SGA Meeting on Feb 4, 2019 | Photo by Dylan Collison | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University President Susan Edwards gave a university operations update to the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Tuesday night. Edwards talked about her three priorities for the university: Recruitment, Retention, and Relationships.
According to President Edwards, recruitment has gone down 25 percent in the last two years. One of President Edwards’s plan to turn recruitment around is to get the community to trust the university again after the economic troubles and faculty strike.
“I will ensure that we start telling our story instead of other people telling our story for us,” said President Edwards.
The university has begun advertising with billboards on interstates 70, 71 and 75. They will also be placed along U.S. Route 35.
As well as radio announcements on iHeartRadio.
“Recruitment is reporting to me as president, it’s that important,” said President Edwards.
President Edwards has asked for SGA to assist her with Open House to generate new ways to connect to students and give them an experience that makes them want to come back.
“Everything that we do is about people. Education is about people,” said President Edwards.
According to President Edwards, the university is working on peer to peer mentoring programs, Retain the 9 and retention specialists to build retention rates.
The university is also working on life coaching advising opportunities for students.
“We have to establish relationships amongst ourselves and among our community members,” said President Edwards.
Before the SGA meeting, President Edwards visited Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to create connections for students who come to Wright State wishing to work on the base after graduation.
According to President Edwards, she is also working on creating connections with businesses that work with the base in the surrounding area.
“How do we connect with employers in the area in terms of getting opportunities for you to intern which then leads to employment,” said Edwards in regards to her mission.
Holes in Upper-Level Leadership
“What does the timeline look like for the Vice President of Student Affairs position?” College of Liberal Arts Senator Jackson Cornwell asked.
“We are currently putting the search committee together, the ad is being finalized and hopefully we will have somebody by the end of this semester,” Edwards said.
“What are some issues that you see in the community that SGA and other organizations on campus can help with?” Residential Senator Jacob O’Connor asked.
“We need to get more into downtown Dayton and west Dayton because that is where we are really needing to be doing some impactful work,” Edwards said. “We need to be talking to students about opportunities and pathways, going to high schools and actually going to middle schools and talking to students about what they can do.”
Director of Academic Affairs Samantha Baxter asked Edwards if there were anything in the process to host a writing workshop for scholarship applications or for hosting test prep courses for local high schools.
“No, but you’re right. How do you know how to write an application if you have never been asked to write one before? So I think that is a great idea and that it would be quite useful,” Edwards said.
How to Help Retention
“What [role] do student life and student organizations play in retention?” Director of Outreach and Collaboration Austin Rex asked.
“The national data is that a student engaged in student life is actually a retained student,” Edwards said. “Our retention rate is roughly 61 to 62 percent from freshman to sophomore. That is abysmal. Why are those students leaving? For the first time, we have actually started to survey those students last year. The reasons are not usually academic, it’s usually ‘I don’t feel like I fit.’ Had they got engaged? What are we purposely doing to get them engaged? I think that starts at orientation and starts with the connections that you make during orientation and then how do we connect them to and make them aware [of more opportunities].”