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Accreditation team gives good marks to UHV

By Carolina Astrain
April 10, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2014 at 11:10 p.m.


BY THE NUMBERS

Here's a look at the University of Houston-Victoria's freshmen retention rates the past few years, comparing enrollment from fall semester to the following fall semester:

Fall 2010 - 53%

Fall 2011 - 52%

Fall 2012 - 49%

SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-VICTORIA

The University of Houston-Victoria received positive remarks after an on-site visit from accreditation auditors ended Wednesday, university officials said Thursday.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges auditors were impressed with the university's Quality Enhancement Plan and had one minor recommendation regarding staff credentials, said Jill Fox, UHV director of assessment and Quality Enhancement Plan co-organizer.

"That will be simple for us to address," Fox said. "We are all just floating on clouds now. The visit went so well."

The university's plan, "Living and Learning: Teaming Up in Jaguar Village," involves a space within the newly constructed Jaguar Suites dormitory where freshmen will be able to meet with a designated peer group.

The program is similar to Freshmen Interest Groups, a growing trend at major universities developed to improve retention, said Uppinder Mehan, UHV associate provost.

"Findings indicated that the FIG program provided a modest, though non-trivial benefit to participants including higher grade point averages and increased persistence into the second year," according to a 1993 study conducted at the University of Washington.

"It's a place for our students to engage both in their academics, co-curricular and social activities," Mehan said.

Of the 270 students who started the 2012 fall semester, 131 returned the following year, a 48.52 percent retention rate.

"We want to get above the national level," Mehan said.

The national average for freshmen returning for another year is 75 percent, according to data reported by an annual U.S. News survey.

Within their discussions with the visiting auditors, Fox said faculty involvement in the university's freshmen retention plan was mentioned.

"We talked about how their work with the QEP might be reflected in the faculty evaluation process," Fox said. "That's something we're excited about."

The topic will be discussed at the next UHV Faculty Senate meeting, Fox said.

A community open house of the Living and Learning commons area is also in the works, she added.

"We'd like to be able to thank the donors, Kamin Furniture and The Homestead, for their contributions to the project," Fox said.

The identities of the visiting auditors and other information pertaining to the preliminary report are private, said Pamela Cravey, commission spokeswoman.

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