A Report Prepared for an
NCA Focused Visit
November 1998
 
 
The Merger of West Virginia
Graduate College with
Marshall University
 
 
 
Marshall University
Huntington and South Charleston, WV
 
 
 
 
 
Table of Contents



Introduction

The History of Marshall University

The History of the West Virginia Graduate College

Marshall University: Present and Future

Accreditation History

NCA Requirements for Institutional Change

     1. A Concise Statement of the Requested Change
     2. A Rationale for the Requested Change
            A Vision for the 21st Century
            Collaboration Between MU and WVGC
            Coordinate Affiliation
            Impetus for Merger
            The Merger
     3. The Merger is Appropriate to the Institution's Mission and Purposes
     4. Scope of Institutional Programs and Previous NCA Comprehensive Visit
     5. The Planning Process that Led to the Proposed Change
     6. Evidence that the Institution has the Appropriate Internal and
         External Approvals for the Institutional Change
            West Virginia Graduate College Board of Advisors
            External Approvals
                 University System Board of Trustees
                 The West Virginia Legislature
     7. Continued Ability to Meet the NCA General Institutional Requirements
         Continued Ability to Meet the NCA Criteria for Accreditation

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

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

             Criterion Three: The institution is accomplishing its educational and other purposes.
                  Undergraduate Education
                  Information Technology
                  Interactive University
                  Graduate Education
                  School of Business
                  The Graduate School of Education and Professional Development
                  The Graduate School of Information Technology and Engineering
                  Assessment
                  Support Services

             Criterion Four: The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and
                strengthen its educational effectiveness.
                   Capital Improvements, Finances, and Infrastructure
                   Insuring Academic Quality 
                   Planning
                   Challenges

             Criterion Five: The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships.
                 Publications
                 Contracts and Community Relationships
                 Commitment

     8. An analysis of the anticipated effect of the proposed change on the other parts of
           the institution

     9. Evidence that the institution has established the processes to assure that it has the
           capability to initiate and maintain the proposed change and to monitor acceptable
           quality once the change has been implemented.

     10. Evidence that the institution has organized and planned for human, financial,
            physical, and instructional resources to initiate and support the proposed change.
                  Human Resources
                  Financial Resources
                  Physical Resources
                  Instructional Resources
Closure
 

 
The Merger of the West Virginia Graduate College
with Marshall University

Introduction
This report provides a comprehensive analysis of a specific institutional change, namely a merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University. The report represents a request that the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools support this institutional change and that the Marshall University Statement of Affiliation Status be changed to incorporate the affiliation status of the West Virginia Graduate College.

The merger was enacted by the West Virginia Legislature on April 4, 1997 and became effective July 1, 1997. The report chronicles the changes associated with the merger during the 1997/98 academic year in programs and services and, it identifies ongoing and long term changes that need to be considered. The first year of the merger was acknowledged as a first step in a continuing process that is complex. While the accomplishments to date are remarkable, the merging of these two institutions into a single institution is a long term effort.

Contributions to the report came from the Steering Committee, representing a cross-section of both institutions, and from individuals who continue work on merger tasks. Their contributions are complemented by the documentation found in the Resource Room. The final report has been distributed to all administrative and academic offices and copies are available in all of the libraries. It is also posted on the University's Web page, http://www.marshall.edu.

The report follows the guidelines in NCA's Handbook of Accreditation (1997), second edition, chapter twelve dealing with institutional change. Following a short history of Marshall University and West Virginia Graduate College, the report is organized according to the chapter twelve guidelines and provides evidence that with the merger, Marshall University continues to meet the NCA General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for continuing accreditation.
 

The History of Marshall University

Marshall University originated in 1837 as Marshall Academy, named in honor of the late Chief Justice John Marshall. It was formally incorporated in the following year by the Virginia General Assembly and was established in 1867 by the West Virginia Legislature as the State Normal School at Marshall College to train teachers. The growth period for the College occurred from 1896-1915; in 1907 the enrollment exceeded 1000. The College continued to expand throughout the 20th Century and was authorized to form the following divisions over the course of the century:

In 1961 Marshall was granted University status, and in 1992, Marshall was authorized to award the Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. During the 1990's, the University articulated a vision and framed the elements that would define Marshall University for the 21st Century. Marshall would be known for:

        * high quality undergraduate education;
        * technological sophistication unmatched by any other university of its size and type in the nation;
        * status as the prototypical interactive university in America; and
        * sound management of human and financial resources.

Marshall pursued its vision as an interactive university serving West Virginia and the nation on multiple fronts. It is West Virginia's leader in rural health care medical education, and, it is becoming the state's leader in the use of technology for delivering and enhancing educational programs and increasing efficiencies in communication. Located in a tri-state region, Marshall has become a leader in training for business and industry through its affiliations with the Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing and has been able to promote high tech manufacturing for economic development. These areas of emphasis were joined with commitments to environmental issues, to the development of fine arts and the humanities, and to a new commitment to graduate education. The emphasis on graduate education evolved with the addition of the Ph.D. program in the Biomedical Sciences, the continuing development of Master's degrees in many disciplines, and the merger with the West Virginia Graduate College.
 

The History of the West Virginia Graduate College

In 1958, the West Virginia Graduate College began as an extension center of West Virginia University in the Kanawha Valley specifically to offer courses in engineering. The West Virginia Legislature, in July 1972, established the college as a separate entity, and in 1974, the Board of Regents defined the mission of the college and the geographic service area of the College as the 16 counties of central and southern West Virginia. At the time, the geographic area contained 39% of the state's population. With the passage of the legislation establishing the Graduate College, degree programs in business and education were added to the offerings.

In 1975, in addition to other approvals, the Education Specialist Degree in Education was authorized. In 1980, a cooperative doctoral degree program in Educational Administration was authorized involving Marshall University, the West Virginia Graduate College (known then as the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies), and West Virginia University with the latter granting the degree. In 1987, an additional Ed.S. Degree was authorized in Psychology.

The hallmark of the Graduate College has been its mission to deliver graduate programs to geographically dispersed working people who might ordinarily not have the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. In the 26 years prior to the merger, the Graduate College awarded 6,615 graduate degrees. The College went through four name changes with the fourth being decided by the Legislature as the Marshall University Graduate College.

In 1996, Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College entered into a Coordinate Affiliation Agreement to share and mutually support programs, services, and personnel. This was followed, in 1997, with a merging of the two institutions, and WVGC became the Marshall University Graduate College.
 

Marshall University: Present and Future

Today, Marshall University truly is an interactive university, interacting with a variety of stakeholders at multiple levels and through multiple strategies. With the addition of the Graduate College and the sites it has developed over 26 years, principally in central and southern West Virginia and in selected locations in other parts of the state, Marshall University is a forceful and effective provider of quality higher education.

This Self-Study Report elaborates on the historical connections between Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College and the evolution of the Coordinate Affiliation and the merger. Further, the report will demonstrate how these aggressive moves in West Virginia, a state of limited resources, provide the prospect of a more coherent program of graduate education as well as a more efficient and effective delivery of programs and services.

In Fall 1997, following the merger, Marshall's total enrollment was 15,690 and of that number 4,347 were graduate students and of the latter, 21 were enrolled in the Ph.D. program in the Biomedical Sciences. There were 449 faculty--43 who teach solely at the graduate level and 273 certified to teach at the graduate level as part of their work load.
 

Accreditation History

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Marshall University. Many specialized associations, which are listed in the catalog, accredit Marshall programs. Relevant to this Self-Study and the Focused Visit is Marshall's accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the West Virginia Department of Education and the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the West Virginia Graduate College, and NCATE and the West Virginia Department of Education accredited its teacher education programs.

