The extent to which Purdue effectively communicates the lived experience of students varies greatly by the method of communication.
The Purdue Website and Online Communication Tools
The Purdue website does not contain a section specifically designed for prospective or first-year students. The link for Student Life from the Purdue homepage does not contain stories about students' experiences. Overall, it is challenging for both internal audiences (e.g., current students) and external audiences (e.g., prospective students) to find all of the necessary information related to the first-year experience. Currently, searches on the website bring up archived news stories rather than links to specific departments, units or relevant campus information. Search engines such as Google provide more direct routes than the search function on the Purdue homepage. The website appears to contain useful information, but finding relevant information can be a challenge.
Purdue's decentralized nature contributes to the challenges related to the navigation of the website, although there has been some improvement with a recent move to a standardized Web template. Because staff find it so difficult to navigate the overall website, they often develop their own websites. This process of duplication creates significant problems in terms of the consistency and reliability of information.
In terms of other online communication technologies, Purdue has an official Facebook page, Twitter feed, RSS news feed, iPhone app and YouTube channel prominently featured on the homepage. In addition, the Office of Admissions creates a Facebook page for each incoming class and hosts chat events in which different groups (e.g., prospective students, admitted students, the campus community and parents) have the opportunity to ask questions.
At a University level, Purdue takes advantage of the latest online communication technologies and continues to make improvements. While centralized units such as Marketing and Media and Admissions provide some services and resources to facilitate coordination of online communication for recruitment and enrollment, there remains a significant variability across campus. Purdue units typically work independently in the development of their online communication. For example, many individual colleges, schools and student organizations have their own Facebook pages.
The Purdue Recruitment Council, which includes Admissions, Colleges and Schools, Marketing and Intercollegiate Athletics coordinates undergraduate recruitment messaging. Trained student guides from Admissions and the Visitor Information Center offer on-campus tours to prospective students, their teachers and parents. Student tour guides from Admissions must have experience living in a residence hall and experience with campus activities. Some colleges, departments and residence halls also offer tours to prospective students. Academic departments can also develop their own presentation material consistent with the Council's messaging. For example, the College of Engineering and the School of Management offer special information sessions to complement Admissions' daily campus tours. In addition, full-day Admissions campus visit programs allow students to attend multiple academic interest sessions. Marketing and Media is currently working on a virtual tour of campus.
Lack of resources does not allow for a dedicated full-time staff person for recruiting, training and overseeing the process of campus of tours. While there is central coordination of official campus tours for prospective students, there is anecdotal evidence that ad hoc tours occur and that even the centrally coordinated tours could be enhanced if student tour guides better reflected the diversity of our student population. (e.g., race, ethnicity, majors). Also, because of Purdue's size and the variety of academic programs, centralized campus tours are unable to provide a comprehensive overview of all academic programs.
Communications to Students
As described earlier, Purdue's institutional mission is clearly articulated and embedded across campus. Despite that, first-year students often experience difficulty in finding the University's mission. Elements of the mission are integrated into Admissions print material, but indirectly. Colleges and departments tend to market and recruit based on their individual missions rather than the institutional mission.
A question arose regarding what is the best way to integrate the institutional mission into college and department missions. College- and department-level material includes some reference to college missions, but little mention of the institutional mission. Does college level material need to include the institutional mission? Could the elements of the institutional mission be attractive to include in college level recruitment and marketing material?
Students appear to know the academic- and integrity-related expectations of Purdue, which are referenced in course syllabi by University regulation and are also located on college and department websites. In addition, STAR presentations and BGR address both of these issues. As indicated by the differing means in the survey results, staff and faculty are less confident than are students about students' awareness of integrity issues.
