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Supplemental Updates for Georgia Southern University - 2023

Greatest Strengths and Successes

Continued communication with university constituents to develop a shared language and understanding of the purpose behind the work. Every single person at GS can talk about People, Purpose, Action and employee engagement. How can we have them talk about our shared work towards student success and Momentum in the same way? How can they understand shared responsibility and collaboration in the same way? We have seen - through The Eagle Experience - just how difficult this is.

Recent recognition by NASPA in winning a Gold Award for The Eagle Experience is an affirmation that the concept of collaborative, holistic work towards student success (in this case orientation and transition) is the right path for Georgia Southern to facilitate student success.

  1. Increasing Access and Reducing Barriers: Across all areas/levels we are trying to decrease barriers to successful enrollment by streamlining communication, implementing Enrollment Services as a new department, increasing outreach from Financial Aid and strengthening need-based aid strategies, reviewing policies and procedures that complicate processes for students. Additionally, we have implemented more online orientation and transition modules for early discovery on students’ time/place and adding virtual orientation (SOAR) sessions for those unable to visit campus and decrease overall cost.
  2. Increasing Family Communication & Involvement: We have increased communication and engagement with family and supporters, including: monthly family Zoom sessions highlighting important things like Financial Aid, Student Support, On-Campus Housing, Commencement, Dean of Students, Wellness, Greek Life, Advisement, etc.; monthly family newsletters sent to all family members for whom we have email addresses (with opt-in options); supporter lounges sponsored by the Academic Success Center during the move-in weekend; replicating monthly Presidential messages for family audiences; and expanding our Spring Family Weekend offerings in Savannah. We are also in the process of implementing CampusESP as an online family portal for information and the Parent & Family Association.
  3. Supporting our Military & Veteran Students: Created a Military Student Taskforce, a group that meets monthly to identify and remove barriers to military-connected students. Green Zone training has been offered to all faculty and staff to learn more about this student population.
  4. Building a Cohesive and Comprehensive Transition with The Eagle Experience: Implementation of the new Eagle Experience initiative has helped us take a solid look at our orientation and transition programming for new students and think more holistically, and the program has been recognized with NASPA’s Gold Award. We look at all student types and subpopulations to ensure they all have opportunities. We have set learning outcomes to guide the programming we put into place. We are prioritizing collaboration across divisions to maximize resources and engage all areas. We are communicating with institutional partners and encouraging them all to be engaged with this work and consider their role. We are expanding orientation past a one- or two-day event in the summer before classes begin to a longitudinal process that happens over multiple semesters. We are telling students that transition is important and why they should be engaged. Our initial Fall 2021 survey had really great results, telling us that students are meeting the outcomes that we have set. 
  5. Systematically Linking Co-Curricular Engagement with Eagle Engage: Eagle Engage logs and tracks all students who attend programs, events, and other experiences via a student check-in process initiated by the host department/organization at/after the event. Other experiences include non-academic granting Certificates that center around topical areas that help grow and build a student’s knowledge base. In addition to that, a Competencies and Skills framework created within the platform helps identify and articulate soft skills and competencies that are influenced by student development principles, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Learning Reconsidered, and the Council for the Advancement of Standards. The tracking and linking of co-curricular engagement are being done with programs/activities/events across the university, in and outside of the classroom. Additional effort continues to be given to adding more departments and organizations to Eagle Engage to capture as much engagement as possible. 
  6. Highlighting Inclusive Excellence: Inclusive Excellence is an ongoing, collaborative process uniting Georgia Southern students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni in the work of embedding diversity and inclusiveness throughout university life. This is a part of the fundamental fabric of our university demonstrated not only through Offices of Inclusive Excellence and Multicultural Affairs or the President’s Student Advisory Council (PSAC) and Diversity Advisory Council (PDAC), but through the living Action Plans housed in the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs, all Academic Colleges, Honors, Libraries, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Athletics, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, Business and Finance, Advancement, Office of the Chief Information Officer, and University Communications and Marketing. All units make quarterly reports. TRIO and other programs continue to develop programming that meets specific student constituencies when, where, and in the manner they need.
    Nationally, the institution ranks as follows for number of African American and minority graduates:#10 African American Bachelors Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions
    #9 African American Bachelors Marketing
    #8 African American Bachelors Engineering
    #6 African American Bachelors Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies
    #5 African American Bachelors Physical Sciences
    #3 Total Minority Doctorate Public Health
    #3 African American Doctorate Public Health
    #2 Temporary Resident Doctorate Public Health
