Nearly seven months ago, we sought to intentionally amplify the ongoing conversation regarding student retention. In that time, we formed a steering committee to guide the process. That group hosted a faculty and staff retention retreat in December and a series of student focus groups in January. We also opened anonymous online suggestion boxes available for all faculty, staff, and students to provide feedback, express concerns, or share ideas that could impact student retention.
Throughout this process we have sought to be deliberative, purposeful, and to include faculty, staff, and student voices. As a result, we incorporated and evaluated a wide range of 63 recommendations to improve student retention. This initial list was condensed into a final 16 retention priorities, approved by the President’s Cabinet for immediate implementation.
The NSU community is encouraged to take the opportunity to review the full reports at length. Thank you to the many chairs and committee members who spent countless hours discussing, brainstorming, researching, and planning; and thank you to the Cabinet for the hours they spent reviewing, analyzing, and discussing the 16 reports.
As we go forward, the appropriate Vice President will work with departments, colleges, and programs to implement the identified action items. The Vice Presidents will also ensure the retention priorities website and progress is updated.
I hope that you will continue to fully engage in the conversations on how to improve student retention. We all have a role to play in ensuring the engagement, retention, and persistence of our students.
CHARGE: Develop a white paper regarding necessary updates, redesigns, or changes to nsuok.edu to ensure it reflects accurate information and communicates important information to prospective and current students.
CHARGE: Create a plan and timeline for the development of published course sequences and modalities for all majors and graduate programs, including how course sequences will be published and available for students.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for ensuring that a general education sequence is available to be completed in an all-online format, in a sequence that can be accomplished in a reasonable time frame for students. Create a comprehensive list of all available undergraduate degree programs that can be completed fully online.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for the growth of the faculty mentorship model, including expectations of and training for faculty mentors, providing adequate support, and program oversight.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for ensuring that ongoing facilities needs are identified and the functioning of the work order system. Increase communication regarding open work orders, University capital projects, and NSU’s master plan, with the goal of easy access to up-to-date information and regular communication to campus constituents.
CHARGE: Develop Blackboard shells to ensure format and functionality are consistent across the University and maximize online quality and learning. Develop relevant policies and a timeline for implementation for Fall 2022.
CHARGE:As Oklahoma’s premiere immersive learning institution, we must ensure that there are internship or research opportunities within every major, inclusive of credit bearing, non-credit, or volunteer opportunities for any student who desires that experience and that students are aware of how to participate in those experiences.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for implementing midterm grades for all students in all courses.
CHARGE:Develop a plan to ensure that student contact information on file is current and reviewed periodically.
Status: Committee created a how-to video to demonstrate the ability to update existing contact
information within goNSU. The committee also developed a plan to implement Action
Items Processing to provide a pop-up notification for students to confirm their contact
information once a semester. Action Items Processing to be implemented with the launch
of Banner Self Service 9.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for education regarding existing online library access with a timeline for implementation. Evaluate ongoing online access needs.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for ensuring students have appropriate access to and awareness of academic student support series, including available tutoring services and writing centers. Evaluate access to services available for Muskogee, Broken Arrow, graduate students and students completing degrees online for consistency, including access to overall academic space for Muskogee students. Create a plan for implementing needed updates.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for providing comprehensive student support services for online students and branch campuses, including evaluating after hours and weekend services. Ensuring student awareness of existing services.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for providing customer service training; training on identifying and supporting at-risk students; and ensuring excellence in teaching and customer service for online student populations.
Status: Committee identified the need to better identify gaps for online students, available
solutions for needed improvements, and options for professional development. Regarding
supporting at-risk students, the committee recommended increased marketing of existing
resources, opportunities for outreach and improved communication, and improved collaborative
relationships. For customer service training, the committee recommended establishing
a Frontline Administrative Working Group to better foster communication, shared knowledge,
and collaborative relationships.
CHARGE: Develop a plan to evaluate University Strategies for effectiveness and best practices.
Status: Committee identified multiple improvements to University Strategies for the fall
semester, including shifting to a full face-to-face schedule (other than online sections),
redesigned course work, a new OER textbook, improved connections to major related
activities, enhancing training and peer instructor and faculty support.
CHARGE: Develop a plan to increase course evaluation participation rates and ensure course evaluations are an effective tool for continuous improvement.
Status: Committee evaluated current response rates, survey instruments, and national best
practices. The committee developed an action plan for better communicating when course
evaluations are available and their value. Communication will use various methods,
including email, social media, and leveraging student groups and student transitions.
The committee recommended establishing completion goals at various institutional,
college, and department levels.
CHARGE: Develop a plan for transfer student orientation on the Broken Arrow, Muskogee and Tahlequah campuses. Evaluate needed transfer services that support a positive student transition.
Status: Committee recommended updating and revising the existing transfer, returning, and
distance learner online orientation modules, establishing an in-person transfer orientation
program, supplementing Welcome Week with transfer specific sessions, the creation
of a transfer guide and blackboard organization, as well as increasing post-enrollment
activities specifically for transfer students.