You are on page 1of 4

1

Student Success Team Subcommittee Recommendations


SST Subcommittee for Messaging on Reflection, Career Readiness, and A-Portfolio Success

Members:
Beth Carroll, Maureen Cathey, Judy Haas, Brendan Hawkins, Tori Little, Kathleen Lynch-Davis,
and Rick Sears

Recommendations
Although many students, faculty, staff, programs, departments, and offices across campus
can reap the benefits of a more reflective student body, we see General Education, Writing
Across the Curriculum, the University Writing Center, and Career Developmentand others
immediately benefitting from increased student reflection. After reviewing scholarship and
discussing with various stakeholders, this subcommittee of the Student Success Team is making
recommendations in efforts to enhance student reflection across campus because we believe that
reflection can aid students success across campus institutions, especially in career readiness and
portfolio initiatives. There are many groups across campus who we feel possess the skills and
knowledge to help student reflection; therefore, we request that the campus continue supporting
those institutions in place already. However, we also ask the University to use its resources to
add or strengthen institutions that may not be in place already.
Things in Place Already
o The University should continue supporting the reflection done across campus in
locations such as Career Development (in developing purpose statements,
resumes, and CVs), General Education (in maintaining the Vertical Writing
Curriculum), the University Writing Center (aiding students complete reflective
writing assignments), and Writing Across the Curriculum (in providing
workshops and curricular support for writing and reflective writing across
campus).
o As portfolio and electronic portfolio use and assessment grows throughout the
local and national campus environment, the University should continue to support
the expertise and experience of long-time portfolio users across campus, including
the Rhetoric and Composition Program, the University Writing Center, and
Writing Across the Curriculum Program.
o The University should especially consider the usefulness of the cross-curricular
expertise housed in the Writing Across the Curriculum Programa program that
has been researching and presenting on reflection for a number of yearsas the
WAC program continues to offer curricular support and workshops for audiences
across disciplinary boundaries.
Things to Add or Strengthen
o The University should devise or strengthen effective ways of communicating to
students that 1) reflective writing is a useful learning strategy, 2) reflective
writing is valued by stakeholders both on and off campus, and 3) reflective
writing is key to using the many institutional portfolios, including A-Portfolio.
o The University should devise or strengthen effective ways of communicating to
students the various reflection tools (i.e. portfolio platforms) that exist on campus
and beyond.
2

o The University should devise or strengthen effective ways of communicating to


students the value of collecting and reflecting on their experiences, curricular and
extracurricular, in order to most effectively prepare themselves for their launch
from Appalachian. The University should widely promote reflection and
documentation as an essential part of the Appalachian Experience.
The University should support Career Developments Academic and
Career Plan campaign to promote active engagement throughout each
college students life cycle at Appalachian. This includes an expanded
version of Career Developments 4-year Guide so that students understand
the opportunities in which they need to engage each academic year.
The University should bolster resources for teaching and prompting
students to reflect on and document their curricular and extracurricular
experiences as the progress from orientation to graduation. (We have
included an example handout from the WAC Program that could be sent to
all event planners for use on AppSyncs event evaluation.)
o The University should encourage stakeholders across campus, including
departments, programs, and offices, to publish student A-Portfolios that reflect on
and share their experiences. Furthermore, the University should encourage
stakeholders to hyperlink to intercampus resources for reflection and portfolio
representation (see aportfolio.appstate.edu).
3

Actionable Items

AppSync Recommendations
1st Tier Actionable Items
o Campus event planners should use reflective prompts to evaluate their event. The
software platform AppSync can send evaluations and prompts to event attendees,
making prompting reflection easier for campus event planners. Tying evaluation
with reflection lets campus event planners understand other ways their events
impact students as well as affording students the opportunity to recognize the
learning opportunities they just experienced. Campus event organizers can use the
attached document (page 4) to create reflective prompts, or they can consult with
WACa program that has been researching and presenting on reflection for a
number of yearsas the WAC program continues to offer curricular support and
workshops for audiences across disciplinary boundaries.
nd
2 Tier Actionable Items
o Use the messaging and documentation available through AppSync to help
students recognize that extracurricular events can color their reflection and
portfolio creation in addition to their curricular pursuits.
o The University should encourage stakeholders across campus, including
departments, programs, and offices, to publish student A-Portfolios that reflect on
and share their experiences.
o The University should encourage stakeholders to hyperlink to intercampus
resources for reflection and portfolio representation (see aportfolio.appstate.edu).

Engagement Tracks Recommendations


1st Tier Actionable Items
o Using the organizing power of Engagement Tracks and their activities, the
University should devise, strengthen, or continue effective ways of
communicating to students the value of collecting and reflecting on their
experiences, curricular and extracurricular, in order to most effectively prepare
themselves for their launch from Appalachian. The University should widely
promote reflection and documentation as an essential part of the Appalachian
Experience.
nd
2 Tier Actionable Items
o Have students and/or mentors in the Engagement Track present portfolios through
A-Portfolio to display the reflection and portfolio process. This process can also
let newer students learn about the Track as well as create a community of learners
sharing their experiences.
o Have students connect curricular and extracurricular experiences through the
Engagement Tracks, which exist at the boundary between the curricular and
extracurricular.
4

Reflection FAQ Sheet

What is reflection?
When we ask students to reflect on their experience(s), we are asking them not simply to document who,
what, when, and where but also to consider why and how those experiences are meaningful. Students can
benefit from reflecting on experiencesbe they classes, volunteer experiences, study abroad/away
experiences, club activities, leadership roles, or other eventsby looking back to how that experience
shaped who they are today and looking forward to how new experiences might impact them in the future.
For instance, an Appalachian Literature class might provide new meaning for a students memories of
growing up in Appalachia and might also become a new career trajectory.

Why is reflection important?


Because reflection can help students make sense of difficult, or just too many, experiences in their years
at Appalachian, it is helpful for students to document their many experiences and to make meaning of
those experiences. Reflection can help students in the class to connect learning points and out of class to
connect semesters and years of learning; therefore, reflection can help students excel in career readiness
as they move towards the later stages of undergraduate experiences. General Educations A-Portfolio
electronic portfolio software platform encourages reflection across the undergraduate experience.

How do I prompt for reflection?


Here are some guidelines for question to consider when writing reflection (adapted from John
Zubizarreta, Columbia College):
What have I learned about myself as a learner?
What have I learned about my emotional responses as a learner?
What learning tasks did I respond to most easily?
What learning tasks were most difficult?
What was the most significant thing that happened to me as a learner?
What learning activity was most surprising?
What would I do differently if I could do it again?
What do I feel proudest about regarding my learning activity?
What do I feel most dissatisfied about concerning my learning activities?
What are my plans about learning?
To prepare for portfolio letter writing, students can review a reflective journal and reflective letters
accompanying assignments, and create a timeline.
When do I prompt for reflection?
Reflection is recommended for any time that you want students to gain perspective about an activity,
endeavor, class, event, etc. Reflection is recommend for all of those situationsand moreto both
document those memories and to think through that events potential significance in a students life.

Who can help me if I have further questions?


If you would like students to reflect on your event, activity, or class, you may want to consult your
colleagues to brainstorm ways you can prompt reflection. Additionally, the Writing Across the
Curriculum (WAC) Program has been researching reflection in and out of writing classrooms for many
years. They can provide assistance to you or your colleagues through workshops for teachers or
facilitators. For more assistance on reflection, please contact
Writing Across the Curriculum Program (wac.appstate.edu) [or]
Georgia Rhoades, WAC Program Director (rhoadesgd@appstate.edu).