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Columbus State University Campus Plan Update 2019

Institutional Mission and Student Body Profile

Columbus State University (CSU) is a four-year public institution that offers more than 100 programs at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Many degrees are conferred in professional areas at both undergraduate and graduate levels in response to student demand and service area needs. Due to the nature of Complete College Georgia, this report only concerns our undergraduate degree programs.

Institutional Mission

The mission of CSU is to “empower individuals to contribute to the advancement of our local and global communities through an emphasis on excellence in teaching and research, life-long learning, cultural enrichment, public/private partnerships, and service to others.”

The institutional focus on excellence in teaching and research as well as the emphasis on life-long learning, cultural enrichment, public-private partnerships and service to others influences the key priorities of the college completion work undertaken by CSU. The University financially supports student research and creative inquiry projects facilitated by faculty mentors. CSU has a strong commitment to service and has provided significant leadership in meeting the needs of the community, the region, and the state through endeavors such as the Early College initiative, Dual Enrollment, service to military-affiliated students, Embark on Education (for homeless and foster youths), BOOST (childcare reimbursement program), and the development of high-quality online programs and services that allow students to decrease time to completion regardless of their geographic location.

Student Body Profile

The University System of Georgia (USG) designates CSU as one of the three “access” institutions within the state because no state colleges in the USG are located within the geographic service area. The service area of Columbus State University is defined as these Georgia counties: Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Meriwether, Muscogee, Stewart, Talbot, Taylor, and Troup. In Fall 2019, 43.2% of the new student population was drawn from these counties.

Columbus State University utilizes moderately selective admissions standards and processes for most applicants (high school grade point average of 2.5 and SAT minimum scores of 440 Critical Reading and 410 Math or ACT English 17/Math 17). Modified standards are utilized for applicants within the local service area in accordance with the University System of Georgia-mandated local access mission (high school grade point average of 2.0 and SAT minimum scores of 330 Critical Reading and 310 Math or ACT English 12/Math 14). While the University takes pride in its role as an access institution, this role presents challenges in retention and student success. Nonetheless, retention and graduation rates have increased in the last seven years.

Overall CSU Graduation Rate, 2012-2019

Columbus State Graduation Rates

The overall CSU retention rates, 2012-2019, for first-time, full-time freshmen have increased from 66.2% to 71.5%, yielding an increase of 5.3% over seven years. However, it is the increase in the graduation rate that is truly impressive. In the same time period, it has risen from 30.5% to 39.5%, an increase of 9%.

This year, CSU focused on helping students succeed by

  • Providing them with program maps, focus area maps, accurate course rotation schedules, and informed advising to help them navigate the road to completion—See Section 2. Momentum Year Update, p. 2;
  • Investigating ways to minimize or eradicate non-academic reasons for being “at risk” (financial, career uncertainty, child care, first generation, etc.)—Section 3, Goal #1, p. 6;
  • Motivating them to earn degrees on time (enroll in 15 credits per term)—Section 3, Goal #2, p. 8; and

Redesigning high DFWI courses, thereby both reducing the number of students having to reenroll in courses and improving student learning and retention —Section 3, Goal #3, p. 10.

In short, we have carefully aligned our goals to target our particular students to help them succeed in four different ways.

Momentum Year Update

According to Georgia’s CCG website, students are most successful when they make purposeful choice, have clear paths for completion, and demonstrate an academic mindset. To accomplish that end, beginning Fall 2019, CSU has centralized advising for all freshmen and sophomores and increased the staff of CSU ADVISE accordingly. CSU ADVISE has three offices on campus—one on main campus (for the College of Business and Computer Sciences and for the College of Letters and Sciences) and two on the RiverPark Campus (one for students in the College of Education and Health Professions and one for those in the College of the Arts). In addition, CSU ADVISE advises all students (native or transfer) who are uncertain of their major and have chosen an academic focus area instead of a major. Finally, CSU has devoted time and energy to academic mindset—surveying students, educating faculty and students, and coordinating meaningful activities that develop growth mindset.

