One of the major impediments to timely graduation is limited access to a required course ¿ and one of the reasons access is limited is because some students are taking a difficult course two or even three times in order to earn a passing grade.
The Graduation Initiative Steering Committee, with funding provided by the Kellogg Legacy Project Endowment, is addressing the situation by inviting academic departments to enrich those courses in ways that boost student performance without sacrificing standards. Courses with high enrollment, bottleneck courses and those in which a significant number of students earn less than a C in their first attempt are the most promising candidates for enrichment.
¿We aren¿t looking to tell departments what the solutions are,¿ says Victor Okhuysen, the Graduation Initiative coordinator. ¿We want them to take time to study the problem and then determine their own solutions.¿
Departments are invited to identify a team of at least three faculty members to study a course¿s design, learning environment and other aspects and identify ways to enrich the students¿ experience. Informal gatherings will be scheduled to allow the teams to share the results of their studies with other interested faculty. In the second phase, a pilot course based on the findings and recommendations will be offered and assessment data will be collected. At the conclusion of the second phase, teams will share their projects with other faculty who want to adopt the recommended approach in their courses.
¿We want departments to look at this project beyond the individual instructor,¿ Okhuysen says. ¿We are looking to enrich not only multiple sections of courses, but multiple courses.¿