By Samantha Reid
At the beginning of this academic year, committees composed of Roosevelt University faculty, staff and students took to the task of improving the first-year student experience. Partnering with the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, these committees studied everything from new student transitions to the curriculum itself.
The fruits of their labor are finally in, and students can now view the results of these intensive studies on the university’s website. The reports themselves are lengthy, but the gist is that big changes are coming to the university, if the new recommendations are followed.
The recommendations cover a wide span of departments, but all focus on improving the outlook for new freshmen and transfers. They attempt to address areas in which the school has been lacking, according to student satisfaction surveys.
One area in which students had expressed dissatisfaction was diversity within the university. Although the university lauds itself as one of the most diverse schools in the nation, many students said they felt that it wasn’t living up to that title.
In response, the committees recommended the implementation of First-Year Learning Communities with a focus on diversity, as well as adding an administrative position for a chief diversity officer.
Students additionally expressed that they felt a disconnect between first-year and continuing students. To rectify this, committees recommended the development of a first-year student advisory committee, increased marketing about student involvement and a program to connect upperclassmen with new freshmen and transfers in a mentoring role.
The goal is to get students integrated into the student body quickly and seamlessly.
Additionally, the committees recommended that the university take a thorough look at course goals and course outcomes to insure that several foundational courses, including ACP, are accomplishing what they are set out to accomplish.
The university’s intentions are to ensure that students are being given the appropriate building blocks in their first years to continue success throughout their college careers.
Customer service was another area addressed in the reports. Committees have designated issues within various departments and deemed it a high priority to improve student relations with the offices of Financial Aid and Student Accounts, cross-training employees so that they are better able to assist students.
A full run-down of the issues addressed by the recommendations committees will be posted on the university’s website this week.