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Reducing the Cost of Graduate Attrition A joint project by the Graduate Schools at the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University Cecilia Lucero, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Reducing the Cost of Graduate Attrition A joint project by the Graduate Schools at the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University Cecilia Lucero, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reducing the Cost of Graduate Attrition A joint project by the Graduate Schools at the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University Cecilia Lucero, Ph.D. Jarren Gonzales, Ph.D.

2 Overview Attrition and Completion Patterns Attrition and Completion Patterns Peer Mentoring Program Peer Mentoring Program Career for Masters Program Career for Masters Program

3 Attrition and Completion Patterns Data from 14 departments common to both ND and Purdue: Data from 14 departments common to both ND and Purdue: CHEG, CE, EE, ME, BIOS, CHEM, MATH, PHYS, ENGL, HIST, PHIL, POLS, PSY, and SOC Operationalization of attrition: Operationalization of attrition: Overall attrition Overall attrition Early attrition (first 2 years) Early attrition (first 2 years) Late attrition (3 or more years) Late attrition (3 or more years) ABD attrition ABD attrition Attrition of sub-groups: male/female, majority/minority, U.S./international Attrition of sub-groups: male/female, majority/minority, U.S./international

4 Attrition and Completion Patterns Institutional SurveyInterviews with DGSs Institutional SurveyInterviews with DGSs Student selection Student selection Coursework Coursework Research, advising, professional development Research, advising, professional development Financial support and departmental service Financial support and departmental service Departmental assessment of student progress Departmental assessment of student progress Departmental/institutional environment Departmental/institutional environment Career development and placement Career development and placement

5 Attrition and Completion Patterns Student Survey Student Survey Longitudinal Longitudinal Two cohorts: Two cohorts: and and n=1000 at Notre Dame and Purdue in year 1 n=1000 at Notre Dame and Purdue in year 1 Online surveys, 5 in first year, 3 in subsequent years Online surveys, 5 in first year, 3 in subsequent years DGSs asked to promote survey DGSs asked to promote survey Students invited via to take survey, reminder sent one week later Students invited via to take survey, reminder sent one week later $1000 lottery prize incentive each semester $1000 lottery prize incentive each semester

6 Attrition and Completion Patterns Problems with student survey Problems with student survey Low response rate at Notre Dame Low response rate at Notre Dame Difficulty with on-line administration: constant error messages Difficulty with on-line administration: constant error messages No open-ended questions for qualitative response No open-ended questions for qualitative response Repetitive follow-up survey questions Repetitive follow-up survey questions

7 Peer Mentoring Program Program Overview Program Overview Collaborative effort of Graduate School Administration, DGSs, and Graduate Students at Notre Dame Collaborative effort of Graduate School Administration, DGSs, and Graduate Students at Notre Dame Aimed at reducing attrition rates in the graduate school population Aimed at reducing attrition rates in the graduate school population Particularly important in the first year of graduate studies Particularly important in the first year of graduate studies

8 Peer Mentoring Program Basic Processes of the Peer Mentoring Program Basic Processes of the Peer Mentoring Program Identify at-risk departments or segments of the Graduate School population Identify at-risk departments or segments of the Graduate School population Identify peer mentors from those at-risk segments Identify peer mentors from those at-risk segments Match peer mentors with incoming students Match peer mentors with incoming students

9 Peer Mentoring Program The Mentor-Advisee Relationship The Mentor-Advisee Relationship Based on the developmental concept of scaffolding Based on the developmental concept of scaffolding Mentors and advisees establish structured and supportive relationships Mentors and advisees establish structured and supportive relationships Peer mentors advise and coach new students through academic, social, and day-to-day issues Peer mentors advise and coach new students through academic, social, and day-to-day issues Peer mentors submit regular reports indicating progress of their advisees Peer mentors submit regular reports indicating progress of their advisees Graduate administration contributes to overall development by supporting complementary events Graduate administration contributes to overall development by supporting complementary events

10 Peer Mentoring Program Goals of the Peer Mentoring Program Goals of the Peer Mentoring Program Build cultural competence Build cultural competence Foster the matriculation of graduate students Foster the matriculation of graduate students Provide opportunities for social connection Provide opportunities for social connection Recognize areas of opportunity within departments Recognize areas of opportunity within departments

11 Peer Mentoring Program Progress towards goals (1 year after inception) Progress towards goals (1 year after inception) Advisees show strengthened connection to the department Advisees show strengthened connection to the department Increased comfort with the academic requirements Increased comfort with the academic requirements Successful resolution of daily hassles Successful resolution of daily hassles Retention data is ambiguous at this early stage Retention data is ambiguous at this early stage

12 Career for Masters Program Alternative Paths: Exploring Non-Academic Career Options Alternative Paths: Exploring Non-Academic Career Options Co-sponsored by The Career Center and The Graduate School Co-sponsored by The Career Center and The Graduate School Seminar made up of seven sessions in spring semester Seminar made up of seven sessions in spring semester Participation in the seminar requires two to three hours of homework in between each of the sessions Participation in the seminar requires two to three hours of homework in between each of the sessions

13 Career for Masters Program Seminar Overview Seminar Overview Re-thinking academic careers Re-thinking academic careers Self-assessment Part A Self-assessment Part A Self-assessment Part B Self-assessment Part B Identifying and communicating transferable skills Identifying and communicating transferable skills Researching and identifying possible career options Researching and identifying possible career options Networking and interviewing Networking and interviewing Job search strategies Job search strategies

14 Career for Masters Program Seminar Learning Objectives Seminar Learning Objectives Understanding student motivation Understanding student motivation Personal profile detailing individual skills, interests, values, and personality type (MBTI and Kerwin Values Inventory) Personal profile detailing individual skills, interests, values, and personality type (MBTI and Kerwin Values Inventory) Focused resume, cover letter for specific career field Focused resume, cover letter for specific career field Knowledge of what networking is and how it is done Knowledge of what networking is and how it is done List of viable career options to continue researching List of viable career options to continue researching Extensive contact list Extensive contact list Opportunity to conduct a practice interview Opportunity to conduct a practice interview A plan and set of goals to continue one's job search A plan and set of goals to continue one's job search

15 Next Steps Meet with DGSs more frequently Meet with DGSs more frequently Revise survey - content and delivery Revise survey - content and delivery Evaluate mentors/ advisees experiences more directly Evaluate mentors/ advisees experiences more directly Provide more thorough orientation for peer mentors Provide more thorough orientation for peer mentors Evaluate career-for-masters program Evaluate career-for-masters program Conduct qualitative exit interviews Conduct qualitative exit interviews

16 The Graduate School University of Notre Dame Cecilia Lucero Jarren Gonzales


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