Key Terms

Key terms are defined to allow the reader to understand how they are used in the context of student success.

Barriers to access

Practices, policies, and procedures of an institution that impede a student’s ability to progress toward credential attainment.


All stakeholders coming together for a greater purpose.

Data driven

Is an example of when an institution has fully adopted a culture of student success. Routine analysis of institutional practices is conducted and barriers removed. It is considered a “best” practice.

Degree attainment

The achievement of a certificate, degree, or other credential within higher education that a student receives within a reasonable time frame.

Functional area

Includes those areas that support a student’s progression and success in credential attainment.

High-impact practices

Meaningful, student-centered experiences that require student and institution participation that contribute to the success and lifelong learning of the student.

Lifelong learning

The continuous process of acquiring knowledge and/or skills to promote one’s success and credential attainment.


The continued enrollment of a student from year two through the point of credential attainment.


The continued enrollment of a student from first year to second year.


Allowing all stakeholders access to information pertaining to the overall success of students (e.g., retention rates, graduation rates, early alert flags).

Whole-person educators

When an institution fosters stakeholders to be aware of the whole student and committed to preparing them for the whole world.

SPU students talking about issues of diversity

Inclusive excellence

Learn more about the ongoing efforts to support the work of diversity at Seattle Pacific University.

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Faculty Senate Materials