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February 6, 2018

How Adelphi Is Helping Get More Students to Graduation

Adelphi is dedicated to transforming students’ lives. Sometimes that means reaching out to students who are struggling academically or socially and helping them get back on the path to earning their degree. The University has recently developed new ways to do that— ways that are helping students come back stronger and more engaged.

Adelphi’s student retention rates match up well to those of other institutions, but the University’s relentless commitment to student success demands better. The student retention rate from first to sophomore year has fluctuated between 77.7 and 84.2 percent over the past decade, but these rates mask differences in groups of students according to gender, race and ethnicity.

Adelphi now has new data-driven systems to identify at-risk students and the areas where they tend to struggle, and has created new ways to provide creative, personalized support.

Everyone on the Same Page

Departments across Adelphi offer programs to help students meet graduation requirements. The Office of Academic Services and Retention, for example, advises students on choosing majors and registering for classes, while the Learning and Writing Centers provide tutoring to help students pass their courses.

But departments have tended to make efforts on their own, without much collaboration. That’s why Adelphi launched the Student Success Coordinating Committee, bringing together faculty and staff from across the University to help implement Office of the Provost recommendations for student success.

“We need to develop a comprehensive plan and approach which will integrate our efforts in a more coordinated way,” explains Jane Ashdown, Ph.D., interim associate provost for academic and student life.

This means taking a more holistic view of student needs. For example, for the spring term, Adelphi will proactively reach out to students who still haven’t registered by the end of January and invite them to a one-stop event where they can coordinate with multiple departments to fix the issue. They will be able to speak with academic advising staff to figure out which classes and programs they need to register for, financial accounts staff to handle any payment issues and academic units to answer any student questions.

In another instance, the Office of Academic Services and Retention partnered with a residence hall director to hold an event in the residence halls to help more juniors review their transcripts and identify issues that might keep them from graduating.

“They got individual attention, and we came to them, rather than the other way around,” explains Dr. Ashdown.

Tackling Problems Before They Arise

Adelphi is also focused on being more proactive.

The University, in partnership with the Education Advisory Board, is launching an online platform to bring together different information about a student’s progress, such as GPA, major and performance in courses required for graduation. Faculty and staff can review all this information in one place, and use the platform to email or text students reminders to encourage them to meet with their advisers.

Using this platform, Adelphi staff can review historical data and identify common barriers to graduating. For example, are there particular courses that students struggle to pass? Are any important registration deadlines commonly missing? By identifying such issues, Adelphi staff can create targeted programs to help students navigate those barriers smoothly.

Take registering for a major, an important step toward graduating on time.

“We can identify ahead of time a group of students who haven’t yet declared a major but are coming close to the number of credits needed to do that,” said Dr. Ashdown. Rather than waiting for students to miss the deadline and panic, Adelphi staff proactively let them know when the deadline approaches and direct them to resources and faculty that can help them claim their major.

The University is still testing these new programs. Staff are still establishing targeted success metrics for each, reviewing response and feedback, and adjusting accordingly.

It’s about meeting students where they are, to help them get where they need to be.


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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
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