Fighting Poor Retention with Care

Rollins cares about learning; Rollins cares about our talented students; Rollins cares about YOU!

What are all of those signs around campus?

Many students, including Summer Braun ’14, have no idea. When asked what she knew about the Rollins Cares program she said, “Well, I filled out the survey and got a shirt… that’s really it though.”

Rollins, as stated on the Rollins Cares website, www. rollins.edu/cares, has embarked on a campus-wide student success initiative to strengthen the academic experiences, success and retention of students. The goal of the program is to provide an even higher quality educational experience, enhanced student-centered programs, and educate graduates who are better prepared for success in the 21st century.

As part of the program, Meghan Harte, executive director of Student Success, will serve as the point person for any student or family with questions or in need of assistance. Harte’s job is to “make sure any issue is solved so you are as successful as you can be here at Rollins. Rollins wants to make sure we do everything we can to make students successful at Rollins.”

The program was started in response to concerns about student success and retention. Retention rates at Rollins, the percent of first year students who stay at Rollins between their freshman and sophomore years, are lower than the rates of our peer institutions. For example, in 2009 the average peer group retention rate was 88 percent while Rollins’ retention rate was only 82 percent.

The Student Success and Retention Task Force in tackling the feat of lowering Rollins’ retention rate accepted suggestions from the campus community. Several faculty members proposed having campus-wide community building events. But at the end of the day, the Task Force created the Rollins Cares campus campaign to demonstrate values, commitment and progress toward student successes and goals.

Interim Provost Laurie Joyner, very much supports the movement. “At Rollins, we are deeply committed to student engagement, satisfaction and success and so we have made an institutional commitment to work toward continuous improvement in these areas. Ideally, we want every student who is admitted to Rollins to be successful here.

We want to do everything we can to help provide a truly remarkable academic and social experience that helps students develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, etc.”

Joyner believes that Rollins Cares and similar programs focusing on helping students will work to solve issues like retention and graduation rates. She also believes that it will ultimately make students more successful once they leave Rollins. “I think it is critically important that we all focus on delivering on the promise of a transformative Rollins education to our students and their families.

If we focus on continually improving how well we are engaging, serving and educating our students, then they will be more likely to be successful here and issues like retention and graduation rates will take care of themselves.”

If you have any problems on campus, please contact Meghan Harte at mharte@rollins.edu or stop by her office on the second floor of the Mills building.

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