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PARTNERING: It Just Needs to Be Done. Fall Institute for Academic Deans and Department Chairs. Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough President Philander Smith College. Do You Know The Answer?. What’s your freshman to sophomore retention rate? What’s your 4 year graduation rate?

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partnering it just needs to be done

PARTNERING:It Just Needs to Be Done

Fall Institute for Academic Deans and Department Chairs

Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough


Philander Smith College

do you know the answer
Do You Know The Answer?
  • What’s your freshman to sophomore retention rate?
  • What’s your 4 year graduation rate?
  • What’s your 6 year graduation rate?
accountability in higher education
Accountability in Higher Education
  • Retention Rates
  • Graduation Rates
  • Professional Exam Pass Rates
by the numbers retention
By The Numbers: Retention
  • Four year schools
    • 26.8% of first time, full time students leave after one year
  • Two year schools
    • 44% of first time, full time students leave after one year

American College Testing Program, 1992

by the numbers retention1
By The Numbers: Retention

SAT % leave after 1 year

  • > 1100 8.0%
  • 931 – 1099 17.5
  • 801 – 930 26.4
  • 700 – 800 32.9
  • < 700 45.5

American College Testing Program, 1992

by the numbers graduation
By The Numbers: Graduation
  • Four year rates
    • Nationally 39.0%
  • Six year rates
    • Nationally 58.0%

IPEDS, US Department of Education, 2003

factors affecting retention
Factors affecting retention
  • Ability
  • Socio-economic status
  • Race
leaving college

Leaving College

Vincent Tinto

why students leave college
Why Students Leave College
  • Individual Level
    • Intention- the higher the educational or occupational goals, the greater likelihood of completion
    • Commitment- willingness to invest time, energy, and resources necessary to graduate
why students leave cont
Why Students Leave (cont.)
  • Institutional Level
    • Adjustment- to the social and intellectual world of college
    • Incongruence- mismatch between needs, interests and preferences of student and institution
    • Isolation- absence of sufficient contact between student and other members of the social and academic communities
    • Difficulty- ability to meet the minimum academic standards for performance
key role for faculty
Key Role for Faculty
  • Faculty contact important for persistence
  • Especially true for out of class contact, to provide an opportunity to address broader social and intellectual issues
  • Informal social and intellectual contact important for commuting colleges (2 year schools included)
why students leave cont1
Why Students Leave (cont.)
  • External Level
    • Obligations- family, work, retaining peer groups from high school
    • Finances- determined whether or not to attend, how much education to seek, and where to attend; complex variable

Do 'Helicopter Moms' Do More Harm Than Good?

'Hovering Mothering' Has Become Common on College Campuses

Oct. 21, 2005 — Robyn Lewis is an extraordinarily devoted parent. As a single mom, she home schooled her sons, Ethan and Brendan, and her life has revolved around caring for them. Even though Ethan, 21, and Brendan, 18, are now attending college away from home, and she's taken a full-time job, that doesn't mean Lewis is losing interest — or hour-by-hour involvement — in her boys' lives.

When she's not on her cell phone with one of the boys, she's organizing their lives. She spends an hour drafting to-do emails for her sons, checking their grades, their bank account balances, and even using their personal passwords to check their student email.

persistence and finances
Persistence and finances
  • Persistence more reflects the character of social and intellectual experiences on campus than financial resources
  • The more rewarding the experience is perceived to be, the greater the student is willing to withstand financial hardship
institutional commitment to students

Institutional Commitment to Students

Effective retention programs are committed to the students they serve, They put student welfare ahead of other institutional goals.

institutional commitment
Institutional Commitment
  • Not a convenient add-on
  • Responsibility of all members of institution
  • “An identifiable ethos of caring which permeates the character of institutional life.”
  • Communities which care for and reach out to members keep and nourish them
educational commitment

Educational Commitment

Effective retention programs are first and foremost committed to the education of all, not just some, of their students.

educational commitment1
Educational Commitment
  • Actively pursue student learning
  • Require community to engage in activities that heightens the likelihood of learning
  • Concerned with types of settings, faculty and staff skills, that best promote learning (especially during first year)
social and intellectual community

Social and Intellectual Community

Effective retention programs are committed to the development of supportive social and educational communities in which all students are integrated as competent members.

social and intellectual community1
Social and Intellectual Community
  • Provide social and intellectual support
  • “Consistently reach out and make contact with students in a variety of settings in order to establish personal bonds among students and between students, faculty, and staff members of the institution.”
  • Faculty and peer mentor programs; frequent informal meetings; residential learning programs
strategies for retention


Things Every Member of the Team Can (and Should) Do

1 promote involvement
1. Promote Involvement
  • Especially through residence halls and extracurricular activities
  • 80% of students choose an out of class situation as the event that changed them profoundly
  • Encourage students to join a campus organization or group that will give them social and personal support
2 encourage them to seek help with coursework
2. Encourage them to seek help with coursework
  • Encourage them to meet and interact with their professors
  • They should spend roughly 2 to 3 hours studying per hour in class
  • Get to know at least one professor well per year so they will have at least 4 candidates to write strong reference letters
3 work less than 20 hours per week
3. Work LESS THAN 20 hours per week
  • One of the worst things our students do is work more than 20 hours
  • It translates into a longer time to graduate, which means they end up spending more on school than they need to or have to.
  • For others, they get caught up in working and never graduate.
instead of a job promote an internship
Instead of a JOB, promote an INTERNSHIP
  • Miss Albany State University 2004-05, Erika Estrada
  • Worked at the CIA Office of Finance in DC
  • Worked on travel of CIA officers
  • Paid internship

