Washburn University is one of eight colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by CASHNet, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.
“Transition doesn’t stop after freshmen year. Washburn demonstrates how assisting academically at-risk students into their sophomore year pays off, both in retention and GPAs,” says University Business senior editor Tim Goral.
Two years—not a few weeks during the summer prior to freshman year; not their first semester. Two years.
Unlike many bridge programs, the Ichabod Success Institute (ISI) at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, supports first-generation, low-socioeconomic-status students from their first few pre-college days through their sophomore year.
The length of the program—named for Ichabod Washburn, an early benefactor and namesake of the school—is no accident. It is the result of numerous conversations with local high school personnel, who said students needed longer and more continuous contact to succeed.
“This group of students is allowing us to assist them in a way that maybe would not occur if we did not put that two-year role into play,” says Alan Bearman, dean of university libraries and the Center for Student Success and Retention.
Collection and assessment of data are priorities at the institute. Administrators track student performance against that of a comparison group in academic and nonacademic areas, including grade point average, timely graduation, and on-campus employment and involvement. Additionally, qualitative surveys at the end of each semester allow ISI students to reflect on how their program experiences affect their academic and personal success.
“We don’t have enough resources to do everything we need to do, so to make good decisions we are almost wholly dependent on data,” Bearman says.
Perhaps the most telling piece of data is that only a quarter of the students who took ISI classes over the summer indicated their intention to attend Washburn for the fall semester—yet all of them ended up enrolling. And all of the students who began the institute completed the entire program.
“We envisioned that of the students who came to the summer portion, if things went well 70 percent of them would be full-time students in the fall semester,” says Bearman. “We’re hitting 100 percent.”
In addition to Washburn University, Winter 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Moravian College (Bethlehem, Pa.); Seton Hill University (Greensburg, Pa.); Bossier Parish Community College (Bossier City, La.); SUNY Geneseo (Geneseo, N.Y.); Northwood University (Midland, Mich.); and Westchester Community College (Valhalla, N.Y.).
“The Winter 2016 Models of Excellence programs are creating opportunities for students that encourage success,” says Edward Worrilow, head of marketing and communications at CASHNet. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”
Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by CASHNet, a leading payment technology provider in higher education that allows institutions to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible payments plans, create online storefronts, and more all on one secure platform.
About University Business
University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at www.universitybusiness.com.
CASHNet is a leading payment technology provider of secure transaction services to over 700 campuses in higher education, reaching millions of students nationwide. Whether it’s to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible tuition payment plans, or create online storefronts, CASHNet fits everyday campus needs. As a leader in the industry for over 25 years, CASHNet has constantly evolved to create the secure and simplified experience students, payers, and administrators require. More information can be found at www.cashnet.com.