Skip to content Skip to navigation

Georgia Gwinnett College Campus Plan Update 2021


Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) is one of two access institutions in the Atlanta metropolitan region. The GGC mission states that the College “provides access to targeted baccalaureate and associate level degrees that meet the economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region.” Founded in 2005, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) operates according to a clear strategic plan derived from its mission.

GGC’s student headcount in Fall 2020 was 11,627; and in Fall 2021 headcount stands at 10,949, a decline of 5.8% owing to the challenges introduced by the coronavirus pandemic. A review of other key demographic characteristics of the GGC student population shows a preponderance of those who are traditionally underserved and likely to benefit from essential support structures. The mean high school GPA of GGC’s cohort of first-time entering students at GGC has had a consistent academic profile with a mean high school GPA of between 2.71 and 2.95, with  41.6% of first-year students regularly requiring corequisite learning support in at least one core subject (Math or English) in Fall 2021. Preliminary data for Fall 2021 indicate 20.6% of the  2,195 first-year students are enrolled in a corequisite Math or English support course, with enrollment in corequisite Math over 16%, corequisite English  over 13% of first-year students.

For Fall 2019 and Fall 2020, GGC has remained among the most culturally and ethnically diverse institutions in its region. For the seventh straight year, GGC was ranked as the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college, according to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report college and university rankings, released in September 2020. In Fall 2020, 32.6% of GGC’s students were Black/African-American, 24.8% were Hispanic/Latino, and 11.2% Asian. Likewise, in Fall 2021, preliminary data indicate 31.8% of our students are Black/African-American, with 26% Hispanic/Latino, and 11.6% Asian.

GGC has consistently enrolled a high proportion of Pell grant-eligible college students, defined as students who are awarded financial aid from the federal government Pell grants any time during academic year, of students who complete and file a FAFSA. The data from the past five fall terms shows that GGC’s student population is more than half of them are awarded by Pell.  The percentage of Pell recipients among freshman has remained at 62% of the past three years. GGC has consistently enrolled a high proportion of first-generation college students, defined as students who report their parent(s)’ highest grade level as Middle School/Junior High or High School on the FAFSA. Of students who complete and file a FAFSA, the data from the past five available fall terms shows that GGC’s student population is over one-third first generation. For the past three Fall cohorts, the percentage of first-generation students has remained at 37%; in recognition of this meaningful population size, we are investing in new data visualizations to help us understand their obstacles and successes.

Regarding comparators, GGC exhibits key differences from other institutions in the state college sector with respect to size and demographics. As a result, we continue to work to meet or exceed student achievement targets that move our campus forward in a process of continuous improvement.


In keeping with best practices across industries, GGC continues to dig into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for insights on highest value improvement practices/ In evaluating the impacts on our students, GGC looked at multiple areas affecting students, including academic success rates. A number of indicators suggested that the exigencies of the pandemic negatively impacted student success in key 1000-level Momentum-critical courses. In English 1101, for example: the average pass rate in the Fall 2019 semester was 76%; in the Fall 2020 semester, the average pass rate was 65%. This insight spurred an early 2021 institutional effort toward building a credit recovery infrastructure. Academic Affairs partners with Student Engagement and Success to identify students who attempted but did not complete critical entry-level core classes (ENGL 1101 and 1102; MATH 1001, 1111, and 1113; ITEC 1001] during the preceding 3 terms. Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Student Engagement and Success, Advancement Services and Strategic Communications worked together to quickly:

  • Establish course sections intended for enrollment solely by eligible students;
  • Identify faculty well-suite to teach a population of disproportionately academically at-risk students;
  • Establish pedagogical training sessions to support faculty;
  • Associate peer supplemental instructors and dedicated tutors and tutoring times with the classes; and
  • Identify financial aid sources through which we could offer partial scholarships to a limited number of participants;
  • Communicate with eligible students about the opportunity

We funded this program internally, and were able to operate it at a very small scale, given those constraints. Additionally, we established this initiative on a very tight timeline – less than a month from approval to the start of classes. Despite these limitations, the program was successful.  Across our Summer 2021 Second Chance classes, students succeeded at an average 73% rate. The same Summer 2021 classes, populated with a “normal” distribution of students, had a success rate of 68%. Students enrolled in Summer 2021 Second Chance students were retained at a 72% rate, compared to a retention rate of 42.6% for students eligible for, but not enrolled in the program. The success of this pilot program has encouraged us to work towards establishing a sustainable infrastructure for continued credit recovery offerings; we know that the exigencies of the pandemic exacerbated challenges to passing 1000-level courses, as we also know that the ebbing of the pandemic will not sweep away preexisting or lingering barriers. The lesson, then, is that targeted messaging which acknowledges the value and grace of second chances, combined with a rigorous and supportive pedagogical environment, create a recovery path for our most vulnerable students, at a critical momentum-building juncture. We intend to pair this lesson with a suite of ongoing transition and remediation efforts taking place within Student Engagement and Success, many of which are detailed below and also include SPARC, our new [debut Summer 2021] Summer Preparatory Academic Resource Camp [SPARC].



