Section 2. Academic Quality

Among prospective students and the public, the esteem in which colleges and universities are held is determined by numerous factors, but no considerations are more central than two: the excellence and variety of programs delivered by the faculty and the quality and responsiveness of staff that support the institution in achieving its primary mission: academic excellence. As a selective college approaching its third century of service to students, Centenary will not abandon the tradition that has identified this institution — the oldest chartered institution of higher education west of the Mississippi — as one of the nation's finest small colleges. It will maintain its high standards, continue to refine the curriculum consistent with a changing society and the needs of students and, as always, recruit and nurture the highest quality faculty and staff it can find to support the education and development of students.

Primary Goals

Goal 1. Obtain Necessary Equipment, Facilities, and Information Resources to Support Academic Programs and Research.

Those who write about our era describe it as the "Age of Technology" or, alternatively, the "Age of Information," in which knowledge is said to double every four years. Both terms reflect profound changes we have experienced as a result of advancements in science and technology in recent decades. Sophisticated scientific instrumentation and increasingly powerful and affordable computers have made them a reality today. The challenge for all high-quality academic institutions is to provide their programs with equipment and information resources adequate to the task of preparing their students not only for competence in this knowledge-intensive world of ours but leadership in that sector. Toward that end, Centenary will:

Objective A. Obtain a $1 million endowment by 12/2003 from the Centenary College comprehensive campaign with which to support equipment purchases.

Resources: $1 million
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations.
Status: Campaign goal.

Objective B. Obtain $280,800 for equipment and laboratory renovation by 8/2000.

Resources: $280,800
Responsibility: Provost; Chairs, Biology, Chemistry, Physics Departments.
Status: Genetics, neuroscience and biophysics labs renovated in 1998/1999 by Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant. Additional funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents received in 1999/2000 to renovate two introductory biology labs for discovery-based teaching. $150,000 received from the Booth-Bricker Foundation for an NMR.

Objective C. Submit a minimum of two proposals/year to the National Science Foundation, other agencies, and foundations with which to fund equipment purchases.

Resources: As required for institutional match
Responsibility: Provost, academic department chairs, V. P. for Development.
Status: Ongoing. $355,829 proposal submitted for equipment funding in 1998-99. Three proposals were submitted in 1999/2000 with two funded for $189,000.

Objective D. Obtain funding for space renovation and construction of a multimedia laboratory in Magale Library to support foreign language and other teaching by 8/97.

Resources: $277,851
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations.
Status: Foundation grant of $110,000 received from Houston Endowment and matched with campaign gifts totaling $110,000, fall, 1998. The Louisiana Board of Regents Enhancement Fund provided $54,000 to remodel the old language lab in Jackson Hall to create a Foreign Language Immersion Center. The Center was completed 8/2000.

Objective E. Obtain funding for and install an integrated library system with which to provide networked access to the catalogue and other services by 5/97.

Resources: $250,000
Responsibility: Provost, Dean of Magale Library, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Funding obtained; system installed summer, 1998.

Objective F. Obtain funding for and install three electronic classrooms with which to support innovative teaching by 8/99.

Resources: $575,000
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Four electronic classrooms were constructed in the first floor of Magale Library. Mickle Hall Auditorium electronic classroom completed spring, 2000. An electronic classroom to support teaching in psychology and sociology was added in summer of 2000 using funding from the Louisiana Board of Regents Enhancement Fund.

Objective G. Upgrade PC clusters in student residence halls by 8/2000.

Resources: $30,000
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Pending. PC clusters in residence halls updated June 2000. Displaced computers distributed to Gold Dome and faculty.

Objective H. Renovate and equip biophysics laboratory in Mickle Hall by 1/97.

Resources: $52,500
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Funds obtained; lab installed.

Objective I. Renovate and equip two biology laboratories in Mickle Hall by 5/97.

Resources: $218,300
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Funds obtained; renovation completed and equipment installed.

