Promoting degree completion among dropouts

Baylor University — Goal 1 Initiative Promoting degree completion among dropouts

Baylor University's commitment to improving degree completion among underrepresented students who dropped out or did not return to the university includes a variety of supportive efforts. Through this new initiative, the university will conduct outreach to students who discontinued their education, provide tailored support to those students, and build career pathways to help these students find success after graduation.

The initiative prioritizes direct and consistent contact with non-returning students, mapping out their pathways to graduation and a future career. That includes offering applied learning experiences for non-returning students, as well as the ability to complete their degree completely online.

To put returning students on the path to a successful career, this initiative will allow returning students to build degree and career action plans with help from the university, engage in real-world professional experiences to build up skills for post-graduation, and take advantage of online courses and new certificate programs.

As Baylor University progresses towards R1 status as a preeminent research university, we believe that our institution is positioned to help find solutions to some of the world’s most meaningful challenges. Our initial goal with the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity focuses on a global challenge facing students and graduates in the post-pandemic economy: promoting degree completion among underrepresented students who have withdrawn and left their academic work incomplete. Baylor’s mission emphasizes academic excellence within a caring community. I am calling on that very community to provide direct and consistent support for non-returning students, shepherding them back to complete their degrees and reinforcing the immense possibility and value that comes with a degree from Baylor University.

Linda Livingstone, Baylor University

Initiative Differentiators

Through this new initiative, Baylor offers specialized support to understand students' needs and concerns for finishing, essentially building out specific career path bridges for returning students. These students will be able to take on internships and applied learning experiences, gain credit from professional/work experiences, and take online course work should they wish to complete their degree remotely. The initiative will also offer new certificate program opportunities if degree completion is not likely.

Key Interventions and Milestones

This initiative will undertake direct and consistent contact with non-returning students to address the root causes for why the initially left and provide tailored support and resources to ensure completion. Baylor aims to re-enroll at least 15% of the students that discontinued and ensure that as many as possible of those who return are able to complete a degree or certificate program.

Expected Impact

Baylor's interventions are designed to increase the numbers that return to their degree program, re-enroll, and graduate. The initiative also aims to improve the level of participation in internships, applied learning experiences, and certificate programs, ultimately putting students on the track to long-term employment or attendance at a graduate program.