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The Space for Success

Throughout the past few years, CSU has developed a collection of student success programs that set students on an upward trajectory. This summer saw the rollout of a new, highly popular initiative that had both students and parents breathing a sigh of relief.

There’s resilience. And there’s grit.

Tachelle Banks, Ph.D. isn’t a proponent of the latter, but wholeheartedly supports the former.

Grit is the notion of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, she said.

“I don’t know that everyone has bootstraps. I’m not quite sure that everyone can pull up the same way.”

But resilience? Everyone has that.

“I do believe that most folks have the resolve to thrive, to strive – sometimes it’s striving and sometimes it’s thriving – and I’d like to see everyone thrive,” she said.

As associate vice president for academic innovation (as well as the newly appointed presidential faculty fellow), Banks and her team dreamed up ways to create the space for students to excel.

That includes launching the Graduation Coaching Office in 2018 to increase retention for underrepresented and at-risk students. In 2019, with support from Parkin Hannifin, CSU established the Parker Hannifin Living and Learning Community, which provides Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduates studying at CSU with two years of free on-campus housing and student support services. 

Last summer, Banks led the creation of the Summer Bridge Enrichment Academy, a three-week immersive on-campus program that prepares recent high school graduates – and their families – for the rigors of college. Students lived on campus in Euclid Commons, earned a summer stipend and participated in enrichment and social activities and more.

“The response was unbelievable,” Banks said of the enrichment academy.

“The turnout for the welcome event was standing room only. And it wasn’t just the students, it was the families. They were there. They leaned in. They were ready.”

Banks recalls looking over the seas of faces, taken aback by how eager the crowd seemed for the opportunity.

It returns to her point of resilience and how she sees it—that if we’re honest, we all want to succeed in life and will do what’s necessary to achieve our goals. For some, though, that endeavor often comes fraught with obstacles and barriers, stymieing any chance of success.

But not if Banks can do anything about it.

“I believe excellence resides everywhere. The potential is there. We just have to help them realize what that potential is.”

Also in this issue...

Research Highlights

From ecology to oncology, new research conducted by CSU faculty is making significant contributions to science.

Ready to lead

A trio of higher education professionals, all with extensive experience and impressive accomplishments, recently joined CSU to help shape the bold plan for the university’s future.

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Cleveland State University Alumni Association
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