Noel-Levitz Honors Institutions For Outstanding Retention Efforts IOWA CITY, IowaNoel-Levitz, one of the leading higher education consulting firms in North America, recognized four colleges and universities with the 2004 Lee Noel and Randi Levitz Retention Excellence Awards. The awards recognize innovative, state-of-the-art campus retention programs that have encouraged students to succeed and persevere through graduation.“These programs exemplify what colleges and universities can do in terms of helping students make the most of their college experience,” says Teresa Farnum, Noel-Levitz vice president of retention services. “The four institutions honored this year have created programs that foster student achievement and put men and women on the right path to success.”The following institutions were honored for their retention efforts at this year’s National Conference on Student Retention, conducted by Noel-Levitz July 14-17 in New Orleans: • Georgia Institute of Technology — The Challenge ProgramThe Challenge Program is an intensive five-week program held each summer for incoming minority Georgia Tech freshmen. Students live on campus in the dorms, take core courses that simulate a typical student’s freshman year and generally make social and academic preparations for the transition to college. • Southeastern Oklahoma State University — Academic Advising and Outreach Center (AAOC)The AAOC integrates a variety of programs and services to create a new infrastructure for student success. Among the programs and services offered via the AAOC: adviser training for all incoming faculty and a student success workshop for adjunct faculty; a professional academic adviser specializing in American Indian student issues; an early warning system for all freshmen enrolled in a College Success course; a telecounseling program to dispense personal, individual assistance to new students at high risk of dropping out; and a collaborative effort with local tribal nations to host a leadership retreat for American Indian students. • State University of New York at New Paltz — EOP Freshman Year ExperienceThe Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Freshman Year Experience is a proactive, intensive program for under-represented students at SUNY New Paltz. Students are selected based on financial need and academic eligibility. Eighty percent come from inner-city high schools, 60 percent speak English as a second language or are bilingual, and approximately 98 percent are first-generation college students. The program emphasizes mentoring and classroom experiences, with a structure that supports and increases the student’s time on challenging academic tasks. The effort also uses a comprehensive monitoring system to keep an eye on student progress and use active outreach techniques to intervene early when necessary. • University of North Carolina at Greensboro — Strategies for Academic SuccessDesigned as a motivational, empowerment-based model for probationary students, Strategies for Success serves approximately 350 to 400 students each year. Four key topic areas make up the program and provide its framework: personal responsibility, positive affirmations, goal setting/life planning and self-management. Group interaction with other students also is stressed, as is individual interaction with the instructor. Students sign an academic contract the first day of the program, which includes information about the academic good standing policy, course requirements and the steps to calculate their GPA. Recent additions to the program include a tardy policy and two individual meetings with the instructor.Each year, Noel-Levitz recognizes the most successful retention programs at various kinds of institutions. Winners are selected by a national panel comprised of leading campus-based retention practitioners.
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