By Matthew Liedke
College officials say rates consistently exceed the national average
National recognition is becoming a habit for North Dakota State College of Science as another publication ranked the school among the country’s best.
An article titled, “Large colleges with the best 6-year and 3-year graduation rates, 2012,” published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, reported that NDSCS has been ranked No. 6 among two-year colleges.
According to the report, NDSCS achieved a 50.7 percent graduation rate in 2012 and a 47 percent graduation rate in 2013. This is the third time in recent years the college has received recognition, with positive rankings already coming in from BestColleges.com and Washington Monthly Magazine.
“I think it’s made possible because of the faculty and staff that we’ve been able to attract here. They show up each day very committed to what they do when teaching students,” said NDSCS President Dr. John Richman. “This isn’t our first national recognition for the results we’ve created. I find it very rewarding, gratifying and reassuring that the philosophy we have here works.
“That philosophy is we are in the development business,” Richman continued. “We develop people, so student success always comes first and foremost.”
“Another component in our programming is that it aligns with both the needs of the state and the desires of the students,” said Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Harvey Link. “When students get into a curriculum and they can see an end goal, they persist and continue on.”
Associate Vice President of Student Success at NDSCS, Jane Vangness Frisch, added that the college is also focused on reaching out to family and to the students themselves.
“We’ve been intentionally reaching out to family members and spouses, too, letting them know what the students will go through at the college,” Vangness Frisch said. “We also know that there isn’t one type of student, not all of them are just out of high school, so we want to keep different types of students involved.
“Our graduation rates consistently exceed the national average,” Vangness Frisch said. “We also pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t just offer the two-year degrees. We also have the certificate and diploma opportunities that meet the needs of the workforce demands. That is something that helps set us apart.”
Despite the positive ranking, though, Richman explained that progress and improvement can still be made.
“We’re very proud of this and the other recognition we’ve gotten, but we’re not satisfied, we have to do a better job at student success,” Richman said. “We have created a Student Success Division last year to do so. It’s a campus-wide initiative that monitors students’ attendance, success, provides assistance where needed and helps place them in the right programs and courses.
“The goal of that is to increase our retention rate which will in turn raise the graduation rate,” Richman added.
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