UNC Today: Friday, February 21, 2014

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UNC Pilots Online Advising System to Foster Student Success

An English class identified as a critical course for success can help inform biology majors at the University of Northern Colorado if they're on the right track.

That's an example of the idea behind a powerful new advising tool being launched at UNC to reach students before it's too late and support degree completion. The system uses analytics and predictive modeling in identifying courses that are markers for success in a chosen major.

"This helps us identify the not-so-obvious struggling student," said Stephanie Torrez, assistant dean for Academic Support, in describing a student who may be making a combination of mid-range Cs, Bs, and even As on their grade report. "Those students might be at high risk of not completing if they're not hitting marks of what we say are indicators of who's more likely to succeed."

The technology being piloted from the Education Advisory Board allows faculty and staff advisers to compare a student's past performance with the program-specific performance of thousands of UNC students. The system, called the Student Success Collaborative (SSC), alerts advisers to courses in which the student may need additional support — even before the student enrolls. Students can see which classes predict success in their major and can make early adjustments, if necessary.

Using the data, advisers can reach out to students who are not on track to complete these courses on time or when a student's performance in a critical course, which varies by major, suggests the need for additional support.The platform also identifies majors that may be a good fit for students based on their successes in previous coursework.

"We want to provide each biology major with the necessary tools, resources and advising to support his or her success — SSC will enable us to identify struggling students early and to intervene," said Associate Professor Susan Keenan, director of the School of Biological Sciences. In addition to Biological Sciences, the online data-driven advising support system is being piloted in pre-Nursing, Elementary Education, Special Education, and the Office of Academic Support and Advising.

UNC is among more than 90 colleges and universities nationwide using SSC, an initiative within UNC's enrollment plan to support student success amid a growing need for more college graduates in a knowledge-based economy. Rob Reinsvold, associate professor of biology, noted that SSC can "enhance interaction with students, which hopefully will make them feel more valued."

"We want our majors to feel connected to biology and the university," he said.

UNC Writers' Conference Features Author of 'Big Fish'

The 2014 Rosenberry Writers' Conference at the University of Northern Colorado March 10-12 will feature readings by renowned, award-winning authors whose works have been featured around the globe.

Author Daniel Wallace, whose novel Big Fish was made into a motion picture by Tim Burton in 2003 and a Broadway musical in 2013, will begin the three-day conference with a reading at 7 p.m. March 10, in the Panorama Room of the University Center, intersection of 10th Avenue and 20th Street.

The event is free and open to the public, with a question-and-answer session, reception and book signing to follow.

Wallace teaches and directs the Creative Writing program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work has been translated into 25 languages. In addition to the reading, there will also be a student breakfast at 8 a.m. March 11, where Wallace will answer questions and meet with students and faculty from UNC's literature and writing classes.

The conference's other readings will be by Danielle Evans, Tuesday, March 11, and Andrea Hollander, Wednesday, March 12. Both will start at 7 p.m. in the Panorama Room and will also include a question-and-answer session, reception and book signing. Free parking will be available in lots adjacent to the building.

Evans is the author of the short-story collection Before you Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, which won the 2011 PEN/Robet W. Bingham Prize for a first book and was named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus Reviews and O Magazine. Her work has appeared in magazines including the Paris Review. She teaches creative writing at American University in Washington, D.C.

Andrea Hollander, the author of four poetry collections, won an Oregon Literary Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize for prose memoir, as well as two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Hollander teaches workshops at the Attic Institute in Portland, Ore.

Admission for each event is free and open to the public.

In addition to the readings, the writers will hold informal discussion sessions with students and faculty from UNC's literature and writing classes.

Now in its 13th year, the conference is named in honor of the late philanthropist and English teacher Walter Rosenberry, who supported the conference and nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado.

For more information, contact conference organizer Nic Brown at 970-351-2971.

UNC@UCCC Music Series Continues Feb. 25, 26 with University Choirs, Jazz Lab Bands

The University of Northern Colorado School of Music's top jazz groups, choirs, bands and orchestras perform world-class music in a world-class setting during the UNC@UCCC Music Series at Greeley's Union Colony Civic Center, 701 10th Ave. The spring series continues next week with University Choirs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 and Jazz Lab Bands at 7 p.m. Feb. 26.

The rest of the series includes:

  • April 1: Vocal Jazz, 7:30 p.m.
  • April 9: University Symphony Orchestra with UNC Opera Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $12 for adults and $8 for students, and are available at the UNC Performing Box Office at 970-351-2200 or at the UCCC box office at 970-356-5000 or the UCCC website.

Country Duo Headlines Annual Spring Concert, Tickets Now Available

Tickets for the annual UNC Spring Concert on March 29 featuring popular country duo Love and Theft are now available. Tickets are $10 in advance ($15 day of the show) for UNC and Aims students and UNC faculty and staff (current UNC or Aims ID required), and $25 for all others.

Tickets are available at the information desk in the University Center, at http://www.unco.edu/tickets or by calling 970-351-8497.

Craig Campbell, another country artist, will be the opening act.

RSVPs for Assessment Fair Luncheon Due Feb. 25

The campus community is invited to attend this year's Assessment Fair luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 4 in the Panorama Room at the University Center. The luncheon will feature a presentation by the Liberal Arts Core Task Force and a discussion about general education at UNC. Seating is limited, so RSVP your attendance by Feb. 25 to Marsha Woodruff, 351-2823. Please indicate any dietary restrictions.

Student Speaker Sought for Undergrad Commencement

The Dean of Students office is looking for a student speaker to represent the class of 2014 at the spring undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 10, with an application deadline of Feb. 26. If you know any students who'll be graduating with a GPA of 2.8 or higher, were involved in campus life and who would be interested in sharing their thoughts, encourage them to visit the DOS website for additional information, including criteria, an explanation of the selection process and other important information.

Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. Contact Sherri Moser, 351-2824 for more information.

Defenses of Dissertations and Oral Comp Exams

The following defenses of dissertations and oral comprehensive examinations are scheduled: Continue Reading

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