Ensuring Student Success

Ensuring Student Success

Kent State University
on Oct 31, 2012

CONVERSATION CLOSED
What can the university do to ensure all students succeed in their academic endeavors and are prepared for success beyond their higher education experience? This conversation is part of the work of the Academic Affairs Strategic Planning Committee of Kent State University and the Provost Office.

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What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2017-03-30T06:35:57+00:00
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Recent Activity

Alice Crume
on Dec 13, 2012
"Laurie, you are right on about students' full lives. They have children, jobs, car troubles, get..."
Debra Clark
on Dec 13, 2012
"Sorry to bring up a touchy subject toward the end of this discussion, but I feel I must.  I am a..."
David Purcell
on Dec 12, 2012
"Thanks for your thoughts, Joel. It's interesting to hear about the success of linked courses. I..."
Joel Hughes
on Dec 12, 2012
"So if I understand correctly, barriers to student success include: 1) TT faculty don't..."
Zinga Bodden
on Dec 12, 2012
"I agree. My biology professor made it a point for us to take the 2-minute VARK test to identify..."
Zinga Bodden
on Dec 12, 2012
"One way the university could work to get students engaged and facutly more in touch, is by..."
Mark Lyberger
on Dec 11, 2012
"Brenda I would even say that is the responsibility of the University as a whole.  I strongly..."
Sarah Malcolm
on Dec 11, 2012
"I agree Brittany. We all have a responsiblity to be aware of the resources available to students..."
Erik  Zemljic
on Dec 11, 2012
"I agree wholeheartedly with John’s comment above.  In order to work towards the broad goal of..."
PR Mitchell
on Dec 11, 2012
"I teach in a field requiring the Master's degree for clinical practice. I would like to see a..."
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012
"Laurie, I absolutely agree with your statement. It's a shame that students who are not putting..."
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012
"Dave, I absolutey agree with your statement. we need to engage students more in order for them to..."
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012
"Dave, I absolutey agree with your statement. we need to engage students more in order for them to..."
Laurie Camp
on Dec 11, 2012
"A few comments that I would like to add.  I agree with Dr. Wooten.  Many of the students are not..."
susan iverson
on Dec 11, 2012
"Dave, you are not off-base. I concur fully with your remarks and observations (hear, hear!) --and..."
David Purcell
on Dec 10, 2012
"Dear Colleagues, There are many good ideas and opinions about how to ensure student success..."
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012
"Deborah, I wonder if you email your students when you realizing that they are having attendance..."
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012
"You need to create a system that is flexible and based allows 1 on 1 mentorship. This facilitates..."
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012
"While agree with you first paragraph that some students already have substantial responsibilities..."
Andrew Budny
on Dec 06, 2012
"This is an excellent idea. If this was around when I was still an undergraduate, I would have..."
Ann Motayar
on Dec 06, 2012
"To foster student success, create institutional expectations for career planning check-points for..."
Debra Clark
on Nov 30, 2012
"The group is going to be called ComNET.  We just had our first meeting and at least intitially if..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 29, 2012
"Yes, Dave...we have the same problem as medicine: dependence on a dysfunctional funding strategy...."
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 29, 2012
"How will this project be financially sustained? I had an idea of using small projects labeled as..."
Joel Hughes
on Nov 28, 2012
"Again, block scheduling would fix this. MW and TR with longer seminars on fridays. Block..."
Andrew Budny
on Nov 28, 2012
"Same here, I feel that online courses should only be used for upper division course work..."
Laurie Donley
on Nov 28, 2012
"Kimberly, you bring up something very important. KSU and higher education in general is still set..."
Marianne Warzinski
on Nov 28, 2012
"As the academic program director for the CCI Commons (the College of Communication and..."
David Dumpe
on Nov 28, 2012
"Joel, this is a big issue and the easy access to a great deal of money ... but less than is..."
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 27, 2012
"I agree communication is an area that needs constant attention and innovation. Sometime s though..."
PR Mitchell
on Dec 11, 2012 - 1:43 pm

I teach in a field requiring the Master's degree for clinical practice. I would like to see a substantial early effort to assist students in choosing majors in which they are likely to be successful, and having alternate plans in case they have not found a good match.  Early identification of students and guidance in switching majors where appropriate could be helpful in facilitating student success.  I have seen many students who stay with our undergrad major despite very limited prospects of or getting into grad school.  Cross-university collaborations to explore other ways to minimize the amount of coursework students need to retake with a change in UG major could help students feel more comfortable making a change in major when indicated.  

 
David Purcell
on Dec 10, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Dear Colleagues,

There are many good ideas and opinions about how to ensure student success here at KSU. I would like to share some broader, more systemic thoughts on the question. First, I want to emphasize that this comes from both my disciplinary training in sociology, as well as my perspective as a sixth-year tenure-track faculty member.

I see three related issues as obstacles to student success. The first, and most serious, is that undergraduate learning is not a major priority for our tenure-track faculty. This is clearly communicated in the merit pay formula: research accounts for 50%, and teaching and service both account for 25%. Yes, undergraduate teaching and learning counts for the same amount of merit pay as the service work that is generally viewed as the lowest priority for T-T faculty. While I appreciate the opportunity to earn additional pay for meritorious work, it is disheartening to know that every minute I spend talking to undergraduates outside of the classroom costs me money, quite literally. Whether students want to discuss class material or graduate school, or more personal matters, they deserve our time. And yet, doing so directly impacts our paychecks.

The university’s priorities are also clearly seen in the “Strategic Plan to Establish Kent State As a National Research University” that was circulated to faculty in April, 2012. Quality teaching is an afterthought in this proposal. As a brief illustration, “research” shows up 484 times in this 40-page document. “Teaching?” Just 18 – any many of those references are in regard to enabling high-quality researchers to teach even less.

The university’s priorities clearly do not stop many of us from working hard on behalf of our undergraduates. But it clear that we do so in an environment and culture where this work is not truly and completely valued. My next two points both illustrate and serve as symptoms of the university’s priorities in terms of quality undergraduate learning.

Second, how do we know that our efforts are working? We survey students when they enroll and when they graduate (e.g., BCSSE, CLA, graduating senior survey). What about along the way? For example, I teach a large section (100 to 250 students) of Introduction To Sociology every semester. I also taught a First Year Experience course four times. As such, I have reported many students to the Early Alert system. In fall 2011, I asked for any findings on how well that program is working. At the time, I was told that such information was forthcoming. I have yet to receive it, and I cannot find it on our website. Again, what is my incentive for continuing to participate in this system? 

Last, and related to the second point, we do not seek out student feedback on a regular basis. (If we do, I am not aware of it, nor can I find it on our website.) Other than the Student Survey of Instruction, what opportunities do students have to express their opinions on what works and what does not? Why do we not have an annual student survey or regular focus groups? For example, students frequently told me how much they disliked the FYE course and did not find it of value. For the most part, they did not report this on the SSI forms because they did not want me to look bad. Yet, they perfectly good reasons for why the FYE course, as currently designed, is not helpful to them at all.

I recently returned from the annual meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL), where a major theme was engaging undergraduates as partners in teaching and learning activities and in university planning. It was inspiring to see the projects that other universities are engaging in in this regard. We seem light years away from this. We have many programs and slogans, but are they want students need or want?

I believe that these three issues lead to a situation where most undergraduates can receive an adequate education, but not an outstanding one. Our first-year retention and six-year graduation rates, as compared to public universities that are known for their excellent undergraduate instruction, such as Ohio University and Miami University, seem to support this. Our graduating senior survey, in which “satisfied” is the modal category for most questions and roughly one-third of students answer “very satisfied” for any item also supports this. (Anecdotally, I was told by a senior administrator that we have one of the lowest alumni attachment ratings in the MAC. However, I have not been able to find any publicly-available data to support this.)

It is my sense, which is supported by conversations with faculty and staff around KSU, that we focus on helping students at each end of the bell curve – we have systems to help struggling students, and we recommend the outstanding and Honors College students for graduate school – while allowing many students in the middle to drift through without much outreach or attention on our part. While it is true that students are responsible for their own agency, it also the case that around 40% of our students are first-generation. Plenty of social science research supports the likelihood that lack the cultural and social capital necessary to approach faculty members in a confident and beneficial manner. (Students often tell me they are scared to visit my office, despite my reputation as a friendly professor. They also tell me that they feel as though I must have better things to do, which is a sad comment on our faculty members’ priorities have been communicated to them.) I see far too many students who drift through four years at KSU with no attention or outreach from faculty, and graduate with a 2.5 GPA and no real skills or plan for the future. Again, students are responsible for some of this, but there is no question that we could do a better job in this regard if it were truly a priority. 

In closing, I want to stress that I do not wish this to be read as criticism of the many good faculty, staff, and administrators who work hard on behalf of KSU’s students. It should also not be read as an implicit criticism of my department. Our chair and my senior colleagues have been extremely supportive of my efforts to become a high-level teacher. My critique is aimed squarely at our institutional priorities. Until we strive to do better, and until we reward faculty and staff for work that benefits undergraduates and leads to a deeper level of learning and engagement, little is likely to change. (If you are not clear on the effects that institutions and their priorities have on individuals, watch The Wire.) I have many ideas for improving the undergraduate experience in my department. However, until I am more established in financial and reputational terms, there is no incentive whatsoever for me to undertake such work. Sadly, I am confident I am not alone at KSU in this regard.

I recognize that this forum is closing in a few days. I hope that some of you will have a moment to respond. If I am completely off-base, please feel free to correct me. I will look forward to reading your thoughts. Thanks for listening.

Best regards,dp

 

Responses(7)

susan iverson
on Dec 11, 2012

Dave, you are not off-base. I concur fully with your remarks and observations (hear, hear!) --and appreciated your well-supported argument. We have mechanisms that (in their origin) are student-centered, from Early Alert to infusing Diversity in the curriculum, from FYE seminars to experiential learning requirement. But how do we know if these are serving students? What are the learning outcomes for these initiatives, and how do we know if they are 'working'? [and by "we" i don't just mean, as determined by administrators or faculty, but incorporating student input too.] And what do these initiatives have to do with each other? How does Early Alert intersect with FYE seminars and Kent Core? What learning outcomes for the experiential learning requirements also support our objectives with Diversity (curricular) requirements? These initiatives are (presumably) central to students (identity) development and preparation to participate civically after graduation. Yet, the absence of any such conversations (beyond pockets here and there) are further evidence to the points you raise about the degree to which undergraduate education is an institutional priority. Thanks for your stimulating comments. Susan

 
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012

Dave, I absolutey agree with your statement. we need to engage students more in order for them to succeed. As an undergraduate, I always made it a point to talk to my professors to get feedback on how I was doing in the class and to get clarification as to what was expected for a certain assignment and project.

It's an absolute shame that students are affraid to get assistance from there professors or to even talk to them about there plans for the future after completing there undergraduate work. Students shouldent be affraid to talk to there professors about these issues. If more time was spent doing so, we would see an increase of students graduating with degrees and less students dropping out of school for not getting help.

Even though research is important to faculty members, the university should strive more to help faculty get more in touch with students. Students should not be affraid to talkt to there professors, they are there to help guide them thru there studies and be able to achieve there dreams and goals for the future without having to fear failure.

 
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012

Dave, I absolutey agree with your statement. we need to engage students more in order for them to succeed. As an undergraduate, I always made it a point to talk to my professors to get feedback on how I was doing in the class and to get clarification as to what was expected for a certain assignment and project.

It's an absolute shame that students are affraid to get assistance from there professors or to even talk to them about there plans for the future after completing there undergraduate work. Students shouldent be affraid to talk to there professors about these issues. If more time was spent doing so, we would see an increase of students graduating with degrees and less students dropping out of school for not getting help.

Even though research is important to faculty members, the university should strive more to help faculty get more in touch with students. Students should not be affraid to talkt to there professors, they are there to help guide them thru there studies and be able to achieve there dreams and goals for the future without having to fear failure.

 
Zinga Bodden
on Dec 12, 2012

One way the university could work to get students engaged and facutly more in touch, is by putting students to work, such as coming up with innovative ways to help the local and global community. Every student has a valuable skill set. With mentoring and guidance, these students can learn to put their skills to use. One format for instruction that I enjoyed as an undergraduate student, was the learning community. High school students, undergrads, faculty, business partners, and the local community all worked together to study the health of streams and other headwater habitats locally. More experienced members of the learning community acted as a guides, and spent about 10 % of the time teaching the theoretical and historical, why and how we should study this topic. There rest of the time was out in the field asking questions, collecting data and presenting our findings. The instant application of knowledge kept us engaged. The high school students adapted quickly to viewing the world as a scientist, with some going on to change their high school science curriculum. 

 

What if these learning communities were used to tackle education issues that the university faces? Or issues in the local community? We would all be working together, while building confidence in students critical thinking, research, and collaboration skills.

 
Joel Hughes
on Dec 12, 2012

So if I understand correctly, barriers to student success include:

1) TT faculty don't prioritize teaching.

2) We don't evaluate whether our student success efforts work.

3) We do not seek student feedback.

 

I agree with much of this, and in particular I agree that the university should rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of interventions intended to foster success. This is why I have contributed to effforts to evaluate the linked courses initiative. Our first couple waves of results showed that students assigned to linked courses earned higher GPA's than control students and even slightly better retention. These kind of efforts should be commonplace, systematic, etc. but that requires university support.

With respect to the first point, I think that universities often have divided identities. Smaller liberal arts universities often provide a better learning experience but have fewer resources for research. They can struggle with aspiring to be a research extensive university when that is not realistic. Large universities like Kent State have more difficulty providing the best educational experience in fields where there is a high research expectation. I also teach FYE and my approach is to educate the students regarding how to get the most out of the institution that they chose. At a large university, it is not appropriate to expect the classroom experience to be the entire education. To the extent that students are willing and able to engage the resources of the university to train for a desired future, they can succeed. In my area (Psychology), I've had dozens of undergraduates work in my research program, and they've gone on to advanced study in psychology, medicine, law, business, and even immediate employment upon graduation. I've worked with honors students, McNair scholars, etc. from Psychology and other departments. This is what students should do at a large university--the resources are there but there is a need to be proactive and intentional or nothing happens.  