Purposeful Choices: Academic Focus Areas

In AY 2017-2018, we expanded our academic focus areas from five to eight so that “students groping with uncertainty can pursue coursework from the start that contributes to college completion and also provides exposure to potential majors, helping them refine their post-secondary path” (Momentum Year website). These focus area maps—all of which cover two semesters (the first year)— were carefully constructed to dovetail into every major on campus so that all courses in the first year of a given general area (for example, Business) will count across all programs under that focus area umbrella and “offer an informative exposure to the subject field.”  Focus area maps list courses that are broadly applicable across a wide range of majors within the area, helping students avoid enrollment in unnecessary credits as they narrow their program choice. The eight focus areas are Social Sciences, Health Professions, Education (Excluding Secondary Ed.), Business, Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, Exploratory, and Computer Science, Math or Science (STEM). See Appendix I for details.

CSU’s Academic Focus Area maps (seven pictured) plus Exploratory (not pictured)

Seven focus areas: Business, Social Sciences, STEM, Humanities, Education, Health Professions, Education, and ArtsIn August 2018, the undecided/undeclared option for students was eliminated on CSU application so that students applying for subsequent terms selected an Academic Focus Area (AFA) instead. Students selecting AFAs are advised by student retention specialists in the CSU ADVISE center. Students selecting the Exploratory focus area are required to engage in specific activities to help facilitate the selection of a specific focus area or major.

CSU offers eight AFAs which allow students to explore majors within an area of interest. For coding purposes, AFAs are an attribute and students are assigned to the BA in Liberal Arts Humanities concentration. Using this “shell” major enables students using AFAs to receive financial aid. The student attribute code, next to the AFA, allows CSU ADVISE to track AFA students. Since the coding was created in 2018-2019, there is little data to report at this time regarding movement from these coded AFAs to majors, but we should have some data next year.

Health Professions

code FAHP


code FABU

Education (excludes Secondary Education)

code FAED

Computer Science, Math, & Science

code FACS

Social Science

code FASS


code FAHU

Fine & Performing Arts

code FAPA


code FAEX

These AFAs are published on the CSU ADVISE website and in the catalog. Each map has been carefully constructed to include 9 credits in the Focus Area of interest and to specify the math course recommended for that AFA. Each AFA covers two semesters or the first year of the college experience. Since students must select a major by 30 hours, Academic Focus Area Maps only apply to freshmen, whether native or transfer. Students selecting AFAs, including Exploratory, are advised by a dedicated student retention specialist in CSU ADVISE.

CSU ADVISE, the Center for Career Development, and Counseling Center have scaffolded their career support services to be responsive and effective. AFA students are referred to the Center for Career Development for career advising and to complete the PAN Skills Assessment. This assessment is designed to identify strengths and interests, allowing students to explore career fields based on those strengths and interests and to develop professional skills. Students are also referred to the Counseling Center to assist with selecting a major. The Counseling Center administers the Strong Interest Inventory, the results of which help guide conversations by experienced counselors about potential majors and career paths. Referrals are recorded in EAB (Educational Advisory Board) and monitored to ensure that students complete the required interventions and activities.

Clear Paths for Completion: Program Maps

CSU ADVISE also advises all freshmen and sophomores in all majors. CSU has maintained extensive program maps for all associate and bachelor degrees for the last six years, including a 5-year map for the BS+MS combination program in Earth and Space Science. Some of our STEM programs have multiple maps, based on the potential starting points of their math pathways. For years, we have mandated the completion of core English and the aligned mathematics course (including any required learning support courses) in the first year and required all program maps to illustrate a minimum of 30 credits per year. In 2018-2019, we also ensured that all maps include a minimum of nine credit hours (usually three courses) in the discipline or discipline-related courses in the first year of a student’s selected major or academic focus area. For 2018-2019r, we are double checked compliance of completion of Area A courses and nine credit hours in the discipline or discipline-related courses on the program maps of all majors and focus areas. In the last few years, retention and graduation rates have increased due to our attention to program maps and our emphasis on 15-to-finish. CSU has registered its highest graduation rate of 39.5 percent, an increase of 9.0 percentage points in the last six years.

Academic Mindset

Since Fall 2017, CSU has distributed the Academic Mindset survey every semester to all incoming first-year students. In 2018, CSU offered Mindset training and discussion for faculty including book circles on related topics and a workshop led by academic futurist Ken Steele (April 2018).

