The University of Akron's Trustees updating their admissions policy and will use a formula supporters say will help better predict whether freshman will be successful in their first year of college.
The program targets students while still in high school and uses grade point averages weighted more heavily than standardized test scores such as the ACT. GPA scores below a minimum of 2.0 won't be accepted and community college will be recommended.
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WAKR interview with Mike Sherman, provost, University of Akron
(University of Akron) The Board of Trustees at The University of Akron has approved a new rule governing admissions that uses a uniquely tailored formula to predict first-year college success for students currently in high school. UA admissions officers will use the formula to determine which applicants to admit and which applicants to steer to community colleges for their first college experience. High school students, parents and guidance counselors can also use the formula to better plan for the future.
What's unique about it? The formula is based on research on former UA student performance to determine the influence of high school grades and standardized test scores on success in the first year of study at UA. It turns out that the very best predictor of a UA freshman's success is high school grade point average (GPA). In fact, the high school GPA is 80% better than an ACT score in predicting first-year college success.
Thus, the hard and fast rules applied by some colleges, like requiring a certain ACT score for admission won't apply at UA. “As part of their admission policies, many universities traditionally have set minimum requirements for high school GPA and for ACT scores,” explains Richard Steiner, PhD, professor of statistics at UA, who helped devise the formula. “If an applicant’s high school GPA is below the minimum, or if the applicant’s ACT score is below the minimum, that applicant will not be accepted for admission. The new policy at the University of Akron breaks with that tradition.”
Steiner explains that the statistical model behind the formula was built to predict students’ first year college GPA from their high school GPA and their ACT scores. The model was constructed based on historical data from recent first-year UA students. Based on their predicted first-year college GPAs, applicants are guided into one of three pathways to academic success.
Students predicted to have first-year college GPAs of 2.50 or higher are considered “College Ready”. Those with predicted college GPAs from 2.00 up to 2.50 are considered “Emergent”. Such students will receive special student support services to help get them on the road to success at the university. Applicants with predicted first-year college GPAs that are less than 2.00 are deemed “Preparatory”. These students are not academically prepared for the rigors of university studies, and it is recommended that these students begin their college careers at a community college to enhance their chances of success and reduce their potential debt.
“The beauty of the model-based approach to determining admission status is that it is flexible,” says Steiner. “For example, students with very good high school GPAs, but who did not test well on the ACT, are likely to succeed in college. However, under the traditional policy, such students may be denied admission, because their ACT scores are below the minimum requirement. The new model-based policy considers both high school GPA and ACT together, and would, we believe, correctly place these students on a pathway to academic success.”
Associate Professor of Law William D. Rich, who serves as Chair of the Faculty Senate at UA, agrees that the new admissions policy is a more rational and flexible approach for students: “Some students who do well in high school and would succeed in college do not perform well on college entrance examinations such as the ACT and SAT. The new policy will allow a high GPA to offset a low ACT score and vice versa. The students we admit under this new policy are more likely to experience academic success at UA, to graduate on time, and accumulate less debt in the process.”
An Akron landmark building is in it's last hours; demolition is scheduled to begin today for the old train depot at 30 East Exchange Street to make way for a new luxury student housing complex for the University of Akron.
Some of the architectural aspects will be salvaged for use in the new building. The company building "The Depot" student apartments will offer one to four bedrooms when it opens in the fall of 2014..
(NRP Group Ltd. news release) University of Akron students will see major changes at 80 East Exchange Street before leaving for summer break, as an award-winning local developer begins construction on a 624-bed, four-story luxury student housing community.
The Cleveland-based NRP Group, a full-service developer, general contractor and property manager will invest over $30 million at the site of the old Akron Beacon Journal newspaper sorting and storage facility—originally a freight station for the Erie Railroad.
The existing building, which has been deteriorating for years, will be taken down to make way for new construction of “The Depot” student apartments. Vice President of Development at NRP Group, Aaron Pechota, said it was important to the group to retain some of the existing history of the building and to find a way to bring those elements into the interior design of The Depot.
“Some of the beautiful exterior eaves and other functional elements will actually be incorporated in the interior clubhouse and concierge area as decorative elements to preserve a piece of the history of the building,” said Pechota. “We are also salvaging the four monument ‘E’s, denoting the Erie Railroad, and incorporating them into the design of our new courtyard. NRP has been developing multifamily projects across the nation for 18 years, and we’re thrilled to build a student housing community right here in our own backyard.”
