Area 2 (SACS Report 2009-2010)
SACS Fifth-Year Interim Report
Area 2: The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission. (Core Requirement 2.10)
Judgment of Compliance
The University of West Georgia provides a comprehensive array of student support programs, services, and activities for students at all levels, through the collaborative efforts of numerous divisions within the University. The University of West Georgia ensures that students have opportunities to learn in an intellectually stimulating and supportive community. The University of West Georgia provides intellectual and personal development opportunities inside and outside the classroom. These developmental experiences are provided through collaborative efforts of University faculty and staff for the benefit of students, with the intent of assisting students in establishing patterns of life long learning. Faculty and staff provide intellectual stimulation in the classroom and through personal relationships with students, through fostering student service to the community and student academic achievement. Further, these services are delivered to students in a manner that affirms each person’s value to the community.
I. Enrollment Related Services
II. Student Life Related Services
III. General Student Support
IV. Distance Education and Off-Campus Students
V. Honors College and Advanced Academy of Georgia
VI. College of Arts and Sciences
VII. Ingram Library
VIII. College of Education
IX. Richards College of Business
X. School of Nursing
XI. Division of Business and Finance
XII. The Graduate School
XIII. The Office of Institutional Diversity
XIV. Information Technology Services
New Student Transitions and Parent Programs: The Office of New Student Transitions and Parent Programs provide services to incoming students and their parents, as well as Commuter Students. The major service provided by this office is New Student Orientation which is provided for all new undergraduate students. For new Freshmen, the office provides multiple 2-day programs over the summer for Fall enrollment, and several 1-day programs for each of the other terms. For Transfer and Non-Traditional students, the office provides a 1-day program prior to each term and two 1-day programs over the summer for Fall enrollment. Programs provide information for students and their family members so their transition to UWG is as smooth as possible.
Assessment: The Office of New Student Transitions and Parent Programs employs an online survey to gain information about all aspects of the program. Many changes have been made to the program over the past three years as a result of the responses to the survey from both students and parents.
Commuter Student Services: As a part of the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management division, in the New Student Transitions and Parent Programs Office, the sole purpose of Commuter Services is to serve UWG commuter students so they can make the most of their UWG experience.
A major part of our services is the Commuter Lounge. Available for student use are computers, a printer, tables, refrigerator, microwave, and lots of comfortable couches that are perfect for an afternoon nap. The lounge is monitored by a Commuter Assistant who is there to answer any questions students may have concerning commuting or life at UWG.
Assessment: This office has not yet developed a comprehensive assessment instrument. Because of the nature of the interaction with students in the lounge, Commuter Assistants gain a lot of information from casual observation and conversations with patrons, and have made some significant changes in physical layout, amenities, and programming due to the feedback received. All students sign into the lounge, and these names will be used for a more formal assessment in 2010.
Admissions:The Office of Admissions is the initial intake office for the university. As such, they provide services that connect the student with other University services. For new Freshman students, the office provides recruitment and information services including Preview Day and daily tours and information sessions. Additionally, the Admissions office processes applications and transcripts, makes the admission decision, and provides access to such online services as Status Check and the Orientation Reservation System. For Transfer students, the Admission office provides initial screening of transfer credit (for admission purposes) and connects the student to the Registrar’s office for an official transcript evaluation and to the Office of New Student Transitions and Parent programs for Orientation information.
Assessment: The Office of Admissions prepares evaluations for each Preview Day program, allowing students and parents to provide qualitative and quantitative feedback on the quality of the program. Additionally, for the daily tours and information sessions, prospective students and parents can fill out a tour evaluation. Evaluations are used to enhance the office reception area, change the tour route if necessary, provide training for tour guides, and guide office personnel in the development of future programming.
Excel Center: The EXCEL Center is devoted to the success and welfare of all UWG students and serves as a resource to their parents as well. We offer:
Academic advising for students with undeclared majors and select Arts & Sciences pre-majors.
Tutoring: Free tutoring in all core curriculum classes;
Major/Career exploration in hundreds of majors/fields;
First Year Support for all first year students and parents;
Peer Mentoring: Paired with incoming students, upperclass students serve as peer mentors;
Student Advocacy: Provides advocacy and referral through campus programs and services;
Multicultural Achievement: Academic support for minority students that includes mentoring and academic study skills sessions;
Academic Success Skills: Study skills seminars and tutoring to help students EXCEL in college; and
UWGeek Squad: Help with computer software in any Microsoft Office application, MyUWG, WebCTVista, BanWeb, Student Webmail, Power Point presentations, Library E-Reserve Readings, and many other computer needs.
EXCEL’s services are available to all students, regardless of the first year experience program with which they are involved.
Assessment: The Excel Center participates in multiple assessments for all aspects of our services. The assessment chart and results can be found in our 2008-2009 Annual Report.
