In 2014, FAU was at a crossroads
With a new university president at the helm, it had become FAU’s aspiration to pursue, with Unbridled Ambition™, the goal to metamorphosize into the country’s fastest-improving public research university. But one of the great struggles in realizing the university’s objective was the academic struggles of its diverse student body. With less than 66% freshmen progressing to their second year with 2.0+ GPA and a 40% six-year graduation rate, FAU found itself ranking second-to-last in state’s performance funding model. The consequence: the state of Florida withheld $7 million in educational support.
Discontent is said to be the first necessity of progress
With a restlessness that was difficult to suppress, FAU purposefully sought out a solution. With what it dubbed the Strategic Plan for the Race to Excellence, FAU rejected the narrative of being an institution with finite student success. Using an arsenal of creative initiatives, which included a new partnership with Civitas Learning (a word-of-mouth recommendation from its sister institutions), FAU prioritized data governance, team-based advising, and a laser-sharp focus on being the destination for transformative degrees.
FAU began making some dramatic advancements:
SURGE IN THE RATE OF ITS 2.0+ GPA FRESHMEN GOING ON TO BE SOPHOMORES
OF ACHIEVEMENT GAPS BY RACE, ETHNICITY, INCOME
BOOST IN FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATE
BOOST IN SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATE
Within two years, FAU defied the odds and expectations:
FAU ranked at the very top of the performance funding model
FAU reclaimed the $7 million in funding, plus additional dollars
“By staying relentlessly focused on the data, we’ve been able to ensure that our student success campaigns are always grounded in equity—even if the insights sometimes lead us to uncomfortable conclusions about what’s working for our students.”
Dr. James Capp
Assistant Provost for Academic Operations & Planning at Florida Atlantic University