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Enhancing Student Success: Lessons from Educationally Effective Institutions August 21, 2012 Academic Affairs Convocation Southern Utah University Charles.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing Student Success: Lessons from Educationally Effective Institutions August 21, 2012 Academic Affairs Convocation Southern Utah University Charles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing Student Success: Lessons from Educationally Effective Institutions August 21, 2012 Academic Affairs Convocation Southern Utah University Charles Schroeder, Consultant

2 Framing our conversation What does it mean to be a learning-centric, highly engaged institution? What is required to put students and their learning at the center of our enterprise? Why is institutional change and improvement no longer an option, but an imperative?

3 The Learning Paradigm “The Learning Paradigm envisions the institution itself as a learner…” (Barr & Tagg, 1995) “As we understand the term, learning is not something reserved for classrooms or degree programs. It is available to every member of the academic community, whether in the classroom or the administration building, the laboratory or the library, the residence hall or the performing arts center… Learning is available to all and all serve learning. (NASULGC, 1997, p.17)

4 New Paradigm: Focusing on learning “Focusing on learning turns our thinking about the future of our colleges and universities upside-down: from faculty productivity to student productivity; from faculty disciplinary interests to what students need to learn, from faculty teaching styles to student learning styles; from classroom teaching to student learning” Alan Guskin, “Learning More- Spending Less”,1994 Not business as usual, but rather, engaging in new business!

5 The challenge to change “ Our challenges are no longer technical issues of how to allocate rising revenues, but difficult adaptive problems of how to lead when conditions are constantly changing, resources are tight, expectations are high and options are limited. We live in an age of transformational, not technical, change. Our leadership, like our institutions, must become transformational as well.” The Kellogg Commission

6 Transforming Alverno College The context and external environment The catalyst for transformation: Two compelling questions

7 A paradigm shift: Student-centered learning through focused effort MGT 218 BUSINESS INQUIRY AND RESEARCH. –The student uses various frameworks, strategies, and inquiry to identify, evaluate, predict, and influence the behavior of people in organizations and markets. She researches a company and industry to evaluate the potential of a new business venture, participates as a decision maker on a team managing a simulated company, and presents and responds to questions, information, opinions, and recommendations on management topics. Alverno College Bulletin

8 Clear and explicitly stated goals Focus on learning – student-centered Coherent language and definitions Campus wide commitment – “partners in learning” Ubiquitous, unavoidable, and helpful feedback Faculty-driven – learning circles/matrix organization Continuous improvement Linked, Aligned and Integrated Themes: Alverno College

9 What makes DEEP institutions so educationally effective? Six themes: A “living” mission and “lived” educational philosophy An unshakable focus on student learning Environments adapted for educational enrichment Clearly marked pathways to student success An improvement ethos Shared responsibility for educational quality and student success **ALIGNMENT and SUSTAINABILITY**

10 Astin’s Engagement Model I INPUT Entering characteristics O OUTCOMES Desired results Retention / Graduation E ENVIRONMENT Full range of experiences Engagement

11 Student engagement: A common language & practical framework … the time and energy students devote to educationally sound activities, inside and outside of the classroom, and the policies and practices that institutions use to induce students to take part in these activities…

12 Two components of student engagement # 1 What students do – the time and energy devoted to educationally purposeful activities in and outside of the classroom. # 2 What institutions do – using effective educational practices to induce students to do the right things

13 DEEP Themes: A “living” mission and “lived” educational philosophy  Operating philosophy focuses on students and their success.  Sustained widespread understanding and endorsement of educational purposes.  Complementary policies and practices tailored to the school’s mission and students’ needs and abilities.  Alverno College and Fayetteville State University

14 High expectations for everyone! They don't leave engagement to chance! (Fayetteville State) Bent toward engaging pedagogies …group presentations / projects, cases, service learning, undergraduate research, class-room based problem solving, peer tutoring / advising, learning communities Feedback: Improving performance by connecting students and faculty Small number of high impact experiences (L.C.`s). Student-centered learning DEEP Themes: An Unshakeable Focus on Student Learning

15 Can SUU students assemble the pieces of the undergraduate education puzzle…is there a clear and coherent picture to work toward? How are expectations formed, communicated and reinforced? Are general educational outcomes clear and understood? Do new students understand the difference between high school and college roles and responsibilities? Do students have a “job description”? Are redundant early warning systems and safety nets in place? How clear are pathways to success?

16 Clearly marked routes to student success…unifying themes. University of Kansas…INVOLVEMENT! (1) Consistent emphasis on graduating (2) Hawk Week …rituals and traditions ; governance (3)” Graduate in Four” … Freshmen / Sophomore Advising Center … Freshmen Seminar … RA advocacy (4) Faculty advocacy for broad-based involvement Aspiring Aim…. Alignment, Advocacy and Integration

17 “Positive restlessness” – never satisfied with their level of performance.. “are we performing as well as we can?” (The University of Michigan) Curriculum innovation – not afraid to experiment Systematic assessment ---Decision making informed by data--- clear feedback loops and “culture of evidence” Frequently challenge assumptions, ask critical questions and take reasonable risks An improvement-oriented ethos

18 Shared responsibility for educational quality and success Educational partnerships are forged through collaboration between academic and student affairs; DEEP schools exhibit a “collective responsibility” for student success! Fostering student agency – students teaching students; managing activities and units; serving as peer advisors, etc. Co-creating educational settings that foster engagement (i.e. learning communities) Fostering a “culture of quality” in all major service areas.

