A mission to improve graduation rates
Graduation Initiative 2025
is the California State University’s ambitious initiative to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps. On the CSULB campus, Graduation 2025 falls under the Highly Valued Degree initiative (HVDI). HVDI’s taskforce of stakeholders, drawn from across campus, was created to help boost graduation rates and maintain quality of education at CSULB while meeting State and Chancellor’s Office expectations. The HVDI task force is responsible for encouraging collaboration across campus. “It is a very unique model in academia as it brings together associate deans from every college and other leaders across campus to share ideas and build strategies,” says Dr. Shawna Dark, Associate VP of Academic Technologies.
Brightspace at the heart of teaching and learning on campus
CSULB’s learning management system — Brightspace — plays a pivotal role in the execution of CSULB’s Graduation Initiative 2025 as it touches every student and every department. CSULB brands Brightspace as BeachBoard reflecting its integration into campus learning culture.
“We are an exceptionally diverse organization, but we are united by the same mission,” says Shawna. “We want to support the needs of this diverse community. We needed a platform that could cut across geographic, department and role boundaries, bring together diverse opinions, support everyone’s needs and drive our key initiatives forward.”
CSULB had been a user of Brightspace since 2010, but the system was sorely underutilized. Like other higher education institutions, there were CSULB faculty who viewed the LMS as a glorified electronic syllabus. Jonathan Huer, Director of Academic Technology was tasked with ensuring the university’s LMS platform positioned CSULB for success and prepared the campus for the future, whatever that might be.
“The LMS is a really important component of teaching, education and access to resources on campus. If you talk to students, it is the one system above all that they check into and utilize daily,” says Jonathan. “We needed to make sure our platform and implementation supported the very diverse needs of our campus.”
“We didn’t want to switch systems, but we did have the opportunity. Our contract was up with D2L and after looking our options, we realized there was a lot more we could be doing with Brightspace we hadn’t explored yet.” admits Jonathan.