Students stepped up to demonstrate their passion for inquiry and discovery at the celebratory launch of “With Passion and Purpose,” the campaign for SUNY Oswego, in October 2014. As the year unfolded, we expanded access to a rich and fulfilling college education for students from a wider array of backgrounds, developed our distinctive learning opportunities, and awarded a record number of degrees.
On track to success
Oswego promotes a culture of caring to support students on their path to a degree and on to rewarding personal and professional lives. In 2014-15, we added a number of strategies to this end.
Academic success specialists
We created new professional staff positions to motivate and empower students to complete their degrees and pursue a successful future fueled by lifelong learning.
Early academic alert
We expanded use of a student performance-tracking system to 2,600 students in an effort to identify as early as three weeks into the semester those new students who may be struggling. Early warning allows us to step in with personalized support to help keep them in class and in college.
By adding financial literacy training, we helped recent graduates better manage their finances and in turn reduced the college's three-year student loan default rate from 7 percent in 2014 to 5 percent in 2015.
96% of undergraduates study full time toward degrees
2,079 degrees awarded in 2014-15
95% of 2014 graduates employed or in graduate school
96 Alumni in Residence in 2014-15 (up 50%)
In addition, our well-reputed, data-directed efforts to get more students into the higher education pipeline and help them persist to graduation won the endorsement and backing of federal funding agencies. In 2014-15:
Two-year to four-year pipeline
With a goal of increasing both two-year and four-year degree completion rates, Oswego has partnered with upstate community colleges and a nonprofit organization in two initiatives. Our pilot recruitment and retention project with Jefferson Community College is growing, and SUNY has selected it as a model for the system. In addition, our college received a $2.9 million “First in the World” grant from the U.S. Department of Education — one of just 24 awards nationally — to improve college completion rates in Upstate New York. With our partners Mohawk Valley and Onondaga community colleges and On Point for College, we are encouraging two-year college students to raise their sights to a bachelor’s degree from Oswego.
By its third year, our five-year National Science Foundation-funded program to increase student retention in science, technology, engineering and mathematics rocketed past its initial goals, extending mentoring and tutoring to many more students and improving year-to-year retention beyond expectations.
Learning in the world
As an integrated part of their learning experience, students at Oswego have boundless opportunities to venture into real-world environments that are entirely new to them. The opportunities we offer in professional, diverse and international settings opened to more students in 2014-15.
Our students are increasingly diverse: ethnically, geographically and in their academic interests. This very diversity is a learning experience, as students engage one another in all phases of collegiate life.
We moved to ease and encourage these interactions with a range of new programs in 2014-15: incorporating the values of diversity and inclusion in orientation for new students, bringing in nationally recognized diversity trainers for staff and students, and serving more ethnic dishes in the dining halls. We spotlighted diversity and promoted conversations college-wide with the “I Am Oz” poster series and “Shine the Light on Oz” initiative.
Fourteen new first-year students received the first scholarships supporting participation in Oswego’s cooperative education program. The distinctive co-op learning path combines classroom study with a full-time professional employment experience of up to six months with one of the program’s 25 business partners.
Inclusive learning environment
1,733 culturally diverse students in fall 2015
21.8% of students were culturally diverse
14% one-year increase in culturally diverse students
135 international students in fall 2015
Our students’ study-abroad participation grew by 26.3 percent in 2014-15, abetted by additional scholarships helping to fund their international travel and strong faculty commitment to offer courses and programs abroad. In addition, the Fulbright Program — the flagship federally sponsored international exchange program — supported an Oswego student conducting independent study in India.
Our graduates go on to succeed in the marketplace. A yearlong study showed that 95 percent of Oswego’s class of 2014 entered the workforce or graduate school — or both — following graduation. And of those who got jobs, 86 percent were employed in their field of choice.
Many alumni, both recent and older — about 200 in 2014-15 alone — return to campus or bring students into their workplace to inspire and coach them on life after college.
Spotlight: ‘I, Too, Am Study Abroad’
The college initiated a drive to extend international study opportunities to a wider diversity of students in 2014-15.
“I, Too, Am Study Abroad” raises awareness of the benefits of international education and the availability of scholarships to help pay for it.
By growing and diversifying our study-abroad portfolio and increasing targeted grants and scholarships, we have helped make international education a more viable and enticing option for all students. One result: study-abroad participation by students from underrepresented groups grew from 13 percent in 2010-11 to more than 25 percent by 2014-15, mirroring the college’s diversity.
The Institute for International Education now cites our program as a model.