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Career Conference 2009. Helping at-risk students: The big problem of low retention rates. From Inspiration to Application January 26-28, 2009. Purpose. Practical ways to improve retention rates Objectives: Describe important features of retention models (buffet style)

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Career Conference 2009


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    1. Career Conference2009 Helping at-risk students: The big problem of low retention rates From Inspiration to Application January 26-28, 2009

    2. Purpose Practical ways to improve retention rates Objectives: • Describe important features of retention models (buffet style) • List 10 psycho-social factors related to retention • Describe how personality can interact with retention

    3. Overview of Problem http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/college_retention.pdf

    4. Overview of Problem

    5. Costs Involved - Personal Personal Costs – 5 x 5 group discussion On one level student retention is about numbers – ….On another level, student retention is about the moral and ethical commitment that we … make to every student who enrolls here…. We state unequivocally our commitment to facilitate the successful journey of every student who comes here. Retention Coordinating Group, Strategic Retention Master Plan, University of Arizona, April 2005, p. 3.

    6. Costs Involved - Organizational • For a single student taking 12 credit hours per semester in the first semester of freshman year: • 12 hours x $100.00* = $1,200.00 • Loss of this single student over next 3 years • (6 semesters @ 12 credits per semester) = $7,200.00 • Multiply by attrition rate for first-time freshmen of 20%*** • (national average rate is 33%): • $7,200.00 x 1,000**** = $7,200,000 loss per year over next 4 to 6 years for this specific cohort of students • *enter your institution’s tuition-per-credit hour rate here • **enter your institution’s credit hour requirement to graduate here • ***enter your institution’s freshman-to-sophomore attrition rate here • ****enter your institution’s total loss of students based on attrition rate and population http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    7. Costs Involved - Organizational • For a single student taking 12 credit hours per semester in the first semester of freshman year: • 12 hours x $100.00* = $1,200.00 • Loss of this single student over next 3 years • (6 semesters @ 12 credits per semester) = $7,200.00 • Multiply by attrition rate for first-time freshmen of 20%*** • (national average rate is 33%): • $7,200.00 x 1,000**** = $7,200,000 loss per year over next 4 to 6 years for this specific cohort of students • *enter your institution’s tuition-per-credit hour rate here • **enter your institution’s credit hour requirement to graduate here • ***enter your institution’s freshman-to-sophomore attrition rate here • ****enter your institution’s total loss of students based on attrition rate and population http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    8. Costs Involved - Organizational • Include cost of losing a single student relative to: • loss of revenue for bookstore • loss of revenue for cafeteria • loss of revenue for local businesses • loss of residence hall fees (if residential campus) • loss of other revenue generated by students on campus or in community • loss of institutional financial aid http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    9. Costs Involved - Organizational More conceptual, long-term, future effects • loss of future contributions from possible alumni who never become alumni • cost of bad public relations, such as word-of-mouth of dissatisfied students, dissatisfied parents, dissatisfied merchants, etc. • lowered internal morale due to decreased enrollment (fewer students in classes; fewer students in major departments, etc.) http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    10. Costs Involved - Organizational • Include cost of recruitment of a replacement student: • cost of travel expenses for recruiters • costs of hotels, meals, etc. for recruiters • cost of mailings to prospective students (e.g., paper, envelopes, stamps) • cost of work hours to recruit a replacement • cost of time away from other tasks • other costs specific to your institution http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    11. Costs Involved - Organizational • Multiply each of these costs for a single student by your institution’s attrition rate, and add to loss of tuition • The total costs should be enough to get the attention of the administration http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    12. Costs Involved - Organizational • If you can then demonstrate the likelihood that your program (or proposed program) does or will increase retention, you can put a monetary value on your efforts in this area • The decision to drop out is a complex process involving a series of events which occur over time • All aspects of campus life can have an impact on student persistence behavior • Carefully designed interventions can exert a positive influence on persistence behavior http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Regional_Divisions/region3/C20.ppt Dr. Rich Robbins West Virginia University

    13. Solutions to Costs Does your office serve a staff or line function? Line = focus on mandate; output; teaching = class hours, graduates, FTEs, etc. = see themselves as more important Staff = HR; T & D; Student Services (?) = offer advice & support ~ overhead = success defined in terms of line = sell the problem – not the solution!

