Standard 6. Students - Appraisal
Over the last decade, we have effected desired changes in our student body, in our support for student learning, and in the quality of services we provide to students in many areas of campus life. Stonehill has met or surpassed most of its institutional enrollment objectives. Since 2004, applications have increased by 47%, with applications from outside of New England increasing by 74% and applications from the metro-New York area (an area of special focus) by 24%. High school rank in class has improved 1 percentage point in the last five years (top 13% to top 12% of class). SAT Critical Reading and Mathematics scores have improved in the last five years by 30 points to 1220. Please note that the College made the decision to go SAT optional with the class applying in Fall 2008.
New programs such as PATH and the Science Bridge program have outcomes that are clearly successful. The ALANA programs are too new to evaluate their success, but we will continue to assess and seek improvements. Certainly ALANA student numbers are up in every area of the Admissions funnel: ALANA inquiries have increased the last five years by 24%; applications from ALANA population have increased in the last five years by 105%; accepted ALANA students have increased in the last five years by 45%. We continue to have a lower yield with this group, maintaining just under 10% of the student population from underrepresented groups. Applications for the ALANA Brothers and Sisters Leadership Program increased slightly from the first year to the second year, with more than 50% of applicants coming from the former participant group.
The programs currently in place to assist students with the transition to College life appear to be meeting overall student needs, based on our high academic retention rate and graduation rate. Students who used the services of the Center for Academic Achievement reported the following when surveyed (n= 350, Student Evaluation Form, 12/07): 60% of surveyed students said their grades improved as a result of tutoring; 82% would recommend their tutor/TA to other students; 75% of students felt their tutor was committed to their success; 77% reported understanding the course content better after tutoring.
Although our retention rate is very strong, the College continually strives to improve student persistence. To understand better why students leave Stonehill, we conduct exit interviews and surveys to determine their reasons for leaving. Since 2002, Stonehill has shown an average four-year graduation rate of 79% and an average six year graduation rate of 83%. The average four and six year graduation rates of students of color (Asian, Hispanic, Black, American Indian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) are slightly lower than the overall graduation rates. It is important to note that because our Domestic ALANA numbers are small, the graduation rate can vary considerably from year to year.
- Students of color average four year graduation rate - 70% (general population is 79%)
- Students of color average six year graduation rate - 77% (general population is 83%)
The number of students on academic probation or separation is low, averaging from 1 to 2% each semester. Excellent and systematic cooperation between the athletics department and the academic division has helped student athletes' performance. The newly adopted Academic Integrity Policy and procedures will be assessed at the end of this current academic year, as well as each year moving forward.
For about a decade, Stonehill's freshman to sophomore retention rate was between 89% and 91%. Three years ago it dipped to 86%, and we took seriously the question of what happened with that class. We have taken aggressive steps to ensure improvement (including the study of the first-year experience). Freshman to sophomore year retention rate has improved from 86% to 89% over the last three years. The average four year freshman to sophomore year retention rate is 88%. Retention of the Honors student population is similar to that of the general population at 88%. Sophomore to junior attrition from the last two years has been 4% and 5% with an increase to 7% in the Fall '08. No significant patterns of percentage losses in program, gender, geographic, and finances have surfaced thus far.
In terms of campus life, the work of Health Services is well-received on campus. The role of the new Heath Educator is too new to be effectively evaluated. The Counseling and Testing Center is assisting more students than ever with personal issues. In the past six years there has been a 74% increase in the number of individual counseling sessions scheduled by students.
In the area of safety, Stonehill College Police Officers adhere to standards set by the Massachusetts State Police. These standards are required for police certification and recertification. Police Officers initially complete a basic recruit police training academy and subsequently complete in-service training annually. The Stonehill College Police Supervisors are affiliated (and regularly attend meetings) with organizations such as: International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA); and Massachusetts Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (MACLEA) to review best practices. Stonehill College has had two professional, independent studies of the Campus Police Department within the last 5 years and has utilized many of the recommendations to improve the department.
During the 2007-2008 academic year, Resident Assistants sponsored 529 total programs. 295 (56%) were educational programs and 234 (44%) were social programs. Of these programs, 127 (24%) occurred on the weekends. These programs are evaluated through program surveys. The Office of Residence Life conducts a yearly Resident Assistant Satisfaction Survey, which allows RAs to provide feedback to the office regarding their leadership experience in the position. In May 2008, when asked if the RA position has made them better leaders, RAs responded with an average of 3.3 (on a 4-point scale, with 4 being highest).
The effectiveness of Career Services is measured by the Senior Exit Survey, which is administered by the Office of Institutional Research, and the One Year Out Survey, which is administered by the Career Services Office. Students from the Class of 2007 reported an average overall satisfaction rate of 81%. During their time at Stonehill, more than 84% of students in the Class of 2007 reported having utilized Career Services for career counseling, professionalism information, and recruiting. Career Services tracks utilization of the Office and its programs. The office records and tracks the number of student appointments each semester, the number of students participating in the on-campus recruiting program and other sponsored events and workshops, and overall office utilization throughout students' time at Stonehill. Utilization in academic year (AY07-08) was 1,071 students. Career Services has longitudinal data available for the visiting team.
The Department of Student Financial Services is annually audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a nationally recognized auditing firm. This audit accomplishes not only the federal A-133 requirement, but also the examination mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of its financial aid programs every three years. The audits are consistently clean, with typically no violations of federal or state law, regulations, or rules noted. In addition, these audits test the awarding of institutional funds, including endowed and restricted scholarships using criteria established by donors. These audits continue to be successfully completed as well.
Student services areas apply continuous appraisal and consistent administration of all policies and procedures. Evidence of these efforts includes the Financial aid audit, the annual review of Community Standards using Judicial Action database, the recent review and revisions to Academic Integrity Policy; consistent and well defined disciplinary and appeal processes, both within Student Affairs and Academics. Policies and procedures regarding all student record retention are regularly reviewed and updated based on privacy and data security needs. For example, the College's newly implemented data security policy was partly in response to Massachusetts' recent enactment of data security regulations.