Former Department of Education spaces renovated as a neuroscience lab suite; completed fall, 1999. In spring of 2000, the Louisiana Board of Regents Enhancement Fund provided $40,000 to renovate two biology labs for introductory level discovery-based labs. Thie project was completed 8/2000.

Objective J. Obtain funds for and construct additional space for classrooms, dance studio, office space, and storage in Marjorie Lyons Playhouse by 8/2003.

Resources: $750,000
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Concept integrated into planned arts complex. Schematic rendered by architect, spring, 1998. The Women's Endowment Quorum provided funds to renovate and modernize the lobby restroom facilities in Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The new Haynes Fitness Center will include a dance studio.

Objective K. Obtain a $1,000,000 fund by 8/2003 with which to enhance print and electronic information resources for Magale Library, such as the Integrated Library System.

Resources $1 million
Responsibility: Provost, Dean of Magale Library; V.P. for College Relations
Status: Campaign goal

Objective L. Obtain funds by 2000 with which to repair and treat windows and brickwork at the Meadows Museum.

Resources $250,000
Responsibility: V.P. for College Relations
Status: Campaign goal. Funds obtained for window replacement and project completed summer, 1997. Brickwork partially completed.

Objective M. Address individual needs of programs in the arts.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Discussions with faculty in the arts about space needs for a projected arts complex undertaken spring, 1998; preliminary design completed by architect. Video equipment for communication component of arts complex obtained spring, 1998. New Dean of the Hurley School of Music and Director of Meadows Museum appointed summer, 1998. $40,000 received to create recording studio in Hurley Auditorium. The plans for Phase I of the Arts Complex are nearly finalized.

Objective N. Create a $1 million endowment to support faculty and student research by 8/2003.

Resources: $1 million
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for College Relations
Status: Louisiana Board of Regents provided matching fund for an anonymous gift to establish 15 professorships for student/faculty research. Student/faculty research program will start summer, 2001.

Objective O. Increase the endowment to support maintenance of Brown Chapel, including the organ.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: V.P. for College Relations
Status: Campaign goal

Goal 2. Increase Student Involvement in Research and Creative Activities.

There is extensive research on both student learning and retention indicating that hands-on activities, as a central focus of instruction, together with collaborative learning, constitute major motivators of students and can result in significant increases in both subject interest and overall retention. Involvement of science students in research has become a major emphasis at trend-setting institutions as a result of recommendations on reform of mathematics and science teaching proposed by the National Research Council and reaffirmed by the National Science Foundation with its Systemic Initiative Program. The Louisiana Board of Regents has adopted its own Systemic Initiative Program (LASIP) to support the reformed mode of teaching. Centenary has responded by initiating substantial reform of its curriculum and teaching methodologies, a fact that has been recognized by the 1996 award of a $600,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. To further enhance our students' involvement in research and creative activities, the College will:

Objective A. Continue and enhance the annual student research forum at Centenary College, providing special incentives for greater participation of students in the humanities, arts, and social sciences by April, 1997.

Resources: $1,000/year
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Student Research Forum successfully completed April 1998. Jennifer Phifer, winner of the top prize, was also the recipient of a $1,000 prize for the highest honor at the regional meeting of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society for her research. Equally successful forum were held in April 1999 and 2000.

Objective B. Provide funds for summer student research by summer, 1996.

Resources: $10,000
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Stipends provided to students in geology, chemistry, and physics for summer, 1996, 1997, and 1998. Funding for four Centenary and four high school students provided in Hughes grant for summer, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Internal and external grant funding supports 2-3 additional students per summer. Further, the soon-to-be instituted student/faculty summer research program will provide as many as 8-10 summer research opportunities for students.

Objective C. Increase summer stipends for science students for 1997-2000.

Resources: $100,000
Responsibility: Provost
Status: $84,000 available from Hughes grant; other funds from restricted accounts.

Objective D. Provide funds to send students to regional and national conferences to report on their research 1997-2000.

