Increasing college enrollment and degree attainment in north central Indiana
- IU Kokomo will become a campus of choice for more students
- IU Kokomo will promote the distinctiveness of the IU experience on the Kokomo campus
- IU Kokomo will promote student success through increased retention and timely degree attainment
- IU Kokomo will intentionally grow its international student population
AVCAA for Student Success: In 2016, Academic Affairs hired Associate Professor of Psychology Christina Downey to serve as interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Success. In 2017, she took on this role on a permanent basis. In this role, Dr. Downey oversees the Office of Student Success and Advising and leads strategic initiatives designed to promote student success. As an active and integral member of the “Re-Imagining the First Year” Campus Innovation Team, she participated in much of the work described in the section on RFY below. She also has collaborated with her team to revamp and improve New Student Orientation, New Student Convocation, first-year registration and advising, the Summer Bridge program (now known as the KEY Summer Institute), freshman learning communities, and first-year seminars. Finally, she launched a New Student Intake Survey (described below).
KEY program is launched – See Strategic Priority I
“Re-imagining the First Year” (AASCU): A leading participant in AASCU’s three-year project, “Re-Imagining the First Year,” IU Kokomo implemented several initiatives aimed at advancing student success (Strategic Priority 2). For example, we launched the Student Success Academy (described below). Our Office of Student Success and Advising has revamped and improved New Student Orientation, making strategic improvements to prepare students to succeed in their first year. Incoming students completed an “intake survey,” which collected information about life circumstances—information that advisors and others can use to counsel students about resources and strategies they can use to navigate challenges in the areas of work, family, transportation, and more. A Women in Philanthropy grant secured by Angela Smith, director of Institutional Research, helped support our third iteration of Summer Bridge, and we have tweaked our freshman learning communities to make them even more successful. Other initiatives and resources aimed at promoting student success include on-campus student-success coaches (recently trained by Gail Fairfield of IU), an Academic Progress Hold on registration for students flagged for poor attendance or failing grades, Finish in Four micro grants, revised probation letters, and mindset intervention. IU Kokomo has garnered very favorable attention from AASCU for its work on “Re-Imagining the First Year,” and members of its RFY team (which includes faculty, staff, and students) have been involved in numerous panel and solo presentations at AASCU conferences, as well as the recent RFY Summit that IU staged in Indianapolis. EVCAA Mark Canada accepted an invitation from AASCU to serve on a working group that assisted in reporting to grantors Strada and the Gates Foundation.
Strengthening FYS: Enrollment in first-year seminars across campus has increased significantly since 2011, as schools across campus (e.g., Allied Health Sciences/Nursing, Business, Education, etc.) have developed courses meant to satisfy program requirements and orient students to those programs. Recently, however, the AVCAA for Student Success began convening instructors for these courses to promote high-quality college transition content delivery for all students. As some of these courses are new, and some are taught by nonresident faculty, ongoing communication of important campus and student success info helps to ensure that all new students are well-scaffolded in their first year of college. Instructors have embraced this collaboration and incorporated positive changes into their courses. Greater collaboration with advisors has also resulted from this work.
Student Success Academy: In this academy (part of our RFY plan), several instructors of gateway courses studied the emotional component of the learning process, transparent learning, “Decoding the Disciplines,” and more in a series of discussion sessions. They also had lunch with the author of The Spark of Learning and heard a presentation by a guest lecturer on teaching growth mindset. Participants have had the opportunity to enhance their teaching in dramatic ways and enjoyed substantial “professional growth” (Strategic Priority 5). Finally, they worked on projects in which they will studied one aspect of student success and shared their findings with colleagues.
Student success retention plan: A team of campus administrators from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs met in summer 2017 to draft a strategic plan for retention efforts across campus. Included in the plan are ongoing efforts related to pedagogy, financial supports for students, academic advising, and student success programming. The draft plan contains persistence, retention, and graduation targets through 2020. It was finalized and formally adopted the end of Fall 2017.
