Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment

What is “R-HIT Link”?
Jun 21

News story on “R-HIT Link” (through Vice President Cornwell) from US News and World Report on June 18, 2013 by Kelsey Sheehy: 20130618_USNews_KelseySheehy_Colleges-Fight-To-Retain-Interest-of-STEM-Majors (PDF copy).

(original post: August 30, 2012)

In November 2009, Art Western, former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty now Emeriti Faculty, assigned an ad hoc task force to study the retention trends of first year students at Rose-Hulman. Members of the task force consisted of Patsy Brackin, Timothy Chow, Peter Coppinger, Sarah Forbes, Erik Hayes, Roger Lautzenheiser (chair), Richard Lepkowicz, Ed Mottel, and Anne Watt. The committee’s charge was to:

• Work with the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment (IRPA) staff to design a “factors” study in an attempt to identify causes of student attrition during and immediately after the first year at Rose-Hulman.
• Review the results of that study and recommend any changes that we might make at the Institute that would improve first year student retention in a cost effective manner.

The task force, which met several times as a whole, as well as working in subcommittees, throughout the second and third quarters of the academic year 2009-2010, prepared a final report with several recommendations to be carried out during the current academic year 2010-2011. Members of the task force during the current year are Timothy Chow, Peter Coppinger, Sarah Forbes, Erik Hayes, Roger Lautzenheiser (chair), Susan Smith-Roads and Patty Trifone.

Quoting from the final report, the following high-level recommendations are highlighted in the Executive Summary:

“……In order to improve student success, the task force recommends that three groups of potentially at-risk students be identified: Group 1 identified before starting at R-HIT, Group 2 identified throughout the first year based on academic weaknesses, and Group 3 identified throughout the first year based on non-academic attributes (poor attitudes, study habits, time management, etc). To help students in these groups, a more permanent “student retention” committee should be formed which will be charged with the tasks of interpreting survey results from faculty teaching first year students, first year advisors, and residence hall counselors. Furthermore, this newly formed committee will be responsible for verifying the at-risk students follow the stipulations established by this task force (see section on recommendations).”

So, what is “RHIT Link?” The “RHIT Link” survey is the online tool for helping to identify first year students who might fall under “Group 3” as stated above. Faculty teaching first year students, as well as resident assistants are invited to complete the survey around mid-term of each quarter. By doing so, potentially “at-risk” (of attrition) first year students could be identified and the task force, first year advisors, and/or other campus groups may explore options in reaching out and helping these students to make adjustments to their first college year. At Rose-Hulman, we are dedicated to the success of every student and this is one of the many ways we are exploring to promote success of every student enrolled.

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