Unconfirmed reports from inside University of Houston are that UH Chancellor Renu Khator was turned down last year by the University of Indiana. Khator holds a Ph.D from Purdue University – so a desire to move back to Indiana seems plausible at least. The apparent reason Khator was rejected is that UH’s student retention rate is too low. The retention rate measures the percentage of students who enroll and stay in school. Statistics for UH show fairly pathetic retention and graduation rates. For the 2010 entering class (the last class for which 4 years of statistics have been published by UH) the average annual retention rate is 35.5% and the graduation rate within 4 years is 22.7%. To be fair, most UH students are not graduating within 4 years. However, looking at longer term graduation rates, shows that on average UH graduates about 50% of an entering class with 6 to 7 years. So at least one-half of the students who enroll at UH fail to get a degree from that school. You can see the full statistics here.
Retention rates are impacted by failure rates. Students who fail classes are obviously more likely to be discouraged and drop out or move to another school. So reports are that Khator has implemented a new policy. No more than 35% of students in any particular class (e.g. Freshman English) can receive an F, D or drop the class. This will probably help bump up retention rates as well as boost Khator’s chances of landing a top job at a more prestigious institution. It’s all about the students after all.