APR comments on any/all of the six specific components of the self-study (if applicable)

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1 Academic Program Review SUMMARY* Department under review:_master of Business Administration Date self-study received in Dean s office: Aug. 28, 2013 Date of external consultant s review: April 24, 2013 Date APR received report: Jan. 3, 2014 APR S summary of self-study (first two boxes must be completed) APR s summary of how the academic program attempts to reach its goals and objectives and the extent to which those goals and objectives have been achieved. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is within the College of Business Administration (CBA). This program began in 1975 and was originally envisioned to serve working professionals in the area, allowing them to get a degree while attending evening classes part time. Since the last review there has been an influx of international students (approximately 50% of all MBA students in compared to 6% in 2002) and younger full time students resulting in 72% of the students in the self-study year being full-time students. Enrollments since 2007 have averaged 59 a year, however, 2012 did show a dip to 48 (down 25% from 2011). A similar decrease is also seen in the national trends and is likely due in part to competition from forprofit and online universities. Academic responsibilities are managed by the CBA Graduate Committee, with a graduate faculty representative from each department, while administrative responsibilities are managed by the MBA Director. Advising of the MBA students and registering them for classes is done by the MBA Director as well. A separate orientation has been developed for the international MBA students to address their specific needs and help with the transition to the American education system and life in La Crosse. The college is also a member of the UW MBA Consortium, which has an on-line program that expands the options for MBA students here on campus by offering many foundation and elective courses. APR s comments including: Notable Strengths 1. Strong international enrollment 2. Low percentage of program drop-outs Notable Weaknesses 1. Enrollment dipped in 2012 by 25%. Although this dip reflects a national trend, this may be a temporary fluctuation and so not truly a weakness. Should this trend continue, however, plans for recruitment efforts will be needed. 2. Small budget for recruitment in a competitive market. APR comments on any/all of the six specific components of the self-study (if applicable) Self Study: Purposes The program s stated mission is to provide Master of Business Administration ( MBA ) students an exceptional, integrated business education that empowers them to make sound decisions that serve organizations and communities as socially responsible citizens in a global environment.

2 Their overall goals are listed as (1) to offer a leading program among regional and state comprehensive universities and (2) to also reflect the College of Business Administration s mission and goals. Self Study: Curriculum The curriculum is basically typical of MBA programs throughout AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited schools, but has some distinctive features. These include an inter-department team teaching approach in some courses, the ability to supplement the on-campus program with on-line courses offered by the UW MBA Consortium, and a one-credit capstone case-study course required at the end of the program of study. The curriculum is intended as general preparation for managerial careers in business, education, and government, with evening classes to allow working professionals to attend part-time. A new core curriculum was introduced in fall of The overall approach of the new core is problembased and challenges students to integrate business knowledge across functional disciplines. The intent is for the students to develop the ability to think critically while learning new/advanced managerial skills and techniques. The overall curriculum has a foundation phase and a graduate phase. The foundation phase is mainly directed at non-business degree students who did not take these basic business courses as undergraduates. The foundation phase contains 35 on-campus undergraduate credits; however, all but two of the classes can be taken on-line through the UW MBA Consortium (15 credits, graduate level). The graduate phase is at minimum 30 credits, with a core curriculum of 21 credits, including the aforementioned capstone course, and 9 elective credits. Completion of a master s thesis, independent study or research project is optional. Full-time students generally complete the MBA within a year, while part-time students generally need three - five years. Self Study: Assessment of Student Learning & Degree of Program Success The College of Business Administration established an Assurance of Learning Task Force in fall of 2009, which led to the development of overarching CBA student learning outcomes and a framework for the assessment throughout the college. This strong culture of assessment in also evident in the graduate MBA program. There were seven MBA student learning outcomes (SLOs) initially identified by the college, that have been reviewed and ratified by the CBA Graduate Committee, which has assessment oversight for the MBA program. These SLOs have been mapped to the core curriculum courses. As part of the new core, a required capstone class was added that includes a program assessment component. In this course, each student is assigned one of twelve case studies that requires them to integrate aspects of all 7 SLOs in their solution. There is also an accompanying indirect assessment that asks them to reflect on the usefulness of their curriculum in completing the different components of the case study and a comprehensive assessment survey that asks them to self assess their level of improvement due to the curriculum. The assessment process is clearly laid out, including rubrics and benchmarks. Results from the 2009 and 2011 assessment were included. The direct measure results for the capstone case study showed that most of the SLOs met the 80% benchmark. The indirect measure

