Student Success Summit hexagon design. Pillars: Make Connections, Stretch Yourself, Fail Forward, Learn from Difference, Commit to Respect, Take Time to Reflect, Discover Your Purpose

Student Success Pre-Summit

Five working groups will tackle various aspects of data as it pertains to student success. Pre-registration required. 


Wells Hall, D-101

Date & Time

Tuesday, May 8, 9:00-10:45 a.m. (pre-registration required, includes continental breakfast)

Student Success Summit

Registration outside Wells Hall B-115 starting at 10:15 a.m.

Welcome, Opening Remarks, Math Reform: 11:00 a.m.


Wells Hall, B-115

Networking Lunch, Posters on Display: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

(Those who identified dietary needs may pick up their lunches outside B-115)

Breakout Session 1: 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

Click the title for more information about the topic.

Travel to Session: 1:45 – 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Session 2: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Click the title for more information about the topic.

Break for Pie/Travel to Session: 3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Session 3: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Evening Activities

Reception and Poster Session – Join Teaching & Learning Conference: 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

  • Location: Wells Hall, D-101, and main hallway in Wells Hall

Keynote – Beronda Montgomery: Re-envisioning Mentoring as Learning: Promoting Growth, Reciprocity, and Success: 5:45 – 6:30 p.m.   

  • Location: Wells Hall, B-119

Panel – Moderated by Provost Youatt: 6:30 – 7:00 p.m.

What does teaching for student success mean to you?

Panelists: R. Sekhar Chivukula, Randy Rasch, Chezare Warren, Teena Gerhardt, Danielle Lopez, Jasmine Lee, Isabel Ayala


Summit Breakout Session Descriptions

A: Credit Momentum Campaign: Combining Data with Engagement Messages

Teal Amthor-Shaffer, Susan Richter, Renata Opoczynski, Amy Martin

In this presentation we will discuss the mixed methods approach that was used to inform the credit momentum campaign on campus. The mixed methods approach integrated quantitative student data, with qualitative student interviews that was linked to the advertising campaign developed by APUE. First, there was a data-driven approach to inform the credit momentum campaign that was launched in summer 2017.  The campaign was launched based on quantitative research on how attempting 30 plus credits was beneficial for student success. The result was a campaign that resulted in a 13 percentage point increase in students attempting 15 or more credits in the fall. Over the 2017-2018 academic year qualitative research was conducted to understand what part of the message resonated with students and how students make decisions on course enrollment.  This information was then reintegrated into the summer 2018 credit momentum campaign. The mixed method approach can be a model for how to develop student success campaigns. We will share our experiences, the lessons learned and how to better communicate data, both quantitative and qualitative to faculty/staff/students on campus.

B:Voicing Student Stories: Developing, implementing and Analyzing Campus – Wide Assessment of Academic Advising Services

Sadiqkhan Mohammed

Academic advisors are constantly in pursuit of improving the advising experiences of their students. However, finding appropriate channels to give voice to their experiences can be an arduous task. By adopting an outcomes based approach, the advisors at Michigan State University developed a comprehensive advising assessment plan involving the implementation of a campus-wide survey and the development of focus group sessions. Through this session, the presenters will share their experience of developing and coordinating the campus assessment plan. The presenters will also share their experiences collaborating with other units and campus stakeholders to develop, implement and analyze the plan.  Furthermore, the presenters will talk about implications of the findings and lessons learned.

C: Promoting Student Success in the College of Social Science through Strategic Planning and Collaboration

Brandy Ellison, Justin Bruner

One emphasis of the College of Social Science strategic plan is student learning, specifically, improving communication skills, eliminating course-based opportunity gaps for historically minoritized groups, and supporting instructors in implementing active learning strategies. To achieve these goals, the College has formed partnerships across the University to explore our Tier II writing courses, better understand student outcomes in our gateway courses, and develop an instructional support network for faculty to share and adopt effective pedagogy, with a focus on gateway courses.

This presentation will highlight the processes, data exploration, and decisions undertaken to marry a College-level plan, University initiatives, and student success outcomes. In this interactive presentation, participants will explore what has worked, where our opportunities are, and what our next steps will be. The goal of the session is to spur innovation and collaboration by offering an opportunity for all participants to learn about current student success efforts in one college at MSU and to share their own initiatives and plans with other attendees.   

