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In the photo above, a group of Northwest students study for final exams at the B.D. Owens Library in. As a result of the University's student success initiatives, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities has announced Northwest as a recipient of one of its Excellence and Innovation Awards. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

In the photo above, a group of Northwest students study for final exams at the B.D. Owens Library in. As a result of the University's student success initiatives, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities has announced Northwest as a recipient of one of its Excellence and Innovation Awards. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

Oct. 17, 2019

Northwest garners national recognition for peer-leading student success

For the fourth time in five years, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has recognized Northwest Missouri State University with an Excellence and Innovation Award, honoring the institution this year for its focus on student success.

AASCU’s Excellence and Innovation Award in Student Success and College Completion honors institutions that achieve significant improvements in student success and college completion. While the award focuses on year-to-year retention and graduation rates, AASCU selected Northwest to receive the award for its outstanding results and potential to influence and serve as a model for other institutions.

The recognition reflects, in part, the work Northwest completed during an 18-month period to implement a reimagined student success program and elevate performance excellence. The new academic success and retention unit, led by Allison Hoffmann, who serves as director of academic success and retention, brought together areas of academic advisement and success coaching; academic recovery; academic support, including tutoring and supplemental instruction; new student orientation; first-year experience and retention support.

“As with all awards, the credit goes to so many for such incredible work in the name of student success,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “This is truly an institutional effort. Our efforts in implementing the integrated model cut across teams and individuals, and we are thankful for our institutional ethos focused on student success. At our core, we have focused on student success throughout our history, and we are continuing to build, adapt and refine our approaches to address changing learners’ needs through partnerships, the great work of our faculty and staff and other stakeholders.”

Quickly after creating its academic success and retention unit in July 2017, Northwest’s fall-to-fall retention increased to 73.24 percent, a two percent increase over the previous three-year average. Last fall, one full academic year after the unit’s implementation, the University’s retention increased to a record 77.97 percent, a remarkable 7 percent increase that also ranked in the 99th percentile of national peer institutions. Additionally, the number of students on academic probation and academic suspension at Northwest decreased, while student satisfaction increased among freshmen in every category on the Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction survey.

According to the satisfaction survey results, which is given biennially to freshmen and juniors, 78 percent of Northwest freshmen stated they “probably yes” or “definitely yes” would enroll at the institution again, compared to 71 percent nationally. Eighty-two percent of juniors reported they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experience at Northwest, compared to 71 percent nationally.

Additionally, Northwest is one of five universities working with AASCU on an effort to validate strategies as AASCU launches a Center for Student Success this year. Northwest and the other selected institutions are sharing tools and expertise as they refine and validate the student success center’s offerings with the goal of scaling services to the broader AASCU membership.

“This award is a true testament to our institutional commitment to student success and willingness to reimagine how we support and serve students,” Hoffmann said. “Launching a holistic and integrated model of student success significantly increased retention and persistence in addition to transforming our student success efforts on campus. Special thanks goes to members of Northwest’s academic success and retention team and our entire campus community for showcasing agility, flexibility and a continued commitment to student success.”


About the Excellence and Innovation Awards

Recipients of AASCU’s Excellence and Innovation Awards receive an engraved sculpture and are recognized Sunday, Oct. 27, during the opening session of the 2019 AASCU Annual Meeting at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix.

The Excellence and Innovation awards program, now in its sixth year, honors AASCU member institutions for excellence and innovation in the areas of regional and economic development, student success and college completion, sustainability and sustainable development, teacher education, international education, and leadership development and diversity.

Winning entries must show evidence that the institution’s initiative had top-level administrative support, connected with its mission and strategic agenda, contributed to significant institutional improvements or programming, was grounded in research, and incorporated best practices.

AASCU recognized Northwest last year with its Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award, for sustainability and sustainable development in 2017 and for international education in 2015. Northwest was just the third institution in the nation to earn the McAuliffe award two times, having first received it in 2006.

View an AASCU news release announcing its Excellence and Innovation Award winners, here.

AASCU is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of about 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.


About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of more than 7,100 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

The University boasts a placement rate of 97 percent for bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners who secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, names Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.

Furthermore, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $7,400 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
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