Terms and Definitions

Adult learners are a diverse group – typically age 25 and older – with a wide range of educational and cultural backgrounds, adult responsibilities and job experiences. They usually study on a part-time basis, taking one or two courses a term while maintaining work and family responsibilities (Southern Regional Education Board, 2021).

Working to make a positive difference in the life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Additionally, civic engagement encompasses actions wherein individuals participate in activities of personal and public concern that are both individually life enriching and socially beneficial to the community.

Learning activities, programs and experiences that reinforce the institution’s mission and values and complement the formal curriculum. Examples: Study abroad, student-faculty research experiences, service learning, professional clubs or organization, athletics, honor societies, career services, etc. (Higher Learning Commission, 2021).

In community-based learning (CBL) students engage in a community experience. A core assumption of CBL is that all partners bring rich knowledge, skills, and other expertise to a problem, research question, or learning goal being addressed. Community-based learning extends beyond academic coursework and may include a field experience, practicum, internship, capstone, research project, clinical, co-op, or co-curricular activity. The experience may be a direct service/activity that takes place on site, or research or other off-site work that benefits the community partner. A community partner may include a for-profit business or industry, educational institution, health organization, nonprofit organization, government agency, professional association, and/or community group. Communities may be local, regional, state, national, or global.

Continuing education generally refers to any post-secondary learning or programs that adults pursue after formal education. This can vary from seminars or one-time classes to online courses and entire degree programs (Western Governors University, 2021).

Student has no previous higher education experience.

Global learning is the critical analysis of and engagement with complex, interdependent global systems, and their implications for people's lives and the earth's sustainability. (AAC&U, Global Learning VALUES Rubric, 2014)

High-impact learning helps educators develop high-quality learning experiences for all students. It addresses theories of learning and illustrates how to translate theory into practice. The experience is designed to help participants use effective strategies and pedagogies as the means to advance equity and make excellence inclusive. High Impact experiences include, First-Year Experiences, Common Intellectual Experiences, Learning Communities, Writing-Intensive Courses, Collaborative Assignments, and Projects, Undergraduate Research, Diversity/Global Learning, Service Learning, Community-Based Learning, Internships, Capstone Courses and Projects or similar activities. (ACC&U, Curricular Framework: 2015 Institute on High Impact Practices and Student Success)

"Integrative learning" represents many different behaviors that can range from the simple and commonplace to the complex and original. During college-level study, integrative learning can involve…

  • usefully blending knowledge and skills from different disciplinary areas, as in a learning community;
  • putting theory into practice, as in a student teaching semester or nursing clinical practice;
  • considering multiple perspectives to advance collaborative problem solving, as in a senior capstone project completed by a team of students from different majors;
  • adapting the skills learned in one situation to problems encountered in another, as when a business student conducts market research to help a community agency estimate the potential client load for a new branch office;
  • reflecting upon connections made over time among academic, cocurricular, and preprofessional experiences, as when a student writes reflective essays in a multiyear portfolio;
  • "Across-the-curriculum" integration of skills with learning in disciplinary or interdisciplinary settings, as when writing and quantitative skills are used in history or women's studies.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs provides a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most (kpi.org, 2021).

  • Tools used to understand and measure success towards achieving goals. They are not goals unto themselves.
  • Intended to be easily understood and directly connected to strategic goals
  • Meant to measure both efficiency and effectiveness.

An approach to undergraduate education that promotes integration of learning across the curriculum and co-curriculum, and between academic and experiential learning, in order to develop specific learning outcomes that are essential for work, citizenship, and life. (AAC&U, 2020)

A metric is the measure detailing the criteria by which a division or college will determine the extent to which it has achieved each objective. Each objective requires at least one metric.

“A mission statement is a concise explanation of the organization's reason for existence. It describes the organization's purpose and its overall intention. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders.” (shrm.org, n.d., para 2)

An objective is a statement of specific results to be achieved en route to the accomplishment of an outcome. Objectives generally include a time frame, a target of change, specific results to be achieved, and criteria for successful achievement. Objectives state results, not activities.

An educational process or program that develops individuals to acquire special competencies for professional practice (IGI Global, 2021).

Professional education is a formal specialized training about a particular profession in which learners are taught the central concepts, principles, and techniques, and how these are applied in real practice (IGI Global, 2021).

Retention rate is the percentage of a school’s first-time, first-year undergraduate students who continue at that school the next year. For example, a student who studies full-time in the fall semester and keeps on studying in the program in the next fall semester is counted in this rate (U.S. Department of Education, 2021).

Strategies or actions spell out specific activities a college or division intends to engage in or perform to achieve each objective. Several strategies may be described for each objective, or, in some cases, a single strategy or action is all that is required.

“A vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees” (shrm.org, n.d., para 2).

A values statement lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture. The values create a moral compass for the organization and its employees. It guides decision-making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. These core values are an internalized framework that is shared and acted on by university leaders (shrm.org, n.d., para 3).