By Thelma Sardin
Chicago State University (CSU) recently celebrated its 348th Commencement Ceremony. A day before the ceremony, the school reported a significant boost in its graduation rate.
A press release stated that CSU’s six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time freshmen has grown to 23.2 percent from 13.9 percent a year ago and 14.1 percent two years ago, according to the criteria defined by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
According to the National Center for Education’s website, IPEDS’s function provides basic data needed to describe — and analyze trends in — postsecondary education in the United States, in terms of the numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned.
CSU is primarily a transfer institution and in this capacity, the school serves mostly minority, female and economically challenged urban students. Essentially, students complete their education with a marketable degree at more affordable tuition rates, the release stated.
The six-year graduation rate for new transfer students stands at about 48 percent for the 2011 graduating class, up from 45 percent a year ago, and 38.8 percent two years ago. The six-year marker is a universal rubric defined and monitored by the U.S. Department of Education for all postsecondary institutions through IPEDS, the release also stated.
CSU’s president Dr. Wayne Watson credits many things to the school’s success.
The school has an education philosophy called the “5 E’s.” “We embrace our students, we engage our students, we educate our students, we enlighten our students and we empower our students,” Watson said. The president added that the “5 E’s” allow the university to have a close relationship with its students.
Watson also credits CSU’s educators. “We have faculty at Chicago State University that works with our students, they not only teach them in the classroom but they get our students involved in research.” He added that the school’s faculty is “striving for excellence.”
The University also has an Early Warning System. According to Watson, the program monitors student attendance, homework and exams. “If they are having problems we personally contact them,” he said.
Giving plays a huge part in student success at CSU. The university’s foundation and alumni association students are able to receive scholarships.
The gift of giving has created several principles for the school.
“There are three cultures that we are enhancing: work, learning and giving. When all three of those cultures are enhanced, they will provide us a more comprehensive and enriched learning environment for our students at Chicago State,” Watson said.