Room to Grow: Get Students Ready with Real-World Skills

From a recent survey of administrators, faculty and non-teaching staff in institutions of higher education, Campus Technology came up with some ideas on how we might apply technology technology to help students prepare for the “real world” of work. All instructional staff, whether in a formal classroom or somewhere else on campus, could support this kind of effort. The survey respondents felt that the top 10 ways that we might engage students with technology in a way that readies them for the workplace are these:

  1. Guest lectures by industry experts (46%)
  2. Computer skills training (44%)
  3. Unpaid internships (40%)
  4. Streaming video (39%)
  5. Student use of profession-related software applications (38%)
  6. Paid internships (38%)
  7. Student-selected research projects (38%)
  8. Opportunities to work on job-related projects for course credit (34%)
  9. Equipment training (33%)
  10. Soft-skills development (28%)

They also indicated six “Barriers to Digital Success,” i.e., what was holding them back from applying technology in innovative ways with students:

6 Barriers to Digital SuccessOf course funding is crucial for technology-based instruction to happen – and yet resources might also come from reallocation of current resources from one strategy to another. Here are some ideas from the survey respondents that might not take any funding at all – just a focused intentional commitment and time:

  • Hire faculty and staff who have work experience off campus before starting their careers in higher education.
  • Familiarize faculty and teaching staff with updated methods and uses of various technologies in business and industry.
  • Create “integration sessions” with faculty, students and employers to discuss alignment of the university and industry with technology that the higher education institution requires.
  • When collaborating across the university and with business/industry, rather than writing out notes with bullet points, replace these with interaction, online resources, and cutting-edge labs.

For more details about the survey and ideas generated, see the complimentary infographic offered by Campus Technology Resources.

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Articulating value of co-curricular activities during post-grad job search

Much of what we do at the University of Kentucky provides students with high quality experiences – both curricular and co-curricular activities. However, are we sure that our students recognize and can articulate efficiently and coherently the professional value of those activities? Part of our job is to make sure that students can describe a “market value” of their UK experience, thus integrating both academic and career development strategies.

Many in higher education fear that along with greater responsibility for students’ post-graduation outcomes, they are being expected to offer programs that provide training for immediate workforce demands. This is not our best step forward. Instead, academic and student life leaders might want to consider strategies that are proactive and integrated to assure student reflection and presentational skills for describing the full value of their undergraduate degrees. The Education Advisory Board (EAB) offers a list of 10 ways (download the infographic here) by which department and program leaders can assure student learning outcomes that are recognizable and valued in a job search by their graduates.

10 Ways to Enhance the Market Value of Students’ College Experiences

  1. Syllabus Competency Matching
  2. First-Year Field Exposure
  3. Early Career-Major Alignment Assessment
  4. Three-Course Professional Track
  5. Vocational Alignment Capstone
  6. Experiential Learning Prep Course
  7. Professional Development for On-Campus Jobs
  8. Cocurricular Transcript
  9. Consulting for Community Partners
  10. On-Campus Internship

In addition to the above ten suggestions for academic affairs and student life leaders to consider, EAB offers to UK employees a white paper that describes 34 promising practices for scaling up – across the curriculum – many kinds of experiential learning and its requisite standards for student reflection. Led by Colin Koproske, a group of consultants gathered together a wealth of  tools to support strategies that can involve the whole university with cross functional teams to support a holistic approach to student success. The white paper includes as a model for others to pursue the University of Kentucky’s Guidance for Faculty Requiring Study Abroad Journals (Integrating Academic and Career Development, pp. 130-132).

By reaching across traditional student affairs and academic affairs silos, the University can help students make more informed choices early in their academic careers. While it is easy to find first-year salaries in Kentucky’s big data repositories (see the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics), this is not – on its own – enough to describe to students today how their college experiences matter in today’s workforce. It takes nearly all the courses a student takes as well as the kinds of conversations with support staff and student organization leaders to offer a culture of learning that takes pride in communicating the combined academic and career development outcomes.

Comprehensive Learner RecordThis kind of work to allow for greater ease in student communication of the “market value” of their college experiences is already underway nationally. With funding from the Lumina Foundation, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and NASPA: Association of Student Affairs Professionals have been working on different models for a more comprehensive student record. The idea is to develop and implement a single learner record across many different colleges and universities in the U.S. that communicates learning outcomes not only from programs and degrees but also co-curricular activities. The College System of Tennessee is the latest awardee from the Lumina Foundation to work on a model for a Comprehensive Student Record. However, in 2016 twelve colleges and universities were chosen as pilot institutions to work on new models, including IUPUI, Elon, Stanford, UMUC, U of South Carolina and University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Colleges. Why not Kentucky?

