Student Retention, Faculty Can Help!

Student Retention,
Faculty Can Help!
Student Retention
• “Student, faculty interaction has a stronger relationship to student
satisfaction with the college experience than any other involvement
variable, or indeed, any other student or institutional characteristic.”
– Alexander Astin, UCLA HERI
• “Students who have frequent contact with faculty members in and
out of the class during their college years are more satisfied with
their educational experiences, are less likely to drop out, and
perceive themselves to have learned more than students who have
less faculty contact.”
‐ K. Patricia Cross, About Campus, 1998
Student Retention
• Vincent Tito of Syracuse University stated in his article titled “Taking
Student Retention Seriously” listed five conditions that stand out
when talking about retention.
Student Retention
• Expectation
• Set the bar high in the classroom
• Expect them to succeed
• Let the student know that they can succeed
• Advice
• Provide clear and consistent information about what is required
• Give the student solid advising concerning the choices they need to make for
their chosen program of study
• Provide them with a map that shows them how to complete the goals
• Show them how this map can also help the achieve their personal goals
Student Retention
• Support
• Provide the student with the academic, social and personal support they need to
• In class inform the students about services that are available at the college to
help them
• Involvement
• Encourage your students to be more involved in the class
• Make them feel they are a valued member of the group
Student Retention
• Learning
• Develop an environment that encourages learning
• Create learning communities that have the students actively involved in their
own learning
• For first year college students use groups to engage them
• Do not let the students feel isolated and on their own in the learning process
Faculty Influence on Student Retention
• Faculty members are on the front-line
• Interact with students frequently and are likely to be among the first
to notice signs that a student is disengaging from college
• Recognize the warning signs and take action to prevent losing the
• This is an opportunity for college professors to take the lead in
recreating the college learning experience in ways that are more
supportive and effective
Some Ideas For Faculty
• Create an inclusive classroom
• Classroom management
• Interaction with students outside of the classroom
Create an Inclusive Classroom
• An inclusive classroom is one in which students feel they belong and
that it is safe for them to express their personal beliefs without a fear
of ridicule or rejection
• First lay down some ground rules for the classroom
• mutual respect that no one is better or worse in the classroom all are equal and
all opinions are welcome
• mutual respect that no one is better or worse in the classroom all are equal and
all opinions are welcome
• materials need to be from different perspectives
• Invite students to share their viewpoints on relevant information
Create an Inclusive Classroom
• Encourage the students to discuss ideas from other cultures
• Create topics of discussion that lead to critical thinking about other
people and cultures
• Listen intently to students' comments and opinions
• Add to their ideas
• Show them how to make their ideas more correct
• Incorporate the ideas into the topic you are discussing
• Let the students know that it is ok to disagree with an opinion (even
yours) as long as it is done with respect
Classroom Management
• Learn the name of each student as quickly as possible and use the
student's name in class
• Determine the atmosphere you want in your classroom
• Informal:
• Formal:
Call the students by their first name
Call the students using Mr. Mrs. Miss, Ms.
Classroom Management
• In the first class
• Let the students know that they can succeed in your class
• Show them that you are willing to help in groups or individually
• Point out ways in which this course can help them in their careers and personal
• Praise the students abilities and outside knowledge
• Use different instructional materials in the classroom, don’t just be a “Sage on a
• Inform the students that if they have a major change in their personal lives, work
schedules, child care, etc. that they need to talk to you before dropping the
class. You can make alternative arrangements if possible
• Have students fill out an index card with relevant information
• Encourage the students
Classroom Management
• If a student is absent contact them either through e-mail or a simple
phone call
• Have your students create a buddy system so if they must miss a
class they can get notes and assignments from each other
• Move around the classroom when lecturing and interacting
• Make a point to talk to each student individually sometime during the
• Give the students a mid-term grade and clear instructions on what
needs to be done if improvement is needed
Outside of the Classroom
• Set office hours, let the students know what they are and abide by
• If a student cannot meet you during office hours have them make an
appointment for a time that is convenient for you both (be flexible)
• If you pass one of your students in the hall speak with them ask
them about their other classes and how things are going for them
• Go to the cafeteria have lunch sit with the students if possible
• Get involved in student activities on campus, sponsor a club or go to
an event
Outside of the Classroom
• Sponsor a group discussion outside normal class hours for students
across the department
• Introduce students to others you know that have similar interests
• Develop internships for students with stakeholders you know in the
• Faculty is on the front line of student retention
• The smallest bit of encouragement/acknowledgement may come at
just the right time
• Create a learning community of your students
• Make them feel they are missed when they are not around
• Give them the knowledge that they can succeed and attain their
• Bowen, William, Chingos, Matthew, & McPherson, Michael. (2009.) Crossing the
Finish Line:
Completing College at America’s Public Universities. New Jersey: Princeton
University Press.
• Tinto, Vincent Taking Student Retention Seriously: Syracuse University

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