Intellectual Wellness

Table of Contents

Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Admissions Practices

The Problem

The current demographics of the student body at Ohio State are not representative of the demographics of the United States, Ohio, or Columbus. 12.2% of the population of Ohio identifies as Black. 29.0% of the Columbus population identify as Black. However Black-identifying students comprise only 6.9% of OSU’s student body. Furthermore, prior to adjustments made in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Undergraduate Admissions required applicants to submit standardized testing scores. Research suggests that standardized tests have cultural biases ingrained in them and scores tend to be positively correlated with income. The required use of standardized testing in admissions disproportionately and negatively impacts applicants of color, First Generation applicants, applicants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, students with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri view addressing inequity in admissions as a top priority. They will collaborate with Undergraduate Admissions and the Council on Enrollment and Student Progress to:

The Impact

By promoting equity in admissions policies, applicants from marginalized backgrounds will face fewer barriers to succeeding in the admissions process, leading to a student body that better represents state and local demographics.

Develop a Fairer Academic Misconduct Hearing Process

The Problem

Students accused of violating the Code of Student Conduct’s Academic Misconduct policies may attend a hearing held by the Committee on Academic Misconduct (COAM). During the hearing process, bias, prejudice, and unfair procedures may impact integrity of the process. Additionally, before the coronavirus pandemic, regional campus students were required to travel to Columbus for COAM hearings. The systems utilized by COAM disproportionately burden international students, students with disabilities, students of color, and other marginalized student populations.

Our Plan

It is one of Maddie and Sri’s top priorities to continue the progress of the Academic Affairs committee in reforming COAM laid out in 53-R-13. They will collaborate with the COAM office along with the Office of Academic Affairs to

The Impact

By improving the academic misconduct process, students will be able to better advocate for themselves in COAM hearings, and marginalized students will no longer be disproportionately affected.

Eliminate the Use of Proctorio for Online Exams

The Problem

Proctorio is a tool commonly used in online courses to monitor students during exams. With the increased use of distance education and eLearning, more students find themselves taking exams with Proctorio. However, this tool presents privacy and accessibility concerns for students. Proctorio does not run on university iPads, forcing students who do not have their own computer to find a device to take exams on. The AI further perpetuates inequality for those who do not have the ability to find a completely quiet environment. Moreover, Black students in particular have faced challenges with the software failing to identify them and thus restricting access to their exams. This creates remarkably different experiences for students attempting to take the same exam and unnecessary academic misconduct charges.

Our Plan

The candidates will work with the Office of Distance Education and eLearning to:

The Impact

Employing alternative methods of conducting examinations in the virtual environment will minimize the inequities faced by students when taking exams.

Data Privacy and Analytics at Ohio State

The Problem

The development of artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and new technology will continue to shape the landscape of the world as we know it. The university has access to vast amounts of student’s personal information and data. Much of their academic data such as test scores and records are protected by FERPA, the academic privacy act that governs student’s personal data. However, as the world continues to create vast amounts of new information, safeguards will need to be put into place to ensure the security of students’ personal data. Additionally, as analytics becomes more advanced and commonplace in the world of higher education there will likely be a push for the university to use more computer based algorithms to determine things such as acceptance and other decisions. While this is not inherently bad, the university has a responsibility to ensure this is done in a way that does not violate the trust of the Buckeye community.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will ensure students’ data privacy by working to:

The Impact

This project will help build trust at Ohio State and among the Buckeye community because the university takes the protection and security of their data seriously and will continue to act in an ethical manner.

Update the Student Evaluation of Instructor Survey

The Problem

Student Evaluation of Instructor (SEI) surveys are expected to be reliable, honest, and thorough reviews on a teacher’s performance and success, or lack thereof, of a course in a given semester. However, many of the questions are not updated or reviewed on a yearly basis to include different expectations and precedents. Examples include how instructors adapted to the accommodations with Covid-19 regulations, lecturing an online course, and their overall inclusivity in the classroom environment. The data that is being collected on professors is also not easily accessible to students, inhibiting students from having a trusted, supported review on the expectations of and previous student experiences with the professor.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will form partnerships with the SEI Committee in shared governance and the Drake Institute to:

The Impact

Students will have the power to select professors who best meet their educational needs, resulting in a better-performing student body.

Increase Visibility and Communication Between Department Chairs

The Problem

Students are advised to work with department chairs for problems that are keeping them from academic success and wellness. Department chairs are not held accountable in their roles of actively communicating with students and providing the support that is expected of them within the position. Information regarding the explicit description of the expectations and responsibilities of department chairs are not easily accessed by students.  Furthermore, if the department chairs fail to fulfill their position’s duties, there is no accountability for students to continue to find a solution to what they initially seeked help for.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will communicate with departments and colleges across the university to:

The Impact

Students will be better equipped to handle barriers regarding academic wellness due to improved communication, and will go on to make informed decisions about their education.

Promote Student Preparation for Courses by Publishing Resources Earlier

The Problem

Professors often publish their Carmen pages immediately before or as soon as classes begin for the semester. Most of the syllabi uploaded are a carbon copy of syllabi from previous semesters. The delayed upload in syllabi does not give students enough time to prepare for their classes and gather the materials they need prior to the start of class. This leaves students unprepared and at a disadvantage during the first week of classes, especially for challenging courses that require them to stay ahead of the course material or begin review prior to the start of class. Student Life Disability Services (SLDS) also advises students to submit accommodations requests before the first day of classes, which is impossible if syllabi are not posted until classes start.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will work with the university and individual colleges to:

The Impact

With more advanced notice of the specific content and costs of their courses, students will be able to better prepare for upcoming semesters without needless stress.

Ensure All Students are Properly Accommodated through SLDS

The Problem

Over 4,000 OSU students are registered with Student Life Disability Services (SLDS) to receive accommodations for their classes and/or housing, but many more struggle to register or don’t even know they are eligible. According to SLDS, the number of eligible undergraduate students could be as high as 10,000 based on the percent of the population with some type of disability. This disproportionately includes low-income students and students of color that may not have the same access to medical care or a diagnosis as other students. For students that are registered, receiving accommodations can be extremely difficult, especially when working with certain departments that are notoriously bad at providing them. Students often struggle to receive accommodations without disclosing private medical information, having their information leaked through user error or neglect, or arguing with instructors about what accommodations are really needed. Faculty members currently receive no training on ADA compliance or how to provide SLDS accommodations. Most science laboratories do not have sufficient accessible lab equipment that is reserved for students that need it or have none at all.

Our Plan

Maddie and Sri will fight for the rights of students with disabilities in academics by working with SLDS and the university to:

The Impact

Increasing access to sufficient SLDS accommodations to all students that need them will make academics at Ohio State more equitable for everyone.

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