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Data-enabled, not data-driven, for student success

While big data and quantitative analysis are useful in uncovering the “what,” qualitative data are needed to truly understand the “why.” Both forms of data are equally important.
 – “The Data-Enabled Executive,” (ACE, 2017), 11

A recent publication from the American Council on Education (ACE), “The Data-Enabled Executive: Using Analytics for Student Success and Sustainability” by Jonathan S. Gagliardi and Jonathan M. Turk, focused on ways that university leaders can become better equipped to design and implement data analytics in their decision-making processes. The change from emphasizing “data driven” to “data enabled” is not so much about investing in more money or technical solutions as it is about cultural change and political obstacles. That kind of global shift takes time for developing – and maintaining – consensus and buy-in from the University community to engage in collaborative efforts to make data-informed decisions. The authors of the ACE report point to several universities where this kind of work is ongoing with some promising practices:seekUT

  • University of Texas System’s dashboard for Student Outcomes: seekUT. This site not only offers senior faculty and administrators insight into current performance indicators in their colleges and universities, it also provides valuable information about post-graduate outcomes for UT system students living across the U.S.
  • Georgia State University’s use of big data mining techniques to accelerate time to graduation and to ramp up efforts to eliminate graduation rate gaps based on SES, first gen or underepresented minority groups.
  • The National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity (Delaware Cost Study, administered at the University of Delaware) with its focus on sustainability provides a comparative analysis of teaching loads for faculty, instructional costs and separately budgeted scholarly activity per discipline.
  • Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics logoThe Institute of Education Sciences funding for building statewide logitudinal data systems in particular, the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) which has been successfully funded since 2006. In particular, the KCEWS offers not only state benchmark data but also customizable self-service models that capture workforce data systems in connection with high school and college student learning outcomes – as well as equity gaps – to offer institutions the opportunity to make better decisions for student success in the long term.

A data-enabled leader, according to the ACE report, would want to draw close to them those who have the resources, knowledge and time to inform them when making decisions that impact the whole. This emphasis on analyzing data would allow the institution not only to improve all student outcomes, but also promote equity and inclusion. Cross-functional teams, trained to collaborate effectively and sharing a common goals, can help leaders focus in on what the data mean and how to avoid negative consequences from potentially harmful use of the data. For example, prescribing specific pathways and support services might be detrimental if the strategy limits access rather than promotes it in a misguided attempt to support in more concrete ways those students that the big data has identified as “at risk.” In closing equity gaps and creating inclusive environments for all students, qualitative data becomes equally important to quantitative analysis.

Realize that in uncovering disparities between student groups, the institution needs to be fixed, not the student. If the success of a specific student population is persistently low, there are likely systemic institutional problems present that require confrontation and reconfiguration. (ACE, 11)

Productivity as well as institutional performance can improve through using integrated academic, personnel, service and budget data. The pressure to show the institution’s return on investment to families, the surrounding communities and state government officials, can be offset when cost-effective and student-success friendly programs are supported financially. Strategic investment, resulting from a robust financial analysis, allows for new priorities to surface and a more scalable approach to student success. The ACE report concludes that data-enabled leaders in higher education, while encouraging commitment and more holistic views in their cross-functional support teams, will strengthen higher education’s foundations for innovation and continuous improvment.

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SALutations! | We made it!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead

We Made It!

As with all good things, a semester must come to an end. I bid you warm salutations as we depart campus during this holiday season. May you experience a restful and joyful break with your friends and family. I look forward to working with you in the new year.

Student Success Summit

John N. Gardner Institute - First-Year Focus - Foundational DimensionsMark your calendar! The Division of Student & Academic Life (SAL) will be hosting a campus-wide Student Success Summit on Friday, January 19, 2018, 8 a.m. to Noon in the Hilary J. Boone Center. At this meeting, we will launch Wildcat Foundations, an effort that will re-examine the first-year experience at UK, and make recommendations on how we might further improve it. As a part of this meeting, we will gather the subcommittees (foundational dimensions) that will inform this effort throughout the remainder of the academic year. I encourage you to investigate the philosophies behind each of these foundational dimensions, and choose the one you believe best fits your skill set and interests.

To reserve your spot at the Summit, please RSVP.

USA - Mental Health First AidMental Health

The Student Health & Well-Being Unit within SAL is working with campus partners to establish training and educational outreach initiatives to address stress, anxiety, and depression among UK students. This initiative will begin by providing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) certification opportunities to SAL staff, SAL student leaders, and campus partners.  MHFA empowers its participants with the skills “to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.”  The first round of full-day and half-day certification workshops will be held during Spring Break (March 12-16, 2018).

