University of North Georgia (UNG) is compliant with Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.
Although the institutional consolidation in January 2013 affected the organization and administration of the academic support service units, the individual services offered on each campus have not diminished and continue to grow. University of North Georgia makes a range of academic support services accessible to all students and faculty to ensure their success and in keeping with our mission to “[provide] a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, inquiry and creativity…[that it is] accomplished through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society.” Recognizing that the education and support of its students extends beyond experiences generated through the academic programs of the institution, UNG provides programs and services as well as institution-sanctioned student organizations, to ensure that multiple routes for student learning, support, and development are opened.
The University of North Georgia supports a wide range of academic support units. These services are specifically described in both the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs and include First- and Second-Year University Experience programs, Academic Transitions Programs, Learning Support programs, English as a Second Language and English for Speakers of Other Languages programs, tutoring, academic advising (including an Academic Advisement Center), Academic Testing, Counseling & Psychological Services, Career Services, Cooperative Education , Internship Programs, Student Health Services, Multicultural Services, Student Disability Resources, Student Center, New Student Orientation Program, Supplemental Instruction, Library Services, and Information Technology Services. The institution also offers Writing Centers on the two largest campuses and Math and Computer Science Labs, as well as state-of-the-art language laboratories for student assistance. Many of these services are described in this report in Core Requirement 2.10. Also supporting the academic program is a website option which allows users to access all institutional web pages in a text-only version.
Although there is overlap in the academic support services provided between campuses, the services offered on each campus reflect the diversity of student populations across the four campuses and their respective needs. The Dahlonega campus, the home campus for our military mission and only residential campus, has more selective admissions requirements and offers primarily baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. Academic support services such as first year experience, new student orientation, and library services are emphasized on this campus. The Gainesville and Oconee campuses are non-residential, access campuses that support students with a broad range of academic preparation and needs. Academic testing, advising, Supplemental Instruction, and tutoring are some of the services emphasized on these campuses. The Gainesville campus houses the ESL program for the institution based upon the demographics of the local community and student population. The Cumming campus offers select undergraduate and graduate degrees appropriate to the service area. Academic support services on this campus are being developed as degrees are added and the number of students served continues to grow.
Under the aegis of University Affairs and Academic Services, UNG offers Academic Advising services. The institution has academic advising offices on the Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee campuses staffed by both professional and faculty advisors. A new academic advisor position for the Cumming campus has been funded for FY2014. Beginning fall 2013, the office of Academic Advising will offer advising services to “open-option” (undeclared) students up to 42 credit hours and intrusive advising, including an Academic Success Plan, for students below 42 credit hours and not in good academic standing (NGS) [Advisement Policy]. Students with Learning Support or English as a Second Language requirements are advised by learning support/ESL faculty and staff. The Gainesville and Oconee Advising Center provide advising training to faculty and staff and provide an Academic Advising Flipbook, which condenses catalog information for easy access during advising sessions. The new Flipbook will cover all of UNG advising policy and information.
Currently, the Dahlonega Campus has an Early Alert (EA) Program, and the Advising Center is responsible for Open Option students and 50% of the Corps of Cadets. Other EA-identified students see faculty volunteer advisors, with some faculty responsible for specific categories, such as athletes. The consolidation working group for Academic Affairs recommended that UNG adopt the Early Alert Program attached to Desire2Learn or the Signals EA Program (both involve substantial expenditures) and to expand the program to all campuses. This recommendation was largely driven by the fact that few students identified by current EA systems actually seek advising (true on all UNG campuses), and also by research that shows student/faculty interaction is crucial to student success. The Desire2Learn and Signals programs are more faculty driven in that faculty concerns about grades, lack of participation, attendance, etc. are continually communicated through the system directly to the student, who can be provided with a list of resources, including advising. Professional advisors in baccalaureate programs are also part of the vision for the future of UNG advising, beginning with programs that have heavy advising loads. Dahlonega currently has a professional advisor in their education department, and this, by all accounts, works well. Professional departmental advisors are especially important for immediate intervention when students are not achieving required course completion and/or GPA levels for successful continuation in the major, which is part of our Complete College Georgia initiative. Also, students seeking advising who cannot connect with their faculty advisors (true for many commuter students) will have alternative access to advising in their programs of study. Graduate students are advised by faculty in their discipline.