D: The Recreational Sports Research Agenda: Impacts of Participation on Student Success and Wellness

Kerri L. Vasold

Previous research has shown that recreational sports participation has a positive relationship with college student academic success and health/wellness outcomes. Various outcomes have been investigated, but there are still gaps in the current body of literature. The Recreational Sports and Fitness Department has developed and executed a research agenda to address these gaps over the past seven years, and results from four different studies concerning student academic success and health/wellness outcomes will be discussed. Studies focus on both participation as a whole, and participation in specific avenues available through programs and services.  Studies will highlight various methods for data collection and evaluation, including what on-campus resources were utilized for each project. Professionals of all areas are encouraged to join us for an engaging discussion on current research practices and future directions to pursue concerning student success!

E: The How and the What: Developing Critical Consciousness, Building Vibrant Communities, and Promoting Student Success at MSU

Jeanne Gazel, Maggie Chen-Hernandez, Paul Brown

Studies of higher education have previously connected the concept of belonging to both student engagement and student success, and recent data suggests that orienting colleges and universities using the culturally engaging campus environment (CECE) model (Museus, 2014) could also contribute to student belonging (Museus, Yi, and Saelua, 2017). Building on this work and borrowing from that of Kahu and Nelson (2018), we, at the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience/Intercultural Aide (mruleICA) program, have adopted a conceptual framework that situates belonging as a mediating mechanism within an educational interface. This interface acknowledges the mutuality needed between students and institutions to achieve the engagement, belonging, and success they so desire. As a means to achieve these desires, we’ve sought to integrate care, concern, and commitment into our approach to cultivating vibrant communities within MSU’s residence halls (Barnacle and Dall’Alba, 2017), and we’ve developed the capacities of our intercultural aides (ICAs) to engage in a robust and reflective practice of “arguing to learn together” (Baruch and Schwarz, 2017). Through surveys, focus groups, and Photovoice, we aimed to answer the following questions: How, if at all, does our approach to building vibrant communities contribute to students’ sense of belonging? And how, if at all, does our practice of engaging residents in weekly roundtable discussions result in both “consciousness-raising and community building” (Seider, Clark, Soutter, 2015)? Our initial findings, linked to the learning outcomes articulated in the Spartan Pathways model, suggest we’re making progress toward overarching university goals and thereby contributing to student success.

F: The Learning Analytics Group: A Loosely Coupled Team Supporting Data-Driven Student Success Decisions

Bill Heinrich, Becky Matz

The Learning Analytics Group (LAG) at MSU facilitates collaboration across key units of the university to develop and act on analytical insights that improve outcomes for students. Specifically, the LAG uses student data to examine the institution’s policies, practices, and norms with the goal to use analytics to uncover unintended barriers to student success; challenge the assumptions on which our curricula, policies, and practices are based; and identify successful interventions. The LAG includes representation from central administration units, student success efforts, and faculty and staff more directly connected to colleges, courses, and curricula. The loosely coupled nature of the group represents a unique model for learning analytics as compared to peer institutions. In this session, we will describe key events that led to the creation of the group as it is today, the current makeup of the group, and example projects that have influenced actions on our campus.

G: Neighborhood Student Success Teams: New Strategies for Improving Second-Year Student Success

Tonya Bailey, Bradley Custer, Larry Long, Susan Richter, Rebecca Murthum, Amy Martin

Beginning in Fall 2017, the five Neighborhood Student Success Teams engaged in new strategies to increase persistence and reduce probation rates for second-year NSSC students. Using a variety of data sources, the APUE Student Success Operations Team identified students throughout the semester who could benefit from seeing an academic advisor. Then, the Success Teams initiated a new process for outreach and intervention using the EAB Student Success Dashboard. Success Team members sent outreach messages and created advising appointment campaigns to encourage students to see their NSSC advisor, all while tracking their efforts through the new case management features in the dashboard. In this presentation, team members will explain how students were identified, the case management and outreach process, lessons learned, and outcomes from the fall semester interventions. This presentation offers participants a demonstration of how the dashboard’s case management features can be used to track and report on student success interventions. We are also interested in participant observations and suggestions for improving our process in the future.

H: Pathway Programs in the Neighborhoods: Spartan Success, Detroit Made, Dow STEM

