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Models of Excellence

Fit for the World Program

While many colleges and universities have rolled out career readiness programs to help graduates make the leap to professional employment, Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania has taken the extra step of embedding career prep into its academic program.

Fit for the World, a four-year career readiness program, blends personalized career prep work within a liberal arts education, says Renée Starek, director of Seton Hill’s career and professional development center.

Ichabod Success Institute

Two years—not a few weeks during the summer prior to freshman year; not their first semester. Two years.

Unlike many bridge programs, the Ichabod Success Institute (ISI) at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, supports first-generation, low-socioeconomic-status students from their first few pre-college days through their sophomore year.

Educational Success Program

Admitting one needs a summer bridge program to ease the transition from high school to college is not typically a point of pride.

Vira I. Heinz (VIH) Program for Women in Global Leadership

Philanthropist Vira I. Heinz, the first female board member of a multinational corporation and recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Pittsburgh, recognized “the transformational impact of international travel,” says Sarah Wagner, director of the women’s leadership program at the university that’s named after Heinz.

Open Campus

“Global reach” is not typically a phrase associated with two-year schools, but with YouTube viewership in 182 countries, Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana is enjoying the kind of exposure campus officials at many institutions can only dream of.

Backpack to Briefcase

For many people, college is a stepping stone to life in the real world, but Moravian College in Pennsylvania heard from its students that they wanted to be even more prepared at graduation. So the college’s Center for Career and Civic Engagement developed Backpack to Briefcase to better prepare juniors and seniors for post-graduation life.

Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) Program

As part of the college experience, most students gain leadership, teamwork and personal skills—and these are characteristics among the most-prized by prospective employers. Thomas Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service at SUNY Geneseo, saw the common ground and in 2000 developed a leadership program to formalize and track the skill-building.

Money Smart Forum

Most colleges now have student financial literacy programs. But with funding from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and one-on-one sessions with financial coaches, Westchester Community College in New York takes the approach a step further—since officials there know that students’ fiscal concerns can harm academic performance.

The nine schools recognized as Summer 2016 Models of Excellence have found that innovation leads to innovation when it comes to student success. Administrators who find new opportunities to provide support encourage students to be creative in making the most of a higher education.

Vital and Expanded Technologies Initiative

When the California State system allowed its schools to levy additional fees to fund student success initiatives, leaders at Cal State, San Bernardino went in a novel direction: They set up a venture capital program.

The Vital and Expanded Technologies Initiative—or, VETI—is one of four programs the university launched with the additional revenue. VETI provides competitive grants to colleges and departments to fund technology projects that directly enhance student learning and success.

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