Monday, January 16

4:00 - 5:00 PM - All LSFY Meeting  CANCELLED
Wilson Center 

4:30 PM - Deadline to submit Proposals for Teaching & Learning Experiences
Academic Affairs Office

6:30 PM - Honor Band Festival Finale Concert
Featuring two high school festival bands as well as Augustana Symphonic Band
Free admission
Centennial Hall 

Tuesday, January 17

11:30 - 11:50 AM - Tuesday Reflection - Megan Keller, '12
Ascension Chapel, Founders Hall, 2nd floor 

3:30 - 4:30 PM - Genesis Employee Assistance Program Informational Meeting
Board Room, College Center, 2nd floor 

4:30 - 5:30 PM - Ekklesia Study Group
Old Main 121

5:30 PM - Sky Full of Lighters
Lantern-lighting event complete with inspiring music and hot chocolate and a ceremony to bring tears to your eyes and motivation to take a stand. Buy a lantern for only $3 and write the name of a loved one or someone you know fighting cancer, and turn the switch to light the Quad with HOPE!  Lanterns are on sale all week in the College Center or you can buy yours at the event.
Lower Quad 

Wednesday, January 18

12:00 - 12:50 PM - Faculty, Staff & Administrators' Bible Study
New Bible Study Series: "Justice for the Poor" featuring a 10-minute DVD introduction to each of the six sessions by Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners Magazine."
Bring your lunch and a Bible
Chicago Room, College Center

4:00 - 5:00 PM - Women's & Gender Studies Tea Series: Conquering Canaan and Making Men? Manculinity in the Book of Judges
presented by Kelly Murphy
Evald Great Hall 

7:00 PM - Hispanic Film Festival: Lula Son of Brazil
This free film is the story of the early years of Brazilian President Luis Inácio da Silva, a man who came from nowhere to eventually achieve success (Not rated; in Portuguese with subtitles). 128 min.
Free admission
Hanson Hall of Science 102 

Thursday, January 19

9:00 - 10:00 AM - Genesis Employee Assistance Program Informational Meeting
Board Room, College Center, 2nd floor

10:00 AM - 1:30 PM - 13th Annual Augustana Food Fair"
Sample a wide variety of products and help select new items for next year's menu. Free.
College Center Dining room & 2nd Floor Lounge 

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Division Meetings
See Announcements for locations 

7:00 PM - Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War"
Steve Warren leads this series of reading and discussion groups
For details or to register and obtain copies of all program materials, visit the 2nd floor reference desk or call 309-524-2470.
Free admission
Moline Public Library, 3210 41st Street, Moline, IL 

Friday, January 20

Registration for So, Jr, Sr Students

1:30 PM - Windows 7/Office 2010 Workshop
Workshop will cover "What's New" with Windows 7 and Office 2010
RSVP to Wendy Ramsdale
Olin 109 

4:00 PM - Friday Conversation: Mary Windeknecht presents "Advising:  Intervention with At-Risk Students"
3:30 PM - Refreshments
Wilson Center 

4:30 PM - Deadline to submit Summer Research Fellowships

7:30 PM - Percussion Ensemble Concert
A wide variety of percussion repertoire performed by Augustana students under the direction of Tony Oliver.
Free admission
Ensemble Room, Bergendoff Hall  

Saturday, January 21

7:00 - 9:00 PM - Asian Night
Students and faculty are given a chance to try new foods and observe cultures different from their own.
Tickets will be on sale Jan. 11-16 in the College Center during lunch and dinner hours. $5 in advance; $6 at the door
Westerlin Residence Center 

8:00 PM - Faculty Recital - Randall Hall, saxophone
Wallenberg Hall, Denkmann Building 

Sunday, January 22

11:30 AM - 4:30 PM - 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Symposium
RSVP to or
Evald Hall

Volume 9, Issue 18 - January 16, 2012

Delicious Ambiguity

We knew it was coming - despite hoping against hope that we might have avoided winter this year. But even as some of us were shoveling out and bundling up, the warm couple of days last week had already turned my thoughts to spring and all that comes with the end of the academic year. Of course, this inevitably brings up the topic of graduation - a primary measure of our success as an institution.

For many years, colleges have tracked graduation rates - the proportion of students from a given incoming cohort that actually graduate from that college. Although the national conversation about graduation rates generally references 6-year rates, for most private liberal arts colleges the 4-year graduation rate matters most because 1) the curriculum is explicitly set up to graduate students in four years, and 2) the cost of tuition at private colleges makes finishing in four years particularly preferable to students and their families. In more recent years, many institutions have figured out that the overall graduation rate isn't really as important as the graduation rates of student subgroups that are more likely to struggle and/or withdraw from college.

As the cost of higher education has increased, many have worried about the effect of this trend on college access for students from lower socio-economic status backgrounds. But another question is also important - for the students from lower socio-economic backgrounds who acquire access to higher education, do they graduate at the same rate as students from higher socio-economic backgrounds?

Although the answer is probably a complicated one, we are able to examine graduation rates across federal financial aid categories and find out if there are systematic differences for students entering Augustana College. Although socio-economic status (SES) is a complex issue, federal financial aid can roughly approximate three categories of students. The most privileged students would be those who don't qualify for any federal financial aid. The students with some need qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan, but no grant aid. And the students for whom paying for college is the biggest challenge qualify for a Pell Grant. Based on these categories, we can test the graduation rates for each group.

The most recent cohort of students to finish four years at Augustana entered in the fall of 2007. The 4-year graduation rate for these students across these three SES groups is portrayed below.

Students with neither Stafford or Pell 79%
Students receiving a Stafford Loan 76%
Students receiving a Pell Grant 62%

Clearly, something is going on for the students who received a Pell Grant that differs from those who did not. But what? Maybe they initially thought they could cobble together the money to come to Augustana, but then found out they just couldn't make it work. Maybe they decided they weren't getting enough out of the Augustana experience to merit the costs - especially in the context of their financial situation and economic collapse in 2008. Or maybe the issue wasn't so much about money as it was about a sense of belonging on campus among the much larger proportion of students who don't come from such economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Or maybe it was a combination of factors.

I don't begin to know the answers to these questions. But I think this data suggests that we had better find out.

Make it a good day,