Monday, December 10, 2007

Minnesota Dead Last Among
Self-Selected Peers
In Graduation Rate

The Star-Tribune Chimes In

Mr. Bonzo has been harping on the fact that with a situation like that described in the table above, the U of M administration should concentrate on fixing our serious problems, rather than raising the smokescreen of "ambitious aspirations to be one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]."

Sure our graduation rates are improving, but that is only because they were so unspeakably low in the past.

Can you believe [as Maxwell Smart would say] that in 1993 our four year graduation rate was 18% and that less than 50% of our students graduated in six years?

These numbers are what made Mr. B. happy to have his son attend the University of Arizona where he was a Phi Beta Kappa English major and graduated in four years. There he received an excellent education.

What were U of M administrators thinking back then? Is it any wonder that many state residents don't have kindly feelings toward the U because of the way they or some friends or relatives were treated?

And what is going on now is nothing to brag about. Six out of ten students do NOT graduate in four years and four out of ten essentially don't graduate at all. (As Craig Swan acknowledges, if you don't make it out in six years chances are slim to none that you will ever graduate.)

Why don't we set as a goal getting to the middle of the BigTen?
That would be ambitious aspiration enough. We should be honest about our situation at the University of Minnesota and try to get the State legislature to help us solve our real problems.

From the Star Tribune:

Graduation rate at the U is rising, but work remains

Last update: December 10, 2007 - 12:18 AM

"This is a work in progress," said Craig Swan, vice provost for undergraduate education. "We're not where we need to be. We have a ways to go, but we've also come a long ways."

In its much-publicized quest to be an elite public research institution, Minnesota has compared itself to 10 peer universities, including Penn State, Wisconsin, Texas and Washington.

Of the 11 schools, Minnesota ranks last in the percentage of students who graduate in six years or less. Eight of the other schools graduate more than half their students in four years, and all graduate more than 65 percent in five years and 70 percent in six years.

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings, Minnesota is tied for 71st among the top 130 national universities.

The school's current five-year graduation rate (students who enrolled in 2001) is 57.9 percent, and the six-year rate (enrolled in 2000) is 60.8 percent.

"The six-year rate is important because students who don't graduate in six years have a greater risk of not graduating at all," Swan said.

Danette Gerald, the assistant director of higher education at the Education Trust in Washington, said that graduation rates are important not only to the schools, but to the students applying for admission.

"Students want to know that they have more than a 50-50 chance of graduating in a timely manner," Gerald said.


We're number seventy-one! That's a rallying cry we don't hear out of our administration.

Maybe we should...

Ciao, Bonzo

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