Central Michigan University will be launching an Office of Student Success this semester in hopes of increasing both student retention and enrollment in upcoming years.
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Steven Johnson said unlike academic advisers, who primarily assist students in academic planning, the Office of Student Success will work directly with academic colleges to identify problem areas for students and address those concerns.
Johnson said problem areas could include poor attendance, poor grades, financial difficulties and lack of housing.
“All of these things happen,” Johnson said. “We want to determine where the difficulties for students exist, triage those problem areas, and begin to form strategies for increased student success.”
While the office will work with academic colleges to determine where its efforts are needed, the personnel will also reach out and consult with students on a personal basis.
“We’ll have to work through the colleges and the faculty,” Johnson said. “But our goal, as with every institution within this university, is to help students, so we will also work one-on-one with those in need.”
The projected cost to operate the office is roughly $500,000. It will be located in Ronan Hall, Johnson said. Since little construction or renovation will be needed, startup costs for the office are low.
Three new positions will be created for the office: one director and two assistant directors. Johnson said CMU will be looking internally to fill these positions, but job notices have been posted on a national scale. The positions will be filled during the fall semester, although no exact time frame has been announced.
Johnson said more positions might be added after 2013, with additional changes coming depending on the university’s assessment.
Initial strategies for student retention will be formed by the office in October, Johnson said.
The formation of the new office is one of six strategies Johnson presented to the Board of Trustees in July to retain enrollment numbers. Other strategies include the re-engineering of CMU’s financial aid packages to award more and larger merit-based scholarships, increasing the amount of academic advisers from 16 to 21 and increasing recruitment for out-of-state and international students.