Graduation Initiative

Purpose:

The Chico Graduation Initiative Team works to identify and remove barriers to timely progress to graduation, consistent with a high quality, meaningful undergraduate degree. Specifically, the Graduation Initiative Team is responsible for tracking the progress of our campus on 4- and 6-year graduation targets and reduction of the graduation gap between underserved students: first-generation, low income and minority students and their better-resourced counterparts.

The Graduation Initiative Team meets its aims by:

  • reading and reflecting on the national literature on trends in higher education, degree completion and degree quality;
  • consulting and convening subject matter experts on our own campus, and across the CSU, regarding students’ experiences at our own and other campuses; 
  • leveraging campus data to inform decision-making;
  • working with colleagues in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to design and implement interventions, programs and policy shifts that:
    • drive actionable results,
    • inform effective resource allocation,
    • explore pathways to student success,
    • reveal unidentified barriers,
    • enhance the student experience,
    • contribute to timely graduation, and;
  • disseminating the results of our work to colleagues across campus and beyond.

People:

The Chico Graduation Initiative Team is a group of dedicated professionals from Academic and Student Affairs whose work directly affects students and their progress to degree.  We serve as a leadership group to carry the results of our research and analysis back to our colleagues, and senior campus leadership.  We also share information and strategies directly with our counterparts at the CSU Chancellor’s Office.  Current Members as of August 2016.

Practices:

The Chico Graduation Initiative Team was formed in December 2007 and has consistently convened professional staff, faculty and administrators from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs focused on student success.  The Graduation Initiative Team communicates regularly with the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office, particularly regarding graduation targets and the sharing of best practices across the CSU system. 

The Graduation Initiative Team is the primary body on campus tracking graduation rates of various student populations and reporting on campus progress.  In 2007, the Chancellor’s Office set specific targets for each campus regarding overall graduation rates and reducing graduation gaps based on baseline conditions in 2005-06.  The Chancellor’s Office defined the 2009 entering cohort of full-time, first-time freshman as the cohort to be tracked across the CSU system.  Chico’s targets from the Chancellor’s Office were to increase 6-year graduation rates from 56% to 60% and to halve the graduation gap between Under Represented Minorities (URMs) and non-Under represented Minorities (non-URMs) from 21% to 10%.  Chico State met these targets.  Our overall 6-year graduation rate target was 60%, actual was 64%.  The gap between URMs and non-URMs was reduced from 21% to 10%, meeting the target of reducing the gap by half.

Outcomes and new targets.

In addition to a tracking and reporting function, the Graduation Initiative Team has deliberated and made recommendations in such areas as:

  • Factors influencing overall and differential graduation rates on our campus;
  • Steps the university can take to increase graduation rates while maintaining the quality of our degrees and the Chico Experience;
  • Current practices at the university, college and department level that either facilitate or hinder progress to degree, and;
  • Identifying High Impact Practices that enhance student engagement, learning and well-being and that contribute to student success.

Summary:

The Chico Graduation Initiative Team helps the campus focus efforts on student success, especially timely progress toward graduation with a quality baccalaureate degree. The Graduation Initiative Team serves as an important nexus linking campus stakeholders—faculty, students, staff, and administrators focused on student success.  The Graduation Initiative Team also serves as a link to external stakeholders and sources of information on student success.  These include our fellow CSU campuses, the CSU system office and national participants in the dialog on student success and graduation. While Chico State should be proud of making targets and goals set out for us by the Chancellor’s Office, all members of the Graduation Initiative Team are committed to: continuous improvement in the experience of all of our students, reducing graduation gaps, facilitating student success and enabling the timely graduation of all of our students with a quality degree.