In July 2007, Bill Johnson was hired as the Student Success Coordinator in the School of Health and Human Performance to coordinate academic advising. He was given a specific mandate to create something completely different than what was being offered by the other colleges/schools on campus. In that first year, he realized that he had to come up with a more efficient use of time, since he could not meet with the 1,500 + undergraduate students in the School of HHP. In 2008, he was granted the opportunity to teach two sections of HHP125: Personal and Academic Success in Health and Human Performance. This one-credit course was limited to 20 students and met once a week for 50 minutes.
After five years, 26 sections, and 500 students, the “Make College Matter” program was chosen as one of nine (out of 75) Best Advising Practices by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2014, the name was changed to “Life Design Catalyst” Program, since much of the coursework was geared towards living a purposeful and meaningful life, not just being successful in college. That same year, he created the “Life Design Catalyst Coach Training” Program (then called the “Purpose and Vision Navigator Coach Training” Program) to share Life Design work with those interested in incorporating values, purpose, meaning, and vision as a foundation for student success. Over the course of 9 trainings at UNCG, and 5 training programs held off-campus, Bill has now trained over 500 coaches at 70-plus institutions of higher education, as well as community organizations, professional associations, and life coaching entrepreneurs. In May 2018, the LDC Program was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association as a recipient of a Certificate of Merit as an Outstanding Advising Program.
Since the inception of the HHS125 course in fall 2008, we have tracked students’ graduation and retention rates. This chart (hyperlink to chart below) shows that students who enroll in the “HHS125: Design Your Life I - What Could I Do With My Life” course in the fall semester of their first year are retained from their first to second year AND they graduate from UNCG at a higher rate than those students who do not enroll in the HHS125 course in the fall.
(Note: UNCG Retention and Graduation Rate Data obtained from UNC-GA Data Dashboard and/or UNCG Office of Institutional Research Common Data Set web site.)
Student Learning Outcomes (Fall 2017)
We have also obtained student responses to the Student Learning Objectives outlined in the syllabus for the HHS125 course from the 2017 fall semester. Below are the students’ responses results to specific questions regarding the learning objectives, the effectiveness, and the overall value of the HHS125 course. The percentages indicate responses of students that chose either "Strongly Agree" or "Agree" to each of the questions, out of 328 total responses. Many of the responses below are most pertinent to the mission of HHS125 – which is to help students identify how they want to serve the world in a meaningful way, then connect that declaration with their major and their vision for the future.
92.7% - This course helped me understand my personality, my strengths, and my values.
86.0% - This course helped me understand my meaningful work - how I plan to serve others.
86.9% - This course helped to clarify my goals and dreams, and create a vision for my future.
74.4% - This course helped me decide on my major or helped me clarify that I am in the right major.
87.8% - This course provided me with knowledge that could help me be successful in life.
82.0% - I believe that I can make better decisions about my life and my future now that I have completed this course.
80.0% - I have a much better understanding of who I want to be and what I’m here to do now that I’ve completed this course.
84.2% - I found the “Major/Career/Calling Exploration” Poster or the Calling Connection Mind Map useful in creating a plan of action in college and/or after college.
70.4% - I enjoyed having meditation/quiet time at the beginning of every class.
79.2% - I appreciated the opportunity to interact with my classmates during class each week.
76.5% - I believe a course like this should be a required course for ALL new students.
1 Reviewing transcripts of the 66 retained students in Fall, 2013, 37 (42%) have already graduated by December 2017 (4.5 years or less); an additional 17 are on track to graduate in May 2018 - which means that 61.4% are on track to graduate in 5 years or less.
2 Fall 2013 was the introduction to the Life Design Catalyst Coaching process and curriculum to HHS125 students.
3 Reviewing transcripts of the 101 retained students in Fall, 2014, 95 of the 101 (79.8%) are still enrolled and on track to graduate in 5 years or less (May 2019).
4 Fall 2014 was the introduction of Life Design Poster Projects and Presentations in the HHS125 courses.
5 Fall 2016 was the first time all HHS125 instructors followed a common Life Design Catalyst curriculum (posted on-line through Canvas) for the HHS125 course.