Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.
Welcome to the home of Academic Affairs at La Salle University!
In its August 2014 issue, Money Magazine rated La Salle University as a top 10 “Value All-Star.” In many ways this ranking is a validation of what we do and our fidelity to our mission.
How did we earn this distinction as a top 10 value all-star?
The first measure used is the graduation rate. According to Money, La Salle University’s graduation rate is 18% higher than the expected rate based on our peer group and the students that we admit. It truly is remarkable that with a student body that is over 30% Pell-eligible, we are able to graduate students at nearly a 70% rate, over the standard 6 year period.
Our success has been a concerted effort on the part of faculty, administrators, and staff. One of my first priorities as Provost was improving our retention rate with an eye toward improving the graduation rate by creating a student retention task force. This group consulted constituencies across the University and identified the various risk factors that impede retention and ultimately the graduation rate. It made several recommendations that are being implemented.
In concert with these recommendations the University’s Academic and Learning Support Services also initiated a number of new programs to ensure student success. You can review these programs by visiting: http://www.lasalle.edu/provost/academiclearningsupport/
The faculty's response has been extraordinary. Over the past several years we have examined, discussed and developed strategies to ensure student success. These initiatives were conceived by the faculty and executed by members of the faculty. My office fully supported these efforts, but make no mistake--the faculty took the lead in addressing this concern.
Our retention and graduation rates, which have improved year over year, are concrete examples of how the faculty have developed and implemented strategies to deal with students of different abilities inside and outside the classroom.
Our efforts have also focused on attracting higher achieving students. In 2011, the University enrolled 43 honors students, in 2012 the new initiatives went into effect and we enrolled 60 honors students. In 2013 we enrolled 77, and in 2014 we are enrolling 67 students. There are now over 250 students in the honors program. These students improve the quality of the classes that they take in their majors and in the core classes and electives in which they are enrolled.
The second criterion used by Money Magazine in determining its “Value All-Stars” is the average income earned by alumni five years after graduation.
The content of our curriculum certainly provides a strong base enabling students to succeed. This curriculum includes a thorough grounding in the liberal arts, providing the skills for students to think critically, communicate effectively, work in teams and solve problems.
This education is supplemented by engaged learning practices. These practices include service learning, internships and co-ops, undergraduate research, international travel, and city as classroom.
Surveys of employers indicate that they want students who have some experience before they will hire them. By employing engaged learning strategies, we are able to supplement the classroom learning with various experiences that ultimately translate into career success.
Engaged learning, which has been embraced by our faculty, and will be required by the new core, gives our students this experience. Every student at La Salle will have the opportunity to gain the vital experience to supplement their classroom experience and prepare them for successful careers.
Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs