How to create a student success initiative
Unlike student success plans, which focus on helping individual students succeed, success initiatives should be tied to larger institutional mission statements and strategies around boosting student support overall.
There are three key components involved with getting any student success initiative off the ground:
- Taking an inventory of your current student support services and reviewing the effectiveness of those offerings.
- Analyzing student data—like grades, GPAs and test scores—to make data-driven decisions around what elements of student success you want to focus on and the specific goals you want to achieve.
- Using the information you’ve gathered to figure out ways to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Initiatives and goal-setting could include anything from offering more robust tutoring services to creating programs that help freshman students thrive as they transition from high school to college. The bottom line is that each initiative should be built around a specific and clearly defined goal. What that goal is will ultimately depend on your institution’s unique view of what student success looks like and what the institutional priorities are as they relate to strengthening student support.
So, let’s say your goal is improving student writing. After doing an analysis of student grades from students in the first year of a graduate program, you’ve discovered that a good proportion of them are challenged when it comes to academic writing at the graduate level. From a retention and graduation standpoint, you determine that addressing this problem is a priority for your institution. Knowing your current support service offerings, you decide that the best way to boost support for those students, and ultimately maintain retention and graduation rates within the program, is an initiative that involves the creation of a brand new online writing lab where graduate students can get help improving their scholarly writing skills.