Provost aims to improve retention

Christina Stavale


Credit: DKS Editors

President Lester Lefton’s hope for the incoming freshman class is for them to come back to Kent State year after year.

Similarly, Provost Robert Frank said improving retention is his number one goal for his first year at Kent State.

This summer, Frank said he has been working on new strategies to improve retention at the university. He has contacted students who have dropped out, and he has worked to identify warning marks that may be a red flag for students who are at risk of dropping out.

One of the biggest warning marks, he said, is when students withdraw from a class during their freshman year. Other warning marks include students with very low midterm grades or students who stop attending class.

Frank said he hopes to put together a program that would intervene these students and get them back on the right track. He said it is important to have immediate contact with at-risk students.

“If someone displays a warning mark on day one, day five may be too late,” he said. “Ideally, we want to contact them within days of that happening.”

To help, Frank said the university has increased its number of advisers, whom students will be required to meet with if they exhibit these warning signs. He has also informed professors who teach a number of first-year classes of the warning signs to keep them on the lookout as well.

In addition, he said there will be extra effort to educate students about the importance of going to advisers through the freshman orientation class. If an at-risk student continually refuses to meet with an adviser, Frank said that student will at some point be faced with the decision of meeting with an adviser or not continuing at Kent State.

“At some point we’ll say, ‘you’re going to have to talk to someone,'” he said.

While Frank said the entire process will take some time before it is in full swing, he hopes this year’s freshmen will see its effects and get more attention and more response to their problems than in the past.

“(For) the whole first year experience, we’re going to be committed to (students’) success,” Frank said, “and advise them the first time they have difficulties.”

Contact principal reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].