Action Plan for the University Strategic Plan



2003 Action Plan Progress Report - Undergraduate Experience

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

Strengthening Student Learning

Learning Communities

Freshmen Learning Communities (FLC) continued to attract an increasing number of students. FLCs were expanded for fall 2003 to serve approximately 770 students in 34 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. Table 5 indicates that participation in FLCs is increasing. The Freshman Learning Community program was noted in the US News & World Report rankings of colleges.

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.

Tutorial programs play a crucial role in retention and student success. Many departments used special tutorials and extra-help sessions to ensure that students progress successfully through their degree programs. The Department of Chemistry offered for-credit tutorial courses in freshman, organic, and physical chemistry. These courses focus on problem solving and are of significant benefit in improving both student performance and retention rates for core curriculum and majors courses. The Center for Writing and Research in the Department of English worked with students from all departments and colleges across the university with their writing, whether in one-on-one tutoring or on a first-come-first-helped basis. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offered free tutoring for all students in the newly reconfigured Language Acquisition and Resource Center. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics sponsored the Mathematics Assistance Center, where student assistants hired by the department help hundreds of students every day with lower-division mathematics courses. In an effort to assist students in making the transition from high school writing expectations to those at the university, departments collaborate with Writing Across the Curriculum to emphasize writing as a means of learning in undergraduate courses. The Accounting Tutorial Lab, sponsored by the School of Accountancy and Beta Alpha Psi, provided tutorial assistance to students enrolled in the accounting principles courses. The Department of Finance held weekly tutorial and review sessions to help students understand the topics covered in class the preceding week. The Department of Economics Department re-instituted the Economics tutoring laboratory for undergraduates.

Student Learning Outcomes

There continues to be development of student learning outcomes for both General Education and majors. All departments are developing measurable outcomes for their majors and appropriate assessments. Academic Program Review includes 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.

Placement Examination

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics, in cooperation with Admissions and Student Services, offered a mathematics placement examination to incoming freshmen. Placing students in the correct entering mathematics course greatly enhanced their chances of success. Since some mathematics is required in all undergraduate degree programs, this impacts all Georgia State undergraduate students. Statistics indicated the success rate in Math 1101 and Math 1111 improved by 5 to 10 percent points.

International students and Study Abroad

Growth in the number of international students hosted by Georgia State continued in fall 2003 with 1724 international students enrolled at Georgia State. During academic year 2002-03, 313 Georgia State students participating in study abroad programs, our lowest rate in five years. 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 reports disaggregated retention rates and six-year graduation rates each December. The overall first-year retention rate for the entering class of 1996 was 69.6% compared with 80.7% for 2001. Thus, we anticipate significant improvement in six-year graduation rates for the more recent entering classes. Note, further, that our students are retained in the System at a rate that is six percentage points higher than retention at Georgia State.

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