North Carolina Newspapers

    Winston-Salem State University
December 7,1990
everyone a
Happy New
WSSU works to improve grad rates
Winston-Salem State University has
a four year graduation rate of 9.2 percent
Of the 16 constituent institutions of
the University of North Carolina, W.S.S.U.
has the second lowest four- year graduation
rate, with Fayetteville State University in
last place with 5.7 percent
When searching for reasons in the
decline of W.S.S.U's four year graduation
rate, several factors must be examined.
W.S.S.U's low retention rate is one
primary factor. A study of retention rates
since 1977 shows that W.S.S.U. has
consistently fallen below the average
among all constituent institutions. Dr.
Alex Johnson, vicechancellor for academic
affairs, explained that W.S.S.U.'s retention
rate is 70 percent. Dr. Johnson cited
personal problems, financial difficulties,
the unavailability of a desired major
program, and poor academic performance
as reasons for the withdrawal of students
from the university.
Another factor that contributes to the
poor four- year graduation rate is the low
number of semester hours that students
take. "We want to make sure that students
take 62 earned semester hours by the end
of their sophomore year," explained Dr.
Johnson. On the average, students who
graduate in four years usually earn 62
semester hours by the end of their
sophomore year. Students who graduate in
five and six years typically earn 56 and 47
semester hours by the end of their
sophomore year. Also, four-year graduates
tend to complete an average of six credit
hours per summer session. Dr. Johnson
strongly encourages freshmen and
sophomores to attend summer school.
"The Winston- Salem community
provides many work opportunities, which
I think is wonderful," said Dr. Johnson.
"Unfortunately, however, these
opportunitiescan detract students from their
No. 1 aim, and that is to get a college
education." Students incur extra expenses
such as rent car payments, clothes, dating,
etc.. In order to continuously satisfy their
money needs, working becomes the number
one priority; not getting an education.
Approximately 80 percent of the
students at W.S.S.U. hold part-time jobs.
Those employed often elect to lake a
reduced class load or to attend part-time.
Winston-Salem StateUniversity hasa
plan of action to help reverse those trends.
The principal goal is to increase the
four year graduation rate from the current
9.2 percent to 20 percent by 1995. The
university will continue to provide
academic advising. However, the university
Photo by Chuck Hanes
Dr. Alex Johnson Is confident that
WSSU will reach Its 1995 goal.
will also monitor students closely, in
hopes of at least 25 pcrcent of each
incoming freshman class obtaining 62
credit hours by the end of the sophomore
year. In addition, the university will
work to ensure that 50 pxjrcent of full
time students enroll in courscs equaling
16-18 hours per semester.
Along with establishing a Freshmen
Studies Program, the university will
increase course work offerings and
provide flexible substitutions.
Professor's book to be released in '91
It is generally agreed that teaching is
not only a part of learning, but an
opportunity for enrichment To be an
effective teacher, one must be
knowledgeable about one's subject matter,
and seek ways of gaining more experiences
designed to enhance the teaching and
learning process. At a time when colleges
and universities have become more
concerned than ever about institutional
effectiveness, the timing couldn't be better
for faculty scholarly research efforts.
To Dr. Dan Wishnietsky, Assistant
Professor of Mathematics and director of
the Academic Computer Center, research
is an imperative to personal and
professional development. His book in
press. Electronic Mail/Messaee Svstems
in the Educational Envi- ronment. due for
publication in January 1991, exemplifies
his continued quest for knowledge. A
message system is when two or more
computers in different locations can
communicate by transmitting and receiving
information originating among themselves;
electronic mail is individual short messages
that computer operators send to one another.
The book will be published by Phi Delta
Photo by Chuck Hanes
Dr. Dan Wishnietsky
Kappa, the professional fraternity in
^ucation that houses a publishing house,
research center, and an educational
foundation. The fraternity also publishes a
journal. Kanpan. and two book series cal led
Hot Topics. Other publications of the
fraternity include fastback series, books
on current issues in education, and monthly
reports to improvecurriculum development
and instruction.
"1 obtained a three-year grant to develop
an electronic mail network for Winston-
Salem/Forsylh County School system in
1987," he said, "and wanted to share both
the positive and negatives discovered
during the implementation of the project"
The grant was to develop future
communication technology in the
It became part of the curriculum as class
projects were designed for students from
grade one through high school to give
them an opportunity for hands-on
experience. Theprojectwasalsotoprovide
computer literacy education for the
students, and to expose them to the real
world of information. "Fifth grade students
Please see page 4

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