Resources $12,000
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Funds available from Hughes grant/restricted accounts. A donor provided $5,000 in 1999/2000 to permit all students to attend regional or national conferences to report on their research or present performances.

Objective E. Enroll additional math and science faculty in Project Kaleidoscope workshops until Centenary College has 100% participation by the end of 1997-98.

Resources: $9,000
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Two attended, summer, 1996; two additional, fall, 1997 and one additional summer, 2000.

Objective F. Send one math/science faculty member/year to LACEPT summer workshops on reformed teaching methodologies.

Resources: Funded by Board of Regents
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Four faculty members attended. LaCEPT program now defunct.

Objective G. Send one or two math faculty/year to NSF workshops on reformed teaching of mathematics.

Resources: Funded by NSF
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Ongoing; as programs and funding available. Four have attended last five years.

Objective H. Develop courses by 8/97 that allow students to earn academic credit for research.

Resources: Operating budget
Responsibility: Academic Policy Committee, Provost
Status: In place.

Objective I. Develop a Science Division colloquium focused on research by 8/97.

Resources: N.A.
Responsibility: Head, Science Division
Status: Implemented, fall semester, 1996. 5 colloquia in 1996-97; equal number in 1997-98. No colloquium was organized in 1999/2000 owing to renovation of Mickle Auditorium.

Objective J. Provide funds to assist students in attending national student research conferences and publish their research.

Resources: Operating budget
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Funds offered by the Provost to students presenting at the NCUR conference in 1996-97. A donor provided funds to support student travel to meetings for the 1999/2000 academic year.

Goal 3. Provide a Science Facility Equipped to Support Research and Teaching in the Reformed, Laboratory-Intensive Mode.

The tradition of excellence in science at Centenary College is a venerable one, documented by the fact that a member of its inaugural faculty was a founder of Louisiana's first medical school and later recognized by election to the predecessor of the National Academy of Sciences. This firm foundation in science was reinforced in our century with the Warters-Entrikin tradition that shaped contemporary Centenary science — recently ranked as one of the top 200 math/science programs in the U.S. This excellence has been recognized by acceptance of Centenary students at prestigious graduate and professional schools and the increasing number of grants made to faculty in recent years from government agencies and foundations, such as the recent award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support teaching in the hands-on, laboratory-rich mode recommended by the Systemic Initiative of the National Science Foundation. The present science building erected during a period when the lecture format prevailed and undergraduate research was negligible, when safety and HVAC requirements were significantly lower than now, is inadequate to sustain modern science. To support the new mode of teaching, the College will:

Objective A. Secure $14,890,000 in funds needed to construct and equip a new science building.

Resources $14,890,000
Responsibility: V.P. for College Relations
Status: Discussions fall, 1998 with mathematics/science faculty about space needs and with architect about feasibility of meeting needs with renovated Mickle Hall. Decision in 1998-99 on course of action. Pending such decision, Department of Education vacated Mickle Hall, summer 1998, to create additional space for science. Vacated space allocated to physics and geology for research. Mickle Hall 114 renovated Spring, 2000.

Objective B. Upon completion of new science facility, renovate and equip Mickle Hall as the primary campus social science facility.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: Objective under consideration for revision should Mickle Hall be renovated for science.

Goal 4. Achieve Compensation Parity for Faculty with Comparable Institutions.

Higher education is beginning to feel the effects of restructuring that is taking place in industry, government, and the health professions, which has had an impact on thousands of persons from the top to the bottom of countless organizations in every part of the country. The force of various cost-cutting measures undertaken in the name of "downsizing" and "re-engineering" has been felt most strongly in public institutions of higher education: those subject to the political agenda of office holders. Private institutions are now being forced to examine their own budgets with greater stringency, however, because of the effects of rising costs and increasing competition. The result is that the cost of any decision — however small — can no longer be considered irrelevant. Adequate compensation, including benefits, for those responsible for the education, development, and support of Centenary students is highly relevant if the College is committed to attracting and retaining the best available talents, and should be focused on equity and merit. Consistent with its means, the institution will undertake the following effort to bring salaries in line with institutions similar in size and character to Centenary College:

