Two central themes arose during the strategic planning process that illustrate the impact an Office of Teaching and Learning can have at NDSU.
The first theme is the impact OTL has had in its first year. Strategic Planning Committee members indicated that in the short time since OTL was established the office has gained recognition on campus as the place to go to find support for teaching and learning.
The second theme is the great potential OTL has moving forward. Again, OTL Strategic Planning Committee members and OTL staff indicated that the office has the capability to enhance the teaching and learning environment at NDSU and through our K-12 outreach efforts.
In its second year of existence, the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning completed its first strategic plan that has guided the organization thus far by focusing efforts on OTL’s mission and vision, thereby assisting the university in achieving its strategic goals.
Highlights from the OTL Strategic Plan are below. View the full plan here.
The NDSU OTL strategic planning group consisted of two groups from a variety of on-campus and off-campus stakeholders and several smaller working groups. The goal was to hear from the individuals who use OTL services to determine if OTL is meeting their needs and what other activities they would like to see from OTL. Hearing OTL’s strengths and weaknesses allows OTL staff to plan to address these concerns and to better meet the needs of OTL’s audience.
Both groups were given the opportunity to participate in a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) exercise meant to draw out conversation about OTL services. All comments from both SWOT analysis exercises were distilled into central themes. Here is a list of the themes that came out of the SWOT analysis.
- Support for quality teaching and learning
- Connection among OTL entities – outreach programs, NSF-funded Gateways-ND, Teaching Assistant training, etc.
- OTL staff and environment – diverse staff
- Online programs
- Collaboration between K-12 and higher education
- Awareness issues
- Program issues –too many, lack of certain programs
- Staffing and space concerns
- Campus mentality issues – faculty apathy, lack of involvement, limitations on what OTL is allowed to do
- Instructor – help faculty teach, provide resources
- Collaboration – outreach events, other programs, and departments
- K-20 – more collaboration with K-20 and other universities
- Leadership – lead general education reform
- Service – continuing education, video production, etc.
- Mindset – antiquated views of teaching and change in general
- Leadership – eventual change in upper administration, other departments, and state legislature
- Perception – awareness concerns, similar departments, ability for people to learn/find resources online so why is OTL needed?
- Staffing – aging staff, inadequate redundancy if staff leave, insufficient staffing to perform tasks
- Budget – budget cuts, reduced funding by legislature
Based on the SWOT Analysis results, the OTL staff formed a list of goals that support the new mission and vision of OTL. Each goal was classified as an immediate, mid-term, or long-term goal based on when the strategies to achieve the goal should begin being implemented. Several of these goals will be ongoing.
- Clarify and focus OTL's identity.
- Hire critical staff and strengthen working environment.
- Create awareness of, and generate support for, OTL.
- Support assessment work at NDSU.
- Expand resources and support for quality teaching at NDSU.
- Strengthen collaborations on campus, with K-20, and with other universities.
- Support the improvement of core student coursework/general education at NDSU.
- Reinvigorate the teaching mission of the university.
- Become regional leaders for teaching and learning knowledge and model programs.
- Establish solid, ongoing collaborations throughout the state with K-12 and other teaching and learning centers in K-20.
- Build connections with campus and state leadership that supports teaching and learning work.
- Expand online programs consistent with the university's mission.