We are always grateful for the opportunity presented by the Momentum Summit, where cabinet-level institutional leadership collaborates with operational-level leadership to identify new opportunities and priorities. Our work at the Summit has always been productive, and the pandemic year+ has helped to surface some of the implementation challenges that emerge, even in optimal circumstances, once the Summit has ended and plans move toward reality. In particular, we were mindful this year of the ways in which new ideas can sometimes shift our focus away from scrutinizing the gaps and opportunities in “old” ideas, and may, in that way, allow us to under-leverage our institutional resilience.

With this in mind, and with the reflective mindset the pandemic has occasioned, we decided to redouble our efforts on Learning Communities for our AY21-22 “Big Idea.” We have been writing about Learning Communities for many years in these reports and continue to rely on them as a component of our student success strategy, They have been incredibly valuable to us as a tool to drive fuller schedules and higher credit intensity for incoming students, as the 3 linked classes are easily paired with 2 additional “a la carte” options to create a 15 credit-hour load. Further, our decision (at Momentum Summit 1) to link the Learning Communities with Focus Areas allowed us to speak to purpose and pathways with this enrollment tool, and to coordinate with co-curricular leaders in associating various support and engagement activities specific to Focus Areas with the relevant LCs. Our analyst partners at the system office have, over the years, helped us to build robust infrastructure within to our Mindset survey results so we can assess how students in Learning Communities may report their sense of belonging and purpose differently than those students not in linked classes. These infrastructure components have allowed us to offer Learning Communities at significant scale, with 150+ units in AY19-20.

This scaling and productive focus on credit intensity and social belonging advantages of LCs have kept us from leaning into their potential impact as a High Impact Practice. We know that Learning Communities offer significant student learning value, as well as retention and progression benefits, when the curriculum within the classes is highly integrated and the faculty work in close collaboration on shared content and outcomes. For this planning and execution to be effective, the student cohort within an LC needs to be stable and fully shared. Our at-scale version of LCs generally began with shared student cohorts as waves of students selected the LCs as blocks. As enrollment season tightens, however, we allow students to select courses in LCs as individual sections to fill out schedules, as well as allow students who enrolled in blocks initially to “break” them, dropping one or two sections but not all. This flexibility within a scaled first-year product is crucial for our students to have access to full schedules. It is, at the same time, prohibitive of full curricular integration.

With this background knowledge and practice, we decided at Momentum Summit 3 to identify a small subset [10] of FA21 Learning Communities – Career Focus Momentum Learning Communities - and deploy them with full curricular integration and co-curricular support. Because the curriculum in each class relied on the curriculum in the other LC classes, they were designed so that students could NOT drop one without dropping all – these are fully “locked” Learning Communities.  We maintained the structure of 3 linked classes, and maintained the approach of associating them with Momentum Focus Areas; students were able to see them as registration options at Grizzly Orientation in much the same manner as they could see the alternative Learning Communities. These products had key differences though, and we took care to message them:

  • Participating faculty, recruited by their Chairs, worked in groups during Summer 21 to integrate their class content and assessments, designing at least one fully integrative assignment. These workshops, offered in collaboration with our Center for Teaching Excellence, offered content on student mindset interventions and integrative assignment design and assessment;
  • Each Learning Community incorporates, as a requirement, the completion of at least 2 Focus Area modules in the Mastering Career Readiness course developed by our Career Development and Advising Center [CDAC] [see below for more details on this intervention].Students are required to complete the Focus Area module for the area they declared, as well as one additional Focus Area module. CDAC partners collaborate with instructional faculty on completion and assessment;
  • Faculty coordinate with each other throughout the semester to check on progress and obstacles for their shared students;
  • Faculty engage in multiple check-ins as a Momentum group during the semester, sharing strategies and challenges.

While less important for messaging to students, these Momentum Learning Communities also required:

  • Collaboration with Enrollment Management partners on the creation of new Banner “rules” that would keep the classes locked;
  • Resource investment to stipend faculty for summer professional development;
  • Resource investment from Deans who agreed to limit course caps in participating sections to match the lowest cap within an LC;
  • Assessment strategy, developed by Momentum team of faculty leaders and the Director of Academic Assessment;
  • Communication strategy for Grizzly Orientation, developed collaboratively with Enrollment Management and the Student Success Advising Center.

We built, staffed, enrolled and executed 10 of these highly integrated Career Focus Momentum Learning Communities for Fall 21. At the conclusion of the semester, and in the more distant future, we will assess 1) student academic performance; 2) student progression; 3) student performance on benchmark levels for integrative learning; 4) student retention and credit load intensity We will also survey faculty about their experience as instructors. This full data set will allow us to consider the resource investment in the context of the student gains.

Although not part of our initial “Big Idea,” the Momentum team has designed a SP22 supplement, to support current students who want a full year of highly integrated experiences, and to expand instructional faculty access. We have designed 4 Momentum Course Pairs for Spring – each pairing contains an ENGL 1102. The course is integrated with an Economics class, for our BUSI students, or a History class, for our SOSC, HUAR, and STEM students. Instructors will fully integrated content and assessments, and students must remain enrolled in both classes. These paired courses are available only to students current enrolled in the FA21 Momentum LCs. This extension of the “Big Idea” will allow us to evaluate the impact of having one semester of fully integrated LC curriculum, versus a full year of integrated curriculum.


