May 2016 Newsletter: Provost Update – Commencement Celebrates Student Success

2015 graduates enter Spartan Stadium for Commencement.

2015 graduates enter Spartan Stadium for Commencement.
Photo by David Schmitz

As provost, I am inspired by the pride I see in the eyes of our graduates as they don their caps and gowns each May. This month, we celebrate the dedication of our students, having attained their degrees with support from family, friends and our campus community. We will honor 9,861 undergraduate and graduate students at Commencement on May 28. When they leave SJSU, they will be well prepared to become leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond while remaining an important part of the Spartan community as alumni.

While we celebrate so many Spartans obtaining their degrees, I am especially pleased that our campus ends the year with a comprehensive plan to support future graduates. SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks is available online.

For the past year, I have worked closely with Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock to develop this plan. We have collaborated and gathered information from faculty, staff, students and other experts to develop a data-driven campus-wide student success strategy with one goal: to significantly increase our retention and graduation rates for all students while improving the quality of their educational experience. Our 57 percent six-year and 10 percent four-year graduation rates, and a double-digit underrepresented minority student graduation rate gap are not acceptable. We owe it to our students, their families, taxpayers, employers and our community to improve.

As we end the semester, I am pleased to highlight examples from each of our four pillars: an outreach program for middle and high school students; a scholarship program that provides mentors to graduate students; events that highlight student research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA); advising centers embedded in each college; and a grant that is redesigning the way we teach lower-division STEM classes.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and I look forward to working with you to enhance the success of every San Jose State student.