Gordon State College Hosts Third Data Day

Gordon State College faculty and staff met virtually Thursday for the institution's third annual Data Day. As part of the institution's Strategic Plan, Building The Power of WE!, the college monitors and reports data to appropriate stakeholders.

Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness Britt Lifsey and Vice President for Academic Excellence Peter Higgins shared information in their Enrollment and Retention Deep Dive morning session. The session examined demographic breakdowns and details not typically reported.

For the past two years, Gordon State has reported an increase in freshmen retention with an impressive 3.3 percentage point increase for 2019 on top of 2018's 10-point growth. The retention rate, an indicator for student success and satisfaction, for first-time full time freshmen for Fall Semester 2019's cohort reflected 61.7 percent, the highest overall percentage for the college in more than 10 years.

Higgins reported the college experienced significant improvements in subgroups of retention. GSC data also reflected encouraging progress with students identified as under-represented and under-served populations. Retention among African American students increased for Fall 2019 to 58.4 percent, a jump of 16.5 percentage points within a two-year period from 41.9 in 2017.

During the same time period, retention for Hispanic and Latino students improved 14.6 points, from 51.2 percent in 2017 to 65.8 percent for the 2019 cohort. That 14.6 point jump translates into a 28.5 percent gain.

President Kirk A. Nooks said fostering excellence through delivering quality programs, services and education is one of Gordon's core values. He said, "To be able to duplicate these retention efforts at a higher level is commendable. It is a tremendous improvement for us. We know we have challenges, but I know our faculty and staff can collaborate, examine and adapt to offer a level of excellence to serve the needs of our students."

The afternoon session featured three faculty presentations for new education program proposals to be considered by the University System of Georgia and The Board of Regents. Faculty members also shared presentations to expand on existing programs. These proposals are based on information received through the college to accurately determine needs of the 14-county service region that will allow the college to think strategically and effectively moving forward to enhance academic programs.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs C. Jeffery Knighton said, "The time spent examining the data is thought-provoking as we continue to learn how we can improve and serve our students with excellence. Data Day allows the college a better way to understand, plan and target specific groups plus make programs as productive as possible to help our students succeed. In a world-wide pandemic, I'm impressed with our faculty, staff and students for our progress."