Supporting Student Success

Each year, about one-third of MSU Denver’s undergraduate students are not retained to the following year. This amounts to approximately 5,000 students in every fall-to-fall span. For students, this means they have either dropped out or transfered, and not continued at MSU Denver. For our university, this means we have not retained these students.

The impact of students not retaining are deeply personal and also have a significant impact on the lives of faculty and everyone who works for MSU Denver. While there are many efforts to address this issue made at the university level, faculty play an important role in supporting persistence to graduation. As we connect with our students on a regular basis, we have the opportunity to see each of their strengths and challenges, and tend to know more about their particular life circumstances and their hopes and dreams. These are perspectives that university efforts don’t always have.

This page includes several resources to assist with faculty with supporting student success and retention.

Student Success Assignments

Student Success Assignments are incorporated into general studies courses as credit-bearing elements of existing curricular structure. The assignments require students to engage on campus and allow faculty to directly connect students to the support services they need, in real time. A successful pilot of this program has been in place since 2020 and has demonstrated positive impact on fall-to-fall retention.

Student Success Assignments are housed in a Canvas module that faculty can import directly into their courses. The assignments complement discipline-based academic content and represent the marriage of best practices in collaborative work between academic and student affairs.

The Student Success Assignments are one element of a broad strategy to increase first-year success at MSU Denver.

Implementing the Student Success Assignments in your course is an opportunity to demonstrate effective teaching and learning and can be highlighted in your dossier for RTP/PTR.

Student Learning Outcomes associated with the Student Success Assignments:

  • Develop holistic connections so that students build academic, behavioral, and social habits for success in higher education.
  • Understand the importance of early initial career planning.
  • Identify and utilize a wide range of university resources.
  • Acquire increased student engagement and confidence in navigating university infrastructures.
  • Regain academic and social skills that might have been lost during the pandemic.

Current collaborators

  • C2 Hub Peer Mentoring Program
  • Academic Advising
  • Center for Teaching, Learning and Design
  • College of Business
  • Department of Communication Studies
  • Department of Nutrition
  • Department of World Languages
  • General Studies Program

For more information or if you are interested in implementing the Student Success Assignments in a General Studies course, please contact Lunden MacDonald, professor of Spanish, at [email protected].

What ARE the Student Success Assignments?

Task: Students must complete SIX Student Success Assignments that count as 10% of the final course grade. The assignments are a combination of best-practice pedagogy and the leveraging of Student Affairs support systems already in place on campus.

The FOUR items listed below are required and have their own assignment built into a Canvas course module:

  • Introductory Student Survey
  • Syllabus Quiz
  • Visit with any professor, TA, LA or SI during their office hours or a scheduled appointment
  • Midterm Check-up

In addition to the four listed above, students must pick TWO other items from the list below to complete the Student Success Assignments requirement. This list is not exhaustive, and professors can make additions or alterations according to the academic department of the class:

  • Meet with academic advisor
  • Read the university’s 1Book/1Project/2Transform selection and write a comment paper
  • Attend a MSU Denver event, live or virtual
  • Meet with a peer mentor
  • Connect with the Classroom to Career (C2) Hub or visit with Career Services
    • discuss career plans
    • review resume
    • participate in a mock interview
    • take a career-finder exam
  • Join a student organization
  • Volunteer on campus
  • Participate in student government
    • Attend a meeting of the student government
    • Serve on student government
  • Fill out the FAFSA
  • Apply for MSU Denver institutional scholarships
  • Apply for a work-study position on campus
  • Register for classes for next semester

Student Retention Guide for Faculty

This guide helps identify ways to apply best practices for retention when working with students, locate and interpret data on retention and graduation, apply best practices for retention, and more.

Student Retention Guide for Faculty

The MSU Denver Writing Center

The MSU Denver Writing Center can help your students at any stage of their writing process, for any assignment in any discipline. We help with any writing they are doing, including:

  • Summary and response writing
  • Journals
  • Case studies
  • Research projects
  • Collaborative projects
  • Digital projects
  • Lab reports
  • Presentations
  • …And more!

Filing a CARE Report

Any individual in the community (including but not limited to staff, faculty, students and family members) can file a CARE referral for a student through our online reporting system. There are several reasons one might file a CARE referral:

  • A student is struggling with housing or food insecurity (or any basic needs concern)
  • A student is struggling to damage control a difficult life or health circumstance
  • A student needs to apply for or manage SNAP food benefits or be connected to other resources
  • A student has expressed thoughts of harm to self or others
  • A student has experienced significant loss such as the death of a family member
  • Concerns related to alcohol or substance abuse
  • A student was a victim of a crime (including but not limited to; harassment, stalking, interpersonal violence or sexual assault)
  • A student is displaying concerning, risky, or potentially harmful behavior towards themselves or the community
  • A student displaying unusual or out-of-character behavior (talking faster or slower than normal, increased anxiety, absent from class, appears withdrawn, isn’t completing assignments, etc.)