LENS Campus

Contributing to Student Success

Investments Target New Campus Initiative

Photo of Case Western Reserve University move-in dayPHOTO: Mary Gerity

Move-in day for first year students

When a 2017 leadership award gave President Barbara R. Snyder the chance to invest $500,000 in Case Western Reserve, she decided to take her time selecting its recipient.

Affordability was a top priority, but she already had personally committed $1 million to scholarships.

Attracting and keeping top faculty was another, but she and others had raised support for more than 90 endowed professorships.

As for new academic spaces, donors had contributed to a 55,000-square-foot innovation hub, a stunning performing arts venue, a major renovation of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences—not to mention the 485,000-square-foot Health Education Campus project with Cleveland Clinic, scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.

Photo of Case Western Reserve University faculty and students holding banners at graduationPHOTO: Daniel Milner

2017 Commencement

Then an intriguing idea appeared: a Student Success Initiative. Inspired by the report of the Provost's Commission on the Undergraduate Experience, it aimed to make it easier for undergraduates to secure the assistance they needed—from financial aid and tutoring to disability services and career assistance. Professors would continue to provide academic advising, but students now would have a designated staff person to help them connect with the right office for their questions. This staff person also would be able to recognize early warnings about students who appear to be struggling—so that they and faculty advisors can reach out before difficulties overwhelm.

President Snyder saw so much promise that she wanted the initiative ready for the class entering this August. Not only did she put her half-million-dollar award from the Carnegie Corp. of New York toward the effort, but the Board of Trustees also directed its entire annual strategic investment (about $500,000) to it as well.

"The difference this initiative can make for our students is exceptional," President Snyder said. "Our students deserve the support that will help them thrive here."