The new five-year Academic Master Plan (AMP) focuses on Union College’s commitment to empower students in achieving their goals by providing access to high quality and affordable higher education to the residents of Union County. The values that guide the operation of the College are student success, excellence, student engagement, collaboration, integrity, stewardship, community engagement, diversity, and globalization. This AMP offers strategic and operational priorities for the Division of Academic Affairs through 2023, while building on current strengths and embracing new opportunities.
This Plan will include the following academic years:
In 2021-2022, if deemed relevant, the Plan will be reviewed for currency and for the inclusion of emerging trends and opportunities. In order to ensure the next Plan is prepared on a timely basis, in 2022-2023, a new Plan will be written so that a current AMP is available for the development of the next Matrix.
Through the leadership of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Division Deans, faculty, and staff, the AMP outlines a bold vision to engage the entire College community and progressively bolster imperative success metrics, including enrollment, learning, retention, and graduation rates through four overarching Core Concepts:
1. Aligning academic efforts with workforce needs –to increase enrollment and preparedness of adult learners.
2. Applying creative and engaging strategies for teaching – to bolster effective teaching and learning outcomes.
3. Using targeted data and predictive analytics – to strengthen institutional and student success outcomes.
4. Developing collaborative partnerships – to advance institutional and student success with high schools, senior colleges, and businesses and industry partners.
The central focus of this AMP is to foster student success through a pursuit of excellence while providing access to the transformative power of education to the Union County community. These four Core Concepts will be in large part accomplished by a number of “Next BIG Things:”
- Acquiring and developing the back of the Thul building at the Plainfield campus so that our automotive program can be moved to Plainfield and also develop a small-engine/ diesel program, further aligning our programs to workforce needs in the community.
- Pursuing mission-differentiation and offering the community college baccalaureate in health science and other high demand programs to provide baccalaureate graduates in needed occupations.
- Exploring a partnership with Linden Airport so that we can develop aviation programs in hi-need areas such as aviation technology maintenance.
- Employing undergraduate research to expand and enhance experiential learning opportunities (ELOs) for students.
- Establishing an Innovation Center that includes information and approaches to teaching that encourage faculty to engage in pedagogical practices that engage students.
- Realizing a “Virtual Campus” whereby at least 20 programs are fully online by 2020 so that online enrollment is substantially increased.
- Executing an OER approach for our programs building on the current efforts to bring American Honors to an OER platform, decreasing costs to the students program and expanding the use of technology in learning.
- Enhancing the relevance of UCC 101 to students and improving completion rates by connecting the course to New Student Orientation, offering it in a 7 week block and strengthening its connection to the each academic division through discipline-based approaches.
- Harnessing the potential of Predictive Analytics to more fully support student success.
- Developing a University Center that would include 4 year partners and a Supply Chain Academy in collaboration with Union County Vocational School at our Scotch Plains Campus, increasing student access to a baccalaureate degree and to industry valued credentials from certificates to degrees.
- Creating a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) framework to improve our enrollment and revenue, particularly with the adult population.
All of these Core Concepts are intimately intertwined with one another to reinforce the goals of the College as it moves forward into the next decade. If faculty and students are engaged in the classroom, students will continue to engage as alumni. If data is obtained and maintained about current and potential procedures and opportunities, students will be better prepared to succeed at Union College, a senior college, and in the workforce. Collaborating with the community will enhance student engagement, workforce opportunities, and a wider population with which to obtain, share, and analyze meaningful data. In other words, everything that the College does can and should function as an ongoing effort among all parties to support its vision, goals, and success.
Borrowing a powerful idea from entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, star of the television show, The Profit, who breaks down any success into three key components: product, process, and people (Ciccarelli, 2015), we commit to continually refining our products (the curricula) and our services for the people that we serve – which include all our stakeholders, including students, alumni, staff, faculty, and our Union County community. In addition, we commit to processes that maintain our fiscal well-being and the development of new initiatives that will keep the College in the forefront of innovative practices and offerings. Finally, we will continue to strive to attract and employ people who support our success priority.