Helping students navigate towards success through active learning and empowerment
This presentation will discuss the successful interventions of the “Active Learning to Empower Students and Increase Retention and Graduation HSI Grant” from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon (USC), located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This project has aimed to strategically respond to the common challenge of decreased enrollment and low retention and graduation rates among Hispanic Serving Institutions with an innovative student-centered project that was organized into four components: 1) Creation of transformative learning environments; 2) Reshaping teaching and learning; 3) Integration of co-work and innovative learning spaces; and 4) Revamping the student learning outcomes assessment system. Among the expected outcomes were: engaged faculty and students to develop deep learning and academic success, supported by strengthened student services personnel and resources; students who master their social, academic and professional competencies; increased retention and graduation rates; technological innovations, pedagogical enhancements and out-of-the-classroom experiential learning through state-of-the-art co-work and learning incubator spaces and technologically upgraded classrooms; and faculty with strong capacity to define students’ learning goals, tasks and success criteria; and a student learning outcomes assessment system that will provide timely feedback and reinforcement to both students and faculty in all relevant areas.
Software that foster student empowerment for advising retention and academics. Jenzabar EX. For services cloud technology has been key.
Explain project results
To promote retention and fiscal stability the following key services were offered: coordinated
tutoring, mentoring and counseling services. During this year we had 6 peer tutors/mentors who
helped students in challenging general education subjects and bottleneck coursed such as: Math,
Accounting, Statistics, English and Spanish (in reading and writing), also provided informal follow
up and guidance in college adaptation (mentoring component).
To the efforts regarding retention and fiscal stability, our full-time Counselor has been working
alongside the institutional team of Professional Counselors to support the development of a new
service model of Student Success, focused on active learning and empowerment. During
2016-2017 year our Counselor offered a total of 610 services and promoted the
retention/persistence of 85% of her caseload.
By the end of Fiscal year 2016-2017, our tutors offered 455 services to students, and promoted the
retention of 89% of them.
Why it should be considered best practice?
Our activities, which are aimed to foster student centered practices, are influencing the institution’s
ability to promote an experience that integrates reinforcement, support, human warmth and high
technology to guide the student in his or her university life. By training our faculty and service
providers we are empowering them to be better equipped and motivated to work towards
excellency in their tasks and responsibilities.
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