Planning and Review Committee 2000-01 Program reviewed: Program Director:

Planning and Review Committee 2000-01
Program reviewed:
B.S. in General Business Administration
Program Director:
Hugh Williamson
PRC Consultants:
Annette Taylor and Robert Horan
Date of Review:
January 2001
Purpose of Review:
The review was conducted to assess the quality of the General
Business Administration degree program as part of the
ongoing seven-year review cycle of every UW-Stout program.
Committee Findings:
The committee recommends continuation of this program,
however the program director needs to submit a status report in
2002-03 to address the concerns which were expressed in the
recommendation section of this report.
The program in General Business Administration (GBA) prepares students for careers in
business and industry. The program accomplishes this by integrating foundational
coursework in business with study in one of seventeen technical areas and a two-month
practicum. The education provided by this program is distinctive in the state of
Wisconsin by virtue of the array of technical specialties offered, by the required
practicum, and by the placement rate of its graduates. The foundation work is
accomplished through courses in Professional Preparation (8-9 credits) and Professional
Studies; the latter consists of a Business Core (28 credits) and a Professional Core (33
credits). The technical training is accomplished through the Technical Component (10
credits), and the practicum through the Experiential Learning Experience (2 credits). In
addition, GBA students complete university requirements in General Education (42
credits) and ethnic studies.
The Committee recommends continuation of the program in General Business
Further recommendations include: A progress report concerning measures taken to
control enrollment and those taken to ensure the quality of academic advising. To be
submitted to the PRC in 2002-03.
Process followed for Current Review.
Using guidelines developed by the PRC, information regarding the program in General
Business Administration was gathered from the program director, instructors, students,
advisory committee members, employers, and university data on enrollment, program
cost, and placement. The consultants met with the program director and the program
director met with the PRC on January 19 to present a summary of his report and to
respond to concerns. The student survey includes 122 respondents; the advisory
committee survey includes six respondents, as do the key instructor outside the
department and the key instructor inside the department surveys.
Previous Review.
The previous review of the program in General Business Administration was conducted
in AY 1993-4. Tony Badenoch and Dick Tyson served as consultants. That report
included three recommendations: 1) the new advising system of direct involvement of
program instructors in advising be closely monitored and a follow-up study be conducted
and reported on to the PRC in Spring 1996; 2) that possible duplication between the
courses in Organizational Leadership, Principles of Management, and Human Resources
Management be assessed, and if duplication is found to be significant, that remedies be
found, and 3) that the program director continue to monitor availability of business
course offerings in relation to student need.
Response to previous recommendations: A status report on advising in the GBA program
issued in spring 1996 stated that the problems had been resolved.
Program Review.
A. Program Strengths.
1. Faculty. All data point to many knowledgeable faculty members who have involved
themselves with students in and out of the classroom. Everyone’s first words about
the strengths of the program describe the people who teach and mentor students.
2. Program structure, especially the technical components, offers students a breadth of
courses and flexibility in program planning. The experiential learning experience
appears to provide students with opportunities to apply what they learn in the
classroom, instruct them about the operation of actual businesses, and connect them
to Stout’s “hands on” tradition.
3. Cost. Per credit costs during 1999 were $81.96, a 3% increase over 1998. The
university average cost per undergraduate credit in 1999 was $96.08 and the average
increase over 1998 was 10%. The GBA program—our largest undergraduate
program--has the second lowest cost of Stout programs. GBA degree recipients in
1997-98 and 1998-99 attempted fewer credits than the university average; the 199697 class attempted four more credits than the university average.
4. Placement. The 1998-99 placement rate was 96%. During the period 1994-99, GBA
graduates attained placement at a slightly lower rate than the university average,
although its lowest rate was 94.1% in 1997-98.
B. Issues of concern.
1. Enrollment/program size. Since the previous review the GBA program has grown
from 800 to approximately 1100 students. In fact, the program has grown to its
present size from the 888 students reported in 1999—a 25% increase. This dramatic
increase in enrollment appears to have strained resources and threatened the quality
of education.
2. Teaching and advising. Many students expressed their displeasure with some
teachers and advisors.
3. Computer classes. Students indicated a need for more computer classes and more
computer-based courses, including an earlier introduction to computers in the
classroom and an introduction that addressed the needs of the uninitiated.
4. Strained resources. The program director, advisory board, and key instructors all
indicate that resources are strained. Key instructors report the need for additional
faculty; the program director identifies a position in MIS as the most important need.
The GBA program office help consists of one graduate assistant (10 hours/week),
assorted undergraduate work study student workers, and the shared (with 13
programs) use of a full time LTE program assistant.
Recommendations for the Program Director.
1. The combination of the GBA program’s large size and startling growth is the most
pressing concern. If left unchecked, the growth of this program could cause it to lose
what its students value most. We recommend that the program director direct an
effort to ascertain the number of students to whom we can reliably offer a quality
education—a balance of student enrollment and available resources. Further, we
recommend that the program director, in conjunction with the Admissions Office and
the dean, institute measures to control enrollment at that appropriate size—and that
these measures balance Stout’s tradition of open access with our mission to provide a
quality education.
2. As the program director notes, the digital campus will pose a number of challenges.
It should also help those students who felt they were not adequately prepared for
digitized workplaces. We recommend that the program director ascertain that the
increasing use of computers includes foundational work for those students who need
Recommendation for Program Director and Department Chair.
1. The number of student complaints about teaching and advising is a concern.
Controlling enrollment at an appropriate size should help—when it is accomplished.
As some students correctly observed, advising is the arena in which personal and the
professional domains are joined. Perhaps because some GBA teachers are especially
effective at advising, students were harsh towards those who were not. We
recommend that the program director monitor the effectiveness of advising.
We recommend that the program director submit a progress report on the two issues
above to the PRC in 2002-03.
Recommendation for the Dean.
1. The committee recommends that the dean continue to evaluate resources allocated to
the GBA program and provide additional resources as needed. Of particular concern
are the program’s need for an additional teacher of MIS and the remarkably lean
GBA program office staff.
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