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HLC Quality Initiatives Increases Graduation Rates for Male Minority Athletes

September 01, 2023


Murray State College’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Quality Initiative focused on improving college success rates of Minority Male Athletes.

“The purpose of the project was to study a small group of students in order to find out what retention measures led to student success and be able to apply those to a larger number of students,” said Becky Henthorn, Murray State College Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.

Academic data was recorded from Fall 2020 to Fall 2022 from 81 minority male athletes. The project’s main goals were to increase class retention, graduation rates, and student use of offered educational and mentoring services.

During the initiative, students were encouraged to take at least 15 credit hours each semester and graduate in four semesters through the campus-wide goal of “15 to Finish.”

The provided resources for students included academic coaching, FAFSA assistance, online/in-person tutoring and academic research help.

“We discovered the most important thing is having support for the students,” Henthorn said. “That support started with our staff being involved on campus to build relationships with the students.”

The graduation rates for Fall 2021 of male minority athletes were 50% and had a 90% increase to a graduation rate of 95% of male minority athletes in Fall 2022.

“For me, the success is seeing those students, who once sat in my office struggling, walk across the stage at graduation,” Henthorn said.

Moving forward, the college plans to continue academic coaching for all students and replicate these services in Ardmore, renovate the library to house the Academic Resource Center (ARC), expand and improve career services resources, and continue tracking retention data cases.

“Earning a college degree is a significant accomplishment and a milestone for everyone involved,” said Murray State President Dr. Tim Faltyn. “We take great pride in helping them reach their potential and succeed.”