63 IDEAS TO ENCOURAGE STUDENT RETENTION
The following ideas are a product of a faculty seminar at Jefferson Community College, Kentucky. Sixty-three ideas are
presented for faculty use in dealing with retention/attrition. The 63 ideas are subdivided into four general categories.
This category contains elements directly related to the affective domain of student growth brought about by
faculty/student interaction. Psych, ego, individual worth are all intricately bound within this framework.
Learn the name of each student as quickly as possible and use the student's name in class. Based upon the
atmosphere you want to create:
Call on students by their first names.
Call on students by using Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.
Tell the students by what name and title you prefer to be called (Prof., Dr., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, First Name).
At the end of each class period, ask one student to stay for a minute to chat (compliment on something: tell
student you missed him/her if absent, etc.).
Instead of returning tests, quizzed, themes in class, ask students to stop by your office to pick them up. This
presents an opportunity to talk informally with students.
Call students on the telephone if they are absent. Make an appointment with them to discuss attendance, make-
up work, etc.
Get feedback periodically from students (perhaps a select few) on their perceptions of your attitudes toward
them, your personal involvement, etc.
Socialize with students as your "style" permits by attending their clubs or social activities, by having lunch with
them, by walking with them between classes, etc.
Conduct a personal interview with all students sometime during the semester.
Provide positive reinforcement whenever possible; give students a respectful answer to any question they might
10. Listen intently to students' comments and opinions. By using a "lateral thinking technique" (adding to ideas
rather than dismissing them), students feel that their ideas, comments, and opinions are worthwhile.
11. Be aware of the difference between students' classroom mistakes and their personal successes/failures.
12. Be honest about your feelings, opinions, and attitudes toward students and toward the subject matter. Don't be
afraid to admit that you don't know all the answers. If a student tells you something in confidence, respect that
confidence. Avoid making value judgments (verbally or non-verbally) about these confidences.
13. Lend some of your books (reference) to students and borrow some of theirs in return. You can initiate the
process by saying, "I've just read a great book on _______, would anyone like to borrow it?"
14. Give your telephone number to students and the location of your office.
15. A first class meeting, pair up the students and have them get acquainted with one another. Switch partners