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Promoting First-Year Student Success through Residential Learning Initiatives

Residential Learning Initiatives. Promoting First-Year Student Success through Residential Learning Initiatives. Jimmie Gahagan Anna McLeod Kimberly Dressler Jody A. Kunk. University of South Carolina- Columbia. Residential Learning Initiatives. Presentation Overview.

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Promoting First-Year Student Success through Residential Learning Initiatives

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  1. Residential Learning Initiatives Promoting First-Year Student Success through Residential Learning Initiatives Jimmie Gahagan Anna McLeod Kimberly Dressler Jody A. Kunk University of South Carolina- Columbia

  2. Residential Learning Initiatives Presentation Overview • Definition of Residential Learning Initiatives • History of Residential Learning Initiatives at USC • Highlighted Programs • Student Success Initiative (SSI) • Academic Centers for Excellence (ACE) • Additional FYE Academic Support Initiatives • Faculty Involvement • The Future of Residential Learning Initiatives

  3. Residential Learning Initiatives What are residential learning initiatives? • Academic Success Initiatives • Faculty Involvement / Academic Partnering • Residential Learning Communities

  4. Residential Learning Initiatives History of Residential Learning Initiatives at USC • Student Affairs – Academic Affairs Partnership • Renaissance Discussions brought together partners from across campus • Associate Provost articulated a clear vision to create an “Academic Buzz” on the first floor of every residence hall

  5. Residential Learning Initiatives The Case for Residential Learning Initiatives • Supports the First-Year Experience • - DEEP institutions also demonstrate that effective institutions connect residential learning and the first-year experience(Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, 2005) • Enhanced College Experience • Connecting Curriculum and Co-curriculum • Civic and Community Engagement • Providing multiple safety nets for students

  6. Residential Learning Initiatives Academic Learning Outcomes Resident Student Learning Model (RSLM) Five common objectives with specific learning outcomes that guide experiences for all on-campus residents: • Academic Success • Character • Leadership • Self Responsibility • Community Responsibility

  7. Residential Learning Initiatives The Case for Residential Learning Initiatives • Retention and Graduation • - “Students living on campus are more likely to persist and graduate than students who commute” Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005, p. 421). • Values and Beliefs • - Living on campus positively impacted increases in “aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual values” (Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005, p. 421).

  8. Residential Learning Initiatives The Case for Residential Learning Initiatives • Diversity • - Residence Halls influence a “positive shift toward more positive and inclusive racial-ethnic attitudes and openness to diversity broadly defined” (Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005, pg. 310) • Academic Achievement • - University of Michigan study found that living and learning programs had an impact on students’ academic achievement and intellectual engagement (Pasque and Murphy, 2005)

  9. Residential Learning Initiatives Residential Learning Initiatives at the University of South Carolina

  10. Residential Learning Initiatives

  11. Residential Learning Initiatives Student Success Initiative (SSI) Developing the First-Year SSI University Housing Committee (Spring,1997) Composed of resident advisors, graduate assistants, residence life coordinators and support staff Committee’s recommendations included: • Separate first-year students from upper-class students • Allocate full-time staff members to freshman centers • Lower RA student ratio to 1 RA: 20 students • Establish roommate contracts • Improve students’ grades

  12. Residential Learning Initiatives Outcomes of the First-Year SSI • Change the culture from the RAs being ‘police’ to more of a ‘mentor’ • Create opportunities for first-year students to change culture at USC • Develop strong, intentional communities among students • Provide easily accessible academic support • Devote staff resources to developing strong relationships between students and staff

  13. Residential Learning Initiatives Structure of the SSI • An intentional discussion 4 times a year • Twice in the fall • Twice in the spring • Discussion guide facilitates the intentional interaction between the RA and student • Questions based on the 5 areas of USC’s Resident Student Learning Model: Academic Success, Leadership, Community Responsibility, Self Responsibility, Character

  14. Residential Learning Initiatives Content of the SSI Discussion Guide • Potential questions • Suggested resources • Structured note pages • Tear-out action plans • Concern Reports (academic and behavioral) • Exit survey (First-Year SSI only)

  15. Residential Learning Initiatives

  16. Residential Learning Initiatives

  17. Residential Learning Initiatives SSI Concern Reports

  18. Residential Learning Initiatives SSI Training/Supervision Expectations • Resident advisors are trained every fall and spring • SSI Meetings are Uniform and Formal Process • Intentional, one-on-one interactions • Completed in front of residents • Students will be aware of the process

  19. Residential Learning Initiatives Assessment of SSI Meeting with RA was helpful Spring 2005 Spring 2004 Contributed to Overall Academic Experience Spring 2004 Spring 2005

  20. Residential Learning Initiatives Challenges of Student Success Initiative • Supervision by Staff Member • Management of large numbers • Training • Student Approachability and Access • Buy-in • RA Role • Training • Number of residents

  21. Residential Learning Initiatives Academic Centers for Excellence (ACE) • ACE provides • general academic skills consultations, • after-hours Writing Center consultations, and • group math tutoring • in three residence halls for all students at the University of South Carolina. ACE began in 1999 by offering writing and math tutoring.

