Closer Than You Think!Collaborating for Student Success
MNSCU Presenters• Diane Dingfelder, Winona State University executive director of outreach and continuing education firstname.lastname@example.org• Carol Lacey, Metropolitan State University professor of interdisciplinary studies email@example.com• Paul Wasko, MNSCU Office of the Chancellor eStudent Services (CENTSS/eFolio) firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate/Baccalaureate pathway• The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education identifies two/four transfer as the “single most important means for low- income and minority students to attain their baccalaureates”.• Effective state policies are critical to make this happen
Graduate Minnesota: Lumina initiative• Target audience: adult students (25+), primarily with 20 or fewer credits left to complete their degree, recruited to return to MNSCU and University of Minnesota campuses.• Graduate Minnesota designed to connect former students with advisers who can help them find the best and fastest route to complete their associate or bachelors degree.• In the first two years of the program, a statewide media campaign featured radio spots, online advertising and newspaper ads.• In addition, letters and emails were sent to more than 35,000 individuals who recently attended a Minnesota state college or university and earned a significant number of credits but did not earn a degree.
Associate degrees: stepping stones• Completing an associate’s degree is often an intermediate steppingstone to a baccalaureate degree.• The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education identifies two-four transfer as the “single most important means for low- income and minority students to attain their baccalaureates.”
Individualized degrees• Individualized B.A. options build on what students have completed (including associate degrees, articulation agreements, etc. as well as experiential learning.)• MNSCU procedures for individualized degrees require specific program plan (guided by faculty)• Plans can be thematic, interdisciplinary or disciplinary
Examples of existing options• Metropolitan State Individualized B.A. (CIS)• University of Minnesota Inter-College Program• St. Cloud State University Bachelor of Elective Studies• Winona State University Professional Studies degree
Ramp up CPL (credit for prior learning)• CPLA or PLA hallmarks of Graduate MN lead institutions (Inver Hills/other CCs-credit by exam, Metropolitan State-SDL/PLA/theory seminars)• MNSCU Board of Trustees policy• CPL survey of institutional practices/policies• Subject Matter Experts (SME) expansion campuses and statewide• Veterans/Military initiatives (Congressional award)
Graduate MN Accomplishments Enrolled/Earned Degrees Collaborator with New Ventures• 1833 (8.9%) of the 20,566 • Dual or joint admissions contacted re-enrolled. • Smart Transfer• These students completed • Reverse Transfer 8,387 credits. • Veterans’ CPL/PLA• 19% of the above Initiatives completed degree.• Veterans: 99 enrolled, 16 earned degrees.
Catalyst for broader initiatives• Streamline admission and transfer processes• Improve retention and completion of both associate and baccalaureate degrees is particularly critical in a state such as Minnesota, which has the third highest transfer rate in the nation (1:5 students)• Expansion of individualized baccalaureate degrees and adult-learner opportunities
An evolving initiative: Winona• Recognized for exemplary traditional undergraduate, residential education on Winona campus• 10.4% of undergraduate enrollment of 8,700 is age 25+• Urban Rochester, MN branch campus, co- located with the community/technical college, serves as a hub for adult learners
Evolving initiative continued . . .• Need to provide academic and career pathways for associate degree graduates from MnSCU community and technical colleges• National/state initiatives addressing workforce needs and serving adult learners throughout their life and career stages• Shrinking high school enrollments and declining population in our service region
Incentives for change• Internal: “Next Chapter” grants -- small grants provided by administration to build upon HLC self-study report and to spark innovation• External: Increasing competition from other higher education institutions to serve adult learners• MNSCU Graduate Minnesota and other initiatives
AFLI Toolkit continued• Used together, the ISAS and ALI compare faculty and administration perceptions with adult learner perceptions• National benchmarking data to compare results with other adult learner institutions• Noel-Levitz research
“Next Chapter” Emerging Efforts• Repurpose/redesign the Professional Studies degree with more online courses and services for adult learners.• Assess current PLA practices through formal report and consultation with CAEL.• Improve online student services in response to CENTSS “audit”.
MNSCU 2012 Strategic Framework• Dramatically increase retention, transfer and completion, and reduce time to completion.• Continue implementation of the “Smart Transfer Plan” to significantly improve transferability of credit and eliminate barriers.• Create clearer and easier pathways for degree laddering within MnSCU and with other institutions.
MNSCU 2012 Initiatives• Implement a reverse transfer initiative to award students the degrees they have earned. Recognize (systemwide) completion of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (gen eds)• Improve process for granting credit for military training (PLA, etc.)• Reconsider articulation agreements for certain associate degree programs.
MNSCU inter-institutional cooperation• Universal application process• Dual or joint admissions• Improved inter-institutional advising• Articulation agreements• Pilot efforts establish quality nursing curriculum standards across the system• Improved transfer procedures including reverse transfer
“2+2” to “2 within 4” advising• Students pursuing associate degrees earn many lower division credits that approach the maximum that can apply toward a bachelor’s.• Improved advising tools GPS Lifeplan, Uselect, eFolio) help students make more informed curricular choices (prerequisites for upper division work, upper division curricular options )
Smart Transfer• Access to course outlines on institutional websites facilitates evaluating transfer credits.• Evaluate and encode all courses into the degree audit reporting system (DARS) for display in uselect accurate transfer planning.• Provide information on institutional and system-level appeal processes and transfer on institutional websites.
$500,000 new Lumina grant leverage• Establish system-wide steering committee for centralized reverse transfer• Enhance u.select to technology automatically import courses.• Upgrade DARS (degree audit reporting system) to u.achieve to allow search for courses needed to complete a degree.• Advise students identified as early transfers.• Train advisors and transfer specialists.
Reverse Transfer• MNSCU institutions are piloting development of transparent reverse transfer procedures while also pursuing their baccalaureate degrees.• Developing a fully automated reverse transfer system has been shown (Texas, etc.) to increase reverse transfer and graduation rates dramatically.
Reverse Transfer Stages• MNSCU: Focus first on early transfer students within MNSCU state universities (which receive 73 percent of college transfers to public universities).• UM: By spring, 2013, execute memorandum of understanding with University of Minnesota and state colleges in the Twin Cities.• Privates: Then, build on existing articulation agreements among MNSCU and private Minnesota colleges.
Lessons learned/best practices• Effective “You are closer than you think” message• Centralized call center provided accurate information and referral to campus advisors.• Financial incentives did not make significant impact on response/reenrollment.• Graduate Minnesota website including Tools for the journey (with links to MNSCU/UM campuses)
Questions?• What options or challenges regarding interdisciplinary degrees do your campuses experience?• What cross institutional collaborations are in the works in your state?• Sustainability: how do we keep these going? (changes in institutional practice and/or culture, working smarter and better)