Additionally, we are working to provide the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) full-day workshop to faculty, staff and student leaders.  MBSR helps people manage both daily stress and stress from chronic conditions, both physical and emotional.  We hope to have at least one faculty member from each college volunteer to receive MBSR and MHFA training. Further information and additional wellness projects will be discussed in future SALutations briefs, in emails from the Student Health & Well-Being Unit, and via social media outlets.  If you would like to get involved or contribute to these initiatives, please reach out to Assistant Provost Drew Smith:

Student Center Co-Curricular Programming

We were gratified to receive a large number of responses to call for proposals. We’ll be working with the proposals teams within the colleges on the next steps in the design thinking proposal development process. You can follow our progress here.

Feel free to send your comments to

Greg Heileman
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life
230 McVey Hall

View SALutations! Archived Newsletters.

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College Readiness Indicators in Kentucky set for re-draft

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) works with leaders in postsecondary institutions and representatives from the K-12 sector in the state to establish a consensus on various indicators for student placement into credit-bearing coursework. The goal is to find a baseline by which all public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky guarantee that a student who demonstrates to their high school — or, if not in high school, then the college or university where they are admitted — that they have achieved “academic readiness” then they should not have to undergo a preliminary remediation course in a particular content area (English, Reading, Mathematics). This understanding among the Kentucky schools are formally expressed in Kentucky law: 13 KAR 2:020. Guidelines for admission to the state-supported postsecondary education institutions.

At a meeting of the CPE’s College Readiness Indicators Workgroup on December 7, 2017, the CPE staff alerted the members that the College Admission Regulation (13 KAR 2:020) was being redrafted by the CPE leadership in partnership with the Kentucky Council for Chief Academic Officers (CCAO). They hoped to get everyone’s input on the changes to the law being designed in time for the legislature to repeal and replace the current one. For example, in the new draft, the term “college readiness” is replaced with KDE’s preferred term “academic readiness.”According to the draft as of December 5, 2017:

“Academic readiness means the student has demonstrated the requisite ability to succeed in credit-bearing coursework the successful completion of two college courses, exams, or a combination of courses and exams. One of the courses or exams must meet the quantitative reasoning or natural science learning outcomes and the other must meet the written or oral communication, arts and humanities, or social and behavioral sciences learning outcomes per the Council’s General Education Transfer Policy. Successful completion means:
(a) For an exam, meeting or exceeding the benchmark scores outlined in the College Readiness Indicators document adopted by the Council; or,
(b) For a college course, obtaining a grade of “C” or better.”

There was much discussion over the drafted law’s “Section 7: College Course Placement.” Postsecondary representatives were not sure what would actually happen if it were implemented as written: “A student meeting the statewide standards for academic readiness admitted to an institution shall be placed in credit bearing courses in their respective curriculum pathway. The student shall not be required to enroll in a corequisite, supplemental, or developmental course.” It was asserted by CPE staff that institutions should consider partnering more strongly with the KCTCS so that they could defer admission to those students who – by the letter of the law – met the statewide standards for academic readiness (especially tricky for those students who are enrolled in dual credit courses) but did not demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a particular curriculum pathway’s introductory courses. This scenario honed in particularly on those postsecondary majors that depended on College Algebra and Calculus for student success. For example, some of the workgroup asserted, a high school student could take a college course in the natural sciences and, by the newly drafted definition of “academic readiness” the student should not be required to enroll in a remedial mathematics course even if a math placement test score showed it would be best for the student. However, the CPE staff assured the workgroup that if their faculty had delineated specific criteria for prerequisites to that introductory mathematics course, then the student in this scenario could not be enrolled in that course if the prerequisites had not been met. The Council staff continue to seek their institution’s input on the drafting of the new law.

Recommendations from the CPE’s College Readiness Indicators workgroup are sent to the Committee on Undergraduate Education and then the Kentucky CCAO for consideration and further recommendations. After the College Readiness Indicators has been finalized by the CCAO, it will be submitted to the Board of the Council on Postsecondary Education as an informational item. This document will serve as the basis for understanding how the newly rewritten 13 KAR 2:020 will be implemented in the public postsecondary institutions of Kentucky.

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Educational Quality and Completion

“The completion of a few college courses is not a sufficient education in the 21st century.”
(American Academy of Arts and Sciences, “The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America,” 2017 – download the full report at the website for the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education)

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences delivered today a report that challenges all of higher education to pay attention to completion rates while paying close attention also to educational quality. According to the report, reducing inequities as well as controlling college costs can lead to achieving both goals. But this requires substantial public investment in higher education — and belief that this investment would lead to economic growth as well as gains in “greater intercultural understanding, increased civic participation leading to a stronger democracy and more rewarding lives for graduates (Future of Undergraduate Education, 7).”

