2020 Special Visit Report

The Special Visit Report presents a focused inquiry that draws upon the work of faculty, student development staff, and the administration in their respective areas of expertise. Led by the Review Steering Committee, more than 60 employees served as contributors to the report. The essays represent our honest effort to describe the current realities in this season at Jessup, identify accomplishments, analyze weaknesses, and propose changes for the university to address in the future. Evidence to support our analyses is available through hyperlinks throughout the document. The final report was reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Board, the Executive Team, and the Academic Leadership Team in summer 2020.

A copy of the 2020 Special Visit Report, with live hyperlinks to evidence, is available here.

Highlights from the report of our progress in the seven recommendations:

  1. On-going assessment of the co-curricular programs
    • Four areas of academic support key to Jessup student success – the Nystrom Library, Athletics, Learning Commons, and Career & Life Planning – have designed assessment plans that demonstrate their support of the university’s academic mission.
    • Student Life, academic support, and athletics completed outcomes assessment in 2019-2020.
  2. The impact of WJU’s rapid growth and change on campus culture and morale
    • Increased participation at regularly scheduled all-employee meetings
    • Automated ticketing system for cross-functional support services
    • Best Christian Workplaces Institute Engagement Survey; ongoing focus groups
    • Collaborative strategic planning process
  3. Transparent and inclusive approaches to decision-making and policy- development
    • Shared governance policy draft to be shared with various constituencies in fall 2020
  4. The establishment and implementation of a student success committee and student retention plan
    • Retention Committee formally established in spring 2017
    • Acquisition of Retention Suite from TargetX to scale student success support efforts across campus
  5. Annual program assessment development and better connections between program review and strategic planning
    • Educational Effectiveness Committee restructured in 2017 to include faculty assessment coordinators from every division.
      • Modifications to annual report process
      • Faculty development in university- and program-level assessment
      • Examples of maturing program assessment: Theology & Leadership, Humanities and Social Sciences
    • Examination of Program Review process: Education, Visual & Performing Arts, Sciences
    • 3-year license agreement with Campus Labs platform for assessment
  6. Financial sustainability including updates on debt management and revenue sources.
    • Successfully refinanced approximately $69.3 million of existing long term debt
    • Continued to achieve financial stability and gained significant financial strength over the last three fiscal years
  7.  Strategic planning process that is more input and data-driven and grounded in effective communication with the campus community
    • Plan is regularly updated and reviewed; employee access to planning document
    • Investment in technology to provide operating efficiency and data to inform decision-making: TargetX, BKD, ESI, Smartsheets
    • Preparation for new comprehensive strategic plan for 2021-2023

Updates on our COVID-19 response and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion are included in the introduction.