Engagement


University of Lynchburg will be nationally recognized as a leader for student engagement inside and outside of the classroom, in athletics, and in leadership.

Lynchburg will be distinguished by its combination of outstanding academic rigor, built-in experiential learning opportunities, superb athletic programming, leadership training and discipleship, and by the diversity of its undergraduate and graduate programs. It will be a first choice for talented scholars, leaders, and student-athletes who seek a community of engagement, service, and active learning.

Through an intentional adoption of high impact processes, both in and out of the classroom, on and off campus, faculty and staff will impact students’ lives in a multiplicity of ways. Research tells us that these intentional experiential practices have long-term positive impact on students’ success beyond graduation.

Our pursuit of student engagement will ensure that our students will become creative and ethical leaders who will make valuable contributions to their communities. Building on our residential liberal arts tradition, our students will have leadership opportunities in the arts, athletics, cultural life, and student government—all practices that develop community-building skills.

Intentional First-Year and Second-Year Experience

The University will provide an intentional first-and second-year experience designed to foster intellectual rigor and integrate academic and co-curricular engagement and learning.

Student transitions, such as the first year of college, the second year, and the transfer experience, are pivotal milestones in the educational journey and pose unique opportunities for student learning and development. We strive to establish a standard of excellence for supporting student transitions and facilitating student success.

1.1a Updates

The first year experience director and two faculty members attended the annual conference on The First-Year Experience to gather ideas and effective practices from other institutions that can advance our programming for first-year students. We are particularly excited about the partnership with faculty. Residence hall programs, including those for first-year students, continue through the spring semester. Two Faculty Fellows hold office hours in the Residence Halls, participate in hall programs and provide programs to students in the residence hall.

1.1b Updates

  • Establishment of a chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Out of the 101 students inducted into the leadership society this spring, 90 were second-year students. (See https://www.societyleadership.org/)
  • Hosting of 8 Faculty and Alumni Lunch/Dinners.
  • Creation of 4 second year specific positions and 1 junior mentor position to assist with the Second Year Success Committee program planning, marketing, branding, social media, and mentoring. The positions will be filled by students who will be awarded service hours in return for resume building experience in program research, design, and implementation to support Second Year Success initiatives.
  • Dissemination of the Thriving Survey to all second-year students in late April.
  • Hosting of 500 Days to Graduation event for second-year students in late April.

Develop shared academic experiences for first-year students as part of general education.

Incorporate high impact and experiential learning intentionally into first-year-level courses.

Develop a formal study regimen in the library and at other locations across campus designed specifically to engage and instruct first-year students in research methods, time management, and study habit best practices.

Review patterns of academic engagement and achievement in first-year/sophomore courses and address concerns by creating new programming in response to trends, shifting resources as needed to enhance agility and responsiveness to student needs.

Develop a comprehensive and intentional sophomore experience that extends across the academic experience to include residential life and co-curricular activities.

  • Improved first-year-to-sophomore retention rates
  • Improved NSSE scores in targeted categories
  • Increased percentage of first-year students participating in high-impact and experiential learning opportunities
  • Improved graduation rates
  • Improved student success in general education and program goals
  • Improved sophomore-to-junior retention rates
  • Improved student performance on licensure exams
  • Increased percentage of upperclassmen participating in high-impact and experiential learning opportunities
  • Improved student drop and withdrawal patterns by academic year
  • Increased average student credit hours completed by academic year
  • Increased percentage of students returning with fewer-than-expected credit hours to graduate in four years by academic year
  • Increased usage of academic support services
  • Increased percentage of students participating in athletics
  • Increased percentage of students participating in the arts
  • Increased percentage of students participating in student organizations

General Education

Faculty will revise general education to create a transformative student experience where students are academically engaged in the learning process and develop competencies that prepare them for life after college.

1.2 Updates

The general faculty passed the Diverse, Engaged, Lifelong Learners (DELL) curriculum on December 1, 2017, by a large majority. Implementation of the new curriculum has begun with solicitations of nominations for a new position of Director of General Education in January, 2018. Once this faculty position is filled, creation of the expanded GEOC committee will begin in the Spring 2018 semester. Guidelines for development of general education courses will be drafted and preparation for phasing in of the new curriculum for entering students will begin.

Articulate a clear purpose statement for general education at LC.

Address or integrate ideas and concerns of all stakeholders.

Create greater awareness and cohesion among faculty and students about the purpose and significance of general education.

Present at least one model of an alternative curriculum to the full faculty to consider.