In 2019, CSU’s Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning scaled up the discussion about Mindsets among faculty by offering workshops during Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Planning weeks, encouraging discussion of the topic during its new faculty orientation series, offering more book circles on the topic, and offering forums for faculty, staff, and administrators to strategize and to develop practices to help students see academic difficulties and challenges as chances to grow. Here are the titles of the workshops, the dates, and participation:

Sessions during Creativity & Innovation Forum in August Welcome Week (2018)
"Creating Syllabus Policies to Support a Growth Mindset" (offered twice on Main Campus and twice at RiverPark) 8/14 & 8/15 for 28
"Reducing the DFW Rate in the Context of Inclusion" (same) 8/14 & 8/15 for 22   


Keynote address in January Welcome Week (2019)
"Metacognition: the secret to engaging and inspiring students" 1/16 for 71

New Faculty Seminar Series
"Taking Care of Students: how to help, where to turn" (offered once on each campus) 9/11 and 9/13 for 6
"Mentoring Student Research and Creative Activity" 11/2 for 14     
"Navigating Student Success Resources" 2/21 for 13     

In Fall 2018, the President's Welcome activity was based on introducing Mindset to the entire campus. Also in 2018, The First Year Experience (FYE) program and CSU ADVISE were awarded a three-million dollar Strengthening Institutions Programs (SIP) grant from USDOE, which will support a cohort of academic coaches and peer mentors, a Learning Support Resource Center, and consulting from nationally recognized experts. These services are aligned with instilling Growth Mindsets in students who can most benefit from it. For Fall 2019, CSU ADVISE’s SIP grant got a mindset training module added for its peer coaches.

 In addition, the FYE program made direct linkages between last year’s Common Reading and Growth Mindset discussions by adopting The Working Poor as its text. This year’s Common Read, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, also promotes mindset topics.

Finally, all faculty teaching core curriculum courses must now submit midterm grades, which help students see their actual standing and progress in their courses and perhaps save themselves from failing or receiving low grades.

In summary, these three elements—purposeful choice (academic focus areas), clear path for completion (program maps), and academic mindset—create a Momentum Year for students by providing them with what they need “to find their path, get on that path, and build velocity in the direction of their goals” (CCG website).

The result has been a decrease excess credits earned on the path to getting a degree (associate degree in 2 years, bachelor’s degree in 4 years) through judicious creation of program maps, focus area maps, course rotation schedules, and conscientious advising. We have passionately pursued this goal and have had 100% compliance and buy-in on campus from advisors, advising centers, faculty, chairs, deans, and administrators.

High-Impact Strategies

  • Created eight focus area maps for students uncertain of major choice.
  • Created a coding system for those freshmen using Academic Focus Area Maps so we can track their migration from AFA to majors. (See map codes above.)
  • Temporarily assigned AFA students to BA Liberal Arts Humanities so they are eligible for financial aid.
  • Developed program maps for every undergraduate degree, major, and track and the combination five-year BS+MS program in Earth and Space Science; some STEM programs have developed multiple program maps depending on various math placement possibilities for incoming students.
  • All maps complied with Momentum Year mandates regarding math, English, and 9-credits in first year.
  • Required departments to develop course rotation schedules.
  • Pressure tested program maps to actual rotation of courses.
  • The Faculty Center offered faculty workshops on instilling growth mindsets and FYE chose common reading that encourages mindset development.
  • Required all faculty teaching courses in the core to report midterm grades.

