Did you know that behind the scenes, outside of the busy class schedules, student contact time, and/ or regular workload, Red River College instructors and staff are continually pursuing higher education or conducting research to improve programs or processes? Others, like Research and Planning are conducting online surveys (Paths to Success and the Student Evaluation of Program) to help students in their programs to increase student success. RRC also partners with international centres like the EDUCAUSE Centre for Applied Research (ECAR) to find out the technology habits and needs of students.
Whether it be creating English language benchmarks or interviewing youth about their personal experiences, all research studies being conducted at the College requiring the participation of staff or students must be submitted to the Research Ethics Board (REB) for ethical approval.
A diverse number of research studies were reviewed by the REB in the 2012-13 Academic year. Here is a snapshot of the studies conducted by researchers at the College.
Pre-Primary Professional Development Pilot Project-Assessment Component
The Pre-Primary Professional Development Intervention project is a joint initiative between the Aga Khan Foundation-Bangladesh and Red River College. The project is designed to support pre-primary teachers and supervisors, and increase the quality of pre-primary education in Bangladesh.
Patient Dignity Question (PDQ): A novel approach to enhancing care for patients near the end of life (lay title: What do I need to know about you?)
This project asks the question “what do I need to know about you as a person to take the best care of you I can?” This question forms the basis on an intervention, which is designed to provide a simple, effective means by which health-care providers can come to understand the patient as a person, and facilitate the ‘delivery of dignity conserving’ care for palliative care patients and their families.
Nurse Educators’ Experience of Graduate Education, Perceived Self-efficacy Beliefs and the Attraction to Academia.
The purpose of this study is to describe the nurse educator’s lived experience of graduate education, their perceived beliefs of self-efficacy and their attraction to academia. The study seeks to gain a better understanding of what is needed to encourage nurses to complete graduate education and to engage in an educator role.
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RRC staff and students at the Cultural Language Mentorship appreciation party
Every year, Red River College invites first-year, full-time students to participate in the Paths to Success initiative. Now in its eighth year, the initiative engages over 1,750 students each year from over 55 programs across the college. This post will look at some characteristics of International and Immigrant students who participated in the initiative during the 2012/13 academic year. These statistics are not “official” numbers as they are based on self-reported information from Paths and do not account for all students.
Just over one in five students who participated in Paths to Success are International or Immigrant students
Among the 1,767 students who participated in Paths last year, just over one in five was an Immigrant student (12%) or an International / Visa student (10%). These numbers vary considerably by program, reflecting differences in the types of previous education and experience that those students have compared to Canadian born students. It also reflects the College’s policy to target marketing / recruitment of some programs toward International students and limit access to some programs to Manitoba residents only (such as the Nursing program and many pre-employment trades programs which have waiting lists).
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Many post-secondary institutions in both Canada and the United States rely heavily on high school students to fill their first year classes. In many provinces students go directly from high school to college or university upon graduation. As a result, educational researchers have relied heavily on the high school average or high school GPA as the critical measure for predicting the future success for a student, since it is the most commonly recorded indicator of previous academic achievement for most students. So why aren’t high school grades that helpful at RRC?
Is there a relationship between high school grades and student success at RRC?
The Research and Planning department has spent some time looking at whether high school grades can be used to predict success, following in the footsteps of many Canadian and U.S. researchers of post-secondary education. This includes combining high school course outcomes to create an overall average, as well as using self-reported grade 12 high school averages from the Paths to Success survey. The analysis below is based on self-reported Paths to Success data.
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Most colleges and universities rely on student application data to develop student profiles, based on characteristics such as age, gender, and ethnicity. Some institutions use survey data to supplement this resource, as it provides a broader understanding of what students are like. Red River College falls into the latter group, using the Paths to Success survey to better understand who students are and how the college can more effectively support them in their studies.
This post looks at some of the characteristics of students who participated in the Paths to Success initiative over the last 4 years. While the Paths to Success survey does not cover all first year students it represents approximately 80% of this population, and is considered to be representative of first-year students overall.
Note: The Paths to Success initiative is targeted to first-year, full-time students who are just beginning their studies. Now in its eighth year, the initiative engages over 1,750 students each year from over 55 programs across the college.
Most students look to the RRC website for information
Just over 70% of students research their program on the RRC website before beginning their studies. Aside from program brochures, this is the only place where students can get detailed documented information on their program, including a program overview, course descriptions, contact information, admission requirements, and employment potential. Given that 30% don’t research their program on the web, it begs the question why they don’t use this resource.
Source: Paths to Success (2009-2012), n=5951
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In September 2005, Red River College began piloting the Freshman Integration and Tracking System (FIT), an innovative student retention initiative developed by staff from Humber College. The College has since adapted and customized this model into the current Paths to Success initiative, starting in 2007.
After eight years, the Paths initiative has involved over 250 College faculty and just over 8000 students. In the most recent year, more than 1,700 first year students participated in the initiative from 56 diploma, certificate, and degree programs.
The Paths to Success model
The Paths model has three main components:
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Welcome to the first post of the Research and Planning department’s blog – Know your Numbers. To kick things off here’s a few numbers to help you learn about us and the College.
The Research and Planning department is a crew of seven, led by dark chocolate aficionado Ashley Blackman (Director of R&P). His supporting cast includes Senior R&P Analyst and hockey fanatic Mike Krywy, number cruncher Pam Grimshaw, research assistant and avid walker Nancy Ball, the incomparable administrative assistant Sheila Allarie, SQL junkie Zaheer Ahmad + casual helper and expert pickle-maker Pat Bates.
In the 2011/12 academic year, the College had 9,135 students enrolled in full-time programs, 16,530 part-time registrations, and 3,408 apprenticeship students. Figures like these are used to support reporting to the Manitoba Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE) and for preparation of the College’s Academic Annual Report.
In the past 12 months, Research and Planning has interviewed 3,871 staff, students, alumni, and industry representatives using their online survey system. These folks participated in at least one of the 25 different surveys administered during this time period, on topics ranging from the experience of first year students, to the opinions of staff, and the perceptions of Alumni.
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