Faculty Toolkit for Student Success

Every employee at Western Michigan University contributes to student success and that success starts with having the right tools for the job. This page, to be updated frequently, will become a clearinghouse for student success information. This info will be in the form of research, best practices, and ideas to incorporate student success philosophy into our classrooms. Broncos FIRST shares these tools in the hope of starting a dialogue and initiating systemic change that will ensure that every Bronco has the resources they need to graduate. 

 

WMU STUDENT SUPPORT PROGRAMS & SERVICES DIRECTORY

2016-17wmu sTudent support program & services directory

Faculty Message #1

Dear Colleagues,

This is the first in a series of messages about simple things you can do to help WMU students succeed.

A significant number of you participated last fall in a Broncos FIRST survey on student success -- thank you! Those findings are creating an important roadmap for ways we can work to improve graduation rates for students from low-income backgrounds.

In the survey, 96 percent of faculty and instructors indicated it was important that WMU improve in helping incoming undergraduate students with pressures or responsibilities that are not related to coursework but that impact academic performance. And, 85 percent of faculty and instructors indicated that they were willing to personally work toward improvement in this area.
As we begin a new semester, here are some things you can do right now to help.

More than one-third of WMU undergraduate students have high enough financial need to receive federal Pell grants. Financial aid funds may not arrive in students' accounts at the start of the semester, and some students, even after receiving refunds, still do not have sufficient money for textbooks. To help address this problem you can:

  1. Put the course textbook on reserve at Waldo or other branch libraries. Check to see if your textbook is already on reserve at the Libraries by looking for the title in Library Search.

  2. Scan early assigned readings and post them on Elearning. Or, ask the WMU Libraries Reserves service to scan the assigned readings; the process to do this begins here.

  3. Tell students about WMU's short-term loan program, which will cover the purchase of books for eligible students. Students often don't know this help even exists. Click here for more information on those loans.

Together, we can help students succeed at WMU!

Sincerely,
Andrea Beach, Sue Ellen Christian and Charles Henderson
On behalf of the Broncos FIRST project team

 

FACULTY MESSAGE #2 - crafting a syllabus that pays off all semester long

Dear Colleagues,

This is the second in a series of messages about simple things you can do to help WMU students succeed.

A significant number of you participated last fall in a Broncos FIRST survey on student success—thank you! Those findings are creating an important roadmap for ways we can work to improve graduation rates for students from low-income backgrounds.

In that survey, 70 percent of faculty and part-time instructors stated that it was "very important" for WMU to improve in the area of gaps in the academic preparation of some incoming undergraduate students, and 66 percent stated they were willing to help in this area. The need for students to have clear expectations in how to succeed academically was mentioned in 61 qualitative comments.

As you prepare for the spring semester, here are some things you can do when creating your syllabus to communicate to students some strategies for academic success.

1. To promote students' sense of belonging within a higher education environment, address students in the first person or second person (I/we, me/us, our/ours, you/your) as opposed to the less familiar third person (students, professor, the class) throughout the syllabus.

2. Consider reducing the portion of a student's grade that is determined by two or three major exams. Many studies suggest that students benefit from more frequent and shorter assessments. For example, more frequent short quizzes or writing assignments can be used to give students regular feedback and make sure that they stay up-to-date on coursework.

3. Make your office hours inviting to students. Research indicates strong benefits from student-faculty interaction outside of class, but various studies indicate 40 to 66 percent of students do not attend office hours. Office hours can be made more inviting in many ways. Change the place you meet: Hold office hours online, in the library or at the Bernhard Center. Change the times to acknowledge that students may have class or work conflicts. Invite or assign students to visit early in the semester, so they know when and where to find you when they really need help.

Thank you for your consideration of these techniques to foster student success at WMU.

On behalf of the Broncos FIRST research team,
Andrea Beach, Sue Ellen Christian and Charles Henderson

 

 

2016 Fall Convocation- 8 Teaching Practices that Support Student Success Presentation

On September 30, 2016 Broncos FIRST Fellow Prof. Sue Ellen Christian presented at the 2016 Fall Convocation. Professor Christian was selected as the 2016 Michigan Professor of the Year  by the Michigan Association of State Universities.

8 Teaching Practices that Support Student Success