Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Marcia Heiman


As our nation looks ahead in this new century, an educated workforce is more important than ever. Yet college retention is a major problem. Last year, for the first time in 20 years, retention to the sophomore year dropped in the nation’s four-year colleges (Bushong, 2009). For minority students on predominantly white campuses – that is, most four-year colleges and universities – the graduation rate is unacceptably low. For example, less than half of black males graduate from four-year college programs within six years – 20 percentage points less than their white peers (Carey, 2008). And student persistence in community colleges is chronically low, circling at about 50% (Lederman, 2009).