Ezekiel Pagaduan | Staff Writer
President Beck Taylor’s Pirates Persist campaign is centered around creating an inclusive community that helps students reach their graduation year on time. As the university develops strategies to improve student retention, its aim is building a good relationship with both faculty and staff, as well as ensuring students feel safe and well supported.
Kenneth Brown, chief information officer of computer services is part of the Pirates Persist campaign. “Part of the Whitworth 2021 strategic plan includes one of the goal to is achieve a 90 percent retention rate and a close number to 80 percent of graduation rate those numbers would put us in a very high standing with other highly reputable universities,” said Brown.
The people behind this project have been preparing programs like BucsBridge, designed to aid first generation college students. Moreover, Brown added there are additional programs for students who struggle academically. They can be provided with resources to achieve more academically. There are also more counselors available in the health center.
Whitworth has given attention to retention and graduation rates for a long time, but Pirates Persist is something new. “I first talked to Beck about it in August and He announced it to the community of the state of university address,” said Brooke Kiener, associate provost in academic affairs. She explained that the focus of Pirates Persist is the ongoing commitment to providing an excellent educational experience for students by doing everything possible to improve the students experiences and thus encourage them to finish their education here.
President Taylor spoke of his expectations for the project. “I anticipate that we will grow a more noticeable culture around student success. It’s a language we all need to learn, including me. I look forward to implementing new approaches and strategies to help students accomplish what they’re here for,” he said. “We will continue to work through the university’s retention committee, and that committee will commission research, reports and best practices that will allow us to create new ways to support students during their time here.”
“Whitworth has a moral imperative to ensure that we are doing everything possible to give students the best opportunities for success. As Whitworth’s enrollment has increased, I thought it was important to draw the university’s attention back to the importance of retaining students through to graduation as well as continue to work through the university’s retention committee, and that committee will commission research, reports and best practices that will allow us to create new ways to support students during their time here,” Taylor said.
Building on the strong educational foundation that has been laid, Pirates Persist hopes to meet both the university’s goals and students needs, establishing a clear, bold direction for the next decade.