As part of its ongoing efforts to increase degree completion, APLU named Arizona State University; the University of Memphis; the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Rhode Island; and Wayne State University as finalists for its 2018 Degree Completion Award. The annual prize works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion. One of the five finalists will be named the 2018 Degree Completion Award winner during the APLU Annual Meeting, November 11-13, in New Orleans, Louisiana. In this first of a five-part series, APLU profiles Arizona State University’s efforts to improve retention and degree completion.
Arizona State University (ASU) established an integrated and independent set of tools for advising, courseware, and mindset interventions to advance student success on campus. Following years of tepid gains in its retention rate, ASU introduced eAdvisor and a first-of-its-kind degree mapping tool in 2006 to help students chart their expected path to a degree and reduce unnecessary credits that don’t make progress toward a degree.
A decade later, the university integrated its advising tools with a predictive analytics system that provides an early alert system, updated nightly, to help professors and advisors identify and assist students who encounter academic challenges. ASU also adopted adaptive courseware for eight of its critical gateway courses, enrolling tens of thousands of students per year, to better engage students, aiding their success in the course and, subsequently, their degree path. Finally, the university implemented a mindset intervention program that pairs new students with peer mentors who can help them understand their potential for growth in college and give them the confidence needed to overcome hurdles they’re facing in their studies.
The multifaceted approach produced key gains, with student retention increasing by 8 percent between 2006 and 2016 and the four-year graduation rate climbing from 38 percent to 50 percent over the same period.
Learn more about the other 2018 Degree Completion Award finalists.