The Student Success Initiative (SSI) has been a collective change management process for enhancing equitable progress to degree and removing roadblocks for the success of every UIC student. The history of this effort goes back to a campus-wide effort that started with the Chancellor's charge in February 2012. From 2012 to 2014, UIC embarked on a collective effort to produce a comprehensive roadmap for increasing student success. Initiated by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, this process engaged over 200 UIC students, faculty, staff, and administrators. In Summer 2014, UIC received a grant from the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, which provided support for the implementation of the recommendations in the Student Success Plan. Through this grant, Negar Mansourian-Hadavi was hired to take the lead on the implementation phase. Office of Project Management for Student Success Initiatives (OPMSSI) was created and a project management framework was tailored to support SSI implementation process.
Between 2014 and 2017, OPMSSI director benefited from the support and insight of a leadership team that included representatives from Academic and Student Affairs, at the Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor levels. UIC leadership, including the Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, endorsed the SSI, tasking the Office of Project Management for Student Success Initiatives and the SSI Leadership Team to proceed with the priority projects, selected for the first round of the implementation phase. Projects priority level were determined by (a) likely high impact, (b) feasibility, and (c) timeliness. During that period, 90% of the proposed recommendations in the original Student Success Plan were implemented through the initial 20 Student Success Initiative (SSI) projects or incorporated into the existing efforts of other UIC units. As the result of this work, a number of new programs, structures, and technology tools were emerged which empowered reforms or enhancement of student success. Many of such changes enabled subsequent SSI projects with more targeted goals. Therefore, after 2017, OPMSSI continued to identify and launch Student Success Initiative projects, drawing on internal and external student success research, national best practices, and campus priorities. By 2022 and despite the impeding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and leadership changes, OPMSSI led over 31 Student Success Initiative projects to completion, targeting marginalized student populations, the transition to college, and impediments to persistence and completion. Highlights project accomplishments may be reviewed here.
In October 2022, UIC restructured some of the offices within Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to align units addressing the entire student experience from prospective student through graduation. The intention of the re-alignment was to reduce siloes across the areas shepherding students for a cohesive aligned student experience. OPMSSI's move from Undergraduate Affairs to Student Affairs provided an opportunity to reassess the lessons-learned and broaden the scope to incorporate gradate and professional students (in addition to the undergraduates). A new SSI Leadership Team was established to identify and prioritize projects while an Advisory Board was invited to receive updates about ongoing SSI project, provide input to guide future efforts, and advocates for the required resources for the implementation of the project objectives.