LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new school year is right around the corner and UA Little Rock is continuing its mission to help with student retention to keep them on the right course to achieving their educational goals degree.

Going into his 19th year at UA Little Rock, David Montague,  Associate vice chancellor for academic affairs has a major focus on adapting and finding ways to help students succeed.

“Our students are the reason we are here,” Montague said. 

UA Little Rock has a number of services to help students do really well that play a role in student retention to help them keep moving forward and graduate. 

Within the last year, social workers have been added to each of the academic colleges at UA Little Rock. This helps students navigate in the right direction and be a bridge to networking opportunities. 

Montague says in some cases, the social workers can provide microgrants to help them be able to get over those hurdles. 

Speaking of hurdles, some students have to work and have other responsibilities. So, programs like Child Care Connections are in place.

This service provides referral services to connect students with childcare providers and helps pay for those services. 

Whether it’s because of responsibilities or your preference, most students are going to take some classes online. 

“The reality is that we have an ever-increasing number of students that just prefer to take at least some online classes,” Montague said.

Montague says UA Little Rock takes pride in being a leader in online education. 

UA Little Rock holds a virtual student success festival every semester for students can learn about time management, academic integrity and online communication. 

Also, a care team has been assembled to handle student-by-student issues to match them up with services that best fit.

“Think of it as a team that gets together in a huddle at a game to be able to say we have this student, what can we bring to the table to help that student,” Montague said.

For STEM students, a great opportunity to get prepared for the STEM workforce is the Louis Stokes Minority Participation program

“Technology is changing, industries are changing, and we need to make sure we are capturing and harnessing the notion that our students can do well in these emerging areas,” Montague stated.  

As these are just a few of the efforts UA Little Rock has to help with student retention, Montague notes that retention goes deeper than a number.

“Retention is really about what are the set of resources and tools and efforts that we are providing in multiple ways to address all those different things that can impact a student,” Montague said.