Indianapolis, IN (October 2010) – The IUPUI Council on Retention and Graduation and the IUPUI Enrollment Management Council met recently in a joint summit at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library to begin collaborating on incentives to increase IUPUI student retention and graduation.
The attendees began to develop priorities to help students persist in their studies as they move from the first year of college into the second year and eventually to graduation. The two groups also addressed retention and graduation issues such as increasing student engagement, building on successful first-year programs, supporting transfer students, using curricular innovations, expanding experiential learning, and understanding the challenges students face as they work toward graduation.
The keynote speaker was Dr. L. Lee Knefelkamp, professor of psychology and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and a nationally recognized authority on developmental education.
Knefelkamp referred to IUPUI as one of the nation’s top leadership schools in liberal education. “This is a happening school,” Knefelkamp said. “IUPUI is an extraordinary leadership school.” However, Knefelkamp emphasized that now is an important time in the discussion of retention and graduation. The most important thing is to figure out how IUPUI will develop programs for the students it serves. “We cannot ask of our students what we have not developed,” she said.
Knefelkamp suggested that there be a partnership and team effort between those involved in general education and those involved with the various majors. Having high impact services will result in higher retention rates, higher GPAs, and higher self-report gains. “You will only have impact if [the services and programs are] designed and delivered well,” she said. “My hope is that you come away with a greater sense of urgency to collaborate and find ways to work more deeply with faculty.”
Other speakers included Gary Pike, Executive Director of Information Management & Institutional Research (IMIR); Michele Hansen, Director of Assessment in University College; Sheila Morris-Watson, Assistant Director of Student Services and Undergraduate Advising in the School of Informatics; and Mercy Shitemi, Student Mentor for the Informatics Learning Community.
The summit also included group breakout sessions in which attendees brainstormed ideas addressing Knefelkamp’s recommendations on how IUPUI can increase retention through the middle years.
Rick Ward, University College interim dean, felt the summit was a great foundation to furthering the success of IUPUI. “The summit was a great success measured by the number of innovative and constructive suggestions that flowed from the discussion groups. We benefited from the varied perspectives brought by the membership of the two groups. Dr. Knefelkamp, our keynote speaker, challenged us to find ways to respect the great diversity of programs and talents at IUPUI while providing common goals and measurable outcomes.”