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Retention strategies throughout the student life cycle

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Retention strategies throughout the student life cycle

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Retention strategies throughout the student life cycle

  1. 1. Retention Strategies Throughout the Student Life- Cycle Anna Johnson, MSW College Recruitment Manager Amber Mollhagen, PhD, LMSW Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs
  2. 2. Fast Facts • University of Houston – Public Tier 1 Research Institution – Total Student Body: 46,324 – Top National University in Campus Ethnic Diversity (U.S. News & World Report) • Graduate College of Social Work – Offers two graduate degrees in Social Work: MSW and PhD – MSW is a 63 SCH program with a 900 clock hour field component – Total Student Body: 519 (490 Master's, 29 Doctoral) – MSW students evenly split between full-time and part-time – #22 out of 299 MSW programs in the U.S. (#2 in Texas) (U.S. News & World Report)
  3. 3. Office of Admissions and Student Affairs • Prior to May 2016: Two separate departments • Responsible for: – MSW and PhD Recruitment – MSW and PhD Admissions (separate committees) – MSW Orientation and Advising – MSW Student Life – Financial Aid and Scholarships – Graduation & License Prep – Front Desk and Administrative Support
  4. 4. Benefits of Combined Office • Being responsive to collective input • Getting real-time feedback from multiple areas (front desk, recruitment manager, advisors) • Expanding team's capacity
  5. 5. Why Does Retention Matter? • Enrollment tied to funding • Goals from University & College • Changing student profile – Diverse backgrounds – Non-traditional • Responding to current needs
  6. 6. • Prospective Students – GRE – Length of program – Limited resources • Admitted Students – Financial (competing offers from other schools, job offers) – Space in enrollment models – Anticipating the “Summer Melt” Challenges – Prospects/Admits
  7. 7. Goal-setting, formula and funnel • Balancing expected attrition and new retention efforts • 3-year data trends • Predict by enrollment model, or even cohort • Input from all impacted offices (field, academic affairs, online)
  8. 8. Retention Initiatives - Admitted Students • Welcome Calls (Student Ambassadors) • Welcome Sessions (MSW Program) – Presenters include representatives from admissions, Field, Advising, and a current student – 1-2 sessions focused on Financial Aid – Online and In-person (lessons learned) – Benefits include: catching issues early on, answering questions before orientation, reducing phone calls and email traffic • Post-Admission Campus Visit (PhD Program) – Depending on # of admits, budget for the year – Focus on connecting with faculty in research area and current students, explaining funding package • BookWear – Connection/belonging to college, something to wear to orientation, first day of class – Insert with reminders and next steps, supplements communications
  9. 9. Challenges – Current Students • Different enrollment models – Face to Face (Full-Time) – Hybrid (Part-Time) – Online (Part-Time) • Communication – Email overload • Changing student population – 50/50 – Distance learners
  10. 10. Retention Initiatives – Current Students • Café Hour – Held across the week – accessible to multiple enrollment models – Implemented during finals/midterms • The Social Word – Weekly Newsletter for all MSW students – Importance of naming, organization, standardization of delivery, archiving • Cohort Communicators – Identifying the right people (students, faculty and staff) – Utilizing Zoom Meetings – Capitalize on organic communication line – address incorrect information • Supper Clubs – Easy to implement – Regionally organized – diversified students' connection beyond enrollment models – Low barriers to entry (compared to student organizations)
  11. 11. # of MSW Graduates Degree Level 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 Master’s 149 169 217 219
  12. 12. Next Steps/Final Thoughts • Areas for further development – Engaging with students who have changing priorities – Reaching online/distance students – Evaluating these initiatives' impact • Recommendations for other programs – Coordination with other departments – Understand your population of grad students – Feedback loop – Conduct regular assessments of communication strategies
  13. 13. This is the goal!
  14. 14. Presenter Info Anna Johnson, MSW College Recruitment Manager anjohns8@central.uh.edu Amber Mollhagen, PhD, LMSW Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs amollhagen@uh.edu

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