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ERIC Number: EJ850374
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
Creating a Retention Quilt: Southern Vermont College Reports on Results from the Trenches
DeCiccio, Albert; Gross, Anne Hopkins; Gross, Karen
New England Journal of Higher Education, v23 n5 p24-25 Spr 2009
The academic literature is clear: students with a college degree earn more and lead healthier, more productive lives than their non-degree counterparts. Moreover, the early weeks on campus profoundly affect the likelihood of students persisting through to graduation. With its significant enrollment of first-generation and underrepresented students, Southern Vermont College (SVC) took a new road to meet the challenge of first-semester (and first-year) retention. Many variables impact student retention: (1) academic offerings; (2) residential programming; and (3) the overall culture of the institution. New students need to feel part of the institution and connect to one another, to faculty and to the campus community. To establish connectivity on campus, SVC focused on two strategies: (1) connecting with students "before" they arrive on campus; and (2) intentionally linking pre-orientation initiatives with both orientation and events planned for students during the semester. Rather than one-time events arranged by Academic Affairs or Student Life, SVC aimed to create a quilt of events during a 12-week period. SVC's retention work, the authors believed, had to be "of a piece," by linking typically disparate activities through shared themes, teamwork and coordination among departments. In this article, the authors describe their new approaches for first-semester retention and report on the results. (Contains 1 table.)
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Survey of Student Engagement