  22. Residential Learning Initiatives Academic Skills Consultants 15-20 Higher Education and Students Affairs masters students volunteer as ACE academic skills consultants. • Consultants: • Meet with students about study skills, • Assist students in interpretation of LASSI scores (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory) • Present to University 101 classes on academic success strategies, and • Create study skills resources

  23. Residential Learning Initiatives Academic Skills Consultants • Participated in a 3-day training in the fall on study skills, academic difficulties, and university resources • Receive $150 stipend when contribute 30 hours towards ACE activities each semester. Stipend can be used for registration at a professional conference registration of their choice • Currently we have graduate volunteers but we are exploring offering this opportunity to undergraduate students

  24. Residential Learning Initiatives ACE Participation: Fall 2005 • Academic Skills • 9 scheduled appointments (20 already for Spring) • Presented to 400 first-year students in University 101 courses • 175 students took the LASSI • Writing • 397 students attended an ACE writing consultation • Math • 250 students dropped in for math tutoring

  25. Residential Learning Initiatives Challenges of ACE • Increasing students’ recognition of ACE services and decreasing the stigma associated with receiving assistance • Improving physical visibility of some ACEs • Maintaining partnerships with other units

  26. Residential Learning Initiatives Additional Academic Success Programs Early Interventions Recognition Advising Sessions Undergraduate Research

  27. Residential Learning Initiatives Early Intervention Programs • Class Absence Initiative • Managed through Director of Retention and Planning • University 101 and First-Year English instructors report students’ excessive absences • Excessive absences are reported to campus partners, including University Housing • Resident Directors follow up with students

  28. Residential Learning Initiatives Early Intervention Programs • Academic Interventions • Each January we pull the cumulative and semester GPAs for all on-campus students whose GPAs qualify as academically deficient. • Housing professional and graduate staff meet one-on-one with these students to identify what issues caused the poor academic performance and share resources on how to improve in the future.

  29. Residential Learning Initiatives Early Intervention Programs • Academic Interventions- continued • This past fall we had almost 7,000 students live on-campus • 784 of those students had a deficient GPA. • The average GPA of students living on campus for Fall 2005 was 3.14

  30. Residential Learning Initiatives Recognition • Academic Excellence Reception • Each January we recognize on-campus residents who have a 3.75 or higher cumulative GPA • Of 7,000 residents, almost 1,400 qualified in 2006 • Reception honors these students with remarks from the Provost, hors d'oeuvres, door prizes, and information tables from academic partners (ie: Study Abroad, Career Center)

  31. Residential Learning Initiatives Advising Sessions • Pre-Advising • Prior to the advising season each semester, we invite advisors from various departments to host informal advising sessions in residence halls • Generally, sessions are held in residence halls with high first-year populations • Assists first-year students in preparing for their upcoming advising sessions

  32. Residential Learning Initiatives Undergraduate Research • Office of Undergraduate Research • Magellan Scholar Program: • Provides students with faculty mentoring relationships and a professional research experience • Each scholar receives up to $3,000 to fund project • Preston Residential College Research Grants • Provides residents opportunity to work with faculty associates • Grants ranged from $120 to $500 • 6 residents received grants this year • Will be expanding to other learning communities in ‘06-07

  33. Residential Learning Initiatives Challenges to Academic Success Initiatives • Students’ awareness of initiatives • Buy-in from staff • Coordination and timing of initiatives

  34. Residential Learning Initiatives Faculty Involvement • Helping faculty and students connect in a wide variety of settings • Benefits of faculty-student interaction • Academic Achievement • Personal and Intellectual Development • Retention (Cuseo,J., n.d.)

  35. Residential Learning Initiatives Cultivating Faculty Involvement • Develop initiatives that support the “academic good” of the institution • Build partnership around institutional and departmental mission and goal statements • Clarify roles and communication patterns • Leave credit with the academic unit • Develop tangible rewards and recognition • Involve faculty in the design and development of new facilities • Support faculty development and instruction

  36. Residential Learning Initiatives Faculty Involvement at USC • Faculty Principals/Directors • Supporting Faculty Research • Faculty Associates • Residence Hall classrooms • Out to Lunch • Residence Hall Presentations • Recognition Events (We want interaction across all levels)

  37. Residential Learning Initiatives Sustaining Residential Learning Initiatives • Requires visionary leadership and motivation • Institutionalization • Recurring support • Supporting the institutional mission • Managing change • Managing relationships • Managing the story

  38. Residential Learning Initiatives Challenges to Sustainability • Financial Investment • Housing funds • Academic funds • Communication • Faculty Reward • Technology • Assessment

  39. Residential Learning Initiatives Questions?

  40. Residential Learning Initiatives Contact Information • Jimmie Gahagan: • 803-777-1445 / gahagan@sc.edu • Anna McLeod: • 803-777-4885 / mcleod@sc.edu • Kimberly Dressler: • 803-777-0193 / kimberly.dressler@sc.edu • Jody A. Kunk: • 803-777-0193 / Jody.Kunk@sc.edu

  41. Residential Learning Initiatives References • Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, Whitt, E., & Associates. (2005). Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. • Light, Richard (2001) Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. • Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How College Affects Students, Volume 2: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. • Pasque, P. A., & Murphy, R. (2005). The intersections of living-learning programs and social identity as factors of academic achievement and intellectual engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 4, pp. 429-441.

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