New Position to Aid Student Retention
By Bart Shirley
Services is seeking to fill the position of assistant director, formerly known as coordinator of
student retention, who will be in charge of student success programs.
programs are efforts by the Multicultural Services office to aid all freshmen in their pursuit of
graduation, said Megan Palsa, assistant director of Multicultural Services. They offer a year-long
program that provides transitional help to new students.
“(The new administrator will)
look at all the data to see where we’re headed, ” Palsa said. Retention has long been a concern for
Texas A&M. Though 16 percent of the student body is composed of minority students, A&M still has
trouble shedding its homogenous image in the minds of prospective students, said Mark Weichold,
associate provost for undergraduate programs and academic services.
“Historically, from retention
and graduation rates, students of color are lower,” Palsa said.
Minority students are
statistically more at risk than white students of never crossing the stage at Reed Arena, Palsa said.
Sixty-five percent of minority students entering A&M eventually graduate, compared with 77 percent of
“Clearly, there’s no one answer,” Weichold said. “Some of the answers are not
just academic. It’s going to take the collaboration of many offices on
Weichold said his office is working to get an indication of students who are
at risk for not returning for their sophomore year. His office is using several assessment tools, such
as the CSI and the NSE, to make that determination. Many programs exist to assist in retention
alongside the Multicultural Services office, he said.
“The Multicultural Services has
been a big part of our retention efforts,” Weichold said.
The discrepancy in student retention is
also one of the reasons for the hiring of the new vice president for diversity, Dr. James A. Anderson,
“Dr. Anderson will work with Multicultural Services,” said Rodney
McClendon, chief of staff. “He will (also) be working with all colleges in regard to retention.”