Interventions to Promote Community College Transfer Student Success at a Four-year, Online University

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1 Interventions to Promote Community College Transfer Student Success at a Four-year, Online University AACRAO Technology and Transfer Conference Fort Lauderdale, Florida Denise Nadasen, AVP Institutional Research Alexandra List, Research Associate University of Maryland University College

2 Today s Presentation Transfer student success Kresge project framework Intervention development, implementation, and results Conclusions Lessons learned/next steps

3 Context Community college students comprise 45% of undergraduate students Only 15% of transfer students complete a degree within 6 years First semester of transfer from community college to four-year university is a time of great stress for students Increased academic demands at four-year university Online universities require independence and self-directedness

4 Adult Student Population Older Non-residential Interrupted educational pathways Part-time Stop-out Mostly transfer Lower income Minority Work and family obligations

5 Kresge Research Project Improve transfer student success Collaborate with community colleges Build an integrated database Conduct data mining Predict transfer success at the four-year Identify factors associated with success Implement interventions Evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions

6 Focus of Kresge Research Community College Data UMUC Data

7 Institutional Profiles University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Large, open-access, online university serving adult working students with families Maryland community colleges: Montgomery College Prince George s Community College Large, diverse institutions with lower-income students who have little or no online experience. Provides the largest number of transfer students to UMUC

8 Academic Trajectories for Transfer Students Community College Data UMUC First Term GPA Reenrollment Retention Graduation

9 Objective To support community college transfer students to achieve success in their first semester at a four-year, online university.

10 Literature Insights Transfer challenging for students Eco-shock Challenges navigating new environment Challenges with academic and social integration Inadequate information about the transfer institution Transfer students need three types of resources: Institutional resources (Formal) Peer support (Informal) Independent self-support (Initiative-based) Support for the specific interventions we developed Students desire for a checklist Large literature on benefits of mentoring

11 Stakeholder Insights Community College partner insights: Students need role models Having a mentor who was like them. Institution should provide social support UMUC insights: Review of previous interventions Advising insight: Information students need when they start

12 Drivers for the Interventions Academic Planning and Goal Setting Social and Institutional Integration Academic Success

13 Interventions Student Resource Checklist College Success Mentoring

14 Key Outcomes First-term GPA Successful Course Completion: percent of courses completed with grade C or above Re-enrollment: enrollment in semester following the first semester of transfer Student perceptions: satisfaction survey results from students

15 Student Resource Checklist

16 Checklist Description Students are asked to identify academic and social resources Learners are active in finding university resources Practice navigating online support services Targeted areas: Academic planning (e.g., identify school calendar) Institutional navigation (e.g., access student account) Social orientation (e.g., communicate with advisor)

17 Checklist Samples

18 Checklist Population Checklist intervention targeted all new community college transfer students N=343 Students randomly assigned to test and control groups Test group: n=240 Control group: n=103

19 Checklist Implementation Checklist was available online or as a Word form Advisors disseminated checklist to students Follow up phone calls 59 students completed the checklist Completion rate: 24%

20 Checklist Performance Results No significant differences in GPA or rate of successful course completion Key Outcomes Test (n=240) Control (n=103) Term GPA Successful Course Completion Checklist Completers (n=59) Control (n=103) Term GPA Successful Course Completion Key Outcomes

21 Checklist Survey All students (test and control) received the survey (N=343) Completed the checklist: 25/240 Did not complete the checklist: 4/ students completed the satisfaction survey 8.4% response rate for all (N=343) students

22 Checklist Survey Results 85% of students would recommend the checklist to other students Comments: It helped me compile information and learn how to use UMUC's website. I had all my instructors s listed on one sheet It helped me get back into school after being out for 6 years.

23 College Success Mentoring Program

24 Mentor Selection Criteria for mentor invitation: Transferred from MC or PGCC Enrolled at UMUC in Spring 2014 Enrolled at UMUC for at least 1 year GPA: 3.0 or above N=841 students received mentor invitation Mentor Orientation (7 day training): Mentor handbook Seven discussion topics Communication to mentees 80 mentors successfully completed orientation

25 Mentee Selection New community college transfer students in Spring 2014 Random assignment to test and control groups Test group: 90 Control group: 34 Mentor-mentee matching criteria Community College of origin Major Demographic factors: age, gender

26 Mentoring Intervention Eight topics for 8 weeks of classes: Setting goals Time management Class participation and communicating with instructors Study skills and managing workload Academic support at UMUC Maintaining motivation Self-assessment and long-term goal setting Re-enrollment and developing an academic plan

27 Mentee Performance Results No significant differences in GPA and rate of successful course completion were identified. Key Outcomes Test (n=90) Control (n=34) Term GPA Successful Course Completion

28 Mentee Survey Feedback 20% response rate 82% would recommend this program Comments: Having someone that went through the same process help[ed] me get one step closer to my goal. Academic: They had previous experience with the format of UMUC classes; gave insight to how they would be like. Social: She is very caring and very down to earth. She made it very easy to communicate with her. UMUC Specific: He helped the most in getting accustomed to the 8 week sessions and how to set up my schedule throughout the week to be successful.

29 Mentor Performance Results Significant differences were found between mentors (test) and non-mentors (control) for cumulative GPA and Successful Course Completion Key Outcomes Test (n=70) Control (n=116) Cumulative GPA 3.56* 3.36* Term GPA Successful Course Completion 0.95* 0.90*

30 Mentor Survey Feedback 48% response rate Comments: Role Modeling: It puts me in a responsible position. Not only did I have to help [him] succeed, I have to [prove] to him that what I'm teaching him is working by passing myself. Motivation: I like the idea of helping others. College is not always easy and the idea and act of helping others is highly motivating. Institutional Connection: Having the opportunity to give back to UMUC and have others learn from my experiences. Leadership: What I found to be most valuable is my ability to learn more about myself as a leader and being able to improve my communication skills

31 Conclusions No significant effects were found for either intervention First iteration of the intervention First semester intervention May have long-term impact on reenrollment and retention Track for one year

32 Indirect Benefits A challenge for online institutions is creating a social community for students Interventions provide a way to interact with other students Interventions provide an opportunity to connect with the university Checklist Students learn about institutional resources Learning by doing (self-discovery) Students feel cared for and supported by the university Mentoring Students feel cared for and supported by the university Serendipitous benefits for mentors Mentors perform better than non-mentors Benefits may be associated with the self-selection process

33 Lessons Learned Integrate interventions to offer a holistic approach to student success Collaborate with cross-institutional stakeholders Evaluate interventions to determine their effectiveness using measurable outcomes Lather, rinse, repeat modify interventions based on evaluation and feedback Consider scalability and resource allocation

34 Next Steps Women s Mentoring/Boys to Men Diverse Male Student Initiative Development Education (math modules) JumpStart Summer Accounting 220/221

35 Thank you! Alexandra List Denise Nadasen

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