The Self-Study describes the accommodations that were made as a consequence of the merger of both accredited teacher education programs and the accommodations between the WVGC School of Business, which was not accredited, and the Marshall University Lewis College of Business, to satisfy their freshly earned accreditation status with AACSB.
 

NCA Requirements for Institutional Change

The following sections represent a response to the NCA Requirements for Institutional Change as found in Chapter 12 of the NCA Handbook for Accreditation (1997).

1.  A Concise Statement of the Requested Change
The purpose of this institutional change request concerns the merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University. The merger, enacted in the 1997 session of the West Virginia Legislature, became effective on July 1, 1997. The objective of this Self-Study is to demonstrate that Marshall University, with the merged entity now known as the Marshall University Graduate College, continues to meet the NCA General Institutional Requirements (GIR's) and the Criteria for Accreditation. Further, the Self-Study is a request to expand Marshall's Scope of Activities to include the scope of activities of the former West Virginia Graduate College.

2.  A Rationale for the Requested Change
Once an institution is accredited, NCA concerns itself with any institutional change that may alter the institution's status--in this case, the merger between two regionally accredited institutions. Once merged, the West Virginia Graduate College ceased to exist as a separate public institution of higher education. Marshall University, with the acquisition of the Graduate College, increased the number of its programs and course offerings at the graduate level, as well as its capacity to deliver graduate programs to a wider geographic area. As part of the merger, Marshall University is committed to continue the implementation of the mission of the West Virginia Graduate College; i.e., to deliver graduate programs to traditional and non-traditional graduate students and to provide graduate instruction throughout the state (Senate Bill 67). This commitment expands Marshall's Scope of Activities.

There were multiple reasons for this institutional change associated with a record of collaboration and affiliation between the two institutions; a strong interest in increasing efficiencies in programs and services; and a desire to make an economic impact in the region.

Vision for the 21st Century. The rationale for the merger between the West Virginia Graduate College and Marshall University was comprehensively expressed in a paper written by Marshall's president J. Wade Gilley and WVGC's president, Dennis P. Prisk. The paper, "Recasting a University for the 21st Century," focuses on a vision of "consolidation of forces and resources to ensure a more cost effective and higher quality program of graduate and professional education for this region and our state." The foundation for this vision, as discussed in the paper, includes but is not limited to the following:

Collaboration Between MU and WVGC. One of the earliest records of collaboration was in 1980 with the creation of a cooperative program in Educational Administration between the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, Marshall University, and West Virginia University. West Virginia University awards the degrees in this cooperative program which continues to this day. In addition, MU and WVGC have a record of joint faculty appointments with each other and with other institutions. As examples, there was a long standing joint appointment in the Humanities and more recently, joint appointments in the Environmental Science program between MU and WVGC. In 1993, the two institutions established the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences, a significant partnership that offered graduate education in environmental engineering and environmental science to employees of regional companies and agencies with special emphasis on the needs of the employees in the Huntington Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Most relevant to the merger, was the development of a Coordinate Affiliation Agreement between MU and WVGC approved by the University System Board of Trustees in 1996 and affirmed in law by the West Virginia Legislature in its 1996 session.

Coordinate Affiliation. The Coordinate Affiliation documents the legacy of cooperation between the two institutions and their intentions to intensify cooperative activities in sharing library resources and a telephone registration system; to establish a joint T-1 interactive video link for instruction; to develop cooperative master's degrees; and to explore the options in shared facilities including the possibility of a jointly sponsored research park. These cooperative ventures were responses to a University System Board of Trustees position on cooperation and partnering as a way to increase access to higher education and to initiate entrepreneurial activity that would further higher education within the state. Moreover, the 1995 landmark legislation, Senate Bill 547, stimulated institutional sharing and collaboration in higher education that would increase efficiency and reduce duplication in programs and services.

Impetus for Merger. Possibilities of merger were not new to WVGC. As early as 1976, when the Graduate College was only four years old, then Governor John D. Rockefeller, III threatened to cut the school's budget and merge it with one of the state's universities. The attempt was unsuccessful, but the WVGC president at the time predicted that the threat of merger would continue for it was apparent that declining resources in the state and increasing pressure for efficiency in higher education would not dissipate. For the next fifteen years, WVGC maintained an assertive posture regarding its independence. The merger atmosphere gathered strength in 1990 when the University System Board of Trustees sought an expression of Governor Caperton's goal for higher education to innovate and create service of higher quality at the same expenditure level. This positioning is reflected in a letter from the President of the Board of Trustees to the Chair of the Board of Advisors of WVGC (at the time called the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies). The Trustees expressed an interest in the merger of WVGC with Marshall University as a way to make the University System more effective. Although discussions followed, the merger did not materialize.

The Merger. Finally, in 1996, WVGC assessed the opportunity of controlling its destiny. With the need for increased efficiency and with partnering and reduction in duplicated programs becoming a solution to making the most of limited resources, WVGC entered into a dialogue with Marshall examining a long term and more permanent relationship by merging the two institutions.

3.  The Merger Is Appropriate to the Institution's Mission and Purposes
Marshall is a regional university, with the main campus located in Huntington, West Virginia, just across the Ohio River from Ohio, and thirteen miles from the Kentucky border. MU has worked over the years to strengthen opportunity and access to higher education for students in southern West Virginia. Recently, the university has worked aggressively alongside the West Virginia Graduate College to develop Advantage Valley, the geographic corridor from Huntington to Charleston electronically linking businesses, industries, and schools for the purposes of economic development. Additionally, the MU mission and the Areas of Current Emphasis articulate a commitment to graduate education as well as to "economic development through programs in education, ..., business, ... and engineering." For the West Virginia Graduate College, collaboration and partnering have been part of the College's efforts over the years to expand resources and programs to make them available to students. The cooperative doctoral program in Educational Administration in 1980 created an opportunity for school personnel in southern West Virginia that would otherwise not have been available. The joint Master's degrees, first with the West Virginia Institute of Technology in Control Systems Engineering, and second with Marshall University in Technology Management, illustrate the programmatic efforts to create greater access. In each case, WVGC's role was to offer the degree programs in multiple locations creating access for professional working students. Another example of WVGC's leadership is the Advantage Valley initiative.

A partnership with Marshall University offered WVGC the opportunity to fulfill its purposes. Partnership, collaboration, affiliation, and then merger created access to resources that WVGC did not have and would not likely be able to acquire, particularly in advanced information technology and its application to distance education. Prior to the Coordinate Affiliation, WVGC was a small college with a lean, flat administrative structure, a small full-time faculty, with no ownership of facilities and no auxiliary enterprises. The institution rented space at another campus for its library and rented classroom space around the state to meet its instructional needs. The WVGC mission involved a commitment to using alternative forms of program delivery in order to reach geographically dispersed students. A partnership with Marshall University offered technology and library support in the areas of training, professional development, and services to students. The formidable cost of licenses for library and student information databases could be resolved through affiliation and merger. A broadening of the pool of faculty within disciplines creating a larger community of scholars could be created through partnership, affiliation and ultimately, merger.

In summary, the missions and statements of purposes for both institutions are concerned with graduate education. The merger became an enabling action to increase the graduate opportunities for students and to provide coherent graduate programs to a geographically dispersed, non-traditional, working student body compatible with the Marshall University regional university with a statewide mission. Lastly, the merger is a creative solution to resource sharing between two institutions that will increase efficiencies at a time when higher education in West Virginia is confronted with limited resources.