Purposeful Choice

Strategy or activity 

Preview Days

Summary of Activities 

Preview days are designed to connect prospective students and their families to the GGC community and the programs and resources the college provides. During these events prospective students and their parents had the opportunity to engage with faculty in their areas of interest to learn more about related majors and careers.  Students also met with staff and current students to learn about the support services offered on campus and best ways to stay engaged and involved, both in and out the classroom.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress 

There were 426 attendees during the AY 20-21 Preview Day events. This does not include additional family members and guests, that accompanied the students during the Grizzly Drive-Thru or watched a virtual session.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

While we have moved back to an in-person Preview Day format, we will continue to offer virtual programing as a part of our visit options moving forward. This provides an alternative for students unable to visit campus in-person or during a Preview Day event. For the Fall 2021 semester, 8 Virtual Academic Info Sessions, 3 Admission Sessions and a monthly Dual Enrollment session are being offered.

Changes because of COVID-19 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Admissions Services hosted 4 Preview Day events each academic year. These events were re-imagined for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, where we implemented a hybrid format consisting of an in-person Grizzly Drive-Thru and a virtual option using Zoom Meetings and Webinar. The Drive-Thru events hosted on October 17th (109 attended) and  March 27th (108 attended) transformed our regular indoor Resource Fair, into a Drive-Thru event in the Building B Parking Lot. This was an opportunity for prospective students to visit and view campus, which is one of our biggest selling points. Fall 2020 virtual offering was hosted on October 31st (82 attended) and consisted of a Zoom Webinar followed by breakout sessions. Spring 2021 virtual option was offered as a weeklong event, March 22nd-26th (121 attended) capped by the Grizzly Drive-Thru at the end of the week. Sessions were divided into four categories: Admissions and Financial Aid, Academics, Student Life and Social Media.

Strategy or activity

Grizzly Orientation (GO)

Summary of Activities

Grizzly Orientation (GO) aims to integrate students into the GGC community and to equip them with practical knowledge to successfully start the school year.  GO also offers students the opportunity to discern and affirm their focus areas and major choices.

Prior to attending orientation, all first-year students for Spring and Fall 2021 were contacted by an SES advisor who helped to guide them to register for a LC based on focus area. For Spring 2021, due to the volume of students, this process was tested with just business and HEPR student. This process was then continued into the Fall 2021 term for all incoming freshman with 0 credit hours.

Students are grouped based on focus areas and meet with faculty in their respective areas to discuss related careers and curricula. These are the same groups students will participate in course registration. Due to the virtual format of GO sessions this past year, students remained in their original group, but were informed on how to change focus area if they chose to do so. Students then attend advising and registration sessions and receive assistance in selecting first semester schedules aligned with Momentum Year goals (e.g. English and Math in the first 30 hours). 

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

 Through virtual Grizzly Orientation sessions, confirmed registrations for 7 Spring 2021 GO virtual sessions via BB Collaborate, which ran from Nov. 14, 2020-Janaury 21, 2021, totaled just over 1,000 students.  Summer and Fall 2021 was a mix of virtual and in-person Grizzly Orientation sessions, confirmed registrations for 21 GO virtual/in person sessions (4 sessions for Summer term and 17 sessions for Fall term) via Bb Collaborate and face to face, which ran from May 7th, 2021-August 10, 2021 and totaled just around 3,500 students.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Key lessons learned and plans for the future for Grizzly Orientation include expanding/improving the students’ prior knowledge of their choice in focus areas & major through more interactive questions and pre-orientation modules Increasing registration of more new students into LCs ahead of their orientation sessions. This will enable more focus on acculturation and integration into the learning community at GO.

Changes because of COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, Spring and Summer 2021 term GO sessions were conducted virtually through the orientation management system, VisualZen and D2L, encompassing both asynchronous orientation content modules and synchronous registration through Bb Collaborate. Two different formats were offered for Fall 2021 term students. Students could choose between attending a virtual or in person orientation session, during which students would complete their course registration. Both formats were comprised of the same information and schedule. The registration sessions were supported by the Mentoring and Advising Center’s Student Success advisors, SES and enrollment management staff, and faculty members. All assisted students in learning community and course selections.

Strategy or activity

CDAC Focus Area Modules

Summary of Activities

GGC’s Career Development and Advising Center (CDAC) has developed Focus Area modules for its Career Readiness Online course, in which all GGC students are automatically enrolled. GGC’s Focus Area modules aims to assist students with making a purposeful choice by tying majors to careers. The focus area modules offer the students the opportunity to learn about a variety of career fields that are tied to the 7 academic focus areas. Each focus area module provides students with access to career areas to research, career titles to investigate, and examples of careers. Students are able to learn about job responsibilities and skills needed to obtain the positions. Additional links are provided to the Occupational Outlook Handbook and an additional resource Candid Career, informational videos that provide students information about careers and majors.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

All students enrolled, all faculty received information about deploying the modules in class, with targeted attention to faculty teaching first year classes. In addition to first year classes, faculty teaching senior capstone courses have utilized the modules to assist students with career choices and exploration. Since implementation, 502 students have accessed the focus area modules.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

With the proliferation of activities happening on learning management software, students and faculty need targeted and repeated messages about the utility of this resource if we want them to utilize it, particularly within the students’ first year, and in the context of coursework. Keeping the career information updated will be challenging as industries and demand constantly changes.

