TOUR Task Force Offers Recommendations for Retention, Persistence

Posted on 4/12/2018 4:58:14 PM

The Task Force on Undergraduate Retention/Persistence (TOUR) has completed its work to develop a set of specific recommendations designed to increase undergraduate retention and persistence rates at IUP to 80 percent by 2022.

TOUR was created as a collaborative effort by Vice President for Enrollment Management Patricia McCarthy, Provost Timothy Moerland, and Vice President for Student Affairs Rhonda Luckey.

The group was charged with:

  1. Conducting exhaustive research on best practices for retention and persistence;

  2. 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

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

In January, TOUR co-chairs Associate Professor of Mathematics Dan Burkett and Assistant Vice President for Graduate Enrollment Management and Processing Paula Stossel presented the TOUR recommendations to President Driscoll and his cabinet. 

Recommendations are categorized in four focus areas: Institutional; Academic and Skill Based; Financial; and Psychological and Social. The executive summary identifying the priority initiatives is available on the TOUR web page

At this point, these recommendations are being moved forward. This work will be directed by vice presidents McCarthy, Moerland, and Luckey.

“The TOUR group has done an excellent job of creating very clear action steps for each of the focus areas and identifying quantifiable targets and goals, including identifying initiatives that can be operationalized, measured, and assessed,” said McCarthy. 

The TOUR group has included representation from every division, and the report includes feedback from offices within every division. 

“I want to express my appreciation to the TOUR co-chairs, the TOUR membership, and to everyone on campus who has participated in this important first step to increasing retention and persistence of our students,” McCarthy said. 

Luckey and Moerland also offered appreciation for hard work of the Task Force and encouraged continued feedback from the IUP community.

“This has been a great group to work with and a terrific team effort,” Moerland said. “I'm very grateful to everyone who has contributed to the report. It will make a difference for all of IUP’s students in the years to come.”

“TOUR's thoughtful work gives us the focus, university-wide, on concrete ways to improve the retention and persistence of our undergraduate students,” Luckey said.

“From TOUR's recommendations, we have developed set of high priorities to implement now, and which we believe will have a measurable impact on the success of our new and continuing students, this coming fall.”

Suggestions and comments about the TOUR recommendations or about retention and persistence can be made to vice presidents McCarthy (mccarthy@iup.edu), Moerland (tim.moerland@iup.edu), or Luckey (rluckey@iup.edu) or to TOUR-input@iup.edu.

“In order to be successful, we continue to need everyone on campus involved in this work,” McCarthy said. “We will continue to keep the IUP community updated and informed about this ongoing work, and feedback and ideas continue to be welcome.”