June 14, 2016—Ruffalo Noel Levitz, the leading provider of technology-enabled services, software, and consulting for higher education enrollment management and fundraising, has announced the winners of the 2016 Lee Noel and Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Awards. The awards recognize innovative campus retention programs that increase student success and completion.
The following institutions will be formally recognized for their winning retention efforts at this year’s National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention, taking place July 26-28 in Dallas, Texas:
- Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Virginia): Since implementing institution wide initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates, including learning communities and calibrated scheduling, faculty core advising, academic support services in a Center for Academic Success, and early warning systems, the university has seen significant increases in measures of student and intuitional success. By using a holistic approach that fosters independent learning, the university has increased the first-year retention rate from 75.2 percent to 87.5 percent. The six-year graduation rate has dramatically increased more than 25 percent and the five-year graduate rate has improved by 26 percent. The four-year graduation rate has improved from 30.5 percent to 63.5 percent. In the past three years, the number of freshmen in academic jeopardy at the end of their first semester has decreased from nearly 20 percent to 14 percent, while GPAs have increased as have the number of students receiving academic honors. The early relationships formed with advisors combined with specialized intervention programs have contributed to over 85 percent of their recent graduates being employed full time in their chosen career or enrolled in graduate school six months after graduation from Christopher Newport.
- Northwest Iowa Community College (Sheldon, Iowa): In 2014, the college formed the Retention Committee which leads the Retention Initiatives for Student Educational Success (R.I.S.E.S) to create a persuasive, student-centered culture to encourage persistence, retention, goal attainment, and timely graduation. Under this new program, the college modified the advising structure to provide intensive weekly intervention and a dedicated professional advisor for each program of study, utilized block scheduling, established learning communities, and provides academic support in person and online. In doing so, the college achieved an overall retention rate of 66 percent for new full and part-time freshmen intending to obtain an associate degree who entered college in fall 2013. A 50 percent retention rate for fall 2013 entering students with a high school GPA of 2.3 or less was achieved. In addition, they achieved a retention rate of 61 percent for fall 2013 entering students who demonstrated financial need by Pell eligibility.
- Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York): The WellsLink Leadership Program (WLP) was established in 2003 in response to growing demands for a new and expanded type of academic support program for first-year students of color not already receiving support through state and federal opportunity programs or the department of athletics. From 2003-2013, WLP has served 641 students, where peer leaders assist with social transitions to college, and academic consultants (graduate students and staff) assist participants to create personalized action plans and develop academic accountability skills. Seminars, leadership development, motivation, cultural enrichment and community building programs to reinforce high academic achievement, accountability, and positive racial attachment are provided throughout the first year and into the second. After their first year with WellsLink, these scholars earned an average cumulative GPA of 3.16. Ninety-six percent of these scholars returned for their second year, compared with the remainder of the university, which had a 91 percent persistence rate. In addition, the six-year graduation rate for WellsLink scholars was 83 percent compared to a rate of 81 percent for the remainder of the university.
The Retention Excellence Awards Program was established in 1989 to honor outstanding achievements in student retention by colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Winners are selected by leading campus-based retention practitioners.
Case studies from these institutions will be available at www.RuffaloNL.com/Awards.
About Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Ruffalo Noel Levitz is the leading provider of technology-enabled services, software, and consulting for higher education enrollment management and fundraising. More than 1,800 colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations rely on the company’s solutions to help achieve their mission. Harnessing the power of advanced research, analytics, and multichannel marketing combined with a deep understanding of higher education and nonprofit environments, Ruffalo Noel Levitz helps clients smartly identify, efficiently reach, and meaningfully connect with their key constituents at pivotal moments—from admission and financial aid to student retention, alumni engagement, and fundraising.