University Times

RISE Above the Statistics

New mentorship program aims to reduce campus-wide retention rate.

Michelle+Quan+%28right%29+and+Kristian+Cardenas+%28left%29+of+the+New+Student+and+Parent+Programs+office.
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RISE Above the Statistics

Michelle Quan (right) and Kristian Cardenas (left) of the New Student and Parent Programs office.

Michelle Quan (right) and Kristian Cardenas (left) of the New Student and Parent Programs office.

Cara Gonzales

Michelle Quan (right) and Kristian Cardenas (left) of the New Student and Parent Programs office.

Cara Gonzales

Cara Gonzales

Michelle Quan (right) and Kristian Cardenas (left) of the New Student and Parent Programs office.

Matthew Gonzalez and Ricky Rodas

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Retention through Interpersonal Student Engagement (RISE), is a peer mentoring program focused on incoming freshmen that was created to ensure students don’t stay past their expected graduation date (referred to as retention). The program offers networking mixers and information on campus resources.

“I was really excited to be able to put this program on,” said Christopher Johnson, Assistant Director for the New Student and Parent Programs and RISE Coordinator. “In the last few years, I have been programming orientation and I really wanted to work more with first-year students.”

The RISE program currently has 25 active mentors, and is actively recruiting mentees and first-year students to join. Students that wish to become mentors are required to attend a Spring training seminar to learn the skills needed for the job and complete both a Fall and Spring semester of peer advising. If students are not a part of the organization and still wish to gain knowledge from the program, RISE is planning future mixers to promote involvement within the organization.

Johnson firmly believes that providing mentors to students would translate to a positive impact on their experience at the university.

“The benefit of a mentor is having someone there who you can turn to when you are feeling like you have issues coming up or you feel unsure of what to do,” he said.

“The program gave me more of a sense of pride,” said Briauna Dotson, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology. “It’s the first ever program of its kind to be offered at Cal State LA.”

According to the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE), more students are staying beyond their expected graduation date, from 79.3 percent in 2006 to 83.8 percent in 2015. Notably, first-time freshmen enrollment rate has also increased from 47,551 in 2006 to 63,732 in 2015.

Research gathered by the Office of Institutional Research indicates that in 2015, 79.2 percent of full-time first-year freshmen were categorized as staying at least a year beyond their expected graduation date.

For students interested in the RISE program, their office is located in room 106 of the Student Affairs building. RISE’s office number is (323) 343-3195, and their email is NSPP@calstatela.edu.

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