In my September report to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, I gave updates about recent accolades and accomplishments, first-year student progression, and enrollment. I also updated the Board on four major initiatives that will significantly inform what we do for the next five years, 2017 – 2022. These initiatives are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Frontier Set project; the UNC Undergraduate Degree Completion Improvement Plan; the United Negro College Fund Career Pathways Initiative, and the UNC Strategic Plan. My report provides information on each of these initiatives. See attached. AA_BOT_September 2017_Final
Attached are two slides I shared at Bronco Kickoff. The first one depicts the obstacles and roadblocks students often encounter on their pathway to degree completion. Moreover, career planning occurs on a separate pathway. The second slides show our goal: remove unnecessary obstacles and integrate career planning into our curriculum.
FSU provides students with many resources to help them address academic challenges that can lead to their dropping out. A recent review identified more than 40 programs that help students address academic reasons for student attrition.
Freshman Seminar helps first year students improve time management and study skills; Students have abundant opportunities for tutoring and supplemental instruction to strengthen academic skills; Bronco Connect makes it easy for faculty members to warn students about excessive absences or missed assignments
With the help of the Office of Faculty Development, many faculty have implemented techniques and technologies to increase student engagement, which has been shown to have an especially positive impact on student learning.
Academic support programs are very important. Yet, students confront a variety of obstacles on the pathway to degree completion that are not explicitly academic. These obstacles frequently arise from miscommunication about guidelines and requirements. None of this miscommunication is intentional – in fact, all of our offices and staff work diligently to provide important and accurate information to all students.
Yet, despite our good intentions, a number of communication gaps persist.
Over the next several weeks, the Enrollment Management Committee will strive to identify and correct some of these communication gaps. We are looking first at the questions most frequently asked to the Enrollment Service Call Center, assuming that these questions arise from these communication gaps. Students are often confused about the messages they receive about the admissions process, their bills and financial aid. The challenge is making sure we communicate information in a manner that is understandable to students.
Academic advisement is another source of much confusion and frustration among students. We need to look at every aspect of advisement process and determine which are and are not contributing to student enrollment. The implementation of Acalog and Degree Works will offer opportunities for revising current processes.
One of our most important goals for this academic year is to remove unnecessary obstacles to degree completion. The work of the Enrollment Management Committee is just one of many similar efforts that we will use to achieve this goal.
Thinking about college? Hoping for a better future?
I’m true to my Blue! And Fayetteville State University is proud to be the University for you! FSU offers: a quality education at affordable costs; nationally ranked undergraduate and graduate academic programs; teaching excellence and innovative, experiential learning options; convenience and flexibility through on-campus and online classes; a supportive and “family-like” environment; the rich legacy of an HBCU and the prestige of the University of North Carolina system.
Visit http://www.uncfsu.edu/admissions to register for Open House on Saturday, March 25.
Can’t come to campus on March 25, then visit http://www.uncfsu.edu/admissions/campus-tours to schedule a personal tour.
Or you may want to take a virtual tour. Go to http://www.uncfsu.edu and select the virtual tour on the home page.
Take the first step toward a better future!
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is currently being administered to first-year students and seniors. Students received their first email invitations to participate on February 15 and February 23. They will receive three more invitations on March 7, March 21, and March 27. I hope this blog will help you see why NSSE results are important to us and will lead you to encourage first year students and seniors to complete the NSSE. In previous years, our response rate has around 25%, which is very close to the response rate at our regional and national peer institutions. Continue reading
The Inside Higher Ed article below considers the future of U.S. higher education – specifically the goal of increasing degree completion – in the wake of the 2016 election.
The article suggests that the focus on the “completion agenda” is likely to continue, but the value of postsecondary credentials will increasingly be defined by the employment rates and salaries of graduates.
Fayetteville State University is already engaged in addressing both of these trends.
The “Completion Agenda” recognizes that the skills and knowledge essential for success as a nation and as individuals in the 21st century require postsecondary education. Hence, enabling more adults to earn degrees – especially historically underserved populations — is an imperative for higher education.
In 2009, President Obama set the goal for the US to be “first in the world” in terms of the percentage of adults with a college degree by 2020.
The Lumina Foundation has set the “big goal” of having 60% of adults in the US with a postsecondary credential by 2025.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested significantly in efforts to increase degree attainment. They have established the “Frontier Set,” a group of institutions working together to “…drive institutional transformation and close the opportunity gap for every student.”
Frontier Set institutions have agreed to increase the number of credentials and degrees awarded by one-third by 2022 and share their practices and strategies to promote change in higher education.
FSU is a member of the Frontier Set. Our selection is a result of our success in enabling students from diverse populations to earn degrees. Our target is to award 1,270 undergraduate degrees (or credentials) in 2022, compared to the 968 we awarded in 2015-16.
The completion agenda has become an important component of the higher education landscape. Yet, many legislators, policy makers, and educators – driven by concerns about soaring debt and unemployment among college graduates — have challenged the completion agenda, arguing for a higher education agenda of doing a better job of preparing graduates for high-paying careers.
Post-graduation outcomes have already become an important focus of higher education. This emphasis is likely to continue.
Certainly, there can be little benefit of earning a degree that does not lead to a meaningful career and lifelong success.
Thanks to the United Negro College Fund Career Pathways Initiative (UNCF CPI), FSU will have $1.5 million over the next five years to revise our curricular and co-curricular programs to help improve our graduates’ career preparation. This grant will inform much of our work in the coming years.
As a partner with the Gates Foundation and UNCF, we are committed to increasing degree attainment and making sure that our graduates are well prepared for career success.
As one of the few institutions in the nation participating in both the Frontier Set and UNCF CPI, we are in a unique position to set an example for other higher education institutions as they grapple with challenges confronting us all.
If we are successful, the impact of our efforts could extend well beyond our campus and our graduates.