Minutes of the Meeting
(Meeting # 4)
November 10, 2010

President's Boardroom, 107 Samford Hall

Camille Barkley (for Deedie Dowdell), Nancy Bernard, Sushil Bhavnani (Chair), Katelyn Boston, Drew Clark (SACS Liaison, ex-officio), George Crandell (for George Flowers), Patricia Duffy, Charles Eick, Stephen Erath, Kathryn Flynn, Andy Gillespie, Paul Harris, Amy Hecht, Steve Inabinet, Kathryn Jarvis, Iryna Johnson, Missy Josephson, Kim Key, Margaret Marshall, Kevin Phelps, Tom Rogers, Shirley Scott-Harris, David Weaver

The Minutes for the meeting dated October 27, 2010 (Meeting #3) were approved as written. 

Drew announced that the on-line "drop box" will be shut down and must migrate to a new location because the company providing it has been bought and will close.

Sushil invited the Focus Group subcommittee to make its report. Charles Eick provided a powerpoint (hardcopies handed out at meeting) and hardcopies of "College Student Focus Group Discussion Guide". The subcommittee is planning to recruit participants for the focus groups and use a revised version of the Discussion Guide. The goal of the subcommittee is to have the information from the focus groups available by January.

Kevin Phelps noted that there was strong emphasis on books and writing but nothing on numeracy. Charles noted that another subcommittee was digging into the NSSE data and other issues may arise. In addition, the focus groups may identify issues we haven't yet come up with.

Charles was asked how the subcommittee identified the time frame for the focus groups. He replied that they looked at the calendar and backed out to early December. He noted that the information from the focus groups would not be the last opportunity for input. There can be follow-up in the spring but we need to get as much out of the focus groups as possible.    

There was discussion about whether 5 focus groups would be appropriate and if it would be possible to expand to include groups (such as Student Affairs, Administrators, the Library) who were not mentioned as potential participants. Iryna Johnson noted that holding five focus groups would constitute a substantial amount of work. She mentioned that, if necessary, we could seek outside help. The plan is to have 12 students or 8 faculty in a single group. Recruitment will be done using email. A broad call will be distributed and participants will be selected from those who respond. It is possible that we could offer an incentive.

Charles was asked if the Discussion Guide questions were the ones that would be used. He said that this instrument has been tested but that we would be able to revise questions to fit our needs. There is a limit to the number of questions that can be included in the process. 

The entire committee was asked to provide guidance so that the questions to be used could be developed.  A draft of the questions will be distributed via email so the group can comment. The group felt it would be good to expand from reading and writing to broader issues, for example, communication. We know that employers want people who have expertise in their discipline and who are able to communicate this information to other people. Paul Harris suggested the Service Learning Community Task Force Survey would be useful.

The committee then discussed how we get from broad questions to specific issues. We want lots of ideas and feedback on how and what areas to improve. We could use an open website to seek input later in the process rather than hosting follow-up focus groups. We want to identify topics that are supported by institutional data. 

Patricia emphasized the importance of numeracy mentioned previously by Kevin Phelps. Drew noted that NSSE is what we have but that we should not feel limited to topics derived from NSSE. We should take an open-ended approach. However, we must remember that our time-line is driven by the need to give faculty and staff time to develop proposals. It was noted that we should use the term "QEP" to get the language out there as soon as possible.

The Information Dissemination Plan subcommittee presented a report on their recommendations. Kim Key provided a handout outlining the methods of dissemination the committee feels would be effective and a rough time-line for when each outreach method should be used. The subcommittee recommends that an interactive website be developed and that Sushil and or Drew get on the agendas of various campus committees for Spring. Katelyn Boston and Tom Rogers, the undergraduate representatives on the committee, recommended that we use Facebook, visit the various student groups and provide information on the concourse in order to get the students engaged. 

It was suggested that we solicit brief pre-proposals followed by full proposals. Some Universities have provided funding as an incentive to stimulate development of full proposals. Drew noted that the project selected would require significant funding. 

Sushil said that he would present an overview about the QEP to the University Senate on Nov. 16. He provided a preview of his comments and will circulate a power point of his presentation. 

Sushil asked for a list of action items and received the following suggestions: circulate the protocol for the focus groups, incorporate math and basic problem solving skills into the protocol, include Student Affairs and other administrative staff in the focus groups, include a broader focus on communication, look into incentives for student participation in the focus groups, and rapid distribution of invitations to participate in the focus groups.

Amy Hecht presented a preliminary update on the work of the NSSE subcommittee. Amy said that the group had noted a couple of areas in which the University could work towards improvement: student-faculty interactions and enrichment experiences for students. She said the subcommittee is continuing to dig into the NSSE, FSSE (Faculty Survey of Student Engagement), and BCSSE (Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement) data. 

The final NSSE subcommittee report will be made at the next committee meeting, scheduled for Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in 107 Samford Hall.

Last Updated: Jan. 21, 2011

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