Author(s)Undergraduate Student Retention
Contributor(s)The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeerX Archives
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AbstractWith the exception of two flagship institutions in Texas, the graduation rate at urban public universities in the state is lower than 40%. New Mexico public universities hold a similar record. A theory for college departure argues that this graduation rate could be increased significantly by reducing the attrition rate during the first years of college. In this paper, we discuss a multi-component implementation of this theory in a commuter engineering college in west Texas. First, we address the transition between high school and college as an anomic situation that can be corrected by means of a university seminar that incorporates survival skills into the academic content of the course. We explain how academic performance of entering students can be improved via the implementation of learning communities. We also explain how the incorporation of entering students into the college society can be achieved through an academic center for student development. Next, we discuss the advantage of developing a strong undergraduate research program. Finally, we discuss the importance of faculty, and curriculum development in promoting a culture change that focuses on student learning through active participation in the classroom.