Push to Reduce Obstacles to Graduation for More Students Is Prioritized in ‘CUNY Lifting New York’ Strategic Roadmap

Comprehensive Assessment Process Is Underway at Five CUNY Colleges With Plans to Develop a University-Wide Strategy

The City University of New York is partnering with the National Institute for Student Success to conduct a diagnostic assessment of the University’s student success programming, which will result in customized recommendations to improve student retention and degree completion on each CUNY undergraduate-serving campus. The push to improve these and other indicators of student success is a key component of the University’s recently released “CUNY Lifting New York,” a strategic roadmap to transform CUNY into the nation’s foremost student-centered university by 2030.

The four-month comprehensive assessment process is beginning at five CUNY colleges — Borough of Manhattan Community College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College and York College — with the goal of later developing a CUNY-wide strategy.

The information gained will help CUNY to develop a new generation of programs that reduce obstacles to graduation for many more students systemwide, building on the success of ASAP and ACE, groundbreaking student success programs that were developed at CUNY and replicated nationally to help a far greater percentage of students complete their associate and bachelor’s degrees in a timely fashion.    

“As part of our commitment to ‘CUNY Lifting New York,’ we’re building on a new phase of student success innovation at CUNY and developing the next generation of programs that reduce obstacles to graduation for many more students across our diverse system,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “With the help of the National Institute for Student Success, we are also taking a look at what we can learn from other institutions in the country and how we can do even more to help our students earn a college degree and ascend the socioeconomic ladder.”  

Data-Driven Process

NISS, based at Georgia State University, works with higher education institutions to better understand the challenges faced by students that may keep them from continuing toward their degrees, and to provide strategies to eliminate those obstacles. As part of the four-month assessment process, NISS conducts a diagnostic analysis of student and institutional data to evaluate the effectiveness of a college’s student success apparatus. Faculty and staff are also surveyed and participate in focus groups as part of a qualitative assessment.

“CUNY’s exciting partnership with The National Institute for Student Success will substantially move the needle toward the elimination of all achievement gaps in student graduation,” said CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Wendy F. Hensel. “Together, we are committed to creating a university where all students thrive and achieve their academic dreams regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic background.”

This effort will assess how students are supported throughout college experience, including when applying to the college, paying for tuition, selecting a major and enrolling in classes. There are plans to eventually expand this effort to all of the University’s undergraduate colleges. The discoveries made through this work will enable CUNY to provide more students with the support and services they need to reap the full benefits of the high-quality education that CUNY provides. In turn, this work will enable New York City to derive the benefits of an increasingly prepared, well-educated and well-trained workforce. 

“When CUNY’s students succeed and thrive, New York City succeeds and thrives. This is a goal we can all share and work toward together,” said Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, who outlined these strategies earlier this month in the 2023 State of the University Address