I know that there is a lot of discussion about how best to champion improved four year graduation rates. When I began working on the problem last year, I decided to start with the incoming freshman class— resources were poured into providing small academic communities for every incoming student, stressing college readiness and messaging around the financial value of a four year degree. Even though the payoff for the 2016-17 class is still several years away, I think that there is some reason to believe these efforts are making a difference—for example freshman retention last year was the best in the University's history.
There is certainly no topic in higher education that is getting more ink than how technology fits into the equation — see the link to President Powers’ recent report on the subject. I’d like to offer my take with respect to online courses in a 21st century education on the 40 Acres....
Article in The Daily Texan
For the past few years, UT has made increasing its four-year graduation rates a top priority. At 52 percent, UT has the highest public four-year graduation rate in Texas, but lags significantly behind its peer schools nationwide. UT hopes to increase its four-year graduation rates to 70 percent by 2016.
We are working to provide students with the tools and advising to help them make the best choices for their majors earlier in their college careers, Providing additional information on majors and career options is important for students to make informed decisions that are best for them.
Interview with The Alcalde
Earlier this month, I recorded a UT Advocates podcast for The Alcade's website titled "The University's Graduation Czar." The recording session lasted nearly an hour; yet the talented UT Advocates' production crew managed to pare it down to a compelling, succinct 17-minutes.
A Q&A with Director of Admissions, Kedra Ishop
It happens every year — as the weather warms up, high school students begin to weigh their options and their offers. And to complicate matters, college forums, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are lighting up with information that may or may not always be accurate or applicable to every student about who got in and who didn't.
So if you’re wondering about this year’s application and decision process, here's some insight from someone who knows a lot about admissions at The University of Texas at Austin — Kedra Ishop, vice provost and director of admissions.
After about a decade as a chemistry professor focusing on my mass spectrometry research at The University of Texas at Austin, I came across the opportunity to be student dean in the College Natural Sciences. For the next 17 years, I came to work each day with the goal of helping students be as successful as possible in my college.
I soon came to realize that helping a student be successful meant building a full-service college — one that not only helped a student thrive academically, but also helped them adjust to college life, mentoring them through bad times and providing enrichment opportunities to help them realize their potential. My intention was to be able to call student names at graduation and be confident that each one of them had grown to adore their college and their university as they left.
This op/ed originally appeared in The Daily Texan Feb. 7.
All too often when I sit down with a student who is struggling in my class, the issue comes down to not studying enough. In digging a little deeper, I find it's often because the student has a job while going to school full time.
About half of UT students work while going to school, according to a 2011 student experience survey. Among those students, the type of work is split about evenly between on- and off-campus jobs. Look more closely at the data and you'll find that freshmen are more likely to work off campus, as are underrepresented minority students.
This op/ed originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Dec. 27.
When it comes to the idea of timely graduation, the higher education community is deeply divided.
The conflict cuts at the heart of what college is supposed to be. Is it a time of exploration, when young people may chart new paths even if it means a few false starts? Or is it a time of methodical preparation for adulthood and a career — a milestone where completion signals a student is ready to enter the work force or earn an advanced degree?