$10,000 grant funds project to enhance first-year student experience
Vermont Business Magazine
In the spring of 2020, amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont Technical College faculty wrapped up the pilot for the Student Survival Project and prepared it for launch to all Vermont Tech students in the fall 2020 semester.
Funded by a $10,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation in 2019, this project's mission was to develop educational modules and activities designed to enhance the first year student experience and assist in development of the skills necessary for successful student transition to the college experience. Two Vermont Tech professors, Dr. Lisa Fox, School of Nursing and Allied Health Coordinator, and Jessica Riley, School of Agriculture and Animal Sciences Coordinator, developed Student Survival Modules to improve student retention and success.
Goals for this project included increasing retention among first-year students; improving student knowledge/utilization of campus resources; developing a system of pre-assessment to allow for early recognition of students in need of assistance; designing a college-wide system for early detection of students with academic, financial, and personal challenges, and providing information and easy access to resources; and implementing a Student Assessment Tool to measure academic process in real time.
The pilot project included first year students from the Nursing and Veterinary Technology programs. Fox and Riley created modules focused on introducing students to the campus, and providing them with one place where they could find helpful information and guidance. With 175 students enrolled in this first course, participation was 100%. Analytics showed that students used the course heavily throughout the first semester, and many were still referring back to the mathematics tutorials and other pages well into the spring semester.
"We received positive feedback," said Dr. Fox, "with constructive suggestions on what to change, and have been working on updating it so it will be available for students from ALL programs to use."
The Student Survival Modules will be implemented by all schools at Vermont Tech this year: School of Nursing and Allied Health, School of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, School of Engineering and Computing, School of Professional Studies and Management, and School of General Education.
The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc.
Source: Randolph Center, VT (07/23/2020) — Vermont Tech