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Improvement Dimension Committee


“Foundations Institutions conduct assessment and maintain associations with other institutions and relevant professional organizations in order to achieve ongoing first-year improvement. This assessment is specific to the first year as a unit of analysis—a distinct time period and set of experiences, academic and otherwise, in the lives of students. It is also linked systemically to the institutions’ overall assessment. Assessment results are an integral part of institutional planning, resource allocation, decision-making, and ongoing improvement of programs and policies as they affect first-year students. As part of the enhancement process and as a way to achieve ongoing improvement, institutions are familiar with current practices at other institutions as well as with research and scholarship on the first college year.”

                                                — John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Executive Summary

The Austin Peay State University Improvement Dimension Committee has produced the following executive summary as part of the university self-study process for the Foundations of Excellence project. 

The Improvement Dimension Committee examined the first year experience at Austin Peay State University (APSU) by reviewing the following initiatives:

Of the six first year initiatives identified only two reported systematic assessment.  APSU 1000 has been assessed directly by examining specific course assignments, student evaluations of the course, and the DFW rate for the course. Resident Life provides an assessment of the number of students who attend educational programs designed for freshman students living in student housing.

There is currently no process in place to routinely disseminate information about the first year experience or first year students to faculty and staff. Some general information about freshmen is available on the APSU Institutional and Research Effectiveness Office webpage.

Faculty and Staff have attended conferences related to the first year experience. They include: the 2017 Region VI Conference – SROW SROWback Throwback, the First Year Experience Conference 2016 & 2017, The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Conference 2016, the Peer Leader Institute in 2016, the Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention 2016. The only known exposure to an external expert is Dr. John N. Gardner’s visit summer 2016.

The Improvement Dimension Committee suggested the following high priority recommendations:

  1. Identify the programs or activities, with expected outcomes, that comprise the first year experience*
  2. Create an assessment plan for the first year experience*
  3. Designate an office responsible for measuring outcomes and disseminating results of all first year experience activities*
  4. Identify and allocate the additional personnel needed and resources necessary, to the office designated above, to effectively oversee the first year experience
  5. Incentivize the participation of faculty and staff who have experience in measuring program outcomes and examining demographic data*
  6. Identify specific measurable outcomes for each program or activity that is part of the first year experience*
  7. Designate an office to create and implement a dissemination of data plan about the first year experience*

*Recommendations are similar to recommendations in templates provided by the John Gardner Institute Foundations


Full report

The Austin Peay State University Improvement Dimension Committee has produced the following report as part of the university self-study process for the Foundations of Excellence project. A copy of the full report will be available soon. 

Committee Members: 


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