The goal of increasing our first-to-second year retention rate has been discussed several times in the Faculty Senate over the last year, in last year's meetings of the Planning and Budget Committee, and most recently at the Senate's last meeting. Also, the KBOR has set the goal in Foresight 2020 of achieving a 10 percentage point increase in first-to-second year retention rates across the higher education system. The items listed here for Senate endorsement are intended to aid in this retention effort.
From the Executive Committee:
The Faculty Senate endorses a policy to assign a faculty mentor to each student at the time of admission.
Rationale: The report of the Faculty Dimension group (Foundations of Excellence report pp. 29-31) describes the lack of a campus-wide emphasis on the importance of working successfully with first-year students. Several action items were recommended in the report to promote an increase in the interaction between faculty members and first-year students.
The definition and expectation of the faculty mentor’s role will be established by each of the colleges. In some colleges faculty already serve as advisors. In others, where there is minimal contact at the present time, the colleges might formulate a plan to be implemented in stages.
Proposal made by the Planning and Budget Committee:
The Faculty Senate endorses a policy to require the declaration of a major at the time of admission.
Note: the Office of the Provost has recommended a policy requiring a declaration by the end of the first year.
Rationale: Data points toward a significantly higher first-year retention rate among students who declare a major. Declaration at the time of admission would facilitate the assignment of an appropriate faculty mentor in an area related to a student’s academic interest (proposal above), and would be easier to administer to all students