Mississippi College

MC Multi-tasker Tackles Student Retention

May 29, 2009

Karen Lindsey-Lloyd wears many hats at Mississippi College.

Whether it's her work as the leader of MC's Office of Career Services, valuable service as a mentor to students or duties as a kick boxing instructor at the Baptist Healthplex, Karen brings boundless energy to the Clinton campus.

The University of Wisconsin graduate is taking on another key assignment and gets a new title to reflect her expanding responsibilities. Lindsey-Lloyd was recently named Director of Retention and Career Services at the Christian university.

The Clinton resident is responsible for creating a three-year strategic plan for MC and putting into place targeted initiatives.

"Retention is not just one person's job," Lindsey-Lloyd said. "It is that complex interplay between academic and non-academic areas."

Typically, retention is seen as keeping students from their freshman to sophomore year. But it's much more involved than that. Lindsey-Lloyd says she and others will seek to "identify, link and improve the academic, financial, social and internal service issues of the student's experience here."

To remain viable in an increasingly competitive global economy, MC must do a better job to enroll and graduate a greater percentage of students, school leaders say.

MC Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris, who's chaired the university's retention committee, and Lindsey-Lloyd will serve as co-chairs of the panel this fall.

A business professor who also serves as vice president for planning and assessment, Norris reports MC retention numbers have been up and down in recent years. For the rate of freshmen returning for their sophomore year, it's been as low as 66 percent and as high as 83 percent. "Retention is a key performance indicator and vital to the university's success," she said.

MC's retention numbers are typically in line with national averages for similar institutions.

While Lindsey-Lloyd takes on her new retention role with a passion to achieve success, she will keep her door open to students knocking on her door at the Office of Career Services on the third floor of Nelson Hall.

With student and alumni demands growing as the nation struggles with a recession, the MC Office of Career Services is in good hands with assistant director Hayley Taff also on board. Another assistant director will be hired later this year to help Taff and Lindsey-Lloyd with their duties on the Clinton campus.

For more information on retention and career services, contact Karen Lindsey-Lloyd at 601.925.3901 or go to www.mc.edu/career or www.collegecentral.com/mc.

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