The Leadership Institute 2014 theme is Student Learning and Graduation Success.
This theme gives each campus the latitude to develop a project that will most benefit their campus community. Some examples might include: Helping students make the transition from high school to college—setting realistic expectations; exploring the role of contingent faculty in moving students to completion; using technology to aid in quality student learning and graduation success; or engaging alumni to enhance the undergraduate experience.
Leadership Institute Planning Committee:
Yvonne Zubovic, Chair, IPFW
Rosanne Cordell, IUSB
Kathy Johnson, IUPUI
Sharon Calhoon, IUK
Carol Hostetter, IUK
Don Coffin, IUN
Dina Mansour-Cole, IPFW
Paul Pittman, IUS
Larry Richards, IUE
Team Members: Eduardo S. Brondizio, Donetta Cothran, Monika Herzig, Michael Morrone, Ben Motz, and Sarah Young
Project Description: Our project involves creating short video vignettes of faculty using group work in their classrooms and how they approach accomplishing student learning through the use of group work. Since Fall 2015, our FACET Leadership Team has conducted interviews with our five selected faculty members who are using group work in their courses. Two of the interviews were conducted in December, and the other 3 were conducted in January and February. The questions used for our semi-structured interview sessions were developed from the literature on student group work and were narrowed down to 11 by consensus of our team members. In March, the team met to determine how to analyze the video interviews. After discussion of the data we had collected (i.e., video interviews) we decided that instead of approaching the project as a series of short videos about individuals and what they do, we would approach the subject via what various individuals had to say about key topics on group work.
Progress made on the project and next steps: Based on the literature, our team created 11 themes to analyze the videos. After this in-depth individual case analysis was developed, we met and discussed final themes for the project. For example, the two theme categories of “assessment” and “peer feedback” were collapsed a broader category labeled assessment. The final list of categories was four including:
Why use group work & types of projects
Management of groups, grouping, and group dynamics
Assessment and feedback
Challenges, solutions, and lessons learned
Our next step involved team members taking each of the 4 broad thematic categories and reviewing the video segments from all 5 videos identified in each of those thematic areas. The focus during this step of the project was to script the video clips into an order whereby the message of the theme is clearly communicated. After we agree on the scripting for each theme, the videos will be turned over to Matt Barton and Sam Underwood at CITL for production of 5-minute vignettes for each category. Our ultimate goal is to create a web presence with the faculty video clips on the CITL website. We also plan on having representatives from our IUB team present at the FACET Retreat on May 21, 2016.
Future of this project:
We recommend that an undergraduate student voice be obtained and presented in terms of group work and its learning outcomes. Faculty can learn from the student perspective as well as from their colleagues.
We recommend that this project be focused on graduate student groups and perhaps a comparison could be made between the similarities and differences with undergraduate students.
Team Members: Brenda Buckner, Education; Tonya Breymier, Nursing; Frances Yates, Library; Ange Cooksey, Humanities; Stephanie Whitehead, Criminal Justice; Neil Sabine, Biology; Jerry Wilde, Education; Edwina Helton, English
Project Description: Our group has now offered workshops to the campus on the following topics that stem from research completed within the faculty learning communities. Additional content to workshops was integrated into Best Practices in Gateway courses by including research presentations on assessment and placement/curriculum.
Rethinking Student Success
Best practices within gateway courses to achieve student success
Educating the campus on financial literacy issues to equip faculty in assisting/supporting students
Outcomes included groups of 15-20 at each of the workshops with follow-up contact to attending faculty on their experiences and ideas. Faculty also met to discuss next steps and ideas for extending research and application to wider contexts and to future projects.
Meeting outcomes from our Institute leader and the campus Chancellor and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs were also incorporated into planning for next steps.
Highlights on what our team learned include details on financial aid and their role in student success, the need to shape the institution to the “whole” student as well as create a culture of graduation as the focus of all we do, and shaping curriculum/assessment practices to enhance teaching and learning outcomes.
Our findings link well to projects on campus related to the first year experience and general education. We expect those with expertise will be folded into campus level, long term projects connected to student success and graduation.
We will continue to measure impact of workshops on faculty impact through surveys and mentoring/project development outcomes that arise as well as track the outcomes of long-term projects within the campus that dove-tail with the work done for our institute projects.
Progress made on the project and the future of this project:
Three team members have volunteered to prepare an online training course to prepare those teaching gateway courses with research and skills needed for teaching with particular attention to addressing needs of “the whole student.”
It was suggested that a faculty director position might be put into place to support the First-Year Seminar, a director to focus on curriculum, assessment, and linking the seminar to the second year and major.
Encouraging the development of cohorts by minority group and/or major within the first year seminar was suggested as well as the importance of carrying the first year experience forward to the second year and to the major.
Team members recommended that staff expertise in areas like financial aid, career services, and registration visit school meetings for brief 5-10 minute highlights on what faculty need to know to support students.
Team members recommended highlighting the value of teaching awards and accomplishments, further integrating the value of teaching into the campus culture.
Team members recommended continual focus on refining placement and support mechanisms for the core courses in general education such as speech, writing, and math. Names of those with expertise were forwarded to the Chancellor and the Interim Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs as they may be incorporated into work being done on campus within general education and first-year courses.
The success of the learning communities followed by providing faculty workshops led to the recommendation that a continuing program of developing faculty learning community topics supported by Academic Affairs on issues important to campus success be implemented with follow up workshops on outcomes shared with the full campus faculty.
