UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Focus on students, at Faculty Convocation

Washington Monthly’s 2012 national universities rankings pegged UNCG at No. 89 among all universities. The magazine looked at research, service and social mobility.

In the category of social mobility – looking specifically at recruiting and graduating low-income students – UNCG was ranked No. 8 among all national universities. [See related story.]

Provost David H. Perrin, in presenting this recently released ranking at the Sept. 19 Faculty Convocation, explained that it provides additional validation of UNCG’s commitment to social justice, research and community engagement.

In his presentation, the provost shared current enrollment figures and trends. Our retention and graduation rates are up, he noted. Regarding SAT scores, last year UNCG had a two point rise in Freshman SAT scores, while the nation average went down about six points, he noted. This year, UNCG’s average rose another two points.

This is the second consecutive year of a 3 percent decrease in graduate enrollment, he said, which is a trend many universities are facing in the current economic environment.

The total number of new undergraduates identified as an ethnic/racial minority is 44 percent. Last year, the figure was 41 percent.

This fall we were able to enroll 30 percent of freshmen in a learning community or living-learning community, he said. This rising number should enhance retention rates.

The schedule and an overview of the SACS Reaffirmation Process and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) were presented. SACS is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which provides accreditation for UNCG. The process will take about 2 1/2 years; UNCG is a half-year into the process.

UNCG’s report is due September 2013. An onsite SACS visit will occur in spring 2014.

A great deal of work will be put towards the SACS and QEP reports and many on campus will be asked to contribute to the process. “This a big year for us” in the process, he said.

Co-directors of the QEP Steering Committee are Dr. Vidyaranya Gargeya and John Sopper. The provost said the plan will present an opportunity to shape the future of student learning at UNCG, demonstrate UNCG’s ongoing commitment to excellence and continuous improvement; and show we are responsive to our peer institutions and to SACS. Forums are being held this month and next.

The provost also spoke about the transformation of the Division of Continual Learning; the Task Force on Non‐Tenure Track Faculty, which has presented its final report to Faculty Senate; and the ACE Internationalization Laboratory.

Earlier at the convocation, Chancellor Linda P. Brady offered remarks. She posed the question: “What is the state of the student experience at UNCG and how can it be improved?”

“What do students expect today, from college?” she asked.

Most students expect five things, she said:

  1. A clear plan for their success – for direction, guidance and advice. “That requires a holistic approach to the undergraduate experience and a simplified path,” she said.
  2. To acquire skills, abilities and perspectives needed for lifelong learning. These include, for example, communication skills, critical-thinking abilities, an understanding of other cultures, and the ability to work in teams.
  3. An understanding of their particular discipline or their field of study – and how it relates to their life goals.
  4. Opportunities for engagement with others, on and off campus – including ways to make a difference and to “give back.”
  5. That their education will lead to personal development and better understanding of their values and priorities.

She noted that UNCG faculty are very engaged with students – in the lab, on stage, in learning communities, in classrooms, in service-learning opportunities, through global engagement.

“All of us – faculty, staff and administrators – play a role in enhancing the student experience,” she explained.

The provost’s presentation may be accessed here.

By Mike Harris