CUE at Queens College: Cultivating Excellence in Undergraduate Education
Queens College, committed to ensuring that all students succeed, continues its mission to integrate all facets of the undergraduate experience by “providing students with a broad education that connects and integrates the different areas of knowledge and understanding they will encounter over the course of their undergraduate career” (Report of the President’s Task Force on General Education, 2004). CUE at Queens College is not simply a collection of programs funded by the University’s CUE Project, it is an idea that transcends these programs; it touches all areas of our students’ undergraduate experience, and it engages the entire college community in its vision. It moves beyond the territory of individual programs to make the fragments whole, as indicated in the figure below.
The findings of the Task Force on Retention (October 2005) concerning graduation rates, the college’s survey and assessment of the undergraduate experience as a result of the first part of the Campaign for Success, and our students’ ongoing difficulties with mathematics, and the challenges of reading and writing, particularly for our ESL students, all indicate the urgency of confronting these realities. The CUNY Campaign for Student Success: A Plan in Four Parts articulates the crucial challenges facing the University and identifies the key areas to be addressed by the colleges in order for change to be actualized. Queens College, aware of the enormity of the academic and personal challenges facing large numbers of our students, created its own CUE Council.
In its commitment to foster student success by improving retention, the college works to integrate all aspects of the undergraduate experience and provide faculty, full-time and adjunct, professional development opportunities for the improvement of pedagogy. To this end, the college views the Center for Teaching and Learning as its pedagogical core, particularly with regard to the new General Education curriculum that will be piloted. Its mission is to promote, sustain, and recognize ways to improve the quality of teaching and learning at the college. It will collaborate with WAC, and the academic deans and their departments, and be directly connected to all aspects of undergraduate education. This connection is a key element in the college’s goals and targets for the coming academic year; it will be the catalyst for improving undergraduate education and retention by putting into practice strategies and programs to “improve teaching and learning through faculty development, pedagogical innovation and academic support” (CUNY Campaign for Success: A Plan in Four Parts, 2006).
In addition to the bedrock programs of Academic Advising and Academic Support, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning, will play an important role in faculty development and assessment across the disciplines. To bring this vision into being, and to create a “community of practice,” the college has identified an appropriate space that will house the Center for Teaching and Learning, the WAC program, and the Faculty Development Laboratory, for “when the work of communities of practice is created and fostered, individual experience becomes communal, distributed expertise can be shared, and standards of practice can evolve” (Lee S. Shulman, The Wisdom of Practice: Essays on Teaching, Learning, and Learning to Teach, 2004). Facilitated by the Center for Teaching and Learning, the directors of Academic Support, WAC, and Composition, together with faculty in Mathematics and the Sciences, will be involved directly in the following practices: creating opportunities for faculty to reflect on the philosophy and practice of teaching with the aim of adopting pedagogies to enhance teaching and learning; the development of strategies to address the failure rates in gateway courses and the academic needs of ESL students; the partnership of faculty, Academic Advising, and Academic Support to create student awareness of, and academic interventions for, the CPE. This semester the Academic Support program ran three mini-courses to prepare students for the CPE. Forty-one students enrolled and thirty-nine passed the examination. Full-time and adjunct faculty participation is essential for these projects, for as Linda Darling-Hammond states, “Teacher expertise is the single most important determinant of student achievement. Effective professional development for teachers should engage them both as learners and teachers, allowing them to struggle with each role’s uncertainties” (“Learning to Teach in the 21st Century,” Educational Leadership, 78:1 ).
- View summer and January programs as integral parts of the academic year
- Extend FYI to the second semester for first-year students
- Develop further the Sophomore Year Initiative
- Work with the Advising Center to reach 90% of transfer students
- Encourage early declaration of the major
- Involve Math and Science faculty with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Academic Support (AS), to develop student-centered pedagogies
- Build on Writing Across the Curriculum's (WAC) work in faculty development, Writing in the Disciplines (WIC), assessment
- Provide goals for WAC requirements
- Use the CTL to further the philosophy and practice of Gen. Ed.
- Many students take 6+ years to graduate
- Difficulty of finding common courses
- Students tend to be unfocused at this stage and often take courses without planning
- Transfer students often are not in the academic advising pipeline
- TAP restrictions; length of time to graduation
- Inadequate preparation in Math limits students' ability to function in the Sciences and in gateway courses
- Assessing WAC
- Unevenness of student writing across the disciplines
- Communicating the message of Gen. Ed.
The CUE Program at Queens is composed of: FYI, The Advising Center, Academic Support, WAC, and SEEK Summer and January programs. These programs are the funded ones, but as the college’s CUE diagram indicates, all programs and offices devoted to undergraduate education are involved. For example, the Office of Honors and Scholarships is a part of the college’s CUE Council and provides the opportunity for the early identification and nurturing of students. The Honors Advisory Committee was established to provide a discussion forum for Queens College honors directors to share practices that foster student success. The college believes that such an integrated approach to undergraduate education will provide for students:
- A campus environment where they are actively involved in learning
- A viable roadmap to timely graduation
- A clear articulation of General Education and degree requirements
- Planned interventions to ensure that gateway courses are not barriers to success
Middle States and NCATE accreditation provide a context for a focused approach to the concept of student-centered pedagogy coupled with outcomes-based evaluation. Both accreditations require CUNY campuses to demonstrate that the faculty is implementing outcomes-based teaching, and the college is actively engaged in assessing how students are performing with respect to certain identifiable learning outcomes. The college will undergo the Performance Management Process to assess how well it has met its goals and targets. Many of the CUE goals parallel the Performance Management Process. The college will participate and compare data in the National Survey of Student Engagement in 2007 to help assess the level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, supportive campus environment, and Enriching Educational Experiences. The college has data from this survey for 2000 and 2005. Finally, Queens College will work closely with the CUNY Central Office to provide assessment data that will be useful as the college continues to fulfill its mission “to prepare students to become leading citizens of an increasingly global society.”
X Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development ↻ WAC ↻ Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
The Academic Support Center: Maximizing Student Success through Academic Support
Queens College will integrate seven key academic support programs that we view as essential in maximizing student success in the first two years of undergraduate study:
Summer and January programs, Advisement, Tutorial Support in Writing and Reading, Expanded Evening and Weekend Support in Writing and Reading, Content Tutoring across Disciplines, and CPE Support.
The Summer Program will serve exclusively Queens College students: conditionally admitted students, including transfer students, who need to certify in one or more of the basic skills areas; new, continuing, and transferring ESL students who have not certified in Reading and/or Writing; re-entering ESL and English as a Primary Language (EPL) students; and others intending to enroll in Queens College in the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semester. Reading and Writing offerings will be transformed from a predominantly test-preparation program to one that emphasizes the essential critical thinking and academic literacy skills necessary to work effectively with the general curriculum. All offerings will be taught in a content-rich reading environment, using readings drawn from typical college sources such as textbooks, essays, newspaper articles, and fiction. Those students whom we feel are ready to re-test on the ACT at the end of the summer course will be invited to do so. For those students who have certified in Reading and have near-passing scores on the ACT Writing Test, we will address test preparation, but the curriculum will involve all aspects of academic literacy development: reading, listening, speaking, and, of course, writing. A library component will be included to enhance the abilities and techniques that students will need to succeed as Queens College students. If feasible, we will run separate sections of summer courses for new incoming students and continuing students. Similarly, we will attempt to offer separate sections of writing for students who must pass the ACT to be admitted to the college.
Advisement: To integrate our Summer and January Programs into the freshman year experience, exiting students will meet with an academic advisor to plan their semester courses and possible participation in the FYI program. For CPE advisement, we will reach out to students who have absented themselves from the examination or who have failed it, making sure that they understand the requirements and encouraging them to take advantage of the available support services. Registration stops will be used to ensure that these students meet with an advisor to discuss the CPE requirement, the preparations they should make, and the support services that are available to increase the likelihood of succeeding on the examination. For students finding themselves in jeopardy due to multiple CPE failures, advisement will be pointed, aggressive, and well-coordinated between the various offices responsible for delivering services and enforcing requirements.
January Program: We will offer a January Program for Spring semester incoming students and continuing ESL students. We will limit enrollment to those students who have high-fail scores on the ACT. The pedagogical and assessment features of the program will follow the design of the Summer Program.
Tutorial Support in Writing and Reading: Our Academic Support Center (ASC), which houses the Writing Center, Academic Support Lab, Content Tutoring Centers, College ESL Program, and Testing Center, is a hub for supporting students academically during the critical periods of the freshman and sophomore years. The ASC has become a magnet, attracting students, faculty, and writing fellows who are interested in working collaboratively to help students function, and, indeed, excel in the academy. The Writing Center (WC) provides personal tutoring (including e-tutoring) for individuals and small groups. It supports all courses and programs at the college where writing is a key component. During the freshman year, writing support for English 110 is a major focus of the WC. The sophomore year focuses on supporting writing intensive courses, including English 120W, and the development of academic literacies. Also focusing on services that will assist students in their freshman and sophomore years, the Academic Support Lab (ASL) specializes in reading support services and study skills development. It conducts tutoring and study skills workshops, and in its facility there are networked computers, which students can use to do research, write and edit papers, and take practice reading tests. It also houses a library of print materials in reading, vocabulary, and test preparation for student use. The ASL is an indispensable undergraduate resource for students in the beginning stages of their college experience.
Expanded Evening and Weekend Support in Writing and Reading: Our Writing Center and Academic Support Lab will be open more hours in the evening so that students can take advantage of the tutorial services, instructional materials, and technology available. To ensure service delivery to all students, we will staff these facilities with non-teaching adjuncts who will serve as evening and weekend supervisors in the Fall and Spring semesters.
Content Tutoring Across Disciplines: Students need guidance and support, especially in their first two years, not only in program selection, but also in moving through the curriculum. Our Content Tutoring Centers will emphasize support for gateway courses and other courses that have a high failure rate. Presently, through the ASL and the Science Tutoring Center, we offer tutoring for courses in 12 different departments to support students in classes that have had low rates of successful completion, classes in which departments have indicated students need assistance, or classes with which students have requested help. In 2005, more than 600 students were tutored on an individual or small group basis, either in walk-in sessions or individually scheduled appointments. Working in concert with academic departments, the Academic Support Center plans to expand this service by targeting additional courses with low successful-completion rates, as well as higher-level courses within departments, thereby serving the “forgotten” sophomore population more effectively. Examples of such courses are: Economics 380, Introduction to Econometrics, Chemistry 251 and 252, Organic Chemistry I and II, Psychology 213W, Experimental Psychology, and Accounting 201, Intermediate Accounting.
CPE Support and Advisement: The ASC offers a number of interventions to prepare students for the CPE, ranging from an online tutorial to an experimental 3-hour, 3-credit course, Critical Reading and Writing. In addition, four-hour workshops are offered before each administration of the CPE for students who want an in-person introduction to the test. Before the October and March administrations, we plan to offer five sets of such workshops and before the January and June administrations, one set. For students who have previously failed the CPE or who feel that they will have considerable difficulty with it, the Center will offer 15-hour mini classes. In Spring 2005, 53 out of 62 (85.5%) students who retested passed the examination. We also ran a six-hour mini class to help students who only needed assistance with Task 2, quantitative reasoning, achieving a pass rate of 88.2% (15 out of 17 passed). In Summer 2005, 28 out of 30 (93.3%) who retested after the mini class passed the examination, and in Fall of 2005, 42 out of 44 (95.5%) who retested passed the examination. We also ran a small section of the Task 2 mini class for 2 students, both of whom passed the CPE. In January 2006, all 11 students (100%) taking the 15-hour mini class who retested passed the examination. Finally, for students who have failed the examination repeatedly, we offered a semester-long, 45-hour, non-credit intervention in 2005, achieving a CPE pass rate of 81% (13 out of 16 passed). Through the ASC and with the assistance of the CPE liaison, Undergraduate Scholastic Standards Committee, and the CUE Council, we will continue to coordinate the advisement and support services components of the CPE.
