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Integrating Institutional Initiatives to Support Retention

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  1. Integrating Institutional Initiatives to Support Retention Western Connecticut State University Project IMPACT Linda Vaden-Goad, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences 203-837-9400

  2. Project IMPACT:Improving Minority Paths to Achievement Through Community Transformation Western Connecticut State University Community of Practice Leaders: S. Alba D. Skar, Chair, Department of World Languages & Literature 203-837-8485 Linda Vaden-Goad, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences 203-837-9400

  3. Project IMPACT:Community of Practice Core Team Leaders Academic Success Community Dr. Linda Rinker, Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Petkanas, Professor and Chair of Communication, Director of Faculty Advisement and Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Student Life Community Dr. Walter Bernstein, Vice President for Student Affairs Regional Educational Community Bill Glass, Associate Superintendent of Danbury Public Schools Local Danbury Community Eva Colón, Director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury Student Cohort Learning Community (crosses all communities) Jonathan Rodriguez, Student, President of LASO

  4. One Initiative is Our Participation with AASCU and the Latino/Hispanic Student Success Self-Study Co-Chairs: S. Alba D. Skar, Chair, Department of World Languages & Literature 203-837-8485 Linda Vaden-Goad, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences 203-837-9400

  5. Latino/Hispanic Student Success Self-Study:Team Members • Co-Chairs (Alba Skar, Linda Vaden-Goad), plus: • Carina Bandhauer, Associate Prof. of Sociology • Lawrence Hall, Director of Admissions • William Hawkins, Enrollment Management Officer • Bryan Samuel, Director of Multicultural Affairs and Affirmative Action Programs • Jerry Wilcox, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment

  6. Latino/Hispanic Student Success at WestConn:Self-Study’s Main Questions • How are we doing in terms of access, retention and graduation? • AASCU Self-Study • What are our current efforts at WestConn that encourage student success? • Pre-Collegiate Programs • Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success • First-Year Experience • Other Initiatives

  7. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Purpose • To learn from the experiences of 10 AASCU institutions that have demonstrated greater success than would be expected in the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of Latino/Hispanic students. • To assess the current state of these factors at WestConn • To begin “closing the loop” using data-driven findings and input from the university and greater community.

  8. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:WestConn’s Basic Data • One of 4 Universities in CSU System • Carnegie Classification: Master’s 1 • 4 Academic Schools • 38 Undergraduate Programs + Division of Graduate Studies • ~ 6,086 Students • 15.4 to 1: Student to Faculty Ratio

  9. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:WestConn’s Basic Data,continued… • 2006 Average SAT for FTIC students: 1000 • 90% of the students are from Connecticut • 7% are Latino/Hispanic or Puerto Rican • 1-Year Average Retention for L/H (1996-2000): 60.2% • a difference of 7.74% with non-Latino/Hispanic Caucasian students • 6-Year Average Graduation Rate for L/H (1996-2000): 26.5% • a difference of 9% for non-Latino/Hispanic Caucasian students

  10. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:7 Current Features That Contribute to Student Success • Leadership, Values and Visioning, and the new Strategic Plan • Pre-Collegiate Programs • First-Year Experience Program • Advising, Advisement Center, Orientation, Scheduling* • Learning Labs and Tutoring Resource Center • Student Life, Organizations • Curricular Initiatives *Provost’s New Initiatives to enhance advisement and scheduling

  11. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Unique Aspects of Campus that Influence Retention and Graduation • Location (a richness in resources and connection) • Community Resources (very diverse, welcoming in many ways; perhaps not as welcoming in others re immigration issues, etc.) • Campus History (low number of residence hall rooms, few local housing options – getting better, but more is needed. Were logistical problems re food service on Westside Campus and shuttle transportation – now fixed)

  12. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Other Important Features • President’s Community Involvement: • Board service on Latino Scholarship Fund of Danbury • President’s dialogues with community leaders, looking for collaborative opportunities • Provost’s leadership toward international memoranda of understanding with other universities • Admissions Office: hired a secretary who is fluent in Spanish • A VERY caring faculty and staff, committed to students

