On October 24, 2012 the academic colleges and Highly Valued Degree Inititave (HVDI) task forces reported to President Alexander the following efforts to support student success.
The college center, Academic Advising and Resource Center (AARC), advised over 8,000 new and continuing students using a worksheet that contained all previous and current coursework to guide students toward the best class choices and quickest time to graduation. To improve chances for success and reduce frustration, the number of pre-Nursing majors was successfully managed down (from 1,028 to 636); remaining students made significant progress toward completing the pre-nursing course requirements within four academic semesters.
General Chemistry (Chemistry 111A), a gateway course enrolling about 1,000 students per term, has been reorganized with lectures, labs, discussions, and supplemental instruction sections coordinated to provide more students opportunities for success. Changes have increased the passing rate to 70% (from 50%) and now over 200 additional students succeed each semester.
Liberal Studies “intrusive advising” is aimed at increasing retention and graduation so that more candidates can become teachers. “Operation Graduation,” as this is known, provides a roadmap to graduation for students who have completed five+ years at CSULB. 83% (of 128 students) have plans to graduate in the next two years.
The College of Engineering has increased undergraduate head count by 36% in the last four years (2,546 in 2009 to 3,469 in 2012). COE has also lowered units required for most programs, and four are among the lowest in the CSU system (Aerospace-127, Chemical-128, Electrical-126, and Mechanical-126). These two accomplishments, along with the Engineering Student Success Center’s ability to track and guide students to a major they are appropriately qualified for within the first two years, provides us the unique opportunity to significantly increase graduation rates in the next few years. As we increase capacity and quality of students (with the new admission criteria), the college anticipates challenges in increasing faculty recruitment and modernization of aging lab facilities.
The College of Liberal Art’s (CLA) campaign, "You Can Do It in Four Not More," has been gaining momentum as students realize they can complete their degree programs in the liberal arts and even add on a minor while still meeting the timely grad policy at CSULB. Freshman Mandatory Advising program and Transfer Student Success workshops help students devise plans to reach graduation goals while still having time for study abroad, campus involvement, and community service.
This fall, we are celebrating 20 years of continuous student success in our high-quality, college-based learning communities. The Learning Alliance continues to offer freshman CLA majors paired general education classes and a first year seminar entitled Imagine Yourself as More. Students develop study groups, friendships, and a greater sense of community on campus as a result of this first-year experience program.
The retention rate of native junior under-represented minorities increased by 4% from 2003 to 2007, and for transfer under-represented minorities by 13% from 2003 through 2010; graduation rates are improving and achievement gaps narrowed by 5.7%. The College of the Arts attributes this success to multiple factors that include:
The success gap between native non-under represented minority (Non-URM) students and our native under-represented minority (URM) students has narrowed by three percentage points. The gap between transfer Non-URM students and URM has closed by two percentage points. The College of Business Administration began a proactive and intrusive advising program for pre-business students. Thirty-four percent of advising appointments were allocated to pre-business students. High failure rate courses (ACCT 201, ACCT 310, FIN 300, and IS 310) are no longer high-failure courses with Spring 2012 pass (A, B, and C) percentages at 83%, 87%, 83%, and 83%, respectively, due to supplemental instruction and tutoring sessions funded by the Student Excellence Fund.
More than 40 faculty members have engaged in Faculty Learning Communities designed to improve student learning and course completion rates in historically low completion rate courses – reaching more than 8,000 CSULB students. Through better alignment and use of campus supplemental learning resources for students and faculty course redesign efforts we have seen significant changes in completion rates and course GPAs for several historically difficult courses. Our work has been recognized by AASCU as an Innovation Award Winner in Faculty Development for Student Success and by AAC&U PKAL for Innovation in STEM Teaching and Learning. The work has also resulted in a NSF STEM Transforming Teaching and Learning Grant Proposal (under review).
Under a new pathways approach, we have reduced the number of seniors not completing the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement to fewer than 500 (from almost 1,500), fixing a problem that in the past forced students to leave CSULB without a degree.
Students in majors with unit requirements in excess of the maxima established by Title 5 accumulate excess units and are delayed to graduation. The Curriculum Pathways Task Force identified these majors, housed in three colleges primarily, and charged the associate deans with leading the faculty in reducing major unit requirements during the past two academic years. In the College of the Arts, seven degree programs reduced required units by 12-14%. In the College of Engineering, six degree programs reduced units by an average of 3.7%. Five of these seven programs are lowest in the CSU in terms of total units required, and the other two are second lowest. In the College of Health and Human Services, 14 programs reduced units in the major by an average of 5%.
A parent orientation for Spanish–speaking parents was held for the second year in a row, with over 300 parents in attendance. The day-long program was conducted entirely in Spanish and was held in conjunction with a Latino student welcome event. Participating parents reported an increased familiarity with CSULB, knowledge of university expectations and opportunities, and an understanding of the importance and value of a university degree.
Department Web pages bring together in one place information on undergraduate and graduate student graduation and retention rates, time to degree, units earned, course completion rates and faculty information. This information is highly useful for student success and program review.