January 15, Beverly Kahn Title III Coordinator Farmingdale State College, SUNY Memorial Hall, Rm Broadhollow Rd. Farmingdale, NY 11735

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1 January 15, 2016 Beverly Kahn Title III Coordinator Farmingdale State College, SUNY Memorial Hall, Rm Broadhollow Rd. Farmingdale, NY Dear Professor Kahn: I am pleased to submit a report regarding Farmingdale s Title III grant. This report features seven significant enduring outcomes of the important Title III work participants accomplished during the past five years. You have provided consistent and productive leadership of this grant work with changes across the campus that portend well for the future. Having appreciated being a part of the review of Title III outcomes, I wish Farmingdale College all the best as it continues to develop as an institution on behalf of its students, its community, and higher education. Sincerely, Barbara L. Cambridge Retired director, National Council of Teachers of English DC Office Professor emerita, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

2 Strengthening Farmingdale State College as a Learner-Centered Institution From Farmingdale State College worked to enact new policies and practices that embody a learner-centered approach in higher education. Each year the College enriched past practices and initiated new ones to serve students, educate faculty, and establish Farmingdale as a forward-looking institution. Title III-supported initiatives at Farmingdale have resulted in significant changes. This report features seven positive changes with examples from observations during evaluation visits. A comprehensive list of activities and outcomes from the Title III work is available in Title III Professional Development Efforts and Achievements, an excellent 36-page synopsis prepared by Professor Beverly Kahn. The seven positive changes covered in this report are (1) accent on experiential learning, (2) benefits of advisement, (3) experience with summer orientation, (4) inclusion of assessment in pedagogical projects, (5) commitment to faculty development, (6) expanded knowledge of grant processes and possibilities, and (7) increased administrative commitment to aspects of the Title III work. Accent on experiential learning During the 2015 conference on Title III outcomes, several faculty members reported on practices that illustrate the growing use of experiential learning at Farmingdale. Two examples signal the range of approaches. Professor Michaela Porubanova in Psychology and one of her students reported on a joint project that demonstrated the positive learning outcomes of faculty-student projects. Orla LoPIccolo, Associate Professor of Architecture & Construction Management, described pedagogies including jigsaw learning, visual dictionaries, and field trips: LoPiccolo s growing ability to analyze and evaluate her pedagogical choices over the course of the Title III grant work was striking. With the first administration of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), Farmingdale learned about the uses and effects of many high-impact practices at the College. During discussion with administrators about the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and FSSE during the first two years of the Title III grant, hesitation about the costs and benefits of the surveys had been expressed. When the FSSE was administered, however, the results were paid attention to, in part because high-impact practices like applied learning had been experienced and were viewed as important to investigate. Because professors and instructors in multiple disciplines have been supported by Title III funds to try new pedagogies that involve experiential learning, more Farmingdale students now and in the future will benefit from active learning.

3 Benefits of advisement A major development during Title III years has been the growth in size, sophistication, and embeddedness of advising at Farmingdale. As the advising staff grew during the years of the grant, the staff educated itself through learning from professional literature about advising but, as importantly, through careful sharing of experience with Farmingdale students and through ongoing development of processes and strategies to work with faculty in multiple departments. Cultivating faculty trust yielded more and more endorsement of the advising staff s abilities and reliance on advising staff for their experience and expertise. The College has now integrated the advising staff into the continuing structure of the College, assuring the kind of ongoing advising that students merit and need. This evolution in placement of the advisors signals the success of this effort. Throughout the grant, advisors have shown eagerness to learn and eagerness to share what they know with faculty. In yearly Title III conferences, advisors have conscientiously shared with faculty and administrators their practices and perspectives, both expressing what they know and soliciting input for continuing improvement. Advisors have connected with the professional field through attending conferences off campus and then sharing with one another what they have learned. Farmingdale is wise to continue to invest in this advising staff and to add further assistance for students in making good decisions regarding their education. Experience with summer orientation New and transfer students face much to learn about the courses, out-of-classroom opportunities, and procedural aspects of a college. During the time of the Title III grant Farmingdale experimented with various ways to do summer orientation to welcome and prepare new and transfer students. The collaboration of faculty and student affairs staff, organized initially and funded continuously by the Title III coordinator, yielded benefit for students and for faculty, both understanding more fully answers to the kind of questions students bring as they enter college. Student evaluations of summer orientation point to benefits of the practice. Students appreciated learning about majors and co curricular opportunities, meeting faculty members outside the classroom, and being on the campus before the beginning of classes. Faculty participants indicated that they, too, had benefited from knowing more about one another s work and from learning how to answer student questions. Summer schedules and new collaborations, however, sometimes deterred the full benefits of summer orientation. Fortunately, discussions continued about how best to conduct the orientations. The length and content of the orientations were adjusted with post-orientation evaluation. Although some apprehension about lack of continuation after grant funding was expressed by some faculty and staff, the prospect of continuation, with student affairs active participation, has emerged. This aspect of Title III learning may well continue after the end of grant funding. Important lessons from the past years can guide this further development.

