Report to the On-Site Review Team, Site Visit September 17-19, 2007
Submitted by Walters State Community College
500 South Davy Crockett Parkway
Morristown, Tennessee 37813
SACS Liaison Dr. Debbie Scott
|Dr. Wade McCamey||President|
|Dr. Debbie Scott||Vice President for Planning, Research and Assessment|
|Dr. Lori Campbell||Vice President for Academic Affairs|
|Dr. Foster Chason||Vice President for Student Affairs|
|Dr. Rosemary Jackson||Vice President for Business Affairs|
|Dr. Eddie Stone||Vice President, Information Technologies (served from 2004-2006)|
|Mr. Paul Todaro (served from 2006-present)||Interim Executive Director for Information and Educational Technologies; Director for User Services and Technical Operations|
|Mrs. Carla Todaro||Faculty Representative, Associate Professor of English and Assistant Dean of Humanities Division|
|Ms. Carla Todaro (until January 2008)||Chair, QEP Development Committee; Division of Humanities QEP Representative; Associate Professor, English; Assistant Dean, Humanities Division; (423) 585-6951 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ms. Viki D. Rouse||Writer, QEP Development Committee; Division of Humanities QEP Representative; Assistant Professor, English|
|Ms. Janice W. Donahue (until May 2007)||Team Leader; Coordinator, Academic Enrichment; Associate Professor, Developmental Education|
|Mr. Darrel McGhee (beginning August 2007)||Team Leader; Assistant Professor, History|
|Dr. Franklin M. Bangurah||Professor, Developmental Mathematics|
|Mr. David Knowles||Assistant Professor, History|
|Mr. Joe Fall||Team Leader; Walters State Sevierville Campus QEP Representative; Associate Professor, Business; Department Head, Hospitality Business|
|Ms. Amy Ross||Division of Business QEP Representative; Walters State Articulation Officer; Associate Professor and Head, Business Management|
|Mr. Bill Sproat||Walters State Sevierville Campus QEP Representative; Associate Professor, Biology|
|Dr. Betsy Dobbins, APRN, BC||Team Leader; Division of Health Programs QEP Representative; Associate Professor, Nursing|
|Dr. Mary D. Owens||QEP Pilot Instructor; Professor, Mathematics|
|Mr. Chris Knight||QEP Pilot Instructor; Division of Mathematics QEP Representative; Associate Professor, Mathematics; Coordinator of Developmental Mathematics|
|Mr. Allen Nix||Division of Technical Education QEP Representative; Associate Professor, Computer and Information Science|
|Ms. Michelle Mitrik||Division of Humanities QEP Representative; Assistant Professor, Spanish|
|Mr. Charlie Williams||Team Leader; Division of Public Safety QEP Representative; Associate Professor, EMT; M.A., Education, Thesis Focus: Learning Styles|
|Ms. Victoria Whitehead||MSN, RN; Associate Professor, Nursing|
|Ms. Kimberly Bolton||Division of Natural Sciences QEP Representative; Instructor of Biology|
|Ms. Kim Gunnin||Director, Enrollment Development and Retention Services; Professional Staff QEP Representative|
|Dr. Chris Baker||Team Leader; Division of Behavioral/Social Sciences QEP Representative; Professor, Sociology|
|Dr. Tina Wu||Professor, Psychology|
|Mr. Jamie Posey||Librarian; Automation Specialist|
|Mr. Thomas Duda||Associate Professor, Computer and Information Science|
|Mr. Roger Beverly||Institutional Capability; Professional Staff QEP Representative; Assistant Vice President, Business Affairs|
|Note: In August 2007, the QEP Development Committee will end and the QEP Implementation Committee will begin. In preparation for the transition, the Outcomes and Engagement teams will merge, and members of the Literature Review team will join the Faculty Development team which will be led by Mr. Darrel McGhee in place of Ms. Janice Donahue. The member in charge of Institutional Capability will serve on a consultant basis only. Carla Todaro will serve as chair until January 2008 at which time Amy Ross will take the position as QEP Director.|
Executive Summary............................................................................................................ 7
Introduction to Walters State Community College........................................................... 8
Students' Economic and Educational Attainment Demographics.................................. 9
History of the College.............................................................................................. 11
Chapter One: QEP Foundations...................................................................................... 14
Critical Issues to be Addressed................................................................................ 17
Early Development.................................................................................................. 20
QEP's Role in Institutional Effectiveness................................................................... 23
Chapter Two: Community Involvement.......................................................................... 31
Development of the QEP......................................................................................... 31
Marketing the Message............................................................................................ 31
Chapter Three: A Review of Related Literature........................................................... 35
Teaching/Learning Styles.......................................................................................... 35
Chapter Four: Implementation Plan............................................................................... 42
Implementation of QEP Pilot Courses...................................................................... 42
Implementation Beyond the Pilot.............................................................................. 43
Implementation Timeline........................................................................................... 46
Chapter Five: Assessment.............................................................................................. 47
Selection of Learning Styles Instrument..................................................................... 47
Outcomes Measurement.......................................................................................... 48
Engagement Measurement....................................................................................... 55
Assessment in QEP Expansion Classes.................................................................... 56
Chapter Six: Faculty Development................................................................................. 59
Chapter Seven: Institutional Capability ........................................................................ 63
Budget ................................................................................................................... 67
Appendix 1, ACT High School Profile 2006............................................................ 77
Appendix 2, WSCC Student Focus Group Comments............................................. 79
Appendix 3, CCSSE Institutional Research Update 11-20-06.................................. 82
Appendix 4, 2001-06 Student Achievement, General Education............................... 86
Appendix 5, 2005-06 THEC Performance Funding Report...................................... 87
Appendix 6, 2006 Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP)............ 88
Appendix 7, 2005 National Community College Benchmark Project......................... 89
Appendix 8, Soloman-Felder Learning Styles Questionnaire..................................... 90
Appendix 9, 2005 Student Cohort Data................................................................... 92
Appendix 10, Faculty Development Library Resources............................................. 94
Appendix 11, Teaching Styles Library Resources..................................................... 95
The faculty, staff, and students of Walters State Community College have identified a need for increased student learning and engagement as evidenced by student self-reporting, faculty and staff perception, and institutional data reflecting low retention rates and poor mastery of course objectives. Within the general student population, students in the developmental mathematics program demonstrated the greatest need; therefore, the implementation of the plan will begin with pilot courses in this area and will expand over the next five years to involve a percentage of all General Education courses.
The focus of the Quality Enhancement Plan, "SLATED for Success," is to increase student learning and engagement through faculty and student recognition of diverse student learning styles and incorporation of multiple modalities of teaching methods in an effort to engage students more fully in their educational environment, thus increasing student learning.
Walters State Community College shall be a regional college of choice with twenty-first century campuses, dedicated to excellence in teaching and service, guided by shared values and principles, and inspired to exceed student and community expectations (Walters State Community College 2006-2007 College Catalog and Student Handbook, p. 6).
Walters State Community College, a public two-year higher education institution, is a component of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The mission of Walters State is consistent with the college's shared vision for guiding the college into the twenty-first century and with the values expressed within the Campus Compact. Walters State is a learning-centered, comprehensive community college established to provide affordable and quality higher education opportunities for the residents of upper East Tennessee. The college offers programs of study that lead to the Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, and Associate of Applied Science degrees. The college has degree programs built on a General Education foundation that emphasize learning outcomes and provide information technology instruction across the curriculum. Students may receive a certificate of credit for programs of study of one year or less; students may also receive a certificate of recognition for non-credit programs and services.
To facilitate student learning and transfer, the college maintains articulation, collaboration, and partnerships with public schools, technology centers, colleges, and universities. Service to business and industry is facilitated through the utilization of partnerships, networks, and customized programs and courses supporting the development of competitive products, services, and operations. The college provides faculty and staff of the highest quality dedicated to excellence in teaching, student learning, and service (Walters State Community College 2006-2007 College Catalog and Student Handbook, p. 7, par. 2 and 4 omitted).
As a comprehensive community college, Walters State provides leadership to a geographically large and diverse service area. The primary service area includes the counties of Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Sevier, and Union. The college has a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR)-approved expanded service area including other East Tennessee counties for Public Safety and Health programs. The college's strategic planning and continuous improvement system is designed to promote maximum accessibility and accountability and to enhance overall institutional effectiveness. The college assesses and responds to changing community needs and provides opportunities for enhancing the quality of life throughout the service area (Walters State Community College 2006-2007 College Catalog and Student Handbook, p. 7).
Higher than average poverty, dropout, and unemployment rates are predominant characteristics of rural mountainous counties in Appalachia. In East Tennessee, WSCC serves both valley and mountainous counties. The economic reality of the region shapes the experiences of its rural community college students. Many students come from households with poor educational backgrounds which translate into less social and cultural capital, a further reason for a QEP focus that specifically targets ways to improve student learning and engagement, equipping students with tools for academic success.
Walters State's ten-county service area historically has lagged behind other sections of the state and nation for income and educational attainment. Counties in the WSCC service area consistently have higher levels of poverty and lower average incomes than the state average (See Table 1). Two counties, Cocke and Hancock, remain on the Appalachian Regional Commission's distressed county list for 2007 (ARC, 2007). Overall, none of the ten counties in the school's service area were at or above the state average for high school or college attainment between 1980 and 2000 when looking at percentage of the population with a high school or college degree (See Table 2).
|Country||(%) High School Degrees||(%) College Degrees|
|(Source: Appalachia Regional Commission)|
|Country||High School Degrees||College Degrees|
|(Source: Appalachian Regional Commission)|
In 1957, the Pierce-Albright Report on Higher Education in Tennessee was made to the Tennessee Legislative Council. This report reflected the need for additional higher education opportunities to be provided for the average Tennessean. Upper East Tennessee was one of many places where higher education was not readily available to the citizens. In 1963, the Tennessee General Assembly appropriated $200,000 for use over a two-year period to implement the Pierce-Albright Report. The State Board of Education, under the direction of Commissioner J. Howard Warf, developed plans for the establishment of a group of community colleges to serve these areas without access to higher education. The goal was to have one of these colleges within a 30-40 mile commuting distance of every Tennessean. Admission to these colleges was not to be restrictive to recent high school graduates, but was to be an "open door" opportunity with colleges serving a whole community from ages 18 to 80. Acting upon the recommendations of Governor Frank G. Clement and the State Department of Education, the 1965 Tennessee General Assembly authorized the establishment of the first three of these colleges, one to be located in each of the State's three Grand Divisions. Columbia, in 1966, became the first operational community college in Tennessee; Cleveland and Jackson opened in 1967. Dyersburg and Tullahoma provided sites for the next two which opened in 1969. Walters State Community College, located in Morristown, was the sixth such college. Its opening date was September 1970.
