Student Achievement Team Final Report

Student Achievement Team Final Report

Resiliency Committee

Student Achievement Team Final Report

2014-2015 Academic Year

Submitted by:

Denise Lovin - Chair Counseling Center

Jim StreetCenter for Student Involvement and Leadership

Rob FalvoDepartment of Music

Emily RangelStudent Connection - SGA

Beth CarrollDepartment of English

Belinda BallewMAP-Works Retention Connection

Abby HamrickStudent Connection - SGA

Matt ZalmanUniversity Housing

Date Submitted: April 13, 2015

Brief Overview/Abstract:

The purpose of the resiliency committee with the Student Achievement Team this academic year is to investigate the nature of resilience on Appalachian State University’s campus and to determine the best ways to increase resiliency so that faculty, staff, and students can be more successful, both personally and academically. We feel that this success should come about through campus partner connections across campus and the formation of a specific office to work with students on their resilience as well as creation of campus messages and support via online resources.

Overall methodology:

Our committee chose to focus on a campus resource that was given to us to preview called “Realize Your Resilience,” using this as our structure and our jumping off point to create an overall plan for increasingly resiliency on our campus. Throughout our entire process, we examined this resource as well as other online resources as well as resources found at other institutions. Below, we have broken down the seven blocks of resiliency, as listed by the “Realizing Your Resilience” website, and thus creating our structure and methodology for this committee report.

As stated on the Realize Your Resilience website, “Higher education institutions cannot always control the risk factors that impact individual students, but by increasing the protective factors related to student resilience, administrators increase the opportunity for students to engage in strength-based, positive coping in the face of adverse events. The research clearly supports that both academic and non-academic factors are important to college student success. This is true not only for first-year students, but also all students throughout their journey to graduation. In other words, student success is built upon more than studying and course-content master. It is also critical that students develop meaningful and supportive relationships, academic self-efficacy, a sense of purpose, high expectations and goals, and the ability to manage stress.”

Below are the blocks, accompanying quotes to give meaning to the blocks and finally ways that we have brainstormed to increase resiliency on campus. The link to this online resources is located in our overall references section at the end of the report.

Block 1: Success Orientation

“Success Orientation is the intrinsic motivation to succeed and the proactive, optimistic approach to setbacks and challenges. Success-oriented students believe in their abilities and have a strong self-efficacy, allowing them to navigate challenges by seeking alternatives while maintaining a positive self-belief in their decisions.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Introduce a 1 to 1 relationship building residence life model similar to UNLV where individual interactions are valued over large scale programming on the residence hall floors.
  • Increase training for faculty and staff where they engage in reflective engagement. This could be offered through the Hubbard Center, held at the beginning during Faculty Orientation as well as having a second semester orientation for faculty and staff as a booster.
  • Invest time to help to foster the idea of resiliency in the possibly new APP 101 course. Here we could include this as a topic for first year students so that the message is communicated from the very beginning of their Appalachian experience.
  • Add specific questions to the MAP-Works retention software system to directly assess and determine students who are struggling in this area. This could lead to a resiliency scale that we could use in other areas of the university or to use in follow-up conversations and assessments.

Block 2: Goals and Purpose

“The capacity to set goals and the desire to achieve one’s ultimate lifetime goals. This “reach for the stars” perspective is rooted in one’s awareness of a sense of purpose, or multiple purposes, in life and a positive image of one’s future.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Advisors can help students recognize goals and offer advisors training in how to do so in the best ways to help the student. Also, have resources available online to help advisors with this process. This would be connected already with the Appreciative Advising Model that Dr. Greg Lester is already trying to implement.
  • As above, this could be incorporated in the APP 101 Course that all first year student would take in their first year at Appalachian.
  • Add specific questions to the MAP-Works retention software system to directly assess and determine students who may need extra support in this area.
  • This could be a topic that is incorporated in the 1 to 1 conversations connected to the Residential Curriculum Model as mentioned above.
  • During Orientation, provide time for Souls or AppolCorp Leaders to invite students to reflect on their goals for the upcoming year or their overall experience in college at Appalachian State University.
  • Develop a website devoted to resilience and include all these items there with info on how faculty and staff can help foster these factors in their coursework and classroom conversations.

