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Nic, I am shocked--shocked!--at your implication that there might be different standards for different units on campus.

That said, at least here at NKU, traditional units *are* worried. We have a new administration and a new Strategic Plan. It emphasizes things like "develop[ing] and expand[ing] transdisciplinary programs," "expand[ing] applied and experiential learning opportunities," "identify[ing] and invest[ing] in distinctive programs," and "assess[ing] and modify[ing] academic programs for quality, relevance and sustainability."

We *all* are feeling a bit under the gun.

Jered Wasburn-Moses
Math Center Coordinator
Success Skills Coordinator
Learning Assistance Programs
Northern Kentucky University
http://lap.nku.edu
University Center 170F
(859) 572-5779


# -----Original Message-----
# From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:LRNASST-
# [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge
# Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 6:18 PM
# To: [log in to unmask]
# Subject: Re: ROI on Academic Support Services? -- Different Take
# 
# Dear Colleagues,
# 
# I don't mean to digress from what I see as a very valuable conversation, but I
# am struck by what I am assuming is selective skepticism  on the part of faculty
# and administrators about the performance of students who utilize academic
# support and thus the outcomes of such support.  For instance, Marisa wrote,
# "Your response is exactly what I seem to be dealing with regarding our SI
# program."
# 
# These faculty and administrators are willing to hypothesize a motivational
# difference (what evidence is there that use of support services is a reliable
# indicator of the kind of motivation they think leads to high attainment?) but
# unwilling to accept the hard data you provide.
# 
# Do they also hypothesize that the students who do well in their courses  are
# simply the "good students" and would have performed well regardless--their
# teaching had no impact?  Working from this hypothesis would undermine the
# attribution of learning and achievement to features of the course/instruction
# for all the high-achieving students in their courses.  Might there be a double-
# standard operating here?
# 
# 
# Similarly, when  data reveal that academic support is not the magic
# transformative bullet  hoped for,  do these same folks trot out the reciprocal
# hypothesis: "these are 'bad' students, no matter how good the academic
# support was, it wouldn't have made a difference"?
# 
# It seems to me that these latter two hypotheses are just as reasonable as
# the skepticism evinced about the effects of academic support, but somehow
# I never hear them articulated in discussions about teaching and academic
# support. Another way of saying this is: if motivation is such a crucial factor
# when evaluating the effectiveness of academic support, why don't we use it
# when evaluating other aspects of the institution?
# 
# Another thing I don't like about this conceptualization of the issues is the
# unstated but implied corollary of the assumption about motivation. If
# students succeed because they are motivated, then the implication is that
# the one's who don't succeed must not be motivated.
# Thus, it's all up to the student, faculty and the institution are off- the-hook all
# based upon assumptions about motivation, a topic which most faculty place
# outside the scope of their responsibility and which they know very little
# about. (In my opinion motivation is one of the
# most complex, if not messy, research topics in education.) I'm
# skeptical of this kind of self-serving explanation.
# 
# Because "proof" is so hard to come by in our work, I am very hesitant to
# engage in these kinds of ROI conversations in the first place. What is the ROI
# of the sociology department? The president's office? Why are those
# questions so rarely asked? Not all "returns" can be measured in retention
# rates, it seems to me. Assuming that academic support can be measured in
# this way diminishes academic support in my opinion.
# 
# If, as seems to be the consensus of those posting, it is very difficult for any
# unit to justify its funding based on ROI because determining the impact of
# specific, discrete services in light of so many potential  "factors" then the
# question of WHICH units must justify the ROI and which do not have to do so
# becomes that much more important. If the situation is so complex that no
# data will be persuasive, then I don't think it wise to be in the position of
# having to persuade people with data.
