GSU to focus on graduation rates

Sarah Ryniker

Studies show students who start Area F coursework early stay beyond sophomore year, and because of a statewide initiative to raise college graduation rates, that Area F coursework is a critical focus at Georgia Southern University.

The Area F requirements include prerequisites and lower-division major classes. The Complete College Georgia committee has looked in-depth at clarifying this area major-by-major to encourage students to start Area F coursework sooner.

“I think that there is concern that our students are not engaged in the material soon enough,” Dr. Sue Moore, professor of anthropology and interim dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said.*

“I see students who get into their major too late and then discover they don’t like their chosen pathway,” Dr. Patricia Humphrey, professor of mathematics, said.

The most influential dropout reasons the committee found revolved around engagement, financial instability and academic achievement, Dr. Caren Town, director of Graduate Studies for Literature and Philosophy, said.

“There are layers and layers of problems, but if you don’t know what the problem is, you can’t fix it,” Town said.

Contact between professors and students have always been a large part of what GSU strives for and CCG may call for stronger teacher-student relationships.

“We need to make sure students are satisfied with their time at Georgia Southern. We need to create rich experiences inside the classroom,” Moore said.

“We offer a lot of extra help, but often students do not take advantage of it. Some students are wary of coming to the professor for help. Some are simply irresponsible,” Humphrey said.

The university’s graduation initiative aims to subtly benefit student achievement.

Town said, “Overall, the effect on students that will come from Complete College Georgia will not be perceived. They may notice that they are achieving more success.”

*Correction: Moore, who was formerly interim dean, is not a current interim dean in CLASS.