Block 3: Thought Patterns

“Thought Patterns: The understanding that our moods are driven by our thinking and self-talk and our ability to maintain a sense of control in stressful situations, allowing us to use our mind to think rationally about the situation and reframe any unnecessary negative thinking. We can then remain open-minded, generate alternative solutions, and approach challenges from a more confident, rational, and optimistic perspective.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Academic Advisors can help students identify and change negative thoughts patterns through their conversations about academics and the academic progress the student will be making. Also, have them bring up common happenings in the first year experience on campus so that students will not think that they are not the only one experiencing this on campus.
  • Include activities that will increase this awareness and foster change, in the curriculum for the APP 101 course.

Block 4: Mentorship

“The guidance and support provided by a trustworthy individual (e.g. faculty member, administrator, or a residential life staffer) who offers in-depth academic, career, and personal advising. Mentors serve as an advocate for students both on and off campus and exhibit belief in the student’s academic abilities, which provide a source of connection, belonging, and enjoyment.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Work with current programs that already have this idea of mentorship as a base model in what they do: the LEAD (Linking Education and Diversity) program, Emerging Leaders, Plemmons/Walker Fellows, Jump Start Mentors to continue these on campus and use their positive attributes in more clubs and organizations on campus.
  • Work with individual departments to see where mentorship exists for faculty and staff. Through this we will see what works the best and help to introduce this in areas that may have low or nonexistent mentorship in this areas.
  • Work to extend the AppolCorp mentorship throughout the entire academic year as to create a permanent connection where students can reach out to peers to ask questions each student may not feel comfortable asking an authority figure.
  • Encourage Academic Advisors to be mentors and provide extra training in order for each to do so.
  • Greek Life at Appalachian State University could have a “Big Sister/Brother” program and provide training on how to be a mentor within their individual organizations or as a whole, involving all members of the Greek system.
  • Once again, having mentoring resources online would be beneficial for the students on campus. Literally, outlining the mentoring process in a document to help all students, faculty, and staff called, “How to be a Mentor at ASU” would be beneficial and could be attached to the #AppCares and “It’s Up to Me” programs through the Dean of Students Office.
  • Mentorship could be a topic in the annual Resident Assistant training taking place in August before students arrive on campus.
  • In response to those flagged in MAP-Works and the information that lies there within, it would be good to develop a peer mentoring program to directthese students to in order for them to learn and get connected.
  • Overall, this all continues to create a culture of mentorship on Appalachian State University’s campus and amongst its campus partners.

Block 5: Nurturing Relationships

“The involvement of social networks as a resource to navigate challenges. Family members and friends can provide a helpful source of insight, lend a helping hand, be a shoulder to lean on, encourage and praise achievements and successes, provide financial stability, and offer a sense of safety and security.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Encourage clubs and organizations on campus to train club leaders on the importance of creating connections not only within their clubs but with those outside of it.
  • Taking on the newer reference of “social networks”, doing online interventions such as creating a YikYak / Facebook / Twitterpositivity brigade to counteract the negativity that is pervasive online currently. This will create an atmosphere on social media that is positive, possibly helping others to question whether they are using social medial to benefit others and their development as students, staff, and faculty.
  • Once again, using the App 101 class to provide students with exercises to foster nurturing relationships in the classroom, relationships with instructors and possibly role playingin class to help with social skills while at ASU.
  • Explicitly train Resident Assistants on a plethora of ways to reach out to students who seem to be in isolation on their residence hall floors.
  • Connect students to resources that MAP-Works indicates as needed regarding campus partner connections and feelings of connection on campus.
  • Work with First Year Seminar in General Education to create a mandate and/or teaching criteria requiring instructors to speak about resiliency on campus and the importance of creating connections on campus allowing students to get to know each other better.
  • In order to do this, we would need to create and have materials ready to help professionals know how to facilitate “Get to Know You” and teambuilding exercises to engage in classroom relationships and foster connection and resiliency.