Here in Kentucky, a state where too many counties contain some of the lowest number of baccalaureate degree holders in the nation, a new performance funding model for public postsecondary schools was signed into law in March 2017 from Senate Bill 153. The law was passed with virtually no changes to the recommendations of a Postsecondary Education Working Group (see especially pp. 8-10) that included all of Kentucky’s university presidents. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has the role of managing the new model and work with each institution to reach their performance goals.

Student Success 35%; Course Completion 35%; Academic Support 10%; Institutional Support 10%; Maintenance and Operations 10%

from CPE Policy Insight (7 July 2017)

There are actually two models: one for the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, and one for the public four-year institutions. The public four-year institutions, which includes the University of Kentucky are to align funding and their performance indicators in the following manner:

  • 35% of allocable resources will be distributed based on each institution’s share of their sector’s total student success outcomes produced. For the 4-year sector, student success outcomes should include bachelor’s degree production, degrees per 100 undergraduate full-time equivalent (FTE) students, numbers of students progressing beyond 30, 60, and 90 credit hour thresholds, STEM+H (science, technologies, engineering, mathematics and healthcare practices) degree production, and degrees earned by low income and underrepresented minority students. The funding model will include a small school adjustment to minimize impact on smaller campuses.
  • Another 35% of allocable resources will be distributed among universities based on each institution’s share of sector total student credit hours earned, weighted to account for cost differences by degree level (i.e., lower division and upper division baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral research, and doctoral professional) and academic discipline.
  • The remaining 30% of allocable resources will be distributed among the universities in support of vital campus operations, such as maintenance and operation of facilities, institutional support, and academic support (e.g., libraries and academic computing).

The CPE’s 2016-21 strategic plan for postsecondary and adult education matches well with the state’s new performance funding model for public higher education. We have known for many years that completion rates need to rise in order to change our state population’s educational success rates. If we believe that by the year 2020, 62% of the jobs in the Commonwealth will require postsecondary education or training, then a big change in how we approach student success goals must take place. Last year, the CPE reported that only 54% of adults in the state are projected to hold a postsecondary degree or credential beyond high school by 2020 (Kentucky Completion Report, 2016).

With the unprecedented growth (an overall 69% increase over two years) in high schoolers taking college-level courses in introductory mathematics with the help of the Kentucky Dual Credit scholarship program, one might speculate that UK’s entering students will be better prepared for majors in STEM+H disciplines. Students who come from families with lower socio-economic statuses will have more opportunities to succeed if they’ve taken advantage of accelerated learning opportunities such as dual credit or Advanced Placement courses in high school.

Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment Growth in Kentucky, 2014 compared to 2016

from CPE’s Policy Insight (27 November 2017)

If this effort in improving the academic challenge of key courses in Kentucky secondary schools continues, we should be able to find evidence of improvement in postsecondary persistence rates.

The improvements in student success and degree attainment should come not only from those students who come from backgrounds of more means than others, but also from low-income students. Students who come from under-represented minority populations and in the past have lagged behind in the University’s student success rates will need for us to create a big culture change both in classrooms and around campus. We would want to see not just course completion rates rise but also progression in those majors where white males comprise the overwhelming majority. This kind of culture change takes all of us working together, keeping us honest with each other and actively listening to make any incremental improvements long-lasting and meaningful. We must believe that we can change the state’s current levels of educational achievement – and that this will change the world around us.

Posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity, Exploratory Students, First Generation, high impact practices, Retention, Student Success | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Off-Campus Student Services

Whether you’re working with a first-year student, a seasoned junior, or a graduate/professional student, living off campus can be a challenge. While the freedoms that come with off-campus living are many, so are the responsibilities. Culture shock, community development, rental issues, leases, utilities, ordinances, safety, commuting … these issues and more add to what can be an already stressful academic experience.

