Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

Academic Plan

Academic Plan

About UW-Superior

Academic Plan

UW-Superior Academic Plan (Update 2013)

Click on section titles to jump to the corresponding section of the academic plan.

Table of Contents

I. Who We Are and Whom We Serve

II.The Public Liberal Arts High Impact Practices (HIPs)

Academic Service-Learning (ASL)

First-Year Experience (FYE)

Global Awareness

Senior-Year Experience (SYE)

Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (URSCA)

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)

III. Academic Program Array and Initiatives

Undergraduate Education

Graduate Education

Distance Learning Center

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Transfer Policy and Articulation Agreements

IV. Outreach and Partnerships

Center for Adult Education and Outreach (CAEO)

Other Outreach and Partnerships

V. Research and Creative Activities

Faculty and Staff Scholarship and Creative Activities

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Research Centers and Institutes

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research and Creative Activities

Library Research Support

VI. Advisement

VII. Professional Development

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)

VIII. Assessment and Strategic Planning at UW-Superior

Background: Higher Learning Commission Advice

Academic Program Assessment

General Education Assessment

Office of Assessment

Institutional Assessment: Higher Learning Commission Assessment Academy Team

Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)

IX. Integrated Planning at UW-Superior

X. Annual Review and Revision


I. Who We Are and Whom We Serve

The University of Wisconsin-Superior is a teaching, learning, and outreach institution that serves northern Wisconsin. UW-Superior takes pride in its Public Liberal Arts designation and provides 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students with quality academic programs, small class sizes, and a friendly, supportive atmosphere. The academic programs offered attract local students, students from northern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and international students from over 30 different countries.

UW-Superior hosts four nationally recognized research institutes and centers that contribute to regional and national interests:

  • The Lake Superior Research Institute
  • The Transportation and Logistics Research Center
  • The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute

In addition, campus outreach programs provide the community with expertise and support. Members of the campus serve with pride and distinction to an institution with over a 100-year history of service to the State of Wisconsin.

In 1998, the University of Wisconsin's Board of Regents designated UW-Superior as "Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College." In 2001, UW-Superior adopted a revised mission statement to reflect its new status:

The University of Wisconsin-Superior fosters intellectual growth and career preparation within a liberal arts tradition that emphasizes individual attention and embodies respect for diverse cultures and multiple voices.

That same year, the campus gained entrance to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). The campus strategic priorities were developed in 2008 and reviewed in 2010, and our accomplishments were recorded in 2012. The institution will engage in a new strategic planning process from April 2013 to May 2014. This plan will shape the future of our institution as we consider how best to meet the needs of our region and state through high quality, innovative programs.

Our adopted vision states:

The University of Wisconsin-Superior shall be firmly established as a nationally recognized public liberal arts institution where the learning community emphasizes individual attention and promotes intellectual growth, personal development, career preparation, professional studies, and life-long learning in an atmosphere of individual dignity with respect for the diversity of human cultures. To this end, UW-Superior continually engages its students and the larger community in global research and discourse, and exposes all to challenging ideas that forge new models of responsible citizenship. UW-Superior will also celebrate its regional climate and multi-ethnic heritage on a vibrant and beautiful campus.

The institution will focus on continuous improvement as we enter our next planning cycle and accreditation Pathway. Focus will be placed on these key areas of emphasis:

  • How our High Impact Practices (HIPs), general education learning goals, and Liberal Education Learning Goals (LELGs) fit together.
  • Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes that are tied to planning and budgeting decisions.
  • Strategic planning at campus and unit levels and the use of data in decision making.

To contribute to the "Growth Agenda for Wisconsin" and ensure the best for our students, UW-Superior is engaging in strategies to improve enrollment and retention in existing programs and considering new programs and ideas to move us toward the future.

II. The Public Liberal Arts High Impact Practices (HIPs)


In May 2003, UW-Superior's Faculty Senate established a Faculty Task Force on the Public Liberal Arts Mission to identify a number of concrete initiatives to further UW-Superior's public liberal arts mission.In April 2004, the task force recommended five initiatives:

  • Community Service-Learning (later redefined as Academic Service-Learning)
  • First-Year Experience
  • Global Awareness
  • Senior Experience
  • Writing Across the Curriculum

Upon the endorsement of these initiatives by the Faculty Senate, the campus developed a detailed implementation plan for each. In 2007, UW-Superior received Decision Item Narrative (DIN) funding to assist with the implementation of these plans. These five initiatives are the cornerstone of UW-Superior's efforts to implement and continually develop its public liberal arts mission. These initiatives are now known as the Liberal Arts High Impact Practices and are being institutionalized into the ongoing campus life and community.

Academic Service-Learning (ASL)

Academic service-learning is community-based service that is embedded within the academic curriculum and that relates to curricular objectives. This program has made UW-Superior a regional leader in academic service-learning and provides a distinctively public quality to UW-Superior's liberal arts mission. The Center for Academic Service-Learning works to infuse academic service-learning opportunities throughout the curriculum at both the individual course and program levels. The Center supports expanded academic service-learning opportunities by providing education, outreach, and support to its internal constituency, faculty and staff, and to its external constituency by developing relationships with community partners. Currently the Center is staffed by a half-time coordinator and given counsel by a standing faculty advisory group.

Initiatives for 2012-2014

  • Sustain the Center for Academic Service-Learning.
  • Support faculty and staff currently funded with Engaged Department grants.
  • Sustain and deepen relationships with over 40 local partners.

The Center continues to work with the five-year strategic plan (developed in 2010) to guide further implementation of ASL.The Center is currently working on a comprehensive assessment plan for ASL at UW-Superior, including development and use of standardized assessment tools to measure the impact of ASL on student development and student retention.

