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2. Core requirements

Core Requirement:

2.10 The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission that are intended to promote student learning and enhance the development of its students. (Student Support Services)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia Mission Statement states:

"The University of West Georgia seeks to achieve preeminence in providing educational excellence in a personal environment through an intellectually stimulating and supportive community for it students, faculty, and staff" [1].

Thus, the University of West Georgia offers a comprehensive array of student support programs, services, and activities for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, through the collaborative efforts of numerous divisions within the University. In accordance with UWG mission statement, the Institution does the following:

- Ensures that students have opportunities to learn in an intellectually stimulating and supportive community.

- 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 them in establishing patterns of lifelong learning.

- Requires that 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. These services are delivered to students in a manner that affirms each person’s value to the community.  

While the narrative under consideration discusses student support services offered to UWG students, the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.3 describes the assessment of these services. Additionally, the reports for Comprehensive Standards related to Student Affairs and Services (3.9.1, 3.9.2, and 3.9.3) cover such topics as students’ rights, student records, and qualified staff necessary to successfully support student services.   

The majority of student support services are provided by the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.  It should be noted as well that the University of West Georgia focuses substantial resources on a wide range of services and support mechanisms for off-campus and online students [2].  Responsibility for this falls primarily under the auspices of the Division of Distributed and Distance Education (DDEC) [3].  DDEC insures the sufficiency and quality of support for online and off-campus students in accordance with the requirements of SACS Policy on "Distance and Correspondence Education" [4].  The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and the Division of Distributed and Distance Education have developed a document "Comparison of Student Services Offered Face-to-Face vs. Externally/Online" [5]. This document is regularly updated to reflect the changes.

 

Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Enrollment Related Services

 

Admissions [6]

The Office of Admissions is the initial intake office for the University of West Georgia.  As such, it connects students with other university services.  For upcoming first-year students, the Office of Admissions provides recruitment and information services including Preview Day (several times per year) and daily campus 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.  For transfer students, the Office of Admissions provides the initial screening of transfer credit (for admission purposes), and connects the student to the Registrar’s office for an official transcript evaluation and to New Student Orientation for orientation information.

Admissions 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 to tour guides, and direct office personnel in the development of future programming.

 

Commuter Services [7]

As a part of the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management division, in the office of First Year Experience, the sole purpose of Commuter Services is to serve University of West Georgia commuter students, so that they can make the most of their UWG experience.

The primary focus of the department’s services is the maintenance of the multi-function Commuter Lounge. It offers comfortable seating, computers, a printer, tables, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a television. The commuter lounge is monitored by a Commuter Assistant who is there to answer any questions students may have concerning commuting or life at the University of West Georgia.

Commuter Services Assessment: The Commuter Services office has developed a comprehensive assessment instrument.  Commuter Lounge procedure requires that all students sign into the commuter lounge, and these data is later used for assessment. Additionally, because of the nature of the interaction with students in the lounge, Commuter Assistants gain a lot of insight from casual observations of and conversations with patrons. Hence, Commuter Assistant insights, and the feedback received from their interactions with commuter students and from the Commuter Services assessment instrument have fostered significant changes in the physical layout of the commuter lounge and the amenities available to commuters, and to the programming offered to commuter students.

 

Enrollment Services Center [8]

The Enrollment Services Center is a newly-created customer service-oriented office designed to be the University of West Georgia’s first stop for financial aid and registration support. Services administered by the Enrollment Services Center include:

Financial Aid-Related Services

 

Registrar-Related Services

 

  • How to Apply for Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid Eligibility Questions
  • Financial Aid Verification
  • HOPE Scholarship Information
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Scholarships & Grants
  • Student Loan Information (Federal, Perkins, Parent Plus and Stafford)
  • Master Promissory Notes
  • Entrance Counseling
  •  Grade Changes
  • Undergraduate Graduation
  • Assistance with Registration
  • Drop/Add and Withdrawals
  • Official Transcripts
  • Enrollement and Degree Verification
  • Wolf Watch (UWG's Degree Audit and Adving Tool)

 

Enrollment Services Center Assessment: The Enrollment Services Center reports outcomes on customer service, training students to read their degree audits (Wolf Watch) [9], veterans services, and limited bill payment functionality.

