UB's Approach to Student Success Part of a Global Evolution in Educators' Thinking
September 17, 2017
Contact: Office of Government and Public Affairs
The University of Baltimore is part of a leading-edge movement among educational institutions to strengthen student success—e.g., measurable learning outcomes, steady progression to graduation, consistent, reliable tools to meet student needs for academic support, etc.—and is integrating this evolved thinking into courses that cut across the whole of the institution.
As part of its commitment to deliver an effective education for every student and thus fulfill its mission as a university, UB is assessing every step that students take along their path to a successful outcome, up to and including graduation and those first forays into a gratifying career.
The evolving model, according to Catherine Andersen, vice provost and professor in UB's Klein Family School of Communications Design, is national and even global in scale. It gathers up all of the latest thinking on how an institution of higher learning can make the best use of its resources to establish a true, holistic environment in which every student and every professor can make the necessary connections to not only survive in college—but to thrive and strive toward ever-higher goals.
Andersen says "positive restlessness," a term coined by the work on the National Survey of Student Engagement, underpins her ongoing work in what is known as institutional assessment.
"I love this term—when good enough is not good enough," she says. "When institutions engage in ongoing assessment and reflection from their operations to the student experience, they are destined to thrive."
Last spring, Andersen spoke on using data to strengthen pathways to student success at the Inaugural National Learning Improvement Summit at James Madison University in Washington, D.C. The summit's core goals focused on establishing a community of educators who use evidence-based methods to promote student success. Andersen says that at the University of Baltimore and elsewhere, statistical information on course effectiveness and other deliverables—progression, retention, persistence, graduation rates, and so on—can help to ensure that every student continues in his or her development of critical thinking skills, key fundamentals such as writing, communication and math, and an ever-increasing desire to explore more and do more with their college education.
"Every student should experience higher education as an opening up of new horizons to self-fulfillment, career potential, and a desire to, in effect, keep learning and growing," Andersen says. "There are different ways to achieve this aim, but my take on it is that the data that we gather can determine what is really working in the classroom, what is sticking with students as they continue on their journey. It's exciting work, and I believe it's making the University of Baltimore a truly wonderful place for students to start that next big phase of their lives."
Andersen, who received a 2016 Maryland Association of Institutional Research award for a presentation on the student path to graduation, has been invited to the next National Learning Improvement Summit at Auburn University in spring 2018, and looks forward to sharing with colleagues both here and abroad what is happening in this evolution of applied thinking about effective higher education.
"It is a real evolution that is sweeping around the world," she says. "I'm proud that UB is part of it, and I hope to continue to contribute."
Learn more about the University of Baltimore's education path for undergraduates.
Learn more about UB's support for students through its Achievement and Learning Services.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.