August 10, 2004

Crucial Unpaid Internships Increasingly Separate the Haves From the Have-Nots


   WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 - Susan Lim, a 20-year-old Georgetown University student, is working 89 hours a week this summer: two part-time jobs and an unpaid internship offered through the Public Policy and International Affairs Program. .. Many of them have parents who support them through unpaid summer internships, or they have qualified for paid internships because of experience as unpaid interns during high school…

The focus on internships as a tool for professional success has never been greater, according to Mark Oldman, co-author of "The Internship Bible" and co-founder of Vault Inc., a career counseling company. About 80 percent of graduating college seniors now have done a paid or unpaid internship, according to surveys by Vault, compared with about 60 percent a decade ago.

freshman lunch program
Freshman Lunch Program
  • Make an appointment with 2 or 3 friends to go to lunch with me
  • We talk about life at PSC, as well as allow them to make a connection
  • Began this in the fall of 2001 at Albany State University
  • Give me a simile to describe your first week (or semester) at PSC?
  • Why did you choose PSC?
  • Where did you apply and where were you accepted?
  • What are you taking and how are you doing? Who is your BEST professor and why?
questions continued
Questions continued…
  • Tell me about the other students
  • What didn’t we tell you about PSC before you arrive that we should have told you?
  • If you could change one thing at PSC, what would it be?
  • What’s the best part of college, and what’s the worst part?
ways to partner
Ways to partner
  • Advise a student organization
  • Participate in student programs, forums, etc.
  • Present lectures/programs in residence halls
  • Look for opportunities to participate in orientation programs
  • Participate in campus mentoring programs
  • Share internship information with Career Service office
getting to know you psc and arkansas
Getting to Know You: PSC and Arkansas
  • Over 60 faculty and staff participated in 30 minute sessions
  • Met with over 70 corporate persons
  • Met with 4 of the 5 public HS principals
  • Met with 4 area college presidents
student focus groups

Student Focus Groups

March 29- April 8

companies participating

Advantage Communications


American Cancer Society

Arkansas Blue Cross/ Blue Shield

Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Arkansas Community Foundation

City of Little Rock



Metropolitan Bank

Merrill Lynch

Offices of Vic Snyder and Win Rockefeller

Regions Bank


United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas

Companies Participating
big picture questions
Big Picture Questions
  • What kind of data can we gather to evaluate where we are?
  • Who are we? What is our brand?
baseline indicators
  • 6 year graduation rate (Fall 1997 cohort)
    • 20%
  • Retention rate (1st to 2nd year, Fall 03 cohort)
    • 64%
  • Fall 2004 freshman class size
    • 187
  • Fall 2004 freshman class below 2.0 HSPGA
    • 51 (27%)
baseline indicators cont
  • Fall 2004 freshman class HSGPA
    • 2.38
  • Fall 2004 freshman class ACT
    • 15.4
  • 2004 Arkansas Black student ACT
    • 16.7
  • 2004 National Black student ACT
    • 17.1
nsse 2004
NSSE 2004
  • In the first 6 years, over 970 different colleges and universities have participated in NSSE. 
  • NSSE 2004: 473 colleges and universities participated in the spring 2004 administration.
level of academic challenge
Level of Academic Challenge
  • Colleges and universities promote high levels of student achievement by emphasizing the importance of academic effort and setting high expectations for student performance
  • Includes:
    • Number assigned texts, books, etc.
    • Number written papers/reports
    • Emphasizing application of theories
    • Emphasizing the making of judgments
active and collaborative learning
Active and Collaborative Learning
  • Students learn more when they are intensely involved in their education and asked to think about what they are learning in different settings.
  • Includes:
    • Asked questions in class or contributed to discussions
    • Made a class presentation
    • Worked with other students on projects during class
student faculty interaction
Student-Faculty Interaction
  • Students learn firsthand how experts think about and solve practical problems by interacting with faculty members inside and outside the classroom.
  • Includes:
    • Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor
    • Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of class
    • Received prompt feedback from faculty on your academic performance
enriching educational experiences
Enriching Educational Experiences
  • Complementary learning opportunities in and out of class augment academic programs.
  • Includes:
    • Participating in co-curricular activities
    • Practicum, internship, field experience, co-op experience
    • Community service or volunteer work
    • Independent study
    • Serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity
supportive campus environment
Supportive Campus Environment
  • Students perform better and are more satisfied at colleges that are committed to their success and cultivate positive working and social relations.
  • Includes:
    • Campus environment provides support you need to succeed academically
    • Campus environment provides support you need to thrive socially
    • Quality of relationships with other students, faculty, or administrative personnel
psc vs peer hbcu and national samples
PSC vs. Peer, HBCU and National Samples
  • Academic Challenge ABOVE
  • Active & Collaborative Learning ABOVE
  • Student-Faculty Interaction ABOVE
  • Enriching Educational Experiences ABOVE
  • Supportive Campus Environment ABOVE
overall college initiatives retention related
Overall College Initiatives (retention related)
  • Increase retention rate 2 points a year for five years
  • Increase 6-year graduation rate 1 point a year for five years
  • Increase freshman class average HSGPA to 2.75 by 2010
  • Increase freshman class ACT to the Arkansas average by 2010
initial update
Initial Update
  • Freshman Class Size
    • 2004 187 (27% HSGPA below 2.0)
    • 2005 129 (7% HSGPA below 2.0)
  • Freshman Class HSGPA
    • 2004 2.38
    • 2005 2.58 (up 8%)
  • Freshman Class ACT
    • 2004 15.4
    • 2005 15.6 (up 1.4%)
restructure orientation

Restructure Orientation

July – August

  • Implement orientation leaders
  • Parents orientation and welcome dinner
  • Structured ice breakers
  • Freshman induction
  • Social activities
  • Educational sessions