‘Lean on Me’: Mentoring First Year Student Learning and Success in Gatekeeper Courses
In 2007, AUD became the first institution of higher learning outside the Americas to be awarded independent accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in the United States. A fundamental component of AUD's re-affirmation of this prestigious accreditation is the successful creation of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
The QEP is our commitment, as an institution, to enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of the education provided by AUD. Ultimately, the goal of the QEP is to improve student learning and success.
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The QEP goal is to enhance first-year student success through mentorship in Developmental Math courses (MATH 090, 095, 103, 104).
Following a data and research driven QEP development process, Developmental Math courses were identified to be gatekeeper courses that effectively function as pre-requisites for progression to higher-level courses. Developmental Math courses carry no credit but have an impact on student success in subsequent credit-bearing courses. More specifically, these can be characterized as barriers to student success and persistence. These courses tend to have high annual enrollment rates and a high rate of students not passing (i.e. an average failure rate above 70%).
The focus of the QEP is to enhance student success though mentorship in Developmental Math courses, thus transforming them into “gateway” courses. “Gateway” courses should prepare more students with the knowledge and skills needed to advance towards degree completion (that is, enhanced first year student success). In terms of other operational definitions of key words within the QEP goal, following a review of the literature on the concept of mentoring, we define “mentorship” within the context of AUD’s mission and articulated QEP as a system of structured relationships to support student success. “Student success” refers to academic and pathway success. Within the definition of “mentorship”, “support” refers to academic subject knowledge support and / or support on study skills and academic goal setting.
To support the achievement of the QEP goal, QEP objectives have been developed. These objectives, along with associated actions to be implemented, are based on a literature review of best practices associated with first-year student success. An implementation plan, budget and assessment plan have also been developed as part of the QEP to support the achievement of the QEP goal.
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