The Multicultural Achievement Program (part of Excel Center): The Multicultural Achievement Program (MAP) is an academic support program for minority students at UWG. MAP seeks to enhance the well-being of minority students by providing programs and services that promote academic success. These services and programs include:
Study Skills Sessions: Seminars focused to strengthen academic deficiencies and provide study techniques;
- Peer Mentoring: Minority freshmen are assigned upper classmen as mentors to assist them in adjusting to the University of West Georgia;
- Passing the Torch: West Georgia minority alumni provide guidance to juniors and seniors through mentoring and career programs to prepare students for careers;
- Academic Awards Program: Awards program recognizing the academic achievement of UWG students and area high school minority students;
- Grade Monitoring/Early Intervention: One-on-one academic assistance offered to minority students to achieve academic success; and
- Minority Academic Advising: Minority students receive supplemental academic advising in addition to departmental advising.
Assessment: Assessment for the Multicultural Achievement Program is done through the comprehensive assessments of the Excel Center. An assessment chart and results can be found in the 2008-2009 Annual Report.
Financial Aid: The Department of Financial Aid at the University of West Georgia is the primary institutional unit that assists students in financing their educational expenses though a variety of federal, state and institutional loans, grants, scholarships and work programs. In administering these programs, this office works directly with applicants for student aid, with their parents or sponsors, and with secondary school personnel in providing information and assistance to current and prospective recipients of aid. The student aid delivery system touches, in one way or another, almost every department and organization at the University. In addition, this office works with numerous offices and organizations external to the institution such as need analysis services, financial institutions, and state and federal governmental agencies or their contractors.
Assessment: The Financial Aid Office does an annual survey that is web based. The following are items we implemented as a result of the survey:
Implemented the Scholarship Search Assistance program in February 2009;
Made improvements to our website specifically addressing military issues and the graduate students;
Created a SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) page in Banweb; and
Implemented training sessions for the Call Center and Customer Service Team members. WE held 12 sessions in the spring and have begun new session this fall.
Registrar’s Office: The Registrar’s Office Mission is to assist all students in succeeding at UWG and to serve our faculty, staff, alumni and community with prompt and courteous service. We do this by providing the following services:
Maintenance of the student academic records;
Readmission of undergraduate students;
Management of the Banner course catalog, schedule and registration;
Evaluation of transfer credits for new and continuing undergraduate students;
Monitoring the academic progress of candidates for undergraduate degrees
Certification of enrolled veterans;
Provide academic transcripts and verifications of enrollment and degree; and
Support and advice regarding academic policies and procedures.
Assessment: The Registrar’s office has implemented a counter survey to assess customer service and student satisfaction, however results will not be available until Spring 2010.
Career Services: Career Services has four primary functions: Student Employment, Professional Practice, Special Programs, and Career Employment. Student Employment assists students and employers in meeting temporary, seasonal, and part-time employment needs including but not limited to FWSP (Federal Work Study Program), Community Service, and America Reads. A variety of employers use these services to obtain part-time employees. The Professional Practice Program allows students to gain practical experience in their major fields while providing employers highly motivated and educated employees. Career Employment is responsible for working with Seniors and recent Alumni who are involved in job/career searches. Career Services conducts special on-campus and off-campus events for students and employers: Job Expo, Community Involvement (formerly Volunteer) Fair, Teacher Interview Day, Career Opportunities Job Fair, and GACE College-to-Career Fair.
Assessment: The Department of Career Services records participation in ALL of our events/programs, presentations. Utilizing our Digital Revolutions C3M System, we are able to record the event/appointment, # of recruiters/employers attending, and #/name/classification of each participating student/alum. Utilizing the C3M system provides accurate data regarding participation/attendance at events/programs and resource usage by students/alums. Multiple program changes, physical office changes, and personnel reassignments have occurred as a result of the assessments.
Health Services: Health Services provides diverse services, many of which are covered under the Health and Activities fee. Staffed by a physician, a pharmacist, three nurse practitioners, four registered nurses, four licensed practical nurses and two patient advocates, Health Services offers extended hours of service while university residence halls are open.
Features include: Coordination of Care; Treatment for General Health Problems; Pharmacy; Gynecology Clinic; Short Stay Unit for students who need to be monitored while receiving medications or intravenous (IV) fluids; Health Education, Health Advocacy. SERVICES--Asthma Treatment; Attention Deficit Disorder; Psychological Services; Contraceptives; Rape Intervention
Student Development Center: The Student Development Center provides career, academic, and personal mental health counseling as well as educational and developmental programs for all University of West Georgia students. Additional support services for disabled and non–traditional students are coordinated through the center.
