- 1 Standard 3: Students
- 1.1 3.A – Purpose and Organization
- 1.1.1 3.A.1 The organization of student services is effective in providing adequate services consistent with the mission and goals of the institution.
- 1.1.2 Distinctive Features of Student Affairs Work At Evergreen
- 1.1.3 High Student Expectations
- 1.1.4 “Designing Your Own Education”
- 1.1.5 A Wide Range of Student Skills/Abilities
- 1.1.6 Learning and Relevance
- 1.1.7 General Objectives for Student Affairs Staff
- 1.1.8 3.A.2 Student services and programs are staffed by qualified individuals whose academic preparation and/or experience are appropriate to their assignments. Assignments are clearly defined and published. The performance of personnel is regularly evaluated.
- 1.1.9 Staffing, Job Descriptions, and Performance Reviews
- 1.1.10 3.A.3 Appropriate policies and procedures for student development programs and services are established. The objectives of each operating component are compatible and support the goals of student services.
- 1.1.11 3.A.4 Human, physical, and financial resources for student services and programs are allocated on the basis of identified needs and are adequate to support the services and programs offered.
- 1.2 3.B – General Responsibilities
- 1.2.1 3.B.1 The institution systematically identifies the characteristics of its student population and students’ learning and special needs. The institution makes provision for meeting those identified needs, emphasizing students’ achievement of their educational goals.
- 1.2.2 Enrollment Growth and Student Demographics
- 1.2.3 Student Demographics
- 1.2.4 Retention and Graduation Rates
- 1.2.5 3.B.2 The institution provides opportunities for students to participate in institutional governance. Faculty are involved in the development of policies for student programs and services.
- 1.2.6 3.B.3 Policies on students’ rights and responsibilities, including those related to academic honesty and procedural rights, are clearly stated, well publicized, readily available, and implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
- 1.2.7 3.B.4 The institution makes adequate provision for the safety and security of its students and their property. Information concerning student safety is published and widely distributed.
- 1.2.8 3.B.5 The institution publishes and makes available to both prospective and enrolled students a catalog or bulletin that describes: its mission, admission requirements and procedures, students’ rights and responsibilities, academic regulations, degree-completion requirements, credit courses and descriptions, tuition, fees and other charges, refund policy, and other items relative to attending the institution or withdrawing from it.
- 1.2.9 3.B.5 (continued) In addition, a student handbook or its equivalent is published and distributed. A student handbook normally will include information on student conduct, a grievance policy, academic honesty, student government, student organizations and services, and athletics. The student handbook may be combined with the institution’s catalog.
- 1.2.10 3.B.6 The institution periodically and systematically evaluates the appropriateness, adequacy, and utilization of student services and programs and uses the results of the evaluation as a basis for change.
- 1.3 3.C – Academic Credit and Records
- 1.3.1 3.C.1 Evaluation of student learning or achievement, and the award of credit, are based upon clearly stated and distinguishable criteria. Academic records are accurate, secure, and comprehensive. Credit is defined and awarded consonant with the Glossary definition.
- 1.3.2 3.C.2 Criteria used for evaluating student performance and achievement including those for theses, dissertations, and portfolios, are appropriate to the degree level, clearly stated and implemented.
- 1.3.3 3.C.3 Clear and well-publicized distinctions are made between degree and non-degree credit. Institutional publications and oral representations explicitly indicate if credit will not be recognized toward a degree, or if special conditions exist before such credit will be recognized. Any use of such terms as extension credit, X credit, continuing education credit, is accompanied by clear statements regarding the acceptability of such credit toward degrees offered by that institution. Student transcripts clearly note when any credit awarded is non-degree credit. Whenever institutions grant non-degree credit other than the Continuing Education Unit (CEU), some summary evaluation of student performance beyond mere attendance is available.
- 1.3.4 3.C.4 Transfer credit is accepted from accredited institutions or from other institutions under procedures which provide adequate safeguards to ensure high academic quality and relevance to the students’ programs. Implementation of transfer credit policies is consistent with 2.C.4 as well as Policy 2.5 Transfer and Award of Academic Credit. The final judgment for determining acceptable credit for transfer is the responsibility of the receiving institution.
- 1.3.5 Direct Transfer Degree (DTA)
- 1.3.6 Associate in Science Transfer Degree (AS-T)
- 1.3.7 Direct Technical Transfer Degree
- 1.3.8 Upside down Degree
- 1.3.9 Course-by-Course Evaluation
- 1.3.10 Nontraditional Credit: Non-accredited Colleges and Universities
- 1.3.11 Nontraditional Credit: Running Start, College in the High School, and International Baccalaureate Programs
- 1.3.12 Nontraditional Credit: Credit by Examination
- 1.3.13 Nontraditional Credit: Experiential Learning
- 1.3.14 Nontraditional Credit: Military Training
- 1.3.15 Nontraditional Credit: Certificated Learning
- 1.3.16 3.C.5 The institution makes provision for the security of student records of admission and progress. Student records, including transcripts, are private, accurate, complete, and permanent. They are protected by fire-proof and otherwise safe storage and are backed by duplicate files. Data and records maintained in computing systems have adequate security and provision for recovery in the event of disaster. The information-release policy respects the right of individual privacy and ensures the confidentiality of records and files.
- 1.4 3.D – Student Services
- 1.4.1 3.D.1 The institution adopts student admission policies consistent with its mission. It specifies qualifications for admission to the institution and its programs, and it adheres to those policies in its admission practices.
- 1.4.2 In-State Market Trends
- 1.4.3 Conversion Rates and Application Trends
- 1.4.4 Improvements in Recruitment Efforts
- 1.4.5 3.D.2 The institution, in keeping with its mission and admission policy, gives attention to the needs and characteristics of its student body with conscious attention to such factors as ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious diversity while demonstrating regard for students’ rights and responsibilities.
- 1.4.6 3.D.3 Appropriate policies and procedures guide the placement of students in courses and programs based upon their academic and technical skills. Such placement ensures a reasonable probability of success at a level commensurate with the institution’s expectations. Special provisions are made for “ability to benefit” students.
- 1.4.7 3.D.4 The institution specifies and publishes requirements for continuation in, or termination from, its educational programs, and it maintains an appeals process. The policy for readmission of students who have been suspended or terminated is clearly defined.
- 1.4.8 3.D.5 Institutional and program graduation requirements are stated clearly in appropriate publications and are consistently applied in both the certificate and degree verification process. Appropriate reference to the Student Right-to-Know Act is included in required publications.
- 1.4.9 3.D.6 The institution provides an effective program of financial aid consistent with its mission and goals, the needs of its students, and institutional resources. There is provision for institutional accountability for all financial aid awards.
- 1.4.10 3.D.7
- 1.4.11 3.D.8
- 1.4.12 3.D.9
- 1.4.13 College Readiness Courses: Courage to Learn and Beginning the Journey Course Offerings
- 1.4.14 Early Start Program—First Peoples' Scholars Program and KEY, Step-Up, Conditional Admits
- 1.4.15 Graduate Student Orientation
- 1.4.16 3.D.10
- 1.4.17 Internships to Enrich Learning
- 1.4.18 Advising Interventions for New Students and Students Experiencing Difficulties
- 1.4.19 Staff Development Focus on Diversity
- 1.4.20 Focus Areas for Academic Advising – Present and Future
- 1.4.21 Transfer Student Orientation, Academic Advising and Career Development
- 1.4.22 Additional Information about Academic Advising
- 1.4.23 3.D.11
- 1.4.24 3.D.12
- 1.4.25 Health Education
- 1.4.26 3.D.13
- 1.4.27 3.D.14
- 1.4.28 3.D.15
- 1.4.29 3.D.16
- 1.4.30 Identifying Needs
- 1.4.31 3.D.17
- 1.4.32 3.D.18
- 1.4.33 3.D.19
- 1.5 Standard 3.E - Intercollegiate Athletics
- 1.1 3.A – Purpose and Organization
- 2 Standard Three Findings and Conclusions
- 3 Standards
- 4 Supporting Documentation
Standard 3: Students
3.A – Purpose and Organization
3.A.1 The organization of student services is effective in providing adequate services consistent with the mission and goals of the institution.
The Student Affairs Division at Evergreen demonstrates a longstanding commitment to collaboration with academic programs, best practices, and provision of services to enhance student learning and success. Evergreen’s Coordinated Study Programs have been described as our “best-known and arguably most influential pedagogical vehicle to demonstrate why learning is an all-encompassing experience for Evergreen students.” (Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J.H., Whitt, E.J. & Associates (2005)). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Because of the centrality of these highly intentional learning communities, Student Affairs staff worked since the college’s inception to embed support for students as seamlessly as possible into the academic experience.
Partnerships among student affairs professionals and faculty are a cornerstone of our work. They occur through committee work intended to improve teaching and learning at Evergreen as evidenced in the deliberations and recommendations of the “First-Year Experience Disappearing Task Force (DTF) Report and Recommendations." (Exhibit 3.1) Teaching and curriculum development partnerships are intentional in our “Beginning the Journey” credit-bearing orientation program offered in fall quarter (Exhibit 3.2). Other prominent examples of collaborative efforts include “Core Connectors” - through which student affairs professionals are attached to first-year student programs - and faculty rotation into the office of Academic Advising. A connection to academic life is present throughout the work of Student Affairs.
Student Affairs staff also collaborate across campus divisions to maintain a system of safety nets and early warning strategies to provide students with assistance when needed. This network involves faculty, residential life staff, advising, counseling, health services, and police services staff.
Consistent with our educational values and aspirations for student learning, the Student Affairs division is committed to the affirmation and celebration of diversity. This is evidenced in the array of services and offices dedicated to diverse populations and perspectives, diversity-awareness workshops and events sponsored by the division, our collaboration with faculty in promoting diverse perspectives in the curriculum, and in a staff drawn from diverse backgrounds.
Major accomplishments involving the Student Affairs Division since our 1998 reaccreditation include: technological improvements (conversion to Banner, substantial improvements to the college Web site and transition to e-mail communication with students); Physical renovations in Housing and implementation of a new meal plan for freshmen in Residential Life and Dining Services; increased outreach and sophistication in Enrollment Management and Student Recruitment in the face of increasing competition for students; formal election of a Student Government; Intercollegiate Sports expansion; and several major upgrades of physical space on campus including the addition of a new building (Seminar II), remodel of the library building; and plans for a major renovation of the Campus Activities Building. Each of these accomplishments is discussed in greater detail in the remainder of this standard.
Student Affairs staff and programs have been recognized regionally and nationally as exemplary. This recognition includes receipt of awards by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) as follows: the Goodnight Award for outstanding service as a Dean/Vice President (Current Vice President for Student Affairs); the Fred Turner Award for outstanding service to NASPA (former Evergreen Housing Director); three Evergreen Student Affairs staff served as regional vice presidents of NASPA’s Region 5; Mid-level Professional Award (Current Addictive Behaviors Specialist); and the Innovative Program Award for Evergreen’s diversity programming for Day of Absence/Day of Presence.
Major challenges facing the Student Affair Division include the following: coordinating enrollment planning for graduate and off-campus programs; providing services to students at different physical locations and on different schedules; assisting an increasing number of younger students; providing support for counseling and health services whose budgets are limited by restrictions on fee increases; responding to a growing number of incidents/cases requiring legal interpretation; increasing student/family debt; supporting expansion of Extended Education, Summer School, and a new graduate program (M. Ed); and updating of college Web site.
Distinctive Features of Student Affairs Work At Evergreen
High Student Expectations
Students arrive with high expectations. Nearly 90% of entering students identify Evergreen as their “first choice” among colleges. Staff in Student Affairs and faculty encounter some students who enter the college with unrealistically high expectations, or perhaps with an inaccurate picture of the college based on their own desires. These students need help in reconciling what they expect at entry with what they experience. Evergreen's own descriptions of its distinctive approach to education are an important part of this dynamic, and the college pays close attention to the messages it sends, reviewing them and discussing them in light of how they are sometimes interpreted by students. Evergreen cannot be everything to everybody and yet it is easy to read almost any fantasy a student can construct of their “ideal” college into (a) the absence of traditional academic planning structures and requirements; (b) heavy reliance on student initiative; and (c) strong language describing the college’s commitment to diversity and social justice. The college has high aspirations for the effects of its curriculum and social environment. Our performance falls short of those aspirations on occasions. The college is at its best quite remarkable. However, it also struggles at times to meet its own high expectations. This is a real risk for students and for faculty in committing to Evergreen and it is common for both groups to go through an uncomfortable period of adjustment to Evergreen as it is experienced compared with Evergreen as it was imagined in both academic and social arenas.
“Designing Your Own Education”
The “opportunity to design your own education” is rated as the most influential factor in entering students’ decisions to enroll at Evergreen. This factor is followed closely by the "ability to take integrated programs instead of individual classes” and the “ability to study a variety of subjects.” The consonance between the ranking of these factors by students and Evergreen’s approach to education is heartening. Assisting students to carefully exercise their autonomy in the act of “designing your own education” is a task that distinguishes the work of Student Affairs staff at Evergreen from most other Student Affairs practitioners in the country.
Major features of this facet of Student Affairs work at Evergreen include:
- Translation of our distinctive academic structures/approaches and their benefits to students;
- Navigation and making choices among curricular options from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year;
- Helping students come to terms with what “designing your ownn undergraduate education” consists of in a college with “no majors and no requirements” and a comparatively fluid curriculum;
- Helping students understand how to take responsibility for their education (including determining what is within their control and what is not) and developing a sense of personal agency.
A Wide Range of Student Skills/Abilities
The range of skill levels students bring to Evergreen is substantial: 42% of our fall 2006 entering freshmen brought high school GPAs of less than 3.00. This range of skill levels presents challenges in the classroom for faculty and spills over to staff in Student Affairs, especially in academic advising and academic support roles.
Learning and Relevance
There are also challenges to the founding concern for “relevance.” Evergreen was born out of calls for relevance and authentic learning in higher education. Looking forward now forty years from the college's inception, it is appropriate to raise the questions of what best promotes student learning in 2008 and beyond. Today, Evergreen faculty work with students for whom the 1960s and 1970s are a distant (and, perhaps in their view, largely irrelevant) history. To a lesser degree, this is also true for a growing cohort of faculty. Evergreen's survival as one of the very few alternative colleges born out of the 1960s is a testament to its success and some measure of continuing relevance. (The college also owes much to the sustained commitment of the state of Washington to fund a public alternative college for forty years through a sometimes-fractious relationship.) Today the college is challenged to make thoughtful choices within this very different educational environment. At the time of our founding we were at the center of the educational reform movement. To remain at the forefront of colleges that enact change in education and in students’ lives, Evergreen must be responsive to changing needs and characteristics of students and of the larger society in which they will make their contributions. Evergreen cannot be hidebound in its attachment to “inviolate” traditions, but rather it must respond thoughtfully to the changing environment. Student Affairs staff conduct much of their work at the intersection of challenges to continuing relevance for students, pursuit of student learning at Evergreen, and preserving the best of the innovations in this approach to higher education.
General Objectives for Student Affairs Staff
In more general and comprehensive terms, staff in Student Affairs attempt to help students to:
- Understand the college by translating Evergreen's approach to learning, communicating the college's expectations for students, and helping them take best advantage of the academic opportunities at Evergreen;
- Successfully navigate the stages of developmental learning;
- Foster self-reflection and development of “agency” – developing both the inclinations toward “agency” and the requisite skills to achieve it;
- Negotiate difficult times in their academic and social lives by creating and maintaining systems to support financial, record-keeping and health/safety needs;
- Develop leadership opportunities with their peers – connecting curricular with co-curricular learning; and
- Create and sustain community - in academic programs, through Residential Life programs, and other social avenues.
3.A.2 Student services and programs are staffed by qualified individuals whose academic preparation and/or experience are appropriate to their assignments. Assignments are clearly defined and published. The performance of personnel is regularly evaluated.
