TMU Staff Innovation Challenge - Rewards

TMU Staff Innovation Challenge – Rewards

In spring 2019, two presentations were entered for the Innovation Rewards portion of the Staff Challenge. Following is a synopsis of the winning entries:

First Place entry: An Innovative Program to Attract and Retain High-Achieving Students: The Cleves Scholars Program, presented by John Ernst, Robin Norton, Heather Abbott, and Samantha Palmer (TSC) Justin Vogel, Lam Pham, Tony Otten (Enrollment)

Panel Discussion with Father Gerald Twaddell, Acting President Kathleen S. Jagger, Monsignor William Cleves, and Professor Luis Sierra.

Innovation: A new scholars program at TMU that leverages the Success Center institutes and faculty-led courses to help students take the next-step for success.

Question at issue–how can we attract and support more high achieving students?

Innovation: The new Cleves Scholars Program combines: coursework aimed at translating ideas into action; co-curricular activities aimed at facilitating the 4Cs: Community, Career, Character, and Classroom; and service projects aimed at promoting responsibility towards others. Named after past-president and philosophy department chair, Monsignor William Cleves.

Innovation details: Engage applicants through interviews – high school applicants invited to apply have GPA >= 3.25 and ACT >= 26; complete essay and interview; interview day (a key to program success) with faculty, staff, and current students; Cleves scholarships part of financial aid packaging; result – 38 students accepted scholarships with 74 offered (51 percent conversion rate with an average HS GPA: 3.9, ACT: 27.9)

2019 alumni panel discussion on liberal arts/career connections.

Retain students through inventive programming – new first year student and capstone courses emphasize ideas to action: Leisure (Father Twaddell) and Identity (Professor Blackwell); 2018-2019 co-curricular programs emphasize networking skills and development: team-building exercises, networking workshops and events with local employers and leaders, faculty panel, alumni panel, LinkedIn workshop, student business cards; service to TMU supporting the annual Christmas Party for friends of the university.

Link to TMU mission: Program development guided by the ROI map and 4Cs adapted from the 2020 strategic plan and TMU Mission – 1. Community (scholars program is a new community for high achieving students, scholars give back to the larger community through service to others), 2. Career (scholars engage in career development and networking skills from start of their university experience), 3. Character (through teamwork, giving to others, and other program components, scholars reinforce character), and 4. Classroom (through innovative courses, students develop in their abilities to translate ideas into action)

Cleves Scholars Program adds value to TMU: Recruit and retain high achieving students • Laboratory for testing new programming ideas with ability to be scaled • Provide students with launch pad for success.

Second place entry: Auto-packaging of financial aid for TAP students, presented by Mark Messingschlager

Summary: All TAP programs operated under a non-term structure, meaning they did not follow traditional semesters. This allowed “rolling starts” into the program at any point throughout the calendar year. This made packaging financial aid very difficult and required that it be done manually for each student for each award year. After a series of major steps, the TAP programs are offered in standard terms with modules which still allows multiple starts throughout the year, but allows the financial aid process to be automated.

Problems: • Manual process, with no reliable reporting to identify issues • Delayed receipt of Admissions decisions • Delayed receipt of FAFSA data • Delayed registration of students • Prone to audit findings • Not able to run SAP (required for Title IV programs)

Key Players:

•Financial Aid
•Information Technology
•Business Office
•Institutional Reporting
•College of Business – Business, Accounting, and Economics Faculty
•College of Education and Health Sciences – Nursing Faculty
•Fall 2016 – Standard term academic calendars are proposed
•January 2017 – All graduate programs are moved to standard term format with modules
•Spring 2017 – TAP classes are re-designed to move from 5-week courses to 6-week courses in preparation of standard         term modular format
•August 2017 – All undergraduate programs are moved to standard term format with modules. This initiates a two-year transition period where programs operate simultaneously as non-term cohort and standard term modular formats.
•Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 – Testing and identifying issues from move to standard term modules
•Fall 2018 – Helix and IT collaboratively develop a data integration bridge between Helix software and CX database.
This allows seamless transition of data and continual data flow of admissions decisions and necessary student information and clears the way for FAFSA information to be imported much sooner, eliminating the need for bridge software
•December 2018 – SAP evaluated on TAP students for the first time (Previously out of compliance – no reliable way to monitor SAP)
•January – May 2019 Configuration and testing of financial aid packaging groups, procedures, and scripts.
•March 2019 – First TAP National Student Clearinghouse report accurately reflects standard term TAP students. This allows students to be registered into TAP programs much earlier in their enrollment process
•May 2019 – First financial aid gets automatically packaged onto TAP student accounts who will first enter in fall 2019.
•July 2019 – Final non-term cohort graduates, ending two-year transition period
Mission Centric: Previously, TAP students were registered for classes one week before they started. Financial aid was packaged manually for each student and had to be adjusted any time a student failed to complete a course. This made the process extremely difficult and confusing for the students. Automated packaging opens the door for a more streamlined, transparent, and efficient process so that students know their financial aid sooner, can be notified in a more concise way, and have a better understanding of the process. The FAO could rarely identify issues previously, but will now be able to implement data error reports to identify issues.