Partners for Success has provided faculty mentoring for students, particularly first-generation students, since 1987. Faculty mentoring is well grounded in higher education research literature as a positive indicator for increased student satisfaction and persistence which leads to successful graduation. Such experts as Vincent Tinto of Syracuse University, Richard Richardson of New York University and Alexander and Helen Astin of the University of California, Los Angeles, have credited high faculty contact through mentoring, academic advising, student club advising and faculty/student research projects, with increasing student success.
Faculty mentors in Partners for Success provide ongoing, dedicated contacts with students. Results are evident in six-year graduation rates. Recently, with the help of the CSULB Institutional Research and Assessment Office, we found our results. In 2001, there were 281 undergraduate students in Partners. Of that number, 221 graduated within six years, for a graduation rate of 78.64 percent. Another 10 students continued to take classes, for a persistence rate of 82.21 percent. For 2002, the figures were even better, with 285 of 358 students graduating in six years, for a rate of 79.61 percent. Another 15 students are still working on degrees, for an 83.80 percent persistence rate. Nationally, the approximate six-year graduation rate for universities similar to CSULB is 55 percent.
To provide a real comparison with all undergraduate students at CSULB, we also looked at new freshmen only in 2001 and 2002. Combining the two academic years, Partners had 108 new freshmen. Sixty graduated in six years, for a rate of 55.56 percent. In 2001-02, the overall six-year graduation rates for all new CSULB freshmen was 42 percent.
I want to thank all the mentors, past and present, who have given so much of themselves to help students. The co-directors of Partners, which is jointly administered by the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Services, also wish to thank the university for supporting this 22-year program. Finally, we salute all student mentees for the contributions they are making, and will make, to our society.