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Retention Programs & Initiatives at Missouri State. Presented by Rachelle L. Darabi, Associate Provost, Student Development and Public Affairs. Student Orientation, Advisement & Registration (SOAR). Cultivate concept of students as engaged members of the academic community

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retention programs initiatives at missouri state

Retention Programs & Initiatives at Missouri State

Presented by Rachelle L. Darabi,

Associate Provost, Student Development and Public Affairs

student orientation advisement registration soar
Student Orientation, Advisement & Registration (SOAR)
  • Cultivate concept of students as engaged members of the academic community
  • Provide an experience that helps students feel a connection to their campus community
    • Communications before, during and after SOAR
      • Blog with student success info
      • Personal postcards from SOAR leaders
    • Opportunities to meet faculty and staff from Campus Offices (Career Services, BearCLAW, FYP, Financial Services, CASL, OSE & more)
    • Interactions with Academic Advisors
    • College-specific SOAR sessions
    • Opportunities to connect with fellow students
soar parent program
SOAR—Parent Program

The SOAR Office is responsible for the Missouri State University Family Association.

Mission: To provide parent and family members an opportunity to play an active role in the education of their student.

Membership provides access to:

  • Monthly e-newsletter
  • Information on special events (Family Weekend)
  • News about Missouri State University
office of academic assistance
Office of Academic Assistance

Partners in Education (PIE):

  • Partnership among students, their families, and Student Development and Public Affairs staff—1650 students currently enrolled
    • Staff open communication lines and provide support services to improve the academic success of students:
      • Welcome letters
      • Mid-semester progress reports*
      • Final grade reports

*Mid-semester grades are reported for all 100 and 200 level courses. All advisors are encouraged to contact students who receive grades below a C at mid-term to encourage these students and make them aware of support services.

welcome weekend office of student engagement ose
Welcome Weekend—Office of Student Engagement (OSE)

Theme: You Belong at Missouri State

Weekend of activities/events designed to introduce students to campus and encourage their involvement.

Activities include:

  • Family reception
  • Playfair (ice breaker activity)
  • Outdoor movie
  • Bear Bash Night of Fun at PSU
  • Freshman Convocation
  • New Student Festival
first year programs fyp
First-Year Programs (FYP)

GEP 101, First-Year Foundations (2 CR)—First-year seminars are considered high impact experiences

  • Public Affairs Mission
  • Transitioning into university life
    • Study Skills
    • Time Management
    • Test-taking
    • Critical Thinking
    • Financial Literacy
    • Campus Resources
    • Student engagement
    • Degree/career Planning
fyp learning communities
FYP-Learning Communities

Curricular Learning Communities (CLC):

  • Linked courses (2-3)-15 CLCs fall 2011
    • Themed
    • Integrated Curriculum
      • Common Student Learning Outcomes
      • Co-curricular Activities that Support Learning Objectives
    • Extensive Faculty Development—spring prior to delivery of course
  • Outcomes
    • Increased retention (3% higher for LC vs. non-LC students)
    • Higher GPAs*

*From Ctr for Assessment report 10/24/11: “Overall, these data show that LC students begin their college experience with lower scores on variables that typically predict success in college (HS class rank, ACT Comp). However, by the end of their first and second semesters in college (FA10 and SP11), these same CLC students showed significantly higher GPAs than their non-CLC peers.”