Cooperative and collaborative working relationships are the hallmark of Evergreen’s integrated service to students within Student Affairs and across the institution. Student Affairs is responsible for most services to students that support the academic mission of the institution, including academic advising and several auxiliary enterprises. The divisional organization chart reflects the following departments within Student Affairs:
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
◘ Athletics and Recreation
◘ Enrollment Services
- Financial Aid
- Registration and Records
- Student Employment
◘ Police Services
- Telephone Operations
◘ Residential and Dining Services
- Residential Life
- Residential Facilities
- Administrative Services
- Dining Service
◘ Student and Academic Support Services
- Academic Advising
- Access Services for Students with Disabilities
- Career Development Center
- Counseling and Health Center
- First Peoples’ Advising
- Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Program (Gear Up)
- International Advising
- KEY Student Services (TRIO)
- Student Activities
- Upward Bound
◘ Student Conduct
Staffing, Job Descriptions, and Performance Reviews
Since 1998 the staff head count in Student Affairs has grown 27%, from 123 employees to 156, primarily due to growth in Counseling Center and Enrollment Services staffing, expansion of the Children’s Center to serve twice as many children, and implementation of the federally-funded Gear Up grant. About 42% of professional staff holds advanced degrees, police officers are fully commissioned, and the Vice President, Vice President’s Executive Associate, and the Dean of Student Academic Support Services hold doctorates. Student Affairs has utilized state allocations, as available, to address compensation compression issues and to generate competitive salaries for exempt staff. A college-wide review of exempt staff compensation is being completed and recommendations are forthcoming. The division is staffed with accomplished professionals who deliver developmentally-based services that enhance students’ academic experience. Brief resumes of the professional staff will be available during the site visit.
Remaining active and current in professional literature and organizations is encouraged and in 2006-07 more than forty exempt staff participated in a regional or national conference. About ten individuals served in a leadership role with a professional association while about twenty wrote an article or presented in a professional venue.
Position descriptions for all staff are uniform in presentation and clear in assignments and expectations. These are updated regularly when vacancies occur, or during performance reviews. Classified staff are reviewed annually in accordance with their employment contract and exempt staff must be reviewed every three years per college policy, although supervisors in Student Affairs are expected to administer reviews annually. It is common practice to solicit evaluative feedback from students, faculty, staff in other units and those they supervise. In many instances student staff are also reviewed and provided with a written evaluation of their work performance.
3.A.3 Appropriate policies and procedures for student development programs and services are established. The objectives of each operating component are compatible and support the goals of student services.
The review of policies and procedures for student development programs occurs on an ongoing basic. Such reviews are prompted by changes in the Washington Administrative Code, recommendations of Disappearing Task Forces, consultant or review board findings, identification of best practices through professional contacts and problems experienced in interpreting or utilizing current policy.
Some examples for the 2007-08 academic years are illustrative.
A disappearing task force has been formed to update our student conduct code policies and procedures. The review was prompted by the fact that the code had not been revised in over ten years, the number of students with serious mental illnesses and identification of new best practices. Policies and procedures for large events are being reviewed because it became apparent during a recent event that our security for events needed to be enhanced. Standard operating procedures in Police Services are being examined by the Director of Police Services to better address emergency and crowd control issues. Study Abroad procedures were updated because of a need for greater clarity and reduced liability. The role and functions of the ADA Compliance Committee were recently revised by the vice president for Student Affairs because of a lack of clarity of the functions of the committee and a need to give enhanced attention to liability issues.
The amount of input into policy decisions typically depends on the scope of the policy or procedural review. Those policies with the widest impact are typically addressed by disappearing task forces composed of students, faculty, and staff with the expectation of campus-wide input. Minor changes in institutional policies can be recommended by directors to the vice president for Student Affairs. Some policies require board of trustees approval which is consistent with our written policies regarding board of trustee authority. Almost all policies which involve issues of liability or those related to the Washington Administrative Code incorporate consultation with the State Attorney General's Office.
3.A.4 Human, physical, and financial resources for student services and programs are allocated on the basis of identified needs and are adequate to support the services and programs offered.
Student need and satisfaction surveys, as well as principles and standards from professional organizations across functional areas, are consulted to assess appropriate support for services. Budget requests are made biannually and vetted with staff in the division and prioritized with the deans and directors who report to the vice president. These requests are incorporated into a systematic institutional budget process in which budget coordinators from the four divisions (Academics, Finance and Administration, Advancement, and Student Affairs) review available funding and institutional and divisional needs and priorities to recommend appropriate budget allocations to the president. Student Affairs’ fiscal resources are, in general, adequate and when budget reductions have been necessary or reinvestments have been available Student Affairs has been treated in a manner consistent with other divisions. In recent years, Student Affairs has had autonomy to invest in some initiatives that require “one-time” purchases due to acquisition of indirect cost recovery from a large Gear Up grant. These resources have purchased such items as computer upgrades for staff, equipment upgrades in Police Services, improved software for the Recreation Center, or staffing augmentation in Student Conduct.
Since 1998, every area within Student Affairs except the Athletics and Recreation department has been remodeled and/or expanded or soon will be (Athletics and Recreation is located in the Campus Recreation Center that was built in 1989). In 2000 the Health Center was completely remodeled and doubled in size. The Counseling Center that had shared a space with the Health Center was relocated to another floor of the building. Police Services was also remodeled at that time.
In 2003-04 a new Children’s Center was built that increased the number of children that could be served from thirty-seven to seventy. It is now licensed to serve infants as young as six weeks old. The new center was jointly funded from student activity fees and institutional funds, and replaced the Child Care Center that was located in the oldest building on campus.
In 2005 most of the areas within the Student and Academic Support Services (SASS) were relocated in a newly renovated section of the library building. The new SASS location is much more student-friendly and includes a reception area for the first time. There is also space - within SASS for three federal grants - Keep Enhancing Yourself (KEY), Upward Bound, and Gear Up that had been housed in satellite locations.
Residential and Dining Services issued over seven million dollars in revenue and refinancing bonds in 2006. Of that amount, six million dollars is for housing facilities renovations and upgrades. The projects were begun in the summer of 2006 and will continue through 2009.
Enrollment Services (Admissions, Financial Aid, Registration and Records, and Student Employment) and the vice president and his staff were relocated to temporary offices in the summer of 2007 while a major renovation of the Library “A wing” is underway. This 18- to 24-month project will provide additional, more usable space to these areas.
In 2006 Evergreen students voted to incur a new student fee to renovate and expand the College Activities Building. When completed in 2010, the expanded building will have additional space for student organizations; student activities administration and student events; a new student-operated food venue; as well as well as a remodeled bookstore and dining facility. The students voted to incorporate numerous "green" features in the project. In addition, the College Master Plan suggests potential for expansion or renovation of the Campus Recreation Center and possible addition of housing for students.
3.B – General Responsibilities
3.B.1 The institution systematically identifies the characteristics of its student population and students’ learning and special needs. The institution makes provision for meeting those identified needs, emphasizing students’ achievement of their educational goals.
Student Affairs staff provide a number of programs focused on the needs of specific student groups. The following table highlights a sampling of these efforts:
|Entering Freshmen||Beginning the Journey – A college readiness course|
|Core Connectors – Student Academic Support Services staff are attached to first-year academic offerings|
|All New Students||Seminar Savvy – an introduction to what seminars are and effective seminar techniques|
|Conditional Admits||One-on-one advising and orientation for students who have been admitted with a conditional status|
|Student Athletes||Comprehensive advising with emphasis on schedule challenges and focus on areas for program concentration|
|Students on Academic Warning||Advising for students who have received a warning letter to discuss a plan of action for returning to “satisfactory” status|
|Students of Color||“Critical Moments” case studies in which students from diverse backgrounds consider leaving the institution or dropping out because of an incident related to a diversity issue(s)|
|First People’s Advising Services “Peer Education Program” - provides multicultural programming for students living in the residence halls|
|Pre-orientation Program (Scholars’ Programs) - introduces incoming students of color to learning at Evergreen and provides an opportunity for the cohort to develop community|
|First-generation, Low-Income Students||“Keep Enhancing Yourself” Program (KEY)|
The Office of Institutional Research provides descriptive data about students to practitioners in Student and Academic Support Services. Data from surveys are used to inform the practitioners about the characteristics and needs of the new students each year. Student Affairs practitioners attend presentations by Institutional Research to explore these data and their implications, and have ready access to the data on the Institutional Research Web site.
Academic Advising: There is an effective partnership between Academic Advising and Institutional Research to gather key information from new students at their point of entry to the college. As part of the Academic Planning Workshops for new students, Institutional Research administers the New Student Survey. Most recently, an in-depth analysis of the characteristics and needs of transfer students to the college has informed plans to make changes in the content of the Academic Planning Workshop for a better fit for transfer students. Health and Counseling Services: The Counseling Center used Institutional Research data from students who indicated that prior to coming to Evergreen they experienced some level of depression. The center cites this statistic frequently as it showed that Evergreen freshmen had 2.5 times the national average of students coming to campus with the diagnosis of depression. These data indicated 20% of first-year Evergreen students reported feeling frequently depressed compared to 8% nationally. These statistics have been used to support the rationale for increasing services to students experiencing depression. KEY Student Support Services: Staff in this area rely upon data provided by Institutional Research to support the federal grant proposal and reporting requirements. Survey data completed by Evergreen students, particularly first-generation students, are utilized to improve the pre-orientation Step-Up Program. Career Development Services uses the alumni survey as a reference point to assess levels of use and satisfaction with services.
Information about first-time, first-year Students and transfer students is gathered upon students’ entry to the institution using the Evergreen New Student Survey. This survey is administered every other year to all new students. This survey gathers information about students’ goals, levels of confidence, reasons for attending Evergreen, and demographic information not available from other sources, such as information about the percentage of non-native English speakers. Information about this survey is posted on the Institutional Research and Assessment Website: Evergreen New Student Survey Home Page
The most recent results are posted here and are broken out by first-time, first-year response and transfer students as well as new Tacoma Program students: Evergreen New Student Survey 2005 Responses Web Page
Information that is specific to first-generation students has also been produced: Evergreen New Student Survey 2003 - Summary of Responses - First Generation Students
Information about student engagement and learning is also gathered using the National Survey of Student Engagement. This survey is administered every year to freshmen and seniors. This survey allows for comparisons to peer institutions and to all participating institutions. Information from this survey is regularly shared with the board of trustees and discussed widely in inter-divisional conversations about the extent to which Evergreen students are engaged in both academic programs and with student services. Following is our most report of the most recent results of the NSSE. NSSE 2007 Benchmarks Report
Information about student learning and satisfaction is gathered every other year with the Evergreen Student Experience Survey. More information about this survey is posted here: Evergreen Student Experience Survey Home Page. Survey responses are provided specific to specific student population subgroups, so one can easily view the responses of first-time, first-year students, Olympia campus students, Tribal: Reservation-based Program students, and Tacoma Program students. The Evergreen Student Experience Survey has information about students’ satisfaction with academics and student services (Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 – Satisfaction of Olympia Campus Students). It also contains students’ responses to questions about the amount that Evergreen has contributed to their learning in a variety of areas (Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 - Learning Growth for Olympia Campus Students).
Special analyses of particular student subgroups are also available to faculty, staff, students, and committees who are interested in various diversity-related issues. Examples include the following reports:
- Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2004 - Analysis of Differences in Response Between Racial-Ethnic Subgroups
- Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 - Diversity Questions
- Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 - Exploring Patterns by Race/Ethnicity and Gender/Sexual Orientation.
Links to information specific to transfer students include:
Enrollment Growth and Student Demographics
As of 2006-07, annual average enrollment at Evergreen is up 385 (+10%) full-time equivalent (FTE) students since 1997-98. State funding has increased by 647 FTE (+19%). Since the spring 2003 interim visit, enrollment has increased 59 FTE (1.5%) while funded FTE increased 306 FTE (8.0%), thus reducing patterns of over-enrollment as high as 250 FTE during the past five years to a very slight under-enrollment (-30 FTE) in 2006-07. Our fall 2007 FTE enrollment showed strong improvement, exceeding fall 2006 by 214 FTE (+5%). The current estimate for FTE enrollment in 2007-08 is 4,225, up 112 FTE from 2006-07 and 60 FTE above state contract level. (Figure 3.1: Annual Average Full-time Equivalent Enrollment)
The reduction in “over-enrollment” was one part planned – to reduce pressure on the classroom and avoid legislative “re-basing” to the higher number without additional funding – and another part unanticipated, especially in 2006-07. The drop in Washington state’s 2006-07 community college transfer enrollment was sharper than expected and an increase of lower-division seats funded by the state at three branch campuses drew more freshmen away from the college than expected. The combined result was a slight drop in total enrollment (-18 FTE) and further erosion in the over-enrollment “cushion” than was planned. Our short-term enrollment target is to return to a modest level of over-enrollment (approximately 100 FTE) by the 2008-09 academic year. Our 2007-08 enrollment will move us close to our target of 100 FTE over state contract (+60) and increased application activity for fall 2008 (as of April of 2008 up 8% or 214 over 2007) indicates this target will be reached in 2008-09, as planned.
The college has also gone through a period of adjusting budget assumptions about levels of nonresident enrollment and tuition revenue. During the past five years, the college has (1) reduced over-enrollment of resident fee-paying students – originally built to offset tuition revenue declines due to enrollment of fewer nonresident fee-paying students – now unnecessary because of (2) adjusting the tuition revenue and base budget assumptions to a reduced level of nonresident enrollment. We are now in a much improved enrollment and revenue position. The operating budget is no longer dependent upon over-enrollment of state residents to offset a decline in nonresidents, holding revenue support in place without inflating the student/faculty ratio. Additionally, our nonresident enrollment has begun to grow modestly and currently exceeds budget expectations.
Distinctive characteristics of Evergreen’s student body continue as reported in past reaccreditation documents:
- Transfers students typically constitute a larger proportion of our entering class than at most liberal arts colleges: 60%+ (Figure 3-2: Composition of Fall Quarter Entering Undergraduate Degree-seeking Class)
- Nonresident enrollment at the undergraduate level is high (20%+) for a public college (Figure 3-3: The Evergreen State College: Fall Quarter Enrollment History)
Transfer students have been the mainstay of Evergreen’s enrollment for over 30 years. Our fall quarter undergraduate entering class has averaged 1/3 freshmen (students enrolling from high school) and 2/3 transfer or returning Evergreen students until the most recent three years when the proportion of freshmen in our entering class has grown moderately, reaching 43% in fall 2007. Students from Washington community colleges are our major source of transfer students. Detail on the composition of Evergreen’s fall quarter entering class is presented below: (see Table 3 for a detailed history of components of Evergreen entering class).
Differences Between Transfers and Freshmen in Goals for Their Education
Based on responses to Evergreen’s 2005 New Student Survey, transfer students attach greater importance to securing a “job of my choice/make a career change” and preparation for graduate school than freshmen students. In fact, job preparation is the goal receiving the highest proportion of “very important” ratings for transfer students at 67% compared with 57% for freshman students. Not surprisingly for a generally older student population, practical considerations such as scheduling of classes and location of offerings play more important roles in the decision to attend Evergreen for transfer students, owing to work and family obligations. Evergreen’s transfer students also attach comparable importance to several goals as do entering freshmen, including: “becoming an informed citizen,” “gaining an understanding of a broad range of ideas and fields of study,” and “having a better understanding and appreciation for differences (ethnic, political, etc.).”
Fall-to-fall retention of transfer students runs higher than freshman retention by 7%-9% and graduation rates are substantially higher. (Retention Summary, Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange: First-time, First-year Cohort Graduation Rates, and Accountability Report 2007)
Because of our success in attracting larger numbers of transfer students than freshmen and observing better retention and graduation rates among this group of students, the college has tended to focus improvement efforts on freshman students both in the areas of recruitment and retention. Recent focus group interviews with transfer students and conversations among staff and faculty revealed a concern about this comparative inattention to (1) orientation, (2) academic advising, and (3) career counseling made available to transfer students.
The proportion of freshmen in our entering class has risen in fall 2005 and 2006 – from consistent levels in the 32%-35% range to 40%. The proportion of freshmen in our fall 2007 entering class rose to 43% (an increase of 103 freshmen over 2007). The increase in freshman students is creating some staffing pressure in the curriculum and raises the importance of retaining this growing segment of our entering class well in the future.
Enrollment of students of color has held at 18% for the past six years, up from 16%-17% in the late 1990s. (Figure 3-3: The Evergreen State College: Fall Quarter Enrollment History). The proportion of students of color enrolled on the Olympia campus has increased slightly each year since fall 2003 reaching 16.4% in fall 2007. Our program located in Tacoma typically enrolls 55%-60% students of color and our Tribal program is generally between 90% and 100% students of color. (Figure 3-4: Distribution of Students of Color by Campus).
