College of Education increases graduation rate by 15 percent

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The College of Education’s four-year graduation rate has increased over 15 percent from 2016 to 2017, with 81.4 percent of undergraduate students graduating within four years in 2017.

Beginning in 2014, the College of Education began the student success and recruiting initiative through funding from the Provost’s Office. When the initiative began, the College of Education had a four-year graduation rate of 64.5 percent.

“We’ve really achieved a tremendous amount of success,” said Sherry Field, assistant dean for teacher education, outreach and recruitment.

The College of Education created the P.O.W.E.R. program to assist students who are on the edge of probation to get back on track, Field said.

“Part of the success of the P.O.W.E.R. program was developing closer relationships with their academic advisers,” Field said. “We really wanted to go that extra step and make sure we were doing everything we could do to make that personal connection.”

With assistance from an engineering staff member, the College of Education also created a software program called G4, which, according to Field, is meant to go beyond what a degree audit can do. The program allows
students to see what they need to complete each semester to graduate in four years.

“That’s a huge step,” Field said. “As a student you don’t have to go back through all the course offerings and look at what you need to do.”

Field said she hopes the College of Education reaches a 90 percent four-year graduation rate.

“I would love for anybody who comes to UT to graduate in four years,” Field said. “It just makes good financial sense, but the reality is life happens, and it’s not always possible for students in any major to graduate in four years.”

The academic advising staff within the College of Education works to spend more individual time with students, said Antoinette Stanley-Hart, academic advising coordinator for the College of Education.

“I’m amazed at our accomplishment and feel that it is a direct result of the aggressive approach working with students on academic probation through our P.O.W.E.R. program, as well as the commitment to our advising team,” Stanley-Hart said.

General education junior Jessica Barnett said the advisers in the College of Education were helpful when she transferred from the College of Natural Sciences, and the graduation rate is great.

“I think it’s exciting that our University is growing and producing more students and really changing the world,” Barnett said.