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The Anthropology Department at WMU suggests that incoming graduate students should be able to complete the Masters Degree within two years or 4 semesters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is the rare student who actually completes his or her degree within 2 years. In fact, many students require 4-6 years to complete what is ostensibly a 2 year degree program, while many other students eventually drop out of the program and never complete their degree.

This situation has been discussed among faculty and graduate students within the department for a number of years, but no actual data have been collected on the time to completion or the retention rate of graduate students within our department.

My Academic Leadership Academy research project was designed to address this situation by:

• Collecting quantitative and qualitative data on recent cohorts of students in order to document whether a problem exists,

• Eliciting the opinions of current students and recent graduates as to their progress in our program and their (dis)satisfaction with their own progress through the program,

• Exploring the institutional and personal obstacles that may adversely affect time to completion of degree and retention.


This poster was presented at the WMU Leadership Colloquium on October 11, 2012, at Western Michigan University. Robert L. Anemone was part of the 2011-12 Academic Leadership Academy cohort.