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Retention and Graduation

16 Aug Posted by in Academics, Business | Comments Off on Retention and Graduation
Retention and Graduation
 

As some readers know, Mason got some good publicity last week, in published data demonstrating that our graduation rates for key minority groups, notably African Americans and Latinos, are about the same as those for students as a whole. We are delighted that our recruitment, education and support efforts have this result. We have long pointed to our student diversity and its role in our overall teaching and learning program.

At the same time, it has to be admitted that our graduation rates (at the mid-60 percents over six years) are not what we should aspire to. They have been improving rapidly — just a few years ago they were in the 50% range. And Mason has often been commended for retention and graduation rates superior to many peer schools in terms of student attributes.

But — and a number of recent reports drive this point home as well — we should be striving for more. American graduate rates, overall, are falling below current international competition. The gap between admissions and graduation figures has long represented serious losses in terms of resources and personal commitments. There are all sorts of reasons to set our sights higher. Given Mason’s real achievements in this area, but also our service to a wide range of student backgrounds, committing to a goal of further improvement — even aspiring to become something of a model in this vital area — simply makes educational sense.

So I think we should spend a bit of time this year figuring out what new targets make sense; why we already have been improving; what additional things we can do to accelerate progress without, of course, sacrificing learning standards. I look forward to the opportunity to convey further reports.