The student experience

Members of the Student Experience Enhancement Council and President Steven Leath

Student Experience Enhancement Council members. Larger photo.

About this council

Iowa State has a reputation for providing undergraduates rich educational experiences, both in and outside the classroom. To help ensure that those high-quality experiences endure as enrollment surges, President Leath created the Student Experience Enhancement Council in fall of 2012. The council examines many facets of the student experience -- academics, internships, study abroad opportunities, leadership development, recreational activities, housing and more.

Updates, progress

Fiscal year 2014 report released

The student experience enhancement council has released its Fiscal year 2014 report (pdf). This report includes accomplishments during the past year and priority actions and budget requests for next year.

Space and student success top priorities

A key priority for the Academic Excellence Subcommittee in FY14 was critical space issues. Among accomplishments: Science lab times were extended, with sections offered from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday. A 3/4 FTE CELT post was created to assist in blended, online and technology-enhanced learning approaches. Online testing capacity was increased. A planning study was completed on proposed biosciences facilities, which would meet needs for more introductory and advanced teaching spaces.

Among measures taken to increase student success: More staff and programming will be added in the Writing and Media Center and the Supplemental Instruction program. The library expanded hours, added security and offfered more space for collaborative learning. Colleges and departments hired additional academic advisors.
Details on subcommittee plans, progress.

Engaged faculty, staff key to academic enrichment

The Academic Enrichment Subcommittee believes academic enrichment begins with engaged faculty and staff who both offer and connect students with opportunities. The committee stresses the need for an adviser-student ratio that's low enough to allow advisers time to get to know students and guide them into experiences that fit their interests and aspirations. The committee also supports increased staffing in areas that support enrichment opportunities. FY14 progress included additional academic adviser posts. FY15 budget requests will seek funding for more positions that support critical areas of academic enrichment.

The subcommittee also recommends that faculty engagement in academic enrichment be recognized in position responsibility statements and departmental governance documents and included in faculty reviews.
Details on subcommittee plans, progress.

Space needs, technology, diversity get a look

Providing instructional and research lab space to accommodate more students; upgraded technology to handle more phones, tablets and laptops; and diversity training to foster a welcoming campus are among items on the Infrastructure Work Group's "to-do" list for the year.

Studies of academic space needs, classroom resources and learning technology needs already are under way. A proposal to triple the number of wireless access points will be submitted through the university budget process. Pilot projects and programs to help faculty and staff deal more effectively with cultural differences across campus are under development.
Details on subcommittee plans, progress.

Meet housing demands, provide a personal touch

Meet student demand for university-owned or university-managed housing. Provide a personal touch for all kinds of students, from visiting prospects to new students transitioning to college to seasoned Iowa Staters. These are among key priorities for the Student Life Subcommittee.

The committee completed an assessment of current students to determine which programs, activities and services contribute most to a great student experience. Among its recommendations for this year and next: Ensure that campus visits remain personalized and that orientation sessions don't grow too large. In off-campus, university-managed housing, replicate "house" systems -- groups of 45-50 students, led by returning upperclass leaders. Provide custom services to students in such areas as student counseling, student health and recreation programs.
Details on subcommittee plans, progress.

Strengthening experiences for students ... and community

The Internal/External Relations Subcommittee gathers input from a broad community constituency, explores the impacts and issues of a growing or declining student enrollment and develops strategies to strengthen the experiences for students as well as the community at large.