Objective A. Identify and pursue appropriate means with which to achieve parity.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: The College has used and will continue to use endowed positions as one vehicle to increase compensation of selected faculty. Overall, the ability to increase compensation will depend on the institution's success in increasing net revenue, and this will require a significant increase in the size of the student body. Faculty awarded 7% increase for 1998-99 with a one-percent increase in retirement contribution. Faculty awarded 5% increase for 1999-2000 with a one-percent increase in retirement contribution. Faculty awarded 5% increase for 2000-2001 with a 0.5% increase in retirement contribution. The institution will attempt to provide a similar salary pool and increase in retirement contribution for the subsequent years (student enrollment and revenues permitting) to raise salaries to peer institution levels. Faculty salaries for 2000-2001 included a merit component. Compensation for part-time faculty has not increased in many years, and this is a problem that should be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Goal 5. Achieve Compensation Parity for Staff with the Area Job Market

It is said that the staff constitutes the mortar that holds the bricks of the institution together. It is always in the best interest of the enterprise to recruit the best available talent, and it is a given that salary and benefits, determined on the basis of equity and merit, are principal incentives for such persons to choose Centenary over another opportunity. Staff members enjoy a degree of mobility that is not available to many others in the academic community. It is important that the college particularly focus on retention of valuable staff so that it is able to continue enjoying the benefits of their talents and experience. To assist us in being more effective in these efforts, we will:

Objective A. Identify and pursue appropriate means with which to achieve parity.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: The College provided a 6% salary pool for staff in 1998-99, with an additional one percent for equity adjustments, and an additional one-percent retirement contribution. The College provided a 5% salary pool for staff in 1999-2000 and an additional one-percent retirement contribution. Staff received a 5% salary pool increase and an additional 0.5% retirement contribution for 2000-2001. A merit review was included for the 2000-2001 salary increase. If revenues permit, the institution will further adjust salaries under a merit system in subsequent years.

Other Goals

Goal 6. Improve Facilities for the Social Sciences.

The Social Sciences Division — somewhat broadly defined at Centenary College — is an entity dispersed among three buildings on campus. The faculty of the majority of the core disciplines of the social sciences — history, political science, psychology, and sociology — are housed in the basement of Magale Library, a space that will be needed for eventual expansion of the book/serials collection and other uses in the projected campus information center. Economics is integrated with the Frost School of Business and has limited contact, therefore, with the other core disciplines. Until the faculty in the library can move to a facility that can meet its current space needs and provide for programs that are likely to grow, steps should be taken to improve the livability and safety of their spaces in general and the functionality of their classrooms in specific:

Objective A. Carpet the basement of Magale Library by 5/97.

Resources: $35,000
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: Completed, fall, 1996. Basement painted, spring, 1997.

Objective B. Improve sound barriers in classrooms in Magale Library basement by 5/98.

Resources: To be determined
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: See objective A. above. Carpet assisted in addressing sound problems. Sound proofing material added to walls of teaching classrooms 8, 9, and 10 in August 2000.

Objective C. Improve use of existing space in Magale Library basement.

Resources: To be determined
Responsibility: Provost, V.P. for Finance and Administration
Status: The partitioning of Room 6 in 1999 created two seminar rooms and relocated the rare book (Cline) room to the basement. Preliminary plans are being made to prepare Magale attic as archives.

Objective D. Upon completion of final plans for the science facility and the arts complex, designate the future site of the social sciences (e.g. Mickle Hall or the Meadows Museum).

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: President, Provost
Status: Pending

Goal 7. Provide Additional Support for Faculty and Staff Development.

The higher education environment is dynamic, not static. If it is the goal of an academic institution to advance knowledge and to prepare its students to play a responsible role as citizens and to serve with skill and competence in the workplace, it is imperative that the faculty and staff possess the proficiencies that will allow them to perform their important roles consistent with new developments in society and their areas of specialty.