  7. Providing University-wide Mentoring Opportunities: ASC Peer mentor program: students (mentees) meet 1:1, weekly, with upperclassmen (mentors). Additionally, students are invited to attend program-facilitated events related to program pillars (self-efficacy; academic success, cultural competence); Eagle Mentoring Program (Alumni & the OCPD); OMA (various affinity mentoring groups); Peer Leaders embedded in First-Year Experience courses.
    1. Belonging: Academic Success Center Peer Mentor Program - 1:1 mentoring for individualized assistance; normalizing the challenges typically experienced with the transition to college; aiding students with trusted resources and cross-campus referrals.
  8. Providing Equitable Access to Career & Professional Development: The OCPD is reimagining the role of career services on campus, shifting from a building where students visit by choice or compulsion, to the center of career readiness expertise for faculty to draw on. Beginning this fall, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (CBSS), in partnership with the OCPD, is integrating career readiness learning modules into curricula in each year of study. In parallel, the OCPD has created a Ready Day One career readiness certificate. Through purposeful choice, students in CBSS can become “career ready” by completing a series of career readiness experiences.
    1. Eagle Mentoring Program: The Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations, has launched a high-impact mentoring program using Georgia Southern alumni as mentors. After a fall 2021 pilot, we now have 55 mentoring pairs this spring.
    2. Internship Scholarship Program: The OCPD created and administers our Internship Scholarship Program (ISP) which provides up to $3,000 for GS students who face financial barriers to completing summer professional internships. The ISP was established in summer 2019 and has grown each year. In summer 2022, we will award $60,000 in scholarships to GS students across all eight academic colleges and all three campuses.
    3. GSU 2131/2132: The OCPD teaches two three-credit professional development classes in fall/spring/summer that provides career development training for our students. GSU 2132 Professional Development seminar, for juniors and seniors, teaches students critical “soft skills” using the EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence framework.
  9. Embracing “Complex” High Impact Practice Courses: In addition to Living Learning Communities, on-site Field Work, Capstones, and Collaborative work, Georgia Southern continues to develop “complex” HIPs that blend two or three impact practices into a seamless experience for students and faculty with: 
    1. Systematic Internship/Practicum experiences are “baked into” college pathways: such as CBSS, COE, JPHCOPH, WCHP 
    2. Mentored undergraduate research: First-Year Experience Research Communities engaging first semester students with shared research interest areas; course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURES); university, college, and departmental research symposiums, such as COSM’s COUR, CAH’s CURIO, Paulson CEC’s Research Symposium; and university wide limited support for undergraduate RAs 
    3. Common Intellectual Experiences in First-Year Seminars with the university selected Community Read and shared engagement with introductions to Inclusive Excellence 
    4. Publication and Scholarship Opportunities: such as the ETAPH program, the Reflector, student presentations at local and regional conferences e. Experiential Learning: Junior Achievement Scholars; Eagle Academy (participants and mentors); service-learning; internships and co-ops f. Service-Learning and Community Based Learning: There are funds available to support students' service-learning projects. Every college offers at least one service-learning opportunity consistently (both at the undergraduate and graduate level), and many departments integrate Service-Learning into their Program of Study. Students also participate in collaborative community learning with places like the Georgia Film Academy Partnership, the Annex (for local businesses), the Industrial Expo. Support for service-learning at Georgia Southern is provided through the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement under Student Affairs. Various resources are available to support faculty, students, and community partners’ efforts to build meaningful service-learning projects. Diversity/Global Learning: Sponsored DEI co-curricular workshops, on-site Study Abroad opportunities, virtual Study Abroad programs (COIL), and global-focus courses in colleges from Arts & Humanities to Public Health. All students take Global Engagement courses in Area B and have a shared intellectual experience with Global Learning in CORE 2000 
  10. Supporting Success Focused Professional and Pedagogical Development: The Faculty Center supports student success by delivering faculty development programming in Effective Teaching Practices that lead to the creation and development of learning environments (all modalities) conducive to student learning and retention. Faculty Development opportunities include: 
    1. 75+ faculty enrolled in the ACUE Effective Teaching Practices Certification program (yearlong - nationally recognized certification program).
    2. b. Faculty teaching online have completed the Teaching Online Courses (TOC) training. 
    3. The Faculty Center offers regular faculty development opportunities in the form of webinars, self-paced courses in Folio, tutorials, and videos on topics that support student success, such as effective teaching practices, student rapport, Folio tools, etc. 
    4. To support student engagement/belonging in courses, the FC acquires and/or provides training on tech tools such as Perusall, Fligrid, Nearpod, Yuja. 
    5. To support equity and access to course materials for all, the Faculty Center collaborates with University Librarians and Affordable Learning Georgia providing awareness, training, and funding on Open Education Resources and No-Cost /Low-Cost course materials.
  11. Belonging: Academic Success Center Tutoring Services - 1:1 tutoring sessions for individualized assistance; normalizing asking for academic assistance; the addition and promotion of 24/7 tutoring with, for both undergraduate and graduate student populations; aiding students with trusted resources and cross-campus referrals.

