On May 19-20, NDUS hosted its third Retention Summit. The theme for this year’s event was “Analysis and Application of Data for Student Retention.” The National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus hosted 130 summit attendees including faculty and staff from all NDUS institutions, as well as from North Dakota tribal colleges and private universities.
“Our campuses are focused on student achievement and making sure that all learners have the support and skills they need to be successful and graduate,” said Tanya Spilovoy, summit organizer and NDUS Director of Distance Education & State Authorization. “Over the past few years, NDUS institutions have instituted many research-proven retention programs, and the retention rate at our community colleges is the highest in the nation.”
Some of these proven retention programs include providing online alcohol education to all incoming students, increasing alcohol sanction training for campus staff, and increasing mental health resources on NDUS campuses.
This year’s Retention Summit focused on taking those successes to the next level by focusing on the data available and using that data to make informed decisions about programs and interventions. The Retention Summit included a presentation on a new data framework that allows anonymous student data (class performance and other factors) to be tracked on a larger scale to provide more accurate trends, then giving the faculty and staff the tools to find the specific students in need and intervene with proven techniques. This type of data-driven decision making allows faculty and staff to be confident that they are using the correct intervention techniques to give students the support they need to complete their degree.
“The number of students in North Dakota is on the rise,” said NDUS Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen. “By working together to address these issues today, we’ll be better prepared to help our growing student population succeed in the future.”