January 9, 2017

Student Success Strategic Plan Meeting

Table 8 Initiative: Enhance personal relationships through mentoring, utilizing alumni, and revisiting ILS topical clusters.

  • Inherent in the liberal arts is the idea of exploration, but encouraging students to choose a major earlier may make them feel more like a member of the campus community and less likely to leave.
  • Instead of looking at our students who are leaving, let’s look at our students who are staying and asking why we are successful.
  • Academic advising and mentorship are two very different things.  In the technological world, much of this can be done without human interaction.  But, personal relationships are still crucial.  Students need more than 15 minutes with an advisor in order to be successful.  There are some faculty who are good at advising and we need to play to those strengths, creating incentives.
    • Different types of mentoring:
      • Senior students mentoring freshmen and sophomore students
      • Faculty serving as mentors through high impact practices that they advise
      • More on-campus employment because the supervisors end up acting as mentors to their student employees
      • Alumni mentors so that students can make those connections to see what they can do after graduation.
      • Community mentors to engage with the outside community
    • Utilizing alumni who have gone on to become successful in fields outside of their major:
      • For example, a chemistry major who is designing iPhones in Cupertino
      • This is where the value of a UNC Asheville education shines
    • Revisiting the ILS Topical Clusters
      • Visit the idea that students must have a minor, or certificate, or requirement that forces students to get outside of their major comfort zone.

Table 11 Initiative: Find a tool for the engaged learning transcript.

  • Engage students from the first time they step onto campus.
  • Required engagement hours would turn students into more productive and engaged members of our campus community.
  • Athletics has the Bulldogs rewards app that is fan engagement. Current students are rewarded for going to athletic events, but we could grow it to include academic lectures, etc.
  • Students need connection, but they feel connected through their technology, so we need an app or a tool to help with this engagement (points-based).
  • A technology app can help provide a data-base of information that targets where students who turn into donors become most engaged.  Is it through drama, through athletics, etc.?
  • The student can work with the career center to build a strong resume that showcases all of the ways they connected to the university and community while at UNCA
  • Students could have the capability to check in at certain events, which would encourage and nudge other students to attend when they otherwise might not have come to an event.
  • There would need to be one department that owned this initiative.
  • Get students engaging and communicating with us from the moment they’re admitted, not just once they’re on campus.

Table 9 Initiative: Expand mentorship opportunities and on-campus employment.

  • Look at the existing mentorship programs, Leaders for Leaders, see what’s working in those programs and expand that in the student employment initiative and across campus.
  • Have formal performance evaluations and resume building for student employees so they have experience with these things when they go into the workforce
  • Create a formal evaluation for advisors across campus to ensure students are getting appropriate advising and advisors can utilize career services at each step.
  • Host group advising sessions, for example, to talk to students about what they should be doing at the junior level, senior level, to prepare for the workforce.

Table 6 Initiative: Take into consideration the different personality needs of students when matching them with mentors and helping prepare them for their future career/academic path.

  • Take student personality needs into consideration when matching them with a mentor.  For example, matching introverts with introverts.
  • Create places to gather for students who have particular learning needs.
  • Expand upon the LA 178 work and helping students understand the knowledge and skills that they need to go on to their aspired career/academic path.
  • Incorporate professional development with faculty/staff on different learning styles so that we, as a campus, are more aware of how student learn in different ways.

Table 5 Initiative: Require every UNC Asheville student take advantage of high impact practices.

  • This would happen through creation of a high level university-wide center called the Center for High Impact Learning.
    • The center would be the focal point for resources on how to engage students in these opportunities.
    • Our current structure isn’t as strong as it could be to support these practices.
    • This center would organize these activities, in addition to providing both funding and resources to create more opportunities.
    • Regardless of whether or not we have a center, we should have a student resources liaison to ensure that each student has access to these opportunities.
    • Transportation is a key component that would need to be added to the structural component of this plan. Not all students have a vehicle to transport them to these opportunities.

Table 4 Initiative: Create a center for high impact practices coupled with a co-curricular transcript.

  • Creation of a co-curricular transcript in which students can navigate and report the high impact strategy they’re involved in.
  • Requiring students to be involved in at least one high impact strategy.
  • Employers are looking for more than just how well students did in the classroom; they’re looking at how involved they were in the community.
  • Transportation was discussed as a need – students must be able to get to these opportunities in the community.
  • Ensuring that students complete required high impact practices would require hiring dedicated staff.

Table 1 Initiative: Listen to students of color at different key stages in their tenure at UNCA.

  • Their direction was attracting and retaining a diverse student body.
  • The key to retention of students of color is finding out why they decided to come here in the first place, and where are we lacking for them? We have the quantitative data, but also need qualitative data from them.
  • Utilize our strong faculty that students of color already feel really connected with.
  • Get successful students of color to come back and tell their alumni success stories to help inspire current students.
  • We need to take a look at faculty/staff of color and recruiting them, as well, because that has a huge impact on the student experience.
  • Getting the message out (ex. Eastern Connecticut State University) targeting pre-admission students, connecting with the community, guidance counselors, and providing early alerts once they enroll.
  • A key piece of this is listening:
    • Focus group of students coming in at three key stages:
      • Weeks of welcome students
      • 1st-2nd semester of sophomore year
      • Semester before graduation
      • Ask them, “What can we do better?  What resonated with you?”  We need a communication loop, not just one-sided.
      • Getting alumni involved would be another added level of this communication cycle.

Table 2 Initiative: Define a clear message around what we mean by a “liberal arts education” and by “diversity.”

  • What do we mean by diversity?
    • Working class, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, age, political, religious?
  • Recruiting students of color:
    • We must all be invested as a community to communicating what we mean by a “liberal arts education”
    • Where are we missing the Admissions opportunity in North Carolina to recruit students from underrepresented students?
    • We need to create a diverse group of allies that come from faculty/staff/alumni that aren’t just the one Native American, the one African American student that really court students – not just one trip and done, but a genuine, concerted effort.
    • Maintain regular contact with our alumni and hosting prospective student days with alumni readily available to participate.
  • Retaining students of color:
    • Look for some way of how to maintain a larger picture for retention from year to year instead of just focusing on first year retention.  What are we doing to retain sophomores and up?  Potentially something through the Humanities program.  The space in between sometimes gets forgotten.
    • More Living Learning Communities and summer programs based on disciplines.
    • Work on student investment to make sure students feel like this is their home and where they want to stay.

Table 3 Initiative: Have a data-driven definition of what diversity means to UNC Asheville.

  • Having a framework around what diversity means with data and definitions.
  • What metrics do we have to know when we’ve met that goal?
  • Defining what diversity means for UNC Asheville, then doing a deeper dive that is data-based to discover why students choose us.  Then, tapping into our alumni to figure out how their liberal arts education has helped them.
  • Deborah Miles: The Diversity Action Council has a board-approved definition of diversity that she would be happy to send out to people.

Table 10 Initiative: Establish a grassroots sense of university identity.

  • It could be called “Bulldog Love”.
  • It needs to be grassroots instead of a marketing campaign in order to create a shared identity.
  • We must introduce this shared identity to students as soon as they’re on campus – in tours, in orientation, upon acceptance.
  • Strengthen identity through on-campus residential living:
    • Consider the community found through physical spaces, for example, the smoking circles.
    • Having students see the campus union as the campus living room
    • Students who are working on-campus are more invested.
    • More living learning communities, but it needs resources behind it instead of relying on volunteered time from faculty/staff.
    • We need to inventory what structural support already exists on campus to break down the silos.

Table 7 Initiative: Strengthen the first year experience by creating a strong identity.

  • The first year experience must be engaging and intentional – incorporating ALL students and not just the ones who already know they belong here.
  • If there is a lack of diversity of majors, we should perhaps build undergraduate certificates that add value to majors we already offer, using terms employers recognize, such as a certificate in Data Management, or other applied areas.
  • It falls upon us to create the identity that you belong here and that it would be a shame to transfer because you’d really be losing something.

Group Ideas/Comments

  • “Project David” – Students who feel an intense connection with the institution and end up giving back and engaging for a lifetime with the university (like David Kaufman-Moore). What is it that makes for a successful student like this?
  • “We Are All Rocky” – All the athletes feel like they are Bulldogs and it creates a unified community. We must incorporate all different student types into the Bulldog community.