The University of North Georgia, a regional multi-campus institution and premier senior military college, provides a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, research and creativity. This is accomplished through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia.
The University of North Georgia (UNG), a 5-campus institution of approximately 20,000 enrolled students, includes campus locations in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee. UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States, and is designated by the Georgia General Assembly as The Military College of Georgia.
The completion goals and strategies chosen for UNG reflect the breadth of its mission to provide broad educational access through multiple academic pathways, including program certificates, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, graduate education, and online courses. UNG also provides greater access to higher education through a strong dual enrollment program.
Also noteworthy, for the sixth time, the University of North Georgia (UNG) is among Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best College Values and one of only five public universities in Georgia to be listed for 2019. Among Georgia schools on the list, UNG ranks first with the lowest amount of student debt at graduation.
|Table 1: First-Time Freshman Cohort Graduation Rates (3-Year Associate (150%), 4-Year Baccalaureate (100%), and 6-Year Baccalaureate (150%)*|
|Student Characteristics||Cohort n||Associate 3-Year (Fall 2016)||Cohort n||Baccalaureate 4-Year (Fall 2015)||Cohort n||Baccalaureate 6-Year (Fall 2013)|
|Race (Underserved Minority)||630||12.4%||183||20.8%||114||59.6%|
*Figures may differ slightly from official USG123 data due to minor discrepancies within the records of a few students.
Fall 2019 Total Undergraduate Enrollment/Enrollment Profile
|Undergraduate Enrollment Demographics, Fall 2019 (at add/drop)||Total Student Enrollment Demographics, Fall 2019 (includes Graduate Students; at add/drop)|
|Enrolled||Percent of UNG||Enrolled||Percent of UNG|
|Adult Learner (age 25+)||2,037||10.46%||2,544||12.59%|
|Asian or Pacific Islander||4||0.02%||4||0.02%|
|Native Hawaiian or Pac. Isla.||27||0.14%||28||0.14%|
|Amer. Indian/Alask. Native||41||0.21%||43||0.21%|
UNG’s completion priorities align with the institutional mission and the commitment to comprehensively support and serve the educational needs of Northeast Georgia. The emphasis on academic excellence informs institutional efforts to provide clear academic pathways for all undergraduate degree levels, participation in Gateways to Completion, and, as a member of LEAP Georgia, the integration of high impact practices on all campuses consistent with the Momentum Approach.
UNG developed a Momentum Year plan in the spring of 2018 and implemented it during the following summer. UNG identified several completion priorities in that plan, with an overarching goal of scaling elements of the Academic Advising QEP. A singular priority was the completion of consistent advising tools published online that provide clear pathways for students by fall 2019. UNG included Focus Area pathways for undecided students and mapped those Focus Areas to appropriate undergraduate degrees as part of the plan. Another component focused on building institutional capacity to train faculty and staff in Momentum principles and sustained, ongoing academic advisement. Towards those two goals, UNG held its first “LEADS Day” convocation event in August; 610 faculty and staff participated in professional development sessions as part of the fall convocation, learning about topics such as the Momentum Approach, Growth Mindset & Mindfulness, diversity & inclusion, and recognizing students in distress. In the area of advising, UNG increased the number of Master Faculty Advisors collaborating with Professional Advisors; as of fall 2019, there are 42 MFAs with plans to add 3 more by January 2020. Professional Advisors advise 35 academic programs that include both Associate and Baccalaureate degrees across four campuses. Most students now have mandatory advising through the first 45 earned credit hours before transitioning to faculty mentors.
UNG also implemented a Student Transition Plan developed at the USG Advising Academy in October 2018. A key component of that plan included Professional Academic Advisors communicating with all new and transfer students, and advance scheduling them prior to attending orientation (see results section below). Advisors advance scheduled 4418 students over a four-month period.