  • Increased student achievement and goal attainment in general education
  • Increased first-year-to-sophomore retention rates
  • Increased sophomore-to-junior retention rates
  • Improved NSSE scores in targeted categories
  • Articulate a clear purpose statement for general education at the University of Lynchburg.
  • Address or integrate ideas and concerns of all stakeholders.
  • Create greater awareness and cohesion among faculty and students about the purpose and significance of general education.
  • Integrate professional disciplines with the structure of general education.
  • Present at least one model of an alternative curriculum to the full faculty to consider.
  • Measure student achievement and goal attainment in extent to which students achieve general education and program goals.
  • First-year-to-Sophomore retention
  • Sophomore-to-Junior retention
  • NSSE

High-Impact Practices

To advance student learning and achievement, 100 percent of graduating students will engage in at least three high-impact and experiential practices (e.g., internships, study abroad, domestic study away, off-campus learning experiences, research, thesis, simulation, capstone, service learning, writing in and across the discipline, learning communities, and working with visiting scholars, artists, musicians, and writers).

According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, experiential learning – also known as high-impact learning – provides opportunities for undergraduate students to integrate their classroom learning to experiences within and beyond the campus borders, and, in doing so, to advance their learning in ways not ordinarily achieved in a classroom setting. This integrative learning “occurs as learners address real-world problems, unscripted and sufficiently broad, to require multiple areas of knowledge and multiple modes of inquiry, offering multiple solutions and benefiting from multiple perspectives.”

These high-impact experiences can provide Lynchburg students with the necessary tools to live and work in a changing, diverse and complicated world and to become lifelong learners.

1.3 Updates

Self-report data by seniors was collected in April through NSSE and a local instrument. Preliminary results look positive for the number of seniors participating in high impact practices. Graduating seniors who began with Lynchburg four years ago as a freshman are the first class to complete the Writing Enriched (WE) requirement. (Multiple WE courses are considered a high impact practice.) The work completed by Vision2020 leaders on definitions, establishing a new course type (study away) for domestic travel-based courses, affirming guidelines for service-learning courses, and other steps to strengthen our tracking infrastructure will ultimately allow us to do the student level analysis to ensure that all graduating seniors complete at least three high impact practices.

Create high-impact and experiential learning practices (HIEP) experiences for all students across all disciplines at Lynchburg.

Incorporate HIEP intentionally throughout a student’s four-year program.

Enhance and expand the Westover Honors program.

Develop domestic study abroad and field research courses.

Provide training to faculty on high-impact and experiential learning practices (HIEP), including bringing in experts.

Develop award and recognition program for faculty who mentor students in research, scholarly, and creative activities, and who incorporate HIEPs into their courses.

Enhance classrooms to support faculty experimentation with HIEPs and new technologies.

  • Increased percentage of students participating in high-impact and experiential learning opportunities
  • Improved NSSE scores in targeted categories

Diversity and Inclusion

Ensure that the institution's commitment to diversity is apparent through a campus community climate where all faculty, staff, and students feel welcomed and are treated with respect.

1.4 Updates

Diversity, Respect, and Inclusion modules were administered to all campus community members during spring 2018 yielding nearly 2,400 completions. Opportunities sponsored by the Office of Equity and Inclusion for academic and co-curricular programming were available to the campus community with 7 lectures/training offered along with 40 educational programs which increased knowledge and enhanced the ability to discuss diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the classroom. This summer, 2018, data will be analyzed concerning student perception of the campus climate from (a) The National Survey for Student Engagement; and (b) Course Evaluations (2017-2018).

The University will improve its hiring practices to increase diversity among faculty and staff.

Course evaluations will be rewritten to allow students to provide feedback on issues of diversity, inclusion, and bias in the classroom.

Diversity and inclusion training will be mandatory for all faculty, staff, and students.

Improve student perceptions and opinions of campus climate concerning diversity, inclusion, and safety.

Increase academic and co-curricular programming in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

  • Workforce: At least 16 percent of the full-time, non-service staff and 10 percent of the full time faculty will be from underrepresented groups.
  • Training: 100 percent of faculty and staff annually complete diversity and inclusion training.
  • Campus climate for students: Eighty-five percent of Lynchburg students, on average, will report "agree" to feeling a sense of belonging, feeling safe, and having connections to their peers as well as faculty and staff.
  • Classroom environment: Ninety-eight percent of students will report, through course evaluations, that they feel they are treated fairly and equitably in the classroom setting.
  • Programming: One hundred annual diversity/inclusion-related programs available to students; at least 10 professional development opportunities per year for faculty and staff related to diversity and inclusion.