 
David Purcell
on Dec 12, 2012

Thanks for your thoughts, Joel. It's interesting to hear about the success of linked courses. I was on the committee that worked to construct a linked course plan for CCI. I haven't heard how that initiative that has gone, other than a few comments from students who liked it.

I agree with you that proactive students can succeed here. Like you, I encourage students to be entrepreneurial with their education. Perhaps such advice could be formalized in the FYE curriculum, and reinforced through other means.

 
Debra Clark
on Dec 13, 2012

Sorry to bring up a touchy subject toward the end of this discussion, but I feel I must.  I am a faculty member (small 'f"), in other words an NTT.  Afew  years ago we were receiving e-mails from President Lefton regarding involving students in our research.  Though I am a teaching NTT, I also do research and try, where accepted, to do university service.

 When President Lefton was sending e-mails regarding including undergraduate students in our research, I designed a research projected that would have involved undergraduate pre-service teachers interviewing working teachers regarding moral education. I also intended to take undergraduate students to national and state conferences to present our findings.   I got approval from our research review board, recruited undergraduate students to participate in the research, and then applied to RAGS for funding.

I received a letter back from RAGS that stated "excellent proposal," however you are an NTT and therefore do not qualify.

That year I did take three undergraduate students to a conference.  However, I simply could not afford to continue the project and, therefore.  ended the project.

I teach approximately 150 first year students each semester.  This is just one example, of the barriers I have encountered to assist my students and have been told "No," by the university, because I am an NTT.  

 
Expand This Thread
Marianne Warzinski
on Nov 28, 2012 - 10:35 am

As the academic program director for the CCI Commons (the College of Communication and Information's living-learning community) I have seen first hand the importance of learning communities. I think the university should consider expanding our LLC programs for students who live on campus and for commuters. If students feel a connection to a group (or even a few people) who can offer support they are more likely to be successful at KSU.

 
Greg Blundell
on Nov 20, 2012 - 3:54 pm

A myth I have encountered and consequently dispelled through classroom experience is that is our current students are tech savvy.

Unfortunately, this misunderstanding occurs on both sides of the teaching aisle.  On the one hand, many faculty members believe because many of today's undergraduate students are "digital natives" (having grown up in an almost completely digital age), that they quickly learn how to use new technologies effectively, particularly those for academic purposes.  However, on the other hand, these "digital natives" well know they are deficient in this area, but are reluctant to inform faculty members of their deficiencies because they do not want faculty members to believe them incapable or ill-equipped for the 21st century higher education environment.

To add to this dilemma, I contend that we are not providing an amenable entry-level learning environment to obviate this limitation earlier in their academic journey when it comes to online learning environments [OLE].

Characteristically we provide a course framework that is “factory” driven− in that faculty/administration more so decides what students want as opposed to including what they need. My research has uncovered that in order for students to be more successful sooner, and thereby enhance our retention efforts, we must focus more specifically on student learning effectiveness, and student satisfaction (2 of the 5 categories of SLOAN-C Quality Framework), when designing the OLE course framework. Quality Matters [QM] is an important component, but is just one piece of the puzzle.

To impede this ongoing dilemma we need an entry-level primer to OLE, either included in DKS-FYE or facilitated independently as we do with the Math Emporium, Writing Centers, Libraries, etc.

 
Brenda McKenzie
on Nov 20, 2012 - 2:42 pm

Student affairs staff and academic affairs staff need to develop specific plans for building connections between the students in-class and out-of-class learning. We need to think differently about what experiential learning might look like. For example, how could/are students who may serve as treasurers of their organizations applying what they may be learning in business/accounting classes? Are we willing to work with students to allow leadership experiences to count for the experiential learning requirement? This could, potentially, open more avenues for connecting curricular and co-curricular experiences and help students see the application and relevance.

 

Responses(2)

Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 20, 2012

Great idea, Brenda. It would take some coordination, but could be an effective leadership tool as well for student organizations.

 
Mark Lyberger
on Dec 11, 2012

Brenda

I would even say that is the responsibility of the University as a whole.  I strongly believe if we want to continue to grow and create opportunities for our students that we must expand our collaborative initiatives both on and off campus.  

 
Expand This Thread
Bate Agbor-Baiyee
on Nov 16, 2012 - 10:41 am

 It is vital to consider the culture and climate of the classroom as important factors for learning and developmental success of our students. Classroom facilitators i.e. professors should be intentional about creating a safe, conducive, supportive learning environment for ALL students irrespective of backgrounds.  For most students, the classroom is not just an academic space reserved for the cross-pollination of ideas; it is as much an all-embracing psychosocial, emotional, cultural, and personal space to thrive as humans. Exclusive classrooms spaces or climate that directly or indirectly marginalize or disregard certain perspectives or groups of students tend to generate fear, confusion, and anxiety for students thus inhibiting their ability to learn and grow. Students know it and can feel it when they do not feel welcomed in the classroom or on campus and as a result they sometimes just check-out or become less engaged and involved.  By no means, am I suggesting that this is something easy to do but the facilitators or professors who are managers of the classroom can endeavor to be intentional about inclusivity acknowledging ALL so that a certain portion of the classroom does not feel ostracized or devalued. Student’s especially underprivileged or international students for example are likely to be less inspired, active or  challenged to be risk-taking learners in an intimidating or non-encompassing classrooms.  I think Dr. Jeffrey Pellegrino’s FPDC office can be a very vital player in this area.

 

Responses(1)

Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 20, 2012

I could not agree more Bate.  When students share their stories of negative classroom experiences that are directly linked to culture and race, they are speaking to a much deeper problem than 'I just didn't like the professor'. Creating the kind of safe environment you speak of requires that faculty be trained.

 
Expand This Thread
susan iverson
on Nov 15, 2012 - 10:44 am

how to ensure success? One suggestion is to teach courage --

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/alma-mater/needed-curriculum-courage

the points raised in this story resonate with dialogue on the "expanding beyond our campus" thread too.

 
Heidi Swatek
on Nov 14, 2012 - 9:07 pm

I am really frustrated with having high school teachers as proffs for my online courses. I respect their expertise in dealing with the HS population, but they don't get that grad school is a very different thing. I pay a lot of money just to have someone nit-pick as if I were in HS. I am looking for meaningful learning opportunities, not a replay of high school. I am getting my Master's and would hope to have college proffs with PHD's teaching the course, especially at $600 per credit!

 
Kent State University
on Nov 14, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Many individuals at the University have a role in student success. Give us your suggestions on how faculty and staff might help students be more successful.

 

Responses(5)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 15, 2012

More faculty. Higher faculty-to-student ratio. The more faculty interact with students, the better they do. I can't prove this, but we all have a lot of experience problem solving with individual students or providing opportunities (e.g., honors thesis, McNair scholar, research experience) that are instrumental to their long-term success. Large course sizes make it harder. For example, this year FYE was 35 instead of 25 and those 10 extra students made it more difficult to have the kind of 1 on 1 time that helps.

The university is not just classes and credentials, or we wouldn't need many faculty. Much of student success is in the experiential learning, which in my area is when I bring them "into my world" of research and scholarship. Then they learn what it's really like to study psychology and be a psychologist. This is really clear in a lot of fields like nursing, journalism, education, the sciences, the arts, business, etc. You need to do it and not just learn about it. That can only happen when faculty interact with students in their non-teaching work (for both advising and experiential learning). I've had my students go on in medicine, law, counseling/school/social/clinical/rehabilitation psychology, etc.; many success stories. All of the success stories I know are from students who worked with me in a more personal way than the classroom can provide. 

Faculty are expensive, and "faculty extenders" like post-doctoral fellows and graduate students are critical here-I can only work with so many research experience students, but having an active research lab greatly extends the "reach" of the faculty as students work alongside a graduate student. 

 
Heidi Swatek
on Nov 17, 2012

I do see your point and definitely see a role for faculty extenders. At the master's level, I think it is key to have PHD proffs or at minimum PHD candidates working with master's candidates because they understand what college work at that level is all about. I would recommend prioritizing best use for my PHD faculty and using them in more of a supervisory role when needed. Can the classes, criteria, and course work be set up by  PDH faculty? I am looking for a meaningful learning experience at the graduate level, and have had several classes where I am just reading chapters in a book and answering the questions at the end of each chapter. I can do that myself and save the cost of tuition. 

 
Brittany Cathey
on Nov 19, 2012

Faculty and staff can help increase student success by helping to enforce the resources that are available to them. The only time that it seems these options are discussed is during syllabus week. Though these are typically listed in the back of syllabi, students need it reinforced verbally during the semester when they seem to be struggling. I also feel that some faculty need to make themselves more available to students for help other than their one time that they have office hours per week. This has been more evident at the Stark Campus than the Main Campus, which could be due to the increased number of part time faculty here at the regional campus.

 
Sarah Malcolm
on Dec 11, 2012

I agree Brittany. We all have a responsiblity to be aware of the resources available to students and to help them access those resources when needed. We may work at Kent State but we are here because of the students and we all have a part in welcoming and caring for our students.

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 22, 2012

In my classes, students must earn "professionalism points."  Three categories of professionalism points must be earned - Broaden Your Horizons, Orientation (to teaching), and intercultural.  To earn these points student must attend campus events, take photos of being at the event, and write a one paragraph summary of their experience at the event.   Some students complain that this requirement "is not fair," that they are too busy to earn professionalism points; others thrive earning these points.  I have noticed that those who thrive also tend to do quite well in my course and stay at Kent. 

 
Expand This Thread
Janet Peterson
on Nov 14, 2012 - 3:27 pm

I am wondering why I see other university sites that seem to test student learning styles early in their college careers.  In our nursing program (ADN) at East LIverpool, we make it a proiority that we test the student's learning style in their first semester with us. Many are unaware of "learning styles" in general and some have heard of them.  The majority are not using their learning styles to their best advantage.  We do see many students improve their performance when they adapt their study habits using strategies that are suggested.  Many ask "Why didn't somebody address this area sooner?" Many of our students are visual and kinestetic. Over the past five years we have used this information to make supplemental resources available. If other disciplines/campuses are testing for learning styles sooner, I would appreciate knowing what seems to work for your students. I beleive the success of many students is dependent on understanding their particular learning style and adapting how they study. Do others have an opinon about this?

 
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Responses(2)

Debra Clark
on Nov 18, 2012

This may be a bit controversial, but I do believe that with many freshmen, that they have simply been coddled too much via NCLB and helicopter parents.  Due to NCLB their entire learning was their teachers' responsiblity, not theirs, and if they got in trouble at school it was the teachers' fault also.  

I believe in being supportive of students and am, but sometimes the best support is a wake up call saying "it is time to grow-up and take responsibilty for yourself."

 

 
Zinga Bodden
on Dec 12, 2012

I agree. My biology professor made it a point for us to take the 2-minute VARK test to identify our learning styles. I found out, I was a read-write learner, which I kind of knew. Being able to put it into words and having research to back my learning personality, made me more comfortable in communicating this with others and structuring my study sessions. 

 
Expand This Thread
Victoria Migge
on Nov 14, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Students have a lot of demands made on them between academics, financial or family issues and student stress seems to be an issue that is on the rise.  One of the issues I've recently experienced with students is managing stress.  Stress can definitely have an impact on their success.  I've held classes where I discuss stress management  & ask students to share with classmates about what works for them.  I think part of what helps the student is knowing they're not alone on this issue. Also, the fact that counseling services on campus are provided at no cost is a plus. 

 
Victoria Migge
on Nov 14, 2012 - 12:37 pm

 Students should be made more aware of KSU's policies and procedures to ensure success and to know the universities' expectations of them.  At the regional campuses, many procedures differ from the Kent campus. Having a clear understanding, provides students with consistency and a place to seek answers . 

 
Lynette Rawlings
on Nov 14, 2012 - 11:02 am

Sadly there can be insurmountable obstacles that prohibit student success by no fault of the University community at large.  There are financial concerns, family concerns, logistical concerns e.g. scheduling of classes when one has to work etc.  A delay in degree completion may be forced due to these reasons and other examples too numerous to list.

I often hear from students I advise their greatest need to ensure their success is to be able to seek out and speak with others who have gone and graduated before them.  This contact, if anything, is for reassurance they too can complete their degree requirements and earn a diploma given life complications. 

A mentoring program would be grand.

 
Jeremy Nieves
on Nov 13, 2012 - 12:58 pm

I think it would benefit students if we had more majors at the Regional campuses for them to choose from.  Forcing many of the students to go to the Kent campus to complete their degree or choose one they have, I think forces them away sometimes to other Universities. 

 

Responses(2)

Joan Inderhees
on Nov 13, 2012

Jeremy, do you mean that there should be more 4 year degrees at the regional campuses, or a greater variety of degrees? or both?

On a similar topic — I have heard students wonder why there aren't 2-year degrees on the Kent campus. For the students residing in Ravenna-Kent-Stow, Kent is their 'regional campus.' 

 
Shelly Lingenfelter
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree Jeremy.  I work at two regional campuses, one of which is about an hour and twenty minute drive from the Kent Campus.  Many of our students can't afford to go to the Kent Campus or are able to travel to the campus to complete a bachelor degree.  The other part of this is that my campuses are about 50% traditional aged college students and the other 50% is non-traditional, even many of the traditional aged students are working 20 or more hours per week.  With work and family schedules, it is difficult for them to find the time and money to pursue a degree at the Kent Campus.

 
Expand This Thread
Anne Dalby
on Nov 13, 2012 - 10:42 am

If each student had a clear understanding of what their end goal is, they would be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to keep fighting for that prize. "Why am I doing this?" "What is the purpose of all this work and suffering?" "Why am I spending all this money and time?" If we can create a backwards timeline for each student when they first enter higher education they could see small, achiveable goals ahead of them. Start with, "What kind of life do you want to live?" Then figure out what careers would support that life; Then what kind of education and experiences do you need in order to enter that career?; What do you need to complete that education?; What classes & activities do you need to take?; How quickly do you want to complete it?; What classes do you need your last year?; Your previous year?; etc.; Will you need developmental coursework to prepare you for success in that first year? Send each student away from an initial adivsing session with a plan. I LOVE the GPS Plan. Advisors need more career advising training in order to enhance that plan beyond academics.

