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San Diego State University

Annual Report

Student Success

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

Striving to help all students succeed.

The Division of Student Affairs works collaboratively across the university to ensure success for all students. Students who are engaged in and provided programs that fit with their individual needs and strengths are more likely to be successful at the university. From internships to initiatives aimed at helping underrepresented students or exceptional students, Student Affairs strives to help all students succeed.

SDSU Career Services, in partnership with the President’s Office and the American Association of University Women, offered on campus for the first time the $mart $tart Salary Negotiation Workshop. This workshop gave students, especially women and minorities, the chance to learn how to effectively negotiate salaries and benefits. Pre- and post-event surveys showed that this event provided students with valuable information to approach final phases of the job search with much-needed skills and confidence.

Career Services partners with many of the over 45 majors that offer for-credit internships. Career Services is the first stop for most students searching for for-credit internships, service learning and volunteer opportunities, as well as part-time jobs.

Graduate students in the master's degree program in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs performed internships throughout the division, allowing each student to sample a variety of future career paths. The offices that provided yearlong internships include the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, Residential Education, the Office of the Ombudsman, Student Life & Leadership, and the International Student Center. 

The International Student Center works with international students who are required to pursue internships in their chosen major in accordance with U.S. federal regulations. In recent years, student demand for internships has increased. The ISC added a trainee program to its regulatory services to help meet this demand through internships within an academic department. The ISC also provides students in the international business major the opportunity to work at the ISC planning events in an intercultural context.

Student Health Services provides applied learning opportunities through on-site teaching of nurse practitioner students, pre-medical professional students, pre-dentistry students, and pre-optometry students.

In addition, several SHS physicians teach ENS 466, Clinical Pathology for Athletic Trainers. Seventeen undergraduate and graduate interns help SHS teach the university community about lifelong health.

Twelve Federal Work Study student recipients worked as student interns in the SDSU School in the Park (SITP) program. These student interns worked with classroom teachers and museum educators to bridge formal and informal learning environments. SITP provides an articulated educational program that reflects the critical research-driven principles of optimal learning, utilizing the rich resources within the museums at Balboa Park. 

The At-Risk Suicide Prevention Program was piloted with 100 staff and faculty members. The program is an interactive, online training aimed at helping faculty and staff become better prepared to identify and approach students in distress and, if needed, refer them to Counseling & Psychological Services. The training simulation is unique in that participants engage in conversation with virtual students showing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.

The response from staff and faculty participants has been very positive. A full 100 percent of those responding indicated that they would now rate their preparedness to identify behaviors associated with students’ psychological distress as high or very high. All of the respondents said that they were very prepared to recognize the warning signs of psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide, and to refer students exhibiting signs of psychological distress for help.

In October 2010, Career Services, in collaboration with the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences, offered the first campus-wide STEM Careers Month. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) events gave students opportunities to learn about STEM occupations and meet professionals in those fields. The month also included a focus on graduate school by including a STEM emphasis at the annual Graduate and Professional School Day.

Over the past academic year, Career Services posted over 3,500 positions in jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities, with over 18,000 students active on Aztec Career Connection.  Career Services also partners with the College of Business Administration to offer BA 401, a one-credit internship course taught by Career Services Director Dr. James Tarbox.

During the academic year, 650 students were seen in the ASPIRE Program, which helps students address alcohol and other drug use on an individual basis.  All students were screened for co-occurring mental health disorders, risky behavior and other psychosocial concerns that might compromise their academic performance and progress. 

Data over the past nine years has shown that the ASPIRE intervention relates to a substantial reduction of the number of drinks consumed per week, decreases in heavy episodic drinking, and decreases in risky behavior.

To assist students in the effective management of stress, Counseling & Psychological Services developed the COPE Program in the fall of 2010. A team of therapists created groups that were heavily utilized by 174 students who were referred to the program during the academic year. Outcome data collected pre- and post-intervention showed that students benefited; they exhibited improvement in their ability to identify stressors and developed new skills for managing stress more effectively.

Approximately 20,400 SDSU students received some form of financial assistance (including scholarships and loans) in the 2010/2011 academic year, for a total of $238.5 million.

• $166.27 million
- Federal Student Aid Programs
• $31.98 million
- State University Grant
• $23.14 million
- State Financial Aid Programs
• $11.25 million
- Institutional Assistance
• $5.87 million
- Outside Aid

NOTE: The percentage of aid recipients who are considered low-income went from 47% in 2008/2009 to 65% in 2010/2011. 

Incoming freshmen and transfer students who attended orientation were required to participate in a Citizen Development Workshop. The workshop provided information on citizenship, student development and risk behaviors for students and their parents.

State University Grant (SUG) funds assist with summer session tuition and fees. In summer 2011, $1,745,000 of SUG grants were awarded. $233,500 went to EOP Summer Bridge participants, and $248,000 to Early Start newly admitted freshmen, who needed to meet remediation requirements prior to enrolling in the fall semester.

