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Achieving the Dream: Texas Southern University Focus Group Analysis January 2008 Jacqueline Fleming, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Achieving the Dream: Texas Southern University Focus Group Analysis January 2008 Jacqueline Fleming, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Achieving the Dream: Texas Southern University Focus Group Analysis January 2008 Jacqueline Fleming, Ph.D

2 Focus Group Plan ► Student Groups:  Sociology 211-Freshmen  Business Administration-Freshmen  Psychology 131-Freshmen  Student Athletes  Honors Students  Pharmacy Students – Orientation  Pan Hellenic Student Organizers  Student Government Association

3 Focus Group Plan ► Open End Questions:  Personal hopes & dreams  What is TSU’s retention rate? (49.9%) Why?  What is TSU’s graduation rate? (11.7%) Why?  What freshmen courses have highest failure rates? (Reading-intensive courses) Why?  What does TSU do to promote a culture of learning?  What can TSU do to strengthen its culture of learning? Written evaluation asked last two questions. Written evaluations used for this content analysis.

4 To Strengthen TSU’s Culture of Learning: Most Frequent Student Responses Improve classroom: Teaching/Instructors 30.9% Help students focus; motivation; more help 22.2% More programs & activities 20.8% Improve campus environment 22.2% Improve image 8.7% Improve administration 5.9% Higher standards 2.9% More money and scholarships 0.01%

5 Student Responses to “Responsibility” Questions % Bought books for class 74.8% % Attend class regularly: 75% or more 97.7% % Read assignments before class regularly: 75% or more 58.2%

6 Improve Teaching ► Teachers need to build a relationship with the students. ► Communicate with its students; providing more avenues for a student-teacher relationship. ► Caring more about the students. ► Establishing relationship with students. ► Understanding the students. ► Get more involved with the students. ► Learning methods and offering help to students. ► Give them a reason to go to class not just to pass but have a good learning experience. ► Listen to the students more ► Visual learning, hands on learning, 90% of the teachers need to be more excited about their lessons. ► Improve its learning environment, improve the student- teacher interactions; help students learn better learning techniques ► Promote Reading ► Focus on different types of learners

7 Improve Instructors ► More passionate professors; have professors that want to help the community and students and not there for the pay check. ► Hire more professors that want to teach and not just speech. Also re-evaluate a teacher with tenure just because they use to teach well doesn’t mean that is still the case. ► Hire more instructors that care about students getting an education. ► TSU can strengthen its culture by having teachers be into their teaching. ► Have better attitude toward students ► Having more teachers that care more about the student’s future ► More interactive instructors ► More interaction with students and teachers ► Have teachers give students a better opportunity to learn and be able to have one on one relationship regarding the subjects.

8 Help Students Focus ► Encourage students to try their best to succeed and prosper. ► Promote more tutoring for those who need it. ► Keep reminding students the real reason they are in college in the first place. ► Make students read more ► Enforcing students to go to class ► Help students focus on what is really important- graduation ► By just focusing more on helping students with more than one time ► Facilitating students with available help ► Train all advisors for all departments to know the classes they need to take and which classes

9 Motivate Students ► Getting students motivated to be at TSU. ► Believe that there are people that want to see this school succeed ► Doing everything to better TSU Understanding the students and all things that they need to succeed. ► Help give students that extra push by using different ways or creating new ideas and implement them.

10 More Programs/Activities ► Have more events, merging our culture and success together. ► Have more social events. ► Have more events to attempt to create a stronger community. ► Have more Seminars ► By having learning seminars and more learning activities ► Study groups ► Offer longer hours of operation in the library and computer lab for students to do work and projects. ► Have special seminars about learning. ► Promote more Learning abilities for students. ► By implementing more programs that would draw the student body attention and actually obtain the interest of students. ► Have more programs for students at night to socialize that they can receive help form fellow students who can help

11 Improve Campus Environment ► Trying to understand what is going on around TSU life. ► They should take the time and acknowledge who’s attending the University. ► Alumni support ► More learning facilities. Nice places with chairs and tables so that students can study between classes. ► By outreaching to the people as a community ► Promote more learning among everyone ► Upgrade Library ► Have a more positive environment ► A fun way to retain education, something like a Starbuck’s lounge

12 Improve (Media) Image ► Strengthen school pride ► We need to improve our image and market our school better. ► Focus more on the great thing about its history ► Expose the positive history of TSU ► Learn more about TSU history, black history, etc ► Give more positive view in the media of ourselves ► Do more to promote the university strength and cancel the negative media ► More and better Advertisement ► Improve the school

13 Assessment of Student Response ► Students like being included in the discussion  want more communication of this kind  want to be heard ► Average students (e.g., Soc 211 freshmen) want classroom changed  interactive teaching  more enthusiastic instructors  to be motivated  to be helped ► Student leaders want positive side of TSU promoted ► Expressed desire for more programs & activities, but  Existing programs & activities under-utilized

