Improving Student Learning Outcomes through a Collaborative Higher Education Partnership

Libba Reed McMillian
Auburn University School of Nursing

Tanya Johnson
Auburn University School of Nursing

Francine Parker
Auburn University School of Nursing

Caralise W. Hunt
Auburn University School of Nursing
(huntcar@auburn.edu )

Diane E. Boyd
Auburn University

The aim of this article is to discuss a portfolio of interventions used to improve student outcomes in an accredited southeastern university’s baccalaureate nursing program. Faculty identified three specific student-focused issues challenging student learning: (a) a steady trend of increasing student enrollment, (b) increased difficulty level of the national licensure exam, and (c) lack of a structured remediation/mentoring process to improve student skills. Increasing student enrollment challenged faculty to explore teaching strategies designed for larger class sizes, to maximize teaching effectiveness, and to use standardized exam results to inform curricular changes. A Learning Improvement Team (LIT) was strategically formed with university resources; The Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (BC), the Office of Academic Assessment (OAA), and the School of Nursing. Faculty, particularly junior-level, are taking the lead role in implementing pivotal changes in courses. Strategies include student learning outcomes improvement efforts as a departmental goal and expectation, dashboard communication for data-based curricular decisions, faculty workshops spotlighting successful classroom strategies, and interdisciplinary university partnerships. Lessons learned included recognition of the need for congruent faculty role expectations and workload, as well as awareness of the critical role of institutional support and collaboration. This successful partnership positively impacted nursing faculty, transformed departmental culture, and improved student outcomes.

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