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Cohen & Ibrahim, Change, May/June 2008

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Graduating students & graduation rates

Dear Friends,

Graduation continues to be our ultimate measure of student success. Purdue Calumet is committed to doing everything possible to help our students persist toward their degrees. To that end, we have planned strategically for new investments in academic advising, learning technologies to help reduce obstacles that interfere with students’ degree pursuit and other support resources for enabling busy, working students to stay the course.

The most common national measure of student success is graduation rate—more specifically, the percentage of students who begin college as first-time, full time freshmen and go on to earn a baccalaureate degree within six years of their initial semester.

Six years to graduate is a reasonable standard for private universities, liberal arts colleges and public, residential research universities whose students attend, by and large, on a full time basis. But at Purdue Calumet, our students range from teenagers to senior citizens, from full time enrollees to part-time attendees. Most of our students juggle job and family demands; many of our students have transferred from other colleges and universities. Those who do not begin here as freshmen, or as full time students, or in the fall semester are not counted in our graduation rate measure.

Of the students who graduated from Purdue Calumet during the past three years, it took them an average of 7.5 years to earn their baccalaureate degree. That includes those who attended Purdue Calumet start to finish (5.6-year average) and those who transferred here (10.4 years from the time they began their higher education). While every one of those graduates is a success, most of them do not show up in our graduation rate measure.

Of course, we will do all we can to help our students graduate in a timely manner. But at Purdue Calumet, there are many success stories that are not reflected in traditional measures of graduation. They, too, deserve recognition for their accomplishments.

Sincerely,

Howard Cohen,
Chancellor



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