SACS Learning Outcomes

Program Description:

Learning Communities are groups of 20-25 students taking 2-3 courses together. The program is for randomly selected, new freshmen, who have ACT comp scores of 19 or higher and are eligible for English 1010 and/or History 2010. The goals of the program are to improve retention rates of students and help them connect with other students, faculty and the university by fostering a sense of a small community within the larger university community.

Program Outcomes

  1. To increase retention of students in the Learning Communities.Assessment method: The goal will be measured by the number of students retained from fall to spring and spring to fall semesters.

Assessment results: The university retained 69 of 75 students from fall 2004 to spring 2005. From spring 2005 to fall 2005, the university retained 62 of 75 students.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will have a better sense of belonging to a peer group and to the university.Assessment method: Goal will be assessed by students responses during class discussions and to questions regarding student-student relationships and student-faculty relationships during focus group sessions. Assessment results: forthcoming
  2. Students will experience connections between two or more courses in more than one discipline.Assessment method: Goal will be assessed during faculty and student focus group sessions. Assessment results: forthcoming

Assessment Instruments

  1. Student Focus Groups: Students will be randomly chosen to participate in focus group sessions.
  2. Faculty Focus Groups: Learning Communities faculty will meet at the end of the semester to share how they connected courses in different disciplines and what types of assignments were given.

Using Assessment Results

Results from the assessments will be discussed by the Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, the Learning Communities faculty and the Coordinator to address positive and negative aspects of the program. Recommendations of action to be taken to improve negative aspects will be discussed and implemented prior to the next fall semester. Examples of use of the results will be available after this year.

Note: The above outcomes and assessment methods have recently been formed. Informal assessment during the first two years of the program led to reducing the number of courses in two communities to two and to the random selection of students in learning community courses.