Success initiative includes partnership with Columbus State Community College
to increase degree completion
February 7, 2019 — Capital University today announced a new partnership with Columbus State Community College on a first-of-its-kind student success initiative focused specifically on meeting the unique needs of transfer students.
Capital and Columbus State, working with the John N. Gardner Institute, a pioneer in advancing teaching, student learning, success, retention and degree completion, will kick off theFoundations of Excellence (FOE) – Transfer Focus project on Friday, Feb. 8, with a joint meeting of institutional leaders and steering committees leading the work. Together, the public community college and private university will undertake an integrated 18-month self-study of the experiences, services, and programs both schools provide to support transfer student success. The project uniquely approaches the transfer student experience from the dual perspective of the sending and receiving institutions, which promises new insights into student success and degree completion.
“The direct path out of high school and into college remains dominant, but a shift is occurring as an increasing number of students are choosing non-traditional paths to four-year institutions by way of College Credit Plus and two-year colleges like Columbus State,” said Jody Fournier, Ph.D., Capital’s provost and vice president of learning. “Partnering with Columbus State in this work to help students succeed is a unique and potentially transformative opportunity to establish a new model for public community college-private university collaboration. This important initiative will improve our processes, climate, and culture of support for transfer students.”
“Working to help our transfer students succeed is a natural extension of providing effective pathways to affordable four-year degrees,” said Rebecca Butler, Ph.D., Columbus State executive vice president. “By collaborating with Capital, we can mutually discover and implement ways to continuously improve the integrated experience to ensure students achieve their goals across institutions.”
On Friday, steering committees from both institutions will meet for a full morning of information and data sharing to kick off the initiative. Next, working side-by-side and sharing institutional practices, policies and data, nine committees composed of staff, faculty and students from the community college and the private university will determine what they are doing well, what they need to change, and what they need to implement to improve the outcomes of transfer students. Focusing on nine foundational philosophies that lead to transfer student success, the schools willengineer new processes, policies and systems to support transfer students at critical points before, during and after their transition. The goal for both schools is to ultimately increase four-year degree completion among transfer students – a population that traditionally faces more difficulty in successfully transitioning to and completing their degrees at four-year institutions.
This initiative is an extension of the student success work Capital launched in 2012 with the Gardner Institute, following a self-study of its support of traditional undergraduate students during their first year of college – the most important time in influencing whether a student is likely to succeed in college. Just as Capital’s Foundations of Excellence – First Year Focus in 2012 did, this new transfer student focus will lead to the development of an action plan with proposed student success initiatives, planned transitional experiences for new students, and the establishment of goals for transfer student retention, persistence, and graduation. Early concepts include developing systems that allow Columbus State students to access Capital resources, including student housing, library access, participation in student organizations, some dual enrollment, and possible participation in athletics. Studies show the more engaged college students are in campus life, the more likely they are to persist. Creating meaningful engagement in Capital’s campus life and culture will help students make their pending transfer from Columbus State into Capital as seamless as possible.
Capital hopes to extend the accomplishments of its first-year student success initiative to transfer students. “Our work over the last several years to implement the Student Success Initiative transformed our campus culture and increased student success and learning,” explained Deanna Wagner, Capital’s dean of student engagement and success. “As a result of the Student Success Initiative, we have experienced two consecutive years of record level first-to-second year retention rates. We can expect a similar transformative experience with this project. This initiative should increase the number of transfer students who will enroll at Capital University and improve their learning outcomes and success.”
The second phase of the Student Success initiative is expected to be complete in spring 2020, but Capital and Columbus State will adjust immediately, as needed, as new ways to optimize its transfer program are discovered.
To spotlight and share insights gleaned from its work in building a culture of student learning and success, The Gardner Institute and Capital University will co-host a statewide meeting, the Ohio Undergraduate Education Conference: Inspiring Practices for Student Success, on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Presenters from more than 23 institutions representing all Ohio higher education sectors will present nearly 40 sessions and workshops at Capital. Three pre-conference workshops will be offered on Tuesday, February 26.
Located in the Columbus, Ohio, community of Bexley, Capital University is a comprehensive, private university centered in contemporary Lutheran values offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professions. Since its founding in 1830 and charter as a university in 1850, Capital has been an agent in shaping engaged citizens and purposeful leaders who improve their industries, communities and society.