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ERIC Number: EJ1079352
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0897-5264
Building a Strengths-Based Campus to Support Student Retention
Soria, Krista M.; Stubblefield, Robin
Journal of College Student Development, v56 n6 p626-631 Sep 2015
Strengths-based approaches are flourishing across hundreds of higher education institutions as student affairs practitioners and educators seek to leverage students' natural talents so they can reach "previously unattained levels of personal excellence" (Lopez & Louis, 2009, p. 2). Even amid the growth of strengths-based approaches on college campuses, little research exists that examines the benefits of strengths-based approaches for students. The authors attempt to bridge the gap in literature by examining the relationship between first-year undergraduate students' strengths awareness and their retention. The institution under examination offers one of the largest implementations of strengths-based approaches in the nation, making it an ideal location within which to study the benefits of strengths-based approaches for first-year students. A large, public research-intensive university located in the Midwest of the United Sates offered the StrengthsFinder® assessment to all incoming first-year students. Students were invited to take the StrengthsFinder® via a personalized email that contained a code to take the assessment at no cost. Before they arrived on campus for matriculation, 5,122 first-year students, 95.4% of the first-year class, took the online assessment and received their top five talent themes (addressed informally as "top five strengths" across campus). At the end of their first semester, all first-year students (N = 5,368) were invited to participate in an online survey which assessed their strengths awareness and engagement with strengths initiatives. It was discovered that first-year students who took the StrengthsFinder® assessment had significantly higher retention rates compared to their peers who did not take the assessment. Next, binary logistic regression was used to examine whether students' strengths awareness and strengths discussions were associated with students' retention to their second year controlling for demographic variables and college experiences. Overall the results of this study suggest student affairs practitioners who employ strengths-based initiatives may positively enhance students' retention.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A