4 Inclusion of assessment in pedagogical projects In Student First grants funded through Title III, faculty and staff applicants from the beginning needed to identify ways that they would evaluate the outcomes of their projects. Early applications often were vague about the evaluation strategies, though, and Title III conference sessions revealed more weak than strong means of assessment. As the five years evolved, however, the range of assessment strategies widened and the reporting became fuller and more thoughtful, both in conception and application. For example, after teaching students to access simulations on line, Gonca Altuger-Genc in Mechanical Engineering Technology used student experiences as the basis for developing tutorials for students on such subjects as distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant data and careful design of presentations of learning. Also faculty revealed the use of both quantitative and qualitative data for assessment, not disparaging one or the other but astutely using appropriate means for appropriate kinds of questions. For example, during a conference session entitled Expanding Horizons: Internationalization, presenters from History, Politics, and Geography; Italian and Modern Languages; and the Office of International Education & Programs all used both qualitative and quantitative evidence to reveal the successes and continuing challenges of internationalizing curriculum and promoting study abroad. To build on this growing awareness of the range and benefits of multiple means of assessment, Farmingdale would benefit from a full-time director of professional learning who has a specialty in pedagogy and assessment. In relation to assessment, more and more accreditation bodies, both regional and specialty, expect multiple kinds of evidence to justify claims about effectiveness, so the institution as well as departments and faculty members could benefit from a professional in the field of faculty development who could continue to build on uses of assessments. Commitment to faculty development This full-time professional in professional learning would enter Farmingdale at an opportune time. As Farmingdale continues its emphasis on professional learning through continuing Student First grants, as promised by its current senior administrators, it needs other activities to promote faculty interaction about pedagogy. Although some occasions occur on campus for such interaction, the sessions and means could be even more closely linked to new research, SUNY and Farmingdale institutional goals, Farmingdale faculty expertise and interest, and needs of the current student body. NSSE and FSSE data could be used to identify topics for attention, departments could apply for learning opportunities dependent on emerging pedagogical knowledge in their disciplines, and student input could be organized. Faculty members expressed in many conversations appreciation for the opportunities on campus but also off campus from Title III-funded programs. Many faculty members who traveled to state or national conferences returned enthused to try new practices and apply new perspectives. Teams going to conferences yielded new relationships among faculty and more

5 knowledge about pedagogical practices across disciplines. For example, participation in AAC&U conferences and meetings widened the lenses of faculty to see and understand practices on other campuses. Conversely, by explaining their own pedagogical practices at state, regional, and national conferences, Farmingdale faculty members developed their abilities to represent themselves, another kind of professional development. Students First grants stimulated so many Farmingdale faculty to ask more and better conceived questions about their pedagogy and research. The enthusiasm each year of faculty members who conducted inquiries demonstrated that opportunities for professional learning during the Title III grant nourished faculty commitment to student learning at Farmingdale. Expanded knowledge of grant processes and possibilities George LaRosa, Senior VP and CFO for Administration and Finance, and Ted Papas, Director of Grant Development, both speak highly of Beverly Kahn, Title III Coordinator. They describe her meticulous writing and directing of grants and have learned through interaction with her about working with faculty on grant development and administration. Through Students First grant applications, which have elements similar to many larger external grants, faculty members have gained practice in seeking grant funding for their work. Some faculty have merited two Students First grants during the Title III period, often finding the second grant application easier to write based on the first. Although Farmingdale has some help for faculty members in grant preparation, it could support more grant applications with a full-time grant writer and implementer. Upon Beverly Kahn s retirement, the current part-time grant staff person and the director of grant development would benefit from another staff person. With a full-time professional development staff person, more faculty would undoubtedly build on their Students First experiences and on the generation of new professional learning questions by seeking information about grants and assistance in writing them, all to the benefit of Farmingdale. That Kahn has written and received a new major grant demonstrates confidence in Farmingdale as a worthy recipient of funding for strong projects. Increased administrative commitment to aspects of the Title III grant work Striking during the duration of the Title III grant was the growing appreciation of administrators for various emphases within grant activities. Because campus senior administrative leadership and support is so important to Farmingdale s growth as an institution, it is significant that administrators paid attention to and learned from the Title III grant. Although some top administrators changed positions during the grant and others are due to change, the enthusiasm and understanding of the administrators in place at the end of the grant are important portends for the future.

6 For example Laura Joseph, acting provost at the time of the last Title III conference, brought up in discussion the central importance of inquiry into learning, the need for enhanced professional development, and support for and appreciation of those who seek grants. She emphasized two important focuses for the future: (1) a shift from declaring a major upon matriculation or transfer to declaring one at the end of the sophomore year, as planned in t he First-in-the-World grant work, and (2) a realization that being part of the SUNY system is a positive, not a negative. In the Title III conference in fall 2015 Joseph identified aloud to the attendees her own learning since assuming her provost position about benefits of being part of SUNY. She emphasized the advantages of being in contact with other faculty members and administrators inside and outside SUNY. (The list of conferences in Title III Professional Development Efforts and Achievements supplies evidence of those advantages for Farmingdale faculty via Title III.) In another example, both George LaRosa and Ted Papas spoke about the potential of grants for the campus but also about needs for helping an increase in number of grant applications and proper administration of grants received. They noted the need for education for faculty about applying and the need for allocation of time for staff devoted to grants. They spoke specifically about the benefits of learning from the Title III experience. Lastly, retiring president Hubert Keen exhibited insight and learning from examination and analysis of Title III grant activities. During the five years of the grant, from the first meeting about the implementation of the grant to the last, Keen showed interest in and growing realization of the value of each aspect of the grant work. For instance, he came into the last conversation already having committed to continuing and expanding professional development. He not only attended the final Title III conference but actively participated, identifying for all in attendance a way in which he has continued to learn. Through the conscientious and fruitful implementation of the Title III grant, Farmingdale has benefitted greatly. The seven areas of experiential learning, advisement, orientation, assessment, faculty development, grants, and administrative commitment are specific illustrations of the depth and scope of the effects of the Title III funding. With these positive effects Farmingdale College offers a bright future for its students, faculty, system,and higher education. Barbara L. Cambridge January 15, 2016

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