Team Members: Ukamaka Oruche, Laura Romito, Kevin Jones, Joan Carlson, Angie McNelis, and Sarah Baker
Project Description and Next Steps: Initially, we developed the following idea for the project: Pilot a program which would provide 3 spring booster shots (seminars) coupled with student coaching targeted and strongly recommended for those students identified at high risk of non-success. Priority registration was to be part of this booster shot program for second semester freshmen that would have involved student and faculty partnerships. We identified 3 Measurable Outcomes: 1) Increase student retention from freshman fall semester to spring semester and from spring to fall of second (sophomore) year, 2) Retention (redirection) at IUPUI of students who did not get into their first choice major program, and 3) Qualitative outcomes assessment of student satisfaction / impact of our pilot program.
We had several phone conferences to further discuss and refine our project plan. A couple of group members accepted responsibility for researching sources of funding for our project, networking with other groups with whom we might collaborate (e.g. Univ. College first-year experience programs) and communicating a more defined plan with the VC. Our original project plan was intended to provide more continuity to the current programs such as the summer bridge program and the first year fall seminar for at risk students and was based on the idea of a pilot program which would provide 3 spring booster shot seminars coupled with student coaching targeted for those students identified at high risk of non-success. The winter/spring booster project was to include one half day of face- to- face meetings and additional programming in an online format. After discussing this idea more with one of our team members most familiar with this setting, Sarah Baker, we decided to modify our plan to complement and add to what was already being done by University College in this area. University College was working on a peer mentoring project to provide continuing support to students at risk which was to launch in spring semester in 8 pilot sections and was to include priority registration. As a faculty presence would be needed in this program, we thought that we could be integral players in a pilot program working in concert with the bridge and first year seminar program to engage faculty mentors as well as provide additional support in the form of online programs concerning relevant topics to enhance student success (e.g. time management).
Group members did provide background literature and information and supplied these to the group. For example, the following documents were obtained and distributed to group members to read: IUPUIOffice of Student Transitions and Mentor Initiatives Second Semester Mentoring/Coaching, IUPUI University College First Year Experience,UNIVERSITY COLLEGE FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE SUMMER BRIDGE, FIRST-YEAR SEMINARS AND THEMED LEARNING COMMMUNITIES Executive Summary, IUPUI Retention and Graduation Rates, IUPUI Student Profiles, as well as several leadership-related papers.
Team Members: Ron Allman, Professor of Journalism; Donna Dahlgren, Professor of Psychology; Melanie Hughes, Associate Librarian; Tom Keefe, Emeritus Professor of Business
Project Description: Donna Dahlgren and Tom Keefe worked on data analysis, looking at persistence numbers to complete the developmental math M101 course, as well as qualitative analysis of essay responses. Donna Dahlgren and Melanie Hughes presented the research to the IU Southeast Developmental Math Team and at the 35th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience (peer-reviewed) in Orlando on February 21st. The results were also presented to IU Southeast Unit Heads. Dahlgren was also able to meet with University of Texas’ Yeager at a conference, and talk about our intervention. Dahlgren and Hughes are starting to write up the results in a paper and have been asked to submit our research to a peer-reviewed publication, Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition. Dahlgren met with the math faculty to work on incorporating the Math Mindset Intervention as an assignment into their courses for Fall 2016. Hughes received a Research Incentive Grant from the Indiana University Librarians Association to present in Orlando and Urbana-Champaign (below). Dahlgren is also working to expand Mindsets into courses with high DWF rates including accounting and writing.
Melanie Hughes worked with two senior psychology students meeting weekly or biweekly from November to April to apply Grounded Theory to qualitatively analyze the essay responses of first year students and peer-mentors. Donna Dahlgren mentored the students in quantitative analysis for code frequencies and in looking at retention data of the Collegiate Summer Institute cohort. Hughes and students presented findings to the Director of the Collegiate Summer Institute and at the Illinois/Indiana TRIO Professional Development Conference (peer-reviewed) in Urbana-Champaign, IL on April 18th. The students presented at the Student Research Conference on April 22nd. The team is reaching out to Student Services to include the belonging intervention online after orientation, but before Induction Day. Hughes and Dahlgren will be working on writing up the results for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
Progress made on the project and next steps: We have learned that short psychological interventions can have a big impact on student persistence and retention. We have also learned that you can influence students in the wrong direction with bad advice (“Don’t stress too much. Just laugh it off.”), when they need to be applying different, constructive strategies for course success. We have learned that changing the fixed mindsets of faculty with regard to student learning is also important (“Some students just aren’t college material. Half of you will fail this course.” “We shouldn’t hold their hands.”), and that it may take multiple exposures for faculty to understand their own mindsets and how to give growth feedback to students.
We have learned from the literature that students who are “disadvantaged” (first-generation, low-income, ethnic minority) can experience academic set-backs in a stronger way if it is coupled with a feeling of not belonging on campus. This feeling of not belonging and fixed academic mindsets can cause students to develop a sense of learned helplessness and a self-fulfilling prophecy that they aren’t meant to succeed in college (Yeager, Panuesku, Walton, Dweck, 2013).
It is important to stress to students that fail (or even getting a C, which some of our students see as failure) is not a bad thing, but a sign and an opportunity to learn new strategies and re-direct their learning efforts.
Future of this project: We recommend that Academic Affairs works with Student Affairs to make mindset and belongingness interventions part of every student’s experience. We suggest that these interventions take place before Induction Day, either before or after orientation. These interventions can be taken online as a trial.
We also need to share information with our faculty, support and professional staff through training and ongoing support to help change the culture of the campus to be even more supportive of student learning and supporting positive self-beliefs. We await the outcomes from the class of 2016 at the University of Texas that experienced the first large-scale online mindset interventions in the Summer of 2012. We will be writing up our results from both interventions to be shared in the literature to encourage other universities to create in-house interventions at low-cost and big results for their students.