3 Actions in Creating a Vibrant Undergraduate Learning Community at UK

Have you been following the Town Halls offered by Working Group #1 co-chaired by Kim Anderson and Jane Jenson? These Town Halls represent opportunities for the community to learn about the University of Kentucky 2014-2020 Strategic Plan and to share ideas about how we want to direct our future.

The Working Group members have come up with three main actions that would need to take place to achieve the larger goal of creating “a vibrant undergraduate learning community” here at the University of Kentucky.

  • Focus on Integrated and Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Engage in High Impact Teaching and Learning Opportunities
  • Achieve National Excellence in Student Support to Degree

Associated with each of the above actions are tactics that would help us formulate specific plans at unit, cross-unit, and college levels. Here is a list of what they’ve presented so far (as of April 15th) as those tactics:

Focus on Integrated and Interdisciplinary Learning

Tactic 1.1: Cultivate academic pride in a UK degree. Infuse the undergraduate experience with a deep sense of intellectual pride of place such that the students feel like they are part of UK, and are proud of their academic accomplishments and their UK degree.

Tactic 1.2: Increase multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary degree programs, certificates, and dual degrees. Building from existing areas of strength at the University and exploring emerging knowledge communities, we will provide our students with a broad and multi-layered base of knowledge which will enable them to thrive in an ever more complex local and global landscape.

Tactic 1.3:  Expand Innovative Living Learning Programs. We will increase opportunities for students to engage in Living Learning Programs that emphasize interdisciplinary education and provide opportunities for high impact learning experiences.

Tactic 1.4: Embed high expectations and meaningful assessment of student learning to demonstrate the value of a UK degree. We will build upon UK Core and leverage our institutional strengths to become a model for universities across the U.S. in outcome-centered learning.

Tactic 1.5: Expand opportunities for undergraduate enrichment programs. We will evaluate and increase capacity in programs of excellence (i.e. Honors, Global Scholars, University Scholars, etc.) to enhance our students’ potential in scholarship and citizenship.

Engage in High Impact Teaching and Learning Opportunities

Tactic 2.1:  Promote the use of innovative pedagogical approaches. We will harness technology to promote a state-of-the-art learning experience for every student, while recognizing and supporting changing faculty roles in the face of rapid technological change.

Tactic 2.2:Develop measures of instructional quality.We will develop ways to recognize quality undergraduate instruction and co-instruction, create opportunities for the development of new instructional practices, and reward exemplary teaching and mentoring of undergraduates.

Tactic 2.3: Increase and integrate undergraduate student participation in research. We will leverage our robust and productive multidisciplinary research enterprise to increase opportunities for and integration of undergraduate participation in research across colleges and departments. Concordantly, we will develop mechanisms and programs to connect undergraduates with research opportunities from the time they arrive on campus.

Tactic 2.4: Increase and integrate student participation in experiential education and service-learning. We will strive to provide every student with an opportunity to learn, grow, and explore through hands-on engagement with, internships, co-op experiences, engagement in service-learning, integrated into the core curriculum and complimented with critical reflection

Tactic 2.5: Expand opportunities for learning abroad and engaging the international community of campus and Kentucky.We will continue to increase opportunities for students to participate in education abroad opportunities, in ways that enhance their degree programs and with attention to equity of opportunity across all demographics of our student body; and we will seek ways to connect our campus classrooms to the diverse community at home and abroad.

Achieve National Excellence in Student Support to Degree

Tactic 3.1: Create a comprehensive transition model from recruitment or transfer to graduation.UK must provide clear pathways to completion. Research emphasizes the importance of investment in retention beyond the first year, as attrition regularly occurs in years two through four. Therefore, we will expand our extended orientation programming for all students, beginning with recruitment or transfer and extending through graduation, to help in the process of self-discovery and to develop students’ decision-making abilities.

Tactic 3.2: Improve the quality of academic advising. The role of advising in degree completion cannot be emphasized enough. Advisors and their relationships with students play a critical role in student success. To fulfill our obligation to our students, we will critically examine the quality of our academic advising systems. We will then make bold, data-driven, and specific systematic changes in order to provide our students with an advising experience that meets their needs and eases their journey to degree completion.

Tactic 3.3: Blend advising and career services to improve the student experience and placement rates. We need to provide a seamless, world-class advising and career services experience for all of our students, helping them in their job search and in their transition from the undergraduate classroom to the workplace or to further study. To achieve this goal, we will conduct a detailed evaluation of the academic and career advising systems across campus and develop a plan for integration and for a more purposeful and individually tailored system.

Tactic 3.4: Develop predictive analytics of student progress. We will expand current early-alert processes to proactively identify measures of student involvement, healthy academic behaviors, and student engagement in self-assessment (goal-setting) to help provide interventions and increase student success. To ensure that our processes are effective, we will review the early alert data weekly and begin individual student intervention as appropriate, we will review retention data each semester and adjust our actions, and we will update and be disciplined in implementing the yearly retention action plan. We will ask Colleges to develop complementary retention action plans, and we will hold the Office for Student Success and the Colleges accountable for making increases in student retention and graduation rates.

Tactic 3.5: Engage in college readiness and pre-UK programming through direct activities and partnerships. We will expand the pool of college-ready students in Kentucky by augmenting our direct activities and community partnerships, increasing dual enrollment programs for high school students, and giving our future alumni the support they need to succeed at UK.

See the video of the townhall here:

Have some other ideas? Want to ask questions about how this will all work? Send feedback to seetomorrow@uky.edu and online at http://www.uky.edu/strategic-plan/contact-us. Be sure and keep an eye on the updates on the webpage devoted to the Town Halls – http://www.uky.edu/strategic-plan/resources/town-halls – you’ll find videos and podcasts of the events there.

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About UK Student and Academic Life

Undergraduate Education is now recreated within the Division of Student and Academic Life in the Provost's Office at the University of Kentucky.
This entry was posted in College/Career Readiness, Orientation, Retention, Student Success, UK Core, Undergraduate Curriculum and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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