Strong Start To Finish

The City University of New York

In 2018, The City University of New York (CUNY), was selected to serve as one of Strong Start to Finish’s six scaling sites that serve as exemplars for scaling evidence-based practices.

CUNY-SSTF was led by a team comprised of central office administrators, campus leaders, and faculty to engage all 10 of its open admission associate-granting institutions in ensuring all students have a strong start to finish their degree.

Ongoing supplemental funding, which began in 2020 through Strong Start to Finish, established support and training for faculty members to improve their online and in-person teaching practices thereby increasing completion rates of students in math and English corequisites. 

Priority Action Areas

CUNY-SSTF’s action areas are integrated into their new strategic framework, Connected CUNY, which commits to scaling up CUNY’s most effective practices and programs, thus improving students’ academic and career outcomes. CUNY-SSTF’s priority action areas aim to:

  • Increase the number of students completing gateway math courses in their first year.
  • Double the number of students completing both math and English courses in their first year.
  • Assign students who would have been placed into traditional remediation to courses based on alternate, comprehensive set of reforms.
  • Increase the average number of credits a new associate student earns in their first year, putting most students on track to graduate in three years.

Strategies at Scale

Through the support and professional networks of Strong Start to Finish, CUNY-SSTF will scale the following reforms:

  • Phase out all traditional, standalone remedial courses and replace them with a combination of intensive pre-matriculation workshops and corequisite courses for matriculated students by 2023.
  • Give more students access to regular credit-bearing gateway courses by changing the remedial placement policies to include a rigorously-tested multiple measures assessment.
  • Implement a faculty residency program to implement the scaling of English and math corequisite courses by creating course redesign handbooks, teacher training materials and hosting course outcome data forums.
  • Create standardized training for advisors and communication materials for students to understand remediation options and create an academic plan upon entry.

Project Leadership and Campus Involvement

CUNY-SSTF is managed by leadership from the Office of Policy Research and Office of Academic Affairs with the support of the Office of the Chancellor.

All 10 of the open-admission associate-granting institutions are participating in CUNY-SSTF. These institutions collectively serve more than 25,000 first-year students annually:

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Bronx Community College
  • College of Staten Island
  • Guttman Community College
  • Hostos Community College
  • Kingsborough Community College
  • LaGuardia Community College
  • Medgar Evers College
  • New York City College of Technology
  • Queensborough Community College