I am a member of the committee for Quality in studies here at GUC, and as part of that I have been involved in the project “iForkant” (=”being ahead/ in the forefront” directly translated) that started here this spring. The idea is to increase student retention and to find out more about students` successes and failures, as well as what we as an institution can do to enhance learning and reduce attrition. This is a real challenge and I am happy to be a part of a group working on some of the many issues.
To learn more about the subject, I started searching for literature on these matters and discovered that there are plenty of papers written on this. I made a quick search in ERIC and retrieved 75 articles that were relevant. Of course, I`ll never be able to read everything, but I have selected a few and started reading. One of the very interesting articles I found was Michael Siegel`s “Reimagining the retention problem”. He starts out with some “core assumtions” that I liked:
- Retention cannot be left to chance
- Retention is everyone`s responsibility on campus
- No one thing causes, or cures, retention problems
- Every campus has a unique culture, but many retention concerns are universal
- Retention is a process insumuch as it is a product – it should not be treated as an end goal but as a resudual benefit of doing effective planning and implementation
- Retention planning is not a one-time effort but an ongoing, cyclical process
- The first year of college is the most critical year in the retention puzzle
- Retention is best done by identifying problems and prioritizing solutions (Siegel 2011, p. 8-9)
The rest of the article is well worth reading, too. I look forward to the rest of the pile now:)
Siegel, M. (2011) Reimagining the retention problem: Moving our thinking from end-product to by-product. In: About campus 15(6), p. 8-18.