In 1969, the General Assembly authorized three more community colleges: Roane State in Harriman, Volunteer State in Gallatin, and Shelby State in Memphis. The nine community colleges and the regional universities were under jurisdiction of the State Board of Education. Chapter 838 of the Public Acts of 1972 authorized establishment of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee, today known as the Tennessee Board of Regents System. The elements of the System include the state universities and state community colleges which had been under the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents, and the Chancellor. The new system of governance became effective on July 1, 1972. Chattanooga State Technical Community College, the tenth community college, was added to the community college system in 1973. Since that time, the state's technical institutes have been upgraded to community college status, and the addition of 26 area technology centers has made the Tennessee Board of Regents System the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. The Tennessee Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees of The University of Tennessee System are coordinated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
The sixth community college in Tennessee, Walters State Community College, was named for former U.S. Senator Herbert S. Walters who played a key role in its establishment. In 1970 the campus of Walters State was under construction, and temporary quarters were used during the first year of operation. The College Center Building was completed in the fall of 1971. The next major addition to the campus was the Career Technology Building which was completed in the winter quarter of 1975. The Life Sciences Building, completed in December 1979, was essential to provide needed classroom and faculty offices for a rapidly growing student body. In the summer of 1979, the construction of the Humanities Complex began. The project was completed in the fall of 1980. In December of 1979, the college added the plant operations building to the physical facilities inventory to handle the functions of maintenance and repair. In 1994, the college began construction of its Campus Development Phase II master plan which would include a new library, math/science building, public safety center, and administration building. The new library opened in May of 1997. In response to community requests, in March of 1996, the Walters State Community College Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center opened in White Pine, Tennessee.
Walters State received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges in 1972 and, after completion of an effective institutional self-study program, received reaffirmation of accreditation in 1976. Extensive institutional self-studies were completed during 1985-87 and 1995-97. Subsequent to the successful self-studies, Walters State received reaffirmation of accreditation in December 1987 and in December 1997 (Walters State Community College 2006-2007 College Catalog and Student Handbook, p. 6).
Over 6,000 students were enrolled at Walters State during the 2005-2006 academic year. These students were taught by 165 full-time faculty members and 150 adjunct faculty. Walters State maintains campuses in Morristown, Sevierville, Greeneville, and Tazewell. The Walters State Greeneville Center will be renovated extensively in the near future, while the Walters State Sevierville Center has begun an 8.2 million dollar expansion project. In addition to these campuses, the school offers classes at extension sites in Claiborne County, Cocke County, Hawkins County, and Washington County.
Programs of study at Walters State may be found on page 50 of the Walters State Community College 2006-2007 College Catalog and Student Handbook.
In Fall 2004, Walters State built its SACS Leadership Team which traveled to the SACS Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In Spring 2005, Faculty Representative and Associate Professor of English Carla Todaro, accompanied by Walters State Internal Auditor Cindy Kington, began a series of one-hour focus groups to ascertain critical issues regarding student learning that the institution felt needed to be addressed. These focus groups began with faculty: 22 focus groups were conducted at the Morristown, Greeneville, and Sevierville campuses to give each faculty member the opportunity to answer two questions:
Question 1: If you could identify one issue that seems to hinder student learning at Walters State, what would it be?
Question 2: What can Walters State Community College do to improve student learning?
Answers to these questions widely varied, yet one thing remained constant: the enthusiasm generated in those focus groups by faculty who were given the time to speak about their greatest concerns regarding student learning, including the perception that they "spoke one language" while their students "understood another," and their recommendations for how student learning could be stimulated and strengthened[WSCC1] , including stronger study skills and students' knowledge of how they learn best.
In Summer 2005, Todaro and Kington conducted focus groups with all professional and support staff of the college from each campus, asking them the same two questions that they had asked faculty. Many focus group meetings extended longer than the one-hour time period simply because staff felt that they had much to share from their observations of students and learning that differed from the faculty's perspective[WSCC2] . Because they saw the students outside of the classroom and listened to their concerns, worries, and life responsibilities, all of which served to distract the students from their studies and from forming social ties to the college and their peers, these staff members felt that faculty who could make the time in the classroom more meaningful and targeted more directly at the students instead of just at the material would be more successful in improving student learning. In short, these staff members called for student-centered learning environments.
In Fall 2005, Todaro and Kington conducted eight separate focus groups for students at the Morristown, Greeneville, and Sevierville campuses. In an attempt to gain input from a representative cross-section of students, focus groups were scheduled during the day, during the evening, and online. Participation was sought from first-semester students as well as from those near graduation. Focus group questions were tailored to students in the following ways:
Question 1: If you could identify one issue that would improve your learning, what would it be? Or, what seems to hinder your learning?
Question 2: What can Walters State Community College do to improve student learning?
Just as faculty and staff quickly grew interested in the questions, so did the students. They had strong opinions about both questions once they were able to move beyond their skepticism regarding why they were being asked these questions in the first place. Students took responsibility for their learning ("I hinder my own learning because I have no discipline"; "I never learned how to learn") and also laid responsibility at the door of the instructors and the institution ("My instructors move through the material too quickly for me to absorb it, and they never consider that I might have been left behind two chapters ago"; "Walters State could improve my learning by making our schedules more flexible and by offering student services at night and online"). They were eager to share their concerns, and they expressed a desire to "learn how to learn."
After completion of the focus groups, Kington compiled the individual responses and grouped them into seven categories:
During this time period of the focus groups, Todaro and Kington conducted staff and faculty forums to keep everyone apprised of the progress of the QEP topic selection progress and to solicit further suggestions. The SACS Leadership Team met monthly, and Carla Todaro provided periodic updates to Walters State's Executive Council and Faculty Council.
As the faculty, SACS Leadership Team, and Executive Council began to discuss the focus group response categories, they found that a number of concerns overlapped. The faculty's and staff's deepest academic concerns included:
After deliberation, Walters State faculty and staff concluded that choosing one of these statements to name "most important" would be impossible. Therefore, they decided to combine them into topics that would encompass the issues that they felt to be important and would, at the same time, lend themselves to direct measurement of student learning. These two broad topics were 1) instructor teaching styles and student learning styles and 2) life responsibilities that seem to negatively impact student achievement. Following this combination, they worked in conjunction with the Walters State Library staff to conduct a brief literature review related to topics. The literature review focused on topics such as motivation (Dembo, 2004), collaborative learning (Drew, 1990), adult learners (Fairchild, 2003; Hayes, 1996), inquiry learning (Harada & Yoshina, 2004), responsibility for learning (Howell, 2001), addressing student preconceptions (Lucas & Myers, 2004), advising (Marques, 2005), assessing learning styles (Rochford, 2003), student success strategies (Sayles & Shelton, 2005), teacher expectations of students (Schilling & Schilling, 1999), diversity of learning styles (Tomlinson, 1999; Vaiie, Cabanach, Gonzalez-Pienda, & Pineiro, 2003), and differentiated instruction (VanSciver, 2005). Ms. Todaro shared this literature review with faculty in preparation for the topic vote.
In November 2005, faculty members were given the opportunity to vote for one of the two QEP topics that had been formalized into statements of action:
Faculty members were reminded to keep the tenets of the QEP in mind regarding SACS expectations:
Although there was strong support for the ideas of the second topic, many faculty members and the QEP chair expressed concern that it would be difficult to narrow it to a focus that could be measurable and directly linked to student learning. In the end, the faculty voted to adopt the first topic that focused on the application of teaching/learning styles knowledge to engagement and course competency.
In February 2006, Walters State's SACS Leadership Team hosted a campus-wide "SACS Rollout" in the R. Jack Fishman Library; faculty and staff enjoyed refreshments to the tune of Kool and the Gang's, "Celebrate!" President McCamey delivered an overview of the compliance and QEP processes and reminded each person of his or her role in the reaffirmation of accreditation through assignment to SACS committees. He also explained the duties and importance of each committee. Administrators, faculty and staff spent the rest of the afternoon in committee meetings with committee chairs and writers.
At this time, the QEP Development Committee was formed from eighteen faculty members, two professional staff, and two faculty members as QEP Chair and QEP Writer/Reviewer. Carla Todaro, QEP Chair, distributed a packet consisting of a QEP Developmental Committee membership roster, dates and deadlines, QEP Development Committee tasks, excerpts from The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement covering aspects of the SACS review that pertain to the QEP, two sample tables of contents from the QEP documents of other institutions, and websites for Learning Style Assessment tools. In briefly reviewing material from the packet, the chair noted the importance of the QEP to the reaffirmation of accreditation process and explained the great deal of flexibility they had in developing the QEP to fit and benefit Walters State students.
The first charge of the QEP Development Committee was to narrow the QEP topic to an inspiring, transformative vision and a workable goal. Over several weeks, the committee discussed the possibilities and implications of the various components of the topic; they sent their ideas to the general faculty population for feedback. As a result of the discussion and feedback, they set a Walters State Quality Enhancement Plan Vision and Goal:
QEP Vision: Walters State will be a learning-centered institution that enhances student learning and reaches high achievement through increased engagement and a working awareness of various teaching and learning styles.
QEP Goal: To improve student engagement and increase competency of learning outcomes, Walters State will identify a diversity of learning styles and implement a variety of teaching styles in the classroom. We will come to understand better our students and ourselves in order to help students forge stronger connections with learning and to help them reach greater academic success.
Next, the committee struggled with how to define "engagement": some members equated student engagement with individual motivation; others equated it with class participation. After a thorough review of the current literature on student engagement, they found the following definition that seemed to be broad enough to encompass the differences between courses yet narrow enough to be measured: "[t]he concept of active involvement on the part of students with faculty and staff, classmates, and the subject matter" (Manzo, 2006, p. 4).
In Fall 2006, the QEP Development Committee named QEP Representatives for each academic division, each campus, and the Walters State professional staff. These representatives disseminate information from the committee to the Walters State constituencies. The committee then divided into teams to facilitate the decision-making for specific components of the plan. Teams met with their leader every week and the QEP chair and writer every two weeks. The new teams were
The QEP Development Committee gathered and analyzed existing Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), ACT and Walters State Cohort data to determine where the greatest area of need lay, considering such factors as engagement, success and persistence rates, and overall course grades. A review of three years of ACT high school profile data for Walters State's ten-county service area indicated that 60-70% of graduating high school seniors are not prepared for college-level work (Appendix 1). ACT reports for the state of Tennessee mirror this percentage. Data from the 2005 Walters State Cohort Report show that 68.7% of students Walters State students must take developmental math (Appendix 8); this number exceeded Developmental Reading by 32.5% and Developmental Writing by 23.1%. This cohort data also indicated that more students placed into Developmental Mathematics 0800 (Elementary Algebra—DSPM 0800) than into Developmental Mathematics 0700 (Arithmetic) or Developmental Mathematics 0850 (Intermediate Algebra) (Appendix 8). Therefore, the institution decided that DSPM 0800 should be the first area of focus for QEP. Student comments in focus groups supported the soundness of this decision; students claimed that they "need better math skills—our learning is crippled because we do not have a good foundation" (Appendix 2).