Off-Campus Student Services: Community Leaders - Good Neighbors - Campus Advocates

Check out the Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS) resources below – and refer your students:

  • Information: Our website is designed to answer almost all frequently asked questions by students, parents, Lexington community members, and campus community members. Please take a moment and visit our website at
    • Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to visit the OCSS office at Blazer Dining 277.
  • Advocacy: Even though our office is not a realtor, mediator, or legal representative, the office serves as an advocate to help each student to find the resources needed to support them.
    • Off-Campus Community Ambassadors (OCCA) are students that live in the Lexington community that assist the office in programs, outreach, and mentoring our incoming freshman and transfer students, as well as our sophomore students that had previously lived in the Residence Halls.
  • Personal and Community Development: Are students looking for a way to get involved, gain leadership experience, and support their community? Students can apply for one of our Leadership Positions for our Off-Campus Student Association (OCSA)
    • Students can join our Off-Campus Student Association on UK Orgsync.
    • OCSA November Town Hall Meeting is November 29, 2017, from 6-7 pm at 204 Whitehall Classroom Building
  • Social Responsibility: Party Smart– This presentation is for students that are discussing hosting a safe social event off-campus? Do they know the city ordinances related to social hosting? Sign up for our free session on “Social Hosting and the Risks” at
  • Off-Campus Life:  Has a student mentioned they are looking for a roommate, looking to move soon, for a short term lease, or maybe looking for a sublet or want to post a sublet because they are participating in an education abroad program? Our office is here to help.

Off-Campus 101 Presentation

This presentation is for students currently living on-campus, at home with their parents, or transferring to Lexington for the first time and are processing if they want to live in the Lexington community, but do not know where to begin? Dates for this presentation are:

  • November 28, 2017 from 5-6:30pm in the WTY Library Auditorium
  • December 6, 2017 from 5-630pm at 118 Whitehall Classroom

If our team can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stay connected with the university and city by following us on Twitter @UKYOCSS.

Off-Campus Student Services
277 Blazer Dining Hall
University of Kentucky
343 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
Lexington, KY 40526-0012
859-218-3840 ;

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Exploratory Students and Career Center Services

Students who are exploring their academic and career prospects can find the Stuckert Career Center to be very helpful. Exploratory students can work with advisors and career counselors to discover interests, clarify their goals then develop and implement their degree and career plans.

Career Counseling and Academic AdvisingStuckert Career Center staff will work in partnership with academic advisors in the colleges to help students develop the degree plans that connect their passions to their professional goals. Many UK colleges offer an Exploratory Studies option now:

Agriculture, Food & Environment Engineering
Arts and Sciences Fine Arts
Business and Economics Health Sciences
Communication and Information Social Work

Encourage students to plan ahead and create a Career Advisor Appointment in Handshake.
STEP 1: Log in using your LinkBlue or Handshake account:
STEP 2: Select “Career Center” at the top panel (next to your name)
STEP 3: Click on “Appointments” in the drop-down menu
STEP 4: Click on “Schedule a New Appointment”
STEP 5: Choose a “Category”
STEP 6: Choose an “Appointment Type”
STEP 7: Review the available timeslots, select an appointment slot, complete the pre-appointment survey and click “Request” to submit the appointment request.

For more information, visit or call 859-257-2746.

Stuckert Career Center
Student & Academic Support | Division of Student and Academic Life
408 Rose Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0034

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Host a Dinner Dialogue with Your Students

The UK Parent and Family Association is now accepting applications for Dinner Dialogues – 2018 spring semester:

Dinner Dialogues provides funding for instructors to host a dinner for their students in their homes, giving instructors an opportunity to get to know their students in a more casual, comfortable setting over a meal.  The application must be completed by the instructor interested in hosting the event.

  • The instructor will be refunded for the costs of food for up to $5 per student.
  • The attendance should be 30 students or less, and the invitation should be extended to an entire class.
  • The instructor will be reimbursed even if students do not show up.
  • Alcohol cannot be served during this event, even if students are over 21.
  • The dinner must be hosted in an instructor’s home.
  • The dinner cannot be held during midterms week, dead week, or finals week.
  • Students will be expected to find transportation to the event (encourage carpooling, as some students may not have vehicles).

Application information:

  • The application should be submitted no later than two weeks before the event.
  • Funding will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis until available funds are exhausted.
  • If your application is approved, you will receive an email within seven days indicating how much funding is available for your dinner and details on how to receive the funding.
  • In order to be reimbursed, the applicant will need to provide three things within five days of the dinner: (1) a sign-in sheet from the dinner with students’ signatures, (2) an itemized receipt from the food purchased (please make sure not to include personal items purchased at the same time as the food), (3) a filled out version of the Request for Employee Reimbursement and Invoice form, and (4) indicate where you would like the check for reimbursement to be sent. If you have any questions about reimbursement, please contact

We look forward to working with you to create opportunities for faculty to connect with students. Please let us know if you have any questions about Dinner Dialogues.

All the best,

Nicki Jenkins
UK Parent and Family Association
Student and Academic Support
2nd Floor Blazer Dining
Lexington, KY 40506

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