Why does it matter?
A review of UNLV’s six-year graduation rates show major disparities based on identity groups. Those patterns have been consistent for more than a decade. This means that at least some of the barriers to student success are institutional, and that some of our students are facing barriers that others are not. We need to understand and dig deeper into why, for instance some students have a six-year graduation rate as low as 0 to 26 percent, while others are attaining a 53.7 percent six-year graduation rate. But we need a greater understanding of barriers impacting student achievement among non-minorities as well. A closer look at our graduation rates show the gap between minority and non-minority six-year graduation rates is nearly 10 percent. As one of the most diverse universities in the country we must become leaders in best practices for inclusion and equity across the board.
Where do we hope to see it go?
We want to increase graduation rates for everyone. UNLV has a Top Tier goal of attaining a 50 percent six-year graduation rate by 2025. This means we expect to see at least half of the first-time, full-time freshmen cohort that started this fall cross the graduation stage by spring 2025.
What are we doing to get there?
UNLV created the Office of Student Diversity and Social Justice to provide identity specific support. This office seeks to provide a holistic approach to affirming, educating and empowering students throughout their college experience. Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Education is working across campus to provide better co-curricular support, from increasing the number of advisors for first-time freshmen to implementing tools, such as Campus Connect. Campus Connect is an internal platform that provides academic advisors, faculty, college leadership, and other campus partners with the ability to communicate, monitor, and interact with students in order to promote their retention, progression, and completion.
How you can help
College and department leaders need to know the data in their area. Start by asking the Office of Decision Support for a breakdown by college and department to get a sense of where your students are in terms of progressing through to graduation and develop intervention measures by examining how to make the curriculum more inclusive and foster success. Take advantage of the Faculty Center and Office of Undergraduate Education for resources and training in best practices for inclusion and equity in the classroom, as well as programs that support student learning. And be aware of the student-centered resources on campus that you and your faculty can guide students to and help them stay connected and invested in their college experience.