Ensuring Graduation a Goal for Provost’s Student Success Committee
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 23, 2012) – While the University of Central Missouri looks toward another year of enrollment growth to help meet strategic goals, continued efforts to ensure high graduation rates have prompted creation of the new Student Success Committee.
The committee was established this summer under the direction of Rick Sluder, vice provost for enrollment management, and includes participation from individuals representing diverse groups throughout the campus community. It consists of a five-member Principal Steering Committee and five Rapid Response Teams, comprised of 30 faculty, staff, and administrative personnel.
Sluder said UCM’s commitment to students extends much further than getting them to enroll at the university, and all campus employees have a stake in this process. Retention requires a campus-wide focus to ensure adequate programs and services are in place to help students overcome obstacles that could prevent them from completing their degrees.
“This is a natural part of our exceptional accomplishments in recruitment,” Sluder said. “We work hard to get students here and we want to ensure they are successful while they are on campus.”
Sluder said the Rapid Response Teams have been challenged to devise strategies that can be implemented during the fall semester and for the long term. The teams also will engage students in the discussion process.
The Rapid Response Teams will address goals and measurement; engagement and co-curricular connections; academic engagement, including assessment of student learning, regular feedback, and early alert; success indicators, at risk students, and academic recovery; and first-year experiences, including learning communities, freshmen seminar, and prescriptive schedules. Their recommendations will be compiled into a final report in mid-November.
Sluder said getting students to continue their education from the freshman to sophomore year is critical. The university currently retains about 72 percent of these students.
“That’s about average for institutions like ours, but we can do better,” Sluder said. “When institutions intentionally and willfully focus on student success, retention rates can increase markedly. It’s about martialing and harnessing the power of the university to take full advantage of opportunities.”
Increasing student retention will not only allow UCM to meet its own strategic goals, but will contribute to meeting the state’s goal for college completion. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued a charge for the state’s colleges and universities to help increase the percentage of adults with college degrees from its current level of 37 percent to 60 percent by 2020.