Evaluating the Student Retention Program of Oregon State University Using Vincent Tinto's Model of Student Departure Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/ng451n68g

2011

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  • Retention, the ability of an institution to retain students through degree completion, is a major concern for most colleges and universities. The current first to second year retention rate at Oregon State University (OSU) is about 80% (OUS 2008; 2011). Currently the OSU Strategic Plan includes the goal of increasing first to second year institutional retention to 85% by 2013 (OSU 2009). My research attempts an evaluation of the overall university retention effort. This analysis will not attempt to evaluate the effects of individual retention programs, but whether the combination of programs is theoretically sound using Vincent Tinto’s (1993) interactionalist model of student departure as a framework. The following questions guide the evaluation: (1) Are the campus wide OSU retention program efforts designed to address the interactional needs identified by Tinto (1993) as central to increasing retention? and, (2) What additional retention efforts does the Tinto (1993) model suggest to ensure the effectiveness of OSU retention efforts? Findings indicate that the campus wide OSU retention program efforts are designed to address the interactional needs identified by Tinto (1993) as central to increasing retention. However, upon closer inspection it is clear that gaps exists in providing long-term interactions and addressing external factors. Policy recommendations include follow up contacts for students participating in general retention programs, addressing external obligations via providing help with child care, providing for further family involvement throughout the school year, and making at least one orientation activity mandatory for all new students.
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