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Purdue President Cordova sets retention, graduation goals in new strategic plan


Purdue University will focus on increasing retention and graduation rates under a strategic plan taking shape under new President France Cordova.

Cordova also will form work groups of students, faculty, staff and community members to advise steps on student experience, campus design, interdisciplinary research, and quality of life for faculty and staff.

Cordova expects the strategic plan to be presented to the trustees by May.

“We need a stronger focus on student success,” she told school trustees Friday.

She also named a more research funding as one of the plan’s top goals.

“Our aspiration is for Purdue to be a top-rank global research institution,” she said.

Purdue’s previous plan lasted seven years and ended this summer with the retirement of Cordova’s predecessor, Martin Jischke.

Trustees heard a presentation on retention and graduation rates. Several thought Purdue needed to be more selective to strengthen its academic reputation.

“We’re letting in kids that don’t make it,” Trustee William Oesterle said.

The school has a six-year graduation rate of 70.7 percent for students enrolled in 2001. The average for the peer schools that Purdue compares itself with is 80.9 percent.

Purdue’s one-year retention rate is 84.8 percent, while peer schools kept 92.2 percent of their students.

Purdue is trying to maintain an enrollment of about 39,000 students.

Pam Horne, dean of admissions, said she found that the top reason cited by those who were accepted but didn’t enroll at Purdue was that they chose schools with better reputations in their prospective majors. She said schools are becoming more aggressive in recruiting top students from high schools.

“I think we entered a new era,” Horne said. “It’s kind of an arms race, and I don’t relish it.”

Information from: Journal and Courier,

–Associated Press

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