In Perspective: Cohort program looks to increase student connections

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In Perspective is an ongoing series into the low graduation rates of students from IUSB, enrollment numbers and what the school is doing about the issues.

Staff Writer

Many IU South Bend students arrive on campus with just minutes or seconds to go before class starts. Some even stroll in minutes after a professor has begun a lecture. After class many students get back in their vehicles and drive away. Some go home. Some go to work. Some go to kill some time at Oaken Bucket until their next class. Those students are hurting their chance for collegiate success.

That’s the premise behind the “cohort” program being started by the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics. The cohort program, which started this spring, is trying to create a stronger connection between IUSB and its students. Creating that connection is a big challenge for IUSB because of the commuting nature of the student body.

The program involves students taking classes in a group environment in order to create a stronger bond within the student body and to create a stronger bond to campus for the students involved.

Gary Hawkins, whose position is funded by the Leighton grant and is focused on improving student retention and graduation rates, says the program seems to be going very well, but that statistics won’t be available for another year.

Students, according to Hawkins, are assigned a cohort group. The cohort group stays together during a period designed around beginning classes in the business track. Hawkins said that students will be involved in the program for about four hours a day with two of those hours being classes at the beginning and end of the day, with a two hour break that involves activities and programming.

Hawkins said that he is excited to see what the actual statistics from the program are as far as student GPA and retention rates.

“Everything seems really positive right now,” Hawkins said. “Students in the program are making connections here on campus and making friends with their cohorts and that’s really important to their success as students. There seems to be a lot of positives we can take away from the this program right now.”

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