision and strong messaging. The video was created as part of that collaboration and was produced as a concept piece for internal use. However, we appreciate all the thoughtful commentary received and are taking these notes into consideration. Right now, we are not planning a broader distribution of that particular video.
How is UIW keeping sustainability as a priority?
The University, in its commitment to the proper stewardship of its physical resources, the preservation of its natural environment and aesthetic appeal, will continue to employ sustainable practices and measures in such key areas as facility construction, renovation and daily operations.