First-Year Experience (FYE)

The First-Year Experience provides an integrated set of programming and events to incorporate first-year students into the campus community and its public liberal arts mission. These anchor first-year students within UW-Superior academically, socially, and culturally. The First-Year Experience Advisory Committee provides guidance to the FYE and First-Year Seminar (FYS) Programs, which include the Summer Orientation, Advisement, and Registration program, a Weekend of Welcome for new students, Transfer Student Orientation, Fall-a-Palooza (Family Weekend) activities for students across the year, and, most recently, a newsletter for parents.

First-Year Experience: Since 2006 the FYE Program has developed activities to enhance the sense of joining and bonding with our unique public liberal arts institution and to offer students the support they need to succeed. These activities are coordinated by a full-time First-Year Experience Coordinator within the Student Success Center.

First-Year Experience Highlights

  • A half-time Transfer Specialist was hired in summer 2011 to work with transfer students and transfer orientation programs and resources.
  • Peer Mentors began working in collaboration with two FYS in spring 2012 and this was expanded to seven FYS in fall 2013.

First-Year Seminar:The central academic component of the First-Year Experience Program is a First-Year Seminar that immediately engages new students in the process of academic inquiry. This component is directed by a half-time coordinator and supervised through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

First-Year Seminar Highlights

·FYS became a requirement in fall 2012 for all incoming students with less than 21 credits taken as a college student.

  • Assessments of FYS Learning Goals by FYS instructors were compiled in spring 2012 in addition to the annual surveying all FYS students on their experiences.
  • First UW System-wide conference held (supported by a collaborative grant by UW-Superior and UW-Stevens Point) in March 2012 at UW-Stevens Point.
  • Ongoing trainings and professional development related to FYS provided on and off campus to interested parties.

Global Awareness

Global Awareness builds upon UW-Superior's existing strength in international education to make global studies, education, and awareness a centerpiece of the student experience. The initial Global Awareness plan called for:

  • Development of a Global Studies academic minor: This goal was accomplished in 2009 and is currently guided by the Global Studies Minor Advisory Committee, made up of faculty members that teach courses in the minor.
  • An institutional focus on student study abroad opportunities: This goal is ongoing with short-term opportunities provided to 12 countries and semester/academic year opportunities to six different countries, as well as other opportunities through other institutions. This effort is led by a full-time Director of Study Away Programs.
  • Development of a Global Awareness and Education Committee: This committee works with these different programs to promote activities on campus, to increase awareness of opportunities, and to encourage student involvement in on-campus, community, regional, national, and international opportunities.
  • Expanded emphasis on language study among undergraduates: This goal was accomplished with the addition of faculty positions in French and Chinese to our existing Spanish and German faculty.These programs and faculty are supervised through the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Recent Highlights

The Global Awareness and Education Committee:

  • Developed a strategic plan for ongoing awareness and education efforts and submitted this plan to Faculty Senate fall 2012.
  • Established an International Week that focuses on campus awareness of the traditions, foods, and games of the countries represented by the international students on campus each year.
  • Established a "final Friday" event to engage international and local students together in activities on the last Friday of each month.

Senior-Year Experience (SYE)

The Senior Year Experience (SYE) requires all graduating seniors to participate in a senior experience/capstone activity that involves original/creative work and is shared publicly with both the campus and wider communities.The SYE presentations have become a focal point for campus activity at the conclusion of each semester in the academic year.

Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (URSCA)

In 2011-2012, an Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Activities (URSCA) initiative came about through a grant by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and the National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). This program recognizes and encourages the mentoring of undergraduate students either working with faculty on research or being mentored by faculty on their own research. The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Committee was established by the Faculty Senate in spring 2011 to formalize and celebrate student research activities. Specifically, the committee was charged to promote and support undergraduate research, creative activity and scholarship.

URSCA Highlights

·A survey of current Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity was conducted in 2011-12 indicating that 87 percent of faculty and staff either engage in or wish they could engage in more in URSCA activities with their students.

·Students presented at national and statewide events.

  • A Celebration of URSCA was held in Yellowjacket Union in March 2012 and attended by over 100 students; another is planned for 2013.
  • Summer Research Stipends for 2012 were provided to seven student/faculty teams (this collaborative activity follows a competitive proposal process facilitated by URSCA).
  • URSCA continues its collaboration with COPLAC and NCUR and committee members attended activities sponsored by NCUR and UW System campuses engaged in similar activities.

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)

The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program initially focused on a "student development" model that stressed direct service to students through an expanded Writing Center.  This model was coupled with a focus on faculty and teaching staff development activities chosen on the basis of an assessment of the needs of these constituencies. In addition to the ongoing work of the program, its new initiatives are:

Initiatives for Faculty and Academic Staff

  • WAC Brown Bags for faculty and teaching staff.
  • Grant programs: Individual instructors and academic programs/departments compete for and receive grants and support for revising courses to include more writing or for revising their practices in assigning, coaching, and evaluating student writing.

Initiatives for Students

  • Writing Center promotion: The Center has increased the breadth of student participation.It has a Facebook presence, has developed contests for students (such as one for best Writing Center slogan), and has purchased promotional materials (such as pencils and t-shirts with Writing Center information on them) to distribute-all to further publicize and promote the Center.
  • Liberal Arts Essay Competition submission improvement: Because this contest has had a low rate of participation, freshmen are now allowed to enter and participants are allowed to name, if they wish, a faculty mentor/sponsor.

III. Academic Program Array and Initiatives

Undergraduate Education

As Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College, UW-Superior provides an undergraduate academic experience thatemphasizes the development of the whole person.  Curricular innovation centers on the improvement of the overall student experience.  Due to our size, we offer a select number of undergraduate majors and minors.  Responsible resource management requires us to guard against program proliferation and to advance new majors and sub-majors carefully and selectively.  At UW-Superior, continuous improvement and innovation within our existing program array are given priority over the development of new undergraduate programs.

UW-Superior adopted undergraduate Liberal Education Learning Goals (LELGs) for all students during the 2009-2010 academic year.The purpose of these learning goals is to guide curricular development and to provide a basis for institution-wide assessment of student learning.

