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San Diego State University

Annual Report

Research and Creative Endeavors

Highlights from the 2010-2011 Annual Report,
Division of Student Affairs, San Diego State University

A Culture of Assessment

Over the last few years, the Division of Students Affairs has moved forward into a culture of assessment. By measuring and evaluating the programs and services within the division, we have empirical data to show what works with various student populations and what does not work. The division continues to create and enhance endeavors that provide the greatest number of students with resources they need to succeed. 

Advancing Research

After analyzing the results of the impact of living on campus for first-time freshman, the Division of Student Affairs, led by Associate Vice President Eric Rivera, began to look at targeted populations of students in an effort to address the achievement gap. Working with the office of Student Testing, Assessment and Research, and with the Residential Education Office, a Latino College Student Success study was conducted consisting of three first-time freshmen student cohorts: fall 2005, fall 2006 and fall 2007 semesters. The results of the study showed that Latino first-time freshmen students who lived on campus had higher academic GPAs, a decreased likelihood of academic probation, and an increased likelihood of continuing their studies. Surprisingly, the positive effects were even stronger for Latino students who were deemed high risk: first-generation and non-college ready.

Six Year Graduation Rate

Total Freshmen: 63%
Latino Commuter Students: 37%
Latino Living On Campus: 64%

EOP works with the office of Student Testing, Assessment and Research in order to assess their programs and services. Last year, a large number of EOP students participated in a survey to assess the services they received from EOP. Overall, students said they felt EOP helped them in key areas that research has shown to be critical to the academic success of students: campus resources and transitional issues. The “best thing” students cited about EOP was the relationships built with their counselors.

Student Health Services partnered with UCSD on a two-year research study called Smart Health Study to help university students achieve their healthy weight. Creative and interactive tools, using Facebook and mobile phones, help students stay healthy and fit in a fun an engaging way. www.smarthealthstudy.com

Student Testing, Assessment and Research conducted a Filipino American Cultural Competency Presentation for the mental health counseling staff at Optum Health in early 2011, titled “Filipino Cultural Values and Mental Health: Views on Mental Health Care for Filipino Americans.” The office’s director, Dr. Rey Monzon, also presented “The Impact of Filipino Cultural Values from College to Careers” at the inaugural College-To-Careers Conference sponsored by the Filipino Collegiate Collaborative and the UCSD Career Center.

The e-CHECKUP TO GO was completed by 8,622 incoming students in the 2010/2011 academic year. Outcome studies showed that the tool significantly reduces students’ alcohol use and risk-taking behaviors. Two of the outcome studies were published.

High-risk Student Athletes
  eCHUG Participants Non Participants
Weekly drinking 46% reduction 21% increase
Drinking to intoxication 46% reduction 6% increase
Peak drinking levels 32% reduction 11% increase

Coordinated by Counseling & Psychological Services, SDSU participated in a nationwide survey called The Healthy Minds Study. In collaboration with the University of Michigan, universities across the country gathered information from their students to better understand issues related to students’ well-being, sources of support, and mental and emotional health.

Four thousand  SDSU students were selected at random to participate. The results will be used to form strategies for improving the emotional health and well-being of all students at SDSU and other colleges around the country.

  • 37% think they needed help for mental or emotional problems
  • 18% report 3-5 days of academic impairment from mental health during a four-week period
  • 17% were screened positive for depression
  • 10% screened positive for anxiety
  • 17% reported non-suicidal self-injury during the past year (e.g., cutting, burning)
  • 7% seriously considered attempting suicide

EOP counselors worked with students to help them enter the McNair Scholars Program, which is designed to prepare under-represented undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Several of these students engaged in research relating to EOP student success. EOP students participated in a College Board study documenting the experiences of men of color on college campuses, bringing attention to the issues they face due to their ethnicity.

As a direct result of the Latino College Student Success study data, SDSU paired with the community service organization CASA Familiar to create a commuter program for targeted students. Called Casa Azteca, the program is designed to assist freshman students in the San Ysidro area needing remediation. Since the program’s initial inception, students from the South Bay area were added during the last academic year. Historically, commuter students with remediation needs have had the lowest academic success rates at SDSU.

