Student retention, persistence, and graduation (RPG) rates have been widely accepted by institutions of higher education as the leading measures of student success. “In a joint session of Congress on February 24, 2009, President Obama set forth a goal that ‘by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.’” (Russell, 2011). More recently, however, student success is being characterized by post-graduation achievements. In August of 2013, President Obama put a new spin on college goal realization when he proposed a federal college rating system designed to improve institutional affordability and accountability. As a consequence, a new student success goal came into focus: graduate earnings.
RPG goal realization requires attention to numerous student idiosyncrasies, and this can be challenging. Establishing and achieving goals based on graduate earnings heightens the challenge. Unfortunately, the federally mandated reporting system for federally funded colleges and universities, as well as many national ranking and rating systems in the U.S., are not inclusive of all student diversity modes, leaving out many of the populations that will assist the nation in achieving its degree-completion goal.
Institutions of higher education must look beyond the “measures of the day” required by state and federal reporting agencies and address the very real concerns and needs of the students who make up the rich diversity of their campus enrollments.
In his chapter, Broderick describes the innovative steps that Old Dominion University is taking to adapt to a diverse generation of students, and suggests that institutions implement these approaches in order to ensure a successful future for higher education.
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