Lee University evaluates success with respect to student achievement according to our stated mission to help students develop knowledge, appreciation, understanding, ability, and skills which will prepare them for responsible Christian living in a complex world.
The criteria we use to evaluate student success include graduation, retention, job placement rates, general education testing, major field tests, and nationally normed self-report studies. Data analysis is part of our Institutional Effectiveness process, as well, and includes review by appropriate faculty and administrative staff. Through these practices, we ensure student success that is appropriate for an institution of higher learning.
Graduation rates are collected by the Office of Institutional Research and provided to pertinent administrators for decision-making purposes. The wider mission of Lee, discussed in the Extended Statement of Institutional Purpose, involves serving a wide variety of students from different backgrounds and with varying levels of academic ability. This includes underprepared students as well as high-achieving students. Because of this, our benchmarks are based on the national averages for each criterion, where available.
- Current 6-year graduation rate as of Fall 2020: 62%
- Average 6-year graduation rate (past 5 years) as of Fall 2020: 56%
Our most recent rates exceed our 5-year averages and are comparable with national rates for 4-year institutions with high acceptance rates (NCES 2019 shows the national 6-year average graduation rate (2010 cohort) as 57.8% for 4-year nonprofit institutions with acceptance rates of 75% to 89.9%. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_326.10.asp.
Retention rates are collected by the Office of Institutional Research and provided to pertinent administrators for decision-making purposes. The wider mission of Lee, discussed in the Extended Statement of Institutional Purpose, involves serving a wide variety of students, from different backgrounds and with varying levels of academic ability. This includes underprepared students as well as high-achieving students. Because of this, our benchmarks are based on the national averages for each criterion, where available.
- Freshman retention rate Fall 2019 to Fall 2020: 80%
- Average freshman retention rate (past 5 years): 78%
Our most recent rates exceed our 5-year averages and are comparable with national rates for 4-year institutions with high acceptance rates. (NCES 2019 shows the 2017-2018 national retention rate as 72.6% for first-time degree-seeking undergraduates at 4-year nonprofit institutions with acceptance rates of 90% or more. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_326.30.asp
Job placement rates are collected from graduating seniors and 1- and 5-year alums. The Center for Calling and Career at Lee University conducts a survey of graduating seniors the month prior to graduation regarding employment status after graduation. For 2019-2020, the average rate for having received or accepted job offers prior to graduation or for continuing education was 52%. Another 28% had applied for jobs and another 1% were volunteering or traveling after graduation. Of those who had received or accepted job offers, 53% said the job was related to their degree. According to the most recent Alumni Survey, by one year after graduation, 79% of one-year alumni (who responded) had some type of employment or service.
As an institution that values liberal arts education, Lee University is interested in general education competencies of graduating seniors. Annually, the institution uses a variety of assessment tools to measure these competencies. One commonly used measure of general education knowledge and skills is the ETS Proficiency Profile (formerly the Academic Profile). Lee has consistently scored above the national mean in total score and in subscale scores of different skill areas on the Proficiency Profile. The charts below display the most recent set of Lee scores with the national mean comparison and 5-year longitudinal data.
Most academic programs, where national major field tests are available, administer these tests as part of their annual outcomes assessment. Lee University participates in the following major field tests offered by ETS: Business, English (Literature), Mathematics, Music, Political Science, and Sociology and the following field exams offered by ACAT: Biology, Health Science, History, Human Development, and Psychology. The institution compares favorably with the national norms (Lee’s benchmark) for most areas. One stand-out example of student success comes from the 2013-2014 administrations of the ACAT Major Field Test, where, on average, senior Biology students scored in the 92nd percentile range compared with their respective reference group.
Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning.
Through its student survey, The College Student Report, the National Survey of Student Engagement or NSSE (http://nsse.iub.edu/) annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. To focus discussions about the importance of student engagement and to guide institutional improvement efforts, NSSE created 10 Engagement Indicators within four broad themes: Academic Challenge, Learning with Peers, Experiences with Faculty, and Campus Environment.
The table below compares average scores for Lee students with those in our comparison groups.