Student Success and Retention Report

As a strategic priority, student success and retention is a key mission for every faculty member and university organization. Each year President’s Council reviews each of the university’s strategic priorities, the following includes highlights from the 2020 Student Success and Retention Report and the major goals for 2021.

New Intervention Strategy

The Student Success Council’s new intervention strategy for students at-risk of dropping out is currently awaiting approval. The strategy involves implementing predictive and evaluative analytics and establishing reporting metrics to increase visibility to BYU-Idaho’s at-risk population.

The new intervention strategy includes the recent revision of the tier structure used to better identify struggling students and help them move forward. Tier one’s goal is to spot students in danger of becoming at-risk earlier and take steps to help them stay on their academic path. Tiers two and three are for students with greater academic difficulty who warrant more significant intervention. This new structure aids Student Success coaches, career and academic advisors, and faculty to work together more efficiently to help students in vulnerable positions through the mentoring dashboard available on I-Plan.

“Our next step is to work on the implementation system,” said Student Success and Retention Manager Kevin D. Worthen. “We need to be methodical and continue to refine the process.”

Improving the Freshman Entrance Experience

To continue helping students start their BYU-Idaho experience successfully, the Academic Support Department continues to coordinate with the Student Success Council to provide a high-quality college entrance experience for incoming freshman and transfer students.

One tactic includes encouraging freshmen to take ENG 102R. Instead of having a traditional class time, ENG 102R partners students with a Reading Center tutor. These tutors help their students improve in reading comprehension.

BYU-Idaho provides students with a Grad Planner with a department-recommended Grad Plan for the degree each student chooses. This past year, the university launched a mobile version of I-Plan, which has increased overall adoption by new and returning students.

Realigning General Education and General Studies Courses

Under the direction of the Curriculum Council, the Student Success Council is mapping and realigning general education and general studies courses to fulfill the university’s four learning outcomes more effectively. This includes expanding efforts provided to faculty about mentoring and developing a rubric for Academic Advisors to use in determining when to lift credit restrictions for students that have taken excess credits to receiving a degree. The Career Exploration course is also undergoing modifications.

Plan for Success Campaign Outreach

In 2020, the Student Success Council conducted Plan for Success interventions with 3,336 at-risk students.

The Plan for Success Campaign, conducted every semester, targets students who have attempted 30 credits, have a 2.0 cumulative GPA or below, and risk getting off-track from graduating. The campaign begins by placing a registration hold on students meeting these criteria. The student will also be sent an email regarding the hold, followed by a text and phone call if they do not respond.

Worthen acknowledges the hesitation students feel about reaching out for help with their academic stumbling blocks.

“It’s human nature for us to want to avoid confronting the areas in our lives where we’ve stumbled or fallen short,” Worthen said. “Students often feel scared or embarrassed, but they truly have no reason to be. We just want to help them get back their confidence and excitement for their education again.”

Once a student responds and agrees to meet with a full-time career and academic advisor, the hold is removed. The advisor will help create a customized plan with the student and extend an invitation to continue meeting to follow up on their new plan.

Moving Forward

The university continues to measure its efforts and adapt to help students discover and achieve their potential.

“We have an abiding desire to help students feel and be successful, to have a sense of confidence and competence,” Worthen said. “We love them, and in everything we do, we need to convey that there are an abundant number of ways that employees are here for them.