Improving TCU’s retention rate was the topic of discussion at a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in the Brown-Lupton Student Center.”The 83.9 percent retention rate last year is not where we need to be, but we’re constantly improving,” said Catherine Wehlburg, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.
Approximately 25 students, staff and faculty members attended the meeting.
“We have to get and keep the students involved,” said Barbara Herman, associate vice chancellor for student affairs. “We need to figure out why students leave and how to prevent that from happening.”
Among the issues that students were concerned about were tuition increases, racial diversity and organizational involvement.
Many students leave because they do not find their “niche here or feel comfortable,” said sophomore premajor Austin Uebele.
TCU needs to advertise the organizations to the student body better because students who are socially engaged more often choose to stay, Uebele said.
Freshman premajor Ashley Bachmayer had a different opinion as to why students leave TCU.
“My biggest concern is tuition increase,” Bachmayer said. “I am undecided about my major and may be here for five years, and I’m afraid each year is just going to get more expensive.”
The panel also discussed faculty involvement.
“We need to get the faculty involved and make connections with the students to keep retention rates up,” said religion professor Andy Fort, chairman of Faculty Senate. “The problem is to figure out what exactly are the primary duties of the faculty and how to implement those duties outside the classroom.”
Bachmayer echoed Fort’s statement.
“If you feel like a teacher cares about you, you’re more likely to show up to class and feel more connected to the university,” she said.
Herman recognized that some students do leave TCU for valid reasons.
“But our goal is get the students we want and to keep them,” Herman said.