For these reasons, Elementary Algebra (DSPM 0800 was selected for the QEP pilot that will begin in August 2007. In Summer 2006, two Walters State developmental math instructors, Dr. Mary Owens and Mr. Chris Knight, volunteered to teach the QEP pilot classes (DSPM 0800) in Fall 2007. The dean of mathematics, Dr. John LaPrise, joined the QEP Development Team at this time, attending meetings as needed.
The goals of Walters State's Quality Enhancement Plan include improving the short term and long term learning environments, both implicitly and explicitly, for faculty and for students. In the short term, students will gain valuable self-knowledge about how they learn best and easiest, and they will gain tools for maximizing the benefits of those preferences. In the long-term, faculty and students will also become familiar with how others learn (and how others teach), enhancing their success with lifelong learning by aiding them in growing more adaptable and successful in various types of learning situations.
Implicitly, the goal of this plan is to improve the learning environment by placing emphasis on "learning to learn," underscoring for the student and for the instructor the vital connection between thinking, engagement, and deep learning. Explicitly, the methodology of this plan will improve the learning environment by sparking interest and motivation in the classroom, resulting in stronger student confidence due to higher levels of student competency. As by-products, the school expects to see persistence and retention rates climb as students and instructors scaffold new learning experiences upon the foundations of knowing themselves and using that knowledge to move forward and to surmount obstacles. Through the sharing of students' individual learning styles, this learning environment will reach from the classroom out toward tutoring services, counseling services, advising services, retention services, and other key student services which play vital roles in helping students succeed. The QEP focus and student learning are inextricably linked through the causal relationship between an active knowledge of learning styles and increased engagement with the content, leading to a rise in content knowledge and a greater enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
Student focus groups revealed a strong desire for a faculty focus on various learning styles. Students asserted that they "have different learning styles [and] need different methods of teaching." They also claimed that "presenting material in different ways makes it more interesting" because "teachers who only read information are not enjoyed. They do not discuss other perceptions." They wanted teachers to "engage students more by asking questions in class, rather than just lecturing." As a way to vary teaching styles and to address a diversity of learning styles, these students suggested "active learning - let students take a chapter to teach" and "group projects that help us to see other's ways of working on tasks" (Appendix 2). Current literature in the fields of teaching and learning styles reveals that these are common student perceptions and that their suggestions are highly effective in the college classroom (Chapter 3: Review of Literature), and CCSSE concludes that students learn more when they are actively involved in their education and have opportunities to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings. Through collaborating with others to solve problems or master challenging content, students develop valuable skills that prepare them to deal with the kinds of situations and problems they will encounter in the workplace, the community, and their personal lives (2006 CCSSE Report).
Walters State takes pride in the fact that current CCSSE reports indicate that its students report a high satisfaction rate with instructors and instructors' dedication to teaching and to student success (Appendix 3); nevertheless, students shared in focus groups that they do not feel empowered to understand the course material, nor do they feel that they participate in any "real" way with the skills they are expected to master. The idea of lack of or low engagement on the part of both faculty and students was repeated: faculty reported that "students think instructors are entertainers; they don't want to put forth any effort"; they "come unprepared and want WSCC to pour in the information" (Appendix 2). In focus groups, students conceded that "student motivation is an issue" (Walters State Community College Student Focus Group Comments). However, students felt that student engagement was a responsibility of the instructor as well, claiming that "we need enthusiastic teaching…and better teacher engagement. You can tell which teachers love to teach and those who are just going through the motions" (Appendix 2). The QEP addresses this perception of low engagement by seeking new ways to reach out to students "where they are," attempting to determine their learning styles, and then using an attention to those learning styles to help student involvement and participation become a strong factor in the learning and skills-mastery equation.
Student Achievement in General Education data for 2001-2006 showed that Walters State students score above the national mean on the Academic Profile (AP) the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP) (Appendix 5). Nevertheless, competency in course outcomes is not consistent across courses and disciplines at Walters State; pass/fail data and persistence data reveal that students are not as competent in course outcomes as would be desired by faculty, staff, future employers, or the students themselves. For example, the 2005-2006 Tennessee Higher Education Commission Performance Funding Report indicated that Walters State falls 4.1% behind its benchmark peers in "completion of D/R course and subsequent completion of math college-level courses" (Appendix 6). The 2006 MAPP test also showed that students are almost equally distributed in the 25th (109/130), 50th (112/130), and 75th (116/130) percentiles in mathematics skills proficiency; reading and writing distributions are similar (Appendix 7). In addition, according to the 2005 National Community College Benchmark Report (NCCBP), Walters State's 2004-2005 general fall-to-fall persistence rate was 49% (Appendix 6). Walters State's QEP will operate under the assumption that a focus on student learning styles and increasing engagement will stimulate more frequent and successful study and application of course concepts, leading to a more positive demonstration of competency in course outcomes.
QEP Relationship to WSCC's Vision
The QEP fits into the stated vision of Walters State by showing a strong "dedication to excellent teaching and service, guided by shared values and principles." Through faculty development, faculty will grow in their awareness of learning styles and in skills to address these styles. From its inception, the QEP was faculty/staff/student driven; the topic is one that was voiced many times during focus groups and further discussions with these college constituencies. Therefore, they are united in their conviction that this focus is a meaningful and timely way to improve student learning and to transform the institution.
QEP Relationship to WSCC's Mission
The QEP helps to fulfill the stated mission of the institution: it is a viable way to "guide the college into the twenty-first century" because it is designed to keep instructors current in the field of learning styles, and it is designed, through its focus on the student and his or her particular learning tendencies, to offer students more individualized plans of instruction and remediation than have existed in the past. The mission states that Walters State is "learning centered," and the QEP takes the institution further down that path. The QEP ties directly to student learning outcomes for each course; therefore, it supports the portion of the mission focused on "emphasizing learning outcomes." It supports "developmental education programs for academic enrichment" by giving students, instructors, advisors, counselors, tutors, and retention officers tools and information that they can use to increase student success and persistence through developmental courses. In addition, the QEP supports personal development and leadership skills through its focus on increasing engagement in the classroom. In these ways, the QEP will impact overall institutional effectiveness as it spreads from developmental classes through the General Education program and beyond.
QEP Relationship to WSCC's Strategic Plan
The four components of Walters State's 2005-2010 Strategic Plan align with the four components of TBR's 2005-2010 Strategic Plan. These are leadership, access, quality, and resourcefulness. The QEP grows directly from and firmly supports each of these components.
QEP Relationship to WSCC's Campus Compact
In Walters State's Campus Compact, the institution vows to create and maintain an "educationally purposeful community…a place where we share academic goals and work together to strengthen teaching and learning…." Sharing academic goals and working together to strengthen academics is inherent in the QEP. Faculty, staff, and students alike identified as issues low engagement and low performance in course competencies; therefore, the QEP addresses an issue relevant and important to the Walters State community. The QEP then shines a strong and intense light on what takes place in the classroom between instructor and student, seeking to impact both teaching and learning in a positive way.
Walters State also is committed to sustaining a "just community, a place where the sacredness of the person is honored and where diversity is aggressively pursued," as stated in the Campus Compact. Underlying all actions of the QEP is the firm conviction that recognition of diversity and use of that diversity to aid students is integral to the learning process; in seeking to better understand particular learning strengths in the individual, the institution honors and supports that individual in a way that can directly impact engagement and achievement.
Walters State ensured broad-based involvement of its college community in the selection of the QEP topic. This involvement included focus groups conducted with every faculty and staff member at every Walters State campus to ascertain ways to improve student learning at the institution; this involvement also included eight focus groups of students, conducted during the day, during the evening, and online, targeted at the same information. The QEP Development Committee kept lines of communication open by sharing information with the SACS Leadership Team, Executive Council, the Strategic Planning Committee, and Faculty Council. It also maintained communication in person through division representatives responsible for relaying information to faculty and staff verbally, in print through resources such as the Walters State Bulletin, and through electronic media such as InfoSys.
The QEP Development Committee's Marketing Team was formed in February 2006. The team includes members from three Walters State campuses and representatives from various academic divisions, affording the body a diverse base of representation. The team's leader is Mr. Joe Fall, Ed.S., Associate Professor of Business and Department Head of Hospitality Business. Mr. Fall teaches at the Sevier County campus.
The Marketing Team's first task was to develop a motto for the QEP that would articulate the focus in an easily understood and memorable way. In March 2006, the team assembled to develop this motto and to brainstorm ideas that would stimulate interest and excitement and educate all key constituents including faculty, staff, students, and the Walters State community at large. The committee developed a slogan for the QEP: "SLATED for Success." SLATED is an acronym for Student Learning and Teaching Effectiveness Development and embodies the QEP components that the institution wishes to emphasize.
During Spring 2006, the Marketing Team developed an agenda of activities for 2006-2007. The means by which they decided to communicate the QEP message included the use of print and electronic media; promotional items and apparel; verbal updates at each campus, within academic divisions, and to the internal community at general assemblies, special student gatherings and through the involvement of student clubs. The team planned a logo contest that would be opened to all students/clubs at the college with the intent to engage students in developing a logo using the SLATED acronym. The developer of the winning logo would receive $500.00 and would be recognized at Walters State Pride Night in the Fall 2006 semester. The winning logo would become the emblem of the QEP to be used in many of the aforementioned marketing ideas.
In Fall 2006, QEP plans were unveiled to the faculty and the staff at the annual President's Inaugural Breakfast, at the general faculty meeting in August, and in beginning semester division meetings by the QEP division representatives. The QEP Development Committee distributed ink pens and notepads displaying the QEP slogan at the breakfast, and faculty members distributed QEP bookmarks to students the first day of classes. During this semester, several students and student clubs entered the logo contest, and the committee selected a winner in November. The logo adopted is n addition, during this fall semester Walters State's Production Horticulture classes planted flowers spelling out "Q-E-P" in the quadrangle of the Morristown campus. This display attracted much "passers-by" attention and interest. The Production Horticulture department intends to refresh the display each semester with seasonal plants.
In January 2007, the Marketing Team leader met with the other QEP team leaders to review the QEP marketing plan for the next five years. A preliminary marketing budget was established for presentation to the SACS Leadership Team for their approval. This budget was later modified after the spring budget hearings. The team developed and refined a media action plan and a list of promotional items to be distributed among all faculty, staff, and students with the "QEP: SLATED For Success" logo or slogan. The media campaign also included hanging 4' x 6' banners displaying the "QEP: SLATED For Success" logo inside the main entrance at each of the four Walters State campuses and centers, displaying 11" x 17" QEP posters in public areas and in classrooms, and utilizing 4" x 6" table tents on tables and counters in locations such as libraries and cafeterias. In addition, a one-page "QEP Frequently Asked Questions" flier was developed which pointedly addresses the fundamentals of the QEP. These fliers were distributed to academic administrators by the Vice President of Academic Affairs for distribution to all full-time and adjunct faculty members with the intention of delivering an encapsulated look at the purpose of the QEP. Finally, a QEP page was included in the Fall 2007 timetable of classes, and the "QEP SLATED For Success" logo will appear on the college home webpage as a student and community link for QEP updates and information beginning Fall 2007.
