Eastern Michigan University’s Educational Policies Committee met on Tuesday in Welch Hall as part of a series of closing semester committee meetings.
The associate provost and associate vice president for academic programming and services, Rhonda Longworth, began the educational meeting by giving an overview of the university’s plans to increase EMU’s graduation and retention rates.
The reoccurring reasons why many students drop out before graduation were addressed at the meeting. Some of these issues range from academic to wellness issues. Longworth said EMU’s plan is to invest in improving advising, student affairs and student preparedness.
This plan also focuses on enrollment policies, financial aid policies and incentives, and curriculum structure and delivery. Research has indicated that these areas have significant impact on degree completion and retention.
Longworth said the plan to increase the rate of graduation and retention is a campus-wide endeavor focused on improving the quality of campus life for students. This can be achieved through the coordination of efforts with other groups.
“All groups had amazing, important improvements that will be added,” she said.
EMU provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, Kim Schatzel, asked, “What can we do better?”
Longworth said with an effective execution of efforts, the campus community would see enhanced programs at the university for returning students.
Additionally, special initiatives in the plan to increase graduation and retention rates at EMU are geared towards students of color and single parents.
Schatzel said research has shown that providing programs geared towards the special circumstances of these groups produces positive results.
“We need to embrace the student population and truly serve them,” Longworth said.
EMU is known as one of the Midwest’s most culturally diverse institutions, according to an EMU press release. Between 1992 and 2012, the Hispanic/Latino population grew from 320 to 723 and the African-American population grew from 1,882 to 4,717.
Longworth concluded by saying EMU is committed to focusing on the plan to increase graduation and retention rates, building on past efforts to do so, leveraging faculty interest and gathering and sharing data.
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