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Winthrop U Tackles Student Retention with Web-Based Alert System

Winthrop University is adopting a new service to help improve student retention. The 6,500-student university, located in Rock Hill, SC, is adopting EducationDynamics' EarlyIQ, a Web-based alert program.

The service analyzes data captured from multiple sources, including student information and learning management systems and feedback from faculty and staff. The idea is that by looking at a student's lack of participation in academic and on-campus activities, administrators can intervene before the student fails or drops out.

In addition, Winthrop will deploy the vendor's First-Year Retention & Engagement (FYRE) program, which immerses new students in a peer-to-peer network to help them navigate the transition to college. Both programs will roll out to students and staff this fall.

"Winthrop did not have a unified early alert system that could address all our students' emerging needs," said Frank Ardaiolo, Winthrop's vice president for student life. "We were especially concerned with the numbers of students who could not maintain the required GPA to keep their scholarships. My research into other institutions' systems convinced us we should proceed with an early alert software solution because the results nationally have been impressive. The EarlyIQ tool and the FYRE program will be instant deliverables for our new Student Academic Success Center opening in August, helping students from their first day of enrollment engage with their new academic environment sooner rather than later."

Ardaiolo added that the Web-based format of the applications, which will make the "implementation as painless as possible," is consistent with the campus' long-term plan "to increase efficiencies, particularly regarding prioritization and management of follow-up and intervention."

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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