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Student Engagement, Re-Engagement and a Whole of Institution Approach. Paula Baron, La Trobe Lillian Corbin, UNE. Our argument. Tertiary institutions see student engagement as desirable; but There is a perceived trend towards student disengagement;

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student engagement re engagement and a whole of institution approach

Student Engagement, Re-Engagement and a Whole of Institution Approach

Paula Baron, La Trobe

Lillian Corbin, UNE

our argument
Our argument
  • Tertiary institutions see student engagement as desirable; but
  • There is a perceived trend towards student disengagement;
  • Institutional strategies for fostering student engagement have tended to be scattered and piecemeal and some may have contributed to disengagement;
  • Studies suggest a ‘whole of institution’ approach that fosters a sense of belonging is likely to be most effective.
the recent interest in engagement
The recent interest in engagement
  • Links between funding and engagement;
  • Positive correlations with student:
    • Achievement
    • Satisfaction
    • Development
    • Retention
what is engagement1
What is engagement?
  • Engagement is hard to identify and the term may refer to different concepts.
  • Engagement has been linked to:
    • active participation;
    • energy;
    • connection.
what is engagement2
What is engagement?
  • We may emphasise different components of engagement in our individual understandings of the term:
      • behavioural;
      • emotional;
      • cognitive.
what is engagement3
What is engagement?
  • Engagement is hard to measure
    • Self-reporting questionnaires;
    • Lack of qualitative and observational methodologies.
a trend toward disengagement
A trend toward disengagement?
  • As evidenced by student behaviours:
    • lack of class preparation, such as failure to read the assigned materials;
    • disinclination to participate meaningfully in class;
    • resistance to attendance requirements;
    • resistance to active learning techniques;
    • inability to concentrate;
    • dependency on the lectures and the lecturer to acquire knowledge and a ‘surface’ approach to learning.
a trend towards disengagement
A trend towards disengagement?
  • As evidenced by lack of belonging:
    • first-year students are spending less time on campus, are less involved in extracurricular activities, tend not to make close friends and increasingly indicate that they keep to themselves on campus.
    • Only half of first-year students could claim a sense of belonging on their university campus, even though the vast majority of respondents were full-time, campus-based students.
      • James, Kraus and Jennings
a trend towards disengagement1
A trend towards disengagement?
  • academic engagement and engagement with the social and communal life of universities go hand in hand;
  • both have been found to be in decline.
why the trend towards disengagement
Why the trend towards disengagement?
  • New relationships of work and study;
  • An increasingly market-driven environment (student as both consumer and commodity);
  • Student expectations and priorities.
policies and disengagement
Policies and disengagement
  • Overlooking the link between social and academic engagement?
    • Loss of VSU;
    • Growth;
    • Responding to demand;
    • Processes that foster anonymity and disengagement;
    • Neglected role of P & A staff.
the need for a whole of institution approach
The need for a whole of institution approach
  • Research links positive academic engagement with social engagement;
  • Students do best where they have a sense of belonging;
  • Despite the reduction in time spent on campus, students want a sense of community and the chance to make connections.
the need for a whole of institution approach1
The need for a whole of institution approach
  • Don’t just focus on academic activities: evidence suggests extracurricular activities foster engagement;
  • Opportunities for civic engagement by both staff and students can promote a sense of belonging and connection.
for more detail
For more detail:
  • Baron and Corbin, ‘Student Engagement: Rhetoric and Reality’ (2012) 31(6) HERD 759 (available online).