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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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SDSU has been honored for its virtual support of students and coordinated campuswide approach to student engagement and success. SDSU has been honored for its virtual support of students and coordinated campuswide approach to student engagement and success.

SDSU Recognized for Excellence in Providing Virtual Student Support

The recognition is a result of SDSU’s efforts to prioritize student success through a collaborative campus strategy.
By Ryan Schuler

“Through the university’s strategic plan, we are committed to helping students succeed through innovative solutions in this virtual environment.”

San Diego State University has been recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education as a recipient of its inaugural Virtual Innovation Awards: Excellence in Delivering Virtual Student Services.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the recognition honors SDSU for its exemplary virtual support to students through a coordinated campuswide approach to student engagement and success. The award carries a $15,000 prize to further enhance student support programs.

"San Diego State University is thrilled to be recognized by NASPA for its Virtual Innovation Award,” said Stefan Hyman, associate vice president for enrollment management. “We are immensely proud of how our faculty and staff have demonstrated our institutional commitment to student success.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SDSU has introduced several key initiatives and programs aimed at supporting students through a high-touch model using integrated technologies, including SDSU Connect, the Donor Drive to Support Emergency Needs, the SDSU Flexbile Course Design Summer Institute and Virtual Explore SDSU 2020.
"Student affairs professionals at SDSU are well known for working closely with students to address their specific needs," said Andrea Dooley, associate vice president for Health, Well-Being & Accessibility. "The many support and assistance programs we have introduced in the last year are clear evidence that our teams work tirelessly to introduce and expand mental health, financial assistance, childcare and other support for our students. And because we recognize that the pandemic continues to bring new and different challenges for some members of our community, more support will be introduced this year."

SDSU Connects 

Launched at the height of COVID-19 concerns in the spring, SDSU Connects, a cross-functional team of faculty and staff, proactively emailed, called and sent text messages to students. These contacts occurred to provide students with encouragement, support and connection to campus resources such as emergency funds, tutoring support and other needs. In spring 2020, outreach included more than 11,000 calls, text messages and emails to students. 

Donor Drive to Support Emergency Needs

Students affected by COVID-19 are also being supported by SDSU’s Economic Crisis Response Team, which assists students in need of food, housing or connections to campus resources.

Students can contact ECRT directly to request support for assistance by filling out an online form

Since the start of the pandemic, the university has raised more than $150,000 through donor support for ECRT and specific student food, housing, technology and other needs. In that time, ECRT has supported more than 4,000 students. 

The fundraising campaign is ongoing, and donations are being accepted online

SDSU Flexible Course Design Summer Institute

Recognizing the vital role that faculty play in educating students, the university took steps to ensure faculty were well-prepared entering the academic year. Instructors are very involved in
our virtual student success efforts. 

Designed by SDSU’s Instructional Technology Services (ITS), SDSU Flexible Course Design Summer Institute helped nearly 900 faculty members develop pedagogical strategies to teach in a virtual environment in fall 2020. 

Drawing on partners from across campus, the intensive, three-week program included a mix of required and elective modules totaling 20 hours of instruction and tips to improve virtual teaching and master the information technology that has become part of the new shift in higher education.

Virtual Explore SDSU 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the university took additional steps to engage with prospective and admitted students. 

With Explore SDSU 2020 — an annual event that draws thousands of prospective students, parents, and community members to campus — being canceled due to health concerns associated with COVID-19, the SDSU Explore SDSU Committee and Enrollment Services quickly coordinated an immersive virtual event in a short period of time. 

Virtual Explore SDSU drew nearly 4,300 prospective students and parents, which included more than 3,000 admitted students. Registrants tuned in worldwide, including those from Germany, Kuwait and India. Participants heard from faculty and staff representing different colleges, learned about SDSU’s admissions and financial aid processes, and learned about campus offerings and academic majors through online sessions from departments across campus.

“These programs and initiatives were vital to the success of our multifaceted virtual strategy designed to support student success,” said SDSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Salvador Hector Ochoa. “Through the university’s strategic plan, we are committed to helping students succeed through innovative solutions in this virtual environment.”

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. It provides professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.