On the Gainesville and Oconee campuses, the professional advisors in the Academic Advising work with students not-in-good-standing (NGS) in creating an Academic Success Plan (ASP) including “academic interventions designed to enhance student success.” UNG will work toward implementing the ASP for NGS students on the Dahlonega and Cumming Campuses. On the campuses where the ASP is currently used, a registration restriction that can only be lifted by a limited number of Student Information System users for probation, continued probation, suspension returning one-semester and one-year students. This is not yet true for the Dahlonega Campus. All ASP's will use current resources, such as the online student success modules/quizzes, for their program.
UNG offers extensive placement, credit-bearing, and other Testing options in a manner adhering to NCTA (National Testing Center Association) guidelines. The most robust testing facilities are on the Dahlonega and Gainesville Campuses, where students and community members have the opportunity to take an array of college-associated tests, including COMPASS placement and exit exams, the College-Level Examiniation Program (CLEP) tests in multiple subject areas, ACT, the Dantes Subject Standardized Test, Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE), and the Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS). Selected tests are also available at the Oconee and Cumming sites. COMPASS testing is being added during summer 2013 at Cumming Campus.The Dahlonega Testing Center, as the only campus location with graduate programs, also offers the MAT and the GMAT. Dahlonega is also a Prometric Test Center (PTC), which "are professional testing facilities dedicated to providing industry-leading testing services to all candidates. From the workstations to the furniture, every testing lab is identical to every other in all aspects other than size. The number of workstations ranges from six to nineteen in any given lab." The Testing Center in Dahlonega also handles disability and make-up testing. Those services are not co-located with Testing Centers at the other campus locations.
University Affairs & Academic Services also offers services to special student populations, including Distance Education and Veteran and Military students. Distance Education support is provided through the Distance Education and Technology Integration (DETI) office, which supplies faculty and student training and support on the use of the primary learning platform, Desire2Learn. All student success efforts are available on campus to Distance Education students. Advising is currently available online by UNG professional advisors. Online tutoring services are currently being investigated to support this population.
Support for Special Student Populations
Support for Adult, Veteran and Military-associated students (including dependents) is provided through the Center for Adult and Military Learners based on the Gainesville Campus, where the majority of the undergraduate adult learners are located. The director is also available to such students at the other three sites with periodic face-to-face visits and through online means. The center provides a one-stop shop for adult and military learners for financial aid, enrollment, and prior learning assessment services. The center oversees a Military Resource Center with a library, study space, lounge, and computers for student use on both the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses. A similarly equipped, Multicultural Student lounge and separate Adult Learner lounge exist as well.
Disability Services ensures equal access to all programs offered by the university and is available to undergraduate and graduate students. Specifically, the office assists students in receiving accommodations in the classroom and on tests, in gaining physical access to buildings and housing, in learning to be self-advocates, in developmental advisement and early registration, and in learning strategies to ensure success on a college campus. The services provided by the Disability Services are appropriate according to Board of Regents Policy as stated in the Academic & Student Affairs Handbook [Section 3.11]. Specific services available to students are outlined in more detail in Standard 2.10.
Pursuant to its comprehensive mission of supporting students through multiple degree levels as well as transfer, the University provides academic support for beginning students under the auspices of the University College (UC), a new unit designated to support first- and second-year students at the University. University College is designated as the home for UNG’s Associate’s degree-seeking students for the purposes of the admission and tuition model. While the majority of the focus for UC is on the associate degree students, services under the umbrella of UC also serve students across the university. Learning Support and English-as-a-Second-Language students and policy are served by professional staff and faculty in UC, and the unit also houses academic support units for Supplemental Instruction and Tutoring Services. UC is supervised by the Associate Vice President and Dean of University College.
