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Gordon State College Campus Plan Update 2022

Section 1: Your Institutional Mission & Student Body Profile

Gordon State College’s mission is to be a catalyst for exceptional and accessible education through innovative teaching, engaged learning, and transformative experiences for the benefit of our students, the communities we serve, and the world we live in. As an access institution, we provide engaged faculty-student interaction through intimate classroom experiences; innovative and effective teaching strategies; excellent advising and mentorship programs; and effective student support services.  GSC offers baccalaureate and associate degree programs.  The institution has focused more in recent years on meeting the needs of underrepresented populations and dual-enrollment students.

Final Fall 2021 enrollment was 3,087. We saw some dramatic changes in the make-up of our Fall 2021 first-time, full-time freshman cohort:

  • 80.0% had learning support requirements, up from 55.9% in Fall 2020.
  • 55.1% of entering FTFT freshmen had only a Math requirement (N=243), up dramatically from 19.1% in Fall 2020 and 11.9% in Fall 2019.
  • 24.2% had both Math and English requirements (N=107), down significantly from Fall 2020’s 35.9%.
  • 1 % had only an English requirement (N=3), about the same as 1% in Fall 2020.
  • 42.8% were African-American, up from 38.6% in Fall 2020. Our club football team has been a contributing factor to our increased enrollment with this population.
  • 1.8% self-identified as first-generation college students, down significantly from Fall 2020’s 5.1%; however, another 87.7% chose not to answer the question, and we suspect our first-generation population is actually much larger.

A closer look at the data above is provided here to show the percentage of students pursuing associate degrees versus bachelor’s degrees:

Students w/ LS Req

Associate - 81.8%

Bachelor – 20.1%

African American

Associate – 84.1%

Bachelor – 17.4%

First Generation

Self-Identified as First Gen

Associate – 62.5%

Bachelor – 37.5%

Not First Gen

Associate – 85.1%

Bachelor – 14.9%


Associate – 78.5%

Bachelor – 21.5%

To better serve our student population, Gordon State College was one of the first institutions in the USG to take remediation transformation to scale, and we continue to see improved success rates in gateway courses like ENGL 1101 and MATH 1111.  Also, we have targeted traditionally underserved populations such as African-American males for increases in access and completion. At the same time, our institution continues to see high numbers of dual-enrollment students each year (362 new dual-enrollment students in Fall 2021), in fact we were number 1 in the state college sector. 

Section 2: Your Student Success Inventory


Activity/Project Name

Advising and Mentoring at GSC

Momentum Area




Change Management

Data & Communications

Activity/Project Overview or Description

Student Success Redesign Phase 1 (Advising and Mentoring)

Activity/Project Activity Status


Updates for 2022

Progress and Adjustments


  1. We have filled all approved positions for professional academic advisors.
  2. Complete set up of technology:

EAB Navigate (in-progress: role configurations, training, and data)

  1. Academic deans are continuing to review key advising documents (Momentum Area: Purpose and Pathways)
    1. Advising syllabus: Deans and chairs will need to include language regarding milestones and the Highlander E.D.G.E in this document.
    2. Program maps will need to be updated with new course numbers, milestones and Highlander E.D.G.E. language
    3. Degree Works planner will need to be released as an advising tool. This will allow advisors to proactively advise their advisees
  2. Finalize roles and responsibilities of Faculty Mentors
    1. Provost has assigned Deans and Dr. Scott Shubitz to lead this effort
    2. Dr. Scott Shubitz will lead trainings for identified faculty mentors (3 trainings have been held and departmental champions have been trained to share the information with others)
    3. Provost and Dr. Shubitz will continue to work with Faculty Senate to refine this role
  3. Course catalog has been updated for the academic year
  4. Update student success advisor and faculty mentor types in Banner
  5. We have completed training for the Student Success Advisors
  6. Train faculty mentors(ongoing)
  7. We have adjusted the advising model to only have professional advisors assigned to students for the first 30 credit hours as opposed to the first 60 credit hours

Block Scheduling

The development of blocked schedules requires a considerable amount of planning and organization. This time intensive process depends on accurate estimates of incoming first year students and careful alignment of course sections to maximize course schedule efficiency. The taskforce determined the target size for each block is 24 based on the maximum seat capacity for ENGL1101, which is the course in the block with the lowest seat capacity. Block schedule estimates were generated assuming the incoming first year students in fall 2022 will resemble those from fall 2021. These course sections have been organized by time and automatically aligned in preparation for the development of the fall 2022 course schedule.

