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Kennesaw State University 2023

At Kennesaw State University (KSU), we serve as a powerful example of the impact a student-centered, research-driven university education can deliver.  We prioritize student success and help students succeed through exploration, collaboration and rigor.  As an R2-designated research-driven university, we embrace exploration that delivers real-world impact.  We believe that doing is the key to learning, which is why we are focused on increasing the number of engaged learning opportunities and giving more students the chance to learn by doing. We developed our Quality Enhancement Plan, It's About Engagement, to advance KSU’s mission of student success by focusing on the dynamic nature of engaged learning in each of the academic colleges and the university, overall. 

KSU is a comprehensive university located on two suburban campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, northwest of metro Atlanta. Last year, KSU experienced the second-largest enrollment increase among all University System of Georgia (USG) institutions, making it the third consecutive year the University enjoyed substantial growth.  As the third largest university in Georgia, KSU has over 43,000 students this fall enrolled in over 180 undergraduate, master’s, doctoral degree and certificate programs.  Our student body is 46% minority, 38% Pell grant-eligible, 38% first-generation college students, and 14% adult learners.  These diverse backgrounds and experiences produce a collaborative spirit that opens the doors to new ideas and innovations.  Our graduates are more than career ready – they’re ready to make an impact in our communities, our nation and around the world.  At KSU, students become the individuals that others want as colleagues and as leaders.

KSU Comparator Peer Institutions:

  • Boise State University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Oakland University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha

SACSCOC Peer Institutions:

  • East Tennessee State University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Murray State University
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Valdosta State University
  • Western Carolina University

Success Inventory

Student Success Projects (Kennesaw State University-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
Student Success Projects
Momentum Area: 
Change Management
Strategy/Project Description: 

Student success projects are being performed in every college based on data provided through the METRICS Dashboard.  The METRICS Dashboard was launched in fall 2022 as a way to provide actionable information that is meaningful, relevant to the context of student success and/or barriers to that success, and provide insight into potential challenges to student success. The METRICS Dashboard focuses on the following metrics that can be used by college and institutional leaders to identify potential challenges so the challenges can be explored more deeply and lead to interventions that can be employed to improve student success.

  • Major changes (changes into and out of majors by major)
  • Enrollment (Longitudinal headcount from fall to spring by cohort)
  • Teaching (Highest/lowest course GPAs, DFWIs, variance between sections, and waitlists)
  • Returning Metric (# & % of students who return from fall to fall)
  • Intensity Metric (Average Credit Hours Attempted)
  • Completion Metric (in-house measure of % of students completing a program at KSU)
  • Student Engagement Metrics (Scholarships, Double Owl, Tutoring, Advising, Honors, Student Affairs, Career Advising, Study Abroad, Summer Enrollment)

Additionally, internal funding has been allocated to award student success grants through a competitive process over a three-year period (2021 – 2024).  

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Evaluation Plan and measures:  All projects have identified outcomes, timelines, and measures. Leadership keeps an eye on the numbers and percentage of projects on track.  KPIs vary by college and by project.

Baseline measure (for each KPI):Baseline measures vary from college to college and project to project, but stakeholders and leaders can look at the Accountability Tools and annual internal grant award reports to see which projects are on track or have been completed.

Current/most recent data (for each KPI) [NEW for 2023]:

Internal funding in the amount of $882,750 was used to fund student success grants across eight colleges in the university.

Goal or targets (for each KPI): Goals and targets vary from college to college and project to project.

Time period/duration: On going

Progress and Adjustments: 

In 2022, Academic Colleges selected at least three student success outcomes that utilize the METRICS Dashboard data to identify and monitor targeted interventions to focus on for the year.  Academic programs likewise used the METRICS dashboard data to select at least one student success outcome for the year.

Throughout the spring, the interim AVP for Student Success, Director of Academic Finance and Analysis, and Student Success Specialists met monthly with college leadership to receive updates on the status of METRICS goals and provide guidance and assistance as needed.  Progress was made toward achieving most of the goals established.  For example, a goal set by many colleges was to increase the percentage of full-time students who enroll in 15 or more hours.  Four percent more KSU freshmen enrolled in 15 or more hours in Spring 2023 compared to Spring 2022. In July 2023, a “METRICS Goals, Accomplishments, and Lessons Learned” meeting was held in which Assistant/Associate Deans presented. This meeting was meant to strengthen collaborations and promote the expansion of successful projects across colleges.

