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During Dr. Deborah Ford's tenure as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, which began in August 2009, UW-Parkside has witnessed a substantial and sustained increase in first-year to second-year retention rates for first-time, full-time freshmen and equal retention rates among non-URM and URM students. The university awarded more degrees in the past 10 years than during any other 10-year period in the history of the university, and improved graduation rates by 46 percent over a 10-year period (26 percent for the 2003 cohort vs. 38 percent for the 2013 cohort).
These accomplishments occurred during a time when public colleges and universities across the country, including UW-Parkside, face the challenge of a decline in high school graduates combined with a decline in state financial support.
Along with improved retention and graduation rates, the number of degrees awarded, and more equity in achievement, UW-Parkside has maintained its commitment to southeastern Wisconsin, the state's most diverse area. UW-Parkside is the most diverse learning community in the University of Wisconsin System, serving a high percentage of under-represented minority, first-generation, and low-income students.