Promoting Academic Excellence at UNL

ITLE Year 2 Advising for Success Grants

Power of Possibilities ($14,000)

Jennifer Nelson, General Studies
Christine Timm, Career Services
Kirk Kluver, Admissions
Vishal Singh, Communications and Information Technology

This project will build an interactive website that enables prospective and current students to identify UNL programs related to their self-identified broad interests. Finding the right major early in their university careers heightens students' academic integration and commitment to a goal which in turn facilitates retention and successful degree completion.

This new Web tool will be a collaborative venture among the Division of General Studies, Career Services, Admissions, and the Office of Communications and Information Technology. The site should also facilitate recruitment by providing potential students with quick and easy access to UNL's majors without requiring knowledge of the university's structure or searching of various departmental sites.

Christine Timm, Vishal Singh, Kirk Kluver and Jennifer Nelson

Concurrent Enrollment Program Interactive Multimedia Welcome and Orientation ($20,000)

Billie Strand, Extended Education and Outreach

The Concurrent Enrollment Program allows high school students to take college courses through distance learning, online, at an off-campus site or on the university campus. To ensure success in the online environment, students need to be aware of the level of self motivation and commitment needed for online or distance learning.

The interactive multimedia project, coupled with a Web component, will serve as an introduction to the university, including the advising process. It will be directed toward high school students interested in the program as well as guidance counselors and parents. The goals are to ease students' transition to the university and to online learning, promote a sense of community, create a positive college experience, and help them navigate the university.

After the project is launched in March 2006 the intent is to have the product evaluated by its audiences. High school students will be asked to evaluate the use and impact of the final product.

Billie Strand

Full-Range Advising: Transforming the Adviser/Advisee Experience ($22,190)

John Barbuto, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication
Susan Fritz, Associate Vice Chancellor IANR
Jack Schinstock, Ag Sciences and Natural Resources

This project will develop a five-part co-curricular program on transformational advising and create a website as a resource to faculty and academic advisers.

The introduction and use of transformational advising concepts and practices is intended to increase adviser effectiveness and advisee satisfaction, motivation, retention, career preparation, and successful degree completion.

The program and website will share transformational advising practices with faculty and advisers around the university.

Susan Fritz, John Barbuto and Jack Shinstock

Changing the Culture of Arts and Sciences Advising ($24,600)

Anne Kopera, Arts and Sciences
Jessica Coope, Arts and Sciences

This effort aims to re-define academic advising as teaching intended to engage students in their education and encourage them to complete their degrees in successful and timely fashion. Student learning outcomes for advising will be developed and then communicated to students through advising syllabi that also spell out student responsibilities.

Academic advisers' roles will be more clearly defined by refining job descriptions and clarifying their relationships with faculty and staff within the college. A plan will be devised for the ongoing professional development of advisers to include improving their knowledge of student development and needs. An outside facilitator will help in creating the plan.

Because of the college's large size, implementing a new vision for its advising center will have a campus-wide effect on students, especially those in their first year, easing their transition to the university, clarifying expectations, and increasing retention and successful completion.

Billie Strand
Jessica Coope and Anne Kopera

SAFE – Shared Advising for Engineers ($25,000)

John Ballard, Engineering
Dennis Schulte, Biological Systems Engineering
Ann Koopman, Engineering
Jennifer Nelson, General Studies

This project will implement a comprehensive, shared advising model for the college, integrating existing advising and first-year class components with two new elements: student mentors and a Web-based portal for easily accessible advising information. A training program will be developed so that every new student in the college will be assigned a peer mentor to guide him or her through the first three semesters of study at the university. Retention and attrition from the first through third semesters will be assessed. The net results should be increased breadth, depth, and quality of student experience in content-coordinated first-year courses and improved retention and graduation rates of engineering students.

Jennifer Nelson, Dennis Schulte, Anne Koopman and John Ballard

Supporting Advising through Alumni and Employers ($15,800)

Larry Routh, Career Services
Bob Stelter, Alumni Association

Career Services and the Alumni Association are in the unique situation of being able to combine access to employers and access to the Career Assistance Network database of alumni interested in assisting current students and graduates with career information.

This initiative focuses upon working with college academic units to develop a comprehensive Web site with information connecting students with alumni and employers.

The site will address questions about majors and potential careers from prospective and current students, as well as students' families. Students will discover how particular combinations of courses and majors lead to specific outcomes. Advisers can obtain new insights about the relationship between academic disciplines and a wide variety of career fields.

A project team composed of staff members from Career Services and the Alumni Association will notify academic units that it is available to help obtain information from graduates and their employers.