Changes because of COVID-19

The Focus Area modules were a response to COVID-19, as our previous model for Focus Area literacy relied on promotion of co-curricular events. This method will persist and offer more equitable, consistent access to the material.

Strategy or activity

Learning Communities tied to Focus Areas

Summary of Activities

A fusion of block scheduling processes and learning communities pedagogy supports efforts to connect new students to a focus area.  First-Year Learning Community triads are based on focus areas and include nine credit hours. During the GO registration session, students select a triad based on their focus area and are guided by faculty mentors to add two additional courses, totaling 15 credit hours for the semester. Triads provide common experiences anchored in the focus areas and allow for affirmation or continued exploration of the focus areas and majors. Additionally, these grouped courses foster a sense of belonging as there is intentional interaction around common interests and experiences. As will become apparent in the 'Big Idea’ section below, plans are currently for all learning communities to shift to a highly integrative 'Momentum’ learning communities model to the extent that this can be scaled for our first-year (and some continuing) students.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

The number of LC enrolled students in FA21 is down to 2261 (a decrease of 16% from FA19), with the number of LCs overall decreasing from a high of 124 to the current 83. A key goal of the LC effort remains increasing the integrity of each individual learning community by working to keep students enrolled in all three of the linked sections in their triad. We have made significant progress in FA21 with the introduction of 10 highly integrated “Momentum” Learning Communities. Fall 2021 also saw the expansion of the HACER learning community course-based component to two pairings (Intermediate Spanish with World History and Intermediate Spanish with First Year Seminar: GGC 1000).

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Key lessons learned through Fall 2020 regarding the learning communities fall into two main categories: Maintaining the integrity of learning communities will be challenging as we look to balance flexibility for students with the need to promote strongly integrated learning community in the LCs. Secondly, scaling wraparound services, such as advising and tutoring, along with peer supplemental instruction (PSI) and peer mentoring opportunities, will be an important part of helping to support productive academic Mindset and social belonging among the learning community students.  Another key plan is the expansion of LC pedagogy to our on-campus Residence Life in thematic living-learning communities (LLCs), which we plan to pilot in Spring 2022.

 Transparent Pathways

Strategy or activity

Curriculum Maps and Pressure Tests

Summary of Activities

Our pilot pressure testing work during AY 19-20, limited to a handful of programs produced useful insights for those programs about substantive adjustments to make to sequencing in the maps. In response to this success, the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and the Provost’s Office tasked a lead faculty member with developing a plan for scaling the pressure test process. He worked with Student Engagement and Success to build an analytic tool that can be applied to all programs at GGC, allowing for quick analysis of bottlenecks and obstacles.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

  We consider the establishment of this analysis tool to be a significant success. With the remaining time in AY 20-21, the Provost’s office will work to train other chairs on use of the tool, and to establish consistent deliverables. Ideally, deliverables will include both adjustments to advising tools, like program maps, and larger-scale analysis of the potential for pedagogical and curricular interventions.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

As was our experience with the pilot effort on this initiative, we found that pressure testing work significantly increased literacy among chairs about a number of variables and outcomes within their programs, and spurred productive conversations. As a general rule, we want our academic leaders toward as much access to legibly presented data about their programs as we can muster.

Changes because of COVID-19

With a stable tool for analyzing progression through program pathways, we will be able to better assess obstacles as being either specific to a pandemic environment, or more endemic to non-optimized advising tools.

Strategy or activity

Advising and Mentoring

Summary of Activities

During FY 21, the Student Success and Advising Center (SSAC) added 7 full-time advisors to support a new advising structure in spring 2021 in which the SSAC provides advising support to all students with less than 30 credit hours. This new structure increased the advising load for the Center by 1269 from fall 2020 to fall 2021. However, the increase in staff allowed the average individual caseload to remain just under 200 students. While all advisors are trained across all majors, each advisor specializes in one focus area and is assigned students based on that focus area. The SSAC now has a satellite office in the Kaufman Library and Advising Center.  and provides students additional access to advisors. We also promoted four current advisors from student success advisor 1 to senior student success advisors. This action provides an opportunity for career growth within the center and allows for additional targeted support programming for students.  In addition to having an advising caseload and acting as team lead for advisor 1 teams, each of the senior advisors provide outreach to targeted populations including the HACER Living Learning Community, first generation students, veterans, adult learners, and students on academic warning, probation, and suspension.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

 Although the center’s caseload included a broader group of students, the average number of students assigned each semester declined. Advisors tracked over 6100 advising appointments during FY 21, which was similar to pre-COVID-19 visits.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

 Advisors noted a decrease in the number of no-show appointments. Although in-person advising is preferred, advisors will continue to offer students the flexibility of virtual or in-person appointments.  Although the number of appointments slightly increased during this period, engagement was still challenging. Because of ongoing pandemic-related challenges, it is difficult to measure the impact of these changes. We will need to determine trends over time.