3 tool appeared flawed. The suggestion has been made to improve the indirect assessment tool by separating this reflection assignment from the actual case study, making the indirect tool better tailored to the SLOs, and making the instructions clearer as to what the student is assessing. The CBA Graduate Committee felt the major area of concern was the SLO relating to interpersonal behavior since it was low in both direct and indirect results. They are looking to incorporate additional leadership training and have increased the use of guest speakers to speak on behavioral and leadership topics. Additionally professors have incorporated more organizational behavior topics in BUS 731, Decision Framing and Decision Making in Complex Environments II. The other indirect measure, the comprehensive self-assessment survey, generally had measures showing improvement due to the curriculum. The survey, however, has the students assess not only their present levels in various areas, but also the level that they were at prior to starting the MBA. Assessing both of these on the same tool could provide a level of improvement that may be an under- or over-estimate depending on how well the students can remember/assess their pre-levels at the end of the program. Again the indirect tool appears flawed. One proposal from the faculty team assessment report (that was to be implemented in Fall 2013) is that a separate, but identical, pretest survey be administered in a core course taken the first semester instead of as part of the capstone course in order to correct this situation. The on-line courses are assessed by UW-Eau Claire, which manages the UW MBA Consortium. This does not specifically address the UWL MBA SLOs, but rather uses Quality Matters (QM), a nationally recognized program that certifies quality of on-line courses. Self Study: Previous Academic Program Review and New Program Initiatives The previous APR review was for the entire CBA, but one of the concerns that specifically addressed the MBA program was that the duties of the program directorship were handled by an Associate Dean. A new position, Director of MBA and International Programs, was created and filled in An additional concern was that the program needed a well-defined assessment process. The CBA, as a whole, focused on developing a culture of assessment called assurance of learning, and the MBA program has worked on addressing assessment of their program as part of this movement. A planned new program initiative is the development of a proposal recommending the offering of different emphases within the program to increase program competitiveness, better meet the needs of 21 st century employers, and attract more students. Additionally, although the CBA Graduate Committee regularly reviews curriculum objectives and assessment data, they were scheduled for a wholesale review of the curriculum in since it has been 10 years since the new core curriculum was introduced. Assessment data from the last two biennial reports will be used as part of this process, as will an EBI MBA Alumni survey launched in the summer of 2013 to collect additional feedback from the alumni. And finally, they plan to re-examine involvement of support services, and internship or employment opportunities provided to students. Self Study: Personnel As of March 2013, there were 39 full-time CBA faculty that had graduate faculty status and so are eligible to teach MBA level courses. Some of the core courses are team taught by new and senior

4 faculty, to help introduce the new faculty to the curriculum and to prepare for the transition when the senior faculty retire. This has also brought some changes to the courses as the new faculty have introduced changes to content delivery, text books, technological and pedagogical innovations. Self Study: Support for Achieving Academic Program Goals (Resources) The MBA program has a small supplies and equipment budget. Additionally, the program has some collaborative agreements with international schools and, as a member of UW MBA Consortium, CBA is required to provide some of the on-line courses. Both of these arrangements provide revenue for UW-L. A portion of this income is returned to the MBA program, which provides a small budget for things such as recruitment. External Reviewer Recommendations APR s Comments on External Reviewer (if applicable) The Accreditation Agency report addressed the entire CBA and commended the college on a variety of strengths and effective practices and extended the accreditation another five years. They did suggest that the college continue to work to enhance the quality and quantity of intellectual contributions from faculty, and since over half of the faculty have graduate status, this suggestion would apply to the MBA program. The report also noted the planned review of the MBA curriculum and directed that they act on direct and indirect measures of assessment to define a graduate program that is relevant to the needs of the College s various stakeholders. This a recommendation with which the APR committee concurs. Department s response to the Reviewer Recommendations APR s Comments on the Department s Response (if applicable) Since the report was for the college as a whole, the Dean responded to the Accreditation Report rather than the MBA program director. In his letter, the Dean discussed the need for the MBA curriculum revision, but also noted that he felt the assessment program needs to be improved as well, since it is not as refined and systematic as the undergraduate assessment program. Dean s Letter APR s Comments on Dean s Letter (if applicable) The Dean s letter noted that the MBA was the only graduate degree offered by the college and is a college-wide program rather than affiliated with one department. The Dean also noted the dip in enrollment concurrent with the national decrease, however countered with the facts that there are more full-time students (largely international students), and also the number of degrees awarded in the three years since fall 2009 are up 60% compared to the number awarded in the previous three years ( ), in part due to the low drop-out rate. The Dean mentioned they do intend to explore two policy changes regarding admission to enhance enrollment. These would involve more flexibility in admissions test standards and in tuition rates for non-resident students, including international students.

5 APR s Recommendations (must be completed) Recommendations: 1. Continue to improve and refine the assessment program. Make use of the resources of the Assurance of Learning Task Force, perhaps by increasing their responsibilities to cover graduate as well as undergraduate assessment. 2. The student demographics within the MBA program have undergone a major change since its inception. This should be one of the considerations during the upcoming curriculum review and revision. Furthermore, as suggested by the accreditation review, the curriculum revision should ensure that it is relevant to the needs of the College and the various stakeholders. 3. Monitor enrollment numbers and consider ways to increase applications should the decrease in enrollment continue. 4. The program, in conjunction with the College and the Provost, should continue to negotiate for better distribution of the revenue stream the program generates. This money could be used to enhance the program and increase the competitiveness of the UW-L MBA program in recruitment and retention of quality students. X No serious areas to address review in next regularly scheduled cycle Some areas to address review in next regularly scheduled cycle Some areas to address department should submit short report on progress to Faculty Senate/Provost s Office in 3 years * APR s report to faculty senate will consist of this completed form in electronic form.

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