 

Responses(1)

Pamela  Tontodonato
on Nov 16, 2012

Hi, Anne.

 

I like the following book as a tool for students to address the questions you raise:

The Purpose Guided student: Dream to Succeed.  See http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073522414/information_center_view0/ .  It is written by Jerry Pattengale.  Unfortunately, it costs $58.00, but perhaps you might find it useful in your work.

Pam Tontodonato

A&S

 
Expand This Thread
Pam Palermo
on Nov 13, 2012 - 9:34 am

I often hear from our advisors at our campus how important it is to provide a positive first year experience for students to ensure that they persist and graduate.  I have also seen great strides made at our regional campus to ensure that students who are arriving at the campus ill-prepared, are put on a path to success by making tutoring services available that will provide them with the foundational tools necessary to not only succeed, but thrive.

I believe a positive first year experience is vital to ensure students success.  To work with students to devise an academic plan, a plan on how to fund their education and a post-graduate plan will validate their decision to pursue a higher education and know that along the way they have a support system to ensure their success.

Scholarships are vitally important, but a human connection is just as important.  I don't think we can underestimate the power of another individual being concerned about ones well-being.  If you are an advisor, this is your work, and I'm sure you know how vitally important it is.  But that should not preclude any of us who encounter students in any way to encourage them whenever we are given the opportunity.

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 10, 2012 - 4:53 am

I recently became aware of something that shocked me.  I have students failing my class and have spoken with them individually about it.  There responses surprising me.  They have told me "Well, I enjoy coming to your class, but I am changing my major, so my grade does not really matter."  I explained that the grade in all classes matter , but they seemed to have the belief that once they graduate only the grades in thier major classes matter.

They did not understand the concept of GPA and that employers will actually read their entire transcript.  Granted these are all first semester freshmen, but somehow students need to be aware of the significane of their grades in all of their classes.  

 

Responses(5)

Andrew Budny
on Nov 10, 2012

"I enjoy comming to your class, but I am changing my major so my grade isn't important".

I can believe students say that. They don't realize that every class that you take towards your degree effects your GPA as a whole. I absolutey agree with you Debra that all grades matter but for those who think that only classes in their major count towards a high GPA, well they are sadly mistaken.

I knew that every class that I took when I was an undergrad counted towards my overall GPA. Granted I had a few bumps in the road in my second year, but I was able to turn that around with my last four years of undergarduate studies and I was able to graduate with a GPA of 3.3 for both my Associates and Bachelors degrees.

Student's toady dont realize how much work it takes to earn a college degree. It takes time and effort on their part in order for them to succeed. If they just think that they can slack off in your class and not in their major courses, then they will be surprised that come two to three years down the road when they go to look for work or even apply for graduate school the classes that they flunk will come back to haunt them.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

Debra, can you share some things that academic affairs might be able to support that would help first year student understand the importance of grades?

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 12, 2012

I am finding this to be the case primarily with first generation students.  Perhaps in their first year experience courses, some sections should be first generation students only.

Another idea is perhaps, more announcements from campus offices regarding deadlines and the significance of grades early in the semester.  For example, because I teach freshmen I do midterm grades.  That is usually a shocker for some students.  I post their midterm grade on the course website a week or two before they are d8e and then talk to them about the significance of grades and what a midterm grade verses a final course grade means for their future.  Next semester I am going to add to this discussion the significance of all grades.

By the end of the semester, students are quite anxious about their grades and I hear the common refrain, "I must get an A," in this course."  I do not want anything that is going to raise anxiety of students throughout the semester, but fun, playful, ironic grades campaign early in each semester, especially fall semester could possibly work.

For example, when I was at BGSU drinking was a major issue and a group did a very unusual campaign invloving green beans.  First there were photos all over campus of just green beans, then there were more green beans.  This is hard to explain in writing, however, it got people talking, "What's up with the green beans?"  The campaign ended with some sort of saying such as, "What would you do if your best friend ate 20 cans of green beans a day?" and then tied it to "What would you do if your friend drank too much."  I am not explaining this well, however, this very strange campaign worked and the campus counseling center had a dramatic increase in students go for help regarding binge drinking and the number of drinking arrests decreased.  

 
Judith Wootten
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree, Debra, that first generation students often need more information about how the university works.  I'd like to see midterm grades for all students, not just freshmen because all students need to know how they are doing.

Not knowing how they are doing is a barrier to success.  Having midterm grades would encourage faculty members to provide assignments and assessments earlier in the term, too, so that students can seek help in time to improve their grades or drop the class.

 
Susan Rossi
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree Judith.  Over the years, I have seen students (many of these first year, first generation students) stop attending class, believing that the course and the grade will just "go away".  The are in a "no harm, no foul" mentality.  They are then shocked when they receive a grade of "F" or "SF", because they are unware of what the proper procedures are to drop or withdraw and the ramifications of their choices. 

Another unfortunate thing I see is the disconnect between what is best for the student acadcemically, like dropping or withdrawing, and what is best for the student financially, meaning how will the decision affect their financial aid.  Although we try to tell them to talk to their instructor, their advisor, and financial aid before they make a decision, many times this is not done.  And sometimes students feel they must make what is essentially a bad academic choice based only on the ramifications on their financial aid.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 09, 2012 - 12:59 pm

What are the current barriers to student success?

 

Responses(22)

Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

  One of the huge barriers to success is students who have been victims of discrimination by faculty and by other students both on and off campus.  We all say it is 'unacceptable' to have such incidents occur, yet  students continue to experience them on a fairly regular basis.   What role does Academic Affairs play (or what role shoud it play) in addressing the issue of discrimination and harassment? 

 
Susan Stocker
on Nov 12, 2012

Linda

This is very troubling--- can you tell me more about this issue. I don't pretend to understand the ins and outs on the Kent campus, Is this a widespread issue? Is it happening to a certain populaton of students? Do you have suggestions of how we might reach out to them to hear their stories as part of this initiative?

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 13, 2012

Hi Susan!  Thank you for your questions!  I am not sure how to define widespread, but I would say that it is enough to be concerning to me and other individuals who work with minority students.  In this semester alone, I have had five students tell me of separate instances where they have experienced some form of harassmnent/discrimination - in this case, based on race.  Students walking on campus in the evening have been called the 'n' word by a group of white students.  Students off campus have had similar experiences (they knew the students who used the word were from the university community).  Students have had these references or the use of the word 'colored' used to describe them from whte students.  I had a white student withdraw from one of my classes after we had a discussion in which I said that no student could use the 'n' wordin my class (this might seem like an odd discussion to have, but in this course, we discuss issues related to the African American experience and I have to set ground rules for all students in the class).  He also ignored the African American student from the class who tried to approach him on the subject afterward. In my opinion, although this is clearly not 'data', these instances are more common than they should be on a campus as diverse and as supposedly inclusive as ours.  In addition to these examples, there is also one incident that involved an instructor in a classroom situation where an African American student felt targetted because of race. (I am not comfortable providing more detail in a public space because, as far as I know, the student is still enrolled in the course.)  I am also aware that some students are harrassed because of their sexual orientation.  When students can't feel safe from these types of encounters, there is certainly a concern about the impact on student success.

 
Linda Walker
on Nov 21, 2012

I am quite familiar with some of the "cases" that Linda mentions, in addition to others. Susan, you asked how widespread is the problem. These problems happen frequently in subtle and not so subtle ways. African American students will not mention these issues to faculty unless they have absolute trust that there won't be repercussions. It is sometimes safer for students to keep quiet. Yet, my opinion remains that doing so is even more costly and unfortunate. That said, I shutter when wondering how many such situations exist on Kent campuses that we do not hear about. One of President Lefton's State of the University addresses said that students have left the university because they did not feel welcomed; he goes on to say that the university should be a welcoming environment for all. Regardless of what Dr. Lefton's intentions were in that speech, there should be an office tasked with getting the word out, like wildfire, that Kent State has extremely low to no tolerance for discrimination of any kind. It might be necessary to kindly drive the point home in Destination Kent State classes, on faculty and staff search committees, in writing on the website, etc. Then, enforce it! We all should have seen enough ugliness in this last election cycle. So, if we do our parts here at home, that would be a start.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012

One of the students in my FYE class is not returning for Spring because she's out of money already. This is an all-too-common problem; Parents can't or won't help, and tuition + books + living expenses exceeds student resources. Working your way through college is out of the question, and even Pell grants and Guaranteed student loans are not enough. When students try to "go it alone" they can't get loans which require co-signers, and they aren't "independent" by the legal definition. Thus, one barrier is costs. A serious barrier.

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 13, 2012

I am working with a small group of students to start a new student organization, yet to be named, in which the group will be a hub for connecting faculty, staff, and community membera with students who need to earn money via doing odd jobs.  For example, this past Sunday I had two young men raking leaves and stackwood at my home.  I paid them $10.00 per hour.  They both have part time jobs, but doing odd jobs also helps.

This will not make a significant financial impact, but it may help students get through rough periodic financial difficulties.  Surely, I am not the only one who could use some help around my house periodically.  If we have a tough winter, there may be much snow shoveling needed.  I also see signs for people needing babysitters, etc. 

So keep an eye out for our organization.  I think it may have the name "hub" in it. 

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 29, 2012

How will this project be financially sustained? I had an idea of using small projects labeled as an internship to provide students with quick and productive ways to build their resume experience. 

I would be interested in knowing more about your project.

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 30, 2012

The group is going to be called ComNET.  We just had our first meeting and at least intitially if will be financially sustainable by people paying students to do work for them.  For example, I had a stack of wood that I needed moved and I hired two students to move it and I paid them to do so.  At our first meeting we discussed screening students and possibly people interested in hiring them.  For example, students who want to find babysitting jobs would need to get the babysitting background check that can be done online.  If we have enough faculty and staff wiho are interested in hiring students there will be no need to screen those wanting work done, but if we reach out to the community we will need to determine some mechanizm for making sure students are going into safe environments.  

 
David Dumpe
on Nov 28, 2012

Joel, this is a big issue and the easy access to a great deal of money ... but less than is necessary to graduate ... is setting the stage for the next "bubble". Over the past three weeks the Wall Street Journal has had articles on 1) the number of parents who are financially destitute as a result of cosigning for student loans, 2) the number of students who drop out without a degree and can't therefore service their student loan debt, and 3) the rapidly swelling amount of student loan debt ... currently more than all credit card debt combined. It's unconscionable to entice students to stay who can't eventually be successful. Of course if our funding model changes to focus on graduation rates, we'll have an incentive to not only get them to stay, but we'll actually graduate them thereby cheapening the degrees of all of our graduates. We probably need to measure success more in terms of what our students are doing five years after graduation rather than just whether they eventually walk across a stage and get a piece of paper. 

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 29, 2012

Yes, Dave...we have the same problem as medicine: dependence on a dysfunctional funding strategy. Medicine has fee-for-service and we have tuition-from-student and state support. It will be a challenging transition to a more reasonable formula. 

 
Harvey Householder
on Nov 14, 2012

It is easy to get lost in all the rules and regulations of the university level.  This is my first year of attending at Kent Salem Branch, and during this year, I have been refused submitting of my application for scholarships, watched my college change from Salem to Trumbull because I take online classes that are located at Trumbull campus, and I no longer receive e-mail from the Salem campus.  These experiences have really soured my opinion of Kent State.  I really don't know how many of these experiences were my own fault, because of ignorance of the system.

At Youngstown State, back in the 1980's, all incoming freshmen, returning students, and transfer students were given a student advisor, usually a junior or senior.  It was easy to talk to this person about these kind of problems.  A student had a person to turn to for advise.  I can honestly say that the student advisor was the greatest asset to making my experience at YSU very valuable.  If they didn't know the answers, they knew who to ask to find the answers. 

I still haven't resolved any of the issues that I am having with Kent Salem and am just trying to suffer through until I reach the graduation level, but then I probably will face even more issues as I have no idea the process of applying for graduation.

 
Shelly Lingenfelter
on Nov 14, 2012

For the most part the assigned advisor system is a good idea, but unfortunately for the online student it is problematic because it is based on campus enrolled, as in Harvey's case.  Based on a student's schedule, this could change for an online student again next semester.  We need to work on a better way of keeping online students connected to the campus they believe is their "home campus" and make sure students receive accurate information regarding policies and procedures regardless of their designated campus.

 
Diane Walker
on Nov 19, 2012

Shelly,  I completely agree.  Campus enrolled only works to a point.  A student's campus enrolled can change daily let alone by semester  and that makes it difficult for the student to have a home campus.  And if a student is declared in a Regional program but attending the Kent Campus, who is responsible for that student? 

 
Henry Trenkelbach
on Nov 14, 2012

As you know, Kent and it's Regional Campuses made a bold move by going to the Math Emporium model for teaching it's developmental math classes.  If you happen to be a first time student (35 to 40 years old), besides being on the computer for maybe the first time, now your learning math for the first time in years.  I have heard too many complaints and seen frustrations from students.  The whole model needs to be reevaluated.

 
Wendy Pfrenger
on Nov 14, 2012

As many have suggested in various ways, often our students come onto campus without the life experiences and support systems they need to succeed, no matter how much potential they may have academically. On the Salem and East Liverpool campuses we've started a small college access program that seeks to address the needs of rural, low-income students who have the potential to be first-generation college students. The Rural Scholars Program has so far met with lots of support from campus faculty and staff as well as our local communities, and we're currently working with middle-schoolers in four school districts. The program's design is based on successful models from around the country. Kent main already has college access programs in place, but I think we could be doing much more in this direction at the regionals (and at a bargain price, comparatively).

 
Brittany Cathey
on Nov 19, 2012

One of main barriers to student success is student apathy. It is not noticed as much at main campus, but came more up front after I transferred campuses. At communter campus' the overall feeling from students is that they are only here for class and that the campus doesnt have anything else to offer other than the classes they need to finish their degree. If students would get more engaged in something, and feel apart of the campus student success would most likely increase becasue they would be using the available resources that are key to their success.

 
Holly Claus
on Nov 19, 2012

Student apathy has been a big issue this year on the Stark Campus and also with the University as a whole. Now this is the students doing, but as faculty and staff there is only so much that one can do. But I wish there was something maybe students can do. I myself, I am doing my part in talking with my friends and trying to get them involved in as many activities as possible.

 
Marianne Warzinski
on Nov 26, 2012

I understand the university's interest in puttng more classes on-line, however, as someone who works with freshmen, I have found that they really struggle with web only classes. Whether it's the basic math courses or JMC's Multimedia Techniques, they aren't ready for the discipline required to succeed in these classes. We know that they are 'tech saavy' (as we mention in just about every meeting regarding students) but many times they aren't prepared in time management and have no idea how much work is needed to do well in these classes. If we are going to offer web classes to our freshmen I think there needs to be a classroom component to them for the students who are struggling.

The other areas where first year students (in particular struggle) is with adjunct instructors teach key classes in their major. If we are going use so many adjuncts I think they should be chosen based on their teaching skills not if they are available (schedule-wise) to teach a particular class.

 

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 27, 2012

Well stated and I could not agree more.  I believe freshmen should not be permitted to take online only classes and/or there should be some sort of screening for students who take online courses, such as perhaps a GPA requirement. 

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 28, 2012

Same here, I feel that online courses should only be used for upper division course work (30000-40000) level.

I feel that Freshman who start out with online coursework are not quite ready to get the hang of the demands of what online courses offer i.e. strict deadlines, posting to discussion boards, submitting completed course work to Blackboard learn, ect. Even though most students who are currently attending college are somewhat tech savvy, I don't think that they realize that the coursework for online classes is more demanding than in a regular lecture course.

Thus I feel that it would be best for students to wait until they take their upperdivision coursework to start taking online classes. Not only will they be better prepaired to handle the work, but they will also be able to get a better experience out of it.

 

 
John Highman
on Nov 27, 2012

As an advisor at a regional campus, one of the barriers I most often see is a student's inability to enroll in the appropriate courses due to a conflict with his or her work schedule, childcare schedule, etc.  For example, a student enrolls in his or her first semester expecting to attend classes in the evening.  This may be possible for a semester or two, but then something happens where a required course is only offered in the morning.  At this point we are essentially telling the student to rearrange his or her entire life to take that required course.  Some students choose to do this and take the course, but others simply are not able to.  One way to correct this would be to provide a long term predictable schedule to each student at the time of enrollment.  I also think this must go beyond a simple estimation of which semester courses might be offered.  If students knew the approximate days and times of their courses well in advance, they would be able to better plan in cases like the scenario above.  The implementation of the GPS system is a great first step in this planning process.  I would just like to see us take the next step in helping our students plan for their educational careers.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 28, 2012

Again, block scheduling would fix this. MW and TR with longer seminars on fridays. Block scheduling is what the students want, and what is recommended by the govenor and his friends trying to reform higher education.

 
Expand This Thread
Deborah  Smith
on Nov 08, 2012 - 12:30 pm

In my experience, one of the things that most interferes with student success is poor attendance.  I take attendance in every class and often (though not always) have points toward the final grade based on attendance and participation.  However, it is not uncommon for the mean number of student absences in my undergraduate courses to be equivalent to two to three weeks of missed classes!  I think we need to do a better job of emphasizing the importance of attending class and effective note taking in our FYE courses.   

 

Responses(9)

Andrew Budny
on Nov 08, 2012

I too agree Deborah that attendance plays an important factor in student success. As an undergrad, I made it a priority not to miss a single class so I can gain a vast knowledge of what is being communicated.

I know tha their are some student who are sometimes unable to attend class regularly due to work or childcare concerns which is a normal way of life for them. Then there are the students who don't even bother to show up to class at all and only come when their is an exam or assignment that is due.

These students would be the most beneficial as to educating them on how important attendance is when it comes to college coursework and what it will lead them down the road when they go into a full-time job.

Thus my anaology is this, College is like work, if you don't bother to show up, your're fired!!!!!!

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

Deborah and Andrew, I hear you and think many faculty experience this frustration. Can you share any ideas on what you think we can do to better the culture at KSU so that students see attending class as a given?

 
Joan Inderhees
on Nov 11, 2012

In the School of VCD, we list the number of absences permitted before the final grade is lowered on the syllabus. I know many other faculty have the same absence limit in their classes in other academic units. We also have a minimum GPA requirement to stay/advance in the programs, as do others. Nearly all of my students get the message about attendance, loud and clear.

I do not list attendance or participation as a separate grade item. Maybe that 'dilutes' the impact of an absence in the student's perception?

 
Carol Blaine
on Nov 14, 2012

It might be interesting to see if any correlations exist between student absences and other metrics.  Ideas might include student absences and student health center visits.  Or perhaps absences to student statisfaction metrics.  I'm sure there are others...just an idea to begin to understand why students choose not to attend classes. 

Another thought...could we have incoming freshman take some type of attitudinal instrument to measure their level of motivation and commitment to their education?  These types of instruments exist and are regularly used by private industry during the hiring process and most of the time the candidates don't even realize what is being guaged by the process. If we had these types of metrics coming in, then perhaps we could determine if there is a correlation between their incoming attitudes and their behaviors and determine how to either improve the selection process or provide interventions to prevent students from derailing.

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 14, 2012

Thinking back to my undergraduate career, some class lecture times seemed to get in the way of learning. I am heavily a read/write learner, and as long as the information was clear and concisely presented in a written format I could do well in the course. Some students don't find attending classes appealing, so why make it a requirement to pass the course? Doesn't that take away from the student potential to guide themselves? Or may make class attendence bonus points for students that are truly struggling with grasping the material. 

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 15, 2012

What are other options students could have in order to subsititute the attendance requirement if they do not find lecture courses appealing? 

 
Pamela  Tontodonato
on Nov 16, 2012

Dear Deb (and Carol),

I think there is persuasive research on the importance of class attendance. See, e.g., the 2010 meta-analysis by Crede et al, 2010 (Reivew of Educational Research).  Briefly,  class attendance has a positive effect on academic performance (class grades and GPA).  Further, their study showed that this effect exists independent of student characteristics (i.e., going to class truly helps learning and it is not simply that more motivated students attend class).  The article also mentions various strategies to encourage attendance.

Thanks for your time,

Pam Tontodonato

 

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 19, 2012

Carey, in respone to your question I feel that their should be a statement in the course sylibus stating that "Attending class regularly will help you with your overall performance with the course. If you are having diffaculties with having attending class on a regular basis, contact your professor or adivsor immediately to work out a plan to help you stay on track with the work overall".

This can be worded to fit university standards but it can be a start to encourage students to attend classes on a regular basis.

 
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012

Deborah, I wonder if you email your students when you realizing that they are having attendance issues? 

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 07, 2012 - 3:51 pm

What services and resources do students need to be successful?

 

Responses(16)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

About 40% of college students have mental health issues. Between depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, the burden of psychological problems is greater than our resources to cope with them. We have few mental health options for students.

 
Susan Stocker
on Nov 08, 2012

Thanks, Joel. We recognize mental health issues as a mounting concern on our campus. We are looking at the CARE team model being utilized on the Kent campus and we are also considering adding a counselor to our staff rather than just referring students to community resources. Finding the right level of services on the smaller campuses is a bit of a challenge-- but I see this as an issue that is only going to become more and more prevalent.

 
Judith Wootten
on Nov 14, 2012

We're addressing this at Salem Campus by hiring a counselor.  She has visited all the FYE classes, and students and faculty are consulting her about problems.  Unfortunately, the counselor will be shared by three campuses next year, so access will be sorely reduced.

It is difficult for first generation, working class students to consult a counselor, since it carries a stigma. 

Students need more such services rather than fewer.

 
Carol Blaine
on Nov 14, 2012

Many of today's students would not attempt college even 2-3 decades ago due to their mental health issues.  The advancements in medications to assist with otherwise debilitating symptoms have made it possible for them to pursue a degree.  However, as you have noted, they bring their isses with them to campus and we must be prepared to appropriatly respond.  In my former life I managed a student health insurance unit for a national insurance company and we found our expenditures on mental health meds were increasing dramatically as students sought assistance through student health centers.  Perhaps the Kent student health center leadership could assist with analysis and potential solutions for this growing challenge at both the main and regional campuses.

 
Diane Walker
on Nov 19, 2012

Joel,  We found your concerns to be true at the Stark Campus.  Hiring a counselor at our campus helped our students. Emily Ribnik has seen an increase of student intakes this semester over others. 

 
Tracy Gidden
on Nov 19, 2012

We have a very unique response to some of the mental health issues that our students face. We have incorporated therapy dogs to help with depression etc. Our program is run by Dr Kathy Adamle and her search and rescue golden retrievers. The research being generated by this program is very positive in terms of helping students deal with their mental health issues, whether they be short or long term. The program is called DOC - dogs on campus.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

A surprising number of students come to college with chronic physical health issues. For example, many inflammatory diseases start between ages 15-25. I know students who miss multiple classes with problems like Crohn's disease, for example. They are otherwise very effective students, but only recently has awareness of the challenges faced by students with chronic illness been increasing at universities.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

Joel I have also experienced many student swith chronic illnesses, or at least more than I was expecting. What resources do you feel the university needs or what support systems do we need to help those students succeed?

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 12, 2012

I'm not sure--I think we could start with awareness and clear guidance on how to handle students with chronic illnesses. For example, there can be extended absences. One of my students was recently unable to attend class for a few dates because of being in the hospital getting medication adjusted. Right now this is a person-by-person basis, and I'm sure there's an official policy somewhere but I don't know what it is. Other universities have support groups, or special programs sometimes, etc. I don't think anyone has solved this issue yet, so I bring it up as a reality we must face.

 
Carol Blaine
on Nov 14, 2012

One reason campuses are seeing increases in the number of students with significant health issues is the lower expense associated with student health insurance and the inability to include pre-existing conditions in those policies.  Because students, as a whole, are younger and healthier than the general population, and overall do not require the type of higher limits other populations require, the premiums for student health insurance are fairly low.  The pending health insurance changes will impact this to some extent but Health and Human Services granted some waivers for student health insurance under the law.  For example, student health insurance is not required to provide unlimited lifetime coverage yet...but it will be required to by 2014.  Student health insurance companies also got relief on the required loss ratio other health insurers have to meet.  All this together means as health insurance rates go up for other populations under the new law, student health insurance rates will continue to be a good value by comparison.  So...expect the number of students to go up who need health insurance and find it by attending college.  It may be the exception now but I expect the numbers to grow as PPACA continues to be implemented and health insurance premiums go up.

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 15, 2012

it's important for students to feel that they are part of a community.  Students of all backgrounds should feel validated that they are in a place where they can fit in.  Providing student mentors to whom students can turn for advice, guidance, and support is a good tool.  I don't think we put enough emphasis on this kind of mentorship at the university.

 
Eva Hernandez
on Nov 19, 2012

I really appreciate this thoughtful message. I am a student, and was not born in the United States. I hope to see a little more recognition for people from different backgrounds in order to help them succeed at the Kent Stark Campus.

 
Eva Hernandez
on Nov 19, 2012

From my experience as a current student, I believe that there are not enough courses offered for students. For example: I want to obtain a minor in Human Resources, and there are not enough Human Resources courses offered.Human resources is a great field that is rapidly growing in the job market.

 
Brittany Cathey
on Nov 19, 2012

The resources that students need to succeed expands beyond the classroom. Being an active student of campus is something that is key because it opens you to many opportunities for the students to take the steps to becoming successful. Rather it be career services, student life, or tutoring; these are all essential to the growth of students. GPA will only take you so far, therefore to make yourself more employable, it is crucial to expand your resume by being active and joining academic organizations which relate to your major. Seeking help from career services also will further market yourself because it can help fine tune your resume and explain other resources available to help get into the job market.

 
Holly Claus
on Nov 19, 2012

Here at the Stark Campus, Chris Paveloi does an excellent job with career services. I have personally been to see Chris Paveloi on helping me to develope my major. If it wasnt for Chris I would still be on the tract that I was for about a yesar. His servicees along with other career aspects are a great contributor.

 

Students also need to be able to take classes that can advance them. Class selection at each campus I think should have a better variety.

 

I also think that student involvement can help students succeed. I am personally involved here with student activities and I feel it helps one grow as a person.

Students also need to have couseling available to them. Which Emily Ribnek does an excellent job at getting her name and services out there here at the Stark Campus.

 
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012

You need to create a system that is flexible and based allows 1 on 1 mentorship. This facilitates communication and community. Faculty have to get the notion that students are going to come to them with their problems all the time, out of their head. If students do, it is often too little, too late. By building a type of student/faculty ''buddy'' system, you help align students with support that is an advocate for their education. This should enable institutional flexibility, help lower 6 year retention rates, and ensure better overall student outcomes.

 
Expand This Thread
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012 - 9:33 am

Students can't afford textbooks and they are too expensive. The Gates foundation had some solid data on the contribution of text costs to failure in school (mostly from community college samples). This is an ongoing reality for many college students, and our Task Force on Textbook Affordability was a good beginning to the conversation. There were some advances, and we learned a lot about how some creative faculty are working to reduce textbook costs. However, "top down" pressure for uniformity and price controls through better bargaining power was NOT well received (e.g., use one book for all sections of a course at all campuses). I do not think we should stop addressing this problem. Textbook publishers are way ahead of us because their entire livelihood relies on text sales (and leases, and licenses). They are experts at making money no matter what we try to come up with. For example, their pricing models for "helpful alternatives" are not that helpful to us. I don't know a permanent solution, but we can't ease off the throttle with respect to addressing text costs, because affordability has an immediate and lasting impact on student success.  

