Goal 1 Progress to Date
Updated June 2019
Build on existing programs in experiential and immersion learning to create expanded opportunities, to learn by doing across the curriculum, to acquire tangible skills for lifelong learning, and to prepare to enter and contribute to the 21st-century society and workforce.
- Ten Professionals in Residence interacted with students and faculty during spring term 2019—four representing careers at Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon met with computer science and other students; three interacted in person or virtually with Startup Term 3, including trustee Helen Lin ’94; one engaged with students on careers in law and services for international and undocumented students; one TRIO alumna returned to share insights with current TRIO students; and one helped students analyze “big data” during the Business Intensive Seminar 5 in the days leading up to Commencement. James Foley ’78, director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, taught the Business Intensive Seminar for the third year. In addition, 17 Alumni Council members continued the tradition of “office hours” during their spring campus meeting.
- The new business major and peace and justice studies minor were announced during summer and fall 2018. Both were approved by the faculty in May 2018 and are now available to current and future Knox students.
- Three new short-term immersive experiences will be available to students in fall 2018: Israel (history), Mexico (Spanish), and China (art & Asian studies). An immersion trip to Maine (biology) is planned for June 2019.
- The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) officially approved the College's request to offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in eight science fields of study (biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and psychology) in December 2017. A new B.S. major program, environmental science, was approved in spring 2018. The proposal for the B.S. was approved by the faculty and the Board of Trustees in February 2017, and representatives the HLC came to campus in August 2017 as part of a "change visit," during which they spoke with administrators, along with science faculty and staff, and toured the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center.
- The new Knox educational experience is in its first year, and the faculty will continue to work this year to clarify final details for both students and faculty. A new guiding statement for the educational program was endorsed by the faculty in February 2018. This guiding statement will shape the work for faculty as more elements of the educational program are put into place.
- The Task Force on the Knox Educational Experience, which first convened in spring 2015, concluded its work in May 2017, and the College's faculty committees are currently working to implement the new educational experience by fall 2018. The Task Force consisted of eight faculty and the Dean of the College, who worked over an ambitious two-year timeline to identify, develop, and then implement new curricula and pedagogies. During fall 2015, the entire faculty focused its Fall Faculty Conversation on the Knox educational experience. The Task Force provided preliminary ideas to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees during the February 2016 meeting, and, on December 1, 2016, the faculty approved the proposal for the Knox Educational Experience presented by the Task Force.
- Knox's first architecture course will be offered during spring term 2018. The course will be taught by Jim Harriman '82, a practicing Chicago architect.
- Thanks to a grant from the Hummel Foundation, the music department now has new equipment to create a digital music composition work station, and a new sound system has been added to Jay Rehearsal Hall.
- Twelve students interacted with 34 alumni in the second Chicago spring break immersive experience, which focused on business careers. Banking, insurance, finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, and city governance were featured careers.
- A new immersion term, Cuba Term, debuted in fall 2017. The term is a partnership among dance, music, and anthropology, with a two-week culminating experience in Cuba focused on the arts. Cuba Term is the second immersion term to develop out of Knox 2018.
- The Business Intensive Seminar (previously taught through Fullbridge) launched in June 2017, with 25 students participating. The seminar was taught by Jim Foley '78, director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, and Jane Strode Miller '81 generously provided funding for this year's seminar.
- The Knox Summer Advising Program returned for a third year in summer 2017, expanding outside of the Chicago area into Galesburg. In total, 135 incoming students benefitted from the expertise of 21 faculty and staff members.
- Five new academic programs, all minor areas of study, have been added to the academic program: Arts Administration, Astronomy, Design, Health Studies, and Statistics. All of these new areas rely on coursework that is multidisciplinary, and all four offer to Knox students pathways into new fields and post-graduate opportunities.
- The Bastian Family Career Center hired a donor-funded assistant director of employer relations, whose focus is increasing the number of quality employment and internship opportunities. Since the position's inception in September 2017, the number of relationships with employers has grown from 110 to 144.
- The inaugural Park Ethicist-in-Residence Program welcomed Anita Tarzian '84 to campus in April 2017. Tarzian guest lectured in classes, met with pre-health students, consulted with faculty who teach in health studies areas, and delivered a public lecture on "Dying in America."
