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Education Program Working Group, 2/13/2012

The entire class played the Spectrum Mapping game from Gamestorming, page 127. In this game, players agree on six areas of concern, seeking to establish the range of opinion. Players agreed that the area was orientation, advising, mentoring and related areas.

Class discussion generated six areas:

  1. Advising. What classes to take.
  2. Mentoring. Personal development, career planning.
  3. Skill Set. Training in time management, communication, leadership, study skills, etc.
  4. Administration. The glue that holds registration, classes, hiring, and so on together (e.g., UNM web site).
  5. Financial Aid. Making it possible for students to attend UNM.
  6. Groups. Student groups collecting students with various common interests together.

Each player got 6 Post-it notes. They wrote a brief comment on what ought to be changed, if anything, from the current system. All notes were posted next to the topic, then sorted to reveal the spectrum of opinion.

Notes and summaries are posted below.


teach students to gain own information
more advisors hire more advisors!
equip them with our interests advising: great when the advisor cares and is knowledgable. Bad when the advisor seems like they don't care/doesn't know their stuff really know the classes and the one needed for specific majors - knowing that certain classes satisfy multiple requirements advising: good nsms advising good advisor told me the meaning of things between the lines advising: more personalized and integrated with mentoring advising needs to be more specific advising: increase information, how to read catalogues, loboweb, lobo tracks, something wrong more knowledgable advisors
increase Freshmen advising with focus on teaching new students ways to develop their own grad plan advising: weekly e-mails to groups of students each week encouraging communication should be automated-have students a list let them keep track of classes they need automate
one central advising place not advisement at a&s @ bio building etc.

There appears to be a consensus that advising needs to be improved, with different people offering different solutions.


Easier access Mentoring hard to trust Expand
Neutral - none provided No opinion regarding mentoring - never had mentoring
ID Many - ID their interests - ID their ability to take on more mentors Consider group mentors Mentoring groups more avid More interactive to teach college skills Increase, pair up with maybe upperclassmen, upperclassmen paired with professor Increase mentoring for all college students leads to skill setting
Have student volunteers to aid students from rural areas Lab research should be required in science - Mentor should help with helping students know what they need to get to where they want to go. Meetings with a mentor to discuss options, plans, steps or answering questions Having some be able to tell you what you need in order to get accepted into a program or job you want. Current students available 1. someone to talk to -- help in classes -- help on campus 2. Research mentor -- networking -- career help
Make it a part of graduation requirement

The rows can be classified as follows:

  1. Skeptical feel for mentoring (3)
  2. Neutral feel for mentoring (2)
  3. Positive mentoring organization proposals (6)
  4. Positive detailed organization proposals (5)
  5. Make it a requirement (1)

Skill Set

target in high schools start in high school, or make as mandatory college event (1 day presentation) skills are learned. Maybe an orientation just based on who/depts. to talk to for certain questions.
learn to navigate UNM website w/ online tutorial
need to teach students how to ask questions and be responsible and independent knowing where to find resources as well as getting organized (orientation really helped) things to know => shuttle service, city buses, tutoring available (caps, Latin American group, Engineering, math), library hours rate your professor and blog about courses
classes, intro to the university formal training
improve skill set by increasing mentoring classes and mentors use mentors to teach skill set
don't think it can be taught. Natural learning process. you're an adult...explore and learn (where mistakes mean less) you learn to obtain it throughout college
program made me learn new skill sets to do the technical work

Despite a brief introduction to the concept of skill sets, there did not seem to be a complete understanding of this topic. People went in many different directions.

Three participants either didn't believe that these skills could be taught, or that they should be learned informally through experience. At the other end of the spectrum, two participants thought that these skills should be taught in high school.

In the discussion, the concept of skill sets blurred into advising and mentoring.


Thought it was pretty straightforward Keep the same
Could be done mostly on web
Improve web interface Website needs to be better increase information and ease of obtaining it (on web)
Introduction classes More focus on first time college students
Improve admissions Better spending habits. How much is each component of spending is helping the students Log of previous encounters with each student Better intra-departmental communication Needs to be improved. Increased training so students do not get the run around for answers Non existent. Everything is done online. POOR. If it's not already messed up, it will be.
Should use mentors to help students understand problems that are encountered. Use mentors help.

Two participants thought that administration was fine and did not suggest any changes.

Most participants wanted improvements to administration. Many suggested improvements to the web interface. Several participants pointed out that there were errors in course requirements or course descriptions posted online.

There was a consensus that there should be an objective of improved customer service in the administration.

Financial Aid

Financial aid good financial aid ok- this is a big mystery until you get a class in how to write proposals to the NSF
Inquisitiveness/trying things should not have negative connotations if failure occurs not having to do the FAFSA every year improve match of students to aid improve the readiness of paperwork into the system so that students can get answers within a reasonable time
calendars with grant/fed deadlines and links to app. online tutorials for financial aid convenient
introduction class (small groups) provide info about aid to students better increase info, learn more about websites available, individual departmental scholarships (one stop shop info place) make info more available and easier to access, use less legal jargon should have better resources to financial aid more accessible scholarship info and assistance financial aid should not just assume that students are aware of all the possibilities work with an advisor more trained staff easier interface

As shown by grouping in rows, these group into:

  1. no need for change (2)
  2. improvements on current financial aid issues (4)
  3. self-help improvements (2)
  4. person-to-person improvements (9)

There was a good discussion of some of the details of financial aid.


Make sure groups are mentored. Involve more staff/faculty: break the academic "fourth wall." Having some of the group organizations recommended by your mentor.
Each group needs to have their goals so students can easily find the people they need. Make the groups information in more places. More available in more places to make it common knowledge. Reach out/invite show why being part of the group creates a value of education. Groups very specific, need to fit certain criteria. Need to advertise more. Increase information: not known enough, not a large participation currently More widely advertised. Create more. Make well known.
Rural group discussions. More group work.
Groups - OK - Student groups - as a graduate student, very little time to participate.
Not needed. (2x) Not needed. (2x)
No opinion.

As shown by grouping in rows, these group into:

  1. More UNM staff participation (3)
  2. More information needs to be relayed to student population to increase participation (8)
  3. Comments hard to place in a category (2)
  4. No time to participate (1)
  5. Feel groups need no improvement (2)
  6. No opinion (1)

Class discussion of the needs of rural students included outreach to let students know, for example, that they should take the SAT.