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Meeting the Needs of High-Risk Students Through Gen Ed: the Decanal Role Elizabeth Child, Dean Angela Lanier, Reading Specialist College of Arts & Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "Meeting the Needs of High-Risk Students Through Gen Ed: the Decanal Role Elizabeth Child, Dean Angela Lanier, Reading Specialist College of Arts & Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Meeting the Needs of High-Risk Students Through Gen Ed: the Decanal Role Elizabeth Child, Dean Angela Lanier, Reading Specialist College of Arts & Sciences Trinity Washington University

2 Abstract This roundtable session will focus on the decanal role in Trinitys ongoing curricular reform, which is aimed at improving outcomes for high-risk students. Topics will include the use of specialists in developmental courses in various subject areas, curricular standardization initiatives, outcomes assessment, and retention patterns since the new curriculum launched. Trinitys Dean and Reading Specialist will facilitate discussion of curricular initiatives and outcomes at audience institutions, with particular attention to administratively-driven initiatives that could be exported to other colleges or universities. See Inside Higher Education: 2

3 Snapshot of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Students Small, historic womens Catholic liberal arts college in major urban center (Washington DC) More than 85% of undergrads are women of color: (Black and Latina/Hispanic) One-fifth of students do not claim English as their primary language Between 80 and 90% of students need at least one developmental course More than half of students are from D.C. public schools: only 9% those who enter 9 th grade are expected to complete college Median parental income: $30,000 95% of Trinity students received tuition discounts; more than half receive Pell grants 3

4 Curricular Reform: Identifying the problem First-year attrition due to poor academic performance (which in turn affects aid status) Flexible Gen Ed curriculum allowed students to take core skills courses late Students unprepared for upper-level courses Academic attitudes about urban learners 4

5 The First Year Experience: Centerpiece of Curricular Reform Emphasis on foundational skills Instruction by developmental learning specialists Supplemental instruction and assessment Pre-and-post testing The learning community model Intensive academic support and intervention for early alert students, probationary students, and other designated cohorts 5

6 Goals of the First-Year Experience: By the end of the first year, students will… Develop abilities to read, understand and analyze texts. Develop abilities to communicate effectively in speech and writing. Develop abilities to understand and use quantitative reasoning to solve problems. Develop abilities to locate, evaluate, and synthesize information in the construction of knowledge. Begin to explore and connect fields of knowledge in liberal arts. Begin to apply diverse modes of inquiry to the study of human societies and the natural world. Appreciate and adhere to principles of academic honesty. Develop capacity for engaging in civil discourse. Develop skills necessary for academic success, including efficient time management, effective study skills, and responsibility for own learning. 6

7 Decanal initiatives within the curriculum Development of an instructional team of specialists in Math, Writing, and Reading, all reporting directly to CAS dean. Direct decanal oversight of diagnostic testing and placement, curricular development, and outcomes assessment in developmental and foundational courses. Designation of the CAS Associate Dean as director of First Year Experience. Creation of schedules for matriculating students resides entirely in the decanal office. First-year student orientation recast as primarily academic rather than social and organized by the academic dean and staff. Location of professional academic advisors in Deans office 7

8 Sample 1 st Semester Schedule 8

9 Integration of specialists and faculty Specialists and faculty offices together Shared course resource page for CRS instructors Proposal to start up foundational skills think tank for teachers of first-year students 9

10 Template for Course Reports 10 Executive summary Course overview Presentation of Data Pre and post assessment Course outcomes and relative variables Placement data Recommendations Appendix (rubrics, samples, raw data)

11 Sample Course Report DataReading 11 # of students Avg. test score Avg. semester GPA Avg. absences passed with C or better 978%2.652 passed with C- or below 1467%2.04 Failed662%.885 Withdrew20 41% (avg. for 12 students) (as of midterm) 3 sections of CRS 101SFall 2010

12 Sample Course Report Data--Writing 12 Sentence Grammar Punctuation and Mechanics Usage and Style Basic Grammar Overall Average pre-test diagnostic 40.2%62.7%61.2%57.9%55.5% Average post-test diagnostic 61.7%72.9%80.2%76.0%72.7% ENGL 105S MyWritingLab Diagnostic Pre and Post-Test Scores

13 Sample Course Report Data--Math 13

14 Our measure of success … Overall fall-to-fall retention in the College of Arts and Sciences has improved from 68% in Fall 2006 to 76% in Fall First-Year retention has grown from 60% in F2006 to 74% in F

15 Noteworthy … CAS retention rates have improved steadily over the past three years despite a major increase in enrollment during the same period. Though we have redirected faculty and advising resources away from upper level courses and toward lower level courses, retention of upper level students seems to be holding steady. Retention from F2010 to SP2011 was 90%. 15

16 Retention Patterns Fall Fall

17 Pros and Cons from an Administrative Perspective Benefits of the new Gen Ed: Steadily improving student retention Standardization of curricula for foundational courses (English, Math, Reading, Critical Thinking, Communication) Regular, meaningful outcomes assessment Rapid response to assessment findings 17

18 Pros and Cons, continued: Challenges of the new Gen Ed Institutional investment in decanal staff positions has diverted resources away from new faculty positions. Emphasis on Gen Ed has slowed momentum for development of major and minor programs. Growing proportion of decanal time is spent on hiring, mentoring, and evaluating staff. 18

19 Your turn … Sharing successes: Have you instituted similar initiatives with measurable outcomes? What challenges have you faced, and what kinds of initiatives have NOT worked for you? What is the role of deans and other administrators in curricular reform at your institution? How effective a role are administrators playing in this reform? 19

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