Undergraduate/graduate mix and full-time/part-time proportions have remained essentially the same over the past ten years. (Figure 3-3: The Evergreen State College: Fall Quarter Enrollment History)
Retention and Graduation Rates
Overall undergraduate fall-to-fall retention has remained at or near 80% since fall 2000. Freshmen are the group of students retained least well to the following fall and of that group, nonresident fee-paying freshmen tend to be retained at a lower rate. This is no doubt in some part due to the increased cost of attendance for nonresident students – nonresident transfer students are also retained at a lower rate than resident fee-paying transfers. (Figure 3.5 Retention Summary)
Overall, Students of Color are retained at a rate equal to or slightly above the rate for Caucasian students. Retention of Students of Color tends to be highest in our Tacoma program. Retention of Students of Color on the Olympia campus also tends to run equal to or slightly higher than for Caucasian students. We find this trend especially gratifying since our Olympia enrollment is predominantly white. (Retention Summary)
Evergreen’s first-time, full-time freshman six-year graduation rate is 55% for the most recent cohort (fall 1999). While we hope to see improvement in freshman graduation rates as fall-to-fall retention efforts yield positive results, we view the current rate as comparable or better than our peers among public institutions. (Figure 3-6: First-time, First-year Cohort Graduation Rates)
3.B.2 The institution provides opportunities for students to participate in institutional governance. Faculty are involved in the development of policies for student programs and services.
For the first time in the history of the college, and after at least a half dozen serious efforts over the years, Evergreen now has a student government. Students worked hard throughout the 2006-07 school year to develop a governance proposal that would accommodate Evergreen's distinctive structure. Students voted in favor of the Geoduck Union and the board of trustees recognized the new student government during spring of 2006. The student government formally began its work in fall 2007. During its first year, the student government created a mission statement for the Union, it composed bylaws to govern regular operations, and it established voting and election policies building on past practice. The student government also identified a group of students to work on the Campus Activities Building (CAB) design.
The Evergreen Social Contract, the mission statement of the college and the mission statement of the Division of Student Affairs, all speak to campus-wide participation in institutional governance. The college has evidenced a long-standing commitment to involving students in decision-making.
In the past, staff designed processes to collect student input regarding major policy decisions that directly affected students. The nature of the issue determined the exact process used, but student input on major decisions was actively and regularly solicited. On almost every issue, community meetings and forums were held and written comments on email solicited. Phone surveys were often conducted, Websites established, and information-gathering tables were set up in visible locations on campus. Additional steps were taken depending on the issue.
Procedures governing the Student Fee Allocation Committee are being amended now that we have a student government. In the past, the Student Fee Allocation Committee selected student members. Beginning this year, these appointments were made by the student government. This new practice will need to be set forth in a bylaw by the Geoduck Union in the coming year.
Since our last reaccreditation report, students have voted to impose fees upon themselves. In spring 2006, students voted to tax themselves $5.75 per credit per quarter for a major renovation of the CAB Building, which serves as our student union. In spring of 1999, students approved a one-dollar per credit per quarter fee, to provide free bus service to all students. In January 2005, students voted to tax themselves for "Green" energy. By agreement with the college, students must also vote every two years to reauthorize the collection of an eight-dollar WashPIRG fee.
Prior to the existence of our student government, these student fee initiatives were generated by small groups of students and Student Activities staff coordinated the referenda. In order to be presented to the board of trustees, 25% of the students had to vote and the majority of those voting had to approve the new fee. (There is a different standard for WashPIRG.) These operating practices have now been built into the new student government bylaws and the student government now has primary responsibility for bringing student initiated fee proposals forward. Last spring the Geoduck Union oversaw two successful fee initiatives for student funding: funding for a late night shuttle bus connection to downtown Olympia and a one-time fee to establish a student-run café.
Disappearing Task Forces (DTFs) have historically been the major mechanism for addressing campus-wide issues. Students serve on DTFs and most student appointments to DTFs were made by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The responsibility for appointments to major DTFs will now rest with the student government. Students have also served on hiring committees, study groups, the parking appeal committee, hearing boards, and building design committees. Student Affairs staff are now working with representatives of the student government to determine which of those appointments will become the responsibility of student government.
Students have a major role in designing the new CAB. The CAB predesign team was composed of twenty-one individuals, thirteen of whom were students, including the co-chair. Student members of the predesign team took the lead in seeking input from other students. They held open forums, collected survey data, held radio call-ins, established a Web site and were present at tables in the CAB to collect ideas and feedback. The current design team of sixteen members has ten student members including the student co-chair. In the spring of 2006, the design team participated in the selection of the architectural firm, which will complete the design work.
The exact role of the student government in collecting student input and advocating for students is evolving. Student Affairs staff will continue to serve as student advocates and in some cases, will want to collect their own input, but it is clear that our own student government will now have primary responsibility to speak for students on many issues. This is an exciting development and we hope for even stronger student participation in governance.
The Vice President for Student Affairs forwards to the Provost’s Office a list of standing committees and DTFs that are charged by the vice president for student affairs. The Provost’s Office shares this list with the Faculty Agenda Committee, which then makes assignments to these groups. Since it is through DTFs that major policies are developed, this system ensures significant faculty input into the formulation of major policies, programs and services for students.
It is a matter of practice that all policies involving significant changes to students are vetted electronically and at public forums open to the entire campus. This affords all faculty and staff an opportunity to have input. On some occasions the Faculty Agenda Committee will ask that a policy change that affects students be reviewed with them. The agenda committee may request that the proposed change be presented at a faculty meeting. In recent years changes to our Academic Advising policy, our sex offender notification policy, and our Bias Incident Response Protocol were presented at faculty meetings.
There are many structures at Evergreen that foster teamwork between faculty and Student Affairs practitioners as it applies to the formulation of student policies. Faculty rotate into positions in the Academic Advising Office. The dean for First Year Programs attends meetings of Student Affairs deans and directors, and the dean of Student and Academic Support Services attends meetings of the Academic deans. These practices help ensure that Student Affairs practitioners and their academic colleagues are in close communication at the earliest stages when policy changes affecting students are being contemplated.
The Social Contract (Exhibit 3.3) and Student Conduct Code (Exhibit 3.4) guide students in understanding acceptable behavior at the college. Imbedded within these documents are the clearly-defined procedures dictating student responsibility and administrative processes. Both found on the Web under the heading, Student Rights and Responsibilities (Exhibit 3.5), these documents previously had also been mailed to each incoming new student. Now that we are formally employing e-mail to conduct college business with students, the documents will be sent electronically. In addition, most academic programs specifically direct students to the expectations defined in the two documents both as a handout as and online. Resident assistants meet with all residential students, sharing expectation, consequences, and again referring students to the Student Conduct Code and Social Contract. This year, the college will undertake a full evaluation and revision of the Student Conduct Code and then revise the current Web site. Students will participate in this revision and the community as a whole will have opportunities to provide input through public forums.
Holding students accountable to the policies and procedures defined in the Student Conduct Code follows the measures defined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities. Restorative justice guides the student conduct procedures, focusing heavily on education and making appropriate amends. With most situations this process results in a positive outcome for violator and victim, as students are supported in taking responsibility for their actions and thinking critically about the larger consequences of their actions. Students have the option to appeal any decision to a board of their peers and other community members on the rare occasion when an agreement cannot be reached or is perceived as unjust by the student.
The Campus Grievance Officer works collaboratively with faculty, campus police, residential and dining staff, as well as student affairs professionals to quickly address issues that arise on campus. Investigations of student conduct code violations and resulting sanctions happen in a timely manner. Officers now use Required Grievance Meeting forms (Exhibit 3.6) which result in students seeing the grievance officer within seventy-two hours of police contact. A case coordination team meets regularly to support students who are in crises. The Bias Incident Response Team (Exhibit 3.7) was instituted two years ago to address campus occurrences of hate crimes or bias or prejudicial incidents. The Mediation Center, Exhibit 3.8 Mediation Center, supports community members’ campus-wide in addressing conflict. The newly evolving Center for Community Matters will fill the gap to support students and community members in navigating the options for conflict resolution on campus.
3.B.4 The institution makes adequate provision for the safety and security of its students and their property. Information concerning student safety is published and widely distributed.
Police Services includes ten commissioned officers including the police chief, two sergeants, one administrative assistant and seven officers, parking operations (five staff) and the campus communication center (5 staff). Police Services strives to create and maintain a sense of community awareness among a fluid student population. Each successive generation of students is encouraged to adopt self- and mutually-protective attitudes, just as they are encouraged to adopt basic Evergreen values of self-determination, social awareness, and individual scholarship.
The Evergreen State College armed and fully commissioned the security force on June 6, 1996 which then became Police Services. All officers were required to attend the Basic Law Enforcement Academy that is coordinated by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. Officers were then recognized statewide as an actual police department with full powers of arrest. To maintain this level of proficiency, officers are required to have a minimum of thirty hours of training each year to include maintaining certain qualifications and certifications required for professional status in the law enforcement community.
Police Services has embraced the concept of community oriented policing to its fullest in the delivery of services to the Evergreen Campus. The partnerships are guided by our Professional Policing Philosophy which states, “The Evergreen Police Services (EPS) provides policing services based upon the following professional policing philosophies:”
- Community-Based Policing
The delivery of police services is a community-based activity that reflects a partnership with the campus community.
- Problem Solving Policing
Police service delivery strategies and tactics are based upon community needs, crime, and quality-of-life issues.
- Approach to Policing
The delivery of police services is based upon a proactive and aggressive approach to serious criminal activity.
- Preventive Policing
The delivery of police services is based upon the prevention of crime and mutual understanding.
- Knowledge-and-Innovation Based Policing
Delivery of police services is based upon a “best practices” approach and current knowledge available to the police profession.
The above Professional Policing Philosophy follows from our Mission Statement: “The Evergreen community and the Department of Police Services, share the responsibility of providing a safe learning, working, and educational environment based on mutual trust and understanding.”
In 2005, Evergreen Police Services went through an on-site assessment of our services by the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety (WRICOPS). This assessment can be viewed at Exhibit 3.9 WRICOPS Report. The assessment noted many areas of ongoing excellent practices and also recommended areas needing improvement. Police Services has been very active in responding to these recommendations and improving our service to the community. In addition, there have been changes in the rank structure and organization of the department to better provide for accountability by officers to our community. Police Services has also implemented several community-wide partnerships that better communicate our mission and services to the Evergreen campus. Examples of steps taken to address concerns brought forward in the assessment are presented in Exhibit 3.10.
The college’s philosophy is to quickly provide and share accurate information regarding more serious crimes with the campus to ensure a safe community. The vice president and College Relations Office immediately issue Security Bulletins to be posted in every building on campus for these crimes. In compliance with federal law, Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics and Clery Statistics, (the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses) are reported annually and can be viewed via the Police Services Web site: (Campus Crime Statistics 1999-2007) as well as the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs website: www.waspc.org and the Federal Office of Postsecondary Education website: http://ope.ed.gov/security/InstDetail.asp. (The differences in the statistical data among these three reports are due to the various federal and state reporting requirements that are mandated to include different classes of crimes and types of activities.) The majority of criminal activities on Evergreen’s campus are property crimes such as theft and vandalism. Uniform Crime Statistics and safety tips are presented during student orientation to every new student prior to the start of each fall quarter. Education and awareness begins with the student and families throughout New Student Orientation through panel discussions, films, plays, and workshops for men and women. The college also enjoys strong relationships with Olympia-based organizations that provides self-defense training on campus and internship opportunities in their organizations for our students.
Students, staff and faculty generally feel safe because of the low crime rate and the many services provided by the police department. Statistics show the low incidence of crime and the different types of public services provided to our community by our police officers. Some examples of public services include officers providing personal safety escorts, vehicle entries, and vehicle jumpstarts.
Despite these efforts, an altercation during and after a concert in February 2008 exposed tensions between Police Services and some members of the Evergreen community. This incident led to concerns about some governance documents and planning procedures at the college.
The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention provides information through workshops and publications for students, staff,, and faculty throughout the year. Two pamphlets, one for students and one for faculty, describe the requirements for Clery reporting and offer a protocol for how to support a student who states he or she has experienced sexual and/or interpersonal violence. A list of resources both on and off campus is included for students seeking support.
The coordinator for the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention provides prevention education through facilitation of training on personal safety, healthy decision-making, and communication skills for students. These are initially offered during fall orientation, and continue throughout the year, often co-sponsored with a student organization, health services, counseling services or Residential and Dining Services. The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention also provides support to victims/survivors of sexual assault and interpersonal violence by meeting with the students to assess health and safety, coordinate health care and emotional support, and assist the student in accessing the criminal justice or campus grievance system.
The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention works closely with Campus Police Services, faculty, staff, students and our local community agencies to provide the highest level of support to students.
3.B.5 The institution publishes and makes available to both prospective and enrolled students a catalog or bulletin that describes: its mission, admission requirements and procedures, students’ rights and responsibilities, academic regulations, degree-completion requirements, credit courses and descriptions, tuition, fees and other charges, refund policy, and other items relative to attending the institution or withdrawing from it.
The college publishes a catalog annually describing the items listed above. A print version of Evergreen’s Catalog is available as Exhibit 3.11. Our online catalog is available at: http://www.evergreen.edu/catalog/2008-09/
Other references to Evergreen’s Web site are as follows:
Mission Statement – Mission Statement
Admissions requirements and procedures— Freshmen: Freshmen Admissions
Admissions requirements and procedures—Transfers: Transfer Admissions
Students' rights and responsibilities: Student Rights and Responsiblities
Academic regulations: Academic Standing
Degree-completion requirements: Graduation Process
Refund Policy: Summer Registration and Refunds
3.B.5 (continued) In addition, a student handbook or its equivalent is published and distributed. A student handbook normally will include information on student conduct, a grievance policy, academic honesty, student government, student organizations and services, and athletics. The student handbook may be combined with the institution’s catalog.
The Social Contract (Exhibit 3.3) and Student Conduct Code (Exhibit 3.4) guide students in understanding acceptable behavior at the college. Eembedded within these documents are the clearly defined procedures dictating student responsibility and administrative processes. Both are found on the web under the heading Student Rights and Responsibilities (Exhibit 3.5)
These documents previously had also been mailed to each incoming new student. Now that we are formally employing e-mail to conduct college business with students, the documents will be sent electronically. In addition, most academic programs specifically direct students to the expectations defined in the two documents both as a handout and the online availability. Resident assistants meet with all residential students, sharing expectation, consequences, and again referring students to the Student Conduct Code and Social Contract. This year, the college will undertake a full evaluation and revision of the Student Conduct Code and then revise the current Web site. Students will participate in this revision, and the community as a whole will have opportunities to provide input through public forums.
Information about athletics, student organizations and services and student government can be found at the following web sites:
Student Organizations and Services: List of Recognized Student Organizations
Constitution for Student Government Student Government: Constitution for Student Government
3.B.6 The institution periodically and systematically evaluates the appropriateness, adequacy, and utilization of student services and programs and uses the results of the evaluation as a basis for change.
As described in 3.B.1, the college employs a systematic strategy for surveying and assessing student experiences at Evergreen. The Evergreen Student Experience Survey is one way that we assess student usage of various student services. Examples of survey results can be found at the links below:
Student feedback and satisfaction have also been reported to various offices and to the Student Affairs Division from the Evergreen Student Experience Surveys 2004 and 2006. Reports were produced that pulled together responses to questions and comments that were specifically related to each office.
Reporting of usage of campus resources by Evergreen alumni has also been gathered and shared: Alumni Surveys 2002-2006 - Campus Resource Utilization Section E.
Over the past few years, special attention has been given to retaining undergraduates, with specific emphasis on first-year students through outreach to new students entering the institution. A series of research-based initiatives and best practices have emerged which are directed specifically at increasing levels of student integration and congruency by helping students better understand (a) how the college works; (b) what they as students can expect of the ccollege; (c) what will be expected of them as students; and (d) what support services and resources are available to them at the college.
These objectives are pursued through a series of activities under four broad categories:
- A comprehensive orientation program
- Assistance in the initial transition to Evergreen
- Self-care, health and safety
- Diversity and community
The initiatives and objectives under each of these topics are presented in Exhibit 3.13: Retention Initiatives and Objectives. More detailed descriptions of these activities are provided in the relevant sections of this report.
Exhibit 3.12 summarizes professional development activities and resulting improvements in services provided by SASS practitioners in the following areas: academic advising, retention, general education, civic engagement,health and safety, student engagement in learning, diversity, legal issues, and budget management/regulations.
The research of Vincent Tinto has shaped the work of the practitioners in Student Academic Support Services (SASS ) regarding student retention at Evergreen. Our approaches to improving retention focus on two facets of student experience: academic and social integration. In the academic arena' students interact with an academic discipline and with faculty and peers. In the social system' students develop relationships with peers, faculty, staff who provide services and operate the college, and alumni. According to the research, in order for students to persist they need to feel a sense of integration and congruency, or “fit” with the college, in their experiences. When students experience low levels of integration or congruency they tend to exit the institution. Fit questions might include, “Does the student have similar academic or personal experiences and interests as other students, faculty, and administrators at the college?” and “Does the student share the aspirations and values of other students, faculty, and administrators at the college?”