Table 5-1. Survey Results — Academic Integrity.
|Item||Staff/Faculty M||Students M|
|Communication of importance of academic standards of behavior||3.20||3.94|
|Communication of importance of academic honesty||3.45||4.36|
|Communication of importance of acknowledging the source of ideas not their own||3.29||4.14|
|Communication of importance of ethical conduct||3.22||4.09|
Students are sometimes surprised by the rigorous academic standards on campus. They appear to come to campus with an understanding that Purdue will be demanding, but when they arrive they experience more challenges than they had anticipated. Students often come from situations where they were one of only a few high performers and when they come to Purdue they are now just one of many high performers.
Purdue has the second-largest population of international students of all United States public institutions. Integrity-issues (e.g., plagiarism) are nuanced and often vary by culture. Therefore, we need to better communicate with international students about integrity-related issues prior to their arrival on campus. It is important to note that Purdue's Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) provides critical support services such as pre-arrival information, a semester-based newsletter, social events and international parent events.
Information regarding out-of-class engagement opportunities is available in Admissions print material, campus tours, college- and department-level recruitment material, STAR and through the Get Involved website. Respondents to the Foundations of Excellence Student Survey indicated that Purdue provided opportunities for them to get involved in out-of-class activities.
The Get Involved website is difficult to use; it is hard to locate specific information. The "Mortar Board" printed calendar, which lists call-out meetings at the beginning of each semester introducing a club and membership requirements, features only organizations that contribute content. Mortar Board is sold at all bookstores and is purchased by most students on campus. Out of the more than 900 student clubs, only about one-third of the call-outs are listed in the Mortar Board. An opportunity would be to focus a staff member's efforts on increasing the number of call-outs listed and improving the usefulness of the Get Involved website.
Jobs and Work
Students are encouraged to work on campus by offices such as Admissions, the Division of Financial Aid and Residential Life, but often the disadvantages of working are not addressed. In addition, little information is offered to students regarding the advantages and/or disadvantages of working off campus. It is important to note that 78.6 percent of students who responded to the Student Survey indicated that they did not have a paying job.
Recruitment messaging at Purdue emphasizes the academic challenge and effort expected of students, coupled with the programs and services that enhance student success. Admissions requirements also help convey the University's expectations. For example, beginning in 2011, Purdue became one of very few universities in the country that require four years of college preparatory mathematics for first-year admission.
With regard to entry requirements for specific majors, Purdue uses a holistic approach. Primary emphasis, however, is on the complete academic record—grades in core academic courses, the trend of those grades and the rigor of the elected curriculum relative to the offerings available to the student. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced placement, international baccalaureate and dual enrollment courses if these opportunities are available to them.
Additionally, students are most often admitted to a specific college rather than to the institution. The testing and GPA requirements for each college can be found on their respective websites, but multiple factors are considered in the admissions process. The information regarding entry requirements is communicated as accurately and detailed as possible, considering the complex and dynamic nature of the process. Students reported receiving effective communication regarding available academic majors prior to attending Purdue.
Change of Degree Objective
Because Purdue admits students to specific academic programs rather than offering general admission to the University, the entry requirements vary based on the applicant's desired major. While students and families seem to understand the basic academic requirements for admission to Purdue, they do not always understand that a student who meets these basic requirements might not be a strong enough candidate for admission to a highly competitive major. In addition, the fluid nature of CODO requirements can create barriers and frustration for students working to switch from one major to another.
Colleges and departments have the freedom to use CODO requirements to manage enrollment numbers. While said CODO requirements can be found on the college websites, they are not always current or accurate and can also change while students are working toward entrance into specific majors (i.e., moving targets). The fluid nature of these requirements is a function of colleges working to maintain specific levels of enrollment.
Students receive effective communication about college costs and financial aid during recruitment from Admissions at STAR and also from individual colleges, departments and units. Information regarding how to complete financial aid forms is readily available on the Division of Financial Aid website. Students reported receiving a moderate amount of information regarding financial aid opportunities, tuition and living expenses.
