Student Achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals

According to Section 8 of the 2018 SACSCOC Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, a SACSCOC member institution must demonstrate compliance with Core Requirement 8.1 which concerns Student Achievement. The following statement is published in the Resource Manual: “The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success.”


Fisk University evaluates student achievement consistent with its mission. The mission of Fisk University is as follows: “Fisk University produces graduates from diverse backgrounds with the integrity and intellect required for substantive contributions to society. Our curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts. Our faculty and administrators emphasize the discovery and advancement of knowledge through research in the natural and social sciences, business, and the humanities. We are committed to the success of scholars and leaders with a global perspective.”


The following sections highlight student achievement in key areas, including enrollment, retention, graduation rates, and job placement.


The goals for student achievement are stated in the Institutional Effectiveness Planning and Reporting forms.  Administrators in the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Engagement identify their 1) Unit Objectives, 2) Expected Outcomes and Assessment Tools, 3) Actual Assessment Results, and 4) Use of Results. The Unit Objectives list the annual goals of a particular administrative unit within the Division. The success of the unit is recorded in the “Actual Assessment Results” section of the Institutional Effectiveness Planning and Reporting forms. The success of our students within the Division of Academic Affairs is recorded on these forms. The Institutional Effectiveness Planning and Reporting forms for the following units can be found in the Office of Institutional Assessment and Research: Academic Engagement and Student Performance (AESP), Career Services, Residence Life, Registrar’s Office, and Student Engagement.


Fisk University is in compliance with Core Requirement 8.1. The following enumerated subtitles illustrate the success of Fisk University students in response to this Core Requirement.

1. Enrollment data

Fisk University established a conservative enrollment target of 250 new first-year, first-time students for the 2017-2018 academic year. The institution has kept tuition and fees flat for the past four years. The enrollment data in the following table were reported to the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) via the IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey. The data were published in the IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey from the fall of 2017 to the fall of 2020.

Fall 2017 Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020 4 Year Average
Enrollment 701 780 874 912 814
First-time, fulltime Student Target 250










First-time, full-time student actual 132











2. Retention

Retention rates refer to the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students who were enrolled in the fall semester of their first academic year and returned in the spring semester and/or the fall semester of the following academic year. Fisk University established a conservative, retention-rate target of 75% in the 2013-2014 academic year. The data were published in IPEDS.


2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 6 Year Average
Fall to Fall Retention Rate  















3. Graduation


Six Year Graduation Rates for first-time full-time degree-seeking freshmen. The graduation rates are determined by tracking a specific cohort (i.e., first-time full-time degree-seeking freshman) over a period of six years. Fisk University established a conservative, six-year graduation-rate target of 46% during the 2011-2012 academic year. Fisk University reports data concerning graduation rates on the IPEDS, Graduation Rate survey.


2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 8 year Average
Four-year Graduation Rate (as of August 31st) 46% 41% 40% 37% 36% 42% 37% 38%  



Five-year Graduation Rate (as of August 31st) 53% 49% 48% 51% 42% 48% 43% 46%  



Six-year Graduation Rate (as of August 31st) 54% 52% 50% 53% 44% 52% 44% 47%  




4.    Job placement rates

The Office of Career Services is continuing to assist students in securing employment after graduating from Fisk University. Data with regard to their employers is gathered through student, self-reports that are captured in the Office of Career Planning and Development. Fisk University established a conservative job placement target of 30% during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Categories 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 6 Year Average
Job Placement Rates 32% 34% 22% 53% 28% 31% 33%