Tufts University Bridge to Liberal Arts~BLAST~
About Tufts Undergraduates: 5,117 Graduate and professional: 5,588 Internationals: 1,174 Faculty: 1,315 (9:1 student ratio) Staff: 3,195 4 Campuses (Medford/Somerville) Full time status only (3-5.5 credits/semester) Tuition and Fees 46,598 Plus housing and other fees 60,217
Students- Liberal Arts SAT Verbal/Math 711/722 % of applicants accepted 22 % enrolled on FA 41 % outside of New England 70 %Freshman/Sophomore Retention 96 6 Year graduation rate 90 4 year graduation rate 85
Institutional Change and Planning Assessment and Strategic Planning • Reaccreditation visit – March 2013 • Strategic Plan (2014-2023) released – September 2013 Leadership Changes • Dean of Arts and Sciences – August 2010 • President – July 2011 • Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies – December 2011 • Provost – July 2012 • Dean of Tisch College for Citizenship and Public Service – January 2014
Reorganized and New Positions • Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Director of BLAST – May 2012 • Associate Dean for Student Transition – July 2012 • Coordinator of Scholar Development – September 2012 • Dean of Campus Life and Leadership – July 2013 • College Transition Advisors – (anticipated) December 2013
Admissions Barriers As with other private PWIs, Tufts struggles to attract and enroll students who identify in underrepresented groups, particularly academically-qualified students of color • Tufts is in competition with many other well-respected private PWIs in the Boston area • ivy league institutions • other liberal arts institutions • other research universities • Tufts considers ability to pay for full college career • insufficient financial aid support to offer need-blind admissions • no merit-based aid available to undergraduates
Diversity 27% of liberal arts undergrads identify as domestic students of color; 11% as first-generation college-goers; 10% international students Group of Six Centers Office of Intercultural and Social Identities Programs Diversity Councils Strategic Plan BLAST and BEST
Academic Advising • No common curricular experience for first-year students • Academic transition largely relient on tiered advising structure • Associate Deans • College Transition Advisors • Academic Advisors
Associate Deans ofUndergraduate Education (3) • Assigned alphabetically; support student throughout college career • Assist with navigation of procedures; clarify application of academic policies • Advocate for and make group decisions on petitions for exceptions to academic policy • Facilitate communication with faculty members (absence from class due to confidential reason, etc) and parents (academic progress, FERPA, etc) • Primary liaisons with Student Affairs and Student Accessibility Services on individual student issues
College Transition Advisors(4 anticipated) • Assigned by general disciplinary interest at entry; primary focus in first two years • First contact for common transactional questions: Pass/Fail and Add/Drop, application of pre-matricor transfer credits, cross-registration, etc • Refer more in-depth student concerns to Associate Deans, as needed • Primary liaisons for Student Affairs, academic departments and student government on programming to benefit pre-major students
Academic Advisors • Pre-major (150-170) • Staff and faculty members with full-time non-advising position • Assigned based on preferences indicated by student in pre-arrival May/June • Support exploration of potential concentrations, progress on core graduation requirements and curricular/co-curricular balance • Refer student to academic departments and/or colleagues for continued discussion of specific disciplinary interests
Academic Advisor • Major (all FT faculty) • Teaching faculty members, lecturer or tenure-track • Selected by student prior to submitting declaration of major form • Support exploration of sub-concentrations, research opportunities and theses, application of study abroad credits, graduate school and career planning
Timeline May 2011 Dean of Arts & Sciences requested examination of retention Summer 2011 Working group formed Sept 2011 Working group recommendation- unanimously recommend the development and implementation of a Summer Bridge Program Sept 2011 -May 2012 Committee (faculty and staff) charge to develop an outline and structure (BC, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego) May 2012 Director hired July 2012 1st cohort (n=22) July 2013 2ne cohort (n=23)
Admissions Enrolled fewer African Americans and Hispanics than Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT Many of the Nation's high schools, notably in urban districts, face resource challenges that compromise the depth and quality of the curricula they offer students. Tufts only admits students who have the ability to succeed.
BLAST Pre-matriculation to Graduation Program Alumni network and outreach Not Remediation- Two courses for credit that meet requirements Not Race Based- involvement in college access programs; applied from HS that are under-resourced and/or send few students to four year institutions; no enrollment history with Tufts; first generation students
BLAST Summer Bridge experience- develop academic skills, build confidence, college transition, community surrounding the school, and build own community Academic Year experience – Seminar attendance and advising. Students introduced to resources on campus, internships, scholarships, etc. Students discuss issues of leadership and social justice.
Program Overview Math10 and History 54 Hill Hall Workshops Networking Lunches/dinners Field Trips Advising Social Justice and Leadership
About the Data N = 22 All variables were measured on a 7-point, Likert-type scale. All graphs are displaying the difference in means between the pre-test and post-test results. We calculated the effect size between the pre-test and post test means for every variable. From the variables with medium to large effect sizes, we calculated statistical significance using the non-parametric Wilcoxon signed ranks test.
Effect Size and Significance Graphs with green bars – LARGE effect size, statistically significant (p < .05) Graphs with yellow bars – MEDIUM effect size, still statistically significant (p < .05) Graphs with red bars – Small/medium effect size, though not statistically significant (p > .05)
Post Test Responses Question: Overall, how helpful was having done the BLAST summer program to you? 100% of respondents answered either very or extremely helpful 90.5% answered “Extremely Helpful” 9.5% answered “Very Helpful”
Fall Programming Orientation Advising Seminar Study Group Social Event Dedicated Staff/Advising
BLAST Advising • Participants’ pre-major advisors are BLAST Director and Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies • BLAST seminar parallels “faculty seminar” structure offered to non-BLAST first-semester students The faculty member teaches this course over and above the normal teaching load. The students in the class consist ONLY of the advising cohort. Students receive 1/2 credit on a pass/fail basis and take this course in addition to their normal course load. Faculty may elect to teach topics outside their area of professional expertise or to use the semester to pilot new course material.
Spring Programming Optional Advising Seminar (20/22 enrolled) Study Group Social Event Dedicated Staff/Advising Conference Opportunities Peer Mentoring
BLAST Group Comparisons BLAST participants will be compared: Control Group 1 (n= 28) Admissions Access List- 2015 Control Group 2 (n= 12) Admissions Access List- 2016 not selected for BLAST Comparison Group (n= 59, anticipated 50% response rate) Random sample