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Karen Nelson

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  • 1. Professor Karen Nelson Director, Student Success and Retention Queensland University of Technology Informa 2nd Annual Student Health and Welfare Forum 29-30 July 2013, Sydney
  • 2. Bradley, Noonan, Nugent & Scales (2008) Review of Australian Higher Education: Final Report Higher education can transform the lives of individuals and through them their communities and the nation by engendering a love of learning for its own sake and a passion for intellectual discovery
  • 3. “... We have now reached the stage where universities must recognise the need for institution-wide approaches to enhancing the first year experience. Responsiveness to the needs of demographic and cultural subgroups demands that student support staff, academics and administrators work together to integrate their efforts and initiatives for the benefit of all students”... 3 Krause, Hartley, James & McInnis, 2005, ¶8.8.6
  • 4. Current state of HE in Australia • 2nd radical change in just over two decades – Dawkins reforms 1988  elite to mass HE sector – Bradley review (2008) and Govt’s responses • Increasing pressures – student numbers  Trow’s notion of universal higher education – student diversity – preparedness for and experience of higher education – regulatory pressures –compacts, increased attention to HE reputation, quality ... – funding pressures - performance based funding, recent funding cuts (e.g. UK & Australia), deregulation of places, fixed fees … caps on places? 4
  • 5. Can Any Of Us Do All This Alone
  • 6. Focus on two key student learning outcomes: The first year experience Student learning engagement
  • 7. First year is when learning environment is the most challenging & it is when student learning engagement begins.
  • 8. The first year experience
  • 9. Why focus on first year students “student success [at university] is largely determined by student experiences in the first year” (Upcraft, Gardner, & Barefoot, 2005, p.1). • And that student expectations “impact [on] successful student transitioning” (Alexson & Kemnitz, 2004, p. 20) • “The transition to university is therefore a particularly significant period for understanding student expectations and their consequences” (James, 2002 p. 76) • Expectations are highly individual and diverse. (James, 2002) • These diverse expectations are the “defining characteristic of the student experience” Byron (2002)
  • 10. Scoping and defining • A first year student is a student who has not completed the equiv of 1 f/time year of study in their current course at their current institution • The first year curriculum is a subject that is intentionally designed and placed in the curriculum to assist transition ... • A student’s first year experience extends from offer until commencement of >equiv 1f/time year of study
  • 11. What we would wish for … All students have qualified for a place and we have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to provide the best possible opportunity for them to succeed .... That students have a good experience because they are engaged in their learning. No student leaves because of an issue with their course or curriculum or a staff member or admin or because of issues with access or support or because they lost confidence or didn’t know how to … xxx.
  • 12. How can interconnectedness assist with... Unfamiliarity with university Diversity in preparedness for higher education Various pre- and mis-conceptions about university life Self doubts about ability, course choice, careers … Demographic variables (inc. equity groups) ... Changing patterns of participation & engagement ... Increased work hours, travel time ... Increasing levels of poverty Large  very large classes (massuniversal system)
  • 13. What we know
  • 14. Commencing students need … • Encounters with challenging ideas and people • Active engagement with these challenges • In a supportive environment • Real-world activities • Includes social activities • Unbounded by time or place Terenzini, P and Pascarella, E, 2007
  • 15. Factors influencing success in FY • Institutional climate and commitment • Preparedness to respond to the changing nature of student engagement • Recognition of the social dimensions of learning • Good course design and teaching practice • Assessment: relevant, consistent & integrated; • Feedback: early, prompt & constructive • Student support: coordinated, just-in-time, life & learning, normalised (Yorke, M. & Thomas, L., 2003, Tinto 2006)
  • 16. Generational approaches to the FYE (Kift, Nelson & Clarke, 2010; Kift, 2009; Wilson, 2009) 1st generation FYE Essentially co-curricular – professionals on curriculum’s periphery – or as adjunct to the core learning experience 2nd generation FYE Curriculum focus – recognizes entering diversity and supports student learning experience via pedagogy, curriculum design, & L&T practice – requires faculty & professional partnerships 3rd generation FYE 1st and 2nd generation FYE quality assured and seamless across institution, across all its disciplines, programs & services via faculty & professional partnerships 16
  • 17. Reviewing the evidence (Nelson, Clarke, Kift & Creagh, 2012) 17 • ~400 empirical reports – 2000-2003 – isolated or siloed, 1st generation = orientation, peer mentoring, transition programs – 2004-2007 – transition pedagogy – (Kift & Nelson, 2005) and focus on curriculum, design, assessment and engagement – 2008-2010 – trend towards university-wide foci for research, focus on clarifying expectations, dramatic increase in curriculum mediated engagement and partnerships
  • 18. Example 1 Transition pedagogy & Shared strategies
  • 19. Design Transition Engagement Diversity Assessment Evaluation Curriculumthatengages studentsinlearning Proactiveandtimelyaccessto learningandlifesupport Intentionallyfosteringasenseof belonging Sustainableacademic- professionalpartnerships CurriculumPrinciples(FYCPs) Key Strategies Kift & Nelson, 2005, Kift, 2009, Kift , Nelson & Clarke (2010) Transition Pedagogy – 3rd Generation FYE Policy and Practice
  • 20. Example 2 Focus on inclusive practices
  • 21. A philosophical position
  • 22. Launch of the Good Practice Guide 26 March 2013
  • 23. Example 3 from learning support to support for learning
  • 24. Curricula Co- curricular Discipline specialists Discipline content Professional educators Academic literacies Extra- curricular Academic L&L specialists Language proficiency
  • 25. Embed Integrate Align Academic languages & literacies in curriculum Cultural competence for domestic students Aboriginal and Torres Strait knowledge systems Intercultural competence for all students Strategically placed to meet needs Aligned with course learning outcomes Threshold skills and concepts Cohort needs 24/7 access to on-line resources and information Drop-in style learning support Peer and staff mediated High priority students Intensive specialist support Discipline academic staff and professional educators design and enact in collaboration Formal cultural competence training Informal knowledge exchange & capacity building
  • 26. Student learning engagement
  • 27. Disengagement  failure  attrition Engagement  learning  retention
  • 28. “The time and effort students devote to activities that are empirically linked to desired outcomes of college and what institutions do to induce students to participate in these activities (Kuh, (2001, 2003, 2009a) in Trowler, 2010) “the interaction between the time, effort and other relevant resources invested by both students and their institutions intended to optimise the student experience and enhance the learning outcomes and development of students and the performance, and reputation of the institution.” (Trowler, 2010. p. 3)
  • 29. Individual and Institutional Characteristics Influencing Student Retention and Engagement (IICISRE) Student Factors Individual Contextual Students & Staff Knowledge Skills Attitudes Actions Input / Presage Factors Transformation Process Output / Product Factors Institutional Experiences Mediated by curriculum & co- curricular activities Institutional Context Curriculum Institution Teacher Factors Individual Contextual Nelson, K., Kift, S., & Clarke, J (2012) A transition pedagogy for student engagement and first year learning, success and retention. In Ian Solomonides, Anna Reid and Peter Petocz (eds) Engaging with Learning in Higher Education (ELHE) Faringdon, UK Libri Publishers.
  • 30. engagement is critical for learning
  • 31. 10 Proposals  Improve Engagement 1. Enhance students self belief 2. Enable students – work autonomously & together, to build and feel competent 3. Recognise that L&T are central to engagement 4. Create active, collaborative learning 5. Create challenging, enriching educational experiences 6. Ensure institutional cultures are welcoming 7. Invest in support services 8. Adapt to changing student expectations 9. Enable students to become active citizens 10. Enable development of social & cultural capital Zepke & Leach (2010) ALHE, 11(3), p169
  • 32. Interconnectedness enhances learning engagement
  • 33. Example 4 Interconnectedness in curriculum design
  • 34. How will students come to understand themselves and the range of employment and career options relevant to their course? What mechanisms will be in place to support students as they transition into the course? What mechanisms will be in place to ensure the early identification and support of students who may be at risk of not meeting unit and course learning outcomes or disengaging from their studies? Which faculty and central support areas will be consulted /involved in the course to maximise the student learning experience?