Changes because of COVID-19

 COVID -19 prompted an abrupt shift to virtual advising, which resulted in the advisors rapidly increasing their technology skills and developing protocols to support students in an online environment.  

Academic Mindset 

Strategy or activity

Mindset Survey and Interventions 

Summary of Activities

Student Engagement and Success and Academic Affairs partnered to distribute the USG’s mindset survey broadly and encourage participation. We hope to rely on the data analysis infrastructure we have built with our system office partners, as in the past, to analyze results on a disaggregated level and consider best interventions.

In addition to the Mindset Survey itself, Institutional Research and Analytics (IRA) in the division of Student Engagement and Success (SES) has conducted a number of "Grizzly Check-In" Surveys with GGC students to understand our students' experience during the pandemic and support their well-being.

In this concluding year of GGC’s Gateways to Completion intervention cycle, we have been pleased with the results of our teams work in MATH 1113, which has focused on mindset matters. Course committee leads designed a series of embedded check-ins and mindset-boosting interventions, intended to both provide ongoing information to instructors about the state of students’ growth mindsets about math ability, and to provide holistic encouragement to students.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

Institutional Research and Analytics organized Grizzly Check-In (GCI). The GCI results have been widely distributed to campus leadership teams and have shaped many conversations about students’ experiences.

The results of the G2C MATH 113 mindset interventions have been impressive. By Spring 21, intervention sections saw a pass rate of 76.8%, in comparison to 53.7% for non-treatment sections.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Our G2C based gains in MATH 1113 certainly evidence the benefit of holistic mindset-based interventions for students, maybe especially in Math courses. These are high labor affective interventions that require full instructional buy-in, and we will continue the work of looking to ease the burden on faculty wanting to implement them.

The IRA "Grizzly Check-in" surveys noted above have found that while about 73% of students responding most recently feel a sense of belonging at GGC, there are suggestions that students feel could enhance their connection with other students and the college, such as more involvement opportunities with registered student organizations (RSOs), more activities focusing on non-traditional or commuter students, events featuring friendly competition, and broader promotion of activities on social media and elsewhere. Exploring these possibilities with specific student groups will be beneficial in better understanding how we support our students' Growth Mindset in the upcoming semesters.

Changes because of COVID-19

 These mindset interventions were largely occasioned by the pandemic and our attempts to understand and mitigate its impacts.

Strategy or activity

GGC 1000 First-Year Seminar

Summary of Activities

As part of the core curriculum, GGC 1000 sections incorporate information about growth mindset, a unit on major and career exploration, and another unit on financial literacy towards the goals of increasing sense of purpose, campus resource literacy, self-efficacy and persistence. Many instructors introduce the concept of growth mindset through discussions and activities, often in the context of study skills and becoming an engaged student. Instructors discuss with students what majors and minors are, as well as the contours of GGC’s six academic focus areas. Students learn about how to navigate and interpret DegreeWorks course audits in Banner, unpack program plans, and study degree pathways. Most instructors have students complete the Focus 2 Career Assessment as part of the Mastering Career Readiness D2L site and work with representatives from GGC’s Career Development and Advising Center (CDAC) to help students analyze their results. To further support their campus literacy and encourage persistence, GGC 1000 students completed elements of GGC’s  Financial Aid Connection D2L site, which provides videos and resources on key topics such as SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress), FAFSA completion, financial aid package elements, and financial literacy.

To help inculcate these elements across sections of GGC 1000, in Summer 2020, a D2L template course was developed. This course embeds key course topics (such as those mentioned above), signature assignments via TiLTed assignment sheets, and support resources for instructional use. Having the standard template course also greatly assisted/assists both returning and new instructors teaching in multiple modalities over the duration of the pandemic. In Spring 2021, a team of instructors received an Affordable Learning Georgia textbook transformation grant; the OER textbook for GGC 1000 is being piloted this FA21 semester and will scale to be used in all sections going forward, providing additional access and equity benefits to students enrolled in the critical first year.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

Student achievement of learning outcomes related to the activities above is measured through three assignments—the campus resource quiz; campus scenarios; and career research assignment. These activities reinforce and measure both course outcomes and key skills we want to encourage in our students, such as information literacy, critical thinking, and responsible research. In FA20, students scored an average of 3.63/4 or 91% on the rubric for the 20-question resource quiz; the quiz asks them to use their information literacy skills to find responses to questions via the GGC website. Students scored an average of 2.85/4 or 71% on the campus scenarios activity rubric; this activity provided them with 15 common college scenarios and asked them to use critical thinking skills and resources to identify an appropriate office or service to assist them. Students received an average score of 7.72/9 or 86% on the career research assignment rubric the assignment requires students to look at degree program plans and career research sources to answer career exploration items.

