Comments on business development and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale by a local.
Of course, you can draw curves projecting grad rates from ACT scores. This isn't rocket science. What few people know is that SIUC has dropped to just about the same number of students as IL state. SIUE is also rising rapidly. (I've taught here for 12 years and never seen how the rise of SIUE impacts the SIU "system," so called). The transfer rate is boggling. Where do they go? Do they ever graduate? It is simply remarkable that the transfer rate is 75% of the grad rate. They come, and then they leave. I've asked for data before on this but never learned anything. What scares them away? You are right: Test scores are the thing. Even a good liberal sociologist like Christopher Jencks concluded that there is no racial bias to test scores and, if anything, they overpredict African American success (i.e., they are now reverse-biased). Still, I hear in the old "regatta" matching question as something black people in Chicago would know nothing about. Problem is the testmaker tests each question for racial/gender bias and they threw that one out in . . . 1978!
SIUE: When SIUE opened dorms SIUC took a big enrollemnt hit. That was the beginning of our decline. (Larry D told me this a couple of years age.)Transfers: Many of our better students (GPA>3) transfer out. (Jim A has a study done on this by some task force just before WVW came.) Most likely they go to UIUC, but that's just a guess. Whenever retention comes up I try to point out that it is not just the weak students we need to retain. Our reported ACT average might not include the special admission freshmen, of which there are about 500 this year.Two books I'd recommend:The Black-White Test Score Gap edited by Jencks and Philips.Beyond College For All: Career Paths For The Forgotten Half (American Sociological Association Rose Series in Sociology) by James E. RosenbaumMS
I also find it curious that so much emphasis is put on minority recruitment w/o any concern for evidence of being prepared for college. When unprepared students of any background are accepted (or actively recruited as at SIUC) it often diminishes the educational campus wide. SIUC should raise admissions requirements and stick to them. Transfer rates will drop and graduation rates will increase. Otherwise, it's just a 4 year community college that costs 5 times more.
From anonymous >> SIUE: When SIUE opened dorms SIUC took a big enrollemnt hit. That was the beginning of our decline. (Larry D told me this a couple of years age.)If Larry D said that, he is a fool. The problem SIUC has with enrollment is that the place has been poorly managed for so long that it has huge problems in every corner. You can do a survey of this blog for other "problems" SIUC has in management. Surely "MS" isn't sucked in to believing self serving crap like this. SIUC is losing because of SIUC, it isn't some untameable market force. SIUC's product isn't as good as it once was and management is doing a poor job explaining how it is good and how to get it better.The moment that SIUC lays in a plan to become the best place to receive an undergraduate education and starts working hard on that plan, enrollment and morale will go up. A long term plan to build a football stadium and administration builiding is madness. How about pointing out to students that enrolling in a research university will get them access to learning opertunities that are not available elsewhere (my Mother pointed this out to me the other day, I had kind of forgotten).SIUC's administrators have done a bad job for many years. The honorable thing for Uncle Walt to do is to go teach architecture and stop killing this university. If he needs a letter to get a job elsewhere he should contact me and I'll cheerfully write him one.In the meantime, SIUE is killing SIUC is silly and distracting. SIUC needs to execute better in every area. We have to do this in business everyday, I'm wondering how the SIUC professors are going to respond now that market forces are beginning to effect the gravy train. If you guys aren't careful it is going to get worse.
I had an outstanding student in my Calc 2 and Calc 3 courses -- a freshman, no less -- during my third year at SIU. (Curiously, he was reared in the same part of north-central Illinois that I was. Must be something in the corn (grin).) He quickly saw the handwriting on the wall, and applied to various top-notch schools; I wrote letters of recommendation on his behalf, and was happy to do so. He is now at Urbana-Champaign, and doing quite well, I'm certain.SIU has shown excellence, perversely enough, in drawing academically deficient students to the institution, while driving away the talent. It's like running a store in which you're good at drawing "window-shoppers" while not doing what it takes to bring in people who will actually spend good money on what you have to offer. It's also a surefire way to drive yourself into the poorhouse, which is, unfortunately, what Southern is doing, academically speaking.
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