October 7, 2013
Helping Baylor University students achieve success is the mission of the Paul L. Foster Success Center (PLFSC). Helping them understand exactly what it takes to achieve that success - and to gain that knowledge as soon as possible - is the goal of MAP-Works, an innovative program available to students for the second year this fall semester.
The MAP-Works assessment tool - jointly managed by the PLFSC and Campus Living & Learning - is designed to give students a means of assessing how well their study habits and other practices correspond to their academic aspirations and to those of students with a proven record of success.
During the assessment period, students are encouraged to check their Baylor email accounts for instructions containing each student's unique survey link.
Path to success
The program can be a powerful tool in helping Baylor students realize what it will take to be successful at Baylor, according to Ron English, an advisor in the PLFSC's Academic Support Programs who serves as the MAP-Works campus coordinator.
"We hope to have students become much more engaged in their own academic progress and success by having a tool where they can readily identify tangible means to an enriching Baylor experience," English said. "Through MAP-Works, students will recognize gaps between their behavior and their desired academic outcomes and understand the elements that impact their social and academic success."
That's why he, and others connected to the program, hope faculty and staff members will encourage students to participate in MAP-Works.
"The best way for faculty and staff to encourage students to take the assessment is through personal interactions," English said. "This year, we will primarily encourage students through emails, and New Student Experience instructors will have an in-class activity that uses the MAP-Works individualized student report. However, we will need to continue to work to have MAP-Works become a part of the culture and conversation among the faculty and staff on campus."
Following completion of the assessment, students receive a report, which can be viewed online as a PDF document and a video. The individualized report offers students a candid and comprehensive look at their strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing them with a list of campus resources and a "go-to person" assigned to help each individual student find his or her path to success at Baylor by addressing issues that may be hindering their progress.
A win-win result
Last fall, almost 80 percent of incoming freshmen and transfer students completed the MAP-Works assessment.
Baylor administrators hope to see even more students participate in 2013.
Beyond the benefit to students seeking information about how to succeed in their classes and in their broader life on campus, MAP-Works gives the University an additional tool to identify students who may be struggling in their transition to college.
"MAP-Works allows Baylor to maximize the time and expertise of the many faculty and staff committed to supporting and challenging undergraduate students," said Sinda Vanderpool, assistant vice provost for academic enrollment management. "It allows us to identify quickly and accurately the students who need targeted support in specific areas so that we can be more strategic in the use of our resources."
By reaching out to such students through programs in the PLFSC, Baylor faculty and staff members can help prevent the worst-case scenario of a student failing or dropping out of Baylor. In the end, it's a win-win situation, with students learning how to succeed and the University improving its student retention rate.
The professional faculty and staff members assisting students receive special training and are ethically and legally bound by FERPA regulations, Baylor confidentiality standards, and the MAP-Works confidentiality agreement, Vanderpool noted.
In addition to being available to incoming freshmen and transfer students, the MAP-Works assessment can be utilized by sophomores, who will be able to compare their results to the reports they received last year.