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UWM Black and Gold Committee

Annual Report of the UWM Black and Gold Committee
April, 2004

Black and Gold has been very evident this year, and not just in the accomplishments of our athletic teams! The UWM Black and Gold committees have been active and productive.

At the campus level, the UWM Black and Gold Committee in cooperation with the UWM Student Association, has fostered four broad initiatives:

PantherProf is an online tool for students to communication with other students about course experiences. Initiated by students and reviewed broadly via campus communications and a February 26 campus forum, the PantherProf action plan is now approved and being implemented. Starting this spring, students will be invited to complete an online survey for courses they’ve completed. Results will be available to other students and the campus community by the beginning of the fall semester.

Textbook Rentals were explored by an action team as one of several ways to minimize textbook costs to students. The team researched programs on other campuses, surveyed students and faculty, and sponsored a campus forum on March 10. UWM textbook rentals might be piloted for selected courses. Other plans include strategies to increase faculty awareness of textbook costs and options that could reduce students’ costs. In addition, there will be a focus on promoting early selection and/or renewal of textbooks by faculty and instructional staff. Expect more communication on these issues from the Black and Gold Committee!

MyUWM Campus Portal/Virtual Student Success Center is an exciting plan that will begin next fall targeting UWM students. The myUWM Portal offers students, faculty and staff a single, secure access point to personalized university services and information. At its campus forum on March 31, the action team proposed collaborating with I&MT’s Student Technology Services to provide the “human” contact component of a virtual Student Success Center (telephone, email and web form access to staff, information and assistance)

Academic Advising is being reviewed in a number of ways. Through the work of the Academic Advising Assessment subcommittee, all schools and college are implementing an online student satisfaction assessment tool. The group is also developing a long-range plan for assessing advising services at UWM. The Training/Development subcommittee has researched advisor preparation, training and development programs both within and external to UWM and is developing an online training tool (framing work around NACADA publication, “Ten Steps to On-line Advisor Training”). The brochure subcommittee is producing a brochure to highlight academic advising at UWM that will be available in May in time to be used during STAR sessions.

Assessment of student satisfaction and perspectives is an ongoing activity of the Black and Gold committees. For the first time in over twenty years, UWM administered the national standard-bearer of new freshmen surveys through the Cooperative Institutional Research Program of the American Council on Education and UCLA. Our 2003 incoming freshmen survey respondents gave us quite a bit to think about, including:
UWM freshmen fall below the national norms in rating themselves in academic ability, intellectual self-confidence, and drive to achieve; in reporting socializing with someone of another racial/ethnic group; and in their reported hours that they studied in high school. UWM freshmen fall above the national norms in reported hours worked for pay during high school, in their expectations that they will work during college, and in their concerns that they will be able to pay for their college education. An interesting finding is that 69% of freshmen say UWM was their first choice for a college – the same as the national norm.

Our Black and Gold committees are continuing to analyze and discuss the results of the CIRP survey. Additional survey tools providing important perspectives to the Black and Gold committees include the UWM Graduating Senior Survey, the National Survey of Student Engagement, and the new Faculty Survey of Student Engagement.

In addition to the three Forums described above, the Black and Gold Committee also sponsored four Teleconferences produced by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

At the school, college and divisional levels, our Black and Gold Committees have been equally active on behalf of improving the student experience at UWM. Here are some samples:

In Student Affairs, the Commission on Student Leadership is compiling resource guides of campus leadership programs and opportunities, developing common mission or value statement to bind together various campus leadership programs and opportunities, developing strategies to increase awareness and participation in leadership programs, and focusing on supporting graduates’ transferring their leadership skills into civic and community roles The Spirit Commission is focusing on increasing and broadening “spirit” at UWM. And the Student Success Center Action Team is working with the Portal Team in developing a virtual Student Success Center, available 24/7 – based on expectation that a student should never be more than two contacts (clicks, calls, referrals) away from the right answer

The Architecture and Urban Planning B&G Committee has produced business cards with reflector address, sponsored a school Town Hall meeting, and clarified for students overnight parking issues.

The Peck School of the Arts B&G Committee has worked on improving assessment of courses, instructors and programs; facilitated the second student-organized community arts event, “Showdown,” worked on developing exhibition performance venues with community partners to showcase student work, and launched a student assessment of its GER courses and its student advising services.

The Business Administration B&G Committee has developed monthly informal “meet and greet” social events for students, deans, faculty, advising staff, and career services staff as means to increase interaction outside the classroom; developed a faculty “Who’s Who” brochure for students; surveyed students and faculty to develop mentoring programs; investigated creation of a line of Business School logo clothing and implementing mechanisms to sell to students to support student life initiatives; explored the feasibility of coffee café (with healthy snacks) on the first floor lobby of Business Building; developed a series of “Dual Expectations” that will be approved by appropriate internal committees and disseminated widely among all students, faculty, staff; and developed a new format for the annual TA orientation sessions to strengthen its helpfulness to students

The School of Continuing Education B&G Committee has implemented an Evening Coffee Cart; student comment cards, and course evaluations.

The School of Education’s Council on Student Success has formed four distinct groups to address the issues directly and meet outside of the regular Council on Student Success’ meetings. The Investing in Diversity group is studying the ways in which other departments across the university are attracting and retaining a more diverse student population. The successes will be replicated in the SOE in order to continue improving our already strong commitment and success to a diverse student body. The Improving Access to Advising group is looking at ways in which to receive immediate feedback from students in regards to the advisement that they receive. An assessment tool is being developed to look at student feedback once they have met with their advisor/professor. The Maximizing Access to Financial Aid group is studying and identifying ways to streamline the reception of financial aid for students. And the Increasing Accountability and Connections group is continuing to reach out to students in order to receive input from them. In addition to the feedback function on the website, other efforts (e.g. town hall meetings) are being developed in order to maintain a steady stream of feedback from students. In addition to these four subgroups, the Council on Student Success has a website that includes the group’s mission, minutes, agendas and a section for student feedback.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science B&G Committee has formed four action teams focusing on the building/environment, faculty initiatives, labs and technology, and class scheduling. In addition, the Committee has facilitated mandatory faculty advising and advisor evaluations (online).

The College of Health Sciences B&G Committee appoints their student B&G members as Ambassadors to the College who serve on the Dean’s Advisory Committee and attend the Dean’s Advisory Board dinner to meet and address Board members. The Committee has also fostered CHS logo items that support college pride and student initiatives; changed the timing of course evaluations; and developed action teams to address advising, computers, faculty/student relations, experiential/career development, course availability/scheduling, and social opportunities.

The School of Information Studies is focusing discussions on advising (professional and faculty and exploring surveying exiting seniors and graduate students

The College of Letters and Science B&G Committee is focusing on assessment of advising, freshmen on probation, and career advising.

The College of Nursing B&G Committee has endorsed the continuation of practice of deans’ visits to all classes each semester for feedback sessions; conducted two surveys of students: one regarding student priorities and another regarding student clinical placements; established and implemented B&G “Guiding Principles”; established a B&G website and marketed it to students; developed a Student Recognition of the Month Initiative; developed a proposal for providing health food options in Cunningham with plans for a food service satellite in Cunningham; and established a climate committee and a Student Enrichment Center.

The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare B&G Committee is focusing on increasing student involvement in the B&G committee and instituting an advising assessment survey.