  • For Fall 22, Block Scheduling did not occur as listed in the plans. Academic leadership made a modification to the plan. Most of the blocks were uncoupled due to scheduling issues with course offerings and learning support requirements. This is an area that academic leadership are exploring as we prepare for the second phase of this process with living learning communities for Fall 23. We know that we will need to begin working on those plans towards the end of the calendar year as we work to pursue Title III funding.

Plan for the year ahead
(What steps will you be taking in 2022)

  1. Provost is actively working with faculty to review policies that impact student success such as: Academic Standards of Progress, Satisfactory Academic Progress, and Transfer Student GPA.(Momentum Area: Change Management)
  2. The Provost will further develop and clarify the role and expectations for Faculty mentors based on the following criteria: Momentum Area: Change Management and Communications)

Faculty mentors-- selected by each school dean in consultation with department heads and discipline coordinators-- are experts in their discipline who help shape students’ understanding of the academic and professional field. They are responsible for contextualizing the course content in the major with broader academic and professional goals. Faculty mentors will be assigned to students during their first term to establish a relationship early. Multiple resources including the sample faculty mentor syllabus in the EAB Academic Affairs Forum Study, “Defining the Faculty Role in Student Success: Building Ownership for Student Progression Among Individual Faculty and Distributed Academic Units” were used to develop the faculty mentor role at GSC and includes topics such as: (Momentum Area: Mindset)

  1. Transitioning to college
  2. Strategies for success in courses
  3. Career exploration
  4. Academic planning for summer
  5. Introduction to co-curricular activities

The student success advisor and faculty mentor work together to provide a comprehensive experience to support and guide students through their time at GSC to prepare them for upper division coursework and post-graduation endeavors. Both individuals will be assigned to each incoming first-year student and listed in Banner. Continuing students will remain with their currently assigned advisor within the existing model.

GSC will be developing joint KPIs as a college to evaluate the efforts of this plan. The previous KPIs in the original plan will need to be updated. (Momentum Area: Data and Communications)

In 2022, academic leadership and senior administration will continue to monitor the data and use the data to make informed decisions on how we support our students at GSC. As stated earlier, our club football team comprises a significant percentage of our Black/African American male student population. We are currently collaborating with our AAMI Director, Head Club Football Coach, Dean of Students, and Provost to provide proactive student support for our students in an controlled environment, The resources that we are providing the students on the club football are no different than the services that we have for all of our students, we are just able to have a captive audience since their academic performance impacts the ability for them to participate in the athletic activity. We also have an opportunity to collaborate with our AAMI Program on campus to assist us with attracting more students to the program so that they can benefit from the resources provided. Our AAMI program had one of the highest retention rates for the state college sector.

What challenges will affect your ability to do this activity?
What support do you need from outside your institution (e.g., the System Office or other institutions) to be successful?

  1. GSC moving forward will need the following moving forward:
    1. Access to training and re-educating Faculty concerning the faculty mentor role and expectations
    2. Access to training in order to best meet the needs of our student population considering learning lose due to COVID-19
    3. Access to training concerning the mental health of our student population

