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Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs
LeeAnn Melin, associate director, Office for Student Engagement and Leadership
In 2007, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities adopted Student Learning and Development Outcomes to frame the undergraduate experience. These outcomes are intended to define a common vision across campus regarding the types of skills and characteristics we expect of our graduates. This project specifically looks at ways to integrate the Student Development Outcomes (SDO) into various programs and activities across campus and to develop a strategy for significantly expanding the number of students having the opportunity to reflect upon their experiences through the framework of the SDO. In brief, the Student Development Outcomes include the following:
We talk about these outcomes as characteristics which we expect students to both demonstrate as they participate in our academic environment and to develop further as they engage in learning experiences in and outside of the curriculum.
Students, of course, come to our campus with these characteristics already developed to some extent – they would not have been successful students in high school without some of these characteristics. We also know that the maturation we (often) see in students during their undergraduate years is related to growth in these areas.
The PEL project will create a range of tools that are adaptable by faculty and staff to fit the variety of ways in which they interact with students, including setting expectations for student performance in the classroom, advising student organizations, supervising student employees/lab assistants, and working on research projects or mentoring students.
The SDO were initiated within the units in the Office for Student Affairs in 2004-2005 to articulate the impact of their activities and programs on student development and learning. As the University moved forward in identifying Student Learning Outcomes, the Provost determined that the learning and the development outcomes should be presented in tandem for faculty review and formal adoption.
The overall context for the implementation of the development outcomes can be discerned from a review of two NASPA publications: Learning Reconsidered: A Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience (2004); and Learning Reconsidered 2: Implementing a Campus-Wide Focus on the Student Experience (2006).
During the past several years, we have made some progress incorporating the outcomes in selected areas of student employment (i.e. Student Unions and Activities, Housing and Residential Life, Disability Services), creating a format for job descriptions, performance reviews, supervisory training, and feedback sessions. A few program areas have also tied their efforts to the outcomes, most notably, the Welcome Week program for new freshmen.
September-October: Information gathering
November-January: Create strategy
May-June: Final review/report
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