Summary of Activities

  • In 2018, we expanded focus area maps from 5 to 8 areas by adding maps for Health Professions, Humanities, and Fine and Performing Arts. These are published on the CSU ADVISE website. (See Appendix I.)
  • Annually, we review program maps before publishing them in the new catalog. In the process, many maps are corrected/updated and any errors found in the online catalog are corrected then as well. This review work will be eliminated, for the most part, once Courseleaf is implemented in 2020.
  • For the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 catalogs, we validated that all maps and focus areas indicated the appropriate math pathway course, required both English composition courses, and contained a minimum of nine credit hours of discipline-related credits in the first 30 hours of coursework.
  • Fall 2019 we had 28 who began as Exploratory AFA. CSU ADVISE provided intentional and early advising with this group of students and encouraged them to visit the Career Center for their "Am I Job Ready?" assessment and the Counseling Center for the Strong Inventory. During Welcome Week, CSU ADVISE also hosted "Majors in Minutes.”
  • For 2018-2019, we distributed the mindset survey to students and offered mindset workshops to faculty.
  • In Spring 2018, we randomly selected eight bachelor programs to confirm that course rotation schedules were consistent with program maps (pressure test). For this study, two programs out of each of the four colleges were chosen at random. We found 98% compliance, with only 9 of 480 upper division hours of coursework in the rotation schedule found to be discrepant with that in the corresponding program map. The department chairs of three programs with discrepancies were notified and their maps and/or course rotation schedules corrected.
  • In Spring 2019, we again pressure tested eight different bachelor programs maps to actual course offerings for fall 2018 and spring 2019. We found 92% compliance, with one program accounting for most of the misalignments. The department chairs of three programs with discrepancies were notified and their maps or rotation schedules adjusted as needed.  All departments at CSU have developed rotation schedules which they publish on their departmental websites. Such publication has improved compliance with program maps and, no doubt, reduced student anxiety about when a course will be taught again. Chairs are in the process of developing and publishing one- year course schedules in which students will be able to enroll.
  • Faculty Center offered several workshops for faculty to educate them regarding mindset.
  • All faculty teaching courses in the core curriculum are required to report midterm grades. This is a student success practice, and the more context instructors can provide students (in an email or a notice in D2L) the better--how the grade was calculated, what it means in students' overall grade, where to get help, and how faculty office hours might figure into that help.  We know that students whose GPA falls below 2.0 in the first semester have drastically lower retention rates, around 30% according to the latest figures, compared with 72% for the general population. Having midterm grades reported allows us to calculate midterm GPAs for first-year students and make sure struggling students know where to find the support they need.

Faculty report midterm grades through Banner SIS or the MyCSU faculty grade entry tile.

Measures of Progress and Success

Baseline Status

0 program maps or interest-area maps in 2012.

Interim Measures of Success

  • In 2013-2014 we created program maps for all 4-year degrees at CSU.
  • In 2014-2015, we created maps for all 2-year degrees, updated all maps, and revised the map template, standardizing it across 99% of the disciplines; the one exception is a carousel map used by the RN to BSN program, a two-year program of short-term rotational courses.
  • Excess hours have decreased from 144.7 (2015) to 144.4 (2019).
  • In 2015-2016, we added five focus area maps to the CSU ADVISE website.
  • In 2017-2018, we added three more focus area maps and revised the previous five maps.

Measures of Success

  • In 2019, created coding for all Academic Focus Area Maps in order to identify students in Focus Areas and to track their success rates and movements to other majors.
  • CSU’s retention rate of FT/FT freshmen has increased from 67.1% in 2013 to 71.5% in 2019.
  • CSU’s graduation rate has increased significantly from 30.5% in 2013 to 39.5% in 2019.
  • Evolve Momentum Year requirements to include those of the Momentum Approach Development Plan, developed in June 2019 for implementation Fall 2020. Next year’s efforts will truly be transformative.

Other Institutional High-Impact Strategies, Activities & Outcomes

Goal #1: Through use of predictive analytics, provide intrusive advising and helpful interventions to keep “at risk” students on track to graduate.

With the help of the predictive analytics capability of the Education Advisory Board’s (EAB) Student Success Collaborative (SSC), CSU ADVISE serves the whole student by not only focusing on academic progress, but also by addressing their social, emotional, physical, and financial needs. This year, CSU ADVISE has facilitated student success through programs such as the Early Alert System, BOOST (a Quality Care for Children program), and Embark in Education. In addition, CSU ADVISE has defined our “at risk” population and created a tracking system for identifying and serving these students. In years to come, positive results with “at risk” student groups should positively affect successful completion of credits, retention rates, and graduation rates.

High-Impact Strategies

  • Use predictive analytics (EAB) and established criteria for identifying students who are “at risk” and may need special interventions.
  • Ensure that students who met above criteria received timely and targeted advising and intervention.

Summary of Activities

Early Alert System

  • Because EAB is user friendly, faculty have found it easier to submit Early Alert documentation, Faculty submit names of academically “at risk” students using the Early Alert System (EAS) in EAB. EAS is designed to assist undergraduate students who demonstrate difficulty in their classes by making them aware of support services available and by encouraging them to use them. Alerts are issued for a variety of reasons:
    • Some are originated by faculty for “excessive absences” or “poor academic performance.” Some of the faculty-generated alerts are assigned to the student’s academic advisor for follow up.
    • Others can be issued by any EAB user, including student life and residence life staff—for example, “food or housing insecurity” or “disruptive behavior.”
    • Alerts can also be positive in nature, like “Honors College candidate.” These alerts are then assigned to the Dean of the Honors College.
  • Identified students may also be referred to appropriate and effective campus resources, such as the Academic Center for Tutoring (ACT), Counseling Center, Office of Accommodation and Accessibility, and the Center for Career Development.
  • Student affairs and resident life staff also have access to EAB and can submit various alerts.

EAB Referral Rates (Identification and Tracking of Students in EAB)

In 2017-2018, we developed a process to track which students were actually participating in the referrals recommended by advisors in CSU ADVISE, faculty advisors, or other professional advisors. Previously, CSU ADVISE referred students to campus resources like the Academic Center for Tutoring (ACT), the Center for Career Development, and the Counseling Center to improve student success rates, but was unable to track which students actually followed through in utilizing these services. Using EAB's alert feature, advisors are now able to document these referrals. When issued, the student receives a notification with information on the recommended service. When issued, the student receives a notification with information on the recommended service. Whereas ACT has been tracking appointments in EAB for years, the Center for Career Development and the Counseling Center have only started doing so in Spring 2018. It is now possible to identify which students received assistance. In the case of referrals to the Counseling Center, aggregate numbers are used to protect privacy.

We were shocked at the low rate of compliance with referrals. Now we need to figure how to motivate students to comply with the referral. The data at this point is too slim to correlate student compliance and improved outcomes.

Referral Service

Fall 18 Referred

Fall 18 Received Care

Spring 19 Referred

Spring 19 Received Care

Accommodations & Access





Career Center




















SIP GRANT – Referred to Counseling Center for Strong Inventory Test





SIP GRANT – Referred to Counseling for Psych Evaluation *Began Spring 19






  • Whereas ACT has been tracking appointments for years, the Center for Career Development and the Counseling Center have only started doing so in Spring 2018.
  • CSU currently has Banner reports that identify all students who have not taken ENGL 1101 or ENGL 1102. The report will be refined to meet our needs to identify students who are not enrolled in the gateway English and mathematics courses and who did not bring in prior learning credit to satisfy these requirements.
  • CSU has a high transfer population, in part because of our location near Fort Benning. The transfer GPA is not considered for students with less than 30 transferable hours if they otherwise meet freshman admissions requirements such as HSGPA and standardized test scores. There is a minimum transfer GPA for students with 30 or more transferable hours. At times, transfer students have grade point averages below 2.0 (11.4%) and are not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) with financial aid, resulting in difficulty in degree completion. This chart shows the GPA range of transfer students in Spring 2019.

GPA Range

CSU ADVISE through Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) now has a program to assist transfer students with a transfer GPA below 2.0. Students are invited to meet with SIP advisors at the beginning of each semester to assess previous academic struggles. Follow up with students occurs at midterm to track their academic progress. Students are required to meet two times throughout the semester with assigned peer mentors. Finally, students are able to attend workshops for math and testing anxiety and workshops for professionalism.

EAB Student Alerts

Fall 2018 Alerts = 166

Spring 2019 Alerts = 129

Total Alerts for 2018-2019 = 295


CSU was one of the first USG schools to offer BOOST, a Quality Care for Children (QCC) grant program that provides childcare scholarships for full-time student-parents with children age 4 and under. These scholarships are for PELL-eligible juniors and seniors who are enrolled full time, have maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), have a GPA of 2.0 or higher upon applying for the program and maintain a 2.0 GPA once receiving funds.

 Quality Care for Children is gathering data to demonstrate the positive impact of available childcare on college graduation rates to build a case for state investment. Over the years, CSU has been awarded a number of slots (scholarships): 5 slots in Fall 2016; 10 in Spring 2017; 35 on Fall 10`7; 62 in Spring 2018; 32 in Fall 2018 (decrease due to realignment of funding across all institutions); 24 in Spring 2019; and 9 in Fall 2019. 

←Here is a YouTube testimonial of a student named Sasha, one of the recipients of the CSU BOOST scholarship.

Embark in Education (Homelessness and Foster Care)

  • In Fall 2017, the Wisconsin HOPE Lab Study collaborated with CSU and other USG Institutions to administer a survey to all entering freshmen in order to determine the needs of students with housing and food insecurities.
  • In its Embark in Education program, CSU ADVISE aids homeless and foster care students with groceries, emergency housing, tuition aid, bill payment, etc., as needed.

Measures of Progress and Success

  • Increased number of EAB referrals 
    • 48 referrals 2013-2014 (information from 2014-2017 deleted to save space)
    • 51 referrals 2017-2018
    • 295 referrals 2018-2019 (166 referrals, Fall 2018; 129 referrals Spring 2019)
  • BOOST participants vary depending on number of slots provided:
    • 5 student-parents Fall 2016 (information from 2016-2018 deleted to save space)
    • 62 students Spring 2018
    • 32 student-parents Fall 2018
    • 24 student-parents Spring 2019
    • 9 student-parents Fall 2019
  • The Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant began Spring 2018 semester.
    • Spring 2018—294 students served
    • Summer 2018—34 students served
    • Fall 2018—208 students served
    • Spring 2019—195 students served
    • Summer 2019—72 students served

Our data analyst conducted a Mann-Whitney statistical test and concluded that probation students who received service from SIP had a higher end of semester GPA than those who did not. In fact, there is an approximately 76.6% variance in the end of semester GPA between students who received or did not receive SIP academic success advising.

  • Number of Embark students served since 2017:
    • Spring 2017—12
    • Fall 2017—7
    • Spring 2018—7
    • Fall 2018—7
    • Spring 2019—7

See also Appendix II: Interim Measures of Progress.

Goal #2: Increase the number of degrees earned “on time” by encouraging students to enroll in 15 credit hours each term.

In 2013, a review of institutional data indicated that many students were not enrolled in a minimum of 15 credit hours each term. In Fall 2013, 3,680 undergraduate students were taking less than 15 credit hours per term. This group had an average overall GPA of 2.81. During the same term, 1,015 were enrolled in 15 or more credit hours. The average overall GPA of that group was 3.12. A campus-wide initiative was implemented in Summer 2014 to provide new students beginning in Fall 2014 with 15-hour schedules for their first term of study. These schedules were developed in advance by academic advisors with input from the students.

The following chart illustrates that, from 2011-2018, CSU full-time freshmen (FTF) have increased credit-hours earned. Note the decrease in enrollment of 24 hours or less (blue) and the increase in enrollment of 30 hours or more (grey) even as the overall number of students declined.

CSU Credit Hours Earned FTF

Since Fall 2014, we provided information on the 15-to-Finish campaign to incoming students through our orientation presentations and to professional/faculty advisors through our advising training sessions throughout fall and spring semesters.

High-Impact Strategies

  • Used preference surveys to preregister entering freshmen (15-to-Finish).
  • Centralized advising of all first- and second-year students in CSU ADVISE, which trains all professional advisors to be thorough in communicating information concerning students’ major/academic focus area maps and knowledge of important advising issues.
  • Changed institutional culture to emphasize taking full-time course loads of 15 hours or more: freshman orientation video, advisor training, intentional advising, financial incentive after 15 hours, default 15-hr schedule (15-to-Finish).
  • Students have the option of using College Scheduler to create their ideal class schedule. Advisors utilize Degree
  • Works to insure they are registering students for the correct classes and that classes selected are applicable to their program maps and degrees.