- The freshman year is a vulnerable period in which academic adjustment can be difficult for students.
- The academic profile of our undergraduate students informs our support programs.
- CPE issues must be addressed early, providing students all possible opportunities to be successful.
- The time constraints of the January session necessitate that we work with students who have the greatest likelihood of succeeding in an abbreviated program.
- Writing and reading support services are essential to student success. In the college community, the broad spectrum of ESL, ranging from students who completed high school abroad to orally fluent but writing deficient Generation 1.5 students who came to the U.S. as adolescents, attest to the need for writing and reading support services. Especially in their freshman year, students need an identifiable support center that addresses their specific difficulties and convinces them that problems can be overcome and that success is possible.
- Our students’ schedules are as diverse as their ethnic backgrounds; therefore, we will make services available evenings and weekends.
- Students, although certified in basic skills, need guidance and support in program selection, in mastery of content material, and in movement through the curriculum.
- As students progress through the lower division, they must pass the University-mandated CUNY Proficiency Exam (CPE); it is a graduation requirement. While Queens College passing rates are in the 90% range, a sizeable number of students do not succeed and need support services to ensure their success.
Coordination with Other College Programs
and January Programs will be coordinated with the SEEK Program and the Advising Center. Students exiting Summer and January programs will meet with an academic advisor to plan their semester courses. If ESL courses are required, students will be referred to a CESL Program advisor, who will help the student enroll in the appropriate ESL Reading and Writing courses. Other courses will be chosen with the assistance of the Advising Center to complete the student’s program. Students not needing to enroll in an ESL course will be familiarized with the various learning communities that are offered in the freshman year where seats will be reserved for students exiting the Summer Program.
We will coordinate all advisement services through the College’s CUE Council directed by the Assistant Provost, and involving the Academic Support staff, the CPE liaison, and the Executive Director of the Undergraduate Scholastic Standards Committee.
The ASC will support and strengthen its professional collaboration with WAC and have joined forces to collaborate on faculty development initiatives. One very successful project, a workshop held in February on “Goals for Student Writing Across the Curriculum,” was attended by faculty teaching writing intensive courses as well as other faculty members, writing fellows, and administrators. Another workshop, “Taking Stock of Student Writing,” is scheduled for the end of the semester. Like student learning communities, we envision tutors, writing fellows, and faculty members forming teaching communities to strengthen writing support across disciplines. We will coordinate activities in the ASL with college ESL faculty who are teaching reading courses, so that individualized instructional plans can be designed for each student and ESL faculty can be a part of a broader pedagogical community.
The departments that our Content Tutoring Program supports include: Accounting, Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Comparative Literature, Economics, English, Linguistics & Communication Disorders, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. We plan to expand this service by working with academic departments to target additional courses for support; e.g., courses with low successful-completion rates and higher-level courses. Working with WAC, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and faculty from the academic departments we support, the ASC will engage in faculty development initiatives and training programs for faculty, staff, and student tutors involved in academic support.
Recognizing that it is the responsibility of the entire faculty to help prepare students for the CPE, we will offer periodic training workshops for faculty and staff to familiarize them with the examination and to qualify them to teach CPE preparation classes. Coordinating efforts with the divisional deans, department chairpersons, and the CPE liaison, we will reach out to faculty from all disciplines to familiarize them with the examination. We will also emphasize the importance of incorporating instructional material and activities into courses to develop the competencies students need to pass the CPE. Through the ASC and with the assistance of the CPE liaison and the CUE Council at Queens, we will continue to coordinate the advisement and support services components of the CPE, reaching out to students on an ongoing basis, and making sure that CPE issues are addressed before students find themselves in jeopardy.
- To improve students’ preparedness for and success in the general curriculum by developing academic literacy and critical thinking skills and providing content area support services.
- To ensure that 90% of the ESL students participating in the Summer and January Programs certify in Reading and Writing within two years.
- To ensure that 75% of conditionally admitted students attending the Summer and January Programs certify in all basic skills by the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters.
- To coordinate Summer and January Programs with regular semester course selection andregistration for students.
- To disseminate to students the CPE requirements and the support services available.
- To achieve an overall CPE pass rate of 90% and a 75% pass rate for those students enrolled in CPE interventions.
We will examine the following variables and analyze the data collected to assess the effectiveness of our Academic Support Programs:
- The number of students enrolled in Summer and January programs retained after the first and the second year.
- The percentage of Summer and January program ESL students who certified in Reading and Writing by the end of the second year.
- The percentage of Summer and January program native speakers of English who certified in the basic skills area after completing the program.
- The retention rates of new freshmen and transfers.
- The CPE pass rates of all students tested and students completing interventions.
- The grades of students receiving tutorial support in content, core, and gateway courses.
- The grades of students receiving tutorial support for writing courses: CESL, English 095.0, English 110, English 120W.
X Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development ↻ WAC ↻ Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
The Advising Center: Connection, Clarity, and Collaboration
The Queens College Advising Center provides centralized academic advising services to all undergraduate students, including incoming and continuing students, through the clarification and navigation of degree requirements for timely receipt of the baccalaureate degree. Through the provision of updated and clearly articulated information and with individualized assistance, professional academic advisors provide undergraduates with a clear understanding of the college’s general education requirements, major offerings, and the policies and procedures that impact their selection of programs and classes. To this end, advisors assist students with the development of an educational plan, which considers appropriate course sequence, major/minor selection(s), class standing, and level(s) of preparedness.
