Strategy 2 Stories: Ensuring Student Success
2. Continue to create an academic environment that helps students learn how to succeed in their classes and degree programs, as well as their careers or professions.
The narratives below define and bring clarity to what each of the University Strategic Goals means to Academic Affairs. The narratives express our values and beliefs, and create a context to guide implementation efforts. To learn more about the specific strategies and tactics involved in ensuring student success, please view our Academic Affairs Strategic Plan.
Kent State implemented required advising in 2012. Results of two surveys (those with required advising and those without required advising) were compared. There were significant changes in the responses between the two groups. First of all, more topics were discussed with students in the “required advising” population, including responsibility, career aspirations, scheduling, grades, and progress toward degree. Secondly, more GPS plans were reviewed and updated keeping our students on track for graduation.
In an important change to academic advising, professors who advise were required to complete training which includes an overview of Pathfinder (1.2.e), and they must attend yearly advising update seminars to ensure they are up to date on the latest academic policies.
Through experiential activities, discussions, and reflective exercises, students gain an understanding about academic opportunities and potential careers to help them select a major or evaluate major changes. This course is designed for students in Exploratory and generalist majors but is also appropriate for students contemplating major exploration or change.
Research, scholarly work and creative activities are an integral part of a student’s college experience, and many campuses have formalized programs that feature undergraduate research.
The Kent Campus showcased and recognized students for their work at its first Undergraduate Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity in April 2014.
KSU Salem students from all disciplines and programs participated in the ninth annual Undergraduate Research Conference held in December 2013. The conference featured student presentations about research they completed during the 2013 calendar year or in collaboration with a Salem Campus faculty member.
Each year, the Kent State Stark Campus Honors Program sponsors the Student Conference to showcase the academic talents of Kent State students. Students submitted proposals to present their papers, posters, artwork, music or theatre presentations. The conference is held annually in April.
There are many examples of faculty and undergraduate students working together on critical research projects. One notable example is Kent State University undergraduate student Jean Wilson Mutambuze and Jean Engohang-Ndong, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Kent State University at Tuscarawas, who are conducting a research project to manage a skin disease called Buruli Ulcer. Buruli Ulcer is a skin ailment caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium ulcerans that affects the skin and sometimes bone. Buruli Ulcer has been reported in more than 30 countries, including many African countries.
Pathfinder is a predictive modeling tool that gives advisors information on individual students’ likelihood to graduate in a wide range of majors on campus. Predictions are generated by comparing key academic factors for each student against historical patterns of success and failure. Mining a decade of course data we can now determine which courses are the best markers for success or failure in a particular major, and can suggest a more appropriate major for a specific student in a specific academic situation. A pilot program was launched in Spring 2014 with Architecture, Visual Communication Design, Undergraduate Studies and Ashtabula Campus. An institutional roll-out plan is being developed for a full launch in Fall 2014.