March 10, 2008
President Wilson convened the eighth SPBC meeting of 2007-08 at 12:10 p.m. He asked if there were any questions or comments on the notes of the February 25, 2008 SPBC meeting. The notes were accepted as distributed.
Strategic Goal V: Identity
Matt Kurz presented a progress report on the Identity Goal of the Strategic Plan. As background for the presentation, the Committee had received information from Matt listing accomplishments to date under each of the five strategies for Identity Goal V. (See Appendix A attached).
Matt reported that a campus identity advisory group had been meeting since the fall of 2006. The Lawlor Group conducted their research in spring/summer 2007, spending three days on campus. They presented their findings in October 2007.
With respect to Strategy E, Focusing on Critical Communications Channels, Matt noted that the University is in the early stage of the redevelopment of its Web site and good progress has been made.
Matt also presented the IWU Core Message Structure that had been developed as a result of the identity study (see Appendix B). The following comments and observations were made about this structure:
- Some of the messages were not particularly new, but often get buried.
- One of our challenges is to find ways to make University constituencies aware of successful alumni and their careers.
- IWU has alumni in all 50 states and in 60 countries around the globe. The University should increase efforts to gather stories about successful alumni in order to illustrate the value of an IWU education.
- Would our Web site accommodate alumni telling their stories? Perhaps a goal of having affinity groups featured rather than solely focusing on a given class year might be beneficial. Several observations and questions surfaced in this regard:
- In the class of 2007 alone, IWU had alumni from 25 states and Washington, D.C., as well as several countries.
- We continue to have positive feedback on Web pages featuring alumni.
Some alumni spend a portion of their career in other countries through work with multinational corporations.
- A number of alumni have joined the Peace Corp.
- IWU has a strong presence of alumni in Teach for America.
- Statistically, one-fourth to one-third of the total IWU alumni base has graduated in the last ten years.
- IWU alumni should be asked to identify which undergraduate experiences led them to choose their career paths.
It was also noted that departmental Web sites are unable to stay current due to insufficient Web skills, time constraints, and limited resources. At the same time, departmental Web sites are extremely important to students contemplating attending IWU. Each departmental Web site should reflect its own personality rather than utilizing a generic template.
President Wilson suggested having a small group of interns in Matt's office available to assist departments in updating their Web sites. These students could report to Ann Aubry, assistant director for new media. Matt Kurz agreed to consider this option in facilitating departmental Web site updates.
Student Aaron Massey said he would discuss this issue with the Student Senate.
Peer Identification Process
The Committee returned to the subject of an appropriate peer group for the University. Based on previous discussions of this topic, the President proposed that we begin with the aspirational peer group that was identified several years ago and make the case to add or delete a school based on comparative information -- both qualitative and quantitative. To illustrate how a benchmark report might appear using the aspirational peer group from 2004, Michael Thompson presented data tables and charts on six performance indicators. The six indicators were as follows: admit rate, ALANA student percentage, endowment assets per FTE, and average faculty salaries by rank (assistant, associate, professor).
President Wilson observed that IWU is often near the bottom of the aspirational peer group, whereas if IWU benchmarks with ACM or GLCA institutions, the outcomes appear more favorable on certain measures. Two schools were recommended for immediate removal from our present peer group -Grinnell (large discrepancy in endowment) and Ithaca (a third tier institution). Members of the Committee suggested that Michael conduct further research on the following schools: Allegheny, Augustana, Bucknell, Centre, DePauw, Kalamazoo, and Lawrence. The President recommended a peer group size of 10 to 12 institutions.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:22 p.m.
V. Identity Goal: Articulate a shared understanding of Illinois Wesleyan's identity as a residential liberal arts college with professional schools and programs.
Strategy A: Developing a Shared Understanding of Identity.
-- The Lawlor Group conducted focus groups and Web surveys with all key stakeholders to engage the community in a discussion of our identity, spring/summer 2007.
-- There were campus presentations of the Identity Research findings to further campus-wide understanding and discussion, October 2007.
Strategy B: Conducting Identity Research. Use research to identify and explore identity issues and to form the foundation for an Identity Communications Program.
-- Campus-wide Identity Advisory Group will report on communications implications from the research before the end of the semester.
Strategy C: Crafting an Identity Communications Program.
-- The Identity Advisory Group, Advancement Working Group and Admissions team to provide input into an integrated Identity Communications Program.
-- Core Messages identified from the research are being integrated into communications for admissions, development, alumni and the president.
Strategy D: Identifying Core Messages.
-- The attached core messages have been identified from the identity research and through discussion with the Identity Advisory Group and Cabinet.
Strategy E: Focusing on Critical Communications Channels--Web site, media relations program, internal communications.
-- A new University Web site has been launched and incorporates key findings from the Identity Research and Core Messages.
-- A more proactive approach to media relations has been instituted
-- Introduction of Campus Weekly, which is an e-newsletter for and about faculty and staff.
Illinois Wesleyan Core Message Structure
Distributed to all faculty and staff: April 15, 2008