D23: Innovate

Assisting with the transition for transfer students

During the 2017-18 academic year, NSU became part of the Tulsa Transfer Project, a partnership involving Tulsa Community College and five Tulsa metro institutions: Northeastern State University, Rogers State University, Langston University, Oklahoma State University and The University of Tulsa.

The project’s goal is to improve all aspects of the transfer experience by increasing the knowledge about transfer students at each institution, increasing the perceived importance of transfer issues, and building a plan to improve the totality of the transfer experience.

Using the Gardner Institute’s Foundations of Excellence Transfer model, each university conducted a self-study, collecting and evaluating evidence from student data, institutional practices and student/faculty surveys. During 2018-19, NSU’s faculty and staff teams will consider the data and evidence and will develop action plans to comprehensively improve transfer experiences for students. Action plans will be implemented in 2019-20 with levels of success measured by increasing numbers of transfer students, reducing the loss of credits during transfer transitions, and increasing rates of bachelor degree completion.

The Tulsa Transfer Project complements NSU’s Quality Initiative with its focus on data-informed decision-making and smoothing pathways toward student success and degree completion.

Collaborating with other institutions to increase the number of college degrees

NSU has entered into a unique partnership with Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College that provides BAHS students the opportunity to graduate from high school with a diploma and an associate degree. The student can then transfer to NSU as a college junior. All of the Dual Credit to College Degree Program courses are offered on our Broken Arrow campus and result in a significant overall savings for students and their families, and increase the number of Oklahomans with degrees.

Enhancing campus living and the classroom experience

Since 2013, NSU has developed and is currently implementing a Campus Master Plan addressing multiple challenges and deficiencies in our facilities and infrastructure on the Tahlequah campus, including:

  • Administrative Building - access to student-centered services has been improved and the NSU Police Department has been relocated
  • Isabel Cobb Hall - new student residence complex constructed
  • Food Lab added to Gregg Wadley College of Science of Science & Health Professions
  • GRDA Research Lab added to Gregg Wadley College of Science of Science & Health Professions
  • John Vaughan Library - first floor renovation
  • Loeser Hall - remodel of student residence complex
  • Mural on NSU Gallery restored
  • NSU Event Center constructed
  • NSU Wellness Center/NEO Health Clinic constructed
  • NSUtube - electronic information screens active in public areas
  • Outdoor cell phone recharging station/picnic table
  • Seminary Hall - renovations in progress
  • Scene Shop annex added to NSU Playhouse
  • University Center remodeled, including welcome desk, expanded dining opportunities with The River’s Edge coffee shop and new food options in the U.C. Underground
  • Veteran Students Lounge completed in the University Center basement
  • Wilson Hall - renovations continue
  • Wyly Hall - remodel of student residence complex
  • Zoom video classroom upgrades

Immersive learning

Approved by the Higher Learning Commission in spring 2017, NSU adopted the Quality Initiative as part of our Open Pathway accreditation cycle. The project’s main goals are to focus on students’ definitions of success and help them achieve those goals through strengthening curriculum, improving developmental courses for those who need additional assistance, and increasing immersive learning opportunities for all students.

Related initiatives include:

  • Reviewing programs and co-curricular activities to determine current availability and breadth of existing immersive learning activities
  • Ensuring that each student has the opportunity to apply disciplinary knowledge to real-world problems by enhancing existing and developing new community-based learning experiences using internships, course-based projects and co-curricular opportunities
  • Integrating career engagement throughout the collegiate experience
  • Connecting curriculum-to-career applications to help students relate their learning to real-world applications
  • Providing ongoing career counseling opportunities throughout the students’ academic experience
  • Increasing the percentage of students participating in internship and externship experiences
  • Developing an infrastructure to track and monitor student learning in experiential and immersive environments; encouraging sharing and promotion of those activities through participation in events such as Undergraduate Research Day, Community and Collaboration Day, conference presentations and public relations communications
  • Providing professional development, resources, and rewards to assist faculty in the implementation and strengthening of immersive learning techniques; communicating an expectation that all students participate in such activities as part of achieving NSU’s mission and values
  • Using existing reporting structures such as the annual Service Learning Report to highlight efforts for the campus community and our constituents
  • Providing a wide range of facilities in various locations across the region to provide career training opportunities for our students and direct service to our communities. The results include:
    • 60,000+ vision clinic patient encounters
    • 3,000+ hours of service in speech-language clinics
    • 1,000+ hours of community math clinic tutoring
    • 200,000 total community service and volunteer hours

Recruitment, Retention and Graduation

  • Implementing a comprehensive strategic recruitment plan that is guided by prospective student market demands, Academic Prioritization Initiatives and ongoing assessment strategies
  • Assuring the continued alignment of the university’s on-going general awareness branding efforts to the comprehensive recruitment plan through website presence, advertising, earned media and other communication and marketing tactics to reach specific target populations
  • Closely coordinate the activities of student affairs, the graduate college, academic affairs, communications and marketing and others to implement a timely and cost-effective recruitment and retention plan
  • Continue to advance the SOAR (Student Orientation Advisement and Registration) program to enhance our overall advising model to increase retention of new and continuing students
  • Execute a consistently robust approach to recruiting transfer students from regional community college associate degree graduates by continuous interaction with college personnel and a seamless transfer approach
  • Increase emphasis on the importance of creating a culture of “faculty mentors” to provide students with the information, accountability and encouragement they need to stay in school and graduate on time
  • Grow our partnership with Future Overseas Study, Inc., of Weigang, China to engage Chinese students who hold baccalaureate degrees and wish to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.
  • Continue to identify ways to enhance our student aid programs. For example, the expansion of our President’s Leadership Class will allow us to cultivate outstanding potential in proven student leaders who are retained at a very high rate
  • Appropriately increase the number of certificate programs that will help make our students more “career ready” these have included leadership certificate and career certificate programs.