D23 is designed to serve as a succinct and comprehensive institutional guide to achieving university-wide goals for student enrollment and graduation. D23 establishes a unified approach to fulfilling NSU’s mission of helping individuals achieve their educational aspirations while honoring our commitment to Oklahoma’s higher education goals. At the heart of D23 is college completion, and NSU embraces our unique role in increasing the number of persons with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. To accomplish this, retention and completion continue to be critical university priorities. As a public access point regional university, we will assist the state of Oklahoma achieve economic and educational goals for generations to come. Therefore, D23 should and will be a living and evolving document that guides NSU for the next 10 years.
In 2012, Oklahoma joined the Alliance of States for Complete College America, a national movement driven by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and USA Funds. “Complete College America is a national nonprofit with a single mission: to work with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.” The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have recognized “Complete College America (CCA) as the most comprehensive and ambitious higher education initiative ever undertaken by the state of Oklahoma. The goal is to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma to [sic] 50,900 by 2023.” Complete College Oklahoma established institutional goals based on 2011 conferred degrees reported to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. NSU’s baseline conferred degrees reported for 2011 was 1787. NSU’s commitment to Complete College Oklahoma is an increase of degrees conferred by 55 degrees per year, a total increase of 660 by 2023. NSU’s long term goal is to increase our annual number of degrees to a minimum of 2,477 per year up from the CCO baseline of 1787 degrees conferred in 2011.
D23 understands our efforts to improve retention and completion must not come at the expense of limiting access. Some would argue that it would be relatively easy to boost graduation rates by admitting only those students with high academic qualifications, but as a public regional university, we cannot pursue greater student success by restricting access to higher education. Conversely, we cannot compromise the quality of the educational experience. Lowering academic standards might boost the number of graduates, but such a tactic would not honor our commitment to properly serve students and society.
While D23 is NSU’s road map to fulfilling our commitment to Complete College Oklahoma, it also serves as a complimentary piece to NSU’s Strategic Plan. We recognize that by fulfilling our University Strategic Plan and D23 objectives, the end result will be graduates who are prepared to enter a multicultural and increasingly globalized world.
Following Complete College America’s “Essential steps,” D23 is divided into four components: lead, measure, act, and innovate. Our commitment to lead clarifies designated leaders to move D23 forward and establishes roles and responsibilities of each division and the individuals designated as institutional champions. D23 identifies measures to use in evaluating progress toward enrollment and retention goals. It puts in motion relevant recruitment, transfer and retention initiatives and recommendations identified by past task forces, external consultants like Noel-Levitz, and university committees. We see these recommendations as a charge to act. D23 also pushes for innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining students.