In an effort to increase retention and student success, the University Operations Council co-chairs and executive sponsors have identified eight immediate priorities. There will be longer-term strategies identified over the coming year as we make greater use of institutional and other data regarding student success. These immediate priorities have been shaped by the recommendations from consultant, Dr. Charles Schroeder; available data such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE); and best practices in higher education.
While we continue to have a de-centralized advising model that fits the needs of each school/college, our goal is to create unity without uniformity. This can be accomplished through College/School Welcome Week integration, Registration Workshop and detailed advisee information for advisors during student transition.
Beginning in the Fall of 2018, UCOR 1100 and UCOR 1400 Core courses will be taught as Engagement-Focused sections in order to help acclimate new students to university expectations and to help encourage greater connection to SU. Additionally, faculty teaching Engagement-Focused sections will be invited to apply for funding in order to incorporate co-curricular activities into their classes.
Data-driven decisions will increase success on the student experience. We plan to offer relevant data to the action teams in their area of focus. Information will be collected from studies by the National Study of Student Engagement and Student Satisfaction Inventory and we plan to prioritize development in the RevSU Sprint Process.
Learning Communities are a high-impact practice with the potential to influence student success, engagement, retention, and persistence to graduation positively. In Fall 2018, we will relaunch of Xavier Global House and Theme Communities with a greater emphasis on collaboration, student engagement, and common educational experiences.
A new mentoring program will be launched this year, with mentor recruiting starting in May 2018. All Student Development staff will be invited to participate as a mentor for an FTIC or transfer student on a one-to-one basis. Research has shown that mentorship demonstrates a positive impact on student success, skill building and professional formation with as much as a 2x increase in persistence for those of minoritized backgrounds.
Improving course availability and scheduling is also important to the team. We plan to achieve this through increasing course sections during Winter quarter, reviewing student groups that receive priority registration and making sure critical needs are being met, and revising language in the course preference process.
Students deal with confusion when interacting with different educational processes and systems. We've created an "experience map" based on first-year experience, to help identify and fix common pain points. We are also developing a "service excellence ethos" to be used throughout Seattle University's campus.
Recent years have given greater variability in transfer student retention. To improve success of transfer students, we aim to create a more effective enrollment process. We will be evaluating our transfer program and work towards increasing communication and giving information in a timely manner. We will also provide transfer students with availability and information about the Reidy Collegium.