Mindful of the challenges associated with retaining students, SASS has established a set of retention strategies dedicated to providing a variety of forms of assistance to students to increase their ability to function and thrive within the Evergreen environment. These initiatives increase the opportunity and probability for all students to access support, thereby increasing their sense of integration and congruency within the institution and the likelihood of their ultimate success at Evergreen.
SASS practitioners’ actively engage in professional development through participation in key national and statewide organizations. This engagement results in implementing better approaches and strategies to serve Evergreen students in achieving their goals.
3.C – Academic Credit and Records
3.C.1 Evaluation of student learning or achievement, and the award of credit, are based upon clearly stated and distinguishable criteria. Academic records are accurate, secure, and comprehensive. Credit is defined and awarded consonant with the Glossary definition.
The evaluation of student learning and the award of credit for that learning are the responsibility of the faculty who work closely with their program secretary and the Office of Registration and Records in maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of student records. Each academic program’s syllabus outlines the ways in which a student will be evaluated. Covenants developed and agreed to in class may also clarify aspects on which a student will be evaluated. Evergreen’s credit system differentiates between quantity and quality. The quantity of a student’s academic work is recognized by an award of credit based on satisfactory completion of a program, contract or specific course requirements. The quality of a student’s work is expressed in a written evaluation by the faculty and by the student. Students meet individually with their faculty at the end of each quarter to evaluate the student’s work. Two perspectives on the student’s learning are brought to the discussion – that of the student and that of the faculty member.
The college ensures that these records are accurate and comprehensive through a process that begins with the faculty member sending the program secretary the text for the faculty evaluation of the student. The program secretary reviews it for content and format. Once the text is complete, the secretary merges it to the college’s evaluation template and it is transmitted to Registration and Records where it is reviewed by the office’s credentials evaluators, who record the number of credits earned in the student records system. A copy of the evaluation is mailed to the student with an insert that asks the student to review the record for accuracy and to seek an amendment if corrections are needed, through registration, faculty or program secretary.
In 2005, the college implemented a new evaluation process after a committee of faculty and staff spent two years reviewing processes and procedures. The project’s goal was a 50% reduction in the time of processing an evaluation. The result of this extensive process redesign has been a significant reduction in the time it now takes to process an evaluation, the effort has also eliminated some of the extraneous steps in the process, such as eliminating the faculty signature that previously caused much of the delays in evaluation.
Each matriculated student has two files in the Registration and Records office. One file contains the materials the student submits for admission purposes, including transcripts from other colleges and universities. This file may contain the letter awarding transfer credits, academic warning letters, required leaves of absences, enrollment verification, or any other correspondence pertaining to that student’s history with the college.
The second file contains all the student’s narrative evaluations from the he or she enters until he or she leaves or graduates. If the student does not receive credit, the faculty’s “No Credit Report” is filed in the first file, since the college’s transcript is only a record of achievement. The amount of credit earned in a program is clearly specified at the end of the evaluation of the student’s academic performance. Full-time students at Evergreen earn twelve to sixteen credits, or quarter hours, per quarter; the maximum allowed is twenty credits. Beginning in 2007, Registration and Records began imaging all narrative academic records to allow better management of these documents and are continuing to move the processing of narrative academic records toward a paperless procedure.
The academic challenge and level of expectation for learning are appropriate to the graduate or undergraduate level of the program. The process for posting credits is the same regardless of whether it is undergraduate or graduate credit. Graduate credit is noted as such on the narrative evaluation.
All college publications make a distinction between degree and non-degree credit, and between credit and no credit. As an example, credit is not awarded for Extended Education and Leisure Education classes. Participants in Evergreen’s non-credit offerings can be issued letters that verify completion of a non-credit offering, if needed.
Evergreen’s catalog has a clear statement regarding the status of credit awarded for “special” non-matriculated students. Special students are limited each quarter to a maximum of eight credits per quarter unless an exception is made by the curriculum dean, which is granted only if the student is an applicant to the college for a future quarter. Students may audit by providing a written approval from their faculty and paying the required audit fee.
Non-degree or pre-college credit is no longer offered at the college. When it was offered, it was primarily at the intermediate algebra level. When non-degree credit was awarded it was clearly noted on a student’s transcript and entered uniquely in the student records system so as not to count towards graduation.
3.C.2 Criteria used for evaluating student performance and achievement including those for theses, dissertations, and portfolios, are appropriate to the degree level, clearly stated and implemented.
Criteria for evaluating undergraduate and graduate student performance and achievement are determined by individual faculty for classes and teaching teams for academic programs. Academic standards for quality of work and student performance are typically articulated in program syllabi and covenants, and complemented by ongoing assessment of students' work over the course of the class or program (one to three quarters). Final assessments are documented in individual Evaluations of Student Achievement, which become a permanent part of their Evergreen transcripts.
Criteria used to evaluate graduate theses and other degree requirements are clearly articulated within the following Web sites:
MES Thesis Handbook:
MIT Student Teaching Handbook:
MPA Program requirements and Course Information:
3.C.3 Clear and well-publicized distinctions are made between degree and non-degree credit. Institutional publications and oral representations explicitly indicate if credit will not be recognized toward a degree, or if special conditions exist before such credit will be recognized. Any use of such terms as extension credit, X credit, continuing education credit, is accompanied by clear statements regarding the acceptability of such credit toward degrees offered by that institution. Student transcripts clearly note when any credit awarded is non-degree credit. Whenever institutions grant non-degree credit other than the Continuing Education Unit (CEU), some summary evaluation of student performance beyond mere attendance is available.
All college publications make a distinction between degree and non-degree credit and between credit and no credit. For example, credit is not awarded for Leisure Education classes nor for some Extended Education classes. Approximately one-third of Extended Education classes are offered with both credit and not for credit options for participants. If the class is taken for academic credit, the student must meet all of the requirements and is provided with an evaluation of their work. Participants taking classes not for credit or continuing education units are asked to meet all of the requirements of the course but their work is not evaluated nor are they giving academic credit. As appropriate, non-academic participants are provided with certificates of completion, CEU’s, or clock hours that can be presented to their employers or others wanting verification of course completion.
3.C.4 Transfer credit is accepted from accredited institutions or from other institutions under procedures which provide adequate safeguards to ensure high academic quality and relevance to the students’ programs. Implementation of transfer credit policies is consistent with 2.C.4 as well as Policy 2.5 Transfer and Award of Academic Credit. The final judgment for determining acceptable credit for transfer is the responsibility of the receiving institution.
Students need to complete 180 quarter-hour credits in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen. They can transfer a maximum of 90 quarter-hour credits of lower division work and up to an additional 45 quarter-hour credits of upper division work for a maximum of 135 credits. Of their final 90 quarter credits, 45 of the 90 must be completed at Evergreen in order to earn the bachelor’s degree.
A large number of articulation agreements have been negotiated with the Washington Community and Technical College system. These agreements are quite attractive to transfer students, especially now that seven technical degrees are accepted as Direct Transfer Degrees (described below).
The policy for evaluating transfer credit varies depending on the kind of institution from which students transfer and the type of course work involved. Transfer credits can be evaluated in one of the following ways:
- Direct Transfer Degree (DTA)
- Associate in Science Transfer Degree (AS-T)
- Direct Technical Transfer Degree
- Upside Down Degree
- Course-by-Course Evaluation
- Nontraditional Credit
Transfer credit awards are based upon the official transcripts that are part of the admission application. Evergreen does not have specific subject area graduation requirements. All transfer credits are applied uniformly toward the 180 quarter-hours needed for graduation. The Direct Transfer Degree, Associate in Science Transfer Degree and the Direct Technical Transfer degree all transfer as a block of 90 quarter- hour credits.
Direct Transfer Degree (DTA)
The general associates degree is known statewide as the Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA). Currently Evergreen recognizes the DTA (both the general associate degree and seven additional direct transfer technical degrees noted below) as a block of 90 credits and gives students top admissions priority. Because Evergreen accepts these credits as a block, students transferring with a DTA may complete their bachelor's degree with 90 additional quarter credits at Evergreen.
Associate in Science Transfer Degree (AS-T)
The AS-T is geared to students who want to pursue study in biology or chemistry. Evergreen and the other public baccalaureate institutions in the state give admissions priority to students who earn the AS-T. In addition, Evergreen treats this degree the same as a DTA degree, giving students admissions priority and a block of 90 credits.
Direct Technical Transfer Degree
Evergreen has developed a special category for students transferring with certain technical degrees. Seven Upside down agreement categories (accounting, business, computer information system, criminal justice, early childhood education, human services, paralegal) are often made up of 75% general education coursework, and Evergreen treats these seven technical degrees as DTA degrees. These degrees were chosen for direct transfer because of the substantial general education coursework contained in each and because of the number of students-of-color in these programs. For those students wanting to transfer upon graduation or after working in the field, these degrees offer a smooth transition to Evergreen.
Upside down Degree
Students holding an Upside-down approved vocational or technical associate’s degree from a Washington community or technical college are eligible to transfer the approved degree as a block of 90 credits. The student must meet with an academic advisor and negotiate a plan that includes 32 Evergreen quarter credits that will be earned in a coordinated studies program outside their technical degree discipline for purposes of achieving breadth. Evergreen has negotiated over 300 Upside down agreements with the community and technical colleges. The Upside down agreements are very effective at communicating Evergreen’s “transfer-friendly” position to the community college system.
Students transferring from another four-year college, and community college students who have not earned a Washington State designated transfer degree or an acceptable degree that qualifies as a Direct Technical Transfer Degree or the Upside Down option, will have their credits evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Transferable courses must meet the following criteria:
- freshman level or above (usually number 100–499)
- grade of A, B, C, Pass/Satisfactory, Credit, 2.0 or better
- academic in nature (physical education, military science, credit and courses that are religious in nature are not transferable)
Non-academic courses that are considered vocational, technical or personal development (VTPD) fall into the following categories:
- occupation related (e.g., bookkeeping, law enforcement, keyboarding, nursing, secretarial training)
- skill building (e.g., equipment operation, typing, etc.)
- personal development (e.g., assertiveness training, personal finance)
A maximum of 15 quarter-hours of VTPD credit may be transferred. If it is community college VTPD credit, it must be within the 90 credits maximum allowed. VTPD credits must be college-level to yield transfer credit.
Nontraditional Credit: Non-accredited Colleges and Universities
Evergreen will accept a maximum of 45 credits earned at non-accredited institutions provided the student:
- Has successfully completed 96 credits at Evergreen
- Has not exceeded the maximum number of transfer credits allowed
- Will earn 45 of his/her last 90 credits at Evergreen
Nontraditional Credit: Running Start, College in the High School, and International Baccalaureate Programs
Evergreen accepts college credits earned while in high school through Running Start, College in the High School and the International Baccalaureate Organization. Running Start or College in the High School students are required to submit an official transcript from the college that offers the course(s). Credit earned through the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) will be considered on a subject-by-subject basis.
Nontraditional Credit: Credit by Examination
Evergreen accepts credits earned through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Advanced Placement (AP) on a subject-by-subject basis as long as they do not duplicate credit earned at other institutions or at Evergreen.
- CLEP—the minimum acceptable score varies for each test. However, scores of 50 or better will result in transfer credit
- AP—acceptable scores are 3, 4, 5
- IBO—acceptable scores are 4, 5, 6, 7
Nontraditional Credit: Experiential Learning
Evergreen recognizes that learning can take place from life experience, not just from academic studies. Students may demonstrate college-level learning as a result of life experience through extensive documentation. See also Standard II. Prior Learning from Experience.
Nontraditional Credit: Military Training
Some military training can generate transfer credit, based on recommendations from the American Counselor of Education (ACE). Students submit a combination of the following documents: DD214, DD295, training records, and/or training certificates, etc. Transfer credit is not given for MOS, LDO, NWO, NER, CGR, CGW or MCE designations.
Nontraditional Credit: Certificated Learning
Evergreen awards credit for some learning that earns a certificate acknowledging participation and completion of a workshop, seminar, training program, etc. This review process is performed after students have been formally admitted to the college.
3.C.5 The institution makes provision for the security of student records of admission and progress. Student records, including transcripts, are private, accurate, complete, and permanent. They are protected by fire-proof and otherwise safe storage and are backed by duplicate files. Data and records maintained in computing systems have adequate security and provision for recovery in the event of disaster. The information-release policy respects the right of individual privacy and ensures the confidentiality of records and files.
To maintain a secure environment, the records of admissions and student progress for currently enrolled students are stored in a fireproof vault in the Registration and Records office. The security of these records is set at a very high standard as only authorized staff have access to the vault. With our transition to imaged records, Registration staff have access to academic records through our imaging application that is password protected and access is based on the role of the individual employee. Other areas of the college have copies of student records. Program secretaries keep copies of student evaluations for two years and faculty members also keep copies of student evaluations for their portfolios.
Records for students who have left the college and for those who have graduated (inactive) are microfilmed as well as scanned on an ongoing basis. The college keeps a copy of the microfilm on campus and another copy is stored with the state archivist off campus. The imaging system is fully backed up on a nightly basis using Computing and Communications standards. Inactive student records are fully backed up for duplicate copies if necessary.
Only authorized personnel have access to the student data system. Specified employees are granted access privileges through the assignment of a password. In addition, some offices have “view only” privileges, but are not able to make changes in the system. The system has a built-in audit trail that documents when a staff member alters the date in the system, the time and date and the person’s name. As we use an integrated student records system, this same process applies to all other offices throughout the college such as admissions, financial aid, student accounts and cashier.
Evergreen complies with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which establishes information practices regarding education records and directory information at colleges and universities who receive Department of Education funding. Student Affairs employees are required to attend FERPA training every three years. New employees in Student Affairs receive this training as a part of their orientation to the college. Employees in other divisions of the college may attend this training depending on their role at the college. Anyone who seeks access to the student records system must read and sign a FERPA statement of understanding. Faculty must read and agree to the conditions of FERPA before they can access student directory information available to them on the Web. Copies of Evergreen’s policies pertaining to the confidentiality of records are made available to students in the Office of Registration and Records in print, and are available on the homepage of Registration and Records as well as the Policy Handbook found on the college’s web page.
In the event of a disaster, the microfilmed and imaged records as well as the data maintained by Registration and Records could be recovered easily based on the excellent, extensive disaster recovery plan established by Computing and Communications.
3.D – Student Services
3.D.1 The institution adopts student admission policies consistent with its mission. It specifies qualifications for admission to the institution and its programs, and it adheres to those policies in its admission practices.
Qualifications for admission along with the process and deadlines are specifically outlined in the catalog and on the college Web site. These policies are well publicized and strictly adhered to by the Office of Admissions. Each applicant undergoes a comprehensive review process that is consistent with statewide minimum admissions standards and institutional match for freshman, transfer, and returning adult students. In addition to their application, transcripts, and test scores, students are encouraged to submit a personal statement in which they are asked to address previous academic and/or professional/personal experiences along with their academic plans for learning at Evergreen. Some students go through an interview process conducted by admissions counselors, faculty, or alumni.
Inter-divisional communication occurs on a regular basis in the form of the Enrollment Coordinating Committee (ECC). The ECC is an important point of contact between college deans, college relations, enrollment services, and institutional research. ECC provides a venue for staff at varying levels to learn and participate in addressing enrollment issues at Evergreen and an environment where substantive conversations have helped improve communication and promote substantial progress on issues of shared concern.
In-State Market Trends
During the last two years Evergreen has weathered a state-wide decline in the Washington community college transfer market and increasing competition for transfer students among public, independent, and for-profit baccalaureate institutions. At the same time, several hundred additional freshman seats were created at three public branch campuses (UW-Tacoma and UW-Bothel, plus WSU-Vancouver) in fall 2006 a period of only modest growth in the numbers of graduating seniors in the state. Community college transfers are the largest component of Evergreen’s entering class, so declines in this market coupled with increased competition have a substantial impact on application activity. Opening branch campuses to freshmen in fall 2006 (these campuses had previously been restricted to upper-division students) presented an additional recruitment challenge. (Figure 3.7: Trends in Fall Quarter Applications)
Conversion Rates and Application Trends
Increases in our conversion rates from admission to enrollment helped to mitigate the declines in applications from Washington freshmen and community college transfers in 2006. (Figure 3.8: Percent Fall Quarter Admitted Undergraduates Enrolling) Applications for both groups increased in 2007 (WA freshmen: +15%; WA Transfers: +8%), which we interpret as signs that Evergreen is holding ground or improving its market share in both of these areas and that our continuing efforts to refine recruitment strategies are effective. (Figure 3.7: Trends in Fall Quarter Applications)
Applications from nonresident students also increased in 2007 (+11%) producing a strong showing for undergraduate applications overall in 2007. (Figure 3.9: Fall Undergraduate Application Progress 2002 - 2007)
Applications from students of color have followed the recent trend with transfer applications: a comparatively strong year in 2004 followed by some decline in both 2005 and 2006. Applications for 2007 showed a stronger improvement than among white students: up 17% compared with an increase of 10% for white students relative to 2006. Enrollment of undergraduate students of color increased 8% in fall 2007 which was identical to the percentage increase in enrollment of white students.
