CSU Stanislaus

Closing The Gap / CSU Graduation Initiative

Executive Summary

California State University Stanislaus is a learning centered institution with quality faculty and strong academic programs. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs provide a wide variety of programs and services designed to augment the classroom experience and ensure the likelihood of student success, reasonable time to degree completion and lifelong learning opportunities. The University has implemented numerous projects and formed many committees over the years in order to respond to student success issues and the CSU Graduation Initiative.

Prompted by recommendations made by the Chancellor’s Office 2002 Task Force on Facilitating Graduation, CSU Stanislaus organized a Graduation Initiative Steering Committee in 2003 to oversee campus efforts toward improving graduation rates. The Steering Committee identified individuals to work in a collaborative process to develop a campus graduation plan. The many excellent programs initiated by this committee continue to evolve while maintaining their focus on student success.

CSU Stanislaus has been identified as one of twelve campuses nationwide that has successfully achieved outstanding student retention with a consistent record of six-year completion rates. The campus was visited and studied by the Southern Regional Educational Board in 2009 and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 2005. Both organizations reported that campus efforts at all levels were consistent with the mission of the University. This consistency is due in good part to the Student Success Committee, established to develop, coordinate and review student success efforts, and a series of programs created under the aegis of the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

This style of collaboration within the institution encourages active problem solving that addresses issues of student success, creates pathways to degree objectives, and promotes student engagement in the curriculum. Collaborative programs empower personnel at all levels to participate in the implementation of student success and time to degree efforts.

The percent enrollment of under-represented minority students has steadily increased since fall of 1999. At that time, the full-time first-time freshman cohort was comprised of 31.5 percent underrepresented minorities. By 2009, the proportion increased to 50.9 percent, making underrepresented minorities the numerical majority at CSU Stanislaus.

In recent years, CSU Stanislaus has successfully produced higher than expected graduation rates for all students including underrepresented minorities. The rates for underrepresented minorities at CSU Stanislaus range from 44 to 53 percent.

CSU Stanislaus is currently reinvigorating the First Year Experience Program in order to fill the gaps between faculty and student expectations and to improve student success and satisfaction. The University is also further streamlining remediation and probation programs to improve student retention. The degree audit program should be up and running within 18 months, improving student advising and academic planning significantly. The Super Seniors Project will help more students graduate in a timely manner. Two special populations, veteran students and foster youth, have recently been identified as targets for support services. Programs such as Student Support Services and The Faculty Mentor Program target at-risk, disadvantaged, and underrepresented populations.

In spite of budgetary difficulties, CSU Stanislaus will continue its practice of convening key stakeholders and committees to focus on the issues of student success and support services. Such due diligence will make it possible to review and revise an evolving long-term plan.

 

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