Each year, more and more CSU freshman are sticking around to graduation and are taking less time to get there.
Since 2007, retention rates have been steadily climbing and are now at a peak of 86.6 percent. Time-to-graduation rates have been steadily decreasing since 1990, as 60 percent are now graduating within four years, and 76 percent within four and a half years.
Paul Thayer, special adviser to the provost for retention, has been working on improving these rates for about eight years and is proud of the newest peak in retention.
“This goes to the core of what we stand for as an institution,” Thayer said.
Associate Provost Alan Lamborn, who has been working with Thayer since 2006, described how there used to be several University policies that did not allow for proper communication between faculty and students, which discouraged students from staying.
One of the solutions to this was to add a new University position entitled ‘academic support coordinator.’ The entire purpose of this position is to assist students with degree planning.
“It provides students with someone who’s main focus is their development and getting them to graduation,” said LaToya Noel, who is an academic support coordinator for the Food Science & Human Nutrition Department. “It connects with students on a basic level.”
According to Thayer, strategies used since 2006 to increase retention rates include implementing early warning and support systems, strengthening academic advising, redesigning foundational and gateway courses, creating the Institute for Learning and Teaching and re-configuring financial aid.
“CSU has made student success, understood as learning, retention and efficient degree completion a priority, and has invested heavily in systems to produce that success,” Thayer wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Both Thayer and Lamborn hope to see retention rates and time-to-graduation rates improve further in the upcoming years. Lamborn wants to see retention rates reach as high as 90 percent.
“We feel very good about what is underway here,” Lamborn said.
Collegian reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at email@example.com.