Middle Tennessee State University is one of nine colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Summer 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program.
The Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus. It is sponsored by payment technology provider CASHNet.
“Middle Tennessee State University finds success in offering students applicable strategies to improve their academic standing, ” said University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “Informative workshops, along with the option to reroute course schedules with a clearer goal in mind, help students actualize a more personalized approach to learning.”
Federal regulations prevent MTSU from writing to parents of at-risk students to let them know their kids are having trouble. The regulations say nothing about writing to the students themselves, which the university does in hopes of catching a parent’s eye and sparking a conversation in the process.
“It’s a strategic move to send the letter,” said Vincent Windrow, assistant vice provost for student success. “Hopefully it creates a moment where the parents and the student can have dialogue about the student’s progress.”
That strategy aims to entice students to participate in REBOUND, a program that takes place between the fall and spring semesters for freshmen who post a GPA below 2.0 in the fall. At the two-day REBOUND event, students attend workshops covering financial aid, study skills, time management, tutoring, attitude and personal accountability. They also meet with their academic advisers to review their spring schedules and, in many cases, change them.
“We believe these students want to succeed,” Windrow said. “They had a bad semester, but a bad semester doesn’t mean they’re going to have a bad future or that they’re bad students.”
A variety of campus units partner with the MTSU Office of Student Success in presenting REBOUND. Financial aid, residential life, food services, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, and parking and transportation are among them. The football team’s defensive coordinator participates. Even university President Sidney A. McPhee and provost facilitate sessions on student success. Seeing such senior leaders helps freshmen realize how serious the program is, according to Windrow.
“Their eyes are like saucers, and some of their mouths gape open,” he said.
In addition to Middle Tennessee State University, Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: Indiana University Southeast (New Albany, Indiana); University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha, Wisconsin); LDS Business College (Salt Lake City, Utah); Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Virginia); Franklin University (Columbus, Ohio); Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio); University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska); and California State University, San Bernardino (San Bernardino, California).
“The Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees demonstrate how inclusivity and personalized attention for all students benefits higher education holistically,” said Edward Worrilow, head of marketing and communications at CASHNet. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”
Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by CASHNet, a leading payment technology provider in higher education that allows institutions to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible payments plans, create online storefronts, and more all on one secure platform.