- The Jump Trading Pre-Med Immersion Experience launched in June 2017, with six students selected for an intensive shadowing experience with the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria and Jump Trading Simulation Center.
- The SPARK (Summer Preparation and Readiness for Knox) summer bridge program entered its third year in summer 2017. The program is aimed at first generation students and has both an academic component and a "transition to college" component, along with many opportunities for students to socialize with each other, form friendships, and develop a set of relationships they can turn to for help throughout the coming year. Preliminary assessment data shows that SPARK students retained at an 89.1% rate, compared with an 88% retention rate for all first- to second-year students. A second bridge program, funded by the College's TRIO Achievement Program, returned for a second year.
- The International English Language Program (IELP) entered its fourth year in 2017 with a two-week half-credit experience for incoming international students whose first language is not English. Run by the Office of International Student Services and Admission, the program grew to a dozen students in August 2017, and maintains a 100% retention rate of the students in the first three cohorts.
- The Success Program launched two new programs in 2016-17 designed to model success for first-generation students: Success TALKS! features alumni who talk with students about their educational journey, and Success Tutors provide expertise in teaching others how to learn.
- Engagement of alumni with Knox students continues under the theme of KNect: Knox Networking program, which includes KNEXT STEP (life-after-Knox), Professional in Residence Program, and KAMP (Knox Alumni Mentoring Program).
- Three Professional-in-Residence programs are planned for fall term 2018: Carl Nordgren '73 and Krista Anne Nordgren '12 discussed entrepreneurship and creativity in October; Maurice Harris '08 will discuss economic development; and Michael Tweedle '73 will discuss the role of entrepreneurship in the sciences. More than 160 students connected with three Professional-in-Residence alumni during fall 2017 to talk about their careers and life experiences, with student attendance averaging 50 per session. Participation in the Professional-in-Residence Program grew from 11 to 25 alumni participants during the 2016-17 academic year; 12 came to campus and 13 networked with students virtually. The Center for Teaching and Learning has created a similar program for TRIO and McNair students with six recent black alumni return to campus. KAMP (Knox Alumni Mentoring Program) continues with 54 students and 55 alumni currently participating in the program.
- Alumni Relations and the Bastian Family Career Center continue to partner on a new life skills series, Knext Step, which is focused on providing current students with advice from alumni on life after Knox. The series became a monthly program during the 2016-17 academic year, with a total of 10 sessions over the year. Recent programs included car care, career and interview dress etiquette, HR basics for new employees, and meals under 20 minutes, among others.
- The Chicago Connections program launched over spring break 2017 when 11 pre-med students spent three days in Chicago shadowing 12 medical professionals, including 10 Knox alumni, one parent, and one friend. The College plans to host at least one career-oriented experience in Chicago next academic year.
- The Bastian Family Career Center has finalized its new curriculum that intentionally guides students through a career development process focused on class-level signature programs: Focus on First-Years, SophoMORE Experience Retreat, Junior Jumpstart (introduced in fall 2016), and Senior Career Impact Summit. In addition, several new programs were introduced, including the Fullbridge focus on business fundamentals and "Office Hours" with the Alumni Council. In April 2016, 12 alumni and 36 students met one-on-one for career conversations as part of the first Office Hours program.
- Knox and Monmouth College piloted a collaboration that shared foreign languages in fall 2016-Knox students will be able to travel to Monmouth to take Accelerated Portuguese for Advanced Speakers of Spanish, while Monmouth students will travel to Knox to take German.
- A newly revised outcomes section of the Knox website was launched in fall 2015, focusing on the success Knox graduates find after Knox.
- Seymour Library Learning Commons [version 1.0] gives students access to additional collaborative work space (with large screens for sharing computer displays), analog and digital listening stations, and a viewing station. Loanable chargers, power strips, etc. at our circulation desk also support this space. Plans for learning commons [version 2.0] have been developed; these would upgrade our network and electrical service and provide much more mobile furniture.
- Two key staffing pieces of our comprehensive retention plan are in place. The Student Success Coordinator, funded through our recent Mellon Foundation grant, is a new position in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) working expressly with TRIO‐eligible students who are not served by the TRIO Program. As a result of this new grant‐funded position, we have been able to devote existing resources for a reconfigured staff member in the CTL to focus on students with disabilities. The number of students at Knox (and nationwide) who have a documented disability continues to rise and our re‐focus of the position allows us to better serve this important constituency of students.
