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What’s next?

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It’s been a little more than week since I returned from USC and the symposium on “The Case for Change in College Admissions” and I have been thinking quite a bit about what is possible and what’s not possible (yet) in responding to the case for change.

While I certainly understand the case for change, I am not sure I am ready to go “cold turkey” away from those things that have come to define much of our work: i.e. building demand in the applicant pool and seeking to be selective.

Frankly, we  are not in a position to do that at this moment. However, I think there are many things we can do to respond.

Since I returned to work I have been thinking about the idea of a “no-spin, outcome-oriented” profile of the college. All of us put together really snazzy profiles on our incoming students, but what happens to them while they are at our colleges? I think that’s what people really want to know; and, we probably should be more forthcoming about such information.  Should we not be focused more on what happens to the students who we enroll and how they transform while  here?

How about a no-spin profile that measures the following?

  • Persistence patterns for the following cohorts: first-generation colleges students, athlete v. non-athletes, test band ranges, Pell-eligible, test-optional applicants, multi-cultural applicants, class rank bands, etc.
  • Teaching loads for full-time faculty
  • Proportion of courses taught by full-time faculty
  • Proportion of faculty doing advising
  • NSSE results
  • Publish our true overlap group
  • Disclose how many faculty are on sabbatical and publish what they are doing
  • Disclose CLA and NSSE data that confirms the value of the experience
  • Describe how our programmatic approach to first-year programs, core curriculum, capstone projects and hands-on learning creates a valuable path for transformative learning
  • Describe the availability of and % of hands-one learning experiences and provide ad % of students who have an internship, study abroad or do research.

There is much more we could be doing to measure what happens with the students who enroll. Making more information available about what happens to the stars we enroll and what they experience once on our campus might begin to shift the conversation from how we get them here.

I wonder how guidance counselors, higher ed critics, parents and prospective students would react?

Kent Barnds

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