4. Scope of Institutional Programs and the Previous NCA Comprehensive Visit
The Marshall University NCA Statement of Affiliation Status (SAS) needs to be updated. Currently, it does not reflect the merging of offerings (number and location flexibility) found in the WVGC SAS. During 1997/98, the first year of the merger, the deans and faculty from the schools of business, education, and engineering at both institutions met in committee to analyze the programmatic changes that were necessary to merge duplicated programs into singular offerings. As well, the differences in admissions standards were addressed where they existed, course requirements in some programs were reconfigured, courses were renumbered, and a new graduate catalog was created.

As part of this Focused Visit, Marshall University requests that the NCA Statement of Affiliation Status be revised to include the Affiliation Status from WVGC's statement.

The justification for the revision in the SAS begins first with the merging of programs and services of two NCA accredited institutions. The proposed revision in the SAS does not add anything beyond the SAS of the merged institution. Revision enables Marshall University to fulfill its obligation to implement the mission of the Graduate College. The mission and statement of purposes of Marshall University, as well as the mission of the Marshall University Graduate College, are the driving force for the programs and services that are offered. The evidence that Marshall has organized its resources to support the programs and services in the SAS is discussed below in numbers seven and ten.
 
The revision in the new SAS should read as follows:

Current Marshall University SAS wording: Former West Virginia Graduate College SAS wording: 5. The Planning Process That Led to the Proposed Change
The current institutional change began with the passage in 1995 of Senate Bill 547, which cast into law a new vision for higher education in West Virginia. That vision outlined competitive salary goals for faculty and classified staff to be achieved by 2000-2001; an expectation that duplicated programs and services would be reduced; a belief that technology, through a statewide infrastructure, would significantly alter the delivery of instruction and methods of communication; and that the financing of higher education would become more efficient.

In late 1995, Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College, with a history of joint ventures and cooperation, began planning for a coordinate affiliation that would "facilitate sharing facilities, develop integrated information technology systems, operate joint programs where efficient and practicable, develop joint electronic administrative and library systems, and engage in joint appointment of faculty and administrators as feasible and where cost effective." The preparation for this resolution, signed by the University System Board of Trustees Chancellor and the presidents of the two institutions on January 12, 1996, is found in the Report to the Board of Trustees. This report, by the two presidents, details the record of cooperation and affiliation between the two institutions. Listed below is a summary of their joint ventures:

The Coordinate Affiliation, approved by the Board of Trustees on March 1, 1996, became part of the new higher education legislation, Senate Bill 591 and became effective July 1, 1996. This bill also codified the merger between the West Virginia Institute of Technology with West Virginia University.

The destiny of the two institutions, MU and WVGC, was shaped by the Coordinate Affiliation. There followed discussions about a new vision for the two institutions. This vision, conceptualized as a consolidation or a merging of the two institutions, "was driven by demands for a more coherent program of graduate education that will meet the needs of the people of the region." The region was defined as the Huntington-Charleston corridor as well as the southern and central regions of West Virginia. The strategies of consolidating or merging services and programs had already demonstrated that the benefits from consolidation would be "improved opportunities for students, financial savings, organizational efficiencies, programmatic efficiencies, and stronger and more unified efforts for economic development." Early planning for consolidation in the form of the Coordinate Affiliation was assigned to a Blue Ribbon Task Force composed of community and civic leaders, and members of the Marshall and WVGC administration and faculty. A major undertaking of the Task Force was to engage the MU Office of Research and Economic Development to assess industry and business needs and perspectives for graduate education. The process was a study involving focus groups in different parts of the state and a broad based survey mailed to 1250 contacts representing the region's primary economic and employment base. The report of the assessment summarized responses to questions about gaps in graduate education, the structuring and accessibility of graduate offerings, opportunities for partnerships with business and industry, delivery mechanisms, and deterrents to graduate education. The work of the Task Force affirmed the need for a more coherent program of graduate offerings in the state and provided information for the on-going planning activities.

The final plan for merger is summarized in Senate Bill 67, legislation that restructured the West Virginia Graduate College as Marshall University Graduate College. This bill specifies that:

The passage of Senate Bill 67 was preceded on the two campuses by discussions with constituent groups accompanied by public discussion in newspaper and advisory editorials and articles. Reviews with the faculty and classified staff councils are contained in section six concerned with internal and external approvals.

6. Evidence that the Institution has Appropriate Internal and External Approvals for the Institutional Change.
Internal approvals involved reviews by faculty, staff, and boards of advisors from the two institutions. External approvals involved the University System of West Virginia Board of Trustees and ultimately, the West Virginia State Legislature.

The Faculty Senate on the Marshall campus dealt with the proposed merger at four of its monthly meetings as regular agenda items. In January and February 1997, faculty from the Graduate College were in attendance and in February, the WVGC Faculty Council president requested and received approval from the Marshall Faculty Senate for a Proposed Action Plan for the two institutions as part of the merger process. The Senate approved the Proposed Action Plan. Faculty at WVGC were invited to the assembly meeting in January 1997 when the WVGC president presented the proposal to consolidate. The outcome of this meeting was the Proposed Action Plan mentioned above.

Faculties shared concerns about the structuring of the merged graduate college, about equity in salaries, promotion and tenure policies, and about governance. Faculty at WVGC expressed particular concern about preserving the mission of the Graduate College to serve geographically dispersed, non-traditional, professional working students as well as governance and policies related to curriculum. In March, 1997, the presidents from Marshall and WVGC gave a charge to an ad hoc committee of faculty from both institutions to identify academic issues that were associated with the proposed merger. The issues identified were:

These issues, as well as the recommendation for a transition period, were discussed further by faculty and forwarded to the presidents.

The Marshall University Classified Staff Council met on February 20, 1997 with the Marshall University President and the director of Human Resources. Questions posed in the discussion centered on salary equity, funding the salary schedule, job security, and consolidation of services. No specific action was taken.

The WVGC Classified Staff prepared a list of concerns for their Board of Trustees Advisory Council Representative. The concerns included many of the same topics: job security, the role of seniority in layoffs and relocations, preservation of the mission, and whether a separate council would be maintained on the Graduate College campus. The WVGC staff raised concerns about the Graduate College in general. No action was taken other than to forward the concerns to their representative.

West Virginia Graduate College Board of Advisors. The WVGC Board of Advisors was composed of individuals committed to the mission of serving non-traditional students who worked full-time and who needed alternative delivery systems of graduate education. The Board members had been instrumental in creating the Graduate College more than 25 years ago and took a very active interest in any major decisions that affected the college.

At their meeting on January 7, 1997, the Board took action to support consolidation of the Graduate College with Marshall. They believed that the combination of Marshall University/ West Virginia Graduate College would provide significant leadership in graduate education in West Virginia. Their overriding concern was to preserve the mission of the college.

On January 14, the Board passed a resolution related to their earlier action of support. The resolution was sent to the Chancellor of the Board of Trustees and contained three items:

In the eventual merger implementation, all three of these items have occurred with some variation. There is a separate appropriation for the Graduate College which will continue until FY2000-2001. WVGC promotion and tenure policies continued in effect during the first year of the merger. Beginning with the 1998/99 academic year, Marshall University policies go into effect and apply to all faculty. A Graduate Council has been set up and has established policies and procedures governing graduate programs. On May 16, 1997, a follow-up meeting was held in which the President reported on the outcome of the legislative proceedings and on his initial plans for implementation.
 
External Approvals
University System Board of Trustees. On January 24, 1997, Marshall University's President Gilley and West Virginia Graduate College's President Prisk made a formal presentation to the Board outlining how a merger of the two institutions would significantly improve academic services for the people of West Virginia. At that meeting, the Board approved the concept of the merger and appointed a committee to formulate language that could be used in the development of legislation.

