Academic Success, Graduation Rates, Students, Teaching, Undergraduate Education


All students who enroll have success as their main goal. However, most institutions focus their resources on programs for students on honor roll, Dean’s list and those progressing academically.  Little resources remain for those students who stumble. In 2015, 36.2% of white students, 22.5% of black students, and 15.5% of Hispanic students had completed four years of college. This shows a 13.7% gap between black and white students and a 20.7% gap between Hispanic and white students (Wellman, 2017). How do we close this gap in educational completion?

This study believes that all students can learn. Consequently, there needs to be educational equity and the development of a basis for instruction and assessment of all students’ learning outcomes. This paper represents an exploratory fundamental and qualitative research that aims to present a refocus on the role of faculty in teaching and learning to reach all students in classrooms. It examines a holistic and collaborative approach to increasing student success using evidence -based qualitative analysis of best practices. This approach has four component parts. Part 1 is the Holistic Component that involves engaging all students in the institution; communicating purposefully to them in a timely manner; and providing all-inclusive comprehensive support services (HC). This part develops and implements measurable benchmarks that motivate, encourage, and enable all students. Part 2 is the Collaborative Component which involves bringing six working teams together: faculty, industry, current majors, alumni, career services, and the community (CC). This part engages the team in maintaining a living curriculum that reflects the ever-changing global economy.  Part 3 is Celebration of Student Success (CSS) which entails the collaborative team owning each milestone, reaffirming teamwork while building trust and persistence. Part 4 is the Assessment of Student Progress (ASP) using the holistic and collaborative approach.

The paper concludes that holistic and collaborative teamwork that includes, respects, and empowers all students is the key to reducing the college completion gaps that exist among blacks and Hispanic students.  

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