2016 Best Practices in Student Retention Awards Announced

Norfolk, VA – The Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) at the University of Oklahoma presented four awards during the recent Twelfth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention (NSSR) held in Norfolk, VA.

Best Practices Award

The 2016 Best Practices Award was given to City University of New York (CUNY) for the paper “CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP): Evidence from Six Cohorts and Lessons for Expansion” by Diana Strumbos, Zineta Kolenovic and Alex L. Tavares. Best Practices Award winners must demonstrate evidence of a system-wide approach to the institution’s retention issues. The CUNY program supports associate degree-seeking students and has been successful at reaching a three-year graduation rate of more than 50 percent, more than double that of the comparison group. ASAP has now received funding to enroll 25,000 students by 2019, targeting more STEM majors across nine of their colleges in the next three years. The paper describes how research and evaluation inform program management.

Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention Award

The University of Kentucky was awarded the Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention Award for the paper “Need-Based Financial Aid Strategies to Promote Student Success” by Todd Brann, Bethany L. Miller and Craig Rudick. This award is given to the paper best demonstrating the importance of institutional research to the field of student retention. Using predictive modeling techniques, the University of Kentucky found unmet financial need to be one of the best pre-matriculation variables they have for predicting second-year retention of first-time undergraduates. This drove UK to develop a grant program for students in financial distress. UK is also exploring options for adding comprehensive need-based aid to their financial aid program, which was historically almost exclusively merit-based.

Director’s Award

The Director’s Award went to “From Data to Action: Transforming Quantitative and Qualitative Research to Community-Wide Action for Improvement in Equity Outcomes,” as the paper that best addressed an issue of current interest and need in the field of student retention and success. This paper, written by Patricia Hulsebosch, Lindsay Buchko and Jerri Lyn Dorminy of Gallaudet University, documents the process of transforming data to action for their students of color. These actions include data collection and analysis, associating the findings with student success literature, sharing the results with the university community and preparing for action.

Best Poster Award

The Best Poster Award, chosen on-site, was given to Kent State University for “FLASHperks Rewards Program,” a poster designed by Kristan Dolan and Katie Goldring. FLASHperks is a university-wide initiative to enhance student involvement on campus and increase retention rates.

More About the National Symposium on Student Retention

The CSRDE hosts the symposium each year as a forum for administrators, faculty and staff from institutions of higher education to share the most current research on student retention and success. NSSR is distinguished from other conferences in that all papers presented at the symposium have gone through a multiple stage review process before presentation, beginning with the submission of abstracts. If selected, the papers are also published in the conference proceedings.

The Thirteenth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention will be held November 6-9, 2017, in Destin, FL. The CSRDE begins accepting proposals for consideration in late January. Information will be posted as it becomes available on the CSRDE website (https://csrde.ou.edu).

The CSRDE has a diverse membership of about 400 colleges and universities—two- and four-year, public and private—with the common interest of achieving the highest levels of student success through sharing data, knowledge and innovation. It is operated by the Center for Institutional Data Exchange and Analysis at the University of Oklahoma Outreach.

Photo: (L-R) Alex L. Tavares, CUNY; Katie Goldring, Kent State University; Lindsay Buchko and Jerri Lyn Dorminy, Gallaudet University. The University of Kentucky team was unable to attend the awards ceremony. Photo by Alexandra Yanovski