The adoption of these learning goals has committed UW-Superior to the promotion of these liberal education student outcomes across the undergraduate curriculum-in general education, within the major and minor, and within elective coursework.All academic programs, in particular, are committed to advancing these outcomes in discipline-specific ways.

These learning goals include:

  • The ability to think and make connections across academic disciplines
  • The ability to express oneself through multiple forms
  • The ability to analyze and reflect upon multiple perspectives to arrive at a perspective of one's own
  • The ability to engage as a global citizen
  • The ability to engage in evidence-based problem solving

Academic program student learning outcomes advance the UW-Superior liberal education learning goals in discipline-specific ways. Each department integrated student learning outcomes, curriculum maps, and assessment plans developed for each of its majors and minors into the overall campus assessment effort in academic year 2011-2012.

Graduate Education

Graduate Studies at UW-Superior includes a diverse and interactive student body from across the state and beyond. The program fosters scholarly growth and reflection that support career development. By providing high quality programs that fit into busy adult schedules, Graduate Studies strives to meet the needs of the underserved adult population of the region.

UW-Superior graduate faculty represent a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and scholarly achievements. Many have achieved national recognition for scholarship and contributions to professional disciplines. The graduate faculty serve the region by providing a focus for research and educational leadership for lifelong education.

The first classes leading to a Master's of Education Degree in School Administration began in the summer of 1950. Currently, UW-Superior offers graduate programs in eight areas of study:

  • Education Administration
  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Instruction
  • Reading
  • Visual Arts
  • Communicating Arts
  • Special Education
  • Sustainable Management

All graduate programs culminating in a state certificate have been approved by the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction.

Graduate Plans and Highlights

Distance Learning Center

UW-Superior has been invested in distance learning since 1977 as a means for Wisconsin residents to complete a bachelor's degree without leaving their home, job, or community. Through its Distance Learning Center, the university offers seven Bachelor of Science degrees: The Individually Designed Major, Interdisciplinary Studies, Communicating Arts, Elementary Education, Exercise Science, Health and Wellness Management, and Sustainable Management. A Master of Science in Sustainable Management is also now offered.

The Center has expanded its service area to a secondary focus on the entire state and northern Minnesota, a tertiary focus on serving learners nationally, as well as a selected service to students abroad.The university has converted from correspondence-based instruction to online instruction and also makes regional use of interactive television.


Expand authorized university majors and minors into online or hybrid formats:

  • B.S. in Legal Studies
  • Graduate-level Secondary Education add-on licensure
  • Minor in Global Studies
  • Minor in Business
  • An additional graduate degree yet to be identified
  • Implement collaborative programs with regional two-year institutions:
  • B.A.A.S. with UW-Barron County
  • Elementary Education collaboration with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
  • Individually Designed Major - Tribal Management and Elementary Education collaborations with Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Education/Nicolet Area Technical College

English as a Second Language (ESL)

In December 2012, UW-Superior signed a Memorandum of Understanding with English as a Second Language International (ESLI), a company that operates ESL centers on six U.S. university campuses, to open an ESL center on the UW-Superior campus in January 2014. ESLI's center, which will recruit students through its extensive worldwide recruiting network, will offer a 20+ hour per week program for students who do not meet the university's English proficiency requirement, but who are otherwise academically qualified for admission to our undergraduate program. UW-Superior will continue to offer degree-credit ESL courses through Continuing Education and the Writing and Library Science Department.

Transfer Policy and Articulation Agreements

UW-Superior has long accepted Associate of Arts degrees earned from the UW System as fulfilling UW-Superior General Education requirements.In spring 2009, this policy was extended to Associate of Arts degrees earned from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.In addition, UW-Superior has Associate of Arts articulation agreements in place with several institutions as well as articulation agreements with Wisconsin Technical Colleges that establish General Education equivalencies.

Program-to-program articulation agreements are also in place. There are currently agreements in place to honor coursework from eight different regional institutions in six disciplinary areas.

A Procedure for Creating Articulation Agreements was recently developed to assist departments/programs.The addition of a Transfer Specialist in the Registrar's Office has provided an official repository for approved Articulation Agreements as well as a systematic way to track changes, updates and additions to these agreements.

IV. Outreach and Partnerships

Center for Adult Education and Outreach (CAEO)

UW-Superior's Center for Adult Education and Outreach extends university expertise into the community and region through courses, programs, research, and resources.Programs are offered through four centers: Continuing Education, Distance Learning, Small Business Development, and the Northern Center for Community and Economic Development. The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is also affiliated with the center.

Center for Continuing Education (CCE)

The Center for Continuing Education provides professional development and community programming in leadership and management, health and human interest, education, and legal studies.

Credit and Education Outreach

This program area provides credit courses and workshops for a variety of development needs.Groups served include regional educators, individuals pursuing legal or social professions through Paralegal and Mediation/Conflict Resolution Certificates, as well as advanced high school students through Youth Options courses.The hybrid Bachelor of Science in Social Work, delivered to three two-year institutions via Interactive Television, is also supported in this program area.

Health and Human Interest (HHI)

HHI provides continuing education, customized training, and workshops for health professionals and community members in areas such as social work, gerontology, arthritis, fall prevention, diabetes, poverty, tobacco cessation, and other health or human interest topics.This program area manages the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review, a research and professional development organization offering a biannual professional conference.

Leadership and Management

Leadership and Management provides leadership training through workshops and certificate programs that foster professional development for individuals employed in the nonprofit sector as well as within community organizations. Programs include nonprofit management, human resources generalist, and community leadership. This program area has recently implemented a national certificate in Transportation and Logistics.

