During the 2010-2011 academic year, two proposals were funded by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about each proposal follows.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, one proposal was approved for funding by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about this proposal follows.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, one proposal was approved for funding by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about this proposal follows.
During the 2013-2014 academic year, three proposals were approved for funding by the Focus on Student Success Grants Program. Information about the proposals follows.
Project title: Improving Student Success in Three Multi-Section Online Courses at Ferris State University Through Faculty Collaboration
The goal of this project is to lower withdrawal rates and improve final grades in three multi-section online courses with problems in these areas. The project’s rationale is that online sections of courses at Ferris have consistently higher withdrawal rates than their counterpart face-to-face sections, and certain online sections also have more D’s and F’s than their counterparts. High rates of W’s, D’s and F’s mean longer times to graduation and increased student costs. The desired outcome is that student withdrawal rates and possibly D and F rates in the three courses’ online sections would equal those of the courses’ face-to-face sections, or if no analogous face-to-face section exists, then those rates would be lowered to a rate agreed upon by the project participants and team members. The plan is that three teams, each comprised of at least three faculty who teach a particular multi-section course online, would meet and work for four semesters to resolve their course’s student-success challenges, facilitated by the project participants and occasionally by a course designer from FCTL.
Through a proposal process, project participants would select three teams, one each from the College of Health Professions, College of Business, and College of Arts and Sciences as these colleges deliver the majority of Ferris’ online courses and programs. Throughout the project, the project participants would meet with the teams to facilitate their work, and the teams would meet to share their courses and research, agree on a set of strategies to improve student success in their sections, and then implement these strategies in their courses in the second and third semesters of the project. In the fourth semester, teams would gather and analyze their results; then the project participants would publish the teams’ results as well as the results of the project overall.
Approved budget: $12,000
Status: Project began January 2015; currently in-progress
Project title: Pilot Phase Projects in Support of Revision of the Developmental and General Education Mathematics Program
There are numerous efforts nationwide to improve and revise the content and delivery of developmental and general education mathematics. The purpose of these efforts is to provide students with mathematical experiences that are more inclusive and relevant. This goal embodies Woodbridge Ferris’ vision to create an educational institution that supports “all people, regardless of race or station.” In the spirit of this vision, a small group of faculty from the Mathematics Department and the Languages and Literature Department have launched several pilot projects that will serve as a catalyst for a substantive revision of the developmental and general education mathematics program at Ferris. This specific proposal calls for support for student/faculty partnerships to analyze the data generated from these pilot projects. These partnerships would provide opportunities for student research, support the dissemination of research results, lead to course improvement, and serve as the seeds of change for a wider revision of the general education mathematics curriculum at FSU.
Approved budget: $22,850
Status: Project began January 2014; currently in-progress
Project title: Testing and Writing Support to Improve Nursing Student Success
The purpose of this project is to provide student learning assistance for baccalaureate pre-nursing students who have challenges with testing and writing skills specific to the nursing profession. The licensure exam for nurses has increased the required level to pass, and scores have dropped accordingly. The School of Nursing would like to see pass rates that match or exceed state and national pass rates for similar programs. As first time pass rates are an important consideration of the School of Nursing accrediting body, it is imperative students are provided every possible support to be successful. Additionally, some students have difficulty with writing skills, particularly in regards to the style and approach to writing required in the nursing profession. Employers have noted that four year college graduates are deficient in written communication (Casner-Lotto & Barrington, 2006), and effective written communication is an essential part of the nursing role and has an impact on patient care (McCabe & Timmons, 2006; Wright, 2012). This project would provide students who are struggling with either of these areas, with a structured, supportive program of twice monthly sessions to focus on testing and/or writing skills as they pertain to the nursing profession specifically. Faculty with strengths in these areas will develop and lead supportive sessions of two hours in length every other week. Faculty will develop materials and learner-centered approaches to assist students who have been referred by faculty or who have self-identified as having difficulty with either writing or testing.
Approved budget: $7,000
Status: Project began August 2014; currently in-progress
Project title: College Awareness and Transition Supports Program
The College Awareness and Transition Supports (CATS) program was developed as a pilot program in 2013 to assist high school juniors and seniors with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and/or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) in transitioning to college. The intent of the CATS program is to provide strategies and resources to aid in the success of these individuals as they plan for college. The program focuses on teaching self-awareness and self-advocacy skills based on the individual strengths and areas of struggles of participating students. This grant will assist in allowing us to replicate and enhance the original CATS program during the 2014 Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. We will continue to help students understand the differences between post-secondary supports addressed through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 offered at colleges/universities verses public school services guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA).
