Click here for information and updates about the University’s response to COVID-19.

MTSU now a national award finalist for promoting s...

MTSU now a national award finalist for promoting student success

Less than two years after the initiation of its Quest for Student Success initiative, MTSU is in the running for a top national award for its efforts.

Click on the graphic for more details on MTSU's "Quest for Student Success" project.

Click on the graphic for more details on MTSU’s “Quest for Student Success” project.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has selected MTSU as one of the five finalists for its APLU Project Degree Completion Award.

The honor recognizes universities that implement innovative strategies to increase undergraduate retention and graduation rates.

“This … is really recognition by a professional association in a very competitive environment,” said Dr. Richard Sluder, vice provost for student success.

“We’re in stiff competition with schools that have been doing this for a lot longer than MTSU.”

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard Sluder

Morgan State University, the University of South Florida, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, round out the field of finalists.

The award will be presented at APLU’s annual meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In submitting data to APLU for consideration, Dr. Cornelia Wills, director of the MTSU Office of Student Success, cited:

  • an increase of two percent in the 2014-2015 academic year in sophomores returning for the spring semester.
  • a rise of 4.1 percent in the 2014-2015 academic year in new transfer students returning for the spring semester.
  • a 2.5 percent boost in the 2014-2015 academic year in freshmen returning for the spring semester.

APLGU logo webMTSU’s award application also notes that it’s the top producer of graduates in the Tennessee Board of Regents system and the No. 1 producer of both adult and lower-income graduates in Tennessee.

Sluder also hailed MTSU’s increase in academic advisors, now numbering 87 campuswide, and the expenditure of more than $200,000 last year on tutoring, which made free tutoring available for 165 courses, as contributing factors.

The award is an aspect of Project Degree Completion, a project developed by APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Nearly 500 public institutions, including MTSU, have pledged to award a total of 3.8 million more degrees by 2025.

For more information, contact Sluder at 615-898-2324 or To learn more about the APLU Project Degree Completion Project, go to

— Gina K. Logue (