MU Connect supports students on the road to success

Mizzou is taking a proactive approach in its continuing effort to help students succeed by developing MU Connect to improve the student success rate (also referred to as retention rate), increase the graduation rate and decrease the time it takes to graduate.

“While our faculty and staff already do great things to foster student success, MU Connect aids them in supporting students, while also serving as a valuable resource for students,” says Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies.

Students are alerted immediately when a concern is raised about their academic performance and directed to available support services.

“We want to identify issues before they become larger concerns,” says Tina Balser, coordinator of the Student Success Initiatives.

Connect provides a one-stop shop that links students to support offices and individuals who can assist. It facilitates meaningful contact between students and their advisers, instructors, tutors and other campus personnel. The Learning Center and the Writing Center are also available through the system.

Students have a personal “My Success Network” that includes their academic adviser and specific campus services that provide online scheduling, making it easy to set up in-person meetings and group appointments.

“At a research institution like ours, faculty are extremely busy,” says Hani Salim, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “Faculty can benefit by keeping their schedules up to date so that students will be able to utilize available times for advising and academic needs.”

All students will be on board by the end of Fall 2014.

The Early Alert component identifies students at risk academically before they withdraw. Instructors can flag at-risk students manually or set up the system to flag automatically based on online grade book data. Recommendations from support services are communicated to the student and appropriate personnel are informed of the flags.

Students receiving a flag are put in contact with appropriate support offices, instructors or advisers. They can use Connect’s online appointment system to schedule meetings.

“As an educator, my main goal is to reach out to students to ensure that they are keeping up with their progress,” Salim says. “Using the early warning system is helping me greatly achieve my objective.”