“These results suggest that the LC program is equipping previously underachieving students with the skills they need to successfully proceed with their college education.”

fyp integrated service learning in gep 101
FYP—Integrated Service-Learning in GEP 101

Service-Learning (SL) is considered a high impact experience. Growth of SL in GEP 101 shown below:

fyp integrated service learning in gep 101 continued
FYP—Integrated Service-Learning in GEP 101 continued

From Ctr for Assessment report 10/23/11: “When the SL students were compared to their non-SL peers in GEP 101, the data from independent means t-tests showed that the SL students entered the university with significantly higher high school GPAs and class rankings. At the end of both the first and second semesters (FA10 and SP11), the SL students showed an even greater difference in MSU GPA when compared to the non-SL students.”

common reader program
Common Reader Program

Common Reader, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

  • Selected by committee with recommendations from campus community (committee now includes community members)
    • Subcommittee creates extensive curricular materials
    • Library creates subject guide website
  • Provides common experience for all GEP 101 students
  • Connects to the Public Affairs Theme
living learning communities llc
Living-Learning Communities (LLC)

Residence Life and Services has a Living-Learning

Community (LLC) program which has been in place for five years. Living-Learning Communities have undergone rigorous assessment and are showing promise in terms of:

  • Improved retention
  • Improved academic performance

Students can choose among first-year experience floors, sophomore-year experience communities, or floors where students with majors in the College of Health and Human Services live together. Two of the nine LLCs for fall 2011 include a curricular link to GEP 101. These two are specifically for undecided students.

living learning communities continued
Living-Learning Communities continued

Retention Numbers for LLC Floors: 2007--2011

academic advisement center
Academic Advisement Center

Academic Advisement Center retention efforts include:

  • Advisor presentations to all GEP 101 classes to share information about advising, registration and general education. Additional outreach presentations for GEP 101 sections and UHC 110 sections entitled “Help, I Need a Major.”
  • Frequent contacts with all non-honors exploratory majors, including welcome email with advising syllabus, mid-term grade communications, advising appointments and individual contacts with students who do not preregister.
  • Efforts to help exploratory students find satisfying majors, such as the annual Majors Fair and bi-monthly Featured Majors.
  • The JumpSTART program to offer special assistance to conditionally admitted students in summer session.
  • Outreach efforts to residence hall students through programs such as “Ask an Advisor.”
  • Comprehensive advisor training and development programs.
  • In cooperation with First Year Programs, the Career Center and Residence Life and Services, offer special curricular learning communities and living learning communities for undecided/exploratory students.
  • Workshops to welcome transfer students to campus, offered cooperatively with SOAR and Admissions.
  • JumpSTART (Summer Transition & Academic Readiness Training) is a new program for at-risk conditionally admitted students and was implemented in summer 2011. Expectations for students involve enrolling in 6-8 hours of rigorous course work, including math, English, and GEP 101 with a service-learning component. Additional intensive mandatory workshops, intrusive advising, and designated attendance in the Bear CLAW (e.g., writing center or math tutoring) are just some of the expectations for these students.
  • Results suggest that despite the fact that JumpSTART students took more credit hours than conditionally admitted students from the previous semester, their average GPA did not suffer. In other words, students who took more credit hours during the summer had higher GPAs only if they were in the JumpSTART program. Summer 2010 conditionally admitted students who took higher credit hours performed far worse in terms of GPA than JumpSTART students who took higher credit hours. It is likely that this is true because of the training and support provided through the JumpSTART program.
achievement center for intercollegiate athletics
Achievement Center for Intercollegiate Athletics

Achievement Center for Intercollegiate Athletics provides:

  • Information on program requirements, courses, registration and other procedures
  • Guidance and academic support including individual and group tutoring
  • Monitoring of academic progress and performance including special programming for academically at-risk athletes
  • Communication with coaches concerning academic policies and student performance
achievement center for intercollegiate athletics cont
Achievement Center for Intercollegiate Athletics—cont.

STAMP! (Student -Athletes Making Progress towards Degree)

This program was instituted in the fall of 2010 in an effort to assist student-athletes who are admitted to Missouri State University as an exception to our admissions policy. This is mandatory for all student-athletes who are admitted through admissions alternatives. The program is designed to assist student-athletes with the transition from high school to college. The program will cover the first year of the student-athletes academic career. Once a week, 1 hour meetings will be conducted to include the following components.

