Initial Publication Date: August 7, 2019

Institutional Development

Independent of our SAGE 2YC work, one major change that's happening at our institutional level is the adoption of student learning objectives (SLOs) for each course and discipline. This effort has been slow to ramp up over the past five years, and rather weakly constrained, allowing individual disciplines significant leeway in how they construe their SLOs. The geology discipline group (comprised of full-time faculty from across NOVA's 5 campuses that teach geology) meet each semester to discuss programmatic issues. That group has elected for a minimal data collection scheme, with just one content-related question being assessed per course each semester, with (theoretically) all instructors asking that question and reporting on the percentage "passing" (>60%) for each course for each semester, and distinguishing Associates of Science in Science students from others.

Another congruent initiative at the institutional level is a state-wide process dubbed Transfer VA, which aims to completely coordinate transfer of two-year-college courses to all in-state transfer universities. Transfer VA is mandated by the state legislature, motivated by inefficiencies in transfer, and waste of financial aid on courses that don't count for a student's intended degree. However, it is an unfunded mandate, and seeks for all state schools, including 2YCs, to offer identical courses, or at least courses of identical description. Students who know what degree they want on Day 1 of college will have a more efficient experience, and can rest assured that a given geology course at NOVA will transfer seamlessly to their intended transfer institution, for their intended degree. Though this task is profound, NOVA is strongly represented on the various Transfer VA course teams, and Callan is handling the Physical Geology transfer initiative.