Recommendation on the Report from the Joint Provost/Academic Senate, California State University Task Force on Facilitating Graduation: Facilitating Student Success in Achieving the Baccalaureate Degree

AS-2598-03/AA - January 23-24, 2003

ATTACHMENT TO AS-2598-03/AA

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) receive the report and commend the collaborative process by the Joint Provost/Academic Senate CSU Task Force on Facilitating Graduation that produced: Facilitating Student Success in Achieving the Baccalaureate Degree (http://www.calstate.edu/AcadSen/Records/Reports/FacilitatingGraduation.pdf) ; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU endorse the principles and recommendations of the Joint Provost/Academic Senate CSU Task Force on Facilitating Graduation with the following stipulations:

  • Given that many of the factors that affect graduation rates are outside the control of the CSU, only incremental improvement in graduation rates can be expected.


  • Any plan to improve graduation rates must be constrained by Principle 1 of the report: "The primary goal of the academic enterprise is to provide a high quality, productive, meaningful academic experience for students."


  • The implementation of the Task Force recommendations will be severely constrained by the lack of funding necessary for faculty, staff, degree audit, and improved advising processes.


  • That the California State University Board of Trustees

    1. review, in consultation with the Academic Senate CSU and the Chancellor's Office, the data on improving graduation rates and determine what further research, if any, should be engaged. Any additional policy options that may be considered, based upon this review, should be developed through ongoing consultation with the Academic Senate CSU and the campus senates; and


    2. ensure that individual campuses of the California State University system, through the shared governance process, retain autonomy in their efforts to design institutionally tailored programs guided by the principles and recommendations articulated in the Report from the California State University Task Force on Facilitating Graduation, to facilitate student success in achieving the baccalaureate degree.


RATIONALE: The committee structure and process that developed the report, Facilitating Student Success in Achieving the Baccalaureate Degree, was a model for shared governance. It was a joint committee of provosts and faculty, selected by the Senate, and supported by staff from the Chancellor's Office. Members of the Board of Trustees were involved in early drafts of the report and the final report is a product of all three groups. The report is being presented to the Board of Trustees on a time line that allows the Academic Senate CSU and the campus senates to respond.

The Joint Provost/Academic Senate CSU Task Force on Facilitating Graduation has produced a report grounded in a large data set, with a good review of the literature, that provides a wide range of policy options. The principles recommended by the report emphasize that facilitating student success toward achieving the baccalaureate degree must be achieved within a framework of academic excellence and program quality. Moreover, the report recognizes that the CSU has only limited influence over the most important factor determining graduation rates: "exposure to a rigorous curriculum in secondary school." In addition, the diversity of our student body and its "priorities of family, work, and school" are not within system control. Because of this, we can expect to have only limited impact on graduation rates by focusing on those things which the system can control.

At the local level, the recommendations emphasize campus autonomy by asking each campus to develop a plan "based on local institutional research, to improve graduation rates." Many of the Task Force recommendations for CSU campuses require increased faculty, staff and equipment recourses. "Developing a plan, based on local institutional research," requires that campuses have the resources to conduct this research. Developing "graduation roadmaps" and "improving advising practices" requires additional time by the permanent faculty whose numbers are steadily diminishing. Assuring that courses will be available "during specified terms" requires that campuses have the budgets to offer these courses.

It is important that the California State University Board of Trustees both recognize and acknowledge the need for individually tailored campus efforts to facilitate student success in achieving the baccalaureate. The diversity in institutions, programs, campus cultures, and student populations within the CSU makes it doubtful that any single formula or programmatic structure will address the needs of students on all campuses.

At the system level the California State University Board of Trustees is asked to "assess improvements in graduation rates, and to consider if more incentives and disincentives are needed for both students and institutions." Because graduation rates are affected by a wide variety of complex issues, it is important that the California State University Board of Trustees and the Chancellor's Office work closely with the campuses, through the shared governance process, and the Academic Senate of the California State University in developing further policy options.

APPROVED - March 6-7, 2003



 
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