California State University, Sacramento Sacramento State Leader
 

Jim Dragna has a clear charge – and intent – to raise grad rates

Choral performanceJim Dragna, Sacramento State’s new “graduation czar,” promises to bring a “surgical” approach to increasing the University’s graduation rates.

Dragna arrived at Sac State on Jan. 27 to find the University’s four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen at 8 percent, one of the California State University system’s lowest.

Dragna is charged with taking inventory of the University’s 33 graduation initiatives, which yielded below-average results despite a $4.7 million budget in 2015-16.

He has just begun to examine the initiatives along with the additional efforts across campus to improve graduation and retention rates. There’s much work to be done to meet the CSU’s long-range goals for Sacramento State: by 2025, to increase the four-year graduation rate to 24 percent and the six-year rate to 60 percent. But Dragna is ready and warmly philosophical.

“Universities can change lives. They can change generations,” he says. “It’s not a problem of retention or success rates. It’s really understanding the students and their expectations. … We’re all on this journey together about how to help students be successful.”

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