On February 3, 1997, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved language that was recommended by the committee for a proposed senate bill. The Board of Trustees recommended that:

In other action, the Board approved a set of Principles for the Implementation of the Merger.

The West Virginia Legislature. On April 4, 1997, the West Virginia Senate passed Senate Bill 67, known as the merger legislation. This bill took effect on July 1, 1997 and its provisions included but were not limited to:

The implementation plan for the merger addressed many of the issues raised by the constituent groups and is described in further detail in Marshall's continuing ability to meet the General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation.

Continued Ability to Meet the NCA General Institutional Requirements
The merger between Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College, a consolidation between two public institutions of higher education in the state of West Virginia, occurred within the governance structure of the same statutory public corporation, the University System of West Virginia. Consequently, not only were both institutions subject to the same system wide policies, but the University System Board of Trustees evaluated the merit of the plan and ultimately authorized the merger. Additionally, the West Virginia Legislature, in recognizing that the West Virginia Graduate College would cease to exist as a separate entity, codified certain stipulations for the merger. These conditions, found in Senate Bill 67, addressed a commitment to the mission of the Graduate College and codified safeguards for faculty and staff. Further, prior to the merger, both institutions were accredited by the North Central Association and met the NCA General Institutional Requirements and Criteria for Accreditation. This section of the Self-Study affirms that the new Marshall University with a merged Marshall University Graduate College continues to meet the General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation. Particular information relevant to the merger is reported for GIR's 5, 10, 11,12, 19, and 20.

1. It has a mission statement, formally adopted by the governing board and made public, declaring that it is an institution of higher education. The mission of Marshall University, as formally adopted and approved by the Board of Trustees, appears in the catalog and appropriate publications.

2. It is a degree granting institution. Marshall University grants associate, baccalaureate, master's, educational specialist, doctoral and a first-professional level degree in medicine. The first four-year college degree was granted in 1921. Degrees awarded for 1995-1998 appear in NCA Basic Institutional Data Form F.

3. It has legal authorization to grant its degrees, and it meets all the legal requirements to operate as an institution of higher education wherever it conducts its activities.  Marshall University is authorized to grant degrees by the University System of West Virginia Board of Trustees, a statutory public corporation governing higher education institutions in West Virginia.

4.  It has legal documents to confirm its status.  The institution has legal documents (available in the Resource Room) to confirm its status as a public institution.

5. It has a governing board that possesses and exercises necessary legal power to establish and review basic policies that govern the institution.  The Board of Trustees of the University System of West Virginia is the governing board for Marshall University with the legal power to establish and review basic policies that govern the institution. (See GIR #3) The minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings which document Board approval of the merger are available in the Resource Room.

6. Its governing board includes public members and is sufficiently autonomous from the administration and ownership to assure the integrity of the institution.  The Board of Trustees of the University System of West Virginia has twelve public members who are appointed for a term of six years. Each member may be reappointed for one additional term. The Governor makes appointments with the advice and consent of the West Virginia Senate. No more than six may belong to the same political party and none may have any affiliation with any state institution of higher education. Ex-officio members with full voting rights are the chairs of the Advisory Council of Students, the Advisory Council of Faculty, and the Advisory Council of Classified Staff.

7. It has an executive officer designated by the governing board to provide administrative leadership for the institution. President J. Wade Gilley, appointed August 1, 1991 by the Board of Trustees, is the executive officer.
 
8. Its governing board authorizes the institution's affiliation with the Commission. The Board of Trustees authorizes affiliation with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It receives reports of accreditation visits and NCA Commission decisions. Marshall University has been continuously accredited by NCA since 1928 and the West Virginia Graduate College was continuously accredited since 1972.

9.  It employs a faculty that has earned from accredited institutions the degrees appropriate to the level of instruction offered by the institution.  The faculty has degrees appropriate to the level of instruction offered by the institution. This report is found in NCA Basic Institutional Data Form C as well as in the Faculty Handbook, the catalogs, the Marshall University Bluebook, and the West Virginia Graduate College Fact Book. All documents can be found in the Resource Room.

10. A sufficient number of faculty are full-time employees of the institution.  According to the Office of Institutional Research, in Fall 1997, the number of full-time faculty was 415 and 45 were Marshall University Graduate College faculty. There is at least one full time faculty assigned to each program. Verification may be found in the current census report available from Institutional Research, in the MU Bluebook and the MUGC Fact Book, as well as on NCA Basic Institutional Data Form C.
 
11. Its faculty has a significant role in developing and evaluating all of the institution's educational programs.  Adding, deleting, or revising educational programs follows the decision making process that begins at the department/program level, through faculty committees in the colleges and in the Faculty Senate, and lastly through the Faculty Senate itself. The Graduate Council reviews graduate course and program changes. Details concerning the faculty's role in developing and evaluating educational programs can be found in the Greenbook and actions taken are recorded in the minutes of the Faculty Senate and the Graduate Council. Copies of the minutes are available in the Resource Room.

All programs are on a five-year program review cycle following procedures specified by the University System of West Virginia. All programs that are accredited submit copies of their most recent accreditation review. Program Reviews are evaluated by the College Curriculum Committee, the dean, the Graduate Council, and the Academic Planning Committee of the Faculty Senate. Revisions are made as needed following each juncture in the cycle until the final submission through the Vice President of Academic Affairs to the President who then submits the Program Review to the University System Office. The Office of Program Review and Assessment coordinates the process.

Faculty also play a pivotal role in the assessment of student academic achievement, having designed the assessment tools and timelines in general education and in the majors. A fuller discussion of assessment at Marshall University appears under Criterion Four.

12. It confers degrees.  The first degree awarded from Marshall University as an institution of higher education was in 1921. At its commencement ceremonies in May, 1998, Marshall awarded 237 associate degrees, 1168 baccalaureate degrees, 886 master's degrees, 11 Ed.S. degrees, 4 Ph.D. degrees, and 49 M.D. degrees. Students who may have started their master's degree programs prior to the effective date of the merger, July 1, 1997, became Marshall University students and were awarded their degrees as Marshall graduates. Additionally, six students earned their Ed.D. Degrees in the cooperative program with West Virginia University. WVU awarded the degree.
 
13. It has degree programs in operation, with students enrolled in them.  Marshall has degree programs with students enrolled in them, which are reported in the Marshall University Bluebook and the Marshall University Graduate College Factbook.
 
14. Its degree programs are compatible with the institution's mission and are based on recognized fields of study at the higher education level.  Degree programs pass through a campus approval process and then are approved after review by the University System of West Virginia Board of Trustees. Degree programs must be compatible with the institution's mission. Further, degree programs are defined by the Classification of Institutional Programs (CIP codes) used by the U. S. Department of Education. The catalog lists, as well, the specialized accreditation of many of the degree programs.
 
15. Its degrees are appropriately named, following practices common to institutions of higher education in terms of both length and content of the programs.  The programs at Marshall University, at all levels, follow traditional practices in naming, content and length of time requirement for completion. An appropriate number of hours is required for each degree with the minimum being 128 semester hours for a bachelor's degree, 65 for an associate degree, 32 for a master's degree, and the completion of the program of study at the doctoral and first-professional levels in medicine. Each program is described in the appropriate catalog. Specific requirements for each program are listed in the catalogs, which may be found in the Resource Room.
 
