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Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Agreement
In August of 1994, Governor Racicot invited higher education to
join him in a New Partnership, a partnership that would, in his words,
push hard for efficiencies...[but also] push hard to reward
efficiency, enterprise and productivity and positive results. This
Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Agreement demonstrates Montana
State University-Bozeman's willingness to join in this New Partnership
and to increase the effectiveness and efficiencies of the University
so that it may serve even better the citizens of Montana. The
Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Agreement shares in this
partnership in four ways. First, it establishes the groundwork for
the partnership by focusing the resources of the University on goals
that will serve the current and future needs of Montana. Second, it
establishes clear accountability measures against which the
University's progress can be assessed by those both inside and outside
the institution. Third, it supports the principle that accountability
must be balanced with opportunities for the campus to manage the
inputs and the processes required to achieve these outcomes. Fourth,
the Agreement is grounded in MSU-Bozeman's strong commitment to provide
Montanan's access to higher education of the finest quality. Finally,
the objectives of this Agreement can be achieved within Governor
Racicot's and Commissioner Baker's proposed biennial budget.
For the past three years, MSU-Bozeman has been engaged in a
collaborative, long-range planning process which brings faculty,
staff, and administrators together in an ongoing project to discuss
the evolving needs of students and the State in a changing
environment, to identify University priorities, and to develop
appropriate strategies by which MSU-Bozeman can better meet those
needs. This process has provided an excellent vantage point from
which the University can look to the future. Through the hard work of
many members of the University community, MSU-Bozeman has reflected on
where it needs to go and how it is going to get there. To this end,
the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes project is a logical extension
of these discussions.
As a land grant research university, MSU-Bozeman has many complex
and distinctive roles in its service to Montana, all of which are
fully described in
its Long-Range Planning Document
(presented to the
Board of Regents in March, 1994, for approval). The Productivity,
Quality, and Outcomes Agreement, which can be viewed as a subset of
the Long-Range Planning Document, focuses primarily on the following
themes in the near term, but these emphases, as they are developed in
this Agreement, should not be construed as modifying in any respect
the established missions and roles of MSU-Bozeman. It should be
understood that the goals and outcomes described in this Agreement,
though very much faculty-focused, will require increased activities
and efforts on the part of administrative, professional, and
Process: Shared Governance
Montana State University-Bozeman strives to make institutional
decisions and to administer the programs of the University through the
process of shared governance and collaborative decision-making. The
work of the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Task Force
demonstrates this approach. During Fall Semester, 1994, President
Malone initiated the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes project by
calling for the formation of a task force with the charge to identify
ways the University could develop new services, efficiencies and
achievements in the education of our students, and to do so by
building upon the work of the Long-Range Planning Committee.
We decided that the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Task
Force should include members, not just from the faculty and
administration, but also from the professional and classified staff,
because they too have vital roles in the implementation of the
University's goals. Consequently, we determined the membership of the
Task Force through discussions and mutual agreement between the
leadership of the MSU Faculty Council, the Classified Employees
Personnel Advisory Committee, the Associated Students of MSU (to give
students a voice in shaping goals aimed at enhancing the quality of
their educations), and the President's Executive Council. Finally,
MSU-Bozeman sought to employ the constructive approach used earlier at
the University of Montana of bringing both the Office of the
Commissioner of Higher Education and the Governor's Office directly
into the work of the Task Force.
(See Appendix A
for the names of the
Because the work of the Task Force occurred within the context of
shared governance, it was agreed that the recommendations of the Task
Force would be circulated widely for review and comment among the
members of the University community, e.g., Faculty Council Steering
Committee, Faculty Council as a whole, Long-Range Planning Committee,
Deans' Council, Assistant Deans' Council, Associated Students of MSU,
Professional Employees Personnel Advisory Committee, Classified Employees
Personnel Advisory Committee, and the President's Executive Council.
Thus, this Agreement on Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes represents
the efforts of the entire campus governance community at MSU-Bozeman,
as well as those of members from outside the campus.