Bob Stelter and Larry Routh

Advising for Architecture and Interior Design ($25,000)

Betsy Gabb, Architecture
Mark Hoistad, Architecture
Katherine Ankerson, Architecture
Stephanie Kuenning, Architecture
Thuy Pham, Architecture

Because both architecture and interior design have highly defined curricula, academic advising is an intentional and proactive process. This project moves the advising process forward by supplying tools for the students to evaluate and plan their academic strategies.

The award recipients will create an interactive online tool students and advisers can use to keep informed of the student's position in the curriculum and to actively plan a course of study. The student will be able to access a flow chart of required courses. The flow chart will automatically be updated as students complete required courses. In addition to helping students track their progress within the curriculum, the tool will also be tied in with prompts directed to the students, telling them, for example, that they need to make an appointment to see their adviser or that it is time for them to register for classes. The project will result in more students making timely and consistent academic progress.

Katherine Ankerson, Thuy Pham, Betsy Gabb, Mark Hoistad and Stephanie Kuenning

An Academic and Student Affairs Initiative to Promote Student Transition to College Life ($25,000)

D'vee Buss, CBA
Pat McBride, Admissions
Jan Hime, CBA
Angie Stueckrath, CBA

This project is designed to integrate New Student Enrollment and the College of Business Administration's advising and student support services in an effort at better engaging first-year students, helping them transition to campus and providing them with some of the skills necessary for academic success. An advising curriculum will be created with a syllabus to identify and communicate student learning, outcomes and responsibilities.

The focus will be on time-management and decision-making skills and how to navigate the campus environment. The initiative will create a sense of community among CBA students, especially first-year students. Students identified as not highly motivated will be teamed with a "college partner" who will work through the advising curriculum with the student and otherwise keep the student integrated within the program, better ensuring success and retention.

D'Vee Buss, Angie Stueckrath, Pat McBride and Jan Hime

STARTS (STudents in the ARTS) ($25,000)

Robert Fought, Fine and Performing Arts
Sara Fedderson, Fine and Performing Arts
Aaron Holz, Art and Art History
Todd Jensen, Information Services
Robert Mond, Theatre and Film
Robert Woody, Music

STARTS is a comprehensive startup program of advising, mentoring and retention services for students entering Fine and Performing Arts as first-year or transfer students.

This new program will include the creation of interactive media to introduce advisers and faculty who teach core courses to incoming students.

The college will also initiate a series of new student orientation events during the first week of classes, creating a foundation for strong relationships and a structure for systematic and comprehensive exchange of information between the new students and the advising faculty in each unit. A college peer advisers program will be formed. Peer advisers will contact incoming majors over the preceding summer, plan and participate in the orientation program, and serve as liaisons between students and advisers.

The program will result in clarified and communicated program requirements, closer identification of incoming students with the college, eased transition into the university, and increased retention and degree completion.

Seated, from left, Robert Woody, Sara Fedderson and Robert Fought; standing, Todd Jensen, Robert Mond and Aaron Holz

Transforming Academic Advising to Enhance Student Learning and Success ($24,724)

Marc Kiviniemi, Psychology
Dave Hansen, Psychology
Dan Leger, Psychology
Cathy Oslzly, Psychology

In an effort to build an academic advising program that provides strong educational developmental experiences for students, the Psychology department – which has the second largest number of undergraduate majors at the university – will develop a peer advising team for increased opportunities for face-to-face contact with the department advising services.

In addition, a Web-based system will connect students to basic advising information so that face-to-face interactions can focus more on high-level advising.

The department's Career Planning for Psychology Majors course will be revamped to introduce students to the discipline, teach academic success skills, and provide initial career and academic course planning.

Collectively these steps will increase student contact with advisers and advising resources, improve student understanding of requirements and of strategies for success, and enhance identification with the majors and retention.

David Hansen, Marc Kiviniemi and Cathy Oslzly.

Advising for Success in Mathematics ($13,700)

Gordon Woodward, Mathematics
Gwendolen Hines, Mathematics
Lori Mueller, Mathematics

This project is designed to attract students earlier in their careers into mathematics and to increase the retention and success of these students.

The quality and successes of the department will be promoted to high school students, parents and teachers. Community among the majors through multiple adviser-student contacts, student activities, and faculty-student activities will be encouraged. Just-in-time mentoring will be offered to students struggling with transition to the university or with a particular course. A website highlighting the range of jobs held by UNL math graduates will be constructed. And continuing support for undergraduate research and accessibility to top graduate programs will be promoted. The net result will be more engaged students successfully completing a program that can open doors to interesting and varied careers.

Lori Mueller, Gordon Woodward and Gwendolen Hines

ITLE Sections

  • Two proposals win funding - see our March newsletter.
  • Call for Proposals - due to deans Oct. 17, 2008.
  • Deadline for Deans to submit Year 5 ITLE proposals from their colleges was Oct. 28, 2008.