TRUSTEES HEAR REPORTS ON FRESHMAN CLASS, ASSESSMENT, EVENTS
COLUMBUS -- The Ohio State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday (9/1) heard a report on the profile of the incoming freshman class, an update on assessment practices and a presentation on events planned for the upcoming academic year.
Incoming freshman class profiled
Ohio State expects to welcome its brightest freshman class ever this autumn quarter, Martha Garland, vice provost and dean for undergraduate studies, reported to trustees. Classes begin on Sept. 22.
According to projected figures, the entering class reports a higher average ACT score (at least 24.6), higher percentages of students ranked in the top 25 percent and 10 percent of their high school classes (61 percent and 29 percent, respectively) and the highest number by far of National Merit Scholars. At least 105 National Merit Scholars and about 11 National Achievement Scholars are expected to enter Ohio State this year, compared to 74 and six scholars, respectively, in last year's class, Garland said.
In addition, approximately 1,250 students will enroll as honors students, and the class will feature at least 700 University Scholars -- an increase of nearly 100 over last year. University Scholars are students who typically rank in the top 3 percent of their high school classes and have ACT scores of at least 29 (out of a possible 36) or SAT scores of at least 1300 (out of a possible 1600).
The freshman class enrollment as of mid-August was estimated at between 5,900 and 5,950 students -- compared to the 6,092 freshmen enrolled last year. Final enrollment figures will not be available until mid-October.
Garland also noted that the entering class will include the first 60 participants in the pilot Mount Leadership Society, a new living-learning program encouraging students to develop their leadership and citizenship potential. The 60 Mount scholars were selected from among 131 applicants to the program; a sample of admitted freshmen in the top 20 percent of their high school classes was invited to apply. The program is named in honor of the late Ruth Weimer Mount, former associate dean of women, director of women's housing and the first dean of students at Ohio State.
"We're always proud of our students, but I must say that the impressive record of the entering class and the launch of the Mount Leadership Society make this a particularly exciting year," Garland said. "We're setting higher goals, and we're meeting them. And we certainly will do all we can to ensure that the success these students have experienced to date will translate into a rewarding and successful college career at Ohio State."
Student outcomes assessment progress report presented
The trustees heard a progress report on student outcomes assessment from W. Randy Smith, vice provost for curriculum and institutional relations, and Alexis C. Collier, a faculty fellow in the Provost's Office.
Part of a growing national initiative, student outcomes assessment includes three major components at the academic program level: goals and objectives; measures to determine if goals and objectives are met; and use of that information to improve academic programs.
Assessing student learning outcomes has become a substantial part of the reaccreditation process by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), one of the nation's leading accreditation groups. Ohio State was reaccredited in the NCA in 1997.
Smith and the administration have been working with campus programs over the past year to further develop student assessment efforts. Specific attention has been focused on student assessment activities in the arts and sciences and the General Education Curriculum.
Smith said Ohio State established a small grants program to support student assessment activities. Grants have totaled $50,000.
A campuswide assessment committee also has been established to develop a formulated approach to student assessment outcomes for the General Education Curriculum.
Students describe upcoming year's activities
To enhance the student experience, the Office of Student Affairs has planned several events for the 1999-2000 academic year, David Williams, vice president for student and urban/community affairs, told trustees Wednesday. Upcoming events include: residence hall move-in on Sept. 19, Welcome Week Sept. 19-26, the opening of Lane Avenue Park on Oct. 1, Family Weekend Oct. 22-24, Make a Difference Week Oct. 16-23 and Homecoming events Oct. 27-30.
"If a student can make three contacts during the first six weeks of college, that student will have a better chance of being successful and staying in college. That's why it's so important for a university to plan activities for the student body," said Rob Siston, a senior engineering major and student co-chair of Homecoming '99. "During my time as a member of the 1998 Homecoming Court, I found out about myself, made lasting friendships and found a home here at Ohio State."
In other business, trustees:
-- Authorized that a request be made to the Ohio Board of Regents to modify the cap on the general fee for Ohio State students to allow for continuation of an agreement with the Central Ohio Transit Authority. Under the agreement, Ohio State students pay $9 per quarter or $13.50 per semester for unlimited travel on all COTA routes. Because the university already has increased student tuition and fees by the maximum 6 percent allowed by law, Ohio State is requesting modification of the fee cap to enter a new five-year contract with COTA. Students participating in a January 1999 campuswide vote overwhelmingly supported continuation of the COTA program.
-- Established a Trustee Emeritus Council, comprised of all former voting members of the Board of Trustees. The council will meet annually with the current board to offer assistance and advice to active members as they set institutional policies enhancing Ohio State's goals and missions.
Martha Garland, Academic Affairs, (614) 292-5881
W. Randy Smith, Academic Affairs, (614) 292-5881
Tracy Stuck, Student Activities, (614) 292-8763