UNG transitioned from its Momentum Year plan to a Momentum Approach plan, after participating in USG hosted Momentum and Mindset summits. The Momentum Approach plan has three, overarching goals:
Goal 1 focuses on completing clear pathways for all undergraduate academic programs and integrating career-planning resources for students to use in planning their educational experiences. Academic Advisors, Career Counselors, and Master Faculty Advisors work in concert to support students in this discernment process. Goals 2 and 3 require more development to scale across the institution.
In supporting Goal 2 of the Momentum Approach plan, the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs announced an internal program of departmental incentive grants to increase the number of gateway courses integrating High Impact Practices (HIPs) and to scale the Gateways to Completion (G2C) process beyond the four-course cohort announced in 2018. The grant provides resources for faculty to enhance additional gateway courses in coordination with the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Leadership. As part of its Momentum Approach, Career Services staff, Master Faculty Advisors, and Professional Advisors are collaborating in new ways intended to provide more robust career exploration resources that students can use early in their academic careers to make purposeful choices. These professionals promote an academic mindset while guiding students through the inform-discern-affirm approach to educational planning.
As part of the collaboration between academic units and Career Services, UNG agreed to a partnership with Burning Glass Technologies to add Career Insight to academic program pages. The technology allows any student to explore career pathways related to a degree program offered at UNG. The tool provides career information including required skills, the number of jobs advertised over a twelve-month period in a specific field, and projected growth potential for the career. UNG is currently mapping its academic programs to Career Insight, which should be available on program webpages in late 2019. Examples of silo-spanning collaborations are provided below in the results section.
Finally, Academic Affairs is conducting Academic Degree Completion “Pressure tests” to assess institutional capacity on each campus. One goal of the test is to identify “pain points” that could impede students’ degree completion. Pressure tests will aid the institution in meeting its mission to provide access to a “student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, research and creativity” in North Georgia.
In 2018, UNG implemented Co-requisite Instruction for core curriculum English and Math courses. As this was a new instructional model, comparison data is unavailable.
|Table 3: Success rates in co-requisite MATH and ENGL courses - Fall 2018 - Summer 2019|
|Attempts||Grades Reported (A-C)||Success Rate|
A key tenant of the Momentum Year plan was the inclusion of Focus Areas designed to aid undecided students in discerning an academic pathway. Focus areas were mapped to undergraduate academic programs and advising tools created to support students choosing a Focus Area. Enrollment in Focus Areas for fall 2019 is below. Table 4 shows the count and percentage of Focus Area students enrolled in 15 or more credit hours. The percentage of students enrolled in a Focus Area taking 15 or more hours is below the institutional average. All other undergraduate students matriculating fall 2019 selected a major or associate pathway.
|Table 4: Focus Area||Count||Count with > 15 hours||% Enrolled > 15 hours|
As part of UNG’s Transition Plan, Professional Advisors advanced scheduled 4418 students for fall 2019. Advisors constructed schedules using Momentum Approach principles—the appropriate Area A English and Math courses, the first of three Focus Area courses, and fifteen credit hours when appropriate (students were able to make changes to these schedules at orientation). Of these students, 93.7% of students completing the Advanced Scheduling process enrolled for the fall semester. Orientation and Transition Programs staff surveyed students about their experiences with Advanced Scheduling after orientation. The majority of students (85%) were satisfied with the process and 55% of students who responded made no changes to their course schedule at orientation (see Graph 1 & 2). Moreover, faculty and staff reported the process improved course capacity planning on regional campuses.
One of the positive effects of UNG’s completion efforts has been the spanning of silos through collaborative efforts across units and between faculty and staff. For instance, Career Services hosts Major Fairs regularly; Career Counselors organized the fall Major Fair by Focus Areas on UNG’s Gainesville Campus and faculty members representing nearly every major at UNG offered students information about majors and related careers along with the opportunity to ask questions. On the Oconee Campus, Professional Advisors worked with Student Involvement staff and faculty to host “Lunch with your major” events. The purpose of the event was to promote students learning about their chosen majors, and to expose them to possible careers. Finally, Career Services collaborated with Pre-Nursing Professional Advisors, faculty and staff representatives from departments with programs leading to careers in healthcare to host a Healthcare Major and Career Expo. The event included working healthcare professionals attending to answer students’ questions.
