The College's historic mission of educating "good men and citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning" culminates in graduates ready contribute in measurable ways to the social fabric of an increasingly interdependent world. The College's various academic and extra-curricular programs clearly do produce students who are "good men and good citizens" with a progressive twenty-first century liberal arts education.
The College's clearly established measures of student achievement include various widely used retention metrics. Additionally, the College measures adherence to the historic Honor Code on a year-year basis as a measure of student achievement and development. The following goals for Student Achievement order the work of a number of College Units under the direction of the Provost's Office.
Hampden-Sydney College Goals for Student Achievement:
1) Entrance into Graduate or Professional School
Rationale- The College's Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection tracks all graduates longitudinally and has chosen to keep records of employment, entrance into and completion of graduate and professional school programs. Due to the fact that many students defer entrance into academic programs and that many programs take years to complete a fifteen-year period was chosen as a benchmark period of time to determine the completion of a cohort. Thus, cohorts are tracked over a fifteen year period of time.
Thresholds- The College has established a threshold of 70% of students in upcoming cohorts that will pursue graduate or professional degrees due to significant changes to the curriculum via the College's mandatory Rhetoric program leading to students graduating with advanced writing skills, the oral communications laboratory and the new computer science laboratory. One would expect these student support services would enhance student success in graduate and professional school programs. The data in the Compliance Certification report documents that 65% of graduates in the most recent cohort pursued advanced degrees, with approximately 21% going directly from Hampden-Sydney College to graduate or professional School.
2) Job Placement Rates
Rationale- The College's Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection surveys and tracks all graduates longitudinally and keeps records of employment following graduation. Substantially all of the graduates of Hampden-Sydney College graduate with some debt from student loans and enter into repayment approximately six months following graduation. Thus, the College has established a priority to enable students who do not enter graduate or professional school immediately upon graduation to enter the workforce to begin paying off their student loans to avoid default. The College has been very intentional about establishing an alumni network due to the fact that the college has been in existence for nearly 250 years and is the tenth oldest College in the United States and has many influential alumni throughout the United States and internationally. Alumni are vitally interested in the success of Hampden-Sydney College graduates and are in regular communication with the Office of Career Planning and Placement seeking interns and permanent employees.
Thresholds- During the latest survey period as was documented in the Compliance Certification report, 21% of graduates went directly to graduate and professional schools while 63% reported that they were employed within six months of graduation. Thus, 84% were employed or in graduate or professional school. The College plans to do more research in this area although the extremely high percentage of those who further their education in graduate and professional schools within 15 years would indicate that students take a period of time to determine their pathway prior to determining the course of their lives. The College plans to sustain an 85% threshold of student employment or entry into graduate or professional school.
3) Student Default Rates
Rationale- The College closely monitors the overall student default rate and chose to tie this measure to the element of the Mission Statement which calls for developing students as "good citizens". The College has maintained an historically low cohort default rate due to the use of endowment funds dedicated largely to scholarship aid. The rationale behind choosing this as a metric to monitor meeting the Mission is multifaceted. Students who pay their loans become active alumni who contribute in many ways to future of the College; they make positive contributions to the social fabric of society; sustain the economy; are eligible to enter graduate and professional school; support philanthropic causes; and can afford to educate their children and support their families.
Thresholds- The threshold chosen for success is the National Private College Default rate and the College has historically been below that rate for the last four reporting periods. The national threshold for the last three reporting years has been 6.3% (FY2012), 7.0% (FY2011), and 8.0% (FY2010). Hampden-Sydney's cohort default rate has been 7.8% (FY2012), 5.0% (FY2011), and 6.9% (FY2010).