UW Graduate Business Consortium Degree
Date: November 10, 2004
To: Members, Faculty Senate
RE: “Authorization to Implement” a UW Graduate Business Consortium MBA Degree.
An “Entitlement to Plan” for a consortium Internet MBA degree was recently approved by UWS. An “Authorization to Implement” is being submitted for approval to grant degree awarding authority to the UW Graduate Business Consortium for an Internet delivered MBA degree. The Consortium consists of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, La Crosse, Oshkosh and Parkside and operates in partnership with UW Extension’s Learning Innovations (LI).
Program Development Timeline
· 1995-96: Consortium consisting of UW-La Crosse, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Parkside formed to develop and deliver MBA related courses.
· 1997: On-line MBA “foundation” courses delivered in a shortened format using video distance technology.
· 1998: UW-Oshkosh joins the consortium.
· 1999: “Foundation” courses delivered exclusively by the Internet.
· 2000-01: Development of an on-line MBA program.
· 2002: UW System Market Research conducts research for market potential.
· 2002: Delivery of the on-line MBA program commences in Fall with UW-Eau Claire as the degree awarding institution.
· 2004: First class graduates in the Spring 2004 at UW-Eau Claire commencement.
· Fall 2003: Consortium develops “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authority to Implement” an internet MBA degree.
· February 10, 2004: Consortium members begin approval processes for “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement”.
· February 11, 2004: CBA Graduate Committee meets to review proposals and recommends sending to faculty for vote.
· February 27, 2004: All CBA meeting held to discuss consortium degree proposal. Faculty approve sample ballot, voting procedures, and establish a requirement of passage by a 2/3 vote of ballots. Ballot vote is conducted during the following week.
· March 5, 2004: Ballots counted by administrative academic staff. Tally of yes/no votes is 20-yes and 10-no. 2/3 faculty requirement is met. Vote reported to CBA.
· March 26, 2004. The UW-L Graduate Council unanimously endorses the “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement.”
· April 16, 2004: The UW-L Academic Planning Committee unanimously endorses the “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement.”
· May 5, 2004: UW-L Graduate Curriculum Committee unanimously endorses the “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement.”
· May 6, 2004: UW-L Faculty senate votes to approve “Entitlement to Plan” and votes to table the “Authorization to Implement.”
· May 6, 2004: New senate is elected and tabled motions die.
· May 2004: Other consortium members complete approval processes within their universities.
· Summer 2004: Entitlement to Plan is submitted to system and circulated among UW institutions.
· September 20, 2004: Entitlement to Plan Approved by UW System in letter from Ronald M. Singer, Associate Vice President.
“The proposed program represents an interesting opportunity to pilot a consortial on-line program and, as such, will have unique challenges. It is potentially a valuable addition to the UW System program array and I am pleased to grant your request for entitlement to plan.”
· September 30, 2004: CBA Graduate Committee assumes lead to “go forward” with Consortium Online MBA Program.
· October 20, 2004: After giving notice to CBA faculty, the CBA Graduate Committee hosts open forum and asks for either written or verbal feedback regarding objections to going forward with the Authorization to Implement. Two faculty attend to discuss concerns. No written objections or concerns are received.
· November 18, 2004: Faculty senate meets to consider “Authorization to Implement.”
Discussion of Faculty Concerns
Do the UWL faculty have the requisite control over the Internet MBA curriculum?
This issue has been discussed and addressed at all levels. The UW-L Graduate Curriculum Committee considered these curriculum issues at its May 5, 2004 meeting and unanimously endorsed the “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement.” The basis for their decision included:
- The degree is not a UW-L degree and the students enrolled in the degree program are not UW-L students. The degree has been and will be awarded by a different degree granting entity to students who have been admitted to that separate program.
- Over the development of this separate degree, all the internet MBA foundation courses have previously been approved by UW-L by going through the UW-L processes and committees.
- Module 3 of the Internet MBA is identical to the on-campus BUS 760 that is a required course in our residential MBA program. It has gone through the full UW-L curriculum processes and committees and will be continue to be subject to UW-L control.
- An Academic Standards and Assessment Committee consisting of representatives from each campus and from Learning Innovations establishes the standards and curriculum for the degree. It conducts assessment and evaluation of all apects of the program. Each campus is represented by one graduate faculty and one graduate program director.
