Academic Support and Experiential Learning

Leadership Minor

photo: Professor Marilee Bresciani teaches an educational leadership class.
During the 2008/2009 academic year, a new minor in leadership development was spearheaded by a partnership between Student Affairs and the College of Education. Although hundreds of universities offer individual courses on leadership, only a handful, including Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, and now, SDSU, offer interdisciplinary programs specifically designed to nurture leaders. SDSU’s new leadership minor integrates academic and student life components with the goal of producing leaders capable of making a difference not only in their professions, but also in their communities. The Division also provides leadership workshops to student organizations, helping to bridge academic theories to the practical realities of leading a group.

Career Services

Career Services serves SDSU students and alums. They build employer, community and campus partnerships to create career opportunities. Career Services offers high quality career counseling, resources, and technology to meet the diverse and changing needs of students, alums, and employers. Last year, Career Services introduced “Career University – Life After SDSU!” for May 2009 graduates. This eight-part workshop series provided tips on job searches and concluded with a group of employers taking part.

Post -graduation activities

chart: post-graduation activities

Career Services conducted a biannual Salary Survey of recent graduates that measured post graduation plans and the impact of internships. The May 2009 Salary Survey showed the following post-graduation activities:

Internships Affect Securing Employment upon Graduation

chart: employment upon graduation

Career Services worked strategically with each academic college to centralize, coordinate and provide advising for academic internships. This was the first time that a university-wide review was performed for campus-wide internships. Students who participated in an internship had a 16 percent better chance of securing employment within six weeks of graduation than those students who did not.

Student Research Symposium

The Aztec Parents Fund provided seed money to support the SDSU Student Research Symposium. This two-day, university-wide event recognizes the outstanding scholarly accomplishments of SDSU undergraduate research projects. Held in February 2009, 359 students presented 42 oral sessions and 22 poster sessions, representing a 22 percent increase from the first Symposium held in 2008. More than 200 faculty, staff and community members served as judges, recognizing 43 students for their outstanding presentations.

Retention to Sophomore Year

chart: retention rates

Residential Learning Communities

Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) grew tremendously during the 2008/2009 year. In 2006, only 300 students lived in RLCs. In 2008, more than 1,100 students did. RLCs are designed to assist first-time freshmen living on campus with their transition from high school to college. Each community is created around a similar theme or major with a focus on citizenship, scholarship, leadership and diversity.

Retention to Sophomore year

Another very successful Residential Education program is the Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) program, in which SDSU faculty members live in apartments located within the campus residence halls. Along with other residential staff members, they develop academic communities and provide support to students. FIRs provide informal academic counseling, tutor students, and develop educational programs. They also eat meals with students on a regular basis. The Aztec Parents Association provided funding to help develop FIR programs, which are often tailored to specific halls or make-up of the students.

Sophomore Experience

Retention to Junior Year

chart: retention rates

Academic Probation

chart: academic probation and disqualification

During the 2008/2009 academic year, the Residential Education Office developed plans for the Sophomore Experience to encourage students to live a second year on campus. Research shows that students who continue to live on campus have higher success rates. Sophomores who live on campus have a 20 percent better chance of remaining in school than their off-campus counterparts.

Quest for the Best

The Quest for the Best Vice Presidential Awards celebrated its 23rd year honoring the outstanding academic achievements and community service of the top 10 students. Each student selected also chose a faculty or staff member who made a significant contribution to his or her personal growth.

Study Abroad

SDSU’s Study Abroad program grew by 18 percent during the 2008/2009 academic year. Last year the International Student Center offered 190 study abroad programs in 46 different countries.

SDSU students can receive resident credit, pay comparable fees to SDSU, and are able to use their financial aid while abroad. A new study abroad scholarship fund was created in collaboration with Associated Students.

Academic Performance

The International Student Center has the leading cohort in academic performance. Additionally, it is the most ethnically diverse: 1,870 international students from more than 85 countries speaking more than 60 languages. Last year, the ISC created a Freshman Success Program for international students, and they received funding to launch an international recruitment program. Due to increased recruitment efforts, applications increased 28 percent for undergraduates and 16 percent for graduate students.

Bounce Back Program

Removed from Academic Probation

chart: removal from academic probation

Continued Their Studies at SDSU

chart: continuation of studies at SDSU

Bounce Back continued to have tremendous success in helping students who encounter roadblocks to build resiliency and succeed. Many published articles about this academic intervention program led to its expansion to other college campuses, including Tulane University, City College of New York, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Collegiate Learning Assessment

Student Testing, Assessment and Research worked on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), tasked by Provost Marlin and Vice President Kitchen, to assess the value-added gain in student learning at the institutional level. 100 freshmen and 100 seniors were recruited to take the CLA, a 90-minute online assessment exam.

Greek Life Standards of Excellence

photo: award recipients
Greek organization leaders receive their awards Vice President Kitchen and Assoc. Vice President Quinnan..

Greek Life, housed in the Office of Student Life & Leadership, created the Standards of Excellence, which mandated that all fraternities and sororities have academic support programs and enforce academic standards. For both semesters of the 2008/2009 academic year, the grade point averages for fraternity and sorority members exceeded that of non-Greek affiliated students.

Faculty orientation session

Student Rights and Responsibilities increased communication with faculty through a new faculty orientation session, in addition to consultation requests. Faculty and graduate teaching assistants are now more aware of issues surrounding academic integrity and risk behaviors.

Measuring Outcomes

Student Affairs is committed to measuring learning outcomes. The Student Testing, Assessment and Research department (STAAR) developed multiple longitudinal cohort databases, which were used to track first-time freshmen in terms of programmatic participation, program effectiveness, academic persistence, and success.


STAR Centers

photo: students study in the STAR CenterThe STAR Centers (Students Taking Academic Responsibility) at Tenochca and Chapultepec are academic resource centers for all residence hall students. The centers help create a positive, academically oriented environment to help residence hall students achieve academic success. Some resources offered include: areas for study, research resources, course books, computers with Internet access and much more. The STAR Center @ Maya & Olmeca is staffed by Academic Mentors and is also home to tutoring sessions in math and writing. To access the STAR Center @ Maya & Olmeca, students need to be a resident of the building or to be checked in as a guest.

CATT Center

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) CATT (Center for Academic Assistance and Training) registered more than 15,000 hours in usage, with 1,421 students accessing tutoring services, labs and computers. It created an atmosphere in which students learn individually and in a group setting through one-on-one tutoring, walk-in labs for Spanish, writing, math, accounting and biology.

Tutors in local schools

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS) worked with Cynthia Park in the School of Education to provide Federal Work Study (FWS) funds to place reading and math tutors in local high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools as part of America Reads and America Counts tutoring programs. OFAS also supported student advisors through FWS funds in the Compact for Success Program’s local high schools.

International Student Center

The International Student Center Tutor/Mentor Program, led by volunteers Gigie and Larry Price, continued to flourish. More than 100 international students received tutoring or were mentored by more than 60 community volunteers.