McCarthy Creates TOUR Group Focusing on Retention and Persistence

Posted on 10/25/2017 3:36:13 PM

In August, President Michael Driscoll appointed Patricia McCarthy as Vice President of the Division of Enrollment Management. He announced the appointment, along with a charge to McCarthy of “redefining the division’s role as lead partner with the entire university community to ensure students succeed from admission to graduation,” during his August 25 Opening of the Academic Year speech.

McCarthy, in collaboration with Provost Tim Moerland and Rhonda Luckey, Vice President for Student Affairs, has created a task force, the Task Force on Undergraduate Retention and Persistence (TOUR), as an initial step to address President Driscoll’s goal of increasing undergraduate retention and persistence rates at IUP to 80 percent by 2022.

TOUR includes presidentially-appointed members from all divisions of the university. It is co-chaired by Paula Stossel, Assistant Vice President, Graduate Enrollment Management and Processing; and Daniel Burkett, Associate Professor, Mathematics.

TOUR’s charge includes:

  • Conducting exhaustive research on best practices for retention and persistence;

  • Performing a granular assessment of the current retention and persistence rates for undergraduate students at IUP, including but not limited to: identifying retention and persistence activities currently being performed campus-wide at IUP, analyzing the effectiveness of those current activities, and analyzing retention and persistence rates for various demographics of students; and

  • Conducting an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of our current university structure and activities for retention and persistence.

Recommendations will be provided to the President’s cabinet by mid-January.

“As President Driscoll stressed in his Opening of the Academic Year remarks, improving retention and persistence is everyone’s responsibility,” McCarthy said. “TOUR represents a broad cross-section of the university community, and I feel certain that this group will develop recommendations that will help the university to meet these goals for our students.”

In addition to a focus on retention and persistence, McCarthy will be leading the initiatives outlined in the Strategic University Comprehensive Combined Enrollment and Student Success (SUCCESS) Plan, a five-year, university-wide plan for future enrollment and retention planning. McCarthy co-chaired the SUCCESS committee that created the plan, which aligns with the university’s Strategic Plan.

TOUR’s goals align with the SUCCESS Plan and with the University’s Strategic Plan, McCarthy said.

In addition to co-chairs Stossel and Burkett, TOUR members include:

  • Francisco Alarcon, Chair, Mathematics
  • Narayanaswamy Bharathan, Chair, Molecular Biology
  • Lynanne Black, Dean’s Associate, College of Education and Communication
  • Tom Borellis, Special Assistant to the Vice President of A&F for Special Projects
  • Roger Briscoe, Associate Professor, Department of Educational and School Psychology
  • Luke Faust, Developmental Studies
  • Dave Ferguson, Assistant Dean, Fine Arts
  • Dot Gracey, Associate Dean, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Ragan Griffin, Director of Financial Aid
  • Luis Gonzalez, Dean of Libraries
  • Chris Kitas, Associate Director, Planning and Assessment
  • John Lewis, Professor, Criminology
  • Sally McCombie, Assistant Dean, Health and Human Services
  • Pablo Mendoza, Assistant to the President for Social Equity
  • Michele Norwood, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Student Success
  • Jim Racchini, Assistant Professor, Health and Physical Education; Faculty Athletic Representative
  • Kara Romance, Assistant Dean, Eberly College of Business and Information Technology
  • Susanna Sink, Associate Vice President for Finance
  • Malaika Turner, Director of Residential Living and Well-Being

The task force also is accepting comments and suggestions about retention and persistence via e-mail at

Prior to her appointment as vice president, McCarthy served as interim vice president of the Division of Enrollment Management and Communications. She previously held the position of associate vice president in the Division of Enrollment Management and Communications.

McCarthy chairs the IUP Intercollegiate Athletic Compliance Committee and serves on many university committees and leadership groups, including the University Senate, the Veterans’ Resource Center Committee, Academic Excellence Steering Committee, Middle States Subcommittee on Student Admissions, Retention, and Support services, University Planning Committee and University Budget Advisory Council. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

She is in the second year of a three-year term on the College Board Middle States Regional Council. The Middle States Regional Council represents Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC. She also has presented at several professional conferences.

McCarthy began work at IUP in 1995 in the Office of Financial Aid. Before joining the IUP community in 1995, she was the assistant director of financial aid and student employment coordinator for La Roche College. She has a bachelor of science degree in applied psychology from IUP, a master of science degree in human resource management from La Roche College and a DEd degree in Administration and Leadership Studies from IUP.