Kelly High McCord, Joy Hannibal, Robin Rennie

The Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative has 3 Neighborhood Pathways to increase student success in specific groups of students.  Each has a unique design and will share their tools, techniques, outcomes, and future plans. Detroit M.A.D.E is built on the student success literature associated with High-Impact Practices (Deans, 2011; Engberg, 2013; & NSSE, 2015). These learning opportunities will span four years and include a first-year seminar, service-learning project, education abroad/study away programs, and undergraduate research. It is through these opportunities and other initiatives that scholars connect back to the city of Detroit through intellectual and practical contributions to the community. Designed to increase the number of students completing STEM degrees, the Dow STEM Scholars Program, seeks ways to remove  barriers for underprepared students. A re-designed entry level algebra course, new intro Chemistry course, skills-based first-year seminar, intrusive advising, and building a community are making a difference. Dow Scholars are succeeding and ever surpassing their counterparts while innovative initiatives such as DOW STEM’s math course is being adopted University wide. The goal of the Spartan Success Scholars Program is to increase the graduation rate of first-generation and Pell-grant eligible students. We strongly encourage our first year Scholars to sign up for a Peer Success Coach who is trained to support students in the areas of academic proficiency, institutional navigation and socio-emotional engagement. We are excited to see progress and stronger academic outcomes with Scholars who fully engage in the program.

I: Pillar Session: Exploring Purpose to Enhance Undergraduate Learning and Success

Deb Dotterer, Jane Evarian, Marybeth Heeder, Marc Hunsaker, Justin Micomonaco

Join members of the Spartan Pathways Purpose Pillar as we explore the concept of “purpose” and consider how to more effectively engage MSU students in this important area of personal, academic, and career development. In this session we will share a framework for defining purpose, demonstrate how purpose engagement is connected to student success (both inside and outside the classroom), describe some purpose-engagement strategies employed by MSU (and other higher education institutions), and present data that identifies how MSU students conceive of purpose and which factors most impact their purpose-development while on campus.

The aims of this interactive session are to:

  • Analyze areas of strength and weakness on MSU’s campus for fostering students’ engagement with purpose;
  • Identify strategic allies, partnerships, and collaborations which are critical to further integrate purpose-development into our work with students;
  • Invite attendees to give valuable feedback which will inform the future direction and strategies of the Purpose Pillar committee as we help to facilitate and coordinate students’ purpose-development across campus.

J: Building Inclusive Classroom Communities through Intergroup Dialogue

Donna Rich Kaplowitz, Authrene Ashton

Intergroup dialogue is a face-to-face facilitated learning experience that brings together individuals from different social identity groups over a sustained period of time to:

  1. understand their commonalities and differences,
  2. examine the nature and impact of societal inequalities,
  3. explore ways of working together toward greater equality and justice, and
  4. prepare students to live, work, and lead in complex, diverse stratified society.

Intergroup dialogue has been used on more than 100 college campuses over the last 30 years. It is evidence-based and research shows that participants grow in their ability to understand and work across racial, gender and social class differences, and deepen their empathy toward others’ lived experiences.

This year, MSU inaugurated its first set of race dialogues. In this session, we will review MSU’s new program and look at some of the basic principles behind dialogue that can be translated into a variety of classroom settings. Attendees will be able to practice dialogic techniques and consider how to implement dialogue practices in a variety of settings. Topics covered will include dialogue versus debate, active and generous listening, responding to oppressive comments, learning edges, managing hot moments and more.

K:Exploring Holistic Student Support with Noncognitive Variables

Samantha Spitak and Sam Drake

This session will discuss the background, purpose, and results of the Noncognitive Variable Assessment piloted to a sample of incoming freshman in Fall 2017. The assessment scores students on eight variables that have been empirically shown to impact student success. Data will be analyzed based on potential correlations to GPA, program affiliation, and demographics. The purpose of this assessment is to use the data to provide more holistic support and interventions to students. This session will present the data from the Fall 2017 pilot cohort as well as future plans for data usage.

L: Cognitive and Non-Cognitive findings from the Fall, 2017 First-Year, Common Intellectual Experience

Justin Bruner, Jim Lucas

Common Intellectual Experiences (CIE) are one of the high-impact practices highlighted by AAC&U (2008). In Fall of 2017, MSU welcomed two cohorts of incoming Freshman to participate in two distinct CIE with a common theme around social justice. Students in these cohorts took some of their courses together with a focus on social justice, engaged in common co-curricular events around this same theme, and participated in a cohort welcome event.

The assessment of the CIE includes looking at academic outcomes such as grades, retention, and probation as well as non-cognitive outcomes such as belonging, developing a growth mindset, and utilizing campus resources. Halfway through the year, students in the CIE performed just as well, if not better in their Math courses despite having lower Math Placement scores. CIE students also report greater levels of social integration and college self-efficacy. In this session, participants will see results and engage in an activity to share ideas for making CIE at MSU more impactful.

