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Happy New Year Marcia,

I you are thawing on the eastern part of the state:)!

I have stopped arguing over whether students' academic improvements are directly correlated to our efforts for three reasons:
1)      I realized that is nearly impossible to do given all of the variable that contribute to student performance, and the resources we have to work with.
2)      I realized that some people will simply never be convinced.  For example, our football team was awful for a couple of decades, we got a new coaching staff and made some other strategic investments and we won our conference three years straight and played in a national championship game this year.  Yet, some folks don't believe the coaches and investments caused our success?!  They argue that maybe the players just got tired of losing, and therefore any coach would have been successful.  Also, for years faculty complained about how our football players were unmotivated, not college ready, etc. But I started the study hall program a couple of years ago and now our FB team has a 100% graduation rate and overall student-athlete GPA had surpassed the general student population.  Yet there are still some who won't give the program its due credit. However, those faculty member find themselves in an increasingly small minority.  So I just ignore them!
3)      I realized that faculty aren't the audience that I need to influence.  (Thankfully, we have won over most of the faculty.)  I needed to influence the money folks.  The financial powers on our campus are more attentive to retention than academic performance because retention directly affect the real bottom line!  Like or not, we are in the BUSINESS of educating students.  So I speak business language.  I know that we can't "prove" that our efforts are the reason that students re-enroll, but I was confident that the high retention numbers would make for an eye-popping report when compared to other retention numbers.  Hey, it worked!  The report went up to the Board of Trustees and has given us greater traction with the institution!

I would like to believe a report that showed convincing statistical evidence that our efforts were directly contributing to high academic performance  would get the same play, but I don't think that is the world we live in. Retention, Retention, Retention!

Leonard Geddes
Associate Dean of Co-Curricular Programs
Coordinator of the Learning Commons
Division of Student Life
Lenoir-Rhyne University
www.lr.edu
[log in to unmask]
(828) 328-7024
(828) 328-7702 (fax)

The LearnWell Projects Blog: http://www.thelearnwellprojects.com/thewell/


-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Marcia Toms
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 9:32 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: ROI on Academic Support Services? -- Different Take

That is great, Leonard.

One question, though: Do students voluntarily come to your center?  If so, how do you address the motivation issue?  In other words, who is to say that these students wouldn't have higher retention rates anyway?

Best,
-Marcia


On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 9:06 AM, Roberta Schotka <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>wrote:

> Leonard,
>
> That is brilliant, especially since it is so difficult to link grades
> directly to tutoring, given all of the other contributing factors.
>
> -Roberta
>
>
> On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM, Geddes, Leonard G.
> <[log in to unmask]
> >wrote:
>
> > Melissa and any others who are interested,
> >
> > I have attached part of a report that I sent up to the "powers  that be"
> > about the influence our services are having on the bottom line --
> > retention. In the past, we communicated how we were affecting
> > academic performance.  However, when it seemed like reporting how
> > students were improving academically was not generating the traction
> > that we thought it deserved, I decided to speak the administration's
> > language by adding a retention element to the report.  In short, we
> > compared the re-enrollment rates of students using our services to
> > general student retention,
> athletic
> > teams, etc.  Our numbers rocked!  (I've attached an abbreviated
> > report since I don't think the administration would like us to share
> > financial info publically.)
> >
> > In the actual report, we put figures to the report by factoring in
> > the "real" revenue that is generated per student. For example,
> hypothetically,
> > if the overall retention rate was 70%, but our numbers were 86%,
> > then we showed numerically how much revenue 16% more students added
> > to the bottom line, thus showing that we are revenue generating.
> >
> > As a result of changing to reporting this way, our reports have been
> going
> > all the way up the chain to the Board.  Recently, they specifically
> > referenced our center and services in the new strategic plan!  We
> > are now preparing for a significant budget increase as well -- yay!
> >
> > I hope this is useful.
> >
> > Leonard Geddes
> > Associate Dean of Co-Curricular Programs Director of the Learning
> > Commons Division of Student Life Lenoir-Rhyne University www.lr.edu<http://www.lr.edu>
> > [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> > (828) 328-7024
> > (828) 328-7702 (fax)
> >
> > The LearnWell Projects Blog:
> http://www.thelearnwellprojects.com/thewell/
> >
> >
>
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--
Marcia Toms, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Undergraduate Tutorial Center
Division of Academic and Student Affairs North Carolina State University Campus Box 7118 / 101 Park Shops Raleigh, NC 27695-7118
919.513.7829
http://www.ncsu.edu/tutorial_center/

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