Dear all, 

I wanted to share with you some data from the conditionally admitted students (STAR students - Strategies Targeted for Academic Rewards) that took my 1 credit First Year Experience course this past fall, which was based on Skip Downing's OnCourse text. I attend OnCourse Workshop II in August which helped me in my development of the course. 

(Note: This is the e-mail I also sent to my supervisor and the folks in Admissions that I work with who determine who they will admit as STAR students each fall.) 

I have attached a spreadsheet with numbers comparing last year's (F07) STAR students to this year's (F08) STAR students. 

Here are the highlights... 

avg GPA in F07 = 2.07 
avg GPA in F08 = 2.43 

Retention F07 (fall-spring) = 78% (32/41) 
* Retention F08 (fall-spring) = 94% 29/31) 

* I am meeting with one of two non-registered students today to register for spring classes. 
* The other student expressed interest in graphic design and was looking at Robert Morris College for their program since we do not offer that major at AU. I will be following up with the student to find out what she decided to do for spring semester. 

This year's numbers are much better than last year. I think the IDS1100 course (based on OnCourse) made a significant difference in the students' academic success as well as my ability to monitor their performance through my weekly contact with the students in the class. 

I mentioned to my supervisor that I would like to propose that next year's STAR students also take an IDS1100 class with me in the spring. I have had conversations with Marcia Hanlon (director of our counseling center) and Samantha Weinstein (one of the counselors) in the counseling center to look at opportunities to collaborate with them on the development of the course, as well as developing programming for this spring with the STAR students since they do no have a course with me this semester. My conversations with Marcia and Samantha inspired me to recommend adding the spring course next year, along with my experience duiring fall semester of students in my class asking if there was a class they needed to take this spring with me as a continuation of the fall class. I have also found that several of the STAR students had changed their majors since the beginning of the semester. I think offering them a course in the spring to help them explore majors or confirm their current major would be beneficial and also allow me too monitor them more closely. is what I am proposing for next year... 

The course in the fall would continue to be called, IDS1100: First Year Experience-Creating Success for College and Beyond , and the spring class would be called IDS1100: First Year Experience-Career Exploration for Personal Growth and Development. Both classes would be offered for 1 credit, and meet once a week for the full semester, similar to the way the course was offered this past fall. I have taught career courses in the past, so I would model the spring course after what I have done previously incorporating material from Samantha specifically on communicating with professors, locus of control (motivation), and more time management topics. While I discuss these topics in the fall class, exposing the students to the topics in spring again would provide them an opportunity to reflect on what they did in fall, and make adjustments to their behavior in spring. 

Please let me know if you have any questions what I presented above. 

Travis Ramage 
Academic Advisor / STAR Program Coordinator 
Aurora University 
347 Gladstone Avenue 
Aurora, IL 60506 
PH: 630-844-5141 
FX: 630-844-7813 
AIM: trav7374 
E-mail: [log in to unmask] 

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