In fall 2023, the Academic Colleges again selected student success outcomes that utilize the now systemwide METRICS Dashboard data to identify and monitor targeted interventions to focus on for the year.

Funded projects were assessed at the end of spring 2023 to determine if they should be continued for a third year, changed or retired. 

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

The work of the colleges will continue to be tracked through the remainder of the year.  Monthly meetings with college leadership will continue to be held.

The student success grants that were offered are ending this academic year. A portion of the funding used to support these grants has been permanently secured and will be offered on a competitive basis to colleges that have achieved the greatest measurable impact. The funds will be offered for programmatic support or part-time help to continue to advance initiatives that have evidenced the greatest impact.  A call for proposals has been distributed and award decisions will be made in spring 2024.

Challenges and Support: 


The main challenge that remains will be to keep the wide slate of leaders across the campus from losing sight of this work as other challenges inevitably arise.

Support Needed:

It would be helpful to connect with other institutions to discuss the interventions they have developed with the aid of the METRICS dashboard.    

Primary Contact: 
Lori Lowder, Associate Vice Provost
Cole Stratton, Assistant Vice President for Academic Strategy & Finance
Margarita Almeda, Director for Academic Finance and Analysis

New Student Initiatives (Kennesaw State University-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
New Student Initiatives
Momentum Area: 
Strategy/Project Description: 

To combat lower graduation rates, KSU will focus on four initiatives aimed at supporting new students:

  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program

The President’s Focused Learner Program (PFL) is a KSU initiative seeking to assist incoming students at risk of “Murky Middle” GPAs with their ability to navigate the academic and personal well-being factors often necessary for a student’s academic success. The PFL Program spans all majors at KSU.

  1. The FLIGHT Program

FLIGHT is a class-year connections initiative focused on providing support to students as they progress through their collegiate journey and learn to make meaning of their experience during their time at Kennesaw State University. FLIGHT utilizes a four-year framework built to assist each class-year in developing a unique identity that aims to increase students’ sense of community, belonging, and school spirit. Each year in the framework is designed to provide students with targeted information and developmental “markers” necessary to ensure their successful and timely degree completion. 

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit

Students transferring between institutions tend to have unused courses in their new programs. This results in additional time and costs spent at the new institution. There is an articulation agreement for courses in the core curriculum between the University System of Georgia (USG) institutions, but no such agreement exists for private or out of state institutions. The goal of this project is to allow students to transfer to KSU more easily by accepting more relevant coursework into their programs.KSU is re-evaluating all the general education courses from our top feeder universities/colleges. Rather than evaluating for course equivalency, we will review each course for a match in learning outcomes in each of our general education areas.  Additionally, new and renewed articulation agreements are focusing on how to maximize credits being transferred between institutions.

  1. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses

KSU will identify high enrollment courses with significant DFW rates, ensure that sufficient sections are offered to meet student demand, and target academic supports to have greater impacts.

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

All initiatives have identified outcomes, timelines and measures.  The KPIs listed below will be measured annually at a minimum.

  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program
  1. Engagement in program
  2. Participation or completion of tasks assigned within PFL
  3. RPG over long term
  1. Engagement in program
  2. RPG over long term
  3. End-of-year surveys
  4. Focus groups
  5. NSSE completion rates and data
  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit
  1. List of feeder schools
  2. Number of courses being added to student records
  1. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses
  1. DFWI rates
  2. Course enrollment and fill rates
  3. Early Alert engagement
  4. Midterm Grade reporting engagement

Supplemental Instruction/Tutoring engagement

Baseline measure (for each KPI) N/A

Current/most recent data (for each KPI) [NEW for 2023]:

  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program

In total, 1,883 (88%) PFL students who were enrolled in spring 2023 reenrolled in fall 2023.  Of the 200 PFL students who received a pre-built schedule in fall 2022, 90.5% of those students reenrolled in spring 2023. 


Data available so far may be accessed here.

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit

General education courses from the following feeder schools were evaluated in spring 2023.

  • University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
  • Jacksonville State University
  • Community College of the Air Force
  • University of Maryland Global Campus
  • Liberty University
  • Valencia College 
  • American Military 
  • University of Phoenix 
  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • Emmanuel College

Since the last report, an additional 1,331 students have been positively impacted by accepting an additional 10,712 courses.

  1. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses

The table below shows the DFWI rates, course enrollment and fill rates, and Early Alert and Midterm Grade reporting engagements by faculty for spring 2023.



