Improving Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates at UMass Boston
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DESCRIPTIONImproving Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates at UMass Boston. Building a Culture and Systems that Support Student Success. Presentation to the F&A Advisory Committee April 27, 2011. Retention and Graduation Rates Committee. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Improving Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates at UMass BostonBuilding a Culture and Systems that Support Student SuccessPresentation to the F&A Advisory Committee
April 27, 2011
Retention and Graduation Rates CommitteeJoan Becker, Vice Provost, Academic Support Services and Undergraduate Studies, chairKathleen Teehan, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, co-chairAndrew Grosovsky, Dean, College of Science and Mathematics, co-chairDonna Kuizenga, Dean CLAJanet DiPaolo, Coordinator, Library InstructionCheryl Aaron, Assistant Director, AthleticsDeborah Mahony, Clinical Associate Professor, NursingNeal Bruss, Associate Professor, English; Chair, General Education CommitteeMaura Mast, Associate Prof., Math; Associate Vice Provost, VPASS/Undergraduate StudiesAmy Mei, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, CMKevin Murphy, Associate Director, OIRPPatrick Day, Vice Chancellor, Student AffairsGail Stubbs, Director, University Advising CenterJudy Keyes, Director of Financial AidLiliana Mickle, Special Assistant for Retention, VPASS/Undergraduate StudiesSam Museus, Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human DevelopmentAlan Christian, Director, Environmental Science Program, EEOSLorna Rivera, Associate Professor, Womens StudiesLisa Buenaventura, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Co-Curricular Learning and Assessment, Student Affairs
Some DefinitionsRetention rates measure the percent of students in an entering cohort who complete the first year and return for a second.
Persistence is the ongoing progression from semester to semester and year to year.
Graduation rates are determined by the percent of students who complete a degree within a specified time period.
Retention and graduation rates are publicly reported for first-time, full-time freshmen. Graduation rates are calculated based on students who graduate within six years from initial enrollment (150% of time).
Retention and graduation rates for transfers are not publicly reported, but are important for UMass Boston as 60+% of our students are transfers.
Why Retention and Graduation Rates MatterRetention rates are early indicators of student success and important predictors of future graduation rates. Key measures of effectiveness and quality in higher education, graduation and retention rates are also increasingly part of accountability systems.
High attrition is not cost-effective. Recruiting and orienting new students is costly.
Graduation rates are now reported to students and their parents through the Federal financial aid process.
UMass Bostons low graduation rate was singled out to a national readership in last years New York Times article reviewing the William Bowen book, Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at Americas Public Universities. UMass Boston was cited in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article on the colleges with the lowest graduation rates.
Sample Peer Comparisons
Six-Year Graduation Rates UMass Boston and Selected Peers
Fall 2000Fall 2001Fall 2002Fall 2003
Temple U58.7%George Mason U59.9%Temple U64.8%Temple U67.1%
George Mason U56.1%Temple U59.7%George Mason U61.2%George Mason U63.6%
Rutgers, State U of NJ-Newark55.5%Rutgers, State U of NJ-Newark54.5%Rutgers, State U of NJ-Newark57.9%Rutgers, State U of NJ-Newark57.9%
U of North Carolina-Greensboro52.0%U of Illinois-Chicago50.0%U of North Carolina-Greensboro52.5%U of Illinois-Chicago54.1%
U of Illinois-Chicago50.6%U of North Carolina-Greensboro49.8%U of Nevada-Reno48.4%U of North Carolina-Greensboro51.6%
U of Nevada-Reno48.4%Georgia State U47.2%U of Illinois-Chicago48.1%Georgia State U49.7%
U of Missouri-Kansas City46.2%U of Nevada-Reno46.4%U of Louisville45.7%U of Nevada-Reno48.4%
Wright State U43.5%U of Louisville43.7%Georgia State U44.0%U of Louisville48.4%
