Student Admission and Support at Ship

In this section, we review the standards that pertain to the enrollment cycle, from prospective student to graduating student.  The standards are:  Student Admissions and Retention (Standard 8), Student Support Services (Standard 9) and Developmental Education (part of Standard 13).  The wording of Standards 8 and 9 says "The institution seeks to admit students whose interests, goals, and abilities are congruent with its mission and seeks to retain them through the pursuit of the students' educational goals.  The institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable each student to achieve the institution's goals for students."  This article will review some of the committees and offices that work on issues of admission, student support, and retention. 
 
The Office of Admissions has most of the responsibility of Standard 8.  Through their work, with the help of faculty and administrators, students move from a status of inquiry to admitted to confirmed student.  This office sets up Open Houses, campus visits, high school visits and phone calls that help recruit students.  The Integrated Marketing Committee and the Office of Communications and Marketing work to make sure that all of the materials (e.g., the Viewbook) help support the goal of student recruitment.  Two committees provide input into the admissions process: the Enrollment Management Team which reviews the enrollment statistics on a weekly basis and the Enrollment Management/Admissions Committee which provides the long-term view of enrollment.  Several scholarship committees also meet to make sure that students who qualify can be offered scholarships; the committees are the SU Scholarship Committee, the Board of Governors Scholarship Committee, and the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Committee. 

Once students confirm admission, they are contacted by the Placement Testing Office if they are required to take a placement test in writing, reading, and/or mathematics.  Faculty who teach the remedial courses assess the placement rubrics to determine their efficacy.  Recently, the Developmental Education Council was reconstituted so that these faculty and the appropriate administrators meet regularly to strengthen the experience of students who place in pre-college courses. 

New students are then scheduled into courses based on input provided by the academic departments and developmental education policy.  They are invited to Orientation where they learn more about our expectations for them and how to navigate the university.  The New Student Orientation Advisory Committee provides input to the Director of New Student Orientation Programs for summer and winter orientation as well as fall welcome week and the Parent's Guide. 

During the summer, some students come to campus and participate in the Academic Success Program, formerly called ACT 101 because it began with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act of 1971.  This program is for students who "have the motivation, desire and the potential to successfully complete the requirements to graduate" but would not be admitted into the university using regular admission criteria.  The University's commitment to this program embodies our core value of "a commitment to access, equity, and diversity" as expressed in our Strategic Plan 2005-2010.  Students in this program have unique challenges and are provided skill development and enhancement in order to successfully complete a degree.

Once students are enrolled, they have two important human resources that can assist them in reaching their academic goals:  the Learning Center and their faculty advisor.  The Learning Center, which will move to the first floor of the library after renovations, offers workshops, tutoring, writing support, learning specialists, supplemental instruction, and the AIM (Academic IMprovement) Plan.  The faculty advisor provides the necessary bridge between a degree's requirements and the student's career goals.  Through the special relationship that is developed, students can also learn how to utilize the resources that the university has to offer such as the Advising Resource website, Career Development Center, the Office of Disability Services, the University Counseling Center, the Social Equity Office, and the Etter Health Center.  To support the faculty, the Advisor Development and Resource Team provides training for faculty as well as awarding departments for excellence in advising. 

Our university provides more support services than this brief overview covers.  The evaluators from Middle States will be interested in what we provide and the assessment of those services.  At the university-wide level, the Retention Committee examines the enrollment cycle at the university-wide level.  At the unit level, these services are reviewed every five years as part of program review, thus we have a regular process that uses the results of assessment to cause improvements. 

Each member of the Shippensburg family plays an important part in our students' lives.  Some of us directly support their educational goals while others help to create an environment in which learning can occur.  We have a commitment to the whole student in our mission statement: "The ultimate goal is to have students develop to their utmost the intellectual, personal, and social capabilities they need to perform as competent citizens prepared to embark on a career immediately upon graduation or after advanced study."   This is a good time for each member of the Ship family to reflect what can be done to improve the service we give to students so that we can "Make Ship Stronger".