New vice provost selected to focus on retention and graduation

June 7, 2016 | News, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Jon Strunk

As The University of Toledo continues its efforts to increase student retention and graduation rates, a new position in the Office of the Provost will focus in this area.

Dr. Brian Ashburner will permanently fill a role he has held for several months on an interim basis as vice provost for retention and undergraduate studies, pending approval by the UT Board of Trustees.



“UT has seen increasing retention over the last several years, and we need to make sure we continue that trend,” Ashburner said. “We want to ensure that first-to-second-year retention leads to degree completion and graduations.”

Ashburner said there are plans to implement the Starfish CONNECT and EARLY ALERT™ system more broadly beyond math and English courses to encompass all new students.

Starfish is an academic alert software program that enables instructors to provide positive feedback or to raise concerns with students in their class as the semester is ongoing and there is still time to intervene to help students be successful.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber has made the recruitment, retention and timely graduation of students one of her top priorities.

“Dr. Ashburner’s role is critical in coordinating the many services across UT that provide our students with every opportunity to succeed academically and earn their degrees,” said John Barrett, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Student success will be front and center for the Office of the Provost, and I look forward to working with Dr. Ashburner to make measurable improvements in retention and timely degree completion at UT,” said incoming Provost Andrew Hsu, who also brings to UT an expertise in student retention.

Ashburner joined the UT faculty as an assistant professor of biological sciences in 2001 and was promoted to associate professor in 2006. He was named associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 2011.

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