U of Missouri-Saint Louis42.4%Wright State U43.4%U of Missouri-Saint Louis43.9%U of Missouri-Kansas City43.9%
U of Houston42.3%U of Missouri-Saint Louis43.0%U of Missouri-Kansas City42.8%Wright State U43.8%
Georgia State U41.4%U of Missouri-Kansas City42.9%U of Houston41.8%U of Colorado Denver43.3%
U of Louisville40.7%U of Houston42.8%Wright State U41.6%U of Houston40.8%
U of Nevada-Las Vegas39.2%U of Nevada-Las Vegas40.6%U of Nevada-Las Vegas40.9%U of Missouri-Saint Louis40.3%
U of Colorado Denver35.9%U of Colorado Denver38.7%Alabama-Birmingham39.8%U of Nevada-Las Vegas39.4%
Alabama-Birmingham35.8%Alabama-Birmingham37.7%U of Memphis39.1%Alabama-Birmingham39.3%
UMass Boston35.6%Portland State U35.6%U of Colorado Denver36.6%U of Memphis38.6%
U of Memphis34.6%U of Memphis34.7%UMass Boston33.2%UMass Boston38.6%
Portland State U33.4%Cleveland State U32.1%Portland State U31.9%Indiana U-Purdue U-Indianapolis34.3%
Cleveland State U30.6%UMass Boston32.1%Indiana U-Purdue U-Indianapolis31.8%Portland State U30.0%
Indiana U-Purdue U-Indianapolis27.3%Indiana U-Purdue U-Indianapolis31.6%Cleveland State U26.3%Cleveland State U28.7%
U of Arkansas-L.R26.2%U of Arkansas-L.R20.8%U of Arkansas-L.R23.6%U of Arkansas-L.R23.6%
Data Source: IPEDS
<he Office of Institutional ResearchAnd Policy Studies&RNovember 16, 2010KBM
Many Students Who Leave Transfer to Other InstitutionsFirst-Time Freshmen: Of the 987 first-time full or part-time freshmen who entered UMass Boston in fall 2009, 253 did not return to UMass Boston for fall 2010. 49% of those who did not return, enrolled elsewhere; 38% first enrolled at a two-year school and 62% first enrolled at another four-year school, including 19% at another UMass campuses.
Transfer Students: Of the 1,756 new transfer students formally matriculated at UMass Boston in fall 2009, 25 graduated before fall 2010 and 385 did not return in fall 2010. 35% of those who did not return, enrolled elsewhere; 38% first enrolled at a two-year school and 62% first enrolled at another four-year school, including 13% at another UMass campuses.
Data source: National Student Clearinghouse; OIRP
Starting On Track Matters
Students who continue into the second year on-track based on credit accumulation and grade point average are far more likely to graduate than students who do not.
Framework for On Track Indicators
MilestonesOn-Track IndicatorsReturn for subsequent terms (retention)Complete needed remediationBegin college-level coursework in math and EnglishEarn one year of college-level creditsComplete general education courseworkComplete a community-college transfer curriculumTransfer from community college to a universityafter completing transfer curriculumwithout completing transfer curriculumComplete a certificate or degreeRemediation:Begin remedial coursework in first term, if neededGateway Courses:Complete college-level math and/or English in the first or second yearComplete a college-success course or other first-year experience programCredit Accumulation and Related Academic Behaviors:Complete high percentage of courses attempted (low rate of coursedropping and/or failure)Complete 20-30 credits in the first yearEarn summer creditsEnroll full timeEnroll continuously, without stop-outsRegister on time for coursesMaintain adequate grade-point averageSource: OFFENSTEIN, J. MOORE, C. AND SHULOCK, N. (2010)
Freshman Graduation Rates by On Track Status
Transfer Graduation Rates by Entry Level and On Track Status
Characteristics of High-Performing InstitutionsStrong Networking Values
A Commitment to Targeted SupportCultivate Early ConnectionsMaintain Continuous ConnectionsFoster Integrated Connections
A Belief in Humanizing the Educational Experience
An Ethos of Institutional Responsibility
Both Academic and Social Connections MatterIntegration into campus academic and social systems
Quality and quantity of involvement
Educationally purposeful engagement
Connections to collective and individual cultural agents who value academic achievement and engage cultural backgrounds
RecommendationsStart on Track, Stay on Track
Early and Often: Connect, Engage, and Build Community
Recommendation 1: Build a culture and systems that enable students to start on track and stay on track.
