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USM Realizes Higher Retention Rates When Students Learn with Association of College and University Educators-Certified Faculty

Thu, 05/25/2023 - 10:56am

First-year students at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) who took at least one course taught by Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)-certified faculty were more likely to return in the next academic year, according to a 2023 study from ACUE and USM.

The study also revealed a “dosage effect,” showing that the higher the proportion of courses the first-year students took with ACUE-certified faculty, the more likely they were to return for the next school year. Analyzing retention results, it is estimated that USM realized a return of more than 860 percent on its investment in ACUE credentialing for its faculty.

In the fall of 2016, USM faculty began taking ACUE microcredential courses. Today, more than 300 faculty have participated across the university. With one out of every three full-time faculty ACUE-certified, the university is on track to ensure every student benefits from high-quality, evidence-based instruction in every class.

“We know that every instructor matters; every instructor makes a difference,” said Amy Chasteen, Ph.D., Executive Vice Provost, USM. “By looking at first-year students from 2017–2018 and 2018–2019, this study shows the cumulative impact our investment in ensuring as many faculty as possible have the skill set to be excellent teachers has on student success and equitable learning opportunities for all students.”

Chasteen and Kelly Lester, Ed.D., USM’s Associate Vice Provost, will share their experiences with ACUE certification at the inaugural National Higher Education Teaching Conference (NHETC) on June 22–23 in New York City. Hundreds of higher education leaders from across the country — ranging from presidents, academic affairs leaders, and faculty to policymakers and philanthropists — will convene for this conference to address the policies and practices that must be advanced to center effective teaching in the nation’s success and equity agenda.

In their session, “Success, Retention, Equity, and ROI: The Case of USM,” Chasteen and Lester will share the outcomes of their institution’s long-term and strategic commitment to faculty and quality teaching.

“USM’s outcomes are remarkable — but also repeatable at colleges and universities that value excellent instruction and invest in their professors. Today’s findings, along with other USM studies, are conclusive: students succeed when taught by ACUE-certified faculty who use evidence-based approaches,” said Jonathan Gyurko, Ph.D., ACUE President and Co-founder. “USM’s inspiring story is one of many that NHETC attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about in June.”

For more information or to register for the NHETC, please visit their website. Media registration for NHETC is available by emailing Lisa Wolfe.

About ACUE
The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) is on a mission to accelerate student success, belonging, and equity through quality instruction. In partnership with colleges, universities, higher education systems and associations, ACUE prepares and credentials faculty in the evidence-based teaching practices that lead to higher retention and achievement, deeper learning, and closed equity gaps. Numerous and independently validated studies confirm that students are more engaged, learn more, and complete courses in greater numbers — more equitably with their peers — when taught by ACUE-certified faculty. ACUE’s online, cohort-based credentialing programs are delivered through institutional partnerships and open enrollment courses endorsed by the American Council on Education.