Students also complete a 12-question attitudinal survey to measure their familiarity with campus resources, relationships on campus, time management, financial literacy, wellness, and other key success area metrics. While participation on the survey was limited, students rated their familiarity with these items at an average of 66%, with 7/12 statements rated as “agree” or “strongly agree.” Notably, the two statements receiving the lowest scores were about relationship building and feeling like part of the GGC community. This suggests that, despite instructors’ best efforts, these first-year students struggled to feel the same sense of community in online classes as in previous, in-person terms. We will continue to track responses this AY21-22, wherein the majority of sections are back to in-person modality.

The FA20 pass rate was 63% for this course. When evaluating FA19 to FA20 data, it was noted that enrollment size was similar for the two GGC 1000 cohorts; however FA20 had a 13% higher DFWI rate, mostly in F’s. These results track with instructors’ anecdotal observations that attendance and engagement were down from previous semesters, most likely from external demands of the pandemic on our students.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

As noted above, student attendance and engagement, whether face-to-face or online, remain ongoing challenges. Students who attend and participate in the course activities generally do very well; those who do not struggle significantly and fail.  We have noticed a percentage of students resist attending and engaging, despite all efforts, and would like to explore further how to involve that cohort. With the addition of the OER textbook in AY20-21, we anticipate one barrier to success—lack of early textbook acquisition—to be removed and look forward to measuring the equity impact of that intervention, particularly as it scales to all sections of GGC 1000 in Spring 2022 and beyond.

As noted elsewhere in relation to learning communities, GGC 1000 has become a regular part of course pairings for the HACER living-learning community focused on Hispanic/Latinx student success. For example, in Spring 2021, the First Year Seminar section taught by our senior bilingual student success advisor will be paired with SPAN 3010, Spanish Conversation and Composition, in a learning community pairing geared toward supporting students who are Spanish as a Heritage language (SHL) speakers.

Changes because of COVID-19

Most FYS sections remained in hybrid delivery mode, although about 30% were offered either virtual synchronously or asynchronously in FA20. Faculty were encouraged to attend USG’s webinars and GGC’s Center for Teaching Excellence workshops on best practices in hybrid and online instruction, as well as student engagement. Student engagement was also the subject of the summer professional development session for GGC 1000 instructors. As noted above, a template course was built in D2L over SU20 to facilitate more consistent delivery of core course components regardless of modality; instructors received this resource positively. The Grizzly Pawsport student engagement project, where students complete engagement activities in wellness, career readiness, academic success, and Grizzly Spirit (campus involvement/sense of belonging), were moved mostly to online offerings—both synchronous and asynchronous.

Strategy or activity

Mindset Training for PSI leaders

Summary of Activities

GGC’s ongoing, successful Peer Supplemental Instruction program for STEM class support is wrapping up a three-year STEM IV grant by the USG to incorporate academic mindset elements into training for the peer leaders, as well as during each PSI session. The Division of Student Engagement and Success’ Academic Enhancement Center staff has partnered with the School of Science and Technology’s PSI faculty to build the training program, relevant mindset interventions, and assessment surveys, and began piloting FA19.  Mindset interventions in select PSI sessions began in SP20 and have continued since then.   

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

Mindset training is now a regular part of the PSI leaders’ onboarding and ongoing training, raising awareness of the concept. Leaders are asked to develop discipline-appropriate intervention activities that encourage the development of session participants’ academic growth mindset. PSI Leaders are trained in three tenets of academic mindset: growth mindset, purpose/value of coursework, and sense of belonging. The PSI Leaders administer interventions related to these topics in PSI sessions during the semester. Students enrolled in the PSI-supported course are surveyed at the start and end of the semester related to these three aspects of academic mindset. Analysis will compare changes in mindset for students who did vs. did not attend PSI.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

The effort to promote growth mindset within PSI sessions is ongoing, both in terms of leader development and training and implementation in participant sessions.  PSI sessions were conducted online during AY20-21. This Fall 2021, a blend of in person and Zoom PSI sessions have been offered, accommodating students’ preferences and availability (dual modality also being an access intervention). Participation in AY20-21 PSI sessions was, similar to in-class participation, mixed. The team continues to work with faculty and PSI leaders to leverage support for sessions and encourage student engagement in them.

Changes because of COVID-19

In response to the COVID pandemic, all PSI sessions AY20-21 went online and were offered primarily through Zoom. As noted above, in  Fall 2021, in person and online modalities for sessions have been offered to accommodate student needs and desires.The faculty/staff leadership team conducted online peer-mentoring leader training in lieu of full-day training workshops during AY20-21, but has returned to in person trainings Fall 2021. Online training modules remain helpful guides to those unable to attend all training sessions and/or who would like a refresher. PSI is one tool in the Academic Support Toolbox advertised by the Academic Enhancement Center and is considered an element of the First-Year Ecosystem. Coupled with faculty support, in person and/or online tutoring, and student study groups, PSI provides an effective way for students to build academic self-efficacy, forge positive relationships, and cultivate growth mindset.