Given enrollment growth, UNG has made little progress in increasing the percentage of students attempting 15 or more hours a semester, even when the student count increased (see Table 5). Thus, UNG supplemented messaging around 15 hours being full-time for students to include completing 30 credits in an academic year (see Table 6). The institution will continue to monitor credits earned by full-time students to determine if this messaging is effective at promoting students’ earning 30 or more hours in an academic year. Undeniably, the pace of enrollment growth has strained institutional capacity as well as course availability on all campuses, which likely prevents more students from enrolling in fifteen credit hours consistently. In fact, the average number of enrolled credit hours for full-time students across all campuses has held steady at 13.8 credit hours since 2017.
|Table 5: Students Enrolled in 15 or More Credit Hours||Fall 2017 (at Census)||Fall 2018 (at Census)||Fall 2019 (at Add/Drop)||% Change|
|Students taking 15||2,111||2,283||2,213||-3.16%|
|Students taking > 15||2278||2,342||2,089||-12.1%|
|Total # of full-time students (12 or more credits)||12,712||13,457||13,364||-0.7%|
|% of full –time taking 15 or more credits||34.5%||34.3%||32.2||-2.1%|
|Table 6: Credit Hours Earned, Full-time Students||Full-Time Student Count||Fall 2018 Institutional Credit Hours (at Census)||Fall 2018-Summer 2019 Inst. Credit Hours|
|Student Time Status||Earned 15+ Hours||% Earned 15+ Hours||Earned 30+ Hours||% Earned 30+ Hours|
While students are not averaging 15 credit hours per fall and spring semester, they are earning credits towards graduation in other ways, particularly through summer offerings. Summer term enrollments have steadily risen; enrollment during in 2019 summer sessions grew by 3.3% over 2018. Students across all undergraduate levels are progressing through offerings in summer terms. Students enrolled at nearly the same rates in lower level and upper level courses at 44.1% and 47.7% respectively. Additionally, 8.3% of students enrolled in summer courses were transient students, earing credit towards degrees at other institutions.
|Table 7: Summer 2019 Semester Enrollment Report (data from 2019 USG Enrollment Report)|
|Student Classification||Headcount||% of Total Summer Enrollment|
Students also earned credits through Prior Learning Assessments or began college with credits earned through Advanced Placement. Students attempting to earn credits through prior learning assessments grew by 55% in AY 2018-2019. On average students attempted two exams and earned credit for one course. While 2019 data on credits earned through Advanced Placement exams is not yet available, 1229 students completed at least one AP exam in 2018. Of those students, 981 students earned scores of three or higher, earning credit for 2887 courses—approximately 8661 credit hours. In other words, 2,240 students earned 12,073 credit hours through their prior learning; while this reduces costs for students, it could be undermining UNG’s Fifteen to Finish efforts because students feel less pressure to take 15 credit hours their first semester.
|Table 8: Credit Earned by Exam (CLEP, DSST) fall 2018-summer 2019||2018||2019||% Change|
|Number of students earning credit by exam||*||1,259||*|
UNG’s commitment to serve its region by providing access to quality educational programs includes a robust Dual Enrollment program. Dual Enrollment grew again in 2019 with a fall enrollment of 1418 students, a 14.3% increase over fall 2018. Thirty-two percent of Dual Enrollment seniors enrolled at UNG in 2018 matriculated in the fall 2019 term. While the percentage of Dual Enrolled students matriculating to UNG fell in 2019, the count of students matriculating increased by 24.8%, from 318 to 397 students.