- Several College policies governing ethical practices have been updated to incorporate changes required by federal agencies, including: Investigations of Allegations of Research Misconduct and the Student Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training. The Library also has provided leadership on Fair Use guidelines to faculty and students, to ensure appropriate use of copyrighted material.
- A new immersive term, StartUp Term, was introduced during spring term 2015. A collaboration between computer science and business and management, the term blended entrepreneurship and software development and provided students with the opportunity to collaborate on a business plan and create a product. Sixteen students participated in this spring's inaugural term, forming four startup companies and presenting their work to a panel of entrepreneurs in June. StartUp term will return in spring 2017.
- Several new programs have been implemented over the last two academic years to offer faculty support and to introduce new pedagogical ideas, including: a Mellon FaCE Pedagogy Workshop on the 21st-Century Student; The 100 Level Course; New Faculty Seminar Series, a year-long continuation of the New Faculty Orientation; a New Faculty Mentoring Program, that reestablished a system that had not been in existence for more than a decade; and a Faculty Discussion Series: Pedagogy & Practice, including topics like Classroom Discussions, Promoting Student Success, and Virtual Lecturers. Faculty also recently convened to discuss a number of new areas of study, including new minors and immersive terms. New opportunities continue to be put in place, including a summer digital humanities collaboration between Knox and Monmouth College faculty.
Establish ourselves as a national leader in providing curricular and co-curricular programs, including teaching, research, and creative work, that leverage the educational potential of our culturally rich and diverse campus community.
Engagement with Merit, the online service that helps us share student accomplishments with hometown newspapers, high schools, family, and friends, continues to grow. During 2018, we published 46 achievements showcasing the collegiate activity and academic success of 1,169 students. Those 46 achievements created 2,324 personalized stories that were delivered to key target audiences including students, parents, media outlets, and high schools. Stories shared through Merit generated more than 671 social media shares and resulted in an estimated 217,284 social media impressions and an additional 14,291 page views for Knox College.
The First-Year Experience (FYE) is in its second full year of development, bringing with it additional living-learning communities (expanding from two to five communities for a total of 80 student participants), a more seamless and intentional integration of summer bridge and orientation programs, and the designation of FYRE (First-year Residential Experience) courses. Academic Affairs and the Division of Student Development implemented the new (FYE) in fall 2017, and all first-year students participated in an integrated orientation, common reading, first-year preceptorial, residential curriculum, and academic advising experience. Additionally, 32 students participated in a living-learning community (LLC) in which first-year preceptorial faculty engage with students both in the classroom and in the residence halls. Compared to prior years, students reported that the orientation program helped them make a smoother transition into college life, and students in the LLCs reported feeling a greater sense of belonging at Knox.
- The College in is in the midst of a search for an Executive Director of Career Development, a new donor-funded position that will provide vision, strategic leadership, administrative guidance, and operational direction for all aspects of the Bastian Family Career Center.
- Prairie Fire student-athletes continue to excel academically, earning a combined 3.22 GPA during the 2017-18 academic year (comparable to the total student body GPA of 3.22). In addition, 151 student-athletes were selected as Midwest Conference Academic All-Conference Awardees.
- Two Knox college students, Nicholas Nurre '18 and Monica Weller '18, have been chosen for prestigious Fulbright awards for the 2018-19 academic year. Both will serve as English teaching assistants-Nurre in Macau and Weller in Mongolia.
- Admission, Academic Affairs, and Student Development worked together to launch the Power of Experience Grants, which will provide all incoming students with $2,000 to support an experiential learning opportunity during their junior or senior year. Opportunities include research and creative work, internships, off-campus study, and community service. The grant is support by a $2.9 million bequest from Ann Asplund, friend of the College and honorary Fifty Year Club member. As of winter 2018, approximately 20 transfer students are eligible to utilize their grants, and the majority of students will be eligible beginning in fall 2019.
- The Knox College McNair Scholars Program, which aims to increase the number of low-income and first-generation students and students from underrepresented groups who successfully attain Ph.D.s, received reauthorization of its federal grant for an additional five years; 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the program.
- Two faculty received prestigious national awards for their scholarship: Teresa Gonzalez, anthropology/sociology, was awarded a 2017 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and Karen Kampwirth, political science, was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship.