Priority Areas for Continued Improvement

Our priorities for continued improvement lie in the development and use of predictive analytics to better align our resources and efforts to students who need them in a manner that is proactive, rather than reactive. To this end, preliminary findings are illuminating constituency-specific challenges (e.g. 1-Year Retention Rates for African American students). We are currently performing a diagnostic analysis with the National Institute for Student Success to further identify and address constituency-specific gaps, and to close them. There are also organizational changes planned at the institutional-level that are intended to better align the efforts of student-facing areas.

National Institute for Student Success (NISS): We worked with the NISS, collecting data inputs for the creation of a diagnostic analysis of our Student Success areas and initiatives. These preliminary findings informed a deeper dive into the data, helping us to develop a “playbook” to assist in the strategic alignment of our Student Success regimes.  This collaboration between Georgia Southern’s Momentum Leadership Team and the NISS team paved the way for continued collaboration through a $600,000 NISS grant to implement the team’s playbook recommendations.

Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing, & Student Success: Effective April 1, 2023, the Vice Presidents of Enrollment Management and University Communications and Marketing began reporting to the Executive Vice President (EVP) of the newly created Division of Enrollment, Marketing and Students Success. Additionally, the following departments that previously reported to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs now report to the EVP of the new division: Academic Success Center, Office of Academic Advising, and Student Athlete Services.

Understanding and Coordinating All Student Success Efforts: We have so many efforts happening across the institution and initiatives may be duplicated simply because we don’t all know what is happening and by whom. A better understanding/documentation of everything happening can help us combine efforts/resources for better service. There are also multiple definitions of student success and assigned task forces to do this work.

More Fully Engaging Non-Traditional, Adult, Part-Time Learners: To better serve our current students and prepare to increase enrollment of these non-traditional populations (not full-time, direct from high school), we need to have more part-time, evening, weekend pathways - with degree pathways - to degree completion as well as fully online options in high-demand programs. What are the top areas that adults with some credit, and no degree need to advance in their careers?

Increasing Student Participation: Nearly all areas are experiencing a decrease in student interest/participation. Many students are choosing jobs off-campus that can pay much more than on-campus opportunities. Also, many programs paused or changed during the pandemic and student exposure was limited - like being an orientation leader. Students aren’t familiar with the work and its potential impact on their development and peers. 

Better Assessing Learning Support: Students enrolled in LS for math and science simultaneously are at-risk for higher attrition rates for those courses. 