    14. Solutions to Costs Most career professionals think of their services in terms of support ~ overhead. Needed, valuable and necessary – but still overhead. In order to reframe your services it is helpful to think in terms of a cost-benefit assessment.

    15. Cost-benefit Assessment What is the cost of a retention initiative? • Minimal = one-hour general orientation • Maximum = 5 FTE/200 at-risk students • What is the benefit? • Demonstrated increase in retention • If 20% drop-out rate costs the organization $7.2M+/year • Then a 10% reduction would save $720,000+/year • If the cost of the program was $100,000; CBRatio = 7.2

    16. Cost-benefit Assessment During times of economic downturn, funds will flow to those services that can show a positive cost-benefit analysis. • Action Research: • No action without research; no research without action.

    17. Performance Indicators Improving Student Retention: the critical role of data Veronique Johnston,Teaching Fellow Elaine Thomson, Research Assistant Napier University, Edinburgh April 2004 www.napier.ac.uk/qes/studentretentionproject/SRPhome.asp

    18. Data Quality and PI Definitions • Data Quality • Checking • Agreeing • Definitions • Population • Withdrawal • Failure • Success • Progression • Performance Indicators • End of year outcomes • Return to study rates • Progress rates • Award rates • Graduation rates

    19. Group Discussion 5 x 5 1. In small groups, identify 3 P.I.s to measure student retention or success • 2. For one of these measures agree:- • Population or populations of interest • A definition of the P.I. (e.g. if the P.I. is withdrawal • rate, how is withdrawal defined? Within what time limits? • Does it have to be adjusted for the different populations • identified?) • Data required to support the P.I. • Meaning of the P.I. for the institution

    20. Good Practice in Tracking & Monitoring Student Success • Clear definitions of different student groups of interest • Can’t do everything at once – but can do something at once – Zig Ziglar • 2. Part of an overall strategy for: • Supporting Students • Identifying & addressing retention problems • Identifying & promoting approaches which enhance • student success • Informing institutional planning & policy • Staff development • Data management • Resource allocation

    21. Good Practice in Tracking & Monitoring Student Success 3. Development of a portfolio of complementary P.I.s 4. Clarity in meaning & purpose 5. Involvement of staff in P.I. development 6. Consistency 7. Clear responsibility structure 8. Assessment of cost vs benefits 7. Link into student satisfaction 8. Link into student engagement

    22. Retention Models TRANSITIONS MODEL – by William Bridges http://www.amazon.com/William-Bridges/e/B000AQ4MUS When Jane Brown drops out, it is a tragedy. When 5,000 drop out, it is a statistic.

    23. Transition Model Improved Self-awareness Return to status quo Pre-change Stability Sense of Failure Depression; Suicide Endings Neutral Zone Beginnings

    24. Transition Model Improved Self-awareness Return to status quo Pre-change Stability Sense of Failure Depression; Suicide Endings Neutral Zone Beginnings Slaves in Red In desert Entered promised land - Egypt Sea for 40 Years No longer slaves

    25. Transition Model 5 x 5 Group Discussion: What changes do most students experience? How are these seen as losses? Pre-change Stability

    26. Transition Model • Neutral Zone Examples: • How do you answer the question “Who am I?” after being: • Divorced • Down-sized • Disabled Normalize Re-define Use creatively

    27. Transition Model 5 x 5 • Group Discussion: • What can student services do to help: • normalize the Neutral Zone? • redefine the Neutral Zone from turmoil to exploration? • use it creatively? Pre-change Stability Neutral Zone

    28. Transition Model Improved Self-awareness Return to status quo Pre-change Stability Sense of Failure Depression; Suicide Endings Neutral Zone Beginnings New New understandings, new values; Situations new attitudes; new identities

    29. Transition Model The timing of new beginnings: “Like any organic process, beginnings cannot be made to happen by a word or act. They happen when the timing of the transition process allows them to happen, just as flowers and fruit appear on a schedule that is natural and not subject to anyone’s will. That is why it is so important to understand the transition process and where the people are in it.” P. 52, Managing Transitions, William Bridges

    30. Transition Model The timing of new beginnings. While it may be inappropriate to prescribe a specific beginning for any one person, the following models clearly detail “beginning-friendly” support services.