  • First Year experience
  • Multicultural programming
  • Tutoring/Objective Based Study Hall
  • Career Planning
  • Mentoring
  • Campus Organizations
trio programs
TRiO Programs
  • Upward Bound and Student Support Services
  • SSS serves 190 low-income, first generation MSU students
  • SSS awards $90,000/year in stipends to participants
  • Roughly half of SSS participants are non-traditional students
  • Focus on careers, financial aid and financial literacy
  • 86% graduation rate
  • Upward Bound is funded to serve 50 students at Central, Hillcrest and Parkview High Schools
  • Visits to more than 10 colleges in the last 12 months
  • Students awarded over $100,000 in scholarships for foundations and universities
residence life interventions
Residence Life Interventions
  • Beginning in fall of 2005, residents who received D or F grades at midterms received a letter from their hall director with encouragements to:
    • Meet with professors and/or hall director
    • Utilize campus resources like the BearCLAW
    • Attend Residence Hall academic programs
  • For the past three years, staff members in Residence Life have been meeting with students who receive D or F grades. 
  • In spring 2011, a new initiative was implemented where students who received D or F grades during fall 2010 or are on academic probation after fall 2010 will meet with their hall director or assistant hall director to create an academic plan and set goals for the semester
  • Students who receive D or F grades at midterms will be asked to meet with a residence hall staff member.
  • Starting spring 2011, the Academic Advisement Center hosted advising presentations in the residence halls. In addition, their advisors staffed advising tables during lunch hours at one hall each week until all housing units with first-year students has been visited.
additional high impact experiences
Additional High Impact Experiences

Service-Learning (CASL—Citizenship and Service Learning):

Students in selected classes have an opportunity to make a difference in the community while getting academic credit and invaluable experiences.

2011: 2130 students provided 58,734 hours of community service.

Estimated worth of service $1,090,695.

additional high impact experiences1
Additional High Impact Experiences

Study Away

Students have an opportunity to increase their cultural competence by studying abroad for a year, semester, or just a week or two through our short-term faculty-led programs.

National research studies correlate study abroad participation with:

    • Higher graduation rates
    • Higher GPA
    • Higher levels of student engagement
  • 295 students participated in Study Away in 2010/11.
additional high impact experiences public affairs
Additional High Impact Experiences: Public Affairs

Public Affairs Week – September 12-16

  •                 Mile of Quarters Fundraiser (Ozarks Honor Flight)
  •                 It’s All About You (letter writing campaign for service troops)
  •                 How First Responding Has Changed in Post 9/11 Society
  •                 eCitizenship at Missouri State
  •                 OxFam Hunger Banquet
  •                 Rock The Vote
  •                 The Good of the Internet
  •                 The Bad of the Internet
  •                 The Ugly of the Internet
  •                 Facebook and Employers: What does your profile really say about you?
  •                 Veterans in PSU Gallery
  •                 The Future of Technology
  •                 Constitution Day activities

Fall 2011 Convocation Lecture Event – Douglas Rushkoff  (October 6)

  •                 Afternoon special session with Communication, Media/Journalism/Film and Marketing/Advertising students
  •                 Evening lecture event open to the public

Common Reader Special Event with David Lacks (November 30)

 Public Affairs Conference

public affairs cont
Public Affairs cont.

Public Affairs Grant Projects:

  • Bear Build on the Paw – September 30 – Student Chapter of Habitat for Humanity
  • Media Matters 2012: Bias, Responsibility, and Influence in Political Coverage – November 4 – Brian Calfano
  • Martin Luther King Service Challenge, January 21, 2012
  • Exploring Disability Studies, Feb. 1-3, 2012
  • Performance of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide…When the rainbow is enough”, Feb. 9-12, 2012
  • “We Were Here” film screening, Feb. 13, 2012
  • Women’s History Month Keynote Speaker, Heidi Durrow, March 2012
  • The Whole Brain Child: Technology, neurobiology and relationships, April 2012
the writing center empowering success through improved writing skills
The Writing Center: Empowering Success through Improved Writing Skills

Undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty use this free academic support service to workshop papers for their academic courses, creative writing, speeches, presentations, course syllabi, and articles intended for publication. 