 

  • Percent of full-time faculty and full-time, non-service staff who claim membership in underrepresented groups.
  • Percent of employees who annually complete diversity and inclusion training.
  • Percent of students who chose “agree” when surveyed about feeling included and connected to campus.
  • Percent of all students who report that they are treated fairly and equitably in the classroom setting.
  • Number of programs tagged for diversity and inclusion focus for students and for employees each year.

International Student Recruitment

Develop and implement a comprehensive recruitment plan to attract, enroll, and graduate undergraduate and graduate international students from the U.S. and abroad.

1.5 Updates

The recruitment of international students includes efforts both in and outside the USA. Marketing and recruitment efforts include an integrated communication plan with special emphasis on digital marketing and social media. Another area of emphasis is on pathway programs and unique agreements that provide a funnel of students. One such new initiative is the TESL/TEFL (Teaching English as a Second Language and Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate program that allows international students to study at the University for one year. For fall 2017, we enrolled 14 new international students. The goal for 2020 is to enroll 30 new students. The recruitment of international students is always ongoing.

Internationalize Graduate Studies website to appeal to multiple markets and languages.

Reach out to international alumni through internal networks, using tools such as LinkedIn to solicit support in international student recruitment.

Sign dual-degree partnership MOUs with overseas universities.

Explore centralized application database for international graduate students.

Build professional relationships with graduate student admission consultants abroad.

Collaborate with Colleges That Change Lives - colleges and colleagues.

Collaborate with Study VA - colleges, universities, and colleagues.

Partner with new International Pathway Programs.

Conduct strategic travel, abroad and in the U.S.

Form new relationships with international counselors worldwide.

  • Increased number of international graduate students, on campus as well as online
  • Increased number of international students from secondary schools, community colleges, and targeted countries outside of the U.S.
  • Increased number of ESL (English as a Second Language) students

 

New pedagogies to support active teaching and academically engaged learning

The University will stimulate the exploration of new pedagogies that support active teaching and academically engaged learning.

Tomorrow’s students will possess different ways of learning and it is incumbent upon our faculty to develop new learning environments in which they better connect students to the subject matter. By adopting leading-edge technologies and adopting innovative teaching practices, our faculty will continue to offer a Lynchburg academic experience of high quality and rigor.

1.6 Updates

During the Spring 2018 term, the Teaching and Learning Center was able to expand our offerings (6 workshops scheduled), while responding to the needs of our faculty. Two of our workshops this semester were in direct response to faculty questions or requests. We were able to connect with other similar centers at other institutions to help develop new programs and offerings. The T+LC lending library was created in partnership with Knight-Capron Library to create a collection of resources dedicated to evidence-based pedagogy and developing excellence in teaching and learning. The Faculty Fellows, along with other stakeholders, will begin a needs analysis this summer to help determine more options for meeting the needs of our campus.

Catalyze teaching and learning innovations that advance learning – using digital tools, collaborative structures, and hands-on approaches.

Enhance T+LC programming and professional development to support faculty as they adopt teaching and learning innovations.

Advance educational practices that engage diversity and advance collaborative learning.

Recruit and hire faculty who embrace active learning and academic engagement.

Provide funding to further pedagogical research and to support adoption of innovative practices.

Identify and adopt technologies that contribute to academic engagement and learning.

Develop faculty resources on current learning theory and evidence-based instructional practices that support student success.

Pilot professional learning teams to support pedagogical innovation and faculty development.

Seek grant funding to support initiatives.

  • Measured improvement in Faculty Survey of Student Engagement

Career Services

Fully integrate career development and services with academic programming to increase student engagement throughout their Lynchburg experience.

In 2013, The College-Bound Market Update noted for the first time that career preparation is the primary motivator for college enrollment among traditional-aged undergraduate students – surpassing academics, and even affordability.

As the value of a college degree continues to be questioned and scrutinized, we must prepare our students for life after graduation. To be successful and to enhance the success of our graduates, we must integrate career preparation throughout the student experience, beginning as early as possible in the first year and continuing to graduation and beyond into our students’ lives as alumni.

1.7 Updates

As of April 2018, we have continued to have great success in growing our Pro+ program with a total of 2017 individual students attending one or more of our programs this year - including all Career Development & Internships' workshops, classes, or events. We have far surpassed our goal for the year, and even our 2020 goal. We continue to work on our new initiatives to track the career/workplace readiness of our students. Changes in the way our office develops and promotes programs, and collects data within the new SIS system next year as well as the change to the University of Lynchburg should all have positive effects on the outcomes we measure for our recent graduates.

