University 150

UNIV 150
Achieving Academic Success

1. Catalog Entry

UNIV 150
Achieving Academic Success

Credit hours (1)
Prerequisites: Fewer than 24 RU hours attempted and cumulative GPA below 2.00

This course is designed to support academically-deficient students in their quest to return to good academic standing.  Using structured exercises, reading assignments, self-reflection, and presentations, students will establish realistic academic goals, learn strategies through which those goals can be achieved, and become familiar with campus resources available to support their ambitions.

2. Detailed Description of Course

In keeping with similar courses that are offered successfully at other institutions (e.g., the University of Arizona; see Shelley M. McGrath and Gail D. Burd, “A Success Course for Freshmen on Academic Probation: Persistence and Graduation Outcomes,” NACADA Journal Volume 32(1), Spring 2012, pages 43-52), UNIV 150 will include five dimensions:

    1) Student Development
    2) Academic Success Strategies
    3) Radford University Academic Policies and Procedures
    4) Major and Career Exploration
    5) Engagement with Supporting Resources

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

UNIV 150 will be taught by a faculty/staff instructor and a peer instructor; in time, we hope that the latter will include successful “graduates” of the course.  The course will be highly interactive.  While the instructors will be responsible for imparting critical information about the meaning and importance of academic success and strategies through which students might achieve it, a significant amount of the course will involve students’ written and oral self-reflections about why they are not in good academic standing and what they plan to do to attain that status.  Standardized assessment instruments will also be used and students’ results shared with them so that they might have a better idea about the characteristics they possess and behaviors they practice that place them at academic risk.  Guests from across the University with specialized expertise will be invited to share that expertise with the class whenever possible.  Students will be expected to complete out-of-class assignments; e.g., they will be expected to submit regular reports on meetings with their faculty.  Students will be required to have at least two one-on-one meetings with their UNIV 150 instructors, near the beginning and the end of the course, to discuss goals and progress toward their achievement.  Finally, students will be expected to be present for a minimum of four hours in a structured study environment each week, with peer instructors monitoring their attendance and behavior.

UNIV 150 will meet for 50 minutes twice each week for the first ten weeks of the semester.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to:
    1) Recognize and explain personal and universal risk factors that stand in the way of academic success, and implement strategies to
        surmount those obstacles;
    2) Clearly state personal and professional goals, both in the short- and the long-term;
    3) Explain effective techniques and strategies students can utilize to achieve academic success;
    4) Calculate his/her GPA, project the grades required to return to good standing, and demonstrate awareness of ways to use the
        University’s academic policies (e.g., course repeats) to achieve good standing; and
    5) Provide evidence of having accessed resources RU makes available to support student success, including faculty, the LARC, and
        if/as appropriate, the DRO and Counseling Center.

5. Assessment Measures

Overall, the course will be judged successful if:
    1) A minimum of 50 percent of the students enrolled complete the semester in good academic standing; and
    2) 100 percent of the students enrolled increase their cumulative GPAs during the semester in which they are enrolled in UNIV 150

The learning outcomes in 2.c. above will be measured in the following ways:
    1) One of the first assignments in the course will be an essay in which students will be required to reflect upon why they are not in good
        academic standing.  An assignment during the course will require them to demonstrate knowledge of behaviors and characteristics
        that place students nationally (and them personally) at risk. The target will be for all students to earn at least a C on this assignment,
        with 90 percent earning a B or better.  A final paper will require students to describe the actions they have taken during the semester
        and will take in the future to surmount their risk factors.  It will be expected that 90 percent of the students will complete the course
        having both demonstrated an understanding of why they were not initially academically successful and having developed a
        reasonable and attainable plan to return to good standing as soon as possible.
    2) Students will receive an assignment to set goals for the semester, their career at RU, and their lives after graduation.  The target will
        be for at least 80 percent of them to establish goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
    3) Students will be tested on their ability to describe multiple effective note-taking techniques, study skills, and test-taking strategies.  
        They will also be expected to complete a time-management exercise in which they first describe how they are spending their time
        and then reflect upon ways they might better use their time to achieve academic success.  The target will be for at least 90 percent
        of the students to identify areas in which they are wasting their time and indicate ways they will reorganize their time to utilize
        it more effectively. In addition, students who are not present and actively studying during a minimum of 75 percent of the 40 possible
        study hall hours during the course will be unable to earn a course grade higher than C; those who do not meet at least 60 percent of
        the study hall requirement will fail the course.
    4) Students will be tested on their ability to calculate their current GPA and to determine the grades required in current courses to avoid
        suspension and to return to good standing. They will also be tested on pertinent academic policies, including probation and
        suspension thresholds; the use of repeats to improve grades; the use of course withdrawals if there is no chance of success, etc.
        Ninety percent of enrolled students will be expected to pass this test with a grade of at least B.
    5) All students in the course will be expected to demonstrate having met at least once with each of his/her professors; to have kept an
        appointment at which more than course scheduling was discussed with someone in the appropriate advising center; to have used the
        services of the LARC, tutoring provided through academic departments, or online tutors in at least two courses; and to have
        accessed other academic support services if/as instructed by the faculty or peer instructor.

6. Other Course Information

None

Review and Approval

April 23, 2014