The Student Development Center coordinates special services for students with a temporary or permanent physical or psychological disability or learning disorder (learning disorders include attention deficit disorder, acquired brain injury, and learning disability). To receive the services, a student must provide recent documentation (test evaluations) that clearly affirms that a physical, psychological or learning disorder is present.
For all types of disability, certain accommodations are provided in order to diminish, as much as is reasonably possible, the effect the disability may have on learning, performance in class, and testing. These accommodations are determined and developed on a case by case basis by the Coordinators of Disability Services for Students, based on the student’s documentation and on a personal interview with the student, as well as with the student’s parents when appropriate.
UWG Cares: UWG Cares provides resources for a variety of issues including emergency or crisis situations, safety concerns, medical concerns, multicultural, psychological and personal issues, and interpersonal conflict in the workplace and amongst students. The web site provides information on local and national resources and other mental and physical health information supporting students, staff and faculty in times of distress.
Campus Center: “The Campus Center enhances student success by providing a place to play, learn, relax and get connected to the campus.” With lots of recreation, social activities, physical activities, student meeting space, organization offices, and other amenities, the Campus Center is the center of student activity on campus. Features include: a 48-foot climbing wall; 13,000-square-foot fitness facility; 205 pieces of strength and cardiovascular equipment; a 1/8 mile indoor track; two 1,500 square-foot aerobics rooms fully equipped with the latest workout equipment; personal trainers for exercise instruction; game room; basketball courts; outdoor recreation center; 9,000-square-foot ballroom; meeting rooms for student organizations; TV viewing area
Assessment: We utilize satisfaction surveys for our Fitness Center, Gym and Game Room. We send surveys to our customers who have rented our ballroom and receive almost 100% back. These surveys have been used in helping us determine if we are meeting the needs of our customers, providing good customer service, and providing the kind of services our customers want ( programs, equipment etc). From these results, we have expanded our offerings, purchased additional equipment, and have developed an on -going customer service training program.
We have used customer satisfaction surveys with our Weekends West Georgia program as well. We have determined what programs the students like and what programs attract a large number of students. From the feedback we have received we are going to create a Center Cinemas programs as part of Weekends West Georgia program.
The other type of assessment we do is data collection from our turnstiles. The turnstiles are connected to our student information system (Banner), so we collect a great deal of information from our Campus Center users. We collect information on peak hours of operation, which has helped us determine when we need two staff members working at the Control Desk and Game Room so we can provide the best customer service. We use the data to tell us who is using the facility so we can do targeted advertising. The data helped determine opening and closing hours of the facility, which we adjusted hours to meet the needs of our customers.
Department of Campus Recreation: The university provides an excellent program of year-round intramural activities for both men and women. A variety of team and individual events is scheduled so that every student has the opportunity to participate. Team sports include track, flag football, basketball, soccer, softball and others. Some of the individual sports offered are badminton, horseshoes, tennis, pingpong, billiards and darts. Outdoor programming is structured to offer students adventure and the opportunity to challenge themselves. Adventure trips include rock climbing, white water rafting, canoeing, backpacking and camping in wilderness areas. An outdoor recreation center provides various equipment to be checked out to students with their UWG ID card.
Center for Student Involvement: The Center for Student Involvement facilitates student engagement, leadership, and involvement through a variety of programs and services. CSI is responsible for major functions including Greek Life, Student Activities Council, Leadership, and coordinating of all student organizations.
|Customer Service||Customer Service Rating Card||No changes as of yet, submissions have been positive|
|Greek Week||Survey||Made program/event changes and additions based on results|
|Recruitment Processes||First year of implementation|
|SAC Program Attendance||Student Track Card Swipe||SAC is expanding promotion and publicity efforts to attract a more diverse audience|
|SAC Program Evaluation||Evaluation Card||New, no changes yet|
|Lead Lunch||Evaluation Form||No changes, results shared with the President|
|Leadership To Go||Evaluation Form||Subjects and presenters are changed due to feedback|
Housing and Residence Life: The Housing and Residence Life program at the University of West Georgia is dedicated to assist students in their overall personal development while providing clean, safe, comfortable housing to all its residents. They provide educational and social opportunities to residents and strive to make living on campus a memorable experience.
Distance education students at the University of West Georgia include those who take online courses through the university, enroll in courses at approved off-campus locations, and enroll in eCore courses. eCore is a collaborative University System of Georgia program which UWG administers. eCore offers fully online courses in core curriculum areas such as English, Math, Chemistry, History, and Political Science. Off-campus students primarily include those at the Newnan Center.
The widespread availability of the internet and web-based communications has facilitated the ability of distance and off-campus students to take advantage of student services in much the same manner that on-campus students do. Nevertheless, some supplemental services are provided due to the unique challenges posed, particularly for distance students.
