R301, Master Plan Executive Summary

R301-1. Purpose: To provide an executive summary of The Challenge of Change: Master Planning for Utah Higher Education (The “1986 Master Plan”).

R301-2. References

2.1. Utah Code 53B-6-101 (Master Plan for Higher Education)

2.2. Policy and Procedures 312, Configuration of the Utah System of Higher Education Institutional Missions and Roles

R301-3. Introduction

3.1. Response to Change: Projected economic and demographic changes in our society elicit many challenges which require thoughtful and dynamic response to ensure both stability and viability for the future of Utah. A strong system of higher education is essential for the maintenance of a vibrant and progressive society. The Utah State Board of Regents has therefore developed a revised and updated Master Plan for Higher Education, designed to ensure that the benefits of high quality higher education are made available to students and citizens as the number one priority for social progress and economic wellbeing of the state and its people. Higher education is viewed as far more than a state expenditure. It is an all-important investment in people whose principal is repaid many times in future state revenues, but also more importantly, in the development of a more enlightened citizenship, a more productive workforce, and a better society.

3.2 Attention to Access, Quality and Diversity: Through this new Master Plan, the Regents recognize that Utah’s rising student population and changing economic environment present serious challenges to the simultaneous pursuit of both access and quality in higher education. To promote quality without providing wide access would be to abandon a basic tenet of public higher education. But to offer full access to mediocre programs would be myopic, deceptive, and a disservice to students in a highly competitive world. At the same time, access and quality are more meaningful when diversity of educational opportunity is provided to meet the full spectrum of personal and societal needs. While higher education will continue to focus on the development of knowledge, skills, and character in individuals, as well as extending the frontiers of knowledge and advancing the intellect, the demands of today’s world bring preparation for careers and work into full partnership with other traditional purposes of higher learning. Thus, the Master Plan recognizes a vital linkage between the vast learning enterprise and its attention to access, quality, and diversity, and a very basic need of Utah citizens–the long-term economic development of the state and its regions, counties, and many communities.

303. Need for New State Resources: By the year 2000, enrollments in Utah colleges and universities will rise from 71,000 students to nearly 100,000—a gain of 40 percent in 14 short years. A most difficult challenge is that requirements for growth alone, not to mention provisions for quality, cannot be met with presently projected revenues from current tax sources. Therefore, this new Regent plan stresses quality with reasonable access, and calls for several policy and program changes to ensure excellence. However, in light of projected deficient revenues, past shortfalls, and budget cuts, even the efficiency measures of this carefully developed plan will not enable Utah to meet its higher education needs without significant new state resources.

R301-4. Major Themes: The new Master Plan contains the following major themes, which represent the Regents’ response to the changing environment in which Utah colleges and universities will operate during the immediate years ahead and leading toward the next century:

4.1. Quality: Enhancing and preserving a superior quality system of colleges and universities is the first priority of the Regents.

4.2. Access: Student access will remain a high priority of Utah higher education, but should funding become insufficient to maintain quality, access to the system and to given institutions will of necessity be limited.

4.3. Diversity: Diversity among institutions will be maintained to avoid unwise duplication of programs and services, to focus available resources in ways that promote quality, and to provide students with meaningful choices among types and levels of educational offerings.

4.4. Economic Development: Faculty expertise, research, technological development, instructional offerings, and vocational programs will advance and complement the state’s goals for economic development.

R301-5. The Preservation of Quality: The Master Plan affirms that Utahns deserve a system of higher education that values quality of programs over quantity of offerings. To ensure maximum quality in the face of serious state resource limitations, the following initiatives will be pursued:

5.1. Program Review: Rigorous ongoing program review will be conducted by the institutions and the Commissioner’s Office, and all new degree proposals will continue to be carefully scrutinized to assess whether any new costs can be justified in light of existing institutional quality deficiencies and the need to accommodate enrollment growth.

5.2. Areas of Excellence: Areas of excellence will be developed at each institution through the process of institutional prioritization, budget reallocation, and the desirable consolidation of resources and faculty expertise.

5.3. Moratorium on Academic Drift: A moratorium is declared on any expansion of institutional missions construed as academic drift–i.e., community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees; undergraduate colleges offering new graduate work; universities offering new graduate programs outside existing roles–until quality deficits such as competitive salaries, libraries, computer and laboratory equipment, and academic support have been corrected and the issues of access and quality reconciled.

5.4. Assessment Systems: In harmony with other higher education priorities, the Regents will seek the development of appropriate entrance and exit assessment systems at all institutions in the interest of continuing to serve students with quality. Proper incentives will be developed at System and institutional levels to utilize the assessment data generated to support desirable quality promoting changes and innovations.

R301-6. Access as a Priority: Access among Utah colleges and universities will be provided to students with different characteristics in desirable ways according to differentiated admissions standards and tuition schedules, distinctive institutional roles and scope, and proper assessment of student aptitudes and abilities. The Master Plan contains the following guidelines to permit broader student access through proper enrollment management:

6.1. Direct New Lower Division Enrollment Growth: Since Utah has a high enrollment concentration in more expensive research universities and low concentration in community colleges, the Regents propose to make the System as a whole more efficient and effective by directing a high percentage of new lower division enrollment growth to the community colleges.

6.2. Enrollment Targets: Enrollment targets have been established for each institution through 1995, with the goal of enrolling at least one third of Utah public higher education students in community colleges by the year 2000 (see Table I of Planning Report #7 for enrollment target projections).

6.3. Urban Community Colleges: Responding to Master Plan recommendations, the 1987 Utah Legislature has voted to delete the artificial 75/25 percent vocational education/general education statutory requirement at the state’s two technical colleges, changed their names to Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley Community College to reflect comprehensive community college missions, and authorized the Regents to add Associate of Arts degrees at these institutions when Board criteria have been met.