Plans 2013-14

  • In partnership with the Educational Leadership Department, Continuing Education will develop a list of speakers who are available to provide training to CESA 12 school district educators on various topics.
  • In partnership with Northern Center for Community and Economic Development and the Department of Business and Economics, offer a Sustainability Outreach Series. It will be a series of noncredit workshops to educate the citizens of northern Wisconsin about achieving a sustainable community and a workforce that has the skills to implement sustainability practices.
  • Begin expansion of custom training offerings for the business community through the development of a feasibility study, a staffing plan, consulting model, and pilot process for a custom training program.
  • In partnership with the Visual Arts Department and the Madeline Island School of the Arts, offer graduate credit for at least one approved course offered at the Madeline Island School of the Arts.
  • In partnership with the Office of the Chancellor, redevelop the university's Distinguished Lecturer Series or a similar public lecture series at the university.

Development of Certificates and Programming 2013-2014

  • Expansion of the Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review.
  • Transformational Reminiscence course and Certificate in Reminiscence and Life Review
  • Develop and offer a program on Tribal Management for Lac du Flambeau Tribal Education.
  • In partnership with the Health and Human Performance Department, develop and offer Early Childhood programming to include one-credit workshops that will lead to a transcripted certificate.
  • Refinement of the Certificate in Ethical Leadership curriculum based on data collected in the first offering of the program.
  • Create a weekend workshop series on topics pertaining to the aging population.
  • Hold the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review's conference in New Orleans.

Cooperative Extension

UW-Superior has been engaged in outreach activities through its Cooperative Extension work in a number of areas, including economic development and water resources.

Northern Center for Community and Economic Development (NCCED)

The Northern Center for Community and Economic Development interacts with the community through partnerships and outreach activities. Efforts focus on the regional workforce and on economic development with the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board and area development organizations, and also through leadership on the statewide University of Wisconsin-Extension Sustainability Team.

The major emphasis for future outreach activities is sustainability. This includes the Sustainable Twin Ports/Early Adopter Project with training and education centering on organizational sustainability; support of the Sustainable Communities Capacity Center website; training and public policy research related to community sustainability; and the development of educational materials and programming to support community-based sustainability efforts.

Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve

UW-Superior is engaged with UW-Extension and other partners in managing the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (Lake Superior NERR) in the St. Louis River Estuary.The Lake Superior NERR works in partnership to improve the understanding of Lake Superior freshwater estuaries and coastal resources and to address the issues affecting them through an integrated program of research, education, outreach, and stewardship. Lake Superior NERR is one of 28 Estuarine Research Reserves in the U.S. The St. Louis River Estuary is now part of a nationwide research and monitoring framework. Following its establishment in 2010, the Lake Superior NERR is now implementing programs and establishing research relationships to carry out this mission. Once fully staffed, Lake Superior NERR will host targeted outreach and education programs for K-12 students, adults, and coastal manager/decision makers in addition to its research program.

Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers counseling services for owners and managers of small businesses and entrepreneurs who are considering going into business and low-cost training programs in a variety of business areas. This program area offers a monthly peer-learning roundtable for area CEOs, a non-credit business plan training program, an extensive library of online business professional courses, two four-part breakfast speaker series for business and community leaders in Superior and Ashland, and various one-time conferences that respond to regional needs.


·Establish a regional partnership with three other SBDC programs in northwest Wisconsin, including the UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stout SBDCs and the Northwest Manufacturing Outreach Center. The goal of the group will be to develop a viable counseling client referral system that assists this rural region in meeting Small Business Administration (SBA) technical assistance targets.

·Establish a partnership with the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) to build linkages between those WITC programs that graduate potential new small business owners through a new Business Plan Training curriculum that will replace the phased out Entrepreneurial Training Program offered by the Small Business Development Centers statewide.

·Redevelop the Superior Visions educational series for women in business.

·Establish stronger direct ties to UW-Superior Department of Business and Economics to stimulate economic growth and job creation among counseling clients to allow an increased number of entrepreneurial student internships and academic service-learning opportunities in the community.

·Expand availability and use of the SBDC video counseling network throughout the UW-Superior SBDC's eight-county service area.

Other Outreach and Partnerships

Transportation and Logistics Research Center

UW-Superior's Transportation and Logistics Research Center engages in research, outreach, and education. The following are examples of ongoing outreach programs that will be continued over the next five years:

  • Prepare and host organizational conferences and public education and training programs in transportation and logistics.
  • Support state(s) and local government transportation planning initiatives.
  • Participate with the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) and the Center for Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE).
  • Participate as a Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) Consortium Partner.
  • Develop and offer online certification courses in Transportation and Logistics.

Lake Superior Research Institute

The mission of the Lake Superior Research Institute includes environmental research, environmental education, and public outreach for the Great Lakes region.The Institute plans to continue working with its state and university partners to offer several educational and outreach activities in the future.

  • Coordinate the Douglas County Aquatic Invasive Species programs including the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, Clean Boats - Clean Waters Initiative, Purple Loosestrife Control activities, and Riparian Landowners Educational Projects.
  • Assist with educational outreach activities sponsored by the Lake Superior NERR program.

Campus Peace Center Program

The campusInternational Peace Studies Association sponsors events during each academic year. It is an institutional member of the Wisconsin Institute for the Study of Conflict and Peace. An annual peace-building conference is held on campus, which is a weeklong series of activities for students and the community.

Cultural Diversity Programming

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is collaborating with the College of St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota-Duluth, and Lake Superior College to provide cultural diversity programming.

V. Research and Creative Activities

Scholarship is a key component of the tripartite mission of UW-Superior and provides the intellectual underpinnings for academic and outreach activities. Despite UW-Superior's small size, the institution ranks third in the UW System in the receipt of federally funded grants. Research and scholarship activities fall into the following categories:

·General faculty and staff scholarship and creative activities.

·Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

·Research centers and institutes.

·Undergraduate and graduate student research and creative activity.

·Library research support and information literacy.

