As an urban research university, Wayne State University creates and advances knowledge. In order to satisfy this mission, we strive to create and foster the conditions that promote and sustain student learning, engagement and success. In December, 2010, the university, with the support of the board of governors, pledged support to enhance this effort through a three year retention initiative. This effort commits a significant pool of resources to promote student learning and success, with the expectation that we will build on our previous progress to improve our retention and graduation rates.
Retention of freshman students from their first to second year is a key measure in higher education. Wayne State University tracks the one-year retention rate of first-time freshmen from their first fall semester to the fall of the next year. Of the first-time, first-year (First Time In Any College -- FTIACs) students who started at Wayne State in the 2010 Fall Semester, 77 percent returned to Wayne State for their second year, an increase of 8% from the Fall 2006 incoming FTIACs. The current initiative is designed to achieve an 82% one year retention rate over five years.
Details on our recent progress, before the current initiative, can be found in the 2010 Report on Student Success. More information on the current retention initiative can be found in the December 2010 Report written by the Retention Implementation Task Force.
Research on college retention indicates that universities that are successful share several key characteristics, all of which indicate a broad commitment to the welfare and education of students. In particular, students will persist and be successful when they are well prepared and when the institution demonstrates a compelling, personal commitment to their success, when they develop supportive educational and social communities, and when they are committed to the education of all of their students.
In keeping with these goals, the retention initiative targets six areas, which taken together, will foster a culture of success from orientation to graduation.