Hakel, M.D., Bowling Green State University, USA
The Springboard Program at Bowling Green State University places first-year students in a series of videotaped problem-solving sessions. The goal, with aid from a "coach," is to build competency in a core set of learning, employment and life skills: Communication, Analysis, Problem Solving, Judgment, Leadership and Self-Assurance. These skills are the key to effective performance on campus and in the world beyond the campus. Emphasizing this skill set along with the capacity to manage immediate feedback encourages students to go beyond knowing to being able to do what they know. Follow-up research shows that Springboard students felt they made the right choice in attending Bowling Green by a wide margin over their peers. Further, Springboard students score well in comparison with their peers in areas where interaction with faculty and fellow students leads to improved outcomes, at rates 10% higher or more: Communicate with faculty members using e-mail; Do additional readings on topics that were introduced or discussed in class; Participate in study groups; Try to explain the material they'd learned to another student or friend; Make friends with students from major fields very different from their own; and Participate in student organizations. Students credited their Springboard experience with helping them to integrate into university life quickly and more fully than their classmates. Their retention into the sophomore year is 3% to 5% higher than their peers.