Advisement: All distance and off-campus students are assigned a faculty advisor or receive advisement through the EXCEL Center in the same way that on-campus students are. However, there are also additional advisors specifically for these students. All students taking eCore courses are assigned to one of two eCore advisors in addition to their regular advisor. In addition to assisting students in the registration and orientation course for eCore courses, the advisors also serve as student advocates, encouraging students in their progress, contacting them if they fall behind in a course, and sending regular reminder emails at key times during the semester. The Newnan Center staff also includes an academic advisor who is available to current and prospective students for general advisement. In addition, a College of Education advisor, a College of Business advisor, a Nursing School advisor, and an EXCEL Center advisor make regularly scheduled visits to the Newnan Center. Both distance and off-campus students may access their advisors by telephone, email or face-to-face appointments. The EXCEL Center also offers advisement to distance and off-campus students through Wimba Live Classroom.
Orientations: In addition to the web-based and face-to-face orientations offered to all UWG students, distance students may participate in a variety of online orientations. These include:
a student services website specifically for distance students and an orientation to the course management system;
program-specific orientations are available through academic departments;
a required orientation and quiz for eCore students (required before access to registration is granted); and
live and archived orientations offered through Wimba for eCore students.
Access to resources is communicated to students through the course syllabi, university websites, e-mail announcements, face-to-face and online student orientations, myUWG portal announcements, the UWG Student Handbook, UWG On-Line Connection, and the UWG Distance Student Guide. All new eCore students must complete an online orientation and quiz prior to enrolling in an eCore course. The orientation provides students with critical information about course success as well as what to expect in their online course. In addition, the eCore Student Success Manager sends a Getting Started Letter to all eCore students at the beginning of the term. Students may also refer to the eCore website or the eCore Student Guide online for ongoing reference.
Tutoring: The EXCEL Center provides tutoring and writing assistance to distance and off-campus students through telephone and email. Tutoring is also available to eCore and distance students through SMARTHINKING, an online service that provides telephone and web-based assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. At the Newnan Center, an English instructor operates a writing center on-site for students one day per week.
Faculty members have online office hours in order to offer additional support to their distance and off-campus students. CourseDen, powered by GeorgiaVIEW Vista, and its accompanying Wimba tools have been an effective medium for faculty to provide learning support via discussion boards, private mail, live chat, video, application-sharing and whiteboard sessions. The course management system and video/audio-conferencing tools have been so successful that just last year (2008) the DDEC helped the EXCEL Center, the Computer Science Department, and various other academic units set up online course sites and live conference rooms for tutoring and advisement to targeted specific student audiences.
If there are special requirements that students need at off-campus sites, such as the Newnan Center, arrangements are made for personnel from the main campus to be personally available on site. This is in addition to the regularly-scheduled office hours that faculty provide at off-campus locations.
Technology Support and Helpdesk: Distance and eCore students receive technical support through UWG’s Distance and Distributed Education Center, available by telephone or email. Helpdesk calls are logged through the Remedy System, which includes a brief evaluation. The helpline has maintained an average of 9.8 (10 is the highest) in overall support ratings over the past five years. These students also have access to the Board of Regent’s Online Support Center, available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. The Newnan Center staff also includes two individuals who provide IT and classroom support to students, faculty, and staff, and the Newnan Center has a student computer lab and wireless internet access.
UWG’s Information Technology Services also provides in-person, phone, web, and email support with general email, registration, and connectivity issues, as well as a Student Information Technology Services (SITS) unit run by students for students. Through SITS students can get help with software and hardware issues with their computers in addition to their own personal license for current Microsoft Operating Systems and the full Office ’07 suite of applications.
The DDEC, ITS, and off-campus site technology directors coordinate support efforts through a shared listserv (BANRPT) and the University’s Technology Coordinating Council (TCC). The TCC meets, as needed, to facilitate communication and consistency.
Auxiliary Services: Distance and off-campus students may order their textbooks online through the university’s bookstore. eCore students may order textbooks through the eCore Online Bookstore. Bookstore services for distance and off-campus students are evaluated by the Distance Education Student Survey evaluation form. According to results from the last three years, more than 85 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that materials required for their courses were available for convenient purchase.
Registration: Distance and Off-Campus students may register completely online through the myUWG student portal and Banweb student information system. Complete instructions for first-time registrants are provided online through the DDEC’s Student Guide available at Distance and Distributed Education Center's Student's Guide to Registration. eCore students may register completely online through the GeorgiaOnMyLine Student Portal. Registration instructions for eCore students are provided in the comments section of the online class bulletin, and at the eCore Website. Distance, eCore and Off-Campus students may see the online Scoop for specific term important dates, deadlines, directions to off-campus sites, and fee schedules. All students may contact the Office of Student Accounts by phone or visit their offices located on the first floor of Aycock Hall to make payments online, over the phone or in person.
