Excellent retention programs make a difference in student success every day on college campuses. All across the country, campus retention professionals go the extra mile to help as many students as possible succeed, persist, and complete their educations. It’s important to recognize these remarkable efforts, not just to acknowledge the fantastic work of those dedicated colleagues, but so that others can learn from their examples and make vital changes in their own retention efforts.
So, are you ready to share your story and be recognized for your efforts? Then you should apply for a Retention Excellence Award (REAs).
Lee Noel and Randi Levitz started these awards in 1989 in order to celebrate exceptional retention programs and promote awareness of effective retention practices. The REAs honor the retention achievements of postsecondary institutions throughout North America. More than 165 colleges and universities have received an REA since the program began. As a result of this national exposure, these award-winning programs have served as models of retention excellence to stimulate the creativity and energy of hundreds of two-year and four-year institutions.
These success stories have been compiled in The Compendium of Successful, Innovative Retention Programs and Practices a valuable resource that provides descriptions of the programs that have been recognized over the years. You can download the compendium to find new ideas that may be just what your campus needs to spark additional retention improvement. It includes many examples such as:
- Madonna University (MI) developing the Bridging Lost Gaps (BLG) initiative in 2011 to increase the recruitment and retention of African American male students.
- Paul Smith’s College (NY) implementing a Comprehensive Student Support Program as part of a strategically driven change in focus to a holistic student success model.
- The Six Pillars of Retention that Seward County Community College/Area Technical School (KS) followed to improve Hispanic student retention.
- Virginia Commonwealth University developing a proactive advising program for undeclared students.
These programs and many others are shared so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You just need to follow their lead and make it work for your own campus.
Have you already had success with a program or initiative on your campus? Noel-Levitz wants to recognize and reward your efforts so others can learn from you. A new streamlined application process is in place for this year’s Retention Excellence Awards. For 2015, up to three winners will be recognized and the prize includes a free conference registration to the National Student Recruitment, Marketing and Retention Conference, being held in Boston, July 8-10, 2015. You will also be a featured presenter at a national webinar hosted by Noel-Levitz.
I encourage you to review this year’s application and consider applying (the deadline is March 15). The application is easy to complete (similar to submitting a proposal to present a conference session). Institution awards will be given to recognize integrated and successful retention outcomes. The selection criteria include:
- Clarity of purpose
- Identifiable and measurable institutional outcomes
- Originality and creativity in program conception and implementation
- Use of resources
- Adaptability for use at other institutions
Winners will be selected by a national panel comprising leading campus-based retention practitioners.
If you have any questions about the REAs, or about successful retention practices in general, please email me. And again, I encourage you to download the compendium and see what campuses are doing to help more students complete their educational goals.
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