Open house shines light on work toward student success

Laura Huenneke

          by Laura Huenneke, Provost

I enjoyed spending time at the University College open house earlier this week. Bury Hall, long a dilapidated and depressing facility, is now clean and light, with open spaces for people and interaction.

A musical performance by students and a warm welcome from University College leaders and staff added to the buzz, and the names of Faculty Fellows and Affiliates posted in the main stairwell was an especially nice touch.

Exhibits highlighting student success initiatives reflected how the university has invested a great deal in student success. University College is a locus of these activities, but there are many more throughout Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. I’m grateful that the Faculty Senate is discussing assessment, learning outcomes and the ways in which faculty contributions to student success can be recognized.

We have a lot riding on these efforts. The state’s performance funding model now links any hope of increased appropriations to improvement in student progress and the number of graduates. There’s also a major national dialogue on the waste of human potential represented by low completion rates.

Ultimately, that’s why the university exists–to help students find new opportunities and move successfully toward them.