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Executive Summary of the Self-Study Report:
2000 Self-Study Process

In the fall of 1998 and the spring of 1999, President Robert Arbuckle established the membership of the self-study steering committee and invited volunteers to serve on five subcommittees arranged around the five criteria for accreditation. The steering committee and the five subcommittees were comprised of trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community representatives.

During 1999 and 2000, the subcommittees collected, compiled, and reviewed information related to their assigned areas. Their work culminated in written reports to the steering committee. Initial drafts of the reports were presented to the campus community at six campus-wide meetings held during the 1999-2000 academic year. Feedback from the sessions was incorporated into the Self-Study Report and reviewed by the steering committee and the entire campus community.

The steering committee was charged with the following primary tasks: (1) To coordinate implementation of the Self-Study Plan. (2) To oversee the preparation of the Self-Study Report. (3) To provide assurance that the patterns of evidence provided demonstrate that Lake Superior State University has met the 24 general institutional requirements, the five criteria for accreditation, and the concerns set forth in the last self-study process. (4) To ensure that the University has fairly examined any difficult or controversial issues and self-reported concerns uncovered by self-examination.

NCA Self-Study Steering Committee
Dr. Robert Arbuckle,
Ms. Kay Floyd,
Self-Study Report Editor,
Director, Grants/Contracts
Dr. Dennis Merkel,
Coordinator/Criterion 3 Chair,
Assoc. Prof. of Biology
Mr. Thomas Bugbee,
Vice President for Student Affairs
Mr. James Madden,
Criterion 4 Chair,
Prof. of Criminal Justice
Dr. Susan Ratwik,
Prof. of Psychology
Dr. George Denger,
Criterion 1 Chair,
Asst. Prof. of Speech
Dr. Donald McCrimmon,
Steering Committee Chair,
Executive Vice President & Provost
Mr. Scott Smart,
Vice President for Business & Financial Operations
Dr. Polly Fields,
Criterion 2 Chair,
Assoc. Prof. of English
Ms. Debra McPherson,
Faculty Assoc. President,
Asst. Prof. of Rec. Studies
Ms. Heidi Witucki,
Criterion 5 Chair,
Upward Bound Director

Criterion 1:
Clear & Publicly Stated Purpose
Criterion 2:
Criterion 3:
Accomplishing its Purpose
Criterion 4:
Continue to Accomplish
Criterion 5:
Demonstrates Integrity
Coates, Tom
Denger, G. (C)
Fabbri, Tony
Gadzinski, Eric
King, Jeff
LaVoy, John
Marinoni, Ann
Miller, Cary
Moody, James
Payment, D.
Shibley, John
Yanni, Steve
Back, Richard
Bawks, Judy
Becker, Bill
Brown, Meg
Bugbee, Tom
Childs, Sally
DePlonty, S.
Faust, Deb
Fields, P. (C)
Freedman, Lee
Hendrickson, J.
Hronek, B.
Madden, Jim
Marinoni, Ann
Merkel, Cindy
Michels, Fred
Pink, Tom
Rye, Colleen
Rye, George
Smart, Scott
Sobeck, A.
Stai, Deb
Swanson, S.
Tadgerson, A.
Tucker, H.
White, B.
Willobee, M.
Albrough, K.
Atkinson, Steve
Brown, Meg
Camp, Susan
Childs, Sally
DePlonty, S.
Freedman, Lee
Gordier, Paige
Hayward, Pam
LaVoy, John
Madden, Jim
McCrimmon, D.
Merkel, D. (C)
Rynberg, Nina
Schuemann, K.
Stanaway, J.
Sutton, Trent
Witucki, Heidi
Adams, Ray
Besteman, Paul
Comer, Lee
Faust, Deb
Fenlon, Paul
LeGreve, N.
Madden, J. (C)
Manor, Robbin
McPherson, D.
Merkel, Dennis
Scheelk, R.
Schuemann, K.
Smith, Scott
Smith, Tom
Weber, Brenda
Weiss, Richard
Back, Richard
Blashill, Jim
Castner, Dave
Crawford, Bill
Fitzpatrick, S.
Jastorff, Mark
Pateman, J.
Pavloski, Sherri
Rye, Colleen
Smith, Scott
White, Beverly
Witucki, H. (C)

Recommendations and action plans developed as a result of the self-study process will be incorporated into the University's next strategic planning cycle for 2001-2002.

