The Maneater

MU faculty and staff work to develop student success strategies and programs

Student Success Technology Coordinator Tina Balser: “We’re doing this because we want to help,”

MU faculty and staff have created a number of programs and strategies geared towards helping students be successful during their time at the university.

Jim Spain, the MU Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, said MU agrees to a set of parameters that outline student success. These include, but are not limited to, graduation rates, advising success and freshman retention rate.

“Some metrics are percentages, but some are based on performance, experience and enrichment,” Spain said.

MU has invested in a number of programs and strategies in order to create a successful environment.

According to previous Maneater reporting, the Commission on Student Success was created to improve graduation and retention rates.

Since the conception of the commission in 2011, it has also established programs such as MU Connect, which is geared toward centralizing students’ success networks. This includes information on academic advisors, financial advisors and schools and programs.

“[MU Connect is] a 24/7 place for students to schedule meetings and reach out to people for help,” Student Success Technology Coordinator Tina Balser said.

MU Connect allows for faculty and staff to raise flags if they are concerned about a student’s performance, whether it is academically, financially or based on class attendance. The flag will notify others in the student’s success network, which includes academic advisors, financial advisors, residence hall coordinators and others, depending on the student.

Balser said that the goal of MU Connect is to provide ease of access to people and campus resources and alert students as early as possible when there are concerns regarding their status with the university.

Spain said that the top reason students at any university leave is because of financial reasons. Programs like MU Connect have made it easier for students to access individuals on campus who are there to help them with specific problems, as well as notify other important faculty members in the student’s success network.

Other organizations on campus also exist to help with specific problems. Students can take advantage of technologies such as MyZou, Schedule Planner, OrgSync, Canvas and Blackboard.

“We’re doing this because we want to help,” Balser said.

Spain said that another top reason students leave campus is due to a lack of interest in available programs. To combat this loss, MU works to develop new programs and to recruit students who are expected to succeed in MU’s existing programs.

“MU continues recruiting students who MU is the best choice for them,” Spain said.

The School of Health Professions announced a new Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health on Oct. 10, which expands opportunities to students interested in professions such as epidemiology, environmental health and health policy.

These changes will allow for MU to bring in more students and retain more year-to-year, as there are more options for students who are unsure of their program selections.

MU also provides programs that are more visibly related to student success such as the Student Success Center, Freshman Interest Groups, undergraduate research, the Career Center and more provided through specific schools and programs.

Spain said that student success is important to MU because creating successful students is how the university honors the trust placed in them.

“At the end of the day, it’s on the student [to take action],” Balser said. “We can raise flags, but it is up to the student on how they react.”

Edited by Claire Mitzel | cmitzel@themaneater.com

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