Will the program place a strain on faculty resources?
This issue has been discussed and addressed at all levels. First, it should be recognized that the proposal contains a provision whereby a university can unilaterally withdraw upon 12 months notice. This option can be exercised if the CBA determines it does not have the resources to continue in the program.
Required Internet MBA courses: The CBA is required to teach only one course in the Internet MBA program. That course is Module 3. The required course is team-taught by three faculty members. Each is given the choice in consultation with their department chair as whether to teach it as overload or in-load basis. In the fall 2003, that course was taught on an overload basis. In the fall 2004 the course was taught on in-load basis. The CBA receives compensation for teaching the course. If the course is taught as an overload the compensation goes to the faculty member. If the course is taught in-load the compensation goes to the CBA.
Elective Internet MBA courses: UWL is not required to teach any of the elective courses. If CBA faculty do wish to teach, it is on a volunteer and overload basis for which they are compensated. The CBA is expected to periodically participate in the offering courses which we have successfully accomplished on a volunteer basis.
Internet foundation courses: UWL is not required to teach any of the foundation courses. If CBA faculty do wish to teach, it is on a volunteer and overload basis for which they are compensated. The CBA is expected to periodically participate in the offering foundation courses which we have we have successfully accomplished on a volunteer basis.
Is this a dangerous “slippery slope” leading to an undergraduate internet program?
This issue has been discussed and addressed at all levels. The “slippery slope” concern is based on the reasoning that one event will inevitably follow from another. In this case, the event to follow has been identified an administratively instituted undergraduate Internet program. There is no reason to believe this will occur. First, just as in this case, there are a significant number of procedural steps and hurdles between the two events. These include, compliance with the CBA, UW-L, UWS and faculty procedures to implement programs. Further, the CBA administration has not proposed, supported, or discussed proposing an undergraduate internet degree. In fact, the CBA administration has specifically stated it has no interest or intent to propose such a course of action.
Academic Planning Committee
On April 16, 2004 the UW-L Academic Planning Committee unanimously endorsed the “Entitlement to Plan” and “Authorization to Implement.” In their unanimous endorsement they mentioned three concerns.
Workload distributions across the four campuses. As was previously stated, UWL’s sole obligation is to teach one course per year. The teaching of all electives and foundation courses is on a volunteer basis. Further, the combination of faculty from all four campuses provides a substantial pool of resources that is available for unexpected teaching shortage situations. For example, this year a faculty retirement with one of the member universities resulted in a call for volunteers to fill an opening. Within a week, a volunteer stepped forward to fill the opening. Additionally, in the event a university should decide to drop out, they are required to give 12 months notice and another university will be sought to participate.
The use of ad hoc staff to replace faculty who teach on line. This concern only arises if there is a student demand substantial enough to add another section of what that faculty member who is teaching in the internet program could have taught at the undergraduate level. The CBA maintains a strong pool of quality teachers to meet uneven demands. These part time people will be used to fill the vacancy. Funds generated from the on-line teaching are sufficient to continue to hire these people on an as needed basis.
How will the integrity of the examination process be maintained? The integrity of the examination process is threatened by the same problems inherent in regular classroom courses. Typically, these involve cheating by a variety of methods including imposters taking exams. Identity issues arise in both regular and distance learning class settings. Face to face you use visual recognition based on what you “recognize” of the person. In on-line you also “recognize” the person by their responses, personal history etc. Two basic strategies to increase academic integrity are honor systems and deterrents.
Learning Innovations, (the consortium’s distance learning support partner) is aware of the need to ensure the integrity of the system. It will be using standard distance learning procedures and instructor developed testing and work assignments to verify identity. Strategies and methods vary with the course and the instructor. But they can include:
- Plagiarism, Honors Codes, Academic Dishonesty Codes
- Use of open book exams only
- Proctors requiring identification of students
- Affidavits of verification
- Group work analysis
- Input from other students indicating peculiarities or possibilities of cheating in others
- Response and behavior pattern analysis and information sorting
- On line collaboration review
- On line testing
- Technical evidence such as servers that record the date, time, student’s identity, and scores.
- Person to person telephone conferences
- Instructor, Knowledge and information regarding students including personal information, ways of responding to on-line discussions, monitoring discussion threads, patterns of responses.