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What Is A Non-Traditional Student At Illinois State University? Andrew J Chamberlain

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Presentation on theme: "What Is A Non-Traditional Student At Illinois State University? Andrew J Chamberlain"— Presentation transcript:

1 What Is A Non-Traditional Student At Illinois State University? Andrew J Chamberlain

2 Reason Behind Research Personally a non-traditional student at Heartland Community College and Illinois State University Personally a non-traditional student at Heartland Community College and Illinois State University Interested in the difference between HCC’s and ISU’s treatment of non- traditional students Interested in the difference between HCC’s and ISU’s treatment of non- traditional students A noted lack of online or evening classes for myself A noted lack of online or evening classes for myself

3 Competing Non-Traditional Student Definitions At ISU ISU Adult Learner Services An independent student; An independent student; Employed full-time; Employed full-time; A person with dependents; A person with dependents; A person who as a result of a death or divorce, is now single and wishes to complete a degree program; A person who as a result of a death or divorce, is now single and wishes to complete a degree program; A commuter student (you live off-campus) and will commute to campus to attend class; or A commuter student (you live off-campus) and will commute to campus to attend class; or A veteran of the United States military who recently returned to the civilian world after serving in the armed forces. A veteran of the United States military who recently returned to the civilian world after serving in the armed forces. Non-Traditional Student Association Commutes 10 or more miles to campus (from home OR work) OR Commutes 10 or more miles to campus (from home OR work) OR Is a parent of dependent children OR Is a parent of dependent children OR Is married OR Is married OR Is a veteran OR Is a veteran OR Is three or more years older than classmates (e.g., a 21+ year-old freshman, a 24+ year-old senior) Is three or more years older than classmates (e.g., a 21+ year-old freshman, a 24+ year-old senior)

4 Official Numbers ISU Uses ISU’s Fall 2007 Enrollment ISU’s Fall 2007 Enrollment –17,885 Undergraduates ISU’s Adult Learner Website Statement of number of Non-Traditional Students ISU’s Adult Learner Website Statement of number of Non-Traditional Students –2,354 Students Listed As Non-Traditional (Website fails to differentiate between Undergraduate and Graduate Students)

5 That means that the student body is potentially 13% Non- Traditional!

6 Why The Various Definitions? And Just What The Heck Is A Non- Traditional Student Anyway?

7 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy ISU is a traditional student school ISU is a traditional student school Because of above, ISU assumes non-traditional students will assimilate themselves into the traditional student body Because of above, ISU assumes non-traditional students will assimilate themselves into the traditional student body This assumption means ISU does not offer much specifically for non- traditional students This assumption means ISU does not offer much specifically for non- traditional students Therefore, Non- traditional students either assimilate into a traditional student body or feel excluded while at ISU Therefore, Non- traditional students either assimilate into a traditional student body or feel excluded while at ISU

8 ISU Non-Trad Advisor The school definition of a non-traditional student is ineffective… The school definition of a non-traditional student is ineffective… A non-traditional student is any student that believes their student process is different from the norm A non-traditional student is any student that believes their student process is different from the norm The Office of Enrollment and Academic Services will assist any student who considers themselves non- traditional, regardless of school coding The Office of Enrollment and Academic Services will assist any student who considers themselves non- traditional, regardless of school coding

9 Recurring Problems For Non- Traditional Students “My professor doesn’t understand my situation/ time restrictions/ ____” “My professor doesn’t understand my situation/ time restrictions/ ____” Open communication with professor Open communication with professor Meet with the department chair Meet with the department chair Take additional steps above the department chair Take additional steps above the department chair

10 Recurring Problems For Non- Traditional Students “I’m struggling through adjustment to a new environment” “I’m struggling through adjustment to a new environment” Put student in contact with faculty in the Mentor/ Mentee program Put student in contact with faculty in the Mentor/ Mentee program Direct student to peer support groups (Non- Traditional Student Association, Women’s Mentoring Network) Direct student to peer support groups (Non- Traditional Student Association, Women’s Mentoring Network)

11 Recurring Problems For Non- Traditional Students “I can’t get the classes I need to advance/ graduate” “I can’t get the classes I need to advance/ graduate” Speak with the department academic advisor to see if something can be worked out Speak with the department academic advisor to see if something can be worked out Redirect the student to other local 4-year options Redirect the student to other local 4-year options

12 ISU Non-Traditional Student Attended multiple schools Attended multiple schools Received Associate’s Degree Received Associate’s Degree Worked Full-Time Worked Full-Time More than 3 years older than traditional age in school More than 3 years older than traditional age in school Financially Independent Financially Independent Doesn’t consider himself Non-Traditional Doesn’t consider himself Non-Traditional

13 ISU Non-Traditional Student What Could ISU Do To Help Him? What Could ISU Do To Help Him? –A non-traditional student lounge with comfortable beds and warm milk so that he doesn’t get grumpy between 4:00 and 5:00 –Classes scheduled around syndicated Matlock and Murder, She Wrote episodes

14 Are a majority of non-traditional students at ISU more concerned with getting a degree than creating a sense of community?

15 Or Is This The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Showing Itself?

16 A Non-Traditional Student at Illinois State University cannot be defined simply; they can ONLY be identified on a case by case basis!

17 Recommendations For ISU Non-Traditional Student Lounge Non-Traditional Student Lounge –Allows for a sense of Non-Traditional Community –Gives a central meeting point for non- traditional students –Increases communication to non-traditional students who may not receive information otherwise

18 Recommendations for ISU Broaden Class Scheduling Broaden Class Scheduling –Make 1/5 th of all major required classes evening classes –Would increase flexibility of non-traditional scheduling –Does create accountability problems for departments: who would police this?

19 What Is A Non-Traditional Student At Illinois State University? Andrew J Chamberlain


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