Focusing on student retention does not mean lowering academic standards in your classroom or lab. Retention is not the goal; rather it is the result of providing a quality undergraduate experience. In fact, setting high expectations, while providing adequate support, is a basic premise of all retention efforts.
What can faculty members do?
Connect with students and help them connect with each other:
- Get to know your students and learn their names.
- At the end of each class, ask one student to stay for a minute to chat (compliment them on something; see if they need help).
- Occasionally ask students to work together in groups during class, which not only increases student engagement, but also helps them get to know each other.
- Contact students if they miss class and let them know you missed seeing them.
Help students succeed:
- Provide feedback early and often, including mid-term grades/feedback.
- Make certain students know about help that is available for your course and for studying in general. (Tutoring Center, Open Labs, Study Zones, etc).
Identify students in trouble and reach out to them:
- Reach out to students who are doing poorly; they will probably not come in for help on their own; a personal email or phone call is more effective than a blanket statement. This interaction can positively impact and motivate students.
Encourage and acknowledge successful students:
- Reinforcing that they did a good job can build confidence.
(Source: Tanya Woltmann, Dean, Library, Testing, and Academic Success)