Dixie State University’s focus on student success helps increase freshman retention rate

This year, Dixie State University saw its fall-to-fall retention of first-time students increase by more than 4 percent — a substantial jump and record for the university.

To help students finish their degrees, Dixie State has focused on creating a strong foundation for student success over the past three years. One initiative created as part of this campus-wide focus was the Atwood Retention Grant program in which the late Dixie State Board of Trustees member Lindsay Atwood and his wife, Laura, contributed $270,000 to retention initiatives across campus. 

“These funds allowed for innovative and robust programs to be created around campus,” Jeffery Hoyt, DSU assistant vice president for student success & co-curricular assessment, said. “This allowed for the implementation of new supplemental instruction courses, a revamp of our First Year Experience and Trailblazer Connections courses and an increase in our peer-mentor program among other initiatives.”

Other initiatives focused on increasing retention rates by using Open Educational Resources and sponsoring on-campus experience days for local high school students who are concurrently taking high school and college classes. Each of these initiatives is focused on helping connect students to resources, campus and the community.

“While these efforts are starting to pay off, it's imperative that we maintain strong divisional collaborations and clear coordination,” Peter Gitau, DSU vice president of student affairs, said. “We need to strengthen the initiatives that have proven to be productive and remember Trustee Atwood’s charge that ‘We need to help our kids.’”

To learn more about Dixie State University, visit dixie.edu.