16. Its undergraduate degree programs include a coherent general education program consistent with the institution's mission and designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and to promote intellectual inquiry.  A new General Education Philosophy was adopted in 1991 and is found on page 6 of the current undergraduate catalog. The explication of the General Education Program, known as the Marshall Plan, is found on page 43. The Marshall Plan establishes the minimum competencies and processes for the General Education program, and each College determines the specific courses that form the foundation for their respective degree programs.
 
17. It has admission policies and practices that are consistent with institution's mission and appropriate to its educational programs.  The Board of Trustees has adopted a minimum set of requirements for admission to a four-year program of study in an institution of higher education in West Virginia. In addition to a set of course requirements, a high school diploma is required with a GPA of 2.0 or a composite score of 17 on the ACT. Certain programs have selective admission requirements higher than the general criteria for admission to the university. The Community and Technical College has an open admissions policy for anyone holding a high school diploma or who has met the GED requirements.
 
Admission to the Graduate College is based upon a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, a minimum grade point average, the scores of required examinations and completion of the information provided on the "Application for Graduate Admission" form. These are minimum requirements. The required GPA and test scores vary according to program and may be associated with specialized accreditation requirements.
 
Admission to the School of Medicine is a selective process based upon the undergraduate GPA, the major program completed, the scores on the MCAT, the results of an interview, and appropriate recommendations.
 
Admission to the doctoral degree program, in addition to the general requirements of the Graduate College, requires the completion of 32 semester hours towards the Master of Science Degree in Biomedical Science or its equivalent.
 
The admissions criteria are contained in the appropriate undergraduate or graduate catalog.
 
18. It provides students access to those learning resources and support services requisite for its degree programs.  Student support services include, but are not limited to, counseling, placement and advising services; recreational sports and fitness activities; tutorial and skills development services including a disabled students services program; a writing center and a student legal aid center. Descriptions of these services and how students may access them are found in special bulletins and brochures with brief references in the catalog.
 
Technology learning resources are described to students during orientation. Students have experience with computer technology and the electronic library resources during Freshman Seminar 101. Courses that integrate technology have their own orientation. Technology resources are further described under Criterion Two.
 
19. It has an external financial audit by a certified public accountant or a public audit agency at least every two years.  External audits are conducted annually. The most recent external audits for Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College may be found in the Resource Room.
 
20. Its financial documents demonstrate the appropriate allocation and use of resources to support its educational programs.  The Strategic Planning Update documents for 1997 and 1998 demonstrate the manner in which the institution supports its educational programs. These documents offer, as well, multi-year comparative financial statements and balanced budgets.
 
In 1997, the University System Board of Trustees established a format for the Strategic Planning Update. This format contains proposed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year and, fiscal projections to FY 2001. Balanced budget projections are required. There is a full description about how resources are used to start programs; how faculty development and specific student needs are supported; and a full description of technology improvements. The Update also reports on program closings and changes in personnel. The University sends its official submission of the Strategic Planning Update on November 1 of each year. The Updates for 1997 and 1998 may be found in the Resource Room.
 
21. Its financial practices, records, and reports demonstrate fiscal viability. The external audits, found in the Resource Room, attest to sound financial practices including appropriate financial record keeping. Fiscal viability is affirmed by balanced budgets, a record of successful capital campaigns, most recently for the new John Deaver Drinko library, a growing endowment, an increase in grant activity, and a stable level of state appropriations.
 
22. Its catalog or other official documents include its mission statement along with accurate descriptions of:

The catalogs are the primary sources of information for students. However, each semester's Schedule of Classes, the Student Handbook, the Advising Handbook, financial aid brochures, college and departmental publications, and the Bulletin for Prospective Students all include information helpful to students. There are also campus brochures and other publications which inform students of opportunities, responsibilities, and rights associated with their academic, social, recreational, health, safety, and financial needs. Samples of these documents may be found in the Resource Room.
 
23. It accurately discloses its standing with accrediting bodies with which it is affiliated.  The catalogs provide the listing of programs that have specialized accreditation and the names of the specialized accrediting associations. They also document the University's regional accreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

24. It makes available upon request information that accurately describes its financial condition.  Marshall University is a tax supported, public institution that functions as part of the University System of West Virginia. In addition to the external audits and strategic planning documents that describe the institution's financial condition, Marshall also publishes an annual report to the University System Board of Trustees as well as occasional reports to West Virginia legislative committees. The Marshall University Foundation produces an Annual Report. All of the reports described above are public reports available upon request. Copies are available in the library and in the major offices of the university. Tuition and fees are published in the catalog.
 
Summary. As demonstrated above, Marshall University, with the merger of the West Virginia Graduate College, continues to meet the North Central General Institutional Requirements. The institution's authority, mission, degree programs, faculty, financial practices, and financial viability meet not only the letter but the spirit of the GIR's as well.
 

Continued Ability to Meet the NCA Criteria for Accreditation

Each of the five NCA Criteria for Accreditation will be reviewed briefly with references to the patterns of evidence that demonstrate that Marshall University continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation.
 
Criterion One. The Institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.

In evaluating Criterion One as it relates to the merger, the pattern of evidence above demonstrates that Marshall University continues to meet Criterion One. Where appropriate, new structures were developed such as the Graduate Council. In most instances, it was possible to use existing practices and expand them to apply to the Graduate College as with the Faculty Senate representation or, reciprocally, to use a faculty/course evaluation practice in the Graduate College and in all graduate courses. The MU Assessment Plan now applies to all programs including the merged programs. There is a merged strategic planning process and reporting procedure.
 

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

The merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University became an opportunity for the institution to restructure programs and services. Rather than simply merging and maintaining every policy and procedure from both institutions, committees that were charged with addressing the impact of the merger, examined policy and procedural areas that could be reshaped, deleted, or created. The first major institutional changes that occurred as a consequence of the merger were in the organization of the human, financial, and physical resources necessary to accomplish the institution's purposes. These changes and the planning that led to the changes are described in this section and are contained in the following reports:

The patterns of evidence in the preceding section make evident that Marshall University has taken a systematic approach for organizing adequate human, financial, physical, and instructional resources to implement the merger and continues to meet Criterion Two. The University was guided by the requirements in Senate Bill 67, by the University System Board of Trustees Principles Concerning the Merger, and by a tradition of good practice that has been the standard of Marshall University. A copy of Interim Executive Policy #12 and other documents referred to in this section are available in the Resource Room.

Summary. Marshall University meets Criterion Two. The responses to GIR 3, 5, 10, 11, 14, 15 and Criterion Two give evidence that Marshall University has structures in place to enable the university to accomplish its purposes.

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

Marshall University established its educational focus in the early part of this decade as preparation for the 21st Century. Marshall's goal is to achieve a unique identity characterized by:

Undergraduate Education. The Marshall University Plan for Quality Undergraduate Education defined the general educational requirements that every entering degree seeking student, beginning in Fall 1995, would have to complete. These requirements are listed in the 1995-1997 catalog on page 66. Academic majors are scrutinized through an Assessment and Program Review Process.

Information Technology. The University continues to make a major investment in Information Technology and estimates that by 2001, its investment in technology will exceed $80 million dollars. This investment includes computers and a technology infrastructure which includes software for the new Drinko Library and the Graduate College Library, rural-health-based medical programs, and student-centered programs. For the latter, the investment in the professional development of faculty prepares them to use technology as a delivery mode for instruction or for integrating technology in the classroom. Technology services for students are available in the training programs, computer labs, learning via technology, and technology driven information resources.

Interactive University. Marshall University is known as the "Interactive University" partly because of its telecommunications and technology systems and partly because of its interaction with the statewide and regional community. Marshall founded Advantage Valley for the purposes of economic development. Advantage Valley is the business and industrial corridor in the Charleston-Putnam-Huntington and Ashland region established to stimulate and support economic development. The Center for Business and Economic Research and the Marshall University Research Corporation are actively engaged in economic development activities.