Exam Proctoring: All eCore courses and some other university online courses require one or more proctored exams. These tests are offered online. And a testing coordinator assists students in locating a testing site near them, and provides the online password to the approved proctor.
Library Services: Distance, eCore and Off-Campus students are provided with access to the Galileo Interconnected Libraries System as well as Google Scholar. At the Newnan Center, library staff members meet with Newnan students on request to demonstrate procedures for accessing online resources.
UWG’s Office of Distance Learning Library Services (ODDLS) maintains a DL-support web page that outlines library services and resources available to students. Among the services are research consultation, check-out and delivery (by mail or courier) of books from the UWG collection, photocopying and delivery (by mail, fax, or courier) of journal articles or other library materials, and use of the interlibrary loan service for materials not held in the UWG collection. Links to the library’s distance learning services are included on each online course home page (via CourseDen, powered by GeorgiaVIEW Vista) and on the syllabi for all distance courses. The library employs a full-time individual dedicated to supporting distance and off-campus learning students.
Counseling: Counseling services are available to students through the Student Development Center. Students may contact the Student Development Center for counseling services by telephone or email. Students are required to attend one face-to-face or virtual counseling service prior to engaging in telephone counseling. For those unable to come to campus, the Center may refer the students to local counselors.
Disability Services: Students with learning, psychological, or physical disabilities may contact Disability Services at the University of West Georgia by telephone or email. These coordinators communicate with the faculty to plan for the individual needs of students.
Career Guidance: Students may easily utilize the web-based and telephone services of the UWG Department of Career Services. This office provides several off-campus job fairs and assists students with finding employment and volunteer opportunities, as well as offering career counseling.
Assessment: Assessment of support services for online, eCore and off-campus programs is systematic and continuous. In addition to the standard university-wide evaluations, specific assessments for these populations include:
1) Student evaluations of student services through SurveyMonkey or telephone. These include annual surveys of distance, eCore, and Newnan Center students. In April 2008, 83 percent of distance students indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the student services they received.
2) Helpcall evaluations. Using the Remedy System at UWG, data is analyzed to determine the number, types, and other patterns relating to requests for help by online and eCore students. The data also provides results of the caller’s satisfaction with the assistance received and the timeliness of the response.
3) End-of-term student evaluations specific to distance courses. These include questions relating to student services.
4) End-of-term student evaluations specific to eCore courses.
5) Retention and Grade Comparison: Retention data is collected each term, and compared to face-to-face averages as well as to historical data.
6) Retention and Grade Comparison specific to eCore courses: Retention and grade comparison data is collected each term comparing eCore courses to their face-to-face counterpart.
7) Focus Groups & Random Phone Surveys. The Distance & Distributed Ed Center conducted bi-annual focus groups comprised of randomly selected focus groups. Students were given the option to travel to campus for an interview or participate via e-mail. Random phone surveys of distance students are sometimes conducted in lieu of focus groups. The purpose of the focus groups and phone surveys is to evaluate the current satisfaction of distance students with student services and development services, and to discover what improvements should be made to promote a greater sense of community and belonging. Results are online at UWG Index of Distance Education Evaluations.
8) The institution monitors whether students make appropriate use of learning resources. Departments monitor student use of resources through project and paper bibliographies and other course interactions. The ODDLS coordinates with the DDEC for assessment of student library services, and Distance Education Student Evaluations include two questions related to whether students are aware of such library services and whether students make use of them. In addition, a postage-paid, anonymous response card is included with each shipment of materials to a student so that the user can evaluate the timeliness and appropriateness of materials received. The ODDLS conducts ongoing assessment by using these data to determine the level of user satisfaction and to identify areas for improvement.
9) Distance and eCore faculty complete course improvement forms upon review of their student evaluations. The purpose of the Instructor Education Evaluation form is to document changes they are making in their instruction based on these evaluations. The Evaluation Summary for Distance Courses form asks that the faculty provide written documentation reflecting on their DE course evaluation results and how the students' feedback will be used for improvement. The Distance and Distributed Education Center retains copies of all evaluations.
Distance Faculty Evaluation Summaries (Spring 09)
Distance Faculty Evaluation Summaries (Summer 09)
Distance Faculty Evaluation Summaries (Fall 08)
The Honors College includes the Advanced Academy of Georgia*, the Select Student Program, HOPE-ACCEL program for jointly enrolled high school juniors and seniors, Presidential Scholarships, International and National Scholarships, the intercollegiate Debate program, and all Honors College curriculum and activities.
The Advanced Academy of Georgia is a residential, early-entrance-to-college program for gifted and talented high school-aged students. The Advanced Academy is part of the Honors College. Academy students must meet higher entrance requirements than traditional incoming first year students and are eligible for all Honors College courses and services.
