California State University, East Bay: A Strengths-based Examination of First-Year Student Retention at the Most Ethnically Diverse University in the Country
California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) is one of twenty-three universities in the California State University (CSU) system and is a highly diverse, four-year, public university located in the San Francisco Bay Area. CSUEB, along with all CSU campuses, is currently planning how to best achieve the benchmarks outlined under the state's Graduation Initiative 2025. To improve student success within the CSU system, CSUEB seeks to increase its four-year graduation rate from 14% to 35% and its six-year freshmen graduation rate from 48% to 62% by 2025. A critical step in achieving these goals is to increase the first-time, first-year student retention rate. In this study, we adopt a mixed methods approach to identify the characteristics of CSUEB students that predict first-year departure and understand the experiences of students who posses these same risk factors and persisted to a second year of college. Taking a strengths-based perspective, we specifically seek to understand what practices, supports, and experiences, both in and out of the classroom, aided in high-risk students' persistence decisions.