 

Excel Center [10]

The mission of the EXCEL Center for Academic Success is to support students in their efforts toward academic success as UWG students and life-long learners.  Initially much of the departmental focus was to assist the first-year students (and their parents) make a successful transition to college and continue that success through the second year of college and beyond.  Over the years the EXCEL Center has broadened its focus to include: working with all undeclared students in order to help them choose a “right fit” major, working with all students who need assistance with courses in the core curriculum, and assisting all first and second-year students who are academically at risk.

In order to achieve its purpose, the EXCEL Center offers a wide variety of programs to students, staff, and faculty. Some of those program offerings include: Academic Advising, At-Risk and Probation Student Advisement, Community Service, Early Warning, First Year Student Advocacy, Major/Career Exploration, Multicultural Achievement [11] programming, Peer Mentoring, a Student Leadership Development, Study Skills Training, and Supplemental Instruction. The EXCEL Center offers tutoring to students in all Core Curriculum courses, and the center maintains the UWGeek Squad [12] program. In addition, the EXCEL Center has initiated the University of West Georgia's Second-year Experience [13] program, and a mentoring program for HOPE Scholars. The EXCEL Center's services are available to all students who wish to "EXCEL" in their course work.  Links to all EXCEL Center programs are available through the EXCEL Center website [10]

EXCEL Center Assessment: The EXCEL Center conducts multiple assessments for all aspects of its programs and services. These assessments include instruments that provide data on student satisfaction, retention, progress, and the comparison of GPA's between program participants and non-participants.  The assessment charts, summaries and results can be found on the EXCEL Center webpage.  As results are reviewed and analyzed by the EXCEL Center's leadership and staff it is a common practice of the EXCEL Center to make changes in order to improve programming. The most recent assessment for the Excel Center extracted from the annual report is available [14].

     

Multicultural Achievement Program [11]

As a part of the Excel Center, the Multicultural Achievement Program (MAP) is an academic support program intended specifically to serve minority students at the University of West Georgia (link to the MAP website below). The Multicultural Achievement Program seeks to enhance the well-being of minority students by providing programs and services that promote academic success. These services and programs include:

Multicultural Achievement Program Assessment: Assessment for the Multicultural Achievement Program is conducted through the comprehensive assessments of the EXCEL Center. An assessment chart and results can be found in the EXCEL Center annual reports [14].

 

Financial Aid [15]

The Office of Financial Aid at the University of West Georgia is the primary institutional unit that assists students in financing their educational costs through a variety of federal, state and institutional loans, grants, scholarships, and work programs.  In administering these programs, the office works directly with applicants for student aid, their parents or sponsors, and secondary school personnel in providing information and assistance to current and prospective recipients of aid.  The student aid delivery system networks with almost every department and organization at the University.  In addition, the Office of Financial Aid works with numerous offices and organizations external to the institution in order to meet the students’ educational costs needs. Examples of such external networking include the use of analysis services and financial institutions, and the advice, services, and assistance of various state and federal governmental agencies, and/or their contractors.    

Financial Aid Assessment: The Office of Financial Aid conducts an annual web-based survey.  The following are among the changes implemented as a result of the assessment of the annual survey data:

 

New Student Orientation [16]

The Office of New Student Orientation provides services to incoming students and their parents, including commuter, off-site, and distance or online students. The major service provided by the office is New Student Orientation (provided to all new undergraduate students).  The office offers an online Orientation Reservation System that allows students to register for New Student Orientation. For incoming first-year students, the office offers multiple 2-day programs over the summer for Fall enrollment, and 1-day programs for students beginning at the University of West Georgia in each of the other academic terms, i.e. Spring and Summer. For Transfer and Non-Traditional students, the Office of New Student Orientation provides a 1-day program prior to each term and three 1-day programs over the summer for Fall enrollment.

New Student Orientation Assessment: The Office of New Student Orientation employs an online survey to gather data about all aspects of the program.  Many changes have been made over the past three years as a result of the responses to the survey from both students and parents.  For example, based on the survey results from questions that addressed Orientation Leader performance, the decision was made to change the training model, which, originally, was implemented over two weeks during the summer. In Fiscal Year 2011-12, the training period was extended over the Spring semester of 2011-12 school year and into Summer 2012. This change allowed the students to better grasp their job responsibilities.  Because of the change in the training model, students were more cohesive as a team and better prepared than they were in the previous years. This change resulted in an overall increase in the reported satisfaction with Orientation Leaders (about 10%).  Also, based on the survey feedback from the students and parents, the administrators of New Student Orientation increased the number of directional signs to the locations on campus involved into the orientation process. Additionally, several informational sessions were altered in light of the survey respondent data.