# 
# 
# Who gets scrutinized and who doesn't--and in what ways--is the real issue to
# my mind. I wonder if reducing our work to a question of ROI is a slippery
# slope. It may be unavoidable in some cases--as I seem to be reading in most
# of these posts--but that doesn't mean we shouldn't critically examine the
# assumptions undergirding a ROI perspective. My sense is that academic
# support provided by those who have posted here does far more than
# increase retention rates and generate revenue, but these other "returns"
# can become  obscured if the ROI perspective is privileged above all others.
# 
# Best,
# Nic
# __________________________________
# Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
# [log in to unmask]
# (609)258-6921
# http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/us/
# 
# Associate Director
# McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
# 328C Frist Campus Center
# Princeton University
# Princeton, NJ 08544
# 
# Individual Appointment Times:
# By request
# 
# 
# 
# 
# 
# On Jan 9, 2014, at 11:00 AM, Marisa Passafiume wrote:
# 
# > Sara,
# > Your response is exactly what I seem to be dealing with regarding our
# > SI program. Might you be willing to share your interpretive
# > report...off of the list serve? I would love to begin showing our data
# > to critics in a more comprehensive way.
# >
# > Most fondly
# > Marisa Passafiume
# >
# >
# > -----------------------
# >
# > *Marisa Passafiume*
# > *Director, Center for Academic Success* *Tutor Trainer, National
# > Tutoring Association*
# >
# > Riverdale, NY 10471
# > Phone: 718-862-7796
# > Fax: 718-862-7791
# > [log in to unmask]
# > www.manhattan.edu
# >
# >
# > On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM, Sara Weertz <[log in to unmask]>
# > wrote:
# >
# >> Ah, I love this question...one I think I can answer because this used
# >> to be a typical response to Supplemental Instruction (SI) which has a
# >> history of empirical evidence indicating that students who use SI on
# >> a regular basis get better grades. Faculty often opine that SI
# >> students would have gotten successful grades no matter what; they
# >> argue that SI students (or
# >> those who self-select) are already the "good" students.   Faculty
# >> continued
# >> their criticism of the numbers even after I added qualitative
# >> data--feedback from the students themselves, in their own words,
# >> saying they excelled in their coursework because of SI.
# >>
# >> It was, however, more difficult to be critical of my interpretive
# >> report, which pulls the following data on students enrolled in
# >> SI-supported
# >> classes:
# >>
# >> * GPA (at the beginning of the term)
# >> * ACT/SAT scores
# >> * Classification
# >> * Ethnicity
# >> * Residency (on/off campus)
# >> * Major/Minor
# >> * Academic Standing
# >> * Cohort attributes such as athletics, provisional status,
# >> international student, etc.
# >>
# >> If I run the interpretive reports at the beginning of the term, I get
# >> a bird's-eye view of the class, which allows me to also create
# >> individual student profiles.
# >>
# >> The beauty of the interpretive report is its use as a tool to make
# >> predictions about the students in our SI-supported classes. An
# >> example would be to examine how a freshman with several at-risk
# >> factors and low ACT scores (which tests science acumen) might fare in
# >> a traditionally difficult biology class. Since our SI support focuses
# >> on traditionally difficult classes where many students struggle, we
# >> then make predictions on success (A, B, or C) depending on whether
# >> the less proficient students and those considered at-risk attend SI,
# >> how often they attend, and when they attend.
# >> The interpretive report allows us to compile some fascinating reports
# >> for variety of departments and student services. Our measurements
# >> consistently show that no matter how many at-risk factors a student
# >> may have, the more SI visits, the higher the final grade.
# >>
# >> While something like an interpretive report is more difficult to
# >> generate with tutoring, it can be done.
# >>
# >> sal
# >>
# >>
# >> Sara Weertz, M.Ed.
