from a report by Cindra Campoff, Retention Coordinator

In Fall, 2001, UNC Greensboro adopted On Course as the text in an academic success course that is required for all students who are placed on academic probation after their first semester. This non-credit course is called Strategies for Academic Success, or SAS 100, and its purpose is to help students on probation gain the success skills they need in order to return the next semester. To be eligible to return the next semester, a student must earn at least a C+ average for that term. A student receiving lower than a C+ average is suspended and must sit out at least one full semester from UNCG. Approximately 300 students each spring semester and 50 students each fall semester are required to take SAS 100.

Before adopting the On Course text, SAS 100 attempted to retain probationary students by teaching them academic study skills. According to a report on the course by Cindra Kampoff, UNCG retention coordinator, “Students didn’t like it, they didn’t do well in their other courses, and we had a difficult time keeping instructors. Most of all, the course wasn’t really addressing why students were placed on probation. They were reporting non-academic reasons for their probation status, yet we were feeding them only academic success strategies."

In the Fall 2001 semester, course leaders adopted the On Course text, with its emphasis on motivating and empowering students to become active, responsible learners. Since that time, Professor Kampoff reports, “Due to the change in curriculum and the implementation of the motivational and empowerment model, our retention rates for these students have continued to increase each semester.”

In Fall, 2004, the UNC-Greensboro Retention Program using On Course won two prestigious awards: the Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award and a Program Excellence Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

Improved Retention Rate of UNC Greensboro Students on Probation

  Probationary students in
SAS 100 eligible to return to UNCG when the course provided instruction
only in study skills
Probationary students in
SAS 100 eligible to return to UNCG after adopting the On Course text
with its emphasis on empowering students (as well as addressing study skills)
retention of probationary students after adoption of On Course.
Fall Semesters ’00 vs ’02 53% 72% +19%
Spring Semesters ’00 vs ”03 40% 57% +17%

Conclusion: The On Course approach to student success had a positive impact on the retention of students on probation.

Professor Kampoff summarizes, “The retention results and changes in students’ hope and optimism levels [mentioned elsewhere in her report] display the effectiveness of the On Course curriculum and structure of SAS 100. I am convinced that teaching On Course topics such as personal responsibility, self-management, self-awareness, self-motivation, and interdependence address the underlying reasons that students are on academic probation. Breaking away from the traditional approach of teaching a straight study skills curriculum is not easy, but the data is compelling to say the least.”