UALR will make student success its top priority.
UALR will increase its retention, graduation rates, and graduation numbers by offering rich and diverse learning opportunities.
Strategy 1: Create a standing retention and graduation committee of the University Assembly to identify and analyze barriers to success—in particular, barriers for non-traditional students and at-risk groups—monitor progress, and offer recommendations for consideration by the University Assembly or Faculty Senate as appropriate.
Strategy 2: Institutionalize the consistent collection, analysis, and dissemination of data (for example, through full implementation of Dashboard software) to identify reasons for lack of success among specific cohorts of UALR students—in particular, non-traditional students and at-risk groups—in order to respond effectively.
Strategy 3: Expand the integration of internships, externships, service learning opportunities, and other off-campus experiences into the curriculum providing opportunities for students to learn from professionals.
Strategy 4: Continue to raise admission standards periodically, reviewing and revising targets in light of their impact on enrollment.
Strategy 5: Expand and strengthen UALR programs for undergraduate students with exceptional ability including developing individualized opportunity, for students with specific career or graduate school objectives.
Strategy 6: Develop and adopt creative, student-enriching curricula that enhance student achievement, such as problem-based learning and the UTeach teacher education model, to improve retention and graduation rates, especially in areas of state need.
Strategy 7: Strengthen and adopt more proactive advising and mentoring (both academic and developmental) of undergraduates.
Tactic 1: Provide ongoing training, including a master advisor/mentor certification program, for advisors/mentors to ensure effective use of the university’s advising infrastructure and to disseminate best practice information.
Tactic 2: Ensure that the evaluation of advising/mentoring is part of performance review for those assigned advising/mentoring responsibilities.
Tactic 3: Develop an early warning on-line system, accessible by advisors and mentors, that will identify students experiencing trouble and provide information for student referrals (to meet academic and non-academic needs).
Strategy 8: Require declaration of an undergraduate major by the time the student has completed 30 hours in residence.
Strategy 9: Increase targeted recruitment of academically well-prepared undergraduate and graduate students at the university, college, and departmental level.
Tactic 1: Commission an in-depth analysis of the prospective college-going population in UALR’s service area—including major trends within that population—to determine the university’s “market share,” that is, to project the number and type of students it can expect to attract.
Tactic 2: Increase the number and value of scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships, and stipends to support academically well-prepared undergraduate and graduate students.
Tactic 3: Encourage Deans and Chairs to make more strategic use of private scholarship funds as tools of recruitment.
Strategy 10: Establish a high-quality, cutting-edge, core curriculum which will be a magnet for well-prepared students.
Strategy 11: Create an annual grant program to incentivize creative solutions for student success.
Strategy 12: Allow Department Chairs some latitude to ease the matriculation of transfer students by authorizing them to substitute or waive (within prescribed limits) degree requirements.
Strategy 13: Offer a complete set of paperless administrative and academic support services in a fully on-line fashion for on-line students and non-traditional students who attend evening classes.
UALR will create a stronger sense of membership in the campus and wider community.
Strategy 1: Devise a curricular program that gives students transcript credit for participation in three of five activities central to being a member of the campus and wider community—e.g., service learning, participation in co-curricular events, international study, student research, and experiential learning.
Strategy 2: Create additional student-centered iconic events which become part of campus tradition (for example, Host a New Student Convocation in the Stephens Center on the Sunday afternoon before classes begin in August for all new UALR students and their families, build traditions around athletic events, and/or host high-profile popular music/comedy events).
Strategy 3: Create more gathering spaces throughout the campus by incorporating gathering spaces into the design or renovation of all campus facilities and by preserving and drawing attention to pivotal aspects of our outdoor environment (for example, near academic facilities, campus housing, and in the Coleman Creek redevelopment project).
Strategy 4: Develop virtual arms of the campus community for students, especially on-line students (e.g., through use of social media such as Facebook, Skype, and Twitter)
Strategy 5: Require first-time, entering full-time freshmen, including those who transfer AP and concurrent credit to UALR, to live on campus, and require students living on campus to purchase a meal plan. UALR will articulate an exception policy to this requirement for students with extenuating circumstances.
Some Associated Pledges
Pledge: UALR will consistently articulate the expectation of graduation.
Pledge: UALR will regularly monitor and seek to improve the efficiency and friendliness of its service, both the service rendered to students and the service co-workers render to one another.