Goal 1: Increasing student enrollment through new student recruitment
- We aim to increase the number of new first-year students and upper-year transfer students from local, out-of-province and international markets over the next five years. We aim to outpace the growth of the city of Saskatoon (projected at 2%/year) by growing our student body by 4%/year over the next 5 years. Our student headcounts have been relatively flat since 2013 (increasing from 9,321 in 2013 to 9,414 in 2018), but we have several opportunities for growth outlined below.
- Increase recruitment of students from Saskatchewan with particular attention to students from the southern regions of the province, adding an additional 25 students from southern Saskatchewan each year.
- Increase recruitment of Indigenous students (see Vice Dean Indigenous Plan summary), adding an additional 100 Indigenous students each year.
- Increase recruitment of international students, adding an additional 50 international students each year.
- Run social media campaigns each year (using ‘Unibuddy’ or a similar agency) to attract more international student applicants.
- Run targeted social media campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, Google Adwords) coordinated with central recruitment to target students from Saskatchewan.
- These campaigns should showcasing programs targeted for growth, such as Computer Science.
- We should enhanced our partnerships with regional colleges, especially for the purpose of recruiting upper-year students. Consolidating our recruitment and regional college support personnel is one step in this direction.
- To facilitate the recruitment of Indigenous students, when groups of Indigenous youth are on campus (for example the Nutrien Kamskenow® program), these students should be provided with promotional material for the UofS and College of Arts and Science, such as hats, t-shirts, and other promotional items.
- Develop short promotional and informational videos to promote our student services and programming initiatives
- We would need a dedicated advertising/recruitment budget (multi-year requirement), including $17,000/year for Study International (or similar) and $3,000/year for Social Media campaigns.
- We would need more social media content for these campaigns, including the development of video tours (one-time requirement).
- We would need to increase our recruitment resources to our regional college partners.
- The resources required to increase capacity in Computer Science are articulated elsewhere in the college plan
- Student Headcounts (with special attention to diversity targets for Indigenous and International students), 3CUEs taught by A&S
- Increased number of transfer students from our regional college partners
Goal 2: Increasing student enrollment through retention initiatives
- Increasing student enrollment through increased retention into the second, third, and final year of study.
- Historically, Arts & Science has lost approximately 25% of its first year students between the first and second year. One of the most efficient and effective ways we can grow our student body is to keep the students we already have, especially because we have unused capacity in many upper year courses. This year, our second-year retention rate is currently at a 10-year high of 77.5%, and after 5 years it should be over 80%, increasing our headcounts by approximately 60 students each subsequent year.
- Our current learning community programs (FLEX, USTEP, and ISAP) collectively serve approximately 500 first-year students each year, but approximately 1,350 first-year students don’t access these programs. We need to broaden the reach of our learning community programs. One obvious avenue for expansion is running FLEX in term 2, and possibly even expanding it into the second year. These programs provide a greater sense of community and academic/social supports among the student body.
- The vast majority of our first-year programming focuses on the fall term, but programs designed to retain students who have had a difficult first semester (such as the ‘academic recovery’ program) have performed well in pilot implementations and should be expanded.
- Students who do not declare academic majors during the first year and less likely to return for a second year. We need to promote academic majors in Arts & Science and career opportunities following from training in A&S (not just providing a transitional role before 'professional colleges’).
- Students experiencing academic difficulty often don’t contact academic advising until it is too late and they are already placed on probation or even required to discontinue from their studies. Through an ‘early alert’ program we can detect and proactively engage these students before the decline in their academic progress keeps them from being able to complete their degrees or certificates successfully.
- Our Undergraduate Student Office does an excellent job of serving students who seek help, and present in-person in the Arts building during business hours. However, being able to deliver advising and academic services outside of normal business hours and through on-line platforms helps us reach students who are far away, unavailable during business hours, or even too anxious to have a difficult conversation face-to-face.
- Continue to expand the FLEX learning community program into the second term, and possibly the second year.
- Expand the 'academic recovery' program in FLEX to 3 or 4 sections.
- Implement the “P1” early-alert advising program for students experiencing academic difficulty.
- Expand 'Major Possibilities' career fair for major choice and declaration, possibly holding both fall and spring sessions.