19 What Faculty and Staff Can Do Adopt a talent development philosophy. Set, communicate and maintain high expectations for student performance. Clarify what students need to do to succeed. Use engaging pedagogies to motivate and inspire student effort. Provide frequent, meaningful feedback to students. Make time for students. Create seamless learning experiences. Support and utilize “safety nets” such as early-alert.

20 Conclusion: Challenge assumptions and take reasonable risks Another story of transformation Dr. Sweeny and George Johnson, Bio-Medical Computer Center, Tulane University, 1963

21 Appendix: Helpful Resource Project DEEP criteria and participating institutions National Survey of Student Engagement Benchmarks Additional suggestions and recommendations Essential elements of engagement Educationally effective practices Facilitating engagement: core competencies List of books, monographs, articles, presentations, web sites that focus on enhancing student engagement, learning and success. Consultants contact information.

22 DEEP: Documenting Educationally Effective Practices Overall Goal : To discover, document and describe what high performing institutions do and how they achieved this level of effectiveness. Selection Criteria : Much better than predicted graduation rates and much higher than predicted scores on the five NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement ) benchmarks. Lessons from High Performing Institutions: Project DEEP

23 Project DEEP institutions Alverno College Cal State-Monterey Bay Evergreen State College Fayetteville State University George Mason University Gonzaga University Longwood University Macalester University Miami University Sewanee (University of the South) Sweet Briar College University of Kansas University of Maine, Farmington University of Michigan University of Texas, El Paso Ursinus College Wabash College Wheaton College (MA) Winston-Salem State University Wofford College

24 NSSE Benchmarks Conditions that foster student engagement, learning and success: Level of Academic Challenge Active and Collaborative Learning Faculty – Student Interaction Enriching Educational Experiences Supportive Campus Environments

25 Suggestions and recommendations Use engagement as a common framework and language Develop a widely shared vision of student success. Make engagement inescapable…use multiple settings. Forge cross-functional institutional partnerships, Create a small number of high impact experiences and programs (i.e. learning communities; educational maps; early alert) that engage large numbers of students. Cultivate an ethic of positive restlessness and a culture of evidenced-based quality

26 Essential elements of engagement Clear, consistent expectations for student effort & success Clear pathways to student success Appropriate calibration of challenge and support Easy access to resources and services that are “student- centered”. A campus climate that communicates “every student matters” Shared responsibility for educational quality and student success. An ethos of “positive restlessness”

27 Educationally effective practices Talent development philosophy High expectations for student effort / performance Clear pathways to student success Provide frequent, meaningful feedback Enhance advising Human scale settings Use engaging pedagogical approaches Redefine the classroom / optimize campus resources Create performance support systems / safety nets Integrate core curriculum with core experiences Learning communities --- seamless, low cost education

28 Lessons from effective, engaged, best- practice colleges SPECIALNESS : Student-centered in a “super-sized” way! …. “it's all about the students, and everybody knows it”… “students see inspiration in us, and we get inspiration from them” … “philosophy of equality” Everybody sings from the same songbook …clear and compelling vision and coherence (unity without uniformity) High expectations and continuing support go hand in hand. “Everyone understands what is expected of them”… “Being a serious student is recognized here”

29 Common elements (cont.) They're bold, they're flexible and they take risks. “We're like our students: we're gutsy, we`re not timid, and we`re willing to take calculated risks. We`re strategic …so we don't go whichever way the wind blows”. They forge creative partnerships …inside and outside the institution to strengthen the learning environment. Self-examination is the norm and the data are the starting point. “We see assessment as learning …using data and research to help guide us at getting better” Believe in active and collaborative learning --- for everyone.“We are all teachers. We are all learners” “We’ve moved from being `teaching-to-learning-centered’”

30 Facilitating Engagement: Core Competencies Assessment… generating data to inform our understanding of the student experience Collaboration …developing shared responsibility for educational quality and student success through cross-functional team work. Direction Setting … clarifying what matters… establishing goals, strategies, tactics, actions, etc. Assessment and feedback … measuring impact and results for performance improvement... “proving and improving”

31 Resources Alexander, J. and Gardner, J. “Beyond Retention: A Comprehensive Approach to the First College Year”. About Campus, 14: 2, Barefoot, B.O., Gardner, J.N., Schroeder, C. (et. al.) Achieving and Sustaining Institutional Excellence in the First Year of College. Jossey -Bass, Upcraft, M. L., Gardner, J. N., Barefoot, B.O. & Associates. Challenging and Supporting The First-Year Student: A Handbook for Improving the First Year of College. Jossey-Bass, Kuh, G. et. al Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. Jossey-Bass, 2005

32 Resources Cont.) Tagg, J. The Learning Paradigm College. Anker Publishing, 2003 Project DEEP Practice Briefs (Numbers 1-16). Smith, B.. MacGregor, J., Matthews, R. & Gablenick. Learning Communities: Reforming Undergraduate Education. Jossey -Bass, 2004 Kuh, et. al. Assessing Conditions to Enhance Educational Effectiveness: The Inventory of Student Engagement and Success. Jossey-Bass, 2005.

33 Speaker's Contact Information Dr. Charles C. Schroeder


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