Block 6: High Achievement Expectations

“The belief in intellectual intelligence, academic ability and success by the individual student as well as classroom teachers and faculty, the campus community, family, and friends.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Work with the Learning Assistance Program (LAP) and other offices such as the Writing Center to encourage conversations that will foster high achievement expectations.
  • Encourage and educate faculty, staff and others students to promote an encouraging and motivational atmosphere to promote the expectation of high achievement

Block 7: Involvement and Engagement

“The participation in campus activities, organizations, and groups, which provide a source of institutional commitment, belonging to the community, opportunity for leadership, and a larger sense of activism.”

Here are ways that we would like to increase this block on the Appalachian State University campus:

  • Currently, we provide opportunities for students to go to Club Expo two times a year, we allow and most times foster protest and activism, this year specifically around social justice issues, have active, kinetic experiences through UREC, provide connections to the community through the ACT Office, offer identity celebration and exploration the offices of Multicultural Student Development, the LGBT Center, and the Women’s Center, all now using one main system to coordinate communication and connection: Appsync. Along with all of these resources, amongst many not mentioned, Orientation and Welcome Week solidifies connection to the university and the student’s identity as a Mountaineer.
  • Provide counseling in Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) to help students find ways to get involved, much of what exists in conversation already, so possibly advertising that this is offered in more ways to increase awareness amongst students.
  • Work to engage the unengaged in University Housing by having targeted conversations and options for referrals and connections that Resident Assistants and other University Housing personnel can offer to students needing to get connected and engaged.
  • Identify, generally what percentage of our students are engaged and involved and work to increase this every year.

Taken from above, we summarize our lists and provide the most important, concise recommendations for the Student Achievement Committee. Here are the overall recommendations that we have formed as a committee:

Recommendation #1: Develop a list of prominent student concerns, highlighting those with academic and personal connections

Methodology:This was determined by the above model and the brainstorming of the campus partners located within the committee.

Findings:Students, faculty and staff have shown throughout this academic year and many before that connection and resiliency are areas that they need to grow in, in order to be successful in the university setting.

References:Realize Your Resilience Model and consultation with committee members

Implementation Plan:

  1. Work with the Counselling Center to determine the numbers of recent referrals to the Counseling Center
  2. Connect with Dr. Chris Hogan
  3. Work with University Housing to see what common duty/crisis interactions are and the manner in which they are handled in order to determine which methods of follow-up are the best for the student
  4. Connect with Vickie Hawkins
  5. Work with Student Conduct to figure out what the most common conduct issues have been
  6. Work with David Elrod
  7. Work with the Dean of Students Office to understand that highest priority of student concerns that are worked through the work of the Early Intervention Team and the CARE Team to understand the breadth of issues ASU faces each year.
  8. Work with Alan Rasmussen / J.J. Brown

Recommendation #2: Integrate a focus on resiliency into the Office of Wellness and Prevention

Methodology:This was determined by the above model and the brainstorming of the campus partners located within the committee.

Findings:In order to connect with the model from the methodology, we connected this in some ways to all Resiliency Blocks in the “Realize Your Resiliency” Model.

References: Creating one place for students to go to in a time of need tends to help them more quickly and allows for staff to use resources more efficiently. In this case it would not be a completely new office created from scratch, but would combine offices and actions that may be already happening at ASU, e.g. connecting the Counseling and Wellness Centers as well as incorporating the Academic Advising in the same area.

Implementation Plan:

  1. Work with those already involved with the development of the Office of Prevention and Wellness and see if an area of this new venture could be dedicated to faculty, staff, and student resiliency.
  2. Create a task force that could identify the best campus partners to include in this office as well as what resources are already available for others to use.
  3. Create a proposal that would be submitted to the Chancellor and possibly the Board of Governors outlining what our campus needs are, where the money would come from, and who would be the primary overseers of the office and its daily operations.

Recommendation #3: Creation/Integration of a class such as App 101

Methodology:This was determined by the above model and the brainstorming of the campus partners located within the committee.

Findings:To make sure that students on ASU’s campus are resilient, we can’t trust that these skills are being taught in their individual homes and or previous institutions of learning. With a class such as this, as Daniel Tassitino has shown in our SAT Committee, we can provide either the initial introduction to resiliency for students or shore up places where they may need extra support as well as provide the initial structure to students about what it means to be successful at this institution.

References: Realize your Resiliency Model and consultation with committee members

Implementation Plan: