Georgia State University has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to plan the next phase of its nationally recognized initiative focused on student success.
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Georgia State is one of seven institutions to receive Transformational Planning Grants aimed at creating large-scale, institution-wide programs and practices that will help students earn their degrees. The six other institutions are Florida International University, Fresno State University, Portland State University, Temple University, the University of Akron and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Timothy Renick, vice provost and vice president for enrollment management and students success, said the grant will fuel the planning of three major initiatives:
• Adaptive learning. Adaptive learning combines technology-aided learning with on-demand, individual assistance from faculty in a computer lab rather than the classroom lecture setting. This model has been used at Georgia State successfully in algebra, pre-calculus and statistics courses, and the plan is to extend its use to other parts of the curricula.
• Predictive analytics. The university will use historical data to identify students who are at risk for dropping out because of financial issues and enable financial counselors to intervene to ensure those students can remain in school. Georgia State loses more students each year through financial attrition than through academic failure. The financial analytics system builds on Georgia State’s innovative academic analytics model in which the university tracks the progress of students and intervenes before those problems become intractable. The financial tracking system would be the first of its kind in the nation.
• Course information to accommodate working students. Because about 90 percent of Georgia State’s undergraduates hold full- or part-time jobs, most students must build their academic itinerary in concert with their work schedules. To aid these students and speed time to graduation, Georgia State proposes integrating information about exam and assignment dates for courses when students first register for their classes, allowing them to make informed decisions about the fit between the requirements for a course and their work schedules.
“Student success is the top priority of our university’s strategic plan,” Renick said, “and we have made enormous progress in supporting our diverse student body and greatly improving our graduation rates. This grant will help push us toward implementing new initiatives that will build on our success.”
Georgia State enrolls more African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, first-generation college students and Pell Grant students than any university in Georgia. It is one of two universities in the nation to rank in the top 15 nationally for diversity of the student body, which is 61 percent non-white, and the number of low-income students enrolled. The university has raised its graduation rate by 11 percentage points in the past five years, making it a national leader in this important dimension.