 

The Office of the Registrar [17]

The mission of the Office of the Registrar is to assist all students in succeeding at UWG and to serve faculty, staff, alumni and community with prompt and courteous service. This office executes its mission by providing the following services:

More information about the services provided by the Registrar’s Office is provided in reports for Comprehensive Standards 3.4.4, 3.5.2, 3.5.4, 3.6.3, and 3.6.4).

Assessment: The Office of the Registrar has implemented a counter survey to assess customer service and student satisfaction.  Additionally, in FY 2012 the following improvements have been made:

  1. Outreach to faculty, staff and students through the implementation of Registrar 101/102 presentations. The presentations consisted of topics covering from the functions of the office through registration and grades.
  2. Enhanced graduation activities (larger diplomas, annual Graduation Fair and better communication with students, inherited graduate graduation certification)
  3. Grade submission - tweaked current program to allow faculty to change grades electronically up to the due date/time
  4. Moved transcript/enrollment certification processing to the Enrollment Services Center for more concentrated customer service.
  5. Implemented DegreeWorks Degree Audit for Graduate Students.

 

Student Life Related Services

Career Services [18]

Career Services supports 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 using such resources as Federal Work Study Program grants, community service organizations, and the America Reads program.  A variety of employers use Career Services 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 and career searches. Career Services conducts special on-campus and off-campus events for students and employers which include such events as: Job Expo, Community Involvement Fair, Teacher Interview Day, Career Opportunities Job Fair, and GACE College-to-Career Fair.

Career Services Assessment: Career Services records participation in all events, programs, and presentations offered through its office.  Using the Digital Revolutions C3M System housed there, Career Services is able to record the event or appointment, the number of recruiters and employers attending the event or appointment, and the number, name, and classification of all participating students and alumni. Utilization of the Digital Revolutions C3M system provides accurate data regarding participation and attendance at events and programs, and on resource usage by students and alumni.  Multiple program changes, physical office changes, and personnel reassignments have occurred as a result of the assessments.

 

Counseling and Career Development [19]

Counseling and Career Development 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.

Counseling and Career Development coordinates special services for students with a temporary or permanent physical or psychological disability or learning disorder. To receive the services, a student must provide recent documentation (test evaluations) that clearly affirms that a physical, psychological, or learning disorder is present as defined by the criteria stipulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act [20].

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.

Counseling and Career Development Assessment: The evaluation of the counseling programs consists of two processes.  The first process involves the collection, retention, sorting, and assessment of relevant demographic information, which describes the students who come for counseling at the University of West Georgia and the reasons they present for desiring counseling services.  The second process entails an internal assessment that is conducted biannually and which evaluates the efficacy of the counseling service itself and whether that counseling meets the stated needs of the student.  Additional evaluations are conducted that seek to discern the extent to which the counseling program is meeting the goals of keeping the campus safe for all students to learn and contribute to the University of West Georgia's  aims of the retention, educational progression, and graduation of all enrolled students.

The Career Development program is completing its second year.  The evaluation of career development service offerings is conducted through the administration of a student survey.  The questions to which students respond are structured to aid in the determination of student readiness to move on to the next level in the chosen educational program [21]

Health Services [22]

Health Services provides diverse services, many of which are supported by the Health and Activities fee paid by students. 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 of West Georgia residence halls are open. The health services offered include:

Health Services Assessment: Health Services annually reports the number of patient visits, patients served by a doctor or nurse practitioner, prescriptions written, and students participating in peer education outreach.

 

General Student Support (several cooperating offices)

In addition to services provided directly under the auspices of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, the University of West Georgia provides a wide array of additional support services. These additional support services are designed and intended to engage students in the full range of opportunities offered through participation in the campus social and academic experience. The following narratives describe the additional support services offered by the cooperating offices of the University of West Georgia.

 

Center for Student Involvement [23]


The Center for Student Involvement facilitates student engagement, leadership, and involvement through a variety of programs and services. The Center for Student Involvement is responsible for the major functions of a number of campus organizations which include Greek Life, Student Activities Council, Leadership, Weekends West.  Additionally, the Center for Student Involvement is responsible for the coordination of the activities for all student organizations.