*The Advanced Academy has an Advisory Board staffed by nationally renowned individuals with experience working with gifted students and early entrance programs. Academy policies are discussed with this group at annual Board meetings. All recommendations go through the normal approval process for Honors College policies.
Honors Courses: The Honors College offers a distinctive curriculum featuring two types of courses—special sections of courses required in the core curriculum and junior and senior seminars. The Honors College offers between twenty and twenty-five Honors courses each Fall and Spring semester. These courses are capped at 16 students, and because Honors classes are small, they typically provide more opportunities for discussion and more individual attention than is possible in regular curriculum. Thus Honors courses exemplify one of the “Values” listed in the Mission for UWG: “Create a learning community dedicated to instructional excellence where close student-faculty interaction enhances both teaching and learning for a diverse and academically well-prepared student body.” Honors courses are designed to offer more opportunities for research in preparation for graduate or professional school; consequently, they are more challenging, and they place more responsibility on the individual student.
The Honors College committee determines the enrollment cap for honors courses and also must approve all new Honors courses that are proposed by faculty. Honors course work differs from general course work in both breadth and depth of exploration of subject matter, and as much as possible, inclusion of primary sources of information. In order to achieve this all courses in the Honors College will incorporate one or more of the following learning outcomes:
- Students will demonstrate the ability to examine topics and issues from diverse perspectives.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in higher order abstract, creative and critical thinking.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to explore, and if feasible, experiment with possible applications of their learning toward the solution of “real world” problems.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to explore and conduct discipline-specific independent research and creative activities using a variety of resources.
- Students will demonstrate superior oral and written communication skills.
Assessment: Honors students fill out Honors course evaluations at the end of each term and these are reviewed to determine the effectiveness of the Honors courses and the Honors professors.
Undergraduate Research: Through both Honors course offerings and one-on-one initiatives, the Honors College offers opportunities to enhance Honors students’ learning experience, mainly through Undergraduate Research projects and conference presentations. The Honors College staff, along with suggestions from the Honors College committee and the student Honors Council promotes and facilitates travel to appropriate Undergraduate Research conferences each year.
One of West Georgia’s areas of emphasis is faculty-directed student research. Honors Undergraduate Research endeavors contribute greatly to this effort. Furthermore, completion of Undergraduate Research and presentations at state, regional, and national conferences with competitive selection processes facilitates the achievement of the Honors Course learning outcomes III and IV. Thorough understanding and mastery of academic subjects is illustrated well through completion of faculty-directed research.
Graduate & Professional School Preparation: The Honors College staff assists Honors students in their preparations for graduate and professional programs. Additionally, Advanced Academy staff provides guidance and assistance for graduating Academy students in their transition to other institutions.
Assessment: The Advanced Academy is one of only about 12 U.S. programs that allow gifted high-school-age students to earn concurrent high school and college credit while living on campus in a full-time residential program. The Advanced Academy is in its 15th year of existence. External assessment includes the record of Academy graduates gaining acceptance into major universities (see “Post Academy Acceptances”).
Additionally, Academy graduates include the youngest student ever to graduate from a Georgia university, the youngest student ever to graduate from the London School of Economics, and students who received full scholarships to numerous prestigious universities, including Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Oxford in England, Stanford and Yale.
National & International Scholarships: We offer assistance in the application process for National and International Scholarships for our Honors students, and other exceptional UWG students who qualify for the awards’ requirements. Honors students who receive National and International scholarships and grants for study abroad programs, undergraduate studies, and graduate and professional studies are able to continue their scholarly pursuits, often in more depth and with more “hands-on” experiences.
The Honors College staff, based on recommendations from the Honors College committee and the student Honors Council, adopted the procedure for facilitating the application process for National and International scholarships. UWG gains state, regional, and national awareness through the allocation of National and International scholarships and grants to current UWG students and to recent UWG graduates. Acceptance to prestigious graduate and professional programs also enhances the profile of this institution.
Assessment: External assessment includes national and international recognition by Scholarship Foundations. We have had more students receive National and International scholarships and grants during the past decade than any other public institution in the state of Georgia, with the exceptions of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Academy and Honors students have won national and international scholarships, including Marshall, Fulbright, Phi Kappa Phi, Gates-Cambridge and Goldwater Scholarships.
Academic Advising: All Honors students have access to personal academic advising and early registration.
In addition to Honors College services, Academy students receive specialized advising assistance. “Once a student is accepted to The Advanced Academy, their advisor works very closely with the home high school counselor to make sure the student stays on track for graduation. Our first priority in determining a schedule of courses is to make sure the student will graduate from high school. After ensuring that the student is taking classes to meet graduation requirements, the second priority is to either prepare the student for a chosen major or career, or to choose classes that will expose an undecided student to a variety of disciplines. Finally, if there is room in the student’s schedule for an extra elective, then we can look at topics in which the student is particularly interested and that will be of benefit to the student in the future. Students have a great deal of input in the decisions, with personal preferences taken into consideration every step of the way.”
