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Under with Microscope: Maggie Winnicki

December 23, 2019

Hello. I am Jeff Gold and thank you for joining us today on this segment of Under The Microscope. Our guest today is Maggie Winnicki, and Maggie is the Director of Student Services in the College of Allied Health Professions. Maggie, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me. The subject of our discussion is holistic admissions. And in your area, holistic admissions in the Allied Health Professions. So Let’s we start off by trying to explain to our audience what holistic admissions really means and then we will talk a little about what that has meant to the Allied Health Professions. Sure, so holistic admissions review or mission-based admissions, as it is sometimes referred to, is really considering multiple aspects of every applicant when we consider them for admissions. So, it is looking not only at academic metrics, such as grades and standardized test scores, but also considering the student’s lived experience. To look at really, holistically, how they can contribute to the institution’s mission. What is the relevance of it? In other words, what is the reason to even think about it, let alone invest in the types of programs that you folks have been doing? Right, so there is a number of reasons that it can help us throughout the admissions process. It certainly has been shown to increase retention and success rates of those programs that do it of the students that they bring in. It also helps to increase diversity and a more diversified student body will certainly enhance the student learning experience for all of our students, and help to create a more diversified workforce. It helps us to make sure that we have a standardized way of processing all of our admissions and that we recognize that students bring a lot of value to our programs by means other than just their GPA and– Sure, because of their lived experience. Absolutely. So I understand, you know, and working with Dean Kyle Meyer and others that this has been going on for several years now in the College of Allied Health Professions, and have you seen any outcomes from it just yet? Yes, so we, you know, we started early by doing some consultation with the AAMC and with ACRO, The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, and we developed some questions that we embedded into the front end of that admissions process, so that every student prior to interview can answer some essay questions. Regarding their lived experience and so with those eight questions that everyone answers, we take that score and use that, along with the academic metrics to decide who we are gonna bring in for interviews. And so we did that for the first time in our cycle last year, for the cohort that we brought in for fall of 2019 that’s here now, and we are doing it now for those that will come in fall of 2020. And so data is preliminary at this point, but what we have seen so far from our cycle last year was that there really was no correlation between GPA and their scores on these non-cognitive variable essays that we asked them to do, which is what we had hoped to see so that we know we are assessing for different things. We have also seen that in three of our larger programs, that about fifteen percent of the students that we brought to campus and matriculated this fall were students that we probably would have missed in our previous cycle, had we done it differently and just looked at our academic metrics. So, we are seeing some movement in that. We have a long way to go and a lot of assessment left to do, but it is really exciting of what’s been happening. And in terms of the impact on academic proficiency, of capability in these allied health programs, is there any evidence to believe either from your experiences, which is obviously very early, or in the national scene, that there is any impact on successful completion and graduation? Absolutely, there is a lot of, the AAMC especially, has done to look at this and looking at completion rates. As well as then how students do when they go to sit for boards, and we haven not seen a decline in students who have gone through a process like this. In fact, in some cases, we have seen students be much more successful. I was just gonna say that this some preliminary data, at least in medicine, which has been doing this for a very long time, that you actually enhance completion rates and you enhance successful board pass rates and even board scores, which is obviously very critical in many of our professions. Absolutely.
Well, if the community wants more information on this, how would they obtain that? So, we would love for them to reach out to us in Allied Health, within the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, that is the office I oversee. And we would love to connect people either to implement this in their own colleges or to become readers for the process that we are doing. We are always recruiting for that, so we would love to have them reach out to us that way. Super, well thank you very much for joining us today and for all that you are doing here. Thank you, thank you for having me. And thank you for joining us today on this segment of Under the Microscope.

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