Federal Requirement 4.2The institution's curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded.
_X_ Compliance ___ Non-Compliance
NarrativeMcNeese State University is in compliance with Federal Requirement 4.2.
McNeese State University maintains a curriculum that is directly related and appropriate to its mission and goals, core values, and appropriate to the degrees awarded.
As stated in the mission, McNeese State University is primarily a teaching institution whose mission is successful education of the undergraduate students and services to the employers and communities in its region. Fundamental to that mission is the offering of "an array of liberal arts programs at the baccalaureate level-arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences-appropriate to a teaching institution with a predominantly undergraduate student body." The University's mission also is to provide "Master's programs primarily related to education, engineering, arts and sciences, nursing, and business" and "custom academic programs and professional certifications integrated with area business and industry." Accordingly, a small number of graduate degree programs and certificate programs are offered to students, and the majority of major programs of study leading to degrees are concentrated in bachelor degree programs.
Until August 6, 2012, when the University adopted its current Mission Statement, McNeese's mission had included the offering of Associate degrees (previous mission statement). In accordance with the Grad Act of 2010, which requires all associate degree programs at 4-year institutions be eliminated by 2014 (with approved exceptions), McNeese is in the process of reducing its number of associate degrees, which currently stands at five (2 AS, 1 AA, 1 AGS, and 1 ASN) although notice of termination and teach out for some of these programs has either already been presented to SACSCOC or is pending, after Board of Regents approval.
Central to the University's undergraduate programs is the required core curriculum. The core represents the general education foundation upon which all associate and baccalaureate degree programs are constructed and is typical of freshman and sophomore year courses available to students in other institutions within the University of Louisiana Systems as well as in public and private institutions throughout Louisiana and the nation. The core identifies the range of general education courses and specifies learning competencies associated with its completion. Through the current academic year, McNeese programs have adhered to the core curriculum as described in the 2012-2013 Academic Catalog. For Associate degrees, the core requires 28 hours distributed across English (composition), Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Social/Behavioral Sciences, and Fine Arts with additional exposure to computer literacy and oral communication. Bachelor's degrees include coursework in all these area including international education for a total of 40 hours. All undergraduate programs require students to complete a freshman experience course (FFND 101).
The current curriculum, designed to adhere to Louisiana Board of Regents policy, has been revised for the upcoming academic year in response to changes to BOR Policy, and Curricular Detail that eliminated certain specific content requirements, such as computer literacy, international education, and communications, as well as the specific learning competencies that had been required of all institutions. These changes came in late April 2012 by the Board of Regents. For the 2012-2013 academic year, McNeese continued with the previous Regents' requirements, but has adopted a revised curriculum and competencies for the upcoming academic year. The new curriculum requires the same content and credit hours but narrows the number of courses that can be taken for general education; additionally, it reduces the number of learning competencies from 13 to 6, skill-based competencies associated with the disciplinary areas that continue the assessment system already in place.
Building on upon the educational foundation provided by the Core Requirements, associate and bachelor degree programs are available in unique fields of study, and each of these consists of course offerings developed by the faculty in order to provide appropriate exposure to and understanding of the respective subject areas. These degree programs, constructed around required and elective course offerings and sequences, are developed and administered by the faculty under the statutory oversight of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents with the intended outcome of providing students with essential knowledge and competencies relative to their fields of study.
Successful EducationIn keeping with the institution's mission of providing "successful education," fourteen academic colleges, departments, or degree programs have obtained accreditation or approval for programs within their disciplines (2012-13 Catalog Accreditation), and an additional thirteen agencies have approved or certified degree programs in a variety of academic fields. The University continually participates in periodic review of academic programs by external accrediting bodies and internal review processes for programs without accrediting bodies.
