The Flywheel of Retention
After sagging for several years, our four- and six-year graduation rates ticked upward in 2015. Our fall-to-spring retention rate was up roughly two points, and our preliminary fall-to-fall rate followed suit. The number of students on probation dropped by about one-quarter. All these improvements are having an impact on our overall enrollment and on the number of credits generated.
The Power of Predictive Analytics for Student Retention
What if you could use data you already collect to identify which entering students are most at risk of leaving your institution, allowing you to target the most appropriate services to populations that need them? This is exactly what Eastern Connecticut State University is doing.
Rhona Free, Eastern’s vice president of academic affairs, explains that the university’s retention program allows it to “use data that most people already have” to determine why students are leaving campus, and perhaps higher education altogether, and take preventive steps.
Core Curriculum Improves Academic Rigor, Identity, and Retention
Concordia University Irvine recently adopted a core curriculum as a way to increase academic rigor, strengthen the university’s identity, and improve student retention. In May, the university graduated its first students to experience the core. In an interview with Academic Leader, Scott Ashmon, director of the core curriculum, explained the core’s design, implementation, and outcomes.
The core uses an interdisciplinary approach to “help students cultivate an understanding of comprehensive knowledge, and what we came up with was to pair certain courses,” Ashmon says. “The reason that that’s helpful is because you don’t have to go to certain departments and disciplines and say, ‘Can we borrow your faculty to create and staff some other course that is nondisciplinary?’ Rather, we can say, ‘We want disciplinary courses because we want students to be able to think in disciplined ways.’ That’s the ideal. It’s also easier to get departments and disciplines engaging in this kind of conversation if they can do it from within their disciplines.”