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Scaling up Cougar Scholars and Cougar Launch (Columbus State University-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
Scaling up Cougar Scholars and Cougar Launch
Momentum Area: 
Change Management
Strategy/Project Description: 

Cougar Scholars:

  • Targets commuter students in the murky middle
  • ENGL 1101 supported by wrap around services
  • Adding in FYE course + Mindset for SU/FA23

Cougar Launch

  • Targets residential students in the murky middle
  • Early Move In
  • Wrap around academic services and social belonging activities
  • Mindset Workshop New for Fall 23
Summary of Activities: 

Cougar Scholars and Cougar Launch were piloted SU/FA22. We scaled up these programs in Summer/Fall 2023.

While we did not see an increase in the number of students participating in Scholars, we increased the number of students participating in Launch by 40 students over the pilot year. Data collection is ongoing for this year, with a program evaluation survey that is being administered to participating students as well as the student leaders who helped run the event.

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Evaluation Plan and measures: Retention data from Fall to Spring and then Spring to Fall. Student evaluations of the programs. We are hoping to also measure Mindset pre-post for this population.

KPIs: Retain these student populations at 80%

Baseline measure (for each KPI): Data Available for Pilot group SU/FA 22

Launch: Fall to Spring retention 86%, Fall to Fall 68%

Scholars: Fall to Spring retention 86%;  Fall to Fall 76%

Goal or targets: Improve retention rates and success of these students. Hope to scale this year to reach 100-150 FTFT students in each program.

Time period/duration: For 2023-2024 is to scale the programs to 100-150

Progress and Adjustments: 

We had hoped to see Cougar Scholars move from a pilot of fewer than 15 students to a larger group (target of 150) this year. This goal was not accomplished. There are discussions around eliminating this program or transitioning to a required program for our Access Mission students.

The goal of scaling Cougar Launch from 35 to 150 was not accomplished. We ended up with 75 students for Fall 2023. Plans for 23-24 involve assessing the efficacy of the program, determining next steps, and further refining based on student feedback.

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

With those labeled scaling, there is still much to accomplish in those activities.

Challenges and Support: 

Challenges involve producing quality programs with limited fiscal and human resources. CSU is thankful for the foundation’s support of both programs. However, dedicated resources (personnel and fiscal) need to be identified so that these programs can continue to expand and evolve.

Primary Contact: 
Melissa Young, Director, CSU ADVISE