Spring 2023

Spring 2022




Fill Rate

Early Alert Faculty Participation (%)

Midterm Grade Reporting Faculty Participation (%)

DFWI (%)

DFWI (%)

MATH 1111








MATH 1113








MATH 1190









The table below shows SMART Center Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction data for spring 2023.



No. of students visiting the SMART Center

DFWI for students visiting the SMART Center (%)

No. of students attending SI session(s)

DFWI for students attending SI session(s) (%)

MATH 1111





MATH 1113





MATH 1190






Goal or targets (for each KPI): We wish to see the long-term improvements in RPG rates for our new student population. We are also seeking continual improvement of program measures

Time period/duration: On going

Progress and Adjustments: 
  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program
    A fourth cohort of first-time, full-time students were identified and welcomed to the PFL program at the start of the Fall 2023 semester.  In total, there are now 2,862 PFL students in the program this year (526 from F20 cohort, 737 from F21 cohort, 852 from F22 cohort, and 747 F23 cohort).
    Prior to the start of the fall 2023 semester, we offered to provide complete pre-built schedules for students in the F23 cohort.   One hundred and fifty-eight students (21%) received a prebuilt schedule.  In addition to the pre-built scheduling initiative, PFL program administrators also provided additional success resources to students in the program. A number of events were hosted in spring 2023, designed to connect students to resources on campus, such as tutoring, advising, writing center, career and professional development, and campus wellbeing.
    Sadly, Nicole Small, the Director leading this program, passed away in the spring.  Dr. Frank Ard was hired in August of this year as the new Director.  Since that time, the PFL program has expanded its support resources to include:
  • One-on-one success coaching sessions (90 students have attended 146 appointments since Spring 2023).
  • Academic success workshops (in-person and online).
  • Community/belonging events to connect students with their peers and campus offices/resources.
  • Guided study sessions to aid students with productivity and time management.
  • Weekly and monthly resources newsletters to make students aware of campus events and supports.
  • Increased use of D2L Brightspace for housing files and learning materials for students to access anytime.
  • Coordination with numerous campus offices to create specialized programming for PFL students.
  • Established a committee of academic advisors (PFL Liaisons) to provide feedback on PFL initiatives and collaborate on expanded student success programming.

Additionally, in-class success workshops were conducted in three ENGL 1101 PFL sections, and a registration assistance event (“Registration Triage”) was held to coincide with time tickets opening for spring 2023 registration.

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit
    During the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters we have examined the core curricula for twenty-eight different institutions. In all, this project has positively impacted 4,057 students by accepting 26,768 transfer courses without having to go through a course substitution process. We anticipate this will save these transfer students an average of one semester of coursework each.
    In Fall 2023, the Division of Student Affairs again collaborated on a Convocation that continued to excel in welcoming first-year students to campus with a record attendance of approximately 4,000 students. 
    Entering AY23-24, the program is now staffed by a Director and Coordinator of Student Engagement and Belonging. These staff members were hired in Spring 2023 and have enabled the program to grow and develop, by coordinating 22 events in the fall 2023 semester and 14 events in the spring 2024 semester. These programs are aimed at increasing students’ affinity to their class year and KSU, scaffolding educational information at timely points during the year, and providing them with holistic support.
    In addition to programs, the Department has implemented two student initiatives, the Student Advisory Board and FLIGHT CREW. The purpose of the Student Advisory Board is to provide the department with feedback and input about student support programs/initiatives, and FLIGHT CREW is designed to engage upper class students to mentor and guide first-year students.
    The decision was recently made to administer the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) only every three years, which may change its use for measuring FLIGHT success. However, since NSSE measures engagement specifically, we still expect to glean important information about engagement from it.
  2. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses
    College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus were targeted in the spring.Fill rates were closely monitored, and additional sections were added when possible.Hours of tutoring and SI assistance to support students in these courses was increased.All faculty teaching these courses were encouraged to participate in the Early Alert and midterm grade submission processes, and advisors and the SMART Center staff engaged in outreach to these students.
Plan for the Year Ahead: 
  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program

PFL programs and events will be expanded throughout the 2023-2024 academic year. The academic advising community will continue to play a key role in the PFL program’s future development through collaboration via the PFL Liaison committee, as well as through assistance with outreach, classroom visits, academic success workshops, schedule building, and schedule checks. Also, intentional connection and frequent collaboration with other campus student support offices will be emphasized going forward.

We will continue to collect data to determine which activities are most impactful with which subpopulations of PFL students, and we will further track data to evaluate program effectiveness per semester and per academic year. Additionally, we will expand our collection of academic success materials via our D2L page and offer more events online, ensuring that students can access materials at the point of need regardless of whether they are attending KSU in-person our two campuses or online.

