Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

May 2012

NSU Holds Recruitment and Retention Forum for Employees

In an effort to keep students enrolled through graduation, Northeastern State University held a Recruitment and Retention Forum in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center.

About 100 NSU employees participated in the March forum, which was attended by Dr. Glen Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and Dr. Richard Ogden, regent of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.

"Dr. Johnson set the stage for a positive and productive event," said NSU President Steve Turner. "The forum reinforced the fact that all of us are involved with recruitment and retention, and what we do matters."

Governor Mary Fallin is asking Oklahoma's public institutions to participate in Complete College America, which challenges higher education and career technical schools to award more degrees and certificates. NSU's forum was the first of its kind among the state institutions.

"NSU's challenge is to increase the number of degrees awarded by 3.5 percent per year for each of the next 12 years," Turner said.

NSU has awarded an average of 1,449 degrees per year through fiscal years 2009-11. To meet the guidelines of Complete College America, NSU must grant an additional 51 degrees in fiscal year 2013, and by 2024 award an average of 74 more degrees per fiscal year.
"It is an ambitious goal and will require additional resources and a renewed focus on recruitment and retention," Turner said. "Our forum was the first of many steps we must take to meet the governor's challenge."

The forum identified 10 top priorities to immediately influence student retention:
1. Shift faculty, staff and student dialogue toward a positive focus to create a culture of optimistic attitudes
2. An institutional wide refocus on reducing redundancy and empowering individuals to influence a positive environment
3. Use technology to engage students
4. Establish a student ombudsman to address student complaints
5. Create a hotline for facilities and housing for students to report issues and streamline appropriate responses
6. Elevate "RiverHawk Pride" in every aspect of the university
7. Increase data driven decisions without losing the human element to move toward a quality management approach
8. Focus on a culture of collaboration to work together to resolve problems
9. Focus on customer service and continuous service training. Empower employees to assist students in getting to the appropriate person or department
10. Increase communication and engagement with incoming students before they begin classes to create a personal connection and sense of belonging.

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