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April 19, 2000

NCA Team To Recommend Four-Year Degrees for RSU

A team from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) announced Tuesday it will recommend that Rogers State University be granted permission to offer four-year bachelor's degrees.

The NCA team will submit its recommendations to the NCA Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The commission will consider the team's recommendations and issue a final ruling on RSU's accreditation as a four-year university.

Pending accreditation, RSU will begin offering four bachelor's degrees in Business Information Technology, Applied Technology, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences this fall.

"The team indicated it was very impressed by the university's progress toward expanding its mission to become a four-year university," said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. "And the team was impressed by the many months of diligent work by RSU faculty and staff in developing our new bachelor's degree programs."

The NCA team indicated it will make four recommendations to the commission: approval of the change in governance of RSU to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma; approval to offer bachelor's degrees; approval to offer three bachelor's degrees primarily through distance delivery methods; and deferral of the next NCA comprehensive visit until the 2004-2005 academic year.

The NCA team also provided RSU with a list of ten institutional strengths and four challenges as it makes its transition to a four-year university.

Institutional strengths cited by the team included:

Community and business leaders and foundation members are enthusiastic supporters of the new governance structure, the new president and the development of the new proposed bachelor degree programming.

The Board of Regents of Oklahoma University appear to be well qualified, knowledgeable and interested in being the governing board for RSU and have devised a committee structure to ensure that the institution's interests and need will receive a fair hearing.

The new president and management team appear to have recaptured community support, and formed a new collegial relationship with the faculty and staff.  The president is seen as an academic leader with a vision and purpose for the new RSU.

Funding for the transition of RSU to a regional university is being provided through allocations from the legislature. It appears that funding above the base operation amount will continue to be forth coming for the next few years.

Faculty involvement on committees and their dedicated service to meet institutional and instructional goals during this transition period have been exemplary.

Student Support Services on campus are well organized and provide a "user-friendly" caring involvement for students in support of the associate and bachelors-level programming at RSU

Learning resources on campus appear to be adequate to support student reference and research work for the proposed programs at the institution.

The proposed instructional programs appear to be well thought out, of sufficient rigor and taught by suitably qualified faculty.

The institution has been successful in attracting private dollars to support course and faculty development of distance delivery methodologies and programs.

Faculty and staff appear to understand the assessment process and the institution's plan for assessment with current implementation judged to be at level two of the Assessment Implementation matrix.

Challenges provided to RSU by the NCA team included:

Some physical facilities are in need of repair and the institution should begin a process of refurbishing facilities and providing more space for library holdings and library services, classroom facilities and student residences.

In light of anticipated course and program development, student support services must be upgraded to better serve online students.

Additional faculty development strategies need to be developed and funded to improve faculty advisement techniques and support the faculty's ability to design, construct and code new distance delivery courseware.

Funding must continue to be obtained to support distance delivery course construction and programming in order to meet the needs of an ever-changing instructional technology.

The NCA team met with RSU faculty and staff members on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the institution's transition to a four-year university. The team also accepted a Self Study Report submitted by RSU which contained information required by NCA to consider accreditation at the baccalaureate level, including a plan for the transition to a four-year institution, curriculum for the new bachelor's degrees and development of adequate human and financial resources.

A committee of RSU faculty and staff members developed the Self Study Report over the past year with the involvement and input of the entire RSU campus.

In May 1998, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 1426 which created RSU as a regional university, giving the institution a mandate of offering bachelor's degrees pending accreditation and approval of its governing boards, while retaining its community college function. The new status was effective on Jan. 1, 1999.

In May 1999, the legislature placed RSU under the governance of the OU Board of Regents. RSU formerly was under the governance of the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges.

RSU has received approval to offer its new bachelor's degrees from the OU Board of Regents and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

In addition, RSU will continue agreements with the University of Oklahoma and Northeastern State University, which offer bachelor's and master's degrees on the RSU campus.

RSU currently is accredited by NCA for its two-year programs, and has been an NCA-accredited institution since 1950.

For more information on RSU's new bachelor's degrees and program offerings, call (918) 343-7777 or 1-800-256-7511.