Academic Excellence, Redefined

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An Extended Orientation Program -Starting with New Student Orientation and ending with successful completion of Freshman Transition course: A New Initiative at American University of Ras Al Khaimah , United Arab Emirates Priti Verma , PhD (Assistant Professor, Psychology) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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An Extended Orientation Program -Starting with New Student Orientation and ending with successful completion of Freshman Transition course: A New Initiative at American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Priti Verma, PhD (Assistant Professor, Psychology)

8th EFYC, June 9-11, 2014Academic Excellence, Redefined Include pics in slidesWrite references at the end of slide in small font (Italics)Use different color in text to stress a wordFill the title of the slide with light color, if it looks good1Higher Education in UAEProvision of qualityeducation in the United Arab Emiratesbegan shortly after the establishment of the federation (1971) with the inception of the first university in Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates University (1976).

In 1988, the first four Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) were opened (now 12 campuses across UAE).

In 1998, Zayed University was opened for women with campuses inAbu Dhabi and Dubai.

From 1995, several international universities opened branch campuses in the Emirates include Wollongong University, Middlesex University, Bolton University, Michigan State University and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York University, Masdar Institute and many more.

Segregated educationExpat population2

Academic Excellence, Redefined George Mason University opened its branch campus in Ras al Khaimah in 2005 and was closed due to undisclosed reasons in mid 2009.

The University originated from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qassimi, Ruler, Ras Al Khaimah, who wanted to found a university that would serve the needs of Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates, and the region. He wished to provide high quality educational opportunities to students that both emphasize a global outlook and are rooted in the regions context and culture. Consequently, the American University of Ras Al Khaimah was established as an independent institution by Royal Decree in May 2009.

3Size of institution: Currently, 580 students, 50 faculty and 50 staff members

Geographical location: Ras Al Khaimah emirate (northern part of United Arab Emirates)

Nature Undergraduate and graduate programs

Mission research, teaching, community service

Typical first years Students are at different levels of readiness for university, diverse (40 nationalities), young (17-19 years of age), males and females, first generation to join university

Some more information about AURAK

New Student OrientationUniversity life is a new, overwhelming experience for many new students in UAE. Many universities around the world offer extended orientation programs. And, we at AURAK also believe that this should be an ongoing process in first year to achieve the following:

Acclimate to students life Help new students organize their classes Get students familiar with where to find thingsReduce students drop out during the first yearMake new friendsTeach them skills and experiences students need for academic success.

Phases of New Student Orientation ProgramPlanning of the NSOP was done in Spring and Summer, 2013 which included the following:

Recruiting the student leaders Designing of the programTraining of staff and studentsMeetingsInformation to university communityImplementation of the ProgramResults and findingsReward

1. Teachers recommendation, Students recommendation, Walk-in visits, Advertisements, Brochure & Posters2. Assign a mentor for a group of 10 new students, Mentors contact new students before or on arrival of new students to campus, Mentors assist new students during the week of new students, Preparation for scavenger hunt (small tickets in different locations for jigsaw puzzle), orientation fair, campus tour, group activity for new students.3. Calling students on phone, Greeting new students on campus, Guide them through the first week, Familiarity with the campus to do the Scavenger Hunt 4. Update student leaders about the whole event, Listen to recruited students feedback & main concerns5. All departments, Staff and faculty were informed of all the activities and support was gathered.8. Motivating students, Attract more volunteers, Raise sense of belongings to AURAK community, Create strong bonds between leaders, new students, faculty and staff, certificate to leaders and volunteers

6Whats new in NSOP?Student leaders (Junior and Senior year)For each 10 new students, one student leader was assigned.Leaders contacted the new students before their arrivalNew students were received by their leaders on orientation dayUniversity FairDepartment boothsLaunch of New Student WorkbookCampus tour led by leadersScavenger huntProgram orientation in separate roomsFaculty advising and course registrationNSO surveyWeek long orientation program

New Student Orientation Survey ResultsNew admissions: 200 students (125 were enrolled in academic programs)

NSO Survey EvaluationsAgreeInformation received prior to orientation 82%Orientation Check-in 84%Usefulness of information in your packet88% Length of Program 75%Program content 82%Orientation helped me to know what to expect academically 81%Orientation helped me to know what to expect socially 84%Resources available to me at AURAK if I have questions about housing88%NSO Survey EvaluationsAgreeLearned about different clubs and organizations83%Learned about different academic resources on campus 84%Learned about other resources on campus 81% Gained a clear understanding of how to register for classes 88%Enjoyable experience82%Campus tour 93%Got all of my questions answered during orientation93%Overall evaluation of orientation 81%8UNIV 100: Freshman (First Year) Transition CourseAURAK follows the American model: General Education Program

UNIV 100 belongs to Gen Ed Program

UNIV 100: First time offered in Spring 2012

Requirement for degree

Must be taken in first semester by first year students

So far, only S or US (no number grades)Same mastermind: An extension of New Student Orientation

Aim to ssist students with the transition from secondary school to university life

Multifaceted content and flexible course structure

Topics

New Student Workbook : TypeFocus Careers, College readiness inventory

Main Characteristics of UNIV 100 at AURAKlike college experience, setting goals for college experience, making smooth transition, purpose of college, managing time, discovering learning style, thinking critically, listening, active reading, taking notes, participating in class, examination strategies, preparing for life and awareness about University Life (New Student Handbook)

10TypeFocus CareersOnline Survey

Self- assessment for personality, skills, interests and values

Assists one to make goals, choose occupation and start a career portfolio

Student and Administrator access

11Snap Shot of TypeFocus Careers

12College Readiness Inventory (adapted from UAEU)Inventory aimed to help the students understand how well they are prepared for university life

Components of inventory: Academic self-efficacy, time management, academic stress, writing skills, note taking, classroom attentiveness and motivation, test taking, physical disability

Students responded: Yes/NoResponses were submitted to administrator to get feedback

Practical tips on how to overcome the areas of weakness as well as a list of departments and organizations that can assist students were provided to each.

13Results of College Readiness InventoryStudent responses: 106 students out of 125 completed the inventory.

Area of weakness% reported this weaknessAcademically self- efficient0.1Time management skills37Academic stress57Writing skills29Note taking skills18Attention7Test taking skills1114Student Referrals based on ResultsStudent Learning Center: Writing Center and Math Clinic, peer tutoring

Career Counseling

Workshops and Seminars

Self Help resources Library

Student Activities

15Discussion TopicHow transitions are supported in your institution?

16Questions and Answers!

Priti Verma, PhD Assistant Professor, PsychologyAmerican University of Ras Al Khaimah P O Box: 10021 Ras Al Khaimah, UAE Tel: +971 7 2210 500, ext. 1289

Email: priti.verma@aurak.aeThank you!1. Bigger, J.J. (2005). Improving the odds for freshman success. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advising-first-year-students.aspx 2. Schroeder, C. (2003). The first year and beyond. About Campus, 8 (4), 9-163. Howey, S.C. (2008). Factors in student motivation. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site. http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Motivation.aspx 4. Boyd, B., Largent, L. & Rondeau, S. (2008). Community College Orientation Basics: How to structure a new student orientation program. 5. Barefoot, B. O. (2000). The first-year experience-are we making it any better? About Campus, 4 (6), 12-18.6. Habley, Wes. (2003). NACADA Summer Institute, quoting 'Academic Advising: Critical Link in Student Retention.' (1981). NASPA Journal, 28(4): 45-50.7. Gardner, J. N., & Siegel, M. J. (2001). Focusing on the first-year student. Priorities, 17, 1-17.

References