Inside Iowa State
January 22, 1999
Minority student success eyed at workshop
by Anne Dolan
A university-level action team with the authority to cause changes, and diversity education for faculty and staff were among the action steps developed by participants at a second workshop aimed at improving the success of minority students at Iowa State. The Jan. 8 workshop was a follow-up session to a larger event sponsored last month by vice provost for undergraduate programs Howard Shapiro. About 50 people, mostly staff but some faculty and administrators as well, participated in the second session.
Shapiro, who facilitated the session and presented highlights of the first workshop, pressed for directives.
"What ball do we want to pick up, and who will do it?" he asked.
Other action ideas included:
The workshop also included a lengthy discussion on the definition of student success. Most agreed that student success is more than graduation. (In fact, graduation may not even be every student's goal.) Depending on the student, success includes good grades, a job they really like when they graduate, extra-curricular experiences or intangibles such as communication skills.
- Survey students at the beginning, midpoint and conclusion of their programs to learn what they need and don't need. Don't assume to know what these are.
- Figure out how better to coordinate existing programs and teams already focused on student learning and helping students succeed.
- Write a comprehensive plan for enhancing minority student success that makes every employee accountable.
- Achieve curriculum changes that put more emphasis on the holistic student, not just academics.
Shapiro said he will present the list of action steps to the President's Cabinet as the "next step," with the goal of organizing work groups in the coming months, if not weeks.
"I'm very excited the focus of our work today is on learning, with the minority focus as a component," he said. "When the focus is on learning, this whole place becomes stronger."
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