Office of the Provost

Student Experience Project (SEP)

Transforming the college student experience so that every student is supported to succeed


SEP logo

UToledo continues to be an active participant in a national initiative of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in the Student Experience Project which is designed to improve student success among underrepresented minority students in STEM programs, with $250,000 in grant funding over three years.

UToledo is one of six member universities selected to develop initiatives and actions to make the process of earning an undergraduate degree as welcoming and inclusive as possible.

THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE PROJECT

The Student Experience Project (SEP) is a collaborative of university leaders, faculty, researchers and national education organizations committed to innovative, research-based practices to increase degree attainment by building equitable learning environments and fostering a sense of belonging on campus.

The Challenge

Colleges and universities are enrolling more diverse student populations than ever before. Yet, one-third of new college students will not graduate within six years. There remains a need for additional support and action to provide every student with an equal opportunity to graduate from college.

The Student Experience Project was created to tackle inequities in college success by transforming the student experience. By focusing on building community and a sense of belonging on campus, the SEP is committed to a future of higher education where all students—particularly students who face barriers entering college—feel supported to persist through academic challenges until graduation day. 


 UToledo SEP Leadership

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  • Denise Bartell, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success
  • Melissa Oddo, Project Manager, Student Experience Project
  • Brian Ashburner, Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Lesley Berhan, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, College of Engineering
  • Wilie McKether, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Mingyang Liu, Survey Statistician Office of Institutional Research


UToledo's Equity Champions 

In the fall of 2020, the Student Experience Project successfully hosted their first cohort of Equity Champions. Twelve Equity Champions, all in the STEM fields, implemented change ideas and collected data on student experiences.  For a high-level overview of their accomplishments inside the classroom, a snapshot of the data collected, and powerful student and instructor testimonials View Fall 2020 Equity Champions Summary Report.

Who are we?

We are thirteen Equity Champions on UToledo's campus, we are a group of STEM instructors who teach first year gateway courses. They have committed to making evidence-based changes in our classroom to improve student outcomes by focusing on belonging, identity safety, and growth mindset.​​

Equity Champions are a community of practice engaged in a continuous network of support to learn together, share ideas, and develop resources to support equity in STEM classes. Our work gives students the opportunity to share about their experiences in our classrooms so that we can use their insights to improve success and reduce equity gaps. ​​

What we are doing?

Making changes that begin with activities such as revising our syllabi to include student attuned language, creating welcome letters, and sharing our belonging stories.  And continue with work such as developing Wise feedback for assignments and addressing diverse representation in our course materials.​

​To assess the impact of our changes, we will use a new tool from SEP called Copilot-Ascend, a survey that gathers feedback on students' experiences in the course. We will administer this survey five times throughout the semester, after we implement key changes, to learn how the changes impacted students' experiences in the class .​

What we hope to accomplish?​

The Student Experience Project is an important part of UToledo's efforts to support success and reduce equity gaps for students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors. We will use what we learn from this project to improve the experience for current and future students in our classes by continually examining students' experience and making evidence-based changes that improve learning. ​

2021 Equity Champions

Name

College

Department

Defne Apul *

College of Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jillian Bornak

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Physics & Astronomy

Vicki Dagostino-Kalniz

Judith Herb College of Education


Educational Studies

Kennedy Doro

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Environmental Sciences

Karen Green

College of Business and Innovation

Accounting

Anju Gupta*

College of Engineering

Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering

Lynne Hamer

Judith Herb College of Education

Educational Studies

Sally Harmych *

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Biological Sciences

Holly Hey

College of Arts and Letters

Theatre Film

Glenn Lipscomb *

College of Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Arun Nadarajah *

College of Engineering

Bioengineering

Hanh Nguyen

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Mathematics and Statistics

Jared Oluoch

College of Engineering

Engineering Technology

Michael Prior

College of Health and Human Services

Social Work

Ala Qattawi

College of Engineering

Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering

Heather Robbins

College of Health and Human Services

School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

Sandra Robinson *

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Mathematics and Statistics

Kathy Shan *

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Physics and Astronomy

David Sherman


College of Health and Human Services

Exercise Science

Nancy Snow

College of Business and Innovation

Accounting

Liu Sowa

Judith Herb College of Education

Foundation of Education

Alex Spivak

College of Engineering

Civil Engineering

Robert Steven

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Biological Sciences

Amy Toole *

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Elizabeth Zhurova *

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Chemistry and Biochemistry

*Recurring Equity Champion

Together, the SEP is using this research to test, implement, and scale innovative practices that transform the college experience into one where every student can access the support and resources they need to succeed.

For more information about SEP, contact Melissa Oddo, Project Manager, Student Experience Project at melissa.oddo@utoledo.edu
Last Updated: 1/20/21