Strengthening Student Retention, Advising and Career Preparation and Expanding Faculty Development at Chaminade University
This proposal is an effort to restructure and focus the areas of academic advising, student services and faculty development to significantly increase the retention, graduation rate and career preparation of Chaminade students. Our goal is to increase fall to fall retention rate to 75% and the six year graduation rate to 50%.
At present, advising, career counseling and tutoring services are in separate units. Our experience shows that academic success, clarity of academic and career goals and selection of coursework and a major are all closely linked. Therefore, we propose to form a single new unit that addresses all these concerns in a unified manner. The significantly expanded resources will allow for “intrusive advising,” actively seeking out students who are exhibiting warning signs (e.g., missing classes, poor fourth week grades, on academic probation, have completed 30 credit hours or more and not declared a major).
One specialized form of academic advising/career preparation is for those of our students seeking entry to a health profession school upon graduation (e.g., dental, medical, veterinary). In 2010 we established an Office of Health Professions Advising and Undergraduate Research. We are now at the point where each year over 50 of our new students indicate an interest in pursuing a health profession after graduation. In the fall of 2015, nine of our graduates will begin studies in a health profession – more than all in the period 2000 to 2009. To support this success and increasing demand, we propose further expansion of this office and the forms of assistance it provides to our undergraduates.
Both for its intrinsic value and in support of our initiatives in retention, advising and career preparation, the second focus is on faculty development. This spring, Chaminade recruited an Associate Provost for Faculty Development, Assessment and Research. The activities detailed in this proposal will allow this Associate Provost to provide a broad range of services in support of our faculty. A key activity is the staffing and programming of our Center for Teaching and Learning. (Note that the renovations needed to prepare the space for this center are being funded by a Title III Part F ANNH renovation grant awarded to Chaminade last year.) This will allow faculty to learn of and gain experience with both alternate classroom and virtual teaching strategies. It will be a gathering place for members of the faculty to share ideas/approaches with their colleagues and reflect on presentations of best practices in university instruction.
Recognizing the importance of demonstrating that our graduates have an appropriate mastery of their discipline as well as of core competencies (e.g., written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and information literacy), a second responsibility of the newly appointed Associate Provost is the dissemination, monitoring and the application of the findings of our institution-wide assessment activities to curriculum and faculty renewal. This will be an essential support to achieving our goal of fully “placement-ready” graduates. Finally, the Associate Provost will be responsible for working with faculty to assist in developing and achieving a plan of scholarship and publication, seeking grant support as possible. Increasing the proportion of our faculty actively involved in scholarship will enrich the campus academic culture as well as provide our undergraduate students with additional opportunities for on-campus research experiences.