A MODEL TO ENVY

A MODEL TO ENVY

by Guest Publisher Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president

Rick Miranda

Among the many things I love about Colorado State University is that we’re always striving to create a better educational experience for our students. We don’t settle for “good enough” – we are constantly seeking to improve.

I can offer no finer example of this philosophy than the Student Success Initiative. Officially launched in 2006, SSI was Colorado State’s commitment to making sure our students were getting the best possible college experience and were given every tool necessary to achieve their educational goals.

Prior to SSI, we were graduating just over 60 percent of our students within six years of their arrival. Many universities would trumpet that number as cause for celebration. At Colorado State, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, recognizing “we can do better.” We aimed for a 70 percent graduation rate for the 2017 entering class, and we’re on track to reach that goal.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, and at times we had to make some difficult decisions. In the end, it was determined that doing things the same old way wasn’t going to change outcomes. We pushed ourselves well beyond our familiar comfort zones.

With the support of the Board of Governors, University administration, and faculty, SSI has changed the culture at Colorado State.

We created TILT (The Institute for Learning and Teaching) and CASA (Center for Advising and Student Achievement, now called the Collaborative for Student Achievement) in 2007 to support both students and faculty. Key Communities – diverse learning communities that stress both curricular and co-curricular elements – were expanded. And support from our alumni and friends during two comprehensive fundraising campaigns created scholarships to help traditionally underserved students achieve their dreams of attending – and graduating from – Colorado State.

By 2011, this new commitment was paying off. Graduation rates for students at four, five, and six years were at all-time highs. President Tony Frank celebrated the achievement by changing the goal from a 70 percent graduation rate for the entering class of 2017 to hitting 80 percent for the entering class of 2020, the University’s 150th birthday.

The first goal has been met. Confidence is high that this new goal will be achieved because of our commitment to the process. Along the way, we have benefited from the hard work and vision of people such as Paul Thayer, Barb Musslewhite, Blanche Hughes, Mary Ontiveros, Alan Lamborn, and many, many others who refused to accept “good enough” as, well, good enough.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue’s stories about SSI and its impact on our students, faculty, and University as a whole. We are incredibly proud of our achievements through SSI and look forward to celebrating an 80 percent graduation rate in the not-too-distant future.

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