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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
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Focus groups support student recruitment and retention efforts

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (April 12, 2007) -- In an initiative to obtain insights from the consumer's perspective, Ohio University-Chillicothe has initiated a strategic approach to student outreach that involves the use of focus groups representing key constituencies.

Three focus groups have been formed to forward ideas that are intended to support the campus' outreach, partnerships and recruitment efforts, while strengthening retention and increasing interest in the campus from the surrounding community.

"The use of focus groups reflects the use of best-practice standards in the industry," OU-C Dean Richard Bebee said. "To provide the best college environment for our students and to remain competitive in the increasingly competitive higher education market in Ohio, it is crucial to be both proactive and smart in our approach to outreach efforts."

"OU-C remains committed to providing the best possible learning environment for its students and a college experience that is founded in excellence. It is important that prospective students who would thrive in the OU-C learning environment are aware of what we have to offer, and this initiative represents a step in that direction," Bebee said.

Gary Pack is serving as facilitator of the steering committee, a group of 14 individuals from the community and area school districts. The committee is tasked with gaining a meaningful community perspective of OU-C and providing direction for the activities of the two focus groups. To ensure open discourse and sharing of ideas, there are no OU-C members on the steering committee.

The high school panel focus group consists of a high school senior from each of the13 regional high schools that annually send the highest number of students to OU-C. This panel provides the perspectives of current high school students of diverse backgrounds.

The OU-C student panel, consisting of a representative sample of current OU-C students, provides the voice of currently enrolled students.

The steering committee has met and, after having dialogue with members of the two focus groups will reassemble and condense the information into a final report, due this spring.

"Among the issues we are exploring is how to make OU-C more attractive to graduating seniors and others in the community," steering committee member Larry Gates said. "We want to talk with current students and ask them why they decided to attend the campus and with prospective students to learn what they are looking for in a college education. Further, by speaking with guidance counselors, we can identify the type of students who are most likely to succeed at OU-C and also learn from the effective strategies of other colleges and universities."

The 13 school districts represented on the focus groups are Chillicothe, Unioto, Zane Trace, Adena, Paint Valley, Huntington, Southeastern, Logan Elm, Greenfield McClain, Piketon, Vinton County, Waverly and Westfall.

"It cannot be underestimated how useful it is to obtain this type of outside perspective," Bebee said. "Among the benefits is the opportunity to see ourselves from a different viewpoint. We will have a better understanding of the qualities that people most value about OU-C, what are their expectations of the campus' role in the region and what steps we can take to build upon our foundational principles and further improve ourselves."

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Media Contact: Chillicothe Campus Coordinator of Communications Jack Jeffery, (740) 707-1368 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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