6.4. Maintenance of Applied Technology Education Effort: To ensure continued emphasis on applied technology education at the community colleges, the Regents will develop specific funding mechanisms by the 1988-89 fiscal year which address the fact that many applied technology programs are more costly than general education/transfer programs. The Board will continue current monitoring to ensure maintenance of effort in applied technology education at all five community colleges.

6.5. Promote Smaller Community Colleges:  Efforts will be made to inform prospective students of the unique advantages of attending smaller rural and residential campuses.

6.6. Enrollment Caps/Funding Mechanisms: Reasonable enrollment caps will be established initially at the University of Utah and later, if necessary, at Utah State University to conserve state resources and not dilute university efforts by admitting underprepared students who would be better served by other institutions. Funding mechanisms will be developed that recognize the differential costs of upper division and graduate instruction.

6.7. Differential Tuition Policies: Tuition policies will be altered to reflect higher tuition at the higher cost research universities, medium tuition at the state four-year colleges, and relatively modest tuition at the community colleges (all to become more in line with peer institutions in other states).

6.8. Admission Standards: Admissions standards will be reviewed and revised as appropriate to be more consistent with institutional missions and provide a better match for students, institutions, and educational programs. Because of different missions, program offerings, and locations, however, tuition and/or admissions standards at Utah State University will not necessarily be the same as at the University of Utah. Tuition and admissions policies at state four-year colleges will more nearly reflect the costs and standards of baccalaureate education, while tuition at the community colleges will relate more closely to similar open-access institutions in other states.

6.9 Productivity Improvements: Additional productivity measures are also encouraged, such as increased experimentation with differentiated staffing, greater use of telecommunications instruction that has proven effective, and the use of other less expensive modes of instruction.

6.10. Academic Calendar: A calendaring system should also be considered that would attract greater numbers of summer students, promote year-round study, provide better utilization of facilities and equipment, accommodate higher student enrollments, and accelerate student progress toward achieving educational goals.

R301-7. Promoting Diversity: Ongoing system-wide planning will differentiate among institutional missions and roles to avoid unwarranted duplication of programs and effort and promote quality through resource consolidation.

7.1. Mission Statements: Broad mission statements for each of the nine System colleges and universities are described in Planning Report #5 and in the Policy and Procedures R311, Institutional Missions and Roles. Planning necessarily involves critical choices. Each college and university has a clearly defined mission and scope, and within its overall mission each institution is encouraged to develop special areas of strength that lead to distinction and contribute to the total spectrum of state educational responsibilities and student options and opportunities.

7.2. Development of Academic Programs:  Future development of academic programs across the System includes many diverse areas of the curriculum that will likely receive increased attention in the years ahead. A non-prioritized list of major program areas cited for future emphasis in research and instruction at the various institutions includes: Business Management Engineering The Environment Ethics and Social Responsibility The Food System (agricultural production and distribution) Health and Gerontology Information Science and Management International Education Liberal Education National Defense Teacher Preparation Tourism and Leisure Applied Technology Training.

7.3. Geographic Service Areas: To promote diversity and statewide efficiency in outreach education, primary geographic service areas for off-campus programs will be established for System institutions, including regular review of outreach education centers (see Table I of Planning Report #5). The Master Plan assumes that institutions located closest to potential students can deliver conventionally taught courses and programs more cost-effectively (within their unique missions and roles) than more distant institutions.

7.4. Prior Board Approval of Off-Campus Programs: Prior Board approval will be required of all certificate and degree programs exported off-campus (including those offered through tele-communications or offered cooperatively between institutions) so that system-wide role and cost implications can be evaluated.

7.5. Remedial Education: The ongoing need to provide some remedial education for “at risk” students at all institutions is recognized in the new Master Plan. Satisfactory student progress will be required for state support of remedial education in community colleges; no more than two remedial courses will be provided students at regular tuition in the four-year colleges; and remedial courses at universities will be provided when additional student fees are assessed to cover the instructional costs.

7.6. Short-Term Noncredit Applied Technology Training:  An equitable formula common to public education, higher education, and Applied Technology Centers is proposed for use by the Legislature to fund short-term noncredit vocational training through the State Board for Applied Technology Education, whether offered in adult high schools, ATCs, or in higher education. This funding approach will discourage unwise Printed June 23, 2015 Page 5 of 5File: R301 2015-6-23 policy corrected, reference to policy had typo duplication of effort, conserve state resources, and provide diverse and complementary training options across public and higher education for student advancement and economic development.

7.7. Salt Lake Skills Center: Operating and base budgets for the Salt Lake Skills Center will flow through the State Board for Applied Technology Education, and the Center will function under SBATE policies for short-term noncredit intensive training. However, the Center will continue to be administered by Salt Lake Community College, and the capital facilities budget will remain the responsibility of higher education and the Regents.

R301-8. Higher Education and Economic Development: Higher Education plays a vital and often pivotal role in preserving and enhancing the economic well-being of a state or community. Therefore:

8.1. Working Relationships:  Utah higher education will work in close partnership with business, industry, and government in leading and responding to economic and technological change.

8.2. Research and Education: Universities and colleges will continue to apply faculty expertise to research and educational activities that promote economic development. Science, engineering, and technology programs of distinction will transfer the latest knowledge to industry via research and education.

8.3. Responsive Applied Technology: Applied technology educators will work closely with business and industry to identify the competencies required for a productive workforce and will fashion responsive programs to serve the ongoing and emerging training needs of current and potential employers.

Updated: June 23, 2015