Building and Investing in Student Success and Academic Advising

Sent: June 2, 2022

From: Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

As I prepare to enter my fourth year at SJSU, I am excited to see a number of efforts come to fruition, including our investments in student success through the expansion of academic advising. As you know, we were very lucky to have Dr. Shonda Goward join us in the Fall of 2021. As we go into the summer, we are going to need to come together as a campus to focus on closing equity gaps while improving retention and graduation rates for all our students. We must build on the hard work that each college has put into developing student success centers, developing them from the ground up, and on the exceptional efforts of the leadership in Undergraduate Education, which has not only helped coordinate the transition of academic advising but has also led efforts in the broader discussion of student success in academic affairs. All of this work will, of course, continue as we make sure we maintain the deep connection between academic advising, student success, and the delivery of our degree programs. 

Given the importance of the next step of our advising efforts, I have asked Dr. Goward to join the Academic Affairs leadership team reporting directly to me. Given that this is a top priority for our campus and interim president, I want to give this effort as much attention as possible and support the entire academic advising team as we prepare for the next generation of SJSU students. I do this because I also want to ensure that our holistic advising model - in collaboration with student affairs and other areas of the campus - has Cabinet-level support and attention. 

A lot of folks have played a critical role in the academic advising space over the last year and everyone will continue to be involved in this campus-wide effort to improve student success while closing the equity gap. As you all know, student success is not located in one job type - academic advising - or one department. It will take effort in our classrooms and programs as well as through partnerships that must take place across the institution. This is the only way we are going to help more students achieve success. There is plenty of work to go around. Academic advising is an important piece but not the only piece of the student success puzzle. By moving Dr. Goward’s role under the provost, we can provide even more space and time for others to focus on the many other aspects of student success. 

As I said, this is a top priority next year. I am excited to be working directly with Dr. Goward as well as the rest of the academic affairs leadership team, student success center leadership, and academic advisors across the campus to push this effort forward. The first big step is getting ourselves settled in to support first and second year students at an even higher level. We will continue other conversations about transfer students, articulation, and the broader advising efforts as well. This is a long-term project; we need to take it in do-able and manageable chunks that also allows for careful implementation. 

For your information, this organizational transition is effective June 6, 2022.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions.