B: Advance Student Achievement

Provide technology services to promote student learning and success.

Top Tier institutions couple highly productive research, scholarship, and creative activity programs with strong academic programs focused on ensuring student learning and success. UNLV’s student success initiatives are broadly articulated in the institution’s Core Themes and quantified in the Top Tier plan.

Meeting student learning and success objectives

Over the last four years UNLV has embarked on several major multi-year initiatives designed to promote student learning and success:

  1. Provide a high quality teaching and learning experience
  2. Recruit, retain, and graduate an engaged and diverse student body
  3. Advance graduate education to promote student learning and achievement
I. Provides High Quality Teaching and Learning

Critical to increasing the quality of teaching and learning is a major revision to the general education requirements for undergraduates. The reform began in 2011 when UNLV adopted a set of University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes (UULOs) and four new elements of undergraduate education to support achieving the outcomes. Table B-1 summarizes the four-year roll out of the new undergraduate curriculum.

Table B-1: Summary of General Education Reform Requirements
Initiated Element Reform Requirements
2012 First-Year Seminar
  • Introduction to college life
  • Exposure to broad expectations with a discipline
  • Initial experiences in achieving UULOs
2013 Second-Year Seminar
  • Reading and writing intensive courses
  • Emphasis on advancing skills introduced in the first year
2014 Milestone Experience
  • Experiences that introduce students to their chosen degree
  • Orientation to learning outcomes in the chosen degree program
  • Reinforcement of communication and critical thinking skills relevant to the degree
2015 Culminating Experience
  • Consolidates, reinforces, and assesses both the degree-specific learning outcomes and the broader UULOs
II. Recruit, Retain, and Graduate an Engaged and Diverse Student Body

In May 2013, students, faculty, and staff gathered at the first annual Retention, Progression, and Completion (RPC) workshop. The workshop laid the groundwork for a university-wide strategic plan to enhance student success by addressing recruitment, retention, graduation, and diversity challenges. The 2014 RPC workshop highlighted progress on the overall plan and focused on activities undertaken by academic units to create data-driven approaches to improve student success and increase UNLV’s six-year graduation rate. The focus of the 2015 RPC workshop was on how individual faculty members can contribute to student retention and completion efforts. Together the institutional, unit, and faculty initiatives are helping meet student success and diversity efforts in support of accreditation requirements while also increasing graduation rates in support of Top Tier key milestones.

III. Advance Graduate Education

UNLV’s Graduate College has adopted a new comprehensive approach to attract and retain graduate students called the Grad Rebel Gateway.Aided by the adoption of new constituent management tools, the new approach emphasizes individualized service, increased efficiency, digitally-based interactions, and better tracking of information. The new approach also provides valuable data to help determine which efforts are having the most impact on student success.

Across the institution new doctoral-level programs in high-demand disciplines are being developed within the academic units. Schools and colleges are also working to increase the number of masters and doctoral assistantships as well as compensation.Additional efforts to advance graduate education include new doctoral programs in several health-related disciplines and development of the UNLV School of Medicine. The school’s revolutionary approach to medical education - community-based, experiential, leveraging state-of-the-art virtual technologies - is receiving enthusiastic support from constituents across the state. New levels of technology planning and coordination are required to support this visionary approach to preparing students for success as health practitioners.

Together these three major initiatives – curriculum reform, student engagement, and advances in graduate education - are designed to meet essential elements of UNLV’s mission related to education. Additionally, the campus has recently revised the Academic Master Plan. The plan outlines programmatic and curricular changes that will help attract competitive students in-state, nationally, and internationally and will meet state and regional needs for degrees that address economic development issues.

Meeting Top Tier student achievement goals

The initiatives described above are critical for achieving the educational components of the university’s multi-decade Top Tier plan. A summary of key educational milestones within the Top Tier plan is shown in Table B-2.

Table B-2: Top Tier Key Measures of Success
Advance Student Achievement
  • 50% six-year undergraduate graduation rate
  • 80% Freshman-Sophomore retention rate
  • 12-month, 7-day a week campus community
  • 200 doctoral degrees granted annually
  • 25% of financial assistance for students in graduate and professional programs from external resources
  • Reform General Education
  • Meet enrollment targets for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Enhance student mentoring and advising
  • Utilize learning assessment and outcomes data to make programmatic changes
  • Decrease student-to-faculty ratios
  • Implement a consistent set of tools to evaluate teaching effectiveness
  • Increase support for underrepresented students, faculty, and staff
  • Increase the breadth and depth of undergraduate and graduate student participation in research

Providing the technology environment

The UNLV IT Master Plan contains numerous action items designed to build a technology environment that:

  • Provides a foundation for the university’s diverse educational initiatives
  • Supports the individual efforts of students, faculty, and staff as they pursue activities to promote student learning and success
  • Provides the infrastructure for new medical education technologies
  • Adapts to accommodate additional new initiatives that will arise out of both the Academic Master Plan and the Top Tier Plan

Table B-3 describes how action items within each IT Master Plan initiative provide specific support for promoting student learning and success. Detailed information about each of the action items, including outcomes and interdependencies, are described in the full initiative. A summary of the timeline and resources required for these action items can be found in Section 5.

Table B-3: UNLV IT Master Plan: Enabling the Mission
Initiative IT Support for Student Achievement
Governance of IT
  • Includes representatives from Executive Vice President & Provost Office, Faculty Senate, and Student Affairs on the Technology Advisory Committee
  • Includes committee members from four academic disciplines (Student Affairs, Faculty Senate, University Libraries, Graduate Professional Student Association, and Consolidated Students of UNLV) on the Technology Review Board
  • Increases the impact of standing and ad hoc working groups of faculty and students addressing educational topics
Strategic Technology Planning
  • Ensures the IT Master Plan aligns with evolving Top Tier educational goals, RPC efforts, and UNLV School of Medicine initiatives
  • Fosters long-term planning to build an IT environment that supports rapid growth and innovation as articulated in the Academic Master Plan and college growth plans
  • Adjusts IT priorities to address changing pedagogy and evolving student expectations
  • Provides assessment of the Plan’s effectiveness in meeting student and faculty needs
IT Leadership and Coordination
  • Creates a CIO position that forms strong ties with student and faculty organizations
  • Provides innovative technology leadership to meet evolving educational needs
  • Charges the CIO with developing relationships with local, state, regional, and federal agencies to understand changes in technology that impact student success
  • Fosters collaboration across the IT community to better support student success
  • Provides a technology vision that champions faculty innovation, supports emerging pedagogical techniques, and enables cross-disciplinary teaching
IT Projects
  • Includes campus constituents representing educational needs in IT project prioritization
  • Aligns IT procurement and project prioritization with advances in educational services
IT Service Coordination
  • Coordinates IT services to provide greater uniformity for cross-disciplinary teams and faculty teaching in multiple departments
  • Assesses campus IT services to identify technology changes necessary to improve student experiences and enhance teaching
  • Establishes accountability for complex learning and student information IT services
  • Identifies technology resources available to students and faculty
  • Coordinates IT services to support discipline-specific technology needs
Sustaining Technology Investments
  • Develops a funding model to maintain and renew technology that supports educational initiatives launched with grant or other one-time funds
  • Updates IT infrastructure, enabling faculty to incorporate the latest technology in their academic work
  • Improves the university’s ability to implement new technology services that support student success initiatives and faculty innovation
IT Awareness and Training
  • Expands just-in-time online and in-person technical training for instructional technologies
  • Promotes peer-led professional development focusing on teaching and learning technology
  • Facilitates user groups to connect faculty using similar technologies
  • Increases use of on-line training resources to augment instruction and improve technical skillsets
  • Restructures new faculty technology orientation programs
  • Creates both in-person and online technology orientations for new students
Information Security
  • Provides targeted information about IT security issues relevant to protecting student data
  • Includes representatives from the Faculty Senate, Student Affairs, UNLV Libraries, and multiple colleges on the Cyber Security Team
  • Implements backup services to ensure protection of educational documents and data
  • Assists employees in mitigating risks associated with collecting, storing, and sharing student data
  • Facilitates compliance with IT security requirements that protect student information (e.g., FERPA, HIPAA, etc.)
iNtegrate 2
  • Improves the efficiency and transparency of academic administrative processes (e.g., hiring, procurement, travel, budgeting)
  • Supports seamless integration between the new human resources and finance administration systems with the student information systems for better assessment of academic programs, budgets, and student success
Identity Management and Single Sign-On
  • Expedites cross-institutional collaboration via federated credentials for authorization and access to shared educational resources through the InCommon Federation
  • Simplifies access to educational resources and library collections at other institutions
  • Expedites the provisioning of credentials for access to university applications and data
  • Facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration through role-based security
  • Increases mobile access to major campus applications that support student success
  • Provides infrastructure for faculty to develop and use mobile applications to augment courses
  • Supports the innovative use of mobile devices in achieving learning and scholarly objectives
  • Incentivizes innovative mobile application development by and for students and faculty
  • Expands wireless capacity campus-wide
Enterprise-wide Document Management
  • Increases ability to search for electronically-routed student and academic data and documents
  • Provides automated records retention compliance for student and academic documents
  • Implements a solution to route, approve, and retrieve academic documents (e.g., annual evaluation, conflict of interest, program review)
Leveraging Institutional Data Management
  • Creates dashboards showing progress towards realizing Top Tier student achievement goals
  • Facilitates data-driven reporting to enhance RPC and academic unit decision-making
  • Increased visibility of university programs across key audiences
Communication and Collaboration Tools
  • Increases teamwork, productivity, and administrative efficiency for students and faculty by maximizing the utilization of existing and new communication and collaboration tools
  • Implements web-conferencing solutions to facilitate online office hours, group work, connecting with off-site guest lecturers, etc.
  • Implements Customer Relationship Management tools for targeted student communication
  • Implements student and employee portal landing pages with a single sign-on facilitating access to multiple campus applications
  • Assists academic units in creating web pages that meet accreditation requirements

While each major initiative in the plan includes action items that will enhance the infrastructure and business practices that support teaching and learning, additional needs that did not fit squarely within those initiatives have also been identified. Table B-4 provides a brief summary of additional actions items to meet the needs identified in the UNLV Current Information Technology Environment Report, the follow-up work sessions, and the leadership team review.

Table B-4: Additional Action Items that Promote Student Learning and Success
Type of Need Recommended Action Items
Curriculum Support and Assessment
  • Provide training in the use of Google Sites as an e-portfolio solution to support course objectives and assist with assessment of degree offerings in schools and colleges.
Teaching Evaluation
  • Implement tools to evaluate teaching effectiveness
Data Management and Analytics
  • Enhance RPC reporting and predictive modeling available from the Education Advisory Board Student Success Collaborative software
  • Assist academic departments with department-specific database needs to help track RPC and growth metrics
  • Develop additional analytics to support early warning activities and help track learning outcomes
Technology Support in Academic Departments
  • Create Academic Liaison positions in departments, schools, and colleges to provide discipline-specific technology support for faculty and students
Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Create a technology environment (i.e., IT Sandbox) facilitated by user groups for exploring ne technological innovations in teaching and learning
  • Create technology-enhanced collaborative learning spaces
Instructional Technology Support
  • Expand computer laboratory hours to 24/7
  • Install print station kiosks in key campus locations
  • Provide a comprehensive video streaming solution for instructional technology video needs
  • Enhance the campus learning management system
  • Provide lecture capture services for faculty
  • Transition to a new learning management system by 2019
  • Assist academic units in creating departmental web pages that meet accreditation requirements programs
  • Create computing laboratory environments accessible from off campus to provide students access to software needed to complete course requirements
Academic Program Support
  • Develop internship opportunities in central IT to augment the curricular offerings in academic programs in IT disciplines
Top Tier Student Achievement Metrics
  • Assist with the implementation and/or integration of data from applications used to assess student achievement goals