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Columbus State University Campus Plan Update 2020

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 and primarily focuses on efforts and strategies aimed at student success that aligns with our Momentum Approach Implementation Plan and Calendar.

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 that CSU has undertaken. 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 and to continue their higher education in the age of COVID.

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 2020, 52.9% of the new student population was drawn from these counties.

In a typical year, 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). In the past, modified standards were 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). But due to the pandemic, CSU has temporarily revised requirements for all high school applicants to the University System of Georgia minimum requirements of high school GPA for state universities and not requiring ACT or SAT scores as entrance requirements. As a result, CSU ADVISE has devised an extensive intentional advising plan that targets students identified as high-risk. Learning Support Services are also essential to support academic and integrative needs of this population group. These efforts are to foster retention, progression, and graduation rates and are supported by our Strengthening Institutional Partnerships (SIP) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

While the University takes pride in its role as an access institution, this role presents challenges in retention and student success. Nonetheless, due to CSU best practices, retention and graduation rates have increased overall in the last eight years. The overall CSU retention rates, 2012-2020, for first-time, full-time (FYFT) freshmen have increased from 66.2% to 74.9%, yielding an increase of 8.7% over eight years. The increase in the graduation rate is also impressive. In the same time period, it has risen from 30.5% to 38.0%, an increase of 7.5%.

Overall CSU Graduation Rate, 2012-2020

Overall, CSU enrollment has remained steady over the past few years but has increased significantly Fall 2020 by about 16% for FYFT freshmen. A breakdown of demographics for FYFT freshmen (such as % Pell grant-eligible, % first-generation, % adult learners, % minority, etc.) is shown in Appendix I: CSU Demographics of Students (2020).

CSU has focused on helping students succeed by

  • Creating four new Momentum-based Improvement Practices aimed at lessening barriers to success—See Section 2—4 template charts.
    • Creating a New Degree Aimed at Transfer Students (Purposeful Choice)
    • Developing Milestones by Program and Building Select Items onto Program Maps (Transparent Pathways)
    • Creating a Proactive Financial Aid Approach and Lengthening Student Time to Pay (Transparent Pathways)
    • Replacing the Exclusion Policy (Transparent Pathways) with a proactive University Support program
  • Continuing and Expanding Existing Momentum Work—See Section 3.1
    • Purposeful Choice—2 template charts and discussions
    • Transparent Pathways—4 template charts and discussions
    • Academic Mindset—2 template charts and discussions
  • Providing clarity and vision to our planning of future Momentum work—See Section 3.2 and Section 4.0

Improvement Practices

Of the four Improvement Practices listed, the first one involves Purposeful Choice; the next three involve Transparent Pathways. CSU has focused on these particular improvement practices to remove or lessen structural and motivational obstacles that students face and that should improve outcomes for our campus.

Strategy or activity 

Creating a New Degree Aimed at Transfer Students (Purposeful Choice)

Summary of Activities 

· We petitioned the State for a new degree program (BS Interdisciplinary Studies) to replace BA Liberal Arts

· We were granted the new degree program; in process of deactivating BA Liberal Arts

· New BS degree requires combinations of two emphasis areas, including one in which students can create themselves based on their interests or prior credits.

· Program is highly adaptable for transfer students or for students who repeatedly changed majors.

Person Responsible

Pat McHenry

Those Involved with Decision Making (Key Offices)

· Chair, Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Administration, wherein the program will reside.

· Provost’s Office, Academic Affairs

Outcomes/Measures of Progress 

Degree has been approved and appears in the 2020-2021 catalog.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Drawbacks for the BA Liberal Arts degree were the foreign language requirement, its lack of flexibility, and lack of availability of online courses. The perceived advantages of the new BS degree are its lack of a foreign language requirement and its flexibility to adapt better to students’ needs. Online availability needs additional attention.

Changes because of COVID-19 

 COVID-19 has slowed publicity and communication about this new degree.

Strategy or activity 

Developing Milestones by Program and Building Select Items onto Program Maps (Transparent Pathways)

Summary of Activities 

· Ask department chairs and others to identify key activities/courses that correlate to progression in academic programs.

