November 5, 2018
At Cal State LA we spend considerable time thinking about how we can help our students achieve their academic goals in greater numbers and in a little less time. As we know, evidence abounds that this is critical work. Yet another article recently appeared confirming the value of a degree. Synthesizing significant research on poverty in California, the author confirms, yet again, the critical value of higher education. The Public Policy Institute of California and the Centre on Poverty and Inequality of Stanford University, recognizing that measuring poverty rates must take into account local contexts such as housing costs, created the California Poverty Measure (CPM). Based on this measure, researchers believe that a staggering 19.4% of Californians fall beneath the poverty line—and they confirm that the lack of a college degree is a key predictor for this.
After three years of work to meet our Graduation 2025 goals, I am happy to report that we are making good progress on three of our goals: the 4-year graduation rate for transfer students, the 6-year rate for freshmen, and the Pell equity gap. And while we have made moderate progress on the racial and ethnic equity gap, we have made limited progress on two goals: the 2-year graduation rate for transfer students and the 4-year graduation rate for freshmen. Details about our progress can be found on the Graduation Initiative 2025 dashboard which will be updated with 2018 figures by mid-November.
Many of the major improvements we have implemented are too new to have yet affected these goals. These include, among other things, the creation of major specific criteria for declaring a major and for transfer admission, the adoption of state-of-the-art advising technologies, the implementation of an entirely new approach to first-year math and quantitative reasoning, and the use of Pell grants for summer courses.
In mid-October several of us attended the CSU’s annual Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium. One of the highlights of the event was the recognition of twenty-six CSU faculty members whose work to improve student learning and student success earned them the Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award. It was a pleasure to see Dr. Sylvia Heubach recognized for decades of work to strengthen student outcomes in math and quantitative reasoning. Congratulations again to Dr. Heubach!
The presentations by national higher education leaders and a distinguished group of CSU faculty confirmed that our Grad 2025 work will be impactful as it has been at other comparable universities. But some also demonstrated that we have work yet to do. Videos of the presentations can be found on the Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium’s website. The Grad 2025 Consultative Group is already at work identifying opportunities to facilitate student success, including improvements in advising and student learning. In the spring, we will host at a town hall detailing our plans and successes. Details about past plans and progress reports can be found on Cal State LA's Graduation 2025 website.
As I often say, we have much to be proud and much left to do. Thank you, as always, for your work on behalf of Cal State LA and its students.
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