TAMIU’s Student Persistence Rate Tops
Among A&M System Regional Universities
One of the leading indicators of student success in higher education is the percentage of “persistence” – the number of first-year students who return for a second year of studies. Those that do so increase the likelihood of timely undergraduate degree completion exponentially.
Based on its 2012-2013 performance, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) leads all Texas A&M University System regional campuses with a 74% persistence rate. TAMIU’s closest competitor among A&M regional universities is TAMU-Commerce with a 69% persistence rate.
Dr. Conchita Hickey, TAMIU’s dean of University College, identified three primary factors that have helped to elevate TAMIU’s persistence profile.
“Basically, we committed to an expansion in academic support which has generated an increased awareness among students of the effectiveness of that support. As a result, a dramatic boost in participation by students in these programs has followed,” Dr. Hickey explained.
University College is TAMIU’s umbrella for various academic support programs and services that focus on advising and mentoring, tutoring, supplemental instruction, testing, writing, service learning, focused seminar courses, a University-wide Common Read and developmental studies.
Hickey said that additional components in TAMIU’s persistence success are the strong integration of academic support by TAMIU faculty, an embedded high-tech monitoring and tracking system and reinforcement by Student Life and Career Services offices.
“Across the board, it’s all about everybody maintaining constant communication and partnership in the success of our students. At some campuses, advising and mentoring may occur on an occasional basis, perhaps once a semester at registration. Here at TAMIU, it’s virtually a daily effort that’s manifested by all of us across the campus. We’re especially proud of the critical leadership that our faculty provides in all aspects of our programs,” she explained.
Linked to the communication engagement are embedded student monitoring and integration of academic support into Student Life, she added.
“Our DegreeWorks system helps students and faculty share real-time advising information and track their success, making adjustments to schedules and degree plans seamlessly. Likewise, our Student Life offices have done much to integrate the use of academic support programs and services into their campus activities. There was a time when academic assistance programs had a stigma attached. Not so anymore…now students see the real-world implications and dramatic impacts on their performance, their GPA and, most importantly, the return on their investment. After all, they’re paying for these services with their student fees; they should take advantage,” Hickey noted.
While pleased with TAMIU’s persistence rate, Hickey said the University is eyeing bettering that rate.
“We’re looking at additional ways of strengthening our persistence and are continuing to work on computer-adaptive and accelerated models for instruction, among other strategies. Technology aside, we want students to know that incredible things happen in and out of classrooms. Learning can be intoxicating, empowering and life-affirming,” she concluded.
TAMIU’s persistence percentage, along with other leading indicators of success, will be profiled on a Texas A&M University System analytics site, EmpowerU, which provides useful metrics for all A&M System campuses.
For additional information on the University College, contact Dr. Hickey at 956.326.2134, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, room 223. Information is also available on the web at tamiu.edu/uc
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