General and basic studies, business, education, engineering and technology, graduate school, liberal arts, nursing, and science comprise the divisions of study within the University. Each of these divisions, except business, education, general and basic studies, and graduate school, offer myriad subjects of study that can be packaged together toward associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs according to criteria set forth by the faculty under management of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and oversight by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Degree offerings in business and education are limited to baccalaureate and graduate fields of study. Degree offerings in general and basic studies are limited to associate and baccalaureate fields of study. Degree offerings through the graduate school are limited to the master's degree and are tied to the faculty and programs of the appropriate college within the University. In addition to degrees, certificates are awarded through education, engineering, nursing, and liberal arts (2012-13 Catalog Program Listings).
The University distinguishes itself as an academic institution through the success of its students. Pass rates on professional examinations such as clinical laboratory science, nursing, and radiologic sciences indicate the University's preparation of students is rigorous and competitive. These rates are reported annually as part of McNeese's GRAD Act report, specifically in section 1di.
The University prioritizes it resources first in support of teaching, learning, and instructional support. As demonstrated in operating budget allocations for the past 5 years, the primary expenditure of the University is in direct support of its educational programs, library and learning support functions (5-yr Expenditures by Function).
University-community AlliancesThe University's geographical location and the educational needs of the southwest Louisiana region also influence the manner in which the University's mission to serve "employers in the region, both public and private, school districts, health care providers, local governments, and private businesses" and "economic development interests and regional entrepreneurs" is expressed in its curricular offerings and degrees offered. For example, Calcasieu Parish Schools, headquartered in the University's home city of Lake Charles, constitutes the 6th largest public school system in the state and enrolls over 32,261. When enrollment data from the parishes immediately surrounding Calcasieu are combined with the local school enrollment, more than 68,946 children are enrolled in public K-12 schools within a fifty mile radius of the McNeese State University campus (see Louisianas 10 Largest Districts and Student Enrollment In Public Schools). The ever increasing demand for teachers, school counselors, educational technologists, campus principals and central office administrators in these school districts and beyond is an important factor in the curricular options offered through the University's College of Education as it seeks to build University-community linkages.
The local petrochemical and manufacturing industries illustrate another significant opportunity and responsibility for the University to fulfill its mission-related objective of service by supporting economic development in the region. More than twenty major local industries, including Boise-Cascade, Citco, ConocoPhillips, Dupont, and PPG participate in the Lake Area Industries/McNeese Engineering Partnership (LAI/MEP), established in 1990, whereby technology is transferred to the local industries by seminars and workshops held on campus and on industry sites (LAI/MEP). In 2010, LAI/MEP was placed under the auspices of a newly created Institute for Industry-Education Collaboration (IIEC) which provides a framework for expanding and strengthening University-industry collaborations that benefit not only local industries and the local economy but also McNeese students (IIEC).
Also in 2010, McNeese State University formally entered into a partnership with the City of Lake Charles, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to establish the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center. The SEED Center, a 50,000 square foot facility nearing completion on the McNeese campus, will serve as a business incubator to support and encourage entrepreneurship and small business development in the 5-parish area while providing training opportunities for McNeese student interns in diverse majors such as accounting, marketing, management, finance, agricultural science, and engineering. The center will provide space for direct hands-on training for business start-ups (classrooms and conference rooms). Student interns will benefit from the training opportunities. Students will gain real time experience and knowledge about business plans, marketing, finances, accounting, operations, etc. Students enrolled will also benefit from SEED Center education initiatives designed for the business incubators: accounting, marketing, management, finance, agriculture, engineering, general studies and others.
The University's College of Nursing and College of Science provide the only University-affiliated programs in health-care related fields (nursing, clinical laboratory science, and radiological sciences) within sixty miles in any direction for a metropolitan region populated by over 185,000 in Calcasieu Parish alone plus an additional 100,000 persons residing collectively in parishes immediately surrounding Calcasieu (regional population data). The University's extensive number of endowed professorships and chairs, underwritten by philanthropic and business interests throughout the region, conforms the value placed on the University and its academic programs by the University's local and extended community (Endowed Professorships and Chairs in 2012-13 catalog).