Strategic Plan - Goal 5 Findings

STUDENT LIFE STRATEGIC TASK FORCE FINDINGS

MARCH 27, 2006

Members: Michael Belmear, Dan Gockley, Kim Korcsmaros, Shane Livingston, Tim Rice, Alice Shrestha, Robin Yeager, and Donna Snyder, Chair.

The Student Life Task Force has met several times during the last several months. Discussions have centered on the fact that we feel it is very important for students to receive the full benefits of the entire college experience, not just what happens in the classroom. Some ways of doing this would be for students to take advantage of the various activities that are occurring on campus. By participating in more extracurricular activities, in which interaction with faculty and staff occurs, we feel it would help to better prepare students to be productive, well-rounded citizens.

Currently, attendance at extracurricular activities is low. We would like to find ways to increase attendance and encourage students to become more aware of what is going on around them and become more involved.

The Task Force understands that if students feel a connection to the university/community college and are engaged, they are more likely to remain in school and graduate. Extracurricular events also give students another opportunity to connect with faculty and staff.

We also believe that communication on campus should be improved. A central location for publication of events needs to be established and kept up to date. An online calendar showing all extracurricular events would be a good way to meet this objective. The Falcon Center could also be a good contact point for students through the bulletin boards and large screen. An up-to-date directory of faculty, staff, and administrative offices would also be very helpful to students, faculty, and staff.

Utilizing the SCT Luminis Platform of Banner could help us increase connections with and engagement of our students. This is an area of Banner that would allow students, faculty, and staff to find information on campus events and communicate with each other through e-mail, message boards, and chat rooms.

On January 24 we held a Student Forum in the Ballroom. Between 80 and 100 students attended the Forum. Some of their comments were:

  • They often do not attend events because: it is difficult to return to campus to attend evening events; there should be better and earlier advertising for events (e-mails, large bulletin board, central area for weekly events, update the web site, Student Government’s calendar needs to be more visible, difficult to find information, not encouraged to attend extracurricular events, need for more school spirit).
  • Currently students attend and participate in: plays; photography art shows; concerts; speakers; clubs/organizations; sororities; fraternities.
  • They would like to have more: parties (dances, themed parties, etc.); large concerts; social events; foreign language/multi-cultural events; radio station; student forums; family nights; food services improved and be less restrictive (vegetarians, vegans, allergies, etc.) and enhanced menus for weekends; an Organization Day to provide information on different clubs, activities, etc.; web site for all activities on campus.
  • They currently learn about events through: posters; faculty/staff; e-mail; calendar; bulletin boards; teacher announcements; word of mouth.
  • They would like: extra credit for attending some events; more faculty participation; a more comprehensive list of all organizations on the web site; online campus newspaper.
  • Students feel connected: within their department but not outside; with faculty, through smaller classes.
  • Students want to have more interaction with faculty/staff outside class.

 Action Step 1: Increase student, faculty, and staff participation at extracurricular events and communicate this expectation to students through a variety of media such as catalog, student handbook, syllabi, freshmen orientation, etc.

We believe that student participation at extracurricular events should be increased. We can make students aware of the importance of participation through a variety of media such as the catalog, student handbook, syllabi, freshmen orientation, etc. Students need to know what is expected of them as far as participation at extracurricular events is concerned. They need to feel a connection with faculty outside of the classroom as well as in the classroom, and with other faculty and staff. We need to nurture a sense of belonging with all students.

Action Step 2: Create a comprehensive communication plan so students, faculty, and staff are more aware of the different activities occurring in the campus community so attendance at these events is increased.

Currently there is not one central location where students can learn of extracurricular events. We feel that an up-to-date, online calendar of all events would be a good place to start. If there is one central location, students will soon learn to go to that source and be well informed of campus activities. The Falcon Center would also be another contact point for students with use of the large screen and bulletin boards.

Action Step 3: Expand programming and delivery strategies for extracurricular events that appeal to a diverse student population (on-campus, off-campus, non-traditional, international, etc.).

Some of our students do not come to main campus and, therefore, do not participate in our activities because they are not aware of them. Creation of the online calendar should help to keep all students, on- and off-campus, informed. Some extracurricular events could be planned for off-campus areas, and we also need to make sure there are enough activities that appeal to traditional, as well as non-traditional students, and also international students, etc.

Action Step 4: Expand student services and activities to meet the changing needs of the student population (more flexible options in dining hall, services after 5 p.m. and on weekends, etc.).

Our student population is very different from students of the past. Students have many things vying for their attention: jobs, family and social responsibilities, plus academic responsibilities. We need to make sure we offer a variety of options to students in order to meet as many of their needs as possible.

Timeline:

Action Step 1: This step should be completed during the first year and implemented during the second so the rest of the goals can be attained.

Action Step 2: Development of this step should be started during the first year with implementation the second year.

Action Step 3: Research and development of this step should be started during the first year with implementation during the third year.

Action Step 4: Research and development of this step should be started during the first year with implementation during the third year.

During years four and five, research should be completed to measure how effectively we have accomplished of the goal and also to refine all action steps.

Contact Information

Van Dempsey
Interim Vice-President, Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness
Hardway Hall, Room 223
Phone: (304) 367-4646
Van.Dempsey@fairmontstate.edu