Cal Poly Pomona

ACE Graduation Initiative Plan

Team Leader: Provost Marten denBoer

As one of seven polytechnic universities nationally, Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) integrates learn-by-doing into a broad liberal arts education that prepares students for a variety of professional and educational goals. According to the 2010 U.S. News & World Report College Rankings, CPP was 6th in the West in terms of campus ethnic diversity among all private and public schools. The number of first-time freshmen Latino students has risen to one-third of the entering class, which mirrors the trend in higher education as a whole and in the community that we serve. The diversity of our student population enriches students’ educational experience and personal development.

However, significant increases in entering student demand over the last several years have impacted the University’s ability to meet the needs of its diverse student population and forced the University to re-examine how resources are allocated to address student success. Graduation rates have been increasing, but without deliberate intervention this trend might not continue at its current rate. Particularly troubling could be the impact on the difference between the graduation rates of low income and under-represented minority students and their peers. To address these concerns, CPP has developed a plan centered around three concepts that the ACE Team believes are essential to increasing graduation rates: Advising, Curriculum, and Engagement.

Advising – Advising and the associated personal contact can play a demonstrative role in student success. Planned action items from the Advising Group include:

  • Increased communication for students just beginning their studies
  • Targeted communication to students identified as demonstrating at-risk characteristics
  • Individual on-line study plans to enhance advisor communication
  • Intrusive advising for students close to graduation

Success will be measured by qualities of responsibility and confidence for entering students, retention rates for at-risk students, implementation of online study plans, and number of excess units.

Curriculum – Students frequently note that lack of access to classes slows their progress to graduation. In addition, the sequential nature of many academic programs can cause a gate-keeping effect making it difficult for students to construct efficient graduation plans. The proposed action items from the Curriculum Group include:

  • Identification of courses that delay progress to degree and prioritized scheduling and resource management to address these courses
  • New policies and procedures to reduce the number of course attempts
  • Enhancement of remediation program to improve success

Success will be measured by unmet demand in bottleneck courses, number of withdrawals and repeats, and success rate in remediation.

Engagement – Students active in campus life stay connected – both as undergraduates and as alumni. Improving students’ connections with university life may not only increase graduation rates, but also improve students’ self-identification as scholars and future professionals. The proposed action items from the Engagement Group include:

  • Establishment of an e-portfolio system for curricular and co-curricular areas
  • Expanded opportunities for student connections with faculty, peers, alumni, and professionals in their discipline
  • Increased financial support for students through scholarships and on-campus employment
  • Expand on-campus housing

Success will be measured by implementation of e-portfolio system, number of student interactions, financial support available to students, and number of students living on campus.

The plan is expected to increase graduation rates and decrease the gap between the graduation rates of the general undergraduate student population and underrepresented minority students, as follows:

  • First Time Freshmen: from 50% to 58%
  • Transfers: from 72% to 78%
  • Underrepresented Minorities: from 44% to 54%

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