BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


President Sidney Ribeau and Dr. Hakel

President Sidney Ribeau (right) and Ohio Eminent Scholar Dr. Milton Hakel describe Student Success Plans to the Ohio Board of Regents at the board’s April meeting on campus.

BGSU to host regional workshop on student success plans

Seventy representatives from 13 northwest Ohio public and private colleges and universities will be at BGSU Oct. 9 for a regional workshop on student success plans.

The Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR) is sponsoring the workshop, one of five statewide stemming from the regents’ request that each state institution of higher education develop and implement its own student success plan. The BGSU session will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 308 Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

The workshops follow up on a two-day June conference of the regents’ Planning Committee on Higher Learning Accountability and Performance, which introduced its proposal for documenting the responsiveness of Ohio’s colleges and universities to issues concerning assessment and accountability. Drs. Mark Gromko, vice provost for academic programs, and Milton Hakel, an Ohio Eminent Scholar in psychology, serve on the planning committee.

Development of student success plans was a primary point of discussion at the conference, according to interim OBOR Chancellor Garrison Walters. “The Student Success Plan would be built upon elements of assessment, learning outcomes and performance competencies that are already in place at many Ohio higher education institutions,” Walters noted, adding that it “will allow the individual strengths of each institution to remain intact while all of Ohio’s schools are linked by their commonalities.”

The regents want each public institution’s plan to define learning outcomes and assess student achievement of those outcomes both in general education and undergraduate majors; set higher expectations, as well as current standards, in content, competencies, abilities and successful completion of undergraduate education, and ensure the engagement of faculty and the entire instructional community in continuous improvement of student outcomes and achievement.

The plans’ development dovetails with last week’s announcement of a campaign by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to carry out recommendations from her Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Among her planned actions is providing matching funds to institutions and states that collect and publicly report student-learning outcomes. Spellings also intends to convene college accreditors and other higher education leaders and policy makers in November to help move the country’s college accreditation system away from its emphasis on inputs “toward measures that place more emphasis on learning.”

Calling them “the next step in a process designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of Ohio’s higher education institutions,” Walters described the regional workshops as “an opportunity to examine some institutional accountability plans and to discuss ways to leverage the differential missions and strengths of Ohio’s colleges and universities in expanding access to information about student learning expectations.

“An expected benefit from the regional workshops is the ability to share with the Ohio General Assembly—at the time of the budget hearings for the next biennial budget in Spring 2007—the results of these workshops in the form of Student Success Plans for each Ohio public institution.”

Hakel sees the initiative as providing a practical alternative to “one-size-fits-all standardized testing of college students. BGSU and Ohio can lead the way in documenting educational accountability while maintaining a sharp and clear focus on what really counts—student success.”

The first draft of BGSU’s plan was presented when OBOR met on campus last April. To see the current version, go to www.bgsu.edu/studentsuccess. More information about the regents’ June conference and accountability in higher education, as well as student success plans, is available at www.regents.state.oh.us/accountability.

October 2, 2006