Services and programs often found in a residential environment are included in the commuter program, and early assessments indicate that these students have much higher retention rates and grade point averages. Casa Azteca helps provide a supportive community where students can access tutoring, find support in addressing campus challenges, and connect to a small community group.

SDSU Career Services and Student Disability Services co-administer the on-campus Workability IV Program, which serves approximately 300 students annually. For the past three years, the program has ranked first or second in the state, winning awards from California’s Department of Rehabilitation. SDSU’s Workability IV
Program ranked first in the state in the 2010/2011 academic year for successful client placements.

The Alcohol and Other Drug Programs Initiatives include several nationally recognized programs, including:

  • Peer Health Education programs
  • The ASPIRE counseling program
  • The Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO assessment w/feedback
  • The Marijuana eCHECKUP TO GO knowledge experience, counter advertising campaigns and alcohol awareness events.

The director of Alcohol and Other Drugs Initiatives, Dr. James Lange, received wide acclaim for his study of Salvia use. He compiled YouTube videos of Salvia users and their self-recorded symptoms, which earned him recognition by “Wired UK” magazine’s feature “25 Big Ideas for 2011.” A number of his studies have been featured in major news and information outlets, including: the Journal of the American Medical Association News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, National Public Radio, and the BBC. Dr. Lange has appeared on television, radio, podcast, blogosphere and newspaper, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has also authored op-ed pieces.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships implemented mandatory online counseling for students who wish to apply for an alternative student loan. A nonprofit think tank, the Institute for College Access and Success published a report entitled “Critical Choices: How Colleges Can Help Students and Families Make Better Decisions About Private Loans” in which they featured SDSU’s mandatory online counseling as a best practice for university financial aid offices.

The 2010/2011 academic year saw the return of the Freshman Leadership Connection (FLC), which introduces new freshman students to the world of leadership development. The students are trained with the idea that they will one day be campus leaders. To date, over half of the Associated Student executive leaders and dozens of student organization leaders have been trained in leadership programs under Student Life & Leadership.

Financial Aid and Scholarships and Dr. Martha Ruel, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, are collaborating to identify possible sources of funding to create a Work Study program that does not rely on federal dollars. Although the low-income student population is increasing, the allotment from the U.S. Department of Education has been dwindling.

SDSU Student Outcomes

Career Services conducts salary and outcome surveys each spring and fall with graduating seniors. Results for the 2010/2011 academic year:

May/August 2011

(25% Response Rate)

  • Employed full-time: 40%
  • Employed part-time: 9%
  • Internship: 5%
  • Graduate school: 15%
  • Actively seeking employment: 21%
  • Held a part-time job while at SDSU: 69%
  • Average reported salary
    - Undergraduate: $40,080
    - Graduate: $57,193

December 2010

(36% Response Rate)

  • Employed full-time: 47%
  • Employed part-time: 8.5%
  • Internship: 5%
  • Graduate school: 9.5%
  • Actively seeking employment: 23%
  • Held a part-time job while at SDSU: 70%
  • Average reported salary
    - Undergraduate: $42,433
    - Graduate: $67,537


Tutors in the Residence Halls

photo: students outside the STAR center

The Residential Education Office’s STAR (Students Taking Academic Responsibility) centers provide tutors in the residence halls. The three STAR centers averaged 350-400 visitors per week, with an average length of stay at two hours per student. They offer tutoring in chemistry, biology, math, statistics, and writing.

Alcohol-free Events for Students

photo: students at the Templo del Sol event

The fourth annual Aztec Nights provided alcohol-free programming for students. The events have become campus traditions and most importantly, have reduced alcohol violations 50 percent from 2007 levels. Individual events draw large campus crowds ranging from 500 to 4,000 students. Some of the most popular events are a campus carnival, an outdoor movie screening, and concerts.