Sound academic advising is one key to academic success and personal development. The personal advising that Honors students receive from Honors College staff helps facilitate their success. Specifically for Academy students, the personal academic advising that they receive is only one part of this focus on development. In addition to academic advising targeted to the specific needs of Academy students, the Advanced Academy also employs a specially trained Counselor. The counselor provides personal, group, and career counseling to all Academy students, including weekly individual meetings with any Academy student requesting private counseling, as well as required counseling for students with prior disciplinary issues.
The personal academic advising and personal counseling that Honors and Academy students receive promotes student learning and enhances student development.
Assessment: We have increased the number of annual Honors College graduates by 42% since the 2005-2006 academic year, with 50 graduates during the 2008-2009 academic year. Also, at the end of each academic year, each Academy student fills out a year-end survey evaluating all aspects of the Academy, the results of which are reviewed by the Director.
Residential Programs: The Honors College offers two Residential options for Honors students in conjunction with the Office of Residence Life.
Honors first-year students have the option to live in Bowdon Hall on two special Honors & High-Ability designated floors. This special housing arrangement provides a unique and academic-focused learning environment inside the residence hall.
Academy students have special, mandatory housing, with their own residence hall, Gunn Hall. In addition to having more of an academic focus similar to the honors floors, Gunn Hall is staffed and set-up with procedures to both ensure the safety of Academy students and provide additional support features.
Gunn Hall residence staff are specially trained to meet the needs of gifted high school-aged students living on a college campus, including programming emphasizing community service (20hrs/year requirement) and a full range of activities designed to fulfill the traditional high school experience (e.g., a prom, student government elections, etc.). Also, the Honors College arranges faculty involvement with Honors and Academy students outside of class, which often includes sponsoring faculty-led discussions in both Bowdon and Gunn Halls.
The College of Arts and Sciences is responsible for providing instruction not only to students majoring in the traditional arts and sciences discipline, but also provides the general education core curriculum component for students majoring in education, business, and nursing. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments.
Assessment: All College of Arts and Sciences departments have retention, progression and graduation guidelines. All departments do a yearly assessment of their programs and some programs are required to meet the accreditation standards for their degree programs.
As the academic heart of the campus, Ingram Library provides both online and in-house collections and services to meet curricular needs. The four story building of some 85,000 square feet is in the process of a funded phased renovation. Wireless access to internet resources is available throughout the building. Library hours are listed on the library web site, along with links to information about services and access points for materials available in online formats. Information about library programs and services is distributed through publications available in the building and through the library web site. An online news blog chronicles developments within the library, while an online announcements site outlines upcoming events, programs and classes. For online and off-campus students, the Library provides a comprehensive library support program for all distance learning students. Information on services available is accessible to students on the Library’s website; in addition, students enrolled in off-campus or online classes are contacted directly by email each semester to make them aware of the resources offered to them.
Assessment: All e-mail communications with distance education students include a link to our online evaluation form. Each instruction session includes an assessment component.
The mission of the College of Education is to provide excellence in the initial and advanced preparation of professionals for a variety of settings, to foster an innovative learning community and to empower a faculty committed to teaching and the dissemination of knowledge. It is home to 6 departments, multiple programs, certificates, and 2 doctoral programs.
Assessment: All departments in the college do a yearly assessment of their programs and are required to meet national accreditation standards (NCATE).
The mission of the Richards College of Business is to educate and prepare students for positions of responsibility and ethical leadership in society. It is home to 4 departments, 10 undergraduate degree programs, 4 graduate degree programs, and the Small Business Development Center.
Assessment: All departments in the college do a yearly assessment of their programs and are required to meet AACSB-I accreditation standards.
The mission of the School of Nursing is to prepare registered nurses for basic and advanced practice roles in diverse healthcare settings in Georgia and the surrounding region. The School is home to UWG’s BSN and MSN programs.
Assessment: The BSN and MSN programs in the School meet CCNE accreditation standards.
The work of the Business & Finance Division is to give each customer (student, employee, vendor, and community) assurance that their critical business needs are our main focus by providing the highest quality business processes and services delivered quickly and conveniently in a personal environment by friendly, professional staff employing integrity in every action.
Assessment: Assessment in this division is handled at the individual office level.
