By Shannon Hernandez, May 17, 2022
Cal Poly Pomona held its annual Leadership Summit in March to benchmark and discuss next steps to ensure student success as part of the university’s Graduation 2025 initiative.
The summit brought together academic leaders and community college faculty members to discuss ideas on how to provide students with additional support to complete their educational journey.
In the breakout rooms, academic leaders discussed topics such as graduation rates, new implementations, new ways to support students and lead them to graduation.
Each student has their own definition of what success means to them. The Leadership Summit is organized to help students access tutoring, become critical thinkers, and close the equity gap by ensuring students have all the support they need to graduate.
Cecilia Santiago-González, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for student success, was one of the leaders who spoke at the summit to discuss the graduation initiative.
“This is the third year that the graduation initiative has taken place in the California state system, which will end in 2025. So we are looking at the cohorts that have entered and we will have enough time to obtain their degree in four to six years by 2025. We also have a commitment to closing equity gaps to ensure that students of color and low-income students will not be affected because of the gaps,” said Santiago-González.
The underrepresented minority gap in 2020 was 10.3% and has grown to 14%, which RPC is trying to reduce by adding student support services to ensure not only the closing of equity gaps, but a positive impact for students to succeed in their studies.
Freshmen and transfer students have different cohorts, which the Office of Student Success looks at when calculating these rates for the 2025 Graduation Initiative.
Jessica Wagoner, Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Services, discussed the importance of providing student support in an ever-changing environment due to the pandemic.
“We want to provide the most support now that we’re post-pandemic,” Wagoner said. “We offered credit/no credit because we understood it was a difficult time for everyone. There were also plenty of funds to help students who suffered a lot of loss during the pandemic so that they could continue their education. »
Wagoner also shared how freshmen and transfer students in 2020 and 2021 weathered the challenges of the pandemic being online-only. Many students found it difficult to register for classes because there were no in-person meetings, so the CPP had long counseling hours guiding students on their path to graduation.
“We know that students have changed and want variety. Post-pandemic students have seen how different things can be with the online and then hybrid aspect and so we as a university must continue to recognize that this is no longer 2019, and as the world post-pandemic is still adjusting, flexibility is needed,” Waggoner said.
Santiago-González mentioned that the new GE Zone F requirement, which is an ethnic studies requirement that will be implemented, may impact transfer students, particularly due to the fact that some community colleges are having difficulty in solidify area F in their program.
“Some students will be transferred with Area F completed and some will not, and so we want to be proactive and support students by taking extra steps so that transfer students are not negatively affected by this, such as taking additional courses at their arrival. at Cal Poly,” Santiago-Gonzalez said.
At the summit, community college leaders expressed the difficulties of this new GE requirement as new faculty would have to be hired to teach classes, so education officials collaborated on steps to help students continue their studies.
Santiago-Gonzalez and Wagoner defined success as the willingness to accomplish the things people want in life. Whether it’s trying to take 15 units or sticking to 12 per semester, the most important thing students need to do is feel empowered to make their decisions for what’s best for them. them and their families to take the next step in their journey.
Wagoner also mentioned that students might be afraid to ask for help because it might seem like a weakness. A great tool for students to use if they’re afraid to ask questions is the CPP Planner, where students can plan their course roadmap to graduation and have an advisor monitor progress to help them get started. ensuring the right courses for a freshman or transfer student are defined. .
“I think it’s one of the best tools to use as a student here because it’s a way for a student to walk into our building and see their entire four-year roadmap. years planned for him with plenty of opportunities to stay on track with summer and winter courses,” Wagoner said.
For more information on the tools available to students, visit the Student Success Office website.
Featured image by Nicolas Hernandez