Graduate Education. The merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University was proposed as an opportunity to provide coherent, high quality, graduate programs to the people of West Virginia with special emphasis on delivery in the southern part of the state.

At the time of the merger, the Graduate College was composed of three schools: the School of Business, the School of Education and Professional Studies which was NCATE accredited, and the School of Engineering and Science. This structure continued with the merger, incorporating merged programs and name changes. A dean headed each school and the total number of full-time faculty and the number of part-time faculty, which varies slightly each semester, is sufficient to support the degree programs offered.

The academic structure at Marshall University follows a traditional pattern of disciplines housed in departments, with undergraduate and, in many cases, graduate programs. Academic disciplines are grouped appropriately into colleges or schools, each headed by a dean. An academic vice president, assisted by an associate vice president, provides leadership for the academic programs. Once appointed to the general faculty, a faculty member could apply to the Graduate School for associate of full graduate status to teach at the graduate level. Once certified, a faculty could have broad responsibilities at the graduate as well as the undergraduate levels.

Interim Executive Policy Bulletin #12 laid out an operating plan that would initiate the merger of academic programs and policies, which, in turn would affect graduate faculty. Academic reorganization proceeded as outlined in IEP #12:

The full text of Interim Executive Policy #12 may be found in the Resource Room.

In June, 1998, the President reported that all of the above had been accomplished. Further, in 1997/98, with the reorganization of many academic and administrative units and the merging of graduate programs, Marshall University Graduate College was designated as the center for all off-campus graduate education for the university. In the course of the 1997/98 academic year the following specific organizational changes took place.

School of Business. At the time of the merger, the Marshall University School of Business was in the midst of an AACSB accreditation process. WVGC graduate programs were not accredited. The accreditation visit to the Marshall campus took place and the recommendation was made for accreditation for a period of ten years under certain conditions including, but not limited to the following:

The AACSB Peer Review Team Report is available in the Resource Room. Another visit by the monitoring team occurred in October 1997 to discuss progress in merging curriculum and in addressing scholarship requirements among graduate faculty. In January, 1998 the first annual report of the Lewis College of Business was submitted to AACSB. The annual report gives a detailed presentation of the progress made on merger issues: mission revision, merging curriculum; the size, composition, deployment, qualifications and development activities and intellectual contributions of faculty; and, progress on the issues raised by the Peer Review Team.

Uniform admission standards were instituted; cooperative programs with other institutions were renegotiated incorporating changes; a graduate committee for business programs was established with three faculty from each location; and, the President set aside $50,000 for faculty in South Charleston to use to elevate their research and scholarship status. Curriculum committees were established within disciplines to work on the merger of programs as well as common core elements for graduate programs. The revised graduate programs in Business appear in the revised graduate catalog.

The continuing merger challenges for the School of Business are in enrollment and retention; faculty scholarship and development; and, in making substantive progress in the AACSB requirements.

The Graduate School of Education and Professional Development. Both the MU School of Education and the WVGC School of Education have been NCATE accredited for a long period of time. The most recent visit to WVGC was in October 1996 and the MU visit occurred during the first year of the merger in November 1997. NCATE agreed to evaluate only the MU Huntington programs during the 1997 visit with the understanding that subsequent annual reports would document the progress made in merging programs and faculty. The next NCATE accreditation visit would consider the Teacher Education programs as merged and evaluate them accordingly.

The structure of the new College of Education and Human Services appears in the revised catalog and it includes the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development. The College is headed by an executive dean who is assisted by a dean located in South Charleston who administers the graduate programs in education and professional development. During 1997/98, faculty worked in committee, usually along discipline lines, and merged programs and renumbered all courses. Admission requirements as well as other program requirements were revised for consistency within programs. The programmatic responsibilities for the Psychology and Humanities programs were moved to the College of Liberal Arts; the Educational Leadership program was moved from Huntington to the Leadership Studies program in South Charleston.

The Graduate School of Education and Professional Development is the largest unit affected by the merger. It has most of the faculty from the former Graduate College and the largest number of courses offered to students who are dispersed geographically. Some faculty are located off-site in Beckley and Bluefield.

The operational challenges from the merger for the College of Education and Human Services in 1998/99 include, but are not limited to, restructuring the college standing committees, developing a clearly defined graduate unit, developing a graduate plan for the unit, evaluating dual courses, i.e., undergraduate/graduate, and reexamining relationships with external agencies such as the West Virginia State Department of Education and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The Graduate School of Information Technology and Engineering. The new school, GSITE, is a merger of the MU Technology Management Program with the WVGC School of Engineering and Science. The Technology Management Program was a degree program offered jointly by Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College. The new school continues the Engineering, Environmental Science, and Information Systems programs. The newly written strategic plan for GSITE outlines the short term goals associated with student issues such as admission requirements, advisement and student records. As well, it addresses programmatic issues such as course evaluations by students, employers, and faculty. There are goals for faculty recruitment, retention and development and efforts to involve faculty in funded research and service projects. Further, faculty will assess graduate degree curricula and examine ways to create core components for programs. On the short-term timetable, faculty will develop an action plan that will lead to ABET accreditation of the Master of Science in Engineering program. The full plan, available in the Resource in Room, outlines multi-year plans that include affiliate agreements with other centers and institutes. There is a target for increasing research productivity among faculty.

The merger challenges for GSITE are associated with student recruitment and retention. The specialized nature of the GSITE programs demands a focused market analysis by program need and geographic location. Work has already begun on revising the Information Systems program consistent with market needs, particularly in West Virginia.

Assessment. Assessment of Student Academic Achievement at Marshall University consists of four areas: undergraduate entry level assessment, general education assessment, undergraduate program level assessment, and graduate level assessment. The MU Assessment Plan was approved by NCA in 1995. The merger challenges graduate level programs to examine procedures and timelines and to make appropriate revisions to accommodate the newly merged programs. Each program submits an annual report to the Program Review and Assessment Office that reflects changes in assessment. The annual report contains a description of goals, learning outcomes, data collection instruments and timelines, and a statement of how the data are used to improve curriculum and student achievement.

In the first year of the merger, 1997/98, faculty in graduate programs were involved with the operational aspects of merging the academic programs: merging and resetting courses, renumbering courses, and working on the program changes for a new catalog. Appropriate revision of the assessment plans for graduate programs is scheduled in 1998/99.

The effect of the merger on all of the graduate programs has been to heighten the emphasis on faculty scholarship and creative activity. There is an expectation that, as a minimum, faculty will engage in applied research as a way to involve students and to enhance instruction and learning.

Support Services. The following functions have been integrated: human resources; business affairs and payroll; computing services including student information and personnel databases, libraries and other information technology activities; extended education and distance learning technology; institutional research and planning; and, graduate school administration. Financial management is centered on the main campus with some local administrative functions located in South Charleston such as security and maintenance.

Summary. These support services coupled with other essential academic indicators indicate that Marshall is accomplishing its educational and other purposes. Marshall University continues to meet Criterion Three.
 

Criterion Four. The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness.

Capital Improvements, Finances, and Infrastructure. In his January, 1998 Report to the University System Board of Trustees, President J. Wade Gilley recapitulated Marshall's progress since 1991/92 and demonstrated that Marshall has a solid financial base and academic programs of high quality and is sought after by college students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Marshall's capital investments and capital improvements have strengthened the institution for the future. Marshall's developments in the 1990's critically poise the University for the 21st Century and according to the President, "Marshall's only limitations are our imaginations and our unity of purpose."