The Graduate School provides assistance with admissions for prospective students, which includes recruitment, application, financial aid, and graduation processes that are centralized in one location. The Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS), the primary body for governance of the Graduate School, is comprised of representatives from all departments offering graduate programs and representatives from the Faculty Senate. COGS policy allows for a graduate student representative to be present at each meeting. The Graduate School disseminates academic policies that support student progression through their graduate programs and works closely with all colleges, schools, departments, and offices to help ensure graduate students have the support they need. Procedures are in place to assist students with concerns and complaints related to their graduate education as well.
Task Force on Graduate Education (Work in Progress)
The primary mission of the Office of Institutional Diversity is to support the University’s mission by providing programming that:
Works to increase knowledge of diverse cultures in the UWG community and, at times, the local communities of Carrollton and Carroll County.
Works to foster tolerance of differences among people through diversity training, lectures on tolerance, workshops related to tolerance, and articles in its own newspaper, The Journey, related to diversity.
Works jointly with other units on campus to support parts of the University’s mission that relate to diversity.
The Special Associate to the President for Institutional Diversity directly supports “high-quality general education” by teaching a course on African-American Psychology.
Overall, the Office of Institutional Diversity supports the University System of Georgia’s Strategic Goal 2, which says, “…Objectives of this goal include increasing the diversity of the University System of Georgia’s enrollment and closing enrollment gaps for underrepresented groups." Fostering an appreciation for diversity at the University of West Georgia helps the institution accomplish this goal.
Faculty/Staff and Infrastructure Support: The University of West Georgia's Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) is dedicated to providing members of the University of West Georgia community with the technological resources and support needed to be successful and productive. This includes (but is not limited to) The Office of the President, The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Office of the Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance, and the Office of the Vice President for University Advancement. Information Technology Services acts as an advocate for technology on campus and works closely with all departments, colleges and schools to address technology related issues.
Assessment: ITS logs all service and support related activities using BCM’s Remedy Helpdesk software. Each activity is logged as a separate ticket. Upon completion of the related work, a survey is generated and e-mailed to the customer requesting feedback on five key performance indicators of IT Support (Response Time, Resolution Time, Courtesy, Knowledge Level, and Professionalism), overall satisfaction, and open ended comments. This feedback is used to identify problem areas and support change making decisions.
Student Information Technology Services: SITS (Student Information Technology Services) is a program funded via Student Technology Fees to provide students with a free service to troubleshoot software and/or hardware problems on their personal computers and/or laptops. SITS facilitates peer-to-peer learning by providing an arena for students with an interest in technology to assist their peer students with computer support services.
Assessment: SITS uses the same software ITS uses to log student support requests. Likewise, the software sends surveys to students requesting feedback on the service. This feedback is used to support change making decisions within SITS. The software is also used to track the number of students using the service to determine how many students are needed to effectively operate SITS.
UWG Computer Labs: The UWG Computer Labs are primarily funded via Student Technology Fees. The labs that are managed centrally by ITS fall into three major categories: Homework Labs, Specialized Labs, and Classroom Labs. Homework labs are general work labs monitored by student assistants and generally keep broad hours (opening before 8:00 am with some staying open until 2:00 am). These labs also exist to satisfy the UWG Computer Access Policy. Specialized labs are also typically monitored by student assistants but can be reserved for teaching or proctoring exams. Software in these labs is typically specific to the corresponding discipline: examples include the Art Lab, Biology Lab, Geography Lab, and Anthropology Lab. Classroom Labs are not monitored by student assistants; their primary function is to provide computer access to courses that require them on a daily basis.
Assessment: Monitored labs are assessed with hourly headcounts to determine usage. Each year the lab software configurations are assessed to determine what software needs to be upgraded, added, or removed. In specialized labs, the faculty is consulted to determine software configuration. The same approach is used for classroom labs based on the college in which they are located.
myUWG: The campus portal (myUWG) provides students with access to their e-mail, Banner (Student Information System), and WebCT/Vista (Learning Management System) accounts. The portal also provides access to campus announcements and news, a personal calendar, student resources information, and support/help information (both technical and academic).
Assessment: Assessment of myUWG has been historically addressed through student focus groups (beginning in 2007). These focus groups sought open ended feedback from the students regarding information they would like to see in the portal. In Fall of 2009 a new assessment was conducted via a survey within the campus portal seeking feedback on the “channels” provided within myUWG. This feedback was used to help provide direction during the latest portal software upgrade.
ResNet: ResNet (Resident Network) provides internet access to students living in the UWG residence halls. This includes wired access (one port per student per room) and wireless access in the resident hall common areas. In the event that a student is experiencing difficulties with internet connectivity in his or her room, an appointment can be made with ResNet to have a technician meet the student in their room and trouble shoot the issue.
Assessment: ResNet calls are also logged in the Remedy Helpdesk Software. These service tickets do not generate surveys upon close, but the data is reviewed to assess average time to schedule for service requests and student assistant staffing needs.