2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.4.9 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution provides appropriate academic support services.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) provides a broad range of academic services in support of its student population. Services range from those that are directly tied to specific classes (faculty office hours, course laboratory and recitation sections, teaching assistant support, and supplemental instruction) to broader services designed to help students in general academic preparation and planning (Learning Resource Center, Undergraduate Advising, Counseling Center, Academic Bridge Program, Disability Services, University Libraries, International Student Services) as well as career decision making (Career Services, Pre-Law Program, Pre-Health Program). These programs are housed within various student and academic administrative programs throughout the university and are assessed on an annual basis using a variety of institutional benchmarks including usage statistics, consumer evaluations, staff evaluations, and overall student success in academic programs. To better monitor the assessments and to more easily capture what loops need to be closed (and how successful the units are at closing those loops), in academic year 2005-06, UT Dallas began entering and analyzing the assessment data in its web-based assessment tool, AT6. AT6 allows each unit’s mission statement to drive the assessment process through the generation of objectives and multiple measures with specific success criteria . Sample annual reports for the programs mentioned above are available in the supporting documents        .Course-Specific Support
University policy requires that all faculty members hold weekly office hours in support of their classes . During this time students can visit with faculty regarding difficulties they are facing in a particular class as well as consult with their professor on their academic degree progress and their professional future. A wide range of classes, mostly in science and technology disciplines, provide recitation sections, problem sections, and workshops supplemental to instructional sections in academic support of enrolled students. Much of the responsibility for these efforts is dependent upon the more than 500 graduate teaching assistants assigned to specific classes.
Graduate Teaching Assistants undergo an orientation/training program  conducted through the Office of Graduate Studies in conjunction with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) . Teaching Assistants undergo periodic and ongoing evaluation by the School or Academic Department personnel in accord with Policy Memorandum 76-III.25.4, University Policies Related to Graduate Student Teaching Assistants and Graduate Student Research Assistants ; each school has developed its own review guidelines and/or forms for this purpose . At the end of each year, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost collects this material and shares the results with the Deans’ Caucus and with the dean of graduate studies .
Graduate Students have access to the ABD Seminar , an assistance program to help students identify specific pitfalls in the dissertation process and strategies for overcoming those obstacles. The information for the seminar appears on the Graduate Studies homepage  and is announced to students via e-mail and the Galaxy web portal. All graduate students have direct access to the dissertation guide as well . Once a doctoral student has assembled a doctoral committee, the committee provides an annual progress report to the associate dean of graduate studies in the student’s school, which is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies .
Academic support for specific classes is also provided through Supplemental Instruction (SI). SI is an academic support program sponsored by the Learning Resource Center . SI provides academic assistance to students in gateway courses with historically high numbers of students earning letter grades of “D,” “F,” or “W.” The SI sessions help with content mastery and with learning and study strategies that are applicable to all subject areas. SI Leaders trained and evaluated by Learning Resource Center personnel facilitate SI sessions. SI leaders have taken the same course, done well, and then during the semester attend classes, take notes, and re-read all assigned materials in preparation to conduct the SI sessions three times a week. For fall 2006, there were 16 sections of SI offered . In addition, SI Leaders made over 4,200 contacts with students through 34 classes where SI was offered during the academic year 2006-07. The remarkable success rate of the SI program has been tracked from 2003-07 , and comments on the student surveys during that same time period have been extremely positive .Academic Bridge Program
The Academic Bridge Program (ABP) seeks to attract, support, and retain students who graduate from Dallas-area urban high schools with high class rankings and who have not completed the full university-track curriculum . This summer scholarship program is offered to select entering freshmen and gives students the opportunity to begin their university education immediately following their high school graduation. UT Dallas believes in the capabilities of these students and fosters ABP as a supportive introductory environment for those who choose to attend the university . The success of the program is best illustrated by the average fall grades for the first four bridge cohorts. The average GPA, hours attempted, and hours completed for these students is comparable to the larger undergraduate student population . Additionally, the four-year graduation rate for ABP students is 38%; the five-year rate is 67%, and the six-year rate is 65%. All of these rates exceed the rates of the general university undergraduate population . In addition to assessing itself in AT6, each spring since 2000, the Bridge Program has collected the following information to evaluate the program’s success: number and percent of students recruited from each school district, ethnicity distribution for each annual cohort, gender distribution for each annual cohort, SAT distribution for each annual cohort, class rank distribution for each annual cohort, major departments for all enrolled ABP students, grade point average for cohort for each semester, grade point average for each discipline for enrolled ABP students, retention rate for each annual cohort, and the graduation rate for each annual cohort .Learning Resource Center
The Learning Resource Center (LRC)  offers all enrolled students assistance in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and study skills. These services are available through individual appointments, group workshops, short courses, and audio and video tapes. The Writing Lab  offers one-to-one assistance with writing assignments and general writing skills. The Math Lab  gives short-term and semester-long support for a variety of mathematics courses. Students may drop in or visit these labs on a regular basis. The aforementioned SI program offers facilitated group study sessions as a supplement to many UT Dallas courses. The LRC also offers developmental math, reading, and writing classes. These credit classes do not count toward graduation. Assistance is also available in study skills, note taking, writing, test taking, algebra, and preparation for the THEA (required for teacher certification), GRE, GMAT, and LSAT  . In addition, students can receive help with time management, basic mathematics improvement, test-anxiety reduction, and various other study techniques and strategies. In addition to assessing itself in AT6, the LRC produces an annual report for the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education that summarizes the LRC’s activities . During academic year 2005-06, the Learning Resource Center employed 46 student tutors and seven regular, full-time staff. The center completed 1,760 reviews for course examinations, scheduled 1,175 individual student appointments for tutoring, and recorded 6,519 visits to the Math Lab. Staff also administered 3,558 standardized tests, proctored 331 individual examinations, and completed electronic scoring of over 12,000 examinations for 34 different faculty and seven administrative units.RHET 1101-Freshman Seminar
All first-time freshmen are required to take a first semester, one credit-hour course, RHET 1101, which serves as the culmination of the First Year Experience program, providing students the guidance and tools they need to be successful at UT Dallas . The 11 week course addresses issues such as connecting to campus, using the library, an introduction to services and resources for students, recognizing personal learning styles, and understanding the nature of the college experience. Classes are small - averaging less than 20 students per instructor - to enable in-depth discussion and effective topic coverage. Students also have the choice of enrolling in some major-specific sections, so as to share the experience with students of like interests.
Each fall the Office of Undergraduate Advising completes an evaluation of each section of RHET 1101 using the standard course evaluation instrument  as well as a more qualitative analysis using an evaluation tool designed by the staff . Both instruments have traditionally returned favorable results; even so, RHET 1101 has changed from a traditional College Introduction class or study skills class to a true orientation course that provides direct interaction with a variety of functional areas and program directors across the campus. Since its inception as a required course, RHET 1101 has continued to change to meet the needs of the students and the university. While remaining a one credit hour course, it meets twice a week for 50 minutes enabling greater contact between students and instructors, particularly since classes are now limited to fewer than 20 students. The 60 sections of RHET offered each Fall semester are no longer taught solely by academic advisors; representatives from departments across campus including residential life, the library, the career center, and the multicultural center, just to name a few, serve as instructors for the course. Instructors in half of the classes team teach with an upper-class student leader in the First Year Leader program, with the goal of eventually placing an outstanding student role model in every class of RHET 1101. A common curriculum and grading scheme exist for every section and intensive multiple day training workshops for instructors and student leaders are required annually  . Students now participate in group presentations and projects and participate in a number of extra-curricular events on the campus  .Academic Advising
Academic advising is an integral part of undergraduate education. The goal of academic advising is to assist students in taking responsibility for developing meaningful educational plans compatible with their career and personal goals. Advising is more than imparting specialized knowledge-it includes helping students formulate important questions about the nature and direction of their education and helping them find answers to those questions. Students who have chosen a major meet with an academic advisor in the appropriate school regularly and in a timely manner prior to semester drop deadlines and course registration. All freshmen are required to meet with their advisor in order to register for classes. Students admitted to UT Dallas as freshmen or as sophomores, and who have not declared a major, are advised by the Undergraduate Student Advising Office, an integral part of the Office of Undergraduate Education. Students remain the responsibility of Undergraduate Education until they declare a major, at which time advising is undertaken by an advisor in the student’s program. All undergraduate advising offices assess their operations using AT6        .