In working with the Queens College undergraduate population, we are positioned as two distinct but overlapping entities:
Continuing Student Services: Undergraduates may take advantage of the following advising services throughout their college careers: exploration of academic goals and the strategies by which to achieve them; explanation and review of overall general education degree requirements, including the Primary College Competencies (English 110, Mathematics, Foreign Language and Physical Education requirements), the Liberal Arts and Science Area Requirements (LASARs); other graduation requirements (including Writing Intensive Units and the CUNY Proficiency Examination); discussion of major and minor opportunities; information on academic policies, procedures, and deadlines; workshops on registration and semester program planning; long-range academic planning and graduation projection; sophomore milestones and initiatives; and referral to academic departments and student service offices. For the convenience of students with busy schedules, The Advising Center provides walk-in services, advising by appointment, evening availability three nights a week, and weekend advising through its collaboration with Weekend College.
New Student Services: From mid-May through August for the fall semester, and from December through January for the spring semester, The Advising Center coordinates advising and registration services for new freshmen and transfers. All entering freshmen must attend a Freshman Advising and Registration Workshop through which they learn about Queens College and are introduced to general education requirements, programs of study, and other academic offerings and opportunities—including the Freshman Year Initiative program, which provides incoming freshmen with a coherent first year in an academic community. Through the workshop, new students have the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff, and their peers as they develop an academic program and register with guidance from professional advisors. Transfer students have the opportunity to attend a Transfer Advising and Registration Workshop. These workshops, while not mandatory, are an important step in orienting the new transfer to the college, the transfer process, and the college’s policies, procedures, and academic requirements. Through an advising workshop, transfers have the opportunity to meet individually with a professional advisor, and faculty when available, to select their first-semester coursework.
During the fall 2005 semester, we saw 3,016 continuing students by appointment, through walk-in advising services, or through a special workshop. (Continuing student statistics for spring 2006 services will soon be determined; the number of students included in the “Number of Students Served” query at the end of this report includes the first two months of the semester.) Included within that number are the 197 students seen through the Sophomore Milestone programs and the 240 students seen through the Registration Workshops for 2nd Semester Freshmen; 1,244 entering transfer students were seen via advising workshops for fall 2005 and 887 for spring 2006. Over 1300 new freshmen were registered through the Center in fall 2005 and 126 for spring 2006.
At the heart of its mission is the principle that academic advising is a valuable tool that enhances and supports a student’s entire undergraduate experience, and as such, the Advising Center is the mechanism through which 100% of all incoming freshmen and upwards of 73% of new transfers enter the institution. Post-matriculation, the Advising Center at Queens College seeks to help all students chart their own course through the college’s degree requirements, services, and educational opportunities. By working jointly with a professional advisor, students may tailor their educational experiences to make the most of their time and efforts at Queens. The presence of the Center and its many programs and initiatives acknowledges the role of academic advising in student success and retention, thereby supporting the institutional mission and vitality of the college.
Coordination with Other College Programs
With Academic Support:
- New CESL student advising and registration.
- Transition of CESL students into regular college coursework, including English 110, after the passing of the ACT tests.
- Ongoing recommendation to students re: Support Services (tutoring, reading, writing, math, science labs); maintenance of support service materials in our student-accessed information area.
- CPE: information provision, discussion, and outreach of this graduation requirement.
With Academic Departments:
- Coordination with faculty for registering students into special courses: i.e., English 110 and World Studies 101 dyad; the special technology-enhanced English 110 course.
- Transfer Class Reservation Program.
- Identification and monitoring of “gateway to the major” and bottlenecked courses that impede student progress in Gen Ed and in majors.
- Faculty-Assisted Transfer Workshops.
- Undeclared Major Intervention.
With Freshman Year Initiative:
· 100% of registration in FYI communities achieved through mandatory Freshman Advising and Registration Workshops in coordination with FYI.
- Trained FYI mentors assist with all Freshman Workshops.
- Connection of students early in their college careers with gateway to the major courses and faculty through specially-designed communities (e.g., pre-med, education, and business communities).
- FYI’s “reacting” classes.
With WISC/WAC and Director of Composition:
- English 110/Primary College Competency Intervention: pre-registration of identified students into this basic skills course and on-going progression analysis each semester.
- Director ex-officio on WISC/WAC Committee to keep clear line of communication open.
- Articulation, explanation, and justification of college’s composition requirement through new-student orientation and individual advising sessions.
- Creation of widely-distributed document identifying college’s writing intensive courses and, if applicable, the additional requirements they fulfill.
- Indication of required and optional writing intensive coursework through major departments in our Majors Handbook publication.
With Admissions Office:
- Unevaluated Transfer Credits Intervention.
- Assistance in the coordination/publicity of Transfer Credit Evaluation Program 4x year.
- Provision of transfer articulation agreements/information to incoming transfers; provision of pre-registration inventories of the QC Gen Ed and major requirements fulfilled for more precise first-semester advising and course registration.
- Mechanism for re-entering (including those matriculated under curricula prior to LASAR).
With Student Affairs and the Student Association:
- Recent creation of a Freshman Orientation Committee to design, coordinate, and implement the academic and student affairs portions of the freshman and family orientation activities.
- Collaborative effort to produce and run the New Freshman and Family Orientation Program. This effort also requires collaboration with Health Services, Financial Aid, Bursar, Security, Counseling and Advisement, and CLIQ.
With Office of Converging Technologies:
- Allowing new transfers to create their student computer and e-mail accounts during a transfer advising and registration workshop.
