The year 2013 brought tremendous change and transition to the university and to the Division of Student Services. President King Alexander left the campus in June to assume the chancellor position at Louisiana State University. His departure was followed by the retirement of Dr. Douglas Robinson, who served the university as vice president for student services for 22 years. I am grateful for the exceptional leadership provided by these two campus leaders.
In spite of these changes, one of the things that remain constant is the university’s commitment to student success. The Division of Student Services serves as a partner in supporting the university’s core academic purpose of graduating students with highly valued degrees. Freshman graduation rates have been steadily climbing and recently reached a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent for students who were freshmen in fall 2007. The Student Services Division provides high quality support services and programs that enhance student learning and promote student success. Examples of several student success initiatives, such as the Men’s Success Initiative, are described in this issue.
Another example I am excited about is Housing and Residential Life’s new programs. More than 2,400 students live in CSULB’s university housing in the Beachside, Parkside and Hillside residential colleges. The residential college model seeks to integrate the curricular and co-curricular experience for students. It focuses on enhancing student academic advising, on-site classes, living/learning communities and academic success programs.
Beginning in fall 2014, incoming students will have an opportunity to select one of four new living/learning communities. These are intentional, inclusive communities formed around common themes or programs. The four options include:
Students who live in one of these communities will take courses related to academic and social programs with peers who share similar interests.
Research has shown that students who live in living/learning communities report higher GPAs and are more likely to stay at the university. As part of the university’s student success initiative, I am excited about this collaboration between Student Services and Academic Affairs.
It is a privilege for me to serve as interim vice president for student services. I am proud of the division’s many support programs and the dedicated staff that focuses on student success. The division continues to find innovative approaches and new opportunities to enhance students’ experiences.
A new president, Dr. Jane Conoley, was recently selected and is scheduled to begin working at the university in July. The Division of Student Services looks forward to working with President Conoley as an integral partner in the campus goal of improving student success.