Summary of Activities for 15-to-Finish

  • Continue using the Preference Survey with entering freshmen. The University is proactively sending this survey to each new student before orientation and creating their course schedule prior to the student’s scheduled orientation session. This ensures students are taking 15 credit hours, courses that are related to their major, and that they have a balanced schedule that fosters success. 
  • All first-year students are pre-registered for their first semester based on the appropriate program map for their selected focus area or major. When students have credit for prior learning (dual enrollment, AP, IB, CLEP, transfer courses, etc.), academic advisors may register students for an alternative schedule that is consistent with the focus area or major. All students are required to meet with an academic advisor prior to registration for the second term. In this meeting, the student and advisor discuss the student’s progress and the student is provided with a list of appropriate courses that coincide with the program map for the second term for the desired major or focus area. In this required face-to-face meeting (required except for online students), students are advised by their professional advisors to take 15 or more credits if at all possible.
  • For an accurate 15-to-Finish plan, creating a precise “course demand” schedule is extremely difficult but necessary if we are going to offer the right number and kinds of courses students need to progress. If 90% of students are able to enroll in needed Area A courses each semester, we feel we have achieved a significant accomplishment.  We have achieved this goal every Fall and Spring semesters.
  • At the current time, advisors have to manually check each student’s record to ensure that the courses for which they register are appropriate for the program of study. We are currently investigating how we can utilize DegreeWorks to more efficiently determine which students are enrolled in courses appropriate for the focus area or major.
  • The Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and Effectiveness is currently assessing the tools at our disposal to extract data that will yield meaningful information about course demand with the ultimate goal of providing adequate sections to enable students to progress in a timely manner. This process necessitates the refinement of program maps to incorporate specific course recommendations and the development of full year course schedules for planning purposes. Academic Affairs coordinates scheduling with various points of administration in each college and allocates physical space using Optimizer in AdAstra. 
  • Continued using 15-to-Finish video at freshman orientations.
  • Stressed 15-to Finish philosophy to faculty and professional advisors through training each semester.
  • Encouraged students to take 15+ semester hours due to financial incentive (all credits over 15 hours are “free”).
  • Successfully used College Scheduler in Spring 2018 and after to help students find workable schedules in a less stressful and time-consuming manner.

Measures of Progress and Success for 15-to-Finish

  • In Fall 2013, 1,951 students (27.8%) were enrolled in 15 hours or more.
  • Increased number of students enrolled in 15 hours or more—increase of 5.6% from Fall 2013 (27.8%) to Fall 2019 (33.4%)
  • By 2020, we hope to have 35% of our students enrolled in 15 hours or more per semester.

Goal #3: Restructure instructional delivery to support educational excellence and student success by improving the pass rate of students in core courses with high DWFI rates through participation of Gateway to Completion, John Gardner Initiative

CSU is actively engaged in the Gateways to Completion (G2C) initiative and has identified four critical gateway courses that will be redesigned. These are ENGL 1101: English Composition 1; MATH 1111: College Algebra; COMM 1110: Public Speaking; and ECON 2015: Macroeconomics. The courses are purposefully drawn from all three colleges that offer courses in the core curriculum. Appropriate CSU faculty and administrators have participated in all system-sponsored G2C events and the institution has moved forward to complete the inventory, administer the student survey, and prepare academic teams to begin their work in Fall 2018.

In addition, due to USG system changes in delivery of remediation, co-requisite Math and English courses have replaced the stand-alone remediation classes. These co-requisite courses provide students with support to reinforce concepts taught in the core classes. In order to enhance these efforts, the Learning Support Success Center provides coaching for students who are required to take co-requisite Math and co-requisite English. Students also receive help with campus resources, goal setting, time management, etc. The coaches receive training from the National Center for Developmental Education on best practice to serve students who place into the co-requisite classes. Services are offered day, evening and weekend to meet student needs.

High-Impact Strategies

  • Develop, using the Gardner Institute process, an evidence-based plan to improve student learning and overall student success through the redesign of four gateway courses, COMM 1110, ECON 2105, ENGL 1101, and MATH 1111, each of which affects large numbers of students.  
  • Employ co-requisite Math and English courses instead of stand-alone remediation classes.

Summary of Activities (2017 to Present) for G2C courses

  • Selected courses to redesign and select participants (Fall 2017)
  • Required academic teams (administrators, faculty) to attend all system-sponsored G2C events (2017-2018)
  • Between August and November 2018, each course redesign committee presented an update to the G2C Steering Committee and wrote three full reports in Spring 2019, each based on two of the six G2C Principles and guided by Gardner’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Findings of ENGL 1101 and COMM 1110 committees are found in Appendix III.
  • The full three-year G2C process works in three phases:
    • AY 2018-19: Collect and analyze data, develop course redesign
    • AY 2019-20: Offer at least some sections of redesigned courses, collect and analyze data, revise redesign.
    • AY 2020-21: Offer newly revised courses, scale up to all sections, and institute a process of continuous improvement.

