Over the years MSU has had many different student success leadership groups, all with various sizes, structures, memberships, and purposes. Some have worked well, some have struggled. In 2019 we made the decision to dismantle our campus-wide student success leadership group to take a pause and reflect on what the purpose for the group should be and how we could identify a structure that would meet those goals. We had lots of conversations around when the right time to bring it back would be, how we might change it to better meet our goals, and what the campus needed. Yet things never seemed right to bring it back.
I have always appreciated when things formed organically, when they weren’t forced, but just came to be on their own. The right people were in the room and things flowed and worked. When we first brought a group of college representatives into a room to discuss student success strategy, it just flowed, and our student success strategic direction was created. That group continued to meet and eventually became the College Student Success Group. As we tackled different topics, we slowly invited additional folks into the room. Yet things continued to flow and work.
Earlier this year, conversation came back around to needing a campus student success group of some sort. As MSU moves forward with its strategic planning process, its DEI strategic plan, and engages in large student success initiatives, it will be vitally important there is a space to engage, discuss, and actualize these initiatives. As we debated what this could look like, who would be included, how it would run, we realized the answer may already be in front of us. Those of you who have been reading my corner know that I always try to be strategic in my thinking and work. In this case, it meant we already had a group that was meeting and had 90% of the people we wanted in the group in the room already.
So we decided to change the College Student Success Group to the Campus Student Success Group. We expanded membership to include more non-academic units and expanded the mission of the group. We met with leaders from other campus groups like CUED, UGAAD, and UAL to more clearly articulate the differences between those groups. CSSG emerged as the space where long term strategy would be discussed, where we would tackle the complex student success issues that had multiple angles (academic, co-curricular, and admissions) and involved policies, procedures, and norms. It’s where we would host the strategic student success projects that cut across units and needed stakeholders from across campus. Where we would work to actualize the student success strategy or student success focused aspects of the MSU Strategic Plan and the DEI Strategic Plan.
We cannot reach the goals of a coherent campus strategy for student success without an active and collaborative space to engage in the work together. I am excited for the energy the group has and look forward to engaging with them, and all of you, in the years to come to enact a student success strategy on campus.