The document, "Marshall: Then, Now and Future" describes the University's challenges in the last seven years and are reported within the context of Marshall's mission and specific goals at that time:

1. to establish financial stability;
2. to improve faculty and staff salaries; and
3. to construct a new library.

Accomplishments in meeting those challenges include the completion of a $29 million drive for the Drinko Library, a state-of-the-art technology facility, scheduled to open in October, 1998. Faculty salaries continue to improve and move toward the 2000-2001 market target.

Strong financial management is evident. The University has projected balanced budgets through FY 2001. In addition, it has received unqualified external audits and enjoys a AAA bond rating which enables the University to engage in capital campaigns and campus improvements.

On January 12, 1998, when the West Virginia Legislature reconvened for its 1998 session, President Gilley reported to the Governor and the Legislature the accomplishments of the merger. In addition to noting the progress in academic and administrative reorganization, the President reported on the specific promise that the merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University would result in cost savings. The report lists the following actual cost savings in FY 1998:

In addition there were savings in FY 1998 associated with cost avoidance: The President noted the savings were redeployed to satisfy the salary goals of SB 547 and to invest in new technology systems, both of which affect the quality and administration of academic programs. Further, the merger had expanded access to graduate education and greater opportunity for the people of West Virginia. The projection of actual cost savings and cost avoidance in the period FY 1998-2001 is estimated to be $2,410,685.

Marshall has made a major investment in technology making it one of the most technologically sophisticated universities of its size and type. Between 1992 and 2001, an $80 million investment will have funded a new library and information center, a fiber optic campus network, ATM voice, data and video systems connecting both major campuses, touchtone telephone registration, a distance learning classroom network, as well as other advanced technologies.

Evidence of Marshall's emphasis on academic quality is found in The Marshall Plan for Quality Undergraduate Education which restructured the General Education Program. The merger with the West Virginia Graduate College, a well established institution serving the graduate needs of working professionals, enables Marshall to join graduate programs into a coherent framework of graduate education that serves West Virginians throughout southern West Virginia and in the Advantage Valley corridor between South Charleston and Huntington-Ashland.

One significant by-product of Marshall's accomplishments is an increase in enrollment. NCA Basic Institutional Data Form A reflects increases in undergraduate enrollment in each of the last three years. Graduate enrollment on the Huntington campus varied over the last three years, and enrollment on the South Charleston campus, for the same period, gradually declined. The complete report, Marshall: Then, Now and Future, is available in the Resource Room.

Insuring Academic Quality. Marshall has an integrated Program Review and Assessment Plan which positions the institution to evaluate the currency and effectiveness of the academic programs. The plan stipulates that the general education and academic programs prepare assessment plans and timetables for the collection of data. Further, the plans describe the manner in which data are collected and used. One of the data applications is in the program review process, a procedure established by the Board of Trustees to review all academic programs at least once every five years. This five year cycle has been projected until 2005. Program review consists of three levels of activity: an annual audit program review by the Board of Trustees, and this information becomes part of the five year review providing longitudinal information. The five year evaluation examines the viability, adequacy and necessity of the programs in relation to the institution's master plan. Marshall's assessment reports and program reviews for the last three years are available in the Resource Room. They serve as examples of the ability of the institution to continue offering academic programs of high quality.

Planning. In compliance with the omnibus higher education legislation passed in 1995, known as Senate Bill 547, Marshall University submits on November 1 of each year, to the University System Board of Trustees, a Strategic Plan Update. These updates, based upon a Five Year Strategic Plan submitted on April 30, 1996, outline what has been accomplished and what is projected in programmatic areas, support services, salaries, administrative functions, and technology as well as a description of the diversity of the university and its involvement in economic development. The plan and the updates contain the Campus Fiscal Strategic Plan Summary, a series of tables reflecting E&G projections through FY2002, variances that may have occurred in the current operating budget from the approved budget, wage and benefit costs, and a capital projects summary. The tables are constructed for Marshall University with all of its units and, as well, a separate set of tables for Marshall without the effect of the addition of the merged Graduate School. Separate tables are available for the Marshall University Graduate College.

The planning process involves the units responsible for the academic, administrative, and support services. The planning committee, in turn, composed of a broad representation of campus constituents, evaluates the plan and makes recommendations to the president. The Faculty Senate, Classified Staff, and Student Government review the updates and make recommendations to the president.

Challenges. On June 5, 1998, the president outlined the major challenges facing the university in a memorandum to the administrative staff, faculty, and classified staff, with copies to the institutional boards of visitors and advisors, and to the Board of Trustees. While Marshall has been successful in achieving institutional goals associated with its strategic plan, the institution has had imposed on it, faculty salary and classified staff salary goals defined by the Senate Bill 547 legislation which should be met by FY2001. Legislative appropriations will not be sufficient to meet these goals and the university must find the funds through restructuring and reorganization. The president has outlined a series of reorganization strategies to accomplish the requirements of SB 547 as well as to achieve the objectives envisioned in the merger between the West Virginia Graduate College and Marshall University.

Thus, the major challenge to the University has been to make internal adjustments to produce cost savings which, in turn, will satisfy the requirements of external forces, in this case legislative mandates. This is a classic strategic analysis paradigm and the University has successfully positioned itself to deal with this challenge.

This review of organizational changes demonstrates that Marshall University is a dynamic institution, an organism that continues to reshape itself in response to its environment, both internal and external. Marshall leadership continues to take bold steps to secure the institution's future. Marshall has the infrastructure and vision to look to the future.

Summary. The evidence above demonstrates that Marshall University continues to meet Criterion Four; it continues to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness.
 

Criterion Five. The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships.

Marshall University is 161 years old. Its customs and practices have been formed in a tradition of commitment, based upon the ethical values of Chief Justice John Marshall. As a public institution, Marshall's policies and practices are open to public scrutiny, debated in the daily newspaper, examined in public forums as well as in any arena that reflects the public's interest. Salary decisions, capital improvements, campus expansion, changes in programs and mergers are subject to public review. Because of a long history of ethical practice and because accountability marks the relationship between the institution and its constituents, Marshall insures that decisions and their implementation are characterized by integrity.

Publications. Marshall University view-books, program brochures, and catalogs present the available services and programs. Faculty, staff and student handbooks contain policies and procedures that protect the rights of the Marshall community members as well as outline their responsibilities. Tuition and fees are published in the catalog. Academic regulations related to academic honesty, grievance, grading, and policies and procedures associated with affirmative action, sexual harassment, research with human and animal subjects are contained within the catalogs. Qualifications of faculty for appointment, promotion and tenure review are detailed in the Greenbook, the Marshall policy manual.

Contracts and Community Relationships. Marshall University is proactive in developing contracts with other institutions of higher education and with state and federal agencies. These may be negotiated directly with the institution to share facilities, mutually appoint faculty, and/or develop and deliver shared programs. Marshall's objectives have been to create greater access for West Virginians and to increase efficiency in using the institution's resources. Through Marshall's Research and Economic Development Center, particularly the Research and Contract Development unit, sources of federal, state, private, corporate, foundation, and local government funding are identified. This unit assists faculty in applying for and securing grants for research.

Marshall's community relationships can be measured by the leadership role assigned to the university in economic development efforts. Marshall founded Advantage Valley, bringing a unified approach to economic development in the Charleston-Putnam, Huntington and Ashland region. Most recently, the President was appointed to chair a statewide task force on mountaintop removal, a critical and controversial industrial process used by surface mining industries in the state. The dean of the Lewis College of Business just completed co-chairing a statewide study to overhaul the West Virginia Tax Code.

Marshall is the home of the statewide network for advanced training for manufacturing firms through the Robert C. Byrd Institute, an example of federal funding for the purpose of economic development

Marshall's success in fund-raising, which is not limited to the region, demonstrates the confidence alumni and other benefactors have in Marshall's purpose and in the stewardship of the institution's resources.

Commitment. One of the finest examples of commitment is illustrated in Marshall's relationship to students, particularly students affected by the merger.

Two other examples of commitment are evident in Marshall's policies concerning job security and honoring WVGC contracts. Summary. Marshall University makes its policies and procedures available to the public through its brochures, annuals, and catalogs. Most University committees post minutes of meetings on their Web sites by accessing the main Marshall Web page: http://www.marshall.edu. The patterns of evidence related to fiscal reporting, contracts with institutional and other agencies, as well as Marshall's commitment to students are some of the examples that demonstrate integrity in Marshall's practices and relationships and that the University continues to meet Criterion Five.
 
8.  An analysis of the anticipated effect of the proposed change on the other parts of the institution.
The merger between Marshall University and the West Virginia Graduate College took effect legally on July 1, 1997; however, the reality of merging is a process that will continue over a period of time. This report describes the progress in merging operations, administrations, and academic programs as well as the creation of a Graduate Council. Reference is made to the policies and procedures relevant to graduate education that were reviewed and revised. A new graduate catalog was created. This section discusses the effect of the merger on both institutions as well as some of the challenges.

In a letter to faculty and staff at the end of the 1997-1998 academic year, the president enumerated some of these challenges:

9. Evidence that the institution has established the processes to assure that it has the capability to initiate and maintain the proposed change and to monitor acceptable quality once the change has been implemented.

The responses to Criterion Two, Three, and Four give particular evidence that the new Marshall University, with a merged graduate college, has the resources to maintain this institutional change. It has established initiatives during the first year of the merger at every level to form a solid foundation for institutional change. The governance structure provides for representation of all constituents in decision making bodies. Individuals from the merged graduate college have membership on the Institutional Board Of Advisors and on the newly created Graduate Council, on the Marshall University Faculty Senate, on the Executive Committee of the College of Business, and as institutional representatives to the Faculty and Staff Councils to the Board of Trustees. Equally important is the merging of faculties and their decision making in curriculum matters. Committees of faculty have designed and initiated the changes related to curriculum and admission requirements. As well, they serve on the committees that make changes in the graduate catalog. Thus, mechanisms are already in place and have been activated to ensure that ongoing decisions can be made associated with graduate education.

Both institutions follow a Board of Trustees Program Review Policy and Schedule. Merged graduate programs will continue to follow the BOT policy and the procedures for review. The Marshall University Plan for the Assessment of Student Academic Achievement is discussed above in Criterion Three. There is a specific provision for Graduate Level Assessment in the plan and this will have particular relevance for the merged programs.

The merged programs will follow the Marshall Assessment Plan submitted and approved by NCA in 1995. It is during 1998/99 that the merged graduate programs will make the revisions necessary in goals, learning outcomes, data collection and implement the changes on a modified timeline.

10. Evidence that the institution has organized and planned for adequate human, financial, physical, and instructional resources to initiate and support the proposed change.

This section will list resources already in place to implement the merger, and which resources and strategies need to be developed.

Human Resources. Beginning July 1, 1997, when the merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University became effective, administrative and academic organizational changes were implemented. These are described under Criterion Two as well as in Marshall's Interim Executive Policy Bulletin #12, and in the President's 1997-1998 end of year report. In summary, there is sufficient faculty in every academic program offered. There is a program director or department chair that provides direction for a program and there is a dean for every college and a dean or associate dean for each school in South Charleston to provide oversight for that location. Many administrative offices with duplicate functions in the two locations have been merged.

The administrative structure is typical for a university this size. There is a sufficient number of administrative and support personnel and their qualifications are appropriate for their assignments. The additional resource personnel in information technology and the library have strengthened graduate offerings for students and faculty.

The merger of faculty at the graduate level has increased the pool of faculty available to teach in graduate programs. All graduate faculty meet the same requirements for their appointments and their credentials are on file in the Office of Academic Affairs.

The Graduate Council has adopted the policy of evaluating all graduate courses using the same evaluation instrument. This is a flexible assessment tool with a core set of questions and additional questions selected because of their relevance to the discipline or instructional model. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning manages the evaluation process.

This is a partial list of evidence showing that the number and deployment of human resources as well as the assessment of performance are sufficient to carry out the delivery of the merged programs.

Financial Resources. The Strategic Planning Update 1997 and 1998 summarize the financial assumptions, and the current and anticipated revenue and expenditures for the University with projections to FY2000-2001. The Fiscal Tables in the Updates report information for the University including the Graduate College and, as well, supplies separate reports for each of the institutions. This report is reviewed by the university community before being forwarded to the President for his approval. It is then submitted to the Board of Trustees for their approval. The 1997 Update is approved. The 1998 Update will be submitted to the Board on November 1, 1998.

Physical Resources. Two years prior to the merger, the Graduate College moved into a new administrative building on land donated to the College by the Union Carbide Corporation. During the first year of the merger, construction was started on a second building to house a satellite library and a facility to train workers in manufacturing technology. The South Charleston library was designed to become part of the Marshall University library system . This building has twelve meeting rooms used as classrooms. Each of these buildings has electronic links to the two-way interactive video classrooms on the Huntington campus, which in turn has electronic linkages to classrooms in other locations. At the same time, relevant to the merger, the John Deaver Drinko Library was under construction on the Huntington campus and is scheduled for completion October 28, 1998. The merger brought together complementary capital improvements at both locations. The improvements in library resources and the access to the information technology resources on the Huntington campus strengthened the capability for improvement of instructional services.

The plan for the South Charleston location is to become the Marshall University Center for Graduate Education. This will include all graduate admissions, scheduled to begin in October 1998. Support services, such as advising, are available at both locations. Graduate classes will continue to be held in schools and business conference rooms in multiple locations throughout the state as well as in South Charleston and Huntington.

Instructional Resources. Admission and degree requirements have been revised for merged graduate programs and have been approved by the newly created Graduate Council.

The library collection has been expanded for the Graduate College through access to hard copies in the Marshall University Libraries. Both locations benefit from the increased access created by the electronic linkages in the new libraries in South Charleston and Huntington.

Steps have already been taken to implement Marshall's Assessment Program in the newly merged programs. Definition of goals, learning outcomes and data collection measures should take place during 1998-1999.

Faculty worked on creating one coherent graduate curriculum out of programs from two separate institutions. In the College of Business, coherence also met new accreditation requirements. As well, in the College of Education, NCATE and West Virginia Department of Education standards guided the process. Work will continue on syllabi that reflects new learning outcomes and revisions in the assessment procedures.
 

Closure

This report of the merger of the West Virginia Graduate College with Marshall University to become the Marshall University Graduate College gives evidence that Marshall University continues to meet the North Central General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation.

Further, the report describes the institutional changes that are in place in the academic and the administrative areas to continue support for this institutional change. In addition, the report describes the significant improvements that have been achieved for both institutions including the achievement of considerable financial savings.

Lastly, Marshall University with the Marshall University Graduate College acknowledges that merging is a process that takes work and time. A solid foundation for a successful merger is found in the achievements of the 1997-1998 year and the report lists some of the challenges that form the agenda for the future.

The new Marshall University requests that the North Central Association support this institutional change as well as the change in the Statement of Affiliation Status that is requested.