Student Success Teams Nationally Recognized as ‘Promising Practice’

academic advisor and student meet

Retention Specialist Laney Kurator, left, an intregal member of a Student Success Team, advises student Frankie Espinoza. 

Jan. 23, 2017

By Christina L. Cardenas
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Office of Academic Programs

Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the nation’s leading association comprised of student affairs professionals in higher education, has awarded Cal State Fullerton’s Student Success Teams its 2017 Promising Practices Award.

The award, given by NASPA’s Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community, is recognizing the Student Success Teams model as a promising practice in the area of student affairs and academic affairs collaboration. CSUF will be publicly recognized at the NASPA 2017 Annual Conference in March. 

“We are showing meaningful outcomes that most every college campus in the country is striving to achieve,” said Dr. Elizabeth Boretz, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Director for the Academic Advisement Center.  “We have been able to show that collaboration is key to being successful in effective intervention for struggling students, and also for ensuring that advanced students are meeting their graduation goals and timelines.”

The Student Success Teams model was one of 14 programs nationwide to be nominated for the award, said Christina Wright Fields, co-chair of the Promising Practices Committee. Student testimonials and impressive data – which include increasing graduation rates, graduation-deferral preventions, and a shrinking achievement gap – made the program stand out among the contenders, she said.

"Cal State Fullerton is beyond deserving of this distinction thanks to the diligent work of so many," said Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes. "The Student Success Team model holistically supports our diverse institution of more than 40,000 students through academic advising, graduation and retention strategies, college support, and career planning. Additionally, it provides crisis interventions, co-curricular engagement and other important services for students."

Student Success Teams serve as advising laboratories within each unit: one in each college, one at the CSUF Irvine Center, a team that serves graduate students, and another that serves special populations. Each are staffed with advising specialists, faculty, and assistant deans.

“We selected the program because it was innovative, and we liked the program’s intersectionality between scholarship and student affairs,” Wright Fields said. “It’s an example of a university-wide program that is committed to success … and we saw it as a promising practice that other universities can benefit from.”

While Student Success Teams have been lauded across campus and the education community, Boretz said there are plans for improvement in the works. In an effort to help all on campus to recognize their individual and collective roles as contributors to student success – both inside and outside the classroom – the teams are strengthening their identities through the communities of student success professionals, and increasing efforts to integrate faculty into the Student Success Team identity.

“I congratulate our Student Success Teams on their impactful work and on this impressive national recognition,” said Interim Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Pamella Oliver. “The teams and their leaders are excellent models of collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. They have carried out the hard work of thoughtful and careful implementation of innovation and the data indicate that they have achieved meaningful results.”

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