  • 35. • Career modules • Individual attributes • Guest lectures • Internships, PL, WIL • Experiential & PB learning • Capstones experiences • Peer led orientation experiences • Course specific peer learning in and out of classroom – physical & virtual • Discipline specific academic languages and literacies development • Threshold concepts, knowledge and skills explicitly identified and developed • Cohort specific strategies for high priority and at-risk cohorts • Universal monitoring of student engagement • Academic skills • Peer programs • First year experience • Careers and counselling • Academic language & learning & international • Digital / eLearning • Library • Health and wellbeing
  • 36. Given engagement is the key then we should monitor students’ engagement in learning
  • 37. Example 5 Interconnectedness in monitoring student learning engagement
  • 38. • Early intervention programs increase student learning engagement & retention. • Use data and information (proxy indicators) to: – monitor student learning engagement – make highly tailored action- oriented supportive interventions with high priority students – connect students with learning and personal support services and network – promote help seeking behaviour Monitoring learning engagement
  • 39. Sustained and at scale
  • 40. Impact on student engagement (2011-2012) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2011/1 2011/2 2012/1 2012/2 20112012 = 245 students 500 students retained @$16,500 / student / year = $8 250 000 retained income 2012 2013 = 255 students
  • 41. An interconnected Institutional conditions
  • 42. http://studentengagementmaturitymodel.net/
  • 43. 45 Category Process Dimensions Providing Planning Institutionalframing Monitoring Optimising Learning Assessment ## ## ## ## ## Curricula ## ## ## ## Teaching Techniques ## ## ## ## Pedagogical Style ## ## ## ## ## Supporting Information about ## ## Services & resources ## ## ## ## ## People rich ## ## ## ## ## Belonging Interaction ## ## ## ## ## Inclusive activities ## ## ## ## ## Identity development opportunities ## ## ## ## ## Integrating Academic literacies ## ## Personal literacies ## ## ## ## ## Activities ## ## ## ## ## Resourcing Staff development ## ## ## ## ## Roles and responsibilities ## ## ## Evidence base ## ## ## ## ## Communication ## ## ## ## ## Learning environments ## ## ## ## ## Example SESR Maturity Model 1 2 3
  • 44. Student Engagement Success & Retention Maturity Model Organisational Practices Categories 18 Processes (e.g.) 63 Practices (e.g.) Learning Assessment Design, feedback, relevance Curricula Design, enactment Supporting Information about Courses, key milestones, services Services & resources Financial, personal, skills Belonging Interaction, Inclusivity Communication style, community Identity development Capacity building, ‘apprenticeships’ Integrating Academic literacies Peer learning, skills integrated , people Personal literacies Cohort dev, personal dev, profess dev Resourcing Staff development Corporate info, specific roles, innovation Roles and responsibilities Providing tools & tech, specialist roles
  • 45. C= Integrating: Process = personal literacies Description of practice Institution Dimension of Practice interpreted for dimension Evidence is … Not adequate Partially adequate Largely adequate Fully adequate Cultural and social competence are cultivated within the curricula e.g. understanding and esteeming other cultures, indigenous ways of knowing, individual learning styles Providing The curricula cultivates … Planning There are plans to cultivate … Institutional Framing Institutional policies or standards guide … Monitoring The cultivation of … is monitored Optimising The cultivation of … is improved Assessing Institutional SESR Maturity
  • 46. 48 Example SESR Maturity Model Providing Planning Institutionalframing Monitoring Optimising Learning Assessment ## ## ## Curricula ## ## ## ## Teaching Techniques ## ## ## ## ## Pedagogical Style ## ## ## ## Supporting Information about ## ## ## ## Services & resources ## ## ## ## ## People rich ## ## ## ## ## Belonging Interaction ## ## ## ## ## Inclusive activities ## ## ## Identitydevelopment opportunities ## ## ## ## Integrating Academic literacies ## ## ## ## ## Personal literacies ## ## ## ## Activities ## ## ## ## ## Resourcing Staff development ## ## ## ## Roles and responsibilities ## ## ## ## ## Evidence base ## ## ## ## ## Communication ## ## ## ## Learning environments ## ## ## ## Key: No data ## Not adequate ## Partiallyadequate ## Largelyadequate ## Fullyadequate ## QUT Student Engagement Success and Retention Maturity Model Summary Dimensions Category Process
  • 47. What Might This Look Like In Practice
  • 48. Academic –Professional Partnerships DisciplineAcademicStaffand Student recruitment Academic developers Learning advisers Academic language and learning advisers Learning designers Survey specialists Evaluation coordinators Counselling Careers counsellors Central and faculty student support Equity services Disability services Fostering a sense of belonging Uni-wide orientation & transition Uni-wide visible physical & virtual peer programs Proactive, timely access to support & development Campus life Universal Monitoring of Student Engagement with Intervention Support for Learning Curriculum that engages students in learning Transition pedagogy Work integrated learningCapstone experiences
  • 49. Professor Karen Nelson Director, Student Success and Retention Queensland University of Technology Informa 2nd Annual Student Health and Welfare Forum 29-30 July 2013, Sydney