- Hands-on demonstration of College’s phone and on-line student information and registration systems.
With Special Population Offices (Elementary Education; LEAP, SEEK, ACE, WEEKEND COLLEGE):
- Sharing of human resources, including shared Weekend College and ACE advisors (trained and supervised by Advising Center director).
- Additionally, Elementary Education and LEAP representatives have been available and advising during transfer advising and registration workshops.
With Career Development and Internships:
- Through the new Sophomore Initiative, a collaboration with Career Development and Internships during Sophomore Advising Week with the Milestones Workshops.
With Honors/Special Programs:
- The Advising Center has historically and continues to offer special groups a forum for collaborative new-student advising programs, including Time 2000, Honors Experience, NIH-MARC, and Honors College.
- Advisors also assist these groups in reviewing the academic progression of their population (especially at graduation time).
With CUNY Baccalaureate Program:
- On-campus representation of this program via the Advising Center, which includes monitoring the program, providing information/application assistance to prospective students, assistance with identification of faculty mentors, and overall troubleshooting.
With Financial Aid:
- Advisors attendance at training and information sessions regarding TAP Audit.
- Advising presence at State Aid Alert Workshops for currently-enrolled students.
- Inclusion of State Aid Alert information in new student packets.
- Discussion of State Aid Alert information during new student presentations and family orientation.
The Advising Center has identified its goals and targets for academic 2006–2007, which it has entitled “Connection, Clarity, and Collaboration,” as it seeks to facilitate the following:
- Projects and initiatives that will connect students to the institution.
- On-going provision of a clear pathway to graduation and a clear articulation of college requirements and opportunities, regardless of the volume and magnitude of modification to degree requirements.
- Partner with other departments and programs to maximize the resources of the institution to achieve these internal goals, as well as those of the college.
The specifics of our proposed initiatives include:
- Coordination with College Now Program via its orientation program
to introduce current high school students to college, post-secondary
expectations, and the notion of a liberal arts education.
- Creation of an Advising Consortium to include all vestiges of advising-related support and student service offices (initiated by SEEK Associate Director; co-chaired by Advising Center director working through the college’s CUE Council).
- Closer coordination of foreign transfer students and transfer credit evaluation with International Student Service Office.
- Expansion of the Sophomore Initiative Program to include:
- Outreach letter at beginning of semester from sophomore coordinator
- Majors exploration workshops to include faculty and declared upperclassmen as speakers
- Initiation of a mentoring program – connection to upperclassmen in majors in which sophomores are interested as well as faculty mentoring
- Creation of “Sophomore Site” on our website where students can get information, connect to department pages, or e-mail the sophomore coordinator.
- Streamlining of Progress Check Initiative Project (Degree Audit) through Degree Works.
- Work closely with the Degree Works Project coordinator to serve as a driving force to bring web-aided advising to the campus (student training workshops for usage of program).
- Re-design of Advising Center’s website for college-wide use and reference.
- Increase updating and frequency of our wide variety of academic advising publications, including a new, more user-friendly Majors Handbook, which will include discipline descriptions and definitions as well as more information on career connectedness. Will include on-line availability.
- Compile and provide information on graduate school admissions tests/graduate school advising for students transitioning from QC to graduate school.
- Public/student access to computers in Advising Center for the purposes of transcript review, usage of DegreeWorks, registration, and change of program.
- Greater on-campus coordination of the CUNY Baccalaureate program and on-campus recruitment for program; bringing representatives to campus for workshops.
- ACE advising to take place entirely in-house for simplification and access.
- Advising Center presence at Major/Minor Fairs.
- Researching senior CUNY colleges for information on their advising structures and new-student programs for the purposes of learning of and incorporating CUNY’s best practices into our programming.
- Introduction of pre-PLAS (Queens College’s new general education curriculum expected Fall 2009) “synthesis” courses to currently enrolled Queens College students.
Data collection and mining for the purposes of self-study and intra-college accounts will continue and be further developed in an effort to provide more comprehensive information on the students whom we service. This includes the collection of data on our continuing student volume for academic semester advising services and special programming initiatives (including the Sophomore Milestones and the 2nd-semester Freshman Registration Planning Workshops), as well as its new student services, which include freshman and transfer orientation and advising programs. Academic year 2005-2006 marks the first time that continuing student volume statistics for regular walk-in and appointment advising services have been gathered, assessed, and distributed.
The annual academic auditing project of students’ records of 75 or more completed credits allows for the individual assessment of college requirements and the communication thereof to students; it additionally supplies much information with regard to the completeness of college requirements on a categorical basis, which has proven helpful in the institution’s review of general education requirements and section offerings—especially with regard to the development and eventual implementation of a new general education curriculum. As this has proven to not only have merit within the Center, but has established itself as an important institutional assessment tool, we will look to continue this project.
In an effort to improve services for students with foreign credentials, a planned assessment initiative will review the data of students with foreign credentials who attend our transfer workshops and we will work more closely with International Student Services to determine more effective and expeditious ways to evaluate foreign credit.
We would like to expand our review and assessment to include ACE and Weekend College advising services separate from our current data, which includes these students among our continuing student cohort.
As our website is often used by prospective and continuing students, faculty, and staff to review the College’s requirements, services, policies, and procedures, we will work with OCT to have an automatic “Hit” counter added to determine the number of visits the site gets on a daily basis.
In order to assess the effectiveness of our new student programs, we have collaboratively redesigned the Freshman Orientation student satisfaction survey in conjunction with Student Affairs and we are working with the Assistant Provost’s office to update the parents’ orientation satisfaction survey. A new transfer student survey will be designed and distributed at transfer advising workshops. The Advising Center will develop a ‘Review of Services’ form to ascertain the satisfaction of students who utilize our walk-in and appointment services. In the future, we will be looking at an on-line student satisfaction survey tool called “Survey Monkey” to see if this automated tabulation program can be of assistance to us.
X Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development ↻ WAC ↻ Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
Freshman Year Initiative (FYI): Preparing Students to Succeed
Entering freshmen are placed in Learning Communities of three courses. Each community, consisting of 44 students, is anchored by 2 English Composition classes (of 22 students each). The other two courses in each community are drawn from every division and every department on campus. Seats are reserved in the very popular and “freshman friendly” courses, which are taught by dedicated faculty who are truly interested in teaching freshmen. The faculty in each community exchange syllabi, coordinate material whenever possible, and meet regularly during the semester to chart the progress of their students. In addition, a student mentor is assigned to each English Composition course, and meets regularly with the students in that class. Our faculty also meet regularly to discuss and debate different teaching pedagogies, and are usually the first to embrace new and effective teaching pedagogies. A prime example of this is the Reacting to the Past teaching pedagogy developed 10 years ago at Barnard by the noted historian Mark Carnes. Reacting to the Past helps students engage important texts and conflicts in history by transporting them back in time to the appropriate era where they live and debate the great ideas of those times through very elaborate role-playing games. Queens is now a full-fledged partner, together with Barnard, Smith, Trinity, and Loras Colleges, in the Reacting Consortium. New games have been developed at Queens, and they, together with the games developed by Carnes, have been incorporated into our freshman learning communities. In addition, we have developed a dyad for the Spring semester, consisting of English Composition and a Reacting course, for 22 students, half of whom are ESL students who have passed the ACT exam. This dyad has proven to be immensely successful, and has generated strong interest on many campuses across the country. Last year, Queens College instituted freshmen-only English Composition courses, in addition to those in our communities, and FYI supplied student mentors to those classes as well. This has proven to be very successful, and we plan to continue it again next year. In cooperation with the Advising Center we have also introduced three year-long pre-professional communities, pre-health, pre-business, and pre-education, and shall do so again next year. We also plan on introducing the following new initiatives in the coming academic year:
Faculty advisement for upper freshmen and beyond. At the present time upper freshmen and beyond do not need any approval before registering for their courses. The Advising Center offers workshops, but not all students take advantage of them, and this can affect them negatively. Since many of our students work a considerable number of hours, they usually choose courses that fit particular time slots, rather than courses that are truly appropriate for them.
Mandatory freshmen orientation sessions for all FYI freshmen. These sessions, or workshops, which will be run by students under our supervision, will help ease students into the Academy. Among the topics to be covered in these sessions will be note taking and test taking strategies, homework and time management strategies, and even proper (and improper) behavior in the classroom.
An annual faculty development day. We would like to institute an annual conference which will focus on teaching pedagogies and strategies. The topic for next year’s conference will be the pluses and minuses of teaching classes with a large freshman population.
The structure of FYI benefits students both academically and socially. On the academic level, they are taking the best instructors and the best courses at Queens, and they often have the advantage of seeing the same ideas and concepts presented from different points of view. On a social level, FYI affords students the opportunity of making friends and forming study groups, since they travel together through a common set of courses. In this manner, FYI helps ease the transition from high school to college, and helps foster the sense of community that is usually found only in residential colleges.
Coordination with Other College Programs
FYI works closely with the CUNY Honors College, the Honors Experience, the TIME 2000 Program and with BALA in setting up our communities. Indeed, we have special communities set up for these students. We also work hand in hand with the Advising Center in registering students during their freshman workshop days. During the coming academic year, we will also be working closely with WAC and the new Center for Teaching and Learning in the crucial area of faculty development.
The goals of FYI, simply put, are to increase retention at the college, increase the four-year graduation rate, help students decide more quickly on a major, and to foster a sense of community at Queens.
Extensive investigations have already been carried out by the anthropologist Kevin Birth which show conclusively that FYI students have a higher retention rate and a higher four-year graduation rate than non-FYI students. The program has grown to 710 in Fall 2005 from its initial enrollment of 31 students in Fall 1992. Students who began their academic careers in FYI have an increased retention rate. We plan on continuing these investigations, and to extend them to our Reacting students. In particular, we plan to implement the assessment approach developed at Barnard by Steven Stroessner. At the beginning of the semester at Barnard, “reacting” and “non-reacting” students were given material to read on a controversial topic, and were asked to take a position and speak to it into a tape recorder for five minutes. Reacting and non-reacting students performed the same, but when this process was repeated at the end of the semester, the reacting students were able to speak and argue their position more effectively.
SEEK Pre-Freshman Summer Program and Summer Enrichment Program: Focusing on Student
The SEEK Pre-Freshman Summer Program was designed to assist those students who have failed one or more of the CUNY Assessment Tests with the passing of the Assessment Tests. Moreover, the Pre-Freshmen Summer Program helps ease the transition of new students to the campus and the rigors of college life. In addition, the program is charged with promoting academic success by developing critical inquiry strategies and building student academic skills.
The program focuses on student-centered learning through the implementation of a holistic curriculum. It offers reading, writing, and math instruction, tutorial support, and supplemental instruction. It utilizes content reading strategies and direct questioning as tools for the development of critical thinking skills. Class size is small and instructors function as facilitators. In addition to academic initiatives, the Program organizes cultural activities and events for its students. The summer 2006 program will run from July 6 – August 9, 2006, with instruction Monday – Thursday.
The SEEK Pre-Freshmen Summer Enrichment Program was designed for SEEK students who have passed all three of the CUNY Assessment Tests. The Summer Enrichment Program is mandatory, unless students have yet to earn a high school diploma. The program allows SEEK students the opportunity to participate in one of two enrichments tracks. The first track has a Math and Natural Sciences focus. The second track will focus on Critical Inquiry through the use of digital portfolios as a learning tool.
