Accelerated Program Review of Sociology Program College of Alameda: Peralta Community College District Instructional Program Review Report I. College: College of Alameda Discipline, Department or Program: Sociology Date: March 1 2008 Members of Accelerated Program Review Team: Mark Swiencicki 2. Narrative description of the program: The primary goal and objective of the COA Sociology Department (henceforth to simply be called “the department”) is to prepare and enable our sociology students to transfer to Cal State, Cal, or to any four year college and university as sociology majors. We offer an A.A. in sociology, and four classes that satisfy the IGETC & CSU-GE breadth requirements for transfer to UCs & CSUs (and that satisfy the COA A.A. Degree in Sociology). To increase student learning, interest, and relevance for our non-traditional students, the department offers a service learning program (in Soc 2 & Soc 3) that allows students to go out and work with local non-profit agencies that treat social problems, or to do ride-along fieldwork assignments with the local police departments, and then write up an analysis of how the things they witnessed apply to the course subject matter. The department also offers an “Ethnographic Digital Video Term Paper Option” allowing students in SOC 2 & 3 to produce an analytical ethnographic mini-DV documentary on the social problem of their choice (in groups of 4). Successful finished documentaries may be burned to DVD and submitted to various student film making competitions to attract greater interest in the program, and the course. So far, two such documentaries have been made, and one of these has been shown on campus at an open event. Since the department is intended for transfer students moving on to obtain traditional BAs at the university, our program is not particularly vulnerable to shifts in the regional or national economy that would cause us to significantly rethink or re-envision the program. 3. Curriculum: 1) Is the curriculum current and effective? Have course outlines been updated within the last three years? If not, what plans are in place to remedy this? All course outlines were updated and approved by the COA Curriculum Committee in 2007. I believe they are rigorous and effective enough to prepare our students for both CAL and Cal State (because the Department has never had a complaint from any of our accepting transfer institutions, and because I have met with my counterpart at CSU East Bay on two occasions and thoroughly discussed our program with her). 2) Has your department conducted a curriculum review of course outlines? If not, what are the plans to remedy this? Yes, the department conducted a curriculum review of course outlines last year. 3) What are the department’s plans for curriculum improvement (i.e., courses to be developed, updated, enhanced, or deactivated)? Have prerequisites, co-requisites, and advisories been validated? To improve and enhance curriculum, the department started offering an online section of our Intro to Sociology this semester. We also plan to offer an online course in either, the “Sociology of Crime and Deviance”, or the “Sociology of the Family”. These courses should help attract students who are working towards either a social work degree, or a career in criminal justice. 2 We do not have prerequisites or co-requisites in our program. 4) What steps has the department taken to incorporate student learning outcomes in the curriculum? Are outcomes set for each course? If not, which course do not have outcomes? The department has developed and lists student learning outcomes (SLOs) in all 4 of its course offerings. 5) Describe the efforts to develop outcomes at the program level. In which ways do these outcomes align with the institutional outcomes? The department is using SLOs in all four of its courses. The department has also adopted a revised version of the program SLOs of CSU-East Bay since the largest share of our transfers move on to CSU-East Bay. The program SLOs align with COA’s institutional outcomes (IOs) of: “Promot[ing] educational innovation, encouraging robust exploration and engaged global citizenship” and “integrat[ing] critical thinking skills across the curriculum”. The service learning assignments in Soc 2 & Soc 3 align with the COA IO of “to encourage, support, and evaluate the use of innovative learning strategies”. 6) Recommendations and priorities. We recommend that these SLOs continue to be used to help our students acquire the skills that will help them succeed at four-year colleges, in the labor market, and as better-informed citizens. 