Eduardo J. Padrón
Office of the President
300 N.E. Second Avenue
Miami, Florida 33132-2297
Message From the President
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
MDC's New-Student Retention Rates on the Rise
Despite having one of the nation's highest rates of under-prepared freshman students, Miami Dade College has traditionally been ahead of both the national and state trend in student-retention rates. Always focused on student success, in 1999, the College began looking very strategically at ways to reach out to students who were most likely to abandon their studies before earning an associate degree. Research confirmed that intervening early in a student's college career was critical.
These efforts have paid off. I am pleased to announce that our new-student retention rate for 2007 is nearly five percentage points higher than last year; and that at 65.8 percent, the College has succeeded in retaining more first-year students in 2007 than in the last four years.
To achieve this important advance, the College launched several initiatives to target first-year students, collectively referred to as the First Year Experience. Leading the way, each of our campuses became much more proactive and consistent in the orientation of new students by offering freshman convocations, mentoring services, and reaching out via e-mail and the Call Center.
A centerpiece of these efforts was Student Life Skills (SLS) courses, which are geared toward addressing the non-cognitive factors associated with success in college. Coping with stress, study and test-taking skills, selecting a major, among others, are important components. These courses are required for students placing into college-prep courses. The effectiveness of these courses in increasing student retention and success has been demonstrated not only with our own data, but also across the state.
Other accomplishments to note:
- MDC's 2007 new-student retention rate is 6.9 percentage points above the state trend and 3.8 percentage points above the national trend.
- Rates were up on every campus, for every major race and ethnicity group, and for both males and females.
- The retention rate of Hispanic students increased the most (5.4 percentage points) and retention rates for black non-Hispanic students (who have higher than average attrition rates) increased by 1.6 percentage points.
I would like to recognize the special efforts of the directors of retention, the SLS faculty, student deans, and all of student services for their contributions to the success of our students. I would also like to thank Joanne Bashford, associate provost of institutional effectiveness, and research associate Steven Folsom, for compiling MDC's 2006-07 Fall-To-Fall Retention Report.