Progress on Objective 3
Increase Success in Recruitment and Retention of Highly Qualified and Diverse Undergraduate Students
Strategic Plan Goals 1,2,3, and 8
Promoting Living/Learning Communities for academically engaged entering and continuing students
-For many years the College of Engineering has had an active living/learning community for its entering students. Starting Fall 2007 this program became more focused with first-year engineering students living in Somerset Hall. Students have access to tutoring for their science and math classes, group study options, and presentations on careers in engineering.
-The Honors College living/learning community remains the prototype for the University of Maine. The college continued to solidify the relationship between the academic and community aspects of student life developed over the first seven years of this community.
-S3, Support for Science Students, is a residential program that is designed specifically for all science majors at UMaine. Students can choose to live in the same residence hall where they are among other students with similar interests and academic expectations. S3 offers the opportunity to succeed in science through cooperation rather than competition. Students who develop strong peer relationships and have supportive academic communities excel in their programs. With almost two decades of experience, S3 offers a variety of resources, which are designed for the science student who chooses to excel in his or her studies.
Some of the services currently offered
A residence hall area with serious students for neighbors and with agreed-upon evening quiet time and 24-hour ‘courtesy time’ (students can request neighbors to be quiet) to support those wishing to study.
Optional weekly study groups, facilitated by upper-class peer tutors, which help students develop good study habits and prepare for exams.
Student advisors and faculty members who are available to assist students with current classes, future plans, and student life at the University of Maine.
Events and field trips, along with speakers and faculty forums, offer opportunities for students to learn and develop skills outside of the classroom.
Leadership opportunities for students within the program
-Innovation Living Learning Community: As part of the new First Year Residential Experience, the Student Innovation Center and Residential Life are coordinating the new Innovation Living Learning Community. There are 37 students in this community living in Oxford Hall, which is across the street from the Student Innovation Center. The students represent a number of majors and several undecided students. Students were placed in the living learning community based on preferences they indicated when they signed up for housing in the spring. SIC staff welcomed them to campus on Maine Hello day with goody bags that included a copy of Doug Hall’s Jump Start Your Brain and snacks, toys and games “to spark their creative genius.”
The Student Innovation Center (SIC) conducted a slate of events during the fall, aimed at promoting to the living learning community but that also open to the greater campus community. There is a workshop or program approximately every other week. Topics include the nuts and bolts of starting a business, sustainability, and protecting ideas.
The SIC is hosting weekly “Cookies” just for the LLC students and their guests. The SIC provides social/networking time followed by a variety of programming. Programming examples include:
Field trips to places on campus where innovative things are happening (examples include AEWC and the Without Borders art show)
Screenings of short films
Podcasts from Doug Hall and others
Attracting more top Maine students to apply to and enroll at UMaine
-Projected analysis: The Office of Institutional Studies will chart over time the results of market-share analyses: (a) application and yield results statewide and disaggregated by high school, and (b) application and yield results within various SAT-score bands.
Additional info from college reports
- The Maine Business School is establishing an undergraduate research program, an Economics lab within the School of Economics, an undergraduate wide minor in public policy, and two new schools (SOE and SPIA), all of which will aid in recruitment of both graduate and undergraduate students.
-The College of Engineering attracts more top Maine students by aggressively offering scholarships to the best applicants and getting potential students on campus for personalized tours, resulting in a 20% increase in the size of the class that will enter in Fall 2007.
-Modification of the Honors College’s recruitment workflow model (sending the Honors College magazine “MINERVA” earlier and to more students) directly impacted the challenge of attracting more top Maine (and elsewhere) students to apply to and enroll at UMaine.
-The Honors College hosted the statewide National Geographic Bee last year.
The following CLAS departments offered courses through Academ-e to recruit motivated Maine high school students: Computer Science, English, Mathematics, Modern Languages and Classics, Music, Physics, Psychology, and Theatre.
-The Art Department sent information packets to all Maine high school counselors.
-The Chemistry Department organized campus research immersion experiences for nine high school students and participated in Expanding Your Horizons, a campus conference to recruit high school women into science.
-The Department of Communication and Journalism organized the annual statewide spring high school journalism conference on campus, supported financially by the Maine Newspapers Association.
-The Music Department’s student Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Singers annually tour the region, performing and recruiting for UMaine. Hundreds of public school students annually attend Music’s Maine Summer Youth Music camps, where they are encouraged to attend UMaine. So successful are these camps that 80% of UMaine music majors are recruited there.
-The Department of Theatre/Dance’s annual touring productions serve as recruitment opportunities, and students staffed recruitment tables at the New England Theatre Conference.
-The Women’s Studies/Women in the Curriculum program worked with admissions to recruit Somali students.
Evaluating and improving various aspects of the first year experience
-Ongoing: UMaine’s Office of Institutional Studies is conducting a summative and formative evaluation of various initiatives regarding the first-year experience: FYRE, Connections, Explorations, and Transitions. (Preliminary results will be available in Spring 2007.)
-The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) held its “Top of the Class,” to celebrate high-GPA first-year students with a reception in the dean’s home. CLAS also hosted a reunion for last year’s “Top of the Class” group. Phi Beta Kappa invited us to its national conference to describe “Top of the Class.” Welcome letters were sent to all accepted students. CLAS has begun advertising in the Bangor Daily News and distributing recruitment information in public schools throughout the region.
-The College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture receives more than 50% of its applications each year from out of state. In a college with what have historically been predominantly male-oriented disciplines, approximately 55% of students are female.