Strengths and Challenges

The following are the dominant strengths and challenges that have emerged from the self-study process. They are arranged according to the University's four goals.

  • UNIVERSITY GOAL I: To develop and provide academic programs in the liberal arts and in technical and professional education which demonstrate excellence and relevance for the students served by the University.

      Goal I Strengths:

    • Human Resources. LSSU has always been able to point with pride to its faculty and staff, who have demonstrated significant dedication to the University and its primary mission of educating and serving the student body.

    • Collaborative Efforts. LSSU continually works on various initiatives with other universities, including two institutions in Ontario, Canada, as well as with local school districts. The undergraduate research initiative involves faculty and students in a variety of areas such as environmental science, Great Lakes studies, criminal justice, geology, and engineering.

    • Facilities. Since 1992, over $60 million has been invested in the upgrading of academic and non-academic facilities for the 21st century. The University had more upgrades to its physical plant in the 1990s than any other public university in Michigan.

    • Academic Programs. The strength of the University's academic programs has always been an area of pride at LSSU. Evaluations of several programs by external accrediting agencies validate the University's perception of excellence.

    • Formalization of Program Review Process. The Provost's Council established an annual academic program review process in the fall of 1999. The main purpose of the University's review process is to improve student learning. The process is designed to facilitate continuous improvement and is viewed as an opportunity to gather data that documents program accomplishments, to reflect on these accomplishments, and to plan for future directions of the program.

      Goal I Challenges:

    • Human Resources. As the smallest of the state supported universities, LSSU must create more flexibility, an increased ability to respond to new initiatives, and the empowerment to reallocate resources to areas of greatest need. To continue to thrive, the University must be willing and able to move faculty and staff resources from areas of lesser need to areas of greater need. Attrition, term contracts, and retirement can aid in the short-to-intermediate range. The long-term goal requires the above and a focusing of the University's mission.

    • Assessment. As the assessment effort continues to grow, personnel resources will be stretched thinner. Workshops and staff are necessary to assist many faculty to find the richness and uses of internal, external, and course assessment efforts. Much has been done, but more is needed. Contractual changes will be necessary, and questions of use by the administration must be addressed. Cost of efforts and instruments must continue to be assessed in light of the University's mission, resources, and ability to excel.

  • UNIVERSITY GOAL II: To provide services and programming for students which will complement their educational experiences and prepare them to live and work in the 21st century.

      Goal II Strengths:

    • Great Lakes Academy. The development of the Great Lakes Academy has provided a focal point for student support and academic enhancement for a significant portion of the student body. It has also facilitated the University's state-mandated community college mission. Fletcher Student Center Reorganization. A one-stop student services structure has been adopted and implemented. This has improved student services and helps to reinforce the University's personal approach to education. A new admissions strategic plan has been developed and is being implemented.

    • Student Life. The University has a highly involved residence life staff. There are many clubs and Greek organizations with concomitant involvement on campus. The new Student Activity Center has been built and was partially funded by a self-imposed student activity fee. The facility has generated significant student use and acceptance. The University has one of the largest intramural programs in the Midwest, with over 2,100 students participating on an annual basis.

    • Continuing Education. In 1998-99, Continuing Education enrollment grew by 11 percent. This has increased the effectiveness and visibility in those regional center communities, as well as increased the University's ability to provide even better student support services to its off-campus students. New initiatives have been developed with Admissions to promote the University through the regional centers.

    • Technology. The Integrated Technology Strategy and the technology fee approved by the Board of Trustees have gone a long way to not only continue technological upgrading and expansion, but to ensure a source of funding for continued updating of the University's technology efforts.

      Goal II Challenges:

    • Student Computer Laboratory and Access. The availability of computer laboratory time and instructional time in laboratories is a scheduling challenge. Program software is a continuing problem that the University is trying to address. Steps have been taken to correct this by opening and then expanding the computer laboratory/classroom in the Norris Center. Site licensing and expansion of usable copies of Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) have eliminated most problems.