 

Responses(8)

Carey McDougall
on Nov 07, 2012

Joel do you know how much textbook costs have risen with inflation taken into account? Clearly they have gone up but I am just wondering how much of that is inflation.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

College text books rise higher than inflation.

http://ctwatchdog.com/misc/college-textbooks-costs-rising-twice-as-high-as-inflation

http://opencalculus.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/textbook-inflation/

 "A 2005 Government Accountability Office report showed that college textbook prices grew at twice the rate of inflation from 1986 to 2004."

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/08/28/how-your-textbook-dollars-are-divvied-up

 
Harvey Householder
on Nov 09, 2012

I totally agree with you, Joel, text books are a large expense.  I have found, though, that these costs can be reduced by using Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and electronic formatted books.  The problem that I face every semester, though, is that Kent holds my refund from my student loan until the very last minute making these purchases more difficult.

      I am a transfer student from Youngstown State, and when I attended YSU in the 1980's, YSU release a portion of the refund about a month prior to the actual semester so that books could be purchased.   If Kent could release a portion of the financial aid and student loan refunds a couple of weeks earlier, it would definitely make purchasing text books prior to the semester a much easier process.

 
Debra Clark
on Nov 10, 2012

I have my students buy their books directly from the publisher.  This takes out the middle man, so to speak.  It is also cheaper than Amazon.  They can buy an electronic verrsion or hard copy.  

If you are a professor, you should be able to work with the publisher of your textbook to make this happen.

I work with Cognella and they made it possible for my students to buy books directly from them.

 

 
Elwin Robison
on Nov 13, 2012

I have students in large classes each year who do not purchase the textbook because it is too expensive.  I am aware of it only because they fail the class, and are looking for help.  In some ways there is a disconnect in investing 3 months of your life in a class without investing the $$ for the book.  On the other hand, it can be a significant piece of cash for students, with little perceived benefit on their part.

A related issue is the price of clickers.  I use them to help create a more active learning environment in the big classes, but about 3% of my students never purchase them.  They lose points in the class, which makes them less successful.  I'm frustrated because many times the students who most need the engagement (and points) are the ones who can't afford them.  Once again there is the issue of the cost of investing 3 months of one's life versus the cost of a clicker.  What experience have others had?

 
Joan Inderhees
on Nov 25, 2012

Elwin,

I have had students use their smart phones instead of the clicker device. The license is more economical: https://store.turningtechnologies.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Prducts

(I haven't used clickers in a class in a year, so I cannot offer comments about current usages and fees.)

 
Carol Blaine
on Nov 14, 2012

I'm new to academia, having joined the university from the insurance industry to create the new Bachelor's in Insurance.  Others may already be aware of this, but I just learned yesterday about e-reserves.  I'm developing a course that includes one chapter from a textbook other than the main required textbook.  The Library will digitize that book for me and allow my students to digitally read that one chapter so they do not have to purchase the book just for that one chapter.  I don't know if others might find this useful information...but I sure did!

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 15, 2012

That's a good creative solution. I've thought of using 2 chapters from 5 different books to make the whole thing available at no cost. We need more creative solutions to making texts more affordable.

 
Expand This Thread
Judith Wootten
on Nov 06, 2012 - 4:53 pm

As an English and FYE instructor on an open admissions regional campus, I find that students come to college with skewed expectations about the work required.  They disagree with the Board of Regents' recommendation that they spend six hours outside of class for each three-credit hour course they take.  Some of them are burdened with family responsibilities and small children.  Others try to work full time while taking classes as a full-time student, a recipe for failure for most.  Students who work 20 hours or fewer a week are becoming rare unless they are work-study students.

Many of the students I teach come to our campus from vocational or general high school tracks.  They don't have a college prep background, and they didn't read or write much in school. They were not very successful high school students.   I hurry to add that this is not the high school's fault.  Teachers can't teach when students aren't prepared to learn.

Until students are willing to put in the hard work required for college-level classes, we can't do much to ensure their success.  Most students who do the work succeed.  Most of the students in Introduction to College English who do the work and get help from the tutors succeed.  Can all the people who enroll on regional campuses succeed in college-level work?  I doubt it.

 

Responses(14)

Andrew Budny
on Nov 06, 2012

I agree 100% with you Judith. I am one of those students who was fresh out of high school and I had to take some remedial coursework to help me adjust in to college level coursework. Add to that I have Asperger's Syndrome (A mild form of Autism), and I knew that it would be a challenge for me to make it thru my first semester of college and my first year overall.

Luckily, I was able to get from my SAS (Studnet Accesibility Services) cordinator at Kent Trumbull in which I wag given the tools that I needed to succeed with my peers in the classroom. Along with my professors who pushed me and challenged to put my best effort into all of my work. And with the tools and the help that was given to me along with my drive to succeed, I was able to graduate with my Associates Degree in Computer Technonogy in May of 2009 and recieve my Bachelors a year and a half later in December 2010.

I know that it is a challenge for most students to have to make it thru one semester or their entire first year of college without the tools that they need to succeed. However, if we start early enough at the high school level, I believe that we can help these students reach their potential and be not only successful in the first year but throught their entire college careers.

All they have to do is find the drive within themselves and the passion to succeed along with getting the help thay they need within the first few weeks of the semester and that can be the difference between graduting with a college degree and dropping out all together.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

I feel your pain Judith, and one way to increase student success is to increase admissions requirements. A significant % of the students at Kent State should not be here (no offense). They just aren't "college material" and would not have gotten in to a private college. If student success is persistence to graduation, we can raise that bar immediately by admitting students more likely to graduate.  That said, we need the $ from tuiton, so we accept a lot of students. And we are an "access school" (especially at regional campuses), so we have to weigh the virtue of giving people an opportunity who otherwise would not have an opportunity. I have no solution or answers for you...I just hope to be encouraging in the sense that I agree that you are experiencing a problem that is real an very thorny to sort out. Maybe the best we can do is celebrate our successes--some of your students do well.

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 07, 2012

I see your point Joel, I see too many students wasting time on Facebook here in the library computer labs instead of devoting their time to studying and completing their course assignments. I din;t know if this is the same where you are but this is kind of disturbing.

Granted most of the students who attend the regional campus where I work at are adult learners who have 40 hour a week jobs and also are full time students. I applaud them for their perseverance and dedication into pursuing higher education while balancing their lives outside of campus.

However, their are sudents who come out directly from high school and have no idea how college is different than high school. They think it just like the movies in which they can slack off, party and hang out with their friends. But in all reality, actual college life is not like what's portraied on the silver screen.

I knew that when I started as a Freshman at Kent Trumbull back in the Fall of 2005, I had to change my way of thinking from high school to college at a drop of a hat. I knew that when I first walked through those doors, I had to leave my life as a high school student behind and start thinking as a college student. I had to take things seriously in order for me to succeed and that I had to balance my school life with my personal life as a whole and that I had to put school first and make time for other priorities when my academic work is complete.

Overall, I feel that if students have enough time in the day to access their Facebook, email and Youtube accounts instead of devoting that time to completing their coursework, then they shoulden't be in college in the first place. Maybe in five or ten years when they are mature enough to take college work seriously, then we can let them in. But if your not mature enough to do the work, then don't come to college.

But for those who are willing to put forward the time and effort to completing the work that is required of them, then we should focus on them more and be albe to keep them to make it all the way to reach their full potential.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 07, 2012

This is an interesting thread and perhaps some of the remedies for the lack of preparation can be further addressed in the FYE classes. What would you like to see happen in the FYE classes to address these lacks or what outcomes would you like to see?

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 07, 2012

I would like to suggest that students in First Year Experience attend a seminar about time management and study skills. Granted these are things that are taught in college reading and study strategies courses already but getting them to know this information within the first few weeks of the semester can better prepare them for what things will be like down the road for their future semesters.

I would also reccomend that FYE instructors give students an assignment to write down their daily activities including work, studying and personal activities. They also can include how much time they take in completing an assignment, how they prepare for it and the grade that they recieve for said assignment for all of their classes.

Once they gathered this information, (over a course of eight to twelve weeks), they should write a four to five page paper about the information that they have gathered and what they plan to do in the future to better manage their time in order to be successful for future semesters. This I would consider as a requirement to successfully pass FYE.

By helping students show how much time they waste doing other things besides schoolwork along with prividing them the foundation for better study habbits and time management, I can see more students sticking around for the long run after their first year instead of dropping out and completing a college degree.

 
Joan Inderhees
on Nov 11, 2012

Hi Andrew — I teach a couple sections of the FYE class each fall. I agree that the course would be a good avenue to address time management issues, but it's only a one credit-hour with a lot of other topics on its agenda: campus resources, advising, academic requirements for the major, career information, and more. I require my students to write a short reflective post on each week's topic as their homework, and I have yet to get 100% compliance. 

That said, I wonder if the 'budget your time' topic can be part of the more informal stuff to mention to students by every instructor of first-year students in the fall term. I suspect it already is, though. 

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 13, 2012

I think so Joan, it would be considered more informal. It's a shame that the students don't follow thru on your assignments. I remember the point of this course was to get us acclimated with the university and college life as a whole. I am surprised that they are not taking this seriously than when I took it back in 05 which it was known as University Orientation.

And giving it that it's only one credit hour, I could see the challenge of squeezing it in with the other topics. But if we get them to realize how effective time management is and how it will play a rose in their future endevors, then it can be possible to see more students graduate instead of dropping out after one semester. But given the time frame of this class, it would be a challenge to make it happen.

 
Judith Wootten
on Nov 14, 2012

Sorry, Joel.  Most of our students--say 90% at the open admissions regional campuses--are capable of college-level work given the right support.  Some are not ready to commit to college-level work yet, and many are startled to learn that college demands commitment and work.

 
Wendy Pfrenger
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree with Egerton with regard to the value of experiential learning. Surprisingly, students with already constrained schedules can respond to community-based learning with greater commitment in part, I think, because they may then have responsibility for meeting a community partner's expectations. In my own experiential ed courses this was true, as students shared their final essay projects with their community partners. Students cared more about this "job-like" responsibility, so they saw the stakes for their writing differently - they put more time into it, were more anxious about its quality (as opposed to the grade), and actually did much stronger critical thinking. Likewise, it may be useful to think about how/if our courses - even ones that aren't experiential - might speak more directly to the local communities in which our students live.

I share Jay's concern about students' misreading of college work. I think we could do a better job as a campus of developing a culture that says: college is more than a performance for a piece of paper or simple "training" - it is a transformative, participatory educational experience that, like a job, will require you to be present, professional, and engaged. At the same time, if we can communicate this as a campus (faculty, staff, everyone), we can also then more effectively recognize opportunities to help students treat college like college. I haven't seen many students who aren't capable of succeeding, but I have seen many who don't have any idea which behaviors and practices will be helpful and which will not.

How can we build a robust "college culture" on our campus that clearly shows students how to be students, even as they manage the messy details of life? I think FYE is only a small part of the answer - learning communities and the Learning Centers, as well as how we talk to students about college before they even get here, could be key parts of the answer.

 
Egerton Clarke
on Nov 10, 2012

Your points are right on, Judith. Given that many of our students come to college needing remedial work, I doubt that all students can reach their full potential. I have found that one way to promote success among them is through experiential learning opportunities. I have encouraged some of my students to integrate their life course experiences into their academic work, and this has proven to be an effective instructional approach for motivating them and for enhancing learning outcomes. I believe this method promises to reach more of our students more of the time.

 
Stephanie Wahome
on Nov 25, 2012

I agree Egerton!

My most valuable college experiences, that I remember, are when I was able to engage in experiential learning opportunities.  Why do you think many schools and classes don't offer these types of opportunites?

 
Kent Student
on Dec 07, 2012

While agree with you first paragraph that some students already have substantial responsibilities outside of class, I can not agree with the statements of the second paragraph.  The only students teachers can't teach are those that just refuse to learn. Your point is that these students are taking these classes, but aren't always prepared to learn, yet they are willing to learn. Otherwise, why would they be paying your salaries to be there.  THe solution is only a more flexible education format that encompasses the different dynamics students have with combined mentorship. This mentorship and guidance should come from assigned faculty student pairing, where faculty help advocate for their students and help ensure student progress.

 
Laurie Camp
on Dec 11, 2012

A few comments that I would like to add.  I agree with Dr. Wooten.  Many of the students are not prepared to complete the necessary work.  As an Academic Advisor on a Regional Campus, I recently had a student explain that seh simply cannot complete essay tests.  She is arguing that all of her professors should provide her with the opportunity to complete her tests as multiple choice.  I explained that being able to critically think and respond in essay format are necessary for a college degree, but she was not happy with this.  My fear is that higher education will become watered down as we try to accommodate students who are simply not willing to do the work that is necessary to complete a degree.

Additionally, as an FYE instructor, I have my students complete the time management activity that Joel recommended.  What I have found is that the ones who are willing to do the work and go the extra mile.  The ones who do not have a clear concept of time management do not take it seriously and roll their eyes.  One student told me that college is so laid back and she doesn't really need to do these types of activities.  This same student was consistently late with assignments and failed the class.

While I am a firm believer in the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a college degree, I do not believe that everyone should be awarded a degree just because they showed up.  One of my colleagues in advising has a quote that I like a lot, if we are working harder for your degree than you, there is a problem.

 
Andrew Budny
on Dec 11, 2012

Laurie, I absolutely agree with your statement. It's a shame that students who are not putting forth the effort required to earn there degree end up skating by in there classes and graduate with there degree with a low GPA. I never understood why students would do this, but they don't realize that if they don't put forth the effore to complete the work, they will not be able to handle life out of college when they enter the workforce.

As for the student who dosen't like essay exams, why didn't she talk to her professor about this issue. Writing is an important part in a students college career. Most of the classes that I took required me to think outside the box and come up with my own ideas in which will help me down the road to a career that will expand my horizons. Students need to realize that college is not all fun and games, it involes hard work and sacrifice. Student's need to realize this, otherwise they are bound to fail.

