Strategy 1: Academic Excellence
1.1 . . . focus attention on enhancing student access to and engagement with high-impact educational practices and experiences such as student advising, off-campus study, internships, mentored undergraduate research and learning communities . . .
1.3 . . . enhance resources for faculty and staff recruitment and development to encourage and reward high achievement
In December and January, the five Study Groups developed proposals for enhancing student access to high impact practices. Charged with considering these practices in light of the strategic plan and the curricular aims of the college, the Academic Excellence Steering Committee has identified several priorities that will inform its deliberations on the proposals. Its next responsibility is to narrow the list of proposals, to explore ways in which these experiences are connected with one or more of each other, and ensure that we are taking advantage fully of this opportunity to think creatively and boldly about St. Olaf’s future.
Study Group Reports
Next steps include projecting the costs of implementing the final recommendations of the Steering Committee and developing a timeline for implementation.
February 2012 Update
During the fall semester, Study Groups reviewed each of the high impact practices. In December they submitted preliminary recommendations to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is presently reviewing and revising the recommendations.
During its November 2011 meeting, Academic Leadership discussed the following questions put to it by the Study Group on Student Advising:
- In your opinion, what two or three areas of advising need attention?
- At the August meeting of the Academic Leadership group, a number of you suggested that we should be considering the possibility of an advising program focused on students’ first and second years. Can you propose what such a program would look like? Please identify some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of this advising model.
Following on what we learned from the Academic Leadership discussion, the Faculty then discussed clarifying questions at the December Faculty Meeting:
- What does it mean to be a faculty advisor of students?
- How does academic advising relate to vocational and career advising?
- What sorts of issues do you typically discuss with your student advisees?
- What is best accomplished one-on-one with a faculty advisor?
- What might be equally well (or better) accomplished by other strategies, such as group advising or on-line resources?
- What might be equally well (or better) accomplished by other individuals, such as those in the Registrar’s office or the CEL?
President Anderson has charged the Provost and Dean of the College to recommend next steps in implementing the plan’s strategies for enhancing academic excellence through enhancing student access to and engagement with high-impact educational practices and experiences, and enhancing resources for faculty and staff recruitment and development and to recognize high achievement.
Faculty and staff input has been solicited in discussions in the Academic Leadership and Faculty Meetings, and AAA fall meeting, and leaders of the study groups will soon be meeting with some of the major faculty committees.
- Summary of the Sept. 2011 Faculty Meeting
- discussion touching on (1) the definition of “high impact practices” and (2) how high achievement should be recognized and rewarded
- Transcript of the Sept. 2011 Faculty Meeting discussion
- Summary and transcript of the August 2011 Academic Leadership discussion of the five practices identified in the strategic plan