Enrollment is up
Despite a shrinking 18-year-old market in most of our recruitment territory, enrollment continues to exceed projections. In Fall 2017, IU Kokomo was the only IU campus up in headcount, and the only IU regional up in credit hours. We have grown from under 26,000 credit hours in Fall 2008 to over 38,000 credit hours in Fall 2018.
4-yr., 6-yr. graduation rates continue to increase: IU Kokomo’s 6-year graduation rate reached an all-time high of 39.1% for the fall 2010 cohort (most recent 6-year grad rates to date). This is a significant increase from the 21.5% 6-year graduation rate reported just 5 years prior with the fall 2005 cohort. IU Kokomo’s 4-year graduation rate is 18.3% for the fall 2012 cohort (most recent 4-year grad rates to date), an increase from 7.3% five years prior in fall 2007.
In mid-June, our retention rate for first-time, full-time freshmen already had exceeded last year’s number by a full percentage point (61.3 percent, compared with 60.3 percent). As this past year’s first-year students continue to register for the fall, we can expect the rate to rise even further.
Growing athletics program
While only in its 7th year at IUK, the athletics program has grown into an important piece of the campus identity and culture, accommodating approximately 140 student athletes. Baseball and women’s tennis were added for 2017-18, and women’s soccer will be added in 2019-20. The overall GPA and retention rate of student athletes consistently exceed those of the overall student body.
Strengthened Career Services programs (e.g., Career Fairs, internships & externships, peer mentors): The Career Center has made huge strides in students utilizing services, offering more classroom presentations, supporting more required class assignments, and adding career-development mentors as liaisons. The number of students utilizing services has more than tripled over the last five years (547 in 2012 and 1350 in 2016). Internships have also increased as most majors require students to conduct an internship or a research project. In spring 2016, the Cougar Career Experience Externship was developed. This allows students to connect with IU alumni and their organizations to see what a day in the professional world is like. By completing an externship, participating in site visits, and attending a networking dinner, participants are able to take a look at career possibilities in their specific areas of study. Students also learn career preparation skills such as proper attire, occupational interview questions, and networking skills. The number of employers attending career fairs over the past five years has also almost tripled (45 in 2013 and 105 in 2017).
Institutional Research and Institutional Effectiveness: In summer 2015, Academic Affairs hired Angela Smith to serve as director of Institutional Research. Angela has dramatically improved our ability to make data-informed decisions. Among the countless projects she has led and informed are ones involving assessment of Summer Bridge, Freshman Learning Communities, and Inside Track. She also prepared a thorough presentation on our NSSE results and shared it with numerous academic units, enabling them to use the data to tweak their pedagogy. Angela also worked cross-functionally with campus offices to develop and administer an alumni survey to track post-graduate outcomes, a retention management tool to target student populations for re-enrollment, and streamlined program reviews and budget reports for academic departments. In 2018, Academic Affairs began the process of expanding Angela’s operation. She now will be the director of Institutional Effectiveness and will play key roles in both accreditation and strategic planning. Academic Affairs is now in the process of hiring a data analyst to support her.
Academic Advisement Reports: The IU Office of Completion and Student Success (OCSS) has set a high priority on creation and maintenance of Academic Advisement Reports (AARs, or degree audits) for all academic programs. IU expects that the AARs are used to verify completion of requirements in degree certification. These tools will also be used by Financial Aid to monitor federal and state aid recipients who have accumulated 150 credits. Starting in 2016, IU practice changed such that AARs must be coded precisely to allow course requirements to be captured in each campus’s degree maps (see below). A large proportion of AARs have been revised/created over the past 18 months by staff in the Office of the Registrar in order to comply with this standard. Work is ongoing, particularly on program AARs where substantial program changes were made in 2016-2017. A continued area of weakness involves coding course exceptions onto individual students’ AARs as those exceptions are approved by the appropriate dean. At present, exceptions are being coded in some schools, but not in all, in large part because this very specialized task requires knowledge and time.
