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Degree Completion & Retention Plan

DCR Plan

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Factor 1: Academic & Student Preparedness

Students who successfully navigate the transition from high school to college tend to be those who are prepared academically and socially for the new environment.  They adopt successful strategies of self-assessment and behaviors that support success and satisfaction.  Examples include finding ways to add structure to their day-to-day life.  This may be in the form of an on-campus job or participation in intramurals in addition to their full-time course load.  They learn to budget their time carefully.  Going from high school where much of the day was utilized for classes, extracurricular activities or homework and into college where they have only 15-16 hours/week clearly defined classroom time can be a difficult transition for many students.  Failure to successfully navigate this transition can result in a significant increase in time to graduation, academic probation, or even drop out.  Institutions can provide academic support programs to assess and support academic preparedness as well as curricular and/or co-curricular experiences for their first-year students focused on assisting them with this transition.

Recommended Key Actions:

1. Create a comprehensive faculty mentor program. Key goals of the mentorship program include: 

  • Fostering vital mentoring connections between faculty and students.  These relationships have been shown to impact academic transition, success and degree completion, particularly among students at the highest levels of risk in these areas.                      
  • Promoting student persistence and academic success by demonstrating the level of commitment from key members of the university community.
  • Helping students develop attitudes, behaviors, support strategies correlated with academic success and satisfaction.
  • Identifying core group of faculty and staff willing to serve as key role models, mentors in a variety of areas of need.
  • Build a clearing house of faculty member resources available to students.

2. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of 'first year' courses offered at EMU as well as courses frequented at high rates by first year students in the past.  Project would be designed with the goal of identifying successful models of instruction, structuring and scheduling and other best practices in support of student retention at EMU.  Long term goals include enhancing existing courses, broadening the scope of effective practices and composing a plan for broader implementation across student groups.

3. Support Student Development of Four Year Graduation and Career Readiness Plans with appropriate staff and systems support. This includes creation of orientation, advising and career development programs that promote and support these plans.  It also includes acquisition of systems and software tools that support the creation, implementation and monitoring of the plans, both at the student level and across relevant campus departments and offices.

4. Evaluate the cost and benefits of creating co-curricular transcripts. Evaluation team should include members from all parts of the university that might provide programming that would be noted on these transcripts.

5. Conduct review of existing developmental math, reading and writing programs (both curricular and support).  Evaluate these programs against national benchmarks and best practices.

6. Adopt consistent university-wide messages around attracting and orienting new students for success.  Messages should support and be consistent with messaging around student success



Degree Completion & Retention Plan, Academic & Student Affairs, 106 Welch Hall 734.487.3200