Indiana University has launched an initiative aimed at boosting four and six-year graduation rates. The effort involves new training and data resources, progress monitoring and improved software. June 23, 2014

News Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With the new Indiana University Office of Completion and Student Success, IU is intensifying efforts to improve students' four- and six-year graduation rates on all IU campuses. The initiative is providing advanced training and data resources for students' advisors; improving student progress monitoring and reporting; fostering research to inform practice; and developing new information technologies that support completion.

A key feature of the initiative will support and enhance systemwide software platforms that use alerts, degree mapping and other features to provide students and advisors real-time feedback on students' academic performance and other elements important to student success, such as class attendance and registering for the correct courses.

“This initiative is intended to support campuses in their adoption of these resources and will benefit not only students and academic advisors, but also career advisors and faculty,” said Rebecca Torstrick, director of the new office and assistant vice president for university academic and regional campus affairs. “The office will work to harmonize and learn from the existing efforts on all IU campuses in order to identify and then scale up best practices.”

“All of this is geared toward supporting and improving the most meaningful component of the advisor-student relationship, that is, one-on-one meetings.Rebecca Torstrick

The initiative targets top priorities for the university – increasing degree completion rates, reducing time to degree completion and reducing student debt. “There is room for improvement everywhere,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. “This new focus on information and best practices should give advisors the tools they need to help more students to achieve their degrees, more quickly, and more affordably.”

Roll out of the initiative will begin on July 1, with ongoing training and support available to academic advisors as the technology is fully implemented.

“All of this is geared toward supporting and improving the most meaningful component of the advisor-student relationship, that is, one-on-one meetings,” Torstrick said.

More about the technology

The centerpiece of the new system is iGPS – the Interactive Graduation Planning System. When fully implemented, this system will tie together a set of services within IU's Student Information System – degree maps, the planner, the schedule builder and academic advisement reports – to provide more timely feedback on student degree progress so students and advisors can monitor progress to degrees.

iGPS connects to the FLAGS (Fostering Learning and Graduation Success) system, IU's early alert application that allows faculty to “flag” students who are not attending classes, are underperforming or are otherwise determined to be at-risk and to provide suggestions for corrective action. Alerts are visible to students, academic advisors, and academic support center directors, who are able to proactively reach out to at-risk students. These alerts are accessed through AdRX, IU's Advising Records system. The newly developed system supports student success by making the entire advising record visible to all advisors as the student progresses through the undergraduate experience.

IU has also deployed the Student Success Collaborative platform, developed by the Education Advisory Board, which provides advisors with a predictive model of student success by calculating the likelihood of each student graduating in his or her currently declared major. In addition to the predictive model, academic programs can define explicit courses as success markers – courses that must be completed by a specific term, or with a minimum grade if the student is to succeed and the system alerts advisors when students fail to meet these success markers.

IU also has adopted the Symplicity system to provide career advising tools, job search, recruitment management, and internship management capabilities using a single platform available to students, career service professionals, and companies recruiting students.

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Source: Indiana University

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