by Renata Opoczynski, Assistant Dean for Student Success Assessment and Strategic Initiatives

As I am reflecting on this academic year, I want to thank all the folks who have served on the strategic initiatives committees this year. We would not be making the progress we are today if it was not for all the work these people put in. I am always appreciative of the many faculty and staff who devote their time to this work, but this year, knowing how overwhelmed and stressed everyone is feeling, I especially appreciate those who gave of their already limited time and energy.


Being the data nerd that I am, I decided to see just how many people were involved and how far across the university our work reached. This year the initiatives involved 102 different people. We do have some folks serving on more than one committee, but for the most part we have spread out the work well. These folks represent 33 divisions, colleges, and units. Given the nature of the work, it will not be surprising APUE was the most involvement, followed closely by Student Affairs and RHS. However, the academic side of campus was well represented with membership from 13 of the colleges, as well as the Hub, the Libraries, the Provost Office, and the Grad School all having representatives on the workgroups. 

Understanding that student success is closely connected with enrollment management, we had representatives from the Office of Admissions, Registrar’s Office, and the Office of Financial Aid. We partnered with folks for the first time as we focused on financial need and communications with membership from University Advancement, the Controller’s Office, and University Communications. Recognizing the importance of mental health and technology needs, we are happy that CAPS and IT staff agreed to serve on the strategic initiatives this year. Similarly, we know the importance of recognizing the distinct needs and experiences of our international students, so are appreciative that several OISS staff served on the workgroups this year. Leading this work in a data-informed manner means we again relied heavily on our colleagues in Institutional Research (IR) and we appreciate their continued support of our work and membership on the committees.

I often have people ask me how they can get involved in some of these initiatives. My answer is an easy one: reach out! Let me know you are interested in joining the work. That can be about joining a particular initiative, general interest in support student success work, or even an idea for a future initiative you would like to see. As we get ready to design and launch future initiatives next year, we will also once again put out a call for volunteers similar to what we did in 2019. We are also gearing up to start planning the Student Success Launch for Fall and always welcome interested folks to join the planning committee for this campus-wide student success event.

As always, if you want to talk about any of the initiatives or how to get involved, please feel free to email me at opoczyns@msu.edu.