Retention About

Mission and Statement of Purpose

The Office of Retention coordinates strategic programs, initiatives, and outreach efforts, all designed to support student transition, persistence, and success. Retention staff recognize that student success is defined in a number of ways and attempts to address all aspects of college student development (academic, social, personal, etc.). 

The office is concerned with keeping students continuously enrolled through completion and with contributing to the broader mission of producing in a timely fashion graduates who are capable, independent, well-rounded, and who are prepared to launch into society and into well-paying careers.

To realize this purpose, the Retention Office adopts the following core goals:

  1. Deliver outcomes-based transitional programming for incoming students
  2. Monitor returning student progress and prompt timely/continual matriculation
  3. Identify students who are at-risk for institutional withdrawal or stop-out and intervene
  4. Conduct research/needs-assessments related to the student experience and conceptualize/formulate/advocate for solutions
  5. Regularly collaborate with and advocate for external constituents (such as families members) who are crucial to student success

Why Retention Matters

At Fairmont State University, students are not merely numbers. We make personal connections with our students and recognize that they are unique individuals with first names/nicknames, real lives, and that many of them balance multiple commitments, such as jobs and families of their own. Each has his or her own story and his or her own challenges when it comes to pursuing higher education (whether that challenge be financial in nature, related to a disability, etc.). It is crucial, as the face of higher education morphs across our nation, that we approach our students and their challenges on a personal basis and that we work to minimize roadblocks.

Many services exist for this purpose, but are unfortunately utilized the least by the students who need them the most. This is because students who need the support the most tend to be unaware of available services/assistance, reluctant to seek out those services, or both. The challenge is to inform all students of the help available, encourage them to use existing resources when needed, and to become fully engaged in the campus environment.

Many of the office's initiatives are based on student development research that correlates student success with the following factors:

  • Mattering vs. Marginality – if a student is able to identify one person with whom they are comfortable going to for help, they are more likely to finish school.
  • College Student Engagement – successful students are socially AND academically committed to an institution.
  • Academic and Social Integration – successful students are able to make connections between what they are learning and life events.

The three-part approach utilized by the Office of Retention - Transition, Persistence, Success - reflects these factors and is designed not only to support students, but also those who support and care about them (parents and family members included).

Retention Staff

 

Charlie M. Watson, MBA

Retention Program Coordinator