    • Distance Education. The support services both on campus and at the regional centers must be constantly assessed. The financial and technological components must be examined in light of utilization, alternatives, and delivery effectiveness. Other types of delivery systems may prove to be more advantageous than compressed and digital interactive television delivery modality. The University must invest in the next technology and know when to phase out or by-pass other types of remote delivery systems. The University utilized three outside consultants to help with this process and determination. The environmental scan helped to provide input for the continuing improvement of information technology on the campus and informed the current strategic planning for technology process.

  • UNIVERSITY GOAL III: To offer a holistic, caring, and supportive environment for all learners.

      Goal III Strengths:

    • Facilities and Upgrades. The physical plant has been improved greatly in the 1990s to meet the current and future needs of the students and the community. Much of this has been made possible by state support, private fundraising, and by the Board of Trustees who require that 8.8 percent of all tuition be reserved for the physical plant.

    • Housing. The University offers a wide range of on-campus housing. Housing surveys have led to changes and enhancement of the housing and residential life program. The units have been renovated, upgraded, and wired for computer access.

      Goal III Challenges:

    • Student Satisfaction. The perennial complaints concerning parking, housing, and snow-related problems will not go away. As students become more aware of their power as consumers and citizens, they will have constantly rising expectations. Whether these problems are real or perceived, they must be continually addressed in an open and timely manner, involving all the campus community. A potentially more serious problem is that of student advising. Senior exit interviews have identified this as a problem area. The President's Special Committee on Freshman Advising is addressing this problem.

    • Child Development Center. Students, faculty, and staff are requesting expansion of the Child Development Center's scope and hours of operation. Removing this potential barrier, that some student-parents face, increases the chances that they will persist and graduate. A larger facility for the center has been identified. The University is awaiting a decision of the present owners.

    • Housing. While the variety of campus housing, as well as the quality, has increased, the demand has not. The oversupply of affordable off-campus housing has continued to increase. Further actions are necessary to make campus housing more desirable and more cost effective.

  • UNIVERSITY GOAL IV: To enhance the University's efficiency and effectiveness in order to help fulfill its vision and mission.

      Goal IV Strengths:

    • Foundation and Alumni Efforts. Existing annual programs have been successful, as have the other friend- and fundraising activities. Foundation gifts have increased over 200 percent since 1998. Annual support now exceeds $2 million. In the first 18 months of the $11 million capital campaign, over $6 million has been raised. The telemarketing function is becoming more viable, as is volunteer support. New fundraising programs have been introduced that will provide for greater support for the University now and in the future.

    • Lobbying, State, and Local Relations. State funding has been very favorable in most areas due to effective personnel and favorable state economic conditions. The Governor and the State Legislature have demonstrated their commitment to higher education. Michigan's system of higher education is one of the most respected in the nation. In general, the economic climate in the State of Michigan is very strong and has resulted in favorable funding for higher education.

    • Grants. Recognizing the need for an organized grants system, as well as to facilitate an increase in the quality and quantity of proposal submissions, the President established the Office of Grants and Contracts in 1997. Over the past ten years, revenue from grants and contracts has been steadily increasing. During 1998-99, $3.5 million was received through grants and contracts-the highest in the University's history. This represents a 61 percent increase since 1991-92. A federal facilities and administrative cost rate (indirect cost rate) was negotiated and established in 1999-the first in the University's history. The rate allows the University to recover indirect costs incurred as a result of grants received.

      Goal IV Challenges:

    • Enrollment. A downturn in the exchange rate on Canadian funds, as well as socio-economic changes in Ontario, have adversely affected the University's Canadian enrollment. In 1991, 24 percent of enrollment consisted of Canadian learners. This has fallen to 15 percent. In addition, overall enrollment must increase to remain cost effective. The downturn in first-time-in-college students and transfer students from Canada must be addressed by providing avenues for exchange rate scholarships or increasing the market share of U.S. students. Further, the phase-out of the two graduate programs resulted in a decline of over 400 students. These students must be replaced. Strategies are being implemented to accomplish this.

