Sophomores Alex Westhoff and Rhianna Grisale study using some of the new furniture available on the second floor of the library.

Northwest was selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to participate in its Center for Success program.

The AASCU is a higher learning national organization comprised of over 400 universities for the purpose of collaborating to share and understand ways of advancement for public higher education.

Northwest is one of six universities selected across the nation that were selected to participate in the 15 month Center for Student Success project. The project kicked off Jan. 18 and is expected to be completed by March 2020.

Project lead and Director of Academic Success Allison Hoffmann said the University does things well in terms of student success but is always looking for ways to move forward in positive direction.

“I think we do a wonderful job at what our mission says, which is that we focus on student success every student, every day,” Hoffmann said. “I think we don’t want to just be OK with where we’re at, we do want to kind of push ourselves to do a little better.”

The other institutions participating in this project are Austin Peay State University, Bowie State University, California State University, CUNY Lehman College and Henderson State University.

“The institutions are very different from one another,” Hoffmann said. “Our similarities from the outside may not look like there’s many but who knows maybe when we get into the project, we both have a similar type of student success initiatives that have been successful or we really need to work on something in another area.”

Northwest will be working with these institutions throughout the Center for Student Success project to learn collaboratively as well as have access to tools and strategies through AASCU, which is funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“What I think is really neat about is we aren’t going to be asked to do the same thing or try to implement something on our campus that another campus did,” Hoffmann said. “It’s customizable and we get to look specifically at what we do really well at Northwest and what maybe we can improve at Northwest and use that.”

The initial campus team is made up of President John Jasinski, Provost Jamie Hooyman, Undergraduate Dean Michael Steiner, professor Matt Symonds, Director of Institutional Research Egon Heidendal, Academic Advisor Julie Johnson, Assistant Director of Academic Success and Retention Leslie Abarr-Cuenca and Hoffmann.

“We do expect there to be some fluidity in the team so people will be brought in,” Hoffmann said. “It’s definitely not set in stone, it’s just the first working team. We’ll have a lot of subgroups and subcommittees that will get together whenever we are working on a specific thing.”

Representatives from the AASCU will be visiting campus in April or March. Up to 100 University leaders and key stakeholders will be asked to take a survey regarding their thoughts about the University.

“What the students should know or I hope that they would be excited about is that we’re continuing to look at the student experience and how we can help and ensure that the students are successful at Northwest,” Hoffmann said.

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