Financial Aid sends two direct student emails to all admitted students and upper-class students in late January and mid-February as reminders to file the next year FAFSA. The FAFSA processor also sends reminders to students who filed the FAFSA the previous year to file again for the next year. Financial Aid also runs three ads (mid-late February) in the student newspaper, the Exponent, to encourage students to file the FAFSA before the March 1 priority filing date and also provides an information table for Purdue students in Stewart Center (and even at the local mall) as part of financial literacy outreach efforts (e.g., National Endowment for Financial Education, 40 Monday Management Tips Every College Student Should Know). Students in programs such as Purdue Promise and HORIZONS take specialized orientation and support courses that provide additional information on financial aid and literacy. Much of the material presented in these courses is provided in collaboration with the Division of Financial Aid.
Respondents to the Faculty and Staff Survey viewed first-year students as underprepared to face issues such as handling financial management, time management and mental wellness. However, they also indicated that such topics were not likely to be addressed in courses in which first-year students are enrolled.
Purdue uses BGR as a primary mode of communication regarding many transition-related issues. As indicated in the open-ended response of faculty, staff and students, BGR tends to be highly valued. However, BGR is not required for all students and international students are rarely able to attend. In addition, students are overwhelmed with information at BGR and are not likely to view the material as salient or relevant to their immediate transition. Common phrases during Committee meetings included "students don't know what they don't know" and "the expectation is often that students already know the expectations."
Connections with Families
Purdue depends a great deal on STAR for communicating with families about institutional expectations and procedures and including them in the process of orientation. STAR is required for domestic students, but not for international students. Many Purdue colleges and schools welcome families to join (as observers) their students in initial academic advising sessions and in meetings about housing. In addition, families are a secondary audience for printed material for first-year students and can also sign up for family emails and the Facebook page. Families of admitted students are invited to the Purdue Parent Facebook page, which includes topics such as campus expectations and procedures. SATS Twenty-First Century Scholars material indicates a high level of communication with families regarding expectations and procedures.
Families are included in a variety of ways on campus after their students have been admitted. Examples include the Residential Life Parent E-Newsletter, opt-in student newsletters at the college-level, the Purdue Parent Calendar and SATS emails to parents.
In contrast to the Committee's generally positive impressions, first-year students indicated a moderate level regarding how much Purdue helped their family feel a part of their college experience.
STAR includes both general and college- and department-level sessions, but there is currently no consistency in the structure (e.g., types of material presented) of college-level meetings. Coordination efforts are being explored. Purdue does not have centralized coordination or a collection of family opportunities (e.g., information and advising sessions, communications materials) and it is challenging to determine the extent to which these activities take place on campus.
Purdue could utilize existing documents to create a document for families focused on the idea of being partners in building their child's independence (e.g., NODA [National Orientation Directors Associatio]n and NACADA [National Academic Advising Associatio]n). Such a document could encourage families to support their child while also encouraging their child to develop self-advocacy skills. It might also include an outline, timeline or flowchart for families regarding what types of assistance to provide students with over time. For example, the level of assistance with course registration during the first year is quite different than it would be for the junior year of college.
Communication to Others
Admissions holds face-to-face fairs, conferences and luncheons with school personnel within the state of Indiana and also in targeted regions across the United States. They have also begun to make international visits (e.g., China, Chile, India). At this point, most visits are done through central Admissions, but more collaborations with specific colleges are beginning to develop. Purdue does not spend a great deal of time and energy on marketing within the state of Indiana because the University does not experience difficulty in recruiting prospective in-state students. That said, Admissions conducts high school visits and sends admissions material to school counselors within the state. More specifically, representatives from Admissions visit every high school in the state of Indiana at least every other year and more than half of high schools receive visits every year.
More than 1,000 hard copy packets containing information about Purdue Admissions are sent to high school personnel (including all high schools within the state of Indiana) each summer. Admissions also sends out an email newsletter, the Advisor, to school personnel about preparing students for college (e.g., applicant information, admissions requirements, understanding programs of study). Admissions print material effectively communicates the lived experience of Purdue students through photos, stories, typical activities, etc.
