The Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education has hired two new Strategic Retention Managers, who will be approaching retention with a multidisciplinary, whole-student paradigm.

For the last few years, many people at MSU have been working to reframe the term Student Success. Instead of framing student success as a measure of an individual student’s talent and determination, we are asking how we might make MSU more capable of graduating every student we admit. To achieve our goal of an 86% graduation rate, we must intentionally redesign our policies, practices, programs, and supports in a retention and student focused manner to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn, thrive, belong, and graduate.

Retention is a holistic and campus wide pursuit, which is why the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education (APUE) has hired two new Strategic Retention Managers, who will be approaching retention with a multidisciplinary, whole-student paradigm.

Christina Bridges and Justin St. Charles will report to the Assistant Dean for Student Success Access and Strategic Initiatives in APUE. In these newly created roles, Bridges and St. Charles will be identifying and removing barriers to student retention at the policy, institutional, and direct student support levels to meet MSU’s strategic goal of an 86% graduation rate with no opportunity gaps by 2030.

Prior to this new role, Bridges served as assistant director of the TRIO Student Support Services Program, where she helped propel first-generation college students toward academic success and graduation. As assistant director, Bridges oversaw a host of student success efforts across a large staff. TRIO’s focus on academic advising, tutoring, peer coaching, and programming provide an extensive foundation for Bridges’ work as Strategic Retention Manager. Bridges spearheaded efforts to earn MSU the national designation of First-Gen Forward Institution, joining the nation’s first recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success. She also created and designed MSU’s first institutional website supporting first-generation college students ( Bridges, who identifies as a first-generation college student, has deep roots at MSU. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in the Doctor of Education Leadership program at MSU, and previously earned an MSW and a B.S. in Psychology from MSU. Before her tenure at TRIO, Bridges was  coordinator for the Spartan Success Scholars Program.

 “I am excited to take on this new role of identifying opportunities to increase student retention at MSU,” says Bridges. “I look forward to future collaborations and implementing equitable solutions for all Spartans to thrive.”

St. Charles also has a wide spectrum of student success leadership experience. He has served as advising director in MSU’s Brody Neighborhood where he led efforts cultivating a more affirming Reinstatement and Readmission process for Exploratory Preference students and provided holistic support for students on academic probation as a STARlite advisor.  Additionally, he comes with extensive experience working on behalf of student success in policy, programming, and research.   St. Charles is a clinically-licensed social worker with a background in student mental health, substance use, relationship violence, and grief and bereavement who is currently supervising the clinical licensure of several higher education professionals. Before serving as advising director, he was an academic advisor. St. Charles earned his MSW and B.A. in Psychology from MSU and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE) program at MSU.

“I have been taught and mentored by some of the greatest student success champions in higher education and this inaugural role within SSASI allows me to honor that gift by reimagining, with partners across campus and higher education, a more humanized and equitable postsecondary experience for students here at Michigan State University,” says St. Charles.