The Depot, located less than a quarter mile from campus, will offer students a full-range of amenities including on-site parking, a heated pool, outdoor lounge and outdoor bar and kitchen, indoor gas fireplace, indoor-outdoor living space, game room, large group fitness classroom and fitness facility, private study rooms, media lab room and conference room – among many other amenities to be announced.
Students can choose from one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom floor plans, ranging from 592 to 1,386 square feet. Inside each apartment, students will have their own individually-keyed bedroom and bathroom, granite countertops, in-unit washer and dryer, walk-in closets, ceiling fans, and contemporary furnishings including a 42” flat screen television.
“The Depot is centrally positioned in an area that both the University of Akron and the City of Akron have made a substantial investment in over the past decade. We are confident that The Depot’s location, unparalleled design and countless amenities will make it THE first class living experience for Akron students.”
Leasing will begin in August of 2013, although units will not be move-in ready until August of 2014. During construction, a temporary leasing center will open at 446 East Exchange Street, just across from the stadium. NRP has partnered with Asset Campus Housing (ACH) to handle the leasing and on-site property management.
There are many unanswered questions surrounding the kidnapping case involving three missing women found alive inside a Cleveland home Monday.
Three brothers are in custody after Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were found alive at a home on Seymour Avenue after they went missing about a decade ago.
The three suspects in the case have been identifed as Ariel Castro, 52, Pedro Castro, 54, and 50-year-old O'Neal Castro.
Mary Myers, a University of Akron professor and retired Akron Police detective who specializes in criminal profiling, explains what she believes goes on in the mind a kidnapper or serial killer.
"They have such a need to have a relationshoip and they can't have it otherwise," said Myers. "And so they take people and they hold them captive, almost like (Jeffrey) Dahmer did and Anthony Sowell would take them and use them for his purposes."
Dr. Mary Myers Talks to WAKR's Ray Horner
Myers says many of the victims develop a co-dependent relationship with their captors because they rely on them for food and safety.
"The victim is also involved in this because they end up under the, what we call, Stockholm Syndrome where they need to depend on the suspects for their food, for their safety, for their very lives.
Myers says serious threats make it difficult for the victims to escape.
"You can imagine that there were probably threats, serious threats, that if one escapes, the other two would be killed," said Myers. "So how could one escape, knowing that you're going to be the cause of two deaths? It would be very difficult to walk away from that."
The victims were released from MetroHealth Medical Center Tuesday around 8 a.m. Officials say the women are in good health.
Students at The University of Akron have some options if they need to relieve some stress as final exams approach.
The UA library system is offering extended hours and free coffee, at times, but they're also bringing in the dogs! Summa Health System's WAGTime Therapy Dogs are spending some of their days outside Summa hospitals and opting instead for UA's Bierce Library.
"In the hospital, I know it is supposed to lower blood pressure and just calm them and I know a lot of students probably miss their dogs," said Summa's Chris Peterson.
A little deeper into the library, a little deep breathing is going on ... in the form of free meditation sessions with Dr. Joe Williams.
"In order to get your studies and have it mean more to you, you have to take time - just slow down," said Williams. "You'll always have time study."
Williams says it's not just for stressful times of the semester and not just for students. He says forms of meditation can be helpful to calm adults and children before they become too anxious or too angry. According to Williams, research suggests that the average person's mind hosts about 70,000 thoughts per day, so he says it only makes sense to clear your mind once in awhile.
Numerous University of Akron students spoke to city leaders to express their concerns about the closing of the Office of Multicultural Development.
Senior English major Michael Davis says he and some of his fellow students are fighting to keep the office open because it will help future UA students sustain success in college.
"The Office of Multicultural Development will assist them in utilizing their potential," he said.
"The sharp focus of the organization on helping the retention of under-represented students."
The University plans on closing the office next year in favor of a Student Success Center for all students as well as a Multicultural Center for programming needs. University officials sent out an email to students to ensure that all services and programs will continue with the two new centers.
Over 20 students spoke during the public comment portion of the Akron City Council meeting Monday night. Last week, over 100 students peacefully protested the closing of the office on the UA campus.
Student Bianca Gomez tells AkronNewsNow.com how the OMD (Office of Multicultural Development) gave her the skills she needs to excel in the workforce once she graduates.