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit

In the next year, we will be updating the transfer attributes to accommodate the new IMPACTS core curriculum from the USG.


The Fall 2023 Convocation discussed above was only the beginning of the FLIGHT program in the 2023-2024 Academic Year. Staff members have rolled out a series of programs and initiatives, as well as assessment efforts, that have actualized the FLIGHT program this semester. Key events included: 

  • Freshman Football Runout for FLIGHT27 
  • Sophomore Social for FLIGHT26 
  • National Transfer Student Week for FLIGHT26 
  • Homecoming Parliament representatives for FLIGHT26 and FLIGHT27 
  • FLIGHT Nights at Athletic Events 
  • First-Year Friday series for FLIGHT27 
  • OwlsServe Days for both FLIGHTs 
  1. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses

College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus continue to be targeted in the fall.Tutoring and SI assistance to support students in these courses remains in place.The College of Science and Mathematics also offers an Open Math Lab in which faculty are available to assist students. Students across campus are encouraged to go to the Lab, as well as take advantage of other resources, such as the SMART (Tutoring) Center and Supplemental Instruction sessions.

Block scheduling for first-time freshmen is a new initiative that is meant to improve the first-year experience and improve outcomes in critical courses with the highest non-pass rates.  Block scheduling streamlines the registration process, provides students the optimal chance to register for 15 credit hours, facilitates the formation of student groups, and promotes community building and cocurricular engagement for first-year students.  We expect to again see an increase in the percentage of full-time students who enroll in 15 or more hours in Fall 2024 compared to previous semesters and continued improvements in RPG rates.  The building of fall 2024 blocks is currently underway, and registration testing, prior to its launch will take place in the spring. 

Challenges and Support: 


  1. The President’s Focused Learner Program

The continued challenge will be to engage with students through a voluntary program. Also, continuing to assist students with identifying their best major early is a chief concern.While the program may be effective in retaining students, added costs associated with loss of credit when a student changes majors may lead students to stop out.

  1. Evaluation of Transfer Credit

The biggest challenge to this process is that it is initially time consuming. Once agreements and evaluations are in place, the time consumption will be less. However, the Interim Executive Director of General Education is working closely with the Registrar’s Office to continue to streamline the process.


The main challenge is still to identify a sustainable funding model for FLIGHT. The Director has spent significant time with University Advancement Staff and has identified a number of opportunities for corporations or individuals to invest. Efforts in this area are ongoing. 

  1. Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses

With KSU’s growth in enrollment, the biggest challenge may be the recruitment of a sufficient number of mathematics faculty.  Student engagement in tutoring and supplemental instruction is also a challenge.  Classroom visits and announcements are being increased to combat this challenge.    

Support Needed:

In this area, the system is already providing the support needed by effectively facilitating connections between KSU and other institutions tackling similar challenges during the Momentum Summit.

Primary Contact: 
The President’s Focused Learner Program - Frank Ard, Director of Academic Student Support Services
The President’s Focused Learner Program - Lori Lowder, Associate Vice Provost
FLIGHT - Brian Garsh, Director of Student Engagement & Belonging
FLIGHT - Cara Ray, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Evaluation of Transfer Credit - Brendan Callahan, Interim Executive Director of General Education
Evaluation of Transfer Credit - Anissa Vega, Associate Vice Provost
Improving outcomes in first-year critical courses - Lori Lowder, Associate Vice Provost

Learning Analytics (Kennesaw State University-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
Learning Analytics
Momentum Area: 
Data & Communications
Strategy/Project Description: 

KSU aims to take full advantage of data gathered through the LMS, D2L, for a faculty audience. Our online learning unit, Digital Learning Innovations, has revised their mission to support faculty in using the LMS to manage learning in all modalities and using the data to identify problems, diagnose root causes, and take targeted actions during the semester to impact student success within the semester

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Evaluation Plan and measures:

  1. Micro-learning completion rates
  2. Increase number of programs using D2L data for program assessment reporting
  3. Hiring of consultancy
  4. Completion of minimum viable product which includes:
    1. automated data ingestion from D2L CHLOE into a cloud solution
    2. systematic data processing
    3. data storage
    4. data transformation
    5. and data distribution for insights and action.
  5. Development of faculty training
    1. Design and development of faculty training materials
    2. Attendance or access numbers on faculty engagement with professional development
  6. Use of analytics for instructional optimization
    1. Measure frequency of faculty access of learning analytics system.
    2. Measure number of faculty engaged with learning analytics system.

