PDT Staff Writer
A little more than a year ago, the Shawnee State University (SSU) Board of Trustees endorsed a plan by the Ohio Board of Regents to increase the school’s course completion rates and the number of degrees awarded.
Included in the plan was a number of mandates including, a review of course completion data through the past three academic years, studying trends, instituting a first-year experience program, increasing internships and co-op opportunities, sharing data with parents on the cost of an extra year of college and working with a consultant to assist with the implementation of the plan.
According to Dr. Rita Rice Morris, President of SSU, “we have fulfilled the mandates of the plan and are now working on prioritizing recommendations that have come out of our efforts. We have made sufficient progress that the supplemental funds have been released for the rest of the year.”
In February, SSU released a report from the Educational Policy Institute, titled “An Assessment of the Chancellor’s Plan for Shawnee State University.”
The report states, “The Educational Policy Institute was hired by OBR (Ohio Board of Regents) to conduct a review of the institution and provide feedback on how the institution can deliver towards theses three goals.”
Morris called the release of the review a key factor in the chancellor’s plan.
SSU and Central State University are the only universities in Ohio that receive a special supplement in the state’s budget. SSU’s supplement has been as high as $4 million. It is currently at $2.4 million.
With the passage of House Bill 153, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro was required to submit a plan to state legislators. The plan was to ensure the “Shawnee State Supplement will be used to promote the goals of improving course completion, increasing the number of degrees conferred and furthering the university’s mission of service to the Appalachian region,” Petro wrote in a letter to the school.
“As a result of (the chancellor’s plan) we have shifted a lot of resources into retention, which matches who we are as an institution,” Morris said. “One of the things that came out of those conversations was that since we’ve put together our Office of Institutional Effectiveness, we now better understand the dynamics of the student that comes to us under prepared.”
For more information about SSU’s retention efforts visit http://www.shawnee.edu/off/retention.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.