UNG's Learning Support program serves students whose admission test scores, high school grades, or non-traditional status indicate a need for additional preparation in reading, composition, or mathematics, and students who choose to enroll in one or more of the courses in order to be better prepared for core curriculum courses. UNG’s placement and exit standards for Learning Support meet or exceed the University System minimums, as allowed by the Board of Regents in its Academic & Student Affairs Handbook [Section 2.9.1, UNG LS and ESL Policies]. UNG offers Learning Support courses are taught by experienced faculty, most of whom who also teach regular college-level courses in their fields. Learning Support coursework is available at all campuses, as appropriate to the student body, which is monitored yearly. The most robust offerings are at the Gainesville Campus in accordance with the student demographics and admissions requirements for the associate students on that campus. Learning Support Policy and student support is administered by the Director for Learning Support.
In addition, the institution offers a parallel track for ESL-learners in English as a Second Language, administered by the Director for ESL. ESL faculty, as with Reading faculty, are jointly-appointed to the University College and the College of Arts and Letters. Recognizing that ESL supports a population whose learning is not a matter of academic deficiency so much as language acquisition, the ESL-learners are provided with access to three-levels each of writing and reading, as well as collegiate classroom communication strategies and vocabulary-building. At this time, ESL is only offered on the Gainesville Campus and students are advised by the ESL faculty. Plans to support ESL on other campuses are under review and will be pursuant to student need.
Teaching faculty for Learning Support courses are housed in their academic disciplines and teach multiple levels in discipline. They are supervised and evaluated under their academic department's guidelines. The Learning Support (LS) Director is supported by discipline-specific faculty liaisons from each campus. The team meets regularly to discuss matters of policy (both internal and external) and procedure for advising and registering Learning Support students. Because the BOR policies do not distinguish between ESL and LS student populations, the ESL Director meets regularly with the LS Director and to ensure that ESL programming likewise adheres to the System Policies.Though Learning Support and ESL have no distance education courses at present, several online resources are provided for internal and external constituents for COMPASS preparation.
UNG also offers an array of Tutoring Services at each of the campuses as appropriate to the student population. Tutoring Services is committed to supporting UNG’s mission by providing academic support to students through individualized and group tutoring with the combined efforts of student and professional tutors.
Tutoring Services provides student access to professional and peer tutoring free of charge, in multiple disciplines. The ACTT Center at the Gainesville Campus houses both a Math Lab and a Learning Support Math Lab staffed by professional and student tutors. Tutoring in Accounting and some science disciplines is also available. Located in the Nesbitt building, with the English, English as a Second Language (ESL), and the Learning Support units, the ACT 2 Center is the Writing Center for the Gainesville campus, staffed by professional writing tutors, one of whom is also the ESL tutor (and is credentialed similarly to the ESL faculty). The Oconee ACTT is located in the Library and staffed full-time by a math and a writing tutor, as well as several student tutors in multiple disciplines. Tutoring at the Cumming site is still developing, though informal needs assessments quickly indicated demand for math and writing tutoring, so professional tutors in each discipline spend about 20 scheduled hours at the site each week.
Tutoring at Dahlonega is serviced through collaborative efforts of the English and Math & Computer Science departments with Tutoring Services. Students seeking tutoring in other disciplines or who are members of the Corps of Cadets can seek tutoring through the Academic Skills Center (ASK) and the Cadet Corps Tutoring Coordinator. The English department supervises the Writing Center, which, as with writing tutoring throughout UNG, helps student with all writing projects for students at all levels of graduate and undergraduate education. The nature of the Writing Centers tutoring is developmental, in that the process is structured to help students build written communication skills, which can be generalized to both academic and professional settings. Writing Centers are established at both of the larger campuses, Dahlonega and Gainesville, and writing tutoring is available in the Oconee Library and the Cumming Library. A study completed by one of our student tutors for his Honors Statistics course concluded that “while the majority of [Writing Center users] visit for English department and Learning Support courses, [the Center] assisted students with papers in roughly 90 different courses outside the English department (30% to 40% of total visits depending on the semester), the most prominent examples being Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, and History.”