Secondary school personnel are often most focused on whether or not their students meet Purdue's academic requirements. It is important that a consistent message continue to be sent regarding the rigor of academic preparation required as opposed to a focus solely on GPA. Purdue uses a holistic admissions approach and although GPA and class rank are important, it is necessary for school personnel to receive a consistent message about the need for high school students to prepare for college by taking advanced courses in their key areas of interest. It is also paramount for school personnel to discuss with their students issues of fit with the institution (e.g., large campus, rural area, need to be a self-advocate) and the importance of personal and life management skills as well as social integration. Purdue would need to generate print material that communicated information regarding these issues.
Out-of-state secondary school personnel who play a key role in advising prospective students are a challenging group to identify. Unless they make the initial contact with Admissions, it is virtually impossible to create and maintain a database of out-of-state personnel.
Purdue attracts students from all 50 states and nearly 130 countries. Promoting the student lived experience through mass media (e.g., radio, TV, print advertisement) on such a large scale is not economically feasible. Instead, Purdue communicates the lived experience of first-year students through direct marketing and extensive recruitment, both domestic and abroad. Marketing to international students is primarily done through recruitment trips and online communications (e.g., website, email connected through Hobson) as opposed to mass media approaches.
Purdue has some "accidental" collaborations with other support networks that contribute to student success. SATS works together with Follett's and University Spirit bookstores, CityBus and other businesses such as Target, Wal-Mart and Meijer to provide an interactive experience during Boiler Gold Rush. For example, students take an evening bus trip to local businesses and in turn, the businesses provide a fun and helpful environment catered directly to students. There is opportunity for Purdue to be even more intentional and send more direct messages with those experiences. Purdue could partner with local businesses to showcase items focused on student organization, Purdue spirit or have well-known University representatives welcome students to the community.
Communicating more directly with other support networks about the role they have to play in contributing to student success may encourage such entities to become more engaged with the campus. This process of enhanced engagement could contribute to improving students' perceived lack of connection with the local community. More specifically, the Eduventures survey indicated that 10 to 16 percent of students who were at high risk to leave did not like living in the Greater Lafayette area. Anecdotally, students do not perceive the community to have ample opportunities for entertainment, dining, shopping and a lack of community for underrepresented groups.
Facilitating Student Connections
Connecting with Faculty
Many students express the desire to connect with faculty because many first-year courses are taught in large-lecture format and many recitations are taught by GTAs. The Student Survey respondents indicated a relatively low level of interaction with faculty and the open-ended responses from the Faculty/Staff and Student Surveys indicated a need for smaller classes and more opportunities for students to interact with faculty.
It is not clear how first-year students define the term "faculty." Are they concerned about whether or not their instructors are tenure-track faculty members? Or are they more focused on instructors' ability to teach and their displayed interest and motivation to contribute to student success?
The Faculty Fellows program is an opportunity for students to engage with faculty outside of the classroom; however, most of the staff involved in this program are not faculty members. Purdue Promise, Learning Communities and EPICS are examples of programs on campus that provide opportunities for students to interact with faculty outside of the classroom.
Connecting with Upper-Class Students
First-year students have some contact with upper-class students through their involvement in student organizations and through programs such as Purdue Promise, EPICS, Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) and mentors in 100-level courses, but student responses indicated that students perceived a moderate level of assistance from Purdue in connecting with upper-class students. Purdue has not fully utilized the resource that it has in upper-class students as mentors for first-year students.
In contrast, first-year students often have courses with other new students and make connections with their first-year peers through BGR and Learning Communities. These opportunities for connection are reflected in a slightly higher rating from students regarding how well Purdue assists them in connecting with other new students.
