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Student success initiatives help more Spartans learn, thrive, and graduate

Scott Wasserman

Student success is a key theme in the MSU 2030 strategic plan.

Student success is the measure of an institution’s ability to provide an inclusive, equitable curriculum and environment with the academic, social, wellness and financial support that enables all students to learn, thrive, persist, graduate and succeed after graduation.

Mark Largent is MSU’s vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, and Bill Beekman is the university’s vice president for strategic initiatives. Beekman and Largent discuss progress on the implementation of the student success theme of the plan.

Conversation Highlights:

(1:35) – Tell us about your role at MSU, Mark. What does a dean of undergraduate studies do?

Bill Beekman, left, and Mark Largent in the MSU Audio Studios
Russ White | MSU Today
Bill Beekman, left, and Mark Largent in the MSU Audio Studios

(3:15) – Why are most graduation rates based on six years rather than four?

(5:39) – Are there particular times during a student’s college career that are most critical? Are there points of struggle, and how do we help them get past them?

Students only spend 15 percent of their time as college students in the classroom. Covid had a large impact on the college experience.

(12:28) – Largent on the “caustic impact of a deficit mindset.”

What’s the difference between a student deficit model and an institution deficit model?

“MSU is a place in which people are invited from a broad variety of backgrounds to come here and leave better than when they got here. It’s our responsibility to serve their needs to allow them to learn, thrive and graduate.”

“We punch 10 percentage points above our weight.”

“Three quarters of the students who come to MSU and graduate have changed their major at least once.”

(23:04) – When a student decides to change their major, does it extend their time in college?

(30:28) – What has surprised you most about your role as dean of undergraduate studies? How have you kept momentum for student success going through leadership changes?

“We have completely bucked the trend of raising your graduation rate by lowering your admission rate. We have raised our admission and graduation rate simultaneously.”

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