Looking to the future, information regarding the QEP will be displayed on a series of slides on the internal INFOSYS which is broadcast to all campuses. The slides will also be displayed on the Morristown local public information television station, Channel 7. The Statesman and the Bulletin (both college print media) will display QEP information and updates in each of the current and upcoming editions. These print materials will be available at all campuses.
In Fall 2007, the QEP Marketing Team will work in conjunction with the Vice President for Student Affairs to upgrade the annual fall "Welcome Back Students" cookouts which are held each September at the Morristown, Sevierville, and Greeneville campuses. Special activities will take place at each cookout. For example, t-shirts, ball caps, and other QEP logo apparel and promotional items will be distributed to students, faculty and staff. Members of Walters State's Executive Council will be present and will participate in activities in order to underscore the importance and relevance of the QEP to all Walters State stakeholders. During this QEP Fall Rollout, "Roving Representatives" comprised of college Executive Council members, including the president, will visit each campus and choose random students to ask what the QEP is about. Students who answer correctly will receive an immediate cash prize. This campaign will be promoted in the Walters State media and in the classroom by faculty.
The Marketing Team should stay intact throughout the entire timeline of the QEP for the purpose of QEP promotional continuity. The budget carries forth monies for each year to adequately support and promote the plan, as indicated in Chapter Seven.
In May 2006, the Literature Review team began to locate and summarize current literature and review best practices collected by the QEP Development Committee on teaching and learning styles, engagement, outcomes, and assessment, compiling the material in November 2006. Initial emphasis was placed on literature in developmental education, specifically math, with a focus on remedial student learning styles since this is the QEP pilot area of focus; however, the team also looked for information concerning the application of learning styles awareness to general education classrooms as well, since the QEP will head in that direction during the next five years. The ongoing process involved collaboration with the Faculty Development, Outcomes, and Engagement teams along with representatives from remedial math. The committee worked closely with on-campus faculty who are familiar with the concept of teaching and learning styles, and QEP team members periodically reviewed the literature[WSCC3] .
A number of researchers asserted that understanding student learning styles serves a dual purpose of helping instructors to address student diversity in learning styles and assisting students to improve learning by increasing self-awareness, engagement, and positive educational outcomes. Acharya (2002), in looking at ways in which learning style could impact student learning, used Keefe's description of learning style as, "the composition of cognitive, affective, and physiological learning preferences" (cited in Acharya, 2002, ¶2). She indicated that Keefe believed that learning is a composition, and learning styles, like great constructions of architecture, use different elements to create an entire learning environment. In addition, much of the research emphasized that learning styles are a dynamic construction of learning preferences (Silver, Strong & Perini, 1997).
In considering best practices behind learning strategies, Boylan (2002) found that developmental students have more problems understanding and monitoring their own comprehension than do other students. He suggested that, "it is important to teach learning strategies in a variety of contexts to encourage [these] students to apply these strategies to different situations" (p. 99). Miglietti and Strange (1998) contended that teaching strategies should consider instruction goals, student characteristics, and course progression, indicating that a combination of multiple paradigms assists in providing a positive learning environment for students. These researchers' study involved a population of both traditional and non-traditional students and confirmed that when learner-centered styles were deliberately addressed, higher course grades were the result (Miglietti & Strange, 1998). The preponderance of Miglietti and Strange's work not only contributed to the conception that individuals' learning styles indicate their preference in terms of ways in which they gather, process, and store information, but also concluded that students attained a greater sense of self-actualization through this method of learning.
Bill (1998) supported the findings of Miglietti and Strange and the concept of diverse learning styles when he concluded that when an instructor varied the presentation modality, a larger portion of students could be positively affected. Here, again, familiarity with students' learning styles further supported the belief that learning preference contributes to the composition of cognitive, affective, and physiological learning.
Haar, Hall, Schoepp, and Smith (2002) likewise discovered that it was important for teachers to identify, by using a learning style assessment, the instructor's principal learning style in order to avoid teaching only to their own dominant and preferred style of learning. Cross and Tilson (1997) additionally concluded that when teaching style was congruent with the learning styles, the students acclimatized to their learning environment exceptionally well. Ebeling (2000) believed that faculty understanding of their own learning style, as well as that of students, is an essential element of an effective educational community, creating a learning environment that aligns the teaching plan with the variant learning styles present (Ebeling 2000). Morrison, Rha, and Helfman's (2003) study examining the effectiveness of a teaching-learning model indicated that by using different teaching modalities in the classroom, students connected to meaningful learning experiences. Ballone and Czerniak (2001) analyzed a survey sample of 109 Ohio teachers and found that using a variety of teaching strategies resulted in greater student success. Teaching style plays a mutually dependent function in the educational arena: when faculty discover and obtain an understanding of their teaching styles, that understanding facilitates accommodation of diverse student learning styles.
Studies in the field showed that providing compatible instructional strategies, especially among less academically successful students, was an effective way to address success in remedial classes (Dunn et al. 1993; Rochford 2003). Rochford further claimed that students need to be tested for individual learning styles so that both students and instructors can use this information for optimum learning (p. 675). Application of learning styles inventories showed promise for increasing success in remedial writing classes (Houston, 1997) and remedial math classes (Nadkarni, 2004).
Successful application of learning style inventories in all classes occurs best when faculty are able to provide a broader array of teaching style options once they understand how their students learn. The American Mathematical Association of Two Year Colleges (2006) argued that an effective mathematics curriculum is one that provides students of every learning style an opportunity to engage in a topic, connect with the material, and then stretch their learning capacity in other learning modes (Chapter 4). Dunn and Stevenson (1997) and Honigsfeld and Dunn (2006) argued that identifying learning styles and providing information on how to study, along with examining the relationship between grades and teaching and learning styles, can improve success for non-traditional and poorly-achieving students.
Combining teaching and learning styles, instructors can design activities that engage students in active learning. A doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University discovered that she had a large portion of students who were kinesthetic learners (Dodds, 2004) which led her to change the manner in which she presented material in class. She added several more demonstrations and increased her interactive lectures to increase student engagement. Other researchers also suggested that student engagement has a significantly positive effect on student success. Bonwell, Eison & Cook noted that "[i]dentifying a student's learning style can support professors' efforts to utilize active learning strategies" (cited in Fritz, 2002, ¶1). The evidence supports the belief that students who are involved in active learning have the potential to produce healthier learning attitudes. Therefore, incorporating learning styles in an active teaching process, as indicated by these researchers, would produce graduates who would have the potential for higher achievement, positive involvement, and enhanced retention. Klem and Connell (2004) further supported linking instructors' methods of delivery to student engagement. They concluded that a healthy and interactive student/faculty relationship results in a comfortable learning environment, and such engagement produces a significant increase in students remaining in school and graduating.
In an effort to improve student engagement, schools have been implementing efforts to incorporate "active and collaborative learning activities and promoting internship and senior capstone experiences" (What we're learning, 2003, ¶53). This form of engagement seems to occur when teachers include activities that appeal to the way students like to learn. When instructors create strategies that arouse curiosity, stimulate interest, and motivate students to seek new information, the students become inquisitive (Caram & Davis, 2005). Students who are drawn to that level of inquisitiveness become actively charged to understand "why" and are not afraid to raise questions. Burns, Johnson, and Gable's (1998) research emphasized that instructors should seek to create an atmosphere where students feel safe to risk failure for the sake of learning. If students are engaged to the extent that they are able to identify with and value schooling outcomes and participate in academic and non-academic school activities, then learning, teaching, and engagement unify into a learning community in which students are comfortable in classroom participation (Willms, 2000).
Forrest (2004) stated that "learning and teaching are active processes occurring simultaneously on a continual basis" (¶1). She contended that with a dual focus on learning and teaching styles, students would become engaged because they would become more motivated and attentive. She also concluded that the "process of exploring the effectiveness of one's teaching styles enhances the ability to facilitate the learning process" (¶2).
Beck (2001) further supported the idea that teaching and learning are closely linked when teachers have an extensive repertory of teaching strategies. Nevertheless, he cautioned that instructors must take care not to stereotype students into categories, and students should be taught that tasks can be accomplished by using different styles. Beck (2001) also believed that "the student who feels locked into one style [is] likely to experience frustration when confronted with a task that [is] more successfully accomplished by integrating styles" (¶29).
Bowen (2005) provided great insight when he stated, "perhaps the most important contribution of engagement [is] the focus it brings to the learner's personal relationship to learning" (¶12). Like others, Bowen (2005) recognized that engagement is dependent upon both teaching and learning. If learning styles were understood and teaching styles were manipulated to reach as many students as possible, engagement would complement the entire learning environment. Research showed that engagement in active and collaborative learning is essential for student success. The more actively engaged students are with faculty, available services, and other students, the more likely they will learn effectively and continue in college (CCSSE, 2005; 2006; Pascerella and Terenzini, 2005). Chen and McGrath (2003), supporting Bowen's theory of creating learning environments of student involvement, studied a sample of 42 high school students to discover that learning combined with information that the students gathered collaboratively "often related to greater levels of student motivation, effort, satisfaction, and higher standards of student projects" (Chen & McGrath, 2003, 52).
Current research suggested that developmental, and/or minority and part-time students often experience less engagement and social integration into college campus systems than traditional full-time students in nondevelopmental classes (Boylan, 2002; CSSEE, 2005; 2006; Lederman, 2006; Triesman, 1992; Swail, 2006). In addition, recent studies drawing on the National Survey of Student Engagement showed that good practices of engagement may be particularly important for the success of underprepared students, a population that is representative of a large portion of Walters State's student body. These studies found that underprepared students' exposure to educationally effective practices is associated with higher grades and contributes to their persistence to the second year of college (Cruce et al., 2006; Lederman, 2006; Kuh et al., 2007). Among other activities, developmental and part-time students can increase engagement by working with other students, participating in tutoring, and functioning in an institutional environment that emphasizes studying and academic work (Boylan, 2002).
Recent studies made the case that assessment of student engagement is important for institutional improvement (Banta, 1992; 2002). Assessment is crucial to developing evidence to build strategies for improving student success and campus relationships and culture (CSSEE, 2006; Kuh et al., 2005a; Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005) and works best when it engages faculty and students in the process (Rouseff-Baker and Holm, 2004).
In the spring of 2007, the QEP Development committee collected baseline data in four DSPM 0800 classes through the use of pre- and post-tests containing test items linked to course objectives. They analyzed this data to determine a baseline for course outcome improvement in the pilot classes beginning Fall 2007. They studied recent CCSSE data to determine a baseline for student engagement improvement in the pilot classes. In the spring of 2007, the QEP pilot instructors attended faculty development conferences and workshops focused on the use of learning styles in mathematics classes and on assessment; one particularly useful conference was the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. They will continue to participate in training of this kind during the summer and fall.