Strategy or activity

First-Generation Student Programming

Summary of Activities

Over 37% of GGC students self-identify as first-generation (FG). (Data is from FA19, obtained via FAFSA responses.) GGC is committed to serving the needs of this special population, creating more equitable access to college knowledge, and promoting progression and student success. To these ends, faculty and staff provide several initiatives to develop self-efficacy and establish a strong sense of Grizzly community with our first-generation students: Grizzly First Scholars (G1) learning community program;  peer mentoring supported through Grizzly Mentor Collective); and National First-Gen Celebration week activities (Nov. 8). In AY20-21, efforts focused on providing regular virtual workshops for community- and skill-building, as well as mentoring (by student success advisors, faculty mentors, and peer mentors).     

Outcomes/ Measures of progress

Attendance and access data are used to track the reach of this programming. As of October 2020, 1043 first-year students have been matched with an upper-division peer mentor as part of the BEAM/Mentor Collective program. 

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

Grizzly First Scholar learning communities will continue to provide wrap-around support for incoming FG students. Student success fairs and targeted workshops will also be provided. FG student engagement will be promoted through social media and social gatherings (in both in person and virtual modalities). Further outreach to incoming and current FG students at GGC will build a stronger sense of community support. FG Faculty and Staff outreach will be renewed. Further faculty/staff development efforts may be pursued through the Center of Teaching Excellence (e.g. imposter syndrome workshop).

Strategy or activity

Grizzly Mentor Collective

Summary of Activities 

In fall 2020, GGC expanded the First-Gen BEAM peer mentoring program to include new freshmen and transfer students. As most first-year students began class virtually or in a hybrid model, the Grizzly Mentoring Collective provided a way for students to engage with other students outside the classroom and learn about GGC from their peers. While it is difficult to mirror in-person engagement, this program supported GGC commitment to providing a community where students feel a sense of belonging and feel a connection to others in the community.  The program partner, Mentor Collective, assists in the recruitment of mentees and mentors and provides mentor training. Mentors are able to send flags to the GGC program administrators about students who need additional assistance or support. A professional advisor follows up with students who have been referred for additional support.    The online platform tracks matching assignments, mentor/mentee interactions, and alert flags.

Outcomes/ Measures of progress 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 1559 new students were matched with 356 upper-level peer mentors. On a scale of 1-7, the average satisfaction score from mentees was 5.91 and from mentors was 6.45.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

In addition to providing support to new GGC students, the Grizzly Mentor Collective has provided an opportunity for the per mentors to develop leadership skills and give back to the GGC community. GGC is currently exploring an alumni mentoring program in which GGC alumni mentor the Grizzly Mentor Collective peer mentors as they prepare to transition into life after graduation.  In addition to supporting current students, this will also provide another opportunity for GGC to engage alumni and keep them connected to the GGC community.

Priority Work

Living-Learning Communities

Description of Activities

Beginning in Spring 2021, we are programming Living-Learning Communities (LLCs), which feature linked and integrated courses in the GenEd core, supplemented by campus co-curricular programming and support services, offered to students living on campus. The initial LLC effort is known as HACER: Hispanic Achievers Committed to Excellence in Results. This living-learning community focuses on student success factors among GGC’s growing Hispanic/Latinx student population through the provision of success workshops, language learning opportunities (including courses), and other activities that have a cultural support lens.

Activity status and plans for 2021-2022

The Fall 2021 LLC course pairing for HACER: “Spanish Language and Culture” includes SPAN 2001 + GGC 1000 (Intermediate Spanish + First Year Seminar) and focuses on Spanish as Heritage language students. . For Spring 2022, the course pairing for HACER is: SPAN 3010 + GGC 1000 (Spanish Conversation and Composition + First-Year Seminar). In addition, Student Engagement and Success continues in partnership with Academic and Student Affairs to provide a number of campus activities as part of the HACER LLC effort. The events completed in Fall 2021 have been:

  • The senior bilingual student success advisor conducted workshops throughout the semester to help students develop student success skills, understand academic and other campus policies, and become aware of and utilize campus resources.
  • Spanish Conversation Groups occurred every other Wednesday throughout the semester, providing opportunities for students to learn more about the culture and speak Spanish in an informal setting.
  • “Reflecting on My Identify and Heritage” was an art-based event that guided students through their quest for self-worth, identity, sense of purpose and voice. This event was held during spring, summer, and fall 2021.
  • A virtual museum tour provided students the opportunity to view the “Oaxacalifornia: Through the Experience of the Duo Tlacolulokos” at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach California.
  • Guest speaker, Samantha Ramirez-Herrera presented “Sueños Sin Límites” (Borderless Dreams) and shared her story with GGC students.
  • Noche de Liderazgo (Night of Leadership) provided students the opportunity to network with Latino and Hispanic professionals in the Atlanta Metro Area.

Lessons Learned

The LLC planning process has confirmed that there is demand for thematic communities in campus housing. Challenges suggested based on prior efforts to implement more highly integrated learning communities are expected to be in the areas of active recruitment of students for participation and in the logistics of adding students to the individual LLCs. This recruitment and logistical challenge is most likely to occur in cases where the LLCs may not fit easily into the current practice of blocking LC ‘triads,’ necessitating more individual approaches to adding students to these LLC sections.

