This archived article was written by: C. Josie Luke
Two hundred and eight students withdrew from the College of Eastern Utah since fall semester began.
In a survey done by the advising office some weeks ago, 22 out of 100 students, who had withdrawn, were surveyed. Comments as to why ranged from “not enough money” or “school and instructors were great, economy just poor” to “in jail” or “eye surgery”.
One of the respondents lived on campus, with 14 off campus, and seven never starting classes. Eight had financial problems and four had medical issues, with six moving out of the area and/or attending another school. Two left because of school- related issues and one each cited family issues and personal issues.
Fourteen of the 22 of those surveyed planned on reenrolling at CEU and only three said that there was anything the college could have done to prevent their withdrawal.
Cliff Coppersmith, vice-president of academic affairs, said of those who conducted the survey, “they’re going back and they’re trying to get the people that they didn’t get any response from, but at the same time, it was mostly individualistic stuff. Obviously, I’m concerned as is everybody that is connected to this.”
President Ryan Thomas addressed the problem stating, “I don’t know that we have a complete understanding of what is happening with the students who are withdrawing this semester. While we have made some efforts to identify causes, there is no clear pattern.
“There may be some useful insights that we can draw from national patterns that is to too easy in the sense that nobody got a chance to talk to these students to say, ‘What can we do to help you?’
“What we would like to do is figure out a way to identify if it’s advising they need, financial aid they need, daycare they need, so that we could somehow intervene and maybe have a three-step process where we filter out, ‘I’m having brain surgery’ or ‘I’m getting married’ kind of thing, from something that we can do something about.”
Of those who are considering leaving, Advisor Darlene Severeid said, “If they’re considering withdrawing please come in and talk to somebody. Get assistance from anybody. Start somewhere. Especially in advising, we will do everything. We have connections with all of the offices. We will do whatever we can to help prevent it.”
Jan Young, director of academic records and registrar, said to remember, “There is a five month period in there, so they can change their mind over the summer. They may never set foot on the campus.”
With various sources around campus blaming the loss on campus problems, Coppersmith continued, “We’ll do what ever we can to turn it around. It’s been a very frustrating semester for people with the building moves and that kind of thing. It’s been a very busy semester, lots of physical plant things to deal with, lots of logistics and we’re very short staffed.
“It’s been like kind of trying to put out fires as they’ve come up. We try to prioritize. The basic, most important, thing has been instruction and trying to take care of the classroom and everything has been prioritized from there. So it’s kind of been a triage approach, that is try to identify the biggest problem and then get to the other problems.”