"OMD helped me develop leadership skills they don't teach in class or give in a handout, " she said.
Gomez served as a peer mentor for the Office of Multicultural Development in her time at UA, and said that for some of her peers, the services and support that they received made the difference between earning a degree and possibly dropping out.
Mark Smith says the Office of Multicultural Development really helped him in his college career.
"The office has directed me to navigating the campus way more efficiently than I was before," he explained.
Smith says the services offered at the Office of Multicultural Development should be their for current and future students in hopes of bolstering retention rates for minorities.
City leaders such as Ophelia Averitt, President of the Akron Chapter of the NAACP said that by closing the office, it would create a ripple effect in the community.
"I think we should do something about this," she said.
"These young people are our future."
City officials say they plan on meeting with university officials in the near future to discuss the future of the Office of Multicultural Development.
City Council President Garry Moneypenny tells AkronNewsNow.com said he was impressed with the group of empassioned young adults he saw Monday night.
"They asked us to try and reach out to the President of the University, Dr. Luis Proenza, and also to make contact with the Board of Trustees, and the least we can do is try to do that for them."
A trial date has been set for suspended University of Akron basketball player Alex Abreu.
The Beacon Journal reports Abreu is due in court on July 24 on felony drug charges after he was arrested in early March when police say Abreu and Austin Lee Durgala, both 21, accepted a delivery of five pounds of marijuana.
Abreu's attorney, Bob Meeker, commented on the allegations saying that the package was delivered to the residence of Durgala and was not addressed to Abreu.
Abreu pleaded not guilty to the charges which include trafficking and possession of marijuana. He is currently free on bond.
On the web: www.ohio.com
The University of Akron is asking it's workforce to come up with ideas...on how to cut payroll. A memo to staffers notes the University is trying to get ahead of a project $26 million dollar shortfall for the year; committees are also looking at other ways to cut costs and save money.
Enrollment at the University of Akron dropped last fall and some federal stimulus money is due to run out. Ohio law requires a balanced budget by June.
TO: Faculty and Staff
FROM: Provost Mike Sherman and CFO David Cummins
DATE: April 16, 2013
RE: Actions to increase effectiveness, efficiency and student academic success
Previous communications have suggested several options under consideration to close the $26.7 million budget gap projected for FY-2014. Because the State of Ohio requires a balanced budget be presented to our Board of Trustees in June, we must act with urgency. This memorandum is an update on strategies we are pursuing to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency in our operations, and—most importantly—to ensure student academic success.
As a reminder, the budget shortfall is largely the result of realities we and other universities face in our traditional sources of university funding: (1) reduced state and federal support, and (2) lower enrollment (enrollment = the sum of new and continuing students). Hence, we are taking the following actions:
Focus on enrollment:
* One of the most effective ways to strengthen the budget is to increase enrollment. That is why we are welcoming the efforts of faculty and staff to reach out to qualified applicants and encourage them to pursue their college career at UA. There are many activities in the weeks ahead involving student visits to our campus. Each of us can play a vital role in growing our enrollment and providing support to our students once they are here, to make sure they are successful through graduation. We are working hard with faculty and advisers to develop more effective retention and persistence strategies.
Focus on savings and efficiencies:
* We have met with the Deans and Vice Presidents to help them plan for reduced budgets. Budget targets for each academic and non-academic unit have been provided, along with assistance in the budget planning process. We have asked each Vice President and each Dean to consider:
* Are there functions that can be eliminated or reduced and/or services that can be consolidated that will generate savings and have minimal impact on essential services or student success?
* Are open positions necessary to fill? Should hiring plans be reevaluated, given a general reduction in enrollment?
* What can be anticipated from attrition (expected retirements) and has reassignment of personnel been considered to improve productivity and efficiency?
* We developed historical enrollment, staffing and spending trends for all colleges and departments before recommending specific budget reduction targets. Reduction targets for colleges considered these factors along with strategic priorities. The budget reduction target for the academic units averages 3.5 percent; the non-academic unit reductions average 7 percent. Deans and Vice Presidents have been asked to present one-year and two-year scenarios to achieve these budget reduction targets.
* We are reducing by $1 million this year's allocation to the Achieving Distinction initiative and delaying the next $2 million investment slated for fiscal 2014. We will work with faculty to ensure that the interdisciplinary research so deserving of support continues to move forward.
