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S AVANNAH S TATE U NIVERSITY Retention & Graduation Rate Planning Presentation for USG Board of Regents April 14, 2010 Dr. Earl Yarbrough, President.

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Presentation on theme: "S AVANNAH S TATE U NIVERSITY Retention & Graduation Rate Planning Presentation for USG Board of Regents April 14, 2010 Dr. Earl Yarbrough, President."— Presentation transcript:

1 S AVANNAH S TATE U NIVERSITY Retention & Graduation Rate Planning Presentation for USG Board of Regents April 14, 2010 Dr. Earl Yarbrough, President

2 SSUs Mission Statement Savannah State University, the oldest public historically black university in the State of Georgia, develops productive members of a global society through high quality instruction, scholarship, research, service and community involvement. The University fosters engaged learning and personal growth in a student-centered environment that celebrates the African American legacy while nurturing a diverse student body. Savannah State University offers graduate and undergraduate studies including nationally accredited programs in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions. Adopted USG BOR, 14 Oct 2009

3 However… No single course accounts for attrition and no single silver bullet will mitigate it. Track differences that make a difference. Without data, youre just another person with an opinion.

4 SSU & State University 6 yr. Graduation Rates Recently, SSUs graduation rates have risen in concert with those of State Universities, increasing by about 10 percentage points (or 16%) over the past 18 years.

5 In recent years, SSUs retention rates have hovered around those of State Universities, having increased by 10 percentage points (or 16%) over the past 18 years. SSU & State University 1 st yr. Retention Rates

6 Most SSU Freshmen come from outside the Savannah/Chatham area Recruiting and Retention

7 SSU is first choice for 29% of freshmen SSU is not first choice for 71% of freshmen

8 SSU Faces An Overarching Issue... Most SSU students dont want to be at SSU first – 62% of nations frosh at 1 st choice institution. 29% at SSU. (Findings stable (19952009); CIRP Freshman Study) AND… – 72% of nations frosh applied to other schools; 85% at SSU. – 42% of nations frosh list academic reputation as important in college choice; 25% at SSU. – 31% of nations frosh list financial aid offer as important reason to attend; 41% at SSU. – 22% of nations frosh list to get away from home as an important reason to attend; 32% at SSU. Ali framed the issue in a focus group: There are only four reasons anyone would be at SSU: to get grades up, to save money, to be close to home, or to take a program not available anywhere else. -- African-American Homeland Security Sophomore, in good standing

9 Yet, 71 % Return A 2 nd Year… And 60% Stay For 2 years Bucket Theory From any bucket full of entering freshmen, various groups depart prematurely through one of three types of fissures in the bucket: transfer, stop out, or dropout. Each fissure represents a distinctive response to the interaction of college and life experiences; each departure behavior is motivated by a different mix of influences or factors. --M. Crow

10 Negative perceptionHistoric Problem – 16% report parents wish important to selection – 13% report relatives wish important for selection – 6% report teachers advice an important consideration. – 9% report HS counselors advice an important consideration Uninviting campusHistoric Problem – Diverse buildings boarded up, unusable, dysfunctional – Buildings without AC; pool wont hold water – Water-front overgrown w/ trash weeds and trees – Peeling paint; lack preventative maintenance plan – Science labs archaicin contrast to feeder high schools! – Negative alumni letters/dysfunctional foundation I wanted my girl friend to come here with me; her family objected they didnt want her going to school with Blacks. Theyre farming folks. Why SSU Is Not A 1 st Choice College?

11 Selected Opinions, Assumptions & Perceptions Indicators To Consider The facility stinks: my high school football field is better than this. Teachers are easier here; you show up for class; they read the text book to you; you get a B. No sweat. I got a nice financial aid package. Thats the only reason I came here. The place I wanted to go wouldnt give me enough money. An alumni wearing an alumni pen accosted me at a football game and demanded what are you doing here, obviously referring to my color. The financial aid lady never answers your questions. If she talks, shes rude. Campus security is a joke. They sit in their gate huts hassling students while strangers climb over fences & rob you in the dorm at gunpoint. I dont like that certain classes are only offered certain semesters; that could possibly keep me here an extra semester due to late declaration of major… quite unfair. (Student Attitude Survey, Fall, 2009) Perceptions and concerns vary…greatly.

12 Im disappointed in the faculty member that … [only] read[s] from the text book. Why is education not offered …here …? Because of this Ill be transferring... Health center is not very helpful; we should have an on-call doctor 24/7. I have a problem with the dysfunction of shower heads in Bostic Hall. The [limited] visitation hours [in dorm rooms] are ridiculous. SSU students are very to themselves and not very sociable. When you speak of Savannah you only hear of SCAD and AASU? …a major problem. School is much unorganized. Phones are never answered and directions never clear. My financial aid situation is a big disaster…[its always] the Financial Aid office fault. Selected Opinions, Assumptions & Perceptions Indicators To Consider

13 Surveys & Focus Groups Isolate Causal Influences Underlying The Indicators Campus Influences: – Grades, pedagogy, and scheduling – Racism and diversity – Staff attitudes and service – Facilities, parking and safety Extramural Influences: – Campus reputation and image – Family, health, and childcare – Legal complications – Finance and employment – Program availability (medical/educational)