Advising includes scheduled appointments, walk-in visits, e-mail correspondence, and phone and web contacts. All undergraduate students have a degree audit scheduled once they complete 75 semester credit hours. Undergraduate advisors’ contact information provides relatively ready access to an advisor when students need assistance . Undergraduate advisors track their student contacts in a locally developed software program called Advise-Web, and the results are summarized in an annual report . For 2005, the number of recorded advisor-student contacts totaled 53,294 ; for 2006 the number totaled 51,066 . Just over 62% of the contacts were personal meetings with students representing either scheduled appointments or those who walked in during advising hours. Advisors follow the basic tenets of professional advising as outlined in the Advising Handbook, available online .
Students have the opportunity to evaluate advising services through an annual survey. Almost 90% of the students in the 2005 survey rated academic advising as either “important” or “very important.” Just over 75% suggested that it is best to see an advisor at least once per semester. Over 80% of these undergraduates thought it best to see the same academic advisor across their academic career. Average ratings by students on 18 dimensions of academic advising as well as a 19th item seeking an indication of their overall satisfaction with advising suggest a general level of satisfaction with undergraduate advising services. The last row of each section contains the average of all items in that column. Ratings are partitioned by school including undeclared students. The table includes data from surveys administered during the late fall semesters of 2002, 2004, and 2005. All data are available to the individual academic units for further analysis. Collapsed over schools and categories, the average ratings are very stable over the three-year period. In all, academic advising seems well accepted and generally viewed positively by undergraduate students. The Seventh Year Advising Report suggests an increased level of satisfaction with the program .
Graduate student advising has two primary components. First, students may work with general advisors, particularly at the master’s level, for assistance in course selection and degree planning . Graduate students working on a master’s thesis or in a doctoral program work directly with a faculty advisor who oversees the students’ progress toward degree completion and eventual placement. A simple search of the UT Dallas website provides ample evidence that different academic programs provide different levels of service and kinds of information for their students .Student Counseling Services
The UT Dallas Student Counseling Center provides programs and services designed to assist students in achieving emotional well being necessary to succeed . Counselors assist students in managing academic and personal demands more effectively. The Counseling Center’s professional staff of licensed psychologists/counselors is available by appointment or in times of emergency. All counseling is confidential. Services include individual and group counseling, alcohol and other drug counseling, professional consultation with staff and faculty, psychiatric referral, and a wide range of educational programs and workshops . The Galerstein Women’s Center also provides counseling and other support services for women across the spectrum of campus constituents .
During 2005-06, the Counseling Center provided direct services to over 3,500 individuals, which included over 3,200 psychiatric and counseling sessions  as well as a number of workshops, awareness programs, and classroom presentations. The center collects information on client satisfaction on all students. The results indicate a high level of student satisfaction with the counseling staff, the counseling process, and counseling outcomes. Counseling sessions increased 22%, and the number of individuals seen for this academic year in comparison to the previous year increased 11%.Career Center
Students are encouraged to contact the Career Center  early in their academic careers in order to utilize the service fully in the development of their long range planning. The staff assists students with career counseling through evaluation and testing in the areas of skills analysis, interest identification, and values clarification. Computer-assisted searches for career information and a Career Resource Library that contains occupational and employer information are also available. The Career Center provides pre-employment preparation assistance through videotaped mock interviews and workshops on résumé writing, interviewing skills, and conducting an effective job search. Representatives of business, government, industry, education, and social agencies recruit UT Dallas students at Career Expos and on-campus interviews. The office maintains daily updated online job listings, through the UT Dallas CareerWorks system, for on-campus jobs, part-time and full-time positions with public and private employers, and on-campus interview schedules. The Career Center also manages the Internship/Cooperative Education program .