The Math and Natural Sciences track will introduce students to the different majors, careers, and research opportunities that exist in these fields of study. The Critical Inquiry track will introduce students to an innovative method of learning. The Critical Inquiry method will instruct students on how to search for answers to fundamental questions raised by a text. Furthermore, students will learn how to engage a text, analyze readings for understanding, annotate a text, use their own experiences to make connections, and make claims using evidence from a text. A digital portfolio is a learning tool that allows students to visually document their academic, personal, and professional development. The 2006 SEEK Summer Enrichment Program will run from July 10 – July 31, 2006, with instruction Monday – Thursday.
In 1996, the CUNY Board of Trustees mandated that students who failed one or more of the CUNY Assessment Tests attend an intensive pre-freshman summer experience either at a CUNY campus USIP Program or at their respective high schools. Attendance was mandatory for students desirous of entering CUNY as matriculated full-time SEEK students in the fall.
Moreover, the SEEK Program sought to improve the academic skills of students who have passed all three of the CUNY Assessment Tests by providing a two-track Summer Enrichment Program. In addition to skills building, the Summer Enrichment Program is also a means to ease the transition of new students into the Queens College
campus life, acclimate
students to the college’s support systems, and introduce them to the academic rigors of college. Furthermore, the Summer Enrichment Program allows the SEEK Program to makes connections to the new students prior to their first year of study.
Coordination with Other College Programs
During the SEEK Pre-Freshmen Summer Program, collaboration is fostered between the Academic Support Center and its Testing and ESL Offices. The retesting of SEEK students at the end of the Pre-Freshmen Summer Program is coordinated with the Testing Office. In addition, SEEK students who are identified as ESL participate in workshops offered by both the SEEK Program and the Academic Support Center.
The SEEK Summer Enrichment Program will collaborate with the Queens College Division of Mathematics and Natural Science for instructional support and facilities.
The goals of the SEEK Pre-Freshmen Summer Program are:
- To offer a summer learning experience that will prepare students to pass all CUNY Assessment Tests before fall classes.
- To teach students to think critically, enabling them to understand and respond articulately to what they have read.
- The goal of the Counseling/Advisement workshop is to give students the skills needed to successfully maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average and to graduate within five years by students learning how to:
- Increase their motivation to remain in college
- Utilize different time management techniques
- Study effectively and take useful notes
- Examine different learning styles and strategies
- Develop the positive attitudes needed for success
- To ensure that students are computer literate evidenced by their ability to:
- Set up a vanguard account with OCT
- Access and use e-mail
- Navigate the internet utilizing various search engines
- Create documents in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Power Point)
The goals of the SEEK Summer Enrichment Program are as follows:
- To introduce students to the academic and career fields of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences.
- To increase the number of SEEK students pursuing majors within Mathematics and the Natural Sciences.
- To foster mentorship opportunities between mathematics and science faculty with SEEK students.
- To expose SEEK students to the academic habits and study skills that are necessary to become successful in mathematics and science courses.
- To teach students to think critically and to understand and articulate responses to reading materials.
- To promote academic success:
- Explore their motivation for attending college
- Utilize different time management techniques
- Study effectively and take useful notes
- Examine different learning styles and strategies
- Develop the positive attitudes needed for success
- To introduce students to digital portfolios as an academic learning tool.
Pre- and post-test scores will be collected and analyzed. Demographic information, data on attendance, high school average, SAT scores, and faculty/student perceptions will be collected. This data will also be used as part of an ongoing formative evaluation of SEEK Program activities.
Number of Students Served: 200 Students
↻ Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development X WAC ↻ Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
Writing Across the Curriculum: Fostering a Culture of Writing
The broad aim is to “foster a writing culture” at the college. In concrete terms, this means overseeing writing intensive courses; working with the Provost’s office to establish student writing goals and develop and implement assessment research; working with divisional deans and department chairs to establish discipline-specific writing goals for students; running faculty development seminars; producing and maintaining teaching resources and publications on writing and learning; training CUNY Writing Fellows to run effective in-class workshops for students, work individually with students, and consult with faculty on syllabi, assignments, and techniques for teaching with writing.
Queens College is serious about establishing—and making public—a set of clear and ambitious goals for student writing. These goals have been developed by the WAC program as part of its assessment initiative. Now that the goals have been established, the WAC program will be responsible for offering faculty and students the resources they need to help students work on achieving them. In addition, the WAC program will pilot its new Faculty Partners program, which will focus on Writing in the Disciplines methods that promote the creation of writing goals, curriculum, and pedagogies from within divisions and departments—and, crucially, engage divisions and departments in taking responsibility for meeting both their own goals and the broader student writing goals of the College.
Coordination with Other College Programs
WAC will be closely allied with the college’s new Center for Teaching and Learning, with a shared mission to offer the faculty development necessary to making the focus on methods, practices, and competencies in the College’s new General Education curriculum a reality in classrooms. In addition, WAC is planning to engage key people in Academic Support in its faculty development seminar series, and to engage FYI faculty in promoting their pedagogical innovations as models for both W- and Gen Ed courses. Also, WAC will work closely with the First-Year Composition program, to build both conceptual and practical connections between the College’s new writing goals for students and the goals of English 110. Finally, a primary aim of WAC’s assessment research will be to identify the needs of particular groups of student writers—including first-year, sophomore, ESL, Honors College, and those progressing in their majors—within the enormously varied student population, in order to identify courses and programs that will most effectively serve each group and develop pedagogical strategies for serving the enormous range of students who comprise most individual classrooms. This effort will involve collaboration between WAC and all of the programs mentioned above.
The WAC program has five fundamental goals for the academic year 2006-07:
- To work with the Center for Teaching and Learning to make faculty development a visible and intrinsic aspect of the college’s culture.
