A Message from the President
Welcome Back! I hope everyone is having an enjoyable and productive start to a new academic year. Here are some updates on endeavors mentioned briefly at our recent Fall Convocation:
As described in several campus updates last year, we recently have struggled with our first-to-second and first-to-third year cohort student retention rates. In addition to the fundamental concern about student success, this is problematic in our efforts to comply with the performance provisions of the GRAD Act, and also represents a significant financial challenge in what is already a tight budget environment.
While several strategies to improve student retention were put in place last year, new initiatives are also being finalized and/or deployed.
The Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System has approved an increase in admission standards for Southeastern. Effective with the fall 2015 semester, the high school GPA component of our admissions requirements will be raised to 2.35. While this is a modest increase, analysis of prior freshman cohorts suggests the change will have a meaningful impact on retention and student success.
Over the last several months, a group of faculty and staff worked to help redesign the content and delivery of SE 101, our Freshman Success course. These changes are being implemented this fall.
Also beginning this fall, there have been changes in the assignment of SE 101 instructors such that the instructors will be the advisors for the students in their SE 101 sections for the entire freshman year. This is a significant change that we believe will allow freshman advisors to more effectively intervene when students run into academic challenges early in their academic careers.
Planned for implementation in fall 2015, a group of faculty and staff are redesigning the freshman intake process. We have always considered Freshman Orientation to be the primary component of this process. The planned changes will not only redesign our Freshman Orientation program but will also attempt to better integrate other aspects from recruitment to enrollment throughout the freshman year.
A group of faculty and staff are working to build an early-alert system that we hope will help identify students who are at risk of significant academic challenges so that intervention efforts can be made earlier when more likely to be effective.
As everyone is aware by now, we are in the upcoming "class" for reaffirmation of accreditation by SACSCOC - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. I want to thank everyone involved in the process to date. SACSCOC accreditation is mandatory for our institution, and the process of reaffirmation is a very significant undertaking.
Our Compliance Certification Report, a major part of the reaffirmation process, was completed this past weekend. This part of the process documents our compliance with numerous requirements and standards that are outlined in the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. In the weeks ahead, the report will be shared with an off-site team that will review the information in Atlanta later this fall. This spring, an on-site team will come to campus to confirm the information in the Compliance Certification Report.
As part of our compliance with Principles of Accreditation, Southeastern must also create a Quality Enhancement Plan which focuses on student learning outcomes. Our selected QEP is "Real World Ready," with development and implementation well under way. See http://www.southeastern.edu/resources/qep/.
I will continue to keep the campus apprised of developments on these and other issues of importance to our university.