Retention and Recruiting
At the Faculty/Staff Institute in August, we re-emphasized the importance of recruiting and retention, and gave a charge to not only focus our efforts on the recruitment of students to the University, but also to examine from all angles our efforts to retain students. Our collective and collaborative efforts in both areas have included the following:
- Dialogue between Academic Leadership and Recruiting to examine best practices, identify key strategies, and a deep-dive into contacting schools that have traditionally been very interested in NSU and our programs;
- Communication from Academic Deans to all students during the 5-week grade process that both congratulates students who are progressing successfully as well as reaching students who may be struggling for various reasons. Through this communication, we have identified and connected students to services that assist and support them where needed. The response from students to Academic Deans has been extremely successful, and we have been able to connect students to offices for assistance in situations from tutoring to Financial Aid to mental health support;
- We are piloting extended hours in our Academic Success Center to increase access of tutors during peak hours. Furthermore, these extended hours more closely mirror the hours of Watson Library. Together, we have been able to offer specific programming during times students can access and attend that don’t conflict with class times;
- Academic Advisors continue to explore platforms and avenues to communicate with their advisees to facilitate academic advising, degree completion plans, and to ensure students maintain forward progress in their degrees. Additionally, Academic Advisors utilize the notes feature on DegreeWorks to provide additional feedback regarding student schedules, course rotations, and other pertinent information that students need to support them in their programs of study. Academic Advisors actively work with students during the 5-week grade process, the mid-term grade process, and the registration period. Additionally, Academic Advisors work with students on a weekly—and often daily basis—during class office hours, and serve as a conduit to assist students with necessary support throughout each semester;
- Since Summer of 2022, several different groups of individuals have met on a weekly, or as-needed, basis to dialogue about barriers students encounter at the University, how to better schedule communication to students, and any other issues students may be facing that may present barriers for them to continue and be retained at NSU;
- Academic Leadership, along with Academic Faculty, continue to engage in conversation with Academic Advisory Councils that provide valuable perspectives on our degree programs, the integrity of our graduates as they move into the profession, ways we might improve our course offerings, and new concentrations or programs that we might consider developing in order for us to be responsive;
These are only a few highlights of our efforts, but we can all be very proud of the results. Our retention rate from Fall-Spring, which was already a healthy 87%, took a healthy leap to 92% this Spring—a direct result of the campus-wide efforts of every single member of our campus community. Additionally, all other relevant indicators are also trending upward as compared to last year: applications (UG and GR), admits (UG and GR), and transfers (UG and GR).
I personally commend the faculty, staff, and students for their role in retention and recruiting efforts.
Jerry Pierce Dedication
NSU will dedicate seating in Prather Coliseum in memory of Jerry Pierce, who served the university as an administrator, communicator, and ambassador for over 57 years. The dedication will take place during halftime of the NSU men’s basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 16. The game will begin at 8 p.m. with the dedication taking place at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Pierce had a profound impact at the university and around the state as a writer, humorist, fund raiser and mentor to staff at all levels, including nine university presidents.
NSU has launched an updated version of its campus calendar to provide an easy way for students, alumni, and supporters to stay up to date on events hosted by the university.
The NSU campus calendar can be accessed at www.nsula.edu/calendar. To submit an event to the campus calendar, please select “Submit an Event” button on the calendar page.
Dancescapes – Spring Dance Concert
NSU Theatre and Dance will present its Spring Dance Concert “Dancescapes” on Feb. 9-11 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance time is 7:30 p.m. each evening with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 11. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children and senior citizens. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.
Tickets can be purchased here.
NSU, along with the higher education sector in general, has faced great adversity over the past few years. We are laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow and ensuring our students get the best possible education and career opportunities. Our continual learning-focused efforts will produce a bold and bright future for our students, Louisiana, and beyond.
I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University