- A new credit-bearing course for student leaders was launched in spring 2017. Sixty-eight incoming residence assistants, orientation leaders, peer mentors, and student government members learned about student development theory, leadership, community development, and change management.
- Knox recently partnered with Merit, an online service that helps the College share student accomplishments with hometown newspapers, high schools, families, and friends. As of September 27, 2018, 87 student achievements have been recognized, 1,113 students have claimed their Merit page, 4,748 news stories have been delivered to local media outlets, 870 high schools have been reached, and 222,762 social media impressions have been made.
- The second year of the Mellon Experiential Learning Fellowships were awarded to 30 first-generation and income-eligible students. These students will spend the summer engaged in internships, community service, or research/scholarship/creative work, all funded by the new program. Stipends will facilitate participation in vital learning opportunities, such as internships, community engagement experiences, and undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative work. Twenty-five students received the Mellon Experiential Learning Fellowships during summer 2016.
- One-hundred and eighteen student-athletes were named Academic All-Conference Winners for the 2016-17 academic year.
- For Knox students were awarded Fulbright Fellowships in 2017: Emily Malec '17 was selected for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) position in South Korea; Raeann Boreo '17 and Cortney Hill '17 were both selected for ETAs in Malaysia; and Dakota Stipp '17 was awarded a research Fulbright in the UK (he declined his fellowship to attend the sound design program at Yale School of Drama). Including the three students who received ETAs in 2016-17 (Charlie Harned, Spain; Tawni Sasaki, Taiwan; and Adrian Secter, Mongolia), eight Knox students in total have received Fulbright Fellowships in the last two years.
- The TRIO Achievement Program successfully transitioned into its new five-year $1.5 M grant, which has increased the number of students served to 187 and adds a bridge program this fall for TRIO students.
- The Division of Student Development has adopted five overarching learning outcomes that will guide their work and ensure a strategic focus on educating students outside of the classroom. These goals emphasize: a healthy sense of self; a framework of personal ethics and values; an ability to develop and sustain meaningful relationships; a value and respect for differences; a commitment to citizenship.
- With the goal of strengthening the Greek community and optimizing their focus on the four pillars of Greek Life (scholarship, service, leadership, and brotherhood/sisterhood), Knox's four sororities and five fraternities have begun a unification and rebranding process. The first step in this process, completed during spring term, was the adoption of an all-Greek motto: "One Community. Many Families. Infinite Possibilities;" Future steps include: development of a relationship statement outlining the expectations Knox College has of our Greek organizations and the resources offered to these organizations by the College; a thorough assessment of the campus community's perceptions of Greek Life, followed by a plan to capitalize on positive perceptions and address negative perceptions.
- The Division of Student Development introduced Building Knox, a program developed to train Knox clubs and organizations, in spring 2015 and offered three programs this term on the following topics: Membership Engagement: Keeping others Involved; Managing Change and Transitions and Collaboration & Event Planning: Going Beyond the Exchange of Money.
- The newly developed Student Health Advisory Board, which is comprised of five students, meets regularly with Health and Counseling staff to help develop, improve, and market the services provided on campus to our students.
- A Teagle Foundation-funded working group of faculty and staff have proposed that the formal Educational Plan be extended to encompass all four years of a student's Knox experience, and be submitted via an electronic portfolio. In fall 2015, a small cohort of incoming students will be taught to develop an e-portfolio around Educational Plan components, assisting them in showcasing their Knox experiences for post-graduate advantage.
- The Institute of International Education recently recognized Knox for its progress toward encouraging more students to study abroad. The Stellyes Center for Global Studies has developed several new strategies to increase off-campus study rates: the Center created travel stipends for low-income students to study abroad; implemented a strategy for recruiting more African-American male students to study abroad; implemented a new GPA policy to allow all students in good standing to qualify for study abroad; and implemented more assessment post-study abroad; and continued with recruitment strategies aimed at increasing male participation in study abroad. The 2015-16 cohort of students embarking on off-campus study will be about 28.5% male, up from 24% in 2014-15. Overall applications for study abroad are up about 20% for next academic year. Finally, over the past two academic years (2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively).
- Nine Knox students received Benjamin A. Gilman Fellowships in 2016-17 to help defray their study abroad costs. In total, 22 Gillman Fellowships have been awarded to Knox students in the last four years. The fellowships are national awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university and help students participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.
