Student Performance Outcomes

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Dec 262015

Student Performance Outcomes

Student Performance: Outlook on Student Success: Blending academics and life lessons

Student Performance: By:Matt Zalaznick, University Business

Student Performance: Students, of course, have lives beyond the classroom. That’s why campus success initiatives in 2016 will spread further beyond the classroom and academic sectors, engaging students in a spectrum of activities and support designed to steer them toward a meaningful diploma and fulfilling life after graduation.

Highlighting this trend is Texas Woman’s University, which just launched a wide-ranging initiative that focuses on students’ well-being, everything from nutrition to outdoor activities to mental health.

“If we only pay attention to the words we teach, that only reaches a small percentage of what a student captures and internalizes,” says President Carine Feyten. “What about everything else they learn on campus? How can we make everything else meaningful so it transforms their life when they graduate?”

Student success is the top priority for 84 percent of the campus leaders who responded to a UB survey.

The university is gathering input on how the underused campus golf course could host more activities. And Feyten envisions a blending of the classroom and personal, where literature instruction, for instance, is designed to teach texts that could help students with some of the issues they will deal with as they become more independent.

“It may not be a careerist approach, but it’s a real-life approach,” Feyten says.



What’s trending

  • Living/learning communities
  • Applied learning experiences
  • Undergraduate research
  • Intrusive advising
  • Structured pathways
  • Embedding learning experiences into students’ campus jobs
  • Digital portfolios
  • Bilingual admissions staff and advisors
  • Virtual counseling

What’s fading

  • Traditional text-based transcripts
  • Online learning for first-generation students
  • Seeing diversifying admissions as a goal in itself—focus must be on success of minority students


Across higher education, institutions are blending instruction and extracurricular lives. Living/learning communities, data-driven advising and academic pathways, among other progressive initiatives, have produced results at enterprising two- and four-year institutions—and will therefore see more widespread adoption across higher ed.

Eliminating student achievement gaps

The future of student success lies in crunching vast amounts of academic and financial data to personalize support for students. That is why officials at Georgia State University—which has become a bit of superstar in student success circles—believe it’s one of the few large urban schools to close the achievement gap, says Vice Provost Timothy Renick, who is also vice president for enrollment management and student success.

“We’re providing lower-income, at-risk students with the day-to-day support that students who are better positioned economically, from multi-generation-college families, have naturally,” Renick says.

As many other institutions have done, George State has set up an early alert system to catch students who are at risk academically. It tracks 800 different markers. For instance, a student who gets a C or lower in the first course taken in the field of the major has a higher chance of struggling and dropping out. Now, advisors can step in right away and offer tutoring or assistance.

The system also has had a big impact in flagging students who mistakenly take courses that don’t apply to their degree programs. This has greatly reduced the number of wasted credit hours, saving students millions of dollars on tuition, Renick says.

In the last 12 months, the system has spurred about 43,000 interventions.

All this adds up to the following impressive results: Students receiving Pell grants now graduate at slightly higher rates than those not receiving federal assistance. Black students and Latinos also graduate at higher rates than do whites.

So how can an urban university that’s not a well-funded flagship or highly-endowed private school afford this? Renick says it pays for itself in drastically increased retention.

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