Connecting with Support Services
Each student at Purdue has an academic advisor and is required to meet with that advisor each semester in order to receive a code for registration. Advisors often serve as referral agents for students to connect with other Student Affairs professionals and academic support services. As other Dimension Committees have concluded, resources for first-year students are not centrally administrated or coordinated. Student Survey data suggests that first-year students may be more knowledgeable about where and how to seek services for academic issues than they are for seeking services for non-academic matters. In addition, it is critical to note that of the students who reported not seeking services from any Purdue offices, 23.6 percent indicated wanting to handle the issue on their own. Students need information on the importance of self-advocacy and on the normalization of seeking support services while in college.
Purdue is currently in transition with regard to the definition and organization of Student Affairs. The committee could not agree on which job titles and roles across campus fit under the overarching descriptor of a Student Affairs professional.
In its 2010 Advising Assessment Report, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools reported that Purdue provided an overall high quality of academic advising. As described in the report, students were asked a number of questions regarding their perceptions of learning related to academic and career issues. Eighty-eight percent reported being capable of choosing courses that complemented their plan of study and 67 percent attributed that capacity to academic advising. More than 81 percent of students reported having a better understanding about their future career goals and 64 percent attributed that improvement to academic advising.
The Faculty/Staff and Student Surveys reflect a mixed picture. More specifically, students who responded to the open-ended questions listed academic advising as a clear strength, but also a clear area for improvement. Likewise, faculty and staff respondents indicated advisors as a strength, but also noted the need for more advisors to allow for more personalized advising. Faculty and staff also indicated a low level of individualized attention focused on first-year students.
The quantitative items in the table below suggest that faculty, staff and students differ in their perceptions of academic advising. It is possible that faculty view the role of advisors to primarily involve the four items listed below and see students moving through their course progression as intended, while students see the role of advisor to be more than just the four listed below. Students can be very self-sufficient in selecting courses and often think they know what it takes to be successful without assistance from an advisor in these areas.
Table 5-2. Survey Results — Academic Advising.
|Item||Staff/Faculty M||Students M|
|Overall effectiveness (staff/faculty) or satisfaction (students) of academic advising||3.35||3.71|
|Advisors helping students select courses||4.48||3.79|
|Advisors discussing what it takes to be academically successful||4.36||3.62|
|Advisors discussing future enrollment plans||4.58||3.30|
Although all Purdue students are required to meet with their academic advisor each semester, there is a great deal of variability in how academic advising is addressed across campus. The most consistency exists prior to the first year as all domestic students are required to attend STAR and register for their courses at that time.
In the current STAR approach, students who attend at the start of each week have an advantage over those who attend at the end of the week. A specific number of sections of highly sough- after courses are released at the beginning of each new registration week. In addition, some colleges "front-load" their STAR process, taking most of the slots available in certain first-year student courses (e.g., Nursing). There are simply not enough sections of courses offered to satisfy the needs of each incoming first-year class.
SATS and ISS are working on a virtual STAR process so that international students can also register through a similar system. Currently, international students "meet" with their assigned advisor via email, phone or video chat for their registration appointment and then register online from their homes.
The massive number of registrations that take place during STAR do not allow for much discussion with students regarding life and career goals. This issue has been particularly significant at Purdue because the institution does not currently have a core curriculum, making initial selection of a major critical to students' efficient degree completion. The upcoming implementation of a core curriculum should help address this issue.
Some colleges use faculty advisors rather than professional staff advisors. There is a great deal of variability in how this process of faculty advising is approached (e.g., some faculty delegate the process to their assistants who are professional staff members) and issues of optimal advising load are also likely different between professional staff and faculty advisors.
The significant disparity regarding the current ratios of academic advisors to students across campus units is striking and difficult to reconcile. For example, academic advising loads currently range from 1-to-1 (for a faculty advisor) to 1-to-1,000 (for a professional staff advisor). An advising load of 1,000 does not allow for any exploration of rationale for courses or any conversations about life and career goals. Also, advisors do not currently have access to the Signals system.