Improvements in Recruitment Efforts
As detailed in our 2003 Interim Report to the Commission (Exhibit 3.14), our admissions office has continued to increase the quantity and quality of our outreach efforts. Examples include: '
- Significant institutional support in terms of budget and shared mission: The recruitment effort has received substantial budget support from the College allowing improvements in quality and quantity of our work. Recognition of the importance of student recruitment and a sense of shared responsibility for this work extends across the institution.
- Overhaul of publications and development of a targeted mailing series: In 2001, the “mailing series” to students inquiring about enrollment consisted of one packet containing the college catalog, an application form and a letter from Admissions. In 2006, the series consisted of 15 different pieces sequenced and with content intended to move a student from inquiry to applicant to admit to enrolled status. The series contains high-end publications (e.g., the general viewbook, academic viewbook, transfer guide, and visit evergreen brochure) and a series of postcards reminding students of important upcoming enrollment events (e.g., Fridays at Evergreen, President’s receptions). Strategies have been developed that employ an intentional communications plan to direct the recruitment mailing series, and of equal importance, have secured a reliable delivery system for the mailing series.
- Comprehensive follow-up efforts : Mail, telephone, Web/e-mail and personal contacts with prospective students by Admissions counselors and staff, current students and Evergreen faculty have increased, including 7434 student-to-student tele-counseling telephone calls for the 2006-07 academic year.
- Twenty-four hour response time : In recognition of the importance of timeliness, any e-mail, written, or telephone communication receives a response within 24 hours. Campus visitors are sent a “thank you for visiting” card within 24 hours.
- College Web site redesign and web support staffing : The college’s web site was redesigned in 2001 with special emphasis on improving communication with prospective students. Funding was provided for staff to maintain and improve the Web site the following year. Improvements have continued since then as managed from the College Relations Office in coordination with Enrollment Services. Enrollment Services staff also update and improve the Admissions and Financial Aid Web sites on a regular basis.
- Remodel of the Admissions Office : The space was an eyesore for students and parents in comparison with other schools visited such as University of Puget Sound, Reed, and Lewis and Clark. The remodel in 2002 provided temporary improvements. As the Library Phase II remodel has advanced Enrollment Services has taken an active role in the design process to ensure a general upgrade of appearances in Admissions. In addition, efforts are being made to accommodate guests during the remodel period and temporary move to Seminar I.
- Articulation agreements : Additional articulation agreements to promote easier transition from community colleges in Washington to Evergreen continue to be negotiated.
- Reorganization of classified employees : All classified employees in the office were reclassified as credential evaluators. Two factors prompted this effort: 1) staff previously classified as office assistants were impacted and “bumped” out of their positions during budget cuts; and 2) the old system promoted a division of labor that broke down during absences. Students often did not get an official transfer credit evaluation until well into the quarter for which they had applied. With each credential evaluator assigned to a section of the alphabet, all applications are now reviewed and awarded transfer credit prior to registration.
- Reorganization of admissions counselors : Whereas a division of labor was counterproductive to the classified staff responsibilities as described above, a division of responsibilities is essential to the relationship-building and long-term outcome strategies for the admissions counselors and the target audiences with whom they work. As the organizational chart indicates, each counselor now has a specific recruitment responsibility (e.g. non-resident recruitment, Student Visitor Program, etc.).
- Capping non-resident tuition : Resisting pressure to increase non-resident tuition during the past two years has allowed us to recover some of the competitive advantage in cost lost to private institutions when tuition increased substantially from 2002 - 2004. Each year non-resident tuition is not increased the college’s position on cost relative to the private school competition is improved. A 5% increase has been approved for Fall 2007.
- Tuition waivers in the form of “Scholastic Achievement Awards” (SAA) : During the past two years, the college has provided new financial support to students aimed at making Evergreen a more competitive choice among the selective liberal arts colleges with whom it competes for non-resident freshmen. This new strategy of “tuition discounting” has clearly been successful in attracting and enrolling students who would otherwise have opted for institutions providing stronger financial aid packages.
- Technological improvements and efficiencies: With the 2001 conversion to the Banner software system and the 2007 conversion to Banner Recruit and Banner Apply, tools were added and upgraded to permit students to apply in a timely manner (88% apply on-line) and to provide staff with tools to more easily input and systematically manage recruit information.
- Emphasis on the campus visit : Recruitment literature emphasizes that the campus visit has the greatest impact on a student’s choice of colleges. Evergreen has restructured its messages to prospective students to direct them toward a campus visit and greatly improved the sophistication and quality of our Campus Visit Program. The addition of “visit” pieces crafted for different recruitment events and audiences, a Student Visitor Program Coordinator, improved data collection, a well-scripted program, and an online visit calendar, have led to a substantial increase in the number of students visiting Evergreen and improvement in the quality of their visit. For Fall 2007, the program accommodated a record 1336 visitors and 1338 guests (including 139 overnight visits and 218 program visits).
- Additional positions added to Admissions : Additional staffing allowed the Admissions Office to spread the word about Evergreen more broadly, process student data, provide information omore quickly, and emphasize personal contacts with prospective students.
- Improved data collection and evaluation : Compilation of outcome activity reports, including weekly counselor Activity Reports, Bi-weekly Statistics Reports, and weekly application and enrollment reports were added to monitor and assist in evaluating recruitment strategies and locations.
- Increased faculty involvement : Seven faculty are involved with the recruitment effort through governance assignments. This group of faculty is available to students for on-campus interviews, campus event panels, and out-of-state counselor and student/family receptions.
Please see the Admissions Self-Study for a more detailed discussion of student recruitment activity and improvements. (Exhibit 3.15)
3.D.2 The institution, in keeping with its mission and admission policy, gives attention to the needs and characteristics of its student body with conscious attention to such factors as ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious diversity while demonstrating regard for students’ rights and responsibilities.
Staff in Student and Academic Support Services (SASS) work with the entire student population to promote successful transitions to the college and achievement of educational objectives. SASS serves the student body by providing academic advice, and helping students access a wide range of support services including health services, mental health services, dispute resolution, and the like. In addition, the division helps students adjust to their experience at Evergreen and helps them see how their needs and academic desires can fit within the college's unique education structure.
In SASS, several offices provide intentional and direct support to students in underrepresented and protected classes. These groups include first-generation students, low-income students, students with disabilities, and students of color. SASS also provides advising support through existing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and to students who are seeking support for their spiritual development, though we have not established designated offices for these services.
The relocation and renovation of the SASS center in the Library building has made the work of the unit much more visible and accessible. In order to create a welcoming environment, there is a student desk that is staffed during operating hours. The design of the center is intentionally laid out to provide students easy access and amenities while maintaining a sense of privacy.
Offices located in the center are Academic Advising, Access Services, Career Development, First Peoples' Advising Services, Keep Enhancing Yourself (KEY) Student Services (TRIO), Upward Bound (TRIO), GEAR UP, and the Dean of Students. Prior to the relocation, not all services were housed together and many were in cramped quarters. The design of the center has located adjacent to one another the Career Development Library and the Unity Resources Center, supervised by First Peoples' Advising Services. This co-location provides students of color and low-income students access to resources that can help them think about their life’s work in a supportive environment. Student workstations are also located throughout the center, providing students with the opportunity to check e-mail or the Web site and to work on assignments with trained staff available. The center also has several workstations with assistive/adaptive technology equipment and houses the E-text equipment for students with disabilities.
As the Evening and Weekend Studies Program has grown, there has been a great demand for support to students who come “after hours.” The center is open five days per week. Monday through Thursday the center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center is open once each month on Saturdays to provide support to students enrolled in the Reservation-Based Program.
Emphasis over the past years has been placed on helping students acclimate to Evergreen. ( KEY Student Support Services) has sharpened the approach to students by creating programs that increase academic success. One example is the Step Up program that was designed as a one-week summer orientation and college readiness program for freshman and transfer students who are first-generation students, students with disabilities, and low-income students. Because of academic need, the emphasis of the Step Up program is on understanding the learning environment at Evergreen. There is a heavy emphasis on reading as a fundamental skill and writing as a critical companion to reading. Students spend several hours a day in workshops and seminars developing and strengthening their abilities to read and write under the direction of the writing center director and a faculty member with a background in writing.
The First Peoples' Scholars program has a similar emphasis, introducing incoming students of color to college life with the aim of developing a strong cohort. Students learn how the curriculum works, are introduced to faculty and staff of color, and explore the surrounding area to identify places which can address such personal needs as food, hair cuts/products, faith communities and local communities of color with whom they can identify.
KEY, First Peoples' Advising Services, and Access Services encourage students to follow their passions regardless of what they may feel or believe are restrictions. Students from these groups are encouraged and supported to apply for internship, study abroad, and scholarship opportunities. These programs encourage students to pursue fields or studies that the students might not have imagined open to them.
Still new to the Evergreen environment is intercollegiate athletics. SASS practitioners work closely with the Associate Director of Athletics to coordinate meetings with coaches; conduct advising, study sessions, and career workshops; and conduct one-on-one advising sessions so that student athletes select an appropriate program and develop an appropriate academic and career plan. One retention effort implemented in this past year is the development of a comprehensive academic advising strategy for athletes at Evergreen. More specifically, this initiative addresses the delicate balance between the demands of a full academic program and the demands of a collegiate sport.
SASS practitioners are alert to the issues that create crises and emergencies in students’ lives. Students come to the center or are referred by faculty to seek help regarding academic, financial or personal situations. Students are supported during crises by being assigned a case coordinator who can act as a resource person to assist the student in understanding his or her rights and responsibilities in navigating through the crisis situation.
Outreach to school districts which have high numbers of low-income and first-generation middle school and high school students is one of the ways SASS have aligned with the mission of institution to serve local communities. The area has done so by administering two pre-college programs: Upward Bound and GEAR UP. Each of these programs serves students in schools with at least 50% of students on reduced or free lunch programs. From these programs, the students and their families learn college-going skills; participate in college visits, after school and summer programs; and are given professional staff support and resources to apply to the college of their choice. These efforts have transformed school culture and developed cohorts of students committed to going on to postsecondary education.
Another response to our mission is our commitment to and participation in the College Success Foundation Achiever Scholars program. The College Success Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fund this group of students. Each institution of higher education in the state of Washington signed an agreement to provide support services to these students. Students are required to meet with a SASS practitioner at least twice a quarter.
For the past nine years, Evergreen has been involved in a project called Critical Moments. Critical Moments is an educational tool used both in and outside of the classroom. Critical Moments uses case studies of students who encounter situations that cause them to consider leaving the college. Critical Moments has been used in the classroom and in peer training. Funding from the Hewitt Foundation was received to write case studies specific to Evergreen. These stories have been used with various student groups to develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, empathy, and deeper understanding of diversity in regards to culture, economics, age, and thought. The key here in terms of retention is that this project allows for students to practice to the fullest extent possible ways they can respond to situations which impact their persistence over the years. First Peoples’ advising has provided leadership and a home for this project.
3.D.3 Appropriate policies and procedures guide the placement of students in courses and programs based upon their academic and technical skills. Such placement ensures a reasonable probability of success at a level commensurate with the institution’s expectations. Special provisions are made for “ability to benefit” students.
Core Programs are designed specifically for freshmen and intended to develop necessary academic and technical skills necessary for more advanced offerings. Faculty constantly assess student skills and knowledge in the context of work in academic programs. They often advise students in the context of evaluations with respect to the match of their interest and abilities with the requirements of future program opportunities.
3.D.4 The institution specifies and publishes requirements for continuation in, or termination from, its educational programs, and it maintains an appeals process. The policy for readmission of students who have been suspended or terminated is clearly defined.
Evergreen monitors the academic standing of each student. Any student not making satisfactory academic progress is informed of his or her standing at the college and advised.
Faculty evaluation of student achievement occurs at the end of programs, contracts, courses and internships. A student in danger of receiving less than full credit is notified in writing at mid-quarter by his or her faculty or contract sponsor. A student making unsatisfactory academic progress will receive an academic warning and may be required to take a leave of absence. Unsatisfactory academic progress is defined in the following paragraph under academic warning. Students who feel a faculty evaluation is in error may seek to have the evaluation amended using a process set forth in the college catalog that complies with FERPA. The student must begin the process within thirty days of the date the student received the final evaluation. Copies of this process are also available in the Academic Deans Office and in the Faculty Handbook. It also appears on the college Web site. (FERPA Policy on Amending Student Records)
Academic warning will be issued to a student by the Associate Vice President for Enrollment if the student earns less than three-fourths of the number of registered credits in two successive quarters. A student registered for six quarter-hours or more who receives no credit in any quarter will receive an academic warning. Such a warning urges the student to seek academic advice or personal counseling at the college. Students are removed from academic warning status when they receive at least three-fourths of the credit for which they register in two successive quarters.
Required leave of absence will occur when a student on academic warning receives either an incomplete or less than three-fourths of the credit for which he or she is registered. The leave is normally for one year. A waiver of required leave can be granted only by the academic dean responsible for academic standing upon the student’s presentation of evidence of extenuating circumstances. A student returning from required leave will re-enter the college on academic warning and be expected to make satisfactory progress toward a bachelor’s degree. Failure to earn three-fourths credit at the first evaluation period following a return from required leave will result in dismissal from the college.
3.D.5 Institutional and program graduation requirements are stated clearly in appropriate publications and are consistently applied in both the certificate and degree verification process. Appropriate reference to the Student Right-to-Know Act is included in required publications.
Graduation requirements are clearly set forth in the college catalog and described on the College web site Graduation Process.
The minimum requirements for awarding either the bachelor of arts or the bachelor of science degree are 180 quarter-credit hours. Students must meet specific graduation requirements for a bachelor of science degree. The BS degree requires seventy-two credits in mathematics,natural science, or computer science of which forty-eight are in advanced subjects. The concurrent bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree requires 225 credits including ninety at Evergreen. Students pursuing a dual bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree are required to submit their intent to pursue the dual degree one year in advance of graduating. Bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees require application one quarter prior to graduation. Each of the three graduate program catalogs addresses specific information regarding graduation requirements.
3.D.6 The institution provides an effective program of financial aid consistent with its mission and goals, the needs of its students, and institutional resources. There is provision for institutional accountability for all financial aid awards.
The packaging policy of the Financial Aid Office ensures that students awards are consistent with the college’s goals, the needs of our students, and the utilization of institutional resources in a fair and equitable manner. In order to accomplish these goals we have an established priority deadline, award new students prior to awarding continuing students, and distribute funds using gift equity packaging.
By establishing a priority deadline, limited funds are awarded to students who have a commitment to attending the college. To meet this deadline, students are required to have their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) processed, be admitted to the college, and have all additional required paperwork turned in by this date (March 15 for Fall applicants). Students who do not meet this deadline are awarded by their file completion date. All students who complete a FAFSA are reviewed for eligibility.
In keeping with the college’s recruitment goals and new student decision-making timelines, new Evergreen students are reviewed for eligibility and awarded first. Our goal is to have new student awards available by the first week of April, coinciding with the college’s New Student Reception events. This timeframe is also consistent with other baccalaureate colleges in the state, allowing students to compare award packages and make informed decisions. Continuing students who meet the priority deadline are typically awarded by late May or early June.
Our need-based, gift equity packaging policy was established to provide a distribution of awards to students in a fair manner. Students can receive up to 55% of their financial need with gift aid, which includes Pell Grant, State Need Grant, FSEOG, Evergreen Need Grant for graduates and undergraduates and State Tuition Waiver. The remaining 45% is awarded through self-help which consists of the expected family contribution (EFC), loans, work-study, SMART Grant, ACG, scholarships and other funds that are not based solely on student need.
The Financial Aid Office has checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy of awards. First, the Banner system software has appropriate edits in place to alert staff of inconsistencies before file review and staff members have the capability of adding edits to student records to hold packaging. In addition, student records are run through an automatic review through this system, which will then edit out files with further discrepancies for individual review by a counselor.
Additionally, all financial aid funds are balanced through the Financial Aid and the Student Account Offices. Totals from the financial aid system are compared with the student account system, verifying the amounts paid to students and the amounts received from the federal government and the state. Discrepancies are corrected by both offices as appropriate. This ensures that federal and state reporting are accurate and submitted in timely fashion.
