MSU Division of Access, Opportunity and Success reveals student outcome-focused updates

Mississippi State University’s Division of Access, Opportunity and Success is announcing updates to its organizational structure that will better serve current students and those who will enroll in the future.

The division is making changes to expand efforts in providing transformative learning experiences and streamline processes to meet the academic needs of students. Vice President Ra’Sheda Boddie-Forbes, at the direction of MSU President Mark E. Keenum, is leading these transformative changes.

“MSU must adapt to a changing society and global economy to effectively serve students in their academic journey and prepare them for post-college success. The updates to our division highlight our commitment to this response and align directly with the university’s strategic plan,” Boddie-Forbes said.

As stated in the Transforming MSU Strategic Plan, the university is working to improve and progress, with a campuswide effort focused on providing comprehensive support to all students.

This includes enhancing the university’s welcoming culture and ensuring academic success.

Portrait of Ra'Sheda Boddie-Forbes
Ra’Sheda Boddie-Forbes (OPA Photo)

Boddie-Forbes is the strategic leader of several programs and departments that provide tailored resources to students from diverse backgrounds. This includes key departments like the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, Office of Inclusive Excellence, Office of Access and Success, and the Office of Pre-College and Opportunity Programs. The mission of these departments is to ensure that all students achieve success throughout their collegiate journey.

As the division implements these changes, the vice president assures that student performance will significantly improve. Boddie-Forbes believes that accountability, excellence, community, and support are key principles that contribute to optimal student outcomes at Mississippi State University. The university is committed to creating accessible pathways and strategies that remove barriers and provide equitable opportunities for students to succeed and complete their degrees. MSU provides support and holistic guidance to students, helping them persist and achieve their goals.

Boddie-Forbes has outlined five main focal points to guide her team’s efforts:

– Preparing students for an increasingly diverse society

– Demonstrating student success at all levels and in all fields

– Creating a sense of belonging for people from all backgrounds

– Addressing economic, social, and core barriers to degree completion

– Establishing pathways and initiatives for K-12 students, graduate, and professional schools

The university’s innovative approach has received recognition from Insight Into Diversity magazine, as MSU has been named a recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. This aligns with MSU’s commitment to offering abundant resources and a supportive environment to students, including research options, service activities, tools for healthy living, and expanded academic programs.

In addition, MSU is part of a select group of 11 universities in the United States participating in the new national initiative, Transforming the Foundational Postsecondary Experience. Led by the Gardner Institute, this initiative aims to redesign the first two years of college to improve student learning and success and address performance gaps.

“MSU attracts students from across the U.S. and around the world, with diverse backgrounds and unique needs. We strive to have programs and initiatives that meet each student where they are, whether they are first-generation or international students, or if they come from foster care or any other background,” Boddie-Forbes said. “When students come to MSU, we want them to feel like part of the Bulldog family and know that they will be prepared for their future endeavors.”

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