PSU announces new campus-wide initiative to ensure student success
Author: Paige Parker, PSU Communications
Posted: September 26, 2019
 Portland State will deploy early academic advising, sophisticated data analysis and frequent check-ins with struggling students in an all-campus effort to help more people graduate, leaders told a gathering of faculty and staff on Wednesday.

“Of course, caring about student success is not new to us,” Interim President Stephen Percy told the audience at a ceremony marking the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year. “It has been a major component of our work for decades. I believe that everyone has a role in advancing retention, quality learning, and graduation of PSU students.”

Leaders from across campus joined Percy and Provost Susan Jeffords in laying out a student success strategy. Jeffords said the strategy will be focused on four pillars: persistence, academics, affordability, and student experience. The mission will be to get the right support to the right student at the right time.

PSU educates more first-generation college students, more students of color, and more Oregonians than any other university in the state. While the university has won accolades for helping students with financial need to obtain a college degree, too many students still leave PSU without graduating, Jeffords said.

PSU will soon open a center to better support students who are transferring or returning to college after a long absence. The Transfer + Returning Student Resource Center will work to create a culture of belonging and cultivate degree completion by providing early academic and career advising. The center will also help coordinate and develop transfer agreements, pathways and supportive programs.

 “It’s time to tell our students that we have your back from the first day you walk on campus to the day you walk with your graduating class,” said Matt Carlson, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Part of ensuring student success is also ensuring affordability. 

“While we cannot control the many forces that impact our tuition, we can continue to be innovative in ways that will make a real difference for our students,” said Chuck Knepfle, vice president of enrollment management.

A new open-access textbook partnership is one way PSU is seeking to reduce the cost of an education. PSU is one of 10 universities collaborating with OpenStax to increase the adoption of open educational resources, which can reduce students’ textbook costs. 

“We want PSU to be a place where financial resources never prevent a student from the Portland area from enrolling and never stop them from graduating,” Knepfle said. “With your ideas and support, we can knock down the obstacles that hold back students.”