· Build milestone information onto program maps, perhaps using symbols.

· Communicate planned events to advisors so that AFA students can be connected to appropriate events to help them settle on a major.

· Align soft skills with NACE.

People Responsible

Melissa Dempsey, Melissa Young, Mariko Izumi, Eli Argueta

Those Involved with Decision Making

Academic Affairs, Chairs, CSU ADVISE

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

This goal will be accomplished department by department so it may take a while until achieved; clear communication to chairs, to advisors, and to students is key to success

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Changing campus culture requires leadership and clarity of vision. Hopefully campus leaders (deans, chairs) will be 100% on board with this area of innovation by the completion of next year’s catalog.

Changes because of COVID-19 

 Setback due to COVID-19. Have done some work in this area but need to do a lot more.

Strategy or activity 

Proactive Financial Aid Approach and Lengthen Student Time to Pay (Transparent Pathways)

Summary of Activities 

· Awarding financial aid in November rather than April

· Promoting FAFSA completion in October

· Providing FAFSA workshops

· Providing verification workshops

· Offering targeted financial aid session at orientation based on where students are in the process

· Training CSU ADVISE and faculty on issues related to financial aid

· Hosting financial aid night for Muscogee County School District

· Offering to conduct financial aid workshops at high schools

· Developing and implementing plan, Cougar Commitment, to give students more time to pay bills.

Person Responsible

Sallie McMullin

Those Involved with Decision Making (Key Offices)

Financial Aid, Business and Finance, CSU Foundation Properties

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Some activities have been implemented; some are in progress or will soon be implemented.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Complicated activities can be changed with good planning and motivation.

Changes because of COVID-19 

 Plan was supposed to be 100% implemented by August but some items were pushed back due to COVID-19.

Strategy or activity 

Removing Exclusion Policy (Transparent Pathways)

Summary of Activities 

Eliminate the exclusion policy, rename probation, and design a system of support for sub-2.0 GPA students that matches services to their individual needs so students receive more targeted, less punitive, interventions. 

Person Responsible

Pat McHenry

Those Involved with Decision Making (Key Offices)

Academic Affairs, Faculty Senate, Registrar, CSU ADVISE, SIP Grant, Academic Center for Tutoring, Computer Science Department, Counseling Center

Outcomes/Measures of Progress 

Done—Policy changed, accepted and vetted by Faculty Senate, Chairs, Registrar, etc.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Campus culture can be changed to serve students better.

Changes because of COVID-19 

 Change approved before COVID-19.

Momentum Update: Observations and Next Steps

Section 3.1 Existing Momentum Work

According to Georgia’s CCG website, students are most successful when they make purposeful choices, have clear paths for completion, and demonstrate an academic mindset. To accomplish that end, beginning Fall 2018, CSU centralized its advising for all freshmen and sophomores and increased the staff of CSU ADVISE accordingly. CSU ADVISE now 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.

Purposeful Choice: Academic Focus Areas and CSU ADVISE Plan for Intentional Advising

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 II: Academic Focus Areas for details.

In August 2018, the undecided/undeclared option for students was eliminated on the CSU application for admission 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’s Academic Focus Area maps (seven pictured) plus Exploratory (not pictured)

CSU offers eight AFAs which allow students to explore majors within an area of interest. For coding purposes, AFAs are an attribute and students have been assigned to the BA in Liberal Arts Humanities concentration; in the future, the BS Interdisciplinary Studies will serve this role. 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, there is little data to report at this time regarding movement from these coded AFAs to majors, but we should have some meaningful data in the next few years

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. 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 Focus 2 Career 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 that 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 Navigate (Educational Advisory Board) and monitored to ensure that students complete the required interventions and activities.

Strategy or activity 

Academic Focus Area (AFA) Maps

Summary of Activities 

· 9 credits in each AFA map in the first year (30 credits)

· Referrals to Center for Career Development

· Referrals to Counseling Center

· AFA maps published on website

Person Responsible

Tim Howard

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

2017 72.6% FYFT retained compared to 2020 74.9% FYFT retained=2.3% increase in FYFT retention

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Maps need to be revisited annually to verify compliance and ascertain usefulness.