Objective A. Provide opportunities for faculty training to support teaching and research.

Resources $46,000 (1996); enhanced operating budget
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Ongoing need. Obtained ACS funds for faculty to attend advanced computer workshops summer, 1996-99 through Andrew Mellon Foundation grant. Grant also established an ACS Technology Center at Southwestern University. Eight members of the Centenary faculty attended workshops at the Center in summer, 1999; 3 faculty members attended in 2000. Additional funds provided to develop the teaching of new and existing faculty through micro-teaching workshops, 1996-99. Eight faculty have participated in ACS teaching workshop at Rollins College; two persons attended, summer, 1999 and one person attended in summer, 2000. Hughes grant provides funding for training faculty in the biosciences through 2000. ACS grant provides funds for a faculty environmental fellow for 1998-2000 and two interns; two environmental research projects for 1997-98 and 1998-99.

Objective B. Develop programs to improve staff proficiencies and provide opportunities to learn new competencies.

Resources Additional resources not required.
Responsibility: Director of Computer Services
Status: Ongoing need. Computer Services offering workshops on an ongoing basis. Additional computer workshops under development by Senior Adult Education are being offered. One staff member provided with advanced computer training through ACS grant, summer, 1996. Library staff received training under Mellon Foundation grant, 1996-97 and training in 1998-99 from vendor for integrated library system. Key staff are receiving training from vendor as well as in house in the Banner administrative computing system. Individual offices provide for staff training as needed (e.g., Administrative Assistant to the Provost participated in one-day American Management Association program, fall, 1996).

Goal 8. Develop a Model General Education Program.

The success ofliberal arts college graduates is documented by the large proportion of faculty at higher education institutions and chief executives of large corporations who prepared at liberal arts colleges. In addition to substantial academic standards, most of these institutions are characterized by a well-developed and coherent core curriculum that provides their students with intellectual and other skills that will serve as a firm foundation for meeting the challenges presented to them in society and their careers and for exercising leadership in every aspect of what they do. While Centenary does provide its student body with a rich palette of courses in the core curriculum, its focus is less on development of skills and competencies articulated in the new mission statement of the College than on exposure to virtually all the broad academic areas represented in the catalogue. To better fulfill its mission and to create a coherent curriculum that will better prepare students for what they will encounter in the 21st century than present requirements appear to do, the College will need to review the assumptions stated in the College purpose statement and make the requisite revisions, if need be fundamental ones.

Objective A. Appoint a faculty task force to develop components of the program and implement by fall, 1997.

Resources $1,500 (Phase I)
Responsibility: Provost, Academic Policy Committee
Status: First-Year Experience (FYE) course developed by Academic Policy Committee, 1997-98; implemented, fall, 1998. FYE first-semester course reassessed and repackaged spring of 2000 for fall, 2000, implementation. APC will study proposals for strengthening second-semester FYE courses during fall semester, 2000. APC studied and proposed new general education (core) curriculum in 1999-2000. Faculty passed new core curriculum May, 2000. Implementation during 2000-2001 for activation in fall, 2001.

Objective B. Employ an external consultant to review the Centenary core curriculum and make suggestions for revision, April 1999.

Resources: $1,500
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Consultant not needed.

Objective C. Develop and implement a systematic process for program review by December, 1998.

Resources: To be determined
Responsibility: Provost, Academic Policy Committee
Status: Mandated in SACS review 1997-98. Proposed guidelines and schedule submitted by Provost to Academic Policy fall, 1998. Implementation target: spring, 1999. Academic program review schedule promulgated by president. Three years of program reviews have now been completed leading to analyses of programs of nine academic departments.

Goal 9. Increase Student Placement in the Best Graduate and Professional Schools.

The reputation of Centenary continues to increase year by year as the accomplishments of the faculty, students, and staff become better known outside of our immediate area. Since the best advertisement the college has for its quality is the students themselves, it is imperative that they show the name of Centenary at the premier institutions across the entire country to better acquaint those at pace-setting universities with what the College produces and what it has to offer to the world of professional and post-graduate education.