Develop and implement a system of on track indicators by college for freshmen and transfer students.
Use technology to identify students who are off-track.
Prioritize the class schedule. Ensure a sufficient number of sections of the courses students need to stay on-track are offered when they are needed.
Significantly increase the capacity of departments to provide advising for declared majors. Hire professional advisors to augment faculty advising.
Placement Testing. Develop a better placement testing system for all incoming students--earlier and more targeted, convenient, and available for students and more accurately places them into the appropriate coursework. Academic Support Services. Provide college-based and centralized resources to provide academic support needed by students identified as not on track. Targeted Services for Off Track Students. Develop and implement a course for re-admission, financial aid, and transfers in jeopardy.
Recommendation 2: Implement the UMass Boston Freshman Commitment aimed at increasing the success of students who enter as Freshmen.
Develop an intentional first year experience including orientation and college-based learning communities.
Identify and support teaching and learning that promotes the retention of freshmen
Increase opportunities to extend learning and engagement (undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning, civic engagement, co- and extra-curricular activities)
Recommendation 3: Implement programs specifically tailored for Transfer Students to support their academic and social transition and success at the University.
Develop programming that connects transfer students to the university community
Develop programming aimed at increasing transfer student engagement and success (undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning, civic engagement, co- and extra-curricular activities)
Additional RecommendationsAddress informational and customer service issues.
Increase need-based financial aid, on campus employment opportunities, and college-sensitive off-campus employment opportunities.
Build residence halls
Data analysis and evaluation.
ChallengesEnsuring that all units and departments of the university understand the importance of and have the capacity to advance student success.
Building a system of accountabilitymaking sure that we all have to own it doesnt translate into no one is accountable.
The deficits, especially in terms of college-based success programs, major advising, and structures and programming that connect and engage students, are significant. These deficits are financial and cultural.
Major investments are needed!
*Committee is representativeColleges; Faculty; Key service providers
Past efforts have not been as successful as wed like for several reasons:A serious lack of resources.Were too transactional and not strategicwe try to solve a problem with a program for a targeted group. We offer a full range of academic services for tutoring, career programming, international students, but not at levels to meet demand. The services are at foundation levels with insufficient connection to academic programs. We have too few services integrated into the academic programs through the colleges, such as supplemental instruction or extra-curricular programming related to programs of study.
I am very excited and confident that we have the right people and the momentum to make real progress.
Early results from the recent efforts to develop college-based learning communities are encouraging.
*Where publicly reported? IPEDS********Far too many UMB students are not on track. Far too many students who are accumulating credits, but are not taking the right coursesgeneral education as well as major. **We understand that a faculty/student connection is often the turning point toward success for our students, but have few formal mechanisms in place for these connections to occur.
Our ability to make these connections is seriously hindered by the fact that our percentage of tenure stream faculty has dropped from 63% in 2005 to 56% in 2009.
It is our tenure stream faculty that can offer the consistent advising, mentoring and research opportunities that will engage our students and engender their success. It is incumbent on the campus to work to restore the tenure stream faculty to a level that supports our student enrollment.
*Use technology: Identify and implement technological solutions that will facilitate coordination of retention efforts, the identification of students with different risk factors, and the tracking of service provision to these students.
Data analysis. We still dont know enough about why we lose students, especially higher performing students.
Address informational and customer service issues. Lack of consistent information and insufficient support for problem solving from front desk operations contributes to students feeling like they get the run around and are bounced from office to office.
Financial aid and on campus employment, including increasing funding for financial aid and developing new models for the use of work-study funds. Explore appointing new freshmen to positions and ask supervisors to take on mentoring/guidance roles with student employees.