Priority Work

Mainstay SMS Texting Campaigns

Summary of Activities 

In summer 2020, the Division of Enrollment Management contracted with Admit Hub (now Mainstay) to provide SMS text messaging campaigns that prompt students to take action on their academic plan. The initial student outreach was targeted at new and returning students under the age of 21.  The Division of Student Engagement and Success began sending campaigns in fall 2020 regarding registration, financial aid, campus events, and academic resources. Campaigns during the semester break included well-being campaigns to keep students engaged and reminders about final grades, registration, campus hours, and payment reminders. 

Outcomes/ Measures of progress 

SES sent 20 campaigns during FY 21 and reached approximately 4900 students. The registration campaigns in particular allowed advisors to provide support to students who indicated they needed additional assistance.  Advisors were able to provide additional support to over 300 students who indicated they needed additional help.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

The initial contract included messaging for 5000 students, and while the effort appears to have good results, it was limited in scope.  The contract for FY 22 provides the ability to send messages to 10,000 unique phone numbers, which allows us to reach more students and provide more targeted campaigns. Moving forward we will need to develop an assessment plan to determine the impact of all campaigns.



In a meaningful way, the shift to a digital Momentum Summit has provided the simplest and most pervasive communication “win.” The virtual platform allowed us to expand our team to roughly 100 attendees, which increased literacy and enfranchisement  about Momentum work by an order of magnitude. [Having notched that win, though, we are perfectly happy to return to a more condensed in-person experience of the Summit in a convenient metro-Atlanta location.]

To maintain that awareness, we have utilized our daily campus-wide communication platform – The Pulse – to provide information about our “Big Idea” Momentum Learning Community Effort. We are providing content for GGC’s official magazine – Engage – as well as to the student newspaper – The Globe – about the effort as well. These connections represent a significant change in our conception about the audience for information regarding this work.


Leadership in Student Engagement and Support, and in particular our Institutional Research and Analysis [IRA] team, has leaned fully into the work of providing specialized data to teams working on Momentum efforts, and to increasing literacy of and access to data campus-wide. For more than a year now, SES has been hosting “Campus Data Tour” sessions, spotlighting through virtual presentations various locusts of data collection throughout the campus, and inviting feedback on initiatives that stem from them.

Additionally, over the course of the Fall 21 semester, IRA has made available a robust collection of analysis dashboards, which can be used to inform new initiatives and assess ongoing work. Those dashboards include visualizations related to:

Retention patterns as related to:

  • Students on Hope, Zell, and Pell
  • Students withdrawing from multiple courses
  • Students in Learning Communities
  • Students in Learning Support courses

IRA is also working on visualizations related to:

  • Regression analysis: what factors indicate retention?
  • Specialized programs – retention for those who participate versus retention for non-participants

Faculty and Staff Support:

As is the case with the impact of a virtual Summit platform on communication efforts, the accessibility of this year’s Summit allowed us to significantly increase enfranchisement in these efforts [although, again, we don’t want to be understood as lobbying for that format to persist]. In particular, our addition of more instructional faculty to the team has been important  for securing broad faculty buy-in to a renewed Learning Communities effort, and our addition of more data analysts has resulted in more shared understanding of what kind of reporting drives the most effective work.

As ever, we are resource lean, especially by way of staff. We are fortunate, then, that a strong sense of institutional mission drives a good deal of cross-functional collaboration, such that individuals in our SES, EM and AA divisions work together on goals that are themselves housed in dedicated divisions at some of our bigger and more robustly resourced institutions. That sense of shared mission is, as always, impacted by the priorities and actions of leadership at the system office and the Board of Regents. We are always grateful when those priorities and actions are informed by the kind of collaborative decision-making and familiarity with unique campus environments that are infused within the ethos of the Momentum Approach.





Dr. George S. Low


Dr. Marie-Michelle Rosemond

Vice President for Student Engagement and Success

Dr. Rachel Bowser

Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of English

Dr. Justin Jernigan

Sr. Associate Vice President/Dean of Student Success and Associate Professor of Linguistics

Dr. Tom Lilly

Director of Academic Assessment and Associate Professor of English

Dr. Catherine Thomas

Associate Dean for Student Success and Professor of English

Dr. Karen Jackson

Associate Dean for Advising Programs and Assistant Professor of Education

Dr. Tyler Yu

Dean of School of Business

Dr. Bernard Oliver

Dean of the School of Education

Dr. Diane E. White

Dean of School of Health Sciences

Dr. Teresa Winterhalter

Dean of the School of Liberal Arts

Dr. Chavonda Mills

Dean of School of Science and Technology

Ms. Juan Ren.

Senior Research Analyst

Ms. Laura Ledford

Executive Director of Registration Services

Ms. Jessamy Patton&

Assistant Registrar for Scheduling

Dr. Susan Bussey

Associate Professor of English

Dr. Jason Delaney

Professor of Economics