Measures of Progress and Success

Baseline Status

The total DFWI rates from Academic Year 2016-17 for each gateway course are listed below, but in analyzing this data, the G2C Task Force will disaggregate the data to identify redesign opportunities to enhance student success.

  • COMM 1110 - 13.4%
  • ECON 2105 - 16.6%
  • ENGL 1101 - 16.3%
  • MATH 1111 - 19.0%

Interim Measures of Success

Stay on schedule (see timeline in Activities section above)

Measures of Success

The goal is for all students to have equitable access to the learning these courses offer and for that deepened learning experience to be demonstrated through improved rates of success in progression and graduation. The more immediate goal will be to identify any structural barriers to success that exist, particularly if they affect students inequitably.

Observations and Next Steps

Successful Strategies from last year

  • Increasing number of degrees that are earned on time by targeting institutional culture to increase number of students enrolled in 15 or more hours. Success here is due to preregistering students and showing the 15-to-Finish video to students and families at orientation. There was an increase of 5.6% from Fall 2013 to Fall 2019 in the number of students enrolled in 15 or more hours.
  • Transforming the catalog to include program maps for all undergraduate degrees. We are confident that these maps will positively affect RPG in the future and contribute greatly to the culture of “15-to-finish.” The 2018-2019 catalog represents the sixth year these maps are included. In addition, there are now eight focus area maps for entering freshmen who are still deciding on a major. 
  • Using various methods to keep students on track and identify students “at risk.” These methods include reminding faculty to use the Early Alert System in the EAB Student Success Collaborative, working with outside organizations to provide childcare for student-parents, and using intentional and proactive advising to refer students to appropriate and effective campus resources.
  • Tracking whether students are using referral services as directed. 2018-2019 was the second year we were able to track such referrals and we will work to improve the rate students follow through with the referral.
  • “Pressure testing” program maps with rotation schedules, thereby cross checking the accuracy of the maps to real time course offerings.
  • Coding various focus areas so we can better track behavior of students still deciding on majors.
  • Simplifying course enrollment through College Scheduler, which creates multiple schedules for students once they specify what courses they need and when they can take them. As a result, we expect to see an increase in the number of hours in which students enroll.

Continued Goals for 2019-2020

  • Improve the pass rates of core courses with high DFWI rates by participating in G2C and redesigning four core courses.
  • Track referral data to confirm which students are following up on the referrals recommended by advisors in CSU ADVISE, faculty advisors, or other professional advisors.
  • Expand the use of the EAB SSC to keep students on track to graduate, including new focus on first-generation college students.
  • Define and communicate the standard of care expected for all undergraduate students, especially those in “at risk” populations. Continue to improve the participation rate of transfer students in the SIP program.
  • Maintain and update program maps and focus area maps as needed.
  • Cross-check program maps with rotational schedules for major coursework (pressure test).

New Goals for next year

  • We currently use a template for 99% of our program maps, but will be changing to another format next year (2020-2021) when we will be using Courseleaf in which to create program maps, which should also allow us to merge catalog and program maps more easily and be ADA compliant.
  • Use the newly created a coding system for students using AFA maps to track key information—change of majors, retention rates, pass rates, etc.
  • Move from Momentum Year milestones to Momentum Approach Development Plan for all bachelor programs.

Student Success and Completion Team

Deborah Bordelon, Provost

Rebecca Gerdes-McClain, Director, First-Year Composition

Chris Holloway, Academic Advisor / SIP Advisor Coordinator, CSU ADVISE

Tim Howard, Vice Provost

Susan Hrach, Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning

Barbara Hunt, Project Manager, Academic Affairs

Ben Kamau, Chair, Department of Mathematics

Kelly Koch, BSN Program Academic Advisor & Retention Specialist

Pat McHenry, Associate Provost

Lisa Shaw, Director, CSU ADVISE

Melody Shumaker, FYE Director and Learning Support Coordinator

Sridhar Sitharaman, Associate VP for Institutional Research & Effectiveness

Stephanie Speer, Registrar

Melissa Young, Assistant Director, CSU ADVISE