14 Micro-Indicators For Campus Sub-Groups Are The Shadows Forming Clues... * 80% of freshmen w/ 3.0+ HS GPA return; when GPA < 2.0, only 65% return. 73% of full-time freshmen return while 49% of part-timers return. 75% of campus residents return; 63% of off-campus residents return. 73% of Black freshmen return; 51% of non-Blacks return. 67% of 19-yr old frosh return; 50% of 18-year olds do. 76% of Science/Tech majors return; 70% of liberal arts majors do. 75% of Atlanta frosh return; 67% of Savannah frosh return. Out-of-state freshmen return less frequently than in-state freshmen. * Indicators are not causes, but clues guiding where to look for causes.

15 Factor/Logistic Regression Study* By Dr. Michael Crow Factors Explaining Attrition Student Assets – Home neighborhood, capital and culture, HS Academic Culture, & academic preparation Student Mentality – Achievement, self-image, social engagement, thoughtful college choice, hedonism, other-directed Student Experience – Value added, cognition required, quality relationships, scholarly emphasis, interactive learning, informal dialogs, literature focus, academic work focus, extramural demands *Available at: Crow, M. (2007), Stayers & Leavers Among Newbies: Influences on the Early Departures of HBCU Freshmen.

16 Factors Affect Different Types Of Students Differently Types of students: – Participation level (FT/PT) – Sex – Ethnic Group (Black/non-Black) – Age Group (minors/adults) – Residence Status (on/off-campus) Types of attrition (in 2 yrs): – Transfer (6%) – Dropout (31%) – Stopout (4%) Rocket Science: Different influences cause different behaviors in different kinds of people. There is no single silver bullet to fix varieties of human choice and action.

17 An Emergent Understanding Stop Out students are heavily motivated by finances. They run out of money, go off to work, and return later for a few more classes. This behavior is more frequent among older students. Transfer students are most heavily motivated by curriculum or pedagogy. They want a major we cant offer or they want easier or more rigorous academic setting. So they move away. This behavior is most frequent among younger students lacking local community ties & commitments. Drop Out students are heavily motivated by extramural factors. This is the largest and most diversely motivated attrition group and we continue to study it intensively.

18 One sees here, by way of example, that perceived quality of relations has a huge effect on probability of retention, especially on males, adults, and minorities, controlling for other factors. This is one of the ideas lying at the heart of the National Survey of Student Engagement proven critical here for SSU freshmen. *See: Crow, M. (2007), Stayers & Leavers Among Newbies: Influences on the Early Departures of HBCU Freshmen.

19 SSU Planning: Long-Term Goals Attack Retention-Related Barriers Goal 1: Enhance comparative advantage Goal 2: Enhance institutional capacity Goal 3: Recruitment and retention Goal 4: Image and Communication Goal 5: Professional development Recent stakeholder survey found all planning goals continue to be important and incompletely attained

20 Campus capital improvements: – In 2000, 244 residents; by 2008, 686; an 81% increase – Social Science building; gymnasium – Master Planning Academic Centers of Excellence & target programs: – Marine Science, Homeland Security, and Education Proposal, others Curriculum and pedagogy development: – Lower-division university college – Writing across the curriculum: The Write Attitude – Professional accreditation for all programs – Restructuring majors and class schedules – Revise Freshman Orientation course/pedagogy Staff development: – Post-tenure review/publishing-professional currency/professional meetings – Customer service/cross training/technical training – Diversity training/workshops SSU Has Undertaken Long-Term Interventions In Response

21 SSU Is Undertaking Further Interventions In Response New Residence Hall New Student Center New WiFi/Dinner/Coffee Shop New Diversity Officer (Human Resources) New Recruiting/Admissions Counselor New Athletic Facilities Student Future Student Center

22 Other Interventions Academic Success Center Professional Accreditations Clubs/Organizations/Honor Societies Motivational Speakers (Dr. Cornell West, etc.) Campus Beautification (grass, marsh, etc.) Workout Center Athletic Conference Dress/Crimestoppers Program Student Forums Administration with Faculty Senate Transparency Mentorships Freshman Orientation Administrations Interaction On Campus Enhanced Fundraising Organization Community Involvement/Organizations Marketing/Paper and TV Coverage International Travel Opportunities

23 Considering New Planning Ideas (?) Employ Minority Student Advisor – Advise admissions, track student success, integrate students Underachievers Academic/Social Mentor – For all part-time and <2.0 HS grade freshmen Diversity appreciation training – For alumni and staff Replace Basic Skills with AA degree academy Revise Freshman Experience Classes – Faculty designed Increase Scholarship Endowment

24 Further studies now underway… Rinelli & Crow, non-returning freshman study – Senior sociology class phone interviews Rukmana & Crow, excess credit senior study – Analysis of course-taking & major shifting Goldman & Crow, enrolled non-Black students – Focus group interviews on the SSU experience Anderson & Crow, self-image & attainment – Inquiry into students referent group identity Crow, positive attractors to SSU? – What factors attract first-choice students?


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