A program that helps retain minority students in Kansas University's School of Business will expand to at least two other schools this fall.
Since it began in 1992, the Multicultural Business Scholars Program has had an 85 percent overall retention rate about 5 percent higher than the university as a whole and nearly 20 percent higher than the rate for minority students.
Similar programs will start for journalism and education students this fall, with the possibility of more schools joining later in the semester.
The program focuses on interaction between students and faculty.
"It's very important that students get access to faculty members early on, and that they get one-on-one attention," said Renate Mai-Dalton, associate professor of business who started the program. "They'll be more motivated to get good grades."
The business program includes establishing faculty mentors, one-on-one meetings with Mai-Dalton and group events attended by students, family members, faculty and donors. Mai-Dalton also meets monthly with faculty.
The business program started with seven students in 1992; last year, it had 34. Private donations fund scholarships and trips for participants.
Plans call for the program to add two to four academic units each year for the next three years. Mai-Dalton will oversee all the programs, but advisers also will be designated in the individual schools.
Mai-Dalton said the program's philosophy is that students learn as much outside the classroom as inside the classroom.
"When you're a student of color coming to a predominantly white campus, your background is so much different than the mainstream student," she said. "Students in this program know they can connect with other students with common goals immediately."