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Articles: Student Success

How important is it for college administrators to study successful student characteristics?

“Focusing primarily on identifying at-risk students, without also identifying the profiles of successful students, is much like a doctor diagnosing a patient with an illness or disease, yet failing to offer a treatment plan or cure. When administrators understand the characteristics of successful students, they can invest in policies, programs and services designed to maximize students’ chances of success.”

Michael Kistner, CEO, Zogotech

produced when colleges engage students, faculty and staff in the notion of vocational callings.

In the eyes of many, higher education has become an industry focused on a singular goal—career training—and college students these days forgo the big questions about who they are and how they can change the world. But sociology professor Tim Clydesdale says higher education can retain its deeper cultural role.

Thomas J. Botzman is president of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

Decades ago, U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell eloquently stated: “The strength of the United States is not the gold in Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction we have, but the sum total of the education and character of our people.”

Community colleges have achieved the goal of providing broader and cheaper access to higher education. Now, experts and administrators say, the focus must turn more aggressively toward student success and completion.

President Obama scrapped his long proposed college rating system in favor of a “scorecard” system unveiled in September. The news caught higher ed leaders by surprise, leaving some dismayed to be left out of the planning process.

The intense focus on student success has generated unprecedented pressure for improved retention and completion at institutions across the country and around the globe. At the foundation of an effective student success strategy is harnessing the right technology resources to drive results and positive outcomes.

Models of Excellence honorees from five colleges and universities were recognized at the program’s inaugural awards ceremony during NACUBO. Pictured (left to right) are Mandy Eppley, Eastern Kentucky University; Daniel Kinnaman, UB; Andy Clark, Valdosta State University; Anna Jensen, Indiana University; Bill Thrisk, Marist College; Shane Burgess, The University of Arizona; Jeff Ratje, The University of Arizona; and Andrew Crawford, Higher One. (Photo: Erika Chambers Photography)

Recognizing colleges and universities that make student success a priority through innovative initiatives is the purpose of UB’s new Models of Excellence award program.

To honor recipient schools from the first two rounds of the program, a celebratory dinner was hosted by the program’s sponsor, Higher One, during NACUBO’s annual meeting in Nashville in July. The event was held at the Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, where the conference was located.

Incoming Kent State freshmen studying at the university’s Florence, Italy, campus have opportunities to take sightseeing trips to Bologna and other cities.

Study abroad has been reserved traditionally for upperclassmen, but institutions that include Michigan State, Kent State, Florida State, American University and the University of New Haven are offering students the chance to learn overseas before or during their first year of college.

On campus to walk: Graduates of Southern New Hampshire University’s online College for America program are invited to participate in the graduation ceremonies at the institution’s Manchester campus.

After years of quiet evolution, the competency-based education movement is now poised for explosive growth, with several hundred colleges and universities developing programs that fundamentally redefine the college degree.

About 70 students are currently enrolled in the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, which receives no public funding. (Photo: Rob Ferrell courtesy of Goucher College)

A small-scale program that will give prisoners Pell Grants to pursue college degrees represents a symbolic step toward expanding access to higher education. But only a fraction of the inmates who could benefit will receive financial aid, experts say.

Ryan Brechbill is the director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently delivered a wake-up call to both students and administrators about how well prepared college graduates are for the world of work.

The survey, which was completed by both college students and employers with more than 25 employees, showed students consistently rated themselves as “well prepared” when employers thought otherwise.

Community College Research Center Director Thomas Bailey's new book is "Redesigning America’s Community Colleges."

As director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, Thomas Bailey is the nation’s preeminent scholar of community colleges. After recognizing that myriad reform efforts directed at community colleges showed little evidence of improved outcomes, he and his CCRC colleagues, Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins, set out to learn why and what can be done about it.

Today’s progressive student success initiatives start even before first semester classes convene. The colleges and universities honored in the second round of UB’s national Models of Excellence awards program have found that easing students’ transition from high school to higher ed increases the likelihood they will remain enrolled and graduate.

Salisbury University alum Carey Haddock, here in front of Manokin Hall, was once an RA herself. Now she’s the trainer and supervisor for RAs at the school.

Parents and students expect RAs to solve roommate problems and ensure dorms are conducive to study and sleep. But with an amplified national discourse on sexual assault, gun violence and mental illness, today’s resident assistants are on the front lines of a whole host of issues related to safety and overall wellness.

Today's RAs receive enhanced training on a range of issues, from sex assault to homesickness. (Click to enlarge)

Even if an incident doesn’t happen in a residence hall, RAs must know what to expect during a potential crisis on campus, and how to better help their students, says David L. Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Just as campus officials across the nation are engaged in active shooter response training because of tragedies like at Virginia Tech, RAs need to master the proper response procedures, including building lockdowns. They might be the only authority figures in the residence halls during a potential threat.

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