The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional effectiveness)
126.96.36.199. academic and student support services
X In compliance Partially compliant Non-compliant
Academic support units have defined their purposes and mission to align with the Francis Marion University mission. The units develop student academic support services outcomes that are identified in their annual Institutional Effectiveness Reports as part of the University’s Strategic Planning process. Francis Marion University uses both internal and external reporting cycles to ensure the effectiveness of its programs and services. Student support offices at the University complete an annual assessment to evaluate their “success in meeting unit goals and missions.” Each assessment report contains:
- Desired outcomes
- Assessment methods and procedures
- Planned improvements based on assessment results.
The University’s Mission Statement affirms its commitment to providing students with staff members committed to learning and success.
Academic Student Services
The Office of Counseling and Testing
The Office of Counseling and Testing helps students enhance their academic and personal well-being. In support of the educational mission of Francis Marion, the Office of Counseling and Testing helps students:
- Cope with college and life pressures that threaten persistence in college
- Enhance or learn skills that optimize personal effectiveness.
The Office of Counseling and Testing provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas of faculty collaboration, services to students from underrepresented populations, services provided to professional students and maintaining professional testing standards .
The Center for Academic Success and Advisement
In 2015, President Carter formed an ad hoc faculty committee to gather information and build substantive recommendations for improving retention and graduation rates at FMU. In 2016, this Retention and Graduation Rates Committee submitted a proposal to President Carter, including a recommendation for developing a student success center led by a full-time director .
Based on these faculty recommendations, FMU created the Center for Academic Success and Advisement (CASA) and developed a new position, the Associate Provost for Advising, to oversee operations. CASA houses a new advising office as well as unites and strengthens three existing student support services: the Writing Center, the Tutoring Center, and Career Development . CASA also works with the University Life courses to provide additional guidance to first-year students and support for probationary students .
CASA Advising now handles advising for first-year and Probation 2 students. The Associate Provost for Advising, three full-time Advising Directors, and two Academic Advisors (both graduate students in psychology) manage caseloads of first-year and probationary students . CASA Advising places specific focus on guiding first-year students through the transition from high school to university life. In addition, the advising staff provide students who are struggling academically with specific advice and referrals to help them improve their grades and pursue academic success .
CASA has implemented two key changes to advising at Francis Marion:
- Enhanced Advising: CASA Advising initiates several meetings and contacts with advisees through the academic year. The advising staff now meet with first-semester advisees prior to mid-term grades and the registration period. With multiple interventions by the advising staff and referrals to the Writing Center, Tutoring Center, and Career Development, among other university offices, students gain more guidance about behaviors and decisions that lead to improved student success.
- Early Alert System: As recommended in the ad hoc committee proposal, CASA is handling early alerts by faculty about students who exhibit behaviors that suggest they need academic, career, or personal help. In 2016-2017, early alerts have been initiated largely through email, phone, and personal contact by faculty with the advising staff. Once notified, CASA Advising has reached out to students to discuss issues such as low grades, poor attendance, study habits, and other personal problems . Faculty also included CASA Advising staff on email exchanges with students to signal an alert and help transition students to additional advising help . The meetings often resulted in student referrals to needed resources, such as the Tutoring Center, Writing Center, Career Development, Counseling Center, Financial Assistance, and Housing, among others. In Fall 2017, faculty and staff will be able to use a web-based early alert system with CASA Advising. In 2018, the FMU campus migration to Ellucian Colleague will permit early alerts to occur through the Ellucian Retention Alert program .
CASA Advising also encourages undeclared majors and first-year students to meet with Career Development staff to gain assistance with choosing a major and planning for a career. Career Development offers personal inventories that can guide undeclared majors towards specific career pathways . A coordinated effort between CASA Advising and Career Development helps students to make more informed student choices about majors, coursework, and professional options.
This is the first year CASA has submitted an Institutional Effectiveness report .
Student Support Services
James A. Rogers Library
The Library provides the University’s “students, faculty, staff, and regional citizens with access to scholarly information. By providing this access, the Library is able to contribute uniquely to that portion of the mission of Francis Marion University that stresses its support of scholarly pursuits in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.” The library engages in ongoing research to acquire data to improve its operations . Information from these instruments allows the library to support the curriculum of all the undergraduate programs as well as the graduate programs offered by the University. Librarians are available to assist students and faculty during all regular hours of operation, as well as during special sessions . The Library provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results. For example, a computer-equipped classroom was developed, enhancements to the one-time library instruction sessions were made, programs were put in place to increase facility and database usage .
Multicultural and International Student Affairs
Francis Marion supports our diverse student population through Multicultural and International Student Affairs, which is led by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. According to the Catalog 2017-2018: “The Student Affairs Office provides leadership in the University’s effort to support students, inform the campus community of the values of multiculturalism, and assist in encouraging a campus environment that is conducive to diverse student learning. The purpose of the office is to amplify the academic, social, and cultural development of students as well as plan and implement programs that facilitate opportunities for self-expression and cultural harmony” . The Multicultural and International Student Affairs Office provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results .
According to the Catalog 2017-2018, “The University provides a balanced student life program which contributes significantly to the total educational experience of its students. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of co-curricular activities designed to enhance their sense of community responsibility and their capacity for leadership” . In addition to co-curricular activities, the University has numerous student organizations that help meet the academic, social, political, religious, and recreational needs of students. The Student Life Office provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas of marketing and branding materials, promote diversity on campus, helping international students with maintaining their F-1 status and adhering to Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations, and restructuring training for student organization officers .
Francis Marion “strives to build a balanced, competitive athletic program” for its students . Additionally, “The University is affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, with one sport (men’s golf) competing as a Division I independent, and the remaining 13 as Division II members” . The Athletics Office provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas of student-athletes academic performance, graduation rates, in-kind support, and intercollegiate team performance .
Campus Technology, headquartered in the Stanton Academic Computing Center, “provides digital content, access to that content, and guidance for its use through public computer laboratories and support in the Stanton Academic Computer Center and the John K. Cauthen Educational Media Center” . The Campus Technology Office provides evidence that it identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas of improved desktop support, increased network reliability, and updated campus applications [23, 24, 25].
- Counseling and Testing 2015-2016 IE Assessment Report
- Proposal for Initiatives to Improve Retention and Graduation Rates at FMU
- FMU Website, CASA
- FMU Website, CASA
- FMU Website, CASA Advising
- Catalog 2017-2018, Advisement, p. 13
- Faculty E-mail with CASA September 21, 2016
- Faculty E-mail with CASA September 13, 2016
- Ellucian Retention Alert Program
- Catalog 2017-2018, Career Development Office, p. 14
- IE Assessment Report 2016-2017, CASA
- Rogers Library Annual Report, Library Survey Results, p. 44-48
- Rogers Library Annual Report, Adequacy of Hours, p. 44
- IE Assessment Report 2016-2017, Rogers Library
- Catalog 2017-2018, Multicultural Student Support, p. 41
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, Student Affairs Division, Multicultural Goal
- Catalog 2017-2018, Student Life, p. 39
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, Student Affairs Division
- Catalog 2017-2018, FMU Athletics, p. 42
- Catalog 2017-2018, FMU Athletics Affiliations Catalog, p. 42
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
- Catalog 2017-2018, Computer & Technology Services, p. 13
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, IT Office–Desktop Support
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, Office Network Operations and Systems
- IE Assessment Report 2015-2016, Campus Applications and Data Services (CADS)