 
Expand This Thread
Joel Hughes
on Nov 06, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Student Success programming is expensive. We should evaluate all efforts with research to make sure they work. Linked courses appear to be working. Will learning communities work? We should have the courage to phase out things that don't work, because keeping everything wastes resources and gives the illusion that things are getting better when they're not. Sometimes administrative and student support structures take on a life of their own and try to self-perpetuate when what was not the goal for which they were created. There is great safety behind a "cloak of ignorance" if we don't know whether or not the time-consuming and expensive efforts worked or not (to quote Cook and Campbell's text on Quasi-experimental design).

 

Responses(1)

Susan Stocker
on Nov 06, 2012

Great points-- ww often implement programs without really evaluating their effectiveness. Will definately consider your comments when we move to the next phase of the planning process. Thanks.

 
Expand This Thread
Joel Hughes
on Nov 06, 2012 - 9:22 am

If we study enrollment in courses based on when they are offered, I suspect that MWF sections are smaller than TR sections. Students are voting with their feet. Why not offer mostly MW and TR sections (for multiple day classess) and some Friday Seminars (typically upper division electives for 2.5 hours/day). Students would be able to streamline their schedules in several ways: all MW or TR courses, all morning, all afternoon/evening, or even all Friday. That is, a student may be able to take three seminars on Friday and a DL course to get to a full load while preserving the ability to work/study/be involved in other activities.

I think this would encourage larger enrollments in all the sections of courses, as MW courses would be functionally the same as TR courses and would not have lower enrollments resulting from reluctance to take a class with Friday meeting time. On the other hand, 2.5 hour seminars are very efficient for faculty and students alike, and tend to be the smaller upper-division electives anyway.

 

 

 

Responses(4)

Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 06, 2012

Joel, I appreciate your comment, but not all courses lend themselves well to be offered two days a week. In teaching college writing, for example, students need that third day to conference, develop and revise essays.  The time distribution in a T/TH class doesn't allow for this as effectively as a traditional MWF course.  That said, in 'ensuring student success', should we not be the ones who decide how best to produce that success?  I am not sure that we should only offer two day a week courses because that's what students 'want'....Should our new academic model be based on consumerism or on best practice?

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

I appreciate that effective teaching must be weighed heavily, but I also would point out that:

1) We are not the ones to decide how to best produce success. Experience or intuition are no substitute for empirical evidence, as the history of medical research will show. So "show me the research" (with all due respect)--is there any evidence that 3 days of writing each week is superior to 2 days of writing each week? Maybe there is.

2)  There will be exceptions: Science courses require labs, writing might be shorter class times and more days. However, that could fit MTR or TWR instead of MWF.

3) I think we must balance student success factors due to "consumerism" and "best practice." That is, in larger MWF sections, Friday is a light attendance day! So is the benefit of the best practice undone by absenteeism? Furthermore, student success in a class can be undone by failure "at life." Students who cannot work enough hours can run out of money and not return to school, decide not to buy books, etc. Student success requires both solid pedagogy and an appreciation of the realities of the new consumerist students we serve--See also http://chronicle.com/article/Wake-UpSmell-the-New/4568.

Ultimately, I think the benefits of my suggestion outweigh the drawbacks, but there will be different views on this, of course. I understand that more instances of writing, even for short bursts, is probably better than one solid writing block.

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 08, 2012

I don't have the date, but I will see if I can find that information out for you as it would be available from tracking the freshmen and sophomore writing courses that are offered on two day a week vs. three day a week schedules.

 

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 16, 2012

Is there any actual data on whether infosylem is working? For example, has the MWF vs. TR discrepancy in enrollment been reduced (less variability in enrollments by section)? Anything?

 
Expand This Thread
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 06, 2012 - 9:22 am

How important is the issue of diversity in ensuring student success?   I was involved in a very successful program for incoming African American students.  The program had a long history of success in helping students develop a network of faculty, staff, and upperclassmen whom they could look to as they navigated the university.  The program had a rigorous academic compnoent to help prepare them for the expectations of the university. The program had a 90% retention rate and many of the students involved in the program became mentors to other students, presided over student organizations, and many graduated with honors. As of 2012, that program has been scrapped.  The faculty who taught in the program (all of whom have received awardsd for outstanding teaching) were kept in the dark about the reasons why the program was eliminated (this issue would speak to the subtopc 'recognizing our people' as well).  If we are trying to increase the number of minority students, there should be support for programs that encourage recruitment and retention.  How can Academic Affairs support that process?

 

Responses(3)

Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 10, 2012

Linda, I think we need to reevaluate the program's elimination. If the president is touting retention as a main plank in the university's plan, how can we work to get that same outcome of retention in another way? What was the program called? Was it federally funded...state or local?

 

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

Barbara - thank you for your response.  The program name was the Academic STARS program.  I was only involved in the teaching process and not the funding.  The program was offered through the Student Multicultural Center.  It is currently under the umbrella of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  I do know that the salary for the English instuctors and  the Black Experience Instrucor was paid through the budgets of the  respective departments as part of their summer course offerings. 

 
Linda Walker
on Nov 21, 2012

Thanks for bringing this issue to the community's attention Linda. Elimination of the Academic Stars program was not shared broadly, e.g., with all concerned faculty, Faculty Associates for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion or Pan African Faculty & Staff Association (PAFSA). Thus, we need to have better and more open lines of communication, particularly on issues that affect KSU's small number of underrepresented minority students--in the case of STARS, i.e., African Americans and Latinos. PAFSA represents students as well as faculty and staff. If the program was deemed very successful--and there should be data on students who entered and are matriculating through the university--then I agree with Barb that its elimination be reevaluated. If the program did not work to ensure student success, then I'm confident that there are people around who are smart enough to fix it. I suppose the first step is to find out why it was eliminated. The issue of diversity is extremely important in ensuring student success because Kent State is not a "melting pot," along with hundreds of other reasons...

 
Expand This Thread
Tracy Gidden
on Nov 06, 2012 - 9:03 am

I believe that in order to help students achieve in higher education, we need to help them achieve at the high school level. So many students come to us without the basic study skills needed in higher education courses that they fall behind from the beginning.

How could we form partnerships with area high schools to help prepare students for the college experience?

I know that many high schools offer CP courses or courses for college credit but the majority of students who enter college do not participate in those courses. They need education on note taking, coming to class prepared to activly engage in learning, and basic study and test taking skills.

They also need to be schooled in the reality that just because they got all A's in high school does not guarantee that they will get all A's in college.

 

Responses(7)

Susan Stocker
on Nov 06, 2012

Tracy-- I agree and we've had those discussions on our campus-- especially given the open enrollment status on the Regionals. What are your thoughts on starting those conversations with the schools without seeming like we are pointing fingers (that they didn't do their job)?

 
Tracy Gidden
on Nov 09, 2012

Susan,

Could we approach the schools with "Here are some of the problems we encounter in our new students which can be cause for them to struggle or be unsuccessful. Would you be willing to work with us to help tackle these problems early in the game to help them when they enter college?" I don't think this places blame or points the finger. Rather it is an honest assessment of the problems students encounter when entering college and we are looking to collaborate with the schools to find workable solutions to the problems. If they are educators worth their salt, they will be willing to work with us to help students be successful because most teachers want their students to be successful in the long run.

 
Susan Stocker
on Nov 19, 2012

Thanks, Tracy. I think that is a good approach

 
Shelley Marshall
on Nov 13, 2012

Great question!  I think one way is to be involved in these P-16 initiatives.  I have been involved with two different sub-committees, parent-engagement and college to career.  Both were well attended with Univeristy, Community College, K-12, and Community members and there were great discussions which resulted in some good partnerships and action items taking place by all.

This may be one place where we can all come together and learn from one another?  I think I added some links to the p-16 initiatives I know of below.

Thanks!

 
Shelley Marshall
on Nov 13, 2012
 
Shelley Marshall
on Nov 13, 2012
 
Shelley Marshall
on Nov 13, 2012
 
Expand This Thread
Debra Clark
on Nov 05, 2012 - 2:58 pm

I primarily teach freshmen and their range of maturity, academic preparation, and level of understanding how to succeed in college varies greatly.  When I am aware of a particular student's needs I get them the university resources available, such as sending them to the writing commons or perhaps counseling services.  However, with 150 students each semester it is quite a challenge knowing all of the needs of each of my students.  

Keeping freshmen level classes smaller would be advantageous in assisting professors to identify students who need to use various resources available on campus.   Placing freshman in large lecture hall course may be cost effective in the short term, but may also be harmful regarding retention of students.

The early alert system is wonderful, but I am unclear of what happens after I do an early alert on a student.  The early alert system notifies me to talk to the student.  That has usually already occurred.  What happens next?  How else are these students being assisted?  Could there be some type of follow-up with professors utilizing the early alert system?

 

 

Responses(3)

Susan Stocker
on Nov 06, 2012

Thanks for sharing your experience with freshman. It's helpful to know what we might need to do to follow up and make the Early Alert system more effective.

 
Elwin Robison
on Nov 07, 2012

Over many years of teaching, I have found that some students (especially in large classes) do not face reality in a rational way.  A failing grade is just an anomaly, not something that requires a change in their behavior/study habits/work load.  I had hoped that the early alert system would provide a wake up call to let students know there has to be a change, but anectodally, I haven't seen that happen.  What exerience have others had?

 
Joan Inderhees
on Nov 11, 2012

Elwin, I teach FYE and first/second-year VCD classes and have had that reaction from some students, too.

 
Expand This Thread
Sarah Morrison
on Nov 05, 2012 - 2:45 pm

I think it might be helpful if the advisors that we are required to meet with before registering for classes on our own had information about which classes were offered in specific semesters. I'm aware that the plan that we have approved in GPS does not mean that we have to follow it, but it is not helpful if classes can be planned for semesters during which it is not available.

 

Responses(4)

Laurie Donley
on Nov 07, 2012

Sarah, I agree that it would benefit students if we could see a more predictable schedule of classes. In the Time is the Enemy report from Complete College America we see examples of schools that have created block schedules for degree programs. Students entering the program know that their classes will be offered in a specific order and that these classes will be during a specific block of time during the day. Especially for commuter students, students with children and students who need to work during college, knowing that your time committment does not shift each semester helps students plan the rest of their obligations around college. Imagine knowing that every term your classes are in a block like 8am to 2pm or 2pm to 8pm, rather than having one semester be all morning classes and the next semester be all evening classes. It is difficult to work drastic time shifts into your work schedule and your home life obligations.

 
Diane Walker
on Nov 19, 2012

Laurie can you provide a link to that report. It would be interesting to see if that could be implemented on the regional campuses. 

 
Laurie Donley
on Nov 20, 2012

http://www.completecollege.org/docs/Time_Is_the_Enemy.pdf

This is from the group Complete College America. Ohio is part of this initiative and the recent Trustees conference was about the Complete College Ohio recommendations.

https://www.ohiohighered.org/sites/ohiohighered.org/files/uploads/completion/CCO-task-force-report_FINAL.pdf

You might also find this interesting. It states the college remediation systems are higher educations 'bridge to nowhere'

http://www.completecollege.org/docs/CCA-Remediation-final.pdf

 
Jan Gibson
on Nov 14, 2012

As the program director and advisor for students applying to the radiologic technology program at the Salem Campus, I try to inform the student of the courses they should take for the next two to three semesters in the proper sequence.  Too often students look at the roadmap without talking to an advisor and this could lead to a student registering for chemistry without the proper math background.  My daughter attends the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and students there must meet with an advisor and receive a 'code' from that advisor before registering for classes.  This leads to proper course sequencing.  

 
Expand This Thread
Susan Stocker
on Nov 05, 2012 - 10:52 am

Good morning-

I am the Chair of the subcommittee on Ensuring Student Success. I am looking forward to reading the dialogue about this important topic and I am really pleased to see that we've already got an interesting conversation going.

 
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Responses(1)

Debbie  Barber
on Nov 16, 2012

I believe students would benefit from having long-term information about course offerings, as well as the ability to register for multiple terms.  The GPS Plan can assure that they have all of their graduation requirements accounted for and verified by the GPS audit.  If the university would provide a 3-5 year plan for course offerings, both advisors and students would be able to plan future courses with certainty.  Then, to eliminate the need to register and wrangle for courses every single semester, provide the mechanism for students to register for an entire year at a time - even including summers for students who want them.

 
Expand This Thread
Andrew Budny
on Nov 05, 2012 - 10:37 am

I feel that the university needs to take more initiative to help students who are struggling in their coursework and be able to get the help they need immediately instead of waiting weeks before the problem escalates to become unmanagable.

Before I returned this year to work as a library assistant at Kent Trumbull, I spent six years as a student library assistant. At Kent Trumbull we have a mix of students from those who just graduated from highschool and and adult learners who have been out of school for long periods of time in which they are pursuing a degree to give them a competive edge in the workforce or to be able to help them gain more meaningful employment.

Durring those years as an undergrad, I have seen too many students struggle trying to make it thru their first year, even those who have completed two to three years still have diffaculties completing their coursework either due to job or family obligations that tie them up from completing their class assignments.

Everyday I have students asking me about how to write research papers in MLA format and how to cite sources. I can help them with the basics and I can always refer them to our reference librarian for the more diffacult questions. But even with that, I don't know what their professor wants or how they are supposed to write the paper in the first place.

The same goes for those who are taking remedial mathamatics courses. In the last year, the entire kent campus system implemented the computere porgram caled Aleks, a way for students to learn math at their own pace and not be bogged down with a regular lecture course. One day, I was helping a patron unsing the program in which he said that Aleks makes it more diffacult for me to learn this since we only have eiht weeks to learn the material and that if we dont get at least a C in the course, you have to take the coure again.

This makes me upset since I had to take remedial math clases and that we had a full semester to cover the material. But another problem is that we have a place called the learning center in which students can get help with any subject including math.

However, currently their are not enough tutors for math in which is where students need the most help. From what I have heard, studetns are going up in droves to get help but they are turned away due to to many people asking for help and that their are not enough tutors available to provie them the help they need.

Overall, I hate to see student struggle thru these basic courses. Thus I would like to see more programs put in place to help these students get thru their frost two years of college. Whether it be special workshops to teach about basic grammer or MLA citation or even about basic algebra or general mathamatics. Maybe recruit student peer mentors for incomming freshman and adult students who can talk to them and coach them in order to get thru this diffacult period of transition.

