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Academic Innovation & Effectiveness

Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
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Integrate Strategic Planning and AQIP Action Projects: Reshape new student transition

Action Project

Institution: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Submitted: 2002-05-22

Planned project kickoff date:
Target completion date:
Actual completion date:
A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:
Integrate Strategic Planning and AQIP Action Projects: Reshape new student transition
B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
Review current recruiting, admission, orientation and enrollment practices and examine undergraduate students' first year experiences to determine if existing programs meet students' needs, help students succeed, and improve student learning;
Develop and implement plan for strengthening new-students' first year experiences, including a new-student seminar requirement for all new students.

C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:
Primary Category: Helping Students Learn

D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:
While SIUE has increased the number of students residing on campus in the past five years, the university retains its emphasis on serving the needs of commuting and non-traditional students. Urban and metropolitan universities such as SIUE have more difficulty with student persistence rates than other types of universities, in large part because commuting and non-traditional students persist at lower rates than residential traditional students. Even though commuting and non-traditional students will never persist at the same rate as traditional residential students for reasons unrelated to their university experience, SIUE can improve. The university cannot help students learn who do not persist.

E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:
Academic Affairs, Administration, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management Council

F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:
Recruiting and admission of new freshmen and transfer students

Advisement and enrollment of new freshmen and transfer students

Class scheduling and faculty teaching and service assignments

G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):
A number of processes are currently in place in support of this goal:
New orientation and New-Student Convocation programs have been implemented in the past year
The University is a participant in the Illinois Articulation Initiative
Supplemental Instruction sections have been implemented for lower level courses with low pass rates

A taskforce needs to be appointed by the Chancellor and the Provost and charged with developing appropriate actionable recommendations for improving the transition of new students to the University who enter as either freshmen or transfers. The taskforce should consider recruitment, admission, advisement, enrollment, orientation, and curriculum for the first year. Particular attention should be given to a freshman seminar, the university experience course, new student orientation, Pre-Entry Advisement and Registration, and testing and placement.

As work progresses on Develop a comprehensive measure of student learning and Measure and improve student and administrative services, particular attention shall be given to developing measures for dimensions of student learning and for service delivery that are directly related to new freshmen and transfer students.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:
The regular review of policies affecting new student transition.
Establishment of benchmarks for new student enrollment and new student satisfaction.
Appropriate placement of students in courses based on academic need and preparation.

I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:
Three - year trends of student pass rates in key 100 level courses.
Student persistence utilizing IUPUI model.
New student satisfaction with the first year experience measured against benchmarks.
Percentage of new students enrolled in new-student seminar.
Number of students participating in New-Student Orientation and Convocation.

J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):
50% participation of new students in New-Student Orientation
10% increase in attendance at New-Student Convocation
New-student seminar proposal complete and submitted for review by Curriculum Council25% participation of new students in new-student seminar
60% participation of new students in New-Student Orientation
10% increase in attendance at New-Student Convocation
New-student seminar options expanded and pilots of new courses offeredNew student 2nd year persistence rates increase to 75%
100% participation of new freshmen in new-student seminar
70% participation of new students in New-Student Orientation
10% increase in attendance at New-Student Convocation
25% participation of new transfer students in new-student seminar New-student seminar requirement in place for new freshmen
New-student seminar designed for all new students, staffed, and fully funded

Last Action Project Update: 2004-09-14
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.
The new orientation, advisement, and enrollment program, called Springboard to Success, was fully implemented for Fall 2004. Twenty-one one-day programs were offered from March 30 through May 20, and six overnight programs were offered between June 2 and July 1, 2004. Between the day and the overnight programs, 1626 of the 1682 new freshmen (96.7%) participated in Springboard to Success. For the day program, 995 students (59.2%) and 1152 parents/guests attended; an additional 631 students (37.5%) and 588 parents/guests attended the overnight programs. Attendance at the new student orientation program at the beginning of the 2004 fall semester was 1866 students and family members, an increase of 4% over 2003 and an increase of 24% over 2002. Between the Springboard to Success orientation program and the day program at the beginning of the fall term, approximately 97% of the new freshmen attended orientation (stretch target-70%).

Attendance for convocation was over 2500. That is an increase of 60% over 2003 and an increase of 500% over 2002 (stretch target for convocation-10% increase each year).

Stretch targets were not reached for transfer student orientation in part because the New Student Transition Task Force decided to focus efforts on new freshmen. Focus on transfer student transition will be considered for the next phase of this action project.

The original Goals Commitment Declaration for this action project listed four objectives: 1) Identify stable enrollment target, (2) Review admission standards and modify to meet enrollment target, (3) Review processes for analyzing enrollment patterns for both new freshmen and transfer students, and (4) Review current orientation practices and examine students' first year experiences to determine if existing programs are meeting students' needs, helping students succeed, and improving student learning. All four of these objectives have been addressed.

The objectives for the action project were modified to include specific reference to a new student seminar: "Develop and implement plan for strengthening new-students' first year experiences, including a new-student seminar requirement for all new students." A freshman seminar has been piloted and the effectiveness of the seminar has been examined by a study committee sponsored by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Council using NSSE data, surveys, focus groups, and literature review. The study committee has recommended adoption of the new student seminar requirement for all new freshmen. The stretch goal to have the new-student seminar fully implemented and funded was not reached. Continued work on implementing a new-student seminar is expected to be included in a future action project.

The most recent freshman to sophomore persistence rate (from fall 2002 to fall 2003) was 75%, which meets the third year stretch target from the goals commitment. This is the highest persistence rate in SIUE's last 20 years. SIUE will continue monitoring freshman to sophomore persistence rates.
B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.
The New Student Transition Task Force met nine times since the last annual report. The task force and working groups for pre-application processes (9) and post-application processes (11), orientation (7) as well as the working group that developed the Springboard to Success program (10) included approximately 50 participants involving faculty, staff, and administrators. The changes implemented by the work on this action project affected all new freshmen and transfer students.
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.
SIUE will explore ways of improving transition, including orientation, for transfer students following the work that has already been accomplished involving new freshmen. The New Student Transition Task Force recommends that the revised project focus on the needs of both graduate and undergraduate non-traditional and commuter students, noting that the recommendations from the "Non-Traditional and Commuter Student Working Group Report" have only been partially addressed.

While the action project is being modified to concentrate on transfer student transition, there are several follow-up activities that will continue related to new freshmen and the new freshman seminar proposal. SIUE will continue to work on implementing a new freshman seminar requirement by: 1. completing review and approval by the Faculty Senate, 2. responding to the recommendation in the Freshman Seminar Proposal Study Committee Report to include a freshman seminar component in any revision of general education, and 3. submitting a request fall 2004 for state funding for increasing freshman seminar offerings and supporting faculty development in preparation for implementation of a required freshman seminar.
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.
Springboard to Success was piloted, developed and implemented with participation by new freshmen approaching 97%. This has improved new freshman orientation, advisement, and enrollment and allowed the College of Arts and Sciences to improve class scheduling and staffing for new students.
E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
The biggest challenge will be to balance continuity with the past work with getting new people involved. The New Student Transition Task Force is considering over the next month whether to recommend keeping the task force intact, to consider bringing in new members and have some existing members step off, or to recommend an entirely new task force.
F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

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