- Engage in a variety of student outreach events and fairs and remote initiatives.
- More learning community administrative support (2 staff currently serve the 450 students in FLEX and USTEP).
- The current P1 project is supported part-time by a single staff member, but at least one full-time position could be dedicated to this task.
- Student Headcounts (with special attention to diversity targets for Indigenous and International students), 3CUEs taught by A&S, second-year retention rates, 6-year completion rates, and within-campus retention rates.
Goal 3: Increasing the flexibility and accessibility of student advising
- Increasing the flexibility and accessibility of student advising with the goal of increasing student satisfaction and student retention.
In addition to delivering high quality personalized advising in face-to-face appointments in the Undergraduate Student Office, we would also seek to provide advising online and outside of normal business hours. Being able to deliver advising and academic services outside of normal business hours and through on-line platforms helps us reach students who are far away, unavailable during business hours, or even too anxious to have a difficult conversation face-to-face.
- Pilot an on-line advising platform
- Communicating with students through email is becoming increasingly difficult and unreliable, as most students prefer SMS as their primary means of communications. We would like to start collecting SMS contact information and seeking permission to use this means for contacting our students.
- Live chat function
- Zoom plugins, webcams and microphones
- Industrial SMS software required so academic advisors are not resorting to using their own devices to contact students via SMS (text).
- Number of student contacts (shorter-term)
- Measures of student satisfaction in NSSE (shorter- and longer-term)
- Student retention statistics (longer-term)
- Enrollment (headcounts and 3CUEs)
Goal 4: Increase (outbound) participation in Student Exchange
Currently the College of Arts and Science is much more likely to receive students as part of our exchange agreements than we are to send students abroad. This problem does not appear to be pervasive across campus though, as other colleges have a much higher proportion of their student body taking part in study abroad opportunities. With regards to student exchange programs, we average less than 20 outbound students participating each year.
- Identify at least one study abroad opportunity for each one of our academic programs
- Identify transfer credit pathways that extend opportunities for internationalization
- Develop a college-wide study abroad plan
- Increase student awareness of existing study abroad opportunities
- Current student support staff, communications staff, and members of the TLSE team should be able to support this initiative
- Increased number and proportion of students participating in Study Abroad opportunities.
- Specifically, Increase the percentage of students participating in education abroad by 35%, and the percentage of First Nations, Metis and Inuit students participating in education abroad by 50%
Goal 5: Implementing Co-Curricular records for the College and Departmental learning opportunities
Assessing college- and departmental-level learning opportunities for CCR credit.
- Establish a CCR review committee
- College- and Department-level learning opportunities for CCR credit need to be identified and evaluated
- CCR activities for departments will be supported through the Administrative Services Group, whereas college-level activities will be supported through the UGSO
- The current staff complement can support this initiative.
- Number of students with CCR entries, and number of CCR entries for each student.
Goal 6: Reducing the frequency and severity of Academic Misconduct
- Many incidents of academic misconduct appear to arise from misunderstandings about how to properly use and cite academic sources. Although many instructors do an excellent job of teaching these skills in class, additional seminars and proactive awareness campaigns could help reduce the frequency of these incidents.
- International students represent less than 15% of our student body, and yet comprise almost 40% of those students accused (formally) of academic dishonesty. We should work towards reducing this proportion among our international students.
- With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been the prevalence of cheating sites and technologies that allow students to cheat. Find ways to adapt to online and remote learning and the challenges to academic honesty that accompany these modes.
- In addition to discouraging academic dishonesty, we should also be promoting the value of academic integrity.
- Delivery of academic integrity seminars during orientation, particularly when orienting new international students.
- Bathroom signs promoting academic integrity (many incidents of attempted cheating on exams occur in bathrooms).
- LCD screen messages promoting academic integrity.
- Find ways to adapt to online and remote learning and the challenges to academic honesty that accompany these modes.
- Send more targeted email messages to students.
- Development of instructional resources to help promote academic integrity and discourage academic dishonesty.
- Development of a promotional campaign for deployment during examination periods
- Decreased prevalence of informal and formal resolutions of academic misconduct.
- Average severity of penalties in cases of academic misconduct should decrease over time.