M: Intercultural Pillar: Diversity, Inclusion & Intercultural Competency Certification

Paulette Granberry Russell, Sharon Chia Claros

Findings from two national surveys found 78% of employers agree that “all college students should gain intercultural skills and an understanding of societies and countries outside the United States” (Hart Research Associates, 2015). The Intercultural Pillar team will introduce the value that a Diversity, Inclusion & Intercultural Competency certification will add to a student’s degree and seeks your insights as it relates to launching institutionalizing this program.

N: Tale of a Turn-around: Building First-Year Seminars for Student Success

Jim Lucas

First-year seminars (FYS) rank among the high-impact strategies (Kuh, 2008) that can increase undergraduate retention and completion rates (Noel-Levitz, 2015). An estimated 95% of institutions have some form of FYS (Goodman & Pascarella, 2006), and these programs build upon over 80 years of literature (e.g., Fitts & Swift, 1928) that suggest their ability to address a university’s student success worries, including first-term and first-year GPA and persistence. For the last two years, the office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education has embarked on an effort to organize and re-conceptualize the UGS first-year experience model. This session will discuss how the Spartan Pathway model was used to create and expand UGS seminar offerings. The presenters will emphasize relevant concepts from the reform effort including the development of learning outcomes; fostering campus support, partnerships, and collaborations; building support for instructors; and implementing assessment. Attendees will engage in dialogue about pertinent issues, such as diversifying FYS offerings, supporting instructors, demonstrating value to stakeholders, and developing and implementing multi-level assessment processes.

O: Facilitating Connections and Building Community: How Science and Art Inspire Culture Change That Supports Student Success

Mary Beth Heeder, Christina Finley, Susan Richter

At MSU we believe all students have the ability to succeed and graduate in a timely manner. But the transition to college is a major life change that can be challenging and overwhelming. Navigating the transition, including finding their home at MSU and managing a multitude of factors outside of academics, can derail students’ progress towards timely completion of their degrees.  Student focused outreach in the classroom and through the Spartans Transition to Excellence Program (STEP) and Spartan Success Scholars Program (SSC) facilitates meaningful connections with students and provides resources for students to lean on and into while at MSU. During this session presenters will share how science (data-informed approaches) and art (facilitating connections) work together to build community, change the teaching and learning culture, and support the work of students, faculty, and staff. Presenters will first showcase data on college completion in the United States and at MSU and how STEP, SSC, and faculty attempt to address gaps in college completion. The overview data and program specific data will explain the importance of student focused outreach in and out of the classroom. The presentation will conclude with a panel discussion of staff, faculty, and students, where presenters explore the evolution and effects of building community and culture shifts, lessons learned, and unexpected results which informed our work.

P: Student Centered Academic Process Reviews

Charles Jackson, Deb Dotterer, Amy Martin

As administrators, and academic advisors, we are constantly in pursuit of improving policies that impact our students.  Thru academic process reviews of MSU policies on medical withdrawal, major transition, academic standing of undergraduate students (ASUS), and grief absences we utilized process mapping to identify improvements within these programs.  Process mapping is a collection of activities that together create value for a customer. Process mapping can define what an entity/organization does, who is responsible for what, to what standard a process should be completed, and how the success of a process can be determined.  In addition, a clear and detailed business process map or diagram allows an outsider look to determine whether or not improvements can be made to the current process. In each of our academic process reviews we collaborated with colleges and units to identity opportunities for improving the student experience at Michigan State University thru: examining institutional data, creating student personas, small group discussions with key leaders, gathering information from each unit and college on current practices, creating workflow charts and diagrams, and conducting focus groups with students. In this session we will share our strategies, lessons learned, and current outcomes in a discussion based format where we gather feedback and future recommendations from participants.

Q: Advancing the Academic Pillar

Kelly Millenbah, Genyne Royal, Erik Skogsberg

Over the last several years, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education (APUE) has taken up various projects for improving the undergraduate academic experience particularly focusing on incoming student transition to the postsecondary experience.  In Fall 2017, the Academic Pillar 2.0 was initiated to further advance previous pillar work but through different processes and with different partners. The purpose of the Academic Pillar 2.0 is to focus on effective practices for college transition/bridge/pre-college programs in- and outside MSU.  In addition to identifying effective practices for these programs, the pillar aims to provide students and units on campus with a searchable, public website to allow students to make more informed decisions about which programs would benefit them the most as well as allowing units across campus to learn about the breadth of programs and to identify possible opportunities for collaboration.  During this session, the Academic Pillar will provide an overview and update on our current work, including: 1) a draft mockup of a searchable, public website, 2) a draft University-wide operating definition of transition/bridge/pre-college programs, and 3) common effective practices from other institutions for these programs. Participants will be asked to engage in discussion around each of these areas to further refine the work of the Academic Pillar.