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Project Title:Academic and Student Affairs Partnership: Improving Latino Graduation and Retention Rates Institution Name:California State University, Fresno Innovation Category:Retention/Completion Project Director:Adrian Ramirez, Director, Title V – Commitment to Latina/o Academic Success & Excellence (CLASE)Contact Information:(559) 278-1613, adrianr@csufresno.eduWebsite:http://www.fresnostate.edu/academics/titlev/index.html
Project Description:As part of a University-wide effort, this program is charged with increasing the Latino student four and five-year graduation rates by 1% over the 2010 baseline of 9.5% and 29.8% respectively. California State University, Fresno, a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), received Title V grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education to enhance institutional academic offerings and improve Latina/o student success. The unique Academic Affairs and Students Affairs partnership is designed to determine best practices of current university initiatives and develop innovative and optimal learning environments using active learning pedagogies to increase Latino retention and graduation rates.

Use the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) course redesign model to train faculty teaching for high enrollment, high failure rate courses paired with faculty use of Supplemental Instruction and individualized student support to increase student success in the targeted courses. The metric for success is the percentage of students who successfully pass the focal courses. 

  • To expand service-learning designated courses that serve either high Latino enrollment or Latino community based service. The metric for success is the number of courses offered and the number of students served.
  • To develop rigorous program evaluation strategies to determine best practices for most effectively utilize institutional resources.

California State University, Fresno reported the following Title V initiatives that impact student success.

Student Support  

  • 637 Latino students received academic advising
  • 259 students used SupportNet, an early alert system that offers academic support and early intervention strategies
  • 146 students used supplement instruction in five courses: Physics, Sociology, Political Science, and Mathematics
  • 74 students used ACT WorkKeys skills assessment to assist in major selection
  • 260 students attended workshops/events (e.g., Financial Literacy, HACU, Graduate School) 

Faculty Initiatives  

  • 35 faculty were trained in course redesign from NCACT. Five courses, impacting more than 1,324 students, were redesigned.   Data suggests higher pass rates, with under-represented minority populations showing the most improvement.
  • 31 faculty were trained in Pearson My Writing Lab or ETS Criterion to improve student writing
  • 12 faculty were trained by the Council for Aid to Education to improve critical thinking
  • Six faculty implemented four service-learning courses (e.g. Art, Criminology, Mass Communication & Journalism, and Spanish)
Challenges/Problems Encountered:A primary challenge encountered was at the institutional level with the lack of information sharing between student affairs and academic affairs. While lead administrators consistently share information, this knowledge base has not penetrated throughout the university. Dual training opportunities, inclusion of student affairs programs in faculty training, and sharing of academic affairs activity with student affairs staff has begun to resolve this issue. Additionally, the current program is led staff from both student affairs and academic affairs.
Evaluation Approach:Using both quasi-experimental and pretest/posttest designs, we will be using Kirkpatirck’s Four Level Model of training evaluation (Kirkpatrick, 1967) as a basis for evaluation. The evaluation levels are reaction (participant satisfaction), learning, behavior, and results (student success). Outcome metrics, stakeholder surveys, and focus groups contribute to the evaluation process. Institutional, course, student, and faculty data are all necessary to determine success. The Title V program and various campus entities are responsible for project assessment.
Potential for Replication:Clearly, the circumstances surrounding degree attainment of Latinos has immediate and significant implications for our university and Central California. To the extent that these concerns do not exist in other settings, the motivation to utilize the innovation may vary. However, many universities struggle with the partnership of student and academic affairs and as a result, do not serve their students as effectively.
Additional Resources:

An additional campus contact is:  

Rudy Sanchez, Ph.D.
Faculty/Course Redesign Coordinator

CEO-to-CEO Contact:Joseph Castro , Presidentjosephcastro@csufresno.edu
(559) 278-4240
Date Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011Date Revised: Thursday, April 12, 2012