Mindset for Success: Propelling McMurry’s Future


What began as an ambitious research oriented plan for student success in the fall of 2016 has now grown into McMurry’s newest plan for the future: Mindset for Success. The Mindset for Success, or also known as the Quality Enhancement Plan for Academic Success (QEP), is the newest institutional program within McMurry to propel students for success while at McMurry.     

When the QEP began in the fall of 2016, it was composed of faculty, staff, and students whose goal was to assess a successful student experience at McMurry. However, as time progressed and the QEP grew, the mindset focused more on empowering students to focus on their own academic success, along with providing the tools necessary to achieve such success at McMurry.

            The Mindset for Success campaign, spearheaded by Dr. Christina Wilson, has ambitious plans for McMurry students, specifically in improving and adjusting academic habits while still salvageable. The research conducted by the QEP committee concluded that students who achieve a GPA of 2.5 or above in their first year at McMurry are 2.7 times more likely to retain to the sophomore year and 3.7 times more likely to graduate than those who do not reach a GPA of 2.5.

            Within finding such results that pave way for student retention and graduation, the QEP committee discovered some numbers that were vital to assess in order to make noted changes. According to the QEP’s data, students placed on academic probation are most likely to leave the university within a year, and on average over 60 percent of students who are on probation leave the institution within one year. Also, on average, over 40 percent of students with a midterm grade below C- leave the institution within a year and almost 60 percent of students with a term GPA below 2.0 leave the institution within a year.

            A problem that has left former McMurry students in limbo–transferring to other schools or dropping out–the Mindset for Success committee’s goal is to tackle that problem at its core and promote student retention with several incentives that will allow students to obtain a degree, no matter how hard it may be to keep up a certain grade point average.          

In the spring of 2017, the QEP committee solely centered its work on retaining students who are struggling academically. In the spring of 2018, extensive research and drafting began to create a literal mindset for success for students. Most of the data collected centered on what makes a student successful at McMurry and what factors can attribute to low-academic performance. With such data, and by working closely with students, the QEP was thus able to create an extensive and well-informed plan to promote student success.

            “I’m really excited about this,” said Dr. Cindy Martin, professor of Mathematics, head of the first year experience, and member of the Mindset for Success leadership team. “What McMurry is able to do really well is build relationships with its students. We work best when we listen closely to students and it makes it easier for students to come to us and easily ask for help. It [Mindset for Success] has the potential to have great impact, and personally, I thrive off of the success of my students.”

            The purpose of the Mindset for Success campaign then is to enhance academic performance and subsequent retention through three main types of targeted interventions: frequent grade notifications, guided goal setting and action plan development, and well-timed schedule calibrations. By centering focus on these three-targeted interventions, the Mindset for Success campaign will engage students to have the opportunities to improve their academic standing.

            Along with giving students the resources they need for success and for retention, the Mindset for Success campaign has set out to go beyond the classroom and assist students who are underperforming in the classroom with a financial aid incentive. Collaborating with the John N. Gardner Institute, the Mindset for Success program will provide the infrastructure necessary to support students and increase the likelihood of their success at McMurry.

            Thus, the Mindset for Success not only looks to keep students by engaging them academically as best possible, but also by propelling them financially in order to push through college and obtain a degree. By reducing certain academic and financial barriers to success, even the most at-risk students will have a better chance to remain in college and graduate with a degree.

            As McMurry prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, creating a Mindset for Success that will breed successful McMurry graduates throughout the nation seems a great start to our next era as a university. With caring faculty, staff, and students working hard each day to promote the sense of community at McMurry, there is no doubt that the results for the Mindset for Success will be successful.

            “No student should be concerned about failing due to external factors,” said student body President Cody Kovar. “Every student has the capacity to excel, and the fact that McMurry is doing everything in its power to promote that success will enhance the student life experience for the next 100 years.”

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