Ideas, Comments and Observations Generated from Chapters 2 – 12
Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter
by Kuh, et al (2005)


(Items shaded may be  “low hanging fruit”)

1. How do we look at ourselves as learners and become models for our students so they are open to learning?

2. Provide more feedback to students beyond their letter grade (p 34). Why not use the “university scholar” rubric developed for MUSE when assessing students at the end of the semester or on a big project? “Written feedback – faculty evaluate student performance by using descriptive narratives. Students respond in kind, providing narrative feedback to faculty about their performances.” (p 34) 

3. Meeting students where they are is important but can be challenging for faculty because each student is at a different intellectual level. (p 78)

4. “Active learning is the norm where students use hula hoops to learn a business communications concept … American literature class takes field trips related to the twelve novels read in the course.” (p 72)  We may need to do more to help the learning experiences come alive for students.

5. Help students to see that achieving their university degree will be a life changing experience and is not just about checking off items on a list to get their degree.

6. Some students have a higher learning level than others - how do we capture them?

7. Look for ways to improve the connection between courses and the larger curriculum (interdisciplinary majors, capstone experiences, etc.)

8. “Deep colleges are thick with expectations about college life. They recognize that people rarely exceed their own expectations without being challenged.” (p 111)

Do we send the message to students of what is expected of them?

What message to we send to students regarding course numbers (level of difficulty?) and level of rigor (C is ok grade; extra credit is allowed).

Find ways to get students focused and eager to have high standards for their work – motivational talks.  Find ways for faculty to have discussions about the level of academic rigor we should have at SJSU and how to sustain it.

We don’t have a sense of how much we should spoon-feed the students versus where to set the expectations. We need to have a campus-wide discussion about the reality that if we set high standards, let students know of them, follow them and provide the support students needs, students will do better and faculty will have a better experience working with students.  We need to watch our actions and what message they send (extra credit, C is ok, reading program is optional, visiting your professor is optional, commuters are only on campus 6 minutes, etc.)  We need to change our message and set high expectations. 

9. We need to do more to help our students to be more responsible for their learning. “In different ways, DEEP colleges induce student to assume responsibility for their own learning.” (p 167)  Small group discussions throughout campus can help us to see how we help or hinder this now and what more we can be doing and how to communicate this to students.  The explanation provided to MUSE faculty (and to many MUSE students) is that one element of being a “university scholar” is taking responsibility as a student and learner.”  We need to help students reach this goal and to promote it throughout their academic career.  (also see ideas for Chapter 5)

Move to greater responsibilities for students: peer evaluations (such as at Alverno (p 30)); use of existing skills (p 32)

10. Stress that communication skills (what our GE program identifies as a key skill for learning) are very important.  Perhaps a student who can’t communicate, should not be earning an A or B in a course. 

11. Encourage colleges and departments to find ways for students to effectively and meaningfully critique peers, such as in group work and for presentations. (p 197-198)

Explore more possibilities for peer education.

12. Encourage colleges and departments and CFDS to discuss ways to assess student learning besides only the traditional ones (tests).  Faculty have been trained that tests are the key (if perhaps only) assessment tool when others exist.  Departments should discuss how to effectively structure alternative assessments and the benefits to better address varying learning styles.  (p 204-205)


13. We need to have new students get greater exposure to faculty early on in their introduction to campus.  There are very few faculty at the Newly Admitted Student Reception and Orientation.  While faculty are at Welcome Convocation, there is no interaction with the students except later at lunch when fewer faculty are available.  While some of these days are not duty days, we should find a way to provide stipends if that helps get more faculty to these events.  Also, the planners of these events do not always invite faculty or notify faculty.

14. Let’s give grants of a few hundred dollars to faculty who will either be: (a) involving a student(s) in their research or (b) having a student help them design or modify a course. The money could be used for lunch, attending a conference, finding a student, etc.

15. Encourage employees to attend at least one campus event per month to interact with students, see what is going on, and support student events.

16. We need to ask ourselves the CSUMB question (p 119) – “What will teaching and advising look like if we are carrying out our vision?”

17. Department and other offices need a different set of hours to better serve students.  For example, many are closed during lunch time and after 5 when many students need the services.  Who would want to go to the Post Office during their lunch time only to find it closed for lunch?

