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Academic Innovation & Effectiveness

Academic Innovation & Effectiveness
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Reshape New Transfer Student Transition

Action Project

Institution: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Submitted: 2005-05-23

Planned project kickoff date:
Target completion date:
Actual completion date:
A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:
Reshape new transfer student transition

B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
Review current recruiting, admission, orientation and practices for transfer students and examine first year experiences to determine if existing programs meet students' needs, help students succeed, and improve student learning; Develop and implement plan for strengthening transfer students' first year experiences, including a seminar requirement for all new transfer 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 may 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.

In an earlier Action Project, SIUE concentrated on the needs of new freshmen. The New Student Transition Task Force (NSTTF) recommended that a revised project focus on the needs of 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 some commuter students start at SIUE as new freshman, the majority begin as transfer students.

Following further discussion, the NSTTF modified the recommendation to focus on new transfer student transition. The improvements made for new freshmen in recruitment, admissions, orientation, and first year experience apply to both residential and commuting new freshman. It is important that we improve transition experiences for transfer students as well. Of particular concern is the assurance that transfer students have the same sorts of growing experiences that we have created for new freshmen. An additional concern is that new transfer students have the necessary preparation for success.

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 transfer students;
Advisement and enrollment of new 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 units that will be involved with this Action Project have had experience with the earlier New Student Transition Action Project that concentrated on new freshmen. The University is a participant in the Illinois Articulation Initiative. A taskforce will be appointed by the Chancellor and the Provost and charged with developing appropriate actionable recommendations for improving the transition of new transfer students to the University. The taskforce will consider recruitment, admission, advisement, enrollment, orientation, curriculum, and first year experience for the transfer student.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:
The regular review of policies affecting new transfer student transition. Establishment of benchmarks for transfer 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:
Student persistence utilizing IUPUI model. Transfer student satisfaction measured against benchmarks. Number of transfer students participating in New-Student Orientation and Convocation.

J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):
50% participation of new transfer students in TRANSFERmation Tuesday.
Plan developed to involve new transfer students in New-Student Convocation or a parallel experience.
Completion of feasibility study for development of a new-student seminar for transfer students.90% participation of new transfer students in TRANSFERmation Tuesday.
New Transfer Student Convocation plan implemented.
5% of new transfer students complete pilot new-student seminar for transfer students.Transfer student persistence rates improved by 5 percentage points.
25% of new transfer students complete pilot new-student seminar for transfer students.

Last Action Project Update: 2006-09-07
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.
The New Transfer Student Transition Task Force completed its work in 2006, and SIUE will retire this Action Project. Based on recommendations and guidance from the Task Force, SIUE has implemented a transfer student orientation program named TRANSFERmation. The Task Force studied the piloted program and set realistic targets for the program's full implementation. A proposal for dual admission with Southwestern Illinois College has been negotiated and is in the final stages of approval before implementation (action topic #2 below).

The work of the Task Force has connected with the larger campus initiative named BRIDGE, General Education Reform. Members of the Task Force have also participated on BRIDGE design teams, helping those design teams keep the needs of transfer students in mind while rethinking general education. At the same time, though, the effort that has been put into BRIDGE has interfered with the amount of work that could be accomplished on the Action Project. Not as much has been accomplished as had been intended.

After completing an environmental scan, the following topics were introduced for SIUE to consider for action in the future: 1. Review and consideration of a number of reports that have been generated over the last few years, including the Non-Traditional and Commuter Student Working Group Final Report (completed, November 2002), the Academic Advising Task Force Report (completed, June 2006), and the Honors Task Force Report (completed, May 2006); 2. DUAL Admission Program - study the nature of establishing a dual admission program with local community colleges; 3. Create a Transfer Student Advisory Group of college counselors from local community colleges - assist in providing feedback to SIUE; 4. Complete Study and Review of the SIUE website and marketing materials - assist in meeting the needs of transfer students; and 5. Admission Requirements and Deadlines - study the impact of the admission guidelines, policies and procedures.

A group has been meeting to select the possible action items that will be the focus of a follow up Action Project. A new chair and assistant chair have been identified. They are energetic, excited, and have been in a position, as advisers, to see the challenges faced by transfer students on a person by person basis. While the new chair and assistant chair have not been involved in university level service up to this point, one of the reasons that they were recruited for these leadership positions is that SIUE is working to develop a new group of leaders who are young and relatively new in their careers.

Implementation of the New Transfer Student Seminar has been postponed until the New Freshman Seminar is fully implemented in Fall Semester 2007.
B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.
The Task Force had eleven members including a student, faculty representatives from Arts and Science, Engineering, Education, and Nursing, advisers, and the transfer coordinator in the Registrars office. The faculty included four associate deans and representatives from the library and the Graduate Council.
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.
This Action Project is being retired. A new Action Project is being identified to focus on one or two action items that have been left undone. A chair and an assistant chair have been identified and meetings have been scheduled.
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.
The TRANSFERmation program may turn out to be a best practice, although it is premature to consider it at this point.
E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
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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