October 11, 2011 3:30 - 5 p.m. E-500
1. Vinnie Bruno presented a new initiative in the First-Year Institute Program, titled Fresh Start, which started in Summer 2011. The program provides intensive, no-cost versions of certain basic skills courses in the months prior to the start of a semester, usually for newly admitted students to take prior to their first term of enrollment. It is the largest FYIP in CUNY.
The Fresh Start program modeled the work of the GradPath for Success pilot, where faculty offered modules around goal setting, mindfulness, and other support methodologies, by taking one hour of class time in all courses to present similar material. Vinnie and Mitchell discussed the importance of tutoring and how to avail oneself of campus resources even prior to these students' official orientation.
Further, this year the math courses were extended from two to three weeks to allow students more time to digest material, and tutoring is being integrated more thoroughly into the courses. Ideally, there would be one tutor for every section of an FYIP course.
Finally, Vinnie is expanding the program, to increase the winter offerings from 15 to 24 sections, and the summer offerings to 50 sections. He also plans to offer three-day preparatory workshops in other subjects, such as the physical sciences, a week before a class starts.
2. Michael Baston, VP of Student Affairs, discussed the Center for Student Success, which will open in November. The vision behind the Center is if students receive care, have confidence, and make connections, they can complete their education successfully.
The VP explained that the Center will feature a triage area where graduate program interns in social work and mental health will meet with students to assess their presenting issues, using motivational interviewing techniques. Students will then be connected with the best help possible, regardless of where on campus the service is located.
During triage students will be, in many cases, connected to an individual through an appointment request made through Groupwise. By working with students to take the next step needed, we will be helping them make decisions, but also will be able to capture data on those decisions.
The SIC's role will be expanded to help us meet students where they are off-campus and online.
During a Q and A period, the following were raised:
- A consent form should be provided to students as they undergo the intake.
- Information about the CSS and how to get help could be posted on Blackboard syllabi.
- The person receiving the appointment will have an opportunity to confirm or change the appointment with the student.
- The CSS is not meant to replace relationships that faculty and staff have already built with students, but instead to fill the gap when faculty and staff (or a student herself) are not clear on how a student can get help.
- The location of the CSS in C-249 is a bit remote. The VP suggested that once the pilot phase is complete, if the initiative is deemed viable the request will be made to move to a more visible space. (It was noted that in the meantime, this location might offer more privacy and discretion for those students who might need it in times of distress.)
- The supervision of the sixteen graduate interns was addressed. They are supervised by a clinical management team that includes Regina Varin-Mignano, Matthew Joffe, David Housel, and Vanessa Bing.
- A question was posed regarding what to do when you know which office a student should go to for more assistance. VP Baston replied that the faculty or staff member should still send the student to the CSS so the Center can collect data regarding the referral.*
* Following the meeting, this recommendation was amended so that when a referral is clear, it need not be channeled through the Center.
3. A brief discussion was held continuing to focus on the agenda for the year. Ideas were raised such as holding a plenary on advisement, making formal recommendations about the curriculum, and developing standards to ensure all advisors are on the same page. Concern was voiced about making some decisions so this work can begin; following the November meeting, wherein the Destination Graduation initiative will be discussed, it was agreed that the DAC will move forward with setting goals.