Current/most recent data (for each KPI):

Summer pilot participants included 13 faculty, and all pilot participants include an additional 53 faculty.

The number of trainings, open labs, and feedback sessions included 6 in summer and 12 in the fall.


Progress and Adjustments: 

The tool, uHoo Analytics, has been built and deployed to a pilot group of faculty. Training materials are being refined. Data analysis from surveys and focus groups from the pilot group are being analyzed. We are currently closing our ongoing maintenance contract with the development group such that further advancements on uHoo Analytics can be developed.

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

This year will focus on the deployment of uHoo Analytics to all KSU instructors. This will involve offering training across campus throughout the spring semester. In addition, we will finalize the rubric reporting mechanisms. Additionally, we will begin designing new reports that serve college-specific needs and other audiences like advisors.

Challenges and Support: 

Campus communication and administrative support of uHoo Analytics will be critical to faculty adoption. Also, continued administrative restraint from using uHoo Analytics as a tool of surveillance will be critical to the longevity of the project. KSU is committed to this restraint.

Primary Contact: 
Anissa Vega, Associate Vice Provost

QEP: It’s About Engagement (Kennesaw State University-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
QEP: It’s About Engagement
Momentum Area: 
Strategy/Project Description: 

Success is more about what you do while you are in college and less about what college you attend. A recent study showed that the most successful students are those who participate in undergraduate experiences, such as internships, undergraduate research, and service learning. These engaged learning opportunities allow students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to the real world. Through internships, undergraduate research, and service-learning, students also gain unparalleled opportunities to hone their critical thinking and communication skills. More importantly, these opportunities pay dividends for students well beyond graduation.

At Kennesaw State, we believe that doing is the key to learning, which is why we are focused on increasing the number of engaged learning opportunities and giving more students the chance to learn by doing. We developed our Quality Enhancement Plan, It's About Engagement, to advance KSU’s mission of student success by focusing on the dynamic nature of engaged learning in each of the academic colleges and the university, overall

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Evaluation Plan and measures:

Goal #1: Increase the number of opportunities for students to engage in internships, undergraduate research, and service-learning in undergraduate degree programs in each of the academic colleges and for the university as a whole.

Goal #2: Increase the number of students engaging in internships, undergraduate research, and service-learning opportunities in undergraduate degree programs in each of the academic colleges and for the university as a whole.

SLO #1: Students will cite meaningful and valuable connections of their HIP experiences to their overall educational preparation.

SLO #2: Students will gain new insights on the connectedness and integration of the academic preparation of their disciplines of study to the applied settings of their HIP experiences.

SLO #3: Students will build upon prior knowledge and experiences to respond effectively to the new and challenging demands of their HIP settings.

SLO #4: Students will demonstrate growth in professional and personal core values and sense of self as a result of their HIP experiences.

Baseline measure (for each KPI): N/A

Current/most recent data (for each KPI) [NEW for 2023]:

The table below shows data for the previous four years.


Service Learning

Work-Based Learning

Undergraduate Research

















Goal or targets (for each KPI): N/A

Time period/duration: Goals and Student Learning Outcomes are evaluated annually over a five-year period.

Progress and Adjustments: 

This year, the QEP team continued to implement Smartsheet to facilitate data collection for both course coding and reflection gathering. The new Course Attribute Dashboard (CAD) is also continuing after the CAD system strengthened KSU’s ability to code HIPs courses more appropriately.  The Smartsheet report was tweaked slightly to align with the inquiry needs of the colleges and is continuing to be used as part of the evaluation of courses submitted as part of the QEP initiative. Finally, a new Smartsheet dashboard was again utilized to enable colleges to track submission of student artifacts in real time.

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

With streamlined processes for data collection and attribute assignment in place, the focus for year five will be on expanding the number of courses and students engaging in courses using one of the three HIPs and engaging in the practice of reflection

Challenges and Support: 


Familiarizing new administrators with the plan and its processes continues to be the biggest challenge.  We have had a significant amount of turnover in leadership positions involved with QEP implementation.  Likewise, training everyone on the new tools to improve coding and data collection has taken time and resources. 

Support Needed:

Through its development of CAD, the system office has already been deeply supportive of our efforts

Primary Contact: 
Brian Etheridge, Associate Dean for The Journey Honors College and QEP Administrator
Leigh Funk, Assistant Vice Provost and SACSCOC Liaison