What is Your Campus Working on to Support Students’ College Readiness?

By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
May 2017

The CSU Student Success Network (“the Network”) in the California State University (CSU) kicked off its 2017 cross-campus convenings by bringing together teams of faculty, staff, and administrators from six CSU campuses to share strategies related to college readiness. Participants from campuses in Bakersfield, East Bay, Fullerton, Northridge, Pomona, and San Francisco collaborated in the day-long meeting, hosted by San Francisco State on March 6.

“The CSU’s greatest resources are our students and the power of our faculty, staff, and administrators working together to support students,” said Deidre Sessoms, professor at Sacramento State and co-director of the Network. “Yet we do not get enough opportunities to connect with our colleagues who are working on similar efforts at other CSU campuses. The Network gives people a chance to share what they’re working on, to learn from each other, and to revitalize themselves in the process.”

The teams examined the strengths and challenges of their own campus’s practices for Early Start, assessment and placement, and developmental education (remediation). They also identified a promising opportunity at their campus to benefit students in developmental education. Most campuses worked on goals and action plans to rethink or improve developmental math.

Among the campus practices shared with the group, there were substantial similarities and differences. For example, the campuses appear to be implementing Early Start in different ways, with courses ranging from one to three units. Several campuses sought more effective strategies for developmental education and college readiness, and some described efforts to implement directed self-placement policies (when students receive information about their readiness and then choose their path to become better prepared). Two campuses shared their experiences using stretch courses for developmental education in English—that is, credit-bearing courses that take two semesters, rather than one, to reach their learning objectives. These courses seek to provide extra supports to students and allow them extra time. One campus shared its plans to develop a stretch class in statistics.

In addition to convenings like this one, starting in 2017-18, the Network will facilitate Student Success Labs, a year-long professional learning opportunity that will support campus teams in addressing a pressing problem faced by students at their campus. Each team of CSU faculty, student affairs staff, researchers, and students commits to participating in three face-to-face workshops (in the fall, winter, and early summer), with structured supports that last throughout the year. The deadline to apply is June 1. Information and applications are available on the Network website.

What is your campus working on to support students’ college readiness? Email the Network at studentsuccessnetwork@edinsightscenter.org to:

  • Suggest a cross-campus convening topic or offer to host an event;
  • Sign up to receive information about Network events;
  • Share your ideas and/or ask questions.

All CSU campuses are invited to participate in the Network’s activities, and all travel-related costs are covered by the Network.

Thad Nodine is a senior fellow at the Education Insights Center (EdInsights) at Sacramento State. The CSU Student Success Network is an independent network developed by CSU faculty, staff, and administrators to build on their collective work to support student success and close opportunity gaps. The Network is facilitated by EdInsights.