I am happyto be a Kent State Graduate, and I would like to see students be able to walk across the stage at Graduation with their heads held high and when they get that diploma in their hands, they know that they put forward the time and effort to make it. And with a little motivation, they can change their lives for the better.

 

Responses(13)

Stan Wearden
on Nov 05, 2012

Thanks, Andrew. This is helpful.

 
Jake Fleming
on Nov 05, 2012

 

Ensuring students success should be a primary concern of a college university. Money cannot buy knowledge this I know but being a freshman in college I find myself contemplating is this worth it in the end. Future success is not dependent upon receiving a diploma. Andrew was helpful and he stated "I don't know what their professor wants or how they are supposed to write the paper in the first place." Being an integrated language arts major and having aspirations of educating others this resonance's with me greatly. It is true that most of the points taken off of college level essays are minor MLA mistakes but many students miss the true learning in creating a steam or thesis. Defiantly the university is doing their part ensuring the resources are available for students but i pose the question "Do the professors have their work focused mainly on their students they have in the little time they are a part of their life’s to make them better functioning members of society?" I think that maybe having a system in place which teachers can identify students who are falling between the cracks. Those who are doing all the work at a 3.0 level but not obtaining higher because they are missing the main concepts. For English this is easier because reading someone’s personal writing really allows one to get a feel for what this narrator knows. But when it comes to something like math (something i was always strangely good at) How can we identify someone who doesn't understand the something that is so black and white. Either you get the question right or wrong, what I didn't realize is that this A.L.E.X. thing other freshmen are taking don't even count towards graduation. Maybe it's because the high school they come from doesn't adiquitly prepare them for future learnings but maybe not who knows? Anyways Peace Jake

 

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 05, 2012

Thanks for your response Jake. Always good to hear students' perspectives. Your comment about the importance of helping students to become engaged citizens is so very important.

 
Barbara Melbourne
on Nov 13, 2012

Sometimes we needed to be reminded that we're here because of students.  It's a two-way street.  Students also need to be committed to learning and not just coming to college because they see a degree as a way to a job or greater earnings.  The way to both of those is through the learning, not the degree itself!  But do we respond when you are sincere about your academic progress and seek help in achieving it?  When you make the effort and we don't respond, we fail you.

Sometimes we also miss the big picture in learning and need to remember that we are preparing students to function well in society as knowledgeable workers and good citizens.  This goal should supercede all the minutiae of points on a test or paper.  But students also need to understand that following directions and responding to the demands of the experts makes so much more sense that "fighting the system" or "being victims" of a faculty person.

There are so many resources that students don't take enough advantage of.  We might spend more time and effort trying to figure out why; but in the meantime it is important for serious students to seek out what is available.  For instance, regular visits to an advisor have a huge payoff in making sure one is on course to complete a degree without taking extra courses and spending extra money.  Spend the extra time and money on a graduate degree! 

 
Susan Stocker
on Nov 06, 2012

Thanks, Andrew-- your insight is helpful. What are you hearing about the Math Emporium?

 
Andrew Budny
on Nov 06, 2012

I havent herd much about it. I have been gone for about a year and a half when this was first implemented. I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree back in December 2010.

I don't know much about the Aleks software, but I know that it supposed to give students an individualized approach to learning math at their own pace. I have students come into the library asking for help on simple algebra problems that they can easliy solve by just looking at the information on the screen.

As for what I have heard about it, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Many students like it because that they are able to learn the material at their own pace while others need help from their professors to grasp the material.

But the concensus that I have been hearing is that many people don't like it because it is way too diffacult to learn all the material in eight weeks time. When I took developmental math back in the spring of 2006, we had it as a full sixteen week course. Thus we were able to gain a good understanding of the material within a full semesters time. I also got assistance with a math tutor at the learning center on campus once a week on Mondays. It was very beneficial to help me understand the material and that I was able to complete my asignments on time and with a better understanding of what I am learning.

Overall, I don't know if their is a way to make the Math Emporium better for students, but if their are students struggling with these basic classes, then something needs to be done to provide more help than just the professors sitting in the computer lab trying to help them grasp the material. Maybe install classroom assistants who can work with student who are struggling and give the professors more time to work with students who are undertanding the material and focus on helping them with the more diffacult concepts of the course.

I am not sure if this will help resolve the situation but it could be a start to improve this program as a whole.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts. I want to help these students become successful. I am very thankful for what the university has given to me and this is a great way for me to give back.

 
Wendy Pfrenger
on Nov 14, 2012

Andrew I appreciate your thoughtful presentation of the problem. This to me gets at the heart of academic success on regional campuses. We are offering a Kent State education to students who may not have qualified for entrance on the Kent main campus, and so they need access to strong support if they're going to succeed (excellent instruction, quality tutoring, all of it). I coordinate the Learning Center on the Salem campus, so I'm familiar with the problems of maintaining a well-prepared staff of tutors and meeting the needs of students who are juggling competing demands (work, family, school) at the same time that they're trying to do very challenging academic work.

With regard to the Math Emporium/ALEKS, some of our most experienced tutors have begun to develop materials to share with students in workshops about how to succeed in ALEKS - practices for learning effectively, for being prepared to communicate with instructors and tutors when they need help. They point out that students need to talk about math. That's part of how they learn. With ALEKS they often don't know what the concepts they're working on are called, so they don't even know how to seek help with them - all because it's on a screen rather than spoken about in a classroom. Most of their advice to students has to do with how they practice talking about math and writing math on paper. Maybe this is something we can think about both in the Learning Centers and more broadly as campuses - how can we help students practice math socially to complement the work they do with ALEKS?

With regard to those students who need help with papers, I think we could do a better job as a university in talking about how we write and how we teach writing. Students are confused, in part, because there isn't enough continuity between courses that make use of writing. They don't understand, for example, what is portable from their college writing classes and can be applied to classes in their majors or other gen-ed requirements.  They see a bewildering, conflicting maze of seemingly arbitrary requirements without understanding how professional academic writers make choices and use disciplinary conventions to shape their work. They don't understand why certain disciplines value particular styles and formats over others. Better communication between faculty about what they expect from student writing and increased communication between faculty and our learning centers would begin to address these problems. We can have high expectations of student writing, and they can meet those expectations - as long as there is effective communication and support along the way.

 

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 15, 2012

Susan, I work with freshmen and their responses to the math emporium are generally negative.  They do not feel that the program actually helps them learn the math.  Last year, I suggested to one student to use the online KHan Academy tutorials to help with her understand the math concepts that she was not getting from the Math Emporium".  After learning the concepts through the Khan Academy lessons, her grade went from a D to a B+.

 

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 06, 2012

There is an opportunity here two benefit two student groups: students who need work experience and students who need help. If we could implement experiential learning where students work for credit, there may an attrative benefit for volunteering time at these specific centers. Give this program the label of an internship, and it instantly becomes a resume builder. I am very interested in developing microinternship programs within the college, and possible the surrounding community.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 06, 2012

Zinga, can you share some examples of microinternships?

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 07, 2012

The best real life working example that best demostrates my idea is this website called fivver.com. People successfully complete minor tasks like drawing a zombie picture for five dollars or people request that equally minor tasks be completed for the flat rate of 5 bucks. I am proposing that a similiar site is created but instead of money being the form of exchange, we offer job experience and a resume builder. A student can sign-up for the program and commit to completeing a quota of mini-projects per year. Faculty and staff can request the projects, and students can be matched based on their indicated skill sets. 

The generalizability of this program could help fill some gaps in areas of need. For instance, one proposed mini-project could be devoting a number of hours tutoring a subject of expertise at one of our Drop-In centers, which could benefit future educators. For a marketing major, it could be creating an infographic for Graduate Student Services - EHHS (which I am currently looking for someone with this talent). 

 
Erica Eckert
on Nov 19, 2012

Andrew-- this is a great point... and I think that it brings to mind the problem of communication.  At present, I am not sure that there is any system to quickly know if a student is struggling in a more global sense.  The individual faculty member may know, but this may not be officially logged anywhere in a notification system until mid-term (and that is assuming it is the student's freshman year).  Without a notification system, it's hard to know where to direct resources.

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 27, 2012

I agree communication is an area that needs constant attention and innovation. Sometime s though it is more valuable to build small but quality networks of communication, especially in the case of students who need help. Who are the central players when it comes to a struggling student? There is the student, faculty member, and academic support staff. This small system itself can  give the student an anchroing point. What's needed is the glue that keeps these persons in communication with each other. Perhaps the use of apps or texting along with guided F2F contact a managable microcommunities can be formed. 

Erica what did you mean by a more global sense? 

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 01, 2012 - 12:02 pm

How can Kent State University ensure student success at all of its campuses?

 

Responses(36)

Joel Hughes
on Nov 02, 2012

We are starting 3-year degree programs. The Ohio Board of Regents really wants to hasten the path from high school to the workforce. There are clear financial benefits but perhaps costs in other areas. One cost in particular will be experienced by students wishing to further their education in graduate school. It is difficult to be competitive for graduate school after only 3 years in areas like science, social science, law, and medicine. In fact, some students realize that they need to artificially extend their schooling to 4.5 or 5 years by taking fewer credits in order to catch up in the non-classroom areas of school, such as research experience. For example, three letters of recommendation are needed for graduate school and students may need more time to have experience in multiple research laboratories. Some students also need more time to study for the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc. Unfortunately, after graduation there is not a clear mechanism by which to involve non-students in university activities and issues like parking, student health insurance, student employment, and keycard access can become problematic.

I would like to propose that Kent State University consider the possibility of a “3+1” program, which would be similar to U. Rochester’s “take 5 program” (http://www.rochester.edu/college/ccas/AdviserHandbook/TakeFiveSchol.html). Essentially, students who complete the degree in 3 years with a minimum GPA (3.2?) would be allowed to remain enrolled for a 4th year with no tuition costs. This would allow them to stay enrolled for the purposes of remaining involved in internships, research laboratories, student employment, living in the dorms, parking, etc. They would be able to audit courses that they may have missed (e.g., advanced statistics, neuroscience), or explore a field of study that they didn’t have time for (e.g., art history, literature). I would recommend that students not be allowed to start a graduate degree or receive course credit, as they have already graduated. Thus, they should not try to add a minor but rather fill holes that are related to their future career. Students who need more experience on their resume could conduct a capstone thesis project, write manuscripts for publication, present at conferences, continue field experiences or internships, or otherwise stay engaged in the University without the need for additional tuition. Without this option, students go to graduate school immediately (if they can get in) or enter the workforce in under-employed situations (e.g., I’ve met a lot of former students at Office Max). It can be very difficult to find meaningful experience in a “year off” between college and graduate school, but that is what many students need to be competitive.

I do not know if this is feasible or legal, so some study would be required. I suspect it would be fairly rare and only utilized by students who want to get into top quality graduate programs. If it were too popular it could be capped at 100 students/year with an application process. It could be packaged as an additional benefit of a KSU education at very little cost to the university, and it would be a proactive approach to supporting the OBR’s aims while enriching our students' experiences. It would surely get favorable press and reinforce KSU’s commitment to control tuition costs without skimping on educational experiences.

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 05, 2012

Thanks, Joel. We will look into this.

 
Elwin Robison
on Nov 07, 2012

The three year degree path makes a great deal of sense, especially when summer employment is getting harder to find.  To do this meaningful course offerings have to be provided in summer. 

Another variation of the idea is to set up a degree path where students take 9 or so credit hours and work part time year round.  If there were meaningful course offerings in summer, students could keep the same part time job and not get stuck unemployed during summers.  Since the percentage of students working to pay for tuition is increasing, this format makes it easier to hold outside employment, and potentially will decrease the debt load for students upon graduation.  Of course the rule regarding what constitutes a full load will have to be adjusted, especially for financial aid and scholarships.  A full load would have to be defined by year, and not by semester (if a full load is 24 credit hours per school year, do we care if they are spread over 2 semesters and a summer?).

I have personal experience with a 3 year degree program.  I did my engineering undergraduate degree in 3 years plus two summers, but I had to take correspondance courses during a university semester,  and I had to take some courses in backwards order, jumping into the advanced course first, and then picking up the introductory course later.  It would have been much simpler for me if there had been a path for a 3 year degree.

 
Donald Bean
on Nov 14, 2012

I like your second idea regarding students taking a half/three quarter course load. Many of our students at the regional campuses are forced to balance a multitude of responsibilites: family, work, school, etc. Having a "sponsored" part-time option would be very helpful.

 
Carol Blaine
on Nov 14, 2012

You raise a good point regarding financial aid.  I am starting a new program and would like to offer my courses in the summer.  However, I've been told students run into difficulties with financial aid when they spend money on summer courses.  So if we are going to push three-year degrees, we will need to coordinate that change with the powers to be that control financial aid.

 
Dawn Plug
on Nov 16, 2012

Hello. I actually work in financial aid. One of the difficulties is that summer is the lead for our financial aid year. This means that if someone uses too much financial aid in the summer semester they can "run out" for the Spring semester. I would suggest that we look at moving the summer semester to a trailing semester which would aleviate some of these issues about students running out of funds. They could instead use "whatever is left" for the summer classes. Also, when using grant money a student does have the equivalent of two full time semesters of grant money to use over the course of three semesters (summer, fall and spring). So if a student went 6 credits, 12 credits, 6 credits they would still receive their grant money. The issues arrise when a student takes 12 credits, 12 credits, 12 credits.

 
Felicia Parks
on Nov 19, 2012

I am in complete aggreance with Carol.  This can become very problematic for students that rely on financial aide.  The funders have guidelines that are based on the traditional post secondary education format.  Research and dialogue need to occur to allow some flexibilty that will allow individuals to access financial assistance without the limitations of credits sought in one academic year.

 
Janet Peterson
on Nov 14, 2012

I like the 24/hours per shcool year definition as  "full laod." Many students could benifit from a better selection of summer classes and an improved selection of "online" classes.  This morning I saw that many of the S12  "online" classes are "full" already.  If this improved definition can work for students and the regional campuses to foster success, degree completion and keep emrollment up then why are we hesitating?