Loan debt upon graduation
SDSU: $18,176
National Average: $24,000

Loan default rate
SDSU: 2.5%
4-year public institutions: 5.2%
National Average: 8.8%

The Educational Opportunity Program’s (EOP) Center for Academic Assistance and Training (CAAT) continued to serve students at high rates with more than 1,800 students accessing services.  The Center averaged 113 visits per day. One-on-one tutoring requests continue to increase in CAAT with more than 10,000 appointments during the academic year. Students participated in drop-in writing and math labs, as well as academic and personal development workshops. Student athletes received almost 2,300 tutoring appointments.

The Breakthrough Program was offered to incoming freshmen considered to be academically at risk in order to assist them in making a smooth transition to college-level academics and to establish a community connection with the university. The program included peer-to-peer mentoring to further support the students. Attendees received one unit of course credit. Preliminary data were positive, suggesting that those students who participated were less likely to be placed on academic probation at the end of the semester. 

Last year, EOP served 58 Guardian Scholars, as well as several homeless students, with comprehensive services including scholarships and year-round housing. The SDSU Guardian Scholars Program provides support services to help meet the academic, social, career, emotional, and financial needs of former foster youth as they pursue higher education at San Diego State. 

EOP conducted both a BEST Summer Bridge Program for 126 first-time freshman students and a Transfer Bridge program for 99 transfers. Both programs focused on assisting students in their transition to the university. BEST students completed 6 units of academic courses. Many of these students had remediation requirements, which they completed over the summer. Transfer students had the opportunity to learn about essential campus resources and services.

Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) continued to grow and to flourish at SDSU. RLCs are designed to assist first-time freshmen living on campus with their transition from high school to college. They serve as “high impact educational practices” by featuring live-in faculty, peer mentoring, in-hall tutors, academic resource centers called STAR, service learning opportunities, and interdisciplinary seminars.

Each year, data confirms that students living in RLCs academically outperform not only commuter students, but also general residential hall students not involved in RLCs. They have higher GPAs, are less likely to land on academic probation, and are more likely to graduate.

Five-Year Graduation Rate
Lived Off Campus: 40.8%
Lived On Campus 1 Year: 59.9%
Lived On Campus 2 Years: 78.4%

The International Student Center has stepped up its efforts to increase graduation and retention rates of its international students through focused programming and events that enhance student engagement. The ISC has expanded its advising services to maximize learning experiences.

The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs (EOP) graduated 827 students in 2011. In an EOP survey, 82 percent of graduates who responded cited that EOP removed their personal barriers to graduation; in particular, they attributed this to their EOP counselors. Barriers included second language challenges, family responsibilities, mental health issues, and financial concerns.

In an effort to continue facilitating academic success and deepen student learning, the Residential Education Office’s Faculty-in-Residence program sponsored a “Journeys” lecture series. The vision was to provide an entry for freshmen students to become accustomed to attending research symposia and lectures as part of their university experience.

The Bounce Back Retention Program, a resiliency-based academic skills program for students on academic probation, continued to have great success. Data continues to show that students who participate in Bounce Back earn higher GPAs than non-participants; and they are more likely to be removed from academic probation, thus increasing their likelihood of graduating.

Counseling & Psychological Services interns

photo: student interns

For more than 40 years, Counseling & Psychological Services has trained graduate students in its Intern Training Program. Students in the Master’s in Social Work program at SDSU, and doctoral students, are eligible to apply for the one-year training.   

Mentor Program for the College of Business

photo: student program participants

Career Services launched The Pilot Mentor Program in March 2011 for the College of Business. This externship program offered 22 students the chance to shadow professionals in their careers and learn firsthand about their occupations and organizations.

Greek Pathways to Success

photo: Greek students accepting awards

Counseling & Psychological Services implemented a pilot Greek Pathways to Success Workshop with an SDSU fraternity that was facing disciplinary sanctions resulting from behaviors by members. The workshop was successful in helping students to minimize risky behaviors, and to develop consistency between each individual’s value system and their actions. Students increased awareness of the impact of their interpersonal dynamics and actions on their chapter’s reputation and risk for judicial sanctions. The workshop will serve as a model for future group interventions for fraternities and sororities.

Leadership Summit

photo: students at the conference

The SDSU Leadership Summit became a regional conference with presenters and students attending from other San Diego colleges and universities. In its second year on the SDSU campus, the conference increased attendance to 280 students. The presentations and sessions helped to equip students to make a leadership impact in college and in their lives after graduation.

Greek Community grade point averages

Greek Community grade point averages are higher than the university-wide average GPA.

Greek Men: 2.9
Undergrad. Men: 2.8

Greek Women: 3.0
Undergrad. Women: 2.9

New Student Orientation

photo: students and parents at Orientation

New Student Orientation continues to attract the vast majority of incoming students to its programming. Approximately 93 percent of incoming freshmen and 85 percent of incoming transfer students attended orientation. Students learn about valuable services and programs, meet with advisors, and are presented with materials that strategically emphasize graduation.

Additionally, there is a concurrent Parent Orientation that provides parents with the tools to help their student succeed in his or her academic journey.