Rapid Response Team
Rapid Response Team
In 2023, the Social Science Lab (SSL) was appointed by Provost Mili to the Rapid Response Team. The Rapid Response Team (RRT) was tasked with assessing the perceived increase in absenteeism in first-year classes during Fall 2022 and proposing strategies to support student success.
The RRT analyzed first-year student performance and engagement data from recent semesters, including retention rates, rates of D, F, and W grades (DFWs), Blackboard usage, and reports of students in need through the Navigate and CARE systems. We also connected with resource centers on campus, including the Counseling Center, the Tutoring Center, the Student Success Network, the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, the CLAS DFW working group, academic advisors, and others. The team deployed a Speedy Survey to instructors of first-year courses and spoke with a smaller group of faculty in focus groups and interviews.
The faculty and staff participating in surveys and other outreach consistently noted that students exhibit a sluggish recovery from educational disruptions stemming from the pandemic. Issues include poor attendance, mental health issues, and low resilience and motivation. Faculty noted that many students seem unprepared for college workload expectations, and have gaps in key educational and social skills. Our conversations with faculty and staff revealed a need for more centralized and effective ways to communicate with first-year students including setting professionalism and communication expectations, teaching key Blackboard related skills, and responding to faculty outreach.
RRT members completed multiple short-term steps designed to help support faculty, staff, and students. These include collaboratively developing and activating a Blackboard communication folder, clarifying and streamlining the existing student success resource websites, and implementing a cross-divisional communication plan around student self-care and class attendance. The team also provided multiple recommendations for future work, including a path forward for a first year success team, building faculty professional development, a preliminary set of plans around coordinated and expanded communications in support of student success, expanded student support, and curriculum development.
The entire team included:
- Amanda Buday (Sociology)
- Rachel Campbell (Sociology)
- Bradford Dykes (Statistics)
- Anna Hammersmith (Sociology)
- Aaron Lowen (Office of the Provost)
- Betty Schaner (CLAS Dean’s Office)