CSRDE Best Practices in Student Retention Awards Announced

Salt Lake City, UT – The Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) at the University of Oklahoma presented four awards during the recent Fourteenth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention (NSSR) held in Salt Lake City, UT.

The 2018 Best Practices Award was given to Murray State University for the paper “Student Engagement and Success: Action and Assessment” by Peggy Whaley, Cindy Clemson, and Jeff Henry. Best Practices Award winners must demonstrate evidence of a system-wide approach to the institution’s retention issues. Murray State University has implemented student success discipline-specific freshmen transitions courses in which academic affairs and student affairs personnel collaborate as partner instructors. Faculty who are assigned to teach their disciplines’ one-credit-hour transitions course are paired with student affairs, library, or graduate student volunteers. Discipline faculty deliver discipline-specific content and the success seminar instructors deliver content on time management, strategic learning, resiliency, managing college life, grit, growth mindset, and successful student behaviors.

The University of South Carolina won the Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention Award. The paper, “Academic Work Ethic as an Enrollment Management Measure,” was written by Phil Moore and Marla Mamrick. This award is given to the paper best demonstrating the importance of institutional research to the field of student retention. The paper investigates using a measure of academic work ethic derived from admissions test scores and high school GPA to detect students at-risk. The group of students with low academic work ethic is less likely to return each year and is less likely to graduate. Academic work ethic also appears promising when used with existing admissions decision indexes and can lead to higher retention and graduation rates and an increase in enrollment numbers for minority, Pell eligible, and in-state students.

The Director’s Award, which is given to the paper that best addresses an issue of current interest and need in the field of student retention and success, went to the University of Alabama for “Reading Between the Retention Rates: Examining First Generation Student Transitions in the First Year.” Amy Bickel wrote the paper. It uses qualitative methods to examine participants in the Legacy Scholars program focusing on their transition, growth, and recommendations for institutions of higher education. The themes that emerged describe high levels of pressure, an understood knowledge gap, the importance of social community, threat of financial barriers, and suggestions that can inform our practice in serving this growing population.

New Jersey City University won the Best Poster Award for “Identifying Challenges and Improving Outcomes for First-Generation and Low-Income Students.” Jimmy Jung and Veronica Garcia created the poster. Conference attendees who volunteered as judges chose the winner on-site.

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 Fifteenth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention will take place October 28-31, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. 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 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.