In addition, Purdue does not currently have a mobile academic advising record. Students frequently change majors and advisors must rely on websites, emails and phone calls to supply the necessary information regarding a new major path and its requirements. Efforts are currently underway on campus to develop mission and vision statements for academic advising and clear roles and expectations for academic advisors.
The pay scale for academic advisors varies by college. Therefore, retention within each advising office is challenging as advisors often seek to move to colleges where they can earn more. This issue creates challenges for students receiving personalized advising based on personal and individualized attention.
Many questions remain. What would it take to standardize job descriptions and pay scales across all professional advising programs? Due to the decentralized nature of Purdue, academic advisor training is not standardized across campus. Can academic advising be viewed as a faculty member's teaching rather than service load?
- Establish a task force to oversee a transition to centralized coordination of all first-year seminar or orientation courses (including those that are currently only discipline-based and those with an orientation to campus or college emphasis).
- Purdue depends on BGR to provide students with information regarding the transition to Purdue and to college. Massive amounts of information are offered during an intense and brief period and students are not likely to retain critical information. Providing information in a course that spans the first semester offers information at more salient times when students are more likely to retain.
- Content and structure of first-year seminar/orientation courses across campus varies greatly across campus. Some include content on orientation to Purdue and college in general, while others are focused solely on orientation to a college, department or discipline.
- Overlap exists in some orientation courses and students involved in certain programs (e.g., USP, Purdue Promise, HORIZONS) may be required to take more than one orientation course. Central coordination would allow for oversight.
- Survey data indicates the need for increased faculty contact and smaller courses during the first year.
- The task force will review the content and structure of first-year seminar and orientation courses across campus, establish consistent learning objectives associated with "orientation to Purdue" and personal management skills (e.g., financial literacy, time management), while acknowledging the need for college-, department- and career-related content. Solicit student feedback regarding the need and content of information related to orientation to Purdue and to college in general.
- Consider making first-year seminar or orientation courses a part of the emerging core curriculum.
- Gather data that could be used to increase student understanding of the need for such material.
- Suggested transition-related course objectives:
- Enhancement of students' self-advocacy around academic and non-academic challenges. Purdue is too large and first-year students are too new for a completely autonomous approach to be effective. Students need direct and concrete messages regarding how they must be responsible and seek assistance when they need it. Self-advocacy (with regard to seeking appropriate guidance and assistance) is a valuable life skill.
- Provision of information about Purdue:
- Academic Resources
- Non-academic resources
- Integrity-related issues
- Calculating GPAs
- How to track and check academic progress
- Provision of information about college in general
- Impact of curricular and co-curricular activities on educational outcomes
- Advantages and disadvantages of working while in college
- Negotiating relationships with faculty and staff
- Increase in life management skills, including:
- Time, financial and stress management
- Personal relationships and intercultural awareness/competence
- Overall physical and mental well-being
- Facilitation of student career development
- Exploring career goals
- Career selection as process of "fit"
- Possible textbook includes Your College Experience: Strategies for Success by John N. Gardner and Betsy O. Barefoot
- Allocate more resources to the process of academic advising and encourage a more accurate campus-level understanding of the key role academic advisors have in enhancing student success.
