My thesis involved the application of logistic regression to determine the factors which best predict students’ continued enrollment for a population of first-time, full-time freshmen enrolling in the summer and fall terms of 2007. The models tested fifteen factors across a four-year span and illuminated the statistically significant factors for predicting persistence of students at an urban, public, very high research activity, university. Utilizing Supplemental Instruction (SI) as an approach for improving student success was a surprising finding of the research. It has led to the expansion of the student success center on campus and the application of SI in the School of Health Professions at the graduate level. The outcomes based on the use of SI will serve as future possible studies and publications.
diversity, inclusion, access, equity, recruitment, student success, retention, persistence, resilience, higher education, health disparities, cultural competence
In the 1970’s, Vincent Tinto, a researcher in student success measures and faculty member published his first book examining why students chose to leave college before completing a degree. Tinto found that only 57% of students who enrolled in higher education completed a Bachelor’s degree. More than thirty years later, the success rate had not markedly changed. My career has been dedicated to finding innovative ways to increase student success by working with students and faculty. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups especially need meaningful policies and strategies implemented in institutions of higher learning. As Executive Director for Retention Initiatives, I lead efforts in increasing our university’s retention and graduation rates in the following ways: designing and delivering a wrap-around service delivery model for academic student support services; expanding programs that employ engaging pedagogies; and directing data analyses to measure and report student learning outcomes. Over a ten-year period, our four-year graduation rates improved by 9% and the six-year rates improved by 11%. Now, as Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment, Engagement and Success in the UAB School of Health Professions, I am able to focus on students who are interested in pursuing health careers while working with faculty in the field who have similar goals regarding positive student outcomes. My position enables me to teach, collaborate with colleagues and expand academic student support services at the graduate level. My experience working with students, educators and administrators from a variety of backgrounds makes me uniquely qualified to serve on this team.