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Project Degree Completion Award Finalist Spotlight: Colorado State University

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase degree completion, APLU named Boise State University, Colorado State University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Texas at Austin, and Western Michigan University as finalists for its 2017 Project Degree Completion Award. The annual prize works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion. One of the five finalists will be named the 2017 Project Degree Completion Award winner during the APLU Annual Meeting, November 12-14, in Washington, DC. In this final part of a five-part series, APLU profiles Colorado State University (CSU) and its Plan for Excellence: Enhancing Undergraduate Education and Student Success.

In 2005, Colorado State’s president and provost challenged the university to substantially increase student success and the following year CSU began implementing a set of student success initiatives the following year. The Plan for Excellence was rooted in student success research and based on site visits to other institutions as well as detailed data on students’ academic progress.

The Plan for Success effort was designed to benefit all students from matriculation to completion. The comprehensive approach included structured first-year experience to help first-generation, low-income, and other disadvantaged groups form a sound college support community. To help students further along in their degrees, Colorado State also offered increased learning programs to provide supplemental instruction, learning effectiveness workshops, academic skills coaching, and other activities. The initiative also included the redesign of nearly 90 courses, embedding strategies that increase student engagement through active learning.

The effort has significantly improved retention and graduation. Since the program was implemented in 2006, freshman retention has climbed by four percent. In addition to raising the retention, the Plan for Excellence helped raise the institution’s four-year graduation rate by 7 percent.

Learn more about the other 2017 Project Degree Completion Award finalists.

  • Degree Completion & Student Success

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