Changes because of COVID-19 

COVID-19 has affected how advising is delivered but not the maps themselves.

CSU ADVISE Plan for Intentional Advising: CSU ADVISE also engages in a robust plan for intentional advising of all students, but is especially targeted in its approach to dealing with at-risk students. 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 the student’s social, emotional, physical, and financial needs. CSU ADVISE has facilitated student success through programs such as the Early Alert System, BOOST (a Quality Care for Children program), Embark in Education (Homeless and Foster Care), and SIP (Strengthening Institutions Program grant). In addition, CSU ADVISE has defined our “at risk” population and created a tracking system for identifying and serving these students.

Strategy or activity 

CSU ADVISE Plan for Intentional Contacts and Student Success

Summary of Activities 

· Engage in numerous contacts (email, text, Zoom, phone) to students throughout the year

· Provide Orientation Activities—in person and online

· Use predictive analytics (EAB) and established criteria for identifying students who are “at risk” and may need special interventions.

· Ensure that students who meet above criteria receive timely and targeted advising and intervention.

· Monitor Early Alerts

· Respond to emails within 24 business hours

· Target students identified as high-risk

· Mentor students not making Satisfactory Progress

· Launch Smart Guidance in EAB

People Responsible


Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Positive feedback from advisees (Fall 2019) 98.41% and (Spring 2020) 98.67%.

 See Appendix III: Summary of Activities and Measures of Success of CSU ADVISE Intentional Advising Plan for specific Outcomes and Measures relating to BOOST, Embark, SIP, Early Alert, Early Alert Referrals, etc.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Technology has allowed the best practices of CSU ADVISE to continue, despite setbacks due to COVID-19. CSU ADVISE has had to pivot to provide all services virtually.

Changes because of COVID-19 

Admission requirements have been temporarily revised so the number of students in the high-risk category will probably increase, putting an increased workload on CSU ADVISE. That office has successfully petitioned to allow a new hire after the loss of at least three employees in the past year.

Transparent Pathways for Completion: Program Maps, Course Rotation Schedules, Course Details and Gradebook in LMS, and 15-to-Finish

Program Maps: CSU has maintained extensive program maps for all associate and bachelor degrees since 2013, including a 5-year map for the BS+MS combination Robotics Engineering 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 2019-2020, we 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. In 2019, CSU registered its highest graduation rate of 39.5 percent, an increase of 9.0 percentage points in the seven years.

Strategy or activity 

Program Maps

Summary of Activities 

· Successfully developed all undergraduate maps (associate, bachelor, combination bachelor-master) since 2013.

· Incorporated Momentum requirements of 9 semester hours in major or major-related areas in the first 30 hours.

· Began using the Courseleaf template for 2020-2021 catalog.

· Program maps are now ADA compatible.

Person Responsible

Barbara Hunt

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Increased number of students graduating on time from 30.5% to 39.5% in the last eight years.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Even though this is one of our most successful strategies for increased retention and graduation, there is always room for improvement. Next year we hope to connect the program maps with the program of study so that every course is automatically accounted for. As it is now, accountability is done manually.

Changes because of COVID-19 

All maps are published, but students still need the help of advisors to interpret them, understand rotation schedules, and recognize possible course substitutions. CSU ADVISE is doing most advising of freshmen and sophomores (and upperclassmen for a few majors) virtually or on the telephone, rather than in person. It will be interesting to see whether the advising format will affect student attitude and choices.

Since 2013, all CSU program maps have used a template designed in-house. However, in Fall 2020, CSU began using a template in My Curriculum (Courseleaf) that is compatible with other software and allows the merging of catalog and program maps to reduce course number errors. The program maps should now also be ADA compliant. In addition, beginning in 2017, eight program maps per year (2 per academic college) have been tested against the fall published course schedule to validate whether courses are being taught when the program map indicates they will be taught. See Appendix IV: Pressure Testing showing 93-98% compliance.

Course Rotation Schedule: Another significant accomplishment is the implementation of the 2-year course rotation schedule.