14 Comparison of Students vs. Faculty/Staff Responses

15 Assessment of Student vs. Faculty/Staff Responses ► Biggest issue for students is improving classroom experience: instruction and instructors (30.9%) ► Faculty/staff do not recognize this issue (0.0%) ► Otherwise, all groups identify same issues but faculty/staff weight them more

16 Part 2 Part 2 A Culture of Learning Veon McReynolds March 2008

17 Project Plan Project Plan ► Develop a persona of TSU that exemplify scholarship and academic pride. ► Develop facilities that exemplify scholarship and academic pride. ► Develop staff and faculty to exemplify all student learning as their primary objective. ► Develop students to believe and exemplify learning as their primary objective. ► Develop community to support learning as a means of social and physical emancipation ► Develop partnerships that will facilitate the promotion of a culture that is dedicated to learning. ► Develop common values of a learning culture

18 Project Plan A cultural revolution that places TSU with Harvard, Princeton, or MIT. as an institution of higher learning The accomplishments of students indicate education received at TSU Immediate increase in retention rate Increase in GPA overall and between groups Increase in graduation rate Increase in employability of TSU students Increase in donated dollars to TSU by alumni Increase in student applications to TSU Increase in applications for employment

19 Rationale ► Things are not always what they seem to be but, most of the time they are. ► Behavior, appearances and results should indicate that TSU is a place to learn

20 Project Plan: Project Plan: ► Target  Top administration buy-in  All staff/faculty buy-in  Student/ group buy-in

21 Overview Overview Develop a campaign that defines a culture and develop indices of learning. We are all in this together What we do today will effect us in the future Do others perceive us as we want to be perceived

22 Time line/ Duration Initial development of idiocies spring and summer semesters during the summer as pilot When did, or will the project start ? Frequency of evaluation? Date of related focus groups and/or discussion groups? Will there be a scheduled end? If so, when? Date of final evaluation (if applicable)?

23 Lessons Learned A cultural revolution that places TSU with Harvard, Princeton, or MIT. as an institution of higher learning The accomplishments of students indicate education received at TSU Immediate increase in retention rate Increase in GPA overall and between groups Increase in graduation rate Increase in employability of TSU students Increase in donated dollars to TSU by alumni Increase in student applications to TSU Increase in applications for employment

24 Part 3 Supplemental TSU Shannon Thomas

25 Supplemental Instruction (SI) ► Developed at University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1973 ► Peer learning/teaching ► Targets historically difficult courses ► Goals:  Improve student grades in targeted courses  Reduce attrition rate in those courses  Increase graduation rates

26 Percentage of D,F,W Final Course Grades for SI and Non-SI Percentage of D,F,W Final Course Grades for SI and Non-SI ► SI participants receive D, F or W at a rate between one- third and one-fourth that of non-participants

27 Training Training ► Conducted by UMKC staff ► Mandatory ½ day training for all faculty members ► Full day of training for all SI Leaders ► On-going training of SI Leaders throughout the semester ► Weekly team meetings

28 SI Sessions ► “Master Student” facilitates sessions  Does not lecture or re-teach ► Integrates how-to-learn with what-to-learn

29 Pilot Semester Approach ► Offered in:  English sections  History 2312 sections  History 2321 section  Psychology 1316 sections ► Minimum of 3 out-of-class sessions offered per week ► Some SI sessions are held in class ► Some instructors offer extra credit for session attendance

30 Current/Expected Results ► Low participation numbers  Average session attendance = 2 ► Many informal sessions are held in tutoring center ► Mid-term grade analysis in process ► Participants show average 12 point higher grades on Exam 1

31 Next Semester ► SI sessions will be MANDATORY for all students enrolled in the selected course section ► Increased support from faculty and administration is vital to success ► Possibly broaden program to include math and science courses ► Improved marketing to increase awareness of program across campus

32 Tell me, and I forget, Show me, and I remember, Involve me, and I understand. - Chinese Proverb

33 Part 4 ACTION RESEARCH FOR QUALITY ENHANCEMENT PLANNING E. Dianne Mosley, Ph.D. March 14, 2008 March 14, 2008

34 Project Plan Project Plan ► Critical Reflection about local questions, problems or challenges Identification of problems along with potential resolution. Identification of problems along with potential resolution. The resolution is implemented in the form of a Faculty Action Research Project. The resolution is implemented in the form of a Faculty Action Research Project.

35 Project Plan: Project Plan: ► Texas Southern University has found failure rates in freshman level courses that range from 49% to 55%.  Failure rates were highest in reading-intensive courses of history, political science, and psychology.  A strategy to address this problem is to offer Faculty Action Research grants to faculty members to conduct research projects in their classes involving innovative instructional practices where they evaluate outcomes.  The Texas Southern University Faculty Action Research Committee is disseminating the RFP for Innovative Teaching Strategy Proposals to faculty in the departments of history, political science, and psychology in March,  Proposals are due May 1 and announcement of awards will be May 30.

36 Conclusion Conclusion Faculty Action Research Projects are to be conducted during the fall semester Reports including research design, implementation and outcomes will be submitted to the Faculty Action Research Subcommittee for analysis.


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