Center for Student Involvement Assessment: The Center for Student Involvement uses evaluation forms for each of its programs in order to determine needed changes. The feedback collected contributes to the development of program offerings. 

 

Housing and Residence Life [24]

The Housing and Residence Life program at the University of West Georgia "is dedicated to assisting students in their overall personal development while providing clean, comfortable housing to all our residents." The Housing and Residence Life program provides educational and social opportunities to residents and strives to make living on campus a memorable experience.

Housing and Residence Life Assessment: In April and May each year the Housing and Residence Life program conducts a Quality of Life Survey of the student residents.  In 2012 the national firm of Brailsford and Dunlavey completed a Housing Master Plan that included a robust assessment of the residential population [25]. The Housing Master Plan was used as the most recent Quality of Life assessment.  Every three to five years a facility assessment report is completed The most recent set of reports were completed by the ISES Corporation in 2011 [26].  Finally, every February a Master Business Plan is completed and submitted to the Board of Regents [27]

 

University Recreation [28]

University Recreation (UREC) enhances student success by providing a place to play, learn, relax and get connected to the campus. With a variety of recreation, social, and physical activities, student meeting spaces, organization offices, and other amenities, University Recreation is the center of student activity on campus. Features of University Recreation facilities include:

University Recreation Assessment: University Recreation (UREC) uses satisfaction surveys for its Fitness Center, Gym and Game Room. University Recreation, also, sends surveys to customers who have rented the ballroom. These surveys have been used to determine whether or not University Recreation is meeting the needs of its customers, providing good customer service, and providing the kind of services customers want (e.g. programs, equipment, access times, etc). Based on analysis of the survey data, University Recreation has expanded its offerings, purchased additional equipment, and developed an on-going customer service training program.

University Recreation collects additional assessment data from I.D. card swipes at the turnstiles in the Campus Center. These turnstiles are connected to the University of West Georgia student information system (Banner). University Recreation collects traffic information on peak hours of operation, which has helped the office determine appropriate staffing needs and hours of operation as well as create targeted advertising.

 

International Services and Programs (ISP) [29]

For the international student, green card holder or UWG student born in a country other than the USA, the ISP office offers important services. These services include assistance in cultural adjustment, immigration services, orientation, advisement and study assistance.

Additionally, the ISP office offers short and long term study abroad programs that are relatively inexpensive and count towards the UWG curriculum.

Assessment: ISP measures participation in the programs offered by the office. Based on the assessment results, the International Services and Programs office improves and develops strategies on increasing participation in the programs offered to students.   Also, depending on the assessment results and demand, ISP cooperates with the Dean’s offices to develop study abroad programs that are integrated into the college’s curriculum.

 

Center for Diversity and Inclusion [30]

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is concerned primarily with enhancing the quality of life for ethnic minority students, faculty, and staff at the University of West Georgia, and in doing so, increasing the quality of life for all in the UWG community. In fulfilling its mission, CDI has collaborative arrangements with other UWG offices and student groups directly concerned with issues related to diversity. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, CDI works to reinforce and increase the campus' appreciation of, and sensitivity to a diverse society comprised of individuals from many different cultures and backgrounds. Activities include sponsoring workshops in diversity training; working with faculty to help them identify areas in their courses where issues related to global literacy and diversity might be discussed; working with student and faculty groups to reinforce activities already begun in the area of multiculturalism and helping to expand their efforts wherever possible; and working with personnel in campus offices to increase the University’s overall level of service and responsiveness to the constituencies it serves.

Assessment: CDI collects feedback from the programs it offers to students, faculty, and staff. Thus, the feedback collected contributes to the improvement and development of program offerings. 

 

Judicial Affairs [31]

The Office of Judicial Affairs supports the academic mission of the university by promoting a campus environment that encourages diversity, community, and mutual respect for the rights and property of others. All activities the office provides are listed on the website.

Assessment: The Office of Judicial Affairs uses several systems that help the staff identify the issues the students are dealing with and their severity (example: drug and alcohol abuse), and collect the reports, complaints, and concerns reported by the students. Depending on the situation and the assessment results, the office contacts and cooperates with other departments that provide help and guidance to students in need.

 

NOTE: The annual reports for the above mentioned departments and/or units are submitted to the SACS Assessment System for assessment purposes.

Supporting Documentation: