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Improving Student Success: Challenges and Opportunities

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St. Mary's University 75% of students are Latino-overall graduation rate of 63.3 ... Better Graduation Rates, by Kevin Carey, A report by The Education Trust, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Improving Student Success: Challenges and Opportunities


1
Improving Student Success Challenges and
Opportunities
  • Clayton State University

Student S
Student Success Forum Series
Nannette Commander, Ph.D. AVP Recruitment and
Retention Georgia State University ncommander_at_gsu.
edu
2
OVERVIEW
  • Introduction (history of major focus of higher
    education)
  • Data regarding the current state of affairs
    Challenges (THE BAD NEWS)
  • Opportunities, Best Practices (THE GOOD NEWS)
  • SUMMARY

3
INTRODUCTION
  • Our nations long commitment to higher education
    has yielded the worlds best-educated workforce
  • The college-enrollment rate for high school
    graduates was 50 in the 70s is closer to
    two-thirds today
  • For many people, not a question of whether their
    children will go to school, but where they will
    go to school

4
INTRODUCTION
  • Evolving Issues
  • 1960s and 1970s Access
  • 1970s and 1980s Retention
  • 1990s into the future - Success

5
INTRODUCTION
  • Student Success Increasing student persistence
    is a continuing concern in higher education

6
CHALLENGES
  • Less than 57 of students earn a degree from
    their first institution of enrollment
  • 77 of high income students graduate in six years
  • 54 of low income students graduate in six years
  • (One Step From The Finish Line, The Education
    Trust, January 2005)

7
CHALLENGES
  • Fewer than four in 10 will graduate within four
    years
  • Barely six in 10 will graduate in six years
  • (A Matter of Degrees, 2004)

8
CHALLENGES
  • 40 of first generation students leave college
    without a degreethey are more likely to come
    from low income families
  • The same low-income and minority students who are
    finally able to enroll in college are also the
    least likely to actually graduate
  • (US Department of Education, August 2005)

9
CHALLENGES
  • Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds
    are less likely to attend high schools that offer
    high level courses
  • The rigor of a students high school curriculum
    is the strongest indicator of whether he or she
    will earn a college degree..
  • (Paths to Degree Completion, 2006)

10
CHALLENGES
  • Students lack understanding of what is required
    to be successful.
  • How many hours did you study during a typical
    week in your last year of high school?
  • 9 More than 10 hours
  • 77 Five hours or less
  • 49 Less than two hours a week!!
  • (2005 CIRP Survey Public Four Year)

11
CHALLENGES
  • Students expectations of academic performance
  • 35 report A/A- as their average high school
    grade
  • 85 earned a B average of higher
  • 60.8 expect to earn at least a B average in
    college
  • (2005 CIRP Survey)

12
CHALLENGES
  • Many reasons students dont stay due to factors
    outside of institution
  • Financial resources, family circumstances,
    motivation
  • Preparation in K-12 education
  • Decisions of state and federal lawmakers about
    policies and resources

13
OPPORTUNITIES
  • What institutions do MATTERS
  • (even when we control for academic preparation of
    student body, availability of financial aid,
    institutional budgets for faculty and student
    advisingsome colleges do better than other,
    similar institutions)
  • Institutions can CHOOSE TO IMPROVE
  • THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS!

14
OPPORTUNITIES
  • Four critical factors for student success
  • Engagement
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Data-driven Initiatives
  • Institutional Leadership

15
OPPORTUNITIES ENGAGEMENT
  • Most students who dont graduate are not kicked
    out for academic or other reasons they just
    leave
  • The more students connect, the less likely they
    are to disconnect (academically and socially)
  • Most tenuous in first year, months, or even weeks
    of college

16
OPPORTUNITIES ENGAGEMENT
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • Survey results indicate that institutions that
    have better graduation rates do a better job than
    other campuses of creating a supportive campus
    environment, promoting student-faculty
    interaction, creating engaging learning
    experiences, and generally connecting to students

17
EXAMPLES OF ENGAGEMENT
  • Fla. State Univ.
  • - African-American and White students graduation
    rates the same
  • - advisers contact every student at least 3
    times a semester (either face-to-face, by
    telephone, or email)
  • Alcorn State College for Excellence
  • - concentrated program for freshmen and
    sophomores that students must complete before
    being admitted to major
  • - retention rates increased from 50 to 75)

18
OPPORTUNITIES MORE LEARNING, BETTER TEACHING
  • Greater the level of students academic
    challenge, the higher the graduation rates (NSSE)
  • Teaching valued as much as research in promotion
    and tenure
  • Small class size
  • Student-faculty interaction outside of class
  • Course Redesign

19
EXAMPLES OF FOCUS ON TEACHING
  • St. Marys University 75 of students are
    Latino-overall graduation rate of 63.3
  • School of Science, engineering and technology
    (SET) established learning objectives for each
    course as well as standards of learning for each
    major
  • 75-page advisement handbook that outlines every
    required class and activity for students from
    their freshman to senior year

20
OPPORTUNITIES USING DATA
  • No longer a question of whether institutions can
    get the data they needits whether they invest
    in analyzing the data they have

21
EXAMPLES OF USING DATA
  • University of Connecticut-unusually small
    graduation rate gap for minority students
  • Created a Retention and Student Success Task
    Force
  • Data makes case for resources (added seven
    additional academic advisers to give students
    more guidance)
  • Early Warning System based on mid-semester grades

22
EXAMPLES OF USING DATA
  • University of Northern Iowa one of highest
    graduation rates of any public Masters I
    institution
  • Critical Path Analysis determined what it takes
    for students to complete a degree in various
    majors from beginning to end, mapped that process
    against its database of student course-taking
    patterns--found barriers to enrolling in courses
    for graduation

23
OPPORTUNITIES INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • URGENT NEED HAS TO COME FROM THE TOP
  • DEGREE TO WHICH INSTITUTION IS STUDENT-CENTERED
  • WHATS THE PRIORITY OF THE INSTITUTION?

24
OPPORTUNITIES INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • Leadership drives
  • Student engagement
  • Strong commitment to Teaching and Learning
  • Use of data to improve

25
EXAMPLES OF INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • Universities that intentionally implemented a
    series of reforms designed to improve student
    retention and graduation rates
  • Syracuse University improved graduation rate12.3
    (68.8 in 1997 to 81.0 in 2003)
  • Alcorn State improved graduation rate 14.5
    (33.4 in 1997 to 47.9 in 2003)

26
NO SILVER BULLET TO SOLVING PROBLEMS
  • NUMBER OF BEST PRACTICES-all include four
    critical factors of engagement, teaching and
    learning, data-driven decisions, and
    institutional leadership
  • GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY- SEVERAL INITIATIVES
  • Freshmen Learning Communities
  • Sophomore Connections
  • Course Redesign (Chemistry, Psychology)
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Faculty Connections (Advisement)

27
FRESHMEN LEARNING COMMUNITY (FLC) PROGRAM
  • ACADEMIC PROGRAM WITH TWO PILLARS GSU 1010 New
    Student Orientation Course and Freshmen Learning
    Community (FLC) Program
  • CLUSTER MODEL 25 Students Take Five Courses
    Together Centered Around Theme
  • ANCHOR COURSE IN EACH FLC GSU 1010 New Student
    Orientation Course (50 Academic Theme, 50
    Orientation Topics)
  • FLC COURSES General Education Core Courses That
    Apply To Any Major
  • FLC INSTRUCTORS Over 60 Taught By Tenure-Track
    and Senior Faculty Members of the University

28
DESCRIPTION
  • FLC started Fall 1999-11 communities 295
    students (16 of freshmen class)
  • Fall, 2005 45 communities 1,000 students (50
    of freshmen class)
  • Fall, 2006 52 communities 1,300 students (55
    of freshmen class)

29

DESCRIPTION
  • FACULTY DRIVEN BUBBLE-UP STRATEGY
  • Faculty members submit proposals reviewed by a
    university-wide faculty advisory committee for
    the creation of the FLCs
  • More proposals submitted than accepted
  • First-year seminar course counts as one course in
    the faculty members workload
  • Credit resides in faculty members department

30
DESCRIPTION
  • Recipient of the Best Practices 2005 Competition
    Sponsored by the Board of Regents of the
    University System of Georgia
  • Category of Academic Affairs

31

DESCRIPTION
  • US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT
  • Listed FLC Program at Georgia State University as
    among the outstanding examples of academic
    programs that are believed to lead to student
    success
  • Cited for Last Four Years 2003 - 2006

32
DESCRIPTION
  • INTEGRATED CURRICULUM GRANT PROGRAM
  • Funding of summer grants for FLC faculty to work
    together to integrate their courses across
    academic disciplines
  • Funding communicates the value placed on
    integrated curriculum
  • Support for grants has steadily increased over
    the past five years
  • Consistent growth in the number of submitted
    proposals and awarded faculty stipends

33
BENEFITS
  • Value added probably greater than measured
  • Students most helped least likely to join
  • NSSE FLC Cohort significantly better
  • More engaged
  • Greater perceived academic rigor
  • Greater collaboration
  • Greater faculty contact
  • Focus Groups
  • Academic Support
  • Satisfaction
  • Focus groups of 4 cohorts No negative comments!
  • Students still in study groups in senior year

34
BENEFITS
  • GPA
  • More courses (6-7 C or better even after 3
    years
  • 1st term GPA significantly higher (p
  • Cumulative GPA usually higher even after 2 years
  • Retention
  • Greater Freshmen to Sophomore retention (7-8)
    for FLC cohort
  • Significantly greater (6-8) years 2-4
  • Progress towards graduation
  • More hours earned
  • Graduation rates
  • 4 year graduation rate 3.3 higher

35
SUMMARY
  • WHAT WE DO MATTERS (Choosing to Improve Voices
    from Colleges and Universities with Better
    Graduation Rates, by Kevin Carey, A report by The
    Education Trust, January, 2005)

36
SUMMARY
  • It matters whether institutions focus on
    engagement
  • Freshmen Learning Communities
  • New Student Seminars
  • Sophomore Initiatives
  • Faculty/Student interaction outside class
  • Involvement in co-curricular activities

37
SUMMARY
  • It matters whether there is emphasis on quality
    of teaching and learning
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Course Redesign
  • Mentors for Junior Faculty
  • Centers for Teaching and Learning
  • Value of Teaching in Promotion Tenure process

38
SUMMARY
  • It matters whether institutions use data to
    discover patterns of student success
  • Data driven decisions for change in policies and
    practice

39
SUMMARY
  • It matters whether campus leaders make student
    success a top institutional priority
  • Institutional culture must be student-focused
  • Students matter most
  • Leaders must create incentives for faculty
  • Bridge between academic affairs and student
    services

40
SUMMARY
  • Census numbers estimate that 19--almost one in
    fiveof adults age 25-34 fall into the category
    of some college, no degree.
  • For many, going to college was their first, best,
    and last opportunity for economic mobility and
    success
  • Institutions, like Clayton State University, can
    marshal resources and focus energies to maximize
    learning and success for as many undergraduate
    students as possible
  • WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

41
SUMMARY
  • Applaud Clayton State for the Student Success
    Forum Series
  • Indicates institutional value of student success
  • Demonstrates Leadership of Institution
  • Recognizes importance of faculty and academic
    professionals working together
  • Listening to powerful voice of students
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