    • Regional Centers and Interactive Television. The fall 1999 regional center enrollment made up seven percent of the University's overall headcount. New programs that take advantage of distance education technology need to be evaluated for potential benefit and enrollment growth. The use of interactive television for course delivery needs to continue to be evaluated for cost effectiveness and student satisfaction. Web-based delivery is currently being explored.

    • Term Limitations. As Michigan has enacted term limitations for state elected officials, the legislative funding process will be constantly changing. Rural areas like this region will be disadvantaged because seniority will not be a major factor in committee membership. It will be more important now and in the future to maintain positive relationships with key legislative staff members.

    • Internal Communications. LSSU has endeavored to involve all segments of the University in its decision-making matrix. As the University relies more on electronic transfer of information and as personnel changes due to attrition, retirement, or reallocation of budget lines, the University must be wary of instrumental communication as opposed to personal information exchange. Improvements in personal communication included well-attended faculty forums and self-study sessions. The University's Vision and Mission Statements express the University's values. These are heavily laden in personal interactions and caring for each other and for students.

    • Technology. While the University has a technology plan and a funding source, it must always be vigilant to assure proper choices. In the rapidly changing world of technologies, dead ends and lack of interfacing must be avoided. The University must continue to have a holistic view of how the institution is affected by each addition or deletion. The University must also be cognizant that technology is a means to an end-more effective student service and learning. The new strategic planning for technology is addressing these issues.

  • NCA Criteria for Accreditation

    Evidence that the University has met the five criteria for accreditation is presented in detail within the Self-Study Report and is summarized below.

    NCA Criterion 1: The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.

    LSSU's clear and publicly stated purposes are grounded in an exercise of constitutional authority by the State Legislature, through the Board and the Administration. The Mission Statement is linked to the day-to-day operations of the University by goals, objectives, and annual action plans. Through an annual cycle of action plans, budget hearings, and implementation reports, expenditures and human effort are tied to the purposes of the University. The University publicizes its purposes through a variety of venues. The University meets Criterion 1.

    NCA Criterion 2: The institution has effectively organized the human, financial, and physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.

    LSSU effectively organizes its human, financial, and physical resources. The decision-making, administrative, and communications structures and processes are well understood and appropriately used. The University's human resources are appropriate for its purposes, and its economic strength adequately supports programs and activities. The University's means of obtaining income and its distribution of human, financial, and physical resources reflect values consistent with those widely held by institutions of higher education. The University meets Criterion 2.

    NCA Criterion 3: The institution is accomplishing its educational and other purposes.

    LSSU's educational programs are appropriate to an institution of higher education with assessment of appropriate student academic achievement present. Effective teaching is evident. Ongoing support is in place for professional development for faculty and staff. The University's student services support the University's purpose. Staff and faculty service contributes to the University's effectiveness, and service to the citizens of the region and beyond is provided. The University meets Criterion 3.

    NCA Criterion 4: The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness.

    LSSU is well positioned to carry out its mission in this new decade and beyond. It has instituted and utilized an internal planning process with feedback loops. Collaboration among the various constituencies of the University community has been vastly improved. Facility needs have been addressed with an eye to the future. More budgetary responsibility has been enacted with short, intermediate, and long-term plans being implemented and evaluated. The University has tried to view its strengths and challenges with realism. The University anticipates continued progress toward fulfilling its goals. The University meets Criterion 4.

    NCA Criterion 5: The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships.

    LSSU's written documents describe institutional relationships and include appropriate grievance procedures. Policies and practices exist for the resolution of internal disputes and for equity of treatment, non-discrimination, affirmative action, and other means of enhancing access to education and the building of a diverse educational community. The University's publications, statements, and advertising accurately and fairly describe the University, its operations, and its programs. The University's relationships with other institutions of higher education are conducted ethically and responsibly and appropriate support exists for resources shared with other institutions. Policies and procedures are in place regarding institutional relationships with and responsibility for intercollegiate athletics, student associations, and related business enterprises. Oversight processes exist for monitoring contractual arrangements with government, industry, and other organizations. The University meets Criterion 5.

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