Effective Sept. 1, the Office of Undergraduate Research has moved into University College as part of President Eighmy’s initiative focused on enhancing student success.  

According to Heather Shipley, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of university college, this move is a natural fit.

“University College is devoted exclusively to undergraduate students,” Shipley said. “Its focus is helping undergraduates to achieve academic success and to enrich their education by participating in experimental learning opportunities such as research.”

President Eighmy announced his initiative on student success in Oct. 2017. The goal of this initiative was to improve the university’s retention and graduation rates dramatically by taking a student-centric approach. In order to accomplish this goal, he established a 25-member student success task force. 

This specific change aligns with Eighmy’s initiative on student success. “Undergraduate research – just like other experimental learning opportunities that take place outside of the classroom, such as internships or study abroad—can have a tremendously positive impact on a student’s success in college,” Shipley said. 

The expected results of these changes will broaden students’ opportunities and make it easier for students to get involved in research. “Currently, more than 1,500 undergraduate students are involved in faculty-mentored research programs across the university,” Shipley said. “We want even more students to have those opportunities.”

Some students perceive this change as a positive one. “President Eighmy’s initiative has been sufficient in advancing the education and gives insight to students who wish to pursue higher academic achievements,” said Heather Donecker, sophomore psychology major. “This program seems to have motivated and ignited students into beginning the journey and giving them a chance to ‘dip their toes in the water’ of higher professionalism and education.”

However, some students do not think the move is the most beneficial change. “I feel that graduation rates would improve if the school focused on getting more academic advisors and stop constantly raising enrollment at unsustainable levels.” said Jacob Gamble, senior politics and law major.

There are many other changes in the works that will contribute to the initiative on student success, since Shipley said “student success is a university priority.”

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