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Degree Completion & Retention Plan

DCR Plan

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The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Degree Completion and Retention (DCR) Plan has been developed to address both retention and graduation rates in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. At just under 40%, EMU's reported six-year "first time in any college" (FTIAC) student graduation rate is the second lowest among higher education institutions in the state of Michigan. The DCR plan focuses on five areas of practice, process, and policy that both scholarly and practitioner research find have great impact on degree completion and retention. The five areas are: Academic & Student Preparedness, Enrollment Policies, Financial Aid Policies & Incentives, Advising & Student Support and Curriculum Structure & Delivery. In addition, the plan includes targeted initiatives aimed at two demographic segments of the student population: Men of Color and Single Parents.

The targeted initiatives for the two demographic segments, Men of Color and Single Parents, are targeted for three main reasons. First, Eastern's, as well as national, statistics indicate that these two segments experience six-year degree completion rates in the 11-17% range, significantly lower than the general population. Second, research has shown that targeted programmatic efforts addressing the unique circumstances/attributes of these two segments can realize extraordinary results. Lastly, many on EMU's campus already have a strong interest/commitment to the two segments and continue to champion university efforts aimed at enhancing their success. We want to build on those efforts. Other groups may be targeted over time for focused programming as the plan is implemented and evaluated.

The final plan results from a two semester long process involving a number of drafts and dialogues. Initial draft proposals were prepared by 7 teams staffed primarily of university staff and administrators working in student service and support areas. Those initial proposals were circulated to campus for review and enhancement. Feedback was received from focus groups comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators. Additional open forums were held to widen participation opportunities. Drafts were updated and integrated into a single plan based on that feedback. This second draft plan was provided to Faculty Senate who provided input to the Provost's Office about suggested improvements and enhancements to the plan. It was also discussed with Student Government and the Student Leadership Group. The draft plan was also brought to administrative and staff groups for their feedback.

Each of the following sections includes a brief introduction to one of seven areas of the plan, followed by key strategies the University will pursue going forward. These strategies are not intended to be an all-inclusive long term strategic vision – they are instead key 'next steps' that Eastern Michigan University will undertake in an effort to increase retention and graduation rates in support of the university's overall strategic vision and plan.

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