Action Plan for the University Strategic Plan



2002 Progress Report

Recruitment & Retention of Students | Undergraduate Experience | Graduate Experience | Academic Programs & Faculty | Connection to the Greater Community | Infrastructure/Support Improvements

Undergraduate Experience

Strengthening Student Learning

Learning Communities:

Freshmen Learning Communities (FLC) continued to attract an increasing number of students. FLCs were expanded for fall 2002 to serve over 700 students in 32 communities. For each of the first three years of FLCs, there is an increase of six to seven percentage points in one-year retention rates over students who are not in FLCs. A pilot Jump Start program was initiated for some freshman students who enrolled in summer 2002. Two FLCs were established around a set of three linked courses. Table 5 indicates that participation in FLCs is increasing. The Freshman Learning Community program was named a finalist in the Institutions of Excellence in the First College Year competition sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trust.

Gateway Courses:

A gateway course is defined as a large-enrollment, multi-sectioned course. If, historically, students have earned a high number of W, D, or F grades, such a course is a ‘gatekeeper’. We wish to transform a gatekeeper course to a gateway course. Biology and mathematics are piloting various strategies to transform some courses into gateway courses and hence increase retention rates. A new course, Introduction to Mathematical Modeling that emphasizes real-world applications to mathematics problems, was introduced. Similarly, the biology department implemented a new non-majors course sequence in Introductory Biology.

Student Learning Outcomes:

There continues to be development of student learning outcomes for both General Education and majors. The University Senate passed a policy that requires inclusion on all syllabi of course objectives that specify measurable and/or observable student learning outcomes. Further, the University Senate passed a policy that every undergraduate major will include at least one writing intensive course that has the features that at least 40% of the course grade will be based on written work and that students will be given feedback on writing and opportunities for revision. All departments are to develop outcomes for their majors. Academic Program Review will include examination of student learning outcomes for programs to which a department contributes. Pilots for learning outcomes based on high standards are continuing to be developed in biology, English, history, and mathematics as part of a national project. In addition, performance assessments for admission to the university as freshmen or transfer students are being developed in conjunction with four two-year and three other four-year System institutions.

Placement Examinations:

Placement exams in mathematics during INCEPT (New Student Orientation) were introduced for the fall 2001 freshman class to ensure students take mathematics courses best suited to their abilities and academic plans. Analysis of effectiveness of the placement exams is underway.

International students and Study Abroad

Growth in student participation in study abroad programs and international students hosted by Georgia State continued in 2001-2002 with 1,677 international students enrolled at Georgia State and 441 Georgia State students participating in study abroad programs. Table 6 gives the number of international students and the number of students who participate in study abroad courses.

Undergraduate Indicators

Undergraduate process indicators related to percent of hours taught by tenure track and full-time faculty are given in Table 7. Undergraduate output indicators such as number of degrees, percent of entering class who graduate in six years, and pass rates on various national examinations are given in Table 8. The University System of Georgia is now required to report retention rates and six-year graduation rates to the Office of Educational Accountability (OEA) who will publish disaggregated rates annually in December. The overall first-year retention rate for the entering class of 1995 was 66.1% compared with 79.9% for 2000. Thus, we anticipate significant improvement in six-year graduation rates for the more recent entering classes.

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