Progress on degree maps: The Office of Student Success and Advising continues to have primary responsibility for maintaining degree maps for all programs. Accurate and up-to-date degree maps are crucial to keep our campus in compliance with state law. OCSS has revised the degree mapping technology to read the codes used in AARs, allowing them to stay current with fewer manual updates. Most degree maps are up-to-date and available for student use. The few exceptions are new programs and program concentrations. Where AARs are not yet completed for these programs, the Director of Advising is creating degree maps that do not incorporate AAR codes so that maps can be used by students in spring 2018 enrollment. When those AARs become available, these maps will be redone. OCSS has also begun to move campuses towards releasing maps for all academic minors. We have not yet begun this work on our campus, as mapping all majors is the clear priority.
Expanded success coaching: Academic Success Coaching is being offered for the fourth academic year on campus. Our team of 7 success coaches has received referrals to offer outreach to more than 250 students in fall 2017 alone in a variety of situations. Some have referred themselves, for example, and others have been placed on academic probation in a past semester. The average active caseload per coach is at this time about 9 students, typical for this point in the semester. We have established a highly successful outreach approach for students who have been placed on probation at the end of fall term, so we anticipate activity to increase slightly by the end of fall and then dramatically increase by the start of spring. While a full analysis has not yet been completed, it appears that students who engage with coaching are more likely to be taken off probation than students who do not engage.
Summer bridge program (KEY Summer Institute): For the fourth year in a row, we have offered freshmen the opportunity to participate in a summer program designed to increase their chances of academic success. The summer bridge program (now called the KEY Summer Institute) connect these freshmen with faculty, as well as other people and resources on campus, and provide ample opportunity to develop friendships (and thus a support network). Thanks to the Women in Philanthropy grant (described above), we were able to expand the population to whom we could offer this class at no cost. We also have begun tapping Destination Education dollars to cover tuition for eligible students. Recent analysis indicated that students completing this program are more likely to be retained than similarly situated students not completing it.
Increased dual credit programs: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management are working with area high schools such as Madison-Grant, Noblesville, and Kokomo high schools on a variety of dual-credit programs. One model involves having a properly credentialed teacher at the school work with us to teach a dual-credit course that is not eligible for the ACP program, such as music or theater. Under another model, students travel by bus from their schools to our campus and take our courses as dual-credit courses. Under a third model, high school students enroll in our online courses as dual-credit courses. Students with dual-credit courses are better prepared for the first-year experience in college, and the program does increase enrollment.
ABC program: A Kresge grant has helped establish a regular IU Kokomo presence at the area Ivy Tech campuses. The ABC coordinator helps mentor and advise Ivy Tech students who plan to matriculate to IU Kokomo after earning their associate’s degree at Ivy Tech. Approximately 130 students are enrolled in the program.
CAPS: IU Kokomo provides one full-time and one part-time counselor to provide 1*1 counseling services for students. Additionally, the CAPS office participates in outreach and educational efforts on campus designed to promote healthy and safe behaviors.
Use of Royall: For the last year, IU Kokomo has employed Royall (EAB) to provide prospect generation and communication strategy assistance to high school seniors. In part due to this partnership, IU Kokomo experienced record number of applications for the 2018-19 academic year.
Teaching financial awareness -The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships does regular programming to promote financial literacy through the “Money Smarts” programming effort. Additionally, all students receiving aid through IU Kokomo must complete “Entrance Counseling” and “Master Promissory Note” modules. IU Kokomo’s default rate is the lowest of the IU regionals.
Attention to DFW rates: Courses with high DFW rates, especially those taught in the first year, have been a subject of increased attention in recent years. This has particularly intensified since the campus engaged with the RFY initiative, where gateway course performance serves as an initiative-wide metric for institutional progress. Faculty teaching high-DFW courses are aware of these rates in these courses and are encouraged to engage with our CTLA for support in addressing this problem. Services such as tutoring in the Writing Center and Math Commons have been expanded as part of this effort.