Keeping Existing Students As Important As Getting New Ones

retain

The college’s climbing enrolment – to record levels – during the past decade indicates that getting students hasn’t been a major problem. 

But somewhat alarming statistics associated with failures, dismissals and drop-outs has suggested that keeping students is a troublesome issue ... 

... So much so that, several years ago, the college’s Board of Governors established “Student Retention, Graduation Rate and Success” as one of St. Clair’s Strategic Directions. 

During the Board’s November 23rd meeting, the administration provided its annual update on that topic. 

The past year, the report noted, has seen a stepped-up concentration on this topic, highlighted by the creation of a new office at the school to deal specifically with retention. 

The report explained: 

In order to provide a more streamlined and student-focused approach for students at risk (of failure and/or dropping-out), a strategic organizational re-alignment was implemented in August, 2021, to create the Student Retention and Academic Advising Office (SRAA).  A Director, Manager and three Student Retention Officer positions were created ... The SRAA department will focus on three major areas: 

1. Academic advising to dismissed and interrupted students between semesters. 

2. Predictive and proactive interaction to academically vulnerable students at the beginning of each semester. 

3. Connecting with students after the mid-term progress reports have been issued to ensure students understand and utilize the resources available to them to support success. 

The report also detailed some of the procedures used and results to-date: 

Retained Dismissals: Prior to Fall 2021, a total of 1,242 dismissals were identified ... A dismissal occurs when the semester or cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) falls below 2.0. 

The newly created Student Retention and Academic Advising Office was tasked with retaining the educational pathways of these students, where possible. As a result of academic standing and progression policies, not all academically dismissed students are eligible for re-admission. 

A total of 674 were successfully re-admitted from the 866 students that applied for re-admission. All re-admitted students must have completed modules in Pearson MyLab (an assessment tool used to improve comprehension and support future academic performance through the reinforcement of skills). [Of the 1,242 students who were originally dismissed, therefore, almost 55 percent of them (674) were able to re-enter their programs to continue their studies.] 

The more proactive aim of the SRAA, of course, is to prevent dismissals and drop-outs before they occur, by (in conjunction with other college departments) making sure that students are aware of – and using – the many academic supports available to them before they actually approach a failure situation (tutoring, for instance).

LINKS TO MORE STORIES FROM THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS’ MEETING

• President Patti France’s monthly report: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-hears-about-presidents-busy-month

• A new program to be unveiled next fall: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-approves-new-program-launch-next-fall

• 2021-22 budget’s bottom-line is revised: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/college-revises-its-budget-projections-mid-year

• Programs with some iffy enrolment being monitored: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/enrolment-dips-discussed-board

• New credit-transfer opportunities: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/new-additions-go-there-here-list

• Sister school could deliver St. Clair programs in B.C.: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/scc-may-get-bc-thanks-aaa

• St. Clair’s regional economic impact: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/st-clairs-impact-updated-report