The Career Center experienced growth throughout all provided services during the last academic year . Employer contacts increased by 28.7%, which, in turn, led to an increase in employment opportunities of 28.1%, an increase in career event activity of 22.1%, and a 40.0% increase in the number of employers recruiting on-campus. There was a 25.1% increase in off-campus employment opportunities as a direct result of employer outreach by the Student Employment Coordinator. The additional opportunities helped support a 57.3% increase in the number of student employment registrations. As the Career Center staff became more involved in activities around campus, the Career Center activity also increased. The total number of counseling and internship appointments increased 6.7% and internship appointments and the number of resume critiques conducted by the resume editor increased 33.1%. Due to student demand for more career decision course offerings, there was a 27% increase in the number of credit career decision-making and internship/co-op courses taught through the various schools. This resulted in a 24.1% increase in student registration for a total of 222 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) for the academic year. Internships coordinated through the Career Center follow Policy Memorandum 80-III.24-40, Internship Policy .Disability Services
The Disability Services Office  implements the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that guarantees individuals with disabilities access to and benefits from all university programs and activities. Essentially, the law requires that colleges and universities make those reasonable adjustments necessary to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. The office works with the administration, faculty, and students to provide educational access to students with disabilities by removing structural and instructional barriers that might limit a student’s access to higher education. Services include referral, counseling, faculty consultation, adaptive instructional technology, classroom accommodations, and the dissemination of disability related information.
During 2005-06, Disability Services worked with 337 individual students . The most frequent service provided was interpreter services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing followed by proctored examinations. The staff also actively worked to increase disability awareness across campus and ensure that faculty understood their responsibilities under the law. The Disability Services Handbook and the coordinator for disability services provide faculty guidance and help with regards to assisting students with disabilities . Sample services include teletypewriters located in Disability Services and the UT Dallas Police Station , alternative testing, note takers, interpreter services, and CART/Captionist .International Student Services Office
The International Student Services (ISS) Office  is committed to providing services of the highest quality in order to help the over 2,000 international students at UT Dallas to succeed academically, personally, and professionally. The ISS Office provides unique services for international students, including immigration counseling, student health insurance advising, cultural and educational events, and orientation programs for new international students. Many of the programs offered are focused toward students in the first year of their degree program as they transition to life in this country either as an undergraduate or as a graduate student . Additionally, the International Student Services Office supports student and university compliance with The University of Texas System (UT System) student health insurance requirements .
During 2005-06, the International Student Services Office conducted International Student Orientations attended by over 800 students  as well as arranged on-campus visits by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and immigration attorneys. The office also conducted the workshops “Adjusting to American Life” and “Adjusting to U.S. Classroom Culture.” Customer satisfaction surveys were distributed to students throughout the year. Students were particularly satisfied with immigration advising, cultural programs, admissions, and the I20 issuance program.University Libraries
The Eugene McDermott Library and the Callier Library offer important academic support services to the students, faculty and staff at UT Dallas. In 2006, the McDermott Library housed 1,343,202 volumes, 2,746,026 microform units, 6,117 videos and DVDs, 17,733 maps, and 169,629 government documents . The McDermott Library’s collection of electronic journals in 2006 was 27,418 and has grown to over 30,000 ; the library also owns 364,380 electronic books and through the web offers faculty and students access to many more . Additionally, the McDermott Library is a partial federal depository for government documents . Special collections include the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library, the Belsterling Collection, and the History of Aviation Collection. Users connect to the electronic resources through the library portal . The library’s Information Literacy program provides students, faculty, and staff with assistance in developing library research skills and competent information use as part of lifelong learning . Instruction is offered as personal one-on-one sessions, library tours, or class presentations. The Library’s Information Technology Services for library personnel is responsible for maintaining a database to track troubleshooting, training issues, and maintenance updates.
