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Findlay-area Campus Toledo-area Campus The Source Learning Center Student Communication: Enhancing the First Year Experience Arrowhead Park Learning Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Findlay-area Campus Toledo-area Campus The Source Learning Center Student Communication: Enhancing the First Year Experience Arrowhead Park Learning Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Findlay-area Campus Toledo-area Campus The Source Learning Center Student Communication: Enhancing the First Year Experience Arrowhead Park Learning Center

2 Student Communication Quality Team: Partners… Abby Baumhardt (HR Specialist; Team Leader) Jodie Birch (Asst. Director, Student Accounts) Sarah Householder (Coordinator, Communications) Jennifer Irelan (Director, Enrollment Services) Mark Karamol (Director, E-Learning) Marc Levy (Director, HR Mgmt. & Development; Facilitator) Jeanette Passmore (Adjunct Faculty Member; Scribe) Shelby Pierce (Chair, English)

3 Student Communication Quality Team: Rationale …  Foundations of Excellence (FoE) survey of Owens students conducted in Fall,  QC determined a need to address students’ perceptions that there was not enough communication with them from relevant College service areas.

4 Student Communication Quality Team: Origins in the Foundations of Excellence (FoE) Self-Study… Purpose of FoE project – intensive study of first-year student experiences (surveys in fall 2007; analyses spring 2008) Examined policies & practices w/in 9 dimensions, one of which was “Transitions” Two “performance indicators” associated with improvement of the Transitions dimension were: Communications to (New) Students, and Communication of the Student Experience This Quality Team was formed to address these issues, & commenced in the fall of 2009.

5 Transition Dimension (Findings from fall 2007 Survey) Performance Indicator 5.1: Communication to (New) Students Communication of Academic Expectations Out-of-Class Engagement Opportunities Entry Requirements Financial Aid and Tuition Costs

6 Transition Dimension (Findings from fall 2007 Survey) Performance Indicator 5.1: Communication to (New) Students Summary “Most of the pieces are in place for communication in nearly every area.” “Challenge is to get students to read & understand the information.” Website is a great tool – but needs improvements to navigation. (This was completed about Spring 2010). Students need to be pointed in the right direction for academic expectations, and college personnel should anticipate students’ needs. Need for more orientation and help in what is involved in taking college courses. Transition Dimension (Findings from fall 2007 Survey) Performance Indicator 5.1: Communication to (New) Students

7 Transition Dimension (Findings from fall 2007 Survey) Performance Indicator 5.2: Communication of the Student Experience Summary “There is a lot of evidence available regarding student life and activities, but again, the main concern is whether the students are actually getting the materials available. While the pieces are there, the process of communication is not complete, especially when it comes to the campus web site.” “There is not much information regarding the importance of out- of-class activities. This needs to be further instilled in our students through First Year Experience (FYE) classes or a mandatory campus orientation.”

8 Action Items Generated from the Transitions Dimension Data Create mandatory new student orientation Develop college-wide strategy for connecting 1st – year students with faculty, staff, and other students Create a more organized college-wide communication plan for new students that includes reaching students and their families Enhance academic advising

9 Other recommendations outlined by the Transitions Dimension Committee: Define Success: Identify what success is for each student will help customize retention efforts for them. Opening Convocation: Create a college convocation as a way to welcome students to the new school year. Easier Web page navigation Online Cost and Financial Aid Estimator

10 Student Communication Quality Team: S PECIFIC O BJECTIVES … As Tom Perin, Executive Director, shared at the outset: “This team will accomplish three objectives that tie together. 1. Increase specific communications designed to meet the needs of first-year students. 2. Create and develop an effective communication system for students. 3. Design and implement an effective communication model.”

11 Student Communication Quality Team: Project Statement… To develop a comprehensive, integrated communication model that maximizes the coordination and delivery of information and services to first-year students, from enrollment through their first 30 credit hours, and the college community that supports them.

12 Student Communication Quality Team: General Methodology Approach… Gap Analysis: Review and assessment of methods currently in place, compared with our ideal communication strategies.

13 Student Communication Quality Team: General Methodology Approach… Through the use of… o Interviews o Literature Review o Brainstorming

14 A number of historical efforts had already been made to address communication issues. Prior AQIP communication projects associated with strategic plan implementation…

15 HOWEVER, notice the project statement from a prior team – “Serving Students Better” From p. 7, Fall 2007 report: “This project aligns with the Owens Community College Strategic Plan for “Focus on Student Success”. Focusing on direct communication with the students during the first few days of the semester will ensure the ability of students to understand the process of becoming successful academically. This project will examine ways to disseminate information and to serve students better by making a positive connection. Establishing a strong student connection with the college the first few days of class will ensure student success and retention.”

16 The “Serving Students Better” team recommended the following actions: 1. Student Handbook with continuous updates for both campuses. 2. Video web loop to provide upcoming events and important information to students (OTV). 3. Bookmark to be given out for high school orientations.  4. Mentoring program. 5. Web directory. 6. Mandate orientation for every new Student.  (Expecting May 2011 rollout per Marshel Houston) 7. Greeter Program. Happy face indicates that this is already in place.

