Charges to the Working Groups

Each Working Group will be provided with the specific evaluation criteria to be used to determine whether the Standard has been met and the initial documents and data compiled in the Documentation Roadmap to inform their work. They will be asked to provide a brief discussion of the data and information reviewed by the group and an evidence-based analysis of how the University addresses the attributes and activities included in the evaluation criteria provided for the Standard and related Requirements of Affiliation. It will be emphasized that analyses should include an evaluation of the University’s strengths and challenges related to the criteria, progress or changes in this area since the last Self-Study, information about how the area is reviewed and assessed, as well as suggestions for ongoing improvement. In addition, each Working Group will determine the extent to which particular institutional strategic planning goals and priorities are being advanced and any obstacles to their full realization. A summary of the specific elements included in the charge to each Working Group is provided below.

In addition, there are several points that apply to all the Working Group charges. All Working Groups need to ensure that their analyses include all four major university locations/divisions, though each need not be addressed separately on every point unless significant differences exist. Each Group also should examine the status of our integration with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey ("UMDNJ") in relation to the functions and processes related to their Standard and charge. Finally, Working Group members should be cognizant of the assessment requirements embedded within every Standard. Each report will need to include information and documentation detailing the assessment of the Standard and how those periodic assessments inform institutional decision-making and change.

Working Group for Standard I – Mission and Goals

Standard I focuses on the institution’s mission and goals and the relationship between them. The Working Group needs to demonstrate that our mission is clearly defined, collaboratively developed, and guides decision-making related to institutional planning, resource allocation, curricular development, student learning, scholarly inquiry and creative activity. The mission must define the institution’s purpose, the students it serves, and its intended accomplishments. Institutional goals must be tied to the mission, and must be realistic, publicized, widely known, and periodically assessed. Demonstrating how Rutgers fulfills its mission and develops and attains its goals is the central thrust of this Standard. This Working Group has responsibility for analyzing at the broadest level Rutgers' progress toward achieving the primary goal enumerated in the February 2014 Strategic Plan, namely to be recognized as among the nation’s leading public universities in research, teaching and service. This is directly related to Rutgers' strategic planning priority to enhance our public prominence by addressing institutional weaknesses and better communicating University strengths. The Group should also assess and examine our mission and goals in the context of our progress toward full integration of UMDNJ.

The Working Group for Standard I is further charged with demonstrating that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 7 on institutional mission and goals, and Requirement of Affiliation 10 on educational planning and student learning.  

The work of this group may overlap with that being undertaken by other working groups, particularly the Working Group for Standard VI – Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement and the Working Group for Standard VII – Governance, Leadership and Administration. Consultation and coordination with these Working Groups are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard II –Ethics and Integrity

Standard II addresses institutional climate and the extent to which the University has policies and practices that result in fair and equitable treatment of its constituents, and an environment that fosters civility and respect. The Working Group must review and assess whether the University represents itself honestly in its internal and external communications, and fulfills its contracts and commitments. This standard covers a wide range of topics including: commitment to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and intellectual property rights; documented and disseminated grievance policies; avoidance of conflict of interest; fair hiring and promotion practices; truthfulness in public relations and recruiting materials; appropriate financial aid services and programs; institutional compliance with federal, state, and Commission policies and regulations; and periodic assessment of ethics and integrity policies, processes, practices.

In addressing the multiple components of Standard II, this Working Group should address University progress in achieving the strategic planning priority to identify opportunities and risks associated with external partnerships, technology-driven change, and the organization of our academic structures. Aspects of the priority to enhance our public prominence, specifically those initiatives associated with risk management and communication and marketing opportunities fall within the purview of this Working Group. The Group must also analyze and evaluate foundational elements related to ensuring a diverse and inclusive community and our commitment to academic freedom. It will be extremely important for this group to consider the extent to which its multiple topics and processes have become fully integrated since the 2013 restructuring, and where additional integration efforts are still needed.

The work of this Group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Group for Standard VII – Governance, Leadership and Administration. Consultation and coordination with this Working Group are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard III – Design/Delivery of the Student Learning Experience

Standard III looks at the rigor and coherence of all of our academic programs, both undergraduate and graduate, regardless of instructional modality, and the extent to which they provide a comprehensive student learning experience. It encompasses continuing education, off-campus programs, distance learning, and international programs and exchanges; both credit-bearing and non-credit programs are included. It examines the design and delivery of these programs, and how they are described in official publications and on our website. Further, it is to address the sufficiency of our learning opportunities, particularly undergraduate general education, and how we ensure that graduate and professional education programs provide opportunities for research, scholarship and independent thinking. This Working Group examines our processes for program review and approval and for academic program assessment, including how the results of those evaluations are used to make curricular or instructional improvements.

The areas included in Standard III are closely tied to the learning components of our University Strategic Plan priority to transform the student experience, and our progress in this regard should be explicitly addressed by this Group. This should include an evaluation of our strategic planning initiatives to create personalized learning environments, such as living and learning communities, the Honors College and school-based honors programs, interdisciplinary learning environments, and efforts to encourage greater direct student participation in research and scholarship. Efforts to strengthen the core science and humanities disciplines, one of the strategic planning foundational elements, will also have direct relevance to student learning and should be included in the analysis.  

The Working Group for Standard III is further charged with helping to demonstrate that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 8 on the systematic evaluation of programs, Requirement of Affiliation 9 on student learning programs, Requirement of Affiliation 10 on educational planning and student achievement, and Requirement of Affiliation 15 on the faculty’s responsibility for educational programs.

