Last modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2007
School of Education Mp3 files
Hossler says his previous study into how personnel is devoted to coordinating retention efforts reveals that most campuses don't devote much:
"The average FTE on a campus devoted to retention and graduation is .29. Most of them have no budgetary authority. Many of them have no policy-making authority. So you have this area, that's got 30 years of research and attention and U.S. News uses it as part of the calculations for ranking colleges, and the federal government is talking about using the graduation and retention rates as one accountability measure because everything else is so hard to measure. And institutions say, 'We're really focused on this' if you ask them, and yet you have these nagging 'We don't know much about what they do.' I think we're actually the first study to look at this, and you get these really interesting findings like less than a third of an FTE actually devoted to it."
A central coordinator for retention activities would be the best solution for most campuses, Hossler says:
"I've believed for many years that there should be someone who's like a coordinator of retention activities, an associate-something, because it's so multi-faceted. It can be everything from advising, to adequacy of financial aid, to policies and practices around academic withdrawal. I don't think you can have a czar or czarina that just says, 'You will do this.' But I do think you need someone who has a fair amount of their time devoted to looking every year at 'how are we doing?'"
Hossler says retention rates will continue to be important in higher education:
"There was a proposal that graduation rates be used as one of the primary accountability measures at the federal level. Those kinds of costs have always been -- monetary ones have always been there. Those ones that we like to kind of -- prestige and trust and perception of the public -- those costs are going to keep going up for a while."
To download these quotes, visit http://site.educ.indiana.edu/news/tabid/5663/Default.aspx. Click on the link beneath "Podcasts" that reads, "What makes for academic success? School of Education professor continues study for College Board."