Information regarding the categories of financial assistance (scholarships and grants) is published and made available to both prospective and enrolled students.
The Office of the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management administers the college’s undergraduate scholarship and tuition award programs. The college offers a variety of merit and need-based opportunities. Merit is broadly defined to include achievement in the arts, sciences, humanities, community service, and overall academic achievement. Notification of recipients is forwarded to the Financial Aid Office to include in the students’ financial aid packages.
The Undergraduate Scholarship brochure describes the various opportunities available and outlines the application process. In addition to having the information available on the college’s Web site, the brochure is sent to both prospective and currently enrolled students. Scholarship information sessions are incorporated in the Financial Aid workshops conducted Orientation Week and throughout the year. Student and Academic Support Services provide additional workshops with an emphasis on the college’s scholarship application process in December and January, leading up to the scholarship application deadline of February 1.
The institution regularly monitors its student loan programs and the institutional loan default rate. Informational sessions which give attention to loan repayment obligations are conducted for financial aid recipients.
The loan default rate is monitored annually. All students who are first-time borrowers are required to complete an online loan entrance evaluation. This process informs the student of the terms and conditions of borrowing. After the student completes the loan entrance evaluation they can then make the choice of completing their Master Promissory Note and begin the process of receiving a loan. All graduating students are required to attend a loan exit interview. Loan repayment obligations are again reviewed. Students who are not able to attend a session in person can request that a loan exit packet be mailed to them.
Student Loan Default Rate
|The Evergreen State College: Student Loan Default Table|
The institution provides for the orientation of new students, including special populations, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The college-wide orientation program engages all facets of the college in the process of helping new students settle into the college and begin their academic careers. The new student orientation program is divided into two parts. The opening two days constitute the Family and Friends Weekend, and the remaining days are New Student Orientation.
Family and Friends Weekend is an opportunity for family and friends of our students to participate in the transition of their students to Evergreen. The weekend includes workshops that showcase student services and academic offerings. The weekend activities also provide opportunities for family and friends to understand how the college and curriculum work and what will be expected of their students (socially and academically). The president and vice president for Student Affairs describe a liberal arts education in the context of a public institution and a senior faculty members share the history of the institution. This has been the college’s opportunity to develop a partnership with the families and friends of the students as well as to provide them with strategies they can employ to be helpful and supportive of their student's success.
Over the past eight years, the New Student Orientation program has been developed to introduce the new student to the college through the portals of the curricular and co-curricular life of the campus. The program has evolved from a series of activities sponsored by various offices into a cohesive, thematic program (self-care, care for others, and care for their new environment) directed at creating opportunities for new students to meet other new and continuing students, to be introduced to learning and teaching at Evergreen (facilitating their transition not only from high school to college but from high school to Evergreen), and to begin settling into their new environment. The new student orientation program runs for five days. During this event, a major thrust is to provide a personalized experience for students as well as to provide a climate of support, assuring students that they made the right decision to come to Evergreen. Program offerings are both curricular and co-curricular, exposing students to the rich array of institutional resources.
In order to ensure that each student starts off on a good footing, the first orientation activity is focused on the curriculum. First Year Program Previews provide opportunities for students to determine if they have selected the right academic programs. This was initiated in response to concerns about students who had enrolled in academic programs, found during the first week of quarter that the program was not what they had expected, and did not have curriculum options. Program previews allow students to meet the faculty of the program in which they have enrolled as well as to explore other program offerings. Students are encouraged to use this time to learn more about Evergreen’s style of teaching through Seminar Savvy and Learning to Learn. These are two-hour programs that identify what seminars are and explain how to be assertive, responsible, and effective in the classroom.
Students learn about the social aspect of their educational experience and governance opportunities at Evergreen by participating in the Activities Fair. The Activities Fair serves as a vehicle for new students to meet each other outside of their learning and living communities while pursing their interests. Health and Counseling Services devotes time and energy focusing on healthy life styles, harm reduction and prevention. Community Service projects introduce students to the value of helping others, the importance of civic engagement, and the process of self-reflection on learning. Students move in and prepare their rooms, get their identification cards, and learn about the physical plant of the college and the layout of Olympia and other local communities. This is also a time in which peer educators in Academic Advising, Health and Counseling Services, Career Development, Residence Halls, Student Activities, and First Peoples' Advising Services are highly visible and assist with the student’s transition.
There has been a concerted effort to build academic components into the orientation program to give students exposure to and an early start in familiarizing themselves with the teaching and learning at the college. This has been done through two formats—daily workshop offerings during the week and a two-credit college-readiness course team-taught by faculty and student affairs practitioners (see Exhibit 3.16: New Student Orientation Week Final Schedule).
Along with the above-mentioned programs, site-specific orientation activities take place on the Tacoma campus and in tribal-based programs. In 2002 SASS, in conjunction with the Tacoma campus staff and faculty, designed an orientation program for new students entering the Tacoma-based program. Over the years the emphasis has shifted to grounding the student first in the philosophy of the campus and academic perspective shared with the class by the Tacoma faculty. SASS provides more specialty workshops for new students once school begins.
College Readiness Courses: Courage to Learn and Beginning the Journey Course Offerings
In 1999, faculty and Student Affairs staff presented a “mini” academic program entitled Courage to Learn, which gave students some exposure to the systems of “the academic program.” The course ran concurrently with orientation. A small study group explored the possibility of attracting a larger number of students by offering a more extensive program for credit. In 2001, this program was offered with a two-credit option (at no cost to the student) entitled Beginning the Journey. This version included not only a week-long, full-day program within orientation week, but also extended five weeks into the fall quarter during which students met with teaching teams outside of their academic programs for continued skill development (building student skills in writing, decision-making, drug and alcohol awareness, etc.) and continued community development. Pre- and post-program surveys were administered to assess students’ experiences. Assessment data reported that Beginning the Journey offerings were successful in helping students understand a great deal about the structures and resources at Evergreen (see Exhibit 3.2). Retention data indicated that students participating in the program were retained from fall-to-fall at a higher rate than other first-year students.
The course was discontinued due to transitions in the academic deans area and was not offered again until fall 2005. The second iteration of Beginning the Journey (BTJ) was embedded in several of the core programs. In this hybrid of the program described above, students participated in activities specific to Beginning the Journey as well as scheduled activities in the orientation program. In fall 2006, another iteration of the course was offered without being identified to students as BTJ and was embedded in the core programs and highlighted by the individual teaching teams as activities recommended to students. Beginning the Journey was offered again in fall 2007 in the original model in which the course was a stand-alone offering and student participation was voluntary. Evaluation of this program will be completed during the summer and fall of 2008.
Early Start Program—First Peoples' Scholars Program and KEY, Step-Up, Conditional Admits
In order to provide support to special populations, First People's Advising Services and KEY Advising Services (a federally-funded TRIO Program) offer opportunities for students of color, first-generation students, low-income students, and students with disabilities to become familiar with the workings of the college and to enhance their college-readiness skills. Emphasis includes intensive seminars on writing and reading, understanding the role of faculty, developing problem-solving skills (“Critical Moments,” which is described elsewhere in this report.), and the ins and outs of living in Olympia. In addition to these programmatic efforts, attention is given to community development because these populations often experience high levels of isolation and marginalization. Each of these programs has its own specific emphases. First Peoples' Advising Services maintains contact with the students in this program throughout the academic year through specialized programs, individual follow up and work with peer advisors. Students who are eligible to enroll in KEY are also followed by the staff and are required to meet at least twice a quarter with an advisor.
Along with the early start programs, focused activities are offered for students who are conditional admits, students with disabilities and student athletes. Conditional admits are required to attend a mandatory meeting with staff members from the Admission Office and Academic Advising. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure each student understands the scope of his or hser responsibilities to demonstrate they can handle the work of an Evergreen student. They are introduced to all of the services and resources. These students attend a new student advising workshop and participate in orientation activities. Students with disabilities participate in a workshop designed to introduce them to the offerings of Access Services and their rights and responsibilities regarding accommodations, working with faculty and peers, and self-advocacy skills. Student athletes are another focus of special efforts made to orient students to Evergreen. All new student athletes and current student athletes attend a new-student advising workshop and meet with an academic advisor.
In 2005, The First Year Experience DTF examined the experience of first-year students. One of the recommendations made by the DTF was to evaluate the current orientation programs. Such an analysis will begin in fall 2008.
Graduate Student Orientation
The three separate Masters programs, MPA, MIT and MES programs each conduct a one-day orientation every Fall for new Graduate students before their first quarter begins. In brief, Orientation introduces students to each other, to the different program elements and people, and to the campus. The agenda includes: faculty and staff introductions, presentations by staff about essential program information for each of the degrees, presentations by representatives of key campus departments e.g. Registration and Financial Aid, extended student introductions and group activities, an activity to introduce students to the critical Evergreen concept of learning communities, an alumni panel, and a campus tour. Students also receive a packet of information, including the student handbook and campus resource information.
A systematic program of academic and other educational program advisement is provided. Advisors help students make appropriate decisions concerning academic choices and career paths. Specific advisor responsibilities are defined, published, and made available to students (Standards Two and Four, Standard Indicators 2.C.5 and 4.A.2).
Although advising is done in various units, and Evergreen faculty routinely provide advising within academic programs, organizational responsibility for advising students rests in SASS in the unit entitled Academic Advising. The work of academic advising is shared with the faculty, who support advising through the practice of narrative evaluations and evaluation conferences. The Academic Advising unit is central to the academic and student development mission of the college in that it provides guidance and support for students’ academic planning, both at the beginning of and throughout their studies at the college. The mission statement of Academic Advising is:
Academic Advising promotes Evergreen students’ access to learning and growth. We help students understand the structure of the college and realize the variety of educational options available to them. We collaborate with students in the discovery and exploration of meaningful strategies for learning.
Academic Advising has created a number of systems to enact the mission. This unit continues to refine programmatic and individual interventions that have been in use for over ten years and has undertaken new initiatives as well. Some overarching themes in all of these are apparent: collaboration with faculty and others, support of student internships to enrich learning, and active assistance to students who are new to the college or experiencing difficulties. A high priority has been placed on staff professional development around issues of racism, bias, and privilege.
Academic Advising collaborates with academic programs, other SASS units (Career Development, First People’s Advising Services, Access Services, KEY Student Services, Health and Counseling Services), Residential and Dining Services, and other Student Affairs units to facilitate student learning and success. The unit seeks to increase opportunities for partnerships across the campus to support students’ learning and personal satisfaction.
Internships to Enrich Learning
Academic Advising provides guidance for students who participate in credit-bearing internships as a key co-curricular enrichment of student learning. Internships are one important way to embody the fifth of Evergreen’s Five Foci: Linking Theory with Practical Applications. Academic Advising offers:
- Internship Fairs featuring representatives of internship opportunities for students are held each year. This program was recently expanded to include the Center for Community Based Learning and Action and the Student Employment office. In January 2008, over 100 employers participated and over 600 students attended.
- Internships are advertised in our new shared database: the Community Opportunites Database (CODa), along with other opportunities such as jobs and volunteer experiences. This has the effect of increasing the pool of visible opportunities that may become internships as well as increasing the number of potential paid internships. CODa is managed and supported through a partnership among Academic Advising, Career Development, Student Employment, and the Evergreen Center for Community-Based Learning and Action).
- Internship documentation assistance and oversight (processes for all credit-bearing internships are the purview of Academic Advising, in collaboration with academic deans and registrar).
- Center for Community-Based Learning and Action advisory group (partnership with service learning office at the college).
- Participation in academic dean reviews of internship proposals
- Facilitation of information sessions for major internship partners (e.g. Department of Transportation, state legislature, etc.).
Advising Interventions for New Students and Students Experiencing Difficulties
Academic Advising actively seeks to assist students who are experiencing academic or personal difficulties, paying particular attention to first-year students and new transfer students who are making the transition to the unique environment of our interdisciplinary learning communities. We help students understand the nature and demands of Evergreen’s academic programs and advise them on learning and communications skills in seminar. In these ways, we directly address three of the Five Foci: Interdisciplinary Study, Collaborative Learning, and Personal Engagement. Central activities intended to provide general support for students, and as targeted interventions, include:
- Academic Planning Workshops (for new and continuing students).These workshops became mandatory in spring 2007. All entering students must participate in a mandatory advising session. Failure to take one of these programs results in the student’s registration being blocked. (see Exhibit 3.17 for a summary of Student Feedback/Evaluation)
- The Core Connectors Program (advisors in the academic programs for first-year students). Through the Core Connectors Program, Academic Advising partners with faculty, so that each first-year program has an advisor involved in program activities, making academic planning a seamless part of the learning environment of the program. The Core Connectors Program is comprised of academic advisors and other SASS practitioners who are assigned to one of the core programs, providing a presence within core programs to help students settle into and adjust to college life. The core connector meets regularly with the program, makes announcements, and participates in and facilitates discussions related to academic success. Core connectors also work with faculty in conducting small group interviews that allows students to express their concerns and satisfactions with their programs. The core connectors play a major role in obtaining feedback directed toward program improvement.
- A case management model through which staff members discuss student cases at staff meetings and assign one of the advisors for comprehensive follow-up for students with extraordinary academic difficulties and or individual work with faculty who refer students in difficulty.
- One-on-one outreach to first-year students (in partnership with program faculty).
- “How’s It Going?” cards (written outreach for all lower-division program students each quarter, with individual follow-up for those expressing difficulties).
- The Peer Advisors Program that conducts initial intake interviews with students, answers quick and simple procedural questions, refers to resources on campus, and briefs the staff on student needs. These are experienced student employees who assist with general advising and group programming.
- Web resources on academic planning and problem-solving.
- Outreach to students on academic warning (students who do not make satisfactory academic progress). An advisor is assigned to follow up with students who are placed on academic warning. The outreach focus is on understanding the academic warning process and identifying what it is they will need to do to return to Evergreen if they choose to do so.
- Follow-up with conditionally admitted student. Beginning Fall 2002, students admitted conditionally became a focus for our retention efforts. Conditional admits have one quarter to demonstrate that they can be successful at Evergreen. In order to maximize their chances of success and capitalize on their promise, the Admission Office and SASS conduct a special orientation program. Each conditionally admitted student is required to meet with an academic advisor for a one-on-one session to learn about the resources available. Conditionally admitted students maintain this status until they achieve regular admission status.
Staff Development Focus on Diversity
Academic Advising staff is evaluated annually and goals for performance are established. The professional development approach is directed to the third of the five foci at Evergreen: Learning Across Significant Differences. The peer and professional staff of the unit are diverse. For the past three years, Academic Advising professional staff members have met together for two hours weekly during the academic year to focus specifically on the personal and professional learning that is needed to effectively counter racism and other forms of bias which occur in human systems. Through readings and discussion, “Critical Moments” role-playing, personal storytelling, group attendance at diversity-related lectures, and honest self-reflection activities, staff members have addressed the difficult issues of privilege and oppression manifested in their work with students and with one another. Facilitation of these meetings is shared and staff members have created specific ground rules to enhance honesty and safety. This diversity-related learning is a high priority for the Academic Advising staff.
Focus Areas for Academic Advising – Present and Future
Major issues for Academic Advising in the past few years have been programmatic and individual outreach to first-year students and those experiencing academic difficulties, forging links with faculty for advising partnerships, creating Web-based advising resources for students and faculty, and setting a high priority for ongoing anti-oppression work as professional development for the staff. In the next few years, we plan to continue these directions, put additional efforts into our Beginning the Journey course in collaboration with Academic Affairs, assess the effects of new requirements for advising interventions for first-year students, and address the need for increased focus on advising transfer students as introduced below.
Transfer Student Orientation, Academic Advising and Career Development
Recent focus group interviews with transfer students and conversations among staff and faculty revealed a concern about this comparative inattention to the (1) orientation, (2) academic advising, and (3) career counseling made available to transfer students. As a result, plans are now underway to re-evaluate support for transfer students by faculty and staff in these three areas.
Based on data collected from two recent alumni surveys describing graduates’ use of and satisfaction with a variety of campus services, a general emphasis on elevating both the level of use and satisfaction with Academic Advising and Career Development services is now under discussion in the Student Academic Support Services area of Student Affairs. The table below summarizes the placement of several academic and Student Affairs services by use and satisfaction in comparison with additional services provided outside of the Student Affairs division.
| Levels of Student Use of and Satisfaction with Selected College Services
Evergreen Alumni Surveys of 2004 and 2006
(Student Affairs Offices in Bold)
| Higher Satisfaction
| Lower Satisfaction
| Highest Use
|Library Computing Center|
| Higher Use
|Financial Aid Office Media Services||Academic Advising|
| Moderate Use
| Recreation Center
| Lower Use
|Math Center|| Counseling Center
Data From the 2004 and 2006 Alumni Surveys
Additional Information about Academic Advising
Additional information on the organization of Academic Advising at Evergreen, links to examples of advising material and descriptive statistics of use include the following:
Web Resources for students ( Links for Current Students)
Web Resources for faculty http://www.evergreen.edu/advising/faculty/home.htm
Career counseling and placement services are consistent with student needs and institutional mission.
