Cal State LA earns national recognition for making great teaching a 'crucial lever' to student success

April 12, 2017

National study highlights Center for Effective Teaching and Learning’s pedagogical training initiatives and improved student outcomes

California State University, Los Angeles was recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) in a new report that profiles the university’s exemplary efforts to raise student outcomes through effective instruction. The paper, Instructional Quality, Student Outcomes, and Institutional Finances, demonstrates that improved instructional quality leads to stronger rates of student retention and graduation and may improve an institution’s fiscal health.

The report highlights how Cal State LA’s Center for Effective Teaching and Learning (CETL) is a “crucial lever” in the university’s plan to achieve its ambitious student success goals set through the California State University’s Graduation Initiative 2025. The authors emphasize that effective instruction is especially important for Cal State LA’s low-income and first-generation students.

The report presents data that show student outcomes are improving through the center’s initiatives. In one study, course completion rates improved in 77 percent of redesigned “bottleneck courses” when they were taught by instructors who participated in the center’s professional development programs, according to the report. Cal State LA’s six-year completion rate has increased from 34 percent to 46 percent since 2009, during which the center “has grown significantly in its scope, reach, and impact.”

Professor Foster in classroom. In 2016, the center launched a comprehensive training and credentialing program to reach more of the university’s 1,500 faculty members. The program, offered through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) and administered online, is attracting instructors not previously seen at the center. ACUE’s online resources have also enabled the center to expand its successful Course Redesign for Student Success program, which began in 2014 with support from the California State University’s Office of the Chancellor.

“Student success is at the heart of everything we do at Cal State LA and the center, and our work is proof that great teaching can drive change,” said Catherine Haras, the center's director. “We see every day how students benefit more from evidence-based teaching practices, and we are proud to see our work highlighted by ACE.”

Cal State LA was recognized last month for its commitment to great teaching and student success at ACE’s national conference. The conference marked the first anniversary since ACE formed a landmark collaboration with ACUE to promote excellence in college teaching nationwide.

“ACUE is proud to count Cal State LA among our partners. The university's Center for Effective Teaching and Learning is providing unprecedented support to faculty and helping many more students succeed,” said ACUE Founder and CEO Jonathan Gyurko. “This recognition by ACE is well deserved and we’re honored to help Cal State LA meet the university’s Graduation Initiative 2025 goals.”

Photos: Top, Cal State LA’s Center for Effective Teaching and Learning (CETL) in a training session offered by ACUE. (Credit: ACUE) Bottom, Professor Krishna Foster teaching in a classroom at Cal State LA. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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About Cal State LA

Cal State LA is ranked number one in the nation based on the upward mobility of its students. Founded in 1947, Cal State LA is the premier public comprehensive university in the heart of Los Angeles and is dedicated to the mission of engagement, service, and the public good. The University serves more than 27,000 students and more than 247,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit

About ACUE

With great teaching, students succeed. Decades of research have identified the specific instructional approaches that help college students engage in their studies, learn more, and graduate in stronger numbers.

ACUE was founded in 2014 by leaders in higher education to promote quality instruction at colleges and universities nationwide. ACUE’s comprehensive Course in Effective Teaching Practices prepares college educators to implement all of the essential practices shown to improve student outcomes. This facilitated, online Course is offered to cohorts of faculty at participating institutions. Educators who satisfy Course requirements earn a Certificate in Effective College Instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE).

ACUE’s partnerships are designed for impact. Every program adoption includes a comprehensive evaluation to identify the effect of great teaching on student achievement, institutional finances, and other key outcomes. For more information, visit

About the American Council on Education (ACE)

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.