Academic Programming Academic Programming Marian University


  • 13:1 student: faculty ratio
  • Most classes < 20 students
  • 97 highly skilled full-time faculty members
  • Over 2000 students enrolled in 2017
  • 7 percent increase in retention rate in 2 years
  • 1936 - year founded
  • Students from 25 states and 18 nations


Credo has been a partner who provided a flexible framework that we could see ourselves within. From the very first meeting I felt the consultants that worked with us, knew us. They spoke our language, they had done a lot of work to understand our institution. They got and could articulate our values, which is very, very different from a typical business consulting model
Alice Shelton, Director of Business Services , Marian University

The Opportunity

Marian’s Opportunity: How can we best support students and increase their retention?

As a Franciscan institution, Marian University has a strong sense of calling – modeling courage, passion, and compassion to help all students succeed. Providing access is one thing. Improving retention is another. And, with a student body that includes approximately 30% Pell Grant recipients, many might consider a cap on retention goals.

Many, but not Marian.

With previous successful partnerships in strategic planning and enrollment, Marian invited Credo to facilitate a Moving the Needle (MTN) project designed to improve retention rates. MTN supports and augments an institution's retention efforts through a series of targeted workshops and modules that focus your entire campus around a holistic, community-based approach to support student success. After all, retention takes a campus.

“We wanted somebody that was going to partner with us in this journey to retention for students.  Some consultants give ideas and leave. Other consultants will solve your problems if you let them run your shop for a year. Credo uncovered opportunities, gave us ideas, and then they’ve been partners with us on the journey.  They’ve stayed with us. It’s a partnership,”- Tom Enneking, Executive Vice President and Provost, Marian University

Partnership and Retention: President Dan Elsener from Credo on Vimeo.

Marian’s Results: Retention Takes A Campus

As a result of the entire campus community leveraging around retention, Marian's first-time, full-time retention numbers skyrocketed from 69% to 79% since they began this project. Marian worked hard to bring administrative groups together as a team to serve the student, implemented Early Alert to identify students who are at risk sooner, and created a Center for Academic Success and Engagement. These were instrumental in the first-time, full-time retention increase, as well as positively affecting student involvement and bills being paid on time. 

As a result of MTN, the Marian University community understands that retention takes a campus. Retention responsibility is now integrated across the campus experience, from paying a bill to advising and helping students consider job opportunities as they graduate.

“Whether I’m teaching English, whether I’m teaching mathematics, whether I’m cleaning the floor, or whether I’m collecting bills, everybody has taken ownership in retaining the student, getting the student to be successful, and understanding it is part of everyone's--my-- job.” -Tom Enneking

Ready to write your own success story?

Find out more about Moving The Needle or Contact Us to start a conversation. 

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Having the right partner at the table can be a game changer. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help your campus to flourish.

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