MSUToday
Published: Sept. 23, 2015

MSU collaborates on UIA ‘First in the World’ grant

Contact(s): Kristen Renn Office of the Provost office: (517) 353-5979 renn@msu.edu

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Michigan State University, as a member of the University Innovation Alliance, was selected as one of the winners in its First in the World competition to encourage innovation among institutions of higher education.

Georgia State University, on behalf of the UIA, has been awarded $8.9 million to conduct a four-year research study on its 11-member campuses to evaluate the effectiveness of advising in increasing retention, progression and graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students.

“MSU is pleased to be part of this innovative project to improve students’ academic success,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. “Predictive analytics can help make a positive difference by improving student advising, and can also assist us with the expansion of student success initiatives already implemented in the MSU Neighborhoods and across campus.”

The project will study 10,000 students who are exposed to an intensive menu of proactive, analytics-based advising interventions at the UIA universities. Through quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, the study will examine the benefits, especially for at-risk students, of introducing systematic, proactive advising.

“Today, more institutions are turning to data and analytics to help personalize advising and identify struggling students before they get too far off track,” said Bridget Burns, UIA executive director. “Our mission is to test new ideas, understand what works, and scale effective innovations across the country to ensure that more students have the support they need to complete college.”

As part of the study, students at each of the universities will be selected by random assignment and will receive, in addition to advising services typically offered, intensive, proactive advisement to help them establish individualized academic maps, real-time alerts prompted by a system of analytics-based tracking when they may be struggling, and timely, targeted advising interventions to get them back on the appropriate academic path.

The alliance was formed in 2014 from 11 large research institutions, including MSU, coming together across state and conference lines to increase the rate at which students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds graduate from college.