The institution regards this as a very high priority and continues to fund it. Its impact directly affects retention numbers of first year students by giving them a year-long support network, and of continuing students by giving their advisors and a tool to track their academic progress. It should be noted that the Storm Spotters discussed in Matrix B are also a part of the first-year students’ success networks.
Beacon is a type of early warning software to address academic integration (a risk specific to GSW based on data from the College Persistence Questionnaire and Inventory, administered in 2014-15). This ties into Strategy 4.4 (establish criteria for identifying students who may need special interventions in the semester [e.g.: lack of attendance, poor performance on early assignments]) and into Strategy 4.5 (ensure that students who meet off-track criteria receive timely and targeted advising intervention). We are also employing Strategy 4.3 (use Degree Works to track student progress).
Prior to both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, we administered the Student Success Inventory to first year students –The SSI measures student responses on several non-cognitive factors that affect retention and probability of academic success. Using the SSI has allowed us to identify several areas of risk specific to GSW, including most importantly resiliency. The results of this survey showed that although GSW’s students have a high degrees of academic and campus commitment, as well as educational commitment to obtain a college degree, their resiliency in the face of setbacks is relatively low. The resiliency factor in particular increases risk of attrition. GSW is in the process of implementing strategies specifically designed to address this issue, and to increase faculty use of the tool. Progress towards implementing this strategy in the 2015-2016 academic year included pushing harder on Beacon training and utilization for faculty. Specific activities engaged in this year in regards to this strategy entailed more training for faculty and discussing resiliency strategies in our freshmen orientation course.
Campus culture has still not fully embraced the CCG philosophy. While some faculty embrace Beacon, others are still not making use of it or use it only sporadically. We will be offering more training and potentially, more incentives.