In addition to Tutoring Services, Foreign Language Labs, reporting to the Chair of the Modern Languages Division, offer tutoring and conversation practice for students enrolled in the modern languages program at the University. These services are currently available on the Gainesville, Oconee, and Dahlonega campuses, and will start in Cumming when the first language classes are offered.
UNG has a growing and successful Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, offering 33 sections of SI in Spring 2013. SI is an internationally recognized program designed to help students earn higher grades in courses with high-DFW rates and/or are foundational for our largest majors in the Sciences or Business (such as Biology for Science Majors and Accounting). SI provides multiple weekly review sessions led by an SI Leader – a student who as previously done well in the course. The SI Leader attends and participates in class with the students. SI Mentors, students who have been facilitators for at least one year, assist the director in the supervision of students. The sessions are free, voluntary, and open to all students in the course and available at the Gainesville, Dahlonega, and Oconee campuses, with plans to expand to Cumming by 2014.
In keeping with the institution’s mission, UNG offers Study Abroad opportunities on a yearly basis and with varying lengths and associated costs through the Study Abroad Program at UNG and the University System of Georgia International Studies Councils. The Center for Global Engagement (CGE) provides opportunities for interaction between students from the U.S. and other nations. International students receive assistance in cross-cultural adjustment and integration into the North Georgia and Dahlonega communities, as well as an orientation to life in the U.S. and academic advisement. The CGE sponsors interactive programs, distributes information relevant to the needs of international students, and advises students about immigration policies and procedures and other personal and social issues. By offering these services to the international students, it assists in giving them social support and academic advisement to contribute to their overall academic success at UNG.
First Year Experience
UNG supports multiple first-year-experience (FYE) initiatives housed in different departments on different campuses based on the status as residential or non-residential. Further,UNG offers a broad and inclusive definition of FYE, so the institution expects these multiple offices to continue to be involved. The cross-unit FYE workgroup for consolidation developed the following mission: "First-Year Experience Programs will prepare students for college success and global citizenship with intentional programming and cross-campus collaboration. Through engaging curricular and co-curricular opportunities students will connect to peers, faculty, staff and the university while learning to navigate campus resources and processes". Many of the FYE best practices are already in place on our campuses and will continue to be evaluated and grow as the institution moves forward. Other services and programs supported by FYE's umbrella approach include: New Student Orientation, Weeks of Welcome, Convocation (Dahlonega Only), Co-Curricular programming provided by a variety of offices (Residential Life, Corps of Cadets, Student Life, CALM, etc.), and Family Day (Dahlonega Only). Some of these programs are described in more detail in Core Requirement 2.10.
As a part of the FYE Umbrella, UNG offers two freshman preparation courses under the aegis of University Studies. UNIV 1101 is designed for students who place into learning support at the lowest level of Math and/or reading. The course objectives revolve around study skills improvement. UNIV 1000 is a traditional, thematic freshman experience course. Both classes can be offered on all campuses (Cumming does not yet offer Reading or the lowest level of Math due to low demand for the courses, so UNIV 1101 is not offered there at present). In addition, University Studies offers a sophomore-level Career Exploration course and Internship courses for students whose majors do not have stand alone, credit-bearing internship courses.
High-performing undergraduate students at UNG have the opportunity to participate in the Honors Program, directed by the Dean, Honors and Graduate Studies, supported by Honors administrators at the Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee locations. Cumming will be evaluated as the campus population grows. The program accepts both first-semester freshman with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and minimum SAT (Verbal and Math) of 1150 (or ACT 24) and currently enrolled students who have a college GPA of at least 3.5. The program accepts qualified Joint Enrollment/Accel students as well [Honors Program Requirements]. Students apply to the program and can be accepted as either associate's students or baccalaureate students, based on their admissions category. Students in the Honors Program are advised by the Honors director at their home campus in consultation with the assigned academic advisor. Honors courses are capped at a lower student enrollment than other courses in order to facilitate robust conversation and critical development. Participation in the program does not add or change any requirements for graduation; however, involvement in Honors activities outside the classroom and service to the institution or local community are components of graduating with an Honors designation [Honors Website Introduction].