Ten Keys for Student Success

  1. Student  success is born and nurtured in the classroom. It is in the classroom that ideas are shared, critical thinking is introduced, and lifelong learning is encouraged. It is through instruction, in its many forms, that our students are stretched, equipped, and inspired. All else that happens on this campus, and I mean everything, happens in support of that process.
  2. The results will take time, but we cannot afford to take our time. There is no silver bullet that will transform our retention rates in the next few days. Our success will happen over time, not overnight. That being said, we cannot allow ourselves to somehow dismiss the urgency of the moment. We must be fully committed to perform every function, take advantage of every opportunity, and be accountable for every responsibility so that student success becomes a reality, not just a rallying cry.
  3. We will customize what worked elsewhere and shape it to fit our context. Other institutions have developed best practices that we have identified for our use. We must take advantage of the latest and most effective technologies and approaches. But we do not need to reinvent the wheel. And we will not attempt to merely apply cookie-cutter strategies gleaned from others.
  4. Our decisions are data-informed  and not necessarily data-driven. We choose to use data to move forward, to upgrade and expand. But not to restrict, reduce, or place blame. In short, data helps make better decisions but it will not pigeonhole our decision making.
  5. We will employ both high-tech and high-touch strategies to maximize our reach. We will identify how we can better equip our faculty, staff, and administrators. Investments in new systems such as the EAB (Education Advisory Board) software are key to moving the needle of our success. Yet, while technology can boost our efficiency, nothing takes the place of genuine relationships that faculty and advisors have with students. We will not forfeit the human touch in favor of high tech.
  6. To maximize our momentum and synergy, we are developing connective projects. We cannot be a random collection of good intentions on the part of various entities, but rather we must act in ways that are intentional and coordinated as a united educational community.
  7. We are proud of the students we have and are committed to serving them. While we continue to build on our history of steadily increasing academic rigor, we will stay focused on our current students to help them reach their academic goals and potential as they move toward graduation. Beyond retention rates and funding formulas, serving the students we admit is our moral obligation.
  8. Our Quest for Student Success includes  all, involves all, and invites all. No single person or college is responsible for student success. What we will accomplish will be through all of us working together creatively and collaboratively. We are all in this boat together and must depend on each other to row in the same direction and at the same pace.
  9. Our most effective initiatives will affect the majority of our students. Every student is unique, yet our research shows that most face the same or similar challenges. By developing programs that speak to most students, we better the most for success. For that reason, we have placed great importance on enhancing advising and tutoring and developing a sophomore experience akin to our existing freshman experience. Our new MT One Stop is another example of how we are providing better service for the greater number of our students.
  10. Last, in terms of success, to have something else we must do something else. Higher education has a reputation for maintaining the status quo while the world changes around it. That approach is no longer sustainable, and both two-year and four-year institutions are getting the message. It is no longer acceptable to continue to go down the same road while saying we want to wind up somewhere else. It has been said that “the times set the agenda,” and we are, with clarity, moving forward with new ideas and fresh energy.
from President Sidney A. McPhee's News and Information from the President, August 22, 2014