Fail-proof Your Retention Model! – Part One

31 July 2017

In our travels as consultants for higher educational student success initiatives, Rachel and I come across many ineffective trends in retention models. Our hope is that by sharing what we overcome during our consultations, we will save other colleges and universities from experiencing similar set-backs with their retention efforts.

 

For this blog, we will focus on a common flaw in how retention systems are often modeled in regard to initiating an alert. Traditionally, student retention systems involve a process where faculty members, and occasionally staff members, originate an alert on behalf of a student. The content of the alert is usually concerned with how the student is doing in a specific course. What we find as an issue with this particular part of a traditional model is that the pool of faculty and staff expected to raise alerts is too limited. Only allowing faculty and staff to originate an alert is too limited. Additionally, only alerting students that are doing poorly in a course is also too limited. We believe that if a retention system intends to truly be an effective tool, it should allow more people to raise alerts and alerts should reach out to all students. This broadening of participation should be executed without adding to the level of maintenance.

 

Let’s discuss how these limitations in a traditional model causes issues for retention efforts. By waiting for a professor to raise an alert, the institution misses out on retention opportunities in three main arenas. First, students face a myriad barriers to higher education long before they are seated in an actual classroom. These barriers are not just for first time students but also at the beginning of every semester. Endless factors stack up against students like transportation, funding, coping with being away from home, career decisions, schedules, etc. We miss the opportunity to assist students with overcoming these barriers when we wait for the student to be in a class to raise an alert.

 

Second, professors are not always able to log into yet another system and spend substantial time gathering all of the information about a student in order to complete an alert. Much of the information a professor needs to put in the hands of the student is simply that the professor cares about their success and that there are resources available for the student. Professors, and everyone else for that matter, are often unable to keep up with the constant change in how, when, and to whom a college resource is offered.

 

Thirdly, retaining students should be an effort that focuses on all students, not just those at risk. Additionally, the process should allow all persons in the student’s life to reach out to the student. Parents, counselors, community members, roommates, coaches, etc should be able to raise an alert for a student in need. Connecting all students to resources easily should be the goal of any retention model. Students with high GPAs should be connected with honors programs, students who are athletes should be aware of the locations and offerings at all academic assistance centers, students who have mastered the college transition should be connected with opportunities to mentor their fellow students. Retention should be viewed as an issue that all students face.

 

If your retention model has fallen victim to this pitfall, look for ways to remedy the processes. If you are in the process for considering a retention system, avoid systems that are unable to include all students and all people in the student’ life in the process. Avoid systems that will not be successful if your college is unable to inspire every faculty and or staff member to use the system. And finally, look for systems that allow alerts to be raised anytime during the student’s experience, not just once they are in class.

Similar Posts

07.04.2021
Bringing Staff, Students, and Faculty Together with Keigh-Cee Bell, Episode 1 of 2

Press play to listen: Our biggest hurdle was engaging students when outreach was completely virtual. Our biggest win is seeing...

06.04.2021
The Top 5 Things I’ve Learned From Working with Accudemia Clients (So Far)

  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Rachel Cook, the new Customer Success Manager for Accudemia. I...

31.03.2021
Attachments in Accudemia to Help with Asynchronous and Online Tutoring

You asked, and we listened! We are pleased to announce the addition of a new and mighty cool feature to...

03.03.2021
The 5 Pillars of Learning Centers, with Penny Turrentine: #5. Data Collection for Continuous Improvement

In the final part of a short series of podcast episodes, we conclude a discussion with Penny Turrentine, Ph. D.,...

04.02.2021
The 5 Pillars of Learning Centers, with Penny Turrentine: #4. Establish Rapport with Your Students

In part four of a short series of podcast episodes, we speak with Penny Turrentine, Ph. D., Adjunct Faculty and...

06.01.2021
The 5 Pillars of Learning Centers, with Penny Turrentine: #3. Resourcefulness

In part three of a short series of podcast episodes, we continue our discussion with Penny Turrentine, Ph. D., Adjunct...

02.12.2020
The 5 Pillars of Learning Centers, with Penny Turrentine: #2. Support from Faculty and Administrators

In part two of a short series of podcast episodes, we speak with Penny Turrentine, Ph. D., Adjunct Faculty and...

30.10.2020
The 5 Pillars of Learning Centers, with Penny Turrentine: 1. Professional Development

In part one of a short series of podcast episodes, we sit down with Penny Turrentine, Ph. D., Adjunct Faculty...

20.10.2020
The Effect of the Pandemic on Higher Education: Student POV

The outbreak of the coronavirus caused a major disruption to colleges and universities across the country and forced institutions to...

24.08.2020
Three Questions Advisors Must Ask to Foster Student Success

This fall will be unlike any other fall semester considering the effects and COVID-19. Colleges and Universities are considering many...

06.08.2020
Podcast Episode: Making a Home Away from Home for Students with Julie Ashley, MCCNEB

We love our higher education professionals and all that they are doing to take care of and encourage their students...

01.07.2020
Podcast Episode: Listening to Students and Making It Fun with Tricia Seifert, MSU

Students have a lot to tell us about how we can help them be successful and listening is essential. They...