Sunday, November 6, 2011

HUST Outright Lies to their Accrediting Body

"With regard to retention, the University’s effectiveness in retaining first-time students from first to second year is on par with other four-year institutions. Between fall 2007 and fall 2008 the overall headcount retention rate at HU for first-time students was 78%  compared to the national average as reported by ACT of 72% for BS/MS institutions."-Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Report of Self-Study 2008-09, pg 6-7.

Source: IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2009
HUST's actual retention rate in the Fall of 2008 for full-time students was 36% and 16% for part-time students. HUST has never had a retention rate of 78%. 

Certainly Mel "Do Nothing" Schiavelli was aware of or should have been aware of the actual retention rates, since the IPEDS Data Feedback Report from The National Centers for Education Statistics is sent directly to him. The Provost (Eric Darr) and Director of Institutional Compliance and Research (Keith "Useless" Green) had an obligation to know and had or should have had knowledge of the correct figures.

The goal of the HU self-study was to “examine comprehensively the programs, services, processes and resources of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology through its employees, students, and Board of Trustees in order to demonstrate that it meets or exceeds the standards set forth by the MSCHE in the Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education (2006).” -Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Report of Self-Study 2008-09 pg 2-1.

That's right, HUST used patently false information to convince their accrediting body (Middle States Commission on Higher Education) that they deserved accreditation.

Why does it matter? "In all its activities, whether internal or external, an institution should keep its promises, honor its contracts and commitments, and represent itself truthfully." - Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, Requirements of Affiliation and Standards for Accreditation 2009. Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Failure to meets these standards puts the university at a real risk of losing accreditation.


  1. Ok. Time permitting, I’ll try to plant some positive suggestions in your blog.

    When I was going through undergraduate school for the first time, I lived in the inner city of the city of Baltimore. My path to school would traverse the heart of the downtown (so the ride was much like a long trek on something like Market Street/Martin Luther King Blvd. that fronts the school.) Yet I rode my bicycle to and from school. I rode my bicycle in all seasons, i.e., including winter. I suggest HUST have a secure bike rack.

    Not every student’s and/or family’s budget can accommodate a vehicle. Further the less any such vehicle is operated, the less expensive is the operation of the vehicle. Yet more, parking costs are reduced.

    Additionally, the student gets exercise.

    How expensive could this be? Indeed (this is another person’s suggestion → ) why not put the bike rack in the parking garage?

  2. I would advocate for a four-credit hands-on lab-intensive course. While it could be a stand-alone course, I would suggest such a course be an option which might be taken in place of the ‘Junior Project.’ It would better prepare the students for the job market (I know!), enhance the performance of experimental science at the School, and would help avoid any difficulties being encountered in the orchestrations of Junior and/or Senior Projects.

    Perhaps this is currently the policy (?), but I would suggest the course be so difficult that, if the student earns a C, D or F, the student be permitted – encouraged – to repeat the course at no additional cost to the student.

  3. Remember “Independent Studies.” I am not aware of any currently in place, so perhaps they are gone? ( ←- How would I know? I was just a student.) But why in the world couldn’t the entire student body have been/be apprised that they were on offer? The scuttlebutt previously was that with four students an Independent Study could be transformed into a regular class! But … in practice … often or always … somehow, someway, only a small number of students managed to inform themselves of the availabilities of Independent Studies. Should I mention that arrangement alone was enough to cause a student to grit his/her teeth and … consider what I will generally characterize as “retention?” ←- Let me emphasize this … perhaps now the reader can imagine what this did for “retention” vis-à-vis the uninformed students?

    It would help students to know if something is ‘in the works’ i.e., have some notice as to upcoming opportunities so he/she could better plan. First of course: NOTICE. Second, in the works would be helpful.

    A BIG advantage of the School as it is currently configured is/are the faculty/student and staff/student ratios. Inevitably, friendships can emerge between faculty-students and staff-students. Without getting specific, it seems to me the policies should be very clear – and restrictive -- as to going out together for drinks/meals/parties, etc. Not only do you want the faculty (and, perhaps staff) to be ‘independent’/’unbiased’, but you want them to operate with the APPEARANCE of being biased.

  4. Junior and Senior Projects. A topic all too near and not-so-dear to my heart.

    Suffice it to say that early on I had some challenges arranging for these to come to fruition. I am not alone in questioning the operation of ‘current system.’ FIRST, might they be reduced to two-credit or even one-credit experiences? SECOND, while few people like to do such things (including me), as the system currently operates, I am afraid I would have to ask that the Faculty member document his/her hours (as well as the student). Repugnant? Yes. But human nature can be that as the Faculty member has to triage his/her obligations/commitments and the student can – metaphorically – be hung out to dry. Documentation would compel the Faculty member to facilitate the project well before half-way through the semester, or even as late as the last month of the semester.

  5. Candidly, after all of my … observations … about communication issues in the past, I was crestfallen to learn via rumor when the graduation ceremony was to be held. This is but one example of, yes, TOO MANY. When a Faculty or Staff member provides information of interest to all students to only a student (or handful of students), why doesn’t he/she think “every one would like to know this” and put the information out on Moodle? To beat a point to death – although this point needs to be beaten beyond death – that’s one of the beauties of the Internet: the ease of providing information to a large number of people.

    I’ll just mention here: SIGNIFICANT retention consideration.

  6. correction: the last sentence in a previous posting should end with the word "unbiased."

    " ... but you want them to operate with the APPEARANCE of being UNbiased."

  7. I would suggest considering making it a requirement that the Director of Student Services (henceforth, the “Position”) individually consult with every student one-half hour to an hour each semester and, of course, document what would appear to enhance the student’s academic success. That way the Position will -- or should -- be aware of every student’s educational objectives (which can change) and can be sensitive to every student’s needs.
    The Position can advise the student as to what resources the School currently has that might/would probably assist the student on his/her specific journey and the Position can be made aware of what cost-effective resources might be acquired to assist students. It would make the Position more accessible … to shy/private/reticent students as well as out-going students.
    The Position can thus be more alert to plan ahead and consult with its subordinates to acquire study aids, cultivate relevant mentorships and internships, organize events, etc. It would also improve the overall sociability at the School and generate more of a sense of ‘team effort ‘and inclusion to all the students. The Position would also be able to more easily and comfortably actively (i.e., proactively) acquire feedback.
    I also think students (and their parents) would appreciate the attention and effort and I expect it would improve subsequent placement.
    I posit the above [or, maybe a variation on the above ;) ] would be the single most significant enhancement engendering “retention.” [Next would be an ever-improving STEM education.]

    As a side point, for scheduling purposes I was put into a “’Stone” class with Technology students (whereas I was in the Biology arena) taught by a Technology teacher. It was a very positive experience to be put into a class where I could meet and get to know students who are studying a major other than my own.

    I also think it would be wise for senior management of all stripes to walk around all of the floors in the building more frequently.

  8. You drinking again Lou? GTFO!

  9. HU, you just don't deserve accreditation. If you lose it, I'll laugh long and hard. I'll cry for the students that wasted their money on worthless degrees though.