CROSSING THE FINISH LINE
Student Success in Retention and Completion
"Stay the course and when the going gets tough, remember it is not about you but about the students." - Dr. Vincent Tinto
First Year Retention, 2011 - 2015
Nearly 73 percent of UA students from the 2015 cohort continued from their first year of study into the second year. That figure represents a 5.9% increase in the retention rate from four years prior for first-time, full-time bachelor's degree-seeking students on Akron's campus.
Early success cited, next steps planned
THE RETENTION PLAN is well under way, with impressive early results, though much work remains. That was the overriding message as more than 100 faculty, staff and administrators convened for two days in March to review progress and plot strategy. See overview and multimedia.
Recommendations on Retention
Among the many important actions that faculty members can and do routinely take to challenge, engage and help retain students, five tips regularly surface to the top of every list.
- (1) Connect with your students. Get to know them on a more personal level. Relate coursework to the goals and interests of your students as often as possible.
- (2) Provide opportunities for your students to connect with one another and to find peer support.
- (3) Intentionally frontload in- and out-of-class support. The first six weeks of university attendance are the most critical to retention.
- (4) Incorporate active, interactive and collaborative approaches to teaching and learning.
- (5) Make your support intrusive. If you suspect one of your students is experiencing a difficulty or is becoming disengaged, ask about it at your first opportunity.
Completion plan released
The Completion Plan was approved by the Board in July of 2016 and has been submitted to the state. Its goals were developed after examining both UA's student profiles and barriers to persistence and completion by UA students.
Detailed strategies and activities — along with corresponding metrics — are identified, focusing on such critical areas as:
- ensuring students have the best start and the right support,
- focusing the campus culture on completion and placement, and
- aligning workforce development priorities with state employment trends.
- Summaries of the many initiatives under way to improve retention and completion.
Encouraging students to 'finish in time'
A parody of an infomercial is the centerpiece of a campaign encouraging students to take 15-18 credit hours per semester rather than 12, the minimium for financial aid purposes. See more.
Student Success Steering team
Meet the team of faculty, staff, students and administrators who are working together to organize the ideas from campus, to align them with the recommendations of retention expert Dr. Vincent Tinto and draft an actionable plan.
This page contains a wealth of articles, reports and books on the subject of retention.
List of academic and personal resources on campus for students
Want to help out?
If you're interested in collaborating with colleagues on campus-wide retention and completion initiatives, then please complete the brief interest survey, and we’ll let you know when we plan to meet next.