The mission of the Career Development Center ( Career Development Center) is to provide consistent, quality career and life work planning for students and alumni of the college. Embracing the value of a liberal arts education, the center connects the learning of students to the content of academic programs and plans and implements services and activities to complement the curriculum. In programming, the Career Development Center works collaboratively across campus with faculty, staff, and students to connect theory and practice. The Career Development Center is closely allied with Academic Advising and intentionally designs programs that address career and academic pathways in the college curriculum.
To assist students with self-knowledge, academic direction, employment, graduate school information, community service, and life work planning, the center provides individual career counseling, workshops; resources, referral, Career Fair, Graduate School Fair, coursework, clinics, and technological access. Professional staff provide specialized career counseling to students preparing for graduate study, working with the offices of the Veteran’s Administration, Labor and Industries, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, graduate programs and the Evening and Weekend Studies Program.
Students receive assistance and support with assessment including: Transcript Review, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS), Self Directed Search (SDS), John Holland’s (RIASEC) and the Washington Occupational Information System (WOIS). Students receive support with occupational research utilizing a 7,000 volume Career Resource Library and a 300 file Web site at Career Development Center. Workshops and individual sessions provide help with orientation, resume writing, job search strategy, interviewing skills, mock interviewing, portfolio development, graduate school advising, GRE/LSAT/MCAT practice testing, networking, transition, job keeping and job coping, and re-careering.
Current students access career mentors through the Alumni Career Educator (ACE) files providing opportunities for current students to get advice on occupations, employment, travel and study abroad and graduate school from Evergreen Alumni. The conversion from BlackBaud Raiser’s Edge software to Banner was accomplished with a partnership between the Alumni Office, the Office of College Advancement and the Career Development Center. The transition of the database has provided greater opportunity for access to students and an increase in alumni participation in the ACE program.
The Career Development Center has worked closely with faculty to plan and present a number of workshops and trainings within nine academic programs, assisting students with academic and career pathways in the life sciences, environmental science, computer science, performing arts, language arts and social science.
In the 2006-07 academic year, the center participated in the Curricular Visions DTF envisioning long term curriculum planning. Staff are partnering with Academic Advising and faculty to teach the freshman advising program, Beginning The Journey. A hallmark partnership is the recent collaboration between the science faculty and the Career Development Center. For the past two years, a career counseling specialist has provided specific career and academic advising for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer Science, Engineering, and Math Scholarship (CSEMS) students. This year the Director of the Career Development Center is serving as assistant project director for the four year NSF Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-TEMS) scholarship grant.
The new Student Athlete program partners the Career Development Center, the Athletic Department, Academic Advising and faculty to insure our student athletes receive ongoing career and life work planning and advising. This fledgling program is staffed by the Career Development Facilitator who also serves the college as the assistant women’s basketball coach.
Professional health care, including psychological health and relevant health education, is readily available to residential students and to other students, as appropriate.
Health and Counseling Services includes the Health Center, Counseling Center and Office of Sexual Assault Prevention. These three separate offices work together under one umbrella with the goal of providing seamless transition and management of students seeking care.
The mission of Health and Counseling Services is to support the academic mission of the college by helping students stay healthy and maintain a sense of well being in their daily lives. This is done directly through patient care, and by providing community education and information to help students care for themselves, use healthcare resources wisely and to be an advocate for themselves and others regarding health and medical care.
Campus health services provide a baseline level of care designed to meet the general needs of most students. When the scope of care exceeds our capacity, the providers in the Health Center assist with the coordination of care for our students through consultation and referral, helping students get connected with the appropriate clinic or agency.
The Counseling Center provides psychological care to students both individually and in groups. Student requests and needs are evaluated in an initial intake appointment and they are either assigned to a counselor in the clinic or referred to a community provider if the needs or request exceed the capacity of the center. Walk-in hours are available four days a week for students who are struggling or in crisis.
The initial paperwork for both health and counseling centers is designed to screen students and get a general picture of overall current state of health, past health issues, and identification of any risk factors for future problems including personal safety and substance use.
Providing coordination of care is a significant part of the work in Health and Counseling Services. Many students lack insurance, or if they have insurance, are at a loss as to how and where to access care. Increasingly, the health and counseling centers are feeling overwhelmed by the number of students with physical and psychological problems and the lack of resources for managing these problems. Referral options to community providers are limited and uninsured students are understandably reluctant to navigate the process for getting basic health insurance coverage. Funded by a student health fee, which by state mandate can only be increased by very small amounts, the health center has had to increasingly pass along the cost of care to the students in order to keep up with skyrocketing costs of medical care. In addition to trying to meet the basic health care needs of college students, we have been looking to students and parents to help identify the needs of their student prior to coming to Evergreen.
Data describing the top five areas of diagnoses for the Counseling Center for the past five years appear in Exhibit 3.18. Data describing the number of student visitors and top five diagnoses for the Health Center for the past five years appear in Exhibit 3.19.
Requests for counseling services from students have increased by 20% since 2004, while enrollment at the college has increased by 4%. (Exhibit 3.20 Requests for Counseling Services from Students)
The Health Center has a unique program where undergraduate students are able to complete the academic and clinical work necessary to become licensed Healthcare Assistants in the state of Washington. These students are carefully selected and are typically in upper division science courses in preparation for medical school or other health related careers.
One of the training components for our student medical assistants is The Certified Peer Educator (CPE) training offered through the BACCHUS Network. The CPE training complements the clinical training component in addressing the social and clinical skills needed to work effectively with peers. Students are able to learn valuable skills around communication, boundaries, referral, and programming in a college setting. This allows our student medical assistants to serve as a valuable campus resource, promoting health education through workshops, tabling, PSAs, articles for the campus paper, and other events.
The topics are relevant to the student population and are scheduled at certain times during the academic year. Some examples include: information on immunizations, particularly meningococcal vaccine and vaccination for influenza; colds, flus and self-care; the impact of sleep on mental health; the impact of substance use on cognitive function and sleep; personal safety; and sexual responsibility. The clinical foundation enhances the student medical assistants' credibility as health educators for their fellow students.
Over the last five years Health and Counseling Services staff members have increased contact and collaboration with faculty. Evergreen has been involved with the Bringing Theory to Practice Project, through the Association of American Colleges and Universities. As a result of our work on this project, clinicians from Health and Counseling Services have been included in the faculty summer planning institutes. These summer institutes are an opportunity for clinicians from Health and Counseling Services to provide training and support to faculty as they do their academic planning for the upcoming year. By helping increase faculty members’ understanding of mental health issues and providing tools for initiating conversations with students and making interventions when needed, the hope is that students who are experiencing difficulties will be recognized early on and referred appropriately if needed. Students are educated about health and wellness in a variety of ways.
During orientation week prior to the start of school, several workshops are offered aimed at reducing the risks faced by new freshmen as they move in to the college environment. Personal safety, healthy decision-making, stress management, and self-care are a few examples of workshops available to students. In winter and spring quarters, new students are greeted at a new student orientation and given brief presentations about available student support services.
Additional workshops including Health and Counseling Services as a component with other student and academic support services are offered throughout the year. Some academic programs invite clinicians to speak on a topic specific to college health issues and related to the academic content. Residential and Dining Services has included student health and wellness, especially mental health and substance use issues, as part of their resident advisor training and also host a number of workshops in the residence halls.
Student housing, if provided, is designed and operated to enhance the learning environment. It meets recognized standards of health and safety; it is competently staffed.
Residential and Dining Services is a self-sustaining service which consists of Residential Dining, Residential Facilities, Residential IT, and Residential Life staffs responsible for providing a student-centered living/learning environment which is purposeful, just, and sustainable for resident and non-resident students. Nearly 1,000 students reside on campus in facilities ranging from traditional high-rise to townhouse-style apartments and stand-alone duplex (modular) units. Exhibit 3.21 will give a full listing of residential facilities. This capacity has been adequate to fulfill student needs, since the residence halls have been full or nearly full during the past ten years. There has been a small but steady increase in occupancy each of the past three years with fall 2007 opening at 103% occupancy. This increase is due primarily to the recent upward trend in the freshman population. Resident numbers lessen slightly as the academic year progresses due to internships, study abroad programs and attrition from the school.
The primary method of enhancing the learning environment is through the Residential Life program. The Residential Life program was reorganized in 2005 eliminating a mid-manager position, and creating a coordinator of residential life and programming resident director positions. The residential staff is trained to facilitate an environment that encourages learning and living skills. Examples of the facilitation include: student groups that help students build support systems, educational/cultural programs that enlighten students and provide them with skills, policy enforcement that creates quiet and safe areas to study and live, mediations where students learn to be responsible to themselves and others, and liaisons with other campus offices such as the Campus Grievance Office, Police Services and the Counseling Center. In addition, the Prime Time Advising and Writing Center located in Residence Hall A provide on-site after hours academic advising and writing tutor services in the residence halls.
The selection and training of Residential Life staff also reflect an emphasis on living/learning environments. Topics covered in the spring two-credit academic class and the fall ten-day training include: community development, diversity, academic success, student development, referral skills, and awareness of campus and community resources. The learning environment is also enhanced by the provision of living themes such as Freshman Halls, Quiet, Substance-Free, Community Action, and Sustainability. Students requesting to live in these themed residences agree to certain community standards that are more specific and demanding than in other parts of the residential community.
Residential facilities are subject to visits and reporting by a number of agencies including the campus safety officer (hazardous materials), state building inspectors (remodels and new construction), fire marshal (fire alarm systems), and the state labor and industry inspectors (elevators). When improvements are suggested or requested corrections, are implemented in an appropriate time frame and manner. Notable examples include the renovation of all five elevators, installation of new metal roofs, and the renovation of buildings B, C and D. The B, C and D renovation included abatement of all asbestos, updating HVAC, replacement/resurfacing of all surfaces, and new furniture. Capital improvements were made possible by a $7 million refinancing in 2006 and the development of a ten-year financial plan building sustainable capital reserves.
Residential and Dining Services conducts exit surveys, needs assessments, and satisfaction surveys of its residents. The information provided has led to more student involvement in community policy development, development of more social space, and the creation of a Resident Hall Association named the Greener Organization by residents. Residential and Dining Services moved from a departmentally developed survey instrument to an Educational Benchmarking Incorporated/Association of College and University Housing Officers—International survey instrument. The four-year longitudinal comparison indicates overall residential satisfaction with Evergreen and Residential and Dining Services. General strengths included student staff, programming, room/floor environment, tolerance towards others, and safety/security. Challenges include Dining Services, laundry, and cell phone service.
Appropriate food services are provided for both resident and nonresident students. These services are supervised by professionally trained food service staff and meet recognized nutritional and mandated health and safety standards.
A 2001 Disappearing Task Force of faculty, staff, and students completed a review to clarify campus expectations of Dining Services and its future direction. Included among the many programmatic and policy-oriented recommendations was the need to create a sustainable financial base and develop a capital facilities plan. Later in 2001, Bon Appetit was selected as the Dining Services provider featuring a debit-based meal plan. In 2002 a mandatory meal plan for all first- year students living in the residence halls was implemented for students with forty or fewer credits. In 2004 Aramark Campus Services became the Dining Services contract provider featuring an “all you care to eat” meal plan and the management of the provider was transferred from the division of Finance and Administration to the division of Student Affairs (Residential Services).
Dining Services is comprised of four locations; The Greenery, the Market, Seminar II Café and the Corner Store. The table below provides a listing of all dining facilities locations and capacities. All food services on campus meet county and state health and safety standards. In addition to cash, customers may purchase a variety of block/declining meal plans. Dining Services invites user suggestions and comments that are posted and answered in visible dining locations.
|Dining Facilities||Type of Service||Location||Capacity|
|Greenery||All you care to eat||CAB 1st Floor||220|
|Market Café||A la Carte||CAB 2nd Floor||100|
|Sem II Café||A la Carte coffee bar||Sem II B Building||30|
|Corner Store||Convenience store||Housing Community Center||Na|
Dining Services conducts satisfaction and national benchmarking surveys. In 2005, Dining Services began participating in the National Association of College and University Food Services Operating Performance Benchmarking Survey. This information and the satisfaction surveys conducted by the provider have led to more student-centered meal plans; changes in hours of operations; improved menu selections; and a more financially sound food service.
Dining Services faces challenges and opportunities with the Campus Activities Building renovation scheduled for 2009-10. The challenge of temporarily relocating the main kitchen during renovation is offset by the wonderful opportunity of updating a 35-year-old cafeteria into a modern dining hall providing multiple food platforms, expanded seating and improved flow.
Co-curricular activities and programs are offered that foster the intellectual and personal development of students consistent with the institution’s mission. The institution adheres to the spirit and intent of equal opportunity for participation. It ensures that appropriate services and facilities are accessible to students in its programs. Co-curricular activities and programs include adaptation for traditionally under-represented students, such as physically disabled, older, evening, part-time, commuter, and, where applicable, those at off-campus sites.
There are over seventy active student organizations at Evergreen. They represent a broad range of student interests including academic support, political, environmental, social, religious, and cultural. As part of the annual registration process, student coordinators are required to sign a covenant that states their organization will not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam era veteran.
The Student Activities Office strives to make all its programs and services accessible to all students. We practice this in a number of ways. Mandatory training and workshops are scheduled at different days and times to better meet the needs of students. The Student Activities Office staff also makes themselves available outside of normal business hours when a student is unable to meet during regular office hours. The names of student coordinators are placed on an access list that allows them access to the student activities area after regular business hours.
The development of services for the two off-campus programs, Tacoma and Reservation Based Community Determined Program, has been one of the major successes of the Student Activities Office staff over the past ten years. In May of 2002, the board of trustees approved guidelines establishing Service and Activity Fee Allocation Committees at the two off-campus programs. This has given the two off-campus programs control over their student activity fees. The director of student activities meets with the Tacoma students every Tuesday afternoon and meets with the students in the Reservation-Based Program one Saturday a month during the academic year. The students in these programs receive the same training and support as the students at the Olympia campus. The level of services and activities available to the two off-campus programs has grown significantly.
The co-curricular program includes policies and procedures that determine the relationship of the institution with its student activities; identifying the needs, evaluating the effectiveness, and providing appropriate governance of the program are joint responsibilities of students and the institution.
All student organizations are required to register annually. As part of the registration process student coordinators are required to attend three workshops where they learn about relevant policies and procedures, appropriate uses of student activity fees and event planning. A student activities handbook is provided to all student organizations and the coordinators of all student groups are required to sign a covenant that lists the role and responsibilities of a student coordinator.
In July 1993, the board of trustees approved Guidelines Governing Establishment and Funding of Programs Supported by Services and Activities Fees. In May 2002, the trustees approved revised guidelines that gave authority to the off-campus programs. Student Activities Fee Guidelines
During the 2005-06 academic year, the constitution of the newly created Geoduck Union was approved by the board of trustees. The constitution of the new student union can be found at Geoduck Student Union Charter.
All student coordinators are required to submit a Leadership Activities Report every five weeks during the academic year. In the report, students are asked to identify additional training and resources they and their student group need. The Student and Activities Fee Allocation Board (S&A Board) conducts a survey of the student body every other year. S&A Productions, which organizes large stage events for the Evergreen Campus, consistently surveys student entertainment interests throughout the year. The biennial review by the S&A Board of all S&A fee-funded organizations is an example of how evaluation of program effectiveness is done jointly. This is also done by the S&A committees at the two off-campus programs. Another example is the quarterly community gatherings facilitated by the senior coordinator. The newly created Geoduck Union will also serve in helping to jointly evaluate the program.
If appropriate to its mission and goals, the institution provides adequate opportunities and facilities for student recreational and athletic needs apart from intercollegiate athletics.
Evergreen’s Athletics and Recreation Department carries out a similar mission to such departments at other institutions, but with an important difference. The college has no physical education, recreation or sports management programs and thus lacks academic support for staffing, equipment, or other costs.
Funding is acquired from three sources: a state budget allocation, funds granted to the department by the student S&A Board, and revenues generated by the department’s various programs, including facility permit fees, contracted rental of the facilities, class registration fees, summer camp registration fees, and intercollegiate athletic gate receipts and guarantees. By percentage, each of the three sources account in any given year for between 30% and 40% of a roughly $1 million overall budget.
