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Iowa District Revamps Approach to First-Year Retention

Iowa Valley Community College District is working on its first year retention efforts through a new program that includes the use of services from EducationDynamics. The central Iowa district operates two main campuses, a satellite campus, and a continuing education program.

The district will be using the company's First-Year Retention & Engagement (FYRE) program, which combines peer networking, self-assessment tools, and information about student support services. To address the unique needs of traditional and adult students, the colleges will provide content specific to each type of student.

Features of the retention program will include:

  • Automated e-mail messages segmented by student characteristics, such as course of study, to direct students to relevant content in a "student success Web portal";
  • A virtual orientation that provides links to articles, self-assessment tests, surveys, and videos designed to bolster orientation events on campus; and
  • Real-time data tracking to help administrators identify and manage students who appear not to be engaging in school activities.

"The FYRE program not only supports our retention and engagement goals, but also the Iowa Valley Community College District's strategic plan to increase efficient communication on various information sharing platforms as well," said Chris Russell, chief academic officer.

The retention program will be supported by a Title III grant.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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