Supporting Student Success

Students in Talley Student Union

Dear faculty colleagues,

Welcome back to campus for the 2017-2018 academic year! This is one of my favorites times of the year as we welcome new and returning students to campus. Wolfpack Welcome Week is well underway, and I hope you’ve had some time to get involved in the activities taking place around campus. Our new first-year students began arriving on campus in recent weeks, and with your hard work and dedication they will become successful graduates of the class of 2021.

Mike Mullen, Vice Chancellor and Dean, Division of Academic and Student Affairs

To help everyone from first-year students to doctoral candidates reach their goals, we focus on the success of the whole student — academically, socially, mentally and physically. We’re balancing access with quality to make sure that students make timely progress toward a degree and become productive citizens and leaders, efforts which are outlined in the Five-Year Student Success Report.

In the past five years, the number of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees conferred increased 10 percent, 21 percent and 31 percent, respectively. First-year retention rates increased by 4 percentage points to 94 percent, second-year retention rates have increased by 6 percentage points, NC State’s four-year graduation rate increased 12 percentage points to 54 percent, and the six-year graduation rate increased 5 percentage points to 78 percent. First-year applications for admission increased 32 percent, and North Carolina community college transfer applications increased 25 percent over this same time.

Our collective work during the past five years has been impressive.  Our focus on the first goal of NC State’s strategic plan, Enhancing Student Success, has had a major impact on the student experience.  With that in mind, I want to again remind you of that which you already know: you, the faculty, have the primary impact on our students and their progress.  I urge you to discuss the following topics with your students during the first week of class, especially with new freshmen who may not yet understand what it takes to be successful in a college environment.


  • Regular class attendance provides a strong indicator of student academic success.  Students who are missing classes are less successful. Remind your students that classroom activities remain equally important to outside assignments, and often cover material that students can’t get elsewhere.
  • Review the Attendance Regulation – REG 02.20.03
    • Instructors must take attendance in 100 and 200 level courses.
    • The policy covers excused absences, including student representation of the university, military commitments, religious observances, death/illness in the family.
    • You must provide a fair and equitable arrangement for students to make up work for excused absences.

Classroom Engagement

While moving through the semester, consider discussing with your students:

  • How they can engage in and out of class with you, fellow classmates and the material covered.  Discuss your expectations with your students.
  • How to prepare for class, in order to make their classroom learning more productive.
  • The importance of office hours as a means to engage with you.

Also consider your pedagogy and how best to design activities that promote continual engagement. If you would like further assistance in making your course engaging, please contact the Office of Faculty Development. Of course, please remember to emphasize that meaningful interaction between students and faculty outside the classroom will greatly enhance classroom learning.

Academic Support

Your students may need extra support outside of class.  Resources available to them for academic support that you or others can offer, include:

Student Support

Please remember that while students strive for success, they may encounter mental and physical health situations that may detract from their ability to thrive in an academic atmosphere. If you have a struggling student, especially during the beginning of the semester, please consider submitting an Academic Progress Report through the MyPack Portal Faculty Center or Advising Dashboard, or via the Student Success GPS platform.

If you have a student exhibiting concerning behavior, please take one or more of the following steps:

Also remember that students with documented disabilities may need reasonable accommodations for equitable educational access. Contact the Disability Services Office for help on meeting these reasonable accommodations.

Thank you for being an integral part of the success of NC State students. I look forward to an engaging and productive 2017-2018 academic year. Please contact me if you would like to learn more about ways to achieve student success and the Division of Academic and Student Affairs.


Mike Mullen
Vice Chancellor and Dean
Division of Academic and Student Affairs

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