During the past decade, Evergreen’s recreation and athletic facilities, already of high quality, have been improved significantly. Fitness equipment, once scattered throughout both Phase I and Phase II of the College Recreation Center (CRC), has been consolidated into coherent cardiovascular, free weight, and machine weight rooms. Superior exercise flooring has been added in these rooms and carpeting installed in the locker rooms. A significant amount of replacement of decaying equipment and adding of “trendier” equipment has also taken place in these areas. A brand new sprung dance floor was installed in the main dance areas during 2007. Upgrades to areas such as storage and laundry facilities have been ongoing and have resulted in better operations to the benefit of students and other patrons. The main intercollegiate basketball/volleyball court was made user-friendlier by the removal of many unneeded lines and the use of more neutral colors in the lines that remain college and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) logos were added to create a more pleasant experience for both players and spectators. An advertising plan for the gym was created to generate both revenue and recognize community support for Geoduck teams. A new timing system and scoreboard were installed in the swimming pool area.
Evergreen’s outdoor athletics and recreation facilities have been improved as well. The college’s four tennis courts, used exclusively for recreation, have been resurfaced. The intercollegiate soccer field has been widened to the width expected of a college field and a large, high quality scoreboard installed.
The recreation pavilion – a quasi-indoor facility located in the field area – was vastly improved in 2004 with the addition of a FieldTurf surface secured with private funding. This has made the facility usable year-round for soccer, baseball and softball practice and summer camps wishing to be in the shade.
The Evergreen Student Experience Survey has shown that the recreation facilities, located very close to Evergreen’s Residential Life areas, are used by 52% of all students and 57.7% of first-time first year students. Between 15% and 20% of all students use the facilities heavily. Roughly eighty of Evergreen’s faculty and staff buy permits to use the CRC and, despite an explosion of for-profit fitness centers and the expansion of a still-new YMCA in the community since 1998, many community members still purchase permits as well. Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 - Use of Campus Resources - Olympia Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2004 - Final Report Recreational facilities are an important resource for some students and an occasional resource for a majority.
Many areas for informal recreation within Evergreen’s boundaries exist as well: The college has two main trail systems through its 1,033-acre campus and a half-mile of shoreline along Eld Inlet. The college’s annual cross-country invitational, named for long-time coach and former Director of Recreation and Athletics Pete Steilberg, has become a popular one for visiting teams because of the beauty, challenge, and fairness of the course. The NAIA’s Pacific Northwest Region staged its championships at Evergreen in 2007.
Community members have also made heavy use of Evergreen’s swim lessons for children, youth sports camps, and Leisure Education classes. Camps have grown from one week of half-day basketball camp in 2000 to twelve weeks of full-day camps offered by Evergreen’s soccer, basketball, cross country and volleyball teams in 2007. The Leisure Education program is undergoing a transformation that will ultimately lead to a name change as its mission is refined. With the establishment of another non-credit course center on campus, Extended Education, the Leisure Education program has dropped many of the classes it once offered that were outside the norm of a gym and pool centered department: business classes, writing classes, art classes, etc. In process is a plan to refocus on proven and emerging fitness offerings, including dance and martial arts.
At the time of the last accreditation report, staff turnover was sited as a problem for the department. This has been lessened. The director of Athletics and Recreation, associate director, facilities and events manager and operations manager have all been in their positions since at least 2000. The women’s basketball coach is in her seventh year, as is the cross country/track&field coach. The certified athletic trainer begins her fourth year at Evergreen in 2008. Among the newer coaches is Evergreen’s men’s and women’s soccer coach who, although in just his third season, is an alumnus of the college and played here in the 1980s. Through a strategy of combining part-time coaching duties with other duties within the department – for example, the head volleyball coach also serves as recreation and fitness coordinator – Evergreen now has each of its head coaches as a permanent, benefits receiving employee. In 2000, there was one such employee, the men’s basketball coach.
A main goal for this department in the future is to create a vision for a new recreation-only facility to bring to the student body for a referendum vote. Each of Washington’s other five public universities has created such a center after such a vote with great success and appreciation from their respective student bodies. It is anticipated that such a vote might be asked for in roughly 2010. Other goals are to strengthen the intercollegiate program’s spring sport season offerings through an expansion of the track and field program and the potential upgrade of baseball and softball from club to intercollegiate status.
If the institution operates a bookstore, it supports the educational program and contributes to the intellectual climate of the campus community. Students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to participate in the development and monitoring of bookstore policies and procedures.
The college owns and operates a bookstore located in the College Activities Building CAB). Its mission is to support the educational needs of students, faculty, and staff and contribute to the academic and social environment.
The current space is in need of renovation. The College Activities Building is slated for renovation in 2009-11 and will include the bookstore. Some pre-design work was done, but bookstore staff has begun visiting new or recently renovated college bookstores in the region to gather additional information on ways to improve the operations. Some ideas gathered so far include using mobile fixtures for flexibility in retail space layout, providing good display lighting, and the use of security cameras. The bookstore will be in temporary quarters for a period of up to two years.
Students and faculty are accustomed to purchasing via the Internet, so for the past few years the bookstore has begun focusing efforts on selling their products through their Web site. The bookstore is currently designing a new Web page and Web sales now account for about 8% of total sales.
The bookstore carries program books and a selection of general books, office supplies, gift items, clothing, and sundries. Because there are no commercial retail establishments close to the college, the bookstore tries to provide a wide range of items for the campus, especially for the on-campus housing students.
We have not been successful in recruiting students or faculty to sit on the Bookstore Advisory Committee. However, the students formed a union for the first time in 2006, and we intend to approach them, as well as interested faculty, to reestablish this committee to strengthen the community involvement in the bookstore operations.
When student media exist, the institution provides for a clearly defined and published policy of the institution’s relationship to student publications and other media.
The Student Communications Media Policy is posted on the college’s Web site
The Cooper Point Journal, the campus newspaper, has clearly written guidelines in their Operations and Ethics: Cooper Point Journal Operating Procedures
KAOS-FM, the campus radio station, is governed by the FCC. All aspiring programmers are required to attend a six-week training course and pass a proficiency test before being allowed to host their own radio program.
Standard 3.E - Intercollegiate Athletics
Evergreen’s intercollegiate athletics program has undergone many changes – and made great progress – since 1998. At present, Geoduck teams compete in men’s soccer, cross country/track&field and basketball while women’s teams compete in soccer, volleyball, cross country/track&field and basketball.
At the time of the college’s last accreditation report, Evergreen was in the process of leaving the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division III. This was a natural step at the time as, across the Northwest, once an NAIA stronghold, nearly every mid-sized and small college left that organization for either NCAA II or NCAA III. However, Evergreen’s choice of Division III proved problematic. The smaller, private Washington and Oregon schools that had formed the Northwest Conference (NWC) blocked Evergreen’s bid for membership. The college, often seen by Washington residents as “small” because it is the smallest of the state’s six public institutions, was too large for the NWC schools and had a tuition rate low enough that the high-cost privates believed would create an advantage for Evergreen under NCAA III rules, which do not allow athletic scholarships. Thus, Evergreen ended its bid to join the NCAA during the probationary period and returned to full-time membership in the NAIA and a berth in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
This affiliation has proved to be an excellent one for Evergreen. Since 2002, Geoduck teams have reached national competition in four sports, doing so for the first time ever in men’s basketball and men’s soccer. Eleven of the fifteen athletes who have been selected NAIA All-America in Evergreen’s athletic history have played since 2001. Several men’s basketball players have gone on to play professionally in Europe and American minor leagues and one soccer player is now an acknowledged star in the United Soccer League, earning Most Valuable Player honors in North America’s second highest league.
The increase in on-field success has not come at the cost of any compromise in Evergreen’s academic integrity or style of pedagogy. The Athletic Department views participation on a college team as an excellent example of Evergreen’s commitment to collaborative learning and stresses this with its coaches and student-athletes.
Institutional control is exercised through the governing board’s periodic review of its comprehensive statement of philosophy, goals, and objectives for intercollegiate athletics. The program is evaluated regularly and systematically to ensure that it is an integral part of the education of athletes and is in keeping with the educational mission of the institution.
The board of trustees exercises control on such matters as conference affiliation and which sports the college chooses to compete in. The director of athletics, along with the vice-president for Student Affairs, makes periodic appearances before the board of trustees to review each of the program’s goals and objectives.
The goals and objectives of the intercollegiate athletic program, as well as institutional expectations of staff members, are provided in writing to candidates for athletic staff positions. Policies and rules concerning intercollegiate athletics are reviewed, at least annually, by athletics administrators and all head and assistant coaches. The duties and authority of the director of athletics, faculty committee on athletics, and others involved in athletics policy-making and program management are stated explicitly in writing.
The department’s goals and policies regarding the experience we desire for our student-athletes are made clear in writing to all participants and applicants for staff and coaching positions. The director of athletics meets weekly with each head coach and consistently discusses with him or her, as a matter of course, NAIA and conference rules, as well as Evergreen’s policies, philosophy, and rules regarding competition. The role of each person or committee involved in the governance of the program is specific and clearly defined in either a job description or a written charge to the committee. In the case of major changes in policy – such as when Evergreen became, in 2006, one of the first NAIA schools to institute a system of random and for-cause drug testing of student-athletes – a work group is typically formed to study the issue, public forums are conducted to receive input, and then the new policy is provided in writing to those affected.
Admission requirements and procedures, academic standards and degree requirements, and financial aid awards for student athletics are vested in the same institutional agencies that handle these matters for all students.
The institution’s requirements and procedures for all students, particularly with regard to academic standards, are absolutely no different for athletes than for other students. No athlete can be admitted to the college who does not meet the normal standards of admission for the college, and all admissions decisions rest in the hands of the director of admissions and his staff. Once enrolled, faculty grant no favors to athletes when it comes to the completion of class work, and thus academic standards are not compromised. While tuition waivers, most often partial, based upon athletic accomplishment, are awarded, they are part of the student’s complete financial aid package and are administered by the Financial Aid Office.
Athletic budget development is systematic; funds raised for and expended on athletics by alumni, foundations, and other groups shall be subject to the approval of the administration and be accounted for through the institution’s generally accepted practices of documentation and audit.
Development of the intercollegiate athletics budget has been systematic. With the input and approval of the director of athletics, operations manager for athletics, the vice president for Student Affairs and executive associate to the vice president for Student Affairs, this process has followed a basic pattern for at least the last decade: state funding covers most salary expenses and some state money is available for travel and equipment. A second layer of funding comes from the student S&A Board’s Tier I budget allocation to the department. This money has grown over the years to include expenses that the S&A Board sees as essential to a quality experience for the student participating in intercollegiate sport at Evergreen. Examples include bus travel with professional driver on longer road trips to increase safety and the addition of a tenth month to the certified athletic trainer’s salary to allow her to work with track and field athletes through the national championships, soccer players during spring practice, and to provide services to the club sports of men’s baseball and women’s crew. The final layer of funding comes from the revenues produced by the department’s camps, sponsorships, gate receipts and guarantees, and fund-raising. Money raised from these sources is used for non-essential items that nonetheless add to the quality of the experience our athletes have. This can include long out-of-state non-conference road trips to broaden the competitive experience, an additional assistant coach, or higher-quality uniforms and equipment.
The institution demonstrates its commitment to fair and equitable treatment of both male and female athletes in providing opportunities for participation, financial aid, student-support services, equipment, and access to facilities.
Evergreen has been scrupulous in following the proportionality method of insuring equity between women’s and men’s teams in its intercollegiate programming. Since enrollment typically runs 52-55% female, Evergreen provides 55% of the potential roster slots on its teams to women’s sports and allocates 55% of available scholarship funds to female athletes. At year’s end, these numbers may be slightly different depending upon recruitment success of various coaches in a given year, but Evergreen’s ( Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) reports consistently reflect a commitment to gender equity, both in participation and in budgeting. Additionally, when Evergreen’s commitment to a separate state law mandating equity was last measured by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board and a state senate subcommittee, we were found to be 98% in compliance. This, along with a 101 score for Central Washington University, was one of the two best among the state’s six public institutions.
The institution publishes its policy concerning the scheduling of intercollegiate practices and competition for both men and women that avoids conflicts with the instructional calendar, particularly during end-of-term examinations.
College policy does not allow for any preferential treatment of athletes. Evergreen’s student-athlete handbook makes clear that it is the job of the student to arrange to make up work missed in seminar, lectures, or group work because of a road trip or other lengthy competition. Further, student-athletes are informed that in every case, class time may not be missed for practice or other team events not directly related to formal competition.
Conclusion - Athletics
Evergreen has made significant progress in intercollegiate athletics over the past decade, going from an afterthought in the Cascade Conference, to a regular contender for playoff positions. Our teams have been an excellent bridge between Evergreen and the local community. Geoduck Sports Camp t-shirts are now routinely spotted on kids around town. Areas for improvement remain. Chief among these is the development of more private support for our programs. Progress in that area could lead to success in Evergreen’s goals of one day fielding intercollegiate baseball and softball teams, as well as providing more financial assistance to more student-athletes as they navigate the sometimes difficult path of committing to academics and athletics while still having to make ends meet.
Standard Three Findings and Conclusions
Findings and Conclusions:
1.) After thirty years, the students of Evergreen have designed and developed a new student government (The Geoduck Union) to represent student and voice concerns about campus issues, and provide student representatives to campus-wide committees and DTF’s.
2.) Student Affairs staff have been actively involved in the Library Phase II Remodel that will houseStudent Affairs services. In addition, they have played a central role in the major renovations to campus housing and the design of the Community Activities Building.
3.) Conversion to Banner Information Systems has resulted in more accurate and timely service to students, communication with prospective students, registration, advising, notification of awards of financial aid, billing and student accounts. This conversion has produced greater efficiency. Greater volumes of students have been accommodated while staffing has remained stable. These efficiencies have also streamlined the interface with academic program services, especially enrollment and the processing of evaluations.
4.) The registrar and the academic program secretaries have establish new protocols for the handling of evaluation documents that have speeded up the complex task of producing transcript narrative evaluations.
5.) The transition to e-mail communications has allowed clearer and more current communication with students by student affairs, academics, and the business office. This transition has resulted in significant savings in costs and time.
6.) The continuing upgrading and development of the campus Web site has provided more and better information about student services. The conversion of the college catalog to a Web-based format allows much more current information and easier searching.
7. SASS has provided a wide range of student services that help promote diversity including KEY and First Peoples' Advising, and a wide range of services to the Reservation-Based Program and Tacoma Program off site. Reach back programs GEAR UP and Upward Bound have been supported with grants. The area has worked hard on recruitment of a diverse student body and has provided significant training in diversity issues to its staff.
8.) Academic Advising has provided a solid voluntary foundation for advising work. The more fragmented structure of the curriculum suggests that a more systematic advising structure that implicates faculty, as well as staff, should be explored.
9.) The renovation of student housing and the establishment of a campus meal plan have helped put both residential services on a more stable footing. The development of sustainability initiatives in this area connecting food services to the Organic Farm, and the establishment of an Office of Residential Life have strengthened the area.
10.) Demands on health, counseling, and police services have increased. Staff in these areas have worked hard to meet these needs with limited resources.
11.) Recruitment of new students has been improved by more strategic use of resources, careful consideration of basic markets, overhaul of publications, the targeted use of tuition waivers, efficient response to inquiries, provision of high quality campus visits, and increased faculty involvement.
1.) The area has made critical and substantial gains in its basic technological infrastructure. The use of the Banner information system has allowed the college to integrate its information system over several divisions, to improve the accuracy and completeness of its data, and to provide more current information to students, faculty, and student services on campus. Further, the improvements in e-mail communication have allowed for much clearer and more current communication with students. The development of the campus Web site has allowed for much more timely information about services and academic programs to students, staff, and visitors to campus. Finally, the development of new protocols and processes in the handling of narrative transcript evaluations has speeded up this process significantly.
2.) The area has participated effectively in the design and development of plans for the renovation of campus facilities to improve student access to service and the quality of life in the residences.
3.) The college has successfully recruited an ever increasing number of new students in the face of increasing competition for students,
4.) Evergreen students have successfully organized a functional student government to represent student concerns across the campus.
5.) The area has demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in its goals and its services.
1.) The Academic Advising area should continue its good work with students and work with faculty to devise a comprehensive plan to provide regular advising to all students.
2.) The staff in Student Affairs should continue to work carefully with the Geoduck Union to help the group develop the capacity to respond to the demands and desires of administrative units for representation, while allowing the group to develop student voice and presence.
3.) In response to the Strategic Plan, the area will work on developing strategic enrollment planning and coordination with curriculum enrollment growth, and institutional promotion.