Increase career opportunities for Lynchburg students and graduates by developing and maintaining working relationships with alumni and regional, state, and national employers.

Developing a strategic outreach program to employers.

Increasing the number of job and internship postings for students.

Collaborating with academic departments and faculty.

Increasing the number of students attending job fairs and participating in on-campus recruiting opportunities.

Nurturing strategic partnerships.

Collaborate with departments and the General Education Task Force to integrate career development into the educational experience beginning in the first year.

Conduct annual needs assessments to determine professional and career-related workshop offerings.

Gear revamped website toward student and departmental needs, while increasing interactive and dynamic elements. Keep information updated, reflecting current internship and postgraduate outcomes, including listing recent employers and graduate school admissions.

Develop online materials for faculty to incorporate into their classes –YouTube-style videos on topics such as resume writing, interview tips, elevator speeches, using the online job search engine, etc..

Outcomes (at defined intervals – point of graduation, six months after graduation, 12 months after graduation)
  • Improved use and satisfaction of career-related programs and services, including career and job counseling by academic advisors, faculty, and career development staff
  • Increased use of Career Development web page and online resources
  • Increased number and diversity of career and professional development programs
  • Improved students workplace readiness
  • Increased number of posted jobs and internships and percentage filled by Lynchburg students
  • Increased number of employers attending job fairs and percentage of Lynchburg students obtaining interviews and jobs as a result of participation
  • Increased number of on-campus recruiting programs and percentage of Lynchburg students in attendance, interviewed, and offered positions
  • Improved use and satisfaction of career-related programs and services, including career and job counseling by academic advisors, faculty, and career development staff
  • Increased use of Career Development webpage and online resources
  • Increased number and diversity of career and professional development programs
  • Improved students workplace readiness
  • Increased number of posted jobs and internships and percentage filled by Lynchburg students
  • Increased number of employers attending job fairs and percentage of Lynchburg students obtaining interviews and jobs as a result of participation
  • Increased number of on-campus recruiting programs and percentage of Lynchburg students in attendance, interviewed, and offered positions

New Programs

Lynchburg will align its academic programs with changing employment opportunities and develop new programs that are viable in the marketplace and that are consistent with its mission. These programs may be full- or part-time, undergraduate or graduate, on-campus or online.

It is clear that environmental factors drive innovation in higher education and University of Lynchburg has been entrepreneurial and forward thinking as it seeks to grow and address the higher education demands of the region and the state. Our introduction of high-demand graduate health science programs and the continued success of our graduate offerings in education – Lynchburg graduates can be found in the classrooms and offices of practically every school and administrative office in the region – are a testament to our ability to meet market demands. We must continue to develop new academic programs that will address the ever-changing employment landscape.

1.8 Updates

Graduate enrollment at the start of the spring semester reached 781 students. Total enrollment for spring is 2721.

Develop scholarships for transfer students in academic areas with excess capacity in the junior/senior levels.

Implement new undergraduate and graduate programs identified by Health Sciences Task Force and School of Sciences Task Force during the 15/16 academic year including:

  • Cyber Security – graduate certification, plan for undergraduate major
  • Computer Science/Information Technology/Engineering
  • Health Informatics – graduate certification
  • Transitional Doctorate for PA Medicine
  • DPT Residencies

Scan the environment and explore new programs that are viable in the marketplace.

Develop infrastructure to support online programs.

  • Increased total student enrollment
  • Growth in number of undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Growth in new student enrollment - freshman, transfer, and graduate students
  • Increased number of credit hours delivered by program
  • Improved student retention by program
  • Improved faculty-student ratio 

Recruit students through athletics and arts

The University will attract, recruit, retain, and graduate exceptional students whose collegiate experience is enhanced through participation in recreation and intercollegiate athletics and the arts in preparation for lifelong wellness.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), “colleges and universities in Division III place the highest priority on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs. They seek to establish and maintain an environment in which a student-athlete’s athletic activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience, and an environment that values cultural diversity and gender equity among their student-athletes and athletics staff.” Lynchburg College exemplifies the Division III spirit and our emphasis and support of recruiting the best student-athletes only serves to enhance the experience for all students.

1.9 Updates

Athletics: In the Fall of 2017 there were more than 490 enrolled students with NCAA eligibility and medical clearance paperwork to either try out or reside on team rosters. Club sport participation for the Fall of 2017 included 233 students registered and paying dues.