In these areas, faculty and staff express their intellectual pursuits and interests to solve problems of regional and national importance, build and maintain individual expertise in their chosen fields, enhance teaching and learning by advancing instructional pedagogy, and foster and stimulate intellectual curiosity in the next generation of scholars.

Faculty and Staff Scholarship and Creative Activities

Faculty and academic staff at UW-Superior engage in a broad range of research and creative activity in the arts, sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional areas.Tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to build and maintain an ongoing program of scholarly activity.UW-Superior employs an inclusive definition of scholarship based on Ernest Boyer's four-fold model: 1) Scholarship of discovery; 2) Scholarship of integration; 3) Scholarship of application; and 4) Scholarship of teaching. Expectations for scholarly/creative production are set by individual departments in their personnel rules, subject to approval by governance. This expectation is reflected in a set of common guidelines for departmental personnel rules that is under development.

The primary financial support for general faculty and staff scholarship comes from departmental operating budgets and on-campus professional development funds.In addition, many faculty and staff members serve as investigators on external grants.

In August 2010, the university hired a full-time grants administrator to work with faculty and staff to explore opportunities for increased extramural funding. The Grants and Research website was developed to provide information about UW-Superior's research centers and institutes as well as information on grant writing. This investment has resulted in an increased number of extramural submissions and awards to the university.

In Fiscal Year 2011-2012, sixteen UW-Superior entities received some sort of gift/grant funding or were successful in obtaining extramural contract work.This activity enables the university to generate indirect cost revenue to offset overhead costs and to reinvest in research endeavors.


·Develop an annual Research and Creative Activity publication celebrating faculty and staff publications, presentations, exhibits, compositions, productions, and contributions to their fields of inquiry.

″For the 2013-15 biennium, UW-Superior has committed to increasing extramural funding by engaging more faculty in research by providing incentives for support of proposal writing.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)


In addition to more traditional forms of disciplinary scholarship, the university has made a particular effort to encourage the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). CETL encourages the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning through travel grants, workshops, and other resources. It also facilitates faculty participation in scholarly activities available through the UW System's Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID). These include the UW System's Faculty Fellows and Faculty Scholars programs, which provide both financial and professional development support for faculty to pursue the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


  • Continue discussion with academic department chairs about the value of SoTL work within promotion and tenure standards.
  • Develop a long-term plan to expand SoTL work via small groups of educators working together to design, implement, assess, and disseminate SoTL work.
  • Add SoTL components into FYS and Teaching with Technology (TwT) projects.

Research Centers and Institutes

The campus of UW-Superior houses four nationally recognized research centers: the Lake Superior Research Institute, the Transportation and Logistics Research Center, the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, and Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Lake Superior Research Institute

The mission of the Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) includes environmental research, environmental education, and public outreach for the Great Lakes region.Major research efforts have focused on chemical and biological assessment of sediment and water quality, monitoring of endangered and invasive species, and ecological restoration.


  • Ballast Water Treatment Technology Evaluations: LSRI has partnered with the Great Ships Initiative to evaluate the effectiveness of ballast water treatment technologies. With the only freshwater testing facility in the world, its research will be critical in evaluating treatment systems in accordance with criteria developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the U.S. Coast Guard. Research efforts are now being focused on evaluating the risk for establishment of invasive species that may be introduced at low densities.
  • Ecological Monitoring and Restoration: With support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as well as continued funding from county, state, and federal agencies, LSRI scientists plan to expand efforts to assess the aquatic invertebrates and plants in lakes, rivers, and coastal wetlands and to monitor chemical contaminants.Efforts will also be dedicated to preventing the spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species and assisting with the ecological restoration of coastal wetlands.

Transportation and Logistics Research Center

The Transportation and Logistics Research Center serves as the area's academic partner with local and national transportation and logistics industries and professional organizations. The mission of the center is to provide applied transportation and logistics research, education, and advisory services that advance the economy of the region. The center continually obtains new grants and research opportunities that promote the adoption of new ideas and techniques to improve transportation infrastructure and education.


·Prepare and host organizational conferences in transportation and logistics.

·Engage business, government agencies, faculty, and students in research projects.

·Encourage active participation by faculty and students in professional organizations.

·Provide education and training for professional certification and advanced degrees.

·Provide transportation and supply chain solutions for regional industries and non-profits.

Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute

Under the auspices of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center, UW-Superior is an equal partner in the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI), a consortium with the University of Minnesota-Duluth.GLMRI has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Maritime Enhancement Institute.The mission of GLMRI is to develop and improve economically and environmentally sustainable maritime commerce on the Great Lakes through applied research. Funded research projects are awarded on a competitive basis to researchers at ten affiliate universities located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Indiana.An advisory board of government agencies, industry, and other stakeholders assist in defining research agendas and presenting key issues. The diversity and level of support for GLMRI is increasing with a broader base of private and government agencies being involved.


  • More and Greener Great Lakes Maritime Traffic
  • Expanding short sea shipping and improving ship building technologies
  • Reducing the environmental footprint of shipping
  • Expanding operations of the Great Lakes Marine Transportation System (GLMTS)
  • Exploring market opportunities for the U.S.-Flag vessels in Trade with Canada
  • Improved Marine Planning
  • Improved integration of GLMTS into the national transportation system
  • Support federal and state transportation planners integrating the GLMTS
  • Increased Productivity through Technology and Management Innovations
  • Vessel operations, port operations
  • Expand and improve intermodal connectors with the GLMTS
  • Addressing aging infrastructure and corrosion issues
  • Examining productive regulatory changes
  • Developing intelligent transportation systems technologies
  • Easier and Better Access to Maritime Data/Information
  • Track, distribute and analyze key maritime data
  • Create a Body of Coordinated Researchers on Great Lakes Maritime Issues
  • Promote state-of-the-art research and teaching about maritime commerce
  • Increase the number and participation of affiliate universities including Canadian universities.

Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (Lake Superior NERR)

UW-Superior has partnered with UW-Extension, the Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Management, and others to establish the research priorities for the Lake Superior NERR.This designation will help attract additional research dollars; provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate teaching, learning and research; and expand faculty research focused on estuaries and their importance from an environmental and economic perspective. Faculty, staff, and students from UW-Superior's Cooperative Extension unit, the Department, LSRI, and other areas will have expanded opportunities for research and research funds through the LSNERR. UW-Superior students are currently serving as interns and working on research projects with NERR staff. A Science Summit is sponsored in the spring of each year to encourage researchers in the St. Louis River Basin to share the results of their studies.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research and Creative Activities

(NOTE: See Part II The Public Liberal Arts High Impact Practices (HIPs) for additional information-Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (URSCA) has been established as the sixth HIP.)

Undergraduate and graduate student involvement in research and creativeactivities complements the teaching mission of UW-Superior. Undergraduate students have opportunities to engage in research and creativeactivities through participation in grants coordinated through one of the university's research centers. Students also have an opportunity to work with individual faculty members in their particular disciplines through student assistance programs or in courses that use research methodologies.

Since 1999, UW-Superior has hosted the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, one of 185 such programs nationwide. This program engages students in faculty-mentored research projects and provides graduate school preparation to low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. The Swenson Scholars Program is also hosted at UW-Superior for a select group of academically gifted and income-eligible students in the STEM fields (math, computer science, biology, and chemistry). This program provides a four-year scholarship, engages students in undergraduate research, and encourages graduate school, medical school, and/or future career opportunities in the STEM fields.

Additionally, students from all academic disciplines and the McNair and Swenson Scholars programs are encouraged and/or required to publicly present their research. Many disciplines host annual undergraduate research and poster sessions. For example, since 2003, UW-Superior, the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and the College of St. Scholastica have collaborated on the Twin Ports Undergraduate Psychology Conference (TPUP), which brings in a national keynote speaker and rotates among the three campuses. Students present their research at various regional and national conferences, including the Posters in the Rotunda in Madison, the UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, and/or discipline-specific national conferences.

Library Research Support

On June 19-20, 2012 the campus sustained a major flood that virtually destroyed the campus' library holdings. The Jim Dan Hill Library's lower level was flooded with over eight feet of water. The level is where the majority of the library collection was housed. Approximately 149,000 books sustained water damage and were not salvageable. The campus' entire print periodical collection was also lost; some of these volumes went back decades. The library staff worked closely with faculty to meet the immediate needs of 2012-13 academic year courses through a combination of electronic resources, interlibrary borrowing, and emergency book purchases. While the loss of the collection will create significant short-term disruptions for teaching and learning at UW-Superior, it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to create a "library of the future" that factors in new and emerging technology and changing user needs.Aside from the loss of the library collection, the flooding had minimal impact on student learning spaces and resources.

The university takes an integrated approach to student information literacy development, enabled by the status of its library professionals as faculty in the Department of Writing and Library Science. Library faculty interact as peers with instructors in core general education courses and other key points of instruction in the university's curriculum.

Using the language of the Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Higher Education Competency Standards, the faculty established the following student learning goals for information literacy at UW-Superior:

  • Goal l: determines the nature and extent of the information needed
  • Goal 2: accesses needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Goal 3: evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system
  • Goal 4: uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Goal 5: understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.

Each goal has an associated set of developmental outcomes for lower-division students and mastery-level outcomes for upper-division students. In 2011-12, the information literacy program reached 1,392 students enrolled in 89 courses. These students received direct instruction in effective uses of information and library research skills.

All students receive instruction in research methods and information resources in Writing 102 (the second semester of UW-Superior's two-semester first-year writing sequence), which centers on research-based argumentative writing. Instruction in research methods is also integrated in academic programs. Examples include the social science methods course in the undergraduate Psychology major; the research and production course in the Communicating Arts major; and the research in biology course offered by the Natural Sciences Department, placing students in collaborative research projects at labs both within and outside the university. All graduate programs, with the exception of the master's degree in Visual Arts, require coursework in research methods as well as application in a research thesis or project.

Students learning at a distance are supported by the designated Distance Learning Librarian, who facilitates access to resources and provides online resources to help these students carry out research. The Jim Dan Hill Library also supports the centers and institutes, and the broader grant needs of the community, through membership in the Foundation Center.

VI. Advisement

UW-Superior has long had in place a faculty-based academic advisement model that fosters close relationships between the student and the faculty advisor.Within this model, advisement has traditionally focused on the academic major and course registration.In light of its Public Liberal Arts Mission, UW-Superior is working to use a more holistic approach to academic and professional development.The campus is also working to improve advisement for incoming first-year and transfer students in particular.

The Center for Academic Advising is working with faculty to develop and implement professional development for advisors as well as a plan to evaluate and assess advising with a focus on continuous improvement and focus on student retention.

Holistic Advisement

In spring 2009, the UW-Superior Faculty Senate adopted a set of seven student learning outcomes for the undergraduate advisement program.Based upon the professional standards of the National Academic Advisement Association (NACADA), these student learning outcomes reflect a holistic understanding of the advisement process.In fall 2009, UW-Superior began assessing its advisement program on the basis of these outcomes.On the basis of this assessment, the campus is making ongoing changes and improvements in its advisement program to better achieve the program's stated objectives. Some of the new initiatives being pursued include more active collection and distribution of retention and registration data, an improved and expanded advisor training program, outreach and "mobile advising" programs that incorporate both peer mentoring and professional advisors, and a series of Engaged Advisors and Mentors brown bag sessions.

First-Year and Transfer Student Advisement

In 2003, UW-Superior instituted the Summer Orientation, Advisement and Registration (SOAR) program, which provides spring and summer advisement for new first-year students and transfer students under 20 credits.An electronic Virtual SOAR has since been developed for students unable to attend an on-campus session. Upon completion of the Virtual SOAR, students are provided advisor contact information in order to be advised prior to registration.Beginning summer 2012, all incoming freshmen were required to attend a SOAR in order to register.