4. Instruction: 1) Describe effective and innovative strategies used by faculty to involve students in the learning process. How has new technology been used by the department to improve student learning? Here are the effective and innovative strategies, and the new technology used by the department to involve students in the learning process and improve student learning: a) Readings: Although textbooks are the core of all courses, students are also required to read about one supplementary articles or book chapters each week. Daily discussions about the readings then occur as either “class-wide” or “small-group” discussions. b) PowerPoint Slides: In addition to the above, students are given a handout with anywhere from 150 to 220 PowerPoint slides that accompany the class lectures for each course. These were very well received over the past few years in the programs student evaluations. One student told me that he had A.D.D. but that the PowerPoint slides made it easy to follow the lectures because whenever he blanked out he could always quickly get back on track by going to the PowerPoint slide that was being discussed (and to which he had a copy of). This also helps note taking since our main instructor (Mark Swiencicki) provides a xeroxed skeleton of the lecture presentations which cuts down on notetaking, but still requires the students to come to class and fill in key terms and write down the examples that are generated in class. c) Video Clips: Students are shown a series of edited digital video clips (via laptop/PowerPoint), and then practice applying the course concepts, terms and theories to the video subject-matter-at-hand during group discussions. d) Student PowerPoint Presentations: Students in SOC 2, 3 & 5 are rewarded with extra credit for doing independent research on various course issues and presenting their findings to the class via a PowerPoint slideshow. These are another favorite part of the class that helps encourage both student leadership and student-centered learning. e) Use of Discussion Leaders: In SOC 5, 1-2 students are selected each week to lead the class in the discussions of the readings. This method encourages student leadership and competency at speaking in public. f) Ethnographic Digital Video Term Paper Option: Since the Spring of 2004, students in SOC 2 (Social Problems) have had the option of producing an ethnographic mini-DV documentary on the social problem of their choice (in groups of 4), in lieu of doing an individual field study project that is written up in essay form. Two have been made to date, and one of these got a public showing in 2005. 3 g) “Service Learning Assignments” are offered in SOC 2 & Soc 3 to allow students to apply the theory that they have learned in class to the real world -- in a way that is much more meaningful for non-traditional students. h) Study Guides are given out 1 week before each exam to allow the students to focus on the most important material of the course. i) One 5-8 Page Written, analytical, sociological essay is required of all sociology students (who do not take the Video Term Paper Option) to develop their skills as social theorists and social scientists. Research questions depend on the course being taught. j) Extra Credit Online Quizzes are available for all sociology students to reinforce and apply the material they have read in the textbooks, and to allow for outside work. k) Online Forums/Discussion Groups have been utilized via the educational portal ETUDES for students to gain extra credit points by discussing the class material outside of the class. Especially designed to get the shyer students to participate in class discussions. Students can also download copies of the course PowerPoint slides and handouts at this web site. 2) How does the department maintain the integrity and consistency of academic standards within the discipline? To maintain the integrity and consistency of academic standards within the discipline, the following measures are in place in the department: a) A grade of 0 is given for plagiarized research papers, with no chance for a re-write. b) Students may not leave the room or use any books, or electronic devices during examinations. c) Students must provide full citations/evidence for all “facts” that they claim in their research papers. d) Students must include a copy of their transcripts or field notes when doing projects that involve interviews or service learning field work. 3) Discuss the enrollment trends of your department. What is the student demand for specific courses? How do you know? What do you think are the salient trends affecting enrollments? According to the enrollment data for F02 – F07, enrollments dropped about 27% from 02 to 04, and then rose 19% again between 04 and 07. The average enrollment for all COA Sociology courses over the Falls of 05 & 06 was 5-6 students higher than that of all courses at COA. On the other hand, enrollments were between 14-19% higher at the other PCCD schools for this period, but that probably occurred because COA experienced a college-wide 17% drop in enrollment in the Spring of 05. According to the above named data source for Fall of 04-06, the demand was heaviest for Soc 1 (which averaged 47 students), second heaviest for Soc 2 (average=35), third heaviest for Soc 3 (average=28), and lightest for Soc 5 (average=23). I believe part of the drop in enrollment in COA is due to an overall drop in student enrollment in the Oakland area. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article dated 3/2/2007(page B4), the “Oakland Unified's state-appointed adminstrator will close four schools in June because they have too few students” The article went on to point out that “Oakland has lost 14,000 students over the last six years, and enrollment is expected to shrink by 8,000 more by 2011”. Given that a majority of our high school students come from the Oakland schools, this goes a long way to explaining why COA is experiencing a similar drop in enrollment. However, because the Department’s enrollment bounced back 19% from the low F04 point, I believe enrollments are coming back to healthy figures. I believe there are steps COA could take to futher propel the upward trend in enrollments. For example, the COA Faculty Senate conducted its own randomly-drawn survey to find out why many of our students did not return in 2005. We found that among those dissatisfied students who left us, the most commonly cited complaints had to do with the way that we were scheduling courses. For example, 38% said we offered “too few” classes, 23% said we offered “poor or irrelevant selection of courses”, and 23% said our class “times are bad/inconvenient”. In view of these findings we recommend that COA conduct a large, randomly-drawn survey of COA students to find out: 1) what courses the students want to take, and 2) when they want to take them. This would allow us to come up with as attractive and relevant a array of course offerings as is possible. 4 4) Are courses scheduled in a manner that meets student needs and demand? How do you know? To determine the best times to offer different classes (especially new courses), the department held a number of in-class polls to find out: 1) whether there was interest in new class offerings, and 2) when the most desired times would be. Thus, we brought back a course that hadn’t been taught in a long time (the Sociology of Women), and later moved that course to a night class after our night school Intro Soc. students stated that they’d like to take that class during the evening (till then we only offered Intro Soc and Minority Groups during the evenings, alternating each semester). 5) Recommendations and priorities. I recommend that the College undertake the survey outlined in 4.3 above to find out how to retool our course offerings. 5. Student Success: 1) Describe student retention and program completion (degrees, certificates, persistence rates) trends in the department. What initiatives can the department take to improve retention and completion rates? -According to the enrollment data for Fall 05, 06 & 07 (provided by the Peralta Institutional Research Office), the retention rate averages for each course were Soc 1--76%, Soc 2--72%, Soc 3-- 69%, and Soc 5--71%. The Department does not have a “certificate” to complete, and I have not seen any data on how many students obtained an A.A. in sociology. Persistence rates were not available by course and department. -These are the steps we will take to improve retention and completion rates: After analyzing the pass rates of our main instructor, we recently discovered that about 85% of the students who failed his courses did so because they did not turn in the written term project that was worth 25% of the total course grade. Not doing so automatically lowered their grade two letter grades (i.e., B D, C F). We have also sensed that a fair amount of community college students may be afraid to even begin their projects (perhaps out of shame at their writing skills?). Thus, to try and boost retention and persistence in the future the main instructor will: a) set an earlier due date on the term projects to discover who hasn’t submitted them so he can provide a personal reminder to please do so; b) give a special motivational speech to those who are afraid to do the paper (out of fear or shame) when the paper is assigned and discussed in class. 2) What are the key needs of students that affect their learning? What services are needed for these students to improve their learning? Describe the department’s efforts to access these services. What are your department’s instructional support needs? Will be answered when the data become available. 3) Describe the department’s effort to set outcomes and assess student learning at the course level. Describe the effort to develop outcomes and assess student learning at the program level. In which ways has the department used student learning assessment results for improvement? -The Department is currently using SLOs in all 4 of the courses of its main instructor, and will begin asking its part time summer instructors to do so, also. As described in 5.1 above, the Department has already begun analyzing student data to look for ways to boost retention and persistence. -The Department has not yet instituted program-level SLOs, but will begun doing so in Fall 07. Ours will closely model those of the CSU-East Bay Sociology Program, since the largest majority of our transfer students move on to CSU-East Bay. 4) Recommendations and priorities. Adopt Program-level SLOs that are modeled after CSU-East Bay’s to make the transfer process as smooth and efficient as possible. 