The UT Dallas Libraries use LibQUAL, the library services survey instrument developed by the Association of Research Libraries in partnership with Texas A&M University , to study the service needs and expectations of academic and research library users. Results of the UT Dallas LibQUAL survey administered in 2006 , indicate that library services described in 19 of the 22 core survey questions meet or exceed the minimum expectations of users in all service categories . The three questions where the library is perceived to fall below the minimum mean service expectation deal with the study and reading spaces in the library building and a “library Website enabling me to locate information on my own.” An examination of the groups involved in the survey reveals that the graduate students rate Information Control items most highly; the undergraduate students rate Library as Place most highly. Faculty and staff rate the Library as Place highly but rate below the minimum scores for availability of needed materials (Information Control). The Library Staff members are more critical of their operation than any other group both in Information Control and Library as Place      .Academic Computing
Information Resources (IR) provides and manages a number of general purpose computer labs across the campus; the School of Management, the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences, and the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) also operate specialized labs for students in their academic programs, such as the EPPS GIS lab. IR computer labs currently occupy space in the Jonsson Building and the McDermott Library . Additional information about the labs and the equipment therein can be found in the response to Principle 3.4.12 .
IR publishes a list of services and resources available for student use on its homepage . Of particular importance is the UT Dallas Help Desk for students, faculty, and staff. The Help Desk takes requests for help via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (extension 2911), and online chat services. This service helps students , staff, and faculty  to create and manage their computer accounts and provide answers to common computing issues. The staff at the Help Desk also serve as consultants regarding installation, maintenance, repair, and purchase of computing systems. The Help Desk also works closely with the UT Dallas Technology Store to ensure that students and faculty are able to purchase, at competitive prices, hardware and software that are compatible with and supported by campus information technology .E-learning
IR, the School of Management, and the UT System TeleCampus (UTTC) provide support for distance learning initiatives. The UTTC is a central support unit that facilitates distance learning or e-learning initiatives for the various institutions within UT System. The UTTC staff support and promote the development of distance learning programs and courses to further the UT institutions’ goals of providing more access to higher education for the residents of Texas and beyond. The UTTC does not award credit or degrees, but facilitates collaboration among the universities by providing cost-effective tools, methods, and services for distance education programming. The UTTC provides a 24x7 Help Desk in collaboration with Embanet  and a Flash version of an online student handbook .
IR provides the infrastructure, technical, and training support for the primary e-learning tool on campus, WebCT . Additional online support materials provide students (and faculty) documentation for the use of e-learning tools such as Blackboard and WebCT . Similarly, Information Resources provides online materials to support student queries regarding WebCT, and IR e-learning staff respond to all calls from the IR Help Desk related to WebCT. The School of Management uses WebCT to offer its e-learning classes and provides considerable support to students with knowledgeable advisors and faculty as well as online materials  . In particular, the Global Online MBA and the Global Executive MBA programs provide helpful online materials to support students in the use of the tools .Office of International Education
The Office of International Education (OIE)  coordinates study abroad and exchange mobility programs . Eight hundred eighty-one students attended OIE campus-wide presentations in 2006-07 , and the office awarded 61 scholarships . OIE also provides a student handbook for international students coming to UT Dallas for undergraduate and graduate study . Additionally, OIE provides online applications for students to seek approval for study abroad programs and the associated transfer credit . Advising, orientation sessions, and workshops for students engaged in study abroad programs (such as the summer program at the University of Guanajuato) are also made available to interested students through OIE .Effectiveness of Academic Support Services
As mentioned above and as can be seen in the responses to Principles 220.127.116.11  and 18.104.22.168 , each of the academic support service unit conducts an annual assessment by using AT6. The budgeting process also requires annual updates as well and can be seen in the response to Principle 2.5 . Academic support service units also collect data for the annual reports noted above to monitor the level of support being offered. A review of the past four years of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data show that freshmen rate UT Dallas’ emphasis on academic support services in the 70% range; seniors, 60% range . The degree to which a large commuting population influences these results is as yet undetermined. To determine the specific areas for concern, areas administer a variety of survey instruments, such as the advising survey  and the RHET 1101 survey , the Student Affairs surveys , and the Library building survey . Service programs reference these surveys in their annual reports and determine what actions to take for continuous improvement.