17 Action Step: Provide a central point of communications for college visitors and those contacting us by telephone. Locus of Responsibility: OLA Call Center / Welcome Center Team When? Fall 2004 / Spring 2005 Outcome: Has not happened, although many discussions have occurred and exploration of other institutions’ systems took place Fall 2010 by student services representatives. 

18 Action Step: Enhance methods of communicating with students Locus of Responsibility: OLA “Student Communication” Report-Out – April 2006 Sample of Recommendations Information Kiosks (2 in Toledo; 1 in Findlay)  Independent student activities web page, including a handbook that is now on-line Marketing rollout of "Red Boards" to provide student information in an organized manner. The Findlay Campus has hired a Student Activities Representative. O-TV on campus--aids with communication to students

19 Action Step: Enhance methods of communicating with students “Student Communication” Sample of Recommendations (cont’d) Easier Webpage Navigation Online Cost and Financial Aid Estimatior--under development and will be rolled out in the academic year Fall Festival and Spring Fling through Student Activities -- introduces students to academic resources, student support services, and clubs/activities available on campus. Explore Owens Visitation Program (discussed later) Letters generated to students (advisors/faculty?) regarding activities and clubs ? SOS Welcome calls each semester

20 Other efforts currently in place… Explore Owens (Jen Irelan, Director, Enrollment Svcs.) Developed in 2008 for both the Toledo Area and Findlay Area campuses Aids in the communication of How to get started at the college How to utilize campus resources What the expectations are for a student as they attend classes Serves as a “pre-orientation" to the college Students must attend either a group or one-one "How to get Started" session prior to their placement test Introduced to the student services offices

21 Other efforts currently in place… Explore Owens (Jen Irelan, Director, Enrollment Svcs.) The offices and areas covered include Financial aid and scholarship opportunities Tuition and payment deadlines and options (OSERVE) Admission requirements and the registration/scheduling process Academic advising Student academic support labs COMPASS placement test and Testing Center Public Safety and Security office

22 Other efforts currently in place… Explore Owens (Jen Irelan, Director, Enrollment Svcs.) Process of parking and transportation Student involvement and activities Importance of attending a new student orientation after enrollment and taking an FYE class within their first semester Students also get Assistance with applying to the college online and activating their Ozone account A brief overview of Ozone Reminded about how important it is to check in on a regular basis to get important college & personal information

23 Other efforts currently in place… Explore Owens (Jen Irelan, Director, Enrollment Svcs.) A brief tour of important Student Services Offices and an optional tour of the whole campus A folder with an assortment of information to help them navigate campus. Updated continuously An online version of Explore Owens (“How to get Started“) is under development along with the Online Orientation

24 Other efforts currently in place… Caseload Advising implemented in fall of 2009 Students have an assigned advisor per major that they can build a relationship with after their initial enrollment to the college. Student Success Mentors located in every school. Available to students that have an academic or personal need to have extra support during their college experience. Supplemental Instruction per the Title Three Grant

25 Other efforts currently in place… QuickStart to College--an "orientation" class Student Outreach Specialists (SOS) The "Bridge Program" for high school students Use of Social Media to disseminate and interactively share information  Facebook  Twitter

26 Other efforts currently in place… /Text Message Alert System to let students know of sudden class cancellations (dif. from the emergency system. Project DEgree (includes a Resource Specialist) New e-Catalog (released 3/9/11) – interactive catalog that replaces majority of print versions

27 Other efforts currently in place… Systemic Communication Plan (Mktg./Comm.) Blown up on next slide

28 Other efforts currently in place… Systemic Internal Communication Plan (Tactics)

29 Other efforts currently in place… Comprehensive Communication Snaphot… See handout: Alignment of Communication Needs with Methods of Communication Currently in Place

30 Recommendations… Consider whether we are actually over- communicating, and should consolidate methods. Review recent Noel-Levitz survey results (2011) & FoE “re-surveys” conducted Encourage Marketing/Comm. to conduct a targeted student survey to collect data on efficacy of their internal communication plan.

31 Recommendations… Obtain funding for, and develop a Natural Language Smart FAQ System (Cost – approx. $15K for setup; $30K annual fee) See for information & for one college’s sample use of the systemhttp://www.intelliresponse.com/ Or… Tap into the University System of Ohio’s Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) that is supposed to accomplish the same end.

32 Recommendations… Consider development of a coordination system for managing the multitude of methods and content so as not to overwhelm students and families, or to ensure correct audiences are targeted.

33 Student Communication Quality Team: Limitations of the Project… As written in the FoE Executive Summary, dated , “There are many initiatives that began prior to the conclusion of this report, yet after the research was completed and writing started. Consequently, some of the recommendations made by the dimension committees may have already begun or even been completed since the time the dimension committee completed their work and this report was issued” (pp. 2-3).

34 Student Communication Quality Team: Moral of the Story… Communication is EVERYONE’s responsibility (including students being responsible for their own success)! We’ve exhausted virtually all modalities of communication (which should cater to all communication styles and needs of students). There is no single plan that can accomplish all things for all people (or integrate all elements of all communication for an organization of this size).

35 Student Communication Quality Team: Limitations of the Project… The End


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