Memo to campus announcing new funding initiative

TO: Faculty and staff
FROM: Provost Mike Sherman and Executive VP Jim Tressel
RE: New funding for retention/completion initiatives
DATE: March 6, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Much of our energy is rightfully focused on recruiting new students. Perhaps even more important are efforts to keep our students on track for timely graduation. Continuing students account for 80 percent of our enrollment. And enrollment generates about 95 percent of our general fund revenue.

Clearly, improving retention will strengthen our budget significantly. And that’s why we are announcing a new funding opportunity to improve retention (read more about this below).

Since we held a Summit on Retention with national expert Vincent Tinto in November, we have taken a number of actions. We convened a Student Success Steering Team of students, faculty, staff and administrators, and charged them with carrying out the University’s Completion and Retention Plan. The team includes:

  • Professor Dr. Richard Steiner, who says, “One of my most rewarding experiences was serving with the other dedicated members of the original Student Success and Retention Committee. I believe that committee’s work laid the foundation for the current revival of student success efforts, and I’m enthusiastic about having new opportunities to help promote our students’ academic success.”
  • Assistant Vice President for Student Success Fedearia A. Nicholson: “I am a first-generation college student and know first-hand how a college education can transform your world and I want to see that realized in the lives of all UA students.”
  • Psychology Professor Dr. Paul Levy: “Having been at UA for 25 years and having seen us make great strides, I want to see us take the next big step - greater success for our students.”
  • Marketing Professor Dr. Deborah Owens: “Education is indeed the gateway to success and we need to support and help more students reach their goals.”
  • Political science major Joe Ryan: “I look forward to the prospect of helping the Student Success Steering Team so that my fellow students are provided the support they need to succeed.”
  • More team member comments.

Call for proposals!

Now the committee invites you to take the next step. The team seeks proposals for initiatives focused on improving student retention and completion. This is a new opportunity for members of our campus community to work collectively to submit an idea or a set of ideas aimed at improving student learning, retention and/or completion. The Student Success Steering Team looks to fund two to three proposals. Each funded program could receive up to $50,000 a year for a minimum of three years.

For more details on this new opportunity, download the proposal on our retention website. Deadline for submission is April 11. Proposals selected for funding will be announced on or before May 2.

Retention champions named

The colleges and vice presidential units have identified “retention champions” to work closely with the Student Success Steering Team on the University’s retention and completion plan. See who the champions are.

In closing

A big thank you to all who contribute to our campus culture of student success, retention and completion. Please continue to join us - we will be reaching out to many of you across campus. Also, share your thoughts in our poll on retention initiatives, consider submitting a proposal, and please continue to send in your ideas for improving campus retention and completion -- ultimately our students’ success. There is nothing more important!

Mike Sherman
Senior Vice President, Provost and Chief Operating Officer

Jim Tressel
Executive Vice President for Student Success