* Administrators and Deans are leading several initiatives designed to increase efficiency, enhance effectiveness, and boost productivity in a variety of operations throughout the campus. See a list of these initiatives, team members and some of their targeted activities.
Focus on productivity and work schedules:
* We are launching a new program that offers eligible employees an opportunity to voluntarily reduce their work schedules. Full-time contract professionals and exempt and non-exempt staff members may request a permanent reduction in working hours and corresponding pay. Obviously, there are some positions that lend themselves to shortened work weeks or 9-month positions and there may be some employees who would prefer to spend summers with their families or have a shortened work week during the full year for personal reasons. These permanent reductions will create permanent salary savings to help support the balanced budget initiative.
* Universities, businesses and industries across the nation are facing the consequences of the Affordable Care Act, and taking action to address anticipated health care costs. Here at UA, based on previous experiences and without any changes, we estimate the cost of providing health benefits to part-time staff and faculty would exceed $4 million. After considering guidance from the IRS and outside counsel, we decided to limit part-time staff to less than 30 hours a week, and part-time faculty to 8 credit hours per semester (which equates to less than 30 hours per week). We will remain flexible in evaluating individual teaching schedules. We do not yet know how many part-time faculty will be impacted by this decision, or the potential impact on the budget, as the academic review process continues and course schedules have yet to be finalized. Meanwhile, Deans and department chairs are reviewing anticipated course enrollments and schedules as well as full-time faculty workloads.
We will continue to keep the campus informed of initiatives to help close the budget gap. These are challenging times, but we have complete confidence in our ability to make the tough decisions without compromising the quality of education to our students and, in fact, enhancing their Akron Experience that leads to student success.
The University of Akron has appointed Denise Testa as director of the Medina County University Center.
The Beacon Journal is reporting Testa, who received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Akron joined the MCUC (Medina County University Center) six years ago as associate director for student services. Before that, she worked for UA's Office of Admissions and at Kent State Tuscarawas.
The center, which offers both credit and noncredit courses has been open since spring of 2008.
Testa will make $75,000 a year.
On the Web: www.ohio.com
The Akron Public Schools board says problems with part of the King Community Learning Center construction project could push that school's opening back even further.
The APS board voted Monday night to authorize superintendent David James to end part or all of the general trades contract with Hudson's Giambrone Construction.
Board president Jason Haas says that the district and its architect have found a vapor barrier applied to the outside of the new King CLC is defective.
"Our team has investigated and determined that it has not been applied correctly," Haas tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and therefore there's a chance of moisture entering the barrier and causing mold and mildew problems in the school."
Haas says Giambrone will get one more chance to come up with a plan to fix the problem this week. Then, the district could remove the firm from the vapor barrier part of the contract, or more.
But he says the concern is that the opening day for King could be pushed back even further.
King was set to be done in July to open in the upcoming school year.
Haas says the earliest completion date right now would be October, with a January opening for King if they use the winter break to move the school.
Haas told reporters that he's worried that with the time needed to deal with the issue, King CLC may not see students this entire upcoming school year.
In other business, the Akron district says 57 students have met the guidelines set up by the University of Akron and the district for the scholarship funded by the sale of the former Central Hower High School.
School officials tell AkronNewsNow that all the students have to do is say they want to go for the scholarship.
But officials hope about half of those eligible could go for it...with the distinct possibility they'll have other, competitive offers.
26 students entered the first phase of the "Innovation Generation" program before it was officially approved.
University of Akron starting point guard Alex Abreu appeared in court Wednesday afternoon in connection with drug trafficking charges.
Abreu's attorney Bob Meeker spoke to AkronNewsNow.com,saying his client is anxious to see what direction the case is going to go.
"Hopefully by April 24 there will be some direction to this case," Meeker said.
The charges are stemming from a March incident where Abreu allegedly accepted a delivery of five pounds of marijuana from an undercover police officer leading to his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Meeker says he'll be continuing to look at the prosecution's case before Abreu's second pretrial date.
"I'll be talking with the prosecutor, I'll be reading the discovery, and I'll be determining a course for the case to travel," he said.
Abreu is currently free on a $5,000 bond. He along with co-defendant 18-year old Austin Durgala will appear before Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands April 24 at 1p.m. Durgala has also pleaded not guilty.
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