Component C : Understanding of and support for the mission pervade the organization.

The mission is central to planning, budgeting, and innovation at VCSU. Annual budget requests must align increases with the VCSU 2015 Strategic Plan or Division/Department goals. Responses to campus climate survey questions regarding strategic quality planning (which includes questions about mission, vision, and strategic planning) in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 (presented in Table 4.2), indicate that faculty and staff understand and approve the University’s focus.

Table 2:  Strategic Quality Planning

The pervasiveness of the mission can be clearly seen in the ability of the organization to respond to the flood emergency in Spring 2009. The “advance[ment] of quality learning…through technology and innovation” was apparent in the response of every office and academic area: VCSU was able to complete the spring semester online, without significant interruption of business and student services or any academic area except those requiring physical presence - sports, music, and theatre.

A review of all courses offered at VCSU in Spring 2011 indicates that 81% have an online presence (at minimum the syllabus posted in Blackboard), and 61% have an active, online grade center. This presence indicates the on-going commitment of faculty and students across campus to "technology and innovation" in the advancement of learning.

Beyond the classroom, but still in support of quality learning opportunities through technology and innovation, VCSU’s Informational Technology department is currently engaged in virtualization projects ("cloud computing") that will provide leadership in this area for the University System. In the next few years, this project will change the way offices on campus complete their work, increase security, and make access more convenient for students. Visionary leadership, innovation, and the use of technology - all in the service of advancing quality learning opportunities for students - are fundamental to the way people work at VCSU, from student services, to business operations, to the academic classroom.

Evaluation of Core Component 1c

Faculty and staff demonstrate an understanding of the University mission, and implementation of its tenets is clear from the behavior of faculty and staff during the stress of responding to closure of the physical campus in Spring 2009, when the successful uses of technology and innovation were evident throughout campus.

Strengths: A high level of commitment to technology and innovation in the advancement of learning is pervasive.

New Initiatives: The addition of an Apple computer option for faculty and select student groups in Fall 2011 (after 15 years with PCs) will provide opportunities for instructional advancement as faculty and students explore the use of these new options. In addition, VCSU’s leadership in the use of virtualization will benefit both students and offices on campus and other state entities that are considering its applications.

Challenges: Newer faculty may require more support to fully integrate laptops in their classrooms; the successful implementation of virtualization in the next two years will raise questions about the current process of providing laptops for students when access to needed software can be provided virtually.