Introducing Models of Excellence

A national recognition program honoring student success

The defining characteristic of institutional excellence in higher education has become student success.

Not long ago, student success was considered to be the student’s responsibility. To the degree it was measured at all, student success was discussed in terms of graduation rate and gainful employment, but even those statistics were rarely reported.

Today, student success is seen by higher ed leaders across the country as the key to their institution’s success. Now, higher ed leadership is being held accountable for student success—by students, parents, publications that rank colleges and, perhaps soon, the federal government.

So college and university leaders are recognizing that striving for institutional excellence requires taking a fresh look at student success. They are seeking better ways to define student success, to assess it and to improve it. And they’re looking to their peers for ideas, solutions and models.

This is why University Business magazine has introduced Models of Excellence. This national recognition program honors colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success.

Improving academic outcomes is just one category that our judges will look at in Models of Excellence. We’ll also recognize programs that consider other aspects of student success, including:

  • Expanding college access
  • Improving retention
  • Financial literacy/responsibility
  • Adjustment to college life
  • Engagement with campus life
  • Boosting graduation rates
  • Career preparation and guidance
  • Life skills attainment

If you have implemented a student success initiative that’s getting results—especially one that involves two or more departments—tell us about it by applying for a Models of Excellence award. Three times a year (in April, August, and December) we’ll honor the best of these initiatives in University Business magazine, giving valuable recognition to leading schools and helping to spread the word about what excellence in higher education really means.

Applications are now being accepted for 2017 recognition. Deadline is April 1, 2017.

Apply Now

2016 Winter Honorees

Fit for the World Program

Seton Hill University

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.

Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) Program

State University of New York at Geneseo

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.

Backpack to Briefcase

Moravian College

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.

Open Campus

Bossier Parish Community College

“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.

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

University of Pittsburgh

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.

Educational Success Program

Northwood University

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

Ichabod Success Institute

Washburn University

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

Westchester Community College

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 Models of Excellence recognition program is brought to you by University Business.