President Schill speaks to campus on plan to increase retention, graduation

Update: The official website is here, and reporter Caley Eller has more details on Schill’s “Oregon Commitment” plan in the Emerald, here:

Schill then announced the Oregon Commitment, a plan of seven initiatives and investments totaling $17 million over five years to support his goals. The first is supporting pipeline programs that will improve the quality of K-12 education in Oregon, as he stated earlier in his address that in 2014, Oregon ranked 46th out of 50 states for K-12 graduation rates. The second initiative is expanding funding for scholarships and financial aid for students. Third was Schill’s announcement that the university will immediately invest over $500,000 each academic year to reinvent advising and tutoring programs at the university in order to improve graduation rates.

“We must all join together to assess, on a department-by-department basis, what impediments exist to graduation and reduce those barriers,” Schill said.

His fourth initiative is providing graduation completion grants to over 100 juniors and seniors who are at the highest risk of dropping out due to financial circumstances. Fifth is hiring more faculty that will emphasize the importance of students graduating in four years. The sixth is the plan to incentivize on-time graduation through university-related structural changes. Schill’s seventh and final initiative is expanding programs such as First-Year Interest Groups and study abroad for students, as these activities will help students become more connected to the university.

Standing room only crowd. People want to hear that we have a leader with a plan, not just another promise. Schill’s got a plan.

Video here.

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Starts off with efforts to improve access for low income / first generation students. Then efforts to improve college graduation rates, as a way to reduce the cost of college. Simple math: Graduate in 4 years not 5, save on tuition and start earning money sooner.

Schill gives shout-out to Pathway Oregon – free tuition, higher graduation rates. Very effective program. Commits $17M for 4 year campaign to boost graduation rates by 10%.

Also praises SAIL, and mentions their crowdfunding campaign, here. (We’ve met the $15K target, all new donations are matched and go to student scholarships.)

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Moves on to plans to increase graduation rates. Great speech. Happy crowd.

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7 Responses to President Schill speaks to campus on plan to increase retention, graduation

  1. Anon says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an administrator talk and came away with an optimistic feeling. How refreshing.

  2. Texas Guy says:

    It’s about time the leadership gave a shout-out to SAIL!

    • uomatters says:

      They’ve been very helpful. VP for Diversity Yvette Alex-Assensoh pays for lots of administrative costs, and the CAS development people like David Welch helped us bring in a large endowment gift. And Mike Andreasen’s UO advancement people have been great with the crowdfunding campaign. Lots of fun too.

  3. off campus person says:

    Wow, this is a bold initiative. Bravo!

  4. thedude says:

    Schill is a smart cookie. A campaign to stay int the AAU sounds petty and terrible. A campaign to improve the lives of students by increasing graduation through better education, is spot on. It frames hiring more faculty as serving the needs of students rather than increasing research (although it will do that too).

    If we stay in the AAU, great. But this will help us to stay in the AAU for the right reasons, namely improving academics and the education of our students.

    • uomatters says:

      Dude, the faculty were supposed to keep that part a secret! Now you’ve done it.

      We need to get this version out:

      This is really a plan to build support for the Duck athletic program. Statistics show that undergrads lose interest in football and basketball after watching a few games. By their 6 year, they’re either down at the urban farm, learning how to grow “tomatoes” or over in Fenton, trying to pass real analysis. So Mullens and Roedl need to push the students through quicker so they can suck in more naive freshman, and raise the ticket fee they charge ASUO even higher.

      So while the 100 new faculty and the tuition and opportunity cost savings are good for the faculty and students, that’s just an unintended side-effect of a program that every sports booster should be 100% behind.

      Go Ducks!

  5. Hippo says:

    $17 million for improving grad rates. Meanwhile, $19 million for another sports project:

    http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33706157-75/marcus-mariota-sports-performance-complex-could-be-19.2-million-project.csp

    I guess we shouldn’t worry that we’re reweighing priorities too quickly; more of the same.

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