|Table 9: Dual Enrolled Students|
|Term||Headcount of Dual Enrolled Students||Credits Attempted||Credits Earned|
|Table 10: Dual Enrolled Students Matriculating to UNG||2016||2017||2018||2019 (Fall 2018 through Summer 2019)|
|Headcount of Dual Enrolled Students||865||964||1,241||1,418|
|% of participating Seniors who matriculate to UNG after high school||37%||30%||33.0%||32.0%|
Distance education remains a vital strategy in providing access to education in Northeast Georgia. In fall 2019, 566 students enrolled fully online at UNG, an increase of 19.4% over 2018. Moreover, a sizable percentage of students, noted in the Table 11 below, enrolled in at least one online course. As tables 12 and 13 show, approximately 75% of UNG students completed their degrees in 2018 through access to online education.
|Table 11: Count of Students Enrolled in at least one Online Course||Headcount||Course Registration||% Change||* Headcount and Registration data include all online modalities (UNG Online and eCore). Headcounts are unduplicated student counts for the term and success rates were A-B-C grades.|
|Fall 2019 (as of Add/Drop)||6,045||9,859||16.5%|
|Table 12: Count of Graduating Students Completing at Least One Online Course||Headcount||% of Degree with at least one online course|
|17 - 18 Academic year||2,306||69.6%|
|18 - 19 Academic year||2,464||76.0%|
|Table 13: Number of Degrees Awarded, Student Completed at Least One Online Course||# of Degrees Awarded||% of Degree with at least one online course|
|17 - 18 Academic year||660||67.3%|
|18 - 19 Academic year||681||73.5%|
UNG's QEP, “On Time and On Target,” uses a blended model of intentional advising and faculty mentoring to develop students' knowledge of and ability to achieve their educational goals and to support student responsibility in accomplishing those educational goals. The QEP goals and student learning outcomes are as follows:
The QEP was designed to impact student self-efficacy and self-regulated learning in ways that meaningfully contributed to academic success through ongoing, mandatory advisement. Data from the first three years confirmed that students in QEP majors demonstrably improved their knowledge and abilities between the first and third semesters.
Several areas illustrated significant improvement of student understanding and ability, including students’ understanding of interests and abilities with regard to chosen major, understanding of the core curriculum, how to use advising tools to construct an educational plan, and the impact of multiple major changes on degree completion. Students also reported attempting to use or that they did use academic services more frequently as they progressed from the 1st semester to 3rd semester. The most frequently used academic services were Supplemental Instruction, Tutoring Services, Labs, and the Writing Center.
Since the initiation of the QEP in fall 2016, data on QEP students at the 60- and 90- credit hour marks were unavailable. With the first QEP cohort now advised by Master Faculty Advisors (MFAs), the new data showed a continuation of student improvement in the areas of understanding and ability at their 60 and 90 credit hour marks. One of the most important takeaways is the consistency of data from QEP students (Student Self-Assessment Survey) and their advisors’ observational assessments in the areas of Student Confidence, Student Use of Academic Services, PA and MFA Perception of Student Ability and PA and MFA Perception of Student Understanding related to QEP Student Learning Outcomes.
Shift in Advising Culture
Trends seen in the first two years continued through the third year (Fall 2018-Spring 2019) of the QEP, suggesting that advising is positively influencing student learning at UNG. One of the cultural shifts UNG hoped to see was students seeking advising earlier in the semester, rather than waiting until the start of registration for the next term. Students’ use of advising services (Graph 3) during the 2018-2019 academic year grew by 22% over AY 2017-2018. When students seek out advising continues to shift earlier in the fall and spring semesters as well as the summer terms. The number of students utilizing advising services in the summer, when mandatory holds are not used, has tripled since implementation of the QEP in 2016.
