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Degree Completion & Retention Plan

DCR Plan

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Factor 5: Curriculum Structure & Delivery

Availability and delivery of courses as well as structure of our curriculum are major factors influencing the time required for EMU students to complete their degrees.  Students often have difficulty scheduling needed courses (particularly prerequisites for higher-level courses) thus making it challenging to sustain progress and momentum toward their intended degree.  The structure of our curriculum also plays a role in terms of how much flexibility we allow in providing alternative courses to satisfy degree requirements as well as in course sequences.  A lack of flexibility in either area can cause unintended delays in students attaining their degrees.

Recommended Key Actions:

1. Create a General Studies completion degree: In fall 2012, nearly 22% of undergraduates were 'intent' majors for 2nd admit programs.  Of these students (3,814), 45% were juniors and seniors (completed more than 60 credit hours) who may not have gained admission into their program of choice and are now in a position of having many credits and no clear career path.  Some students may need alternative routes to graduation, but this should be studied carefully and delineated from traditional bachelor's degrees in some fashion.

2. Conduct a targeted review of programs with the goal of streamlining curriculum and/or effectively scheduling courses in support of timely graduation.  In the past ten years the average number of years it takes a student, who started EMU as a freshman (FTIAC), to complete their degree has increased by two semesters.  In 2003 the average time to degree was 4.77 years while in 2012 that number had grown (consistently) to 5.25 years.  This may be related in part to the structure of curricular offerings.  No conclusion can be confidently reached without a review and understanding of these issues. This is a needed first step before developing plans of study.

3. Maximize student enrollment in courses that employ "High Impact Educational Practices " (HIPs) by supporting the development and implementation of these practices by interested faculty members. Examples of HIPs include first-year seminars, learning communities, writing intensive courses, common intellectual experiences, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, community-based learning, internships and capstone courses and projects.  Overall goal would be to offer more of these opportunities to students, support faculty development efforts around these practices and increase the total number of courses from these models included in every student's program of study.

4. Create a professional development institute for students with the goal of more comprehensively preparing students for transition to the workforce. The institute would be linked to the University's multi-tiered advising system with information and expertise provided at the university, college and departmental levels.  Offerings should be balanced as appropriate by discipline.  This approach builds upon the critical link between multi-layered advising and career development and is focused on the critical relationship on the need students express for a clear path to degree completion linked to career goals.

5. Undertake an evaluation of ways in which EMU can streamline the Math Placement Process.  Reconcile options available to transfer and FTIAC entering students.

Degree Completion & Retention Plan, Academic & Student Affairs, 106 Welch Hall 734.487.3200