Objective A. Increase participation in the Student Research Forum to enhance student research experience that will allow students to be more competitive in graduate school admission.

Resources Operating budget
Responsibility: Academic department chairs, Provost
Status: Ongoing priority. Increased publicity has resulted in greater numbers of participants. Larger prizes for the best presentations have provided more incentive to participate. Campus will redouble efforts to increase faculty and student awareness of the desirability of any student focused on graduate and professional programs to participate.

Objective B. Identify promising research-oriented students who can submit competitive papers to the National Student Research Forum and provide travel stipends so that they can participate in 1996-97.

Resources $2,000
Responsibility: Academic department chairs, Provost
Status: Hughes grant provides funding for presentation at national science forums; the College is developing an endowment to support student travel, including a campaign goal of $1 million. First student presented research at NCUR, spring, 1997.

Objective C. Encourage faculty to motivate gifted students to apply to the premier programs in the field rather than limiting their applications solely to regional institutions.

Resources N.A.
Responsibility: Academic department chairs
Status: Recent years have seen a number of placements outside the region; however, the majority of applicants maintain their regional focus. Institution should seek to provide funds for needy students to attend interviews and possibilities for virtual interviews via the Internet.

Objective D. Increase the number of students applying for Fulbright, Rotary, and other international fellowships and exchanges to broaden their perspectives and help them to be more competitive in applying to graduate and professional schools.

Resources N.A.
Responsibility: Academic departments, Centenary Plan Committee, Intercultural Affairs
Status: The main impetus for motivating students to study overseas must come from their advisers, and other faculty who should discuss opportunities with students early in the year in which they are eligible to apply, if
not sooner. The Centenary Plan Committee should take the lead in encouraging faculty outside the Foreign Language Department to encourage students to consider overseas study as an important part of their education. Faculty advocacy for such programs would increase if faculty themselves were to take more advantage of opportunities presented by the Fulbright and other programs that provide for research and teaching abroad. In spring 2000, Katherine Slaikeu and Michael Comeau were awarded Fulbright Awards for study abroad.

Objective E. Identify potentially competitive candidates for prestigious student fellowships by the end of the freshman year and groom and support them in pursuit of these awards (e.g., Rhodes, Mellon).

Resources N.A.
Responsibility: Academic departments.
Status: Centenary has been successful in obtaining a small number of national fellowships in recent years, together with a Rhodes regional finalist, but the number of awards is not commensurate with its potential for winning such. Faculty should make students aware of such opportunities early in their careers and encourage and assist them in making application. The English Department has made strong efforts to groom its best students for pursuit of important fellowships. The program in French has been very successful in preparing students to win important awards. In spring 2000, Aimee Robinson was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. Her award marks the 3rd Goldwater award in the past 5 years.

Objective F. Obtain a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for Centenary College by academic year 2003-2004.

Resources To be determined
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Over the past three years the College has made it a priority in recruiting faculty to give preference to those who are members of Phi Beta Kappa. This is necessary to develop a critical mass of faculty with which to qualify for a chapter. Under funding from the Mellon Foundation, the college has increased library resources, and the Provost is working with the new Chief Information Officer to develop Magale Library into a campus Information Center — with the library as its nucleus — which will significantly increase campus information resources. The Provost has discussed strategies for acceptance into Phi Beta Kappa with institutions that have recently been successful in their applications, and these will become the basis of a plan of action when Centenary is ready to apply. Centenary invited the Dean of Hendrix College to campus in spring 1999 to review the application process with Phi Beta Kappa faculty and key administrators. A faculty team is preparing the Phi Beta Kappa application for an October 2000 deadline.

Objective G. Explore possibilities for creation of a Pi Kappa Phi Chapter at Centenary College.

Resources NA
Responsibility: Provost
Status: Under review.

Last revised 19 October 2000

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