There are two obvious unanticipated outcomes to date. First, the focus of the QEP narrowed from its original design. Ensuring consistency challenged the implementation team as the number of participating programs expanded. The leadership team addressed that challenge by narrowing the focus to the elements that had the most impact on student learning. Second, the degree to which academic advisors now collaborate with academic units across the institution was unexpected. The perception (value) of academic advising has changed and Professional Advisors are regularly included in department programming for students.
Over the course of three years, the implementation team has gleaned several lessons from the QEP. Successful collaborations between academic advising and academic departments made ongoing implementation more effective in some ways and more difficult in other ways. Success can also compromise goals. Early success of the QEP prompted expansion to majors not included in the initial plan. However, not everything is scalable. Starting with just a few majors in the first year was extremely helpful in working out the kinks before expanding, yet it quickly became clear that some components could not be scaled across the institution with the existing infrastructure and resources. The MFA component, for example, required a level of operational control and communication that was manageable with six majors but not with twenty. This component included MFA training, coordination with PAs and orientation staff, confirmation of attendance, management of stipend requests, and more. Consequently, the responsibility for this piece of the QEP will be shifted to the departments in 2020. Finally, not all components contributed equally to student learning, even though each one was well planned and tied to SLOs based on theory and practice. The heart of QEP success was the mandatory student advising sessions with a Professional Advisor during the first, second, and third semesters, where the “curriculum” was tightly tied to the QEP SLOs. As the QEP expanded, less effective components were not included.
Even with all that happened, the program implemented at UNG remains a story of success. Students improved their understanding and ability to plan their educational experiences, the institution expanded its infrastructure and resources to better support student learning, advising and academic programs developed more effective collaboration, and the institution continues to build on the current efforts as part of USG priorities.
The institution’s efforts to transform the advising program continues to demonstrate value to students. Assessment data suggests that students continue to increase their use of academic advising as part of their educational planning and that students are learning from the experience. The Dual Enrollment program likewise continues to grow, serving a clear need in the region. Expanding online offerings remains a critical element in UNG’s plans to provide broad access to education in the region, while meeting Complete College Georgia degree completion goals.
While UNG is not prepared to say that the co-requisite model was ineffective, University College is working to improve the program and students’ success in those courses. A success rate of 59% in the first year is encouraging and the institution is committed to improving the success rates for these students. Additionally, UNG did not have all the components supporting students in Focus Areas ready when students were applying to the institution. The late addition of those options on the application form and advanced scheduling forms for accepted students may explain the scarcity of students opting for those exploratory programs.
UNG will continue implementation of goals 2 and 3 of its Momentum Approach plan. UNG is also in the midst of developing its next institutional five-year strategic plan as well as a strategic Enrollment Management plan. Academic Affairs is similarly developing a strategic academic plan focused on expanding institutional capacity for Academic Excellence. A key component of that plan will be defining the academic character of each campus, while sustaining access to higher education in Northeast Georgia. Additionally, the institution continues to refine processes supporting the Momentum Approach based on results from implementing the 2018 Momentum Year plan.
Finally, UNG is restructuring its ESL program to operate similar to the co-requisite model for Math and English courses. Starting fall 2020, ESL support will be delivered through an ESL co-requisite course with a special section of ENGL 1101.The ENGL 1101 instructor will be fully trained in ESL practices.
|Name||Title||Strategy or Program|
|Eugene Van Sickle||AVP Strategic Student Success Initiatives||
|Steve Lloyd||Interim Associate Provost||Momentum||G2C|
|Michelle Eaton||Director of Enrollment Management and Student Success||Momentum||Persistence|
|Chris Barnes||Associate Dean for Academic Administration||
|Terri Carroll||Exec. Director of Academic Advising||
|Darcy Hayes||Director of Orientation & Transition Programs||Momentum|
|Diane Farrell||Director of Career Services||Momentum|
|Carol Adams||AVP and Dean of University College||
|Alyson Paul||Associate VP Student Affairs/Dean of Student||Momentum||Persistence|
|Gabriel Jones||Student Success Technology Specialist||Momentum|