Dear Colleagues,  

I hope that you had an enjoyable and productive end to the Spring semester. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in our first on-campus Commencement in more than a decade. By all accounts, it was an overwhelming success.

I am writing to share some highlights on the progress made since the last report on the Outstanding Success Possibilities (OSPs) outlined in our Strategic Plan.  

A recurring theme of the 2023-24 academic year for our Strategic Plan can be encapsulated with the words “build a dashboard.” During last summer’s Strategic Plan Retreat, participants focused on the best way to measure the desired outcomes outlined in the Strategic Plan. The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) spent much of the academic year compiling relevant University data into dashboards aligned with those metrics. As we move into 2024-25, we will continue our focus on data, analyzing our progress toward our goals, using data to inform our decision making, and continuing to create strong outcomes for our students.

As part of the work on the Transformative Student Experiences OSP, a cross-institutional workgroup examined how to align the student competency development initiatives in Student Affairs (co-curricular) with those in Academic Affairs (curricular). There was also a discussion of a “Skills Win” infrastructure that would track the essential skills (i.e. soft skills) students were developing across campus. A “Life and Career Readiness Framework” has emerged from this workgroup, with the potential to bring together the curricular and co-curricular activities students most benefit from. President Frederiksen is excited about further elevating the student experience as well as maximizing student outcomes and our students’ return on their investment. Stay tuned for the opportunity to learn more about this framework at the start of the next academic year. 

The Peterson Library has been busy implementing a new digital environment through an integrated library system that will improve access and the user experience. This is part of a sub-deliverable in the Market-Responsive Education OSP to build the “academic library of the future.” We look forward to having Peterson Library constituents use the new system.  

Student utilization of academic support systems has continued to increase, with Fall 2023 being the highest utilization of the CLR, with 8,700 appointments compared to 1,700 in Fall 2020. This is also true for the Center for Student Success, which doubled its appointments in the same period. Additionally, the learning assistant program has continued to grow, and more faculty have shown an interest in adding a learning assistant to their own classroom. All of us play a pivotal role in creating a culture of support for our students, and I am grateful for everyone’s dedication to powering our students’ goals and preparing them to excel as graduates. 

The Career Development Center migrated to Handshake, the leading career information, internship, and job posting tool, as one of the many steps involved in developing a “next-generation Career Center.” The OIR and CDC are collaborating to enhance reporting structures, visuals, and reports to best showcase student outcomes. Students can upload their resumes, making them readily available to employers with internship or job opportunities. 

The Office of Human Resources has launched its Leadership Lab program as part of the People First OSP. The program launched in February 2024 and continues during Spring 2024, with plans being developed for the Fall. 

A great deal of important progress has been made toward achieving each of our OSPs. I thank everyone for their energy and dedication throughout this important work.