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University Seeks to Understand Dropouts

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Survey results presented to Student Association on Wednesday detailed student retention rates, sparking dialogue about Alumni Quad and a potential new “Dean of Students” position.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Michael Christakis came to the senate meeting to present  the survey, taken by incoming Freshman roughly six weeks into the fall semester.

This twenty-nine question survey was conducted over four years. In 2015 it had over one hundred questions.

Completion rates for the survey have risen every year it has been conducted.

The main goal of the questionnaire is to determine the reasons students leave the university before graduating, whether they be homesickness, loneliness or the like. Christakis said that the retention rates of students has increased since the surveys began.

The full report and results compiled by the survey’s conductors was not immediately available, but the ASP has requested it from the Office of Student Affairs.

The Vice President’s presentation led to dialogue about various other problems around campus, including the condition of Alumni Quad.

Alumni Quad has around 800 vacancies this semester, which several Senators attributed to the poor transportation from the Quad to campus, as well as the antiquated infrastructure.

Dr. Christakis reassured the Senators that their worries had not fallen on deaf ears. The University has plans to invest in physical improvements to Alumni Quad over the next five years, according to Christakis.

The university also plans to implement policy changes such as requiring residents to purchase meal plans and scaling back the number of staff, making the living arrangements similar to apartments around campus.

Another concern of the Senators was that there were not enough faculty mentors/advisors available to students. Christakis said that a report by an external agency, commissioned by the University, found the same issue, and recommended the position of a “Dean of Students” be added.

This position would take on some responsibilities of the often overburdened Student Affairs office, and is a job title that exists at many other Universities already.

Finally, several resolutions changing the policies of the Senate Appropriations committee were voted on and passed unanimously, with a few members abstaining. These included allowing the Committee to charge groups a ten percent fee on their requested appropriations amount if said group applied less than two weeks before the event.  

Senate voted unanimously on two large Appropriations requests with few abstaining, one for an NAACP speaker event in the amount of roughly $8,000, and another for the Haitian Student Association’s annual charity even in the amount of $15,000.

Nate Depaul is a staff reporter in the news section of the Albany Student Press.

1 Comment

  1. Francis
    February 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    More faculty and smaller class sizes create a supportive student environment. Along with sufficient financial aid, it’s the key to retention and student success. Everything else is fluff.

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