Raise retention rates to offset a decline in enrollment that followed the university’s transition from a community-based two- and four-year institution to a traditional baccalaureate and master’s degree university.
Partnered with Ruffalo Noel Levitz to develop a strategic retention plan with seven main areas of focus. The university hired a retention coordinator to collect and manage data, changed its advising model to align with the needs of more traditional four-year students, and developed a mandatory new student orientation and a mandatory first-year seminar class.
Attitudes changed and the campus became retention-minded with student success and graduation as the focal point. First-to-second-year retention rates rose for full-time, part-time, and transfer students: full-time increased from 59.7 percent to 61.7 percent, part-time from 30.8 percent to 35 percent, and transfer students from 64.7 percent to 65 percent. All of these improvements were realized in the first year of implementing the plan. The overall fall-to-spring retention rate in the following year also increased. Going forward, the university anticipates continued success as its long-term retention plan calls for improving its graduation rate by at least ten percentage points.
“We were able to get the entire campus and faculty to participate in these positive changes.
“If a campus needs to take retention seriously, the best way to get an initiative started is by working with [Ruffalo Noel Levitz].
“When working with a major initiative like this, it is always useful to have someone onboard from the outside.”
Dr. Larry Richards
Executive Vice Chancellor