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Inside the University of Arkansas Students Achieving Milestones (S.A.M.) Initiative

mark-visco@2x

Mark Visco Jr.

Chief Executive Officer

SAM LOGO for PROD

Solutions Used

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Description

University of Arkansas’s Sam M Walton College of Business takes the initiative to focus on student development, so that students are more prepared with transferable skills for life after graduation. They created S.A.M. to give students guidance in co-curricular and experiential learning activities. By partnering with Suitable, Walton Students have a clear pathway to success and can record their achievements along the way. 

About the School

The Sam M Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas serves about 6,200 undergraduate students. In a strategic effort to elevate student success, they created the S.A.M. program, which is short for Students Achieving Milestones.

Challenge before Suitable

The Sam M Walton College of Business decided it was time that the school be more intentional about helping their students succeed. This is when the college launched a comprehensive strategic plan for improving student outcomes, one specific goal was to create a clear student development road map for students. They wanted to encourage students to participate in key experiences outside the classroom to help them develop desirable career readiness skills. To archive experiences that students were having and able to reflect on them, it was important for the Walton College to find a platform that gave students a Co-curricular Transcript and ePortfilio. This is when they came to the conclusion that it was best to partner with Suitable since our Experiential Learning Records have both.

Life with Suitable

The Walton College established the S.A.M. program, which stands for Students Achieving Milestones. The three foundational milestones are Personal, Academic, and Professional. This program is meant to inspire and foster an environment of continuous learning and growth through outside of the classroom experiences, in order to build marketable skills and competencies. They partnered with Suitable to develop 12 competencies and within each competency are five levels of proficiency that students progress through. The levels are a part of the gamification aspect of Suitable. With these, faculty can assess where students are in S.A.M.; but most importantly, it encourages students to come back to the program and build each competency so they can reach mastery. As students complete experiences, they accumulate points and earn badges. With Suitable, Walton students have an engaging and fun road map to guide them through college and better prepare them for lifelong success.

By using Suitable’s intuitive mobile app, students can effortlessly record their involvement and view their progress in real-time. In addition, Suitable provides each student with a shareable and downloadable Experiential Learning Record, which organizes all of the students' accomplishments and experiences into the 12 Walton competencies. Suitable’s Experiential Learning Records include a Co-curricular Transcript as well as an ePortfolio that captures student involvement, reflection, and work samples (i.e. -video, picture, presentations, etc). All of this involvement is seamlessly tracked and translated into competencies to help students articulate their skills to employers. The shareable Experiential Learning Records can hold any media that a student wants to upload and are also automated, so they never have to worry about keeping it up to date. With Suitable, students now have a powerful way to showcase themselves and tell their story.

Outcomes Achieved

The Walton College launched S.A.M. by introducing it to freshmen. In doing so, they noticed great results and students quickly adopted Suitable’s easy-to-use technology. There were 1,038 targeted students and 98% were engaged since the launch. There were also 20,056 experiences completed. 

Plans for the Future

In the future, Walton College plans on introducing new achievements, including some to match different majors. They will also expand S.A.M. to the entire college. Lastly, they would like to leverage the student communication capabilities within Suitable (i.e. -push notification), and are planning to create a three part video series in the spring term to market the importance of participating in S.A.M.