Content of ISES (First Half): The questions to be asked revolve around the six conditions that foster student engagement and persistence:
What is U of C; what do we stand for, aspire to be?
Mission establishes the tone of a university, conveys its educational purposes, and influences all aspects of institutional life, including the policies and practices that foster student success
Espoused mission - written mission statement
Enacted mission - what the institution actually does and whom it serves; guides the daily actions of those in regular contact with students, as well as those who set institutional policy, make strategic plans and decisions, and allocate resources
A mission that is alive: faculty members, administrators, staff, students, and other use it to explain their behaviour and talk about what the institution is and where it is headed.
There are 2 sections of diagnostic queries within this condition - Espoused and Enacted Missions (8 questions), and Values and Educational Philosophy (6 questions). These are big, overriding questions about our mission and how the institution espouses that mission, our core values, and enacted educational philosophy; senior administration would need to be involved in answering these queries.
There are 4 sections of diagnostic queries within this condition - Teaching for Learning (8 questions), Focus on Holistic Student Development (2 questions), Making Time for Students (3 questions), and Diverse Students and Learning Styles (2 questions). These questions focus on how our students are taught, how they interact with faculty members, and how the institution supports these activities; faculty members would need to be deeply involved in answering these questions.
There are 3 sections of diagnostic queries within this section: Physical Environments (6 questions), Social-Psychological Campus Climates (4 questions), Access to Learning Resources (4 questions). These questions would require input from a broad group of stakeholders, including direct input from our students.
Need to do these things:
There are 2 sections, with 6 overall sub-sections of diagnostic queries within this section. They are: Acculturation: Teaching Students How to Succeed, Creating a Sense of Community; Alignment: Creating Pathways to Student Success; Front-loading Resources (3 questions), Early Warning Systems and Safety Nets (2 questions), Integration of Complementary Student Success Initiatives (6 questions). This set of questions will take much research and requires input from all areas of campus, particularly the Student and Enrolment Services area, and the student-focused areas within faculties and departments.
There are 3 sections of diagnostic queries for this condition: Openness to Innovate (3 questions), Data to Inform and Evaluate Improvement Efforts (3 questions), and Resource Allocation (3 questions). The questions in this section are more theoretical, and it may be that different stakeholders provide us with different responses to these queries.
There are 3 sections of diagnostic queries within this condition: Institutional Leadership, Campus Partnerships, Student Responsibility. This set of questions will require input from a broad group of stakeholders, and students' input will be key.
While the above six conditions are the core of the diagnostic queries, the "Assessing Condition" book has one more final area that requires a broader review. They pitch this as, "Ultimately, it's about the culture."
They recommend that, as we think about examining and understanding the cultures and subcultures (including student cultures) of our institution, consider focusing on:
They then provide 2 sections of diagnostic queries: Institutional Cultures, and Student Cultures. These questions are also rather theoretical; it will be important to garner all groups' feelings on these issues.
Content of ISES (Second Half):
Second half of the inventory is focused on using ISES to assess effective educational practices, based on five National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) benchmarks:
There are a series of questions to be asked to help us sift through priorities for taking action. Also, within the benchmarks, many diagnostic queries need to be assessed. Many of the answers to these queries will be found within our NSSE data; workshops and focus groups will be required to shed further light on the questions.