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A Message from the President

In high school, Amber Kuehn sustained a serious ballet injury that required surgery and extensive physical therapy. After beating the odds and making a full recovery, she came to Cleveland State University, a first-generation college student who aspired to become a physical therapist herself. Nobody said it would be easy. Nonetheless, Amber plowed ahead with her pre-PT studies, including a battery of challenging anatomy and biology courses. She was determined to succeed.

Student success: It’s the mantra du jour in higher education. But merely repeating buzzwords over and over won’t make them a reality. If we really want students to succeed, we must provide an “operating system” that maximizes the chance to be successful.

At CSU, we have attempted to build this system by making dramatic changes in how students are advised, while also creating better pathways to optimize degree completion, including incentives that reward students. We know the college experience can be fraught with potential cracks to fall through, especially for nontraditional students or first-generation students, who are far more likely than their peers to drop out.

This operating system for student success helped Amber handily beat the odds again. Throughout her tenure at CSU she was supported by a suite of programs that help students stay on track to graduation.
These include:

  • Multi-term registration, which allows students to plan coursework for an entire academic year at once, rather than by semester, facilitating access to required courses;
  • Demand-driven enrollment, which enables students to request spots in courses at full capacity via online waitlists and makes it possible for departments to open additional class sections to meet demand; and
  • An adjusted tuition band, which lets students take up to 18 credit hours per semester at the same cost as 12 credit hours.

Amber also qualified for CSU’s Graduation Incentive Plan. It provided a two percent tuition rebate and a $200 book stipend to students who complete 30 credit hours per academic year in good academic standing.

Amber further benefited from intensive academic advising as well as tutoring through our TRIO program, which provides special assistance for first-generation and low-income students. She went on to become a tutor herself.

Our student success initiatives have strengthened the safety net at CSU. We’re seeing steady increases in retention and graduation rates, while simultaneously helping students save time and money en route to earning their degrees.

Just ask Amber. She completed her undergraduate career in three and a half years – ahead of schedule. At CSU’s December 2016 commencement, she was the valedictorian of our College of Sciences and Health Professions, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in health sciences.

When Amber received her diploma, I was so proud to shake her hand. She’ll soon start graduate school in pursuit of a doctor of physical therapy degree. She ultimately hopes to work with older adults. I have no doubt she will realize her aspirations. Nothing breeds success like success.



Ronald M. Berkman


Campaign Surpasses Goal!
At press time, ENGAGE: The Campaign for Cleveland State University had surpassed its $100 million goal! Thank you!

“We are thrilled with the campaign’s success and couldn’t be more grateful to everyone for their support. ENGAGE will help ensure the continued success of CSU students and provide a pipeline of graduates who are committed to using their education for the betterment of Northeast Ohio,” said President Ronald M. Berkman.

Read more about the success of ENGAGE: The Campaign for Cleveland State University here and in the next issue of Cleveland State magazine.

Also in this Issue...

The Dollars (and Sense) of Higher Education

CSU Innovations Help Speed Time to Graduation.

New on Campus

Progress continues at a rapid pace on two new buildings slated to open later this year. A 100,000-square-foot addition to the Washkewicz College of Engineering will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for next-generation engineers. Read more >>

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Cleveland State University Alumni Association
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