  13. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Pre-Collegiate Programs • Pre-Collegiate Collaborative Programs (5) • ConnCap/Upward Bound (with Danbury High) • EXCEL Middle School Program (with Roger’s Park and Broadview) • Educational Achievement and Access Program [EA2P] – here at WestConn, a summer preparation program • ESL Adult Certificate Program (4 courses, TOEFL Test Prep) • Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success (with Danbury and Bethel High Schools)

  14. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:First-Year Experience • Outgrowth of Values and Visioning Process and General Education Committee Efforts • Utilizes regular 100-level courses with student success “drop-in modules” regarding • Academic Skills (3+): critical thinking, writing, information literacy, primary research, oral communication, ethics • University Success Factors (2+): co-curricular involvement, support services, organizational skills, technology skills, working in groups

  15. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:First-Year Experience, continued… • Small classes (22) of only first-year students, taught by full-time faculty • Discussion-based, working to create connections • First-Year Students must take at least 3 of these courses during first 30 credits • Transition into program over 3-year period • Coordinator: Dr. Patricia O’Neill, Psychology

  16. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:First-Year Experience, continued… • Goals to help students: • successfully transition to college • enhance study skills • develop excitement for learning • see relationships between studies and greater world • increase persistence • become socialized into community of scholars who prize learning, community engagement and immersion into the world of ideas

  17. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Leadership’s Commitment Committed to valuing diversity and the learning that can occur in diverse settings • President’s Initiatives Fund • President’s Initiatives Fund 2005 ($120,000) to support collaborative initiatives that “employed the university’s regional advantage to educate for global realities” • 3 of 12 included global travel to Latino/Hispanic cultures • Ex: Global Academy (Puerto Rico-2 years): 31% of students attending were of Latino/Hispanic origin • President’s Initiatives Fund 2007 ($100,000+) to support collaborative initiatives that highlight the “learning opportunities that differences create” (Provost Linda Rinker, chair)

  18. Latino/Hispanic Self-Study:Bright Future • Leadership and Campus Community • Committed to the valuing of diversity and the learning that occurs in diverse settings • New initiatives • Shared goals • Many features already in place that contribute to student success at WestConn

  19. Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success:Board of Trustees’ Resolution (July 26, 2003) • Beginning in Fall 2004 – 3 GOALS • Successfully complete all remedial courses within first 24 credits • Establish what HS Math and English curricula are necessary for students to complete proficiency prior to college • Develop action plans to increase the percentage of entering students who are ready for credit-bearing classes

  20. Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success:Goals 1-3 • Decrease number of high school students needing remediation upon entering college • Clarify college expectations in both English and math to students • Look for areas of mismatch

  21. Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success:Goals 4-6 • Build relationships among the faculty at high schools and university — truly collaborate • Increase first-year retention • Increase six-year graduation rate

  22. Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success:Outline of Project • Phase I: Placement Testing of High School Juniors (Cohort A) and Spring Dinner Meetings (first collaborations) • Phase II: 3-Day Summer Faculty Meetings for Planning Curricular Changes for Senior Intervention Year • Phase III: Retesting High School Seniors in Spring of Senior Year (begin Cohort B for Juniors) and Meetings among faculty (…and over again)

  23. New Data: Retention RatesBridge Schools vs. Others

  24. Building a Bridge in the Sciences:Encouraging Collaboration in the Sciences with Area Schools Hosted the Bethel Middle School Science Fair

  25. Encouraging Collaboration in the Sciences with Area Schools Mentored WISTR Teachers

  26. Building a Bridge:In Summary • Costs decrease • Retention increases • Need for remediation decreases • Time to graduation should decrease • Collaboration works for generating better understanding of what changes need to be made • Collaboration clearly improves access for more students, allowing them to utilize their first year in college more effectively and completely

  27. Integrating Institutional Initiatives to Support Retention:General Conclusions • We are making great strides to address student success in general. • We are only beginning to address student success as it specifically relates to Latino/Hispanic students and their families. • We are in an excellent position to address these issues in specific ways (Project IMPACT). • Our new collaborative design that integrates community at all levels will bring us to a point of creating the kind of student success models that fit our students and community in the best ways.