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Models of Excellence

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.

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.

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.

Sullivan-Deckard Scholars Opportunity Program

A college’s outreach to prospective students can seem generic. But special populations require special attention, which is why Cleveland State University’s Sullivan-Deckard Scholars Opportunity Program customizes information sessions and engaged learning experiences for high school students aging out of foster care.

REBOUND Program

Federal regulations prevent Middle Tennessee State University from notifying parents when their kids are having academic trouble.

The regulations say nothing about writing to the students themselves, which the university does in hopes of catching a parent’s eye and sparking a conversation.

“It’s a strategic move to send the letter,” says Vincent Windrow, assistant vice provost for student success. “Hopefully it creates a moment where the parents and the student can have dialogue about the student’s progress.”

Academic Probation Recovery Program

University of Nebraska-Lincoln students on academic probation not only graduated at lower rates, they were visiting their advisers—the very people who could help them right the ship—less often than their peers did.

The university hit on an innovative way to reverse those trends. Starting two years ago, the university began issuing Academic Recovery Plans for students on academic probation.

Students who don’t meet the plan’s requirements—which include meeting with academic recovery coaches—are prohibited from registering for classes the following year.

MyTransferCredit App

A need for speed drove development of the MyTransferCredit program at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio.

“One of the main things that students want to know upfront is how many of their credits will transfer,” says Scott Booth, executive director for marketing and enrollment. Until a couple of years ago, it could take as many as 20 days during peak enrollment periods to answer this question.

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