Michigan Tech Receives National Award for Student Retention

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Michigan Tech is one of two universities in the nation to receive a 2006 Lee Noel and Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Award. The awards recognize innovative campus retention programs that have encouraged students to succeed and persevere through graduation.

“Each year these awards recognize the most successful, state-of-the-art retention programs in use today,” said Tim Culver, associate vice president for Noel-Levitz, a higher education consulting firm. “This year’s honorees have made great strides in student retention, and we are pleased to recognize them for these efforts. Both winners demonstrated measurable institutional outcomes, originality and creativity, as well as excellent use of resources and adaptability for use at other institutions.”

Michigan Tech and the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, will be formally recognized at this year’s National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing and Retention, taking place July 19-21 in Denver.

Through the King-Chávez-Parks Initiative, the university's Educational Opportunity department and the College of Engineering sponsor Excelling in Science and Engineering Learning, or ExSEL. The program aims to increase the success and retention of minority and disadvantaged first-year students enrolled in the College of Engineering. ExSEL’s strategy combines coursework, peer mentoring, progress mentoring and personalized services and averages 108 participants per year.

ExSEL student retention has increased 16.4 percent since the program’s inception, while the average fall semester GPA has increased 30 percent compared to a university-wide increase of .07 percent. Grades in key courses also increased among ExSEL participants. Since the program’s inception, 4.1 percent fewer ExSEL students are on academic probation after their first year, and 18 percent fewer ExSEL students were academically dismissed after their first year.

The Retention Excellence Awards ProgramTM was established by Noel-Levitz in 1989 to honor outstanding achievements in student retention by colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Winners are selected by a national panel comprised of leading campus-based retention practitioners. Case studies of the winning schools are available at noellevitz.com .

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.