The Arts and recruiting: The Arts continue to draw strong interest in the Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship competition with approximately 100 prospective students participating in the 2017-2018 competition. We project solid growth in student participation in music ensembles, theatre productions, and art exhibitions for fall 2018.

Expand the recruiting reach and the number of students recruited by the arts, as well as intercollegiate and club teams.

Increase staffing, where appropriate, to provide full-time assistant coaches to recruit, develop, and mentor student-athletes on the field, in the classroom, and in future endeavors.

Increase recruiting budgets to support the increased recruiting goals.

Partner with Enrollment and University Communications and Marketing to coordinate arts and athletic recruiting efforts with relevant University recruiting strategies, materials, and programs.

Partner with Enrollment Management to regularly review the admission process using software tools.

  • Improve ranking among top-30 Division III athletic programs nationwide.
  • Increase number of students participating in Pep Band.
  • Increase number of students who audition for Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Competition.
  • Increase number of students who participate in arts co-curricular activities (performance ensembles, theatrical performances/art shows).
  • Increase the number of students who compete in regional, state, and national arts competitions (MTNA, NATS, NAfME, Va. Theatre Conference, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Addys, regional art shows).
  • Increase the number of high-caliber scholar-athletes who choose Lynchburg over our aspirational peer institutions.

Championship-level experience

The University will offer a championship-level experience for all student-athletes, alumni, and members of the greater University of Lynchburg community.

There is no question that athletics plays a central role in the life of Lynchburg, both for those student-athletes involved in competition at all levels and for the entire University community who engage in recreational and wellness activities or who support the Hornets as fans. To that end, we must address the facilities deficiencies that hinder our ability to deliver the championship experience that students and fans alike have come to expect.

1.10 Updates

For Winter 2017-18 our Learfield rank is 69th out of 450 D-III schools. ODAC Championships for regular season or tournament in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, outdoor women’s track. National recognition for Lynchburg student-athletes: Natalie Deacon-Track All American. Christina Antonucci- Equestrian Nationals qualifier in two areas. Emily Maxwell- NCAA Postgraduate scholarship award winner.

Meanwhile, the Hornet Club has been revitalized as The Hive, an athletics giving society that provides better recognition to all donors supporting any sports.

Establish a task force to study and recommend the appropriate number and mix of intercollegiate and club sports programs to accomplish the goal of being a top-30 Division III athletic program.

Recruit and hire a director of club sports to facilitate the full integration of club-level athletics into student and community life.

Collaborate with Advancement to:

  • Enhance fundraising to support each sport.
  • Revive the Hornet Club.
  • Seek corporate sponsorships.
  • Strengthen alumni and donor relationships.
  • Benchmark staffing and budgeting with other Division III institutions.
  • Number of athletes recruited by programs as their point of origin into the system
  • Number/percent of student body participating in intercollegiate, club, and IM athletic programs
  • Graduation rates of athletes
  • Attendance at athletic events
  • Percentage of student-athletes that are on Academic All-ODAC
  • Percentage of student-athletes inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma
  • Percentage of student-athletes giving to the senior gift campaign
  • Percent of athletic alumni who donate
  • Learfield’s Directors’ Cup Ranking
  • Finish between 80-100 out of 450 Division III schools
  • NCAA Division III ranking by sport and individual sport ranking
  • Every program being ranked, regionally or nationally
  • Number of ODAC Championships
  • Maintaining historical average of three to seven championships per year
  • Number of programs going to NCAA tournaments - four programs in 2015-16
  • ODAC Commissioner's Cup
  • Maintain historical average of two to five in cup standing
  • VASID All-Sports Trophy

Core competencies of effective leadership/career readiness

Students will develop core competencies of effective leadership and career readiness through participation in leadership programs and opportunities.

Student Development has adopted the competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers as a focus for leadership development and for helping students interpret co-curricular activities in terms of personal skill-building.

1.11 Updates

Establishment of a chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Out of the 101 students inducted into the leadership society this spring after completing the requirements for acceptance, 90 were second-year students. (See https://www.societyleadership.org/)

Research and adopt core competencies.

Develop self-assessment instrument.

Pilot core competencies with Residence Life staff (goal: increase in five of the seven areas).

Implement pre-training workshop program in the spring for the upcoming fall leaders.

Core competencies addressed through Lynchburg student leadership conferences, including LC LEADS, Andersen, and the Eccles Leadership Summit.

Provide core competency coaching training to campus organization advisors.

Organization advisors will utilize core competency reflective practices with origination leaders.

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