# >> Executive Director, First Year Experience ASU Station #10915 Angelo
# >> State University San Angelo, TX  76909
# >> (325) 942-2595
# >> [log in to unmask]
# >>
# >> CRLA President-Elect 2013-2014
# >> www.crla.net
# >>
# >> ****************************************************
# >>
# >>
# >> -----Original Message-----
# >> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:
# >> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Marcia Toms
# >> Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 8:32 AM
# >> To: [log in to unmask]
# >> Subject: Re: ROI on Academic Support Services? -- Different Take
# >>
# >> That is great, Leonard.
# >>
# >> One question, though: Do students voluntarily come to your center?
# >> If so,
# >> how do you address the motivation issue?  In other words, who is to
# >> say that these students wouldn't have higher retention rates anyway?
# >>
# >> Best,
# >> -Marcia
# >>
# >>
# >> On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 9:06 AM, Roberta Schotka
# >> <[log in to unmask]
# >>> wrote:
# >>
# >>> Leonard,
# >>>
# >>> That is brilliant, especially since it is so difficult to link
# >>> grades directly to tutoring, given all of the other contributing
# >>> factors.
# >>>
# >>> -Roberta
# >>>
# >>>
# >>> On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM, Geddes, Leonard G.
# >>> <[log in to unmask]
# >>>> wrote:
# >>>
# >>>> Melissa and any others who are interested,
# >>>>
# >>>> I have attached part of a report that I sent up to the "powers
# >>>> that
# >> be"
# >>>> about the influence our services are having on the bottom line --
# >>>> retention. In the past, we communicated how we were affecting
# >>>> academic performance.  However, when it seemed like reporting how
# >>>> students were improving academically was not generating the
# >>>> traction that we thought it deserved, I decided to speak the
# >>>> administration's language by adding a retention element to the
# >>>> report.  In short, we compared the re-enrollment rates of students
# >>>> using our services to general student retention,
# >>> athletic
# >>>> teams, etc.  Our numbers rocked!  (I've attached an abbreviated
# >>>> report since I don't think the administration would like us to
# >>>> share financial info publically.)
# >>>>
# >>>> In the actual report, we put figures to the report by factoring in
# >>>> the "real" revenue that is generated per student. For example,
# >>> hypothetically,
# >>>> if the overall retention rate was 70%, but our numbers were 86%,
# >>>> then we showed numerically how much revenue 16% more students
# added
# >>>> to the bottom line, thus showing that we are revenue generating.
# >>>>
# >>>> As a result of changing to reporting this way, our reports have
# >>>> been
# >>> going
# >>>> all the way up the chain to the Board.  Recently, they specifically
# >>>> referenced our center and services in the new strategic plan!  We
# >>>> are now preparing for a significant budget increase as well -- yay!
# >>>>
# >>>> I hope this is useful.
# >>>>
# >>>> Leonard Geddes
# >>>> Associate Dean of Co-Curricular Programs Director of the Learning
# >>>> Commons Division of Student Life Lenoir-Rhyne University www.lr.edu
# >>>> [log in to unmask]
# >>>> (828) 328-7024
# >>>> (828) 328-7702 (fax)
# >>>>
# >>>> The LearnWell Projects Blog:
# >>> http://www.thelearnwellprojects.com/thewell/
# >>>>
# >>>>
# >>>
# >>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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# >>> subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your
# >>> web browser to http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html
# >>>
# >>> To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]
# >>>
# >>
# >>
# >>
# >> --
# >> Marcia Toms, Ph.D.
# >> Associate Director
# >> Undergraduate Tutorial Center
# >> Division of Academic and Student Affairs North Carolina State
# >> University Campus Box 7118 / 101 Park Shops Raleigh, NC 27695-7118
# >> 919.513.7829
# >> http://www.ncsu.edu/tutorial_center/
# >>
# >> Public Record Reminder: All electronic mail messages in connection
# >> with State business that are sent to or received by this account are
# >> subject to the NC Public Records Law.  They are retained and may be
# >> disclosed to third parties.
# >>
# >> Confidentiality: Nothing in the NC Public Records Law diminishes the
# >> privacy protections afforded by federal law (e.g., FERPA, HIPAA,
# >> etc.)
# >>
# >> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
# >> To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
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