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Predictors of Academic Success & Struggle

Predictors of Academic Success and Struggle at CSUSM

Predictors of Students’ Academic Success and Struggle, Creating Solutions Workgroup Engaging the Middle

“Invisibility breeds disinterest, [which] leads to zoning out.”
    -Lee S. Shulman, Pedagogies of Uncertainty (2005)

In partnership with Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS), the Office of Undergraduate Studies secured funds through a Chancellor’s Office Initiative for the Predictors of CSUSM Students’ Academic Success and Struggle Project.  Informed by our students’ academic successes, we are building a faculty/staff workgroup to help identify and create solutions to CSUSM student’s academic struggles. This workgroup is a part of a larger campus project helping to build analytical tools, in the form of a data dashboard to identify predictors of success and struggle surrounding academic success, such as retention, engagement, and graduation.

The goal of the workgroup is to brainstorm solutions in the form of student-focused programs that will address some of the areas of academic struggle and success identified in the data. The workgroup will meet several times over the summer to develop a specific program(s) that can be implemented and evaluated during the 2015/16 academic year. The faculty/staff teams will facilitate the delivery and evaluation of these programs in the fall and spring.  The faculty/staff teams’ work will culminate in a brief report evaluating the 15/16 pilot program(s) with recommendations for next steps.

While specific programs and approaches will be determined by the faculty/staff team, the overall project will focus on a broad theme—Engaging Students in the Middle. Early analysis shows that programs like GEL and First Year & University Programs do a tremendous job at improving retention and graduation rates among CSUSM students. However, fewer programs exist that specifically target students in the middle of their academic career (sophomores & juniors) and outcomes such as 2nd year retention. Likewise many academic programs target or end up serving students either in academic jeopardy or those that excel. There is a population of students in the middle that for several reasons (either they are not targeted or they do not seek out services) does not receive deeper learning experiences synonymous with high-impact practices (HIPs) or other student engagement centered programs. Thus, the workgroup will engage students in the middle.  While this broad theme is meant to guide the team, the workgroup will have plenty of flexibility to be creative in crafting its own solutions. For instance, how might we better serve Latino students who are in the middle? What about students who are not yet on track to complete 24 units of GE within their first two years on campus?

Predictors Workgroup Members:

  • Dawn Formo, Dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • Matthew Atherton, Faculty Lead (Faculty in Sociology, CHABSS)
  • Kimber Quinney (Faculty in History, CHABSS)
  • Qi Sun (Faculty in Finance, CoBA)
  • Marie Thomas (Faculty in Psychology, CHABSS)
  • Alan Brian (Student Affairs)
  • Andres Favela (Student Affairs)
  • David McMartin (Student Affairs)
  • Domenica Pearl (Student Affairs)
  • Adam Petersen (Undergraduate Studies)
  • Cameron Stevenson (Institutional Planning & Analysis)

If you have any questions please contact Matthew Atherton, the faculty lead for this project ( or Dawn Formo, Dean of Undergraduate Studies (