The work of this Group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Groups for Standard IV – Support of the Student Experience and Standard V – Educational Effectiveness and Assessment. Consultation and coordination with these Working Groups are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard IV – Support of the Student Experience

Standard IV addresses the University’s commitment to providing a coherent and effective student support system, from recruitment and admission through graduation, which enhances the educational experience and contributes to student success.  A wide range of topics are included as criteria for this Standard:  our student life services and extracurricular activities, including athletics; our admissions and retention processes; our orientation programs and advisement and counseling programs; our provision of accurate and comprehensive information on financial aid; our documentation of student achievement at both the undergraduate and graduate level; the appropriate maintenance of student records; and the processes of review and assessment of our student support services across all educational locations, levels and programs.

Our University priority to transform the student experience is directly tied to meeting the requirements of this Standard.  Strategic planning initiatives and other efforts to improve academic and student life support services and systems should be examined and evaluated in this report. In addition, the strategic foundational element of facilitating an environment characterized by administrative responsiveness and student service corresponds directly to the issues being addressed by this Working Group. Aspects of the priority to enhance our public prominence, in particular initiatives associated with athletics, should be addressed by this Group.

The Working Group for Standard IV is further charged with helping to demonstrate that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 8 on the systematic evaluation of programs, and Requirement of Affiliation 10 on educational planning and student achievement.

The work of this Group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Groups for Standard III – Design/Delivery of the Student Learning Experience and Standard V – Educational Effectiveness and Assessment. Consultation and coordination with these Working Groups are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard V – Educational Effectiveness and Assessment

Standard V considers and demonstrates the institution’s commitment to educational assessment. It looks at student learning goals associated with academic courses, programs and schools, the systemic assessment of student learning and achievement across all educational programs, and the use of assessment results to improve educational effectiveness and student success. It should provide evidence of outcomes-based improvements in pedagogy and curriculum implemented in response to assessment findings. The Working Group for this Standard must further demonstrate periodic evaluation of the assessment process itself.

Educational effectiveness and assessment standards are linked directly to strategic planning priorities to envision the University of the future by strengthening and emphasizing the major disciplinary areas that are key to Rutgers’ future growth and academic reputation as well as by strengthening core science and humanities disciplines. The assessment processes’ focus on outcomes also contribute directly to our strategic planning theme of providing for the education of future citizens and effective leaders for a changing world. It will be important for this group to demonstrate the extent to which RBHS units have become integrated in our overall assessment processes.

The Working Group for Standard V is further charged with helping to demonstrate that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 8 on the systematic evaluation of programs, Requirement of Affiliation 9 on student learning programs, and Requirement of Affiliation 10 on educational planning and student achievement.

The work of this group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Groups for Standard III – Design/Delivery of the Student Learning Experience and Standard IV – Support of the Student Experience. Consultation and coordination with these Working Groups are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard VI – Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement

Standard VI addresses the alignment of our strategic planning efforts, our resource allocation processes, our organizational structures, and our institutional assessment methods. This Working Group needs to demonstrate the adequacy of both our fiscal and human resources and our physical and technical infrastructure. It needs to show that our organizational structure provides clear lines of responsibility and accountability.

It should provide a description and analysis of our recently implemented budget model, based on the principles of Responsibility Center Management ("RCM"), and the process of accumulating data required for regular assessments of the implementation of RCM, including full reviews every 4-5 years. Further, it must include a review of the assessment methods and metrics by which we evaluate our programs and services and measure our institutional progress, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and demonstrate how our assessments guide institutional improvement and allow us to respond to opportunities and challenges in a timely fashion. This Working Group is charged with reviewing and assessing the strategic planning process itself, with particular emphasis on organizational and academic structures and technological advances (envisioning the University of the future). It encompasses facilities master planning (enhancing our public prominence) and our priority to build faculty excellence in part through infrastructure improvements to support teaching, research and related educational activities. It analyzes our progress in providing an effective and efficient infrastructure and staff, contributing to administrative responsiveness. It must also examine our efforts to identify new sources of revenue and to align the use of resources with strategic goals.

The Working Group for Standard VI is further charged with helping to demonstrate that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 8 on the systematic evaluation of programs, Requirement of Affiliation 10 on educational planning and student achievement and Requirement 11 on financial resources and responsible fiscal management.

The work of this Group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Group for Standard I – Mission and Goals. Consultation and coordination with this Working Group are strongly encouraged.

Working Group for Standard VII – Governance, Leadership and Administration

Standard VII addresses the University’s overall governance structure and administrative organization, the role and responsibilities of the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, and as a public institution, its relationship with the State of New Jersey. The Working Group should provide evidence of the appropriate credentials, experience and authority of the Chief Executive Officer to direct the institution effectively and an administrative staff of an adequate size and with appropriate expertise to lead the institution in fulfilling its mission and to perform their functional roles. It should describe institutional mechanisms for shared governance and accountability, including periodic assessment of the effectiveness of institutional governance, leaders and administrators.

Institutional priorities directly related to the analysis to be conducted by this Working Group include strategic planning foundational elements focused on maintaining our commitment to shared governance, academic freedom, and effective leadership and communication and on fostering efficient and effective administrative infrastructures, processes, and staff. The Group should also consider the extent to which administrative functions have become fully integrated since the 2013 restructuring and where additional integration efforts are needed.

The Working Group for Standard VII is further charged with helping to demonstrate that Rutgers fully meets Requirement of Affiliation 12 on the integrity of the governance structure and Requirement of Affiliation 13 on governing board conflicts of interest.

The work of this group may overlap with that being undertaken by other Working Groups, particularly the Working Group for Standard I – Mission and Goals and Working Group for Standard II – Ethics and Integrity. Consultation and coordination with these Working Groups are strongly encouraged.