    31. Retention Models http://www.maine.edu/system/asa/vincenttinto.php http://www.maine.edu/system/asa/documents/UMainePMWorkshop-HO.ppt

    32. Retention Models • Creating Conditions for Student SuccessUniversity of Maine SystemMarch 10, 2008

    33. Overview • What conditions promote student success? • What are universities doing to promote student success?

    34. Conditions for Student Success Moving from teaching to learning. Establishing the conditions within the college that promote student success

    35. Conditions for Student Success Students will learn more when they are placed in: • supportive educational settings that hold • high expectations for their success, • provide frequent feedback about their learning, and • require them to share learning with others

    36. Strategies for Student Success Intrusive advising, counseling, and mentoring • First year, undecided, and change of major students

    37. Strategies for Student Success • Intrusive advising, counseling, and mentoring • Integrated support programs • Learning centers • Freshman seminars / College Survival courses • Supplemental instruction • Summer Bridge programs

    38. Strategies for Student Success • Intrusive advising, counseling, and mentoring • Integrated support programs • Pedagogies of engagement • Cooperative learning • Problem-based learning

    39. Cooperative Learning • Positive interdependence • Face-to-face interaction • Group processing • Interpersonal and group skills • Individual and group accountability

    40. Problem-Based Learning • Groups work to solve meaningful problem(s) • Curriculum/assignments geared to the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed for problem solution.

    41. Strategies for Student Success • Intrusive advising, counseling, and mentoring • Integrated support programs • Pedagogies of engagement • Learning communities • Curricular learning communities • Basic skills learning communities

    42. Learning Communities • Students enroll in classes together • Central theme or problem that organizes the curriculum • Students asked to build academic and social connections • Team designed and sometimes team taught • Use of active learning strategies

    43. Strategies for Student Success • Intrusive advising, counseling, and mentoring • Integrated support programs • Pedagogies of engagement • Learning communities • Assessment of student learning • Entry assessment and placement • Early warning systems • Program assessment • Classroom assessment strategies

    44. Closing Thoughts • Student success does not arise by chance • Intentional, structured, and proactive strategies for student success • Access without support is not opportunity • Establishing conditions of support in or connected to the classroom • Student success is a shared responsibility • Collaboration, coordination, and alignment matter • Assessment matters • Assess to improve, not just to prove

    45. More Closing ThoughtsDr. Rich Robbins “Institutions that are most successful in retaining their students are most likely to have used improvements or redevelopment of the academic advising program as [part of] a retention strategy”

    46. More Closing ThoughtsDr. Rich Robbins “Academic Advising is the only structured service on campus in which all students have the opportunity for ongoing, one-to-one interaction with a concerned representative of the institution” Habley, ACT Educational Services and NACADA, 1996

    47. TypeFocus Model At-risk Student Determined Partly by Retention Program Career Goal Clarity Assisted Partly by Careers Program

    48. More Closing ThoughtsDr. Rich Robbins • students recruited by and admitted to a college or university should expect that programs and services will be available to help them succeed • student success = student satisfaction = student retention • programming designed to give the student a sense of “belonging,” “connectedness,” or “integration” to the institution has been shown to be the most significant factor in student satisfaction and retention in post-secondary institutions

    49. More Closing ThoughtsDr. Rich Robbins This sense of being a part of the institution may result from the student: • being a member of an athletic team • being a member of a sorority or fraternity • being a member of an extracurricular club • being a member of some other campus group • participating in a mentoring program • participating in a peer group formed as part of a class, program, residence hall, or other means • participating in part-time employment on campus • participating in any one of a number of other opportunities to develop a relationship with a member or members of the institution

    50. More Closing ThoughtsDr. Rich Robbins an effective retention program must address and integrate both the academic career and social life of the student • before developing and implementing strategies designed to promote retention, specific questions must be answered: • what is your campus’ definition of retention? • what group or cohort of students do you want to focus on (i.e., identification of the students at-risk for attrition on your campus)?