- Nineteen students participated and four faculty and staff presented at the Global Learning Retreat (GLR). This retreat offered an opportunity to engage international and American students beyond mere exposure toward deepened global awareness and cultural diversity. Through various experiential learning activities, students had the opportunity to share their cultural stories, discuss the implications of varying global perspectives, and process the meaning for themselves through reflection. The retreat was a unique collaboration between Augustana College and Knox College
- The year-long initiative to launch a new Prairie Fire athletics logo and introduce a Prairie Fire mascot was completed at Homecoming 2016, with the introduction of Blaze, the Prairie Fire Fox. The new athletics logo was revealed in February 2016. This was a joint initiative between Athletics and Communications and engaged Gene Rose P'15 of AtLast Communications, who has worked with Athletics on marketing and communications over the last year, and SME, Inc., a brand design firm. The logo received a silver award in the Visual Identity category of the international 2017 Circle of Excellence Awards program from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
- In May 2015, the Center for Intercultural Life and Alumni Relations co-hosted a Cultural Leadership Consortium, which connected current and newly elected student officers of cultural organizations with alumni who founded or held leadership positions in their organizations. Alumni led sessions and provided guidance on how students can drive their organizations forward with inclusive and result-oriented leadership. Six alumni and 13 cultural organizations participated in the day-long workshop.
- A new brochure highlighting Alumni Hall's four experiential learning centers—Stellyes Center for Global Studies, Kleine Center for Community Service, Bastian Family Career Center, and Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study—was completed in October 2015. Titled "Four Centers, Thousands of Connections, Millions of Possibilities," the brochure highlights how the centers work together to complement the Knox academic experience. Communications worked in conjunction with Admission, Academic Affairs, and Generation, our creative partner on the new Admission publications suite, on the project. The brochure was reprinted in fall 2017 with a new focus on the Power of Experience Grants.
Extend the boundaries of a Knox education beyond the traditional classroom, academic year, and current curriculum.
- Eight alumni and friends of the College served as judges for Startup Term 3 for two days at the end of May 2019, including trustees Jerry Vovis ’65 and Adam Vitale. Six alumni served as judges for the final class presentations of the Business Intensive Seminar, including trustees Helen Lin ’94 and Nyerere Billups ’99. David Barth ’65 joins the judging panel this year and has agreed to fund the seminar, along with Robert ’66 and Carol Romsa Parke ’67, for this year and the next four.
- The Stellyes Center for Global Studies recently added 42 international programs at universities or with third-party providers worldwide to the College's current list of pre-approved programs. This now brings Knox's list of pre-approved programs to 90, putting the College in line with peer institutions.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) was deployed in the Burkhardt Computer Lab and in George Davis Hall in early 2018. Additional server infrastructure has been added to facilitate deployment to staff desks and other multirole workstation locations. Use of this technology will reduce the level of effort and cost to maintain the desktop fleet, improve information security, and ease remote access to institutional data sources.
- The faculty-led Executive Committee has collected initial campus feedback on the advantages and disadvantages of our current trimester academic calendar. More than 600 students, faculty, and staff responded to the survey, and about 70% of all respondents expressed support for the current calendar; however, all constituencies articulated important concerns, including challenges to student learning, the effects of the December break on retention and maintenance of skills and knowledge, and the challenges for students in finding summer internships or employment. The calendar review will resume in fall 2015 when the committee focuses on the survey result, and begins to calculate costs (financial and time) required in our current calendar.
- KnoxAnyWare, a cloud computing system, was deployed in September 2014 and has been broadly adopted over the last year. It is a key component of plans to deploy thin clients and virtual desktops to reduce the cost, extend the life, and improve energy efficiency of our desktop computer fleet.
- Starting in fall 2015, the Cultural Events Committee is focusing some of its funding around a thematic series entitled, The Tipping Point: Re-considering Otherness. This is in recognition of the growing national dialogue about persistent group disparities with regard to race, religion, climate, sexuality, class and global conflicts, among other issues. Recent visitors to campus focused on this theme included 2016 Honnold Lecturer Reza Aslan, who discussed Islamaphobia, and Dr. Houston A. Baker, Jr,, who spoke about race and the shield of literacy.