Morgan State’s Retention director pens book on increasing retention rates

Tramon Lucas

Morgan State University’s Director of Student Success and Retention released a new book on the degree gap completion rate amongst HBCUs.

Tiffany Mfume’s book “What Works at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Nine Strategies for Increasing Retention and Graduation Rates,” focuses on the strategies that black colleges, particularly Morgan, are using to close the gap in degree completion.

“We use the retention rate, which is the percentage of students that come back from the first year and return for the second year, and we also use the federal definition for graduation rate, which is those students who complete in 150 percent of the time, which is six years instead of four,” explained Mfume.

“If you take a break and you finish in eight years but it was only twelve semesters in eight years, then that doesn’t count. We need to have students finish before the end of their sixth consecutive year.”

Mfume described the process of putting the book together as being “tedious.”

“It takes a lot of work. Depending on your publisher, the process can take anywhere from two to five years for some people. For me it was about two years.”

However regardless of the complications and time invested into creating the book, Mfume said she enjoyed it and explained its importance.

“One of the reasons that I decided to write a book is that there’s not much published in detail about the strategies we’re utilizing at these HBCUs besides an article or a chapter in a book. A lot isn’t published outside of external researchers, they’re collecting data from HBCUs but they’re not reporting out from within an HBCU,” said Mfume.

“If you just saw a tale, a graph or a snapshot you’d think, ‘What’s wrong with the HBCUs? Why can’t they graduate students more quickly?’ What my book does is really provide the context for those snapshots. It looks at students and their financial challenges.”

The book signing will take place the evening of Apr. 13 in the university Student Center.