Project Lead/point of contact

Jerry Oliver Jr. (gathers the information) Provost is campus lead


Status Updates on Next Steps from Student Success Redesign

*** Items crossed out were from the original Student Success Redesign Plan

Next steps: Advising

  1. Hire three new student success advisors Complete
  2. Complete set up of technology:
    1. EAB Navigate- in progress (Dr. Scott Shubitz has been brought in to assist with training faculty, Dr. Joanne Ardovini will get a working group together to address the data discrepancies, and IT will upload the student pictures).
    2. Degree Works in progress (Kristi, our Registrar, is working on another update with Ellucian. We are hoping that we will have Degree Works Planner for advising)
    3. Fire Engine Red (Fireworks CRM)- delayed (Our new Dean of Enrollment Services, Ms. Melissa Johnson will address this in 2023)
    4. Course Leaf- in progress
  3. Academic deans review key advising documents by February 1, 2022:
    1. Advising syllabus- professional advisor complete, faculty mentor in progress (Dr. Ardovini will follow-up with Deans and Dr. Shubitz on this. We did not have it ready for NSO)
    2. Program maps- part 1 complete, maps with E.D.G.E in progress(Dr. Ardovini will follow-up with Deans and other Academic Leaders)
    3. DegreeWorks program plans (see “DegreeWorks Upgrade” section for additional detail)- in progress
  4. Finalize roles and responsibilities of Faculty Mentors by February 14, 2022 – in progress(AARRFA will work with Dr. Scott Shubitz, per Provost and President at last faculty senate meeting in September)
    1. Provost
    2. Academic deans
    3. Faculty senate
  5. Update program maps in Course Catalog and GSC website in early April 2022 in progress
  6. Update student success advisor and faculty mentor types in Banner by May 2022 –in progress(There are currently 73 students without a faculty mentor and the Provost has not been assigned to the student athletes)
  7. Train student success advisors (all new hires have been trained)
  8. Train faculty mentors (Dr. Scott Shubitz is currently working on this)3 training sessions have been hosted

Next Steps: Academic Support System

  1. Confirm academic support services offered across campus, e.g. residence halls, athletics, Collaborative Learning Center & library and adults forward  - delayed, other units are developing their academic support areas. Housing has hired Zach and Athletics is reevaluating plans
  2. Confirm how early alerts will be tracked (attendance, text books, disengagement, etc.).-complete
  3. Establish regular planning meetings with personnel across the institutions who are responsible for delivering academic support services. The purpose is to review data collected about academic support utilization, develop strategies for encouraging student utilization, and adjust service offering to meet student demand.-in progress (Dr. Ardovini will discuss how the meetings will occur)
  4. Develop student promotional and marketing material for academic support system in progress (SSC advisors will work with marketing to promote Advising Week, Tutoring, and SSC Workshops)

Next steps: Block scheduling

  1. Meet with department chairs of English and math to discuss block schedule and confirm section needs and times. Also confirm faculty assignments and if there is opportunity to group faculty across disciplines.-complete (we will revisit this for Summer 2023, Dr. Ardovini will need to organize a meeting to discuss)
  2. Registrar and IR Director will meet with Academic Affairs to assign sections to block schedules before remaining fall 2022 course schedule is built in early January 2022. complete
  3. All courses will be built in CourseLeaf and loaded into Banner.  Upon determination of CRNs for each block, the Registrar will setup block scheduling and assign the selected CRNs to each block in Banner. complete
  4. Training on the use of block scheduling will be provided to all applicable personnel. Scheduled for May 19th

Next steps: DegreeWorks Upgrade (New upgrade coming soon)

  1. Determine who updates DegreeWorks program plans by early January 2022. complete
  2. February 21-April 4, 2022: Upgrade of DegreeWorks software –(Completed but we discovered other issues that will be addressed by the Registrar and Ellucian)
    1. February 21: Upgrade prep and planning – preinstallation and technical call
    2. February 28: Functional upgrade training
    3. March 21: Services readiness validation call
    4. March 28: Production and patches
    5. April 4: Production and patches
    6. April 4: Web design updates – production
  3. January 6-April 4, 2022: Review and update of programs of study by Academic Affairs
    1. January 6: Programs of study currently in DegreeWorks provided to academic deans for review
    2. February 1: Updates to programs of study submitted to registrar
  4. April 4-May 1, 2022: Programs of study in DegreeWorks revised
  5. May 16-22, 2022: DegreeWorks training provided to student success advisors (face-to-face, virtual, online tutorials)
  6. June-August 2022: DegreeWorks training provided to students (face-to-face, virtual, online tutorials)

Next steps: Admissions Delayed, new personnel

  1. Improve efficiency and relevance of admission events, attendees will be surveyed to gather feedback on how students prefer to be recruited and using information to improve events
    1. Develop attendee survey
    2. Determine approach to collect and analyze survey results
  2. Determine method to collect and analyze data on event yield rates, show rates, and total investment of personnel time.
  3. Identify timeline for review of data, presentation of findings, and process for implementing changes.
  4. Developing a recruitment strategy for dual enrollment students
  5. Develop a robust communication plan covering all aspects of recruitment to include all events and student types

Identify an Admissions Fire Engine Red (Fireworks) CRM Operational Manager

Next steps: New Student Orientation –Delayed until 2023

  1. Redesign pre-orientation and post-orientation survey
  2. Determine the assignment of NSO responsibilities to a position
  3. Determine the data management system to use to deliver pre-orientation and post-orientation survey.

The Taskforce identified several data management systems that can be utilized to support the student success model including:

  1. Ellucian Banner (student information system)
  2. EAB Navigate (student success management system)
  3. Presence (campus engagement platform)
  4. Fire Engine RED (enrollment management system)

Beginning in January 2022, owners of these data management systems should meet regularly with the Director of Student Success to develop a process for aggregating data (identified in this report as the “Data Team”). The Director of Institutional Research should play an influential role in shaping the process for connecting data across systems and presenting the data using the data visualization tools. Data Team meetings should be used to complete the following by May 2022: Delayed, no IE leader

  1. Develop a Student Success Data Dictionary of all data elements needed to produce the student success KSIs (see KSI table above).
  2. Determine common data elements that will be used to link information across these systems.
  3. Decide who will compute KSIs, where they will be located, and who will have access to them. The following data visualization and reporting tools can be used to produce KSIs: (IT and Senior Leadership are currently reevaluating which software we will keep since we have a $3.2 million budget cut)
    1. Argos
    2. Tableau
    3. EAB Navigate

Related Departments and Initiatives – emails have been sent to related departments and they do not have any updates to provide

The following departments and initiatives were identified as contributing to the overall success of students and should be aligned to the redesigned model. Alignment includes a plan to coordinate with the Director of Student Success on delivery and tracking of services, as well as an integrated communication plan to students. The alignment should take place during spring term 2022 to be implemented and completed by August 2022.

  1. Housing and Residence Life
  2. Student Activities
  3. African American Male Initiative
  4. Career Services
  5. Student Success Fellows
  6. Retention Fellows
  7. STEM Center
  8. Library
  9. Athletics
  10. Community Assistants

Other Updates

  • We have new leadership learning about the various initiatives in the USG, learning how to use the software at GSC, develop relationships, and learning how GSC functions as an organization.
  • New hires: Provost and VP of Student Affairs(Dr. Joanne Ardovini, July 2022), Dean of Enrollment Services (Melissa Johnson, April 2022), Career Services(Jasmine Copeland, September 2022), and Interim Admissions Director (Bethany Watts, March 2022)
  • We hired 5 new advisors (September 2022 was the last start date for the final advisor)
  • We added teaching duties of 10% to responsibilities of the SSC Professional Advisors
  • We currently do not have a campus retention plan. We are in the middle of developing plans as we have 693 FTFT Freshmen this year and we would like to reach a goal of 70%. We have plans for the Student Success Center that address retention by using Navigate to conduct targeted campaigns.
  • Our Dean of Enrollment services is working on a new Strategic Enrollment Management Plan which will include
  • We have a course shell in D2L with handouts for faculty and staff when using Navigate
  • We are working on finalizing the newly revised Academic Standards of Progress which addresses the issue of suspending students after 1 term. The policy was passed Spring 22 but we are working with enrollment management on implementation
  • We are working on our Transfer GPA Policy
  • We are adding Friday classes to our Spring class schedule as a strategy to spread out courses and increase on campus student engagement
  • We are working on creating attributes in BANNER for our FTFT cohorts (this will help with retention tracking in Navigate and other software)
  • We have added attributes for our student athletes and club sport athletes
  • We are pursuing the Strengthening Institutions (Title III Grant) which will address retention and student support
  • We are addressing the probation and suspension then reinstated course, Students Taking Academic Responsibility (STAR), currently this course is listed as a LS course and students must pay for it.

Lessons Learned

  • Provost and President must deliver actionable items to the GSC community. Having the Provost and/or President articulate the importance of implementing the plan is imperative to pushing this strategic motion forward. Heather Collins shared this with senior leadership from the beginning and let them know that they will need to be the ones to hold others accountable
  • Ensure that senior leadership understands what we are submitting before beginning next steps
  • Identify champions and have them own portions of the plan