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Comprehensive student success approach helps Spartans flourish as students and citizens

Though many of us may think of student success as graduating and finding a good job, our three guests today will share with us that it is much more than that.

We think of universities as places where students learn: They go to class, study, and do homework, and get a degree that supports future career success. But that creates a narrow definition of student success.

The MSU approach sees the student in a comprehensive way that goes well beyond the four corners of the classroom to think about the person and how that person flourishes as more than a student, but quite holistically as an active contributor both to the student’s wellbeing and to the wellbeing of society.

Amy Martin is assistant dean for student success strategy. Renata Opoczynski is assistant provost for undergraduate student success. And Erin Carter is chief of staff for Student Life and Engagement. They join Bill Beekman, vice president for strategic initiatives, for this conversation on student success initiatives at MSU.

Conversation Highlights:

(1:52) – The evolution of student success initiatives at MSU. The neighborhood concept and engagement centers are part of the beginning. What services are available in the centers?

left to right: Martin, Carter, Opoczynski, Beekman in the MSU Audio Studios
Russ White | MSU Today
left to right: Martin, Carter, Opoczynski, Beekman in the MSU Audio Studios

(5:00) – What is the University Innovation Alliance?

(8:53) - How does MSU define student success? The five areas of success are self-discovery of purpose; educational success; developing a sense of belonging; contributing to an empowered community; and developing wellbeing.

(14:32) – What are some examples of projects in the five areas of student success? How often do students change majors?

The projects come in the three buckets of course reform, the curricular path to a student’s desired career, and high-impact practices like study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities. “We’re fortunate that our faculty are key partners in student success.”

(32:42) – How does Student Life and Engagement see student success? The Inclusive Campus Initiative (ICI) and applying a restorative justice approach to conflict resolution are two examples.

(37:16) – What were some pivotal moments in your education that sparked your interest in student success? Mentors and relationships played key roles.

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