Building bridges to student success

Student success is inherently at the center of every institution’s mission, and this round of Models of Excellence showcases eight initiatives dedicated to supporting that goal, from before a student’s first class right through—and beyond—graduation.

Honorees include efforts aimed at improving academic performance as well as boosting life skills that transcend the classroom.

Two honorees feature bridge-type programs targeting students who either need academic help or are from socio-economically challenged backgrounds. One school has created a 12-day immersion for incoming students who have been admitted on a probationary basis that includes developmental mathematics and English courses in addition to college-orientation activities.

Another school goes a bit further, establishing a two-year program for first-generation, socio-economically disadvantaged students where each student is monitored and participates in regular self-assessments, ensuring that they stay on course to graduation.

Broadening student horizons beyond their own campus is another common theme. By establishing its own YouTube channel featuring open-source courses for math placement test preparation and general subject knowledge, one institution has connected with more than 35,000 students from 182 countries—and won a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

At another university, a year-long international leadership development program for women requires four weeks of study abroad followed by sharing that experience back home.

Enhancing broader life skills also is at the center of multiple initiatives. Workshops, training and coaching are being employed by one institution to improve the financial literacy of students, helping them to build their savings, reduce debt and improve credit scores.

Over at another school, a “backpack to briefcase” initiative provides workshops for graduating students that include mock interviews, lessons on table etiquette, salary negotiation advice, and even a dress-for-success fashion show.

Although each Models of Excellence honoree has developed its own innovative way to support student success, the unwavering commitment and enthusiasm behind every program is the same to all. Hopefully these shared successes will inspire other institutions to replicate or create similar initiatives to help students achieve their educational goals. Read about this winter’s honorees in more detail

Is your student success initiative a Model of Excellence? Apply for the Spring 2016 round of the Models of Excellence program here: (Deadline: Jan. 12)

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