- To implement and publicize the college’s new writing goals and work with Faculty Partners to engage departments in crafting rationales and goals for the writing in their curricula (including both W and non-W courses).
- To complete an assessment project on student writing designed to identify specific groups of student writers and develop strategies for identifying courses and programs that will most effectively serve each group and for designing pedagogies aimed to serve the enormous range of students who comprise the majority of classrooms.
- To engage FYI, Academic Support, and First-Year Composition in the effort to implement the college’s writing goals for students and develop a coordinated vision of each program’s role in helping students meet these goals.
- To develop technology initiatives—including the Blogging Across the Curriculum project and CUNY’s new iTunes University collaboration with Apple—that will give students the opportunity to develop rhetorical practices they need for success in twenty-first century professions.
The WAC program plans to follow up on the study of syllabi and pilot study of student writing it completed in the academic year 2005-06, by launching a more comprehensive study of student writing and student and faculty surveys focusing on attitudes about writing and learning. In addition, the WAC program is conceiving its faculty development and assessment efforts as integral parts of its broad mission to establish student writing goals for the college and offer faculty the tools they need to help students meet these goals.
↻ Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development ↻ WAC X Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
Preparing Students to Succeed: Applying Algebra to the Sciences
The pilot program will target up to 25 incoming freshman who would like to improve their college algebra skills because they are planning to pursue a career in the sciences. As a supplement to Math 115: College Algebra for Precalculus that the students will be taking in the Summer, the pilot program will offer instruction, tutoring, and practice in applying the algebra covered in Math 115 to problems in introductory college chemistry and physics. For example, when solving proportions is taught in Math 115, students will learn how to solve unit conversion problems in chemistry in the pilot supplemental program. For solving quadratic equations, students will solve simple motion problems from physics. Tutors will work with students in small groups to work on algebra problems in the sciences. In addition, the program will invite guest speakers from departments and pre-health professions advisors to discuss with students the preparations that are needed for careers in the sciences. Student tours of college science facilities will also be arranged.
Students who have certified in basic mathematics often need to improve their algebra skills to function in college science courses. Math courses typically concentrate on the pure mathematical skills that are necessary without addressing the applications to specific disciplines. The pilot program will serve as a bridge between mathematics and science disciplines so that when students encounter science courses in college, they will be better prepared to handle the mathematics in these courses and feel more motivated and confident that they can succeed in pursuing a career in science.
Coordination with Other College Programs
The Office of Academic Support will collaborate with the Advising Center to ensure that incoming freshmen interested in a career in the sciences are informed about the program during freshman orientation and registration in June and encouraged to enroll in the pilot summer program. The Dean of Mathematics and Natural Sciences will also oversee the coordination of the program with the departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics, and the Academic Support Center.
- To improve students’ college algebra skills.
- To enable students to apply college algebra skills to problems in chemistry and physics.
- To familiarize students with the requirements and expectations for careers in the sciences.
- To develop in students motivation and confidence to pursue a career in the sciences.
- Grades in Math 115 will be compared for students in the pilot program v. students not in the program.
- Grades in introductory Chemistry and Physics will be collected for students in the pilot program.
- Students in the pilot program will be asked to complete a program evaluation questionnaire.
↻ Critical Junctures ↻ Faculty Development ↻ WAC x Pilot Programs (Please check all that apply.)
The Center for Teaching and Learning: Facilitating Curricular and Pedagogical Change
Academic year 2006-2007 is the founding year for the Queens College Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). As such, it will be a kind of “pilot” year in which a number of programs and activities will be developed and “piloted.” The Center is designed to focus on faculty development and will be closely allied with the Writing Across the Curriculum program (WAC) and the Faculty Instructional Technology Lab. As of fall 2006, these three programs will share contiguous new space on the third floor of Razran Hall, an arrangement that will enable the college to take a multifaceted but integrated approach to Faculty Development. CTL programs and activities will focus principally on faculty development at the curricular and course level, attending both to issues of curricular content and teaching practices. Faculty Development, as spearheaded by the CTL, will focus on pedagogical innovations that reflect connections between pedagogies and student literacies as the college works to develop and pilot the PLAS and Synthesis courses of our new general education curriculum, and develop tools to assess the effectiveness of these new courses.
At its April 2006 meeting the Academic Senate adopted a new, far-reaching General Education curriculum that will replace the current LASAR system and is expected to become the general education curriculum of record for students matriculating as of Fall 2008. The Center for Teaching and Learning will be the central venue for the extensive development of new courses and the revision of existing courses that is essential for the implementation of the new general education curriculum. Most, though not all, of its programs and activities will be directed to this goal.
During the fall 2006 semester, the Center will conduct a series of workshops and forums on various aspects of the new curriculum; e.g., the Perspectives on the Liberal Arts and Sciences (PLAS) courses as well as on specific topics such as incorporating quantitative reasoning into courses (somewhat on the WAC model), and engaging students in research activities. In addition, programs will be developed specifically for 1) new faculty, 2) part-time faculty, and 3) graduate teaching fellows.
The Center for Teaching and Learning will mount in the Spring 2007 semester a General Education conference that will bring together faculty from across the University to engage in discussion of the principles and practice of General Education.
The Center for Teaching and Learning has five fundamental goals for the academic year 2006-2007:
- To establish the Center for Teaching and Learning as a fully functioning location for faculty/course development.
- To work with the Writing Across the Curriculum Program and the Faculty Instructional Technology Lab to make faculty development a visible and intrinsic aspect of the College’s culture.
- To make the Center, broadly construed, a vibrant and central location for faculty discussion and exchange of ideas about teaching, about new courses developed or contemplated, and best practices.
- To develop and pilot specific programs for the faculty/course development needed to implement the new General Education curriculum.
- To develop programs for specific constituencies; e.g., new faculty, part-time faculty, and graduate teaching fellows.