In Fall 2007, the QEP pilot instructors will introduce QEP concepts to two treatment classes each; they will also conduct two control classes each so that they may compare the effects of the treatment to the fall data as well as to the spring 2007 data. These instructors will administer the Soloman-Felder Learning Styles Inventory (Appendix 7), discussed at length in chapter five, during the first week of classes and will use that data to help guide their teaching and their tutoring of students. They will direct their teaching—including introduction of concepts, skills practice, group activities, and homework-- to the eight types of learning styles identified by Solomon-Felder: active, reflective, sensing, intuitive, visual, verbal, sequential, and global. These instructors will not isolate and teach to only one learning style; in fact, they may incorporate several into one lesson or simultaneously; for example, it is quite easy to present material both visually and verbally (and quite common to do so in mathematics), and it makes sense to pair sequential and global learning since they work somewhat like two sides of the same coin. The goal of each mathematics unit is to present material and design activities that allow students of each learning style to respond. A lesson on an algebraic formula, for example, might include presenting an overview of what the formula is supposed to do and what it looks like, verbally explaining each step of the formula while visually manipulating the factors in the formula, allowing the students to manually manipulate the factors in the formula, and then giving students some quiet reflection time to think through what has been presented before they begin to practice the formula themselves.
These instructors will also administer a pre-test the first day of classes to be paired with a post-test on the final day of classes. Mastery of course competencies of individual students as well as of the classes will be compared to measure overall semester progress. These mathematics instructors also will administer periodically throughout the semester a qualitative assessment of engagement, tailored to the specifics of this particular mathematics course in this particular mathematics division. They will use feedback from these short engagement assessments to redirect their teaching and their students' learning as the semester progresses. Near the end of the semester, a short version of the CCSSE will be administered to these classes, and results will be analyzed and used to redirect the next semester's QEP classes.
The mathematics classes included in this QEP pilot will make extensive use of the Math Learning Lab, located in the same building. Tutors from this lab will be trained in the Solomon-Felder LSI and will be instructed to work with the students who need remediation according to their particular learning style. Instructors will teach to the diversity of learning styles in the classroom, while tutors will use individual learning styles to provide one-on-one supplementary teaching and practice.
From Spring 2007 until 2012, the college plans to include the Solomon-Felder LSI in the online registration process for all new students. Each student will be required to complete this LSI before they can exit the registration window, and the Solomon-Felder site will provide them with instantaneous information concerning how to study and learn according to their particular learning styles. Walters State will maintain a database of the learning style results for access by faculty, tutors, counselors, advisors, and retention officers in order to help tailor student support to many areas of the students' academic careers. This information will enable each person working with the student communicate more effectively with that student and to help that student make academic decisions suitable to how that student learns and understands. LSI information will be included on each faculty member's student roster the first day of classes; these faculty members will be free to use the information as they please until their discipline is enveloped into the QEP expansion, at which time there will be specific teaching/learning styles guidelines incorporated into those classes. The hope is that this information will also be available for analysis so that we can determine which learning styles Walters State students seem to prefer during any given academic year.
The QEP application will be expanded according to the following progression:
Before each expansion level, the QEP Implementation Committee will analyze engagement and course outcomes data in previous QEP classes and make general recommendations for revisions to future classes. In preparation for each level of expansion, the upcoming discipline will gather baseline course outcomes and engagement data to guide them in setting goals for engagement and competencies increases when their disciplines participate. Faculty, tutors, and related Student Services personnel will attend learning styles and course assessment training at the Walters State QEP Summer Institute which will begin in Summer 2008; they will also attend discipline-specific conferences and workshops in learning styles and assessment. This expansion will take place in courses offered on all campuses as well as in online courses offered in the specific disciplines. In addition, adjunct faculty as well as full-time faculty will have opportunities to participate in QEP training and courses, and the training will be offered in a variety of formats, including videostreaming and/or ITV.
As each discipline enters the QEP, it will tailor the QEP to fit its course content and departmental/division goals. No two disciplines will administer the QEP the same way, nor should they. The purpose of the QEP is for each instructor in each class to be able to engage his or her students at a higher level of understanding and performance than was done previously. Each instructor will be fully acquainted with Felder-Solomon's eight learning styles and how to direct his or her teaching to those styles, but the instructors in each discipline will retain great flexibility in determining how to go about this. Assessments will remain the same as in the pilot courses.
|Spring 2007||Assess DSPM 0800 baseline classes for pilot data; Provide faculty development for pilot instructors; promote QEP awareness|
|February||QEP Document due to WSCC Review Board|
|Summer 2007||Revisions and additions to QEP Document; Faculty development for pilot instructors|
|July||QEP Document due to SACS|
|Fall 2007||QEP Fall Rollout begins; QEP Pilot classes (DSPM 0800) begin|
|September||SACS On-Site Visit (3 days)|
|Spring 2008||Pilot courses data collection and assessment; Address SACS recommendations and file progress report Continue QEP in all pilot instructors' DSPM 0800 classes|
|Summer 2008||Faculty development for all DSPM instructors|
|Fall 2008-Spring 2009||Goal: 70% of DSPM (approximately 40 sections) incorporating QEP|
|Summer 2009||Faculty development for all developmental instructors|
|Fall 2009||Goal: 70% of all developmental classes (approximately 75 sections) running QEP|
|Spring 2010||Data collection and assessment: plan for application of QEP to General Education Classes|
|Summer 2010||Faculty development for all Gen Ed instructors|
|Fall 2010||Goal: 70% of all General Education courses (approximately 140 sections) running QEP|
|Spring 2011||Data collection and assessment; plan for application of QEP to other (non-Gen Ed) courses|
|Summer 2011||Faculty Development|
|Fall 2011||Goal: 70% of all courses running QEP|
|Spring 2012||Reassessment of effects of QEP:
Have we transformed our institution by enhancing student learning?
The QEP Development Committee examined several learning styles indicators in an attempt to choose one that would serve the purposes of the quality enhancement plan, would be helpful rather than cumbersome or intrusive to the instructor, and would be applicable to many disciplines. In 2006, Janice Donahue, leader of the QEP Faculty Development Team, and Charlie Williams, leader of the QEP Engagement Team, conducted a workshop for the QEP Development committee to further acquaint them with learning styles and their usefulness to the classroom. Subsequently, the committee examined the VARK (Visual-Aural-Read/Write-Kinesthetic) Inventory, but after committee members had taken the inventory and studied the literature, they determined that VARK might not be applicable to some disciplines and that its questions did not isolate the academic information needed. Next, they examined the Felder-Soloman inventory and found it to be better suited to the needs of the institution.
The Felder-Soloman Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) incorporates components of well-established personality and learning styles assessments, including the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Myers-Briggs, VARK, and Left and Right Brain Analysis. Therefore, the QEP Development committee, composed of many full-time faculty members, was confident that this inventory would lend students and faculty the flexibility to apply the knowledge gained from the inventory to many academic disciplines. In addition, this inventory provides students with many resources and support materials for individual and group studying according to particular learning style. Finally, the online version of the inventory was offered "at no cost for non-commercial purposes by individuals who wish to determine their own learning style profile and by educators who wish to use it for teaching, advising, or research," (Felder), making it a particular cost advantage.
The Outcomes Team was formed in September 2006 as a subcommittee of the college-wide QEP Development committee. The team charge was to plan activities, assessments, and data collection/analysis for the Fall 2007 QEP pilot and five-year implementation, contributing to the overall QEP goal of improving student engagement and increasing competency of learning outcomes. A learning outcome is defined as "a level of knowledge, skills, [and] abilities that the student has attained" (Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2002, p. 2).
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (2006) reported that an effective value-added model of outcome assessment should draw on recognized and tested national instruments and employ a multi-faceted approach to address institutional improvement and inform public policy making. For instance, the General Education measure such as the Measure of Academic Proficiency (MAPP) provides a direct measure of student college learning. More specifically, Miglietti and Strange's (1998) research on using teaching and learning strategies in remedial classes showed that teaching strategies are positively associated with learning outcomes but should be considered in light of student characteristics, learning styles, and course goals. They pointed out that addressing learning and teaching styles should vary due to variations between disciplines. Ideally, measuring course outcomes should draw on standardized institutional measures but also should reflect the diversity of indicators that are specific to a particular course within audits and other embedded assessment tools. Chapter 3 validates the strategy of the WSCC QEP plan and its focus on engagement and course outcomes; namely, that an increased focus on teaching and learning styles and engagement is central to improving student learning and success.
The QEP Development Committee selected Elementary Algebra (DSPM 0800) as the target course for the QEP pilot project because 2005 Walters State Cohort Data showed this as the area of greatest need within its developmental educational program (Appendix 8). DSPM 0800 extends the topics of DSPM 0700 and includes problem solving with algebraic expressions, including simple trinomial factoring, linear equations, inequalities, and functions. Satisfactory completion of DSPM 0800 allows the student to enroll in DSPM 0850, Intermediate Algebra. Mary Owens and Chris Knight agreed to serve as instructors of the target course sections.
During September 2006, Outcomes Team members met to continue work on the project. At this point, Owens and Knight were invited to join the Outcomes Team as members because their input was critical to defining the evaluation process. Their addition to the team and the reassignment of several other original team members resulted in the team being comprised of five faculty members (a team chair and four members).
Before the study design could be outlined, it was necessary to understand the current procedures for testing. Team members determined that the final student grade would verify student mastery of the learning outcomes, if the outcomes were directly tied to each of the final exam questions. Team members also discussed the educational interventions necessary to affect change in the treatment groups. The actual instructional interventions would be designed to address the learning styles of the students and would necessitate the determination of each student's learning style and each teacher's teaching style. This discussion led Outcomes Team members to the realization that the Outcomes Team and the Engagement Team missions were significantly intertwined.
By the end of September, discussions by Outcomes Team members and correspondence between Owens and Todaro resulted in the refinement of the experimental design. The study design was proposed as follows:
During the month of October, Owens and Knight constructed a scoring rubric for the pre-test. They reviewed the course outcomes and identified 25 questions from a past DSPM 0800 final examination that would measure competence of 8 of the 9 course outcomes.
The student will develop and demonstrate the ability to:
Owens and Knight decided not to specifically address Outcome 9 since it could be effectively evaluated in other course outcomes. They discussed at length a working definition of "competency." A student will be designated as competent in a course outcome if he or she correctly answers a minimum of 75% of the problems tied to that outcome. Because some of the outcomes were measured by less than four questions, a student might have to answer all of the problems correctly to be designated as competent. A rubric describing the assignment of test items to course outcome follows. Also included is the number of items a student needs to correctly answer to be deemed competent in the particular objective.
|Course Outcome||# of items (competence)||Problem # on the instrument|
|CO1 (functions)||4 (3)||2, 4, 6, 10b|
|CO2 (graph, solve = )||6 (5)||5, 8, 9, 11, 12b, 13|
|CO3 (graph solve <)||3 (3)||12a, 12c, 14|
|CO4 (solve | | = )||1 (1)||12d|
|CO5 (Poly operations)||4 (3)||1, 17a, 17b, 17c|
|CO6 (systems)||2 (2)||15, 16|
|CO7 (factor)||2 (2)||18a, 18b|
|CO8 (Applications)||3 (3)||3, 7, 10a|
To be deemed competent in the course, the student must be found competent in Course Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8. These objectives were identified as critical to the understanding of the course material. Twenty questions addressed the critical objectives and comprised 80% of the 25 questions.
In November 2006, discussion turned to the refinement of the pilot study. Outcomes assessment and data analysis would be practiced in targeted courses in Spring 2007. This data would provide baseline data for the pilot study to be implemented in Fall 2007.
The experimental procedure was outlined. During Fall semester 2007, four classes will be selected for the pilot study. They will be taught by Owens and Knight, and each will have a treatment and control group. All four classes will receive the 25-item pre-test and the 50-item post-test. The treatment groups will receive instruction appropriate to the learning styles present in each class; the instructors will use a diversity of teaching styles to try to reach as many learning styles as possible without compromising the content or slowing the pace of the course. The control groups will be taught in the historically typical lecture/group work format. The larger QEP Development Committee determined that the Learning Styles Inventory created by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman from North Carolina State University would be used to identify the individual learning styles of the students.
In mid-January 2007, a meeting was held to review the activities of the Outcomes Team over the past few months in preparation for writing the QEP report. Data from past semesters of DSPM 0800 was requested from the Division Dean, and retention data was requested from Walters State's Retention officer. This historical data will be compared with data obtained during the pilot study.
Owens and Knight reviewed the DSPM 0800 student final examinations from the Fall 2006 classes. To gain information about the reliability and validity of the pre-test, Owens and Knight administered the 25-item test to 5 sections of DSPM 0800 during the second week of class, Spring 2007[WSCC4] .
During the next few weeks, the evaluation criteria for the pilot study were reviewed and refined. The criteria include the following:
Student competency of the outcomes will be verified by a comparison of the pre- and post-test scores. Based on the findings of the QEP project at Coastal Bend College, South Texas, Walters State's QEP mathematics benchmarks have been set with an expectation that we will find an increase of 10% from pre- to post-test scores in the treatment groups. We expect to see at least 60% of the students in the treatment groups achieve competence on the critical items on the final exam. We also expect to see significantly different performance between treatment and control group performance on the course final exam, with the treatment groups scoring at least 10% higher.
We expect to see at least 60% of the students in the treatment groups pass the course. The course pass rate will be compared with the course pass rate for the past two years (when the textbook was changed to the current edition). The pass rate in Fall 2005 was 53%. The pass rate in Fall 2006 was 57%.
We expect to see an increase in the percentage of students in treatment groups who complete the course. In Fall 2005, 553 students began the course, 183 students failed, and 75 students withdrew during the semester. The course retention rate was 53%. In Fall 2006, 436 students began the course, 155 students failed, and 65 students withdrew. The course retention rate was 49%.
Currently, there is no mechanism in place to track students from DSPM 0800 to DSPM 0850. This can be accomplished by requesting that the information be collected by the Institutional and Educational Technology department. The current student tracking system, however, will be replaced throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents colleges by the Banner System prior to the start of the Fall 2007 semester, which may present challenges in terms of seamlessly implementing the technology of the QEP data.
The Walters State course retention rate of students from the developmental mathematics courses to the college level courses is tracked. Currently, 71.9% of students move from developmental to college level math courses (Appendix 4). The benchmark set by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission on its Performance Funding Report, however, is 76[WSCC5] % (Appendix 4). The college Retention Task Force is looking forward to working with QEP committee members in a coordinated effort to boost student retention from developmental to regular level college courses.
All students will be encouraged to utilize the Math Learning Lab on their own, and the students also will go to the Math Learning Lab as a regularly scheduled class activity. Tutors will keep a copy of the treatment group students' learning styles so that they may tailor their tutoring to the individual student. Control group students will be tutored without consideration of their learning style. Learning Lab tutors will keep a record of all student interactions.
The Engagement team, led by Mr. Charlie Williams, has determined a course of action for the measurement of engagement in each QEP classroom. Inherent to the plan is the belief that students' increased awareness of learning styles will be motivation in and of itself—knowing oneself is valuable insight. It is also the expectation of the team that when faculty direct their attention and their presentation of materials and activities to students' specific learning styles, those students will both feel more engaged with the material, classroom, and teacher and will demonstrate explicit signs of engagement, including increased participation in activities, question-asking, and general interest.
Before each new discipline enters the QEP implementation, it will administer measures of student engagement in order to gather baseline data. The CCSSE will be administered to all classes each spring, and the shortened version the CCSSE will be administered to fall QEP classes and those classes which will enter the QEP implementation the following semester. Results from these CCSSEE assessments will be used to gauge current engagement and to set baseline goals for increased engagement in each class.
In addition to the formal CCSSE, instructors in each class will measure engagement periodically based upon what they as instructors have agreed upon with their academic departments defines "engagement" in their particular discipline. They will discuss and decide how engagement is displayed to the teacher and perceived by the student in that discipline, and that academic department will design a qualitative measure of engagement to be used throughout the course as a way for the instructor to know a general engagement level of his or her students and be able to adjust teaching methods accordingly. Assessment questions may range from participation in group activities to individual initiation of contact to attendance practices; however, part of this assessment must include questions concerning whether or not the students feel that their level of engagement is influencing their mastery of course outcomes. As current research shows, students' perceptions of their own engagement with course material and instructors can have a direct impact on students' performance on measures of course competencies.
By the fall semester 2008, the instructors of 70% of all DSPM sections (DSPM 0700, 0800, 0850, and 0870) should be participating in the QEP project by incorporating an awareness of student learning styles into their courses. DSPM 0700 is Basic Mathematics, a pre-algebra course which includes problem solving with fractions, percents, proportions, integers, geometry, variables, simple linear equations, tables and graphs. DSMP 0850 is Intermediate Algebra which includes problem solving with polynomial, quadratic, rational, and radical functions. DSPM 0870 is a combination of DSPM 0800 and DSMP 0850. The same pre-test/post-test study design utilized in the pilot study will be used to collect data. Data collection will include determination of the student's learning style, student use of the Math Learning Lab, student competency of course outcomes, course success rate, and course retention rate.
By the fall semester 2009, 70% of all developmental classes should be participating in the QEP learning styles project, working to increase and assess engagement and improve writing and mathematics competencies. The specific design of this participation is dependent upon substantive changes to curriculum and assessment due to the Tennessee Board of Regents Remedial and Developmental Redesign mandate. Once the redesign has taken place, then the QEP team will evaluate which components of the current QEP design are applicable and will work with the developmental coordinators and instructors to implement the QEP in the classes. In these meetings, discipline-specific plans will be outlined, and then these plans will be further developed by instructors during the Summer 2009 QEP Institute.
At this time, the developmental classes include the developmental mathematics classes described above plus DSPS 0800 Learning Strategies, as well as the developmental reading and writing classes, including DSPR 0700 Basic Reading, DSPR 0800 Developmental Reading, DSPW 0700 Basic Writing, and DSPW 0800 Developmental Writing.
Data collection will include determination of the student's learning style, student use of the Math Learning Lab and Writing Tutor, student competency of course outcomes, course success rate, course retention rate, and periodic informal (instructor/department designed) as well as formal (CCSSE) engagement assessments.
By the fall semester 2010, 70% of all General Education courses will be incorporating QEP study design, interventions, and methods of evaluation. In order to determine which components of the QEP study design will apply, the QEP team will analyze results of the pilot classes and the developmental classes. This analysis will show common elements that can span the curriculum, teaching, and assessment methods of all General Education and which elements were specific to previous classes but will not be applicable to General Education. The QEP Development Committee will meet with the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Chief General Education Officer, the deans, and the instructors involved with General Education to plan for the application of the QEP to specific General Education disciplines. In these meetings, discipline-specific plans will be outlined, and then these plans will be further developed by instructors during the Summer 2010 QEP Institute. Each discipline entering the QEP implementation will detail outcomes measurements and use of results of measurements in a similar manner to the way that has been done for the developmental mathematics pilot courses. See the Walters State Catalog (2006-2007), p. 51, for a listing of Walters State General Education core requirements.
By the fall semester 2011, 70% of all courses listed in the Walters State catalog, including technical certificate courses, will be incorporating QEP study design, interventions, and methods of evaluation. Data collection will include determination of the students' learning styles, students' use of the Math Learning Lab and the Writing Tutor, student competency of course outcomes, course success rates, course retention rates, and informal as well as formal measures of engagement.
Many studies have pointed to faculty development as a key focus for the successful understanding of teaching styles and their application to learning styles inventories (Boylan, 2002). Examples of best practices used to address learning styles include effective teaching seminars where faculty design and implement their own format (Boylan, 2002); this is the type of seminar that the QEP Summer Institute will offer each summer to each discipline entering QEP implementation.
Ms. Janice Donahue was Faculty Development Team leader until May 2007. In August 2007, Mr. Darrel McGhee, assistant professor of history, will take Ms. Donahue's place and will carry forward the faculty development plans for 2007-2012 along with the QEP Summer Institute that will begin in the summer of 2008.
The charge of the Faculty Development Team is to plan in-house and external faculty development opportunities in the area of teaching, learning, engagement, and assessment as these topics relate to individual learning styles. Faculty development opportunities will initially focus primarily on the two pilot instructors and will extend to the remaining faculty as other units of the college are incorporated into the QEP process. These opportunities will take place before and during the academic semesters as well as during the summer institute; in addition, the team will provide external conference and workshop opportunities as well as print and online resources.
With the support of the Walters State Library, a QEP Faculty Resource Center has been established in the Faculty and Staff reading room of the Library. This resource area will house books and journals related to the QEP topics of learning styles, student engagement, and outcomes assessment. The Faculty Development Team has worked with the Outcomes, Engagement, and Literature Review teams to identify journal, text, and other book resources to fill the resource center. Faculty and staff will be able to check out these materials by following the normal check-out procedures of the library. Over the period of QEP implementation, the Faculty Development Team will obtain additional materials for the specific purpose of providing education, classroom resources, and tools to support QEP faculty, staff, and students.
With the support of the Department of Information and Educational Technologies and in coordination with the Outcomes, Engagement, and Literature Review Teams, the Faculty Development Team identified electronic resources to post on the QEP E-Resource Center[WSCC6] . This resource site will be accessed from the Walters State Library homepage and will include links to information on learning styles, student engagement, and outcomes assessment, including assessment instruments, informational resources, and E-Books. These electronic sources will be available to all Walters State faculty, staff, and students. Currently, Walters State's library hosts information pages on faculty development resources, faculty teaching styles, and student learning styles; these pages will be incorporated into the QEP E-Resource Center.