It is the Writing Center’s philosophy that improved writing skills lead to educational

and professional success in college and beyond.


The Writing Center: Empowering Success through Improved Writing Skills

New Initiatives:

Ongoing development of an online support services for writing. New developments include both synchronous and asynchronous consultation initiatives. See the support site under the “Services” link:

Implementation of “Grammar Fridays” to assist struggling writers with grammar – see the supporting website:

Developing, in conjunction with Keri Franklin, Provost Fellow for Writing, Faculty Writing Rooms and a Writing Fellows Program for spring 2012.

subject area tutoring
Subject Area Tutoring

To satisfy student demand, subject area tutoring is moving from individual appointments to drop-in table tutoring. This enables services to be provided to more students however it is estimated only 75% of drop-in students actually check at the front desk enabling us to capture that data. Approximately 76% of students who make appointments actually attend the appointment, for instance out of 567 appointments scheduled this fall 435 students have actually attended.

the supplemental instruction program si peers helping peers survive and thrive
The Supplemental Instruction Program (SI): Peers Helping Peers Survive…and Thrive!

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a series of review sessions for students taking historically difficult courses. SI is provided for all students who want to improve their understanding of course material and improve their grades. Attendance at sessions is voluntary.

absent professor program providing effective educational programming for the university
Absent Professor Program: Providing Effective Educational Programming for the University.
  • Bear CLAW General Information
  • Academic Writing
  • C-Base Exam
  • Citation Methods (APA, MLA, Chicago, and More)
  • Note-Taking
  • Test Prep & Test Taking
  • The Habits of Successful College Students
  • Custom presentations are available by request!
  • Website:

The Absent Professor Program provides effective workshops by either substituting for faculty who cannot attend class or by providing workshops focusing on student success that supplement course material. The program benefits students by utilizing top scholarship recipients to guide struggling students on the skills necessary to navigate their major.

faculty center for teaching and learning fctl
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL)

Focus on course redesign, course transformation, and assistance with the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOLT)

  • Assistance with Instructional Design, Classroom Instructional Technologies, and Media and Academic Technology
  • Digital Professor Academy
  • Curriculum Innovation Grants
  • Professional Development Programming
    • Workshops, Book discussions, Webinars, Brown Bag Discussions
  • Classroom Observations and Peer Consultations

*Feb 2011 to present ---- over 1300 contact hours with 1000 faculty participants (This includes anyone with a teaching assignment.)

fctl continued
FCTL continued

Course Transformation – to improve Success and SLO

  • PSY 121 NCAT(National Ctr Acad. Transform.) pilot in Sp12(blended)
  • ENG 110 Next Generation Transform. - pilot spring 2012 (blended)
  • History (103 and 104) initiated a blended format Sp11. (Currently 200 blended and 60 online students engaged in transformed courses.)
  • Math transform of courses through supplemental technology and alternative course structure.
    • Math 103 was transformed first using the ALEKS software.
    • Pilot section of 101/102 combined is underway.
    • Transformed sections of MTH135 will pilot in Sp12.
  • MKT 430 – developing blended format and e-book (Dr. Kent)
retention research
Retention Research
  • Tom Kane has been conducting retention research on MSU students for the past few years.
  • His findings indicate that the reasons for student attrition are mostly connected to affective issues.
  • Students need to indentify with being a Bear—need to be connected.
future plans
Future Plans
  • Continue to grow CLCs, SL in GEP 101, LLCs, and college-specific efforts
  • Expand marketing of JumpSTART
  • Develop programming for probationary students
  • Continue to examine data on student success
  • Consider adoption of Retention Plan
  • Ensure all members of the campus community understand that they have a role to play in student retention and success
  • Create a student-centered culture