President’s Perspective

President's Perspective

Winter 2017

A Renewed Outlook

Oakland University President
George W. Hynd
The prospect of a new calendar year bodes more than a fresh start for our students in the classroom. Together, Oakland University’s faculty and staff members work to advance our university’s standing as a leader in higher education, and a new year serves as a natural benchmark for all of us to review our progress as an institution and refresh our outlook.

From the start of our journey as a university, OU has always been committed to establishing a student-centered decision making process at the forefront of everything we do. In recent years, the foremost step in this process has been to identify how best to retain our student roster and increase student success for first-year students and seniors.

I am proud to say that we continue to see vast improvements in these areas with the help of the First Year Advising Center (FYAC).

Utilizing an Intrusive Advising Model, the FYAC interacts with the incoming student body early on in their OU experience to nurture a relationship with the center and motivate students to continue their education. Most importantly, this advising model works.

Since the creation of the FYAC, we’ve increased retention rates for first-year students, underrepresented minorities and undecided studentsThe FYAC and other student success initiatives have increased our graduation rates by nearly 10 percent. On the opposite end for students nearing graduation, the university has implemented Grad Path to streamline the graduation process and make sure our students graduate on time.

We’ve also received major support in our initiatives to increase student success from the Michigan Gateways to Completion Project. The project helps institutions implement an evidence-based plan for improving student learning and success in high DFWI (D or F, withdrawal, incomplete) courses, and OU is one of five four-year institutions in Michigan that are participating in the project, supported by the Kresge Foundation.

Across all of our academic units we’ve introduced the Student Success Collaborative (SSC) and are in the process of piloting a Student Success Campus—two web-based platforms that use predictive analytics to identify at-risk students with an analytics engine that illuminates barriers to degree completion. We expect to have full integration of Campus in all of our academic units by this fall.

All these initiatives better our chances at predicting student outcomes, which will holistically improve the OU experience. Although we cannot see the future, we can see OU’s boundless potential as we prepare to aim even higher in 2017.

George W. Hynd