Initiative updates

Student and Retention Success Project - March, 2017

The commencement of 2017 sees our initiative continue striving to arrest attrition and maximise student retention and success.

FedUni Living welcomes new students on residence and into uni life. The residential support team completed their 2 week intensive training program in preparation for their year ahead during the weeks leading up to O’Week. The residential community welcomed over 300 new residents who participated in Compass Weekend in February. The 250 returning residents were welcomed back with a returners’s luncheon and several commencement dinners were held across our Ballarat and Gippsland campuses.

Director’s Academic Scholarships provides financial support for on-res students. This scholarship provides a rent reduction to those returning residents who were recognised for outstanding academic performance in 2016. In addition to the scholarships, the Campus Life finance team have been working closely with new residents to assist them with payment plans and extensions whilst they are settling into Uni and waiting for Centrelink payments.

Attrition Risk of Commencing Cohort identified by our Data Analyst. An analysis of our 2017 commencing undergraduates has been undertaken to identify the relative attrition risk of this student cohort in comparison to previous years. The analysis focused on students commencing at Fed Uni locations and has identified that our incoming students have a similar but slightly lower attrition risk to our 2016 commencing students. The median ATAR of our VTAC applicants has increased, acting to reduce the attrition risk, however a greater proportion of our direct applicant students are studying part-time, which acts to increase the risk. Part-time students who applied directly to the university have previously been identified as having the highest risk of attrition.

A new page on the Semester Attrition Dashboard will shortly be released to allow attrition risk data to be analysed at a program and location level. The full Data Briefing can be found on the data page of the Student Retention and Success website.

The mentor program engaged well over 1000 commencing students. O-Week through to week 2 has been the busiest time for student mentors across all faculties. Mentors do a great job in assisting students to transition to university life, answering the tricky questions and pointing students in the right direction for academic and social support. For more information on student mentors, please contact Student Futures.

Federation Business School runs a PENA Pilot. During Orientation at Mt Helen FBS commencing students were given a Post Entry Needs Analysis (PENA) to determine whether any of the students who participated may need additional support services. Students have been advised of their results, and some of the students have been referred to Learning Skills Advisors for academic support. Our hope is to improve student success through early identification of academic support needs.

FedReady praised by participating students. FedReady this year was attended by over 200 students at the campuses and almost 300 participating in the online program. Feedback was extremely positive, with attendees stating, “I really have no idea how I would have been able to navigate the first year of my course without undertaking these sessions”, and “this should be a prerequisite”. FedReady Online is self-paced, still available, and should be recommended to all students both on and off campus.

PASS classes implemented in 16 courses, through Student Futures. A total of 55 Peer Assisted Study Sessions will be running across Mt Helen, Gippsland and Berwick campuses this semester. PASS sessions should be encouraged by lecturers, tutors and mentors. Click here for more information on PASS classes.

Check In Week in week 3. Lecturers, tutors and mentor across all faculties were focused on promoting FedUni’s extensive student support services as well as making themselves available for students. The idea to check in with student’s academic progress prior to HECS census date is important for students to avoid unnecessary debt. FoST lead with active engagement through a range of innovative activities, including geocaching exercises for mentee groups across campuses. While this was a focus in week 3, being available to students and promoting support services is recommended throughout the semesters.

Graduate recruitment need to be focused on NOW. Final year students in the disciplines of Business, IT, Engineering, Arts and Humanities, and Science should be starting to pull together a plan for ‘What's next after uni?’. Many of the large organisations commence their graduate recruitment rounds in February through to Easter, so students who are not prepared now may well miss out on some amazing opportunities.

The FedUni Graduate Opportunities book is available online here and students can pick up a copy of the ‘Top 100 Graduate Employers’ book from the Careers Office on their campus. Student appointments can be made with a qualified Careers Counsellor by logging on to CareerHub here.

Hotspot program review for the Bachelor of Commerce. This year will see the degree undergo a formal program review. All aspects of the program will be examined, including course content, learning outcomes and alignment of assessments with those learning outcomes. One of the primary outcomes we hope to achieve is to increase student retention on campus, online and at partner locations. Hotspot program reviews are highlighted in Priority 3 of the Student Retention and Success strategic Plan.

FoST rolls out the new Bachelor of IT. Following last year’s formal review of the Bachelor of IT, this year sees the program undertake an internationally ground breaking design. For more information on this, please contact Associate Dean SRS, Grant Meredith.

Piloting professional development for student representatives. Faculty of Health has partnered with Student Connect in this pilot project. The aim is to develop leadership skills for students that act in leadership roles for both the faculty and the university. The first session focused on leadership strength and weaknesses, with positive feedback on the initiative so far.

The timely provision of textbooks and other course resources to students remains an institutional priority for which we are seeing great improvement in. In 2017, booklists, texts and other resources were made available earlier than ever which directly contributes to students feeling ready and prepared for success. Campus Life will continue to manage the ServiceNow solution and work towards improvements for semester two.

Conclusion of the Survey Working Party. The Survey Working Party identified in the SRS Strategic Plan, has concluded their work, culminating in the publishing of the new Student Survey Policy and Procedure. This policy and procedure provides a managed process for developing, delivering and analysing surveys. It also enables all relevant student survey analysis to be fed back into the Student Retention and Success initiative.

Survey developers are provided with quality guidelines to assist in designing surveys aligned to best practice, thus enhancing the quality of surveys distributed to our students.

We thank all members of the Survey Working Party for their work and contributions to this success.

Student Progress Working Party is currently working with Student HQ to ensure early intervention correspondence is sent to students, and appropriate follow up occurs. The Working Party will be finalising additional student monitoring and academic progress related forms before the group comes to an end in late August.

Thank you to those staff who continue to contribute to the success and positive experiences of our students. If you have any suggestions, please contact Initiative Coordinator, Kim Ferguson.