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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
University Communications and Marketing

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Monday, October 16, 2006

GoalQuest an immediate hit with UNCP’s freshmen

UNC Pembroke’s first-year students and their parents are logging on this fall for a new Web-based communication project.

Christa Watts

Christa Watts

Darcy Hayes

Darcy Hayes

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Early returns indicate that GoalQuest, the newest tool in UNCP’s arsenal aimed at freshmen retention, is working.

The fall GoalQuest contacted UNCP’s 950 freshmen and their parents via email, inviting them to learn more about the University and the surrounding community by logging on to a series of themed and interactive Web pages.

Freshmen may engage in social networking by posting their photographs and profiles and blog with new friends, said Darcy Hayes, an advisor in the Center for Academic Excellence, who is coordinating the project with First Year Program Coordinator Christa Watts.

“Our goal is to register 45 percent of freshmen, and we’re getting there quickly,” Watts said.

“After the first week, 36 percent of freshmen registered and completed profiles,” Hayes said. “Approximately 400 parents signed up for the parent piece, which went out in late September.”

GoalQuest launched its first email message and Web pages, called “Bravewire,” to freshmen in mid-September with an introductory message, a section on “UNCP History and Traditions” and another section entitled “Res Life Rocks.”

Future issues include sections on “Professors and You,” “Getting Involved” and “Freedom and Responsibility.”

Screen shot of GoalQuest

Screen shot of GoalQuest

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“UScene,” which acquaints new students with cultural opportunities on campus in the Cape Fear region and on the Carolina coast, and several networking and academic, career and personal support opportunities, are a part of every issue.

“There are links to academic resources such as tutorials, and it is designed to correlate with Freshman Seminar, our first-year academic program,” Watts said. “Students may email us with questions, that, if necessary, will be directed to the appropriate department and answered within 36 hours.”

“This is a digital age and this is a digital generation,” Hayes said. “This is the best way to reach target audiences with our message.”

Jackie Clark, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, said GoalQuest is an enrollment management tool with a retention piece targeting first-year freshmen and their parents.

“We want to provide information electronically to our target audiences before they need it,” Clark said. “GoalQuest has proven to increase retention rates.”

GoalQuest has a confirmed success rate for increasing retention of 2-22 percent, depending on a number of factors, Clark said.

“It works best when both parents and students participate,” Clark said. “This kind of tool is especially valuable for first-generation college students and their parents, who are introduced to campus resources that support their students and resolve common first-year college issues.”

GoalQuest works, said Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, who saw it in action.

“Our partnership with GoalQuest is putting the University at the cutting edge of combining ‘high tech’ with ‘high touch’ in meeting the many, varied and unique needs of entering students,” Dr. Harrington said. “The effect of this project will be increased student engagement, increased student retention, and increased student satisfaction with their early university experience.” 

For UNCP, GoalQuest created a series of interactive sessions, designed and written to reflect and enhance UNCP’s mission and existing Web image. A reporting center monitors in real-time student and parent activity to gage effectiveness.

UNCP is in the early pilot phase of the program. Next year, it will roll out during orientation to give new students a head start on their college career and social networking too.

For more information, please call the Center for Academic Excellence at 910.521.6625 or email cae@uncp.edu.

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