Strategy or activity 

Course Rotation Schedule

Summary of Activities 

Posting the class schedule (all departments) in Banner, two years in advance (without times and days noted)

People Responsible

Department Chairs, Deans, Academic Affairs

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Although students cannot register for courses years in advance, they are made aware of the rotation of courses, can see when courses will be taught, and should understand that not every course is taught every semester. The result should be fewer course substitutions due to planning issues, more student accountability, and less student frustration.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

With such far-ranging course planning, department chairs will be more aware of when sabbaticals can be taken and whether new positions are justified.

Changes because of COVID-19 

Futuristic projections are not hampered by COVID since the course mode (in person, online, hybrid, etc.), time, and date are not part of the schedule.

Course Details and Gradebook in LMS: 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 addition, due to COVID-19, all faculty must now keep grades in CougarView (D2L) since most classes are either entirely online or are being operated as hybrid courses (part face-to-face and part online, thereby enabling social distancing in the classroom when classes are in session). As of Sept. 18—five weeks into the semester—there are 13 known cases of COVID-19 reported.

Strategy or activity 

Course Details and Gradebook in LMS

Summary of Activities 

· Require faculty to use gradebook in LMS (Cougarview-D2L) along with posting syllabus and assignments in the LMS

· Make accurate and current student grades readily available in LMS

People Responsible

Faculty, Department Chairs, Deans

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

100% compliance. In spring 2020 a new policy was adopted requiring course syllabi, major assignments, an approved Title IX statement, and an approved statement from the Office of Accommodation and Access; the policy also requires that the LMS gradebook be used in courses.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

The policy was under discussion since December 2019, but the onset of the pandemic accelerated implementation and likely increased support.

Changes because of COVID-19 

COVID-19 served as an incentive for faculty to achieve this goal faster than we expected since, in Spring 2020, all courses went online half way through the semester.

15-to-Finish: CSU has actively pursued “15-to-Finish” for the last seven years. 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 2011-2019, 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.

Since Fall 2014, we have 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.

Strategy or activity 

15-to -Finish Incentives

Summary of Activities 

· Use preference surveys to preregister entering freshmen into 15 hours.

· Have 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.

· Continued using 15-to-Finish video at freshman orientations.

· Stress 15-to Finish philosophy to faculty and professional advisors through training each semester.

· Encourage students to take 15+ semester hours due to financial incentive (all credits over 15 hours are “free”).

Person Responsible

Melissa Young, CSU ADVISE, Faculty Advisors

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

In Fall 2013, 1,951 students (27.8%) enrolled in 15 hours or more. In Fall 2020, 2065students (34.2%) enrolled in 15 hours or more a 6.4% increase.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Various efforts contributed to the success of this strategy through 2019-2020. In fall 2020, we encountered limitations on our ability to scale up capacity in some first-year courses. We will have to discuss strategies for increasing capacity in these areas.

Changes because of COVID-19 

In fall 2020, the percentage of first-year students taking 15 or more hours declined, following a 3-year growth trend. Preliminary discussions suggest two factors in this change. First, some students had more at-home responsibilities and resisted taking 15 hours. Second, we had limited ability to scale up capacity in key first-year courses as enrollments increased by 5-6%. We will work with deans and department chairs to implement strategies for increasing capacity.

Academic Mindset: Mindset Survey and G2C Course Redesign

Mindset Survey: Since Fall 2017, CSU has distributed the Academic Mindset survey every semester to all incoming first-year students.

CSU ADVISE provides advising and academic coaching and peer mentoring SIP grant services to probation students, students not making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and transfer students. Specifically, CSU ADVISE’s academic coaches and peer mentors provide essential skills coaching in the areas of time management, note-taking, study strategies, organization, and effective communication. Services are offered during the day, night, and weekends to meet student needs. In Fall 2019, the National Center for Developmental Education (NCDE) provided CSU ADVISE’s SIP grant with metacognitive training modules for its academic coaches and peer mentors. In Fall 2020, the NCDE provided virtual training on encouraging growth mindsets and self-efficacy. As a result, the academic coaches and peer mentors learned to implement techniques and strategies to help the students they serve to better understand and adjust their academic mindsets.