- Resources are needed to:
- Ensure more appropriate, reasonable and consistent (across colleges) academic advising load. A target goal is 225 students per advisor. Students need advisors who have the time resources available to build relationships and provide individualized attention
- Continue development of the roles, functions and standards of undergraduate academic advisors at Purdue
- Enhance training of academic advisors based on approved role, function and standards
- Provide University direction and support to help standardize advisor training across campus
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of STAR
- If STAR current format is maintained:
- Randomly assign time tickets throughout the day to all STAR attendees so no program has an unfair advantage to getting access to classes
- Roll spaces in classes out throughout the day so no student has an unfair advantage in getting space in a class by time of time ticket
- If STAR is substantively revised and improved to emphasize the process of academic advising:
- All students meet 1-to-1 with an advisor to discuss skills, abilities, interests, etc. and to then select appropriate courses
- Information obtained in advising meetings can be used to determine demand for specific courses
- All incoming students will register once STAR ends as opposed to the day of their visit. Students would be randomly assigned a time ticket window as they are for all future registrations
- If STAR current format is maintained:
- More accurate understanding of the role of advising is needed to:
- Ensure more referral to academic advisors as primary gatekeepers
- Enhance collaboration between academic advisors, faculty and student affairs professionals
- Resources are needed to:
- Allocate enough resources to allow colleges and departments to offer a sufficient numbers of sections of key first-year courses (e.g., ENGL 10600, COM 11400, CHM 11500, BIOL 11000, BIOL 20300, PHYS 17200, PSY 12000, SOC 10000, ENGR 13100, MA 16100 and all basic first-year services courses) for the entire incoming class of students.
- The number of sections should be driven by the size of the incoming class. Students are not likely to have confidence in Purdue's commitment to their success when they cannot get into the classes they need their first semester on campus.
- Select first-year course instructors who are highly invested in student success and provide enhanced training to first-year instructors. Designate a group of educators who are dedicated to providing instruction to create a foundation for success.
- Committee discussion focused on the idea that first-year students need to interact with instructors who are focused on student success and have the time and resources available to invest in building relationships with students. First-year students, in particular, are not likely to differentiate between tenure-track and clinical faculty or between faculty and professional staff or GTAs who are. First-year students are likely to recognize which instructors are invested in their learning and make attempts to build personal connections (e.g., learn names).
- It is important to state directly that, at Purdue, tenure-track faculty are hired to be researchers. To ask them to have dual priority to ensure first-year student success may put them in a position where their success as a faculty member is at risk.
- Faculty, staff and GTAs who teach first-year students need more training (e.g., IMPACT) and recognition (e.g., promotion and tenure, merit pay, awards) for their contributions to student success.
- Programs such as the Faculty Fellows program need to be revisited, revived and redesigned to create structured ways for students to interact with faculty outside of the classroom.
- Streamline the information provided to prospective and first-year students.
- Revise the Purdue website to include sections specifically designed for prospective and first-year students and sections that communicate the lived experience of students. Provide concise and organized information relevant to each group. A Onebook approach (i.e., hard copy resource book including information about campus and necessary forms to be completed) could be used to streamline communication with all students who have been admitted and have deposited.
- Purdue website search capacity needs to be optimized (e.g., relegate news stories to a separate search function) for use by first-year students, staff and faculty who are working to contribute to student success.
- Use of online communication technologies also needs to be centralized.
- Increase communication with secondary school personnel about preparing students to be successful.
- Purdue needs to take the lead in offering school personnel more specific information regarding the academic and non-academic challenges students often face in their transition to college. School personnel, including school counselors, need to receive consistent and centralized information regarding the academic rigors and demands of Purdue including the idea that taking advanced courses in students' areas of interest are likely more important than "protecting" their GPA. In addition, Purdue is a large campus located in a generally rural environment and the college transition often lacks structure and requires students to be self-advocates and to take action to ensure their social integration.
- Allocate resources to hire an Admissions staff member dedicated (100 percent) to campus tours, including the recruitment, training and mentoring of student tour guides.
- This staff member will also serve as the central coordinator of all campus tours (central and college/unit level) with the goal of enhancing the consistency and accuracy of information offered during all campus tours.
- Create radio, television and print items that communicate the lived experience of Purdue students. Determine cost-effective ways to disseminate such marketing material to domestic and international audiences.
- Communicate directly with members of the community (e.g., churches, community organizations and local businesses) about their contribution to student success. Convene a yearly meeting with community partners to discuss opportunities for enhanced involvement and collaboration.
- Create a centralized office to coordinate efforts focused on the family's role in student success.
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