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Student Success at uWaterloo - CACUSS 2012

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Sean Van Koughnett

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Student Success at uWaterloo - CACUSS 2012

Increase first- to 2nd year retention 1% per year for three years
Establish Student Success Office
“Waterloo will be a leader among its peer public institutions in North America in engaging its student body intellectually, culturally and socially.” uWaterloo 6th Decade Plan
(2007-2017) Pride in high academic standards. "Survival of the fittest" philosophy in some areas. Darwin "Focused and business-like" student experience. Over 31,000 full-time students
27,440 UG, 3,680 Grad
International: 10% UG, 30% Grad
30% of our UG students have entering grades of 90%+ (2nd in Ontario)
Student-faculty ratio (29:1)
89.4% 1st - 2nd year retention (2010 to 2011)
61% UG in co-op program Co-operative education is our defining feature. more first-generation students
more international students
greater student expectations
younger students A holistic philosophy of student development. philosophy
priorities 2010 moved Office of Development and Alumni Affairs off campus (June 2011)
renovated and took over floor of building at main campus entrance (September 2011) Achievements 2011-12 Student Success at uWaterloo Sean Van Koughnett, Director, Student Success Office
CACUSS 2012 Some stats Background Darwin Changing Times 1991 2001 2010 Student Success becomes a bigger part of the conversation... From planning to action President Feridun Hamdullahpur Areas:
Student Experience
Learning Services
Outreach & Engagement
Accessibility Organizational Structure Student Experience First year experience
International student support
Peer mentor training
Diversity (still to be developed) Learning Services Writing Centre
Success Coaching
Academic skills programming
University 101 (credit course) Innovation (14 staff) (15 staff) (5.5 staff) Entrepreneurship support (VeloCity)
Venture Fund ($300K per year to student startups)
Residence program (70 students x 3 terms/yr)
Office space (6,500 sq. ft.)
mentoring, networking focus
have attracted >$25M in VC funding over past 14 months Outreach & Engagement information hub
bridging students and university admin
marketing & communications
social media (full-time Community Manager) (3 staff) Accessibility
(Office for Persons with Disabilities) OPD to become part of SSO over coming months
Will not move into our physical location (our building is not great for accessibility!)
Name change under consideration (9 staff) Space Student Success Office Each area overseen by a director.
We need to establish measures beyond NSSE and retention, and on a program-by-program basis. Keys to Success VeloCity Garage VeloCity Residence You can't be too clear nor communicate too much about what the office does and does not do, and how it fits with other units.

This is an essential part of developing relationships across campus. An effort of this magnitude doesn't happen without leadership (ie. more than simply buy-in) from the very top. This is a long-term effort. But building something big requires constant, daily action.
To figure things out you need to try things out.
Embrace (small) failures and risk taking, learn constantly and improve continuously to get things done. Student Success is an institution-wide "movement", and not just the establishment of an office.
Expectations need to be actively and continuously managed across campus. Our efforts have limits. There is a balance between:
what the institution can and should provide, and
student accountability/ownership for their own success. Leadership matters. Balance patience with a sense of urgency. It takes everybody. Treat students as equal partners in their success. Assess, Assess, Assess. 4. Role clarity is critical. 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. Re-invention of first year pre-arrival program
Office opening on time and on budget
University 101 approval and pilot
Reduction of Writing Centre wait lists
Launch of First Year Experience training institute
Launch of VeloCity Garage workspace
Successful staff ramp up (26 new hires in 11 months)
$1M awarded to VeloCity (through Ontario Centres of Excellence) Priorities 2012-13 "Whole year" first year transition programming
Scale up programming for international students
Ramp up University 101 course delivery
Improve systems and processes for identifying, "triaging" and supporting "at-risk" students (with Campus Wellness units)
Develop and implement peer mentor training program
Ramp up Success Coaching service In 2011 uWaterloo launched its Student Success Office as part of a renewed emphasis in this area.

This presentation will describe the evolution of the student success "movement" at uWaterloo and the key challenges and opportunities not only in building a new office, but also in leading cultural and organizational change.
What are your challenges and opportunities?

How does your situation compare? Some historical characteristics Talent matters. 2. The importance of understanding the HR system in order to develop an organizational structure, job descriptions, and salaries that attract top talent cannot be understated. Run Student Leadership Conference and "Established Leaders" program
Scale up and diversify entrepreneurship support
Establish SSO as hub for student information
Drive mobile and web portal strategies
Play a leading role in new student building plans
Integrate OPD in SSO operations
Develop a strategy for "Diversity" programs and services Priorities 2012-13, cont. Thank you!

Sean Van Koughnett
twitter: @Sean_VK Questions? http://ca.studentvoice.com/c/conference12
Full transcript