Strategy or activity 

Mindset Survey

Summary of Activities 

Mindset surveys administered early and later, every semester, but particularly in the fall. Fall participants = 1137; Spring 2020 participants = 679 (low due to COVID-19 closure).

Person Responsible

Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Tim Howard, Academic Affairs, CSU ADVISE, USG

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

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 supports 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.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Students will probably change their mindsets faster if faculty understand the topic better and reinforce it. Since 2018, CSU’s Faculty Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning has scaled up the discussion about Mindsets among faculty by offering workshops every semester, thereby encouraging discussion of the topic during its new faculty orientation series, offering book circles on the topic, and offering forums for faculty, staff, and administrators to develop practices to help students see academic difficulties and challenges as opportunities for growth.

Changes because of COVID-19 

COVID-19 has not directly affected plans for addressing Academic Mindset but it has made training and coaching more difficult as most activities temporarily shifted to online strategies.

G2C Course Redesign: 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. Since 2018, 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.

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 support 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 corequisite Math and co-requisite English. Students also receive help with campus resources, study strategies in context of metacognition, growth mindsets, time management, etc. In 2019, the coaches received training from the National Center for Developmental Education on best practices related to these topics to serve students who place into the co-requisite classes. Special workshops were created for students and coaches by the Counseling Center on Test Anxiety reduction. Sensitivity training was provided to students and coaches by the Center for Accommodations and Access. Services are offered day, evening and weekend to meet student needs.

In Academic Year 2019-2020, we marked our second year of the redesign process. Starting in fall 2019, instructors began implementing redesign elements in selected sections, while the institution continued collecting data to gauge the impact; this included student surveys, instructor surveys, and DFWI rates. Strategies implemented include early assessment and feedback, academic support by peer leaders, faculty development, adoption of no-cost course texts, course standardizations, reduction in enrollment caps to promote specific student engagements, encouraging students to use tutoring services, and two-stage testing. Efforts continued in spring 2020, but some strategies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we requested permission to extend Year 2 activities through fall 2020.

Strategy or activity 

Course Redesign of four core courses with high DWFI rates (through participation of Gateway to Completion, John Gardner Initiative)

Summary of Activities 

⦁ Developed, 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.

⦁ Employed co-requisite Math and English courses instead of stand-alone remediation classes.

⦁ 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).

⦁ 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.

People Responsible

Course redesign chairs:

· COMM 1110 - Youngrak Park

· ECON 2105 - Tesa Leonce

· ENGL 1101 - Rebecca Gerdes-McClain

· MATH 1111 - Baiqiao Deng

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Baseline non-productive grade rates from Academic Year 2016-17 for each gateway course are listed below:

· COMM 1110 - 17.68%

· ECON 2105 - 17.79%

· ENGL 1101 - 17.93%

· MATH 1111 - 19.92%

Through course redesign, the goal is to improve pass rates; deepened learning experience should subsequently improve rates of success in progression and graduation.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

COVID has interrupted our taking course redesign to scale. We anticipate a summit in which redesign faculty can share their experiences with the larger campus community, seeking to generalize best practices beyond the 4 redesigned courses.

Changes because of COVID-19 

Delayed progression in Spring 2020 since instructors who had never taught online were forced to learn to teach online. CSU’s participation in G2C has been extended one year due to COVID-19.

In summary, these three elements—purposeful choice, clear path for completion, and academic mindset—create a Momentum Framework 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 in 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, conscientious intentional advising, and a bevy of other ventures. We have passionately pursued the Momentum goals and have had significant compliance and buy-in on campus from advisors, advising centers, faculty, chairs, deans, and administrators.

Section 3.2 Follow up from Momentum Summit III - “Campus-Wide” Momentum Approach Activities (Beyond the Classroom)

CSU is focusing a great deal of effort on improving and enhancing its approach to all things Momentum. As a result of Momentum Summit III, CSU has begun a broadly inclusive Momentum Steering Committee and created a very detailed Momentum Approach Implementation Calendar listing 22 goals, divided into three priority levels, consisting of 10 columns of information (Momentum Element, Activities, Person Responsible, Process/Steps, Target Completion Date, etc.) and spanning 32 pages. It is too large a document to include as an attachment, but here is a listing of the 22 goals. Those that impact students “beyond the classroom” are indicated by ⁂.