5 6. Human and Physical Resources (including equipment and facilities): 1. Describe your current level of staff, including full-time and part-time faculty, classified staff, and other categories of employment. -During the regular academic year the Department has one full-time instructor, and 2 part-time instructors to teach 1evening class and 1 online class. And during the summer and intersession we have one or two part time instructors to teach our 2 summer classes, and 1 instructor to teach our intersession class. 2. Describe your current utilization of facilities and equipment. The Department teaches its courses in a number of not-entirely adequate classrooms in the C & D buildings (at COA), and has full access to an LCD laptop projector and audio speaker to project PowerPoint slideshows and show video clips in the class room. Occasionally videotapes or DVDs are shown on the TV/VCR/DVD combo units present in each of the classrooms. We have also used the College’s Schoolwebpages web server to host the Department’s website and various online materials, and have used Etudes in the past to store numerous online materials on the web for the students to use and consult. 3. Are the human and physical resources, including equipment and location, adequate for all the courses offered by your department (or program)? What are your key staffing and facilities needs? Why? Because there are not enough LCD projectors for all of the faculty, faculty are reduced to fighting over who will get the multimedia equipment. We need smart classrooms in all of the regular academic class rooms (i.e., LCD projector, amplified speakers, laptop hookup, etc.). We also need a reliable wireless network in all the classrooms. 4. Recommendations and priorities. Finish updating and revising the new online offering, and recruit an instructor to teach it. 7. Community Outreach and Articulation: For vocational programs: 1) Describe the department’s connection with industry. Is there an Adivsory Board or Advisory Committee for the program? If so, how often does it meet? Is the program adequately preparing students for careers in the field? How do you know? N/A 2) Have students completing the program attained a foundation of technical and career skills? How do you know? What are the completion rates in your program? N/A 3) What are the employment placement rates? Include a description of job titles and salaries. What is the relationship between completion rates and employment rates? N/A 4) What industry trends are most critical for the future viability of the program? How do you know? What are the implications of these trends for curriculum development and improvement? N/A For transfer programs: 1) Describe the department’s work with local 4-year institutions. Is the program adequately preparing students for upper division course work? How do you know? 6 For all instructional programs: 1) Describe the department’s effort to ensure that the curriculum responds to the needs of the constituencies that it serves . Will be done when data is made available that demonstrates the needs of our constituencies. 2) Recommendations and priorities. That the survey study described in 4.3 above be done to determine the transfer needs of our students. 7 Appendices Accelerated Instructional Program Review Resource Needs Reporting Template Department/Program: Sociology Division: 2 Item Identified in Program Review (justification) Human Resources (Staffing) Provide, use & maintain current & innovative technology in the classrooms, instructional labs, support services, distance learning environment and the library. Provide, use & maintain current & innovative technology in the classrooms, instructional labs, support services, distance learning environment and the library. Contact: M Swiencicki Physical Resources (Facilities) Technology and/or Equipment Supplies Budget Curriculum Any classroom Hitachi XGA Cpx430 replacement bulb Cost: 454.56 To deliver classroom Web & Powerpoint Presentations Office Samsung SyncMaster 2243BWX-TAA 22" LCD Display* $380.68 To create classroom AV Presentations College of Alameda Integrated Planning and Budgeting Process 2008-2009 Last Year’s Budget: $ 1064 Planning Unit’s Goals, Objectives and Activities Initial Budget: $ 1064 + 1290.84 (Use one sheet per Institutional Action Priority) Revised Budget: $ 1916.24 Division: Institutional Action Priority: 2 Planning Unit: Sociology Action Priority II: Provide exemplary teaching and learning environments/ experiences to meet students’ needs through relevant curricula, innovation, partnerships, accessible formats/locations, technology, and ongoing evaluation. Goals and Objectives in support of the Institutional Action Priority 8 Goal(s): Provide, use & maintain current & innovative technology in the classrooms, instructional labs, support services, distance learning environment and the library. Objective(s): Create multimedia presentations in the office and show them in the classroom to teach students how to use social science data & research to understand society & solve social problems. Outcomes/ Assessment Activities/Tasks/Item(s) Priority for Dept. 1. 