Jim Dragna

Executive Director of University Initiatives and Student Success

California State University, Sacramento

Jim Dragna

Executive Director of University Initiatives and Student Success

California State University, Sacramento

Dr. Jim Dragna currently serves as Executive Director of University Initiatives and Student Success at Sacramento State. As the “Graduation Czar” at Sacramento State over the last two years, Dr. Dragna is responsible for coordinating graduation programming in line with the California State University ‘s Graduation 2025 Initiative. Under his supervision, the “Finish in Four” campaign at Sacramento State has demonstrated an overwhelming first year student response in pledges to Finish in Four. In 2012, approximately 20% of first year Sacramento State students enrolled in fifteen credit hours during their first semester. In 2017, 64% of first year students enrolled in fifteen or more credit units and more than 80% of first year students pledged to take 30 credit hours in their first year. As average unit loads increased, the University also increased the number of available courses to create sustainable guided pathways for on-time graduation.

In 2012-2016, Dr. Dragna served as Director of Student Success at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand where he gained international experience in overseeing student services professionals dedicated to furthering successful learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. Over a four-year period, Dr. Dragna initiated and innovated programs and processes that contributed to significant increases in student retention and progression to graduate rates while improving the measured quality of the student experience. His work included the fostering of high school transitional programs, integrated curricular and co-curricular content development, and residential/non-residential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. He guided the utilization of analytics in identifying and promoting targeted success variables.

Dr. Dragna carries with him over twenty-two years in higher education administration and management. His professional career includes progressive responsibilities in Student Affairs and Services at North Dakota State University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and University of South Florida. In addition to his Student Affairs administrative background, Dr. Dragna has taught undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students in Psychology and Psychodynamic Theory. He has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor in North Dakota and North Carolina and is currently a Licensed Psychologist in Minnesota. His area of professional interest centers on the integration of adolescent and young adult affective and cognitive development.

Dr. Dragna holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and graduate degrees in Counseling Education from the University of Colorado. Jim Dragna is known for his collaborative working style with students, families, faculty, staff, and community members in combining vision with informed decision–making while advancing success for individual students and diverse student groups.

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