Northern Kentucky University is committed to advancing student success aligned with regional needs.
Listen to President Ashish Vaidya share more about Success by Design.
As NKU enters its second half-century, we invite you to help design our strategic direction by providing your thoughts on access, completion and career and community engagement.


NKU is committed to providing access to all individuals seeking a higher education.

Question: How do we ensure that more students from the region and beyond have access to an NKU education?

Access into higher education extends beyond academic preparation (grades and test scores) and the enrollment pipeline into higher education. Access also includes the community’s collective responsibility to prepare and support students’ transition into higher education through middle- and high-school preparation in college readiness, financial literacy, building students’ human and social capital, and establishing expectations to enroll in college, especially for marginalized groups (under-represented minorities, low income and/or academically deficient people).


NKU is committed to helping students complete their higher education goals.

Question: How do we ensure that more students, particularly those underrepresented in higher education, earn a degree, credential, or certificate in a timely manner from NKU?


Completion is an iterative process that establishes markers that students must successfully complete throughout the college lifecycle before proceeding to the next completion marker. These completion markers include:

  • What academic preparations have incoming students engaged in? If none, should the University use the summer prior as a preparation time (i.e., Summer Spark, completion of remedial courses, financial literacy workshops, etc.)
  • First-fall to first-spring retention
  • First-fall to second-fall retention
  • 30 earned credit hours by the end of the first year
  • Declaration of major by end of the first year (certain amount of credit hours in the major?)
  • First-fall to third-fall retention
  • First-fall to fourth-fall retention
  • Four-year and six-year graduation rates
  • Closing achievement and performance gaps (embedded throughout each marker)
  • Questions: Where does co-curricular and other non-academic success programs fit into the curricular model? Should students be required to complete career preparedness initiatives throughout their major? CPE Benchmarks Number of degrees/credentials/certificates produced

Career & Community Engagement

NKU is committed to preparing students for productive careers and community engagement.

Question: How do we ensure that all NKU graduates are prepared for a successful career and to be engaged community members?

Career & community success is defined as the attainment and demonstration of competencies and skills necessary to transition as a productive member into the workforce or graduate studies. Regional economic and civic engagement. Career & community success is defined as the attainment and demonstration of competencies and skills necessary to transition as a productive member into the workforce or graduate studies. Regional economic and civic engagement.

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During NKU’s 2018 fall convocation, President Ashish Vaidya considered how we might utilize design thinking tools and the 3-box methodology in an accelerated timeframe of six months to develop a 3-year strategic framework for NKU. We are collecting input and ideas through several design thinking tools with our students, faculty, staff, and members of the community and the region. This feedback will be placed into the three boxes to shape and communicate our strategy for the future.

BOX 1:

We must improve on the things we are currently doing in ways that will yield better results for access, completion and career & community engagement.

BOX 2:

We must learn from and selectively forget the past processes that hinder access, completion and career & community engagement.

BOX 3:

We must design new, innovative ways to serve current and future students, ensuring their success with regards to access, completion and career & community engagement.


We encourage everyone to stay informed on the Success by Design strategic framework process. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Over the next six months, the NKU Strategic Core Team will meet with students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community to define goals for every category within the three boxes and devise a strategy to reach these goals. We want to hear from you and urge you to provide input.


If you'd like to share your thoughts on what our strategic framework should look like, you may contact the NKU Strategic Framework Core Team at