November 2016 Newsletter: Provost Update – Making Progress on Student Success

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, I am especially grateful for the dedication of San Jose State University staff, faculty, and administrators to our students and their success. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs collaboratively launched the Four Pillars of Student Success plan last year. Reggie and I are very encouraged by how many of you have immersed yourself in the plan and are engaged in supporting our students through one or more of the Pillars’ initiatives.

I am happy to share that we have already made progress in increasing our graduation rates. Preliminary data released last month shows that our four-year graduation rate is now at 14 percent, up from 10 percent a year ago. Our six-year graduation rate is up as well, 62 percent this year as compared to 57 percent in 2015. It is especially encouraging that we are moving closer toward eliminating the graduation gap between our underrepresented minority students and their non-URM peers. This year we have narrowed the gap significantly from 17 percent in 2015 to 11 percent this year.

We still have a long way to go to reach our 2025 graduation goals:

  • 71 percent first-time incoming student six-year graduation rate
  • 35 percent first-time incoming student four-year graduation rate
  • 80 percent transfer student four-year graduation rate
  • 36 percent transfer student two-year graduation rate
  • 0 percent gap for URM students and Pell-eligible students and their peers

We are pleased with the progress we are making on graduation rates, but student success is about much more than just these numbers. Our work is integral to providing students with the valuable skills they need to thrive in Silicon Valley and beyond in many sectors including in high-tech and business firms; government and public service; arts, literature and entertainment; health professions; education and many other fields and industries. We also committed to creating an informed citizenry that will be engaged in our community, on local and global scales. The resources in our Four Pillars Plan benefit first-time students as well as transfer, mid-career, international, graduate and certificate students through enhanced support services and expanded opportunities for meaningful engagement.

By working together and taking a holistic approach to serving students, we will be able to achieve our ambitious goals. This effort will be aided by broad collaboration across campus between all divisions and a multi-faceted approach to supporting our students. We are engaged in a variety of initiatives, from additional staff and technological solutions that support advising to redesigning classes to enhance student engagement to ensuring our students are free from food insecurity so that they can concentrate on classes.

I am thankful for all of you who play a role in supporting our students, and I look forward to continuing our work together. You are essential to making our Four Pillars plan successful.