The QEP pilot instructors have engaged in training and workshops related to their discipline and the QEP initiative[WSCC7] . They have also studied websites, articles, and books related to addressing diverse learning styles in the classroom. One greatly anticipated faculty development opportunity[WSCC8] is a workshop partnership with Northeast State Technical Community College. This workshop opportunity will take place during Fall 2007 and will feature Dr. Vincent Tinto, a leading expert in the field of student retention. Dr. Tinto will present his research on Promoting student retention through classroom practice. Additionally, Ms. Aubrey Shoemaker, Assistant Professor and Department Head for Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work at Walters State, will present a Faculty Development seminar on Outcomes Assessment during Inaugural Week in August 2007. Finally, Mr. David Knowles, Associate Professor of History at Walters State, will present his system for incorporating outcomes assessments into his American History courses during Inaugural Week in August 2007. Mr. Knowles is piloting this system during Spring 2007 and will report his methods for developing outcomes assessments and his student reactions and performance as a result of utilizing the outcomes assessment approach.
In Spring 2008, the Faculty Development Team will support the QEP Implementation Committee by participating in the analysis of the pilot course data and helping prepare the draft document to address the SACS recommendations. The team will identify for the developmental math faculty opportunities to attend in-house and off-site training, online courses, and workshops they identify as germane to learning styles, student engagement, outcomes assessment, and mathematics[WSCC9] . The Faculty Development Team also will plan the WSCC Learning Styles Summer Institute to begin during the summer of 2008. The institute will be an opportunity for faculty to receive concentrated in-house training in learning styles, student engagement, and outcomes assessment. The 2008 Institute will be open to the faculty-at-large; however, it will focus specifically on the needs of developmental math faculty and the experience and data analysis results developed by the pilot course instructors. The goal is to incorporate approximately 40 sections or 70% of the developmental math courses into the QEP process during Fall 2008 and Spring 2009. Planning will include identifying criteria for participation, delineating institute content and speakers, identifying a "common text" for distribution to and use by all institute participants, and locating other printed and online resources that will be used to conduct and support the institute.
During Spring 2009, the Faculty Development Team will facilitate internal and external training opportunities for all developmental education instructors. In accordance with the TBR system, Walters State offers basic and developmental reading; basic and developmental writing; and basic, developmental and intermediate mathematics courses. Planning for a second summer institute will take place in the spring. Content for this institute will have a broader academic discipline perspective but will focus primarily upon strategies for developmental courses. The institute will rely heavily on the experience and recommendations of our experienced QEP faculty. Following the summer institute, the goal is to incorporate approximately 75 sections or 70% of all developmental course sections into the QEP process Fall 2009 and Spring 2010.
In Spring 2010, the Faculty Development Team will support the QEP Implementation Committee by participating in the analysis of QEP data. Additionally, the Faculty Development Team will facilitate internal and external training opportunities for all General Education instructors. Planning for a third summer institute will take place in the spring. In anticipation of larger numbers of participants, the number of sessions will increase, and the content will change to reflect the educational and planning needs of the General Education faculty and their various disciplines. The expectation is that academic deans will attend the institute along with their faculty. Again, the institute will rely heavily on the expertise and recommendations of our experienced QEP faculty as well as outside consultants. Following the third summer institute, the goal is to incorporate approximately 140 sections or 70% of all General Education course sections into the QEP process Fall 2010 and Spring 2011.
In Spring 2011, the Faculty Development Team will support the QEP Implementation Committee by participating in further analysis of the QEP data. Additionally, the Faculty Development Team will facilitate internal and external training opportunities for all General Education instructors[WSCC10] . Planning for a fourth summer institute will take place in the spring. Again, the institute will rely heavily on the expertise and recommendations of our experienced QEP faculty and outside consultants. Following the fourth summer institute, the goal is to incorporate approximately 70% of all Walters State course sections into the QEP process Fall 2011 and Spring 2012.
|Fall 2007 Rollout||$15,000||$15,000|
|Peer Tutors for Math/Writing Lab||$4,000||$4,000||$4,000||$4,000||$4,000||$20,000|
|Printing, Postage, Supplies||$1,200||$1,200||$1,200||$1,200||$1,200||$6,000|
|3 class release for FT Faculty||$2,000||$2,000||$2,000||$2,000||$2,000||$10,000|
|+ $2,000 stipend|
Note: The 2007-2008 budget has been approved, and the monies have been allotted to the QEP account. The budget for the remaining years must be submitted and approved each fiscal year; therefore, they are projections only.
The QEP literature review indicated that many studies have shown a correlation between recognition of teaching and learning styles, implementation of diverse modes of delivery, and improved outcomes in terms of student learning and engagement. For its Quality Enhancement Plan, Walters State chose a focus on teaching and learning styles to increase engagement and improve course competencies. Because institutional data identified developmental students, particularly those in Mathematics 0800, as showing the greatest need for improvement in these areas, the QEP Development Committee decided to begin with four pilot sections in that course.
QEP committee members were divided into the areas of focus encompassing specific tasks related to the implementation of the plan. Marketing communicates and promotes QEP concepts throughout the academic community. Faculty Development provides opportunities for training in the areas of teaching/learning styles and assessment. Outcomes Assessment identifies expected academic outcomes and assessment methods. Engagement Assessment seeks ways to define, improve, and measure student engagement. Institutional Capability developed a five-year budget and examined how the college could sustain the QEP's fiscal and physical resource needs. Literature Review located respected and timely scholarship in the QEP areas of focus. Each of these teams projected markers and goals for the next five years, and each team contributed to articulating the plan, detailing short-term and long-term goals in each area.
Baseline assessments in the developmental math classes were implemented in Spring 2007, and the pilot courses are scheduled for Fall 2007, with incremental increases each year until the plan is incorporated into 70% of all courses at Walters State Community College by 2011.
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Walters State Community College Student Focus Group Comments
Teachers should utilize Web CT more to supplement learning.
We need more hands on technology courses - how to do excel spreadsheets instead of bits and bytes.
Computer access is very good at WSCC. The library has done well with the labs.
More orientation of the services offered at the library such as on-line research.
Computers in the science building are slow and need to be replaced.
Some classrooms need to be updated - power point and smart classrooms.
Web CT is used by some teachers; other do not.
Mandatory computer class not relevant. Proficiency exam does not accurately measure what we need to know. It only asks terms rather than what we need to know such as using programs, functions, how to make a power point presentation. Need more practical applications.
Computer competency exam very hard - not realistic.
Standardization of Course Work/Teacher Expectations
Course material/teachers expectations should be standardized.
We need timely reporting of progress/grades - sometimes it's a couple of weeks before we get tests returned.
Course outlines and hand-outs are very helpful to students.
Instructors should follow same grading scale. We should know upfront what expectations are - its confusing -clarify grades.
Don't know what instructors are looking for.
We need to be informed at all times of our status, grade wise. Don't know what teacher is looking for.
All gen ed classes need to be standardized.
Make sure all required classes are really needed.
Evaluate all teachers and courses and get feed back. WSCC should follow up on evaluations.
Preparation for College
Need better math skills - our learning is crippled if we do not have a good foundation.
Not well prepared for college math.
Need better note taking and study skills- teachers talk too fast.
ACT is a guessing test - should not be the only determinate of which classes placed in… math etc.
Different work ethic at college.
College weeds out those that do not want to be here.
Better preparation on series classes like Comp 1, Comp 2.
Attendance policy should be the same in all classes.
Excused absences - sickness - should be allowed.
Some students are very disruptive in class. They are rowdy, talking on cell phones etc…. especially in
gen ed classes.
Student motivation is an issue.
Better teacher engagement - teachers should show enthusiasm - you can tell which teachers love to
teach and those who are just going through the motions.
We need instructors who care about the students progress. If the teacher does not care, it makes us not care.
Its important that we form relationships with our instructors.
Instructors should focus on students - better relationships with instructors.
Instructors need to relay to students that they are capable. This will build confidence.
We need enthusiastic teaching.
More motivated enthusiastic teachers.
Teachers late to class sometimes.
Children and family responsibilities get in the way. Its hard to go to school with children.
Preschool program was very good for students with children.
Our jobs get in the way - but some of us must work. Employers do not care about our school work. Some of the teachers are sympathetic; others are not.
Need to re-open the daycare. We need snow days & vacation service. Drop-ins would be great.
Childcare needed at WSCC.
We need the preschool brought back.
Want the preschool brought back.
We need time management skills-there are just not enough hours in the day.
Maybe a time management class- we need the structure to help us learn.
We need study skills training.
Freshman Experience not effective for everyone.
Stress is an issue for many of us. We need maybe a stress management class or support classes.
We need time management, stress management and study skills help.
Students are unaware of many existing programs
Contact students who request help, target help and then follow-up.
Better time management skills.
Need more access for library services.
Library should be open later in the evening for evening students and open on the weekends.
Need additional access to computers in more places. Library lab not open late.
More flexibility in course offerings - some courses are only offered during certain semesters- especially sequence courses.
Need more activity classes such as PE during the day. Many are only offered at night.
Library should be open late and early. Also open on weekends.
Computer labs need to be open at different times and longer hours.
We need better advising. The records department is helpful, but we need ongoing help.
We need better career planning & counseling services. Not just coming in, but all the way through graduation.
Advising could be improved. Some advisors are uninterested.
We need advice on classes, transfers etc. Advisors should show concern for students.
Bad advising can impede learning because students get frustrated and are less focused. They don't care and quit trying.
We need more hands on technology courses - how to do excel spreadsheets instead of bits and bytes.
We need to know the relevance of gen ed courses. If we talk about ways of using the skills, we may be more interested.
Relevance of courses- How would I use this knowledge?
We have different learning styles. We need different methods of teaching.
Job shadowing and field trips would be helpful. More hands on experience.
One student may not like power points (spoon feeding)- They may just not be engaged.
Presenting material in different ways makes it more interesting.
Active learning - Let students take a chapter to teach.
Group projects help us to see other's perceptions.
Some teachers like debates in classrooms, others do not.
Teachers can engage students more by asking questions in class, rather than just lecturing.
Teachers who only read information are not enjoyed. They do not discuss other perceptions.
Some teachers encourage questions, but then get real defensive when you ask one. Embarrassing to students.
We like atmospheres where each person's opinion is respected.
Smaller classes - more one on one attention.
We would like student ID cards. Willing to pay for them. We could get discounts at many places if we show our student IDs. Sometimes free admission to Dollywood. We are missing out.
