North Central Self Study
Chapter 7: Criterion 5
UNK demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships
Processes Ensuring Alignment with These Standards
One of the key steps in any system of self-regulation and accountability is to publish - and communicate about - norms, expectations, principles, objectives, and operational results. Many of the systematic modes of communication on these matters have been addressed in the first segment of this chapter and in earlier parts of the self-study report.
Mission statements, associated developmental plans, and fundamental operating rules are public records and are regularly discussed and examined within and outside of campus councils. Institutional marketing and student recruitment materials explain UNK's essential characteristics and developmental status to a variety of publics. Established campus communications mechanisms apprise students, faculty and staff of matters in which they have interest. Every day, routine teaching, advising, and mentoring contacts on campus apply governing principles to particular situations. Moreover, the public record about UNK is refreshed daily through:
- our website, at which the standard array of university publications is available. It also includes catalogs, the Factbook, and descriptive materials on all campus offices and activities
- press releases informing media about UNK programs, notably events, and accomplishments
- frequent structured interactions with community groups (e.g., the Chancellor's (and Deans') Advisory Council and program of visits to communities/civic organizations).
Another key part of self-regulation is institutionalized introspection: systematic assessment and adjustment of the alignment between principles and objectives, on the one hand, and programs/conduct on the other. UNK achieves this in a variety of ways.
Most fundamentally, UNK's objectives arise from our established consultation, planning, decision-making, and assessment processes. From these, we evaluate and redirect our programs. That is, these internal processes give form to UNK's enduring commitment to provide an excellent educational and development opportunity for students. In addition, it also creates an exemplary workplace for employees. Hence, these processes become all inclusive, involving administration, faculty, staff and students.
Similarly important are established communications mechanisms in which the main actors in the education process - instructors and students - collaborate in learning.
For some significant areas of interest, special policies are available to identify and address instances in which university, staff, or student activity may have fallen short of expectations. Important among these are the following:
- Employee grievance procedures establish the process that persons follow when they believe they have been unfairly or improperly treated in employment matters.
- Concerns about discrimination in employment matters or sexual harassment may be addressed in processes managed by the Director of Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity and the Affirmative Action Commission.
- Concerns about staff conduct are heard under procedures administered by the Professional Conduct Committee.
- Issues arising between students and faculty concerning grades are addressed in established college-based mechanisms.
- Issues concerning student conduct and discipline are examined under procedures outlined in the Student Handbook, for the general student body and for students who live in UNK residence halls.
- Issues concerning the use of human (IRB) or animal (IACUC) subjects in proposed research activity.
In addition, UNK strives to understand its students' views of its programs and procedures in order to evaluate and adjust its policies. Among the surveys used are:
- The Registrar administers an annual survey of all graduates. This provides new alumni/ae views concerning their experience on a wide range of UNK services.
- All UNK student-athletes complete an exit interview with our faculty athletic representative at the conclusion of their UNK careers.
- UNK's food service contractor systematically solicits student input.
- The Admissions Office surveys new student enrollees each summer to ascertain their views about recruitment, advising, and enrollment activities. Periodically, the Admissions Office also surveys the families of applicants who decided not to attend UNK, to determine why prospects chose to attend other institutions.
- Academic department program reviews include student and graduate input.
In addition, of course, the UNK Ombudsperson is available to any member of the UNK community who believes the campus has not responded adequately to individual needs/concerns. All of these formal mechanisms augment the usual, day-to-day informal processes in which individuals may question actions or request redress of specific issues.
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