To achieve measurable progress on VSCS priorities, in September 2017 the Chancellor and Board endorsed Start to Finish, an initiative to align and advance efforts across the system to increase academic success and retention in the first year, on-time completion of a VSCS degree or other credential of value, and progression within the system to further learning.
One of the six strategic priorities of the VSCS is to improve the retention and graduation rates at our colleges. While retention and graduation rates across the VSCS are comparable to similar institutions nationwide, the board recognizes the growing body of national evidence from “game-changing” strategies that can significantly increase student success, many of which are in some stage of implementation across the system. A related strategic priority adopted by the board is to operate as an even more integrated system that provides expanded student opportunities and supports by improving the technology infrastructure and reducing transferability and course-sharing barriers. Finally, the board recognizes the critical need for the VSCS to contribute to Vermont’s 70×2025 attainment goal and the future social and economic well-being of our state by increasing the number of Vermonters who complete a degree or credential of value.
Strategies and Action Steps
On November 9, 2017, a system-wide team of faculty and staff representing all institutions attended a New England Momentum convening to discuss strategies that significantly increase student retention and graduation.
On May 23, 2018, faculty and staff will gather at Castleton University for the annual VSCS Academic Retreat. The retreat, Paths to Graduation: Supporting Student Planning, Purpose, and Persistence, advances the work of the initiative with keynote speaker Dr. Dhanfu Elston, Complete College America’s Vice President of Strategy, who will present on guided pathways strategies.
Attendees will explore student messaging, academic program mapping, and proactive advising tactics for development and implementation in the coming academic year.