Approach of the Task Force on Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes
From the beginning, it was the intent of the Productivity,
Quality, and Outcomes Task Force to identify the organizational goals
that will make Montana State University-Bozeman even more responsive to
the needs of Montana and to assure that the resources of the
University are deployed in a manner to enhance productivity for
Montana. In selecting the goals on which this Agreement focuses, the
Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Task Force drew not only on the
MSU-Bozeman Long-Range Plan, but also on the strategic plans of the
Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE), as outlined in
document Higher Education in Montana--Defining the Future.
This plan calls for the revitalization of undergraduate education by (a)
reaffirming its priority; (b) refocusing curriculum and resources, (c)
emphasizing learning as an active, collaborative process, and (d)
measuring institutional success by assessing student outcomes. The
Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Agreement fully embraces these
objectives. Indeed, they are embodied in all the goals and outcomes
the Task Force developed.
Moreover, the Task Force followed the lead of Governor Racicot
who emphasized in his convocation address that higher education needs
to "measure the quality of the outgoing product at least as well as the
quality of the incoming product." Thus, the goals and assessment
measures set out in this document focus on the outcomes, not the
inputs, of the academic enterprise. The Task Force agreed that these
goals must be accomplished with existing resources and through the
hard work of MSU-Bozeman's faculty, staff, and administration. We wish
to assure the citizens of Montana that the resources of the University
are being used as productively as possible, and that the University
will not seek additional taxpayer funds beyond the proposed biennial
budget to achieve these goals.
The Task Force began its discussions by asking two fundamental
questions: "What goals are to be served by MSU-Bozeman?" and "How will the
University and the citizens of Montana know if they have been met?"
This orientation is reflected in all the goal statements in this
document. Rather than focus on processes and inputs, the goals
address the tangible interests and needs of our students and citizens.
By meeting these goals, as determined by clear, objectives measures,
MSU-Bozeman will de facto better serve the State. Thus, the Task Force
sought to balance clear accountability based upon the measurement of
outcomes with the need to allow the campus itself to manage the inputs
and the processes required to achieve these outcomes.
As it studied the goals and productivity of MSU-Bozeman, the Task
Force also considered all the responsibilities of Montana's only land
grant university and their relationship to undergraduate education.
In this regard, the Task Force again shared the views expressed in
OCHE's statement Defining the Future, which says, first, that "The
primary role of Montana's universities is undergraduate education, and
high quality should be the hallmark of our institutions," and, second,
that "Montana's universities are critical to the state's economic
development through work force preparation, improving the quality of
life, making Montana a more attractive place for businesses and
individuals, supporting the development of high-tech business and
industry, and stimulating technology transfer and economic development
activities." The Task Force also endorses the assertions of Ernest
Boyer who described the faculty's educational responsibilities in four
"separate, yet overlapping" roles: "the scholarship of discovery; the
scholarship of integration; the scholarship of application; and the
scholarship of teaching." The goals and outcome measures stated here
set forth MSU-Bozeman's clear intention to fulfill its land grant
mission as an educational leader and as a partner in the economic
development of Montana in a manner that integrates these roles as
effectively and efficiently as possible.
Finally, the Task Force undertook its work knowing that the
University's goals are achieved through the process of shared
governance. Through the ongoing collaboration of faculty, staff,
students, and administrators, MSU-Bozeman will continue to develop
appropriate innovative strategies to meet these goals. President
Malone has already called for two additional collaborative task
forces. One, the Implementation Task Force, which will work in
concert with the University's Assessment and Outcomes program, will
take the lead in developing implementation strategies in order to
realize the goals of the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes
Agreement. The second group, the Information Services Task Force, will
produce an action plan
for restructuring student and faculty access to
information technologies. The action plans developed by these task
forces will be presented for review and adoption by the Faculty
Council and the campus community. This process will commence
immediately upon adoption of this Agreement.
The Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Agreement establishes
goals to be accomplished through Fiscal Year 1999, thus covering the
bienniums of FY94-95, FY96-97, FY98-99. As identified in the
Agreement, many of the goals will be reached before the end of this
period, while others will be achieved by FY 1999. The outcomes
measures, using FY 1993 as the base year for assessment purposes, will
focus attention on the institution's success and provide clear feedback
to the University community and its other constituents on MSU-Bozeman's
progress. (See Appendix B:
Financial Implications of the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes
Commitment of Institutional Effort
In the process of developing the Productivity, Quality, and
Outcomes Agreement, all the participants involved recognized the
necessary commitment of human, financial, and physical resources
embodied in the goals listed below. Rising enrollments since 1993
have already caused the fixed number of faculty and staff to do more
instructional and advising work, and that trend is sure to continue.
Between FY 1993 and FY 1995, student FTEs increased from 9,945.85 to
10,022.7, while faculty FTEs decreased from 515.28 to 511.00. This
trend toward higher instructional workloads is sure to continue. The
productivity of the faculty has further risen during this period as
reflected by the rise in extramural funding from
$25,900,000 to a projected total of more than $40,000,000.
The present Agreement establishes institutional goals that will
necessitate a reallocation of effort and time, with greater emphasis
upon undergraduate instruction and advising.The faculty and staff of
Montana State University-Bozeman hereby commit not only to newly
focused efforts in research, economic development, and educational
outreach, but especially to these major new services to our
Institutional strategies to move resources toward undergraduate
instruction include the reallocation of budgets and vacant positions
and the reallocation of faculty effort away from under enrolled
specialized courses and service functions and toward introductory and
capstone courses, advising, and specialization in teaching.
MSU-Bozeman's new Promotion and Tenure standards, already approved by
the Faculty Council, provide an entirely new route for promotion to
full professor based on excellence in teaching. In addition to
greater specialization in teaching, the new Promotion and Tenure
standards call for greater rewards for teaching and advising, and for
multiple measurements of teaching effectiveness. Although recent
four-year graduation rates have declined slightly (partly due to
external factors such as the change
to the semester system and tuition increases), these institutional
strategies address and will remedy these trends.
- Reduction in the time required to complete degree requirements
- Four-year graduation guarantee contract.
- Entirely new and improved system of advising.
- New structure of high-quality, low-enrollment freshman
- Major enhancement of student involvement in faculty
- Provision of capstone or individualized senior courses
for nearly all our students.
- Provision of new electronic and computerized classroom
and library facilities.
- Much greater availability of course opportunities at
- Electronic course delivery to off-campus locations.
Implementation of the Agreement will result in each academic
department's and administrative unit's developing strategies to ensure
that the level of effort and investment needed to meet the nine goals
is in place. For example, in order to begin the critically important
freshman seminars envisioned in the Agreement, the University's
administration is working with the General Studies program to invest
$69,000 by internal reallocation to continue and to increase the
number of seminars initially begun under a FIPSE grant. Similarly,
the College of Letters and Science will implement its seminars for the
relatively low reinvestment price of $15,000 for the first year.
Freshman seminars in the College of Letters and Science will use, in
part, volunteer faculty services and teaching specialists. A $45,000
investment in the Department of English will facilitate the reduction
in size of writing classes from 60 to 25 and the offering of many more
sections. In each of these cases, existing budgets are being examined
and reallocated on a priority basis which will result in channeling
reallocated funds, vacancy savings, and buyouts into hiring teaching
specialists whose primary duties are teaching undergraduate courses.
This change reflects new policies related to differentiated faculty.
The most important strategy here is the reallocation of existing
faculty lines as they become open.
The impact of the Agreement on the workloads of individual
faculty, staff, and administrators will vary with the specific needs
and strategies of each unit. Taken in aggregate, however, the faculty
and staff commitment to undergraduate instruction will increase.