Beginning fall 2009, first-semester advisement for undeclared and pre-business majors was provided by professional advisement staff housed in the Undergraduate Academic Advisement Office.In 2010, an electronic virtual advisement module was made available for new transfer students with 20 or greater credits. By this means they are provided advisor contact information for advisement and registration. Beginning in the summer of 2012, all transfer students were required to complete this online Transfer Orientation module.

Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center

The Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center opened in September 2012 with the goal of helping nontraditional students, students with children, and military veterans successfully navigate their way through college.The Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center provides a single location where students over age 24, students with children, and students who are veterans can learn about benefits and support and receive assistance in accessing services such as tutoring and financial aid. The Center's goal is to ease the students' transition to university life and to help them to complete their degrees.

Access to Success (A2S) Student Retention and Enrollment Committee

The A2S Committee was established in 2012 with the charge to serve in an advisory capacity to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management.The advisory committee reviews and suggests updates to campus strategies for retention of students and assists campus constituencies with the implementation of these strategies.The committee reviews assessments related to retention strategies and suggests future analyses and/or data collection; it also recommends new strategies to meet the identified needs brought forth through the assessment.The committee will support the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management in dissemination and training of best practices in retention to the campus community.

Student Support Services

The goal of Student Support Services is to increase college retention and graduation rates and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next. This program provides opportunities for academic development, assists students with basic college requirements, and serves to motivate students to successfully complete their postsecondary education.

VII. Professional Development

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) was created in 2007 and is an integral part of UW-Superior's ongoing professional development opportunities for faculty and teaching academic staff.In 2011, CETL expanded its mission to include all educators on campus, recognizing that student learning occurs inside and outside the classroom.CETL assessment data had demonstrated that both academic and non-academic educators were participating in CETL events, so the mission change was evidence driven.CETL brings faculty development and instructional technologies into a coherent outreach office that serves faculty needs and provides opportunities for enhancement of teaching and learning skills that are central to our student-centered mission.Infrastructure activities that CETL is continuously involved in are the following:

  • Provides services and opportunities for educators to enhance teaching and learning skills and pursue course re-design and enhancement.
  • Coordinates and leads outreach and recruitment efforts for the Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and Scholar (WTFS) program and grant opportunities through the Office for Professional and Instructional Development (OPID).
  • Supports the integration of instructional technology into teaching and learning.
  • Provides conference and learning opportunities on campus such as New Faculty Orientation and Faculty and Staff Enhancement Day each semester.

Since 2007, CETL has organized, designed, sponsored, or created over 250 venues for teaching-and-learning-related topics, interdisciplinary connections, and ongoing faculty and instructional academic staff development. It has served over 2,800 point-of-contact attendees at a variety of events. There has been steadily increasing annual attendance at CETL events, growing from 245 in 2007 to over 700 in 2012.  All twelve academic departments have had participants at CETL events.  CETL serves a wide array of campus members.  Of all attendees, 64.9 percent were instructional staff/faculty and 35.1 percent were non-instructional staff.  CETL also coordinates the OPID Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program (WTFS) with over ten Scholars since 2001 and over 22 Fellows since 1985.  New developments in 2011-2012 included more programming to the Campus Life community, growth in number of book club offerings, creation of a new Jumpstart for Scholarship summer funding program, and growth of participation in various Enhancement Days related to student centeredness.

Current and future strategic plans for CETL include serving the professional development needs of educators at UW-Superior by:

·Building on-campus services and opportunities for educators to enhance teaching and learning skills and course re-design and enhancement.

·Coordinating and facilitating learning opportunities for educators at professional conferences, trainings, and professional development events.

·Fostering dialogue on campus about teaching and learning issues.

·Providing opportunities for dialogue and collaborations across disciplines.

·Supporting educators to develop a habit of self-reflection about teaching and learning.

·Continuing growth and development of New Faculty Orientation Series, Faculty and Staff Enhancement Day efforts, teaching and learning intensive training, campus conversations, book clubs, and other interdisciplinary opportunities.

VIII. Assessment and Strategic Planning at UW-Superior

Background: Higher Learning Commission Advice

During the 2010 site visit from the Higher Learning Commission, the visitors made several recommendations regarding assessment.

·Develop measurable outcomes for each component of the liberal arts initiative and complete a cycle prior to the 2012 reaffirmation accreditation visit.

·Develop measurable outcomes for every academic program.

·Develop measurable outcomes for general education.

The campus has begun academic program assessment and institutional assessment processes and development of general education assessment is in process. In addition, the campus will be participating in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA).

Academic Program Assessment

The campus has adopted the Self-Study for Continuous Improvement (SSCI) as the mechanism for the assessment of academic programs. Academic programs are assessed on a seven-year cycle. The Academic Program Review Council (APRC), an elected body of faculty reporting to the Faculty Senate, is charged with conducting these reviews. The SSCI reporting document has been modified and is going through governance approvals and any revisions that flow from that.The intent is to streamline and clarify the academic program assessment process, while focusing it on departmental program level review.Several departments have completed reviews in the past two years.

General Education Assessment

Governance has approved learning goals for general education, which include development of habits of mind/academic skills as well as familiarity with different kinds of knowledge (e.g., humanities, natural sciences, etc.).In the past year the General Education Committee (GEC) developed learning outcomes for each of the established goals. The GEC is in the process of conducting campus and governance review to have them approved. The next step will be to implement the assessment of these learning outcomes.All courses proposed to and taught by general education in the future will have to integrate these goals and learning outcomes into such courses.

There was also a set of inaugural meetings of the faculty and staff engaged in delivering the general education curriculum in summer and fall 2012.These meetings were sponsored by CETL and the Assessment Office and gave faculty engaged in general education delivery the opportunity to develop a more cohesive campus identity around general education reviews. 

