Student Success through Transformational Change
This initiative is a multi-component plan for increasing student success at Washington State University (Co-Principal Investigators: Laura Hill (Vice Provost, Faculty Development and Affairs), Samantha Swindell (Assistant Dean for Assessment & Curriculum, College of Arts & Sciences), and Bill Davis (Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Veterinary Medicine)). Overall, the aim is to produce transformational change on both the institutional and individual level. This program works by creating a university that supports students emotionally, socially, and academically while producing graduates positioned for life-long success.
Major components of the initiative include a parent handbook intervention, curriculum and faculty development, and a comprehensive research strategy. Most importantly, the focus of the initiative is to improve student resiliency and empowerment using interventions known to support students’ emotional, social, and academic development.
Briefly, the parent intervention handbook will support student success at the earliest time point (i.e. matriculation and arrival to WSU) by providing parents and their WSU-bound children with interactive exercises, tools and strategies for identifying core values, developing a sense of purpose, and engaging in values-based decision making.
The first and second year undergraduate curriculum will be advanced by the development of pedagogical and behavioral modules and the introduction and expansion of inquiry-based instruction. The goal is to increase the level of active engagement and collaborative learning at the very outset of students’ academic careers at WSU.
In addition, these curricular changes will be accompanied by faculty development opportunities in which instructors experienced in innovative pedagogical approaches will provide training to instructors teaching courses targeted for implementation.
Year three through graduation will utilize a scaffold framework to appropriately sequence students’ exposure to learning opportunities across their undergraduate career such that their early exposure to inquiry-based problem-solving enables them to successfully transition to unique, individualized experiential learning opportunities at later time points in their training.
These include peer mentoring and programming to first-year students to facilitate early awareness of and later engagement in experiential learning opportunities (as early as year two), an advisors network highlighting opportunities for experiential learning and hands-on training across a variety of colleges, contexts, disciplines, and interest areas, an undergraduates’ scholar program, and a multimedia portfolio course.
LIFT (Learn. Inspire. Foster. Transform) is the faculty development aspect of the TCI grant and is led by the CTLL. This program focuses on the implementation of pedagogical and behavioral innovations and implementations across the undergraduate curriculum with goals to support students’ academic success, increase their life skills and resilience, and transform their experience at WSU.
Some of our evidence-based approaches include active learning and student-centered teaching methods and topic areas including connection and social belonging, values, mindfulness and growth mindset. Faculty fellows are engaged in training on the Pullman, Tri-Cities and Vancouver campuses.
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