MINUTES: Student Committee Meeting 3-2-15

Student Committee Work 2014-2015 Year

These are the notes and decisions from the March 2nd 2015 meeting.  Meeting attendees included: Kara Viesca, Suzanne Adams, Sandy Snyder-Mondragon, and Elizabeth Steed (remotely).

We plan to report to Faculty on April 29th in the retreat the following in formation.

(We have requested 15 minutes to report on the following as well as recommend three things. We will follow up this brief presentation with a survey to get feedback and gauge interest in our recommendations).

As a committee, we are striving to understand more about the student experience in SEHD and how, as a school-wide community, we can better support students through improved communication and relationship building.  As a committee, we have reached out to advisors in academic services, the associate deans, the dean, and the legal office of CU Denver to learn as much as possible about current challenges, best practices as well as opportunities in terms of student support. We have also examined the Exit Survey results from Spring 2010-Fall 2013 in which 1570 SEHD graduates responded representing a 76% response rate.

What we learned from the survey results is that out of the four lowest mean scores on survey items, two of them were related to advising (both from academic services and from faculty). We know that many changes are underway to improve academic services and their ability to be responsive to students, but we feel there is likely more we could do as faculty to improve student experiences in SEHD.

Further, across our conversations with the various entities listed above we have consistently heard that many of the challenges we face in the school rest around issues of communication. For instance, our website is very difficult to navigate and find relevant information on (this is being addressed). Also, some students do not pay close attention to their CU Denver emails and many do not carefully read the information that is shared with them over email. We have heard from some programs in the school about how they are addressing these issues regarding communication and we have some ideas that we would like to propose to the whole school to consider in terms of moving forward as an SEHD community.

SEHD Mid-Semester Advising Week

We propose selecting a week that is slightly before registration begins for the next semester to hold a school-wide advising week. Academic Services would advertise the week by letting students know and creating visual supports across the school (balloons, banners, etc.) and would also collaborate with each program to determine what the most effective advising approach for their students would be (online, time of day of advising offerings, etc.). We believe that with this whole-school approach we can be more proactive to communicate well with students and make it easy for faculty as well.

SEHD Learner Agreements

On the advice of Chris Puckett from the CU Denver legal department, we are interested in considering a learner agreement for all new students in SEHD to sign, which clarifies their roles and responsibilities as a learner in SEHD as well as the roles and responsibilities of faculty and staff who are here to support them. We could explore the option of a school-wide agreement that is differentiated at the undergraduates, master’s and doctoral level. This agreement would be an opportunity for us to clarify upfront some of our expectations around professionalism and engagement in the SEHD community. The School of Pharmacy at Anschutz has been doing this with some benefit. We are interested in exploring it as an option for us in SEHD as well.

CU Online Open Courses

We propose programs considering the option of taking advantage of the new CU Online Open Courses to create methods with which to meaningfully communicate with students and share information about expectations and policies. We see an opportunity to consider opportunities to help students learn about the requirements, policies and expectations of a program as well as have a space to return to when they have questions about any aspect of the program.

After the faculty retreat, we plan to send a short survey out to gather information from across the school and will promise to compile the information and share it with the whole SEHD community by the end of the semester so that the information gathered may be useful to programs as they prepare for next year. The questions we plan to ask are as follows:

  • What are you doing successfully to communicate (i.e. policies and expectations) and build relationship with students in your program?
  • What are some of the challenges you face in your program in terms of communicating and building relationships with students?
  • What are some ways you feel the SEHD Student Committee could support you and your program moving forward?
  • Of the three proposals that we made at the faculty retreat, please pick all of them you would like to see us move forward with. (You may pick as many as you think are work pursuing between 0 and 3.)
    • SEHD Mid-Semester Advising Week
    • SEHD Learner Agreements
    • CU Online Open Courses (for communication regarding policies and expectations)