ERIC Number: EJ915496
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
Reimagining the Retention Problem: Moving Our Thinking from End-Product to By-Product
Siegel, Michael J.
About Campus, v15 n6 p8-18 Jan-Feb 2011
Over the past several decades, college-student retention has arguably been the most intensely studied issue in academe. Though the body of retention literature grows ever larger, no one model adequately explains the process by which college students make a decision to leave an institution or to persist to graduation. And while no magic bullet exists to address the most pressing retention issues facing institutions of higher education, colleges and universities continue to look for new methods and models to help ameliorate the student attrition problem. For a college-student retention plan to be effective, it must be comprehensive in nature and integrate a number of different philosophies and strategies. In short, retention plans must be tailored to a campus's needs, based on proven research, involve a wide range of campus constituents, and be planned with students' interests in mind. This article underscores the need for reimagining the retention process and thinking about it in terms of its connection to student learning and success. It operates under the premise that retention is no one's problem, but everyone's problem. It follows that it can be everyone's solution. The article offers broad suggestions and recommendations that can be used to develop institution-wide strategies for keeping students enrolled. It promotes the view that retention should be seen as a by-product of student learning and success rather than an end product in and of itself; that is, retention should be the residual benefit of planning and implementing effective student learning and success initiatives rather than as the purpose for it.
Descriptors: Colleges, Student Attrition, School Holding Power, College Students, Student Interests, Decision Making, Academic Achievement, Academic Persistence, Educational Finance, Academic Advising, College Administration, College Faculty
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A