Campus News

First Thursday: The 411 on Student Success

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 3, 2011) — Four major departments at the University of Kentucky are coming together to discuss key issues and develop solutions and strategies around student success. The series is called First Thursday: The 411 on Student Success.

Vice President for Institutional Diversity Judy “JJ” Jackson, Vice President for Student Affairs Robert Mock, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Mike Mullen, and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Don Witt are the key campus administrators who will lead the 90-minute session from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. every first Thursday of each month.

“The goal is to collaborate across all of these units so we can provide the best services and support for our UK students,” said Witt.

Jackson said the series is designed to share detailed information about successful student retention efforts.

“This is an opportunity for mutual support and to identify or develop ways in which staff across the participating areas can collaborate,” said Jackson.

The new series was developed collaboratively to play into the university’s Top 20 plan.

“This initiative reflects the saying, ‘We are stronger together than we are separate,’” Witt said. “I fully support this effort because it reflects the best of UK, forming partnerships to build ties across units and remove any possible barriers in moving UK forward.”

With the university making changes to make UK a better place for students, faculty and staff, the series focuses on the departments that interact with students and focuses on what the university is doing right and what can be improved.

“The overall goal of the series is to gather the areas that work in student success on a regular basis to look closely at two or three programs and efforts each month. We will share and learn what we can from the way the program runs and works, and use that information to bolster that program and increase the effectiveness of other student support programs,” said Jackson.

Students wondering how the university will make their Wildcat experience a great one can look to First Thursdays as a step in the right direction for even greater student success.

““We are just starting this new series as a pilot project, but the early returns are positive. The staff renewed relationships with colleagues and immediately began to remove barriers in an effort to improve retention and graduate rates,” said Mock. “I am excited to find opportunities for synergistic commonalities that will move the needle of retention and graduate rates in a more positive direction.”

Many of the campus community are excited about the administration’s initiative to evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

“Ownership of the success of our students at UK belongs to all of us,” said Jackson. “The more we work together toward a common goal, the greater the achievement of our students and the more UK will progress towards premier status among public research universities.”

All administrative staff who work in the areas of student retention and achievement are invited to attend each session of the series.