Watertown's Mount Marty College in solid position

September 22, 2018

Dan Crisler Public Opinion Staff Writer

Watertown’s Mount Marty College has registered its highest retention rate in nearly a decade.

With 105 students enrolled for the start of the fall semester on Aug. 27, Director Dr. Cris Gordon said the school’s 71 returning students from the previous academic year is the highest in eight years.

Meanwhile, the school’s retention rate of a 4.9 increase over the previous year is the highest year-to-year rate in four years. Gordon explained the retention rate formula includes more than just returning students. The formula takes into account various factors, including graduating students.

“We’re very pleased with these results, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of the programs and initiatives we’ve implemented,” Gordon said in a news release.

While Gordon acknowledged to the Public Opinion that new student numbers are down slightly, the school primarily wants to see students committed to their studies rather than just enroll new students for the sake of it.

“We obviously want to increase enrollment. But we also want the students that come in to stay here and complete their degree,” Gordon said. “We work one-on-one with every student that comes through the door and make sure this is the best fit for them. We’re not as worried about head count of how many new students are enrolling. We’re making sure that the students that are enrolling are doing the right thing and stick with the program until they get their degree.”

Gordon credits Mount Marty’s strong retention numbers on the school being receptive.

“I think we’re listening to the students,” she said. “We had our needs assessment done in the spring. We’re trying to provide a lot of the things the students asked for.”

That includes more one-on-one attention and allowing students to take more charge of their education. For non-traditional students who often come to class straight from work, Gordon said the college has started providing meals to allow students to have dinner on campus.

“We’re listening to the students on the little things and making sure they have what they need to stay with us,” Gordon said.

Mount Marty offers many degree programs including education, criminal justice, business, human service, and psychology. Mount Marty also has a simplified transfer process for students who have graduated from Lake Area Technical Institute.