Office of Assessment

The Office of Assessment was created in May 2010 under the Provost's Office. Its main charge is to assist, support, and coordinate institutional and program-level assessment activities at UW-Superior."Doable, meaningful, and usable assessment" is the motto of this office, as it recognizes the dual purposes of assessment.Assessment is an essential aspect of teaching and learning.  Inquiry, research, discovery, reflection, and action about student learning are critical to the improvement of students' educational experience.Assessment of student learning also provides important evidence for institutional accountability, particularly but not limited to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).The Office of Assessment is committed to engage the campus in assessment activities that encompass both of these purposes.

In 2010-2011 the Office of Assessment focused on the development of assessment infrastructure at UW-Superior.Specifically, it drafted a campus assessment plan (approved by the Faculty Senate in December 2010), offered professional development opportunities for assessment (in collaboration with CETL), created the Assessment Liaison position in each academic department to support program-level assessment, supported the process of planning institutional and general education learning goals, and devised an administrative structure to implement the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) test to seniors.

The Office of Assessment will continue to provide assistance and resources for institutional and program-level assessment activities across the campus and create opportunities to strengthen the culture of assessment at UW-Superior.In addition, it will help the campus document assessment processes and results and contribute to the successful accreditation visit in spring 2013.

Institutional Assessment: Higher Learning Commission Assessment Academy Team


To assist with assessment planning and implementation, the University applied and was accepted into the Higher Learning Commission's Assessment Academy in 2010 and is currently completing the project proposal. Assessment of student learning is a fundamental responsibility of the faculty and the university and will be a major focus of UW-Superior's reaccreditation process.  The HLC Assessment Academy offers HLC member institutions a four-year sequence of events and interactions that focus on understanding, confirming, and improving student learning.  The Academy experience is intended to develop institutional culture and increase institutional commitment to assessing and improving student learning.

The UW-Superior HLC Assessment Academy Team is responsible for developing and proposing an assessment project within the timeframe of our accreditation expectations. The Team has developed a four-year project timeline in accordance with the Higher Learning Commission Assessment Academy expectations. The project involves the assessment of the five Liberal Education Learning Goals (LELGs) adopted by Faculty Senate in spring 2009. These Liberal Education Learning Goals articulate what all UW-Superior students are expected to achieve by the time of graduation.  They are:

1.The ability to think and make connections across academic disciplines.

2.The ability to express oneself in multiple forms.

3.The ability to analyze and reflect upon multiple perspectives to arrive at a perspective of one's own.

4.The ability to think and engage as a global citizen.

5.The ability to engage in evidence-based problem solving.

These five LELGs are being implemented in all units across the campus.The Team is developing a campus-wide means for assessing each of the five LELGs within the four-year project window. The first year was spent developing the first assessment step. This was started fall 2011 and focused on LELG Number 2. The rubric and assessment plan for LELG Number 5 was developed during summer and fall 2012 for roll-out in spring 2013. The Team is currently working on the LELG Number 4 assessment plan. By the fourth year of the project (2013-2014), all five LELGs will have institutionalized means of assessment in place. At that time any needed changes in the implementation of assessment will be made.

Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)

The VSA communicates information on the undergraduate student experience through a common web reporting template, the College Portrait.  It is designed to help institutions demonstrate accountability to the public, to measure the effectiveness of educational outcomes, and to assemble information that is accessible, understandable, and comparable for prospective students and parents.

The learning outcome assessment tool, College Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP), was first administered to freshmen in fall 2009 and to seniors in spring 2011. The results were posted to the VSA template. They indicated the merit of education at UW-Superior to student achievement. The VSA has changed the student learning assessment instrument options, and the campus is waiting for UW System to determine how this change will affect the campus level VSA assessment implementation plan.

IX. Integrated Planning at UW-Superior

UW-Superior's integrated strategic planning process is led by the Continuous Improvement and Planning Team (CIPT). The CIPT is a university committee with members from administration, faculty, academic staff, and governance groups. It is a 15-member committee, and it is chaired by the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The integrated strategic planning process is designed to help the university implement its mission and chart a course for the future. Strategic planning is tied to reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The most recent reaccreditation process for Superior began in fall 2010 and will result in a completed self-study and reaccreditation visit in March 2013.

The charge of the University Continuous Improvement Planning Team CIPT) is to:  

  • Serve as the oversight steering committee for the Higher Learning Commission Self-Study and Reaccreditation processes.
  • Recommend both annual and long-term institutional priorities, including those priorities related to our Public Liberal Arts Mission.
  • Provide direction for UW System's Growth Agenda and Making Excellence Inclusive.
  • Review and assess progress toward achieving the strategic priorities.
  • Communicate progress toward achieving institutional priorities.
  • Facilitate the integrated planning process to include unit and departmental strategic plans across the institution.          

In fall 2010, the campus developed an integrated planning process to provide the university community with a transparent process that engages it in understanding and contributing to the planning and budgeting cycle. This is called the integrated planning process. It involves campus units through strategic planning and annual reporting using the software product WEAVEOnline. Campus leadership can see department-level planning and annual reporting through this software and are able to easily track progress on goals and review departmental needs.

Integrated planning engages governance units and allows for open forums that are held annually in the fall to ensure greater transparency. The integrated planning timeline and process was refined in 2012 and will be used extensively as we develop and implement our next strategic plan.The CIPT will engage the campus community in the next cycle of strategic planning in spring 2013.

X. Annual Review and Revision

The UW-Superior Academic Plan will be need to be revised as the institution moves through the strategic planning process. Primary responsibility for review and revision of the plan rests with faculty governance, with final reviewand approval by all governance bodies and campus administration. The Planning and Budgetary Council (PBC) is the group charged by the Faculty Senate with conducting biennial updates of the approved academic plan.

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