How is Your Unit Addressing Achievement Gaps at UK?

As part of UK’s regular Annual Report to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education on our progress toward stated Diversity Achievement goals, the Division of Undergraduate Education coordinates the gathering of data and descriptive narrative regarding programming and intervention at the undergraduate level. This year, all the undergraduate programs received a request from Dr. Bethany Miller, UK’s Director of Retention and Student Success, asking for them to provide some narrative about one or two items that they consider crucial to promoting diversity and/or serve to close retention and graduation gaps for underrepresented minority groups. Dr. Miller asked for the following details:

  • Who oversees this program and what is its purpose?
  • Describe the elements or components of this program.
  • How does this program promote diversity, meet diversity goals, and/or close underrepresented minority retention/graduation gaps?
  • Critique why this program is successful/exemplary, providing evidence.
  • Going forward, what changes/revisions need to be made to improve this program?

There were many wonderful submissions from the colleges – and these are just a few that focused just on the undergraduate experience at UK:

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: Cultural Awareness and Cultural Competence Workshops (for more information, contact the CAFE Office of Diversity)
  • College of Arts & Sciences: college-wide recruitment of a diverse faculty (for more information, contact Ted Schatzki, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty)
  • Gatton College of Business & Economics: Women Business Leaders (for more information, contact Shonta Phelps, Director of Leadership Initiatives)
  • College of Education: new membership in and expansion of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Holmes Scholar Program to recruit, mentor and support high school, undergraduate and masters level students in teacher preparation (for more information, contact Dr. Laurie Henry, Associate Dean)
  • College of Engineering: University of Kentucky’s Women in Engineering Summer Workshop Series for high school women (rising sophomore, juniors and seniors) who are considering engineering as a possible major and career (for more information, contact Dr. Kim Anderson, Associate Dean)
  • College of Fine Arts: student exchange with Inner Mongolia University (for more information, contact Dean Tick)
  • College of Nursing: new hire of a Director of Diversity and Inclusivity who will report directly to the Dean (for more information, contact Dean Kirschling)

As we have in the past, UGE has also included key strategies from student support units, such as:

  • The First Scholars Program (contact: Martina Martin)
  • Robinson Scholars Senior Application Workshop (contact: Neomia Hagans Flores)

The raw data that Dr. Miller and the Institutional Research analysts came up with to accompany the narrative is listed below for you and your colleagues to consider as you move forward with strategic planning this year:

  • Achievement Gap Between First-Year White and Black or African-American Students Retained Has Decreased: The first fall to second fall retention rate of the Fall 2014 cohort (all students) is 82.6%, the highest retention rate in UK history. The one-year retention rates of selected ethnicities/races include: White 83.9%; Black/African-American 75.5%; Hispanic/Latino 78.8%; and all underrepresented minority students (URM) 76.8%. White students have consistently been retained at higher levels than URM students. Within URM students, Hispanic/Latino students are retained at higher rates than other URM groups. Even though the number of Black/African-American cohort students has been increasing, we have not seen consistency in retaining these students. The one year retention rate of Fall 2014 Black/African-American students is 75.5%, a 3.1% increase from the previous year. The first fall to second fall retention gap between White and Black or African-American students for the most recent cohort (Fall 2014) is 8.4%%, a 2.2 percentage point decrease from the prior year retention gap of 10.6%.
  • Achievement Gap in Sophomore Year Experience Has Slightly Increased: The first fall to third fall retention rate of URM cohort students is 67.5%, a 1.4% decrease from the previous year. The first fall to third fall retention gap between White students and URM students for the most recent cohort (Fall 2013) is 8.1%, a 0.8 percentage point increase from the prior year.
  • Achievement Gap in the 6-Year Graduation Rates Has Increased: The six-year graduation rate for all Fall 2009 students is 61.3%, the highest graduation rate in UK history. For White students the six-year graduation rate is 64.0%; Black/African-American 38.6%; Hispanic/Latino 53.9%; and all URM students 40.7%.   While UK is reporting its highest graduation rate in history, the gaps between White students URM students as a whole have increased. The six-year graduation rate of Black/African-American students is 38.6%, a 4.1% decrease from the prior year. The graduation gap of Black/African-American students to White students increased from 19.2% to 25.4% for the Fall 2009 cohort. For Hispanic/Latino students, the six-year graduation rate decreased in one year from 56.7% to 53.9%, a decrease of 2.8%. The graduation gap between Hispanic/Latino students and White students increased 4.9 percentage points to 10.1% from the year prior. The graduation gap of 23.3% between all URM students and White students represents a one year increase of 6.6 percentage points.


For more details, please contact Dr. Bethany Miller, Director of Retention and Student Success, Division of Undergraduate Education.


About UK Student and Academic Life

Undergraduate Education is now recreated within the Division of Student and Academic Life in the Provost's Office at the University of Kentucky.
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