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Current Success Initiatives

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Current Success Initiatives

True to our mission, Nevada State has implemented an array of initiatives designed to promote student success as defined in our 2020-2025 Institutional Strategic Plan. The pertinent goals include in the plan include efforts to improve retention and graduation rates, increase the mastery of learning outcomes, and narrow (or reverse) equity gaps. We also continue to identify new areas of emphasis based on available data and an assessment of institutional needs. Below is a detailing of the foremost initiatives we plan to implement and/or expand before 2023. Many of these initiatives are designed to address perhaps the most critical aspect of our effort to increase graduation rates, which is to improve persistence beyond the first year of college (particularly now that the college has achieved comparatively high first-year retention rates).

Data & Analysis

To best promote student success, we must understand its determinants. To this end, we have developed a robust data infrastructure that provides real-time access to nearly every data point collected by the college, which in turn can be disaggregated by a host of relevant variables (e.g., demographic variables to permit a close analysis of equity gaps). To properly leverage this data “superstructure,” we must commit to:

  • An analytic focus – Positioning the Office of Institutional Research as an entity that focuses as much – or more – on analysis than reporting [CG6-D1]
  • Department-level analyses – Provide departments with ability and initiative to examine and reflect upon their primary student success data (e.g., “vital signs” project) [GC6-D2]
  • Info-to-action – Establish structures, processes and a culture that ensures we are acting on the data we observe and analyze [GC6-D1]

Degree Pathways

Our work on degree pathways specifically aims to improve persistence beyond the first year of college, and addresses a need that we observe in our own data as well as in the work of aspirational peers such as Cal State University San Marcos. It is comprised of an effort to:

  • Degree mapping – Develop 2 and 4-year schedules of courses (with variations that include summer enrollment) [S1.4-D1]
  • Degree planning – Implement a system of degree planning that helps students create a long-term schedule that leads to graduation [S1.4-D4]
  • Course Scheduling – Establish a course schedule that maximizes the likelihood that students will get the classes they need in a timely fashion.[S1.4-D3]

Mandatory, Proactive Advising

An expansion of our Centralized Advising operation has permitted several key student success initiatives, including the facilitation of NSHE’s continuous enrollment policy, the initial launch of the Scorpion Success Network, and the introduction of mandatory advising for all incoming students. One of our goals is to further broaden the reach of professional advisors by replacing the current model, where centralized advising formally covers from 0-60 credits, with a new model where centralized advising is provided to LAS majors from 0-120 credits (i.e., graduation).

Collectively, this work involves:

  • 0-120 centralized advising – Shift from 0-60 model to 0-120 model of centralized advising, particularly for all LAS majors [S1.2-D2]
  • Early interventions – Increase proactive, timely support through the growth of our Scorpion Success Network and corresponding programs (e.g., E-Alert, Student Absence Notification System) [S1.2-D2]
  • Retention campaigns – Formalize outreach and retention campaigns to all students, including juniors and seniors [GC1.3-D1]

Improved College Literacy

To better support a largely first-generation student population, we will adopt measures to promote improved college literacy (that is, a better understanding of the knowledge, perspectives, and behaviors that facilitate success in college separate from course-related expertise). To this end, we will rely on revamped orientation sessions – for both first-time and transfer students – and summer bridge programs/workshops that help students internalize the fundamentals of succeeding in college, including:

  • Awareness and utilization of support resources [S1.1-D1]
  • Connection with faculty
  • Success behaviors (e.g., timely registration for classes) [S1.1-D1]

Enhanced Academic Success

To help students achieve their course and program-level learning outcomes – and thus be better poised for success following graduation – we will increase the utilization of academic support services and continue to provide high-quality instruction in all areas. Accordingly, we aspire to:

  • Continue to hire full-time faculty, particularly in high growth areas, with the goal of improving our FT-to-PT instructor ratios
  • Provide robust professional development opportunities for instructors, particularly through our Center for Teaching, Learning, & Engagement
  • Add resources and practices that increase the utilization and scope of academic support centers (e.g., ASC, Writing Center)

Improved Sense of Belonging & Community

Guided by recent findings in the literature and lessons from institutions with a majority of students of color (e.g., HBCUs), we intend to implement programs and practices that foster a strong sense of belonging and an inclusive community for our students. We want our predominantly diverse and first-generation student population to be emboldened with strong feelings of self-efficacy and the enduring belief that they are most likely to find success at Nevada State. Accordingly, we will:

  • Expand the Rise Peer Mentor program [S1.1-D1]
  • Revamp our New Student Orientation with additional opportunities for student engagement
  • Celebrate student successes (e.g., THE experience)

Financial Support and Literacy

Even with robust levels of academic support, excellent instruction, and clear pathways to graduation, students still may be unable to earn a degree if they cannot pay for college (or, similarly, balance the requisite job demands needed to afford college with the work needed to earn a degree). Consequently, one of chief goals is to maximize the number of students who receive sufficient financial support – in terms of both merit-based and need-based aid – and improve their ability to understand their options for paying for college. Relevant goals include:

  • Expanding merit-based scholarships [S5.1]
  • Expanding need-based aid [S5.1]
  • Educating students about loans [S5.1-D1]
  • Providing just-in-time financial support (e.g., completion grants for “Super Seniors”) [S5.1-D3]
  • Improving the usability of student-facing financial resources (e.g., the portal) [S5.1-D1]

Human Health Sciences/Pre-nursing

Nevada State College has a comparatively high transfer out rate, and in recent years an inordinately high proportion of these transfers – roughly 40% – involve students who formerly pursued our nursing degree. As a result, a key retention/graduation initiative is to develop and guide students into promising, alternative degree pathways. This was the impetus behind our development of the Human Health Sciences (HHS) degree, and it guides the endeavors listed below:

  • New pathways – Develop Healthcare Administration concentration within the HHS degree [CI1.9-D1]
  • Strategic coordination – Cultivate advising strategy that facilitates the successful pursuit of an HHS degree among former “pre-nursing” students [CI1.9-D1]
  • Academic Diversification – Forge a recruitment plan that emphasizes “Academic Diversification,” which emphasizes the growth of targeted non-nursing programs [GC1-D1]