This grant will allow us to serve approximately 10-12 high school juniors and seniors from several surrounding local school districts. During the Spring and Summer 2014 semesters, the selected students will attend four days on FSU campus to learn the specific skills and resources outlined in the program.
In the 2014 Fall semester, the CATS program will be additionally enhanced by offering a new mentoring process for FSU students who’ve attended the CATS program during 2013 and/or 2014. This mentoring process will assist in assuring a successful transition into university life. Our goal is to assist in the retention and success of students with AS and/or HFA as they transition from high school to FSU. To evaluate the success of the CATS program, data will be collected at all phases of the program by use of pre/post surveys, Likert scale daily evaluations, observations, and activity assessment.
Approved budget: $8,390
Status: Project began Summer 2014; currently in-progress
Project title: Improving Student Success Through a Strength-Based Leadership Program
With increasing enrollment in US colleges and universities, ensuring that an effective strategy is in place to foster student success and overall retention is a challenge and one that can be rather costly. The primary objective of this 3-year pilot study is to develop and administer a leadership program to improve both student success rates and overall retention by helping students identify, accept, and apply their strengths. As has been shown by other college-based leadership programs, it is anticipated that this strength-based leadership program will contribute to improving student success, help at-risk students become successful through mentoring, and improve the overall program retention rate.
Approved budget: $4,470.00
Status: Project began in Fall 2013; Ended Summer 2014
Project title: Improving Success in Mathematics with a Quantitative Literacy Course
The goal of this project is to increase the proportion of the student body successfully completing the university-wide mathematics requirement. The current required mathematics course focuses on procedural fluency without linking content to relevant contexts. This may be appropriate for students who will ultimately take calculus, but a majority of degree programs at Ferris do not require mathematics beyond the current university requirement. Failure to complete this course contributes to retention problems.
We propose the design of a quantitative literacy course focused on financial literacy and public policy. This course will align with the Ferris General Education Task Force's recommendations. The course will also include a service learning component. We believe that offering an alternative course in which mathematics is contextualized and relevant will result in increased student engagement, which in turn will lead to a higher completion rate.
Approved budget: $19,552.00
Status: Project began in Spring 2013; currently in-progress
Project Title: An Exploration of Perceptions of Advising at Ferris State University and Their Relationships to Student Retention
The purpose of this research is twofold. First, we intend to better understand perceptions of advising within the College of Arts and Sciences. Although student perceptions are of primary importance, we will also assess parental and faculty perceptions.
Second, we have designed a study that will add significantly to the advising literature. According to seminal research by Tinto (1975), student persistence can be predicted by a variety of variables including academic and social integration. Although the two key variables, social and academic integration, are likely predicted by advising, few studies (e.g., Bai & Pan, 2009) have specifically examined advising in relation to this model. This study will do so. Further, we plan to extend this model by examining student retention by way of industrial/organizational variables (e.g., see Bean, 1983), namely organizational commitment (e.g., Meyer & Allen, 1991) and intention to quit. Specifically, we predict that student perceptions of advising will be positively related to social and academic integration. Both forms of integration will, in turn, predict student commitment. Student commitment is then expected to relate to intention to quit.
A student’s perceptions of advising are likely influenced by expectations. These expectations may be impacted, at least in part, by parental expectations. Therefore, we will also examine whether student perceptions are moderated by parental perceptions. In addition, faculty perceptions of advising will be compared to those of students in order to examine the degree of shared and divergent perceptions.
The data will be obtained via questionnaire. The questionnaire will include measures of academic and social integration, student commitment to Ferris, intention to quit, parental expectations of advising, and student and faculty perceptions of advising.
Approved budget: $11,970.50
Status: Project began in Summer 2011; completed Spring 2013
Project Title: Making Opportunities for Struggling Students (MOST)
The purpose of this project is to provide the costs associated with assessment and testing for students who (a) have not been diagnosed with a learning disability or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and (b) demonstrate significant learning problems that may be attributed to either or both conditions. Students identified as having these conditions through a voluntary assessment will be provided financial assistance to be tested for a learning disability and/or ADHD, receive a written report from the tester, explanation of the results, and recommendations for accommodations and services that the student can use to improve his or her likelihood of academic success. For ethical reasons, a licensed psychologist outside of the University who is trained in psychometric measures will complete the learning disability and/or ADHD testing, the average cost of which is $500. Supporting students by paying for psychological testing will help students to understand their learning challenges. By identifying, diagnosing, and accommodating these individuals during their postsecondary experiences, we also help them to both understand their challenges to educational success and make appropriate and adaptive career choices as they leave the college environment and enter the workforce.
Approved Budget: $5,000
Status: Project began in Summer 2011; currently in-progress