Action Project


Examining Student Life's Residence Hall Program as it Relates to Retention





University of Saint Mary






3-Understanding Students' and Other Stakeholders' Needs


Planned project kickoff date: 2010-09-01 
Target completion date: 2011-09-01 
Actual completion date:

Project Detail

Project Goal
Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer

In our recent analysis of retention data, we discovered that the retention rate among residential students has fallen below that of commuters.  This is contrary to the literature on what is to expected.  We don’t know why this is happening (or even if it can be attributed to Student Life).  But we do know that campus life is a factor in student retention.  We have decided to study this further to determine its cause or causes and to take remedial action.  We have also agreed that even if other factors are involved beyond Student Life, the committee will investigate ways by which the retention rate for students in residence can be improved.    

Reasons For Project
Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities

As seen in our other action projects, USM is committed to improve its retention rate.  To that end, we have broken out into manageable projects, the study of various aspects of retention.  As noted in #1, we see Student/residential Life as an area worth exploring. 

Organizational Areas Affected
List the organizational areas -- institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project

This project is aimed at Student Life, and especially our residential program.   But in that it may impact retention, it is of concern to the entire university.

Key Organizational Process(es)
Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve

We will be looking at all aspects of residential life, including but not limited to, the demographics of our student residents, cost, campus programs, Student Life staff duties and success, etc.  Again, it is hoped that by examining these various components of the larger Student Life/residential Life Program we will improve retention.    


Project Time Frame Rationale
Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion)

We believe that we can complete our study of Student/Residential Life and come up with recommendations in one academic year.  Whether or not we can implement those changes in the same time period remains to be seen and depends on the nature of the recommended changes.

Project Success Monitoring
Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing

A committee consisting of members of Student Life, students, the faculty, and the Student Success Office will meet regularly and make recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Those committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the Faculty Senate and the President of the university for their review and approval.  Although the committee will be charged with developing an assessment took for its recommendations, improvements should be reflected in the data we collect on retention, which can be  broken out for residential students and commuters. 

Project Outcome Measures
Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals

If successful, we should not only determine the likely cause of the lower retention rates for residential students, but also see an improvemenet in retention rates for that student population.