18. Fayetteville State’s philosophy of some of its faculty and administrators is needed here: “You must teach the students you have, not the ones you wish you had.”  “We don’t want students to go through school, but for school to go through them.”  We also need to brainstorm and share best practices on how to help students who are not prepared for college. (p 78)

19. What more can we do to help our students feel “wanted and important?” (p 172)

20. To change our practices and cultures to ones that are more student-centered, we need to ask “why” more often. That is “why are we doing something a certain way?”  We should question everything.  We need to be sure we are not just busy, but that we are effective.  These discussions should not be personal (accusatory) but looking at values – can something be done better?  Is this practice helping students to succeed?  Consider using the Six Sigma “5 Whys” approach to find the root cause of the problem (see

Interesting Quotes

Student Success in College – Creating Conditions That Matter

  1. “Deep colleges are thick with expectations about college life. They recognize that people rarely exceed their own expectations without being challenged.” (p 111)
  2. “You Don’t Go to Wofford, You Join It.” (p 111)
  3. Fayetteville – “If you choose to join us, be prepared to work harder than ever. Moreover, know this: ‘Failure is not an option!’”  (p 117)
  4. CSUMB asks itself: “What will teaching and advising look like if we are carrying out our vision?”   (p 119)
  5. “Difficult budget situations are no excuse to suspend or retard improvement efforts.” (p 133)
  6. “Another key aspect of the shared models of leadership enacted at DEEP schools is that they carefully choose newcomers, bringing into the community people whose values and aspirations are compatible with the institution’s mission, philosophy, and educational purposes.” (p 158)
  7. “In different ways, DEEP colleges induce student to assume responsibility for their own learning.” (p 167)
  8. “Faculty members at DEEP institutions carefully considered what constitutes academic challenge in their institutional context, given the backgrounds and aspirations of their students.”  (p 178)
  9. “When faculty members expect students to perform at high levels and support their efforts to meet their high standards, students generally strive to rise to the occasion. … One way they do this is by socializing students early on to high academic expectations and providing appropriate levels of support to assist students in meeting these standards.” (p 178)
  10. “Summer reading programs are another way to signal to newcomers that the campus is serious about academic achievement.” (p 179)
  11. “Many students appear to earn grades good enough to stay in school without spending even half the amount of time faculty members say is needed to do well in their courses.” (p 182)
  12. “NSSE data indicate that students at most DEEP schools read more both for class and for pleasure than their peers at comparable institutions.” (p 187)
  13. “Students at DEEP schools interacted with their faculty at levels higher than predicted. However, probably more important than the frequency of contact is the quality of the interactions.” (p 217)
  14. DEEP schools “provide resources to those who need them when they need them and create the conditions that encourage students to take advantage of these resources.” (p 241)
  15. “Setting high expectations and then supporting and holding people accountable for reaching them is modus operandi at DEEP schools.” (p 269)
  16. “Ultimately, it’s about the culture …” (p 272)
  17. “Substantive, educationally meaningful student-faculty interaction just doesn’t happen; it is expected, nurtured, and supported.” (p 280)
  18. “DEEP colleges and universities have successfully blended the contributions and talents of academic and student affairs to form powerful partnerships that result in high-quality transition experiences for new, first-time students and transfers alike.” (p 286)
  19. “Student success must be everyone’s business in order to create the conditions that encourage and support students to engage in educationally productive activities at reasonably high levels.” (p 295)


Student Success Book Discussion Group

This group was initiated by President Kassing. He asked the deans, VPs, Senate Chair, and leaders of some student groups for volunteers who would be willing to read the book, attend the discussion sessions and then share information with their units. The group of 24 people met five times during the Fall 2005 semester in BC 32.  The discussions were co-facilitated by Annette Nellen, Director of the Campus Reading Program and Past Chair of the Academic Senate. The President’s Office purchased the books. At the end of the sessions, the participants were asked to write a note in the book and pass it along to a colleague who would read it and then pass it along when they were finished.


Anne Marie Todd

College of Social Science (Comm Studies); Student Success Committee

Annette Nellen

Campus Reading Program; Senate; College of Business

Caroline Fee


Deanna Rogers

Student – Peer Mentor

Don Kassing

President’s Office

Eloise Stiglitz

Student Affairs (AVP)

Jackie Snell

College of Business (Marketing Dept. Chair)

Jane Boyd

Academic Senate – Student Success Committee; College of Social Science (Psych)

Kevin Lowe

Student Affairs (Print Shop); student

Mansi Bhatia

Advancement (Public Affairs)

Maria Rivera

Admin & Finance (HR)

Maureen Scharberg

College of Science (Teacher Ed/Chemistry)

Mike Pogodzinski

College of Social Science (Economics)

Rebecca Feind

Library (Outreach Librarian)

Roger Elrod

Student Affairs (Health Services)

Sarah Fields

Student – Peer Mentor

Sarah Stillman

AS Vice President

Stefan Frazier


Susan Hansen

Student Affairs (Housing)

Terri Thames

Academic Senate – Instruction & Student Affairs Committee; Student Affairs (Counseling)

Thalia Anagnos

ENG; Undergraduate Studies Office)

Tom Bowen

Athletics (AD)

Veril Phillips

Student Affairs (VP)