Quotes to note: Increasing the four-year graduation rate

[Corrected Sept. 29: Corrected third quote.]

Editor’s note: In his State of the University Address, President William Powers Jr. said he wants to increase the current 52-percent four-year graduate rate to 70 percent in five years. Liberal arts Dean Randy Diehl, chair of the task force charged with providing recommendations to achieve this goal, and liberal arts Associate Dean Marc Musick met with students Tuesday evening to gather student input on the graduation rates. The following quotes are from Tuesday’s open forum.

“The task force members are committed to providing recommendations that have enough impact [to] achieve that goal, but I will tell you it is not going to be easy. There are a number of built-in impediments.”
— Diehl addressing the task force’s objective

“We’re going to have to do things that have not been done for the most part at other universities. We’re going to have to be innovative.”
— Diehl, of what must be done to achieve Powers’ goal

“We don’t want to in any way dumb down or lower the quality of the educational experience in the pursuit of reducing time to degrees.”
— Diehl on whether the quality of education would be diminished in an attempt to increase graduation rates

“What we have to do is not just increase engagement levels … but also change people’s perceptions so they believe they are an important part of the academic culture. … At a place like UT, that could be a formidable task because of its size.”
— Musick complementing Diehl’s claim that students who are well integrated in the campus graduate in less time

“We are currently in discussions about maybe actually creating a brand new peer mentorship [center] in the new [liberal arts] building.”
— Musick emphasizing the impact of peer mentorship on student success rates