Provost Nichols addresses commencement changes


Provost Laurie Nichols stopped by the Students’ Association meeting on Monday night to discuss future issues that will affect students.

The first major issue Nichols brought up was last year’s graduation ceremony. 

“The fire marshall said we broke fire code so badly he could have shut down commencement,” Nichols said.

Since fire code was broken, the University was told they cannot have that large of a commencement ceremony in Frost Arena again, meaning there has to be change. 

One option to fix the problem would include running ceremonies by colleges throughout the day, a common model used by SDSU’s peers. 

“If we did that, we would have plenty of capacity and have no problem at all. I didn’t get a lot of enthusiastic responses to that,” Nichols said.

Of the roughly 1,500 students graduating in May, 1,200 actually participate. The next solution Nichols proposed is running two undergraduate commencement ceremonies, one at 10 a.m. and one at 1 p.m.

This plan would separate the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Agricultural and Biological Sciences, the two largest colleges. Double majors would be allowed to walk in both ceremonies.

Each ceremony would have around 600 students graduating. 

“We will still fill Frost Arena with no problem,” Nichols said.

There will not be an official decisions regarding the commencement ceremonies for another few weeks. 

Provost Nichols then moved onto student success. She presented the Senate with The Next Generation Student Success Model. This new model focuses on SDSU retention and graduation rates. The task force that developed the model would like to bring graduation rates up to 60 percent and retention rates up to 80 percent. 

“What’s dominate in this plan is using data analytics to help us predict student behavior so we can plan better for our students,” Nichols said.

The Senate also discussed some potential resolutions for the next few weeks.

The Students’ Association meets on Mondays at 7 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room.