Best Practices Showcase

2018 Showcase

instructor with students in class

Hook Them Early: Introduce the Universe of Business to Freshmen to Evoke Enthusiasm and Enhance Retention
Dr. Alberto Dávila, Dean
Harrison College of Business and Computing

For some time, business faculty have believed that freshmen should be introduced to the variety of business disciplines and career opportunities to help them make informed decisions about their major. Currently, students are changing majors and often not making the change soon enough to complete the degree within four years. As a result, the dean and the faculty developed a required freshman level course, BA 101: The Business Universe, which was approved for fall 2018. This introductory course will engage students in the overall understanding of the business universe and will be team taught by full-time faculty who have an interactive teaching style. For all sections, a single module, “Business World,” will be taught by a single faculty member. Instructors will then rotate between sections to teach modules within their expertise. Each module includes current events and emphasizes careers related to various disciplines in business. It is expected that this course will increase retention because students will better understand their major and career opportunities.

Intentional Student Retention Success Strategies
Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Dean
College of Education, Heath, and Human Studies: Educator Preparation Programs

Retention activities are not new to faculty in the Elementary, Early Childhood, Exceptional Child, Middle School, and Secondary Education programs; however, there are renewed efforts specifically for freshmen. Activities range from simple and social, such as a College of Education, Heath, and Human Studies kickball game and ice cream social during freshman welcome, to more developed activities like closer coordination with the education academic advisor. Other examples include the following. Tomorrow’s Teachers Learning Community is a residential, academic, social, and service learning opportunity for College of Education, Heath, and Human Studies freshmen who take two courses together each semester that are taught by a faculty coordinator. Organizations such as the Student Missouri State Teachers Association and Teachers of Tomorrow – traditionally upperclassmen – now also recruit freshmen and sophomore pre-education majors. The EDvolution 1:1 iPad program includes training for new freshmen. Recognizing the importance of underrepresented students, the College of Education, Heath, and Human Studies Holmes Scholar Program supports them through regular mentoring. All efforts combine to exceed the University’s goal of an 80% retention rate. The Dept. of Elementary, Early and Special Education had a freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 82.6% in fall 2016, and the Middle and Secondary Education Department had a retention rate of 89.5%. The retention rate for learning community students ranged from 81.8% to 100% over the last four years.

Active Advising
Dr. Susan Kendrick, chairperson
Department of English

Advising is critical to retention and a student-centered experience, so the English faculty implemented intervention-focused advising, particularly during the weeks following mid-term grade reports. Faculty advisors are requested to contact advisees who have Ds or Fs and provide proactive advising. When the new advisee lists come out, English faculty advisors send their advisees a “Welcome to the Department of English” email to let students know their advisor is available to help. Faculty are encouraged to contact students who “disappear” from class and alert the Office of the Dean of Students by completing a Student of Concern Report form. On August 1, faculty advisors are asked to contact students on their advisee lists who have not yet enrolled for fall semester (2nd week of January for the spring semester). This practice also embodies the idea of student engagement, as English faculty seek to involve students as active participants in their planning and successes. As a result, our graduation rates rose from 31 in 2014 to 39 in 2016 and 41 in 2017. Our administrative assistant is also crucial in our philosophy of open communication. Currently, 29% of advisors in the Department of English have completed the Master Advisor Workshop. Our goal is that all full-time faculty complete the Master Advisor program, with a milestone of 50% completing the program by the end of the fall 2018 semester and 100% by the end of the spring 2019 semester.

HL 111: Introduction to Health Management Pilot Program
Dr. Joe Pujol, chairperson
Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Recreation

When retention rates in the Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Recreation were below the University wide rate, a pilot program was initiated to address the issue. Peer supporters were identified and trained to work with health management and athletic training majors in HL 111: Introduction to Health Management. This class is an entry point for these majors and has a lower-than-average success rate compared to other first-year introductory courses. This plan goes beyond tutoring and helps students develop study skills and note-taking skills. It also gives personal attention to students who are among the most vulnerable—new students. Once the data is in and confirmed to improve retention, the program will be considered for SM 220: Introduction to Sport Management or PE 238: Foundations, History, and Philosophy of Physical Education.

Mass Media’s Recruitment and Retention Committee
Dr. Pam Parry, chairperson
Department of Mass Media

As a new department chairperson, I saw that enrollment and retention rates had declined over several years. While this is a national trend in our industry, we don’t want to be complacent as we have one of only two nationally accredited programs in Missouri. To change the enrollment trend, we established a Recruitment and Retention Committee (comprised of faculty and staff) and took immediate action, such as participating in admission and department recruitment opportunities, establishing a Facebook page, and planning events at the Rust Media Center in conjunction with local high schools. We’re creating a student-centered spirit by building relationships and involving students in our decision-making process. We provided cookies and popcorn during finals as a way to share space and create an opportunity to communicate with each other. We understand that relationships among faculty, students, and constituents are key to our recruiting and retention goals.

Department of Psychology Annual Research Conference
Dr. Melissa Odegard-Koester, Chairperson
Department of Psychology and Counseling

As part of the University’s mission to engage students in experiential learning, faculty in the Department of Psychology and Counseling encourage undergraduate and graduate research, providing an opportunity for students to present their work in a professional setting and receive formative feedback. For more than 25 years, SRC participants have presented research in front of their peers, engaging in data analysis, and collaborating with others--all of which are transferrable skills needed in today’s workforce. Whether students are seeking advanced study or jump starting their careers, this opportunity increases confidence and strengthens their ability to network. In recent years, approximately 50 disciplines from across campus have been represented.


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