PSU Takes an Intensive Look at Student Retention
PITTSBURG, KANSAS – Ask any college student if they have considered dropping out at one point or another. Resoundingly, the answer is a yes. But for students who are not just joking out of frustration, the decision to “drop” could mean transferring to another university or putting college on hold altogether.
Pittsburg State University is taking an intensive look into their own retention numbers in a paired effort with John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (JNGI) to launch a new Retention Performance Management (RPM) process at PSU.
“So there’s a lot of reasons students might not be retained, but when they leave, they take a part of our experience with them,” provost and VP of academic affairs Lynette Olson said.
The RPM will look at data from as far back as six years in an attempt to track the circumstances surrounding students non-retention.
“Unless they just decide, you know, college isn’t for me and I’m going to go do something else, we want them to stay here and be a part of this experience,” Olson said.
Olson and other staff openly acknowledge that retention is a multi-faceted effort that considers academic and extracurricular matters. Students value the social aspect of college just as they do the education.
“At the end of the day its an investment in our future as a society. And there’s evidence that a college education increases earning power, for students for individuals that achieve that, so why wouldn’t we want to invest,” Olson said.
Olson will co-chair a steering committee for the RPM. The process will be long and intensive and will include a survey for all freshman and sophomore students.
PSU’s retention rate from freshman to sophomore year is 72 percent, which is higher than the national average, but officials are pushing for more.
“I think it fits our culture, we’re very focused on students. And we want students to achieve, we want them to have a good experience,” Olson said.