Additional Career & Professional Development: Eagle Mentoring Program: We have invested in a software mentoring platform, Xinspire, to improve the mentoring expertise and scale the program to 100 mentoring pairs each semester. Internship Scholarship Program: We will continue to grow the ISP each year with the near-term goal of expanding the scholarship awards to students completing professional internships in fall and spring. Integrating career readiness into academic curriculum and Ready Day One: After piloting this program with CBSS in AY23, we are poised to offer these two initiatives to all students in all academic colleges. Our team is currently building out career readiness curricula and will provide a site for faculty to pull learning modules to use at their pace and their time.

Expanding and Consistently Communicating on Undergraduate Research: We are building additional research mentorship programs; collecting student feedback, sharing funding and presentation opportunities.

High Impact Practice Expansion: Building on Successful HIPs to Bring them into New Areas - we need to expand internships, CURES, Mentored research experiences, Study Abroad, etc. The Biology Department, for instance, is implementing Concentrations that will require immersive experiences. Identifying Student Populations not engaged with HIPs - we need a better understanding of which groups of students are and not widely engaging with HIPs courses/experiences. We will need the help of departments, colleges, The Registrar, and institutional research to assess this. Modernizing Old HIPs - we are rethinking Capstones and developing ePortfolios, engaging undergraduates in faculty research systematically, broadening service-learning and community-based learning. 

Responsive Development: We are expanding Faculty Development programming opportunities to support priority areas.


Baseline (year) measure


Enrollment & Diversity


Bachelor Degree



Total FTE

American Indian or Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic)




Asian (Non-Hispanic)




Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)




Hispanic (of any race)




Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Non-Hispanic)




Two or More Races (Non-Hispanic)








White (Non-Hispanic)









Our goal is to continue to monitor the racial and ethnic diversity of our enrollment and compare it to our regional diversity to ensure we are adequately serving our state. We continue to expand/improve recruitment and retention practices to ensure representation and success across all groups.

Bachelor Degree



Total FTE

American Indian or Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic)




Asian (Non-Hispanic)




Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)




Hispanic (of any race)




Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Non-Hispanic)




Two or More Races (Non-Hispanic)








White (Non-Hispanic)








Data Source:

Retention & Closing Retention Gaps

Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 first-year retention = 78%

Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 second-year retention = 65%

Fall 2021 cohort first-year retention = 72%

Fall 2019 cohort second-year retention = 63.6%

Fall 2025: IPEDS (first-time, full-time) freshmen retention rate to 85%

Fall 2025: Increase sophomore to junior persistence and progression rate to 70%

The Fall 2025 goal was set before the full-scale of the pandemic was something we understood. While it is still a lofty goal, we feel that it is important to recognize both the current enrollment roadblocks that all USG schools are experiencing as well as the looming demographic changes facing all universities. A more realistic goal would be to first return to our 78% IPEDS retention point, and revise the 2025 goal to 80%.

Graduation & Closing Graduation Gaps

Fall 2014: 4-year graduation rate = 29%

Fall 2012: 6-year graduation rate = 50.4%


Fall 2018: 4-year graduation rate = 35.5%

Fall 2016: 6-year graduation rate = 53.7%

Completion of Area A courses in the first year

Area A1 – 6hrs (ENGL 1101, ENGL 1102)
Area A2 – 3-4hrs (MATH 1XXX)
Additional – 3hrs (FYE 1220, FYE 1440)

Area A1 – 6hrs (ENGL 1101, ENGL 1102)
Area A2 – 3-4hrs (MATH 1XXX)
Additional – 3hrs (FYE 1220, CORE 2000)

We’ve followed the G2C course pattern since 2018 with the 100% completion target for first-year students. We do not systematically track this completion. In 2022, we began tracking this and using the Qlik delimiters to measure gaps in the full-time first-year population.

Credit Intensity for full time students and closing disparities

14-16hrs per semester (30 hrs in 1st year)

14-16hrs per semester (30 hrs in 1st year)


We’ve held the 15-to-finish standard since 2018, but we have not to-date measured the disparities between first-year students. In 2022, we used the Qlik delimiters to measure gaps in these full-time populations.