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All-College Meeting, August 2014 - Gary Kesler, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach


·     Graduate:  Numbers have been relatively stable since 2006, averaging approximately 226 students. Some programs are working to grow enrollments, some to increase applicant pool and selectivity (# offers/paid accepts).

·     Undergraduate:  As you’ll see shortly, our total undergraduate enrollment has been trending downward for the last several years.  The good news is that paid accepts are up this year (263) based on more offers.  Yield is down compared to the previous year by a couple of points.  This confirms that it’s an increasingly competitive environment out there for students who seek our majors.  We’ll be working where we can to increase offers, and on converting those offers we do make to paid accepts.  We’ll also be looking at any issues that arise related to student retention.

·     At this time, graduate and undergraduate enrollment combined, including registered, scheduled and expected students, we have around 1,500 students coming this fall, representing 42 states and 36 countries.


General Education

·     A “new beginning” - Timeline for implementation has been extended to allow more discussion around challenges and objectives.

·     The task force is currently exploring three models, each of which aims to provide some flexibility in how students fulfill the 45-credit requirement.  One option emphasizes “modern competencies” (including scientific and environmental literacy, ethics, and conflict resolution), another is about promoting integration (meaning selecting from courses that fulfill multiple knowledge domains), and the third allows for a focus area.

·     Conversations will resume this year. Look for a college town hall meeting in late September/early October.

Enrollments and General Education

Graduate Student Support

·     We are expecting to receive more direction from the Graduate School about increasing levels of support for graduate assistants to provide a “living stipend.”  The correspondence this summer from the Graduate School does not indicate if this applies to all assistantships or just those at the doctoral level.  We’ll be looking to receive clarity on this.  We’re told that a "living stipend," by the way, equates roughly to a half-time, grade 13 appointment, which is well above many of the assistantships we provide in this college.


Curricular Initiatives

·     Arts Entrepreneurship (with new leadership working toward a certificate program and/or an A&A cluster as part of the existing, intercollege ENTI minor).

·     Digital Media Design (new intercollege online program offered via the World Campus) with the School of Visual Arts leading the conversation with IST and Communications.



·     Restoring funding for the Governor’s School for the Arts.  I’ll be tracking progress on this with the Educational Policy and Learning Center in Harrisburg.  Three schools have been reinstated to date: Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, Engineering Technology at Lehigh, and Ag Sciences here at Penn State.  Unofficial indications from the PA Dept. of Education are that the School of Arts will be next. If you have any experience with the previous generation of the school, I would be very interested in speaking with you.


Graduate Student Support, Curricular Initiatives, and Outreach

Snap Shots from Recent Surveys of Students and Alumni


And finally, as a way of saying thank you for all you do on behalf of our students and providing you with some idea of how that effort pays off, I’ll leave you with some findings from the 2013 SNAAP survey and the most recent Penn State Student Experience Survey.


The Strategic National Arts Alliance Project Report (SNAAP) indicates…


·     that over 90 percent of A&A alumni rate their undergraduate experience at Penn State as good (41 percent) or excellent (50 percent).


·     82 percent developed skills at the level of some or very much with interpersonal relations and working collaboratively (compared to 78 percent at A&A peer schools).


·     71 percent developed leadership skills at the level of some or very much (compared to 66 percent at A&A peer schools).


According to the 2013-14 Penn State Student Experience Survey, the College of Arts and Architecture rated #2 (to the College of IST) in the quality of academic experience, which assesses student comfort with exploring new technologies, exposure through courses to varied perspectives, development of a global perspective on a variety of issues, and providing students with hands-on experience in their chosen field of study.

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project