 
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John Gunstad
on Nov 05, 2012

In addition to success in the classroom, KSU may also want to consider programs that enhance other outcomes--health, financial, social, etc. 

 
Stan Wearden
on Nov 05, 2012

This is an interesting idea, John. Could you explain a bit more about what you have in mind?

 
John Gunstad
on Nov 06, 2012

As many students live on campus at some point during their college career, programs that provide them with additional "life skills" could promote success outside the classroom. For example, information about health/wellness and basic information about finances could help a student throughout their lifetime, not just during their course of study.

 
Cynthia  Schragg
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree. It would be ideal if students came to Kent with an understanding of real world issues; finances, wellness, but unfortunately many don't. We prepare students for their future careers, but oftentimes preparing them for "life skills" as John puts it is equally if not more important.

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

I think some of those "life skills" types of activities are available to students through activities sponsored by Residence Life, student activities, and some of the classes such as "Personal Finance" offered through the College of Business.  The women's center, counseling services, and wellness/rec center also typically offer wellness related activities.  Perhaps faculty/staff need to be more well-informed of these opportunities as to help refer students to them? 

 
Zinga Bodden
on Nov 06, 2012

This is true, a holistic approach to student success will develop a well rounded student. For example, I was speaking with a graduate student and she claimed when she first got here it took a lot of effort in order to interact with other graduate students. Socialization amongst this group should be easy and heavily promoted because this is where innovative research ideas will thrive.

 
Erik  Zemljic
on Dec 11, 2012

I agree wholeheartedly with John’s comment above.  In order to work towards the broad goal of “ensuring student success,” Kent State University needs to be more supportive of ancillary life skill programs and initiatives - particularly initiatives that promote personal financial literacy.  I have taught roughly five sections of a personal finance course each year for the past three years (ECON 12060, offered by the Economics Department).  Although my course is not required by a single academic program, it usually reaches maximum capacity by the first day of classes, which indicates a strong willingness among students to learn financial skills. 

I have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to ensure the success of my personal finance students, and objective assessments seem to indicate I have been generally successful in that regard.  However, what I do is not enough.  Roughly 200 students sign up for my class each year, which represents only a tiny fraction of students at the Kent Campus, let alone the entire Kent State University system.  In 2008, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy published a study titled “The Financial Literacy of Young American Adults,” which summarized the results and implications of a nationally representative financial literacy survey involving high school seniors and college students.  In general, the results of the survey were shockingly dismal. I would encourage anyone interested to read, at the very least, the executive summary of this report.    It can be accessed at the following web link:

http://jumpstart.org/assets/files/2008SurveyBook.pdf

Based on my strong belief that effectively teaching life skills, particularly financial literacy, should be a part of the broad goal of “ensuring student success,” I would like to offer the following specific recommendations to the University:

1. Consider further integration of financial literacy learning outcomes in the first year experience curriculum. 

2. Explore the possibility of requiring some or all students to complete a basic personal finance course. 

3. Consider expanding the support of faculty who are currently providing effective personal financial education to students.

4. Consider supporting and encouraging extra-curricular activities that will increase personal financial literacy.  A few examples of these activities that come to mind are hosting free workshops, providing personal advice to students in crisis by hiring a financial planner (similar to Student Legal Services or Career Services), and inviting distinguished guest speakers that can speak about financial literacy issues.

 
Raynette Smith
on Nov 05, 2012

Since I started teaching at KSU 21 years ago, I've wondered so many of our students succeed spectacularly when most do not come from the priviledged circumstances of students in the Ivy Leagues. The I saw an article in the NY Times  reviewing: School of Hard Knocks: 'How Children Succeed,'  by Paul Touch, Anne Murphy Paul, August 23, 2012.

It credited the character trait they called "grit" for why students succeed--especially beyond the expectations of their socio-economic circumstances, test scores, or even measures of talent.  Grit is defined in the article as the ability of the student to continue push forward toward their goals even in the face of disappointment, frustration, and failures.

That is what I was seeing in my successful KSU students!  We need to screen for and support this quality in the students.  The scientific research cited in the article indicates we should identify this quality in our admissions process.  Further it indicates, that there are ways to nurture this quality in the current students.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 05, 2012

Raynette this is an interesting idea. And one that I think teachers struggle with - teaching students that the struggle is where the opportunity to learn is.  And that those willing to face struggle, unease, discomfort may have the best opportunity to learn. Pedagogically, tumbling with tough ideas is always the most interesting arena for teachers to be in. Perhaps there are more ways we can formally promote and support this kind of atttitude.

 
Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 10, 2012

The risk factor for some teachers is what prevents them from trying an experiential activity or other off-the-beaten path learnng experience. But perhaps more of us could actually pose it as a mutual risk or offer "I am offering an A on this assignment to everyone - everyone who tries it to the best of their ability. I will do the same." I have had some success, but some failure, too, as some wanted the easiest way 'out' and when the assignment was complicated, they only heard the "I am offering an A..." But I have found a lot of satisfaction for myself and a number of students have pushed themselves beyond where they felt comfort...to the next level of writing and reporting. Jumping into the black hole together fosters learning on both sides.

 
Wendy Pfrenger
on Nov 14, 2012

A final thought in response to experiential education above: I have used experiential ed in college writing courses at a regional campus in another university system with terrific results. For students who were struggling, this was a way of making their writing matter more, because suddenly it was "real" - experience brought into contact with the academic texts of the classroom. For students who were used to doing well with minimal effort, it had the effect of galvanizing them to work harder because their responsibility was not only "getting an A" but also meeting the expectations of our community partners. And as Barbara has said - being willing to jump into the black hole ourselves helps students see how we ourselves navigate the challenges of academic risk-taking.

 
Eboni  Pringle
on Nov 16, 2012

I listened with great interest to a story that aired on NPR this week regarding how struggling is viewed in Western vs. Eastern cultures. Check out the story here http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/11/12/164793058/struggle-for-smarts-how-eastern-and-western-cultures-tackle-learning. This is similar to the grit concept. 

At the time our students arrive on our campus many have been taught for a number of years that struggling is a sign of weakness or lower intelligence. I believe however for some we can open the door for them to see struggling as an opportunity. We have a number of resources in our community to make this a possiblity. We can begin as early as DKS, communicating there is value to struggling and there are resources to help you navigate through to the next struggle. 

 
Nicole Kotlan
on Nov 06, 2012

I would be interested in more targeting outreach to students that are above the 2.0 and 3.4 GPA that have a higher likelihood to not retain.  I know I am working with RPIE to see what the retention appears to be for this group and plan to implement contacts.  Additionally, I am looking into the retention of students based on DKS date of attendance, is there a difference? If so, should be tee up FYE faculty to address any needs based on differences?

 

 

 
Alfreda Brown
on Nov 12, 2012

An engaged student is a successful student. An engaged student becomes an engaged alum. As we meaningfully, and intentionally contribute towards their success, they will continue to give back long after they graduate, above and beyond financial contributions. Engaged students creates a buzz for KSU - an attraction for others to come. It is a win/win from start to infinity.

Students who are engaged in their learning process and who keep their focus on the ultimate goal: to succeed academically and graduate from KSU are the ones who will be successful. However, many need reassurance and that is where we enter the process. Enagement of students can happen at every level of the university, not just in the classroom; but also in hallways, in elevators, walking along the esplanade, a mere greeting, a smile, an encouraging word. If we, the totality of faculty, staff and administrators invest in ways to continuously build student engagement, and we did this purposefully and with a united front, we will ensure student success.

 
A.%20brown
Stan Wearden
on Nov 13, 2012

You make a very good point, here, Alfreda. I particularly like you perspective on engagement at every level. We never know when a smile or a "hello" will make a difference in a student's life. Students need to know that we appreciate having them here at Kent State.

 
Shelley Marshall
on Nov 13, 2012

Excellent point!  I read somewhere that one of the key indicators of retention and success within an educational setting is a positive connection to a "person" or group of people within that setting.  I have seen that be true for many students, especially those with special needs or limited academic success before college. 

I think it is important that we intentionally and persistently reach out to our students and engage them in activities, discussions, academics, health and wellness, inclusion, and academic support.  In that way, we ensure that students feel like they belong . . . that what they do matters . . . and that their success and struggles matter to us.

I think sometimes it is easy to think that we are too "busy" to do these things.  But, like Dr. Brown stated, sometimes a simple hello, a warm smile, asking a student about their program -- why they are here, what are their hopes and dreams . . . can all help to build a community around them that makes them feel like "part of" the institution.

Thank you for your great post Dr. Brown!

 

 
Felicia Parks
on Nov 19, 2012

Very well put Alfreda.  College is definitely more that academics.  Those interactions that you speak of has just of a lasting effect than anything else.  I know mine did!

 
Deborah  Woods
on Nov 26, 2012

I agree with Alfreda Brown that students who are "engaged" are more likely to succeed.  Students need to have a "social connection" to the campus and feel like they are "a part of things." Otherwise some students can slowly drift away and drop out.  Instructors and staff can help by being friendly and helpful, but it is also worthwhile to host socials for students so that they can meet other students and faculty outside of class.  Socials on orientation day are often not enough for students to integrate into the campus.

 
Kimberly Steele
on Nov 14, 2012

Kent State cn begin to ensure student success at all of its campuses by becoming more in tune that for students to succeed in the classroom, the process needs to be supportive of their success outside of the classroom.  Too often, classes and professors are arbitrarily rigid in their approach to their class.  Gone are the days where the elite are those that attend school, who do not have to contend with competing factors for their time and energy.  This does not mean we should be watering down our expectations, but rather being considerate in how are expectations are delivered and received.  As long as the goal of student learning and competence is completed then we have met our expectations.

 
Kimberly Steele
on Nov 14, 2012

Resources that students need to succeed include continuing to build on the supportive services offered through the university, but also ensuring that servicdes reach students of all the campuses.  For example, having available professional counseling services at all campuses provides students with the abilty to reduce the need to take away from class time for community based appointments.  Additional services students have verbalized to me that would be helpful also include onsite day care and transprotation assitance. 

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

I agree, Kimberly.  I have also heard requests for on-site daycare and transportation assistance to/from campus.  I also think it would be beneficial to make the academic process as transparent and "easy" to navigate as possible.  I think your point about some faculty being "rigid" speaks to Provost Diacon's "rigidity" vs "rigor" and being sure we're not being undually rigid with the thought it's contributing to student success in some way, when in fact, it's impeding the student's path to graduation.

 
Laurie Donley
on Nov 28, 2012

Kimberly, you bring up something very important. KSU and higher education in general is still set up for the just out of high school, well prepared student. This is despite the fact that more than 50% of students in the U.S. do not fit this mold. We tend to view a student's life outside of school as a distraction that they must overcome to succeed. I wonder what our system of education would be like if we embraced the students we actually have and brought the realities of their outside life into their college experience. If we know the majority of them work, is there a way to leverage that experience to help them be more engaged or improve their understanding of the concepts we are teaching them.

 
Alice Crume
on Dec 13, 2012

Laurie, you are right on about students' full lives. They have children, jobs, car troubles, get sick, and a whole host of real life crises. It would be informative if faculty could gather their experiences and assess how to apply that data to the course. I think of students as connecting each of their faculty each semester and, by graduation, have many chapters in their college life. We could help them with those connections by referring to other courses, other researchers at other campuses, and mapping it for their final year....ready to walk into a job interview to explain their newly acquired skills.

 
Susan Rossi
on Nov 14, 2012

I would like to see some changes to the FYE course.  I am at a Regional Campus, so our course and its implementation is somewhat different than at the Kent campus.  However, it seems like we are trying to make it all things to all people in a 1 credit hour course. Each time we have a committee thinking we need to either educate or alert students to a topic, the conversation always leads to "we can put that into the FYE course".  The FYE course is very helpful, but not every important topic that students need to know can be covered adequately, or at all, in this amount of time.  I would not suggest increasing the credit hours of the course, however we need to find a better way to inform our students on all the myriad of things we think we ought to know.

 
Holly Claus
on Nov 19, 2012

Kent State University can ensure success by being united as a whole. From a student perspective I feel that there is an issue among the different locations. I feel as though the campuses are trying to compete with one another. Working as one whole collective University would bring about positive feedback and good collectivism ideas.

 
Brittany Cathey
on Nov 19, 2012

As a student who has transferred from the main campus to the stark campus when I was a freshman, the importance of teachers giving incentive for going to supplemental instruction is key to helping students succeed in the classroom. I've noticed however that at the Stark campus there is not as many opportunites for supplemental instruction as there are at main campus. I think that if these were tied in more to the difficult courses at the Stark campus student success in these courses would also increase. I think that if the tutors for supplemental instruction went to the classes (like they have to at main campus) this would also increase the effectiveness of these programs because they would know exactly what was tought in the class instead of going off notes that they had taken from the class when they had from before.

 
Ann Motayar
on Dec 06, 2012

To foster student success, create institutional expectations for career planning check-points for students in order to equip them with the information, inspiration, experiences, and planning required to be prepared to transition from college to the workforce.  Imbed these check-points/tasks in our GPS roadmaps, dynamic checklists, web/portal content. These tasks might include: 1) Clarifying career goals related to major, 2) Creating a quality resume/securing references, 3) Obtaining internships/experiences related to goals,  4) Creating a strategic job search plan, etc.  With the OBR focus on “college and career readiness”, facilitating this process for students can only help to enhance college completion rates, reduce student debt, and increased employability and student/alumni satisfaction.

 
Andrew Budny
on Dec 06, 2012

This is an excellent idea. If this was around when I was still an undergraduate, I would have taken advantage of this in a heartbeat. This is the kind of thing that we should provide students with from the start of there college careers. By having them determine what they want to do with their lives and be able to provide the tools to be able to secure employment after graduation will be beneficial for students in the long term. Many employers need there potential employees to be ready with the skills that they need to succeed in todays workplace. This is the start to provide them with what they need to succeed in the future.

 
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