News | February 14, 2018

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New initiative aims to enhance student success

Cordova named VP for student success and enrollment management

In an effort to increase four-year graduation rates and improve overall student outcomes, Florida Gulf Coast University President Michael Martin, Ph.D., introduced a major initiative Wednesday, creating a new approach to student success and enrollment management.

Photo shows FGCU President Mike Martin
FGCU President Michael Martin

“Our Student Success – Enrollment Management Initiative will change the way we do business at FGCU through a redesigned organization and programs, as well as redeployed human and capital resources to prioritize investing in student success,” Martin said. “We recognize that change must come for a variety of reasons, and we are committed to ensuring that our students, citizenry and taxpayers receive the affordable, high-quality education and seamless graduation path they deserve.”

On March 1, Mitchell Cordova, Ph.D., will vacate the dean’s office in Marieb College of Health & Human Services to become the new vice president for student success and enrollment management.

“The educational experience at Florida Gulf Coast University is a lot broader than just taking classes, getting grades and moving on to the next course,” said Cordova. “It’s a rich environment where students are shaped culturally, socially and civically through rigorous degree programs that lead to competitive employment. Ultimately, it involves matching the needs of the local economy with our students’ skills to create a thriving society. We strive to provide that experience now, but this new approach will allow better synergies and efficiencies.”

Guided by FGCU’s strategic plan, this new approach brings together programs and services that impact the student experience. Three specific functional areas – academic engagement, student engagement and enrollment management – are being explored for enhanced synergies and integration. Cordova’s priority is to form design teams of faculty and staff leaders to establish function and structure. They also will identify new offices and programs that need to be created. While reporting structures and job descriptions may change, layoffs are not part of this initiative.

“Through this process, we will look at everything – including advising, scheduling, course offerings, summer school, instructional technology and obstacles to four-year graduation – to determine the university’s best organizational structure and rearranged campus facilities to better support our new students and retain our existing students for more timely and productive outcomes,” Martin added.

Photo shows Mitchell Cordova
Mitchell Cordova

The Student Success – Enrollment Management Initiative is the result of a 15-month review conducted by more than 50 students and staff and faculty members. Initial working groups met in late 2016 and early 2017 and recommendations were solidified over the last semester with support from Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Ph.D. Shockley-Zalabak is the chancellor emerita of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and president of CCI, Inc., a leadership and organizational consulting company.

“Many institutions are changing their fundamental approach to student success and enrollment management,” said Shockley-Zalabak. “FGCU is filling an enormous need in Florida and attracting very good students. This initiative is designed to help FGCU better serve those students and get more of them to graduation in a timely fashion.”

Cordova agrees and predicts the initiative will create a formalized pathway that ends with more students graduating in four years.

“It all starts with creating an environment for our students to establish connections to campus and discover a major in which they will excel. It will help them realize that FGCU is a place to earn a high-quality degree that enables them to thrive in their chosen profession,” Cordova added.

Once Cordova transitions to his new role, Joan Glacken, Ed.D., will become interim dean of Marieb College. Glacken is currently the college’s associate dean, a professor and interim chair of the Department of Health Sciences. Maddy Isaacs, Ph.D., will become acting associate dean of Marieb College and remain chair of the Department of Counseling. A national search for the dean position will be launched.

  • Watch President Martin’s campus announcement about the new Enrollment Management Initiative