2. Description of Activity Show multimedia presentations in the classroom to teach students how to use social science data & research to understand society & solve social problems. Create multimedia presentations in the office to show in the classroom to achieve above goal. Ongoing OneTime Responsibility Costs (Lead Faculty/Lead Staff) See SLOs below. M Swiencicki x See SLOs below. M Swiencicki x See SLOs below. M Swiencicki 1290.84 454.56 $380.68 Completion Date Due Date: ___Fall 08 to -S09_____________ Review by Date: ____ Fall 08 ____________ Completion Date: __ Spring 09_____ Signature: __M Swiencicki________ 3. 4. Reference/Justification: (check all that apply, indicate page number) Additional Comments: Accreditation Self-study, Spring 2003, page Education Plan, 2004-2019, page Student Equity Plan, April 2005, page Learning Outcomes (attached) x Student Success Data Other (e.g., Matriculation Plan, Enrollment Management Plan, Program Reviews, College Profile Data) x See 08-09 Unit Plan and Accelerated Program Review for COA Sociology 9 1/26/07 10 Student Learning Outcomes Reporting Template (Program Level Outcomes) Sociology Program Level SLOs #1-3 Department/Program: Sociology Division: 2 Contact: M Swiencicki Student Learning Outcome Outcome Measure Definition of Data (Sample/Population) Method of Data Collection & Source Expected Level of Performance Actual Level of Performance Plan of Action #1: Analyze a topic or social problem using sociological methods; Average score of all sociology student term papers. Average score of all sociology student term papers. Gather average score of all sociology student term papers. 75% Data to be gathered from S08 students Gather and Analyze SLO data in Fall 08, include results in S09. #2 Comprehend Average score of all sociology student Average score of all sociology student 75% exams. exams. Gather average score of all sociology student Data to be gathered from S08 students Gather and Analyze SLO data in Fall 08, include results in S09. 75% Data to be gathered from S08 students Gather and Analyze SLO data in Fall 08, include results in S09. and apply sociological theories, terms, and concepts to written text. #3: Demonstrate exams. Average score of all sociology student the ability to apply participation course terms, grades. concepts & theories to a series of Powerpoint slides and videos that illustrate various sociological issues. Average score of all sociology student participation grades. Gather average score of all sociology student participation grades. COA Intro Sociology (Soc 1) Student Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to: 1) Analyze a topic or issue using sociological methods; (term paper) 2) Comprehend and apply sociological theories, terms, and concepts to written text; (exams) 3) Demonstrate the ability to apply the course’s terms, concepts, and theories to a series of Powerpoint slides and videos that illustrate various sociological issues. (participation). 11 COA Social Problems (Soc 2) Student Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to: 1) Investigate and analyze the causes of a selected social problem using a sociological research method; (term paper) 2) Comprehend and apply sociological theories, terms, and concepts to written text; (exams) 3) Demonstrate the ability to apply the course’s terms, concepts, and theories to a series of Powerpoint slides and videos that illustrate various sociological issues. (participation). COA Minority Groups (Soc 5) Student Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to: 1) Compile an oral ethnic history of an actual U.S. minority and explain and demonstrate how the concepts, terms and theories learned in the course apply to that person’s experiences (term paper). 2) Comprehend and apply sociological theories, terms, and concepts to written text; (exams) 3) Demonstrate the ability to apply the course’s terms, concepts, and theories to a series of Powerpoint slides and videos that illustrate various sociological issues. (participation). COA Sociology of Women (Soc 5) Student Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to: 1) Investigate and analyze the causes of a social problem confronting women using a sociological research method; (term paper) 2) Comprehend and apply sociological theories, terms, and concepts to written text; (exams) 3) Demonstrate the ability to apply the course’s terms, concepts, and theories to a series of Powerpoint slides and videos that illustrate various sociological issues. (participation).