Post class schedule in Banner two years in advance.

Develop academic and co-curricular milestones by program and build select items into program maps. ⁂

Make accurate and current student grades readily available.

Devise a more proactive financial aid approach and develop processes to give students more time to pay bills. ⁂

Raise awareness and a consistent understanding among faculty and staff of the goals and practices of Momentum Approach. ⁂

Deepen the culture in support of 15-to-Finish. ⁂

Remove exclusion policy and reimagine probation status. ⁂

Plan for students in all bachelor's degree programs to experience at least 3 courses that employ HIPs (see milestone goal).

Develop a plan to add free elective space in all programs (excepting with outside restrictions). Challenge: Few or no free electives in major programs create barriers to success for students who transfer, change majors, or make scheduling efficiency mistakes.

Align institutional policies with Momentum Paradigm. ⁂

Assess the effectiveness (student awareness and effect) of directing students to take 9 hours in their field of study in the first year.

Review transfer policies and practices for barriers to student progression and revise them where possible.

Identify alternative degree options / off-ramps ⁂

Assess faculty mindset; inform faculty of the impact of their mindset (and how they convey that mindset) on students ⁂

Analyze student mindset data to identify needed interventions. ⁂

Redesign selected courses (G2C). Our student achievement threshold is 80% ABC rate per SACSCOC standard 8.1.

Transfer credit evaluation based on SLO’s, rather than a course-for-course comparison.

Introduce the concept of Growth Mindset to students during orientation (LMS module).

Career interests integrated in purposeful choice plans, with attention at earliest contacts with the student.

Faculty Advising Academy. ⁂

Add job shadowing opportunities and promote internships and externships for students to continue exploring their career choices. ⁂

Integrate the Momentum framework in Annual evaluation for programs and for faculty and staff. ⁂

About ⅓ of the goals have been completed or are in progress; many have been delayed due to the pandemic.

General Overview and Observations

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 pre-registering students and showing the 15-to-Finish video to students and families at orientation. There was an increase of 6.4% from Fall 2013 to Fall 2020 in the percentage of students enrolled in 15 or more hours.

Transforming the catalog to include program maps for all undergraduate degrees and eight Academic Focus Areas for students still deciding on majors. We are confident that these maps will positively affect RPG in the future and contribute greatly to the culture of “15-to-finish.” The 2020-2021 catalog represents the eighth year program maps are included. In addition, there are now eight focus area maps for entering freshmen who are still deciding on a major. The 2020-2021 catalog now features the catalog built in Courseleaf with a compatible catalog.

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. The relaxed admission standards in Fall 2020 will require that CSU ADVISE be on high alert for aiding students, every way possible.

“Pressure testing” program maps with rotation schedules, thereby cross checking the accuracy of the maps to real time course offerings. Results here have been impressive:

2017-2018 98% compliance

2018-2019 93% compliance

2019-2020 98% compliance 

See Appendix IV for more details.

Coding various focus areas so we can better track behavior of students still deciding on majors.

Simplifying course enrollment through Smart Guidance, 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.

Least Effect Strategies from last year:

Tracking whether students are using referral services as directed. 2019-2020 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 and improve the process of tracking these students.

Tracking the effectiveness of strategies was much more difficult than planned due to the impact of COVID-19 on campus activities. Hopefully, the effects of the pandemic will lessen, especially in Spring 2021. 

Student Success and Completion Team

These individuals are responsible for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating CSU’s Student Success and Completion Strategies.




Deborah Bordelon


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, Provost’s Office

Mariko Izumi

Executive Director, Center for Experiential Learning and Career Design

Ben Kamau

Chair, Department of Mathematics

Kelly Koch

BSN Program Academic Advisor and Retention Specialist

Pat McHenry

Associate Provost and Interim Dean, College of the Arts

Sallie McMullin

Associate VP for Enrollment Management

Melody Shumaker

FYE Director and Learning Support Coordinator

Sridhar Sitharaman

Associate VP for Institutional Research & Effectiveness

Stephanie Speer


Melissa Young

Interim Director, CSU ADVISE