Feature Story

December 8, 2023 | By Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan is featured in Inside Higher Ed for its success in improving student retention with a goal of helping all students persist to graduation. (Photo by Madeleine Juszynski '18)

National Spotlight

Inside Higher Ed Shares Ohio Wesleyan's Student-Retention Success

To quote Inside Higher Ed reporter Colleen Flaherty: "Ohio Wesleyan is seeing its highest retention numbers in more than a decade as it targets student success from multiple angles."

Flaherty writes about OWU's achievement in the Dec. 8 edition of Inside Higher Ed in her article, " 'All Hands on Deck' for Retention."

She continues by noting: "Ohio Wesleyan University's first-to-second-year retention rate tops 84 percent this academic year, nearly three percentage points higher than the year prior and six percentage points higher than the year before that. Among first-generation students, in particular, retention is up just about 10 percentage points. Among Pell-eligible students, it's up seven. Retention among second- to third-year students increased seven percentage points over last year's cohort, as well, to some 94 percent."

Dwayne Todd, vice president for Student Engagement and Success, spoke with Flaherty about Ohio Wesleyan's decision two years ago to focus as a campus on improving retention, looking at the key components of financial, academic, and social.

"So we've tried to look at this as a holistic approach to retention," Todd shares, outlining multiple donor-funded and other initiatives that have coalesced to help students persist to graduation, many of which are highlighted in Flaherty's article and a newly published OWU Magazine article.

Flaherty concludes her Inside Higher Ed piece with a comment from Provost Karlyn Crowley, who notes the campuswide collaboration in improving the OWU experience for students.

"We are asking, 'What is getting in the way of student success?' And then we clear it," Crowley said. It's a "whole-campus effort to see what is not student-centered and make it so."