As required by its land-grant and research missions, MSU-Bozeman's
faculty workload has three components: 1) traditional teaching at the
undergraduate and graduate levels, 2) research (scholarship and
creative activities), and 3) service to the people of Montana. This
document concentrates on the undergraduate teaching component and the
creation of new knowledge (research), but the other components must be
kept in mind, for they are integral parts of the faculty workload at
MSU-Bozeman and not always separable from one another. We emphasize
that the faculty at MSU-Bozeman already has a full (100%) workload as
measured by any reasonable standards. Therefore, the workload
implications of this document reflect a reallocation of resources and
reaffirmation of commitment to quality and access in the undergraduate
programs. The result is a shifting of effort towards undergraduate
teaching, with increased efficiency related to additional access and
quality, especially at the lower division level, while not reducing
efforts to meet the scholarly or service missions of the institution.
The estimated increased commitment by the University to undergraduate
teaching is 15%.
The increased commitment to undergraduate teaching has several
elements: freshman seminars which, when completely instituted, will
significantly increase the total number of sections offered at
MSU-Bozeman and contribute to retention; capstone courses which will
also add to the total number of sections taught and will be a
contributing factor in our assessment program; smaller writing
sections and the establishment of recitation sections in science and
social science curricula; and a significant strengthening of the
undergraduate research activities. In addition, there will be an
actual increase in teaching load for several categories of faculty.
These include those faculty who choose the new route to promotion to
full professor through teaching excellence, differentiated faculty who
choose to put research aside and assume a full teaching load, and
full-time adjunct instructors hired as excellent teachers.
We have also appointed a half-time intern director/coordinator of
our new Assessment and Outcomes program. This person will also work
with academic departments to develop additional capstone courses.
The most meaningful measure of the increases will be the
successful achievement of the key goals described below.
Workload at MSU-Bozeman, as it is at most research universities,
has traditionally included about a third of a faculty member's time to
meet research performance expectations. In addition to creating new
knowledge, this time is crucially important to the state, for it
provides undergraduate research opportunities not otherwise available.
The research effort produces technology transfer of tremendous
significance to the state and its economy.
During the past two years, the faculty at MSU-Bozeman has
increased the extramural funding from $25.6 million to $36.2 million.
This two-year change represents a 40% increase in the faculty's
A very significant portion of this scholarly achievement is
related to undergraduate education and directly applied to the
systemic initiatives for science and math in K-12 education and for
post-secondary teacher preparation, an area in which MSU-Bozeman is one
of the leading institutions in the United States.
During the next two years, the overall extramural funding to
MSU-Bozeman is expected to increase another 10%, thus exceeding $40
million per year. Nevertheless, this projection represents an average
increase in quality faculty productivity of 15% over four years.
Reporting and Accountability
All parties to this Agreement recognize the need to report
periodically on the University's progress toward attaining the goals
outlined above. The outcomes measures listed in the Agreement
establish clear standards against which the University's performance
can be assessed. In order to use these measures for accountability
purposes, baseline data have been established for most goals and
sub-goals, while others are being developed presently. In some cases,
new data collection instruments are being developed. In establishing
these outcomes measures, the Productivity, Quality, and Outcomes Task
Force incorporated the concept of continuous improvement, which
recognizes that the work of improving the quality of education is
never fully completed. There is always room for further improvement.
Achieving fixed, objective goals does not mean that the work has been
completed, only that a target has been reached. The concept of
continuous improvement calls for the ongoing assessment of program or
service quality and--even where that service is deemed of high
quality--for continuous efforts to enhance it.
In addition, each year the University will provide a progress
report to the campus community, the Commissioner of Higher Education,
the Board of Regents, the Governor, and the general public. This
report will summarize the progress made toward each of the goals and
identify the next steps in implementation. This annual report will be
supported by MSU-Bozeman's regular data collection processes, including
the reinstatement of the Faculty Workload Report, budget
distributions, student-faculty ratios, and academic program reviews.
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