Research No. 1106-03
REPORT NAME: Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) 2006 Results
REPORT DATE: November 20, 2006
RESEARCH FOCUS: Enrolled Students' perceptions of college programs and services; faculty perceptions' of students and programs
MISSION/PLAN RELEVANCE: Strategic Plan Goal 1.1.3, Strategic Plan Goal 3.1.1,
Strategic Plan Goal 3.1.4, Strategic Plan Goal 3.1.5,
Performance Funding Standard 2, Mission Sentence 14
USE OF RESEARCH RESULTS: Providing evidence to support changes and improvements in WSCC's programs and services
OFFICE(S) COORDINATING RESEARCH: Office of Planning, Research and Assessment
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Debbie Scott (extension 6844) email@example.com
OFFICE OF PLANNING, RESEARCH, AND ASSESSMENT
Walters State Community College
The 2006 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)
The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) provides information about effective educational practice in community colleges and assists institutions in using that information to promote improvements in student learning and persistence. CCSSE's goal is to provide member colleges with results that can be used to inform decision making and target institutional improvements. Student engagement, or the amount of time and energy that students invest in meaningful educational practices, is the underlying foundation for CCSSE's work. CCSSE's survey instrument, the Community College Student Report (CCSR), is designed to capture student engagement as a measure of institutional quality. CCSSE is the Enrolled Student Survey that will be scored for Performance Funding during the 2005-2010 cycle. WSCC will administer the survey again in Academic Year 2008-2009.
CCSSE Member Colleges
Beginning this year, CCSSE will utilize a 3-year cohort of participating colleges (2004 through 2006) in all of its data analyses, including the computation of benchmark scores. This cohort is referred to as the 2006 CCSSE Cohort. This new approach increases the total number of institutions and students contributing to the national dataset, which in turn increases the reliability of the overall results. In addition, the 3-year cohort approach minimizes the impact, in any given year, of statewide consortia participation.
The 2006 CCSSE Cohort is comprised of a total of 447 institutions across 46 states participating between 2004 and 2006. Two hundred forty-seven of these member colleges are classified as small (< 4,500), 105 as medium (4,500-7,999), 57 as large (8,000-14,999), and 38 as extra-large institutions (15,000 + credit students). One hundred nineteen of the Cohort member colleges are located in urban areas, 119 in suburban areas, and 209 in rural areas.
Walters State falls into the medium size category and is classified as being located in a rural area. This report shows our information compared to the Tennessee Consortium of participating community colleges, as well as our comparison group of other medium-size community colleges.
Credit classes were randomly selected – stratified by time of day (morning, afternoon, and evening) – from institutional class data files to participate in the survey. Of those sampled at our institution, 802 students submitted usable surveys. The number of completed surveys produced an overall "percent of target" rate of 94%. Percent of target rate is the ratio of the adjusted number of completed surveys to target sample sizes. (The adjusted survey count is the number of surveys that were filled out properly and did not fall into any of the exclusionary categories.3)
2006 Student Respondent Profile
To compare the characteristics of student respondents with the characteristics of the underlying student population for each participating college, CCSSE uses the data reported by the institution in its most recent IPEDS Enrollment Report for the following variables: gender, race and ethnicity, student age, and enrollment status (part- or full-time). The data are aggregated to compare the 2006 CCSSE Cohort survey respondent population to the total student population of the 2006 CCSSE Cohort member colleges.
Gender (survey item #30) - Of the 797 student respondents at our college who answered this item, 36% are male and 64% are female. This mirrors the full population of the CCSSE Cohort community college students, comprised of 41% males and 59% females.
Age (survey item #29) - 2006 CCSSE student respondents at WSCC range in age from 18 to 65+ years old. Approximately 91% are between 18 to 39 years old; 66% are 18 to 24 years old while 25% are 25 to 39 years old.
Racial Identification (survey item #34) - 90 percent of student respondents identify themselves as White/non-Hispanic, 1% as Hispanic/Latino/Spanish, 3% as Black or African American, and 1% as Asian. 1 percent of the student respondents are Native American. Two percent marked "other" when responding to the question, "What is your racial identification?"
International Students (survey item #33) - 2 percent of our students responded yes to the question, "Are you an international student or foreign national?"
Enrollment Status (survey item #2) – 77 percent of the student respondents at WSCC report attending college full-time, while 39% of the 2006 CCSSE Cohort colleges' total student population attended full-time. Only 23% of surveyed students report being part-time college students, compared to 61% as reported to IPEDS. This inverse representation is a result of the sampling technique and the in-class administration process. For this reason, survey 3 If a student does not answer any of the 21 sub-items on item 4, answers "Very Often" to all 21 items, or answers "Never" to all, the survey is excluded. .
Results are either weighted or disaggregated on the full-time/part-time variable so that reports will accurately reflect the underlying student population.
The complete report is posted on Walters State's intranet site (www.intranet.ws.edu), under Administrative Offices, Office of Planning, Research, and Assessment, Assessments, Other Assessments 2005-2010, CCSSE. The results of this survey should be reviewed and used in consideration of improvements that may be made in WSCC's programs and services.
Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE)
The faculty teaching the courses selected for CCSSE participated in the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE). The resulting report enables participating institutions to view faculty expectations and perceptions of student engagement alongside student responses. It is important to note that the side-by-side tables, while illustrative, are not entirely equivalent – that is, the CCSSE asked students to report perceptions and experiences across the period of the current academic year. Faculty, in contrast, were asked to describe their practices in a specific selected course, as well as to indicate their perceptions of student experiences in the college more generally. These statistics represent Walters State's faculty who completed the web-based CCFSSE:
• 53% female; 47% male
• 89% Caucasian, 5% African-American, 4% other, 2% Asian/Asian-American, Pacific Islander
• 65% full-time; 35% part-time
• 32% instructor/lecturer; 30% associate professor; 20% assistant professor; 9% professor; 7% other
Complete faculty data may be found on the on Walters State's intranet site (www.intranet.ws.edu) under Administrative Offices, Office of Planning, Research, and Assessment, Assessments, Other Assessments 2005-2010,CCFSSE.
Highlights of Faculty and Student Responses
• 47% of faculty and 19% of students say the students receive prompt feedback (written or oral) from the faculty about their performance
• 11% of faculty reported that students have never skipped class; 55% of students reported they have skipped class
• 58% of faculty report it is important that students participate in internships, field experiences, co-op experiences, or clinical assignment; 19% of students report they have participated
• 68% of faculty report it is important that students participate in developmental/remedial reading classes; 24% of students have participated
• 61% of faculty report it is important that students participate in study skills courses; 29% of students have participated
• 53% of faculty and 29% of students felt WSCC very much emphasizes providing students the support they need to help them succeed at the college
• 4% of faculty and 39% of students felt WSCC emphasizes helping students cope with their non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc)
• 54% of faculty thought that students worked 21 to 30 hours per week; in reality, only 16% of students work these hours, and 44% of students actually work more than 30 hours per week
• 77% of faculty thought that students spent 1-5 hours per week participating in college-sponsored activities (organizations, campus publications, student government, intercollegiate or intramural sports, etc.); 79% of students reported they spent no hours in these activities
• A majority of both faculty (82%) and students (65%) felt that academic advising/planning is important to students
• A majority of both faculty (68%) and students (54%) felt that career counseling is important to students
• A majority of both faculty (74%) and students (45%) felt that skills labs (writing, math, etc.) are important to students
• A majority of both faculty (79%) and students (67%) felt that computer labs are important to students
2006 Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP) Report
(First 17 Questions of Questionnaire—Total 43 Questions)
NC STATE UNIVERSITY
Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire
Barbara A. Soloman
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
Richard M. Felder
Department of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7905
Please provide us with your full name. Your name will be printed on the information that is returned to you.
For each of the 44 questions below select either "a" or "b" to indicate your answer. Please choose only one answer for each question. If both "a" and "b" seem to apply to you, choose the one that applies more frequently. When you are finished selecting answers to each question please select the submit button at the end of the form.
I understand something better after I
(a) try it out.
(b) think it through.
1. I would rather be considered
2. When I think about what I did yesterday, I am most likely to get
(a) a picture.
3. I tend to
(a) understand details of a subject but may be fuzzy about its overall structure.
(b) understand the overall structure but may be fuzzy about details.
4. When I am learning something new, it helps me to
(a) talk about it.
(b) think about it.
5. If I were a teacher, I would rather teach a course
(a) that deals with facts and real life situations.
(b) that deals with ideas and theories.
6. I prefer to get new information in
(a) pictures, diagrams, graphs, or maps.
(b) written directions or verbal information.
7. Once I understand
(a) all the parts, I understand the whole thing.
(b) the whole thing, I see how the parts fit.
8. In a study group working on difficult material, I am more likely to
(a) jump in and contribute ideas.
(b) sit back and listen.
9. I find it easier
(a) to learn facts.
(b) to learn concepts.
10. In a book with lots of pictures and charts, I am likely to
(a) look over the pictures and charts carefully.
(b) focus on the written text.
11. When I solve math problems
(a) I usually work my way to the solutions one step at a time.
(b) I often just see the solutions but then have to struggle to figure out the steps to get to them.
12. In classes I have taken
(a) I have usually gotten to know many of the students.
(b) I have rarely gotten to know many of the students.
13. In reading nonfiction, I prefer
(a) something that teaches me new facts or tells me how to do something.
(b) something that gives me new ideas to think about.
14. I like teachers
(a) who put a lot of diagrams on the board.
(b) who spend a lot of time explaining.
15. When I'm analyzing a story or a novel
(a) I think of the incidents and try to put them together to figure out the themes.
(b) I just know what the themes are when I finish reading and then I have to go back and find the incidents that
16. When I start a homework problem, I am more likely to
(a) start working on the solution immediately.
(b) try to fully understand the problem first.
17. I prefer the idea of
17 or less 75 6.1%
18-20 872 71.2%
21-24 98 8.0%
25-34 119 9.7%
35-83 61 5.0%
TOTAL 1225 100.0%
Female 719 58.7%
Male 506 41.3%
TOTAL 1225 100.0%
Asian or Pacific Islander 6 0.5%
American Indian or Alaskan Native 6 0.5%
Black 52 4.2%
Hispanic 18 1.5%
White 1143 93.3%
TOTAL 1225 100.0%
Full-time 1076 87.8%
Part-time 149 12.2%
TOTAL 1225 100.0%
Average ACT Score 19
Average High School GPA 3.20
Placement of students by cohort
Total Developmental Level
559 ( 45.6%)
Total College Level
666 ( 54.4%)
Total Developmental Level
444 ( 36.2%)
Total College Level
781 ( 63.8%)
Developmental Learning Strategies
553 ( 45.1%)
Total College Level
672 ( 54.9%)
Total Developmental Level
841 ( 68.7%)
Total College Level
384 ( 31.3%)
 For returning participants, the college's most recent year of participation is included in data analyses. For example, if a college participated in 2004 and 2006, only the 2006 data would be used in the 3-year cohort.
 These enrollment statistics are based on the most recent IPEDS data with the exception of situation in which it is necessary for colleges to self-report.
[WSCC1]CT to provide some examples.
[WSCC2]Examples to be provided by CT
[WSCC3]This is the first mention of the website. We might consider a fuller discussion as well as a screenshot of the homepage and the document room.
[WSCC4]We will have this data to include with July report.
[WSCC6]Find out whether we are using the current E-Resource on library site; if so, include a shot of it in the appendix, and refer here to appendix.
[WSCC7]Fill this in with specifics.
[WSCC8]Give examples and specifics here.
[WSCC9]We need some details here.
[WSCC10]Can we say this in a different way? The material seems a little repetitive.